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WIP - Behind the mask

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Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
I come to you this fine evening with, not a story fully developed yet, but a work in progress; it's primarily meant to be an ongoing project for a little initiative of mine to try to get a friend a birthday gift, but I thought I'd share it here as well. If you'd like to give me a hand, you can read about it in the link below; an upvote and a comment/bump in the topic linked are all I ask of you, if you enjoy the way my story is developing:


Bear in mind that English is not my first language, yet obviously I'll do my best to keep it as perfect as possible. It is also only the second time I've written anything of this sort, so yeah.... still picking up the pace. I'll write up a little bit each day, so make sure to check for updates frequently. There's no set plot in my mind yet, just a few guidelines so far; I'll try to keep it coherent though. Either way, here it goes... I hope you enjoy it.


Chapter I - Another day, another battle

The uncomfortable yet familiar sensation of having his mind laid bare quickly settled. Regardless of the countless times he had been summoned to the battlefield ever since he had joined the League, the feeling of having a presence in the back of his head, watching his every move, second guessing his every intention, monitoring his very thoughts,was something that still disturbed him profoundly. "This is unnatural", he often thought to himself, in the rare occasions his puppeteers allowed him the priviledge of solitude. His training had been intense, thorough and complete; the pinnacle of his nation's fighting style; him, a perfect weapon, an unwavering protector of the principles his culture stood for, those dreamlike island's bulwark against the terrors that came from the sea - yet he was not trained in the arcane arts, and being a puppet to powers he did not fully understand troubled him greatly, at times. Shaking off those thoughts, with a drop of sweat dripping from his brow into his mask, Shen, the Eye of Twilight, defender of Ionia, tightened the straps on his gauntlets, readying for the upcoming battle.

There was still some time before he entered the battlefield; he continued readying and checking his battlegear. He had not much save his basic traditional Ionian garment - the League insisted in providing their champions with little funding, barely enough for a few meager healing potions, or low quality swords, armors and boots. Many of the others were often outraged at this, their faces twisted in greed as the shopkeeper handed them their purchases,deeming those lowly possessions unfit for fighters, wizards or noblemen of such fame and mighty deeds, when the vaults just behind the bearded little yordle held artifacts of power unfathomable to the common men. Yet Shen understood better than most. True power must be earned; by accomplishment in battle and acts of valor, they would have to prove themselves worthy of donning those artifacts. In the meantime, they would have to find the needed strength within themselves - this came as no new philosophy to him, having practiced it his whole life, ever since joining the ranks of the Kinkou as a mere child.

He faced every battle with the knowledge that fighting, although brutal and barbaric, was in some cases the only remaining solution; the very creation of the League of Legends and its ruling body, the Institute of War, a testament to that. They were to the world of Valoran what Shen was to Ionia - the last defense against the shadow of the Rune Wars, the ever present threat of a full-fledged magical war that would tear asunder the very fabric of reality, a battle that no side could emerge victorious from, being there no world left to dominate. His devotion to this cause was absolute, no doubt crossing his mind that his sweat, blood and pain in the field was helping keep the world safer. The summoners who chose to invoke him were often of like minded, righteous ideals, as their chosen champions could usually sense the motivation in their minds, thus giving their very best if their connection was strong.
This time, however, it was different. The reason for this battle had been kept from him, and so was the identity of his battle-brothers. That alien presence in the back of his head gave nothing away, this time: he could not feel any greed, lust for power, benevolence of desire for justice on the other end of that bond - all he could feel was a sense of urgency, of overwhelming power, and strangely... he could sometimes feel a hint of what he thought could be... fear? This battle was unlike any other he had ever been in, before it even began, and he did not like it one bit. Every instinct in his body, the senses he had honed over decades of training, they all told him something was not quite right in the bloody fight that was mere seconds away from beginning, but he could not place it. Even though he was no spellcaster, the very magic energy that permeated the air seemed different this time.

The time had come. The door of the chamber he was teleported to, at the base of the gigantic crystal nexus, opened to let him out. For the first time in 3 years of Arena fighting, he hesitated to step out of it - an hesitation soon made irrelevant by the titanic might of the presence in his head, forcing him to move out, into the bright, sunny valley of the Summoner's Rift. Except that this time around, it was not bright or sunny at all.

