View Full Version : -Morning's Child- (A short story, please grade!)

5th December 2008, 05:00 AM
The following was an entry for the 2006 RPG Tourney. The main character was a character I created specifically for the tourney, and the world he exists in I, to this day, want to develop further. But first I want to have this short story graded to gauge how my ideas are getting across. After reading the Fanfic Short story contest for September I really like the judging format that was used, and I kinda wished something similar was in place for RPG. SO!! If anyone wouldnt mind rating this story in that way I would appreciate it very much :D Act like you are a judge for a contest and give me your ruling :>

Im not used to posting here so Ill just get right to the short story, if Im supposed to give a bit of backstory before the actual short someone please let me know ^-^()

From the beginning, she was always there.
Since the moment I was born.
I know.
I remember...

Even before the moment I hatched from my egg, I felt her prescence. I was told my egg was found outside the nest of straw and wood my parents had made inside the barn. Cast aside to die, for what reason I will never know. But for some reason, out of some great act of kindness, she was there. Rather than seeing it as destined that I die before I was born, she cradled my egg in her arms. I was blind to these events as I lay within the thick shell, but even so I knew I was warm and protected. I heard, no, felt her heartbeat thump from within as she cradled me to her breast, and it was then, though I was half-formed and knew not the words for such a thing, that I learned what love was. But it wasnt until a few weeks later that I would finally see the object of so much love.

The sun was setting, a glorious sunset of golds and reds, painting the sky with the visual definition of joy. I had cast off the remnents of my shell an hour ago, blind and helpless I felt those arms lift me up and hold me close, rubbing my wet fur and feathers with a towel. She had planted a kiss on my nose, and it was then I opened my eyes for the first time. The golden sunlight shone upon her hair, and it gleamed like the sun. Her playful green eyes from that day forward would remind me of the fresh spring day of my birth. Setting me on her lap she signed to me, and though at the time I could not understand what she said to me, I would come to learn the meaning: -I can tell you are special, Shayliino.-

She was the one who was special. She, whose society had labeled her useless due to her lack of hearing, took the time to teach an 'animal' sign language. The first thing I learned was the sign I would come to treasure: I love you. She taught me to read, and every day she would come to the little 'office' she had set up in the barn to bring me books, and teach me something new. Her eyes seemed to glow as she read to me, those eyes were never condencending, they were always gentle and full of love. She told me many stories about her family, about her parents and older brother, and I saw the love in her eyes towards them as her fingers and hands moved through the air gracefully, weaving a wordless tapestry just for me. She told me stories about love, and confided to me her dreams of marriage and a family of her own.

-What is marriage?- I signed to her, my blue eyes riveted into hers. The way she described it it sounded wonderful, and she seemed to want it more than anything. A soft smile graced her lips, and she closed her eyes, her hands moving slowly as she told me. -Its when two people care for each other, and want to be with each other forever.- I shifted my back legs and wagged my tail with joy. Such a thing sounded wonderful, it was no wonder she wanted it so much. But the mood was broken as she sighed. Putting one hand to her face briefly she told me in sorrow, -But it will never happen for me...-
-Why not?- I signed with alarm. I never wanted to see her unhappy, and my heart sank thinking I might have been the one to make her so. She stared at her hands for a long while before gazing at me with a brave smile. -I'm not pretty at all..- Not pretty? Who could look at this object of pure life and joy, the purest soul, and say such a thing? -You're not pretty,- I signed simply. Before the shock could register on her kind face I continued.
-You're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen....-

Over the weeks I continued to grow, along with my love for her. Soon it came to the day when I would turn One Month old, and for weeks I worked hard on a special project. I had discovered I had a certain knack for technology, and in secret I had been working on an invention for her. My nerves rattled as I approached her, she was sitting on the fence her face to the sun. I stared in awe for a moment, taking in her beauty as she soaked in the morning rays. Then, breaking the spell I placed my taloned hand upon hers, but before I could sign my burning question she looked to me with joyful eyes. Throwing her arms around my thick furry neck I melted into her, breathing in her gentle scent. All my fears were allayed in that moment, but releasing me to look into my face it seemed something was on her mind too. -Shay,- she started, her face alight, a sight that always made me happy. -You've gotten so big, Im so happy!- I wiggled with excitement, I wanted to hold her close but I couldn't and talk to her at the same time, so I waited with anticipation at what she had to say. -I want you to come on a picnic with me today. It's a special picnic.-
My heart leapt as I saw those beautiful words play out before me. I thought about the surprise I had in my knapsack around my back. This picnic was the perfect time to give it to her, to show her exactly how I felt. -I'll come,- I signed without hesitation.

