Hey Everyone! I'm trying to write my first novel, and I was hoping to get some feedback on the first chapter of it!
~ 2.5k words
There stands a bar, on the corner of desolate and nowhere. A decent sized hovel with a gray stone exterior, a wood roof, and a sign that claims “DRINK AND FOOD IF YOU GOT PAY”. To some, this is simply a watering hole. A place to forget your day, week, month, life. In reality (or what’s left of it), it is a nexus point of history. It is the beginning of everything, and the end of everything.
There was nothing unusual about that day. The man sat at the bar, drinking his usual choice of swill. It tasted like shit (and more likely than not, there were elements of shit in it) but it got the job done. And quite frankly, this land didn’t have much in terms of alcohol selection. He stared ahead into the mirrored wall, leaning forward onto the bar rail. He preferred this point of view. He could see what was going on behind him at all times (not that any of these drunks could sneak up on him), and he had a clear view of the once vast alcohol selection. These relics of days long gone always amused him. Rows upon rows of empty bottles filled the dusty plywood shelves. At one point in history, this bar may have been the hottest spot around. Crowds of people drinking merrily, someone playing a cheery tune on a piano that would get the crowd dancing, a typical bar scene. Instead, the place was quite, not unlike the world it inhabited. A former ghost of itself with nothing to serve but the shit drink that was available, a measly menu of questionable meat stew, and the phantoms of its glory days displayed on the wall for all to see.
The usual bar flies were buzzing around the place. To the left of the man sat an Orc. It’s markings indicated that it was a member of the Dar’zahar clan, a well-known name around these parts. But the drinking indicated this Orc was no longer part of the gang, as drinking anything other than the blood of their enemies (or the blood of an innocent passerby in the wrong place at the wrong time) was strictly prohibited. To his right hovered a fairy sipping out of a shot glass almost as tall as it was (which is, to say, not very tall). Behind the warn-down and scuffed bar rail stood Grom, the bartender, a humble Orc of no clan, as he had no distinctive clan markings. Grom was a burly Orc, even by Orc standards. His green nose was a shade of crimson that could only come from years of drinking, and his gut was big enough to store all that drink. One of his two mouth tusks was broken halfway down from the time he claimed he fought off the Arkad gang from burning down the bar (this being a claim that no one could either corroborate or deny). Despite his imposing exterior though, he was just a bartender going about his business, offering respite and drink to the inhabitants of a world sorely lacking both these commodities.
In the back left corner of the room sat four individuals, all seated in a line leaning their chairs against the wall. Number 1 was a Mordihn, a race that looks like a snake, elephant, and sparrow had one hell of an ugly child. It’s head was a deep sapphire blue colour that one might have said was beautiful had they of not seen the rest of the Mordihn, talons that could rip your throat out at a moment’s notice, and a set of teeth with 4 sharp fangs sticking out, even with its mouth closed. Number 2 was an Orc of no clan. It was a scrawny Orc (relative to the hulk behind the bar counter, that is), gray skin scarred from countless fights, and pox-marked from a disease that it was fortunate enough to have lived through, but not without a reminder. Unlike Grom, this Orc had both tusks intact, but they were much smaller. Had they of been from the same clan, this would have been an indicator that Grom was of a higher status than this Orc. Number 3 was a Dijn. A being made of pure, hardened energy, like a floating light bulb with eyes on the verge of exploding. Last but not least, number 4 was a robot, it's make and model ripped off in an act of defiance against its creator (or so the legends say). Robots in this land were not the most life like looking machines, with their vertically stretched metallic heads and beady glass eyes, but they thought and acted the same as any other vagrant one would come across. Long gone was the time of the subservient machine.
The man at the bar sat quietly, thinking, contemplating, simply minding his own business. At one point in his life, his thoughts would have been constantly occupied with instructions on how to deal with his assigned target, or how best to dismantle the targeted fortress without so much as spilling a drop of blood. Those days were long gone now, lost to the annals of a time. For now they were focused on his image in the mirror and the drink in his hand. This is not to say he wasn’t keenly aware that the gang of four in the back of the room were eyeing his holstered gun, and quietly whispering out a plan to take this beautiful and deadly weapon from him when he least expected it. Indeed he was fully aware of this, but he couldn’t care less. That was a problem to deal with when the four vagabonds decided to make it a problem. For now he sat at the bar, drinking his swill, thinking, contemplating, his mind occupied with other matters, particularly getting drunk enough to unoccupy his mind.
Like clockwork, the four got up from their table, leaving payment for the drinks in the form of scrap parts and shiny stones (they planned on recollecting this payment, and then some when they acquired that beautiful weapon), and made way for the exit doors. As previously suspected, they had indeed quietly discussed how they’d take the weapon holstered at that drunkard’s hip. Once the man at the bar had his fill of that piss-water that supposedly substitutes as alcohol, they planned on robbing him blind. There could be no way the man could defend himself! He may put up a struggle (they almost always do), someone might lose an eye or break a few bones, but all in all the prize would be worth the effort. The piece that hung from his belt could do some serious damage, they reckoned (and they reckoned this right, yes they did. It was indeed a powerful weapon), and serious damage can equal serious treasure if the cards were played right. They exited the bar with (in their collective opinion) the greatest robbery/ambush ever to be conducted in the history of, well, ever! Once that geriatric drunkard stumbled out of the bar, the robot would engage him in conversation. This would buy the Orc and the Mordihn enough time to sneak up behind the man and bash him on the skull, while the Dijn stays back in case things get hairy. Despite being an entity of pure energy, the Dijn could still feel pain (in fact, when killed, Dijns shatter like glass, not unlike a light bulb.) The best-case scenario would be the man falls down like a sack of stone, and dies right there on the spot. No struggle, no loss of eyes or breaking of bones. This sort of thing happens all the time in these parts anyways, what’s one more dead body in the dirt? Worst case scenario, he puts up a fight and one or more of the four die (this would be a blessing in not-so-disguise for the remaining robbers. Less people means less sharing, and more riches for the survivors). But there are four of them and one of him! There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell he would overpower all four of them. The key component though, to which none of the members of this gang disapproved
of, was they needed to make sure that once the man was down, he stayed down. They say when seeking revenge, best dig two graves. If this man somehow survived, they may as well dig four. A man on a quest of revenge is not one to be taken lightly, after all. As expected, the bar fly exited the bar with a slight stumble in his step, and the greatest ambush in the history of this shit-hole land was in motion.
