Team Dragon Star
The most kick-ass group of writers the world has ever seen! Team Dragon Star is a collaborative community of writers that work together to bring you the very best stories that we can. Everyone and anyone is welcome to apply at the 'Marshalling Zone' but for those who would just like to chat, feel free to visit almost any of the other topics.
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Inverse Grimoire

Hello there people, my name is Maynard Price but I go by Inverse Grimoire on this and a few other sites. You may refer to me as you wish. I have been reading and writing fanfiction on this site for just under a decade, so it is a very longstanding passion of mine. Over that period of time, periodic archive binges in a small selection of fandoms have granted me a great familiarity with the common plot structures and 'impact points' (as I call them) that most fanfiction stories use. This is especially true of those series I follow closely. I can confidently say that over the years I've read in the 90% range of all the quality stories in those series that have some sort of following. I still search for those rare gems though; the great stories that are obscure and hard to find. I only recently became aware of this group because, while I've seen every episode, Dragon Ball is not a series whose fanfiction I follow. I do follow Naruto heavily though, and I came across "Failings and Misunderstandings", a unique twist on the normal 'chuunin exam arc' story and one that I've been enjoying. The small blurb at the end of a chapter about Team Dragon Star caught my interest, and so here I am.

I have tried my hand at writing fanfiction many times over the years, but have yet to be satisfied with any of my work. A few years ago I purged all my work from this site to start fresh, and even the few stories I have attempted since have been too cringe worthy to complete. I hope that if I can combine my efforts with others we can iron out each others' mistakes and create strong stories that won't make me want to face-palm when reading them a few months down the road.

I would say that my specialty lies in making sure that a story stands out from it's peers. My experience reading in specific fandoms makes it easy for me to tell what plot devices and 'twists' have and have not been done before with some success (and why), as well as which ones have been beaten to death so much that even a strong implementation would likely be uninteresting for veteran readers of that fandom. I am also quite good at 'filling in the details' on things when given a few pieces to work with, such as coming up with several interesting and internally consistent ways to get from plot point A to plot point B given some background or explaining the internal mechanics of 'magical' abilities in such series that use them. I also like to consider myself adept at editing fight scenes to make them more satisfying and realistic (realism in a fanfiction story being relative of course).

I have an interest in beta reading, but I must admit that I have no real experience in the area outside of editing papers for classmates in college.

I have a story concept I'm working on at the moment; it is nowhere near ready to show off though. Set in the Naruto fandom, it's a multi-chapter character piece focusing on Sakura; mainly her experiences and character development after a twist where she dies in the Wave Mission Arc but the chakra from her still cooling body is taken by Naruto and immediately used to create a 'kage bunshin' that looks like Sakura and has all her memories and personality. That story though, again, is nowhere near ready so instead I will provide an excerpt from one of the stories I already have uploaded on this account. It was written a few years ago, and like I previously mentioned I was not happy enough with it to continue even then, however it is technically one of my most recently written pieces so it should suffice to get a feel for my style.

*** Excerpt from Dragon's Heart, Fire's Will (with some clean up), full story (though short and unfinished) at https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6855951/1/Dragon-s-Heart-Fire-s-Will ***

The mysterious armored man met the Hokage's steely gaze with his own and held it for several seconds in silence before making a consenting sound and nodding respectfully towards the aged leader. He turned casually to once again take in the full view of the scene and decided to ask for a change of venue.

"Of course Hokage-sama. I may not be from around here but I will gladly cooperate with your investigation into these matters, however…" he paused, and gestured vaguely towards the scene, "seeing as how the children do not require immediate medical attention it would probably be best for us to take this discussion elsewhere. "

Sarutobi made another draw from his pipe as he took a sidelong glance at the two orphan boys he had come to care for on a personal level. They were chatting animatedly, making lots of arm gestures and shaking their fists sporadically. Sarutobi returned most of his attention to the stranger now that he had convinced himself that the children would be alright for the moment. He stared at the man in question and tried to gauge him based on his body language.

'He seems relaxed yet ready, the stance of an experienced combat veteran…' the old Hokage mused, 'His posture shows deference to me even though I am not his leader, yet he is not submissive. He doesn't appear to exhibit any of the well hidden anxiety that would appear even on a highly skilled ninja, so I don't believe he intends to be deceitful.'

