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Out of Gilead

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Out of Gilead

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Grimbold Theoman on Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:07 pm

A long time ago myself and a group of friends were roleplaying in a world based on Rolemaster. The character I was given to play and master was Grimbold Theoman, a foundling mage taken in by a archmage and taught as aprentice. That only gives the barest of hints as to the background of the mysterious and lonely character. One of my co players wrote up much of the story after this point and maybe one day she will be happy with it but I still own the original character, he was, is all that I am not. Here is the start of his story:

The moon Perdith shone with a silvery light but tonight she was alone in the sky, her two companions had set already leaving the night stark silver light and black shadow. In the shadows a darker shape moved quietly, cautiously, creeping along the wall. The boy was no more than eight or nine not that it showed in the dark night, his skin was dark olive colour his ragged clothing shades of grey and dark browns, good colours for sneaking about the city at night. The city was Gilead capital of Delverin, a city of beauty and a cesspool of scum and depravity. The watch were quick and efficient but there were always places that one could hide, the bigger and more complex the place the more holes there were to get lost. That was the world of the boy a world of whores and pimps thieves and killers, life was hard and death easy for a stranger without parents there were few ways to make a life other than becoming a thief dodging the watch and the reavers. It helped to be small and swift, and Grimbold was both.

Tonight he was hoping to get into a small warehouse owned buy some merchant, the boy knew that a ship had docked today with goods for the strange shop owned by the merchant, they would be held in this warehouse a couple of days, with luck giving the boy a chance at some unusual items that would bring him a good price.
It was late and with only one moon it was a good night for an opportunist thief to be about, of course the Watch would be on the lookout too but Grimbold had ways to get past them. It had never occured to him to wonder how he knew how to do what he did, it was instinctive. In later years he would learn but now he just thought he was lucky.

Just a few more streets to go, he was already sneaking along the wall of the dockyard, a quick climb using the privy of that public house and a scramble up wall where the stonework was erroded had him on top of the wall. There would be patrols but they were few and far between, he waited in the dark lying along the top of the wall almost invisible in the half light. The sound of revellers in the public house, the sailors and dock workers spending thier hard won silver on the bad beer and easy women made the footsteps of the Watchmen hard to hear but the badly shaded lantern was easily seen in the dark night, swinging along its path up the narrow street below him. There were two of them talking quietly passing a dull night in idle chatter. When they were clear of road Grimbold let himself down to the road, it was a long drop but the noise from the tavern would help to hide the sound of him landing and the watchmen would be far enough away not to hear now.

His feet stinging from the drop and old worn out shoes he trotted silently up the road following the way the watchmen had gone. No one lived in the docks so less care would be needed but the watch were keen on trying to keep people out, but they wore good boots and they made a lot of noise and were easy to avoid.

That was it the third building on the right down that narrow alley, no room to get a dray in hand carts only came to this warehouse. Grimbold walked round the building once, only one main door and windows higher up, one broken, too high for the boy to get to easily. The door locked with a large padlock, it was complex and he could not pick it, it was a good job he didn't have to, that was one of his talents. He could feel the wards of the lock with his mind if he closed his eyes and concentrated hard he could work it open, it took time but it was silent and left no trace. He heard the faint click as it sprang and he carefully lifted it off the hasp pushing the door open and sliding into the building.

It was dark in there the windows were high up the walls and dirty almost no light from the small moon made its way into the darkling interior. He pushed the door closed and closed and felt in the pouch on his string belt for a small stub of a candle, this he placed on the floor in front of him and sat down with it in front of him. He closed his eyes which were a dark brown almost red, and summoned a small flame it appeared out of the air dancing in the palm of his hand. He opened his eyes and they glowed from within almost in echo to the flame he had summoned with an eerie amber light, he picked up the candle and lit it from the flame in his palm. The candle flared and burned brightly, the summoned fire died with the glow in his eyes. He looked around the building it was a single large room with racks of shelves along the walls packed cases stood in rows on the floor, most still closed. The only other room was a section of the main one partioned off with old sail canvas nailed crudely to a wooden frame to make a sort of office space.

The boy crept round the warehouse looking for the marks that indicated the cases for Korthan the merchant he planned to rob tonight. The man was strange he ran a shop in the wealthier parts of the city Ancient Oddities and Tomes, old books, strange weaponry, anything that was mysterious rare or magical were his speciality, and this was always a target for thieves and vagabonds. Nobody would dare to try and get into the shop there were stories that made the boys toes curl, some said it was haunted others that he never slept whatever the truth was nobody ever claimed to have got in and out with anything, but the warehouse, well it was just a warehouse wasn't it?

