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Future_Defense
05-24-2007, 09:13 PM
Use the attachment, or read this. This is only the second draft, so feel free to be a critic!


Shay’Gul

“You and I have the courage to say to our enemies that there is a price we will not pay. There is a point beyond which they must not advance. You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We’ll preserve our children this, the last best hope for man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.” Ronald Reagan

They had to keep running. With steep cliff walls on either side, and the pursuing men behind them, the group of eight ran for a crack in the canyon wall before them. Further behind was a larger group, fifty men at least, all in black armor, followed. As the group reached the passage in the rocks, they paused. It was large enough for a man to walk through, but it left little room for a sword.
“A man could hold off fifty men here.” Stated Ronin, his small, scarred face grimaced at the thought.
“Songs have been sung for less.” Lucas agreed. His large hands gingerly held the hilt of his great-sword, which was strapped over his shoulder. It was obvious how he felt about dying for honor.
“We need to warn the army.” Kayla said sternly. Her hard gaze fell upon her husband, James, which caused him to blink. He ran a hand through his jet-black hair before he nodded.
“Agreed,” James said slowly, “But we cannot allow the Zin to catch up with us.” The members of the group eyed each other. All except Kayla, who stilled glared at James. Before anyone could speak up, James lifted his stave off his shoulder. It was a long weapon, similar to a staff, but it held a long, thin blade at the end, like a sword.
“I will stay.” He said firmly, and he gazed back at Kayla, his gaze as hard as hers. Immediately, the others began to protest.
“Then I will stay with you!” Kayla stated. But James would hear none of it. Tuning out the others, James patted Kayla’s stomach.
“Kayla, you hold something more precious than either of us. You must make it back to the tower and warn the king of the Zin’s movements. We don’t have time to argue!” James said, the anger rising in his voice. When Kayla made to argue again, James merely shook his head. Kayla could get her way on anything else, but not this. She closed her mouth and stepped back. James nodded to the others, and they also stopped protesting and moved into the passage. James followed, but stopped after coming out. The other’s stood in a half circle, looking at him.
“We have done much together, my friends.” James began, and the others nodded, and he continued. “We have done more than kill for one another. We have held each other up in rough times, we’ve looked out for one another. We have become closer to one another than any brother, father or son could ever hope for. But my part in this tale is over. Go back to your home.” They saluted by pounding their chest, all but Kayla. She refused to meet his gaze. They turned to leave, heading east. Kayla said nothing. Her tears were enough.
James turned and readied himself for the enemies he knew could not be far behind. Already they approached the passage through the cliff wall. Keep the vigil, ‘till Shay’Gul comes, He thought. It would not be this day.
Kayla listened for what she knew was coming. Sounds carried far in the prairies of Alsgoth, and she knew she would hear her husband’s death clearly. Suddenly, her resolve broke. Her knees crumpled beneath her and she sobbed. Lucas and the rest turned in amazement. Kayla crying? Impossible!
“Kayla, we must keep moving. We don’t know how long James will be able to hold the gap.” John said gently. With his gentle demeanor and small size, you couldn’t have guessed at his skills in battle. And with knives. You can never forget the knives. Kayla looked up and her eyes were red.
“I can’t just leave him!” she cried, with tears streaming down her face. Ronin took a step forward, and looked down on her.
“We must warn the army.” He said, none too gently. Lucas mumbled something.
“It only takes one to carry a message.” He said, stroking his chin. The sound of steel striking steal interrupted them, and the cry “For the true king!”
James watched as the first Zin soldier squeeze through the passage. James lunged forward in the form Thorns of a Rose, and his blade caught the man in the stomach. Grunting from the effort, James tossed him over his shoulder like a pile of hay. The man didn’t scream. Without pausing, James yelled “For the true king!” and struck with Winds over the Mountain. He spun, and brought his stave around to hack through the man’s breastplate. The man fell without a sound. “For Algoth!” James yelled, swinging the butt of his stave in Cranes Beak and hit the next soldier in the throat. He fell clutching his throat and James ended his life with a thrust. And so it went. It was a good start.
“Don’t you hear that?” Kayla cried.
“What do you expect us to do? We have our duty!” Lucas said. Kayla got off her knees, and pulled out her sword.
“I am going to fight for my husband.” She snarled, and all memory of her tears was gone. Lucas sighed and turned to Ronin.
“Carry the warning to the king.” He said, pulling out his great-sword. “I won’t allow a pregnant woman to go off and die alone. Who’s with me?” The other four nodded and readied their weapons. John with his knives, Gabriel with his axe, Michael’s bow, and Peter with his spears.
Michael stepped forward and cupped Kayla’s chin. “Never alone.”