The analysis was moot at the moment, as the stranger's suggestion to talk somewhere else was one the Sandaime was going to make on his own, but it never hurt to take the time to get a feel for any potentially dangerous adversaries. Habitual information gathering just came with the territory of being the leader of a ninja village, and the man in front of him apparently without much effort dispatched a chuunin level shinobi, making him equal to a mid level jounin at the least.

It was a reasonable request to make when discussing issues in a ninja village, eyes and ears everywhere as they say. The Hokage could not refuse the request without losing some of his appearances as a reasonable and hospitable leader.

That did not mean, however, that the other man had pulled a fast one on the Hokage. In fact, since he had made the request first, he was putting himself in a position to be held with greater accountability for the event, essentially eliminating the possibility of fleeing the scene without repercussions. This was especially so considering that the new venue for discussion would of course be the Hokage's office.

This, aside from the man's body language and protective position he had previously taken in front of the children, convinced the Sandaime to at least hear the man out rather than immediately have him arrested for killing one of his shinobi.

"Very well, then…" he agreed, releasing the smoke he had been holding in throughout his entire inner monolog, "We shall continue this discussion in my office." He made a few discreet hand signals to his ANBU as he finished speaking, signaling them to take the body for an autopsy and do some recon in the area of the children's apartment to find out what happened and how they managed to give their guard the slip. As one the group of ANBU nodded in affirmation and vanished, one of them straggling to take the body of the assassin with him.

The Hokage grabbed one child under each arm, ignoring their protests that they could find their way on their own ("You wandered around on your own once already today remember?" "…hai"), and disappeared with a silent and seal less Shunshin.

=====DHFW=====

He appeared outside the Hokage Tower and leapt up through the window of his office with negligible effort. He felt a slight breeze as he dropped the children onto a couch that was situated for the convenient of clients, and was unsurprised to see the mysterious stranger standing in front of his desk when he turned around.

He closed the window from across the room with a flick of his wrist and smirked when Naruto loudly proclaimed how awesome he was for being able to pull off such a simple trick.

The old ninja sat down in his comfy chair (it had to be comfy in order for the massive amount of paperwork he did at his desk to be at all survivable) and refilled his pipe as he turned to look expectantly at the children, wanting to get their explanations first.

Naruto, who had mostly been struggling to keep down his declarations of innocence, decided that he couldn't hold it in anymore.

"It's not our fault Hokage-jiji! We were just minding our own business, heading down to the festival, when suddenly BAM! I was out cold!" he exclaimed, waving his hands around to emphasize how randomly he was struck down. The Hokage didn't fail to notice that the mischievous youth was attempting to gloss right over the matter that he had given his guards the slip, and why he was out doors on the day of the festival when he had been explicitly forbidden to do so.

"The only thing I remember after that was waking up to a sharp pain in my chest, and seeing that mean ninja pushing a kunai into me for some reason!" he continued, honestly oblivious to the idea that the man was trying to kill him. The Sandaime would have preferred a more accurate description of where exactly Naruto was wounded, but the blonde's understanding of human anatomy was limited to knowing that it was his chest, and not say his arm or his head, that was impaled.

"I tried to fight back, I really did! I just felt so weak though, I mean I tried to move my arms to hit him but they wouldn't listen to me and it just kept getting darker until I couldn't see anything anymore! Actually, I don't think I heard or felt anything else either…" the child looked away and trailed off introspectively, not noticing the sharp and startled look directed his way when he began describing what was essential the experience of death to the Sandaime.

The young jinkurichi shook his head as if to dismiss his train of thought and opened his mouth to ramble on some more, but the Hokage decided that he had already pretty much gathered all the useful testimony he was going to get from the blonde and held his hand up, immediately silencing him.

He leaned back and considered the implications of what Naruto had told him about his experience. Apparently, the two had somehow managed to escape their guard and were on their way to the Kyuubi festival despite numerous warnings. They were summarily kidnapped and brought out to that training ground to be killed by one of his own men. Naruto was dealt a quick and fatal strike, most likely the Kyuubi was unable to protect and heal him due to his age and undeveloped chakra network.

His gaze swiveled around the room, taking in its three other occupants and getting their reactions to Naruto's description of the events. Naruto himself appeared to be more worried that he might have said something to get himself into trouble than his own near (?) death experience. Sasuke seemed rather calm and contemplative then the old man had expected, considering his own past trauma regarding death of his loved ones. The Third wasn't sure whether he liked the way the last Uchiha was handling this situation or not, and decided to forget about it for now to deal with more important concerns.

