The Dreamscape Chalice

by Vorec


"Drink, Drink power and vengeance can BE Yours, Ritre drink from the chalice release me and I shall empower you!
Ritre raised the chalice to her full crimson lips her mind casting itself back to the days before, the days that lead to this, her choice her dilemma…

"Why sir why must we spare them, they are nothing mere peasants these nomads we've captured let us slay them let the blood enriches the sands of the desert.
Ritre spat angrily to her tribes elder Kitar.
"Ritre though we are Barbarians the Broken hand tribe is NOT one to enjoy meaningless slaughter, many times you have challenged me on this and know I think its time to put an end to it…
If you cannot contain your thirst for blood and death seek elsewhere away from us, go seek out the old one Kamal have her read the bones, do this and do what she says in the bones or consider your self exiled from us."
This is my command RITRE. Kitar shouted at the young girl in his tribe.

Seething angry, Ritre stomped off away from the chieftains tent, kicking any non-clan member that got in her way she headed towards the outer most part of the encampment.
"Greetings child Kamal wheezed, her eyes burning with an intensity far too much for her advanced years. "You have come as I have seen, you have come as I predicted enter enter girl old Kamal will read the portents of the future the weave of your fate for you She continued. Leading the way into her tent past the drying entrails and desiccated rodents that lined the old hags tent. Ritre reluctantly took a seat when the old woman motioned her to. The old woman sat, pausing a moment before removing her think leather jerkin, revealing her heavily tattooed and very shrivelled breasts.
Ritre raised an eyebrow at this questionable behavihor,
" Girl you don't seek council of the divine wearing more then you arrived fool now is silent.
Kamal took a leather pouch from a basket taking in g the bones from the pouch Kamal blessed them by spitting on them, before tossing them up letting them fall into patterns of fate.
As the rune covered finger bones fell Kamal began chanting lowering herself into a trance like state …
As the last bone settled kamal's voice became silky and smooth, " journey"…."Quest" "chalice " "Trials" "dreams" Kamal moaned as blood flowed from her ears as she continued the reading …
Her eyes snapped open her voice craggy and coarse once more " Ritre you must go to the cavern of dreams … the dreamscape cavern find the chalice and confront the beast within you will either return to us cleansed of the bloodlust that consumes you or you will perish, that is your path before you there is no other go north to the township of Mikish seek the scrolls of toutliv to guide you and remember pride is well and good in a warrior but anger will be your doom. I wish you well in your quest Ritre. " Kamal concluded as Ritre stood.
Before the old woman fell in to the easy deep sleep of the aged.

"Damn cow what does she know" Ritre spat as she stormed out her rage boiling off in near visible waves. Heading out of the encampment on foot she made for the small town of Mikish in the mountains where some of the wiser scribes and librarians dwelled. Hopefully where she would find a map to this dreamscape cavern…
As she walked Rite's rage cooled down to a general anger at her tribe Kamal, the world. Still seething with anger she unsheathed her blade, hoping practicing the art of death might calm her or at least allow her to release some of her frustrations…
After an hour or so she stopped, breathing heavily and running with sweat she nicked her finger before sheathing the blade, and heading on to the town.

Ritre reached the town just as dusk was ending leaving nothing but the darker twilight. Entering the outskirts of Mikish Ritre hoped to find board until she could find out more about the dreamscape caverns. Leaving her blade lose in its scabbard she walked on into mikish's more shadowy areas, keeping her eyes doubly alert for an inn or a tavern she waked until the sounds of a scuffle drew her attention.
Seeking it out Ritre was both pleased and appalled at what she found a group of thugs beating up an old man. Howling her battle cry she unsheathed her blade and leapt into the group her sword began singing sweetly the song of death in her talented hands. She struck her blade splitting flesh and bone showering her in blood and bile, as her killing lust increased and the fluid of life flowed freely, Ritre laughed the kill was what she lived for what she dreamed of truly joyous in her desire to slay.