Chapter II - Brave New World

His jaw would have dropped in awe, if the tight mask didn't keep it somewhat in place. Purple lightning danced in the clouds above, arching in their pitch black darkness, their flash illuminating the vast forests that laid between the two opposing nexuses in that battleground. These twin wellsprings of raw magical power fueled the enchantments and sorcerous wards that allowed champions to fight to the death while suffering no permanent harm; one of their side effects was the permanently pleasant weather he had grown accostumed to. If that had changed, then logic would dictate that...

He turned on his heels and faced the structure he had just exited, a great spire crowned by amethyst-coloured crystals hovering over golden rings; for the first time, he saw them sitting on the rings below them, the mystical light that radiated from them absent. This could not be a good omen. And what of his team mates? He circled the vast structure, inspecting the doors of the remaining chambers - all of which he found open and empty. Had they somehow been summoned earlier and left without him, possibly unaware that he would join them? Again he faced the Fields of Justice - and beyond that loomingly dark line of trees, he could see a blaze emanating from where the enemy headquarters should sit, at the base of their nexus. Unlike his own, theirs was lit up and pulsing with energy - but of a different hue that usual, an eerie, thick and sickening shade of purple.

Unsure how to proceed in the face of an unfamiliar situation he did not fully understand, he turned to the presence in his mind for guidance. He found no answer. He could feel it there, but his thoughts could not break through, the connection severed by that nexus' apparent inactivity. The initial feeling of confusion and indecision soon gave place to a spark of excitement - it was just like the old times, fighting against a black tide of Noxian horrors across the jungles of Ionia, with no one to second guess his judgement and choices, no one pushing his strings and forcing him to act against his will. If only his companions were there with him. Kennen, with his tireless energy, disrupting and confusing the enemy lines as before, and Akali... Akali, dashing through the very shadows with a grace unmatched, spreading the cold mercy of death to the black souls of their enemies, in a dance of steel and blood that if not for the tragic loss of human lives, could be an exotic dance, such was its beauty and glory. What would he not give to have those twin scythes beside him right now, as he slowly walked down the steps, making his way towards the forest and that strange light in the sky.

The uneasiness only grew stronger as he looked around upon reaching the first guardian turret at the main exit of his headquarter's fortified walls: there were no minions pouring out into the three major paths that cut through that forest. The soulless constructs were little challenge for the average champion, but their endless numbers served their purpose well: to swarm the opposing team's defenses, forcing champions to defend those points against that vast swarm, revealing their position and forcing conflict between the two enemy forces. Their strength was minimal, but what their absence meant was of brutal significance: the magic powering that enchanted arena was not working as it should. Disabled, dispelled, sabotaged, exhausted or something else, he did not know; but this was not a standart League match by any measure. A thought crossed his mind: if every spell and ward that maintained those grounds was inactive, then that meant tha- his train of thought was interrupted by the cracking sound of twigs on a nearby bush.

Before he could react, 3 enormous bodies leapt out of it, circling him; two smaller ones in one direction, a larger one in the opposite, running circles around him, tightening their siege at every turn. Their swift movement was just a blur, but he knew these beasts - the Fenris Wolves, inhabitants of that forest, scourge of every animal in them that could not take flight to flee. He had fought them several ties before; the magic that prevent the champion's deaths also reanimating the fiendish predators shortly after their deaths. Although a challenge to the inexperienced, they were no match for Shen; as the circle drew closer and closer, he drew the twin swords from his back, simultaneously slashing the two smaller wolves in one fell swoop, their heads rolling away from their bodies in one clean cut. The leader of the pack launched himself at his throat, but he feinted the attack easily, dodging it as a leaf upon the wind; and as the beasts body flew by his side when he avoided it, in a motion so quick a human eye would not be able to see, he focused all his Ki energy on his knuckles, which met the animal's throat. It stayed motionless when it hit the ground, its neck shattered by the force of the impact; yet one of its claws slashed Shen's forearm, in a small but bleeding cut.

