Author Topic: Heritage - YA Fantasy  (Read 231 times)

Offline tdcrawfo

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Heritage - YA Fantasy
« on: July 29, 2022, 11:41:38 PM »
Chapter 1: The Hunt

New York, 43 years ago

It’s a hunt, not a murder…It’s a hunt, not a murder...

The words kept ringing through my head, like a haunted song that wouldn’t stop. I stood atop the hill watching impatiently as the skyline darkened in the distance. The time had finally arrived to put our plan into action and tonight was our last chance for there would not be another.

The incoming air was crisp and cooling rapidly. A sharp wind rushed through my bones causing a dry ache within me. I crept across the tall, thick grass to take in the view of the promenade not far below. The trees were speckled with a vibrant mix of orange and red as the autumn season approached. The people in the streets moved contentedly about their daily lives, gathering and mingling as though life were nothing but joy. I watched from above, pressing down my own envy as they ate and talked to each other with a simplistic happiness that I longed to experience once more, but that would have to wait until the hunt was complete. There was much to be done.
I was tasked with the duty of finding our targets and failure was not an option. The stakes had risen so high in the last few weeks that nothing else mattered. These targets have evaded us too long, always slipping away from us at every turn. It’s never been this hard. I continued to scan the promenade shops and eateries in the hopes that I would find them. Every moment that passed without spotting them left a small pang of disappointment.

But they had to be here, the dagger told us so and it’s never led us astray in the past. Never. The people blurred together to me, as I haven’t paid much attention to the details of humanity for a long time. I only cared when it affected me - affected us. I strained my eyes to soak in the details of every last person that drifted by and match them with who we were after.

Eventually, I did.

There they were. A tall dark-skinned woman with two children at her side. A boy and a girl. My heart leapt in exhilaration, and I signaled with a low whistle that hovered across the skies. Only the ones who were meant to hear it would. Then as quickly as I released the sound from my throat there was a dull thud in the grass not too far behind me. I could tell from the weight and grace of the landing that it was my partner, Fontine. I turned to her as she approached from behind and relayed my success to her.

Fontine, perhaps at the most beautiful I’ve ever seen her, glowed visibly with excitement. Her lavender eyes sparkled with intensity as she crouched low by my side. Her steps were silent, and breath slow despite her eagerness, the result of many years of discipline.
The setting sunlight illuminated a halo of light along the length of her russet-brown skin. The sight of her was wondrous and vivid, a wild woman in the wild grass -- the thoughts altogether formed another longing. But that would also have to wait. Fontine turned to face me feeling my gaze upon her, and a small affectionate hum escaped her lips as she brushed her hand across my cheek. I leaned into her outstretched touch, savoring our small moment of peace.

“Soon,” she said with a rare gentleness that I’ve sorely missed, “this will all be behind us.”

I wanted nothing more. It had been too long since I could remember a time when we were like this, happy, nearly on the precipice of nirvana. Only in lives lived long ago could we say the same. I craved for its return and tonight’s success could make it so.

I returned a short grunt in response to her and returned my sights onto the now-moving targets. We were hunters, forced to this life. Hunting over the past centuries have forever caused our torment and there would be no peace until we could hunt down each one of these beasts. But as years passed, they kept growing in number, making our journey take more and more time.

The targets moved like rabbits in quick, almost skittish bursts keeping close to dark pockets with minimal human interaction. It won’t do them any good at this point. The dagger had a lock on them for sure. I heard a low buzzing hum coming from Fontine. On instinct she covered it with her hand to dampen its call. It held the tool that made ending these vermin possible, without it we’d never have a chance to take our stand.

Fontine, still crouched, turned out her left thigh to unfasten her knife holster. I saw a small glimmer of her blade, a crimson metal enchanted by the blood of past hunts, sharp and ready. The enchantment placed on the object long ago added a black iridescence to the blade, contrasting wildly in the darkening sky making it look as though the blade were pulled straight from fires of hell itself. It may well have been, our lives have been trapped there since.

