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November 28, 2012
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The last thing I remembered was hearing the limb crack and feeling it give way under me.  The fall had to have been at least 20 feet, but I’m not dead, so that’s a pleasant surprise.  Every part of me hurts, especially my leg.  It must be night, for everything is pitch black.  Starting to sit up, I feel a firm but gentle pressure on my chest.  It feels like a hand but also feels too big to be one.  “Do not move, Child of Eve, you will aggravate your injuries.” said a voice with a rasp like gravel in a bucket and a rumble like distant thunder.  When I stopped moving the pressure slackened.

“Will you light a fire?” I asked the voice, “I can’t see a thing.”

“It is day, I feared a loss of your sight, it is a side effect … a happenstance … of your fall.” replied the voice.

“How long will it take for my sight to return?” I asked.

“A few days, a few cycles of the moon, a few seasons, never, it is hard to say.” was the reply.

Alive but blind, not a welcome revelation I thought to myself.  Make the best of it, I tell myself, you’re blind and been knocked senseless from a fall.  Whoever the voice is seems to be concerned about me, this is good.

“I have few possessions, if you plan to rob me.  They’re in my pack I left at the trunk of the tree.” I said testing for a reaction.  A foolish thing to do, perhaps, but I’m almost helpless at the moment.

“No, I do not intend to rob you, your possessions are safely stored with my own.” the voice said.

“I suppose you don’t plan to kill me then, either, or you would’ve done so already.” I said.

“I am a Medic …” started the voice.

“A what?” I interrupted, unfamiliar with the word.

“A … Healer, I do not take life unless there is no other choice.  Rest assured I have not spent this much time tending to your injuries to kill you out of hand.” was the very exasperated reply.

“My apologizes for doubting your generosity.” I replied, feeling quite stupid.

“No offense is taken.” replied the voice.  “Now be still, I need to see your eyes.”

The same gentle firmness held my face and I felt my eyelids being lifted one at a time.  The darkness seemed a little less deep for a moment.

“The blackness seemed a bit less dark, what did you just do?” I asked as my face was released.

“I played a light into your eyes, they appear to function normally.” replied the voice.

“Oh, that’s good then?” I asked, not fully understanding.

“Yes, very good, Child of Eve, the odds of recovering your sight have improved.” was the reply.

“Why do you call me ‘Child of Eve’?” I asked.

“Does not your race believe you are descended from Eve, The All Mother?” the voice asked.

“That’s the belief for many.  I believed in that myself, once, but a long time ago.  My name is Willum Third Son of Willard, but please call me Willum.  It’s so much less formal than ‘Child of Eve’.” I replied and smiled in the direction the voice came from.

“As you wish, Willum Third Son of Willard.” the voice replied.

“Just Willum, no one has called me by my full name in decades.” I said.

“Very well, Willum, I shall address you in that manner.” replied the voice.

“Thank you and what is your name?” I asked.  The pause grew extremely long, long enough that I thought I had overstepped a boundary between us.

“In my native tongue, my name is Twanju Haoq.  In your tongue it means Last of Twelve.” the voice replied with more than a hint of sadness.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but why are you named ‘Last of Twelve’?” I asked, hoping that I didn’t offend.  Again, a long pause.

“I am the last offspring of twelve, so I am named accordingly.” came the reply, again laced with sadness.

“Your voice sounds almost heartbroken, does my question sadden you?” I asked.

“Yes, Willum, it does.  As the Last, I was virtually ignored by my parents, in all matters of the family.  That is the primary reason I joined the … I became a wanderer.” the voice replied.

“The very same reason I became a wanderer myself.  I am the last son, not of much use for my father at all.  If your name saddens you, then I won’t speak it.  Do you have a different name you’d like me to address you by?” I asked, trying to lighten the conversation.

“I have never thought of any other for myself.” the voice replied.

“Well, I can’t just call you Healer or … what was the first word you said you were, Medic?  From the size of your hand and the sound of your voice, I believe you are Draconid or Trollkin perhaps, what race are you?” I asked.

