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(Contains: sexual themes and strong language)
Chief Hakoda watched as Bato placed the final piece on his pyramid of empty shot glasses. All six belonged to the dark-haired warrior. More were sure to come before the night was over.

"Ya know what the problem with women is?" Bato asked without taking his eyes from his creation. "They care too damned much about the little details. Mess one of 'em up and..." He yanked one of the glasses from the bottom, sending them crashing to the table. "Everything goes to shit. They'll never let it go."

Not again. Hakoda hated seeing his best friend like this.

He glanced around at the other tables, thankful the majority of them were empty now that the orchestra was playing. The ball guests had migrated toward the dance floor, the only other souls present in the back of the throne room being Fire Lord Iroh and four senior members of the White Lotus. Judging from the amount of empty glasses at their table, all five men were as inebriated as Bato, thank the Spirits.

But Hakoda knew his friend would be flagged tonight regardless of where they happened to be sitting. If Bato wasn't trying to drown his past between a woman's legs, then he was drowning it in drink.

Hakoda cleared his throat. "Maybe you should lay off the vodka for the rest of the evening."

"I mean, what'sa big deal about a name, anyway?" Bato went on, ignoring him as he started construction on a shot glass tower. "They're justa buncha letters, am I right?"

Ah... his date.

Bato's woman of the week had canceled on him a half hour prior to the ball, the reason being he'd accidentally called her by the wrong name. By the way she'd raced out of the guesthouse with her hair in disarray and her clothes disheveled, Hakoda had a good idea what they were doing when the name was spilled. Not the first time Bato had come down with a case of foot-in-mouth with a woman in his bed.

Bato still hadn't come clean over what name he'd called her. He never did.

