1027: The Legend of Dragoon: The Eighth Spirit – Chapter Seven

Title: The Legend of Dragoon: The Eighth Spirit
Author: PhoenixofShadows
Media: Video Game
Topic: Legend of Dragoon
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
URL: The Legend of Dragoon: The Eighth Spirit
Critiqued by TacoMagic and… Jiwe?

*Swenia drags herself into the riffing chamber, hands a small spotted cub to Taco, and flops down in The Comfy Chair™*

Rough night?

“Jiwe’s teething.”

Well, he’s seven months, so that’s about right. Isn’t Eliza supposed to be watching him on Wednesdays? She looks so forward to “auntie time” that I have a hard time believing she’d skip out on it.

“Normally she does, but she’s still directing the Darkwraiths in a massive childproofing overhaul of the bunker. Since that rocket-boot incident, she’s been on the warpath to make sure things are safe. There’s a lot of sublevels down there, so she’s been busy.”

Ahh. So, what am I supposed to do with him?

“Zzzzzzzzz.”

Swenia?

“I said: ‘Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.'”

*Sigh* Okay, kiddo, I guess you get to sit co-pilot on this one. I’ll just let you borrow your mother’s quotes and keyboard. So, how are you doing today, young man?

“;asdfjlkqwijdsadsafjwae fji eafewa”

Yeeeeeeah. That was a bad idea, I should just dictate for you. Here, you play with Horatio while I tackle the chapter.

So, last time on Legend of Dragoon: The Eighth Spirit, there were prairie shenanigans. Our intrepid party of… whatever they are, managed to barely escape detection with the clever use- SQUIRREL!

“Swirruh!?”

Um, not a real one, sorry. Anyway, they use a squirrel to distract the wardens while they quickly escape, wander around the prairie a bit, then hunker down in a convenient dilapidated shack for a while. They take the opportunity to unleash some exposition on us, then eventually move out and arrive at the Limestone Cave. That brings us to now.

Chapter VII: Within the Limestone Cave

As I said, the Limestone Cave.

Upon crossing into the entrance of the Limestone Cave, Stryfe began to notice that the sun was setting in the distance.

Author! Why is every sentence in this mess so f-

*looks at Jiwe*

-undamentally awkward? You have an absolute gift for finding the most awkward way to phrase even the simplest scenes.

Knowing that they needed to hurry, Stryfe, Dart, Shana and Lavitz traveled inside, staying above the narrow pathway that would otherwise lead to a painful death in the currents leading into the ocean below them.

What the heck does that sentence even mean!? Are they hovering above the path because it’s so treacherous? That’s what you wrote! You just said they’re hovering their way through the cave so that they don’t fall into the ocean! Jiwe!

*GONG*

Wow, you’ve got a good gonging arm for being so small. Even so, gong the fic next time, not me.

After passing through the area into a deeper region of the cave, Stryfe, Dart, Shana and Lavitz found themselves in an area filled with natural water slides that connected to the river in the depths below.

Here, press that button for me.

*Click*

Carbon Copy Syndrome: 30

So, yeah, this is canon. There’s a whole section in this cave where you use water slides to navigate around. From a gameplay point of view, it’s a pretty fun sequence and gives you something different to do than the normal dungeon crawl. From a writing point of view, it should never have come within fifty feet of the fic. Once again, you need to separate silly or illogical gameplay mechanics from your writing.

Dart: This is…amazing.

Stryfe: Let’s check it out. Just don’t trip.

That’s actually good advice. You wouldn’t want to fall into one of those water slides. You’d end up going down into who knows where and-

Going first, Stryfe jumped onto the stream of water, balancing himself as he skidded across the path until he came to the bottom.

*Facepalm*

Never mind, you’re an idiot, Stimpy.

As he looked back, he saw Dart, Shana and Lavitz all sliding towards him at a fast pace.

The implied surprise is understandable. I think everyone is a bit taken aback that the rest of the party is dumb enough to follow after you.

Jumping out of the way before Dart rammed him, he looked back to see Shana slumped on top of him, with Lavitz being the only one that stopped in time.

*Yawn*

Much action. Very tension.

As Stryfe let out a chuckle seeing Dart and Shana in the slump, Dart turned his head towards him with an angry expression on his face.

‘In the slump?’ What is this, baseball? Author, narrate better!

*GONG*

The fic, kiddo, the fic. Uncle Taco needs his spleen.

Dart: It’s not funny!

Right, it’s stupid. Much different thing.