“You are very observant, even blinded, I am Mang Gaawn.” the voice replied.

“In all my years of wandering I’ve never heard of the Mang Gaawn, where is your homeland?” I asked.

“Across the ocean of stars … across the sea … more leagues distant than you can comprehend.” was the reply.

“Hmm, as your race is Mang Gaawn, if you like, may I address you as Mang?” I asked and smiled again.

“Yes, I believe I will like that.  Call me Mang, Willum.” Mang replied.

“Done.” I said and held up my hand.

“Why do you hold out your hand, Willum?” Mang asked.

“For you to shake hands with me.” I replied.  “It’s a gesture of agreement for my people.”

“Very well.” Mang replied and I felt a hand take mine.   I had been correct, the hand was at least twice the size of mine and I am well above average in size.  The palm was smooth and very warm to the touch but the back of the hand, where my fingers touched it, was extremely rough almost scaled.  More like a Draconid I thought to myself.

“May I sit up, Mang?  Lying here is a bit uncomfortable on my poor back.” I said.

“Yes, but let me help you, Willum.” Mang replied.  I could feel a presence standing over me and hands gingerly slide under my arms.  “I will bring you up and then back against the tree.  Gently, Willum, slowly and gently.”  I had been lifted as if my weight was nothing of consequence and gently slid back until I was resting on the tree trunk.

“Thank you, this is much better.” I said and tried to bend my legs a bit.  My left bent freely, my right didn’t move at all.  Reaching down, I felt something as hard as rock surrounding my thigh.

“Your femur may be cracked from the fall; I put a cast on it as a precaution.” Mang said.

“My what is cracked and you did what?” I asked.  Mang spoke in plain language but in words I didn’t understand at all.

“Now it is my turn to apologize, I use too many Healers terms.  Your thigh bone may be cracked and I surrounded your leg with quick drying clay to protect it.” came the reply.

“From my years of wandering I know a little of the Healers arts but I’ve never heard of this ‘cast’.” I said and continued to touch what I could of it.

“It is a common enough art for Mang Gaawn Healers.  Where is your homeland?” Mang asked changing the subject quickly.

“Originally my home was Orphic in Boreas, on the southern coast of the Inland Sea.  I was born into a very well to do family, but as the third son.  Our early life stories are similar I suspect.  I, too, was pretty much ignored by my family and sent away for schooling at Gelius in Thrace.  My purpose in life, I still believe, was as nothing more than an extra son incase anything happened to the eldest.  Being sent away may have just been the reason I am here today.  Shortly before my 18th year, I received a letter from my mother explaining that a plague had descended upon Orphic and I never heard from my family again.  With no income and no real skills I joined the army of Thrace.  Soldiering suited my youthful enthusiasms but, by my 25th year, I’d seen too much of war.  I turned my back on it all and walked away.  I’ve wandered over as much of the world as possible for the last 35 years.  I suppose I’m very similar to Alicia, I really don’t have a destination in mind.  I wander until I find something that interests me and stop there for a time.  I don’t regret any of my decisions in life, even falling from a tree I shouldn’t have climbed.  I wouldn’t have met you had I not.” I said.  

“Did you ever return to Orphic to determine what happened to your family?” Mang asked.

“I tried once, but discovered that whatever the plague was, it was still very much alive.  None could get within leagues of the city; an army of allied nations was posted around it preventing this.  Any who managed to venture in, stayed, Orphic had become a place of the dead.  How about you, has your wanderings brought you back home?” I asked.

“I can never return to my homeland, Willum, it is an impossibility.” Mang replied after another long pause.

“I’m sorry, Mang, my questions have brought you great sadness.” I said knowing that I’d asked far too much.

“It is alright, Willum, I do not grieve overly much.  Now, it is time for you to rest and heal.  I have made tea for you that will help.” Mang said and I felt a mug being placed in my hand.  I reached out with my free hand and held his.

“Thank you, Mang; I hope someday I can help you as much as you’ve helped me.” I said.

