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Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« on: 23 December 2009, 03:22:51 »

My first sense of the Sanctuary of the Ilshanova was acrid smoke filling my nostrils, as well as a heady, oppressive smell of sweat and foul bodily odours.  When the priest finally removed my blindfold, I found myself in a small vestibule seemingly carved from the living stone of the disk itself.  In truth, I cannot say for certain whether this vestibule lay above ground or below, so wily were the priests in leading us here so as to leave us unable to make our way back, should we ever wish to, for which I can attest that I would not.  From the look on the faces of my three men, I could see they shared my sentiment.

Not a word was spoken as per the clear instructions from the priests.  This was my first Escadilla and I was not about to stray one step from the stern warnings of the priests'.  I doubt that if I were to ever have the honour, or should I say horror upon second reflection, of participating in another Escadilla that I would feel different.

The priest who had led us here began to anoint our hands and faces with Shirella salve.
 It should be noted to the reader that Shirella salve is the holy unguent used by Antislar priests, and though the exact formulation is not known outside their ranks, it contains Tansin Oil brought in from Kanapan lands as well as the fluid around unborn babies ripped from the wombs of sacrificial mothers.

Four other priests joined us, carrying the ceremonial weapons that we would be using.  Each sword glistened in the light of the doom steel sconces, indicating that they were anointed with Shirella salve as well.  We took the weapons, and I was amazed at the craftsmanship of these ancient swords.  It felt perfect in my hands and at once became a part of me.  But then, I had been trained for this moment my entire life.

Quietly, we were motioned forward to the next room which was much larger but still constructed so that I could not tell if it were a room in a large building or a cavern underground.  This was the Sanctuary of the Ilshanova and the source of the odours beheld in the vestibule.

There were six nude attendees to the Ilshanova in this room who immediately gathered in a protective manner before their charge upon seeing us strangers in their sanctuary.  Two of them I saw were women and all stared frightfully and warily at us, though none spoke.  I remember wondering if they even knew how to speak.  Something in their manner had me doubting it.

With a nod to my men, they stepped forward and performed the duty they had been trained to do.  Each of my three men slid their perfect weapons into the bellies of the six attendees, who fell to the floor amid a flood of blood and bowel yet none emitting more than a soft groan.  It was a muted nightmare I shan't ever purge from my mind's eye.

The next scene in this grotesque macabre was mine and I stepped over the still writhing bodies of the attendees to the Ilshanova.  The priest had cautioned me, "You do not see what your eyes see; You do not hear what your ears hear", but that did not prepare me for what I was about to witness.

I peered down to the dais to what I initially mistook for two people laying head to head.  The abomination that greeted me, however, was far from so benign.  Instead, it was two bodies that shared the same head!  The body on the right had a neck that led to a head that was normal from crown to base of the nose.  It had a covering of hair such as mine or anyone elses would be.  There was an ear and a nose that was purely human in look.  There was even a big black eye that stared up at me with such intensity that I believed my bowels would let loose and my soul would shrivel.

Below this left facing profile was a thin upper lip, beneath which I thought I could discern the white of teeth, though their was no mouth.  This was where this face met the right facing profile of the other body.  Under the tiny upper lip was an ear next to which was a nose, but no eye.  As is natural, below the nose was a fully formed mouth including a chin that led back to the neck and off to the left a complete body!

Both of these bodies were nude, curled within themselves like a child might do.  These bodies also shone in the light of the doom steel sconces because they were covered in Shirella salve.  From the look of the bodies, I would suggest that they never moved off the dais and all manner of their lives were controlled by the attendees.

As I have mentioned, the one big black eye stared at me and now the mouth began to move, emitting a sound that would turn the hair white of most men who had the ill fortune to hear it.  It was a voice that was at once both male and female, and sounded both from this world and the netherworld; four sounds in chorus with one another.

"Ava brings forth the dream that Coor must wake her from!  I am the eyes that see what only they can see; I am the voice that speaks what only they can say."

