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Ahkmou

poem Ahkmou Okoth comet plague

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#1 Offline LewaLew

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Posted Oct 20 2012 - 02:06 PM

"Ahkmou"A great many years ago,A great many ages.The Great Spirit's islecradled his nation.The brave Toa Metruwho vanquished Makutahad built this new refugethis tree-riddled haven.But the black brother's evil,is never suppressed.Though his dark arts were stayedone stone-carver was lost.The monster's dank cavern,was where he fell aside.And the fear-peddler found himand sold him his wares."The turaga have left you.Here with the sea-beasts."The false savior lied,"But I give you my help.""Follow my cause,give word of my enemyAnd I avenge youof the vile deserters."And on that day,the gullible villager,the foolish stone-carversold his life to the monster.For centuries onward,he lived in the village,his pact with the devilall but forgotten.The wicked beast-masterstayed hidden for years.His messenger cameto peddle his fear.The Great Spirit's symbol,he wore on his face,scarred by the workof the black brother's hand.His armor was rustedlike his mask it was worn.Blighted his spirit, sincethe same marks it bore.The fear-peddler's prophetcame to restring his puppet.And remind him his bargainwas never complete.So Ahkmou cameto the present day,knowing the dark heraldwas never away.He sold his trinkets, knickknacks, and toyswhile informing the courierof the elder's deeds.But his spirit was light.The villain's visits were short,His mind seldom thought ofthe dark angel's bargain.He met a friendin the village of water,A right cheerful lady, of his own occupation.He first met the ladywhen he left his dark masterin the land now protectedby the sea-queen, named Gali.The Turaga greeted him,his alleged betrayer,and brought him to the village,to rest and revive."To Po-Koro" she said,was where he should go.To the village of Pohatu,the great stone-titan's realm.But a boat he would need,and a boat they had not.And the great whale-road's surfacewas the only way out.Though at first he was spiteful,for what the Turaga once did,His stone heart soon softened,and he doubted the villain.The sea-people were kind,and bore no ill will.So he followed their plan,and accepted their aid.To find the supplies,to build the wave-skimmer,he entered the shopof the sea-people's vendor.The lady was joy-filledwhen he entered her storefor stone-carvers hardlytraveled this far."Okoth's my name"her smile shone brightand waved towards her sales-stockand mentioned their price.He asked her questionsconcerning her store.Enjoying her voiceand the skills of the trade.For the next week coming,he returned every dayMore for her smilethan for boat-parts he came.They finished the boat,and he sailed to the desert,though for centuries later,he would make return visits.But for each time he saw Okoth,the herald came twice.For each moment of pleasurehe was recompensed evil.When the Toa first came,the great titans of legend,The messenger came withhis most dark proposition."The light-bringers come.Your debt still unpaid,but the black brother requestsone last payment today."Ahkmou stood tall,this was the dayto be free for all timefrom the fear-peddler's pact.His poorly made bargain,would now lay to rest,he would forgive the Turaga,and abhor the beast-master."The black brother's darknessmust extinguish the light.You must peddle his poisonto be free from his chains."No, he could not!Ahkmou fretted within.The mage-monster's poisonwas too great a sin.But if there was a curesome health-giving herb,Perhaps he could save hisfriends and his kind.Then he could livepure, whole, and good,but still, the price seemedtoo treach'rous for him.But If he rejected the offer,he would still be a slave.He could not live full honest,to his people and friends."Will they survive?"He asked he dark prophet."Of course," he replied"As Makuta does wish it.""How will I do it?"He asked of the mage."With kohlii balls tainted within by the plague."Ahkmou agreed,justifying his crimefor his redemption was hungin the balance this time.He crafted a sphere thatwas light, tough, and quick,that his sport-loving brotherswould find best for the game.He made many othersand gathered them plenty,to store in the caveof a dark monster's living.The scorpion's poisoninfected the spheres,which Ahkmou then soldbetraying his brothers.The stone-village fell sickthe greatest bedriddenby the dark villain's poisonand by Ahkmou's dark bargain.He left for a timein he peak of the plague,to sooth his consciencewith a visit to Okoth.He arrived at the village,to find the shop closed.He stopped a boat-builderto ask what 'twas the cause."She fell ill this past week,after a game of Kohlii,with your new Comet ballsthat she bought from a traveler."Ahkmou rushed to the shop,and broke open the door.And smote his chestfor the evil he caused.He leaned down to his friendand confessed in her earthe dark plague he had causedfor the black brother's pact.She wimpered, unspeaking,and he rushed from the hut,entering the cavewhere his bargain was struck."Come out, come out!Heal me my friends!Curse me for my part,but spare all of them."The cavern was silent,'til a hollow sound creakedthe black brother emergedand his darkness creeped.But wait! This was the herald,not the master he sought."Where's the dark master?"Ahkmou did shout.But a shudder did follow,as he heard him speakwith the voice of the villain,dark, grating, and deep."There is high costto low living." the dark devil said."I peddled my fear, andyou purchased my wares.""You are less than a maggot," the black brother laughed."One way or another,my plan would stand fast."Ahkmou softly stammered,but all words would be naught.The crime was his own,but his friends paid the cost."The plot's been uncovered."The black brother warned."Now you are an exile,from all those concerned."The demon then vanished,leaving Ahkmou alone,the poor, fearful fool,again lost, all his own.

