Jul. 13th, 2012

crazy_raccoon: (Default)
I took me roughly five times to type "Prologue" before I got it right.

Anyway, I've been in a highly creative mood lately. I've taken up learning python so that I can work on my game idea. I've restarted an old IRC RP that involves tons of transformation plots, my character being from the universe of the aforementioned "Inherit the Earth" story. I definitely missed RPing.

Anyway, I've also been dusting off the chapters written from my last NanoWriMo. My novel, "Still" has been a work in progress for nearly 5 years. I've only been seriously typing it for nearly a year, though, and the plot has undergone such a huge plethora of changes, it no longer resembles the original idea. Nonetheless, I am in love with it. It is my only child, (hopefully all my children will be novels) and I intend to help it develop.

At any rate, I've posted the idea to nearly every person who's literary opinion I respect, and there's no stopping me now.

This prologue has been vamped and revamped by myself over many years. I always loved a good prologue, as something that could reveal portions of a story, and help hook the reader. Heck, it even hooks the writer. I've obsessed over the prologue more than most writer's probably should.

Anyway, digression aside, I wrote this all over again for the NaNoWriMo, and then my girlfriend got her paws on it. Apparently, I can come up with a plot without a problem. Characters? Sure, unique and interesting. But when I need a style, a real bout of imagery, or something to inspire and intensify, I cannot do it. On the other hand, Lindiel (her code name) is quite amazing with words. So she just added a few words to my sentences here and there, and ended up doubling it's length, as well as making it infinitely better in my opinion.

I introduce to you, the Prologue of my work in progress, a novel by the name of "Still".

~

Prologue

When encountering a species as intelligent as your own, it’s amazing how fast you are to underestimate them. As humans, we have the habit of assuming ourselves the superior species of the entire planet. We naively take for granted our intelligence and ability to best lower life forms. Tricking other creatures as we hunt, farm, build, create, and otherwise spread our dominance over the land is something that is now considered normal, an everyday task. Simple.

When we first discovered the Nephilim, our attitude about the way we ruled the world was unchanged. We met them with the same naivety and sense of superiority with which we met every other living thing. A worse mistake could not have been made.

No one knew where they came from; whether they were part of the natural evolution of our world or if they were the offspring of strange, otherworldly creatures, we could not begin to guess. We soon discovered that they were dangerous to interact with, however. That was a fact that everyone was to learn about the Nephilim; they were dangerous, at best.

They resided in the swamps, and most people were wise enough to leave their lands alone.
Anyone foolhardy enough to enter the murky darkness of the Nephilim’s grounds was considered lost. On the rare occasion that someone dared to stray into the swamps, they were never seen again. The number of people brave, or perhaps foolish, enough to try quickly dwindled and the area was soon treated with the same cautious fear and near-reverence as any child treats a house rumored to be haunted.

The swamp was perfect for the Nephilim. Their shadowed forms tended to melt into the natural darkness of their chosen home, making them nearly impossible to spot. Those who tried to catch glimpses of them were left straining their eyes against the dimness of the murk, managing to see only flickering shadows that could never be verified as Nephilim or naturally caused. On particularly dark nights, however, there were tales of faintly glowing eyes from within swirls of mist, and of strange flashes; like light glinting off of steel.

Those unfortunate enough to live near the swamps spent most of their nights in constant fear. They would cower like animals within their crude dwellings made of mud and jump at the slightest sound, paranoia personified. The inhabitants of the larger villages, which were located far from the swamps, would often hear horrific, if false, tales of people being dragged from their homes into the deep shadow and swirling mists.

The Nephilim tended to keep to themselves, which terrified us all the more. We knew so little about them, and what we did know was far from comforting. Our minds were eager to fill in their silence and secrets with further ideas of horror. Paranoia and fear, always so quick to move in where there is a lack of knowledge, found ample room within our minds.
One fateful night, an alliance of men decided to pry back the veil of hanging moss at the edge of the swamp and enter the darkness. They were large, strong, and filled with the type of brazen bravery that only alcohol can provide. They were also fully armed.

The following morning, the small group of six men were found directly outside the point of the swamp they had entered. Parts of them were, anyway. Their heads had been removed and impaled upon sharpened sticks, the end of each stick buried deep into the ground. The rest of their bodies were nowhere in sight, and no one was keen to do any thorough searching. On the last of the gruesome pickets, there was what appeared to be a note inscribed with charcoal on a piece of crushed bark. The foreign runes of the Nephilim’s strange language proved indecipherable to us, though. We had no idea what the note was trying to convey, and we greatly feared its importance and what our ignorance of it could provoke. Eventually it was decided that our safest course of action would be to offer them tribute.

