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  1. #1
    Stoopendous Dakhem Uaid's Avatar
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    Default Lost



    LOST


    The yellow-green seas stretched in every direction, as far as Piper could see. No structures, not so much as a shack, punctuated the flat horizon. The breeze was rather strong today, and the tall grass, which reached to Piper’s waist, rolled in waves around her, and made a sound like rushing water. It was easy to believe she stood waist-high in a calm ocean. It was beautiful, the way the ground met the sky in a seam that circled widely around her.

    On the other hand, being surrounded on every side by exactly the same thing really made navigation difficult. Piper swore mildly; she was now well and truly lost. The reeds rustled as Anima, her Growlithe, approached and sat down by her ankles. The doglike Pokemon’s short nose twitched and its creamy fur blew in the wind. They were running low on water now, as well, although they could last another day.

    This sameness could drive you insane after a few days. How did sailors stand it? Piper hadn’t seen anything larger than beetles for a day now. She knew that Goldenrod City was somewhere to the west, away from the rising sun, but she was still at least two days away, and she would need a more precise bearing than she had.

    Piper was slightly shorter than average, with light brown hair that was tangled and sun-streaked after a couple days’ walking. She had eyes like jade, which were narrowed in speculation, and a wide mouth that was tight with annoyance. She had packed light, bringing only a single bag with her on the journey.

    Piper was snapped out of her idle speculation by the sound of Anima tearing away through the grass. Piper was going to call her back, but Anima was going in the correct general direction in any case. Piper sprinted after her. And she saw something that might not have been grass, so it would be an improvement on her current location. Everything here was definitely grass.

    It took only a minute of hard running to reach the point where Anima stood, waiting patiently for Piper. Piper knelt down beside the Growlithe and stroked her absently as she peered into the grass.

    Ahead of them stood a flock of Mareep, walking slowly to the west. The Mareep were simply balls of yellowish wool that crackled with static electricity as the wind blew through. They had stubby blue legs and short horns protruded from their heads. Surely they knew where water could be found! After all, they, unlike Piper, were native to the area and likely knew its geography. Piper whispered to Anima, warning her not to spook the Mareep, and to stay downwind of them. They crept slowly and quietly after the flock, which continued steadily westward.

    ***


    By sunset, it seemed to Piper that the Mareep were as lost as she was. They had not yet found water, but at least they had led Piper to a variation in the otherwise indistinguishable terrain. It was a steep-sided ditch, about thirty feet across at the top but narrowing slightly at the bottom, fifteen or twenty feet below. It stretched at least a mile in either direction. Water would probably gather in it at other times of the year, but in late summer, the earth was bone-dry and cracked. The tall grass, otherwise omnipresent, was absent at the bottom of the ditch. It grew sparsely on the sides and stood tall in every direction, although it was perhaps a bit thinner than where she had been that morning. There were similar trenches scattered around this area; Piper had no idea what had caused them.

    Piper sighed in resignation as the Mareep milled about the bank. Perhaps they, too, had expected there to be water here. The Mareep began to lie down in preparation for sleep, and Piper began to dig out some of the hard topsoil, about 50 meters from the flock. She had no sleeping bag (it would hardly have fit in her haversack), only a thin, linen blanket. Anima had proved an adequate heat source during the chilly nights, as her body temperature was considerably higher than that of a human.

    Piper had dug out a sort of nest in the loamy dirt, into which she and Anima would both fit. Anima was standing over the ditch, looking down, nose twitching. Piper called the Growlithe, who gave a final snort and trotted over to Piper’s dugout nest. Piper laid down and Anima curled up next to her.

    The sky was clouding over, but Piper could still see the magnificent night sky. Unsullied by any artificial light, the swathes of nebulous stars were clear against the darkening sky. Clouds were encroaching from the west, lit from below by the hidden sun. A brisk wind blew through the rippling grass as Piper fell to sleep, to dream of whirlwinds of stars and counting Mareep.

    ***


    Piper woke to the sound of Mareep bleating frantically and to a wind so strong it was almost liquid. The grass was bent sideways, and the Mareep were panicking a short distance away. Anima sat up and faced westward, into the wind. The wind carried a storm of dirt and plant matter that buffeted all in its path, and Anima was quickly forced to turn away.

