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Ragnarok 1: The Last Adler: Book 2: Utgard-Part19

"Little one! Where are you!?"
Burla wiped her hands clean on her apron, while she looked through the door at the courtyard. Falco appeared around the corner, holding a couple of dead rats in his hand.
"Get your butt over here! Give me those dead animals and go to the throneroom! Moorgash wants to see you."
Falco obediently handed his catch over to her and ran through the corridors of the palace to Moorgash' grand throneroom. The huge orc was leisurly sitting on his throne. He looked up when the human boy came in.
"Finally! You sure took your sweet time! That's what you get from staying up late! You no longer have the energy to serve your master in time."
Falco startled. What did Moorgash mean by that remark? Did he know about his nightly raids? Because that was exactly what he had done the previous night. He had stolen some dried food and convenient little things and he had left some of the food at his former page's cage at Butgar's. The rest he had deposited in his secret hide-out. Had Moorgash seen him leave? Perhaps even followed him?
"You're turning white, pup. Why is that? Do you think I summoned you here for some kind of punishment? That's not the case. Although I would like to know what it is exactly that you think I want to punish you for. Have you been naughty?"
Falco shook his head violently.
"No, I guess not", Moorgash said with a sarcastic smile. "Stop shaking your head before it falls off and listen to me. I have something important to tell you. You have been training at Ranto's for more than half a year now. You're not dead yet, so I take it you're not doing too bad. Last month I had you fighting in unarmed combat with goblinprisoners from other tribes en gobis in my Towerarena. And you fought well. In fact, you won all of your fights. Now it's time to scale things up a bit. I'm sending you to the Fightingpit, the grand arena of Utgard."
Falco raised an eyebrow, but showed little other reaction. Showing too much emotion wasn't good. Ranto had taught him better than that in his trainingsessions: never show your enemy how you feel about something and never show anybody, neither foe nor friend, what you are afraid of. They will only use it against you. Ofcourse, that was easier said than done. The Pit... He wondered how different it would be from Moorgash' arena. That place was scary enough as it was, but at least, he had somewhat gotten used to it. COuld the Pit be so different? After all, people died in Moorgash' arena as well. Still, he felt a little sick to his stomach.
"Hey, pup! Are you listening to me! Don't make me smack you to get your attention!"
Falco quickly looked Moorgash in the eye, to make it clear he was listening, without violating the ban on speaking without permission for slaves.
"Mmm, good! Now listen, up! You'll be participating in the Treasurehunt. That's a game, played mostly by slaves, of which the object is to collect as many colored wooden sticks that are spread and hidden on the playing field. Every stick represents a certain amount of gold and silver your owner will get if you can keep them until the end of the game.
Pretty boring, don't you think? That's why we spiced things up a bit. All kinds of traps are hidden all over the playing field. And to make it even more interesting, all competitors can take each other out and steal each other's sticks. The object of the game is not to kill anybody, but it wouldn't be the first time if people started dying anyway. So you better watch out. I'm entering you, a weakling human pup, but others will be entering adult slaves, captured orc or goblin warriors. I advise you to stay out of their way. Nobody is to take weapons with him and nobody wears armor. In fact, everybody wears
the same kind of loincloth in their owner's colors, so there can't be any cheating. In addition you wear a headband and a piece of cloth around your right upper arm, also in your owner's colors.
The game will last until a certain amount of time has passed or until there's only one conscious participant left, whatever happens first. There, that seems pretty clear to me. Any questions?"
Falco thought for a moment. The contest sounded bad, but it could have been much worse, like being released with a pack of wolves in the Pit. At least, people weren't supposed to die, although he hardly doubted they would anyway.
"May I use stuff I find on the playing field as a weapon?" he finally said.
"Good question, little pup. Yes, you can. In fact, there are almost certainly some
unconventional weapons hidden on the field. Usually a couple of clubs, clawgloves, a mace, small handheld crossbows with only one bolt. Those sort of gadgets. Anything else?"
'A crossbow might be nice', he thought, 'but an orcsized club or a mace, I probably won't even be able to carry. And what the hell is a clawglove?'
"You win gold and silver when I do well? What do I get out of it?" he asked the huge orc.
Moorgash stared at him for a moment. Then he raised his hand as if to hit the boy. Falco flinched but didn't take his eye off the warlord. Moorgash held his hand up in the air and then slapped Falco gently on the head, without hurting him.
"Little insolent runt", he said with an amused smile. "What do you get out of it? I have to pay up a lot of gold just to enter you. So do well and you get out of a real trashing if you don't do well or disappoint me in any other way! That's what you get. And the satisfaction of pleasing your master. If I really like what I see, you'll get an extra piece of bacon for your supper. Anything else?"
"No, sir."
"It's lord Moorgash or master to you. Just one more thing. The Pit is something entirely different than my own small Towerarena, pup. It's a lot bigger, a lot meaner and a lot more brutal. Only the biggest assholes fight there. And now, you do too. So get an early night. I'm not giving you any chores tonight. Make sure you are well rested by tomorrow. You'll need all your strength. You may leave."
Falco swallowed a big lump that had suddenly appeared in his troath and, feeling a little weak in the knees, walked to the door that led to the kitchen.
"And when I say, get an early night, I do mean for you to go to sleep early. So if you get a sudden urge to go for a nightly walk, I would suppress it, if I were you."
Falco glanced back at Moorgash for a second, again frightened by the warlord's insinuations, and quickly slipped through the door. He would have to be a lot more careful if he wanted to go on nightly raids in the future. It was strange however that Moorgash hardly seemed to care about it. Maybe he thought he was just stealing some extra food to eat. He probably would react differently if he knew about the hide-out. Moorgash probably didn't mind as long as his work didn't suffer and he didn't steal from the warlord himself. He decided then and there he would never steal from Moorgash or Ranto, with the only exception being the witchdoctor's skull.
Warlord Moorgash informs his slaveboy about his first entry into the Pit.
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Critique by agramuglia Aug 9, 2012, 7:44:08 AM
Now, as I understand it, this is just part of a larger story, so I'm going to try critiquing this as a chapter, and as just a stand-alone piece.

