ONE SHOT: Lover's Ghosts

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ONE SHOT: Lover's Ghosts

Postby Xewleer » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:16 am

This is actually my third version of my story. The first was a Kingdom Hearts fanfic after watching KH2's supah secret ending. The second has disappeared mostly due to data corruption but I found it again recently. Here's the third version.

It's full name is 'Tale of the Lover's Ghosts'


The boy loved his grandfather. He had stories and candy, and that was all he needed. The boy often spent time with him because of his parents, who were part of support units for the army. So, when the grandfather felt stingy with candy; he told him a story. Now, it is winter and the young boy cannot sleep. The fire is bright and warm. His grandmother has put tea on and his beloved grandfather is in his favorite chair, comfortable.

His chair is an old thing from the nation of Shabboltholm, where the old man had campaigned in his younger years. He liked to tell the story about it, the one when he dueled a Shabboltholm Colonel and won over that chair, not really, but it made a good tale. It is set against a bookcase, for the study is rather small. Above him, set neatly on a shelf, is a pair of swords. He had them from two very special people who died a long time ago.

The boy, after he had got a cookie from grandma, clambered onto his grandfather's lap. He wanted a story. His parents had been gone for so long and he was lonely. "Oh my!" The grandfather says in surprise, even though he heard him coming for some time now. "And what do you want? I don't have any candy." He flicks his grandson's nose playfully, disturbing the child's feed on the over-sized cookie.

"Mom and dad haven't come back yet." He restarts the munching, spilling crumbs. "I (chomp) miss them."

"I'm sure you do." The grandfather pats his head. The boy wasn't a pansy, and hadn't cried since he broke his arm a year ago. His parents loved him dearly, but with Willowscent and Narthus throwing political punches at Arcadia, Carnelia and Altea, they were called away to an artillery support camp, ready to move out, should things get serious. He had nearly cried when they had left him. "What type of story do you want to hear?"

"mmmm Swords." The child mumbles, still working on the cookie.

"Why do you want to hear that one again? Guess you like it because I'm in it, right?" He says, though he believes the child see's his parents in the two main characters. "Alright. It starts a very long time ago. Shabboltholm has begun a war against Arcadia. It had shattered the nation of Carnelia, which lies between the two, remember, and turned it's eye's to our glorious city-nation." The child growls appreciatively. "But not all wanted to hurt us. One girl was the daughter of a man who had immigrated here..."

Her name was Callisto. And his was Kami. But they loved each other, deeply. They had lived close by for nearly ten years and met during a swordsmanship meet. Kami won, and, as the saying goes, that was the start of a beautiful friendship. When, after a hundred - thousand fights, she won, he asked her out. She was... he was... They were meant to be together. Rarely, in this crazy mixed up world of ours, can such a love blossom like flowers in spring. Spring, of course, leads to other seasons, until the year ends at winter and another spring comes. Their winter was the Arcadian/Shabboltholm war, at the battle of Sorrow's Refuge, where both died but one lived on.

He walked down the boulevard to where she lived. He's heard about the war, but he didn't care. He's not a soldier, and neither was she. There were men at her door. He ran forward, looking to see what is happening. She was being led away! This will never do! He called out, but alas! She was put on a small transport and her family is whisked away. He hears the men talking.

"I don't get it, evict ALL people with Shabboltholm blood in them?" Said one, a big man in an Air-marine grunt uniform. "Seems a waste of time, what they gonna do?"

"No no..." Said his long suffering sergeant. "Just the one's who either have royal blood or the blood of their military leaders. Something about skill inheritance and... you still don't get it do you?"

"...No" And the sergeant sighed, moving on to his own transport with his grunt.

The man nearly threw his sword on the ground. Taken away because of distant relations?!? WELL! The fastest way to get to Shabboltholm is in the army, or so the posters say. He'll go there and take her back! That's what he'll do. The man at the recruitment station knew him personally, and was glad to have a warrior of such caliber on his side.

Then the war truly started. Carnelia and Arcadia rallied against Shabboltholm, but they were pushed and pushed until the Shabboltholm army reached the borders of Arcadia. Then Altea and Windbloom rallied, joining the beleaguered Arcadian troops, driving Shabboltholm back to near the center of the Carnelian nation. There, the armies gathered themselves and organized, for there, in a gigantic valley, would the final battle be fought.

I was part of a squad led by the young man. He had told the story of his love. That she was beautiful and skilled, and that he would meet her again. He would meet her again very soon.