Though I was in my twenty-eighth year and no stranger to battle, having fought the heathen Remusians in no less than four campaigns, my knees were shaking with fear.  In my head, I kept repeating the priest's instructions; "It is your duty to cut the head from the body so that the spirit of the Ilshanova may be freed to enter the new vessel."

Swallowing my fear, I brought down the sword, severing the left body, hoping to to silence the voices that escaped its mouth.  Instead, the voices became a cacophony of howls that had my men back away as far from the body as was possible.  I half expected Ava to wake right there and for all the dream to blink out of existence.  Hurriedly, I swung again, severing the right body so that the head lay by itself between its two twitching bodies, that big black eye still focused on me.

I was saved from looking hard at the head, as movement from the far corner alerted me to yet another priest entering the room, carrying ion his arms a swaddled bundle and followed by six children, all naked and anointed with Shirella salve.  I stepped back away from the bloody dais and watched in rapt fascination as the children silently moved forward to the dais and began to pull the dead body of the Ilshanova onto the floor to mingle with the dead bodies of the attendees.  One of the children, a girl who might have been considered pretty in other circumstances, grabbed the head in her arms and turned around to face me, staring up at me in a muted expressionless manner before dropping the head onto the stone floor, which landed with a sickening thud before she rejoined the other children behind the priest.  I have oft imagined Remusian children to be vacant shells of heartless emotionless beings but nothing prepared me for the utter emptiness in the gaze of that little girl.  It haunts me still.

The priest pressed past me and gently laid on the dais the bundle he carried.  To my horror, I saw that it was an infant, not more than a few months old, and that it was a single head with two bodies; exactly as the Ilshanova had been.  The priest stepped away and the children, whom I now guessed were the new attendees, gathered around the infant and began rubbing Shirella salve onto it.

As I stared, the infant began to cry, and as it did so, its voice changed from that of a natural baby and took on the surreal qualities of its predecessor.  This was now the new Ilshanova!  Suddenly, its eye opened; black and holding an ancient intelligence, and it stared at me in a way that I was certain it knew I was the one who ended the life of its previous incarnation.

Half stumbling from fear, I retreated to the vestibule, joined by my men.  We all stared wide-eyed and pale at one another, as the priests gathered back their swords from our trembling fingers.  We were again blindfolded and led from the sanctuary in such a way as to confuse us and make it impossible to find our way back.

In the years since, I have not been able to shake free the visions of that day.  Those three men of mine and I exchange looks that contain a glint of understanding in our eyes, but none of us has been able to bring ourselves to discuss the events.

For my part, I fear for my own sanity.  When I close my eyes, that big black eye stares at me and I awake in the night to the sounds of its voice calling for retribution.  It is because of this that I am now putting quill to vellum.  I feel I must, I need, to express the events of that day.

Gods protect me!



The above report was smuggled from Antislar.  It is the only document relating to the Ilshanova or the Escadilla that comes from a verifiable source; Warrior, First Echelon, Geanus Ostellen.  The date of the report equates to the summer of 1659 a.S., and it should be noted that Ostellen died later that same year.  He was discovered one morning with his eyes gouged out and his tongue bitten off, his face frozen in an expression of pure terror.  Whether the wounds and subsequent death of Ostellen was self inflicted could not be determined.
« Last Edit: 20 January 2010, 02:34:08 by Azhira » Logged

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Azhira Styralias
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« Reply #1 on: 19 January 2010, 13:21:48 »

Was this ready for comment, dear Remusian?  heart

*looks for the proper posticon*
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #2 on: 19 January 2010, 17:55:29 »

Comments are always welcome.  I'm not sure if this is a Myth/Lore typer entry, or simply part of a larger entry on the Oracles themselves.  Its a vision I had while in the hospital and quite out of it at the time.  I wanted to write it down before I forgot it. :D
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« Reply #3 on: 19 January 2010, 19:41:51 »

I thought I had commented a bit on that when you posted it (just a sentence or so), hmm, obviously not.

