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Thread: Nightmare (one-shot, Quest for the Legends spin-off)

  1. #1
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    Default Nightmare (one-shot, Quest for the Legends spin-off)

    So I was skimming over the results of the romance one-shot contest, and suddenly was hit with inspiration coupled with "Damn it, why didn't I think of this before the contest ended?" That is to say, it is indeed a romance one-shot, but like Scyther's Story, it's just a spin-off of my main fic.

    This is... highly unlikely to make any sense if you haven't read The Quest for the Legends (or Scyther's Story). You can try, of course, and I'd be very happy to hear the results, but just to warn you, don't expect to really get it.




    Nightmare

    He looked at the old baobab tree and realized immediately that he was dreaming. Those days were gone and would never be back except to haunt him in the nights.

    He smiled and looked the tree briefly up and down. It had a thick, twisted trunk, covered with faint scars after being the subject of quite a bit of scythe-training in the past. The thicket of emerald green leaves at its top told him it was summer.

    Rob had told him long ago that dreams were only his brain spitting out incoherent jumbles of his subconscious thoughts while keeping him drugged enough not to question what he saw, but now the drugging had not entirely succeeded, and with his faint consciousness he smiled at this.

    He looked around, seeing only the plains and the looming forest of Ruxido. There were no Scyther and no prey. Apparently this was a lonely dream.

    When he had lonely dreams, they were usually set in Rob’s gym, often with the moon unrealistically large outside the window, the city replaced by the infinity of stars and the battle arena enlarged so that it seemed to stretch almost endlessly into the shadows on both sides. There would be no door on the opposite side leading to the welcoming, warm back room where Rob would always be there to comfort him with a few cans of beer. There would only be him, the arena, the window and the moonlight shining brightly off his scythes. And he would feel the terrible, nagging, biting guilt that drove his scythe ever closer to his quivering neck, cut it and then left everything to fade away into sweet, hazy nothingness.

    But worse were the other lonely dreams, set right there under that tree. Dreams just like this one, where the Scyther were gone from the plains and all that was left was him, alone to think about his crimes against everything they stood for.

    He eyed a yellowed leaf floating slowly to the ground out of the corner of his eye. He turned sharply, only to find the tree shedding its leaves by the second as the grass around him paled and dried; in a matter of seconds it was autumn.

    And with autumn came the one who never appeared but in the very worst dreams, those that would make him wake up and immediately put his scythe to his throat, nearly needing more reassurance not to try to end it all than to.

    Nightmare.

    With the cool northern wind she came, seeming to materialize from nothing; indeed, it was as if she was the wind, quick, beautiful, sharp, powerful, but oh, so biting cold. One moment it was the wind blowing on his face and gnawing at his armor, and the next it was her scythe striking him down and the icy breathing that seemed to freeze the inside of his nostrils as she exhaled. For she was not a living being of warmth, but dead; there was naught left of her but his fading memory, her real, physical form long having been lost forever. No, the Scizor that still lived was a fake, a mere shadow of what had once been truly the most perfect Scyther that had ever and would ever live.

    His faded awareness was in no state to deny the will of the subconscious. He closed his eyes, felt the needles of ice make his breathing increasingly difficult and prayed that the dream would never end. To feel her so close to him, her body touching his, her breathing on his face – what did it in the end matter if she was only close so that she could hold him down, only touching him in order to draw his blood, only breathing to torture him, suffocate him, slow down his death?

    For he was as much a servant as anyone to the fundamental instinct of life, that pathetic, uncontrollable need that those afflicted by it so persistently referred to as love.

    “Nightmare,” he whispered, and when he opened his eyes they were standing opposite one another in soft snowfall, hardly shielded by the bare branches of the tree.

    “What is it?” she replied calmly, sparing him a short look of disinterest.

    He looked at her and chuckled. “I’m conscious. I know this is all in my head. I know you’re in my head. I know I can manipulate you just by wanting it.”

    She looked at him again out of the corner of her eye.

    “Indeed.”

    She never seemed to look straight at him; it was always through a sideways glance, always only momentary before flicking her pupils off to something else. He was never worthy of her undivided attention.

    “I can bend you to my will, make you do whatever I please…”

    And he wanted it. How horribly, mindlessly, painfully he wanted it. It was, after all, what he was ultimately born into the world to do before he returned to the soil, all in the service of the immortality of his genes. But he had so many other things clouding his mind from that goal as unfortunate side effects of more evolutionarily valuable qualities that the step he took towards her in the snow now was only one.

    And there he stopped and blushed, because ultimately, if he manipulated her to his will, it would not be her, and what was the purpose of it if it wasn’t her?