The battles were fierce and many fell. People always died. I lost two best friends over the course of a year... two very very dear friends... But I survived, and the young man prospered. How he fought! He struck with precision and grace! Soldiers who fought him and lived would sometimes become better fighters through just watching him beat them. He was a leader of men and a great warrior. He rose to the rank of Captain.

We eventually reached... Sorrow's Refuge. That was a horrible memory. Every day for three days there was a battle. Each battle left a multitude of dead. Piles would be scavenged by the carrion crow-men that flocked to take the valuables of dead soldiers. Most times, we fought them off, protecting our comrades, but there were too many over too much area. But we were immortal. That young man led us into death and out of it, and always, did he take the brunt of it all.

"Do you know about elves?" The old grandfather asked his grandson, who had finished his cookie and was listening intently. "They are beautiful. Some are evil, some are good, but few are understandable. This one fought for Shabboltholm. No one knows why. He was a tough opponent. But he fell... a mere footnote in the battle's history. But it changed things, this man had killed a powerful warrior... they said to themselves we can't ignore him anymore. They called him, Kami the Scythe

"So, they sent one of their most perilous warriors, Callisto, who they called the Sunset Dalliance, for her sword, when covered in the blood of her enemies shown like the setting sun. When they met on that day they separated immediately and sought other opponents and hoped that they would not engage each other again in this battle. But their separation was not unnoticed. Both were berated, I hear, and Kami, my leader, was nearly stripped of his rank and branded a traitor. They knew his past.

"So, on the third day, she was at the front of her army, and he knew she was waiting for him. He stepped out. Now the sides had not joined in battle yet. She shouted something, lost to the wind before it reached the ranks. But Kami heard it, and he answered in kind. They ran towards each other with great cries. Kami and Callisto clashed and fought with such techniques that they often slew the people that got too close to them.

"Their battle was so fierce that many of the troops stopped fighting to watch them, as if the entire war depended on that one sword fight. They bobbed and weaved, dancing as blade touched blade. Their swords were mere flashes, showing such skill that even the mercenary blade masters called hitokiri were looking on, learning techniques to add to their own repertoires. They got close to each other, and strove, helmet verse helmet to knock the other off balance.

"Do not be ashamed of me when I said I cried. It was a horrible thing to watch. I saw a few others of my squad crying as well, and my enemy a mere minute ago was weeping, unashamedly, into his gauntlet. I could see he had her side of the story. Eventually, Kami fell to his knees. For a horrible second, I thought him slain, but he removed his helmet. He was crying as I was.

"'Please! We do not have to fight like this! We could leave! Abandon all thoughts of soldiering and find some place to live! Together! Until the day we die!' He cried this with a sorrowful voice, and I knew that could never happen. She took off her helmet and every tale he told of her beauty was rendered true, a thousand times over. She was crying, but not more than he was.

"'You don't understand! We can't just run! They'd search for us forever! If one of us dies here then the other will live! If I die at your hand I die satisfied! I won't go to what ever's beyond with the thought of 'I was slain by a no-name grunt!' Please! It would be better than dying at the hand of our commanders, who already brand us traitors!' And he replied.

"'We're powerful enough to leave! It doesn't have to be as you say!' Whatever else he said was drowned out by noises, the battles were beginning to restart, and the circle we made around them was the only calm place. He threw his sword so that it fell next to her. It was obvious. He wasn't going to fight her.

"She started to wail, for she saw what the future would hold if one did not die, when he did not. 'Don't you understand? There's too much happening! We can't escape our fates! You know what will happen if either of us surrender, nearly certain death! There's only one way for... one of us to win.' There was a long pause. She seemed to realize something, and spoke clearly to him once more. 'Hey... Kami? I love you.' She picked his sword and plunged it into her heart before he could reach her.

"She was dead in his arms a mere moment after her heart, pierced through as it was, gave out. He gave out screeching cries, calling for her. She did not answer. She would never answer. He took out the sword from her chest and picked up hers. Both swords were meant to be wielded two-handed, but he held them each with one. Her sword was the large katana you see up there, with the rose engraving that traveled a third of the blade. It was an elegant weapon. It made him look the most dangerous soldier on the field that day."

The grandfather shifts a little. His grandson was still listening, but he tiring. "He looked at the Sabbatholm forces. He hated them for what he thought they did. He turned to me and gave me her sheath. He told me to take care of it with my life. Then he plunged into the battle. He was entirely heedless of what would happen to him. He fought the entire day, and I saw a hill... a mountain! of corpses beneath his feet. I saw him strive against what I saw to be a colonel, the leader of the enemy's leader, Lord Kolin's, personal bodyguard and Kami slew him, and kicked his corpse down that tower of death.