Resuming his thoughts as he rested from that battle, he kept a watchful eye on the corpses of his enemies. Unfortunately, he was right. A dark cloud gathered in his mind as he watched them bleed out, the grass beneath them turning crimson and pasty - the magic in place should have already claimed their bodies to begin the reanimation rituals. He checked his cut - the accelerated healing that should be provided by the runes inscribed in his armor was not kicking in. He would have to be careful - if those beasts were truly dead... Then if he fell prey to any of the other nightmares that roamed beneath those trees, any enemy champions skilled or lucky enough to best him - then his fate would surely be the same as the wolves. With no second chances. Cleaning up his swords in the grass and sheathing them, he continued his path into the heart of the forest; no longer running, but carefully, step by step, inch by inch, melding into the shadows and moving as one, slowly but surely towards the enemy nexus, seemingly the heart of that storm.

Chapter III - Whole once more

The vegetation became denser by the minute, thicker and thicker the more he pushed towards his goal. The slow and careful pace he moved at allowed him to avoid most of the forest's many predators, but he was starting to have trouble moving silently through the increasing ammount of entangled roots, The grim atmosphere did not help either - the foliage was so dense that the already scarce light pouring through those threatening clouds was practically snuffed out by the time it broke through the treetops. He estimated he was halfway through; another hour perhaps, and he woul- THUMP. He tripped and fell face first on the ground,both his feet stuck on a root he could swear was not there a split second before. He opened his eyes after the fall, and blinked in surprise - less than an arm's length from his face was a small wooden creature with bulgy eyes and a creepy smile, staring at him intensely. He felt the roots wrap tighter around his feet, and two fast moving fines creeping around his arms, before a deep hollow voice bellowed above him.

"You walk carefully through Nature, avoiding disturbing its peace" - it said - "For that I will not crush you where you lie. What do you seek in these woods, human?"
"I could ask you the same question, Maokai. But tell me, whose side are you on?"
"Side? I was not summoned, this is no League match. I was awakened from the merciful sleep between fights when your League's enchantments lifted. And if there is no match, I ask again: what are you doing in MY forest?" - the tree roared threateningly, the sapling starting to jump excitedly nearer and nearer.
"I am to find out what is happening - why was I summoned, if any others were, why did the Nexus fail, and what is that ominous light in the distance. Not to disturb the balance of Nature." - he replied, picking his words carefully. He felt the grip around his limbs loosen,
"You are lucky, Ionian. The waters that traveled from your homeland into the clouds and fall unto my roots tell me your heart is pure and your tongue free of lies. I cannot answer these questions for you, save for one: There are others. There is a battle unlike anything this fields have seen yet. The roots at the other end of this forest scream in agony as alien blood invade their trunks, twisting and corrupting them. And there are others of your kind, and you should hurry to their aid - they will not last long unarmed, if alive they still are" - he muttered, releasing from its upper branches a weapon he had stored in there; and Shen's eyes widened in shock at its shape: It was as a scythe with a shorter handle, its curved blade all but unfamiliar: one of Akali's twin kamas. "This I found near the great Lizard's den. It lies halfway to your destination, luckily" - the tree continued, as the roots retreated completely from his limbs - "With some luck she's still alive; they might have eaten the yordle first so it would stop zapping them. Now, on your way. Out of my home."

Shen stood in one swift motion, briefly bowing in gratitude to the great oak before running along through the wilds, with little regard for noise or caution. So Akali was there too - and so was Kennen apparently. Urgent as the situation beyond the trees sounded, he could not leave them behind, it would be like forsaking a part of his own soul and... heart. He kept the kama held firmly in his hand as if to reassure him, dashing as fast as he could, stopping only a few minutes later, as he drew near to the primitive creature's nesting grounds.