Hakoda only hoped it wasn't Miksa's.

~~~

Bato frowned as he placed the final piece on his shot glass pyramid. Six drinks and all they'd gotten him was twenty bronze pieces lighter.

"Ya know what the problem with women is?" he asked his friend of thirty-four winters. "They care too damned much about the little details. Mess one of 'em up and..." He yanked a glass from the bottom, sending the rest to the table with a satisfying crash. "Everything goes to shit. They'll never let it go."

Hakoda remained silent, but Bato hardly expected him to spout off an agreement. His chief crawled into a hole the day their wives died, cutting himself off from feeling anything for another woman. Hiding his pain under the mantle of leadership.

Bato wondered how Hakoda even came up with his Operation Procreation, Project Broodmare, or whatever the hell the plan was called. It all boiled down to whipping it out for the good of their tribe. Sounded easy enough.

Too bad it would never work, at least not for Bato. Not if he had to get married to do it.

Hakoda cast a nervous glance at the table of old fart White Lotuses--probably embarrassed now that he was a big shot world leader--and cleared his throat. "Maybe you should lay off the vodka for the rest of the evening."

Riiight... not gonna happen.

He wasn't nearly drunk enough. It was still there. The emptiness.

Needing a distraction, Bato started stacking the glasses one on top the other. M... I... "I mean, what'sa big deal about a name, anyway?" K... S... "They're justa buncha letters, am I right?" He crowned his creation with a fifth glass.

A...

Miksa.


The most important letters of his life.

Not a day went by when she didn't haunt his mind, but the images she left him weren't the ones he'd wanted to remember. Hollow blue eyes fixed in permanent horror at an invisible attacker. An abdomen ripped open, spilling blood on their bedroom floor. Their child lying lifeless beside her, the cord still attached to its mother...

Both of them... gone.

Bato's vision blurred as he spotted a tray full of freshies moving their way.

Nope. Definitely not gonna happen.
Update 11/22/10 - More polishing. Because stalling seems to be what the muse is good at this week.

Update 11/29/09 - I've revised a bit to, hopefully, make their backstory a little bit clearer. These two are from a series I'm writing, so they have a lot of :poo: going on in their pasts.

Just a little something for the latest :iconwriters-workshop: exercise--third person limited POV. In this, you write a scene in third limited then redo the same scene but in the head of another character.

This little spin off isn't from the Night Duty canon, but the Water Tribe Romance one. Mature for language and sexual themes, because I just can't help myself.

Crits and comments are appreciated. Enjoy!
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:iconemmyisazebra:
EmmyIsAZebra Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Ah, yeah I totally had to read the gallery description to realize what was going on in the second half ('cause I'm oblivious, not that you didn't do a good job writing both perspectives) I'm totally going to need to start the Water Tribe Romance story now...

I thought this was wonderfully done. I really liked getting into their heads and the different things that were going through their minds. It really put a different spin on the dialogue too. Poor Bato :cries: That's horrible! You're so evil to your men... :no:

BTW I found this one through #TheWritersMeow ;p
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Gah, WTR was my first foray into writing. Half of it reeks of suckage. Half doesn't. But it's done, which is something I can't say for the rest of my stories. :lol:

Thanks. :)
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:iconemmyisazebra:
EmmyIsAZebra Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Lol, Yeah that's how I feel about The Resented... I actually took it down 'cause I was so blah about it. :XD: Knowing you though and what you consider 'rough' I probably won't notice a thing, lol.
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
I've considered taking WTR down, but I have a few chaps of the sequel started. And since it's a fanfic, the Avagroupies will kill me.
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:iconemmyisazebra:
EmmyIsAZebra Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Lol, I'm sure they would. It's hard to find a good fanfiction. You're killing me with Night Duty :eager: But I will wait patiently like a good little watcher! :nod: :)
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:iconmasumikasoko:
MasumiKasoko Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2009
I looove this piece. I'm a big Avatar fan, so I found it fantastic how you took these sort of simple characters from the show and added so much dimension to them.
Also, I was taken aback by the harshness of this story compared to the show, but in a good way. A really good way. =)
I don't really have any good critiques for this. Great writing! Can't wait to read more!
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks! :D I've been writing about the adults for a while. The kids got too much attention. The Water Tribe men (and Ozai) are my faves. I've kicked out a dozen or so OCs too. All the fics are pretty 'harsh', to put it lightly. :lol:
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:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
I enjoyed reading that, you have a very good writing style. :)

The only thing that got me confused was Bato's POV. Especially the part about his chief. That would be Hakoda? Because he was introduced as his friend and you didn't mention very clearly that he's also a chief.
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks. :D

I see what you mean. I'll stick something in the first POV to indicate he's a chief.

Thanks for reading and the feedback.
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:icongirlwithahat:
GirlWithAHat Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome. :)
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice work establishing both the large-scale (world) and small-scale (individual) settings; sure, every detail isn't ironed out, but it doesn't need to be. It's also great that Hakoda isn't thinking about his own position as much as Bato is.

While it's mostly clear what the differences in their personalities are, I would recommend removing the line "Hiding his pain under the mantle of leadership." from Bato's bit--he doesn't seem like the type to be big on metaphors. Even the part when the horror of his wife is described is very direct.

