Pick... this... apart!

Well, my writer’s course is nearing its end of the year, and for that we have to finish a portfolio with two stories, two pieces of our own choice, and one story about our writing and reading during our lives so far. So, I need some things looked upon. I need constructive critisism for this, so be ass-holes or angels whatever you wish :slight_smile: I might present it all or just bits, but this is the one thing I’m most insecure about, since I never really write poetry. Okay, here we go.

Prayer of a Firstborn

My dearest father
You who brought me up with warm care by my mother’s side
a source of laughter
a source of answers
flesh of my flesh
and blood of my blood
I am your first daughter
and child,
seed of your love
My dearest father,
source of security
Among the thousand things to thank you for
I have but one request
A simple thing that will save the eyes I call mine
the eyes of my mother
the eyes of my sister
from tears
My prayer is but a handful of words
Only a moment of your life
With all my daughterly love,
I hope that
you will heed my wish:

(pretend this empty space is the same as turning the page, okay?)


There, comments?

Like a Greeting Card. :wink:

Poetry-wise, there’s a lot of allusion to itself, or repetition without repeating [huh?] which is what makes poetry good and fun.

“a source of laughter”
“a source of answers”


“the eyes of my mother”
“the eyes of my sister”

for example, ‘sound’ similar in terms of meter and relative position to the repeated “my dearest father” line. Which, by the way, I’m reading as the first lines of two separate stanzas, and I might recommend putting in a space to break them as such. Separating them like that, you could them put them side to side for comparison if, say, you wanted to tighten up the meter/flow of the poem’s stanzas and bring them into sync with each other [then again, you might not want to, I dunno. That’s my authorial compulsion, not yours. ;)]

I might separate out the actual prayer too, into a third segment (not really a stanza, more of what would be called a chorus or a bridge if this were a song, I suppose).

And definitely leave the last line in bold face on the next page. That’s great. :wink:

Thanks Kaiser, that’s just the stuff I want to hear :slight_smile: Glad you like, too. I’ll look things over in a while, seeing if I get any more opinions.
Now meter is not my strong side so I just go along as I feel it. I’m definitely keeping the bold stuff on the second page, that was the idea that got me writing it :slight_smile: I thought it up the other day when dad and I were in the car and he kept calling people while he was driving. It drives me nuts. :stuck_out_tongue:

That is a superb ending. You still impress me with your sense of humor.

Hahaha very touching indeed:p I can just imagine saying that

Originally posted by Weiila
[B I thought it up the other day when dad and I were in the car and he kept calling people while he was driving. It drives me nuts. :stuck_out_tongue: [/b]

As well it should.


Update, slight edit, nothing fancy. How’s this for an improvement/not so good improvement?

Prayer of a Firstborn

My dearest father
You who brought me up
by my mother’s side
a source of laughter
a source of answers
flesh of my flesh
and blood of my blood
I am your first daughter
and child,
seed of your love

My dearest father,
source of security
Among the thousand things to thank you for
I have but one request
A simple thing that will save the eyes I call mine
the eyes of my mother
the eyes of my sister
from tears

My prayer is but a handful of words
Only a moment of your life
With all my daughterly love,
I hope that
you will heed my wish:

(turn the page…)


:smiley: :smiley: :smiley: It’s a real bomb!

Okay, second thing I need opinions on. It’s a shortstory. Just give me any crap or hints you think should be worked on, the deadline is tomorrow. sighs I am so damn late… anyway… title suggestion would be very welcome too!