“Rest, Willum, rest.” Mang said and gently squeezed my hand.
An odd little idea for a short story I've been toying with for a couple of days. A chance encounter that may led to who knows what...
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:iconwitwitch:
Vision: I get that the main character is blind, and that is why this piece is so dialogue heavy. However, there are other senses. What about the smells? What about sense of touch? What other sounds can the p.o.v. character hear besides Last of Twelve's voice?

There simply isn't enough exposition. The point of the beginning of a story is to hook the reader and introduce the p.o.v. character. I don't really feel introduced at all. I don't know anything about him except that he took a fall, was rescued by a strange being, and lives in some vague, nondescript fantasy world; he tells us his personal history but not how he feels about it. Even when he explains "probably as an extra son in case anything happened to the eldest" he says it so matter of factly that I can't tell whether he resents his parents for it, or if he's OK with it, or what. When it comes to hooking the reader, you want to introduce some mystique, mystery, or foreshadowing about the events of the future. I don't really feel intrigued at all.

The whole thing feels a bit cliche, too--I feel like I've read this story before, many times over.

The dialogue is very stiff. It doesn't really read the way real people speak. There's even a huge info dump, and much of what the characters are saying seem to benefit the reader more than the characters. Who they are doesn't show much through their dialogue, either. Why is Mang interested in hearing Willum's life story?

(Also, a side note: "Mang" is a slang word often used by Hispanics, meaning "man"--so instead of saying "what's up man" they say "S'up mang?" It might be better to pick a name that doesn't remind people of a silly slang dialect.)

When real people speak, they generally don't answer others' questions directly. They respond based on emotion more than anything else, and their words should be tinted with their personal biases and opinions. I feel like these two are practically robots, being so matter of fact and unemotional and and with no opinions. Willum tells his whole life story to a stranger like it's no big deal. He doesn't even do it proudly or ashamedly or anything, so I can't tell his own opinion of his past.

Originality: Again, I feel like I've read this work before. While the trappings may be new, many fantasy stories begin with the main character waking up. Also, there isn't very much in this story. I'm not going to rate the originality of the trappings--they don't matter unless they actually have a discernible purpose. Until then, a lamp is just a lamp, and Willum's info-dumped backstory is just a backstory. You haven't given any of this stuff a context yet. I'm left wondering, what are you writing about?

Technique: Not enough exposition. Almost completely ignored the other senses. Flavorless--no real imagery, no notable metaphors or similes. Willum and Mang don't really have any personality either, at least, none that is apparent in the text.

Impact: All in all, I haven't learned much from this. You haven't given me a reason to care about Willum or Mang's characters. What do they want? Why is the story starting here? Who are they, really? There's no conflict and no hint of conflict, no mystique, no mystery to solve.
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:iconthe-vibeke:
The-Vibeke Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013
Hmmmm I like it but maybe tell this in 3rd person so you can describe the world.
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:iconnomyai:
nomyai Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013
I'm glad you like what you've read so far and hope you keep reading.

I'm working on seeing what this will look like as a Third Person Narrative and find it an much different way of writing than I'm used to.
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:iconwafflestoo:
WafflesToo Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
"I'm fine, the ground broke my fall"

I am quite curious to find out what is going on here. Any way related to your other universe where our Johns resides?
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:iconnomyai:
nomyai Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
True, the fall ain't the problem, it's that sudden massive deceleration that gets ya.

Nope, not related to either of my other stories, just an idea that turned up one morning while I was painting the kitchen walls.
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:iconwafflestoo:
WafflesToo Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
KK, just thought I'd ask. The way it was presented it felt like it was entirely possible (even if the different stories never ever crossed paths).
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:iconnomyai:
nomyai Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
Now that you mention it, that's a very good possibility! Ye hath given a wondrous idea. :D:D:D
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:iconwafflestoo:
WafflesToo Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
You're welcome :D
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:icondweeb-chan:
Dweeb-chan Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:dance: interesting~
there will be more of this?
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:iconnomyai:
nomyai Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012
Thanks and absolutely, I have wrap up a mystery or two in there. And perhaps add a new one? Leaves an opening for Part 3. ;-)
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:iconkara-li:
kara-li Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
sounds interesting.
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