The moment seemed to take forever but soon she had packed the lunch and all was ready. It was the first time Id ever left the farms I had always called home, and the first time she would ride upon my back as I flew through the air towards our destination. The feeling of her straddling my back, her arms wrapped around my neck, sent ripples of pleasure though me. Her laugh, though she could not hear it, was beautiful. It was pure joy in liquid form, the sound of a sunbeam on a warm spring day. My heart felt close to bursting, I had no idea I could ever feel this strongly in my short life.
The magical ride came to an end as we landed in a grassy field she pointed out. A dirt road ran nearby, and reeds grew beside it, high enough to obscure it partially. The wind blew gently, sending the sounds of summer insects to my ears. Suddenly a roaring sound broke the tranquil moment, the sound of machenery. She could not hear it, but she saw my ears stand up and focus on the sound, and jumping up she ran towards the road. Confusion swirled within me, and I followed with an uncertain trot. As I made it to the road, the gritty bits of rock digging into my paws, I saw a sight that stopped me short.

She...she had her arms around someone else, a young human man with black fur just like mine. My heart froze at the sight, and it was then I learned something else. I learned what the bitter, icy stab of jealousy was. But I would not hurt her, perhaps it was a common gesture among humans to hug. Perhaps this human was one of the friends she often spoke about going to see. Surely she would not invite me along if she wished to be alone with this human male. The three of us sat upon the blanket, the two humans sitting together in a closeness that made me uncomfortable nonetheless. -This is Justin,- she signed to me, a certain joy in her eyes that iced my blood. I reguarded Justin with a wary lupine stare as I reluctantly signed -Hello-.
"Its amazing that you could teach him that," Justin spoke to her, facing her so she could read his lips. "You're an amazing person." Hearing my own words coming from this human caused me to choke back a growl. This new feeling burned, and it was not at all pleasant. Seeing his praise and gazing into his eyes, her cheeks reddened and a bright smile graced her lips. She closed her eyes shyly...the way she used to when she told me stories. The way she did when she spoke of marriage. Justin shifted his dirty sneakers off the blanket and leaned forward, placing his hand on her chin gently and raising her eyes to gaze into his. He stared at her for a long while, his deep brown eyes searching her face, taking in all her features, before he spoke softly. "You're so beautiful..."
It was at this moment that I ceased to exist. She only saw HIM, I was nowhere to be found. She only saw his eyes as she gasped at what he said, only felt his hand, his HUMAN hand on her face. His lips upon hers were the only thing she knew. I stared numbly as they kissed, as he did the one thing I wished I could but knew I never would. As their bodies moved closer together I couldn't see anymore. I was blind, like the day I was born. I was blind, only the love that was all around me then was directed towards this human, this stranger. This man who came on the motorcycle and took away my love, the most important thing in my life. I turned away, my wings trembling with restrained emotions, trembling with this new empty hollowness that filled my being. The shadow of my sorrow swallowed up the sunrise that was her, I suffered so to watch them. But she didn't know, she was awash in pure bliss. One that I could not give her.

I threw down the small metal disk I had held so dear, the gift that would have been hers but now never could. She pulled away as I began to leave, and made a small sound to get my attention. -What's wrong?- she signed, completely unaware of what she did to me. That hurt even more. -You said you loved me!- I signed so fast I could barely keep up. -You told me you did, you told me you were happy with me. You....said......you.......- My hands faltered as I put them to my face to hide my eyes. I didnt want her to see the pain within them, I loved her more than anything, and I knew it would only upset her to see. Suddenly I heard a click, peering through my taloned hands I saw her watching the hologram that was my gift.