He found the pile of crates that he wanted, Grimbold could not read but he could recognise the letters and knew what he was looking for. There were four of them two one on top of the other and the other two on the floor either side of the pile. He climbed on top of the left hand box to see if he could pry open the top of the second one when the door of the warehouse opened and a light shone into his eyes.

A voice rang out clear, not the usual coarse shout of a watchman but a cultured voice, "Stay where you are, do not move"
Grimbold had no intention of being captured he closed his eyes for a second summoned a bigger flame a small ball of fire filled his hand and he threw it in the direction of the voice, at the same time he leapt backwards off the crate. He heard a cry of surprise, the small fireball was well thrown with luck it would give him chance to escape. He charged for the doorway, could see the exit ahead of him when he felt a strange surge of power around him and he could no longer make the muscles in his legs work, they turned to jelly and he collapsed in front of a tall old man white hair and the odd flowing robes associated with a worker of magic, there was a small burned mark on his robe as if a small ball of fire had hit him square in the chest.

Something strange was going on Grimbold felt himself loosing consciousness, he felt as if he were drifting away from his body and it was going to sleep and soon even that was going he drifted into unawareness......

Sorry about unawareness, it's a terribly clumsy way to use the word but it was all I could use to describe things.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Dovey on Tue Nov 21, 2006 1:37 pm

Never heard of Rolemaster, but I took a quick look at its Wikipedia article. It seems like an interesting source of inspiration.

There are a lot of punctuation errors that Microsoft Word doesn't pick up in this rough draft. I don't want to insult your intelligence by singling out every error, but let me know if you need help figuring out where to break up your sentences. I would also advise inserting dashes "--" in place of some commas not only to break up sentences, but also for dramatic effect. For instance, you could use a pair of dashes in this sentence: His skin was a dark olive colour and his ragged clothing shades of grey and dark browns-- good colours for sneaking about the city at night.

For the most part, your story maintains an arch, formal tone. However, there are some modern colloquialisms that don't belong, such as The boy was no more than eight or ninenot that it showed in the dark night. "Not that" could be substituted with "although it was difficult to discern in the dark night," for example. I know that was a bit confusing. I'll get back to you on that.

I've only been able to scan the story, so I'm sorry I'm not thorough. I spy a misspelling though in the last line though: "loose consciousness" should be "lose consciousness."

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Grimbold Theoman on Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:13 pm

The punctuation errors are mine, this was written straight into the Gwing box and no editing at all was done other than the things I notice as I type. I have never liked the lack of structure that using dashes seems to impose, I know a lot of people use them I just don't like to. Yes lose is correct not loose typo there rather than spelling but it's wrong just the same. Good point about the colloqialisms I try to avoid modernity but regardless they do slip past the filters no matter what I do.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Circ on Tue Nov 21, 2006 8:07 pm

I saw several typographical errors along with the occasional switch between British and American English; however, as you said, you typed the story directly into the GWing forum textarea, and as such there is likely to be a higher incidence of error. Of course, some, such as revellers did appear to be honest spelling mistakes.

Dovey is absolutely right in their assessment that you need to break up your sentences better. While the plot was easy to follow, I found myself becoming lost in some of the more discombobulated sentences. Writing is about flow and, with a little revision, the flow for that story could be made so much better. Using dashes is not necessarily the answer; you may consider shorter sentences, semi-colons, colons, parentheses, brackets, and so on. That does not mean to use punctuation in an arbitrary manner, but as the situation calls for it.

Example:

Original - The man was strange he ran a shop in the wealthier parts of the city Ancient Oddities and Tomes, old books, strange weaponry, anything that was mysterious rare or magical were his speciality, and this was always a target for thieves and vagabonds.

Revised - A strange man ran a chain of shops known as 'Ancient Oddities and Tomes', which were located predominantly in the city's wealthier communities. Old books, strange weaponry, and anything rare, mysterious, or magical were his wares. Naturally, that made his shops prime targets for thieves and vagabonds.

I am not suggesting you use that example verbatim. It is merely an idea of how a long, awkward sentence can be broken up for easier reading.

As a final note: good job on the cliffhanger.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Grimbold Theoman on Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:45 am

Thanks Circ, the intention was not to achieve a perfect gramatical piece it is more or less a first draft and revision would improve it. I have little time to work on these things and tend to bang them off fairly quickly.

I must, however, defend the spelling and use of revellers according to the OED revellers is the plural noun for those engaged in lively festivities or merrymaking (I parraphrase) and is spelt correctly according to English usage. Perhaps there is a different spelling in the USA?

Cliffhangers I got good at when running roleplaying games in the past.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Circ on Wed Nov 22, 2006 1:27 pm

I'm jealous of you. I haven't found the OED available for free online yet, and a hard copy is too expensive to buy. Normally dictionary.com is good about giving both spellings, tho' (traveller, traveler).

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