Jeri slipped through the shadows, moving as fast as she could when she had to pass the dim lamplight and the matted shine from some of the windows.
The night was silent and she was fully set on keeping it that way, moving down the street without a sound. For every movement she made, she listened intently for the slightest noise.
Chilly night winds stroke along her slick body, but she was since birth prepared for lower temperatures. It wasn’t the world’s breath that caused the chill in her every bone. Even if her heart raced she felt cold, and as she nervously stopped in a dark corner of the street she noted that her legs were trembling.
‘Calm… stay calm…’ she thought, taking in slow, deep breaths to bring her mind and body in order.
The world was silent. By now most of the lamps in the windows had been turned out, even though there were a few left. The problem was the streetlamps and their deadly wish to let their light play on her fine, dark gray hair.
Worriedly looking around at the dangerous light Jeri prayed to whatever god that happened to be awake that a falling tree somewhere would break an important cable. She needed the darkness!
But the weak breeze would hardly be enough for such a miracle.
Sighing, she looked ahead.
The street was empty, but that didn’t make her feel much safer. She’d have to cross it, and there would be no shadows to hide her out there, not until she got to the other side.
Taking in one last breath and straining her ears to the outmost, she moved her feet into a better position and then broke into a dash across the concrete river.
Skidding into a halt behind one of the trees on the opposite half of the street, she tried to release some of the tension to be able to move again. The giant plants offered more safety, so she could feel a little more relaxed.
On the other hand, others could hide in the branches as well… that was one thing she tried not to think about. Attempting to shrug off some of the worries she hurried on.
The whispering leaves high above her added to Jeri’s feeling of frail security; they blocked a lot of the streetlamps’ halos. She was very grateful of that.
Still she hardly planned on letting her defenses down. She wasn’t exactly moving on safe grounds.
All her tension was answered by the sudden sound of heavy feet. She jumped and spun around, trying to tell what it was that was coming at her. But her eyes could do her no good since the sound approached from a small side street. A dark, wooden fence shrouded who or whatever was approaching.
There was no way Jeri could tell whether it was a friend or foe, and she could not afford taking chances. Quickly she leaped at the nearest tree and swiftly clung upwards into its crown.
But in her haste to flee, she forgot that if she was spotted it wouldn’t be easy to get away from such a position. But it was too late when that realization hit her, all she could do then was to curl up on a branch and pray. Her eyes nervously peeked downwards at the street.
A huge figure lurched through the shadows, the view and poor light mocking even her sight. She couldn’t tell if it was anyone she knew.
The muscular shadow moved closer and closer towards the tree, Jeri’s cowering mind only able to grasp the faltering security in the fact that he wouldn’t be able to climb the tree. But that weak hope was battling the fact that if he noticed her, there would be others that <I>could</I> get a hold of her if need be.
The shadow stopped.
Every single hair on Jeri’s neck sprung up on its end in horror.
For every turn of the big head, every thundering snort, her muscles constricted and she crawled into a tighter and tighter knot.
Dark eyes glistened in the unnatural illumination, unstoppable on their journey towards her hiding place.
She could hardly breathe.
“Hey,” a strong, warmly growling voice said.
Jeri gave a half strangled cry and her grasp dug deeply into the skin of the tree.
The relief had almost caused her to loose her grip as the tension zapped away from her muscles.
“Oh, it’s you!” she whispered, gasping for air as she fought to collect herself.
“Young Jeri, is it? Do you need help to get down?” the growling voice wondered.
She looked down at the ground for the first time. The lowest branch was about five feet from the pavement.
“Yes, please,” she gratefully said as this realization was reached.
The shadow turned straight at the tree, and with a grunt he rose up on his hind legs, placing the front paws on the trunk.
“Careful now,” he said, but didn’t sound too worried.
“Of course,” Jeri promised.
She took in a deep breath to fully regain control of her slightly trembling body again. Then she leaped, skillfully aiming. Landing on the thick neck she forced her claws to stay inside of her paws, sliding down the warm back to the street. Wohan moved down into a more natural stance as she reached the ground, but he was still towering high above Jeri as he did so.
“Thank you, Wohan,” she said, bowing her head gratefully.
“Not a problem, little one.”
His voice was kind, but as he continued it became concerned.
“But what are you doing here now? And why so fearful?”
Her eyes worriedly flickered.
“Looking for Arec, but…”
Her voice trailed off.
“I see,” Wohan finally said, slowly, “follow me.”
As he moved it was at a unhurried pace, considerate of her much smaller size. Jeri didn’t voice her gratefulness as she knew that her guide most certainly was aware of it in any case. Wohan was far easier to spot, but with him beside her she knew that she could feel safe.