I don't know what to say though, maybe you should explain it a bit more for now. We don't know much about the Antislar yet. Put it in a context, maybe even a template, that may help you to get more to know about it as well. It doesn't hurt,if it sits here a while, till it has a place where it could go.


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The above report was smuggled from Antislar.  It is the only document relating to the Ilshanova or the Escadilla that comes from a verifiable source; Warrior, First Echelon, Geanus Ostellen.  The date of the report equates to the summer of 1659 a.S., and it should be noted that Ostellen died later that same year.  He was discovered one morning with his eyes gouged out and his tongue bitten off, his face frozen in an expression of pure terror.  Whether the wounds and subsequent death of Ostellen was self inflicted could not be determined.

There are a lot of unknown persons, unknown also their place in life, their importance etc. Who is the Ilshanova? Explain here as well, what a Echelon is (I have the feeling, I should know it ;) ) ... etc..

And finish your patron! ;)
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« Reply #4 on: 20 January 2010, 02:33:51 »

Yes, I agree with Talia. A bit of context would help, since we know next to nothing of the Antislar.

Oh, and finish that Patron! Yes! You only need to integrate it into the template.

I am happy to see another patron added to our pantheon. You'll be included in the new menus.  ;)
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
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« Reply #5 on: 20 January 2010, 20:02:13 »

I noticed a few things that I'd like to point out with your grammar, spelling and punctuation. There may be no more than a paragraph or two, but we'll see as I re-read it. Also, sorry if I sound overly pretentious in my suggestions/recommendations/telling-you-to's.
Red is the colour of compassion, and better grammar.
Yellow is the colour of new ways. I'm finicky, so don't take anything too hard, please. I'll try to be gentle.

EDIT: Don't be too worried by all the red, please. I'm often overly wordy, and it's a relatively long document. There's not actually that many problems with it.

My first sense of the Sanctuary of the Ilshanova was acrid smoke filling my nostrils, (A comma is not necessary here and only seeks to make a reader's mind skip a beat. I'd recommend that you remove it, although this is simply a stylistic error and you can keep it there so long as you're sure you want to) as well as a (Is it possible that that this 'a' might be a 'the' in diguise? I'd certainly recommend it) heady, oppressive smell of sweat and foul bodily odours.  When the priest finally removed my blindfold, I found myself in a small vestibule seemingly carved from the living stone of the disk itself.  In truth, I cannot say for certain whether this vestibule lay above ground or below, so wily were the priests in leading us here so as to leave us unable to make our way back , (I would remove this comma. It holds the same problem as the first comma I made mention of) should we ever wish to, for which I can attest that I would not.  From the look on the faces of my three men, I could see they shared my sentiment.

Not a word was spoken as per the clear instructions from the priests.  This was my first Escadilla and I was not about to stray one step from the stern warnings of the priests'.  I doubt that if I were to ever have the honour, or should I say horror upon second reflection, of participating in another Escadilla that I would feel different. (The structure of this last sentence has me confused. I'd revise it as, "I doubt, that if I were to ever have the honour, or should I say horror, upon second reflection, of participating in another Escadilla, that I would feel different." This makes the sentence extensively complex, and worries me, because I am not sure what you are referring to "feeling different" about as the previous sentences in the paragraph offer no clear idea. As of this, I can only assume that my finicky nature gets the best of me, so I would leave this sentence as it is unless someone else has something to say. Needless to say, given that I've lengthened this paragraph by over twice its original length, I've gone on too long)

A fine paragraph... to shorten my post to the necessary, to the changed paragraphs only, I've removed it.

Yet another fine paragraph.

Quietly, we were motioned forward to the next room (I'd put a comma here, after 'room') which was much larger but still constructed so that I could not tell if it were a room in a large building (I'd put  a comma here, too, after 'building') or a cavern underground.  This was the Sanctuary of the Ilshanova and the source of the odours beheld in the vestibule.