Far off another potent being was watching this slaughter glorying in her prowess.
" Ah yes she will be the one, her life force or her capitulation will free me he said smiling as Ritre stabbed one his entrails pouring out over her hand blood bubbling from his lips as he held them in while sinking down to death, she gasped as the cold touch of steel caressed her flesh pausing she felt the wound smiling as the hot fire of pain relived her as too the severity of the injury. Ritre spun, her mind again totally focused on the battle before her blade trimming an assailants head roughly to the level of his ears, splattering the wall in a pinkish grey froth.
Her unseen watcher smiled "oh yes she will free me such fire such passion in the arts of death easily shall I bring hr and if not then I shall feast on her soul."
Ritre stopped her blade dripping with gore, her chest heaving with the exhilaration of combat, turning around carefully her blade always in a guard position Ritre saw that yes indeed all 6 of her attackers were dead and the old man still lived.
" You all right their old man"? She asked.
" Yes " he replied as he stood clutching a few scrolls in his arthritic hands. " thanks to you child "
"Good" she said as she casually brought her blade down cleaving the mans head from his shoulders. " I'm glad sorry old man but I might have need for these scrolls." She finished saying to the now sightless head lying at her feet.
Taking the scrolls from his limp hands she sheathed her blade and walked off to the inn whose joyful light can be seen in the night.
After securing room and board for the night with the option for a longer stay Ritre took her meal and headed up to the room assigned to her. After cleaning her blade and oiling its leather scabbard she tended to the shallow wound on her thigh, she ate her meal and layback to sleep.

The pale rose light of the morning woke Ritre from a fitful sleep, heading down she helped her from the breakfast pots in the inns common room and ate her exertions from the night before making it known through her appetite. Finishing her food she headed our eager to find the scribe and the scrolls of toutliv.
As she padded down the dirt streets the building she sought became readily apparent its large intricate stonework amidst the plain buildings surrounding it marking it as a place of wealth and power hurrying to it Ritre climbed the steps taking the scroll she 'acquired' out of her bag in case wit rather than might was needed to gain entry
As she entered the outer hall Ritre was surprised to not see many guards around.
After a fair while of corridor searching and poking her nose into open rooms Ritre found a room with an occupant.
An old man sat behind an impressive oaken desk his cloths rich though covered in dust pouring over manuscripts and books correlating and noting any in need of repair.

" HELLO" Ritre asked loudly fearing the man was deaf.
" Eh no need to shout girl I may be old but I hear just fine, he replied testily.
" Now what do you need?"
" I seek the scrolls of Toutliv sir." She answered brazen and defiant as ever.
At the mention of the name the man paled "toutliv do you even know what it is you seek girl? He replied fear evident in his voice
"No only that I must go to the caverns mentioned their Dreamscape I believe there called. Where I must confront my 'true self' so tell me old man where is it?
" No girl first I shall tell you what it is. Then where if you still wish to go. So sit and listen girl," he answered.

" Years ago when the world was whole and the beast remembered only as legend roamed free and wide humans grew wise and they're mystics far greater then those we have now discovered that they were not alone. Though conscious dreaming they gained awareness"… he paused reaching up fro a musty book behind him opening the book he found the page he sought and continued,
"Of another plane of reality, one they knew and entered often but did not believe it to be true places the realm of dreams girl. They old ones found a race as intelligent and wise as our own perhaps more so these beings existed both in and out of the dream realm after many years the ancients learned the race called them selves dreamons they also discovered that the dream realm linked our realm and the dreamons home realm much as a tunnel links 2 sides of a mountain.
Well after consulting with the dreamons mystics or 'soul weavers ' the old ones decided to open passages between the realms using special sites the caverns is one of these sites perhaps the only surviving one

"You mean there's more caves like it?"