Anyway, great work conveying them--as well as his drunkenness (which I'm inferring from the way his thoughts are wandering and the accent he alone has).
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks. :D I definitely like your idea. I still want to keep that thought in there, but I'll be brainstorming for some different ways to say it.
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:iconoathkeeper-auctor:
oathkeeper-auctor Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2009
Nice work, interesting story, though I can't really envisage what your setting or time period is . . because they're part of a tribe, and procreate for the good of it; but they have vodka and shot glasses and orchestras?

And I saw that there is a bit of ambiguity, thinking in Hakoda's narrative that Miksa is his wife; I thought you could change this to something like

Hakoda only hoped for his sake it wasn't Miksa's.

Though even that doesn't quite clarify it :/ because 'his' still sounds like Hakoda instead of Bato. . sorry if that's more confusing ^^;
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
It's a fantasy realm, so nothing will seem realistic, but the story's part of a larger one. Word count won't permit me to explain all the backstory behind these two (and IMO it would bog down a small piece anyway).

That last line of Hakoda's has been a tricksy one. I like your suggestion though. I may run with it. It's hard to pen a part with two folks with the same gender.

Thanks for the crit. I really appreciate the time. :hug:
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:iconoathkeeper-auctor:
oathkeeper-auctor Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2009
No problem, and I agree that the whole backstory would bog the piece down; it even just makes more sense knowing it's a fantasy realm :) because it could have been a strange, partially westernised tribe if it were meant to be possible in reality.
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:iconpaperdart:
PaperDart Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2009   Writer
Hi Kira,

First off, a cheer for doing something other than a protagonist/antagonist pairing. Nothing wrong with those, but it's refreshing to see something different. I think you've succeeded in using the large amount that's the same to highlight the differences between the two characters.

I found that I enjoyed reading from Bato's perspective more than from Hakoda's and I've come up with a couple of reasons why. They may simply be because I haven't read the sections before and after this excerpt, so judge for yourself what to keep and what's irrelevant.

The first point is that Bato's scene is much more emotional – I'd put this down to the emphasis of the excerpt, except that you tell us that Hakoda has shut off his emotions (at any rate, Bato thinnish so). If he's always as rational and orderly as he is here, I think he may be a slightly dry and self-righteous character to character to read from. If you're shifting perspectives that would be mitigated, though.

I also thought that Bato's perspective had more focus. We know that Bato is worrying about the girl who just left him, and on a deeper level, about his wife. While Hakoda's aim is ostensibly to stop Bato from drinking it's clear (and this bothered me somewhat in both perspectives) that he's more interested in some bigger plan. In one sense, this makes the extract more intriguing: I'd like to know more about the plan. For me, it went a little too far. I couldn't really follow what Hakoda was thinking or how his motivation worked. In fact, I first assumed that he simply wanted to avoid personal embarrassment through a drunk Bato. Re-reading it, I've seen that there's something more at stake, but I can't tell what it is, and the references confused me.

Despite all that, I really enjoyed the excerpt, and it fulfilled its function in making me want to know more: I'd certainly pick up the book to find out more after reading it. Your characters and setting are believable, and you're clearly driving a story forward. There's some interesting cultural conflict – tribal men in a ballroom – but you've proven yourself enough that I'll believe that it's a plot tension, rather than the result of ignorance.

The prose was nicely done too – I was thoroughly inside each man's head. Great deep POV. There were a few spots that were a little (very little) bit rough, though, so I'll point those out.

“his pyramid of empty shot glasses, all of them his.” The repetition of 'his' jarred a bit.

You have a four line sentence in the third paragraph, and it feels that long.

“amount of empty glasses” number of empty glasses 'Amount' implies a quantity that is measured rather than counted. (Amount of water; number of drops)

“spout an agreement” This one didn't work for me. Mostly, it seems so obvious that I can't imagine Bato thinking it. Maybe that's just me, though.

“Riiight” Personal opinion, but nine times out of ten you can express things better without stretching the rules. It's a question of style more than anything, but worth considering if you haven't already.

Some of the language was too modern/American for me, but I'd need to read more to make a reasonable decision on that.

I loved the parts with Bato and the shot glasses – especially the way Hakoda misses the significance behind them.

This was a lovely piece – I had fun reading it. Thanks for submitting to #Writers-Workshop!
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for the crit. I agree with you on many of the topics. Bato is the more emotional of the two men while Hakoda likes to shut himself off. I may elaborate a little more on why in the revise too.

These guys are part of a series I'm doing, so they have (too) much backstory. I'm just buried under so many novel/novella length pieces, the muse was too lazy to come up with something new. Plus she tends to get attached to new creations. A little dangerous.

The "Riiight"... if it had been spoken dialogue, I woulda just tagged it with a ...he drawled. But internal, I felt I needed to go with the extra vowels to draw out the word. I don't like to tag thoughts. I usually don't do words this way, but I'm not one for rules where dialogue is concerned. :XD:

Anyhoo, glad you liked. It was a fun exercise.
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:iconmwiings:
mwiings Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2009   Writer