There were six nude attendees to the Ilshanova in this room (A comma after 'room' would not go astray) who immediately gathered in a protective manner before their charge upon seeing us strangers (This reads as very awkward. I'd suggest "us as strangers" rather than just "us strangers". Were you to keep it as such, I'd suggest "we strangers". Us should not be used as such) in their sanctuary.  Two of them I saw were women and all stared frightfully and warily at us, though none spoke.  I remember wondering if they even knew how to speak.  Something in their manner had me doubting it.

With a nod to my men, they stepped forward and performed the duty they had been trained to do.  Each of my three men slid their perfect weapons into the bellies of the six attendees, who fell to the floor amid a flood of blood (If it is your wish to write with this style, keep it, but I'd try not to remove the rhyme in "flood of blood". It's a personal annoyance, as it reads in a gaudy manner in serious pieces. Given the alliteration that comes after, something like "pool of blood and bowel" still holds a resounding power) and bowel yet none emitting more than a soft groan.  It was a muted nightmare I shan't ever purge from my mind's eye.

The next scene in this grotesque macabre (Macabre is an adjective) was mine (I'd put a comma after 'mine') and I stepped over the still writhing (Is this because they haven't stopped writhing, or because they're still, and writhing? It's a little bit awkward and needs something to set it apart) bodies of the attendees to the Ilshanova.  The priest had cautioned me, "You do not see what your eyes see; You do not hear what your ears hear", (This comma should be on the inside of the quotation marks) but that did not prepare me for what I was about to witness.

I peered down to the dais to what I initially mistook for two people laying head to head.  The abomination that greeted me, however, was far from so benign (This reads awkwardly, and I'm not sure whether there's anything wrong with it, or if it just shook me as strange).  Instead, it was two bodies that shared the same head!  The body on the right had a neck that led to a head that was normal from crown to base of the nose.  It had a covering of hair such as mine or anyone elses would be.  There was an ear and a nose that was purely human in look.  There was even a big black eye that stared up at me with such intensity that I believed my bowels would let loose and my soul would shrivel.

Below this left facing profile was a thin upper lip, beneath which I thought I could discern the white of teeth, though their was no mouth.  This was where this face met the right facing profile of the other body.  Under the tiny upper lip was an ear next to which was a nose, but no eye.  As is natural, below the nose was a fully formed mouth including a chin that led back to the neck and off to the left (I'm certain that this should be wrapped in commas. It reads too fast in the mind without them and does not attach itself to the end of the sentence well) a complete body!

Both of these bodies were nude, curled within themselves like a child might do (I'm not sure that 'within themselves' is right, and that 'do' should be a 'be').  These bodies also shone in the light of the doom steel sconces because they were covered in Shirella salve.  From the look of the bodies, I would suggest that they never moved off the dais and all manner of their lives were controlled by the attendees.

As I have mentioned, the one big black eye stared at me (A comma after 'me' is rather necessary) and now the mouth began to move, emitting a sound that would turn the hair white of most men who (This part of the sentence needs to be rethought, rewritten) had the ill fortune to hear it.  It was a voice that was at once both male and female, and sounded both from this world and the netherworld; four sounds in chorus with one another.

A very fine piece of dialogue!

Though I was in my twenty-eighth year and no stranger to battle, (A comma should come after 'year', and the comma after 'battle' should be removed) having fought the heathen Remusians in no less than four campaigns, my knees were shaking with fear.  In my head, I kept repeating the priest's instructions; "It is your duty to cut the head from the body so that the spirit of the Ilshanova may be freed to enter the new vessel."

Swallowing my fear, I brought down the sword, severing the left body, hoping to to silence the voices that escaped its mouth.  Instead, the voices became a cacophony of howls that had my men back away as far from the body as was possible.  I half expected Ava to wake right there and for all the dream (Oh, there's nothing wrong here. But that's beautiful; I wanted to draw attention to it) to blink out of existence.  Hurriedly, I swung again, severing the right body so that the head lay by itself between its two twitching bodies, that big black eye still focused on me.

