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The First Chapter of My Fantasy Novel


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So I saw @Ookla did one of these and I’d figure I’d give it a go. This is the first chapter of the rough, still incomplete draft of my book, The Lord of Windswept Steel.


A Sense of Sorrow

Horandel was a vast and expansive city, with nearly one hundred thousand inhabitants. The city had stretched outward as far as the valley that was its home would allow, and it had begun to build upward as technology had progressed. Now, dozens of skyscrapers, stretching thirty or more stories into the air, occupied the heart of the grand city. Around them, a vast stretch of smaller buildings, most two or three stories high, made up the bulk of Horandel. The remainder of the city was made up of crime-riddled slums, the dark underbelly of the otherwise grand beast that was the city of Horandel. Dem, as the second highest-ranking member of the Horandel Constabulary, had many duties within the city. Chief among these was the policing of the Middle District, the world of smaller buildings and tamer people. But his job was not easy by any means. Though people in the Middle District were less criminal, those with criminal inclinations had the means to cause far bigger problems than the poor, underfed thieves of the Lower District. So Dem often had his hands full with city-wide criminal organizations, smuggling rings, and lofty ransom demands. On the day of his return to the city, he arrived at his station to find couriers scrambling about, and frantic constables running to mount horses. Dem grabbed a younger constable.

“What’s happened?” Dem said.

“Chief! You’re back. We’ve had a hell of a day. The entire eastern quadrant’s gone to rust,” the constable said.

“I’ll check it out. Any idea what’s going on over there?”

“No, sir. Reports have been few and far between, and no one can seem to agree on what’s happening. But it's something big, chief. Be careful out there.”

“I can’t make any promises, constable. I’ve always been good at getting myself into a great deal of trouble.”

“You’re armed, sir?”

Dem pulled his six-shooter, Devastation, from its holster at his belt. The fine titanium barrel glinted in the lamplight. It was a Ferromancer’s weapon, invisible to Metalsight. “Always.”

“Good luck, sir.”

Dem nodded, then turned on his heel, his cloak whipping behind him, and walked out the station door. He mounted his horse, Triumph, and rode full tilt eastward.

As he rode, he was forced to slow his pace to avoid running over crowds of people that filled the streets. Hundreds of people walked and ran westward, all moving from a single point in the east. Most of them were weeping. The large fleeing crowds made sense, as the location they came from was a popular attraction of the area. Dem slowly maneuvered his way through the congested streets, thinking about what could be causing so much trouble in his city.

Dem arrived at the Lunar Gardens, the chief attraction of the city’s eastern quadrant. At the perimeter of the Gardens, silver pillars rose into the air, varying in height from a couple of feet to several yards. In the center of the Gardens, a circle of pure silver, etched with patterns of the moon and stars, was raised a few inches off the ground. Around this circle, silver flowers, called moondrops, had been arranged to represent the moon’s phases. These flowers had a metallic sheen to them, so lustrous they almost seemed to glow in the strangely darkened atmosphere around the Gardens. 

As Dem moved through the Gardens, he soon discovered the cause of the commotion and the darkness that pervaded the area. Just beyond the Gardens, over a nearby office building, a deep blackness loomed. As Dem neared, he saw apparitions in the darkness. Phantom wraiths of shadow appeared all around him. He saw his parents, long dead, run towards him, only to vanish into smoke. Scenes of death were all around him, his greatest failures and most tragic losses. He saw himself clutching Josie’s lifeless form in his arms, weeping. He tried his best to ignore the whispered screams that filled the air.

A cold sensation began to grow in the pit of his stomach. He felt a strange sense of utter despair, coming upon him suddenly, something more than the emotion of reliving his losses. The feeling threatened to overwhelm him. 

He noticed some of his constables who had been sent to investigate. They were laying on the ground, curled into the fetal position along with some civilians. They all whimpered softly, shaken by silent sobs. Dem tapped steel, and the warm sensation the metal brought dispelled some of the sorrow in his heart. He kicked in the door of the office building as he reached it, and found a terrifying scene before him. 

A rippling shadow, deep and dark, like a scar in reality itself, hovered in the middle of the room, faint tendrils of darkness, tinged faintly crimson, radiating in the surrounding air.

Hello, Son of Steel, a cold, harsh voice whispered in Dem’s mind. I am Sorrow, Spirit of Despair. You are strong to have resisted my touch, but all men fall when faced with their greatest losses. Leave now, before you fall to the darkness, as your brothers-in-arms have already.

“I do not fear you, Sorrow. Return to whatever hole in the ground you crawled out of before I end you.”

Foolish boy. I cannot be killed by mortal hands. My master has sent me to this city to break its people, and I will not fail him.

 Dem drew Devastation, switching off the specially designed safety, which required strength granted by steel to deactivate. He cocked back the hammer, chambering a special titanium round. He hoped that would work here.

“I’m giving you one more chance, monster, to leave this city.”

I will not leave, Son of Steel. And you cannot defeat me.

He carefully centered the sights of the gun on the undulating black void. He breathed deeply, steadying his hand, and summoned the winds as he fired. Wind sculpted the path of his bullet, amplifying its power. It hit the void and vanished within. Dem knew that his bullet would have exploded into six shards, as it was designed to, and each of those shards would have been driven forward by the wind that had encased the round. He hoped that this Sorrow would be affected by titanium’s other property. Sure enough, Sorrow began to scream. 

The black scar in the air started to writhe, undulating and leaking black smoke as Sorrow screamed in Dem’s mind.

Titanium! Spiritless Metal! No!

The void pulsed, first weakly, then more forcefully as the screaming in Dem’s mind reached a crescendo. With each pulse, Dem felt a sensation of deep, crushing sorrow threatening to break him. He tapped steel as hard as he could, and its warmth and strength were the only things that kept him conscious. Eventually, six pieces of corroded and smoking metal fell from the black void, and Sorrow flowed like liquid, breaking through a window and roaring away, taking with it the shadow- and sense of crushing sadness- that had taken the people outside.

I don’t know if that’s the best formatting. I can’t wait to hear what you guys think.

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Nice! I'm glad I could cause some inspiration. :)

I've gotta say, this is a fun start for a story. I love how it feels like it could be a Mistborn fanfiction, yet brings in its own elements to spice things up and add some variety. It's not Mistborn, but it's reminiscent of Mistborn, and I love the style! You've got some great stuff here!

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