    Without warning, the clouds opened and a deluge of water rushed sideways, driven by the wind. In an instant, Piper, Anima and the Mareep were drenched to the skin. Regardless, Piper was pulling on a lightweight, blue rain slicker when she heard a cry from the direction of the Mareep- a horrible, ear-splitting sound, even against the wind. She sprinted in that direction in time to see one of the Mareep slipping into the dry river. But it was no longer dry; it seethed now with spraying water. The dry earth could not absorb such a downpour, and the ditch would flood. That meant great trouble for the Mareep, she realized.

    Without thinking, she found herself running to the riverbank where the Pokemon had fallen, shouting to Anima to keep the rest of the flock away from the edge. She half jumped, half tripped into the ditch and half climbed, half rolled to the bottom. She choked on mud and spat into the water, already knee-high and rising. The unfortunate Mareep was struggling to stand in the swirling, frothing river. It looked like it had injured its left hind leg in the fall.

    Piper waded over to the Mareep. It was the same size as her Growlithe; she could surely carry it out of the ditch. She wrapped an arm around its middle, only to receive a mild shock. Luckily, the Pokemon was weakened by its injury. Well, somewhat luckily, at any rate. Dragging it toward the embankment, she found that it was quite light, although its size would add to the encumbrance. It shocked her again, but by this point she was operating on pure adrenaline and barely felt it. The water was up to her waist as she pushed it up the steep slope before her.

    Grabbing one of the larger tufts of grass on the side of the canyon, Piper gave the Pokemon a push up the embankment. It bleated loudly, but refrained from shocking her again; Piper didn’t know whether it realized she was trying to help or it was simply exhausted. She gave it another shove, but her muscles were tiring. The sides of the ditch were slippery with the mud running down them, and as Piper grabbed another tuft of grass her foot slipped, slowing her down further. The wind and rain rushed through the narrow canyon and constantly threatened her hold on Mareep and on the handholds.

    Then a bark sounded over the windstorm. Piper looked up to see Anima standing on the lip of the riverbank, regally staring down at them. The Mareep seemed to have a sudden burst of energy, and scrambled from Piper’s grasp. She gasped, but then realized it was climbing out of the ditch on its own. Its feet slipped on the flowing mud, and its injured leg was nearly useless. Despite this, it managed to scramble out of the river on its own. Anima gave it a slight nod as it passed, then turned back to stare at Piper.

    Piper recognized the Growlithe’s use of Helping Hand on the Mareep, and smiled slightly despite her own situation. She kept slipping on the damnable mud flow, but the grass was firmly anchored in the bank. She pulled herself, gasping, onto the side of the ditch. She looked down to see that the ditch was filled with at least ten feet of water and retched. She still had the presence of mind to crawl some distance from the ditch. Then she vomited and passed out. The last thing she remembered was the faint smell of pepper.

    ***


    Anima’s tongue in her ear woke Piper. The sun shone brightly and was high in the sky. She rolled onto her back and her eyes widened.

    The tongue was not Anima’s, but that of a Mareep, which stood over her (it would have been imposing if it hadn’t been so darn cute.) In fact, she was surrounded by the flock of Mareep milling aimlessly about her. She sat up and saw Anima, who was standing between the Mareep and the flooded ditch. Seeing Piper awaken, Anima bounded over and gave Piper’s face a thorough sponge bath. Piper laughed as one of the Mareep gave a loud bleat. It was apparently a signal to move out, as each Pokemon stood and walked westward. Piper got up, and the Mareep nudged her into motion along with them. Anima ran alongside, playing sheepdog.

    They marched westward, through the squelching mud.

    ***


    By mid-afternoon, the flock of Mareep had led Piper to a wide, slow-flowing river. They bumped against her often, and rubbed their heads against their legs. They also seemed to like it when she whistled music, and would bleat appreciatively when she had finished. Some of them remained wary of Anima, but several had befriended the Growlithe.

    Piper knelt by the river with the flock to drink and to fill her water bottles. It was icy cold, especially after the long walk to get here. Beyond the river, the terrain got a bit rockier and the grass became shorter, present only in patches. Piper relished the change in scenery. Apparently it appealed to the Mareep, too. They lost no time in fording the shallow river. Piper followed, washing away some of the now-dried crust of mud off her clothes and hair, as did Anima.