I was saved from looking hard at the head, (Remove the comma) as movement from the far corner alerted me to yet another priest entering the room, carrying ion his arms ("carrying, in his arms," should be how this reads) a swaddled bundle and followed by six children, all naked and anointed with Shirella salve.  I stepped back away from the bloody dais and watched in rapt fascination as the children silently moved forward to the dais and began to pull the dead body of the Ilshanova onto the floor to mingle with the dead bodies of the attendees.  One of the children, a girl who might have been considered pretty in other circumstances, grabbed the head in her arms and turned around to face me, staring up at me in a muted expressionless manner before dropping the head onto the stone floor, which landed with a sickening thud before she rejoined the other children behind the priest.  I have oft imagined Remusian children to be vacant shells of heartless emotionless beings but nothing prepared me for the utter emptiness in the gaze of that little girl.  It haunts me still.

The priest pressed past me and gently laid on the dais the bundle he carried (Awkward. I recommend, "gently laid the bundle he carried on the dais." You keep linked terms together. He did not lay the dais. He laid the bundle..  To my horror, I saw that it was an infant, not more than a few months old, and that it was a single head with two bodies; exactly as the Ilshanova had been.  The priest stepped away (A comma can come after 'away' to read easier) and the children, whom I now guessed were the new attendees, gathered around the infant and began rubbing Shirella salve onto it.

As I stared, the infant began to cry, and as it did so, its voice changed from that of a natural baby and took on the surreal qualities of its predecessor.  This was now the new Ilshanova!  Suddenly, its eye opened; black and holding an ancient intelligence, and (By the use of the semi-colon, you've started a new clause. This 'and' doesn't fit. Just remove it) it stared at me in a way that I was certain it knew I was the one who ended the life of its previous incarnation. (This entire last sentence (at least from where I last had something to say) seems to drag on. To shorten it to "it knew. It knew that I did it" would keep the same feel, but also make it seem less tedious and wordy)

A fine paragraph, here.

Another fine paragraph.

For my part, I fear for my own sanity.  When I close my eyes, that big black eye stares at me (A comma after 'me', please) and I awake in the night to the sounds of its voice calling for retribution.  It is because of this that I am now putting quill to vellum.  I feel I must, I need, to express the events of that day.

Gods protect me!



The above report was smuggled from Antislar.  It is the only document relating to the Ilshanova or the Escadilla that comes from a verifiable source; Warrior, First Echelon, Geanus Ostellen.  The date of the report equates to the summer of 1659 a.S., and it should be noted that Ostellen died later that same year.  He was discovered one morning with his eyes gouged out and his tongue bitten off, his face frozen in an expression of pure terror.  Whether the wounds and subsequent death of Ostellen was self inflicted could not be determined.

Footnotes:
It's a very well written piece but for a few things that I'll not refer to as errors. Most of what I won't refer to as a problem was in comma use.
Also, given my limited knowledge of the Dream, I can't confirm Talia's mention of more explanation needed, but it is a wonderful document that I'll confirm as well written. I do highly recommend that you look through my comments. Decide which ones go against retention of your style and leave them out if there is a set style and reason for the way in which it is written.
« Last Edit: 20 January 2010, 20:03:57 by Radakail Akardiel » Logged
Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #6 on: 20 January 2010, 22:35:59 »

Commas, as you can see, are my weakness.  When I went to school, I remember one teacher telling us that a comma was a shorter pause than a period and it gave the reader a bit of a break to catch their breath, so to speak.  This has often led me to use far more than I should.  I shall look this over and change most of the text accordingly, though perhaps not all, as it was meant to be written not in a compendium manner, but in a more loose style reminiscent of a lay person.

Thank you for the perusal, and let me be the first to hand you an aura point.  thumbup
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« Reply #7 on: 20 January 2010, 22:51:06 »

Hi Radakail! Welcome to Santharia.