While i do like the concept of your story, the opening lines did confuse me a little. Try rewriting the first line so that the ownership of his glasses isnt an after thought and the man is drunk.

Your interpretation of the workshop was refreshing and i enjoyed reading it.
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Maybe I might. I like hitting the reader right away with a scene, not building up to it. But doing so in the second POV may be a needed idea.

Thanks!
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:iconlunaticstar:
LunaticStar Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009
A couple things I'm hung up on that are keeping me from understanding what's going on: the glasses have letters on them? I am not following how the second one knows the first one's wife. He slept with her? I think the overuse of the 'he' word is confusing me, I can't tell them apart. I can tell the first one is just annoyed, and the second is belligerant, but perhaps find traits in them that are easier to discern from one another. I know you have a huge universe to do with these guys, but as an outsider on this one, I gotta say, I'm a little lost. :D

I <3 you though! I don't mean to insult.
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Those glasses... no letters on them. But Bato says the letters in his mind as he stacks each one, hence the italics.

On the wife... I'm having a heck of a time trying to convey that 'his wife' is Bato's wife. That last sentence in the first part needs some work for clarification. I might just ditch it altogether. Any ideas?

This one isn't as black and white as some of the other entries--cat and mouse, boy and girl, good and evil--so it's harder to differentiate between them. The actions and dialogue are the same. But what's going on in their heads is very different.

But this whole dealio is built off a plot that's built off a plot. All my ideas. It would probably make much more sense to someone who's read WTR, though. Just this little snippet isn't enough, I'll admit.

And you didn't offend at all. I realized when I posted this that it had a certain WTF factor.
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:iconlunaticstar:
LunaticStar Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009
My idea about the wife is this, you could use a bit of drama, if that's allowed in the rules. Be like, 'Bato's wife: he prayed it was not her name that Hakoda said, because that would mean that his best friend was on to his affair before the woman kicked the bucket.' (I know that's totally not what is happening in the story, but you get the idea, right??) xD

And I'm a person who likes black and white, but it's fun when a fountain of gray squirts out of the difference. That's my goal at least, trying to write mine, been at it for hours...am so stuck! lol. ; ;
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
There was no affair, actually. Sorry for that bit of confusion. I changed a little bit to, hopefully, make it less confusing, though I like your version better. All we need's a donkey, some Crisco, and a slip 'n slide and we're set. :XD:

Both men had wives who were murdered, and they're each dealing with the loss differently. Bato drinks and screws his pain away, and lets slip his late wife's name during disco time. Hakoda just buries his pain under the mantle of leadership. Too much backstory, but nothing should be easy. :evillaugh:

Can't wait to read your squirt of gray. :D
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:iconlunaticstar:
LunaticStar Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009
Maybe add in some more differentiation. There are a couple things that discract from them, and that's Iroh and his court of whatever. Maybe if they just met at a bar? Could it be that one of them is the anniversary of his marriage, and the other is just trying to console his friend but ends up going emo himself?
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Nice ideas, though the thought coming up with a totally new game plan is making my brain hurt. Truth be told, the H-man's part was halfway penned for the next WTR rewrite (I had the first two paras done) when the workshop announcement came up. The muse was tapped out so she ran with it. Plus I think she wanted to be with Bato. But if it doesn't revolve around one of my fics, I just don't have the energy to think about it.
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:iconlunaticstar:
LunaticStar Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009
Well it's up to you in the end. It's just lame that I have ideas for you, not myself. Haha. Fickle brain.
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
At least you have ideas period. :lol:
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(1 Reply)
:iconpaperdart:
PaperDart Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009   Writer
I'll be back to crit later, but I wanted to say that the workshop sets 300 as an approximate word count, not a maximum. ;) So you're welcome to run over by a few words, or even a few dozen words!
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Now ya tell me. ;) No biggie. The limits are helpful for me since I tend to ramble on otherwise. It's as much of a challenge as the workshop itself. Sometimes more. Thanks, though. :hug: I'll keep this in mind for next time.
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:iconpaperdart:
PaperDart Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009   Writer
The precise nature of the limits varies from workshop to workshop - the previous workshop did have an exact maximum; this one didn't.
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Ah... I'll blame my old eyes on that one then.
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:iconeldestmuse:
eldestmuse Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009
Well, I not only follow you but I'm part of the workshop, so obviously I have to offer up my thoughts =)

all of them his. -- I knew what you meant, I think, but it's not immediately clear whether he merely owned them, or whether he was using them to track how many shots he'd had.

For the dialog in the first section, it wasn't immediately clear what "they" referred to; women or the details. In the latter half of the scene, it was unclear who "his" was referring to--whose bed? whose wife, more importantly.

The ball guests had migrated toward the dance floor, the only other souls present in the back of Fire Lord Iroh's throne room being Iroh himself, along with four senior members of the White Lotus. -- it seemed to me that the first phrase here could have (and should have) stood alone as its own sentence.

