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Original A Trace of Destiny

Flyg0n

Flygon connoisseur
Pronouns
She/her
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. swampert
  3. ho-oh
  4. crobat
  5. orbeetle
Authors notes: So this is a little short story I wrote for a prompt some time ago, and I really fell in love with. It was one of those prompts where they just give you some random words and tell you to use them all in a story. This is the result. I want to one day turn this into a little anthology perhaps. Anyways. This piece is really close to my heart. So please, encouragement framed critiques are appreciated. Feel free to be honest but constructive!😅

Anyways, it is a short story, with the intention of one day having multiple parts, so there are some elements intentionally left mysterious or undecided.

Rating: Soft T

Content warnings: (mild spoilers)
Fantasy violence
'Frightening' images
Supernatural elements

A Trace of Destiny

They say that you cannot run from destiny. But they never ask if destiny can run from you. I considered this thought as I jogged through the quiet city streets, steeling myself for what I was about to do. Who would have thought I’d be meeting destiny in the heart of downtown?

I kept my head angled downwards, blocking the sun with the brim of my hat as I peered from underneath it. To my right, a small side street stretched out, ending in a quaint wooded park. A strange sensation trickled down my spine as I eyed the park. I was definitely avoiding that route. Half a block ahead, a cathedral loomed above the surrounding buildings. I slowed slightly, scanning my surroundings. A few pedestrians ambled down the street, but the side street the cathedral was located on was quiet. Ahead, a lavender feathered parakeet perched on a spire of the cathedral, chirping a nonchalant melody. I nodded at it.

As I moved towards the cathedral, a fine mist descended over the entire block. My heart began to hammer in my chest. I glanced back but could only make out the faint shadows of the passerby. Buttoning my trench coat, I pressed forward. There was no running now.

As I ascended the cathedral steps, the double wood doors creaked open before I could lay a hand upon them. I shivered as I stepped inside. I was not alone.

Carefully, I picked my way through broken pews and past crumbling hymnals. Thick dust coated every surface, and specks of it wafted through painted rays of sunlight piercing through stained glass. I paused, taking in the windows. Though riddled with cracks and missing many pieces, they were nonetheless beautiful. An upper window depicted a radiant, faceless figure presiding over a garden. Directly opposite, another window depicted a beautiful winged serpent coiled around a tree. A handsome man lounged above the tree, his expression taunting. I narrowed my eyes, glaring at the image. Muttering a faint curse under my breath, I continued on.

Faint whispering gathered at the edge of my hearing, and I paused. The whispers faded, then crescendoed. Putting my fingers to my lips, I gave a loud, piercing whistle. From outside, the lavender parakeet swooped in, singing loudly. His song silenced the voices surrounding me. He fluttered down and landed on my shoulder, chirping a greeting. I scratched it under its beak.

“Thanks, Xerxes.” Slowly, I approached the pulpit. I glanced around me and paused. For several seconds, all was still. Even the dust hardly stirred. I sighed. “My destiny awaits,” I muttered quietly.

I turned to Xerxes, who perched quietly on my shoulder. “Looks like I’ll need your help on this one.”

Xerxes chirped obligingly and opened its beak. The song that came forth was one I’d heard many times before, but it still evoked the same spine-tingling feeling. It sounded unearthly, slow and haunting, yet strangely aggressive and forceful. As he sang, Xerxes flew up, high into the rafters of the cathedral, perching out of sight.

A shriek of pain echoed through the cathedral, and a few windows cracked. I winced, then took several steps back as a being materialized in front of me. Though its basic form was bipedal, it was no more human than a gecko could be compared to a dragon. I craned my neck, staring up at the demonic being before me.

It stood at least thirteen feet tall. Six arms protruded from its misshapen body. Cracks rippled its marred, stony skin, and spikes covered its head, back, and arms. (Really, who even needed that many spikes?) Two sets of bony skeletal wings hung from its back, matching its two sets of glowing purple eyes.

