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PostSubject: New story idea (it still needs a working title)   New story idea (it still needs a working title) Icon_minitimeWed May 23, 2012 4:52 pm

This is a fairly long scrap, but the idea finally came together last night. This is the very first draft of the very first scene of this story, so please let me know what I need to elaborate on or take out.
No matter what anyone said about the desert, it was definitely not a picky eater. Anyone brave enough to wander into it would find their hopes and dreams consumed in short order, followed closely by their luggage, the animals brought to carry the luggage, and sooner or later their bones.
It had long ago been given the name ‘the Mouth.’
And, like any mouth, occasionally things get caught in the teeth. Deep in the desert, far from any human eyes, something was coming to light out of the swirling sands. A chipped sliver of wood was revealed, followed closely by another wooden board as the wind tossed handfuls of grit out of the way. Finally, the thing was unearthed: half of a wooden jailor’s wagon, bars still firmly placed into the lone window, paint faded into an almost uniform brown. The sand had infiltrated the wood, and now the whole thing glittered in the light as though it had been made for royalty.
Suddenly, the desert coughed.
Years of sand and erosion fell away in an instant. The paint changed from brown to an uninspiring gray, and the word CONVICT appeared on the side in huge black letters. The wood became whole again and the wagon strained to be upright. It looked as new as it must have been coming fresh out of the carpenter’s, albeit with only two wheels and half of the wagon gone.
This revival was short-lived, however, because after a minute or so the desert coughed again. A hundred years of weathered reduced the exposed wagon to dust in an instant, which flew away on the wind. And the Mouth was calm again.
No one crossed the desert. The sun could blind and the heat could bake and the dryness was fatal, but no one wanted to mess with a changing temporal climate. A man could enter the desert as himself and suddenly find that he’d been reduced to a child, or advanced to old age, or simply become a pile of bones. Space could be fought. How was a person supposed to fight time itself?
And yet, someone had crossed the desert, a long, long time ago. Someone, many someones, had been forced out of their homes and had wandered the desert for ages. They had survived the time shifts and built a city–The City–next to the only water for miles and miles, the river called the Tongue. And there they had been able to survive the weather and the changing times for a thousand years.
This did not mean that the Mouth had given up on eating The City. It just meant that The City had learned to fight back.
And one of those fighters was currently standing on the lowest level of The City, covered in sand, wondering exactly why his ancestors hadn’t let the desert eat the place and be done with it.

