Ilya's Tale, Part 1

September 19, 2010
By apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


Ilya jerked awake in panic.


No, no, no, he thought frantically, struggling upright. His leg shifted on the blood-damp moss and he moaned in pain, almost blacking out again. No… He could not fall asleep again. The bandage was soaked through already; if not for his nightmare he might have been already dead.


Death would be easier, certainly—easier than the three miles he had run on a broken leg towards the thin hope of help. But his life had been dearly paid for. To give up now would dishonor the dead…


The forest seemed to lean in around him, dusk casting long shadows that blurred the air. Panting, Ilya lunged for a fallen branch just out of his reach. He grabbed it and dragged into his lap, stripping off twigs and leaves. That done, he tried to snap the branch but, weakened by blood loss, failed. The branch rolled from his hands and he had to sit back against the bole of the tree, closing his eyes as he recovered his strength. Stubbornly, he opened them again and drew his dagger.


The blade sliced skin as often as wood, but Ilya finally had the branch cut into three sections. These he positioned around his broken leg. Next, he pulled off his overshirt and, starting the first cut with the dagger, tore it into strips. He swallowed—now came the difficult part. Carefully, Ilya unwrapped the hasty bandage from his broken leg, plucking out stray threads left behind in his flesh. A glisten of white bone showed through, and he had to fight down nausea. Steeling himself, he lifted his leg and laid the strips of cloth under the three pieces of wood, then lowered his leg on top, trying to be gentle with his shaking hands. He tightened the first cord of the splint with a whimper.


When the rough splint was finished, Ilya fell back against the tree, sweating and shuddering with pain. His breath came in ragged spurts. Had the night grown darker, or was that his failing sight? With a monumental effort, he dragged himself back from the edge of unconsciousness, forcing into his mind the memory of the carnage and the sacrifice. Was he really going to lie down and die, after everything that had happened? He had survived this far, hadn’t he?


Ilya focused his eyes on a leaf, its green spoiled by a smear of his own blood. He let that leaf become the center of his world, a lodestone to steady his drifting mind and lend him strength. The leaf let him ignore the pain. It let him know what he had to do, hard as it would be. After gazing at the leaf until dusk was almost done, Ilya was ready.


He took a deep breath and cast his gaze around, looking for a branch to serve as a staff. The only likely specimen lay several feet away. Gritting his teeth, Ilya rolled over and crawled towards it, splinted leg slowing him as it scraped across the ground. With this staff clutched in both hands, Ilya levered himself to his feet. He waited a moment, swaying on his feet, knuckles white and face bloodless.


And then he smothered the voice inside that cried out I can’t do this! and took the first step.


The author's comments:
First part of a series of fantasy/action-adventure short stories I'm writing, inspired by a thread on the Writer's Workshop forum about how hard it is to write good fantasy. I took this as a challenge, of course, and here is the result. Enjoy!

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This article has 103 comments.


on Sep. 29 2010 at 12:05 am
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

and don't be offended by "mor.on;" it was not meant to be mean. Sorry, it's just that my little brother and i call each other that affectionately and i sometimes forget other people take it seriously...

on Sep. 29 2010 at 12:02 am
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Backshadowing should be an official term, haha. B/c he's not flashing back, and it's not foreshadowing either...Hmm. The next part is called "Ilya's Tale, Part 2: The Raven" if you'd like to read it after it's approved...whenever that will be...:P

on Sep. 28 2010 at 9:59 pm
OfficialApprover PLATINUM, Orefield, Pennsylvania
48 articles 0 photos 1754 comments

Favorite Quote:
Grab life by the balls. -Slobberknocker
We cannot change the cards we're dealt just how we play the hand
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted
It's pretty easy to be smart when you're parroting smart people
-Randy Pausch

OK! No problem!

on Sep. 28 2010 at 9:55 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Yeah, the most recent version on my computer cuts down on some of the detail, like about him fixing his leg. :P Thanks!

on Sep. 28 2010 at 9:54 pm
OfficialApprover PLATINUM, Orefield, Pennsylvania
48 articles 0 photos 1754 comments

Favorite Quote:
Grab life by the balls. -Slobberknocker
We cannot change the cards we're dealt just how we play the hand
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted
It's pretty easy to be smart when you're parroting smart people
-Randy Pausch

So far, I'm very intrigued.  The descriptions were excellent, and it kept my attention throughout the whole thing. It also makes you wonder how he got this way.