James’ clothes were in tatters. He had a dozens wounds, all shallow, but none bled because of his Hodge ancestry. However, they were taking their toll and slowing him down. Twice now a second soldier was able to get though the gap before James finished the first. But he still held the gap, if only just. Waving Ferns into Moons Wane, James flowed from form to form. He was going to die, and he welcomed it. Another black armored soldier got through, and got passed James’ stave and tackled him. They fell to the ground, sword and stave flying, and James got the wind knocked out of him. For a moment James gazed into the man’s eyes. They were dead eyes, cold and lifeless, yet the man still breathed. What are the Zin doing? He wondered. The soldier scrambled for his sword, but James used the last of his strength, yelling “For Kayla!” and broke the man’s neck. He pulled himself up to his knees, but his stave was nowhere to be found. Another soldier squeezed through the passage, holding a sword held high for an executioner’s blow. James merely sat there, ready to die. The others had gotten away, and the king would be warned. Kayla was safe. That’s all that matters. The man stepped forward, but before he could deliver the final blow, an arrow seemed to sprout from his chest. It was quickly followed by a spear, and the mean fell in a heap. James began to fall forward. He thought he heard Kayla’s voice, but she would be far away by now. Strong arms caught James’ fall, and he lost consciousness.
Kayla saw Peter throw his spear, but she didn’t care. Her eyes were only for James and the dead bodies sprawled all around him. She ran for him, but John got there first and caught him as he fell forward. He placed James down gently, and when a man ran out of the passage, a knife appeared in his hands and he threw it sidearm. The man fell clutching his throat, and Lucas killed the next one with a swing of that big sword of his. Gabriel swung his axe, and another man fell. Arrows covered the next soldier’s chest. More men poured out, and Kayla wondered how he had held the gap by himself for so long. Soon they were fighting in a protective circle around James’ fallen body. Kayla’s short sword was everywhere at once, and the fools that stood in her way learned the hard way why she was the most dangerous woman alive. Made even more dangerous because she was protecting her unconscious husband, the father of her child. She would not let him die.
James dreamed. At least, you could call them dreams but they were memories of days long past. Days when he was learning to be a soldier, as every young Hodge does, and he remembered days when he knew hope and peace. Day’s long gone. He dreamed of the day when he picked Kayla to be his practice partner, even though everyone made fun of her dubious skill with a sword, and between his quarterstaff and her practice sword none could defeat them. He dreamed of their many adventures, and of the day they knew they were in love. He remembered the day he was given his stave, and he had married Kayla the very next day. Was he dead? Was that why he was remembering all these old memories? What about Kayla? He could remember hearing her voice. Was she okay? NO! NO! I refuse! I will not die! Kayla! Where are you?
James opened his eyes and gave a start. Kayla was gazing down at him, but her face was only inches away from his.
“You were throwing a fit in your sleep. You called out my name.” She explained. James nodded and asked how long he had been out. Two days.
“You came back for me.” It was not a question.
“Yes” To Kayla’s surprise, James got up and kissed her. Holding her close, he said “Thank you.”