    A short way from the river, the land began to rise into hills. The Mareep and Piper soldiered on as the hills became more and more jagged. That night, Piper and Anima slept alongside the Mareep under a small overhang. Anima made a great pillow. This night passed uneventfully, and despite the hard ground, all of them slept restfully.

    ***


    Early the next day, the Mareep crested a high hill. It overlooked a stretch of grass, beyond which Goldenrod City gleamed like a gem on the horizon. The Mareep continued in that direction, but it soon became clear that their course would take them around the south side of the city. So Piper stroked a few of the Mareep in farewell and split off from the flock.

    They had been walking for about five minutes when Piper noticed that Anima was not, as usual, present at her heels. She looked back to see a large patch of grass rustling with the Growlithe’s passage. Piper waited for her, but it was a Mareep that emerged from the grass, with Anima trailing close behind it. The Mareep came closer, to chew on the hem of Piper’s sweater. She saw that it was the very same Pokemon that she had dragged out of the trench.

    Apparently it had grown attached to her over the last day. “Do you want to come with me?” she asked it softly. It replied with a loud bah and stuck its nose into her haversack, pulling out a Poke ball. It was quite intelligent, Piper thought, for a rather dumb species. She took the ball from the Mareep. “Well, I believe that answers my question. Your name can be… Alexandria Fulgar.” It gave a loud bah, which Piper assumed was an approval. She activated the capsule and captured Alexandria. As an afterthought, she returned Anima to her own ball. Then, whistling a cheerful melody, she entered Goldenrod City.


    Original Version
    Last edited by Dakhem Uaid; 7th June 2013 at 08:55 AM.
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  2. #2
    i'm wide awake Felly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost

    I'll go ahead and claim this! (: I'll try to have a grade up by the end of the week, maybe Tuesday at the earliest, but we'll see.


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  3. #3
    i'm wide awake Felly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost

    I hope this grade was detailed enough for your liking, but at the same time, I hope it wasn't too harsh. I didn't want to be too harsh since this is only a story for a Simple ranked 'mon, & it was your first story. Anyways, I'll shut up now, and here's your grade! @Dakhem Uaid;

    Introduction
    Okay, so I'd like to start off by saying that introductions generally answer the following questions: who, what, when, where, and why. I can see that you've answered the who as you've got Piper, her Growlithe nicknamed Anima, and the Mareep she's following. There's the what in the fact that she's lost in a grassy area, which also answers the where. The when was never really answered, but one can assume that since she's traveling, it's during the day; this is something you probably could have answered, but it's not too much of a big deal for this story. The why is also answered since they're heading from Piper's hometown of Damacrest Village to Goldenrod City. There's also the how, which you've answered by stating that they're following a flock of Mareep on foot and heading west.

    The plot itself is fairly simple. You have a trainer with what I'm assuming is her starter Pokemon going on a journey to Goldenrod City. It's never really specified why she's going to Goldenrod City; we just know that she's going there for some reason. Maybe to challenge the gym? Maybe to do some shopping? I think a reason as to why she was going to the city would have given the story a little more purpose, but for a story of the Simple rank, it's good and it works.

    Detail
    There wasn't really a whole lot of detail in this story. There was a little about their surroundings such as the "yellow green seas that stretched in every direction" and the "calm ocean," but other than the enviromental details, there wasn't much detail on the characters themselves.

    What does Piper look like? The reader can gather that she is female based on your usage of "her" and other feminine pronouns, but the reader knows nothing else about her otherwise. She has a haversack, but what is she wearing? What color are her eyes? Is she a blonde or a brunette? Little details about her appearance will help the reader picture the character they're reading about in their minds. You also didn't really explain much about the Pokemon. You mentioned that the Mareep were fluffy and that they traveled in a flock, but other than that, the reader doesn't really get an idea as to what they look like. A tip about describing things: when in doubt, describe it. Especially with the Pokemon. We're not going to be able to remember the appearances of all 600+ Pokemon, so just a small little description about them would help us remember which Pokemon you're talking about. Even a common Pokemon like Pikachu should be described; you never know who's going to come along and read your story, and they may have no idea what any Pokemon looks like, so just describe them so that everyone can know what they look like.

