Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Men Who Died Because of Pride

While I've been writing since i was a kid, i would usually poems, winded descriptions of things, or what could be called smaller novella, ranging from 50 to more pages. Short stories were still foreign to me until i realize that if you wrote according to a certain shortened format you may be able to get published and paid sooner. So when i was i think 17 i wrote my first story. I was also inspired by a short story compilation book i enjoyed reading, one of the stories took place in a frozen wasteland with two thieves trying to escape for a better life. I was so taken by the scenery i decided to make my own frozen north story with a twist at the end and a moral to the story, somewhat dark but still written and appropiate for children. So without further ado my first every short story: The Men Who Died Because of Pride

Far in the frozen north were two human merchants traveling to make a trade that would make them rich enough men to retire. Here they had invested an awful lot of gold pieces to investigate this frozen wasteland. Much too their surprise there was something valuable to be found here, Icalyst Crystals (pronounced Ice-ah-list). They could be used both to make jewels, as well as to cast spells and make magical items. These were a very rare find back home. They could only be made in very low temperatures and when the sun passed through icicles in such a way that caused the inner layer to harden and crystallize into a gemlike substance. The main trick was that these crystals could technically not exist further southward, even on the cold Northern Continent. These crystals required icicles to be exposed to sunlight in this way for years and years at a time, and even with that they had to remain a subzero temperature and they could never melt before the crystal was formed or the crystal would be ruined and the process would have to start all over again. This was how it worked in the world of Diamic, the world these men were in. Well it turned out, at least in this very part of the frozen and frigid north (where spring, autumn, and summer did not exist), but only this particular part somewhere in the southwestern corner of the icelands, the sun had shone just right so these crystals were formed. There were plenty of caves and such things for icicles to be found and the sun always hit them just right in this land. Of course spring never came so it was never warm enough for the ice to melt. If the men were right these crystals would practically be growing on trees, they’d just have to break thin layers of ice glaciers and icicles and then reap their rewards. Well these two men worked for the Arlisburg Trading Consortium (in Davainia). Their employers had assigned them to come here to the north to investigate the assertions and rumors that crystals could be found here. Now they trudged through the snow excitedly knowing if they succeeded they would receive an advance and a commission on the crystals mined if they succeeded. This would be enough money surely, that they would never have to work again (and probably neither would their children). Now here you see these two merchants just walking about through the snow. First there was Murrick, a tall and skinny man as pale in the face (save for the red color forming) as the snow itself. With him was his associate Norfan, a jolly fat man with a curled mustache and a grin that brought light to even your darkest of days. “Were gonna be rich aren’t we Murrick?” he spoke gleefully with a thick and growling, but very friendly voice. “Please Norfan, we’ve been playing this game for hours, we still have crystals to be found and brought back to Arlisburg!” Murrick scorned. “Oh come on Murrick, just one more round, please, I’m so bloody bored, and I need something to keep my mind off of this blistering and burning wind…just chapping my face and searing my flesh and…” “Alright!” Murrick snapped. “One more round if you’ll agree to not talk for the rest of the hour at least!” “Ok then!” Norfan cheered, rubbing his gloved hands together. “Were gonna be rich aren’t we Murrick?” “Yes.” his friend responded monotonously. “Were gonna be kings aren’t we Murrick?” “Yes.” “And what are we gonna do with the rest of our lives??” “Eat, drink, and be merry!”Murrick sighed. “And what else?” “Nothing.” came the hollow answer. “Now SHUTUP!!” Hours seemed to drag by like days as the men dragged their boots in the snow, and the wind continued to blow right at their faces (no matter what direction they turned to escape from it). It was as if God Himself now spat snow in their face as it began to flutter to the ground around them, and by now the men were starting to look like human cherries with how red they became. “My fingers are numb, I don’t