Stryfe: I told you to not trip, didn’t I?

Which is good, because he didn’t trip. No, he did something far more dangerous and reckless: he followed your lead.

After Dart and Shana got back on their feet, the four proceeded deeper into the cave.

*Squints*

Okay, author, I know what you mean there, but the way you wrote it is essentially this:

In the next area, most of the area was covered in water, with only small stones barely big enough for them to stand on rising above the water, which flowed to a vicious waterfall at the end of the area.

*The DRD alarm stays silent*

They’ve learned not to interrupt Swenia when she’s napping.

Stryfe: Well…This is going to be tricky to cross.

Really? I can’t see it being too difficult. Author, you forgot to clue the audience in on the fact that the water here is deep and flowing extremely hard. From all you’ve told us, this could be a shallow, gently flowing stream. Further, without all that extra setting, we have no way of knowing if they are at the top or bottom of that waterfall.

Really, all I got from your attempt at description is that the area is rather wet.

Dart: I agree. Shana, be careful not to slip.

Shana: Okay.

Is that all this chapter is going to be? The characters repeatedly admonishing each other not to slip and the others agreeing?

Leaping onto the first stone, Stryfe jumped from stone to stone, carefully balancing himself after each jump.

This, right here, is what I’m talking about author! Do you not see how awkward that is!? Here, let me smack you with the clue-by-four here real quick!

*GONG*

Thanks, Jiwe, but that isn’t what I meant. What I meant is that I’m going to write out what that sentence literally says. I’m even gonna block-quote it:

Strife, while leaping from stone to stone, lept onto the first stone as he carefully balanced himself after each of those jumps.

This is why you need to stop trying to use compound actions! You have no clue how to do it correctly, so you shouldn’t try until you get more of the basics down.

Dart, Shana and Lavitz were quick to follow him as he continued further to the exit to the next area in the cave.

It’s so nice of mother nature to have segregated this cave into specific areas that fit on the screen. You know, in much the very same way that actual caves aren’t sectioned off into areas.

Author! This is writing, not a video game!

As Stryfe leaped to the land near the other side, he turned around to see Dart, Shana and Lavitz catching up to him.

Author! Unless you want the audience to picture Strap pirouetting in the air, you need to stop it with the compound actions.

Although Dart and Shana made it back, Lavitz suddenly tripped, nearly falling into the abyss where the waterfall flowed towards.

*Shakes the fic*

WHY ARE YOU SO AWKWARD!?

“Ah-war!”

Uh, yeah.

Stryfe & Dart: Lavitz!

Jiwe! The button!

“Bu-uhn!”

*Click*

Carbon Copy Syndrome: 31

Racing back to help Lavitz, Dart caught him just as he lost his grip on the rock.

Still not doing it right. I’d start a counter for every time the author uses these awkward compound actions, but it’d explode by the end of the chapter.

However, Dart began to slip as well, his grip on the rock slipping.

*DRD alarm continues to remain silent*

I honestly don’t know what she did to the DRD, but they actually put out a restraining order after ‘the incident.’ They didn’t even do that with Crunchy.

Stryfe: Dart! Lavitz!

Chief! McCloud!

“Puh-bee!”

Jumping back onto the stones, Stryfe managed to grab Dart’s boot just as he lost his grip on the rock.

That’s probably the closest you’ve come to doing that right. Still wrong, but a lot closer than you’ve been.

Although the weight of both Dart and Lavitz was heavy for him to lift, Stryfe focused and began to pull upwards, lifting both of them back up to safety.

The big red one up there. Here, I’ll give you a boost.

*Click*

Egregious Author-Insertion Stu: 16

Way to steal Dart’s thunder on that one, Jacka-

*Looks at Jiwe*

Uh… yeah. Jacka.

Heading back towards the exit, Stryfe, Dart and Lavitz all kneeled down panting, trying to catch their breaths.

*Click*

Carbon Copy Syndrome: 32

Wow, you’re getting good at that, little man.

Stryfe: Now that…was too close!

Lavitz: This is the second time you two saved my life.

Dart: We were just around.

Lavitz: Even though that was the case, I was lucky you two were around, Stryfe. Dart.

Stryfe: What else are friends for, Lavitz?

Dart: That’s right. We look out for one another.

Ugh, it’s too early in the afternoon for this level of My Little Pony-esk friendship glucose.

“Ponies!”

I’d be more surprised that you know what that is if Eliza and Crunchy weren’t your babysitters.

