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Stormfront (Short Story)
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Darkness seemed to engulf the landscape; spreading out and preventing a clear view for any onlooker. Only dim shapes could be recognized, rolling hills that seemed to wave about and move in the cover of night. Raindrops fell at impressive speeds; splashing off the wet ground and feeling like small rocks as they pelted off one's head.
And then the lightning came; illuminating the world in fleeting light for a single moment, and the horrible reality became apparent. The land was in fact water; rolling hills were violent waves that smashed about around her. She panicked; reaching for something and gripping the remains of her small wooden boat; clearly not meant to be out in the ocean. The roar of a wave splashed over her, however; dragging the woman downwards under the surface of the water with her former vessel.
For a moment, the storm seemed to calm. There were no roars, no echoing rain or shifting waves. She blinked; water flooding beneath her eyelids and blurring her vision of what was already complete darkness. Her arms swung; trying to pull her against the current in a direction she could only hope was up.
Her head breached the surface; leaving the woman gasping for air and coughing. Something floated by; in stark contrast to the water around her. She grabbed it; feeling wood with metallic linings. It was far too large to be part of her vessel, but she had little time to wonder where her final hope had come from. She reached up; gripping it with all of her strength and holding on as another roaring wave filled her ears.
Fishing... she had been fishing. She had taken her small boat out, not far from the shore, hoping to get a good catch that day. Before she had known it though, the currents had pulled her out further than she had expected; far from sight of land. And then the storm had come; rolling in from seemingly nowhere like something out of legend, a mythic disaster come to end the world with its very presence...
Her cheek was warm, tiny grands of sand stabbing into her skin. The woman squeezed her eyes a moment; opening them to the light of the sun above. Rolling over, she pulled herself to her hands and knees; three-fingered hand spreading out in the sand. Coughing; water splashed out and painted the ground from tan to brown before she began to choke.
The Troll brought a hand to her neck; coughing more before heaving suddenly; a small fish escaping her mouth and splashing on the ground a moment before finally giving up its fight for survival. She panted; staring at it a moment.
At least she had caught something?
Rolling back over, she fell to the ground and stared upwards. Clouds dotted the sky, but they were a fluffy white; not the deep black of a storm. The woman panted, her limbs aching and throbbing. She turned her head; eying the small dead fight. Her eyes looked beyond it though; catching sight of something else.
Carefully, the Troll stood and made her way over to the massive piece of wood; clearly from the side of a ship that was meant for ocean travel. What caught her eye most, however, was the massive metal lion head engraved into it.
Wherever it had come from, it was part of an Alliance ship. Sighing, she slowly realized what finding parts of a ship meant. The entire thing had fared no better than her little fishing canoe.
Stepping around it, she followed the beach a ways; two-toed feet sinking into the warm sand; giving her at least some comfort. To one side of her the beach dipped down into the water; ocean stretching out into the horizon. To the other side, sand turned to dirt and grass; trees and plants rising up and blocking any view past them.
Eventually, smaller pieces of wood began to appear; a capsized husk resting half in the water that now only vaguely resemble the boat she had set out in just the day before. Ignoring her pain; she jogged towards the wreck quickly; flipping the boat back over.
Somehow, still tied to the inside, was a very large cloth quiver. Only, instead of arrows, it held spears. Reaching down, she pulled it free and loosened the opening enough that she could grab one of the spears and stick it point-first into the ground.
Standing upright, the woman pulled the quiver over her back, tightening the strap over the light green skin of her exposed stomach, the leather rubbing against her own clothing which covered her chest and shoulders; creating a rather irritating sound before settling in place.
Glancing down, she eyed the sand curiously. Foot prints sat into it alongside her own; but she was sure they weren't her's. Mostly because she didn't have five toes. They weren't sunk in far, meaning whoever made them wasn't very heavy.
Someone else had made it out of the storm. Curious, she followed them upwards into the jungle. The Troll followed carefully, not wanting to get caught in the vines as she tired to find whatever path the other might have used.