No …perhaps but there was a war… It sealed many of them "

"War what war"

The old man sighed as he launched in to an explanation of the war "the dreamons had a general one of there army leaders he was mad for conquest according to the "C'esone and other surviving records"

"Mad for conquest you say"

"Yes girl mad now please let me speak, anyways this general bespoke his king telling him of the wealth of our realm and how only dreamons should possess it, this much we know from verbal accounts by the order

So about the war tell me more"

I will child if you cease interrupting me "

Ritre my name is Ritre call me girl or child again and I shall take your tongue

The man blanched " f..Forgive me r..Itre "

Ritre motioned fro the man to continue as she sat down again.

" As for the war it was known as the war of the thousand moons for 100 of our years it raged dreamons pillaging and killing all in search of the material they called 'd'oipl' gold Ritre tens of hundreds of thousands were killed on both sides and many more souls were consumed as they raged across our world Ritre the ancients made plans to seal the tyrant in to cut him off from both realms, fortunately towards the end of the war many dreamons came over and joined our side in pushing back the general and his forces the C'esone say that even his king went against him at the last hour.

"Get to the point man"

The point ritre is that they sealed him Mortor in there he's sealed in the dreamscape caverns. The method used was apparently a chalice no dreamon can touch it so it left in clear view of mortor it is filled with what the soul weavers called the nectar of desire.
But here take this map and remember mortors powerful and angry
The chalice is the lock and the final test you must face if you go there
The first is ….he paused checking his book for more preisce information about the protective spells of the place. " Your self in light, I have know idea about that save the line under it which says one path of 3, the second your self in darkness, again I have no idea and finally your true form, if you survive all 3 trials then mortor will face you I know not what he will do I hope you are strong enough to face him and win if not fall on your own sword it would be far better. Now take this map and go but beware though it lies near here amongst the mountains the way is mentally hard
Spells and traps line the way there the traps I don't think will be problem as the materials used in them will have decayed but be careful."

Taking the map in her hand she turned and headed out running down the stone staircase and out to the centre of the town

Watching her leave the man called out to one of his aides ' go get a the hunter have him follow her if she passes the 3rd test have him kill her we cannot allow her to realese mortor."
Nodding the young apprentice ran off passing the message to one of the bounty hunters working the town.

Ritre headed north following the map the man had provided always alert for any trickery and now more alert then ever with the possibility of traps.
Dusk was falling as she reached the end of the maps trail a small not descript looking hole in the ground
" Hmm can this really be the portal by which armies marched though years ago. She thought as she set about widening the entrance
Once she thought the entrance was wide enough she stopped and pulled out a pitch-laden torch, lighting it with her flint striker.
"Well let's see what this dreamscape cavern holds" ritre said to her as she ducked low and entered the darkness.
The flickering light from the torch illuminated the unspectacular limestone walls small flecks of mica reflected the light from the torch revealing the cave system to be quite open its passages wide and airy. Ritre was not that bothered be the enclosed space her pursuer however was all too aware of it.
" Damn ceiling he muttered as he followed Ritre's receding light, pausing when she did as too maintain the difference between them.

Ritre made one such pause now noticing an old frayed hemp rope stretched across the path before her.
"Hmm the old man was right these traps are truly no threat to me, " she said as she stepped over it laughing slightly as she did.
Glumli, Ritre's pursuer followed her constantly aware as to the space between hunter and hunted.
After a while of ritre wandering these labyrinthine caves ritre was surprised to see another light source ahead.
"Yourself in light " she muttered repeating the old mans words " well this must be it."
Drawing her blade ritre entered the large room filled with a blinding light.
Glumli gasped as she did remembering his orders if she faces and survives her true self slay her " he thought to himself as he settled down to watch the struggle.

Ritre stood facing a warrior, clad in armour both strong and bright.
The other looked and nodded before removing her helm the face that was revealed was indeed Ritre's own lacking only the scars and hate filled eyes.
The armoured one extended her hand and spoke her words clear and pure.
" Sister though your soul is darkened by rage, there is no need to fear me, please take my hand join me in purity and honour in service to the divine.
" It is not too late " the armoured one continued smiling holding out a gesture of hope and love for her 'sister'.

