• Solo • Reaching for the Sky

Mal learns to flyyyy

0th of Cylus 0

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Mal
Posts: 400
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:15 pm
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Reaching for the Sky

Vhalar 15th, 716

The Etzori Falcon. A bird of some kind. He’d never actually laid eyes upon the thing when he bought it, but he assumed Mark Joselyn’s bird was the same breed. The first step of Dedication was always simple, driving in the Ether took only a moment. Meditation was hard, however. Mal’s time was divvied up off and on between the last two days, the others seeing him as the quiet sort due to the time spent in constant meditation. Even keeping watch, he spent his Breaks trying to meld his mind with it.

Strangely enough, it was more difficult. The presence felt alien, perhaps due to unfamiliarity. Avians were different from Mammals, Mal’s primary forte. He’d never Become a bird before, though the temptation was always there. He actually tried and failed way back when, during his first spouts of exploration of Becoming. He didn’t know why he seemed to be succeeding now. Not exactly. He only had his postulations.

All that mattered now was the fact that the night before he’d managed to unlock the information shortly before his watch ended, a slumber fitful with possibilities. Would he be able to fly, what would that be like? Eld, flying like her, the way she does. Is it really that hard?

It was the late afternoon now, and the group set up camp for the night. Some light still waned on the horizon, filtering through the sparse trees. They were on the edge of wide, grassy knolls. Hills as far as the eye could see. Mal preferred the forest, out there it made him feel exposed. The sparse cover did make it a fine place to practice.

Everyone was huddled around a fire, save for a few who were out doing their own thing in their free time. Rockholm saw fit that everyone was rested, even if as Scouts they were expected to arrive at the outskirts of Rhakros’ before the military. Their combined knowledge of the wilderness, of navigating the land and more afforded them a quicker advance than the sluggish, brutal march of an army. In reality, they were only a dozen Breaks ahead by now.

Mal stood, having finished hammering in the stake to a tent he’d been asked to set up whilst Rockholm gathered twigs with that short Sev’ryn girl. No doubt he’d been chewing off her ear. That man was a talker. By the look on her face as they returned, Mal thought that was probably the case. The tent was simple - find some good branches, prop them up, toss the sheet over, and secure with twine in a knot. It was easy enough for the Becomer, though the last time he’d used one had been many moons ago.

“Joselyn,” Mal turned to her, having bird on the brain. He waved.

Joselyn looked up at him. She was grooming her pet with a comb. It’s head twitched, mouth opening as it breathed. As she stood from her crouching position, it flapped its wings. The wind breezed past Mal lazily. She had a gruff, almost sneering look on her face. The girl didn’t want anything to do with him. Mal was a magician, and magicians were bad news. “What?” she hissed between her lips. Her bird screeched.

That jarring noise together with the hostility made Mal blather. “I’m , uhh. Your bird, it’s . . . I’m.” His eyes were wide, he forgot what he was going to say. “Forget it, just know I’m going to be a bird now. Promise you won’t laugh, I don’t exactly know what to do as one.”

Another Mark piped up, a huffed snicker as he turned his head. “This should be entertaining.” He’d been listening in.

“Shut it, Ferrin.” Joselyn barked. The normally jovial man sucked in his tongue, turning his head so that his eyes were forward.

“There’s no need for that,” Mal said solemnly. “He’s just up for a show.”

“Yeah, do what you like, fekkin’ shapeshifter.” The Falconer’s voice was scathing, a crackle to it that hinted at her spite. “But leave me outt’er it!”

The remark made Mal wince. Fekking hate these Etzori. The skin on his forehead churned slightly, rippling with inconsistency. He’d been having an issue where his magic had sort of bubbled up, shifting in a minor way when he lets his emotions get the best of him. It remained to be seen if this was a bad thing, but few seemed to pick up on it unless they were paying special attention. Joselyn sure wasn’t. She had her back to him now, making terse noises.
Last edited by Mal on Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 789
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Mal
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Reaching for the Sky

I’ll do this without any help. Shan’t be a prob’. Mal strolled out yonder, boots bristling through the grass and sinking into the soft earth beneath as he stepped behind a tree. It seemed prudent to stop them from witnessing his transformations. They hated seeing it. Some even got woozy.

With his back to the bark, he held that totem for the bird and began to shift, taking the information of the totem into himself. This included his clothes, which were made from thick linens and durable, natural fabrics.

As his body roiled with uncertainty, he found a certain heaviness mixed in with the pain that wrought his mind. He grit his teeth, veins bulging as he fell to his knees and buckled over. He wondered if he’d ever get used to the pain, to the point where he could keep a straight face. For now, his eyes were shut. He growled as his body started to shrink inward, skin a disgusting mass of clothing between layers of biological matter, flesh peeling apart only to attach itself moments later.

