Sin - by Firebrand, Chapter 2, Fantasy

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Sin - by Firebrand, Chapter 2, Fantasy

Post  Firebrand on Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:51 am

Chapter 2

“Sin!” the voice called. “Sin! C’mon Sin, wake up!”

The boy’s eyes drifted open, and he saw the beaming face of a silver-furred monkey looking down at him. “Huh? G’morning Chifumi.”

Chifumi playfully slapped him on the cheeks. “Happy birthday!”

Sin picked her up and grinned. “Thank you!” He swung off of his sleeping pallet and through on one of his three pairs of clothes. Chifumi curled her tail around his neck and perched on his shoulder.

“Go downstairs! Downstairs!”

Sin happily obliged. When he got to the first floor landing, Harrison and Henrietta jumped up from the table. “Happy birthday!” Henrietta chuckled, and passed him a plate of warm pancakes.

Harrison beamed at Sin. “We decided to let you sleep in today.”

“Thank you, sir. You’re very generous.”

Harrison shook his head. “You deserve it. You’ve worked very hard. Now, I believe I had something for you somewhere…” He patted the many pockets of his leather coat. “Ah, here we are!” He pulled a slim black box from an inside pocket. It was tied with a red piece of twine.

Sin reverently took the box, and slid the string off carefully. Opening the cover, he saw a shining length of silver. “A dagger? For me? Thank you!”

“Well, you’re seventeen now. You can join the village watch. This way, the demons in the Wall will know the touch of your blood.”

“And I won’t poison them.”

“Right. We need to keep those demons strong. They’re our greatest line of defense against the Chancellor.”

Sin only half-listened as Harrison recited this oft-repeated lesson. He was too busy wolfing down his pancakes. He cut off a small portion and offered it to Chifumi. “Don’t get any syrup in your fur, Fuzzball.”

Chifumi nodded and grasped the bit of fluffy dough in her tiny, dexterous fingers. Henrietta smiled. “You two get along so well. Of course, I knew you would since the day you were born.”

Sin’s smile vanished. “The day I was born…”

“We’re not discussing that again,” Harrison chided gently. “It’s the past now.”

Sin slumped forward. “On the day I was born, the Chancellor attacked your holdings, and my father died fighting Kutayara. Lots of villagers died that day. And every time I have a birthday, I feel like I’m rubbing salt in the wound…”

Henrietta cuffed Sin lightly. “There’s good and bad in life. You need to realize that. Your birth was certainly a good thing.”

“But the death of both of my parents?” Sin hissed. “How was that a good thing?”

Harrison shrugged. “You never would have come to work for me.”

Sin pushed away from the table. “I’m going out. I need to report to Damin anyway.” He stalked out the door, thrusting the knife through his belt.

Chifumi glanced up at Harrison, and the sorcerer nodded. “Go with him. He may need my help.”

Henrietta rubbed her hands on her maid apron. “I do hope he’ll be all right.”

***

“Well, well, well,” Garret, the blacksmith’s son, chortled as he and his friends backed Sin into a corner. “It’s your birthday today, ain’t it? Time for seventeen birthday punches.” He cracked his knuckles, and swung at Sin’s midsection. “One! Two! Three! Four!”

His hand pulled back again for the fifth strike, but a tall, imposing man with sharp facial features grabbed it. He swung Garret around and glared at the young man. “Leave Master Sin alone.” He threw Garret aside like a rag doll, and moved to stand in front of Sin, who was gasping for breath. “To get to him, you must go through me.”

“Anjaru…” Sin rasped. “I can handle this on my own.”

“I’m under orders, Master Sin.”

The bullies scattered, but not before muttering “Demon scum.”

The tall man grimaced. Chifumi jumped from his shoulder to Sin’s, and grasped a tuft of his hair. “Garret’s mean,” she sniffed. “If I was bigger, I’d fight him too.”

A girl about Sin’s age ran into the alleyway, another man and woman beside her. “Sin! I saw you running away, and I needed to do something!”

“Lisana,” Sin moaned. “I had it under control. You don’t need to fight might battles for me.”

Garret struggled to his feet. “Sorcererous bitch,” he spat. “You think you’re so great because you have demons. Ha. If the playing field were even…”

The man behind Lisana growled low in his throat. “You’d what? C’mon, out with it you little piece of trash.”