"NO" Ritre shouted, "You're not real and even if you were I must find and face my true self to regain acceptance in my clan, now defend your self phantom."
Ritre moved in, her silvery steel blade bore for battle, as the other one drew her own golden hued blade a sad smile on her face.
" Very well" she said, "I am real though sister and my offer was too but you have chosen your path and now you must walk it" as she advanced he blade held in a high guard position.

Glumli watched as the two combatants's circled each other teasing and testing each other's defence.
The swords met and sparks flew as blow after blow was exchanged each seeking to land a telling blow quickly. Until the armoured warrior twisted her blade in slashing open a new wound on Ritre's thigh.
Ritre gasped the pain from that sword unlike any the ever experienced.
The armoured warrior drew back and began a chanting prayer

"SHUT UP BITCH" ritre howled through her agony, taking a leather strip from her hair she tied it around her wound stanching the flow of blood
Glumli watched as these two titans of battle went at it again each matched in skill and strength ritre though had an edge in ferocity though her opponent was far more patience and had greater tactical awareness. Though the fight between them lasted mere moments to ritre and the armoured one it seemed endless, as they fought on.
With a final snarl and abandonment of all tactical considerations, ritre stabbed brutally forward her blades serrations shredding the armour of her opponent the light surrounding the angelic paladin faded as she sank slowly to the floor her last gasp clearly heard though it was a mere whisper " I forgive you sister" she said as she died.
Taking up her foes fallen blade ritre left the scene of the battle through the doorway that was obscured by the light.
Glumli gasped " by the divine she is strong I hope I don't have to fulfil my duty's " moving from his vantage point he resumed following her.

The steady light from the blade she now wielded oblivious to the deepening of the darkness around her until even the angelic blades light was swallowed abruptly comforted walking onwards ritre.
" Heh what's this she thought limping slightly from her wound with the angel.
When a cruel laughter came from the darkness
"Ritre " Come join me girl join me in the pleasures of dealing death " the source of the words and the laughter became clear as a scantily leather clad version of herself leapt nimbly down from above to land in from t of her
"Ah" Ritre replied 'you must be myself in darkness well get out of my way I must see my true self."

"Bitch I am your true self now join me in the pleasures of death or I shall have mine on you"

Wickedly sharp knives materialized from somewhere on the girls form as she spun it to the attack. Ritre's leg wound was a great detriment as she fought to parry the girls 2 knives with her sword. Pain blossomed on ritre in many placed as the knives met flesh time and time again enough ritre screamed as she drew her own blade and franticly began wielding the pair hoping for a lucky break in her opponent.
Just when Ritre's strength was to fail the other drew back both daggers poised to slip into ritre when ritre hurled her own blade at the girl.
Point first it met the other, piercing flesh and bone before lodging itself in her spine.
"Bitch" the dark version gasped as she too perished.
Glumli realized just what kind of girl ritre truly was as he saw her bleeding from numerous wounds walk out again the sword shining brightly.

" WHERE DO YOU THINK YOUR GOING" an new voice called…
Ritre replied to find my true self and face my inner beast.
As a dark twisted creature emerged from a doorway … a proper stone worked door way
Ritre asked you you vial thing are my true self?"

Yes ritre I am and now you shall die to me your sister's light and dark both offered another path but you came on and now you face me.

" Your not my true self you look like a a beast in human form no way move aside I must find her.

Heh I am her and soon you shall know it as I break every bone in your body…." The dark creature stated as she drew out a black-hafted axe

Ritre knew that in her current condition she stood no chance this time it would have to be a battle of wits.