Once there, he reassumed his careful slow crawl through the shadows, intent on scouting the threat ahead before drawing the beasts' attention. Their lack of organization eased his task - there was no guards or sentinels posted at their outpost's crude fences, neither at around their primitive buildings. He sneaked into the large building in the middle. Inside, a large, hunched lizardman was going through a collection of rusty knives hanging on the wall, apparently trying to pick the right tool for his prey - that seemed to be locked in the cages across the room. Drawing closer to these, he glimpsed a motionless body in the first one, wrapped in what he perceived to be shades of green - Akali. He panicked for a moment; but on the cage right besides her, sat a small humanoid, awake and aware, its hands tied behind its back. Kennen kept his silence, but they exchanged looks, and his eyes were calm - Shen understood Akali was merely unconscious. Moving closer to the yordle's cage, he picked the crude lock and untied his partner's hands - and feeling movement behind him, dodged to the side just in time to avoid a crushing blow delivered by the scaly hand of the hideous beast, sneaking up behind him. Lying on his back, he slashed at its feet - and the creature lost its balance just as a sharp shuriken found its way deep into the creature's throat, bringing it down with a roar - Kennen had managed to undo the rest of his bindings. Their captor slain, and sure that the sounds of battle would attract more lizardmen soon enough, the two ninjas hastened to open Akali's cage. To their relief, she was breathing - and Shen gave her one of the healing potions he had brought along. She opened her eyes, emerald as the garment she wore, and recoiled from her partners with a jump, embarassed by being found in such distress; the pain in her head, however, caused her to trip and fall on her back. Kennen laughed out loud, but Shen merely smiled and extended a helping hand.
"I'm glad your "balance" is intact, my little lotus" - he said jokingly - "How about we take our family reunion to a place that does not stink of dead mice?"
"A tree branch would be more comfortable than this stinky hole" - she said as she got on her feet, ignoring Shen's hand - "but you might find our dear hosts took your compliments to their delightful abode rather badly" - she added, pointing to the door.
Facing that direction, Shen suddenly heard hissing and roaring: their source more than a dozen of the barbaric beasts, staring at the three of them in burning anger. His mind switched to battle-gear. Akali was injured, she could not fight - but that might not be a problem, after all. He noticed the building's collumns and pillars were metallic, the shed made of a steel frame. As the beasts drew closer, he merely looked at Kennen, a grin in his face, and muttered between clenched teeth: "Have fun, kiddo.". Then, as Kennen's eyes lit up in a spark of white and the air started crackling with electricity, he ducked to the floor, pinning Akali under him to keep her safe; and the sound of a mighty thundercrash could be hear for miles around that battlefield, drowning the screams of agony of numberless lizardmen. Seconds later, only three shadows exited that shed, leaving a mess of burnt bodies behind; melding into the shadows of the forest as if they were never there.

Chapter IV - The hand behind the curtain

A deadly silence reigned over the forest; the ominous atmosphere and artificial twilight brought by that arcane storm intimidating the wildlife to stay burrowed deep within their nests. No bird sang or rodent scavenged. The only sign of life was the muffled sound of three pairs of feet making their way out of that forest. They couldn't be too far from its edge; yet they were unsure what they would find beyond it. Finding a clearing minutes away from their destination, Shen raised his arm, signaling his fellows to halt and take a few minutes to gather their strength. After evaluating his surroundings, he broke the silence, scolding them for their recklessness.

"How careless have you two grown in the comfort and safety of this safeguarded battlefield? To be captured by creatures barely able of rational speech - and losing your weapons to boot? What happened? Why are you here?" - he inquired, throwing the kama he was keeping at Akali's feet,
"Those piles of filth were not the problem" - Akali growled, a glimmer of rage in her eyes for being scolded like a child - "They only found us weary after a scuffle with a bunch of Malzahar's voidlings. I don't know how, bu--"
"VOIDLINGS?" - Shen shouted, losing his temper - "You were beaten to the point of not being able to outrun a lizardman by VOIDLINGS? Are you an assassin or a farm girl?"
"THEY ARE NOT AS THEY WERE" - she replied in the same tone, jumping to her feet - "They are grown, as if the Institute's spells that keep them in check have been lifted. So too have the bindings that keep our weapons with us been broken."
"And the safeguards as well - what we have killed will stay dead. Which is why what happened to you has upset me so much - I apologize" - Shen mumbled, sinking his eyes to the ground. Balance must start within, he thought. Akali merely placed an understanding hand on his shoulder, on top of which he place his, in silence.
"If you two are done" - Kennen mocked - "I was in the middle of a normal League combat when a flash of that light blinded me, and then all was as you see now. This is real. All the wards and spells broken, save for our own magic. The summoning connection broken."
"I arrived later, summoned alone. Kept to the forest to stay in cover, until I found Kennen in a skirmish with some wraiths. After that, we tracked down some monstrous footprints, and followed them until we finally saw them - Malzahar, Cho'gath, the whole void gang. Making their way towards the nexus just ahead." - Akali added, nodding her head towards the other side of the clearing - "Until they set loose their void pups on us... and the rest you know."