The footprints didn't continue far through the forest floor, but her next clue came from a sharp root sticking upwards and painted red. The trail of blood continued along past that; implying they had accidentally stepped on it and hobbled along with a bleeding foot.
Whoever she was following was either very clumsy, or an idiot; prompting a scowl to cross her face. She knew she had to follow, not having many other chances of finding anyone else.
Carefully she stepped over the root; following the trail until she came to a small opening. The sound of running water echoed outwards, along with something else; someone else.
"Ow, stupid root, ow, stupid me, ow, stupid no shoes...." The voice echoed; the Troll climbing up one of the trees and pulling herself out along the branch.
The Human was an adolescent; possibly close to twenty by their count. He was small and lanky, hardly threatening looking. Any threat he might have presented was only further jeopardized by the long brown hooded cloak he wore; resembling a dress more than anything. His hood was pulled down, black hair tied into a ponytail and resting over his shoulder. He continued to whine; nursing his injured foot and cleaning the blood with the water near him.
Gripping her spear tightly, the Troll decided she didn't have time to stalk the stupid human for hours. Tossing it; the warning throw embedded itself into the ground, sinking about and inch beyond the head of the weapon.
The Human stared; eyes widening. A high pitched and quite feminine scream escaped him. Turning and panicking, he dove into the water, vanishing beneath its murky surface.
Seconds later, he exploding out with another, somehow more girl-ish scream; the jaws of a crocalisk inches from heis backside as they snapped down. Growling, the beast gave chase; following up onto the shore line and quickly giving chase with its six muscular legs.
The Troll placed her palm over her face and sighed; following through the branches quickly.
The Human continued running. "Damn, damn, damn, I don't wanna be eaten!" He shouted; suddenly tripping and rolling into a tree. "Owwww!" He exclaimed; shifting upright as the reptile was suddenly mere seconds from eating his face.
With a snap; the woman was suddenly on top of it; feet slamming into the crocalisk's back as she plunged a spear into its skull. Her eyes locked on the boy backed against the tree, suddenly wincing as he let loose yet another terrified scream.
"Joo gonna be wa'in de whole jungle wi' joor screamin' mon!" She glared at him, moving her fingers before her lips in a shushing motion. The Human stopped, holding his breath. "Now be knockin' dat off, or I be knockin' it off for joo!" She added; jabbing her spear at him and prompting him to back further against the tree than he already was.
"W-what do you want? What are you doing here?" He blurted out, terrified still.
"I can be askin' joo de same!" The Troll hissed. "I don' even be knowin' where 'here' is!" She stared, standing up and putting her spear down; resting the tip into the ground again. "Now, stop wettin' joorself and stand up, mon!"
The boy gulped, slowly pulling himself up into a standing position against the tree. "W-well, if I had to guess, I would think we're on an island... seemingly on our own..."
"Wha' makes joo say dat?" The woman questioned.
"We were nowhere near any known land when the storm hit, so this island has probably been undiscovered for a long time..." He replied. "But... the only way to know for sure..." He pointed ahead. "Is to continue deeper inland... and see if we pop out the other side."
The Troll looked back; deeper into the jungle. She then turned and looked at the Human. For a moment, she considered how well she might make it on her own. She was no true adventurer, however; and she doubted she would last long completely alone. Like it or not, the boy was her only chance right now. "Alrigh', le's go." She nodded; turning and starting off through the mess of vines and trees.
Awkwardly, the Human stared as she walked. He watched her for a moment, not entirely sure what to make of the situation. The Troll suddenly glanced back; shooting him a glare and waving for him to follow. Jumping; he suddenly rushed after her into the wild.
A sharp hiss echoed outwards; prompting both to look back. Where they had expected some massive snake, there was only the direction they had come from. The boy stared a moment, noticing he could already no longer see the dead crocalisk. His curiosity was interrupted by the woman tugging his shoulder, however, and he was forced to continue on.
The two continued on, occasionally having to change their course to maneuver through the jungle's floor, but mostly uninterrupted.
"So wha' be joor name anyways, mon?" The Troll spoke up. She wasn't sure why she asked, but the sheer silence was irritating her more than the knowledge she was stuck traveling with him.