 

Critique:  It was hard to critique this, but here's what I have.

 

Just to me, Ilya sort of reminds me of a girl.  Sorry:(  Not the character, the name.

 

The description does get a bit detailed, and while I didn't mind,some might.


on Sep. 28 2010 at 9:35 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

....sorry to keep posting, but i am actually honored, in a rather wry way, to be compared to Tolkien...

on Sep. 28 2010 at 9:34 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

AvengedJasonFold: Christopher Paolini tries to be Tolkein. He spends most of the sequels showing off how smart he is....and it annoys me, lol. It's like he's trying to be Tolkein + George Lucas...hahaha. I like the first book the best, b/c it's the least pretentious. :P

on Sep. 28 2010 at 9:30 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

avengedjasonfold: I'm pretty sure Ilya is a male Rus.sian name. I've never heard of Fire Emblem...

on Sep. 28 2010 at 7:32 pm
A.Bekah.Girl GOLD, Menlo Park, California
17 articles 0 photos 29 comments

i quite like it..

i like how much the character feels..

really good, i want to say backshadowing, but i guess it's forshadowing...

please continue...


on Sep. 28 2010 at 7:27 pm
Captain-Tightpants GOLD, Lawrenceville, Georgia
18 articles 17 photos 19 comments

I never said it was a bad piece. I never even thought it really, it's well written but it fails to grab my attention. I have no care that this person is fighting for their life if I don't know this person. If they die in the next page I wouldn't honestly care either way. (Compare this to Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' where I think we all criend at the end)

 

As for the argument of Tolkien, Tolkien wasn't writing a book. Tolkien's mission had nothing to do with the book. Tolkien wrote a proper book (in that his language was flawless) and in my opinion he wrote a very good and well crafted story that where it dragged a bit in places it managed to keep me going. This may be because I read the Hobbit first though (which starts faster)

I'm not saying it needs to start fast I'm saying it needs to start at all. This is the first installment of a story and there is no story. If it was longer and started near the end I would be fine with it.

This suffers from the same problem that 2001: A Space Odessey suffers from. (The film version) It doesn't go anywhere.

All this said: I really enjoy the poster's work, having seen her poems, they are enjoyable, this shows her adeptness with words but it needs to be lengthened and started in the first installment.


on Sep. 28 2010 at 6:26 pm
PussnBoots GOLD, Tomahawk, Wisconsin
12 articles 0 photos 138 comments

Favorite Quote:
"When life hands you lemons, make apple juice. Then sit back and watch the world wonder how you did it." -Unknown
"The world is my pineapple. I just have to figure out a way past the prickly parts." -Me

The-Mentalist: Maybe the reason you don't like this piece is because it's just not your cup of tea. Honestly, this kind of intro grabs my attention rather quickly, and I know that there is more to the story so I keep reading. Just because it's not how you like it doesn't mean it's completely boring. (Not that your opinion doesn't matter; I'm not saying that.)

Besides, creative writing is just that-creative. While we may like of dislike the story, the decision to change it is up to apocalyptigirl.


on Sep. 28 2010 at 6:08 pm

Good god, I think we've found somebody more arrogant than I am. At least this person has more ethos because he/she got published but man...

Yes it does get us involved in rousing action. The dude is fighting to stay alive.