"When he returned, he was stripped of every rank and reward he had been given. Our leaders did not care that he slew hundreds, just the perceived insolence that came with not doing EXACTLY what they told him to do. He was sent away... I heard from someone that he had been transferred to the command of Harod Glare, Marshall Glare's son. Harod, and everyone who followed him, died in the Faceless war due to Harod's arrogance. But that is a tale for another day."

"You saw their ghosts." The grandson murmured sleepily.

"I did. Once, when I met with many of my old squad who had survived the battle, we took it into our heads to see the site of battle. We went to the very spot. We were surprised to meet some of the Sabbatholm's side who survived that battle. It was the squad Callisto had commanded. At midnight, we noticed a white figure walk through the field, which was still covered in bones and rusted blades that looked like bones.

"It walked right to the place where Callisto died and touched the ground. It ignored our attempts to hail it. After what seemed an hour, another white figure climbed up. I suddenly cried out, 'Kami and Callisto!' The white figures turned and smiled at our parties. Then they disappeared. I returned home to my wife, your grandmother, and she told me it must have been the wine we were drinking or a dream. I began to doubt, until these swords came to me by courier. The courier said they had shown up mysteriously, but since it had proper postage, they delivered it."

The grandfather picked up the grandson with effort, and returned him to his bed. The grandmother looked at him. He knew what that stare meant. "I'd wish you'd stop filling that boy's head with war nonsense. It's horrible." The grandfather held the hilt of Kami's sword with his hand. The grandson thought his grandfather didn't know, but he had been handling the sheathed swords. Playing with them. The grandfather wondered. Then regretted it. He tried to kill the images that flooded into his head. Finally, one remained, it was his grandson, older now, in his twenties, wielding the swords, and he was fighting monsters.

The End
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Re: ONE SHOT: Lover's Ghosts

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:27 pm

Not bad, but you know me, I can't leave it as simple as that! :D

So if I must criticize something, it's the voicing: namely that the grandfather telling his story to the grandson sounds a lot like you telling the story to us in the previous and subsequent paragraphs. The language is the same (really now, would the grandfather describe the world, to his grandson, as "messed-up"?!), the rhythm of the sentences is the same, and crucially there is not one instance of the grandson chiming in to interrupt.

Writing the grandfather as speaking in the first person

grandfather wrote:I was part of a squad led by the young man. {etc}


is not enough to distinguish his voice from yours, the third person narrator, and is not enough to establish the mood of the scene.

Admittedly you do this on occasion:

grandfather wrote:Do you know about elves?

grandfather wrote:Do not be ashamed of me when I said I cried


which is good, because it shows the teller is (trying to) engage with the listener and makes the scene very direct and intimate, as it should be. This is someone telling a story to somebody close to them! There should be more instances like those however, and there should be some genuine INTER-action between teller and tell-ee. Otherwise you get the feeling that

The grandson murmured sleepily.


from near the end is the boy getting sleepy of disconnect and boredom.

But in any case, thanks for the read and write more!
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Re: ONE SHOT: Lover's Ghosts

Postby Xewleer » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:02 pm

For the grandson, I pulled from my own experiences, which is made up almost entirely of me sitting down and listening to them tell me stories. (don't knock me for it, my grandad was learning to be a scientist during world war 2) I never really participated, and just let them tell me everything that was in their mind to tell me. I discovered at a very early age that you can learn a thousand things from listening to your elders/betters.

I attempted to write it as someone telling it to someone else. I've been told I write like I'm in front of you, telling the story. I tried to keep that feeling. Thank you for the critiques.
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Re: ONE SHOT: Lover's Ghosts

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:07 am

Xewleer wrote:I attempted to write it as someone telling it to someone else. I've been told I write like I'm in front of you, telling the story. I tried to keep that feeling. Thank you for the critiques.


That is good, but the gist of what I had to say was that the grandfather isn't you. It's difficult to explain, but he and you sound the same. I wish I could be more explicit, getting character voice right is a difficult skill to get or even assess.

And you're welcome! :)
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Re: ONE SHOT: Lover's Ghosts

Postby Xewleer » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:50 pm

It would lose things to give the grandfather an accent though... I understand, 3rd person and the 1st person is the same...
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