"Uh... Xander." The Human nodded. "Xander Greyfang." He narrowly avoided tripping on a vine the was strung to tight in front of them he might have though it a trap; set by some hunter out here in the jungle. "You?" He asked.
"Shi'Ra." She stated.
"No last name?" Xander asked, curious.
"Shi'Ra nonjoorbusiness'mon." The Troll spat back in reply, suddenly stopping and looking upwards at an opening in the trees. "Up der, look!"
The boy stopped; looking upwards as well. The clouds seemed dark again, like it might storm once again. Then he noticed that one of the clouds in fact wasn't a cloud at all; put a trail of smoke drifting into the sky. "Holy crap, smoke!"
Shi'Ra nodded; pulling him along as they raced through the jungle and towards the direction of the smoke. Xander stopped first as the broke the treeline, pulling her to a halt as well.
The pair stared out, over the sandy beach of the other side of the island, and off into the waves. Like the jagged tooth of some massive beast; the sunken ship stuck up out of the water. Flames engulfed it; eating away at the wood and fueling themselves with it while the sails laid limp atop the water; the masts having broken off and sunk beneath the waves.
"No..." The Human gasped, dropping to the sand. "No, no, no! That was our shot! Our one chance!"
"Mon..." Shir'Ra nudged him. He looked up, and followed her gaze further down the beach. A body lay in the sand; blood splattered out all around the dead human as ribs shot up; pointing towards the sky with innards splayed out around them.
Further along there were more bodies, in various mangled states but mostly much the same. "What...? What does that?" Xander wondered, staring.
"Dunno, and don' wanna be findin' out!" The woman replied. "C'mon!" She said; pulling Xander up as they retreated back towards the treeline. They both shot one glance back at the remains of the ship's crew; quickly vanishing into the jungle again.
The pile of branches and logs moved slightly as another was dropped on top of them; rolling until it found its place in the make-shift fire pit. Xander stared; knees brought up to his chest as he hugged them; glancing as Shi'Ra sat down on the ground next to him.
They had gotten as far from the beach as they could; not wanting to meet whatever sort of beast had killed the survivors of the wreck. "I took a lifeboat..." He whispered. "I took the lifeboat... it's the only reason I wasn't with the main wreck..."
"It be da only reason joo ain' dead, too." Shi'Ra commented; poking at the logs. "Joo know how ta start a fire, mon?"
Xander stared. "Uh... you need friction... heat..." He slowly moved; grabbing two sticks and trying to rub them together. Nothing came of it though, prompting the Troll to take them and try her hand.
Still nothing came of the rubbing of the sticks, the two giving up and staring at their quickly-proven-useless fire pit. A tapping sound echoed out; rain beginning to hit the canopy of leaves above them.
Xander stood up quickly. "Hand me one of those spears." He said, Shi'Ra obliging and handing one of her weapons over. The Human stabbed it into the ground, removing his robes. Holding them, he waved his arms like he were going to start folding them; the clothing suddenly exploding outwards like a sheet. Tying one end to the spear, he tied the other higher upwards on a nearby tree; offering a slanted roof for rain to flow down.
"Wha?" The Troll stared. "Wha are joo, mon? Some sorta mage?"
"Uh..." The boy shook his head. "I'm a druid."
She stared. "Joo ain' no druid. Turn into a bear."
"Cat, snake, deer, fish?" Shi'Ra asked, clearly not believing his claim.
"Druid in training... sorta..." The Human corrected himself. He blinked as the canopy suddenly gave way; water pouring downwards in a stream and suddenly drenching the shirtless boy.
The Troll snicked, trying to hold in her laughter before she suddenly burst out; pointing at him to emphasis the humor.
"Yeah, yeah..." Xander pouted; grabbing his ponytail and squeezing it to ring the water out before ducking under the makeshift shelter with the woman. "We should get some sleep... try to find a way off the island tomorrow."
The Troll nodded. "Yeah mon..." She agreed; staring at their failure of a fire once again as the rain came down harder overhead.