    “Thank you,” she said softly, not even sparing him a glance this time, but keeping her gaze flickering around the snow at her feet.

    He did not answer. He felt unworthy of her thanks because he had considered it, and even now he struggled with his instinct. It would not have been so difficult had this not been a dream where it seemed so irresistibly easy and harmless. She would never know. Nobody would ever know.

    But what stopped him was a curious little concept that bizarrely reached far beyond reason and even beyond the abyss of desires and opportunism.

    It was respect.

    He could not bear the thought of manipulating even his mind’s reflection of her to do something that her real self would not.

    He chuckled again in irony and wondered just what it was that made him feel that way.

    “I guess I don’t have as much control over lucid dreams as I’d like to.”

    All of a sudden she looked at him, straight at him, unlike she had ever done before, and she smiled. He felt his heart jump uncomfortably.

    “Maybe this is just how you want the dream to be.”

    He shook his head and looked down. “This is not really you. It’s me being optimistic. A whole dream and you haven’t mocked me once?”

    She laughed. “What do you think you know of me, having spoken to me once as a bumbling idiot? Of course I mocked you then. You were a moron. You were begging to be mocked.”

    He chuckled, shaking his head again. “Then why did you spare my life back then?”

    The snow was melting under their feet, sinking into the soil to nourish the grass. The smell of spring wafted through his nostrils as she considered the question; tiny leaves began to open their buds and start their life-giving photosynthesis.

    “I guess,” she finally said with one of her little sideways glances at him, just as the shadow of the fully leaved branches fell on her face, “I felt it was a shame to make you die a moron.”

    He closed his eyes and laughed softly, feeling the spring breeze stroke against his face.

    “I don’t regret it,” she said simply, although he could have sworn that in the shadow of the tree, he saw her smile. “You did grow up.”

    The only thing he could think to respond with was a dumb smile. She laughed.

    “You’re still a silly little Scyther,” she said, looking straight at him for the second time. “But I think if we met today, I might actually like you.”

    And with those words, the soft wind swept her away as quickly as she had come. He looked around the grassy plains as he had done at the beginning and again saw no life, but this time felt no dreading of nightmare.

    It was a good dream.

    He sat down with his back to the tree of his childhood, closed his eyes and let his consciousness leave his imaginary self.

    A wonderful, wonderful dream.
    Last edited by Dragonfree; 8th March 2007 at 3:02 AM.

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  2. #2
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    Aw, that was touching. =( I'm having flashbacks from Scyther's Story here, and how Razor tried to save Nightmare from becoming a Scizor at the hands of that young Trainer... It was truly a disheartening memory, and I always what would have happened if she and Razor would have met again (even though this is a dream). It was simple, though I did like the surreal bit about the seasons flying by so quickly. I should hope that those who read this read Scyther's Story as well. It's just not as good without the history behind this spin-off. =_=;

    Lovely, lovely.

  3. #3
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    =] A short and sweet story of Scyther's dream... I smell spring in the air!

    You know, you could easily incorporate this into the main fic as part of the plot should Scyther ever come close to meeting that Scizor again! A romantic sub-plot sure would be nice, don't you think?

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    Obviously Scyther and Nightmare's relationship is already a sub-plot in The Quest for the Legends; otherwise I would not have wasted as much powder on it in the fic as I have already. This, however, is just a dream occurring on some unspecified night, presumably after chapter 23 of The Quest for the Legends but otherwise not tied in with the plot of the fic at all, so as a spin-off it belongs.

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  5. #5
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    Every time you write about Razor, I rejoice, because he’s just a Damned. Good. Character. Seriously, I frelling love that guy.

    Anyway. I find myself rather curious about some of the imagery that was employed in his dream, specifically the phasing seasons, cycling through all four before the story ended. I’m wondering if there’s any specific significance to that; I myself can’t interpret dreams worth a frell, I’m afraid, but I do get the feeling that that detail might be specifically symbolic in some way. I’m similarly curious about a detail in another type of dream that was mentioned: the oversized moon in the dreams taking place in Rob’s gym.

    Again, I must commend you for a great job at getting into Razor’s head. I also thought the character interaction between Razor and Nightmare was pulled off very nicely, as was the dialogue. Which brings me to my favorite quote, one which I couldn’t help but love:

    He shook his head and looked down. “This is not really you. It’s me being optimistic. A whole dream and you haven’t mocked me once?”