Edited by LewaLew, Oct 20 2012 - 04:03 PM.

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#2 Offline Taipu1

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Posted Oct 20 2012 - 04:21 PM

This really makes you feel for Ahkmou, I suppose thinking about the situation he was in is not the first thing you would do. I liked the addition of Okoth as something more for him to lose. This perspective of Ahkmou being a victim doesn't fully stand up with his actions outside of 2001 storyline though. Still, you definitely put a lot of time into it, and it paid off. I liked the format of a poem. I'm not a regular to Short Stories, I came because this was on the New topics list, and just from the title it could have been a MOC or something. Not disappointed by it though, well worth reading. :)

Edited by Taipu1, Oct 20 2012 - 04:22 PM.

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#3 Offline ChroXumo

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Posted Oct 20 2012 - 07:19 PM

Very interesting, and I agree with Taipu1 about the perspective. I like how some of it rhymed, and I certainly have no problem with free verse, but the two sort of clash here, in my opinion. Anyway, great poem. :D
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#4 Offline LewaLew

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Posted Oct 20 2012 - 07:48 PM

This really makes you feel for Ahkmou, I suppose thinking about the situation he was in is not the first thing you would do. I liked the addition of Okoth as something more for him to lose. This perspective of Ahkmou being a victim doesn't fully stand up with his actions outside of 2001 storyline though. Still, you definitely put a lot of time into it, and it paid off. I liked the format of a poem. I'm not a regular to Short Stories, I came because this was on the New topics list, and just from the title it could have been a MOC or something. Not disappointed by it though, well worth reading. :)

I don't think it conflicts. After the '04-'05 story, Ahkmou lost his memory. And after the Po-Koro Epidemic, he wasn't seen again until MNOG II, and seemed to just be a simple trader. I would imagine that this poem fits in line with that. And actually, I only spent about an hour on it, with most of the time being spent tweaking the meter of the poem.

Very interesting, and I agree with Taipu1 about the perspective. I like how some of it rhymed, and I certainly have no problem with free verse, but the two sort of clash here, in my opinion. Anyway, great poem. :biggrin:

I was worried about that. At one point, I was deliberately trying not to make it rhyme, but I figured it wouldn't hurt, necessarily. I gave up though, as I decided that some lines were stronger when they did rhyme, like that last stanza. Most of the time, I only use assonance, though.I did try to make use of kennings, however, particularly when referring to Makuta. I liked the effect they had when I read an abridged translation of Beowulf.EDIT: I counted. I rhymed four times, although one of those times might be a stretch. The heavy majority is still free verse. Although, come to think of it, I think free verse is actually only distinguishable from prose in that it is written in lines and stanzas. "Ahkmou" has meter, so that might move it farther towards the poetry side of the spectrum than free verse.

Edited by LewaLew, Oct 20 2012 - 08:59 PM.