The cawing of birds pulled Xander from his dream before anything else, his eyes opening and staring upwards at his soaked robes above them. He went to shift his position, suddenly noticing there was something holding down his shoulder.
He glanced over, cheeks turning a bright red as Shi'Ra slept; her head resting against his shoulder. Long orange hair fell over his entirely unimpressive torso as her arms wrapped around his.
The Human continued to stare; most notably at her face and slightly open mouth. He gulped, not sure why he was even humoring such a dumb idea. Still, he leaned in slightly; bringing his face closer to her's.
The shifting weight seemed to stir the Troll, and her own eyes slowly opened; locking with his and slowly narrowing.
The echoing smack disturbed the birds with fear; their caws hastening as they quickly fled the scene and burst into the sky above; scattering.
Shi'Ra brushed her hands off; retrieving her spear from the ground and looking down at Xander. "Joo better be watchin' joorself, or joo might jus' regret it mon." She hissed, pulling the robes free and dropping them over the boy.
"Ow..." Xander finally acknowledged, getting up slowly and pulling his clothes on over his form.
"I saw a cave las' night." Shi'Ra commented. "Migh' be worth checkin' out, eh?"
"Beats being out here." The boy nodded; following as the Troll started off. The two made their way through the brush, soon enough entering a dark cave, the entrance lined with stalactites like the teeth of some sort of animal.
Darkness slowly shrouded them as they continued along, following as the cavern descended downwards with steep slopes and spikes of rock along the floor and ceiling.
Eventually, the ground simply ended; giving way to a massive fall down towards a raging underground river; carving out the sides as it flowed. "Damn..." Xander sighed. "Nowhere left to go here."
"Maybeh not." Shi'Ra commented; pointing towards the opposite wall, which opened again into more cave. "We can use dat, mon!" She nodded; pointing to one of a number of vines hanging from the tree roots that lined the ceiling above.
"You want us to jump that?" Xander asked; looking along. "I might be able to make it..." He gulped.
"Joo uh... joo go first." The Troll nodded, backing up.
The Human looked at her, then back at the vine. "No time like the present..." He mumbled; rushing forward and leaping.
His hands reached out; grabbing the plant and carrying along with him while her screamed. Flowing back, he grit his teeth; pushing the vine towards the other ledge and leaping. He hit the stone floor with a roll, coming to a stop and panting. Standing, he grabbed the vine before it could continue flailing wildly. "I'll throw it back!" He yelled; rearing his arm and tossing the vine.
The plant barely made it off the ledge before stopping and hanging limply from his pathetic throw. Shi'Ra stared. "I can't be makin' dat jump, mon!" She yelled. "Joo gotta swing it back to me!" She added.
"What?" Xander asked, blinking.
"Jump again, we be goin' togethah!" The Troll nodded.
"This chick is gonna kill me..." The boy mumbled; rushing again and leaping to grab hold of the vine. Swinging it back towards the original ledge, Shi'Ra lept for it; screaming as she almost missed.
Xander looked down in fear, the Troll barely clinging to the end of the plant. There was a tearing sound where, shortly below his feet, the vine began to rip. "Can you make it?" He asked.
"No, mon!" She screamed; looking up in terror. "Joo gotta swin' it."
Xander moved, trying to wave the vine around until an echoing sound like snapping wires came from above, splinters of wood falling down towards them. "If I do, I'll bring the whole place down!" He shouted.
"Joo can do it!" Shi'Ra yelled to him. "Jus' give it a good swin'!"
The Human looked up, then to the ledge, and finally back down to the Troll, tears in his eyes. "I can't, I'm sorry!"
The woman stared, her eyes widening as he moved his feet to the tear in the vine. "No mon! Please! Don' be doin that!"
"I'm sorry!" Xander yelled. "I-I don't want to die!" He squeezed his eyes, gripping at the rip and tearing the vine in two below him.
"NO!" Shi'Ra screamed; falling down and reaching upwards with her arms. The splash of her hitting the river echoed upwards; continuing for several seconds of horror. Xander looked to the edge, swinging the vine until he could leap to it again and rolling as he landed.