Shen sat in silence, taking the information in. A whole group of those void monstrosities in the same battlefield all at once? That was highly unlikely.... something was amiss. Never in years of those rigorously controlled combats had he experienced, or heard of, disturbances like those at hand. It was also strange that such a combat squad would be picked by a faction of summoners: they usually recruited champions whose interests aligned with their own, and the goals of those alien demons certainly did not seem likely to be shared by any sane human, let alone Summoner, faction or City-State.

This was what he had been trained for. He did not know what threat he faced, yet it clearly disturbed the balance of power, the natural order of things. The eldritch aurora just ahead loomed ominously as a shadow of horrors to come, and the elite of the Kinkou order would serve its purpose - to uncover and defeat this threat, and return order to this place. He signalled his companions, indicating their short break as being over. Gathering their weapons and readying themselves for whatever might lie ahead, they stood up and quickly covered the last few minutes that separated them from the walls of that nexus, hearing the sounds of a heated battle as they drew near. Years in that arena had accostumed them to the clash of sword and spear, shield and arrow, ice, lighting, fire and arcane bolts flying across the air, often accompanied by monstrously inhuman roars; yet the battle before them was one of an intensity they had never witnessed before.

The stone steps leading up to the paved area were shattered and broken as if a creature of titanic size had stepped on them; jumping their way up the debris, the spectacle before them shocked them. They had expected to find an Institute of War task force examining the disturbances. Perhaps two groups of fighters carrying on the League fight that was underway when it happened, believe the anomalies to be part of the a new trial. But what they found was both unexpected and horrifying beyond their wildest expectations.
A number of champions - far larger than should be present in any given arena at a time - was locked in intense combat; not for the control of resource points or of tactical vantage points, but for their very lives. Their opponents numbered in a swarm the likes of which none of the three ninjas had ever seen; more and more joining the fray from within a sickening purple portal that loomed on the opposite side of the battlefield, powered by a strange artifact, apparently siphoning power from the nexus. Yet more staggering than their numbers was the composition of such army - for they were not fighting mere soldiers.

The nightmarish creatures were clad in claw and spike, spat acid and exhaled darkness. Some of which bore a striking resemblence to familiar monstrosities: he could swear some of the maimed bodies nearby reminded him of Kog'Maw and Kha'Zix. His suspicions were right after all - this was the doing of that madman Malzahar, and that portal before him was a Void Gate, a window into pure madness.
The trio joined the fray - Ionian, Demacian, Noxian, Elementals, Spirits, Champions of all kinds locked in combat against the alien abominations. Slowly, the tide of battle seemed to turn - Leona and Shen maneuvering the enemy lines and forcing them into a close formation, Ashe and Varus picking off stragglers, and Diana surging in to gravitate the mass of horrors to a tight cluster, for the grand finale: an arcane barrage of fire, ice and raw arcane might from Brand, Anivia and Xerath, calling upon their primal power to rain death and destruction on the voidspawn. Slowly but steadily, the group carved their way through that wave of darkness onto the artifact, until Malzahar stood a mere spear throw away, channeling the blasphemous spell on the artifact that kept the gate open; yet was Ashe readied the arrow that would end him, and that nightmare with it, the ground shook, the portal swelled, and a monstrous roar forced the heroes to cover their ears, piercing into their very soul - then a foot thrice as tall as a man stepped out of the gate. Cho'Gath had entered the battle.

The League's champions' line broke, such was the terror of his arrival. The beast had returned to the Void, feasted on its energies; and they had bolstered its strength and swollen it to a size several times larger than it had ever assumed before, when it was bound by the League's restrictions. With a swipe of its monstrous tail it sent Garen and Darius flying several yards through the air, knocking them unconscious under a pile of rubble. Shen watched in horror as it impaled Singed in one of his shoulder spikes, tossing him up in the air and swallowing him whole - no summoning platform would ever draw his soul back from that gruesome end.
After the initial shockwave of its arrival, and seeing one of their ranks fall in battle, the League's forces turned once more to the offensive - and the gigantic horror was slowly beaten down, its size dwindling as it expended its reserves of energy - until in the end, it was barely larger that the resillient Malphite, who rammed and beat it with his stony hands, until its chitinous armor gave it - and as agile as ever, Diana lept into the air, thrusting her glowing, moon-blessed silver blade into the crack. riding that mountain of acidic flesh as it fell lifeless to the ground.