She pulled out the weapon that sat thinly veiled in its sheath, making almost no sound as she did so. Holding tight at the knife’s engraved black hilt, she lightly grazed her fingertips against its length, taking care to not slice herself on the sharpened edges. She whispered to it delicately as though a mother speaking to her child in the long-forgotten language of the ancestors. The blade came to life. The low excited hum magnified, and its edges glowed deeper with the black magic. It was time.

Fontine and I exchanged glances once more, this time with determined resolve. She then stood, tall and proud with her chin toward the sky. Her eyes pointed to the city below, scanning for the final piece of our plan to fall into place before we could. take action. As the moments passed, I saw her eyes narrow to pinpoints. She was waiting on the other in our group. The creature that I tolerated just for her, that beastly thing. Too unreliable and quick to lash out but she had grown fond of the furry pet.

She stood still a moment longer, frozen with rage. The veins in her neck boiled and danced beneath her bronze skin. Her hands tightened to fists at her thighs and she began pacing back and forth accompanied only by a seething heat. The tatters of her skirt swept the ground beneath her bare feet. Like a pendulum, she repeated her rhythmic pace picking speed as her anger swelled. I stayed crouched, obediently waiting for her to speak. I wouldn’t intervene with her like this now and give her rage a misdirected conduit.
Her pacing stopped short and her eyes, blackened, snapped towards my direction sending an icy chill down my spine. A deep fire blazed beneath them.

“Go.” She commanded. “He will catch up.”

Her voice was cold and without feeling but I didn’t dare to inquire further, I already knew. Without hesitation I leapt from the hillside onto the beaten path of cement and gravel, being sure to keep low to the ground. I glanced back at the tall grass hill to see that she was gone as well. The hunt was on.

The targets she needed, that we needed had been made known. I knew it and the blade confirmed it. I trailed them for several miles until they were in front of a small run-down theater near the outskirts of the main city. The area was old and dilapidated and showed little signs of life from its abandonment. I stayed behind in a dark alley watching them, waiting for Fontine and the other to catch up.
The woman was drenched in mixture sweat, mud, and blood, her white dress was smeared in it with the most saturation laying between her thighs. Her hair had become matted and strewn about her face making the silver hairpins that adorned it stick out haphazardly. She doubled over in pain at the marquee entrance and her children scurried over to comfort her. Her son and daughter held exactly the same features. Twins, no more than ten years old or so. They sat cradling the woman’s greasy head in their laps. She heaved heavily, coughing as she sat up against a column. She craned her neck slightly outward as though looking for someone. The little girl let out a small whimper of tears and clung tightly at the woman’s waist. If Fontine didn’t arrive soon, nature would take this kill away from us and we could not let that be.

Just then there were pounding footsteps rapidly approaching and a man appeared from behind the theater. He appeared just as filthy as the rest of them but was holding something tight to his chest wrapped in pale blue cloth. Of course, I thought to myself with realization. In the cloth was a small newborn infant. Their newborn infant. She had just given birth and too weak to continue at this pace, running from one death towards another. Time is very much of the essence but where was Fontine? She had the blade to complete the ritual, and the desire. My interference would only jeopardize our success.

The weak woman spoke, breaking my concentration. Her words spasmed out of her as though it took the life from her to speak. “Take-t…the children.”

Offline rivergirl

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Re: Heritage - YA Fantasy
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2022, 01:13:16 PM »
Chapter 1: The Hunt

New York, 43 years ago

It’s a hunt, not a murder…It’s a hunt, not a murder...

The words kept ringing through my head, like a haunted song that wouldn’t stop. I stood atop the hill watching impatiently as the skyline darkened in the distance. The time had finally arrived to put our plan into action and tonight was our last chance for there would not (for sake of flow) wouldn't be another.