"Only reason I'm still alive..." He told himself; starting down the cave further.
The boy stumbled through the cave, his feet splashing through water as he had kept getting lower and lower underground. He panted, he could feel the energies within the place; if he could just find their epicenter. Maybe, just maybe he could open a portal.
The cave had changed. The floor seemed to be caked with wet mud everywhere, as opposed to the stone he had walked on before. And stranger still, massive stone pillars rose up; holding the curved roof above him. They looked like they were natural... but something about them was disturbing.
Xander shook his head, Shi'Ra's scream still echoing in his mind as it had been. He had kept reminding himself he did what he had to: to save himself.
She was a Troll anyway, she would have done the same to him without hesitation, he knew she would have. Horde and Alliance didn't mix, after all.
He continued to trudge along, slowly stopping at what was clearly not a natural formation. The stone pillar was elegantly carved; stretching upwards to reveal itself to actually be a massive pedestal. Xander followed it up with his eyes; staring in shock before backing up.
He hit something that was clearly not part of the cave, color draining from him as he felt whatever it was move. The back of his robes were gripped and his life flashed before his eyes in a heartbeat.
"Joo ^&*!@#$!" The Troll screamed; slamming him down into the mud. The boy's mind raced along in the shock and he tried to get up, but the butt of a spear smacked into the back of his head, and the world spun. Next came a kick; two toes smashing into his stomach and sending him rolling along. "Joo don' wanna die? I don' wann die neither, mon!" Shi'Ra growled; lifting him by his collor and smashing his back into the pillar.
"W-wait..." He gasped; terrified out of his mind for seemingly endless reasons now.
"Joo righ' to be scared now. Da Loa be out for blood." She glared. "An' so am I!" Her eyes locked with his.
"This isn't just a cave!" Xander screamed.
"Wha joo be meanin'?" Shi'Ra growled.
"I mean that!" He looked upwards. Shi'Ra followed his gaze and dropped him quickly at the sight of the massive statue overlooking them.
A hissing sound filled the cave around them, water and mud churning suddenly. "We gotta be movin', mon!"
"I... I can get us out of here, I think." Xander coughed. "But we need to go deeper inside!"
"Joo crazy, mon!" Shi'Ra shouted. "Listen to 'em!"
"Crazier than wanting to stay on an island full of hungry Naga?"
The Troll looked around as some of the mud rose up; the aquatic snake-people shaking themselves off. She quickly dragged Xander to his feet, shoving him along as screams and hisses were let loose; sand rising up even right underneath them. "Move joor feet, mon!" She yelled; nearly tripping as a scaled tail whipped by in an attempt to take out her feet. Spinning, Shi'Ra tossed the spear in her hand outwards; the weapon spinning through the air and piercing the Naga beside them, who scream in pain; blood splashing outwards.
"Nice shot!" Xander commented; continuing to run as the cave system narrowed out again. "I don't get it... if the Naga did that to the ship, what was up with those bodies?"
"Deir hearts, mon!" Shi'Ra told him. "Dey take deir hearts and eat dem! Consume deir life, and absorb da power."
"Then I say we avoid getting on the menu." The Human stopped; a cliff face reaching just above his head blocking their path. "Give me a boost, I've gotta get up there." He said, the Troll nodding and taking his feet in her hands; hefting him up onto the platform of stone above. "Now you." He held out his hand; glancing back the way they had come at the echoing hisses.
"Joo get to work, I be holdin' dem off!" She nodded, grabbing a spear from her back and offering it to the boy for protection.
Xander took the weapon carefully, nodding as he pulled himself up and looked around him. The entire area glowed to life with magical energies as he stepped along; illuminating him in a bluish green light. "Only got one shot at this, Xander... Make it count." He grimaced.
The Naga flooded the chamber; slithering quickly along the mud as they moved to assault Shi'Ra, the first couple to reach her being skewered upon her spear and knocked to the ground. The Troll glared; launching her weapon at another and dropping it before she reached for a new one.