Further down the street the fences became more decoration than protection, as the two walked into a villa area. The strange couple hurried down a side street and into a yard encircled by smaller houses. A playground was in the middle of the square, the cool sand whispering below the eight paws as they trampled it. Wohan made his way down under the fairly high floor of a climbing frame construction. As he laid down on the ground Jeri settled beside his head to be able to speak as quietly as possible.
“Rumors spread quickly,” Wohan muttered with concern, “are they true? The words that reached me were so troubling that I could not bear to believe them.”
“They are all too true,” Jeri sighed, shaking her head, “the search is on in the north forest, but I am certain that we won’t find those rats there. It is far too obvious. I am heading for the harbor.”
“You are not seeking them alone, are you?” the bigger one frowned.
“No, of course not. That is why I came to find Arec. I am sorry Wohan, but I cannot ask for your help.”
“I understand.”
He nodded.
“I am not one for sneaking, and that is what such a mission requires. Still, why not tell the others about your theory?” he wondered.
“It was not that they did not listen,” she assured, “I am not the only one searching the town. However most of them are certain that King and his men are lurking in the forest, and they dare not risk that belief.”
“It is truly sad to see how fear can cloud better judgment…”
Wohan shook his head, scowling.
“But I do not understand,” he grimly said, “how could Runoc be captured? He is a clever warrior…”
“Yes, we have asked ourselves that too,” Jeri sadly muttered, “he must have fallen into a trap of some kind or he would have fought to the death.”
“And what if he <I>is</I> dead?”
Wohan tried to keep his voice emotionless, but not even he could succeed in that this time. Jeri sighed.
“We cannot be sure,” she explained, “there was no blood on the collar that was brought to us, but the messenger only said that his lord had imprisoned Runoc, not killed. It’s the only hope we have.”
“A game of psyche then?” Wohan said in disgust, “such dishonoring behavior should be below even King’s level! But sadly, I am not surprised.”
“Runoc is becoming old,” Jeri murmured nervously, “but so is King. He knows that Kenaro is growing into being our new leader and that rat only wants to even the odds.”
She stood up.
“I must be going,” she grimly said, “do you know where Arec is?”
“I believe that he is in his home, he seldom ventures at this time of the night.”
“Thank you.”
“I can only wish you luck,” the greater shadow said as they slipped out into the night again.
Jeri nodded and hurried up to the street again. But now she could move along the walls of the houses and their protective shadows.
It took her a few minutes to reach her goal, and by then she had come to the neighborhood of bigger houses again. But finally he could slip through a familiar hole in a fence that was brown in daylight but now only black like everything else. She rushed over the soft lawn, the scent of the newly cut grass filling her nostrils. Hurrying around to the backside of the small villa she found an even smaller house.
This one had only one room, and no door. Just an opening. A rope was attached to the wall beside the entrance, its curled length placed inside of the abode for the most part.
Jeri tiptoed closer, soon hearing the soft snores of the sleeping inhabitant.
“Arec? Wake up!” she hissed.
The only reaction was a grunt.
“Arec!” Jeri growled, louder this time.
Finally there was some movement in the darkness.
“Whazzit?” a sleepy voice yawned.
“Come on, get up!” the visitor insisted, “we have to find Runoc!”
“Ru… eh?”
Another yawn.
Jeri decided to hit with full force since the sleepover obviously hadn’t heard the news.
“He was captured by King!” she snapped.
This time, the reaction was a <I>bonk!</I> sound from inside. The shadow that was Arec stumbled out on wobbly legs, dizzy from his sudden awakening and the headache which his jump had caused.
“Whache shash?” he slurred.
“Runoc disappeared last night, and during the day we got a message from King,” Jeri quickly explained.
Arec shook his furry head to gain orientation.
“Okay, okay,” he finally said, “but why do you come here to fetch <I>me</I>?”
Jeri gave him the same story as she had given Wohan. By the time she was finished, Arec was working on getting the rope off his collar.
“Alright, I’ll tag along but you know that I’m no good at fighting.”
“I would prefer to avoid battles in any case,” Jeri nodded.
“Good… aha!”
He triumphantly shook off the line.
“But you better help me get the knot back on when we get back or there’ll be hell to pay in the morning,” he added in a more serious tone.
Jeri rolled her eyes at the rash way of speaking. Arec had a long way to go before he reached the finer demeanor of Wohan and his likes. It often amazed the young lady how long the other race’s people stayed as children.
But that didn’t matter much right then, in all honesty.
“Why are we going to the harbor anyway?” Arec asked as the two of them rushed over the lawn, following Jeri’s trail backwards down the street. Always with all their senses scanning the area for any sign of danger.
“Runoc hates that place,” the slightly smaller one replied, “therefore he is weaker there and King knows him well enough to be aware of that.”
“Isn’t that sensible enough to make the others in your clan listen to you?” her companion wondered, the weak lightning playing over his golden fur.