The incoming air was crisp and cooling rapidly. A sharp wind rushed through my bones causing a dry ache within me. I crept acrossthrough the tall, thick grass to take in the view of the promenade not far below. The trees were speckled with a vibrant mix of orange and red as the autumn season approached. The people in the streets moved contentedly about their daily lives, gathering and mingling as though life were nothing but joy. I watched from above, pressing down my own envy as they ate and talked to each other with a simplistic happiness that I longed to experience once more, but that would have to wait until the hunt was complete. consider breaking up this long sentence for better flow There was much to be done.
I was tasked with the duty of finding our targets and failure was not an option. The stakes had risen so high in the last few weeks that nothing else mattered. These targets have evaded us too long, always slipping away from us at every turn. It’s never been this hard. I continued to scan the promenade shops and eateries in the hopes that I would find them. Every moment that passed without spotting them left a small pang of disappointment. If it wasn't for the words NY 43 years ago, I would have a hard time visualizing this city. You might invest in a few more sentences. for a bit I forgot this was NY and I wasn't sure if I should be seeing straw huts or glass buildings.

But they had to be here, the dagger told us so and it’s never led us astray in the past. Never. The people blurred together to me, as I haven’t paid much attention to the details of humanity for a long time. I only cared when it affected me - affected us. I strained my eyes to soak in the details of every last person that drifted by and match them with who we were after. I've never been to NY. Are there actually hills there? I'm imagining a grassy green hill which doesn't sound like NY at all.

Eventually, I did.

There they were. A tall dark-skinned woman with two children at her side. A boy and a girl. My heart leapt in exhilaration, and I signaled with a low whistle that hovered across the skies. Only the ones who were meant to hear it would. Then as quickly as I released the sound from my throat [/s]there was a dull thud in the grass not too far behind me. I could tell from the weight and grace of the landing that it was my partner, Fontine. I turned to her as she approached from behind and relayed my success to her.

Fontine, perhaps at the most beautiful I’ve ever seen her, glowed visibly with excitement. Her lavender eyes sparkled with intensity as she crouched low by my side. Her steps were silent, and breath slow despite her eagerness, the result of many years of discipline.
The setting sunlight illuminated a halo of light along the length of her russet-brown skin. The sight of her was wondrous and vivid, a wild woman in the wild grass -- the thoughts altogether formed another longing. But that would also have to wait. Fontine turned to face me feeling my gaze upon her, and a small affectionate hum escaped her lips as she brushed her hand across my cheek. I leaned into her outstretched touch, savoring our small moment of peace.

“Soon,” she said with a rare gentleness that I’ve sorely missed, “this will all be behind us.”

I wanted nothing more. It had been too long since I could remember a time when we were like this, happy, nearly on the precipice of nirvana. Only in lives lived long ago could we say the same. I craved for its return and tonight’s success could make it so.

I returned a short grunt in response to her and returned my sights onto the now-moving targets. We were hunters, forced to this life. Hunting over the past centuries have forever caused our torment and there would be no peace until we could hunt down each one of these beasts. But as years passed, they kept growing in number, making our journey take more and more time.

The targets moved like rabbits in quick, almost skittish bursts keeping close to dark pockets with minimal human interaction. It won’t do them any good at this point. The dagger had a lock on them for sure. I heard a low buzzing hum coming from Fontine. On instinct she covered it with her hand to dampen its call. It held the tool that made ending these vermin possible, without it we’d never have a chance to take our stand.

Fontine, still crouched, turned out her left thigh to unfasten her knife holster. I saw a small glimmer of her blade, a crimson metal enchanted by the blood of past hunts, sharp and ready. The enchantment placed on the object long ago added a black iridescence to the blade, contrasting wildly in the darkening sky making it look as though the blade were pulled straight from fires of hell itself. It may well have been, our lives have had (sounds more natural to me)been trapped there since.

She pulled out the weapon that sat thinly veiled in its sheath, making almost no sound as she did so. Holding tight at the knife’s engraved black hilt, she lightly grazed her fingertips against its length, taking care to not slice herself on the sharpened edges. She whispered to it delicately as though a mother speaking to her child in the long-forgotten language of the ancestors. The blade came to life. The low excited hum magnified, and its edges glowed deeper with the black magic. It was time.