It was a poem in signs. Admist my hands signing there was a sunrise, golden and beautiful, just like her.
The sun rises upon us, my golden light
You are a sight, the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
I long for us to be together, to make your dream come true
I want you to marry me.
It didn't rhyme but it didnt't have to. The signs for it flowed evenly and expressed the pure innocent love I held for her. It would have been perfect, but now it was just painful to watch. It ripped at my heart with every motion. The human man laughed slightly and looked at me incredulously, a confused look in his eyes. "Are you serious? You're only a month old and you want to get married? I hate to break it to you but she's a human." He seemed concerned as he placed a hand on my furry muscular shoulder, but it was like the hand of a betrayer. "Listen, you want her to be happy right? She can't possibly be happy married to an animal, no matter how smart. Your life is too short to pine away for someone you can never have."
Life was too short. That was what she always said. -Life was too short to waste time being unhappy,- She had signed to me one day. -Even if the cards we are dealt in life try to make us unhappy, we must strive for happiness. That is what makes life worth living.- Beautiful words, but then she always had beautiful words. It became too much emotion to go through, too much to look upon Justin's concerned face, and too much to see the tears forming in her eyes. I flew, far away from them, despite her wordless cry, despite his calling. They would have a fine picnic without me. A fine life without me.

Life was too short to be unhappy.

This was the moment when I learned what heartbreak was.

A few weeks later I wrote her a letter from the school I was attending. I had learned much, not just about the world, but about life, and love. I did want her to be happy more than anything else.

I'm sorry about what happened at the picnic. I want you to know that I wish you and Justin the best, and I want you to do whatever makes you happy. Know that I will always love you, and you will always hold a special place in my heart no matter what happens.
My heart still ached at the thought but I managed bravery now. I knew now that love meant sacrifice, my love for her was deeper than anything I ever could experience. I loved her more than I cared for my own happiness, and so I gave them my blessing, and just before my first year they were married. She always said she wasn't pretty, that no man would ever want her. But she was wrong, two men wanted her, and one could make her happy. I was happy for her, and in her happiness I found a small glimmer of my own.

Her name was Dawn, and she shone like the sun.

5th December 2008, 08:25 AM
Weee! Nice story Asi! You're not required to give any sort of back story if you don't want to. :3 That's the glorious thing about short stories! Mwha! I'll try to grade in the format that you'd like while also keeping in mind that it is a short story, not a full fiction. (I find a lot of people make the mistake of reviewing characters and plots as a full fiction story for short works... which is unfair as character development doesn't work the same way! :D)

Plot 16/20
- I really enjoyed the plot, because it was simple to the reader but yet earth shattering to Shay. I liked that the big critical moment in the story wasn't massive or 'zomg the end of the world' but it still held the same powerful punch. Maybe this was just me, but from the beginning I knew that something bad was going to happen concerning the girl, but it only compelled me to keep reading- to find out what that was.
The plot seemed to be a bit slow however and I think it might have been due to the redundancy of Shay's narration. There was a lot of sentences that described her in the same way just with different words which made me feel that the piece needed more actual content. Perhaps giving another small scene to show how close to two had become would beef it up a bit more or better yet- a scene that hints at how the girl feels towards Shay without Shay realizing it, even in his reflection.

Plot Originality 5/10
- This was a hard category for me to decide. On one hand, the plot isn't very original in regards to the climax. We've all read stories on unrequited love or surprise unrequited love and such or someone loving another whom would never work for them in the eyes of society. Also the being abandoned by your parents and rescued by a "wonderful person/being" has been done before... HOWEVER, the way in which the plot was done gave it a unique twist. The girl being deaf and signing was a nice touch and also the world in which the plot occurred gave it a chance to be unique. The gift itself was a huge surprise to me- I never expected such an advance piece as a hologram to be used as a gift! It was the little surprises like that, embedded within the overall plot, which I liked. :3

Writing Style 16/20
- The language you used was really beautiful and vivid. I LOVED your use of colors and the metaphors that were used through out the piece. The emotion was also very strong and the way you wrote for Shay made him seem very real and naivety that you hinted through out was clear and heartwarming in a way as it also was tragic. I'd like to see more concrete descriptions though, because while the metaphors and descriptions were nice, I felt they were overdone. As I said before, there is a lot of flowery language describing Shay's view of the girl but it reoccurred too much. Things like, "The wind blew gently, sending the sounds of summer insects to my ears." were wonderful and you used more concrete imagery towards the end of your piece as it became closer to the climax. I think using more of that in the beginning would be great.
I sensed that in the beginning you were using a lot of flowery imagery about the girl to show the reader how in love Shay was with her but I think if you throw in another "scene" that shows their relationship and convey it through the dialogue, that it'll add more depth and also emphasize that loving connection that you want to be shown.