Jeri sighed.
“Have you ever seen one of us in panic?” she asked.
“Ehh… no?”
“Precisely, that is the problem. It never happens. So when it <I>does</I>, we cannot handle it. They will not dare to leave the search in the forest unless I have more than a guess.”
They took a turn down the right part of a cross in the road, hurrying towards the smell of salt water. The wind spread the scent over half the town, now it just grew stronger. As they came closer and closer to their destination, the road began to turn crisp with sand.
Like the rest of the town, to humans the small harbor appeared to be nothing else than an abandoned place at night. For Arec and Jeri it was yet another dangerous area, in their situation even worse than the town.
They slowed down as they reached the end of the road, the border to the world of sand, planks, water and boats. There was no illumination here, which Jeri was grateful of. Arec on the other hand didn’t have her kind of night vision, and thus had to work with the sound of her movements as he walked along. At least until he put another sense to use.
“Okay then, lesse what I can find,” he said, lowering his nose towards the ground while he moved.
It wouldn’t help him to see obstacles in the darkness per se, but he’d be able to tell where people had been walking and it was very rare that anyone strolled straight into the ocean or into a wall.
Jeri became the follower instead of the leader on the slightly disoriented walk, keeping her eyes and ears open for anything while her companion fully focused on using his nose. This was the reason she had called in Arec for help; he was a far better tracer. Her sense of smell was not bad, but it didn’t get anywhere close that of her friend’s and those like him.
“Say, what’ll we do if we find Runoc and King?” Arec murmured with his black triangle nose vibrating just above the planks of the harbor.
“Then we go back and tell Kenaro about it,” Jeri answered, “he’ll know what to do next.”
“Oh good, I <I>really</I> don’t want to deal with those cretins.”
Jeri gave him a vaguely amused glance.
“I already told you that I do not want to get into any fights, did I not?” she commented.
“Just want to make sure.”
“Do I lack your trust?”
“Oh, don’t get me wrong…”
He snorted, smirking slightly despite the situation.
“I don’t trust <I>any</I> of you guys that much.”
“I am shocked,” Jeri snorted, almost forgetting her anxiety completely.
“Well it’s just that you eat mice and stu… hey!”
He hissed the last word excitedly, sniffing with just as much enthusiasm.
Jeri tensed, the lighthearted mood falling back into the depths of her mind.
“Did you find something?” she asked, though it was quite obvious.
“Yes! This is Runoc’s smell, I think that he was knocked out when he was brought this way…”
Arec didn’t look up while he talked, but as he finished he raised his head and squinted into the night.
“What’s a few yards straight ahead?” he whispered.
“A small storage,” Jeri reported, her irises on the limit of their size.
“My guess is that there is where they’ve taken him, then.”
Jeri nodded, though he couldn’t see her do so.
“Very well, I will take a look,” she said.
The male one’s ears slumped.
“Is that a good idea?” he said, hesitant.
“No, but I already told you, they won’t believe me if I can’t assure that I’ve seen him.”
Arec gulped.
“And what if he’s dead?” he whispered, growing more and more unsure as his worry for his friend grew.
“Then Kenaro and the others won’t have to sneak. Move a few feet to your right, there are a few barrels standing there. It is safer.”
Holding back a nervous whimper Arec did as he was told, guided by the smell of tar in the barrels. Meanwhile Jeri slipped closer to the shed, not allowing the sand to make a single sound under her steps. She didn’t dare to move too close to the door, though she could see no guards she wasn’t sure if the small gate was completely closed. Too much of a risk.
Instead she walked around the building in a wide arch, despite all odds finding a stock of boxes along the long end, just below a row of long, rectangular windows. Apparently <I>some</I> god was watching and kind enough to help. Unless there was a trap here…
After considering it for a while, she decided to take the risk. Creeping over the ground she reached the assembled containers and leaped onto the closest one. It creaked a little and she froze.
Seconds slipped by without another sound. Hearing the similar whine of wood from the planks of the nearby docks she guessed that anyone listening wouldn’t have been able to really tell a difference.
But she was wary as she continued onto the next box, and the landing was silent. The wooden squares were sturdy enough not to sway by the movements.
After one last leap she was high enough to see through the windows if she stretched a little. But it was with great caution, trying to press her ears downwards so that she would be harder to spot by an observer.
Her irises grew to the outmost once more as she looked inside.
It was a quick glance, then she had ducked again. But it was all that she needed.
Furry, pear shaped bodies were casually slouching on the floor, their naked tails slithering like worms behind them. An exceptionally big one was curled up on an old rag, its stance perhaps able to fool anybody else than any of Jeri’s kind that it was resting. But something about the position spoke of that the creature was ready to attack any second.