“Marshall Trace,” it snarled. Its voice sounded like a knife scraping a metal chalkboard. The voice came from its perpetually open mouth, yet its jaws never moved.

“Destiny,” I replied calmly. As I spoke, I withdrew a hilt from the inner pocket of my trench coat.

Destiny laughed, a grating noise like nails in a blender. “You plan to face me with an empty knife hilt, human?”

“You have abandoned your sacred duty as a Virtue, Destiny. You serve the darkness and are unfit to carry the spirit of Destiny any longer. Surrender it now or perish.”

Destiny merely offered another cackle. I set my jaw. I had been hot on Destiny’s heel for weeks now. This outcome was inevitable. Whenever a Virtue- Creativity, Chaos, Loyalty, Hope, Time, Love or others, went rogue, it was my task to destroy them and free the virtue they carried. If they weren’t destroyed, the power of their virtue would remain trapped.

The speech was a mere formality at this point. I had never encountered a Rogue who surrendered their Virtue willingly. We both knew how this would end. Or rather, one of us knew, and the other presumed they knew.

“Why should I surrender to the likes of you, Marshall Trace?” Destiny lurched toward me. “Even now, I can see your destiny. You are nothing. You know nothing of my power-”

I chuckled. “You know nothing of mine.” I lunged forward with the empty hilt. A glowing, ethereal blade formed at the end. With a swift diagonal slice, I cut Destiny in half from shoulder to hip. With a final, guttural screech, Destiny turned to ash. As it crumbled, I shook my head dismissively. “Foolish Destiny. Don’t you know you can’t cheat Fate?”
 
Last edited:

Negrek

Event Horizon
Staff
Hey, Tetra! I saw you posting that you were interested in feedback on this one, so I figured I'd check it out. Don't look at how long ago that was, my schedule is obviously way out of hand, haha.

This is a fun little urban fantasy piece, and I liked that you got a fair amount of information about the world across here without much explicit info-dumping. Very important for a short piece like this! There's also more description here than I remember from the other work I've read from you so far, and I thought it was well done. In particular, I think lavishing some attention on your big set pieces, the church and the figure of Destiny, worked well! In general I thought the "creature" aspect of this story, not only with Destiny but also with Xerxes, was fun, and also makes a lot of sense for a pokémon fan, lol.

I also thought the little reveals were clever. Great last line! I do wonder what the difference between "Destiny" and "Fate" would be in this universe, since they're often used synonymously. Or perhaps it doesn't really matter, and Virtues can overlap? I thought some decidedly non-virtuous concepts, like Chaos and Time, showing up on the list of Virtues was interesting. Clearly Time's been rogue since March 2020, somebody hunt that mofo down already. -_-;

This little story is basically a joke, with the punchline being "ultimately Marshall wins handily because he's secretly a Virtue himself." It's a neat little story, and I think it accomplishes just what it sets out to do. Like you said, it gives us only the barest taste of the world and characters, but I think it does a good job of establishing what the central points of interest of the world are and what Marshall's role in it is ("Virtue"-hunter... for hire?). As a quick intro to get someone interested in the world/character concept, I think it works well! Dresden vibes, tbh. If there were anything I think you could do to punch this one up a bit, it would be to bring out Marshall's personality a bit more. I get the sense of him as a confident (perhaps overconfident), somewhat sarcastic person who's seen it all before and isn't fazed by much. I think it would be nice to dial that up a bit in the narration, really bring that character through--more snark, assuming that's what you're going for, more of Marshall's personality bleeding through into how the world around him is described. This is a first person POV, after all!

Some minor typos and such under the spoiler.

I glanced back, but could only make out the faint shadows of the passerby.
No comma here, since "could only make out..." isn't a sentence.

Carefully, I picked my way through broken pews and over crumbling hymnals.
I'm having trouble imagining someone needing to pick their way "over" hymnals--they're so small!