As volunteers herded some of our finest goats and sheep close to the swamp, two of the Nephilim stepped out from the shadows between the trees. They stood several inches taller than our tallest men and were fully armored with a glittering plate metal which was blacker than the shadows from whence they came. Moss hung from their bodies in thick ropes and shadows seemed to follow in their wake, swirling like black mist.

They stood silently, like stone sentinels, watching as we nervously shepherded the animals closer to them. One of the Nephilim stepped back and seemed to snort, as if in disgust. That's when we realized that they didn't have mouths. In growing fear, we watched as five more emerged from the darkness, all of them dressed in dark armor and trailing shadows. They each carried a strange weapon; weapons that twisted in their hands, as if they were holding live snakes, dark and undulating. The five were accompanied by two creatures, one of each side of the group, moving just out of sight in the darkness of the swamp. They seemed monolithic, and we could vaguely make out what seemed to be moss writhing along their elephantine bodies.

We didn't understand what was happening, and before our minds could even process the threat, they were attacking. Eyes glowing brightly, the five Nephilim between the beasts moved forward and crouched. The weapons in their hands, the writhing snakes of darkness, stiffened, and they wielded them like swords. Before we realized what had happened, they had cut through our goat herders as easily as a warm knife through butter. There was only a small scream of pain from the last man as he fell to the ground, lying strangely twisted as his legs writhed.

We didn't understand. What had we done? What mistake had we made? How could we have incited such violence? Before we even got the chance to ask, the creatures accompanying the Nephilim, those monolithic beasts, stepped from the treeline and headed with stolid determination towards the nearest village. Without halting, they stormed over the first small hut, crushing it and the family within under their feet. They had large, flat tusks shaped almost like the heads of hammerhead sharks, which they swung back and forth, breaking buildings and people alike.

The massacre was so quiet, it was eerie and shocking. There was not a sound from the Nephilim or from their strange beasts; no roars of triumph or fury as they proceeded from hut to hut, street to street. There was nothing but utter silence as we were wiped out. Their eyes glowed brightly as they proceeded with a steady pace through the village, leaving nothing but destruction and their swirling shadows in their wake. The only sounds were the muffled cries of dying men, women, and children as they fell under blade and underfoot.

No one knew how to stop them. A small resistance was eventually cobbled together, but it did nothing to deter the onslaught of the Nephilim. They cut through it at the same pace as everything they had come across before. There was seemingly nothing that could stop the inevitable push of these beings. They never ate, never drank, and never slept. They never stopped.

In the larger cities of the world, those farthest from the invasion, councils were held to discuss a plan of action. Wise men from many different nations met to combine their knowledge and ideas and discuss the best way to end the assault. There was much debating and arguing and many options were carried out with same effectiveness as the first shoddily formed attempt of resistance. Eventually all choices were exhausted and they were forced to consider the one that most had been trying to avoid: magic.

When it came to magic, it was known that something had to be sacrificed in order for anything to be gained. Those who practiced magic were known to give fingers, toes, even entire limbs for what they wanted. The type of magic that they would need to perform in order to stop the Nephilim's invasion was much more powerful than that performed by those solitary magicians. This would require a much larger sacrifice, a sacrifice of something greater.

To prepare, a massive structure was built in the greatest of the cities. It was the likes of which no one had ever seen before. Materials for its construction were gathered from all over the world, and shipped over vast distances. Hurried as they were, time was spent ensuring that every rock was in its proper place and that nothing was overlooked for what had to be done. It was a large and powerful spell that needed to be done, and it required many people to help carry it out. Six of the world's greatest magicians were called to make the sacrifice, and all answered. The act they had to perform would cost them their lives, but they were willing to sacrifice themselves for the survival of the rest of humanity.

Finally, the day of the ritual was upon the world. On that day, the six great magicians stood in the structure that was built and began to prepare for the spell that would banish the Nephilim forever, but they were still lacking something. They needed one more; an innocent. From the crowds of people who had surrounded the structure to watch the ritual, a young girl stepped out. Her mother pulled her back and held her close, but the girl struggled and broke free, running towards the middle of the giant stone circle. She stood amidst the powerful magicians and looked at them one by one, without any sign of fear.

"I will die for us." she told them and the crowd watching silently.

Her mother cried for the girl to come back from the edge of the crowd, too afraid to leave the safety of other people and enter the circle, even to bring back her daughter. The girl stayed where she was, though, firm in her decision. She knew that it had to happen; that she could not stop what must be done. With courage and selflessness far beyond her years, she stood and made her sacrifice for the world.

The mages began the ritual as the girl's mother cried quietly at the edge of the crowd. After only a few short minutes, they were gone. The six magicians and the girl had vanished deep into death, dragging the terrifying horrors of the Nephilim with them.

Or so we had thought.

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