As Stryfe, Dart and Lavitz did a friendly knuckle touch, they continued onward deeper into the cave.

That is absolutely the stupidest way I’ve ever seen anyone describe a fist-bump. Also, Jiwe?

*Click*

Carbon Copy Syndrome: 33

You’re too gentle, you need to put some umph into it.

Suddenly, Stryfe noticed that Shana wasn’t with them.

And from behind!

… I don’t get it.

Racing back to her, he could see that she was jealous of the friendship the three of them shared.

“Woof.”

Uh oh.

After they caught up with one another, the four continued further into the cave, encountering an area that had an eerie fog below the pathway.

*Squints*

Wha? Who caught up to what now? Sticky was going back to see what was up with Shana. So, according to this, after Stumpy separated from the group to go back to Shana, the four of them, in their two separate groups, travel further into the cave. Together.

AUTHOR! Narrative better!

Shaking his head to stay focused, Stryfe continued down the path with Dart, Shana and Lavitz.

Dude, it’s treacherous enough around here without wandering around while flailing your head from side-to-side.

As they turned around a corner, they came across something that Stryfe and Dart had previously encountered on their journey to hunt down the Black Monster.

Water? Pretty sure everyone in the group has encountered more than a little water before now.

Stryfe: I’ll be damned…

*Puts a hand over Jiwe’s eyes*

Dude! Not cool!

“Pee boo!”

Shana: What are these things?

A spot in the void that’s more blank than normal?

Dart: These are Rock Fireflies.

What? The swirling white bits, or the white swirling bits?

Shana: Oh, you two know a lot.

Riiiight. They identify one patch of swirling mist as Rock Fireflies and suddenly they’re geniuses.

Stryfe: Well, we were saved a lot by these in the past.

Lavitz: Me too. In particular, the ones close to a battlefield were helpful.

Shana: What exactly are they?

Well, in the game, they’re used as restore points. Typically you hit a patch of them right before big bosses, or when you’re deep in a cave. Usually they’ll be near a save point. I’m sure the author will know to separate this game mechanic from his fic. *Snerk*

Stryfe simply lifted his arm and touched one of the Rock Fireflies in response to Shana’s question. A bright flash temporarily blinded the four of them, causing them to feel refreshed and their energy restored. Stryfe couldn’t help but let out a smile when he saw Shana surprised.

Who is surprised that it was kept exactly like it was in the game? Anyone? Anyone?

Now, that’s not to say things with healing magic couldn’t be used in a fantasy setting. However, a good author wouldn’t resort to using the insipid, game-mechanic inspired words: “their energy restored.”

Lavitz: The light from a Rock Firefly has a healing power.

Why thank you, Commander Obvious.

Dart: Well, Shana learned at least one thing.

You wanna reign in the sexism a bit there, Jerk?

Shana: Well, well. I know something you don’t know too, Dart. That goes for you as well, Stryfe.

A lot of things, actually. Canonically Shana is a lot smarter than Dart, so it goes without saying that she would be way, way smarter than Skippy.

Stryfe: Oh?

Dart: Wh, what’s that?

Shana: I’m not telling.

Lavitz: Well, you have been away from each other for five years. It’s natural to not know about each other.

Is that how that works? Man, what would we do without you, Lavitz?

Me and my mother aren’t like that. Every time I return to Bale, she always welcomes me with the same smile.

*Uncomfortable silence*

That’s… nice. What’s the point of all this again?

As Lavitz got lost in thought for a moment, he suddenly noticed Stryfe, Dart and Shana staring at him with a confused look.

I’m with them, why are you telling everyone this? In fact, can you just stop talking for the rest of the chapter. Actually, I think Stripe should stop talking, too.

Lavitz: What? Did I say something wrong?

Yes, yes you did. Wrong, and a little creepy.

Stryfe: It’s nothing.

Dart: Let’s get going. Your mother is waiting for you back in Bale, right?

Lavitz: Yeah.

Can we make this scene more uncomfortable, please? I very much wanted to see the non-existent chemistry between all these characters become even more inert.

Continuing further into the cave, Stryfe, Dart, Shana and Lavitz pass a room that had a naturally carved fountain that sprouted out of the rocks. Although they didn’t have time for sightseeing, they did at least pause for a second so Shana could admire it before they continued.

Okay. And? Seriously, author, why bring stuff up if you’re not going to make it important?

As they finally neared the exit of the cave, Stryfe suddenly heard something in the shadows up ahead.

Stryfe: Guys, there’s something over there.