Lightning zapped along the ceiling; crackling from Xander's spell and smashing the stone overhead. Shaking, the cave began to give way; rocks falling downwards and blocking the exit of the room. The Naga glanced at the rock wall where they had come from, one pointing up towards Xander with a hiss as they made their move for the platform.
"Oh no joo don'!" The Troll shouted, stabbing at the Naga again.
The druid-in-training panted from the strain. He wasn't a mage, and bending reality wasn't his thing. Holding back an urge to simply vomit, stone moved and shifted; opening a doorway of sorts through the Emerald Dream itself. A scream broke his concentration; forcing him to move back to the edge.
An extremely large Nage held Shi'Ra by her neck, easily three heads taller than her or more. Lifting her off the ground, it hissed. The Troll looked to Xander, her eyes filled with fear.
The Human stared as the Naga glanced to him too; prompting him to make a sprint back for the portal, his bare feet echoing off the cold stone.
"No!" The Troll screamed, claws suddenly penetrating her chest. She gasped as the Naga moved to grab and break her ribs; trying to pry them open and access her heart. A sound echoed in her ears and, for a brief moment, she thought it was over.
Suddenly, a wooden spear flipped lazily through the air; the shaft smacking into the Naga's head and bouncing to the ground. The beast blinked, turning its head.
"What? Gotta go picking on girls?" Xander yelled; jumping down from the ledge. "Come on, fight someone your own size!" He shouted, smacking his hand against his chest.
Hissing, the Naga dropped Shi'Ra; slithering towards Xander slowly, as if to test the comment about size. With a yell; the Human charged forward to punch it. Bringing its hand up, the Naga grabbed him; slamming him into the ledge hard enough to explode it with dust and rocks, part of the platform crumbling downwards into a slope of stone. Flicking its arm; Xander was tossed aside and into the mud.
Beginning to turn back to the Troll, the Naga's attention was drawn to the side as the Human moved again; standing up weakly. "That your best shot?" He yelled; blood spilling down his mouth as an arm hung limp and dangling. "Come on!" He shouted.
Hissing, the Naga now decided it very much didn't like this boy. Shi'Ra watched in pain as it slithered back towards him; knocking him aside. Xander seemed to yell something; receiving a punch straight down into him as the beast's response.
Fighting her wound and pain, the woman rolled over onto her hands and knees, glaring up at the Naga as Xander tried to get back up; another punch slamming him into the mud. Gripping her spear, she rushed forward along the mud; screaming as she lept to scale the monster's back.
It's head turned upwards; moving too slowly in reaction to the sudden assault as the spear jammed itself into its eye. Still screaming, Shi'Ra pulled back with all her strength; a loud snap echoing out as the scales tore along the Naga's neck and its head bent back in an unnatural position.
It weaved for a moment, the Troll jumping off as it fell to the side and splashed into the mud. Panting, she rushed to the fallen Human; covered in cuts and bruisers as his robes were ripped apart. Blood covered his front and arms as she reached down and pulled him up.
"Portals open... Go." He told her.
Shi'Ra stared at him. "No. Joo comin' too, crazy mon." She stated; pulling him up and supporting him. "How joo even standin' huh?"
"When... when the universe hates you... you learn to take a punch." Xander coughed; blood spewing out as the two hobbled along to the portal.
"So dat ship?" Shi'Ra asked, pulling him along and just trying to keep her focus off the pain she was in.
"Was on... my way... to Teldrassil..." Xander commented. "Passenger ship... nothing special." He panted, vision blurring. "So... that last name?"
Shi'Ra blinked, silent for a long moment as they pulled themselves up the slope created from the Naga's first attack. The Human began to fall limp; seemingly passing out as they neared the portal.
The bed was soft, Xander's hands feeling the silken blankets as his eyes stared upwards at the wooden ceiling.
"I would tell you not to move, but you wouldn't listen anyway." A gruff voice fell upon his ears. The Human turned to the side; spotting the Night Elf in the room with him. "Should I even wonder what you got yourself into this time?"
"Naga infested island, cute Troll chick, got my ass kicked."
"By the Naga or the Troll?" The Elf asked.