Now, as part of the larger whole, I can tell this fits in nicely. It moves at a brisk pace, and exists to push the plot forward. Even though I don't know what preceded or proceeds this, I can at least tell it seems to have led up to this point, and I can see where the plot is going from here in a good way.

As a stand-alone piece, it still works. The characters are defined entirely by their dialogue and behavior. Falco really seems defined by his lack of dialogue, while Moorgash is defined entirely by his larger than life, dominating dialogue. It develops and captures the characters in a very memorable way very quickly. I felt I knew these people by the second time Moorgash spoke.

Now, it's brief and fast paced, and never lingers. This is good and bad. It's good in that we get a lot of info very quickly, which helps make a fast--and enjoyable--read, but I have no idea what anything looks like. Maybe this was covered in previous chapters, and, if it was, disregard this criticism. Still, at first, I thought Falco was a blue falcon-humanoid armed with a gun who flew around in space with his anthropomorphic fox friend. Or a dog.

The lack of description can be good if you want to stick to a fast-paced story, but it might help to describe things briefly just so we as the readers always have an idea what's going on.

Still, I liked it. A lot. ^_^
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TheFS Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Well written, I think. It's only a short chapter, and I guess it sets up what is going to happen next.

It's hard to tell about character, at least for Moorgash - I know very little about him. He's an orc, right? Shouldn't he be a little more vile/disgusting? This is only based on what a stereotypical orc is; yours might be different.

My biggest question, is what does Falco think about being entered into this Pit? He doesn't really seem to have any reaction. Why is he more scared that Moorgash might find out what happened last night than being entered into this competition where there is a high chance he will die?

Linking this into what ~agramuglia said about maybe adding a little description... there might be a good opportunity to work in both of these ideas.
As Moorgash is explaining things, you can switch the narrative to and from the battlefield. So, say Moorgash is describing the weapons, Falco can imagine inside his head the crossbows/maces being used. It gives us a chance to see how he feels about them, being more descriptive, while not slowing down the pace. I do exactly this is a far far future chapter, at the start of my second book ([link] - it's half way through, but if you don't want spoilers, then don't read it!)
Walt-Marsters Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012
Thanks for the feedback. I can see your point. If you don't really know what happened before each and every one of the points you make are valid. But a lot of things have happened in previous chapters, making a lot clear that you can't really know if you read this piece by itself.
As you already guessed, Moorgash is somewhat of a different orc. Most of his people are indeed vile and dusgusting and he is certainly harsh and merciless. But he is also very unorthodox and seems to surround himself with unorthodox orcs and goblins. Just as a little piece of background: The world I created lives in the age of Ragnarok. An everlasting war between good and evil. It can't end because the gods have made it so. Otherwise, if it ends, the world could be destroyed physically. However...Fate wasn't happy with this perversion of the original plan for the world. So it was prophesied that someone would come who would break the stalemate and end Ragnarok, creating a completely different world, dominated by either good or evil. They just don't know if he's good or bad. This being, a human with an elvensoul is called the Hyrvaen Skemdar.
This being has arrived now. As a consequence, within many races, people may potentially start to behave different from the stereotype. Moorgash is one of those "different" beings, preparing his people for the great changes that are to come (that's why he builds a city). The more he interacts with this "Hyrvaen Skemdar" the more he can become "different". I'm not sure I'm explaining this correctly.

As for Falco not being afraid of the Pit, you're right. I should try to get something in there about that. I'll have a look at it. You should know, however, that he has already had a little practice in the private arena of Moorgash and he doesn't quite realise how bad it is going to be.
He is more afraid of bein caught at night, because that would be about as lethal as going to the Pit. A slave caught stealing at night by an orc, would probably be killed on the spot. And even if by some miracle, he wasn't killed but taken to Moorgash, all his efforts to prepare for his escape would be lost. Moorgash would force him to reveal his secret hiding place and he would probably never be able to find another one. Never being able to escape, scares him most of all. Fighting is slowly becoming second nature and doesn't scare him that much any more.
I also didn't want to elaborate much more on the fight or have him imagine a lot because there's a big chaotic action packed chapter all about that. I thought it might spoil that a bit. :-)
So, in conlusion, not too much description of the characters, because they are quite clear from the previous chapters and not much description of future fights, because they are in chapters yet to come. But I will look at it once more and see if I can't add a thing or two as you suggested. ;-)
TheFS Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
What you tried to explain seems clear to me at least. It's an interesting idea, and I can't wait to see how it'll play out =)
Walt-Marsters Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012
Thank you. I know it sounds confusing, but I always find it difficult to put the idea on paper.
Btw, I took your advice and changed a couple of things in the chapter. Hope you like them!
namenameone Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hey, thanks for submitting to the Critique Folder of :iconfantasyauthorsguild:. :)

"I advice you..." Change that "c" to a "s".

"That sort..." Change "that" into "those" for plural tense.

This is a really good piece, I like it a lot. :) The word choice is nice, the flow is lovely, and the characters are compelling. Well done indeed. ^^
Walt-Marsters Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012
Thanks a lot for your kind advice. I'll make the necessary updates asap. Glad that you liked it!
namenameone Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
You're welcome. ^^
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