Altogether, Mal’s mass was shrinking. He was growing smaller and smaller as his body felt like it was being crushed. The way he felt was also starting to change. His organs were growing smaller, his breathing short and strained. The half-way point approached before he knew what hit him, and that brief relief was welcome. He looked like a grotesque, featherless parrot by now, the grasses rising above him.

When it ended, and the pain returned, his arms which had reformed into double-jointed wing-like appendages splayed out, tiny barbs forming on the stretched skin, pushing out at an angle until their true nature was revealed. Feathers, they were. Those quills fanned out like pine trees pressed into sheets, soft and prickly. It happened all at once, tinier hair-like down securing the places beneath.

Mal’s head reformed, becoming smaller. His eyes, and his eyesight changed. Suddenly, he could see things in a way that he had never seen before. His gaze could zoom inward sharply, making out details with staggering clarity when they came into focus. His legs seemed to warp into something thin but sturdy, feet shifting into large, three-pronged talons that had some sizable muscle to them.

When all was set and done, the transformation ended abruptly with Mal feeling out his nerves. His mind extended outward, crawling along his body and adjusting to the new feeling it possessed. The wings were found out quickly, as well as the muscles which controlled the feathers, and the tail feathers. They shivered as he sent them mixed signals, but soon they extended partially.

Walking with a strange body profile was dismally awkward. He stepped to and fro on talon-bladed feet, finding odd inconsistencies and correcting them, modeling his posture off of the birds he’d seen from memory. As the Becomer stepped out from beyond the tree, he flapped his wings to keep himself upright, pushing apart the grass as he centered his eyes upon the motley crew of Marks he worked with. Several pairs of eyes were upon him as he soon realized he had to turn his head to see more clearly, and that his neck swiveled without cause.

Curiously, he kept going until his head was turned about as far as it would go, mildly amused at the ability to look far beyond his ‘shoulders’ as he folded his wings inward haphazardly, feathers poking out from poor maintenance. He looked like a bird that didn’t know how to bird, and amused cackles left one Mark, though most remained silent and stared in disgust.
word count: 616
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Mal
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Reaching for the Sky

Joselyn simply ignored him, tending to the fire, trying to do everything in her power to simply refuse looking at him. Mal was used to this sort of treatment, the cold shoulder. He turned away from the group and waddled over to an open area their horses had flattened into relatively smooth dirt. He started to run, and then hopped, throwing his wings out and feeling the air catch upon his feathers, peeling them back. It was an alien sensation, but he kept up with it. I will fly this day, he told himself.

The charades continued seemingly forevermore, Mal growing more accustomed to his shape, surprised at the light weight of it. An odd beak full of dirt was more devastating than the very earth he walked upon. The weight was strange, and he surmised it afforded him a good deal amount of room to make mistakes. So long as he stopped his feathers from bending and breaking, he knew he would be fine.

The gentle touches of the earth soon grew less frequent as he started to use his wings, forcing down the air beneath them and hopping, trying to catch the wind and hoist himself upward into the very air. Each attempt was met with failure, but he resolved to make minor adjustments until he could no longer pursue it.

His wings rose high into crescents, and he wobbled forward on those strange bony legs, kicking off and then shoving the air down. He felt his tail feathers then, how they caught the wind underneath. He came down, leaning back to land with his talons outstretched. Turning around, he adjusted himself and then ran forward again, this time jumping up and swinging his wings down, blasting the air underneath towards his lower body as he leaned forward to reduce the air resistance.

This was his maiden flight. His tail feathers adjusted, muscles moving them this way and that. It acted as a rudder, and Mal soon nose dived straight into the earth when he bent those feathers upward, slicing the air like a speeding arrow into the mud. Yanking his beak out so he could breath, more rampant bumbling left his observant squad, Highmark Rockholm pumping his fist into the air. “You can do it, bird-boy!”

Already the muscles upon his wings were complaining from improper use, but he pushed on. Armed with the knowledge of his prior failures, he flicked the mud from his wings, nudging off the caked parts with his beak and preening the odd feathers back into position. Another running start, a sharp kick into the air. His wings rotated to force the air beneath him, the zephyr spiraling beneath and keeping him aloft. That was the first wing-beat, and he threw in another, discovering the need for more air.

Several feet off the ground, he gained altitude. Pushing his arms, no, his ‘wings’ outward, Mal discovered his feathers cutting through the wind like blades. His feathers seemed to glide across the air like a boat to water, holding him up as this wide, forward position left him gliding. He adjusted mid-flight, using his tail-feathers to push him upward into the air as he soared, only to find himself losing velocity, and then forced to glide again.