The stranger though, was displaying some odd reactions. He appeared calm and unconcerned over the man he recently (probably) killed. That was understandable; the way he carried himself made it clear to the experienced leader of warriors that he had seen and dealt his fair share of death, and killing someone when he believed he was doing the right thing probably didn't weigh heavily on his mind at this point. The off part about him was the tiny upturn of one side of his mouth and the hidden mirth in his eyes, as if he was amused about some part of tonight's events and was struggling to restrain himself for the sake of propriety.

"Sasuke-kun!" he snapped, turning his head to focus on the last Uchiha once more.

The young man was startled and instantly pulled out of his own musings by the Hokage's commanding voice, and gulped almost audibly, taking a few breaths to calm himself before he gave his own recounting of events.

"OK, so…" he began, desperately trying to think of the most innocent way to say this, "there we were, in our apartment minding our own business when all of a sudden the roof cracked and these two ninja fell down into this large vat of tar we had lying around and –"

"Hold on a minute there Sasuke…" the Hokage interrupted, one hand out in a stop gesture, and the other palming his face. "Why, exactly, did you two have a large vat tar in your apartment? Where would you even get such a thing?"

Caught in his attempt to speed talk the old ninja leader, he absently stroked one of his arms with his other hand and didn't meet the Hokage's eyes as he admitted, "Alright... we went out of our way to set a trap for the guards so we could get out and visit the festival…"

Already having guessed that far ahead, the Sandaime resolved to have the two ANBU working that shift sent to Ibiki as there was no way that any ninjas of that level who were not caught on purpose would get tricked in such a manner by a pair of six year olds – no matter how prodigal. 'Those fools probably thought they were being clever and covering their tracks. Who the hell do they take me for? I've seen through more elaborate and skilled ploys as a genin.'

"That's enough Sasuke, I think I know how this situation developed. Now I just want to know what part this man over here played in tonight's events." He directed, pointedly looking at the as of yet still unnamed stranger. His eyes narrowed a small fraction when he noticed out of the corner of his eye that Sasuke seemed almost relieved to be out of the spotlight. If the child was older, he might have read that as meaning that there was more to the story that he hadn't wanted to share, but as it was the Hokage dismissed it as a small child being intimidated by a stern questioning by the village leader.

"I was relaxing in a training field alone, " the stranger began, taking the Sandaime's hint, "I had been meditating and practicing a technique which allows me to sense strong emotions near bye. I figured that the easiest place to get a reading would be near a festival, and the one here in Konoha matched up with my traveling plans nicely."

The Hokage scratched his chin and understood the idea, it was after all well known that Konoha was a passionate village and the textbook method train a new technique is to apply it in the easiest conditions. He nodded in acknowledgment that the foreigner had adequately explained his presence and urged him on.

Seeing this as a good sign he continued his narrative, "I noticed a strange combination of emotions flaring up near bye including amusement, mischievousness, maliciousness, and a bit of killing intent was in there as well. Disturbed by these readings, I decided to keep an "eye" out for further developments and quickly deduced that two children were being kidnapped and brought to a nearby training area."

If the Hokage was impressed with the spear wielding man's deductive abilities he didn't show it outwardly.

'OK, moving on then…' "I hid behind some rocks and decided to interfere if I had the chance to." He finished, seemingly deciding that that was all there was to recount.

Sarutobi waited for a few moments, before deciding that he probably wasn't going to get any more out of the man without pressing for it.

"Why, exactly, did you decide to "interfere" with this apparent kidnapping? What did you believe was in it for you?" the Hokage didn't want to sound like he was ungrateful, but he had to make sure that the man in front of him didn't have less than noble intentions such as taking the hostages for himself or trying to claim a reward.

Whereas before the armored man's eyes shone with concealed mirth, at this line of questioning they hardened and became unreadable. "It is truly a sad state of the world when so few have honor that one is looked upon with suspicion for doing the right thing." His voice was level but his tone made it clear that he was restraining himself from launching into a rant the he must have had many times before. It seemed to be a sore point within the man who previously seemed moderately unshakable.

It appeared to the Hokage that the man was speaking earnestly, which raised the respect he had for the him somewhat. It's not easy to hold on to such honorable ideals in this age that's dominated by espionage and political intrigue.

"So, you hid then and waited for an opportunity to intervene. Naruto-kun appears to have been injured at some point though. I can only assume that the situation deteriorated before you could act then?" the Hokage injured, finally getting to the only part of the story he really needed to hear about as he could not infer it on his own.

The armored man shifted uncomfortably at this and looked away, before sighing and returning to looking the Hokage in the eye.