Can you perhaps introduce yourself? Obviously, you are good at grammar, but what else can we learn about you?  :)
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
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« Reply #8 on: 21 January 2010, 07:11:56 »

Commas, as you can see, are my weakness.  When I went to school, I remember one teacher telling us that a comma was a shorter pause than a period and it gave the reader a bit of a break to catch their breath, so to speak.  This has often led me to use far more than I should.  I shall look this over and change most of the text accordingly, though perhaps not all, as it was meant to be written not in a compendium manner, but in a more loose style reminiscent of a lay person.

Thank you for the perusal, and let me be the first to hand you an aura point.  thumbup

Thank you. And let me be (hopefully) the first to tell you better advice than your teacher gave; if in doubt, leave it out. Simple advice, but it's a lot better. It's better that someone tells you you failed to place a comma than they tell you you failed to place one correctly, heh.

A copy of The Elements of Style wouldn't go astray. You can pick it up cheap and it will help anyone's grammar tenfold. It's pretty much just a list of rules for writing in the English language.
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« Reply #9 on: 21 January 2010, 08:33:38 »

Do you speak of this one?  rolling


Quote
Edinburgh University linguistics professor Geoffrey Pullum has criticized The Elements of Style, saying:

    The book’s toxic mix of purism, atavism, and personal eccentricity is not underpinned by a proper grounding in English grammar. It is often so misguided that the authors appear not to notice their own egregious flouting of its own rules . . . It’s sad. Several generations of college students learned their grammar from the uninformed bossiness of Strunk and White, and the result is a nation of educated people who know they feel vaguely anxious and insecure whenever they write 'however' or 'than me' or 'was' or 'which,' but can’t tell you why.[9]

Specifically, Pullum says Strunk and White were misguided in identifying the passive voice as incorrect, and in proscribing established usages such as the split infinitive and the use of "which" in a restrictive relative clause.[9] He also frequently criticizes Elements on Language Log, a linguists' blog focusing on portrayals of language in the popular media, for promoting linguistic prescriptivism and hypercorrection among English speakers,[10] referring to it as "the book that ate America's brain".[11]

The Boston Globe's review of the 2005 illustrated edition describes it as an "aging zombie of a book ... a hodgepodge, its now-antiquated pet peeves jostling for space with 1970s taboos and 1990s computer advice."[12]
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« Reply #10 on: 21 January 2010, 09:28:06 »

Do you speak of this one?  rolling



There will always be those who disagree, you must remember. The difference is that everything in the book makes sense. Rule 17, which states, "Omit needless words," makes SENSE. Another rule of, "Do not construct awkward adverbs," makes SENSE.
All of the rules are founded on a solid base of experience in the English language; especially after E.B. White (writer of childhood classics like Stuart Little, and Charlotte's Web) revised the edition.

So, before you agree with a linguist's opinion (which is unfounded; linguistics is the study of language. The Elements of Style is not rules for stylised writing, but rules for stylised writing of the English language. It is, therefore, a completely different ground to base a theory on, so this Geoffrey Pullum is unfounded in his criticism), get a copy and read it.

Other than that, all I have to say is that if you don't know why you're writing in one particular way (after advice from The Elements), then you probably can't read and probably shouldn't write. I had my own pet peeves before I picked it up, and just because they weren't in there, I still kept them...

</derail> (If you wish to continue this wonderful debate that already sounds too serious for its own good, please, Message me)
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« Reply #11 on: 03 March 2010, 04:11:21 »

Alt,

How's progress here? Should this be made into a Myth template or Library entry? It could go either way, but I think I like the Library entry. It can be listed in the new menus as Antislar Lore!  ;)
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No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith. And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.
Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #12 on: 03 March 2010, 04:16:29 »

Things are still mulling about in my little brain, though they are starting coelesce.  I have decided to give in to my ADD.  The more I try to focus on only one entry, the more my head shuts down.  So, as you have prolly noticed, I'm putting up a few entries that I will work on simultaneously.  That way, when an idea or inspiartion hits, I can jump all over it.

With this, there will be an entry to go along with the Letter that will make up the Lore section of it. :D
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"Lather...Rinse...Repeat"   Why has God made my life so complicated?

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