Faint whispering gathered at the edge of my hearing and I paused.
You want a comma before "and" here, since "I paused" is a sentence.

His song silenced the voices surrounding me. It fluttered down and landed on my shoulder, chirping a greeting. I scratched it under its beak.
It reads odd to me that Xerxes goes from a "him" to an "it."

A shriek of pain echoed through the cathedral, and a few windows cracked. I winced, then took several steps back as a being materialized in front of me. Though its basic form was bipedal, it was no more human than a gecko could be compared to a dragon. I craned my neck, staring up at the demonic being before me. It stood at least thirteen feet tall. Six arms protruded from its misshapen body. Cracks rippled its marred, stony skin, and spikes covered its head, back, and arms. (Really, who even needed that many spikes?) Two sets of bony skeletal wings hung from its back, matching its two sets of glowing purple eyes.
“Marshall Trace,” it snarled. Its voice sounded like a knife scraping a metal chalkboard. The voice came from its perpetually open mouth, yet its jaws never moved.
Missing some paragraph breaks here.

Destiny laughed; a grating noise like nails in a blender.
You want a comma here rather than a semicolon. Semicolons are for joining complete sentences, and "a grating noise..." isn't a sentence!

Whenever a Virtue; Creativity, Chaos, Loyalty, Hope, Time, Love or others, went rogue, it was my task to destroy them and free the virtue they carried.
Similarly you want a colon or em dash rather than a semicolon here.

This was a nice teaser for a new fantasy world. Are you interested in writing more original stuff? I'm always curious where people who transition from fanfic to original want to go, but "urban fantasy with animal companions and magic fights" would certainly make sense. Would be fun to see you play around in this world more!
 

Flyg0n

Flygon connoisseur
Pronouns
She/her
Partners
  1. flygon
  2. swampert
  3. ho-oh
  4. crobat
  5. orbeetle
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA thank you for giving feedback on this! Tbh I had entirely forgotten for a bit that I'd posted this, but it really made my morning to see a review on this! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I really hope that one of these days I can continue this anthology.

I do wonder what the difference between "Destiny" and "Fate" would be in this universe, since they're often used synonymously. Or perhaps it doesn't really matter, and Virtues can overlap?
This was a fun thought I had, and the short answer is that Destiny is about the 'path' or journey someone can take, whereas the virtue of Fate would be tied more to how someone would meet their end.

The intricacies are something I'm still fleshing out but that's the vague jist here. It'd definitely be something I'd love to explore further, since they're so similar!

Clearly Time's been rogue since March 2020, somebody hunt that mofo down already.
I'll get on that, clearly Time is shirking their responsibilities >:{

If there were anything I think you could do to punch this one up a bit, it would be to bring out Marshall's personality a bit more. I get the sense of him as a confident (perhaps overconfident), somewhat sarcastic person who's seen it all before and isn't fazed by much. I think it would be nice to dial that up a bit in the narration, really bring that character through--more snark, assuming that's what you're going for, more of Marshall's personality bleeding through into how the world around him is described. This is a first person POV, after all!
Thank you! I'll definitely fill this advice away for the future. Since I intend most of the anthology to be 1st person, dialing up the character will definitely help it shine.

This was a nice teaser for a new fantasy world. Are you interested in writing more original stuff? I'm always curious where people who transition from fanfic to original want to go, but "urban fantasy with animal companions and magic fights" would certainly make sense. Would be fun to see you play around in this world more!
:quag:
Pleased to hear that this piece works well as a tease!

And actually, I think I've arguably been dabbling in original stuff longer than fanfiction! I have quite a few scraps of stuff that are original works and only breached fanfiction for a break from original fic (and now, here I am, with more words written for my Pokefic than original lol). This is one of many original fic ideas, the other main one involving dragons and animal companions too. Hm.... there's a pattern here, lol

Anyways this reply was mainly an excuse to thank you for taking the time to read this. My original works are something important for me, so the feedback here is doubly appreciated.
 
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