In the corner farthest from the door a crab trap laid, the opening to the cage blocked with a piece of wood. Most of the rats were turned at the prison, fully focusing on the silhouette inside. The shadow was bigger than the others in the shed, even bigger than the seemingly sleeping one. But he wasn’t one of them, silently laying down with his head held high despite his predicament.
One half of the right, otherwise pointy ear was missing, and that sealed the truth.
Jeri quickly made her way back to the ground and rushed over to Arec’s hiding place as quick as she dared to. He grinned of relief upon seeing her, and even more as she left her report.
“He is there, and he is alive!” she triumphantly hissed.
“Great!” Arec whispered, “now let’s get out…”
A shrill cry tore the night apart.
Jeri and Arec snapped towards the sky, though the latter couldn’t see he knew all too well what it was.
“Bat!” he whimpered, unnecessarily so.
“Spies!” the flying demon shrieked as it swooped over the harbor towards the shed, “spies are here! Kill them! Kill them for King!”
The sound of the door creaking echoed in the darkness, the light rasp roaring.
But the two youngsters were already dashing towards the road, their paws sinking into the sand and slowing them. For a few tormenting seconds it felt as if they were getting nowhere, only slipping backwards by the force of the million tiny grains.
However, finally concrete greeted their steps and they bolted towards the streetlamps ahead, no longer having any interest in hiding. The bat’s screeches followed them, leading the pursuers.
“They shouldn’t be allowed to be that quick!” Arec panted with a wild glance backwards, seeing the shadows rush across a circle of light, their dark fur swallowing the glow.
He looked ahead again, unable to take the mad glow in the dark eyes. The rats were gaining on him and his friend, though the cretins were only about ten it was far more than the two refugees could handle.
Jeri didn’t reply, fully concentrating on fleeing. The knowledge that if she stopped she would die fuelled her legs, but she was getting tired fast.
Then she heard a swooping sound and Arec’s yelp of pain. She stumbled and spun around, seeing the leather wings of the bat slamming against the defenseless head. Deep golden fur was stained with blood where the claws dug into the flesh.
“Let go!” she screeched, pouncing at the flying creature.
It screeched as her full weight hit it, her own claws tearing up one of its wings as they both crashed.
She sprawled to her feet to the sound of Arec’s desperate bark, trampling carelessly on the twitching bat.
Hungry, insane black eyes met hers, droll falling from the open mouth of the rat. They were ready to attack.
Jeri scrambled backwards, hissing and bristling as she tried to appear braver and stronger than she felt. Arec growled beside her, crouching in a defensive stance.
The first rat leaped at her.
And then it died.
Fangs covered with blood flung the pierced neck aside, their owner letting out a powerful hiss as he melted into an attacking position. The lamplight flared over orange, tiger striped fur when it bristled, the warrior appearing to be twice as big than he first had seemed.
“Kenaro!” Jeri harshly whispered in relief while the rats cowered before this sudden threat, hissing.
Arec growled in gratefulness, but Kenaro didn’t reply. He took a menacing step towards the pack, every fang and claw fully visible.
The rats almost backed, but then their group mentality made a calculation and they snarled, advancing in turn.
But another growl from behind them disrupted their attack.
Wohan’s giant form hovered in the closest circle of light, appearing to be more of a wolf than a dog as he bared his teeth.
The rats quite naturally recoiled from this threat, regardless of their numbers.
However, it turned out that it was nothing but a distraction. Slim, graceful bodies slashed through the darkness, claws and fangs swiftly ending the life of the pests.
It was not a pretty sight, but it was over quickly.
Jeri let out a deep sigh of relief as Kenaro walked towards her and Arec, with blood on his paws but without the time to clean them.
“Wohan talked me into coming along and bring a few warriors,” the tiger cat quickly explained to avoid questions, “did you find Runoc?”
“Yes,” Jeri said with a rather weak nod, “he’s in the small shed in the western end of the harbor.”
“Good, we will take care of it then.”
Kenaro bowed his head in gratefulness of the young lady and her friend.
“Thank you for finding him,” he said with a grim smile, “we also owe you a lot, Arec.”
“Ah… you’re welcome,” the small dog said, a bit embarrassed at being complimented by a warrior like Kenaro – even if he was a cat.
The future leader was untouched by the youngster’s awkwardness. He simply turned to his seven fighters and Wohan, nodding at them. They returned the gesture and started down the road, rushing towards the harbor.
“You go and make sure Arec’s wounds are taken cared of,” Kenaro said without looking around, “we will take care of the rest.”
And he was off, following his allies.
“Good luck!” Jeri called.
As the shapes grew more distant she let her head drop and panted heavily, fighting not to let all the tension fall off her at once. If that happened, she was certain that she would collapse. She turned to Arec to control herself.
“How are your wounds?” she asked.
“Oh, I’ll be okay,” he assured, “it’s not that deep.”
“Do not try to deceive me,” Jeri sternly said and gave him a vague shove with her tail, “come now, grandmother Shia will do something about them.”
“Sounds good to me.”
They moved slower now, as they walked up the street towards the distant forest on the other side of town.
“You know, that was kinda fun, really,” Arec suddenly said.
Jeri glared at him in disbelief.
“Yes! At least now, in retrospect. We’re heroes, after all.”
She sighed and shook her head, unable to contain a chuckle.
“Oh, fine. I can accept that.”
She paused for a moment and then added, with more force:
“Or I will, tomorrow perhaps.”

The End.