"Don't remember." Xander admitted, rubbing his head as he pulled himself up.
"You were brought in on a bat, wrapped up in bandages; broke almost all your bone... again."
"Just another Saturday..." Xander muttered, blinking. "Bat? As in..." He motioned with his hands; imitating a bat.
"Yes." The Elf nodded. "Brought that with it. It's for you, I imagine." He motioned to a package in the room with them; wrapped in what looked to be sown together leaves. "When you're ready to get moving again, head to Shadowglen." He added; stepping out of the room.
Xander looked at the package; flailing out of the bed and smacking his face off the floor as he went to grab it. "Ow..." He grumbled, sitting up and grabbing it.
Forgoing any flaps or obvious ways, he instead settled for ripping at the paper to open it. The white bone greeted him; the elongated skull of a naga with razor sharp teeth lining its maw. Xandar stared for a moment, slowly pulling the packaging back over the trophy.
"Troll chicks are weird."
1. I actually had a few ending ideas planned originally, but they all involved Shi dying. After I actually started writting, I totally couldn't bring myself to do that... ;.;
2. I think this might be my longest fan-fic yet. Yay?
3. Rule of three. :D
Well there's quite a few spelling and grammar errors you might want to look over, maybe even say the story aloud so you can catch them. I had some issues understanding what exactly happened when Shi'Ra fell, but all in all it was a good read.
Went back through and tried to clean it up some. I doubt I got them all.
Granted, using "her" in referance to Xander may have been subconscious.... <.< >.>
Alright, let's get started.
Few cases of repetition. The crocolisk gave chase, giving chase, etc. Somewhat surprised to see a human druid, but that's fine. Interesting that the troll is a fisherman but has such proficiency in arms, but that's nothing really. I really think the first half is very good. It is connected well, events build on one another fluidly and at a decent pace, and it enjoys some excellent imagery and descriptions. It works to draw us in, and we can see the immediacy of the situation and wonder how our protagonists are going to deal with both them being form different factions, need to escape the island, yet forced to rely on one another. I think you could have, perhaps, demonstrated that a bit better, such as them having an argument about who keeps watch -- particularly after the beach incident -- and being forced to reconcile with trusting each other. Something to give a bit more underlying tension, which would come to head later.
Unfortunately,said later is very much the weakest portion of the fic.
The troll seems far more physically able than Xander, which makes me wonder a bit why she couldn't make the jump (there being wood which rained down notwithstanding. Maybe use rocks or pebbles instead to show that the roots were coming loose).
One thing that was a bit difficult to make peace with was his ability to open a portal to the emerald dream. He is a druid in training, unable to shape shift, but able to open a portal? It might beg the question of does he need to be a druid? All of his feats are ostensibly ones that a mage could do and still be around his strength. I also wonder why they needed to swing across the divide in the cave? Surely knowing it was secure with that gap meant they could use the cave for shelter. Such issues could be resolved if you built up the energy a bit. That Xander begins to feel these energies (which could also use some explaining as to their source), informs the troll of the portal idea, and thus the
to cross that divide. Maybe expand on where exactly it would send them as well, or even how he doesn't know where. It would also give Shi some more redeeming points as she wouldn't have had to send him back after saving him.
Finally, the second half suffers a fair bit from a lack of description. This is particularly notable with the work you did on the first half as here, we even lack a description of the idol they discover, not to mention where the naga and Shi came form. An underground lake? Beneath the mud? Was he walking through a pool of water? We need to
these things to get a picture. Such as the numbers of naga they face. After the ceiling comes down, we are left with the assumption the troll killed the others except the big one. Describing that it was the only one left or how the corpses of its brethren were strewn about would have been very helpful. The part where Xander stands up to the naga and is repeatedly struck is also more than a little cliche, but that's more a personal quibble.
In short, the story started off promising and though complete, it became quite clear as it went on that you lost something as you continued writing. Things begin simply happening for inadequately explained reasons and your protagonists became more awkward props for the story than a driving force. This could be a pretty good story, but the plot points need to be explored more to make this piece more coherent towards the end.
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