" Wait " she said her hand out as though to stop the monsters assault " you said the others were sisters but you are me explain

They were alternates of you things that could have been I am your dark soul made flesh I am you i know every thing about you I am the beast with in

"So… we are one " ritre asked

Yes, we are one I am you, you are me now defend

She came on her axe raised high
"Well if we are one and you are my soul then if I die so do you

The creature stopped puzzled at this …yes…. I suppose that might work if this wasn't part dream girl anything a strong willed mind can think up is possible in a dre….. She stopped realizing her mistake she rushed ritre

" Then die creature ritre said as she slit her own thought focusing her will her mind her very essence on a gamble

As the dark Ritre's knife split flesh on ritre another would appeared on her true self s through staggering the other stopped blood poring out over her chest. You…. this isn't right

Ritre finished her cut redirecting all her mind to healing her own neck yes it is we are one and this is my dream you die I live" she said as she approached the prone figure who just as hard was trying to heal herself as ritre and no daemon my dream my rules" she said as the golden sword flashed severing the head of Ritre's true self .

"Well done girl I would have thought you would die" said a male voice emerging from the darkness unfortunately now you must"

Wait who are you , are you the dreamon general mortor ? ritre asked
"know I am a glumli a hunter I have been told to kill you if you defeated your true self so please make this easy on me and stand still .

ritre paused her mind thinking on how to deal with a fourth fight when the she remember the knife in her hand
" uh no die " she called pack as she through the stiletto style knife her aim true burying the blade to its hilt in his chest

with a faint gurgle the man went down and ritre breathed a deep sigh of relief.

GIRL YOU HAVE COME FAR NOW CLAIM YOUR REWARD " A booming voice emerged from the darkness . as the room lit up fully and the altar on which the chalice of dreamscape was rested its bowl filled with a glowing liquid .
"who are you " ritre asked though v in her heart she knew the answer .

Ritre walked over to the chalice her eyes lit with joy as she brought it to her lips

" No this is wrong I cannot , I want power yes but not like this no "
she thrust the chalice away from her
IF YOU WILL NOT DRINK " mortor replied " THAN YOU WILL BE CONSUMED" he walked over his great and horned form loosing solidarity as he approached ritre, as the powerful essence of mortor flowed into her through her eyes her mouth and her nose
Ritre's souls quailed as it was consumed

Worry not girl I will have mercy on you after all I have this strong new body because of you " he said as he stopped consuming her soul leaving a small fragment enough so that she could look on with terror at what he would do…

Ritre raised her hands and smiled "now I need a weapon she said walking over to the dead form of glumli . Reaching down she grasped his neck and pulled his spine free from his remains holding the limp bones in his hand he shook it as he did it changed form becoming a blade Glumli's head shrank and became the pommel
Ritre/mortor smiled at his weapon as it began to weep blood
Ritre's soul screamed and the world trembled anew as the dreamon general Mortor walked free from his 1000-year prison to conquer afresh.

The end

Final Score: 26.5 out of 50

Raven's Comments:

Okay -- first off, I'd like to say that this story really isn't as bad as
the score makes it look. The actual words are, for the most part, quite
good, and much of the story would sound just fine if it were read aloud
with the proper inflection, emphasis, pauses, etc. The problem is, in
print, these things are communicated by punctuation and formatting, and
this story has a lot of problems in those areas. When sentences aren't
properly broken up by commas, periods, quote marks, and other
punctuation, it becomes very hard to tell what the author was trying to
say. Even the most creative person can't make a story work without good
technique, and "The Dreamscape Chalice" suffered in both Technical and
Artistry because of these flaws. A considerable number of Spelling errors
cost the story a couple of points in that category, as well.

The story scores quite high in the Creativity department, however --
you're using a lot of classic themes of fantasy literature, Vorec,
including the quest for redemption and the battle against one's true self
(or dark side), and they're all pretty well-executed. As I said, the
actual words you use are quite good most of the time, as well, and you
have some nice descriptions throughout the story.

That having been said, however, the story itself also has a few problems
and unresolved questions. Ritre kills the old man in cold blood, with no
apparent motive, which dehumanizes her and makes us less able to identify
with her as a protagonist. Even villains don't perform villainous acts
without a reason, be it ambition, greed, sadism, bloodlust, insanity,
etc. We know that Ritre enjoys combat, so we can chalk up the killing of
the street thugs to bloodlust, but she kills the old man calmly and
casually. We aren't given any reason to believe that the scrolls are
valuable or powerful -- she kills him before she even knows their
contents -- so we can't assign this murder to greed or ambition. (Indeed,
we never find that the scrolls are good for anything; they're pretty much
a dangling plot element.) We could blame it on insanity, but Ritre
doesn't show any marks of being insane in any of her other actions. It's
an inconsistency in the character that is frustrating and troubling.