“A-da! Ding!”

Your mother has taught you well, young Padwan

Lavitz: Could it be the much talked about guardian of the cave?

So much talked about that it’s the first time the audience is hearing about it.

Dart: Shana, step back!

That might be good advice. Hard to tell since we have no frame of reference to place anyone in this scene.

Shana: Don’t worry about me. I can help!

Lavitz: It’s coming!

The less said about that, the better.

What approached them was a giant centipede creature known as Urobolus.

*Facepalm* *Headdesk* *BodyFloor*

How the heck did you f-

*Looks at Jiwe*

-fart that up!? It’s a f-… flubbing snake!

Urobolus

SEE!? It’s not even remotely like a centipede! Well, other than being an elongated creature. But so are sea cucumbers!

As Stryfe, Dart, Shana and Lavitz scattered to avoid it’s initial lunge, they began their counterattack against the monster.

Huh. They scatter but still manage to launch a single counterattack.

*Click*

Carbon Copy Syndrome: 34

The Urobolus’s carapace was tough against blades, but it’s underside was soft and vulnerable, as was it’s head.

That’s actually opposite of how the battle goes. The actual battle you attack its torso until you make it retreat to a nearby rock. At which point it’ out of reach of your melee fighters, but Shana can still pluck away at it with the bow.

Of all the things to pick to wander away from canon on, it’s a random low-level boss battle. Good jerb, author.

Attacking the head first, they caused the Urobolus to fall on it’s back repeatedly before jumping onto it’s soft side, unleashing a barrage of strikes that caused it severe damage.

Yeah, not even close to how this battle goes. When it’s on the ground, you just smack it around. There’s no “knock it on its back.” Again, weird that you would pick this barely important boss fight to dive so far away from canon.

The Urobolus then retreated into a makeshit home within a nearby rock, leaving it invulnerable to close range attacks, but it was still vulnerable to Shana’s attacks from a distance.

So wait, you ditch everything else about this battle, but keep this part!? What the f- … falafel is wrong with you, author!?

While Stryfe, Dart and Lavitz distracted the Urobolus to prevent it from heading to cover, Shana shot arrow after arrow at it’s head, eventually causing it to leave it’s makeshift home to continue battle.

Then they did this thing so that this other thing would happen. And then this other thing happened because of the stuff they did.

After many repeated attempts, as Stryfe, Dart and Lavitz leaped onto it one last time, stabbing the soft underbelly of the insectoid repeatedly without letting up for a second.

“Woof.”

Seriously, dude, don’t let your mother catch you doing that.

As the Urobolus lifted up it’s head and roared in defiance, Stryfe jumped into the air and slashed at the incetoids head, causing it to fall to the ground, lifeless and motionless.

Well, somebody is a drama llama, aren’t they?

*Click*

Egregious Author-Insertion Stu: 17

Dart: You did it, Stryfe!

No he didn’t, you all-

Stryfe: No, we did it!

*Squints*

It’s a little late to make your Stu likable, but I do appreciate the attempt, author; even if it did come after he completely showboated the last hit.

Lavitz: Now, let’s get on our way to Indels Castle.

Stryfe: Right. It’ll be good to get out of this cave.

Dart: Shana, let’s go.

Shana: Yes.

Let us share totally not flat, drab dialogue.

“Ba!”

Walking past the corpse of Urobolus, Stryfe was about to sheath his zwiehander when he noticed Shana looking back at the corpse. All of a sudden, he saw the insectoid’s tongue begin to move. Urobolus then rose up from the ground, covered in it’s own blood, and lunged at Shana, determined to take one of the four with it.

That could be a tense moment. Could be, if any of that had been shown and if the sentences hadn’t been so mind-meltingly awkward.

“Ah-war!”

You’re cute, kid, but don’t press your luck.

Stryfe: Shana!

Dart: SHANA!

SHANA!

“Swirruh!?”

Close enough.

Just before Urobolus could strike Shana, a strange blue light began emanating from her head, enveloping the monster and causing it scream in pain and eventually impolde. Stryfe, Dart and Lavitz were in awe of what just happened, as Shana never displayed such a power before.

This is the hidden power that I was alluding to earlier. As you progress through the game, you slowly learn that Shana is intensely powerful, not to mention a key figure in the Winglie plot. I’ll try not to spoil it too much until we actually get there.

Shana: Wh, what was…?

Stryfe: Holy…shit…

Dart: What the hell happened?