Spelling and Grammar 7/10
I'm not very good with grammar... at all. However, I did find a lot of punctuation errors such as "wasnt" and "Id" which probably were just typos. Also, I suggest formatting the dialogue instead of leaving it in the block paragraph. I felt at times there were a few running sentences, so just breaking the longer sentences up would help.

Characters 11/15
- I think you did a great job on Shay, especially considering he was new to the world and with that newness, came naivety. His thought process and such were believable and I can't emphasize how MUCH I liked his emotions!
What I'd like to see, is more of a dimension to the girl. While it is fine to see that Shay thinks she's perfect, you can hint at other parts of her through dialogue or her actions. That's difficult to do with first person, but I think you can do it and it'll provide a more believable depth to her. If you don't want to do that (because doing that can sometimes go against the grain of the first person viewer), then I suggest providing more hints to the girl going off and leaving Shay alone and her reactions upon coming back from meeting Justin.

Settings 14/15
- The setting I think was awesome. It had that fantastical feel, yet the hinting at technology gave it a whole new light. The description on the picnic area was well-done as well and made the scene come alive. My only suggestion would to give more detail into technology, because otherwise it seems a little out of place when it isn't mentioned in too great detail. For example, when they heard the rumbling of a machine, I thought it was a tractor. xD

Overall Appreciation 8/10
- I really liked the piece overall- it was just really fun to read for me. I like emotional pieces and I like pieces that don't have a super happy ending, but the characters have a revelation. I also LOVE the final line of the piece. You're a very talented writer and I think for a rough draft, this is an EXCELLENT start. My main suggestions are to give more concrete detail and perhaps give another scene to help show the relationship between the two main characters in a contrasting light.

Total: 77/100

I hope that helps!

Lady Vulpix
5th December 2008, 02:25 PM
I'd rather not have to dissect a story like that when I'm not judging a contest, sorry.

I did enjoy it. It had original characters, a well-described setting, and the emotions were very well depicted. There were, as Kalah pointed out, several spelling and grammar errors. If it helps you, here's a list.

"wasnt" is missing an apostrophe.
"remnents" should be "remnants".
"Its when two people care for each other": "It's" is missing an apostrophe.
"I'm not pretty at all..": is that a perios or an ellipsis? A period is one dot. An ellipsis is 3.
There are a few ellipses with more than 3 dots.
"Im so happy" is missing an apostrophe.
"It was the first time Id ever left the farms I had always called home": a missing apostrophe and I think you meant "farm".
"machenery" should be "machinery".
"reguarded" should be "regarded".
"I didnt" is missing an apostrophe.

Dawn is an interesting character. It's easy to see how much Shay loves her, and why. And it was interesting to see how her condition affected her life, and how she reacted to it. Not much is shown about Justin, but that makes sense because Shay doesn't know much about him, except that he's the 'competition' and the one Dawn loves. Shay is quite surprising. He's managed to learn a lot in very little time! What is he, if I may ask? And by the way, how did he learn about rhyme?

6th December 2008, 07:17 PM
Wow thanks guys for the in depth feedback :O
-Flowery imagery: yeah I do that a lot x.x lol Im not sure how I can change it but Ill do my best to maybe tone it down a bit in my next draft XD
-Grammer: first off I want to say thanks because grammer is not my friend x.x and sometimes I cant spell rofl
I actually went through it and tried to find all the missing apostraphes and put them in but I guess I missed some ^-^() I got in a bad habit of not hitting the apostrophe key because my computer at home when I was learning how to type in middle school had a broken one x.x lol

And Kalah ty for the suggestion about an added scene, I always kinda felt something was missing but I wasnt sure what and I always get afraid to add or take away something because of I might "mess it up" XD but now that you got me thinking of it I have a few extra scene ideas that would be perfect to flesh it out a bit more (and make her inevitable betrayal more heartbreaking lol). so yes ty for your grade and your suggestions :D