The ending is also unsatisfying: Mortor escapes for no apparent reason.
We sorta get the sense that Ritre is becoming penitent when she's faced
with the true Evil that Mortor represents, so we expect her to stop
before she frees him; when he gets free anyway, we don't understand why
she failed to contain him. There's no sense of "oh no, I've gone too far
and it's too late to put the genie back in the bottle"; he asks her to
let him out, she refuses, he gets out anyway. This leads to the question:
why was he still in there, anyway? What did Ritre do for him that he
couldn't do himself, and when did she do it?

This also leads to the question of why the wise woman, Kamal, sent Ritre
to the caves in the first place. What was it supposed to accomplish? What
was she supposed to learn by defeating her true self? And why would
Kamal, who is presumably working for the good guys, send a power-hungry
woman like Ritre into a place where she's probably going to set free a
demon? There doesn't seem to have been any way that Ritre could
accomplish anything good or positive by going to the caves, so the whole
quest has a feeling of pointlessness about it.

I think that these problems probably stem from the story trying to be two
different things at once. On the one hand, it's trying to be a story
about Good versus Evil. On the other hand, it's trying to be a morally
ambiguous tale about a corrupt protagonist, with a deliberately unhappy
ending. Either of these things can work separately, but put together, in
this way, they cause trouble. I'm going to go into a lot of detail here
so that I can explain what I mean, because I think that you show a lot of
potential as a writer and I want to give you some things to think about
the next time you write a story (which I hope will be soon).

Morally ambiguous "noir" or "gothic" stories work best in a world where
everything is cast in shades of grey, and both protagonists and
antagonists have their good and bad points. It's hard to tell who's in
the right and who's in the wrong -- or maybe everybody's in the wrong,
selfishly pursuing their own interests. The point of such stories is
often to make some commentary about the seeming futility or
purposelessness of life. Generally, I think it takes a *very* good writer
to pull off this kind of story and make it readable.

Good-and-evil tales, on the other hand, have true black and true white.
The characters themselves may be grey -- a hero may have a tragic flaw,
for example, or basically good-hearted people might be inadvertently
working for the bad guys -- but a story like this never questions that a
moral compass exists. Because these stories assume the existence of true
Right and Wrong, they must assume, either explicitly or implicitly, a
concept of Cosmic Justice (or "karma"), which operates behind the scenes
in the story.

The vast majority of fictional tales take place in this kind of world.
The reader may not be consciously aware of it, but he wants to see good
deeds rewarded and evil deeds punished. If the hero has character flaws,
the reader wants to either see him confront those flaws, repent of them
and try to correct them, or be destroyed because of them. This is the
essence of the Shakespearean tragedy: a protagonist who is unable to see
or correct his "tragic flaw" is ultimately undone by it.

In "The Dreamscape Chalice", there can be no doubt that good and evil
exist -- Mortor himself is the embodiment of true evil. With the moral
compass in place, the reader then expects Ritre to either (1) repent of
her evil ways , commit to becoming a better person, and gain victory; or
(2) be destroyed as a direct result of her character flaws. In this
story, neither happens: She starts to repent, but fails anyway, and
Mortor doesn't need to exploit Ritre's character flaws in order to beat

Still, like I said, lots of potential here, Vorec. Don't give up! Start
hitting those grammar books and get some practice in structuring prose
and using punctuation. I recommend starting with short passages, maybe
two or three paragraphs, and having somebody help you correct the
technical mistakes. After a while you'll get a feel for the rules of
written English and be able to present your prose in a way that others
can not only understand the words you wrote, but the way you meant for
them to flow when we read them. Then you'll be able to produce stories
that are a real pleasure to read.


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