*Covers Jiwe’s eyes*

Author, don’t make me smack you. We keep the potty mouth to ourselves!

Shana: I, I don’t know.

Stryfe: Shana…

Dart Beta One…

“Swirruh…”

Lavitz: In any case, we’re safe now. We should head to the exit quickly.

Stryfe: It’s gonna be fine when we get to Bale, right?

Lavitz: Yes. I think.

You’re so comforting Lavitz. Though, to be fair, now that a civil war has broken out which involves a big-ol dragon, that’s probably all the reassurance he can give without outright lying to them.

As Dart helped Shana to her feet, Stryfe couldn’t help but look at Shana with concern and curiosity. He could see that she had a look of concern on her face as she began walking.

Author, show me something! Anything! Anything at all! I don’t care what it is, just show me something! I’d even take clothing porn over this exposition-heavy narrative.

Exiting the cave, Stryfe, Dart, Shana and Lavitz were greeted by the sight of the sunrise above the fields of Serido.

Holy carp! You finally did it kinda right! Not entirely, but kinda.

Still, you need to vary up your sentences. Easily half of your sentences are some variation of ‘[current action], they [paired action]’ or some such. Not only does it serve to make your fic exceptionally repetitive, but it’s also a very passive way to write. Basically you’re doing a tense swap of “While they [this], they also [that]” which is very daybook and awkward.

“Ah-war!”

That the new catchphrase?

Although the sight was beautiful to behold, the four continued onward, knowing that they need to get to Bale quickly.

Why are those things contrasted!? What does the sight being beautiful have to do with preventing their progress? Once again, author, I know what you’re TRYING to say, it’s just not what you’re actually writing.

And finally, we draw to a close of chapter seven with this:

After crossing over the hillside, the capital of Basil, the Capital City of Bale, came into Stryfe’s view…

Another flapping ellipsis. Author, you are very not good at… writing.

Until next week, patrons!

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29 Comments on “1027: The Legend of Dragoon: The Eighth Spirit – Chapter Seven”

  1. Tie Dye Mage says:

    First off, I my brain can only comprehend one thing about Jiwe: D’awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

    Secondly, I think it is very admirable to know that you keep you’re language clean around kids,Taco.

    And lastly: D’awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! (Sorry, I had one more in me)

  2. Tie Dye Mage says:

    Still, you need to vary up your sentences. Easily half of your sentences are some variation of ‘[current action], they [paired action]’ or some such. Not only does it serve to make your fic exceptionally repetitive, but it’s also a very passive way to write. Basically you’re doing a tense swap of “While they [this], they also [that]” which is very daybook and awkward.

    Jeez, it’s like someone playing a game of Mad Libs and taking it seriously.

    I just got an idea. Let’s take the repetitive sentences, remove the fill-in-the-blank words and replace them with something nonsensical.

  3. The Crowbar says:

    You brought a… K I D in the Library?

    If the Painters find out about this, hey’re gonna flip. The last experience they had with human kids is when they were trying to turn the Painters into living circus attractions.

    *Painters glare at Crowbar for saying the word*

    Get back to work, ye’ lazy bums!

    *Sits back in his chair, sipping on Sprite and criticising everything around him*

  4. The Crowbar says:

    So this author basically copied stuff from canon and pasted it all here?

    *sigh*

  5. Herr Wozzeck says:

    After passing through the area into a deeper region of the cave, Stryfe, Dart, Shana and Lavitz found themselves in an area filled with natural water slides that connected to the river in the depths below.

    Case in point: this likely is hard to figure out at first ’cause puzzle. And then you spend hours figuring it out.

    Which was all cut from here. Because of course.

  6. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Jumping out of the way before Dart rammed him, he looked back to see Shana slumped on top of him

    Wait, so how the hell did Shana get on top of Stipend if he jumped out of the way?

  7. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Author! This is writing, not a video game!

    Right?

    You know your author sucks when he makes you want to fall back on the banal action scenage of the non-plagiarized parts of From another world

  8. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Stryfe: Dart! Lavitz!

    • Tie Dye Mage says:

      Didn’t I use this joke earlier? Does this mean it’s now considered one of those “running gags” that people like to talk about?

  9. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Racing back to her, he could see that she was jealous of the friendship the three of them shared.

    After only a few hours? Jesus, lady, calm down!

  10. Herr Wozzeck says:

    What the f- … falafel is wrong with you, author!?

    And by now, Jiwe must be like “um, Uncle Taco, why are you saying so many f-word things?”


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