The king sat on his throne in the middle of a large circular room. His stern face and blue eyes stared at nothing and he appeared deep in thought. He held his crown in his hands. James stood before him. The king sighed and turned toward him.
“Everything is crumbling away. The center cannot hold. Saldeth, Cari, and now Zin have rose up in open rebellion. Have you heard some of the things they say about me? How I eat children, talk with demons, and turn you, the Hodge clan into monsters? How did it come to this?” He asked himself. James stayed silent.
“Everyone is breaking their oaths. Except you, and for that I am extremely grateful.” Once again James stayed silent. There was nothing to say. A Hodge always holds his oaths. The king sighed again.
“Yes, yes. I know your beliefs. A Hodge never breaks his oaths. Until Shay’Gul, may it never come.”
Shay’Gul, the end of days. It was a day every Hodge prepared for, the day where the world would stand at the brink and only moral strength would bring them back. The day a Hodge would weigh his oaths and judge them worthy of his loyalty.
“But we’ll show them. I have a few tricks up my sleeve.” The king laughed, and James wondered if the man was insane. It didn’t matter. The king nodded, and James turned to leave.
“James, please send Kayla to me. I’d like to say good-bye to my daughter.” James nodded, almost to himself. It was enough.

Kayla watched from the upper reaches of the tower the armies slowly making their way forward. This high up, you could see for miles around. No one could sneak up to the immense black structure. It had taken ten years to build, most of her childhood and she knew it would still be standing long after she died. Possibly until Shay’Gul itself. But the armies that stood before the tower did not need to act quietly about it. They marched forward slowly, and stopped at the edge of the gap, which separated the tower from the mainland. Only a narrow bridge spanned it, much too small for any army to use. Kayla reflected on her father’s words.
Kayla knelt before her king, her father. He allowed her to stand and asked, “Who survives the storm?”
Kayla replied with the line she knew from childhood. “The true blood of Damarkand.”
The king nodded, and said “More true than ever before. The blood of Hodge and the blood of Damarkand has mixed and who could predict what will happen? Will he inherit his father’s physical stature and quick healing? Will it have a chance to do what only the true blood of Damarkand can?” As if to demonstrate, he lifted his arms. Flames appeared out of nothing and disappeared just as quickly.
“One thing is certain. The blood must endure, and you are the last.” Kayla knew where he was going, but argued against it. She demanded to stay with her husband.
The king responded hotly, his voice fire. “He has his duty! And you have yours! The world has never seen what is about to happen, and I will not allow you to die here!”
Kayla would be on the first ship away from here, and she still did not know what her father planned.

With Kayla on her ship and everything else prepared, James stood ahead of the wide column of Hodge soldiers. They were the finest in the world, and to keep their spirits up, he began a old battle hymn.


From our oaths are we born
Destined for war


Who will shy from the killing?

Not me!
Until Shay’Gul
When fire and brimstone
Break the world

Who will forget his oaths?
Not me!
If you stand before me
Prepare to die
For a Hodge does not fall backwards
If there’s a fight!