    Also, you mentioned how Piper found a trinket. I'm not really sure how that fit into the story as a whole. It seemed more like the bit about the trinket was filler rather than something significant in the story. I'm not sure if it'll have more significance in a sequel of this story, if one of those happens, but right now, it doesn't seem to have much significance. The same applies to the green lightning and the four-legged creature that appeared to Piper on the rainy night; that didn't seem to have significance later in the story either.

    Grammar
    Your grammar wasn't too horrendous. There were some mistakes, and I'll mention some of them in a moment, just not all of them. I'll also just show you how to fix 'em for future reference in your stories, though I'm sure you could fix them myself without me telling you! (: I don't want to seem too picky about anything despite the fact that you said you wanted a detailed grade; usually stories of this rank don't get such detailed grades.

    Anyways, some things I wanted to note. Watch for run on sentences. You have a few of them in your story, and they could be broken up into a couple sentences. Also watch your usage of ellipses (three periods in a row) and dashes; these should only be used in moderation and when the situation allows for it. Using them in excess sort of distracts the reader and takes away from their purpose. Finally, make sure you use a different paragraph for each line of dialogue. It makes it easier for the reader to see who's talking; in this story, it works since Piper's the only human mentioned throughout the story and the rest are Pokemon, but if you had multiple humans featured in the story, paragraphs for dialogue would work the best.

    She knew that Goldenrod City was somewhere to the west, away from the rising sun, but she was still at least two days away, and she would need a more precise bearing than she had.
    This sentence here is a mouthful! It could be divided up a bit so that it's not so much for a person to read and digest all in one sentence. You don't have to take my methods of fixing things up, but here's one way you could fix it up: She knew that Goldenrod City was somewhere to the west, away from the rising sun. She was still two days away, though, and she would need a more precise bearing than she had.

    That was probably the best part about being lost in the middle of nowhere, days from civilization…

    Before Piper could look more closely, it disappeared- it was unclear whether it had run away or somehow teleported.
    In the first sentence of the above quote, the ellipse at the end of civilization would be better as a period. Ellipses are best used when a sentence is unfinished due to the speaker being cut off or to provide suspense in a story; since neither one of those are happening here, the ellipse would be better off as a period. In the second sentence, the dash you have after disappeared would also be better as a period, though an exclamation point would work just as well! Even a semi-colon would work since the two sentences could be combined with a conjunction like "and."

    Climax
    I felt like the rising part of this story was when Piper found the medallion, so I'm going to use that and run with it. Like I said above in the detail section, I felt like it didn't really have much significance in this story and that it was filler so that you could get your character count up. Nevertheless, she keeps the trinkets and continues following the Mareep, who have grown accustomed to her presence, with her Growlithe by her side. When she finally splits away from the Mareep to head towards Goldenrod City, one of the Mareep comes back with her Growlithe and wants to become one of her partners. Piper accepts, and Mareep is captured.

    I thought the ending was quite adorable since one of the Mareep never wanted to leave her. It kind of made me think of the bonds between humans and their pets, so this was pretty adorable. The way Mareep simply just went into the Poke Ball worked since Piper had already befriended the creature, so I liked how that worked. In a higher ranked story, I don't think it would have worked as well, but for this, it works just fine. All in all, I liked this part the most! (:

    Conclusion
    Woo! Finally at the conclusion! This is probably the part you've been waiting for the most~ Mareep is a Simple ranked Pokemon, and the recommended character count for one of these is in the 5-10k range. Your story is at 8976, so you're at the higher end of the spectrum. However, length isn't the only thing we graders care about when it comes to grading stories in the URPG. Taking the above factors into account, there were some plot holes and the lack of detail was kind of disappointing. Nevertheless, it was a good story. This is also your first story, so I'm not going to be as hard on you as I would be with someone who's written several URPG stories.

    All in all, I'm going to go ahead and say Mareep is captured! I have to say I liked this story, and the adorableness at the end with the way Piper caught Mareep was just so cute, and I loved that! <3 Just remember everything I've told you in the above sections, and I'm sure you'll be an awesome writer! (:


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  4. #4
    Stoopendous Dakhem Uaid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lost

    Yaay mae illuda!
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