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#5 Offline Yukiko

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Posted Oct 22 2012 - 10:11 PM

EDIT: I counted. I rhymed four times, although one of those times might be a stretch. The heavy majority is still free verse. Although, come to think of it, I think free verse is actually only distinguishable from prose in that it is written in lines and stanzas. "Ahkmou" has meter, so that might move it farther towards the poetry side of the spectrum than free verse.

Free verse is usually distinguishable from prose. It is considered a type of poetry, and can have rhyme and meter. It usually is not as organized as form poems, but you have to keep and mind that there really are different degrees of organization. Sonnets don't always follow their strict iambic organization either. Then you have prose poetry, which is organized in paragraphs but is written with poetic ideas in mind.It is all very subjective, so don't worry to much about what your poem is.

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#6 Offline Velox

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Posted Oct 27 2012 - 03:33 AM

Official SSCC ReviewI'm afraid my review won't be as positive as the other reviews. Honestly, I had a hard time going through this. I will, however, try to explain why, and how you can rectify this in the future. I wasn't the biggest fan of poetry until this semester I took a creative writing class that has an emphasis on poetry, and I have since found myself enjoying it. This is the first poem I have critiqued outside of class, so hopefully I can bring some of the insight I have gotten from my class and present it to you. To begin with, because I printed your poem out and ended up writing a lot of comments on it, I'll go stanza-by-stanza pointing things out, and at the end I'll wrap-up with the main things that I think need work. I figure that'll be the best way to get my thoughts clearly to you, and I apologize in advance for likely repeating myself (I will, however, try not to say things that I know I'll be saying at the end). I'm also tired and trying to wrap this review up quickly, so if I sound harsh I don't mean to -- I'm just saying things as quickly as possible.

A great many years ago,A great many ages.The Great Spirit's islecradled his nation.

Sometimes repetition is good in poetry, but I didn't feel it fit here. Mostly because the rhythm/style set by the first two lines isn't used again -- it just doesn't fit with the way the rest of the poem is written. For the second two lines, I'm not really a fan of "cradled" -- it just sounds awkward there to me, even if it technically fits.

But the black brother's evil,is never suppressed.Though his dark arts were stayedone stone-carver was lost.

I think a different word would be better than "evil" -- doesn't really flow well. Perhaps "malice"? And "one stone-carver was lost" seemed off, too, just not fitting with the rest very well (particularly the line before).

The monster's dank cavern,was where he fell aside.And the fear-peddler found himand sold him his wares.

I'm not sure how you can "fall aside" something.

The wicked beast-masterstayed hidden for years.His messenger cameto peddle his fear.

"beast-master" just doesn't sound very good to me. I'd replace it with something else.

His armor was rustedlike his mask it was worn.Blighted his spirit, sincethe same marks it bore.

I'm not sure what you mean by "like his mask it was worn"...you're saying that his mask is worn like his armor.

So Ahkmou cameto the present day,knowing the dark heraldwas never away.

I'd remove "he came to the present day" -- doesn't really make sense unless he's a time-traveller.

He sold his trinkets,knickknacks, and toyswhile informing the courierof the elder's deeds.

I'd remove the comma after "knickknacks" -- poems don't need to follow proper punctuation (and usually don't). In fact, for poetry punctuation is most often used for pauses, and much more so than prose. But here you really don't want a pause between those two.

But his spirit was light.The villain's visits were short,His mind seldom thought ofthe dark angel's bargain.

The first two lines are all right, but the second two lines just didn't flow well -- seemed to just be a sentence broken in half. Also, I'd use something else besides "dark angel" -- I don't really think it fits here.

But a boat he would need,and a boat they had not.And the great whale-road's surfacewas the only way out.

Okay, few things wrong with this stanza that really, really stood out. The first two lines are just incredibly awkward, written too much like some sort of sing-songy nursery rhyme or something -- I don't know, hard to explain, but it just sounded really off. The third line just didn't fit with the style of the rest of the poem at all (the use of the kenning), and the fourth line just stood out. I guess because it's repetitive, considering that we already know the ocean is the only way to go.

To find the supplies,to build the wave-skimmer,he entered the shopof the sea-people's vendor.

The wording of this was awkward, too archaic.