"Yes, I hesitated to attack the kidnapper because the children were waking up, and I thought he was going to knock them back out. I would have preferred for them to not see what I was about to do, but before I realized that he was just going to immediately kill them he had already stabbed a kunai into the blonde one's heart. I immediately launched across the field and impaled the kidnapper with my spear, but the young one was already dead by the time I pulled my weapon out of the corpse." The dragoon admitted to the Hokage, filling in a few more of the gaps in the story and setting up for the rest of his explanation.

Sarutobi had been wondering how Naruto had time to take a fatal blow (That he recovered from? There was still much more to this story..) when such a skilled looking warrior, able to dispatch a chuunin with ease, was around to save him, but had to admit from experience that it isn't always as simple as charging in to combat full force in many situations. He ran a quick mental simulation of the scenario and was satisfied that such an outcome was easily possible, and even likely based on what information he had gathered so far.

The story checked out.... mostly.

He folded his arms and leaned back into his chair, fixing a even firmer stare on the other man.

"That's all well and good, and your version of events seems reasonable so far, however there's still an important detail that I'm impatient to get around to. You say that Naruto-kun was struck down and killed before you could act, and the boys own testimony complements that story disturbingly well. But then, if this is true, tell me...."

The Hokage's gaze suddenly became even more piercing if possible, and the stranger let out a deep sigh as he knew what was coming next and was not looking forward to this next portion of his report.

"If he was dead then, why is he alive now?"

*** End of excerpt ***

There you go, let me know what you think!

1/15/2014 #1,351
Razamataz22

Before I set about grading your piece, I would like to know what project you would most likely be interested in joining. I know that you came here through Failings and Misunderstandings but would that be the only piece of ours that you'd consider working on or would you be looking at another project?

1/16/2014 #1,352
Inverse Grimoire

I hadn't really put much thought into which project to work on. I had figured that I should wait to be accepted first. That being said, much of what I have to offer would be wasted on fandoms I'm not familiar with (at least at first). I'm super familiar with the naruto fandom, and I do like Failings and Misunderstandings, but I'd be happy to work on some other project in a fandom I'm be somewhat familiar with or even a new project.

I would prefer to work on a Naruto story though.

1/16/2014 #1,353
Kakarot Son

I'm glad to inform you that you have passed. The general consensus was that your writing was good and flowed well however there were a few tiny mishaps here and there (spelling, grammar etc.). Admittedly we were all a little worried about the lack of new updates on your story and weren't entirely sure if that tied in too much with all the stories you purged, but we decided to give you the benefit of the doubt. If you would like to know what each of your graders individually said just let me know. Congratulations on passing and keep an eye on your PM inbox, the Orientation Package will be sent over there in a minute.

1/16/2014 #1,354
Inverse Grimoire

Thanks for the admission, I look forward to working with you guys. The two stories I have up on this account aren't really active, and haven't been for awhile. I'm kind of embarrassed with them but I haven't deleted them since I think that the concepts have some potential even if I could have implemented them better and because I would feel kinda of naked to have no stories at all on this account :P

1/16/2014 #1,355
T. Alana M

Hi, it's Alana again. Can someone confirm my DocX connection to TDS?

Thanks.

1/17/2014 #1,356
Team Dragon Star

It's been done.

1/17/2014 #1,357
T. Alana M

Thank you

1/17/2014 #1,358
Reign Of Sorrow

Hello, I am Zalkari Ament. I previously applied more than a month ago. I am a beginner in writing, I will not lie. I have flaws, as everyone else does, but mine more so than others. However, I want to better myself in my writing, which is the main reason that I want to join Team Dragon Star. I feel that here, I will grow more and learn much more to better myself as a writer. I am an individual who is determined to become a great writer, but I know I can accomplish so much more with others than alone. I place my heart in soul in all that I write, for truly that is how I think creative writing is.

Two people hear have already helped me and have made a detrimental effect in me bettering myself as a writer which is another reason I wish to join. Kakarot Son, and boboleta(I apologize if I spelled your name wrong) were the members who helped me improve my writing more. But I still have a long way to go.

My strengths? Well, I guess I have many creative ideas in how to make my own Dragonball universe. I am always seeking ways to better my writing. I place a lot of emotion in my words, well at least try to. I constantly reread my work checking for errors and ways to make something sound better and less jumbled, or uninteresting.