It was a dry heat sort of day. The sun was bearing down at a strength that could kill (and most definitely has killed) even the strongest of warriors, decimated crops, and dried wells until they were nothing more than cracked dirt. This was the kind of heat that drove men mad. But not the four that stood outside the bar. No sir, those four were as sharp as they ever had been, and ever would be. There was no aspect of foolishness or lunacy in their master plan. For all intents and purposes, the ambush ought to work. Nay, it would work, they thought. This was the most sane any of that had ever been. The Mordihn’s birth mother had once said that he was dumber than a mule’s ass and about as good looking as one too (that was also the last thing she said before the Mordihn and his brothers killed her, as is customary for Mordihn). But could his mother have seen him then! She would have been amazed at how well thought out the plan was. Hell, one might even say she would have been impressed!
As planned, the Robot engaged the man in conversation. “Hello there fella!” it said. “How is a fella supposed to get his whistle wet on the shit they serve in there, am I right?” The bar fly made no reply, but simply stood there in the unholy heat, staring at the (what he equated it to) annoying tin can in front of him. After about 30 seconds of silence, the robot spoke again in its human-like but still robotic voice “Not much of a conversationalist are ya? That’s okay, you do not need to say much. In fact, it is most desirable if you do not make a ruck…” Before it could finish speaking, the Orc and the Mordihn moved in for their prey, metal clubs in hand (and talon). The greatest ambush had begun. All the robot had to do was watch while this drunkard (and a rude one at that! Couldn’t even give the courtesy to make small talk before being savagely beaten and robbed) was mugged, and the four would be on their way to fame and fortune. Absolutely nothing could go wrong.
Except it did go wrong. Quite wrong, in fact.
In what looked to the naked eye as a blur of colour that lasted no more than a few seconds, both the Mordihn and the Orc were dead. The Orc has a small bullet hole on the bottom of its chin that lead to what little remained of the top of its head. The Mordihn was on the ground, its red and purple entrails spilled out to bake in the sun. To the robot, which had switched to slow motion vision, so as to enjoy the planned attack in all its savage glory, things were a bit less of a blur. In one swift motion, the bar fly had simultaneously detached the hunting knife from his gun and switched it to his right hand, while lifting the gun to the Orc’s chin and turning the top of its head into a mess of brain matter, blood, skin and skull, while with the knife, slicing horizontally from side to side the Mordihn’s stomach, and watching it split open like a ripe fruit. This was all the robot could process before it too, laid in pieces on the ground, as the man dashed forward and cut the robot into several different pieces. The last thing the robot would ever see were the words “WARNING: CRITICAL DAMAGE SUSTAINED. SHUTDOWN IMMINENT. PLEASE REPORT TO THE NEAREST DEPO FOR REPAIRS” flashing in red across its eyes. Had it of survived even a second longer, it would have noticed that the bar fly’s eyes flashed gold while dismembering and destroying the members of the gang.
To the Dijn, this looked like nothing more than a blur of brown, grey, and blood. Everything was going according to plan, and within an instant the fool-proof-greatest-plan-in-the-world crumbled. Before it could register just what had happened to its “friends” or even formulate the thought that now would be a good time to run, the previously presumed-to-be-easy prey was upon it as well, cold steel and the lingering smell of gunpowder in the Dijn’s face. “Okay okay okay okay now now hold on hold on” stammered the Dijn “Those guys, you know, they wanted to kill you I didn’t I said we should try and trade with your first or may…” “Shut up”, the man interrupted. “No need for blabbering. I ain't gonna kill ya. I got something better in mind” he said, flashing a grim smile. Before the Dijn could reply, the man pulled out a small, golden, octagonal shaped object from his waistcoat. It began to glow a brilliant red and golden light that the Dijn just couldn't help but stare in awe at. It was as if this small device contained the light of the sun itself. Before it knew it, the Dijn was being sucked into the device, screaming its way through the whole process. All the energy its body composed of being ripped apart and shoved into a tiny object. But nobody paid much attention to these screams. They were quite common in these parts. The less people alive, the less people to drink up all the alcohol. The noise did attract Grom enough to step out from behind the safety of his bar rail, to inspect what all the hubbub was about. Upon exiting the bar, and noticing the carnage, Grom let out a hefty sigh. “Fuck sakes” he said. “You know these bodies are going to attract the birds, and fuck knows what else. Ya couldn’t of just slit their throats? Ya had to dismember and blow them to bits?” but the man behind the carnage paid no attention. He simply turned the other way and began walking West. This was just fine to Grom, who, quite frankly, prefered that the conversation ended that way, and not the way it clearly ended for the poor saps strewn in front of Grom’s bar. And besides, Grom didn’t really mind the bodies. Yes they did attract the carrion birds and other various critters, but meat is meat. Anything that can fetch a price or be made into a stew is never necessarily a bad thing, especially not in these parts. What he did mind though, was that the bar fly had not left him a tip.