The backlash of that monumental loss rippled through the creatures' hive mind, causing them to panic and flee back through the portal to their home dimension. All that was left was Malzahar, alone, exhausted, holding the portal through his will and that arcane device. He laughed as the group walked up to him, all sights and spells aimed at him.
"Enter the heroes, so proud of their glorious victory" - he cackled maniacally - "Little to they know that every one of us they slew here will rise anew, with a renewed desire for vengeance. Oh, so little, have you truly accomplished... But us, this little nexus of yours, totally drained... will be enough to grant us entry in any place we want. Somewhere more... discrete, next time." - he gloated, hastily throwing the artifact before him into the portal; it flickered and visibly started shrinking as its connection to the nexus was severed - "Maybe the dark powers will grant your friend Singed's soul the blessing of ascending to demonhood... maybe you'll see him again as he tears the heart from your ches---"

His monologue was cut short by a jet of blood - Darius' axe had cleanly separated the madman's head from his body. It rolled on the floor before stopping face up, a twisted smile facing the heroes, as a final taunt.
"I was getting tired of that crazed rambling" - he justified, spitting on the void prophet's corpse.
"You blasted fool!" - shouted Garen, pushing his way to the front of the gathering - "He could have given us answers!"
"Only someone as naive as a Demacian would think he would ever tell us anything useful" - replied Darius, laughing.
"You will take that back, Noxian lapdog!"

The common threat gone, old hatreds were surfacing. The thrill and lust of battle was still pumping on those fighters' veins. Garen drew his sword, and swung it through the air, whistling as it flew in the Noxian's direction - Darius rose his axe to parry the blow; yet their weapons never met.
Suddenly, every man, woman and being on that arena stood still. Not of their own accord, but suspended, frozen in time; unable to move, save to breathe and speak. Then unexpectedly, a robed figure materialized out of thin air, as if coming into existence before their eyes - and all of them could feel the strings tugging at their minds, in all those champions at the same time: this was the man that had summoned them. Controlling all these champions at once, seemingly without an effort, and still exuding an aura of such power around him... This was as beyond the power of a normal summoner, as a summoner is above a common farmer. From under the hood, the glow of a pair of emerald green eyes flared, and a voice was heard, echoing as though coming from another plane of existence, reeking of power and authority.
"That will be enough, gentlemen."
None on that field dared challenge that command- in truth, none there had the power to. All they could do was watch that figure remove its hood before their eyes, many jaws dropping as much as the binding spell allowed them to - such was the surprise as the robed figured faced them with a calm smile and a glimmer in his eyes; the mesmerizing green eyes of the former High General, Boram Darkwill.

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Senior Member


Felt like it was worth bumping, since I've added quite a bit since I originally posted the thread. Any feedback is welcome ^^

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Frost Archer

Senior Member


Interesting... But I don't like stories with references to the game (league matches) Sorry! XD

However, nicely done. You describe things well, but you should consider reformatting. For simple dialogue, you should read some 12-14 year old books to see how they do it. You'll notice it is a new paragraph every time the: subject, speaker, setting, changes.

Kudo's to you and keep it up!

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Senior Member


Interesting... But I don't like stories with references to the game (league matches) Sorry! XD

However, nicely done. You describe things well, but you should consider reformatting. For simple dialogue, you should read some 12-14 year old books to see how they do it. You'll notice it is a new paragraph every time the: subject, speaker, setting, changes.

Kudo's to you and keep it up!

I do get your point about referring to them as "league matches"... I guess it doesnt sound like something they would say in the story but well - we do know the League is often used to settle disputes, not only larger ones, but smaller disputes, commerce, contracts and so on. And since apparently the fights are broadcasted all over Valoran - I suppose it doesnt strike me as that odd that they would call them "matches". I do get what you mean, tho :P

As for the formatting, you're most likely right. It's a matter of practice I suppose... Aside from one story I wrote over the past couple months as a gift, I haven't done anything of the sort for the past... 8, 9 years perhaps. I'll probably get this one finished and after that, go back and try to fix that. After all I cant leave it stopped for too long, since its main goal is to keep interest up on the topic gathering upvotes for Hippalus ^^

But thanks for the feedback - and any other critics are appreciated as well ^^