My weakness? Well I unfortunately have a bit more of those than my strengths. POV's I have an issue with keeping it consistent when needed. I have long sentences, which can turn off a reader. My grammar is not the greatest. One would think that I haven't graduated high school some of the time. My wording is a bit, well, much. I have trouble finding ways to make is simplified instead of complex. My flow needs work.

I do not see myself writing for any of the stories listed, unfortunately. Due to the factor I include OC's, Angels, Demons, Fallen Angels, in my work. So therefore I bring something new to the table, and not a concept exactly normal with Dragonball Z. I look at it as this, it is a fan fiction therefore my twist can become a reality with the combination of words and fluency. However, it needs to be where people will read it still, that is my goal, to make stories in which people will love even if it is not the original story line. That is why I am strictly writing AU's instead of, how I think the series should have went. Now that does not mean that I won't change this in the future.

I know that I have not labeled everything in bold required for the application, however I believe you do read each application and you'll be able to identify each thing necessary. So now, I will present to you my excerpt from the Eternal Struggle. It is indeed Chapter 7, The Pain of A Grieving Son:

Disclaimer: The following is a non-profit fan-based parody: Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT are all owned by FUNimation, Toei Animation, Fuji TV, and Akari Toriyama. Please support the official release.



It had been two months since the scroll had been seen by the two hybrid Saiyans. Gohan finally, after week of staying by his best friend's side, decided that he could not put off training and his other responsibilities any longer. He stood up from his chair looking around the room making sure that no one was there to see what he was about to do. He leaned down and kissed Solkarios softly. "I'm sorry that I cannot stay by your side any longer, but I have to continue training. I have to continue living even if..." Gohan paused as he felt the tears beginning to form in his eyes. "even if that means for the both of us," the tears began to fall like the rain outside.

Gohan placed his head on his cousin's chest. "Please...wake up...don't leave me alone...You and Goten are the only one's I have left...Solkarios!" Gohan's tears flowed freely, beginning to soak Solkarios's hospital gown. "Don't be like dad...don't give up...You can wake up...You just have too!"

Gohan had not cried this hard even for Piccolo when he died against the Saiyans. He loved Solkarios much more than he'd ever shown. But now, this coma...no this Demon, claimed his cousin. It was as his family was being taken away from him one by one. First his father, then his mother, now his best friend who he loved so much. Was this some sort of sick joke that the Universe was playing on him? To take all he loved and cared about away from him? He was only thirteen and have been through more than some had been in a lifetime. Slowly Gohan rose from the bed in which his...what was Solkarios to him? More than family...He'd sort these emotions out later on, for now he needed to go. The young warrior began to walk out of the hospital room where Solkarios lie victim to his own mind. He did not look back, knowing that if he did there would be no way to get him away from Solkarios's side.




Four months later...

Gohan let out a war cry transforming into the newest form of the Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan 3. He held the form with ease due to the training he had with his father in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber of holding the Super Saiyan to where it became almost natural to him. Then, his mastery over the Super Saiyan 2 in the two years he had been training, almost three years now. Vegeta was proud of him in the last four months they had been training together, and he even said it to him. The Old Prince had a soft side to him under his mask of steel and Gohan treasured every moment Vegeta gave him praise. Gohan stood, alone in the wasteland that his father and Vegeta once faced off years ago.

"Gohan, Gohan, can you hear me?" Goku's voice echoed in the young Super Saiyan 3's head.

"Father?" Gohan croaked as old emotions were beginning to resurface.

"Yes it's me Gohan; I'm speaking to you telepathically. I need you to make three wishes for me using the New Namek's dragon balls."

Gohan's rage began to sore he, clenched his fists. "Why should I help you? You abandoned me, Solkarios, and Goten! You wanted to stay dead, so stay dead!"

"I know…that's why I need you to wish me back. I need to correct the wrongs that I have done, I am sorry. I have watched you ever since I have died. I have seen your pain and anguish. Let me explain to you why I chose to remain dead. It is time for you to know the truth."

"You can't make up for lost time, Goku," Gohan screamed as his aura raged around him, beginning to crack the earth around him.

Goku winced at hearing his son call him by his first name, "Gohan, back in the Cell Games I had let you fight, because if I would not have given up I would have unleashed the power of the Super Saiyan 3 and I would not have been able to control it. I was scared of my own power; I feared that I would hurt you all. So I had to take time to learn how to control it and master myself. I was the danger that I was talking about when I spoke to you all last."

It was a legitimate reason, but Gohan did not care. "That is an excuse! I unleashed my power that I was afraid of!"