A thunderclap drove all eyes upward, to the man on top of the tower. Though he was far away, every eye could see him clearly. James couldn’t explain it, but power seemed the flow from the man. His eyes shone, and light seemed to shine from him. A beam of light raced into the heavens, and it was all centered on the old man. The king lifted his head and gazed down upon them. His voice boomed.
“You have pushed too far and have cursed our children!” Rage was clear on his face, and he made a gesture. Dark clouds began to darken the sky. He shook a fist, and the ground began to shake and break open.
“I give you Shay’Gul, the breaking of the world, and a thousand years of darkness!”
The clouds began to move faster, the ground began to shake harder. The gap between the tower and the mainland began to lesson as the ground heaved forward. Fire and lightning began to fall from the sky, and men died in agonizing screams. The ground beneath James’ feet shook harder, and closed the gap between the tower and the mainland. The ground molded into one, and James looked up to the old man and judged. Worthy. Lifting his stave, he yelled “To Shay’Gul!” and the Hodges behind him yelled the same and they ran forward as one. The lines of Hodge infantry crashed into their enemies like and avalanche, and the battle began.
James stabbed forward with his stave, which the man before him blocked with his black shield, and James flowed into Lotus Blooms Twice by spinning and slashing upwards. The blade sliced through breastplate, and the soldier fell. James struck at another soldier, and the ground still shook. He sliced downward and chopped through the man’s arm. The man fell back screaming. How disgraceful. A Hodge wouldn’t stop fighting because of that.
The Hodge lines were a wall of force. They slowly crept forward, forcing their enemies back. When the enemy charged, they broke like a wave upon a cliff.
“May our children forgive us.” The king’s voice boomed. He clapped his hands together, and the air exploded in a stream of Fire. The explosion flew outward, and the tower began to sway back and forth. Then it fell, breaking to pieces.
The man before James was different from the others. His white armor made his dark skin stand out, and his two swords were covered in blood. James thrust his stave forward but the man easily blocked and ran inside James’ guard. James dodged left, but wasn’t fast enough as a sword nicked his arm. Blood slowly poured from the wound, but slowly stopped as his blood quickly clotted. James smiled, and moved his hands further up his stave. He twirled it around his head and body, while waiting for the dark man. Not one to disappoint, the man strode forward, confidence and arrogance etched onto his face. Suddenly James brought his Stave down in an overhead blow. The man dodged, but the blade struck his shoulder. He dropped one of his swords, and his arm hung loosely at his side. He roared and swung his other sword. James blocked, and slashed at his sword arm. A long gash appeared, and he dropped his other sword. Before James could deal the final blow, the ground seemed to burst, forcing James to cover his eyes. When he could see again, the man was nowhere to be found. James looked around, and he could see Michael striding forward, bow in hand as he let loose another arrow. He almost missed John, who was fighting on a piece of the tower. Lucas was fighting three enemies at once, and his great-sword seemed to be everywhere, despite it’s size. But Ronin, Gabriel and Peter were nowhere to be found. To many friends had already died this day. Silently he ran back into the fray.
Soon he was fighting for his life. Before him was a wall of spearmen, their white armor standing out in the darkness. They turned toward James, and readied their spears. Roaring, James ran forward and leapt. He landed in the middle of them, and began swinging his stave, dealing blows. They responded in kind, and spears stabbed form all sides and James began to take wounds. But he cut them down one by one, and finally there was only a pile of dead bodies. Gasping, James fell onto the pile and struggled for breath. When it didn’t come, James thought this was a good way to die.
Kayla watched as the dark clouds blacked out the sun, but was too far away to see the lightning and fire. She did see the tower fall, and was saddened. The last best hope of man was what her father called it. Then Kayla felt a pain in her chest, and she gasped. Something had been ripped away, and her only thought was of James. I will not cry she thought, but her tears came down thick and heavy. Kayla forced herself to stop and gazed ahead. There would be a long road ahead.

“I want a death like that someday. To lay victorious on the bodies of those who killed me.” Lucas, to Kayla, the only surviving members of what would be later known as the eight companions.

“Darkness is never eternal. Eventually hope springs, and the Light is sure to follow.” Kayla Damarkand Hodge to her ten year old son

Ayame_Sohma
05-25-2007, 07:20 AM
I really enjoy readin it,Well done *huggles*


but the yellow colour does hurt my eyes after a while..

CrimsonMoon
05-30-2007, 12:56 AM
Yep, yellow colour also hurts my eyes after a while. I also spotted some spelling mistakes and encountered slight confusion with description. Anyway, it's a good job again. :D It's a good one-shot story. Keep it up! :laugh:

Death_Princess
06-02-2007, 03:10 PM
Very nice. I liked the description of the flowing movements, keep up the good work. I too saw some spelling mistakes, but not many. Very nice job.

genericusername2
06-30-2007, 09:22 AM
I found some points you made really interesting, quite fascinating job there. Very well I enjoyed reading this, it's good to see someone make their fan fiction so interesting. Nice.

Seena Angel
07-02-2007, 09:04 PM
interesting! i also liked the yellow font! ^^