And Shay is a Lupegryph, its a species I made up, like a gryphon but instead of half eagle half lion hes half wolf half eagle. Heres the first part of his sign up:
Name: Shayliino Neruff
Race: Lupegryph, like a gryffin only the lion part is replaced by wolf. Though sentient, the vast majority of them arent very smart and therefore sometimes "employed" by humans as transportation. Its rumored that at one time they were the most intellegent race on the planet but long ago something happened to them to make them little more than beasts of burden.
Gender: Male
Age: 3 1\2 (equivalent to humans age 9, they live to be in their 20s at most)
Appearance: Like all Lupegryphs, he has a wolf head and body/back legs, eagle talons for the front paws that end about midway up into feathers that blend with the fur, long eagle wings and a feathered wolf tail. His fur is pure black with the exception of a dark silver stripe down his side and the feathers on him are pure white. Has strange, almost human looking blue eyes. From their shoulder to the ground they are typically 5 foot, but since he is just a child his shoulder only comes up to around 4 foot. Mainly a quadruped but they can sit up on their back paws easily if need be.

Im going to re-do this short and then I may actually continue the story to be a full fic. It depends though because I made this to where it could be free-standing too, if you guys have any suggestions on full-ficdom Id appreciate them because I have a hard time writing long things (by myself anyway) ^-^()

EDIT: as for where he learned what a rhyme was..you got me there, I didnt think of that XD but I have an idea now which will go into one of the new scenes :>

10th December 2008, 11:18 PM
I got a bit confused... What exactly was Shay? Were we meant to know?

Aside from that, I found that I couldn't put it down, so to speak. It was absolutely compelling. I was completely drawn in by the characters and when Shay was so heartbroken, so was I. I didn't like the way Justin spoke to Shay - was he speaking because he knew that Dawn was deaf and couldn't hear him? How come he spoke to Shay when he could've signed to them both?

I really liked this though :)

12th December 2008, 07:50 AM
I really enjoyed the story. Dawn communicating with sign language gives the fic a special dimension, and it's fascinating to see how Shay thinks she's so perfect. And although I knew it was coming, that Dawn would always see Shay as just a friend and find a human partner, the anticipation was heartbreaking. I agree that more facets of Dawn could be shown though -- I get that she was kind and shone like the sun and was perfect, but did she have any little quirks? Any weaknesses? And she was kind to Shay, but how did she act in other aspects? Was she always an angel?

I like this line:

-You're not pretty,- I signed simply. Before the shock could register on her kind face I continued.
-You're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen....-

I'll do a more detailed review when I have the time, but thanks for making me smile!

13th December 2008, 06:33 PM
Thanks for the reviews!!! Im actually revising it now so hopefully in a couple days I can post the revised version of this story :> It will come complete with some more Dawn character development (and her flaws, although we as readers will be the only ones that will see the flaws since for him it would just be something easily forgiven since he loves her).
As far as what Shay is, PancaKe, check the post above yours XD And as far as how much he can learn in so short a time, I was thinking about how to make this more clear in the actual story since when I first wrote it he came complete with an RPG character sheet that told all about him so I didnt really have to develop that part in the story, however there will be a scene in the revision that will help to explain a little more. His species generally only lives to be 20 something so they develop quickly :D

And finally to answer the question about Justin and Dawn communicating:

"Its amazing that you could teach him that," Justin spoke to her, facing her so she could read his lips.
I dont blame you though thats the only time I mention it XD
I really appreciate all the comments and suggestions and Im taking them all into account as I write the second draft, thanks all!!!! ^v^

Mew Master
22nd December 2008, 08:22 AM
I, must say that I really enjoyed this. The emotion that Shay feels can be felt in every word. It's actually reassuring, it drives you for the character. You can almost recall when you have similar feelings of love and joy for another, even immature "puppy love."

There is also a more sublte bond being viewed here. The bond between mother and child. Where Shay views Dawn as a mother figure and yet knows that she isn't but she has shown him so much more kindness than his actually parents did. I feel sorry for Shay, I do, but at the same time, it's nice that he's matured from the experience, as all of us do.

Very nice Asilynne, I did enjoy it. Very few is there a time where reading something, the imagry and scenes stay in my mind for days on end.