“Down Kelrick.” Lisana snapped. The demon nodded, but continued to glare at Kelrick. Lisana whirled on the bully. “You have ten seconds to get out of here, or I’ll let Kelrick off his leash. Remember what he did to that demon we found skulking along the Wall?”

Garret paled, and ran away. Kelrick’s hackles lowered, and he rolled his shoulders. “That boy. By the Demon King’s grave, I’ll get him someday.”

Lisana paid him no mind. She knelt next to Sin and helped him up. “Sin… why do they do this to you?”

“It’s because I’m not from the village.”

“That’s stupid. You were born here.”

Sin sighed. “I know, I know. But still, I’m an outsider. Lisana, I can handle things on my own. I have to go see Damin now. Good bye.”

Lisana grabbed his arm. “Wait. Look, Sin. I have only two more weeks until my seventeenth birthday. My dad’s been talking about sending me to the Capitol. To get trained as a sorceress.”

Sin stiffened. ‘That means…”

“Right. I’m going to be gone for a long time. It’ll be years before I come back, if I do at all. So… I’m gong to Bind a demon for you. So we can stay in touch.”

“You really don’t have to do that.”

“I want to.”

Thalia nodded slowly at Sin. “Madame Lisana will miss you greatly.”

Lisana blushed. “Thalia!”

Sin shook off Lisana’s hand. “I don’t want to talk about this right now. You want to come to the Wall with me?”

Lisana shrugged. “Kelrick? Anjaru? Thalia? Do you want to?”

“I have told you many times,” Anjaru said with a sigh. “You are our mistress, we will follow your command.”

“You’re not my slaves,” Lisana scowled. “You have free will. I won’t make you do anything you don’t want to.”

Kelrick shrugged. “I guess I wouldn’t mind going to the Wall.” Thalia nodded.

Lisana beamed. “Then we’ll go with Sin.”

***

Damin grinned at Sin as they climbed the granite stairs of the circular Wall. “Hey, there you are!”

Sin smiled back. “Nice to see you Damin. How’s the new baby?”

“She’s getting stronger every day. Harrison’s charm really helped out.” He grabbed a pouch from his belt and tossed this to Sin. “By the way, give this to Henrietta. It’s the spices she traded with my wife for.”

The wiry man leaned against the Wall’s battlements. “Okay, so I heard from Harrison you got a knife. Time to let the demons know who you are. You know what to do, right?”

Sin nodded. You weren’t raised by a sorcerer without learning the basics of magic. He drew the knife, pricked his finger, and rubbed the small trail of blood on the top of a battlement. Immediately, the voices of several demons filled his head.

“My name is Sin,” he told them.

We know, they replied. We have watched you grow. We remember the day you were born. Now, as we have guarded you, you must guard us. Do you accept this responsibility?

“I do.”

And the contact ended. Damin held out a hand to steady Sin. “It’s a rush, isn’t it?” Sin nodded, still speechless. Damin smiled. “All right. Enough slacking. All guardsmen need to have a basic knowledge of weaponry. Sword, lance, or bow?”

Sin gulped. He was a terrible shot, and didn’t trust himself with either a sword or a spear. “Oh!” Lisana cried. “Train with a sword! It’s so heroic!”

Damin smirked. “You have a proper swordsman’s build, Sin. And your father was a swordsman. Who knows, maybe your father will guide your hand from beyond.” He laughed and led Sin and Lisana down to the armory at the base of the Wall and passed Sin a training blade. “You know the stances at least, right?”

Sin nodded and dropped into a neutral stance, one that could easily be transferred to offense or defense. He held the sword up in front of him as he had seen in illustration in Harrison’s books on the Old Legends. He placed both hands on the leather-wrapped hilt, and took a deep breath.

Damin nodded. “Good, good. All right, high ward.” He grabbed a practice blade of his own and swung down over Sin’s head. The boy reacted as fast as he possibly could, but the force of the blow rang up and down his arms. Damin retreated, and came in again. “Come on then! Once you’ve blocked, strike back!”

This time, Sin pivoted and settled into a defensive pose, easily settling his weight on both feet. When Damin’s blade crashed down, Sin dropped his own weight, and flowed with gravity. Then, when Damin went to retreat, he snapped up his own sword, slapping Damin’s away.

Damin grinned. “Sloppy.” He regained control instantly, and slashed down the cross guard of Sin’s blade. The sword clattered out of Sin’s hands, such was the shock of the blow.