His neck turned, bestial eyes scanning the blades of grass as it whipped by below, and he found he could tilt one wing up to steer himself in a lateral direction. The first attempt was too high, and he forced himself to bring the other wing up to correct, settling back into a glide. He flapped, forcing himself into a higher altitude. And again. That earth below looked scary, it made his heart race.

But it also raced with excitement. I’m flying!

I can’t believe it, I’m flying!

And then reality stormed in. Unfathomable force buffeted against him, a current of air at first sending him high, he didn’t know how to control his body profile. It flipped him over, wings fluttering as he grasped at invisible strings. Then, he was in a nose dive, spiraling out of control. He wriggled in the air as the ground neared, finally feeling the catch of the earth. Right before he hit the ground, he swooped, the sting of grass whipping at his feathered underside as the wind felt like a hard clay beneath his wings. At first it sped him up, but he tilted his wings sideways to slow his acceleration, talons outstretched as he sought the ground.

He hit the ground, hard, talons first. They caught the soil, but the remaining force sent him face-first into the dirt. The falcon tried to push himself up by his wing-tips, only to find pain. Best not try that again. He closed them, curling into a ball and righting himself up with those talons. He had frazzled feathers, but soon discovered nothing was broken as he examined himself.

Rockholm came up to him. “Having fun?” he asked the bird below?

Mal glanced up at the Highmark, which towered above him like some giant. It was intimidating, even with that big goofy smile the man possessed. Delving within himself, he grasped at his totem of humanity, pulling out the ability for speech and echoing it outward, his innards changing so he could speak. “Very much,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to fly...”

And with that, he hopped up and threw out his wings, shoving the air down and angling himself up toward a tree. His talons clacked against the first branch, leaving streaks where his claws attempted to catch, but he moved to the second one and found himself balancing upon it, an iron grip below keeping him steady. He gazed down at camp, feeling freedom in his grasp, and then out yonder over the plains, and across the thickening forests. Flying like a bird, eh? he wondered. What might I accomplish next?

The sky was the limit, after all.
word count: 1000
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Golem
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Reaching for the Sky

Image
Rewards
Name: Mal

Knowledge:
Becoming: Avian Species
Becoming: Birds have Light Bodies
Block: Entertained by Watching Mal Fail
Falcon: Awkward Walking
Falcon: Can See your Back
Flying: How to Glide
Flying: Landing on a Branch
Flying: Tail Feathers Direct Flight
Flying: Winds are Powerful
Flying: Taking Off from a Hop
Mark Joselyn: Doesn't Want to Teach Flight
Self: Joy of Flight and Freedom

Loot:
None
Injuries:
Injured Pride
Some sore Muscles, 1 Trial
Fame:
-2 (Magic)

Story: 5/5
Collaboration:0/5
Structure:4/5
- - -
Comments:
Just wanted to say, I loved the ending. The last line was a perfect fit.

Now onto the nitty gritty.

In terms of story it was well written. Some of the stuff was funny to see through Mal's eyes, though there were a few inconsistencies. For example, you say that the bird is having problems walking, yet a paragraph later, its doing running starts... I'm not sure if I missed something were he suddenly learns how to run as a bird, but I'd take a look at that.

I had to take off a point due to structure for the same reasons Malt has made comments in the past. There are some sentences that just do not make any sense, and it doesn't look like you reread it prior to submitting it for gradings. We try to encourage players to at least do basic proofreading prior to gradings to make our jobs easier, and to encourage good writing habits. For example,
The charades continued seemingly forevermore, Mal growing more accustomed to his shape, surprised at the light weight of it. An odd beak full of dirt was more devastating than the very earth he walked upon. The weight was strange, and he surmised it afforded him a good deal amount of room to make mistakes. So long as he stopped his feathers from bending and breaking, he knew he would be fine.
Forevermore doesn't work in this situation, but that's fairly minor. It's the second sentence that I can't make heads or tails of. Is this him falling over and eating dirt? Or is this him worried about falling over? But what makes the earth itself devastating? I was really confused by this line.

There were several other cases where similar issues arose, but I'm sure by reading it over you can find them.

Beyond that, you write extremely well, and your stories are consistently enjoyable, even a thread that could've been rather grindy. I was engaged throughout the thread, and I want to congratulate you on that part. If you do more editing to your stories prior to submitting, your writing will improve drastically. If you find it hard to reread your posts, I would advise finding a program (there are tons online) that will read your story back to you. It isn't perfect, but you can spot any weird errors easier.

You can use the EXP from this for Becoming!

If you feel I've missed anything or if you have questions about your review, please don't hesitate to send me a quick PM. Thank you!
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