    She laughed. “What do you think you know of me, having spoken to me once as a bumbling idiot? Of course I mocked you then. You were a moron. You were begging to be mocked.”
    And here’s another excerpt that I particularly liked:

    With the cool northern wind she came, seeming to materialize from nothing; indeed, it was as if she was the wind, quick, beautiful, sharp, powerful, but oh, so biting cold. One moment it was the wind blowing on his face and gnawing at his armor, and the next it was her scythe striking him down and the icy breathing that seemed to freeze the inside of his nostrils as she exhaled. For she was not a living being of warmth, but dead; there was naught left of her but his fading memory, her real, physical form long having been lost forever. No, the Scizor that still lived was a fake, a mere shadow of what had once been truly the most perfect Scyther that had ever and would ever live.

    His faded awareness was in no state to deny the will of the subconscious. He closed his eyes, felt the needles of ice make his breathing increasingly difficult and prayed that the dream would never end. To feel her so close to him, her body touching his, her breathing on his face – what did it in the end matter if she was only close so that she could hold him down, only touching him in order to draw his blood, only breathing to torture him, suffocate him, slow down his death?

    For he was as much a servant as anyone to the fundamental instinct of life, that pathetic, uncontrollable need that those afflicted by it so persistently referred to as love.

    Very nicely done, this; another great piece about a great character. I’m glad to have read it. ^^
    DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK
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  6. #6
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    Oh gawd, MUST PSYCHOANALYZE SCYTHER'S DREAMS!
    *gets out notes from last year with crazy English teacher*

    Okay, the gym was CLEARLY a uterine image, the lack of a door meant no escape and that he feels trapped by the love of his mother, or WANT for a mother. The constant changing of seasons is Scyther's constantly shifting thoughts and feelings, the tree is naturally a phallic image, the scythe cuts being the hopes of many Scyther to attain manhood. Nightmare not looking at Razor means keeping things hidden and secretive, and the fact that he didn't just hooks it up with her means that he is afraid of his own manhood and still has attachment issues with his mother.



    ...
    YO, DIS SHYT IS OFF DA HOOOOOOKS! :3


    ...


    This was a very interesting read, taking a turn, yet again, into the mind of our dear scythed friend. I quite enjoyed reading it, and liked the depth it gave in the relationship of the two, or at least the relationship Scyther hopes desperately to have. It's really sad, although it really didn't bring me near tears, and it was more of a 'slow, wary smile' story than a 'grab for the tissues' story.

    As usual, your work focuses more on the characters than anything else, making it a purely character-driven story. While this makes for great characterization and helps the reader learn even more about our beloved Scyther, I think you could still have put a bit more focus on the dream itself. The fact that this was, in a way, a romance story, means you also need to work to set the proper atmosphere, create a mood and so on. I think you could have slowed this down a little, to focus a bit more on everything, really, as it felt somewhat skimpy. I really feel like you rushed when writing this, and didn't take the time to make it the best it could be, putting in all the emotion and description and even a bit more character work.


    Still, this is certainly not badly done, and I did like the dreamy, hazy aspect of it. Again, more insight into Scyther's mind, which was very interesting. This certainly shows off the complexity of their relationship, or whatever you want to call it.

    Anyways, I enjoyed it, and it's a shame that neither of us could get our entries in on time.


    ~Psychic

    EDIT: DAMMIT, when you don't refresh, you don't notice other posts. D: *must remember that for future*
    Anyway, I did not, I repeat, DID NOT get the idea to analyze Scyther's dream from Sike's post. For the record, it's because of my crazy English teacher who insists on psychoanalyzing everything and the habit kinda tramsferred into me.

    But it WAS just a joke. I wasn't really being serious, and if I'm right about ANYTHING (especially the mother thing) I will pop open a bottle of champagne and share it with EVERYONE in this thread.
    Last edited by Psychic; 9th March 2007 at 5:12 AM.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychic
    Oh gawd, MUST PSYCHOANALYZE SCYTHER'S DREAMS!
    *gets out notes from last year with crazy English teacher*

    Okay, the gym was CLEARLY a uterine image, the lack of a door meant no escape and that he feels trapped by the love of his mother, or WANT for a mother. The constant changing of seasons is Scyther's constantly shifting thoughts and feelings, the tree is naturally a phallic image, the scythe cuts being the hopes of many Scyther to attain manhood. Nightmare not looking at Razor means keeping things hidden and secretive, and the fact that he didn't just hooks it up with her means that he is afraid of his own manhood and still has attachment issues with his mother.
    ...

    ...I was thinking the exact same thing...? xP I should psychoanalyze all of Dragonfree's writing. And your stuff, too.

    You make me feel inadequate, my dear twin. ;; How was I supposed to know that Dragonfree was going to be the next female Steinbeck? :P
    Last edited by CHeSHiRe-CaT; 9th March 2007 at 5:16 AM.

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