I really thought that the second scene was much better than the first; I had a clearer idea of what was going on, the clues were a lot stronger, and I was able to empathize a lot stronger with the character. In the first scene, the ethnicity/culture of the characters wasn't clear, etc.

However, I think that as far as the workshop itself goes, you did a great job of showing exactly the same scene from two different perspectives that show the characters in radically different ways.

:thumbsup:
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Totally agree on the first. Stupid word count is keeping me from being specific. I'll see where I can putter around with it, and if anyone else has probs there.

The second. Agreed too. Just one little punctuation change and no one will ever know. :paranoid:

I prefer the second POV too, but I think I can pull off Bato's voice much better. I'll keep that in mind for the revise though.

Thanks for the crit. I'm itching to get to more Exile today.
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:iconeldestmuse:
eldestmuse Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009
:horns:

Also, you know that the 300 limit isn't actually a limit? It's "about three hundred words" according to the prompt. =P
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
About three hundred words translates into four hundred for me. :XD:
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:iconeldestmuse:
eldestmuse Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009
:lol:
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:iconleoniesaintevire:
LeonieSainteVire Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009
WOW...I really like this...It is very real. I can see it!
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks! :D I was hoping for a deep POV with this. I'm glad it came through.
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:iconnervosix:
Nervosix Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
first comment would be on:
By the way she left the guesthouse.
I'm not sure if a "by the way" is all that good in a short story.

The second comment would be on the general construction of it. It seems to be the same story from the same PoV only one emphasizes on the actions taken and words spoken while the other emphasizes on the feelings and thoughts.

Please correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think that was the assignment.

I must admit I like it though, just so you know.
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Hmmm... I personally don't see anything wrong with 'by the way.' :shrug: Not trying to be argumentative, but I just don't. Do you have any suggestions for a replacement other than it just isn't good? I'm open...

And the idea was to write the same scene from two different POV's, which I did. In my case, they just happened to be conversing with each other so the dialogue is identical. The second POV is the more emotional because he's drunk and wallowing in grief. The first POV was from a sober-headed leader concerned for his friend's well being. I was trying to get deep into my POVs. Hard to do with a limited word count.

But I'm glad you like. Thanks much for the feedback. :D
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:iconnervosix:
Nervosix Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
maybe something like:
"And as a sidenote"

And okay then, I just saw bato's name twice and thought it was just the same char. I guess I should've read it a little more closely.
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Oh, duh... I see where your confusion was. You thought I meant 'by the way' as in "oh, and by the way", when I meant it as her manner of leaving. Maybe I can make it 'In the manner that she left the guest house'? Need to check my count first.

Sorry... Monday morning's are a beast. Still caffinating...

And I saw your fic too, if you want crit.
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
:giggle: So formal. Hakoda wouldn't talk that way--it contradicts his voice. But it's a nice suggestion all the same.

Nope the first snippet, you're in Hakoda's head... the second, Bato's. :D

Thanks again! :hug: Do you have a submission up?
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:iconsoulkipper:
Soulkipper Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
OK... This is more than awesome! It's BRILLIANT!

I'm sorry but I can't even start the critique on this one. There is nothing I don't like, and there is nothing I like best to point it out except for the marvellous way you entered the character head in the 2nd part. :clap:

I've toured your gallery a bit. You write fan fiction of Avatar? I don't know Avatar very much, but I liked what I read. ;)
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks. :D I like the second part better too.

I pen some AtLA stuff from the lesser characters (more room to be creative), as well as many nonfanfics. They're all paranormal/fantasy erotic romances so not sure they're your thing, but I do have a few male readers.
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:iconsoulkipper:
Soulkipper Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Paranormal/fantasy eroticism, and you say I wouldn't like it?!? I'm a guy! Eroticism is a must, paranormal is my life, fantasy is AWESOME!! :XD: ahahah

I have read Fantasy Lover and loved it! Ok, most of my friends desaproved the fact I like to read fantasy erotic novels.... But they're so hot... :XD:

I read the PN teaser and I liked it very much! You women are so devious, but we only find out when married to or reading books :P

Kidding!

I'll read your PN stories soon.

:wave:
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:iconkira73:
Kira73 Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Then you may like my stuff then. :D I just feel I have to warn folks first. Some people turn their noses up at roms.

PN has evolved into something quite different since I penned that teaser last year. I've added another hero (it's a menage/polyamory fic) and she isn't a cop anymore. Trial and error. The chaps aren't going anywhere in the near future. I'll take them down for edits when I'm done though.

Thanks!
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:iconsoulkipper:
Soulkipper Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
;) no no, thank you! :D
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