"Okoth's my name"her smile shone brightand waved towards her sales-stockand mentioned their price.

"her smile shone bright" could've been a good place to use a metaphor or simile, but then again, I'm not sure that really would've fit the rest of the poem. Either way, I think it might just be better to say "smiled brightly" or something. Also, I'd changed "mentioned" to "stated".

He asked her questionsconcerning her store.Enjoying her voiceand the skills of the trade.

"he asked her questions concerning her store" -- again, awkward wording.

For the next week coming,he returned every dayMore for her smilethan for boat-parts he came.

The last two lines were awkward, and slightly corny in the way they were written.

"The light-bringers come.Your debt still unpaid,but the black brother requestsone last payment today."

The grammar here was a little wonky. I think you're missing an "is" between "debt" and "still".

"The black brother's darknessmust extinguish the light.You must peddle his poisonto be free from his chains."

I'd use something other than "peddle".

But if there was a curesome health-giving herb,Perhaps he could save hisfriends and his kind.

The last two lines here just seemed to be a sentence cut in half.

Then he could livepure, whole, and good,but still, the price seemedtoo treach'rous for him.

I'd keep it "treacherous" to fit the style of the poem.

But If he rejected the offer,he would still be a slave.He could not live full honest,to his people and friends.

"If" should be uncapitalized. "Full honest" is too archaic; again not fitting with the style of the poem.

"Will they survive?"He asked he dark prophet."Of course," he replied"As Makuta does wish it."

@ the last line...is that really how he talks? It seemed to be way too formal and archaic.

"How will I do it?"He asked of the mage."With kohlii balls tainted within by the plague."

Should just be "he asked the mage", but I'm not sure that mage really fits here -- kinda a stretch for Bionicle. And the last two lines are again too...sing-songy. I'll try to explain this more at the end.

He made many othersand gathered them plenty,to store in the caveof a dark monster's living.

Verbing? "Living" doesn't fit here.

The stone-village fell sickthe greatest bedriddenby the dark villain's poisonand by Ahkmou's dark bargain.

I'd put a dash at the end of "poison" and remove the "and" of the last line, as well as a semi-colon after "sick" so it's:The stone-village fell sick;the greatest bedriddenby the dark villain's poison--by Ahkmou's dark bargain.I think it's stronger that way.

He left for a timein he peak of the plague,to sooth his consciencewith a visit to Okoth.

Missing a "t" in the second line for "he".

He arrived at the village,to find the shop closed.He stopped a boat-builderto ask what 'twas the cause.