After all, it wasn't exactly a beautiful city or even a very pleasant city, but his family lived there and his wife lived there and he wasn't about to leave, and that, Rook thought, was the only reason why he bothered fighting the Mouth at all.
The sand was nearly knee-high by now, and he’d long ago given up trying to keep his shirt white. There was no point in a white shirt if The City was about to fall down around his boots. The pants, at least, were already brown, and wouldn't notice a little more added color.
The wind shifted, blowing sand into his face, but Rook tried to ignore his physical surroundings. All his concentration was on the temporal winds, which were spiraling around as if they didn’t know where they wanted to land. Rook moved left, then right, then left again, and suddenly dived at the nearest wall as a temporal wind decided to land there. The wind carried many years on it, he could tell, and that would weaken the structure. And in The City, damage to the lower structure was damage to everything.
His hands touched the wall just as the time wind hit it and he focused all of his thought on it. Fine, he thought, age a bit, but before you start to blow away, come back. Be like new. Turn back time. The wall resisted a bit, as walls tend to do. I said TURN BACK.
The wall shuddered as two opposite commands were directed at it, but Rook’s will was firm. Stone softened and then solidified under his hands, and the wall stood unbroken. Better than unbroken, even; as good as the day it was crafted.
Another wind tried to land on the building next to it, and Rook ran to save that one as well. Once it was secure, he took a moment to look up at the sky. “Be done!” he yelled. “Go away! I’m tired of this!”
“Hwhaaa?” another voice called back, muffled by the sandstorm. “Whookaaaeeeee?”
A figure in a dirty white shirt and brown pants stumbled into view, cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled, “What? Did you call me?”
“No,” Rook called back, “but help! The winds are blowing this way!”
The figure came closer, and resolved itself into Torik, one of Rook’s friends who had also been assigned to guard the lowest level. “It’s been an hour,” he said, inspecting his shirt. “It should stop soon.” With a flick of the cloth, Torik banished the dirt and wear from the shirt, leaving it white and pristine. The sand stuck to it almost immediately.
“This one!” Rook said, dragging Torik over to another dwelling. It was easier with two, to change the winds. Even so, in a minute they were both out of breath.
“Tell me,” Torik asked, “are the winds getting stronger or are we getting weaker?”
Rook shrugged. The end result was the same either way.
“Where’s your brother when we need him,” Torik muttered, pulling Rook over to another spot of potential temporal destruction.
Five minutes can seem like an eternity when dealing with winds that may carry that amount of time. Rook raised his eyes to the sky, intending to scream at the wind some more on the chance that something might change, and found himself staring into his own face.
Of course, he stared into his own face almost every single day, so he wasn’t surprised by this. He was surprised as to why his face was on the roof of a building.
The person on the roof dropped down so that Rook could see him properly. He favored Rook in every way, right down to the sand-encrusted shirt and messed-up hair, except that he currently wore a grin. A grin would have been a pilgrim in an unholy land on Rook’s face right now. Still, Rook already had a yell saved up, and if he couldn’t use it on the sky, he could at least use it on his brother.
“Kairos,” Rook yelled, “where have you been?!”
“I thought I’d check on you now that the storm’s over,” his brother said cheerfully.
“The storm isn’t over! It’s still going!”
Kairos shook his head, and casually leaned against the building. The stones in the building shivered and became even more solid. “No, the storm ended. The last wind hit the stairs to the next level, and then the storm ended. Where have you two been?”
Rook and Torik looked at each other, and simultaneously dashed for the stairs. The temporal winds swirled around their heads, and one decided that it would crash right in the middle of the staircase. Rook reached for it with his senses…and it was a wind that would turn the clock backwards, by 13 years. That wasn’t nearly enough to do any damage, and both men sank to the ground in relief. And as promised, with a last whoosh and a faint ripping sound, the temporal winds blew themselves out.
All that was left was the real wind blowing sand everywhere, but that was okay. The lowest level could be covered in the stuff and the walls could be riddled with it, but that could be fixed. Space could be fought. But once time had taken something, it was gone for good.
As Rook and Torik caught their breath, Kairos walked over to them and sat carefully. “I see,” he said, calmly, evenly. “The storm wasn’t over yet. That wind hadn’t yet touched the stairs. I was confused. I am sorry.”
Torik coughed out a laugh that was half sand and shook the new grit from his white shirt. “Your confusion helped us. Don’t apologize.”
Rook just put a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “Everyone is still up at the top level. We should let them know that the time storm is done.”
Kairos nodded. A smile returned to his face, and he rose to his feet, stepping on top of the sand still piling up. He offered each of them a hand. “They’ve prepared food up there for our return. It was delicious–it will be delicious. Let’s go.”
As they started the climb up to The City’s top level, Torik said, as quietly as was possible in the sandstorm, “I thought that your brother was getting better recently.”
Rook shook his head. “He’s still confused. He had a good week, that’s all.”
Torik shook his head. “You’d think that a man who can work with time like he can would know what time it is right now.”
Maybe working with time was the whole problem, but Rook didn’t say anything as they continued to climb.
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PostSubject: Re: New story idea (it still needs a working title)   New story idea (it still needs a working title) Icon_minitimeWed May 23, 2012 5:42 pm

I believe the story made enough sense as an introduction, but more will have to be explained later since there are still a lot of questions left unanswered.

For example, we know very little about any of the characters except that they dress and look similarly.

It also seems that the entire city is in peril and it is being protected by these three people alone, and that one wrong move would be catastrophic. I'd like to know how this city has been around for so long with such doom being held back on such a thin defense.

I'm assuming the wagon is important to the story, and I'm assuming a lot of things. This intro grabs attention and makes the reader ask questions, which is good, but I can't make any real judgement on the story until I see more of where it is going.
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PostSubject: Re: New story idea (it still needs a working title)   New story idea (it still needs a working title) Icon_minitimeWed May 23, 2012 10:56 pm

Solid! That's what I needed to know. I've got more plans for this story, and more explanations about the way The City has been run and managed coming very soon, but I always worry about having a story that grabs interest. Honestly, I haven't worked out a lot of what happens next, so probably I'll just keep writing it and see where it goes.
And the wagon is important, later on. In fact I think I have a few hints of what's going to be important later on in the intro.
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