Fontine and I exchanged glances once more, this time with determined resolve. She then stood, tall and proud with her chin toward the sky. Her eyes pointed to the city below, scanning for the final piece of our plan to fall into place before we could. take action. As the moments passed, I saw her eyes narrow to pinpoints. (unless this is a supernatural thing, her pupils would grow and her eyes look black in the failing light) She was waiting on the other in our group. The creature that I tolerated just for her, that beastly thing. Too unreliable and quick to lash out but she not sure what you mean here. Are you referring to the pet or Fontine? Careful, a lot of vagueness in this piece. If you keep it too vague it can frustrate the reader. It's a tricky dance. Can the reader learn what the pet is? If its a magical species, then why not describe him briefly to the reader. Not everything can be a mystery at this point had grown fond of the furry pet.

She stood still a moment longer, frozen with rage. The veins in her neck boiled (difficult observation) and danced beneath her bronze skin. Her hands tightened to fists at her thighs comma and she began pacing back and forth accompanied only by a seething heat. The tatters of her skirt swept the ground beneath her bare feet. Like a pendulum, she repeated her rhythmic pace picking speed as her anger swelled. I stayed crouched, obediently waiting for her to speak. I wouldn’t intervene with her like this now and give her rage a misdirected conduit.
Her pacing stopped short and her eyes, blackened (moments ago her eyes where pinpoints and purple. just be consistent), snapped towards my direction sending an icy chill down my spine. A deep fire blazed beneath them.

“Go.” She commanded. “He will catch up.”

Her voice was cold and without feeling comma but I didn’t dare to inquire further. (period here or semicolon) I already knew. Without hesitation I leapt from the hillside onto the beaten path of cement and gravel, being sure to keep low to the ground. I glanced back at the tall grass hill to see that she was gone as well. The hunt was on.

The targets she needed, that we needed had been made known. I knew it and the blade confirmed it. I trailed them for several miles until they were in front of a small run-down theater near the outskirts of the main city. Can we see a bit more of this trailing? I crave to hear about his beating heart and how he slips in and out of shadows of specific shops The area was old and dilapidated and showed little signs of life from its abandonment. I stayed behind in a dark alley watching them, waiting for Fontine and the other to catch up. What are they doing? Is the target the women and the children? I can't see them. Show to your reader
The woman was drenched in a mixture of sweat, mud, and blood, new sentence her white dress was also smeared with blood, in it with the most saturation laying concentrated between her thighs. Her hair had become matted and strewn about her face making the silver hairpins that adorned it stick out haphazardly. She doubled over in pain at the marquee entrance theater? show the reader a little more comma and her children scurried over to comfort her. Her son and daughter held exactly the same features. Twins, no more than ten years old or so. They sat cradling the woman’s greasy head in their laps. She heaved heavily, coughing as she sat up against a column. She craned her neck slightly outward as though looking for someone. The little girl let out a small whimper of tears (tears don't whimper) and clung tightly at the woman’s waist. If Fontine didn’t arrive soon, nature would take this kill away from us and we could not let that be. allow that (for sake of flow) the womans descriptions are good but would be better introduced earlier imo

Just then there were pounding footsteps rapidly approaching comma and a man appeared from behind the theater. He appeared just as filthy as the rest of them but was holding something tight to his chest wrapped in pale blue cloth. Of course, I thought to myself with realization. In the cloth was a small (redundant. everyone knows that newborns are small) newborn infant. Their newborn infant. She had just given birth and too weak to continue at this pace, running from one death towards another. Time is very muchwas (for sake of flow) of the essence but where was Fontine? She had the blade to complete the ritual, and the desire. My interference would only jeopardize our success.

The weak woman spoke, breaking my concentration. Her words spasmed out of her as though it took the life from her to speak. “Take-t…the children.”

Exciting first five that held my attention. Hope my suggestions are constructive. Good luck with this!

Offline tdcrawfo

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Re: Heritage - YA Fantasy
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2022, 12:24:58 AM »
Thank you for this feedback! this chapter holds a twist that's not revealed until later in the book (hence the vagueness in some portions). But I am very grateful for your help, I appreciate it so much!