know how many more of these blasted icicles I can pick!” Norfan whined. “Well worry not my friend…”Murrick assured him. “We are done…we have enough of these ice crystals to go back home and make us rich men. The Consortium will be pleased enough by how many we brought. Now they will setup a mining settlement, and pay us what’s due! Let’s go home!” “Home at last!” Norfan smiled widely, tiny pieces of snow falling gently from his seemingly frozen mustache. “It will be a long journey and night is coming…we have to find a warm place to stay!” Murrick said. “Look there’s a cave!” exclaimed Norfan. “Good let’s go!” But when the men found the cave they were greeted by an unexpected sight, it was an orc. The green creature stood tall, towering above both of the men, and his muscle outweighed Norfan’s fat in any measurement. He gazed at them with friendly orange eyes and grinned warmly with his saber-toothed smile. “Greetings!” he said, taking off his leather, wool padded coat. “I am a hunter in these parts, mostly I sell bear and snow leopard skins, who are you two?” he spoke with a gruff and gravelly, and yet somehow soft and gentle voice. “Well I’m Norfan and…” “Who we are is none of your concern…had we known who you were we would not have come!” Murrick snapped.“Now we must go!” “But it is cold out there, and you’ll never find another safe cave for miles, they’re filled with wolves and bears, and you cant camp outdoors…stay with me!” the orc offered. “We do not consort, and especially don’t stay with orcs!” Murrick scoffed. “But Murrick…” Norfan objected. “Norfan, if the others back home found out we spent the night with an orc to survive we would be a laughingstock. Besides he’d probably eat us in our sleep!” Murrick told him in a harsh whisper. “I suppose you’re right!” Norfan admitted sadly. “Goodbye orc friend!” Murrick grabbed his friend by the ear and dragged him out of the cave. They searched and searched for maybe half an hour. Finally they did come to a dimly lit cave, greeted again by another strange sight. It was a Dwellis creature. They were native to the frozen north. This one was a female, an average sized humanoid creature, covered in soft white fur and bearing animal-like features, she blinked at them with curious yellow eyes.“Greetings!” she struggled to speak their Common tongue. “It is very cold out there, and I am waiting for my husband to return from his hunting trip, but perhaps you could stay here, just for the night!” she offered. Murrick hesitated for a moment. “Well…perhaps!” he admitted. Norfan gave his friend a slap upside the head.“If you won’t spend the night with an orc…I won’t spend the night with this…animal!” Norfan snapped. “Yes well before I didn’t know what little choice we had, this is the last cave for miles and miles, and the orc is right we’ll probably die out here!” Murrick retorted. “I don’t care, I’ll not stay with this savage, just because you say yes! And it’s not fair we wouldn’t stay with the orc just because you said no!” Norfan stated indignantly. “Fine!” Murrick hissed. “I am sorry ma’am, we can’t stay here!” he said, and with that they traveled back into the pitch-black darkness and blizzard of the night. “But you will die out there!” she cried after them. “There is no safe shelter for miles!” The men looked for what seemed like hours, but the Dwellis was right. There were no safe caves or any shelter to be found. So they were now forced to set up camp. Their tent was made from the thick skin of a grizzly bear, and was reinforced by a sackcloth covering, but this was not enough to shield them against the cold, nor were their leather and wool padded bedrolls.“Murrick I don’t know about you but I’m freezing, I mean it’s cold, really cold!” Norfan whined. “Be quiet and go to bed, it’s always colder at night, you’ll go numb soon enough and fall right asleep!” “But Murrick maybe if we huddled together and shared body heat we could at least retain some warmth and…” “Blazes no!” Murrick cried. “Are you mad, huddle together like children or animals, besides the way you smell…?No I won’t suffer that humiliation Norfan, just go to sleep!” “But we will die, we must do something to keep warm!” Norfan argued. “We will die, I just know it!” “No Norfan I won’t get close to you, that’s worse than staying with the orc savage or the Dwellis you hated so much. Now go to sleep!” The night was a long and bitterly cold one, the winds raged on and the snow fell freely in its little shimmering flakes. The next morning came and the sun finally arose, and just a bit of light entered the tent to reveal Murrick and Norfan’s dead and frozen bodies. And that my friends, ends the story of the two men who died because of pride! Don’t let pride get you the same way it got them!

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