Let us all remember classic tales like The Cask of Amontillado where we don't know the characters enough to know what Fortunado did to Montressor that drove him mad enough to kill him (arguably a critical missing detail in the exposition which was a mere few sentences if that); Catcher in the Rye which arguably has no plot whatsoever, and I'm sure we can all come up with a story where in the opening paragraph, we don't exactly know who the character is or we're not introduced to the plot. I think one can infer that in this story, the plot may have something to do with the "entity in pain" being some kind of warrior and we actually do want to find out what happens to him.

That said, I feel like Ilya is a female name because I think a fire Emblem character's name was something like Ilya but who knows maybe it's a guys' name too lol

I also think you might want to work on not using so much passive tense. I can see the effect you might be getting at by using it, but there might be too much of it.

oh and by the way The-Mentalist, if what you said is true, I would argue that fantasy is a unique genre that requires cheesy lines and a lot of no-no's like passive tense and whatnot. Tolkein loves passive tense, and most modern writers like Stephen King always say to stay away from it.

That said I think Tolkein can write however he wants because he's basically the godfather of the fantasy genre and every modern fantasy writer seems to want to emulate him these days, but I don't think anyone can quite do it the way he does. Even the dude who wrote Eragon or whatever--although I was blown away by from what little I saw from his books--is not Tolkein.

And let's be honest, even Tolkein was boring. So boring that Peter Jackson couldn't cut all of the boringness out of the movies for crying out loud!!


on Sep. 28 2010 at 5:26 pm
Captain-Tightpants GOLD, Lawrenceville, Georgia
18 articles 17 photos 19 comments
I wouldn't read more really. I don't know this character, he's just an entity in pain, what are his goals, why is he here? what are his motivations? This is well written but it's boring. An opening scene must do one of two things, it must teach who this character is or it must introduce us to the plot. (Getting us involved in rousing action is also acceptable) This does none of it.

I do a fair bit of fantasy writing. I'll show you some of my more successful openings on the forums.

Fantasy is a unique genre it has needs that most other stories don't.

on Sep. 28 2010 at 4:46 pm
PussnBoots GOLD, Tomahawk, Wisconsin
12 articles 0 photos 138 comments

Favorite Quote:
"When life hands you lemons, make apple juice. Then sit back and watch the world wonder how you did it." -Unknown
"The world is my pineapple. I just have to figure out a way past the prickly parts." -Me

I like it! It's unique! ;D

on Sep. 28 2010 at 4:41 pm
mudpuppy BRONZE, Orangeburg, South Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 475 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is like a box of cheese and flower petal sometimes it's soft and sweet, sometimes it just plain stinks. - M.J.

I think the name looks exotic.

on Sep. 28 2010 at 2:22 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I'm not sure why Ilya came into my head. It sounded foreign...and kinda cool...maybe not the best name ever but I like it for this character. Do you?

on Sep. 28 2010 at 1:43 pm
PussnBoots GOLD, Tomahawk, Wisconsin
12 articles 0 photos 138 comments

Favorite Quote:
"When life hands you lemons, make apple juice. Then sit back and watch the world wonder how you did it." -Unknown
"The world is my pineapple. I just have to figure out a way past the prickly parts." -Me

Oooohh, mysterious! You have got to write more. :)

Question: what made you pick the name Ilya?


on Sep. 28 2010 at 9:22 am
mudpuppy BRONZE, Orangeburg, South Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 475 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is like a box of cheese and flower petal sometimes it's soft and sweet, sometimes it just plain stinks. - M.J.

I would like to read part two also. I am curious to see how he got into this situtation in the first place and what mode of action he does next. :)

on Sep. 28 2010 at 8:09 am
HeatherBee BRONZE, I Live In, Texas
1 article 0 photos 1985 comments

Favorite Quote:
Go on and try to tear me down. I will be rising from the ground, like a skyscraper

Love is louder than the pressure to be perfect

well this is really awesomee! i honestly love the way its written... Cool-ness! id love to see wat happens next!

on Sep. 28 2010 at 7:31 am
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

...How do you know he's not trying to forget a painful memory? If I tell you now then you don't want to read part 2...;)


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