The last line is grammatically incorrect -- "'twas" is a contraction for "it was", so the line reads as "to as what it was the cause". But, 'twas doesn't really fit here at all, so I'd just remove the 't and leave it as "...what was the cause" (although this stanza, too, is worded awkwardly). (I have gone over the allowed number of quote boxes, so the rest will be bolded): Ahkmou rushed to the shop,and broke open the door.And smote his chestfor the evil he caused.This stanza seemed comedic to me. Him breaking down a door (because, yes, he's that strong), and then hitting his chest like King Kong. I'd start by replacing "smote" with "struck" or "hit" or something, but really the whole stanza is just awkward. He leaned down to his friendand confessed in her earthe dark plague he had causedfor the black brother's pact.The last thing we heard about her was that she fell ill...implying that she was in bed at home or something, yet now she's just suddenly in the shop. "Come out, come out!Heal me my friends!Curse me for my part,but spare all of them."Don't need the "me" in the second line. The cavern was silent,'til a hollow sound creakedthe black brother emergedand his darkness creeped.I'd remove "darkness creeped" -- it sounds, by the way it's written, that it's meant to mean creeped as in, a creepy guy "creeping". But wait! This was the herald,not the master he sought."Where's the dark master?"Ahkmou did shout.Last line doesn't fit the style of the poem. The demon then vanished,leaving Ahkmou alone,the poor, fearful fool,again lost, all his own.Missing an "on" between "all" and "his". ---------------- Okay, so...let me see if I can summarize the main issues with this. Apologies if things don't sound clear, I'm really tired at the moment. But, basically, I think there are 6 main problems with this poem:
  • Repetitive wording
  • Terminology doesn't fit well with Bionicle
  • Grammar issues
  • Forced archaisms
  • Haphazard use of rhyme; and
  • The overall style/prose of the poem.
Now, to go into more detail with this:1. Repetitive wording. There were several words/phrases that really, really stood out, and were used quite often, when they shouldn't've been used at all, or at most, once. "Black brother", "fear-peddler", "peddler", "beast-master", "fear-peddler", "monster", "fear-peddler", "black brother", et cetera, to name a few (yes, black brother and fear-peddler really stood out). Always keep in mind that in poetry, every single word counts. That's both the blessing and curse of poetry, you could say. Personally, it's one of the things I love most about poetry. But, be that as it may, point is here that you gotta remember to pay close attention to words. Especially words that stand out. For example, "peddler" isn't all that common of a word, yet when you use it ten times, it just stands out even more -- in a bad way, unfortunately. I know it's hard to come up with synonyms sometimes when referring to certain characters, but just try to keep this in mind. Using words that don't stand out as much would be better, as well as trying to use more variety. 2. Terminology doesn't fit well with Bionicle. The kenning usage, for example, "mage", "dark angel", etc. There were just certain things here that seemed really forced, especially for a Bionicle poem. 3. Grammar issues. This was something that really stood out in some places. Part of the problem, actually, was the use of correct grammar. Poetry often ignores a lot of rules of grammar, but for this poem there seemed to be an awkward inbalance between proper grammar and improper. Like I mentioned earlier, keep in mind punctuation -- it's not always needed, and is almost always used for a specific reason. This also goes to the overall style of the poem. Shorter lines make for a longer read. The shorter the line, the more the poem is slowed down. Punctuation also helps with this, and the pace of the poem is set through the use of caesura and enjambment, the former being a pause within a line (created through internal punctuation), and the latter being carrying over an idea to the next line (i.e., whenever there's not a period at the end of a line, it's enjambment). A new stanza should be made when there is a new image or idea or a shift in time. Similarly, the pace is very important for a poem, and punctuation sets that pace. If there are a lot of line breaks and punctuation, the poem will read slowly. If there's not, the poem will read more quickly. So, what I'm getting at here is that you should be careful when using punctuation -- it slows down the poem, and therefore, if you're using it in the middle of a line, make sure it's for a good reason. Now, the other problem was simply the incorrect grammar. I pointed out most of the single-issues, I think, but there were a few repeated mistakes, namely with the dialogue. Consider the following sentences:"Can we go to the park?" he asked. "I think we should go to the park," he said, pointing to a picture of the park on the wall."I think we should go to the park." He pointed to a picture of the park on the wall. He said, "I think we should go to the park."He pointed to the picture on the wall. "We should go to the park.""I think we should go to the park," he said, "and play basketball."...yes, creative, I know. =P But hopefully that makes sense. Basically, if you have "he said", then inside the quotation marks is always a comma, and the "he said" is always uncapitalized, as the "he said" is considered part of the sentence, even if the sentence is finished. However, if you don't say any variation of "he said", then you would use a period and capitalized the next letter. Of course, let me know if you have any questions, but I noticed a few mistakes on this throughout the poem, and it stood out because it seemed like you were trying to use proper grammar throughout, but things were inconsistent. 4. Forced Archaisms. As I think I may have mentioned earlier, throughout the poem you seemed to force in "old-style" language at certain points, which really just didn't fit the rest of the poem. Beowulf is awesome, but unless the whole poem is written that way, that type of language shouldn't be used. 5. Haphazard use of rhyme. I think this was one of the main problems with the poem. Almost every new stanza I felt like you were setting it up to rhyme, but then it never came. I think that, in this case, the poem would've definitely worked better with a rhyme-scheme, but with just a few rhymes placed here and there, and the overall style of the poem, it felt a little awkward. Yukiko's right -- you don't have to worry about what you poem is. As my Creative Writing professor says, "Fiction writers break the rules all the time." And that's okay. However, you have to pay attention to whether or not the rhyme fits the style, and vice versa. Here, the style repeatedly seem to set itself up for rhyme, yet there was hardly any. I think because it was such a fixed poem (the very neat quatrains), and simply the way it was written, really would've worked better with rhyme. Otherwise, I think you should stray away from worrying about the fixed form, and make it even more free verse, as this is definitely what it is, but almost like a fixed free verse. I don't know, it's hard to explain, but in summary things were just very awkward throughout. 6. The overall style of the poem. To me, this poem felt extremely prose-like, as if you took a short story and chopped it up into neat little quatrains. Now, having a prose poem isn't necessarily a bad thing. Just, again, I didn't feel like it fit here, and it was done awkwardly. I'd try to pay attention more to this being a poem than a story. Yes, tell a story, but tell it as a poem, rather than a formed-short story. And, getting back to what I mentioned a couple times earlier about the sing-song-y-ness of the poem, I think that was one of the major drawbacks. For some reason, while I was reading the whole poem, I just couldn't get "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" out of my head. This poem just read very similarly to that for me. And I'm sorry to say that I'm not entirely sure why. It was definitely because of the style the poem was written in, but I'm not really sure how you would change that to make it different, unfortunately. =/ While I am unfortunately not as read-up on canon as I would like, I asked a couple other people and I was told that this is pretty accurate, so well-done there. It's always cool to see canon events portrayed differently, creatively (in a poem, for example). And that is something that I definitely support. I'm sorry I do not have as much praise as I would like, but I do think this poem definitely needs a lot of work. The sheer size of it is impressive, however, and as I said, I definitely like the idea of telling a story as a poem or other creative ways. By no means do I think that you should stop writing, or even stop writing poetry. Rather, just try to take this advice to your next poem, because I know you can do better. There will always be a story or two that didn't turn out as we had hoped, but that should definitely not be taken as a sign to stop writing or to give up -- rather, quite the opposite. Use it to better yourself as a writer, because every single writer can become better, and no writer is perfect. Just keep it up, and I'm sure you'll go far. I really hope this review was helpful, and I apologize again if anything is unclear -- please let me know if it is, and I'll try to clear it up at a time that I'm not sure tired and drained of energy. Keep writing, and good luck with all your future endeavors!Posted Image