Not ready to be defeated just yet, Sin grabbed another practice sword from a nearby rack. “In a fight, use anything and everything in your environment,” he said, quoting an old lesson by Harrison.

“Yes!” Damin crowed. “That crafty sorcerer has taught you well!” He came at Sin again, slashing up diagonally. Sin’s instincts took over, and his hands moved of their own volition. He blocked strike after strike, but Damin had incredible reflexes. Sin did not get another window of opportunity for what felt what an eternity.

But when Damin began to slow in his flurry of blows, Sin rushed in and placed the tip of his sword at Damin’s throat. Damin nodded. “You little liar. You said you’d never used a sword before. But that was amazing. I know full-fledged guardsmen who can’t fend off that kind of attack. Of course, Harrison must have been training you.”

Sin shook his head. “No! Really! He’s been teaching me martial arts since I was a little kid, and some of that knowledge translated. But a sword, never! I don’t think Harrison even owns a sword!”

Anjaru and Kelrick were nodding slowly, approval etched on their faces. “The boy has potential,” Thalia murmured. Lisana was staring with openmouthed awe.

“That was so incredible!” she gasped. “Sin, you could be a knight or something!”

Sin placed his sword back on the rack. “I don’t think so. I’ve never even used a sword.”

“Then you have a lot of natural, latent talent,” Damin snorted. “Or you're just damned lucky. I’ll make a guardsman out of you yet, boy.” He cracked his knuckles and stretched. “Well, I’ll get you your guardsman schedule soon. Go home, and enjoy your birthday.”

Chifumi jumped back onto Sin’s shoulder. “Sin’s so cool!”

Anjaru winked at him. “I can help you train, if you like. I… that is, my previous master insisted that I have a mastery of several weapons. Kelrick has much prior knowledge as well.”

The wiry man nodded. “I’ll give you a real challenge sometime. Good luck beating me.”

Sin smiled at the two demons. They really weren’t that much different than normal people. Sure, their facial features had a strange animalistic undertone, and their mannerisms were certainly strange, but in the end, they weren’t that different.

He stopped by the baker’s home, and bought a pastry for both Lisana and himself. Although Lisana complained that he shouldn’t have to pay on his birthday, Sin waved away her objections.

Between feeding bites of sugared dough to Chifumi, he, Lisana and the demons watched the sun set over the wall. Sin truly had a happy birthday.
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Firebrand

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Re: Sin - by Firebrand, Chapter 2, Fantasy

Post  Vagrance on Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:31 pm

Conversation is much better this time. Sin's character really showed in the exchanges. Estranged, hesitant and humble, or at leas that's how he appeared to me.

The binding of demons seems an interesting "use" for power. Would love to have a more detailed demonstration of it somewhere further down the story. Seeing as how the demons play a heavy role in the story, maybe you could add more gravity to the scene by describing the walls in more detail (something about the lighting, perhaps?).

Still, I wished you could give some physical description of characters. Lisana was just someone "about Sin's age" (maybe you intended to do this another time).

Overall, I felt this is a big improvement on the first chapter. I'll move onto chapter three soon, hopefully.




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Re: Sin - by Firebrand, Chapter 2, Fantasy

Post  Firebrand on Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:10 am

Since this is obviously very early in the story, description will come along in time. I've never really liked dumping information about characters in one place, and always preferred to let the reader form their own image of characters in their minds, until such point comes that I decide to contradict that entirely.
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Re: Sin - by Firebrand, Chapter 2, Fantasy

Post  luckynamegame on Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:52 am

Wow, I really like this chapter. I like that it was his birthday, and he were introduced to everyone in his life and their relations with him. I also like this idea of 'Binding' with a demon. I gather that it's sort of like having a personal servant/bodyguard? The names jumbled me up for this chapter, as there two (or three?) demons with Lisana. It was nice to see a familiar name (Anjara? Anjuru? I'll figure it out) but I still don't have a sense of who's who. Maybe if there was one defining element to each of the demons that was a constant, then it'd be a little easier to remember names and abilities.
This chapter was fast-paced, as was the last. This one was a little choppier than the last, but maybe that was either my fast reading of it or that the events happened so quickly.
Also, what is the Wall? I feel as if I missed an important part of the conversation, but the Wall has something to do with the demons, correct? I also found it interesting that Garret doesn't like demons. So even though they're subservient, there's tension between them and the humans? I'd really like to hear more about this tension to add some depth.
Great job; I'm really enjoying this story!

--Luck
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