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#7 Offline LewaLew

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Posted Oct 27 2012 - 10:30 PM

Well, you've essentially listed out every reason I don't write poetry. :P Nonfiction is much more my style, and poetry is so far from that, I've never tried to write it. (Well, outside of comedic stuff) However, a couple of those issues I would disagree with. I didn't want it to really seem like a BIONICLE story, but rather something like a fairy tale, so that's why I used terms that don't work with BIONICLE, and also that admittedly forced archaic phrases and words. While I don't consider the non-BIONICLE terminology to be a problem, I would like to know how you would suggest I acquire the archaic effect without the inconsistency. (Of course, I'm not going to write the whole thing like Beowulf. I can't even understand a translation without a footnote every two words. :P )The grammar I can understand. Like I said, I'm more of a prose guy, and this is the first poem I've written that goes past eight lines. The rhymes I've talked about before. I would have liked to make everything rhyme, but I have a bad habit of being unable to rhyme in a serious poem. I've tried. It always changes into something silly.And as for the style. I specifically tried this for the sake of attempting a poem, and I just don't do the philosophical stuff that poems do. I figured the only way I was going to do this is by making it something of a ballad. Perhaps sometime, I'll convert this into a short story, but for now, I'll just leave this experiment behind.Thanks for the review, and I take it at the very least, you liked the story. Fortunately, I take comfort in the fact that those of us who don't care/know about the various rules of poetry still seemed to enjoy it. After all, this was just a venture into the world of poetry. But I think I'll just stay away from it. I like writing prose much more, and nonfiction more than that.EDIT: And in response to the stanza with him busting through the door: Yeah, the "smote his chest" part was part of the archaic expressions and that sort of thing, but breaking the door isn't too much of a stretch. Their houses are made of lily pads, for heaven's sake. :P

Edited by LewaLew, Oct 28 2012 - 09:19 PM.

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#8 Offline LockmanCapulet

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Posted Mar 14 2013 - 06:48 PM

Dang it, you had to go and make me feel for Ahkmou. XD Very, very well done, sir. I liked the use of kennings and archaic terms.


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