"Son, I know that you hate me with your entire essence, but your mother is gone and you need me more than you realize. I have a three-year-old son who has not had his father in his life. I have been tormented as well and my heart is aching because you and Goten are in deep pain. I thought I had made the right decision, but I was wrong. I had to get this power under control or I would have lost it like Broly did."

Broly was the Legendary Super Saiyan that had gone insane from Goku's crying as an infant back before Planet Vegeta was obliterated. As his power was beyond any other Saiyans he was nothing, but pure evil. Goku defeated him with all the energy of the Z-Fighters combined with his own.

"Alright father," Gohan said coldly, finally listening to his father, "what are your wishes?"

"The first wish is to bring my pupil Victor back to life."

"Who the hell is Victor?"

"My pupil…and someone who is very much like you…He is family by blood, but he is in a way your brother, but is not. He is your cousin, but is your brother."

Gohan raised an eyebrow, but did not press any further. "The next two wishes?"

"The second wish is to bring me back to life and the third wish is to…bring us back to Earth."

"Can't you use Instant Transmission to do that? Why not wish mom back?"

"Gohan, I love your mother very much. But bringing her back now is not such a good idea. We both know that there is going to be a lot of fighting coming up, and she will only get in the way."

He was right, but Gohan did not like it one bit. "So you know already of the letter from Arkadios to Solkarios and me?"

"Has Vegeta told you already?"

"Yes he has. I want to find him."

Goku wasn't okay with that at all. "No. Don't go searching for him Gohan. You have no idea how dark that man is!"

"You have a choice father. Let me find him or I will not do as you request and I will stop anyone else from trying to grant your wishes myself." Gohan said emotionlessly, he was numb after losing everything close to him, besides Piccolo, and his little brother Goten.

What was he going to do? He had no other option, but to give into his son's demands. "Fine, but don't say I didn't warn you,just be careful."

"Don't you know how to find him?" Gohan said not suppressing his agitation.

"Yes, and I will tell you how to reach him when I get back, I promise." Goku said obviously defeated.

"Alright, it will be done, I'll do it myself." Gohan said with resentment in his voice.

"Thank you, son I love you."


Gohan did not reply. He resumed his training with far more intensity than he had before. He detested his father, love? Love was stripped from his soul, even when it came to his little brother, he had trouble feeling love. He could only see pain, feel pain, and he was becoming cold and bitter to the world around him, engulfed in pain. His heart, what was left of it, had been obliterated when his best friend fell to the mercy of his subconscious. The letter…if he was the one that had the power to destroy all of this current existence, he just might do so. After all, there was not much more for him to live for now. He didn't want anyone else to suffer; especially his little brother. He wanted Goten to be happy, but in this harsh and cruel existence, and the trauma that he had already endured…He deserved peace. That is why he must find Arkadios.

What if he was the cursed one? What would he endure? There were no specifics on what the curse entailed. That was another reason he had to find Arkadios. No matter how dark and twisted he might be, he was the only one with the information that Gohan sought. No one was going to detour him from finding the man which had caused a lot more pain in Gohan's life than he needed. Not even his father.

The darkness in Gohan's soul was increasing every time he thought of all the pain and suffering he had endured. The hatred of his father, the loss of his mother, the comatose state his best friend was currently in, the trauma his little brother had gone through, all of it was crushing him and breaking his soul filling him with darkness. He wanted nothing more than to end it all, but knew he could not bring himself to take his own life. So, instead, he would seek out the fallen general, Arkadios; to see if he was the Chosen One that was mentioned in the letter of Solkarios's and his fate.


The conversation with Gohan had been more difficult than he could have imagined. Goku was feeling guilty all over again. His shoulders slumped as well as he bowed his head. He had lost his son by his foolish mistakes. Though, he knew he had to master his power and here in Other World he could do that without worrying about hurting his friends. It was tearing his soul apart and shredding his heart. Though, he would not give up on his son no matter what. He could tell Gohan was losing himself to his pain and misery. The boy had lost his entire world in such a short period of time. One more loss would send him over the edge, and he would literally go insane. Goku knew he had to be there for his son. He hated that his son resented him, but he knew that Gohan was only thirteen and would not hate him forever. So he hoped.

He looked upon Victor, who was sleeping peacefully. The boy was learning quickly. He had now gotten more in control of his Super Saiyan 3 form. Though, he was still inexperienced by far, the kid could do a lot of damage. He was proud of his…son. Nephew wouldn't be correct; the boy trusted him with his life and looked up to him. Goku would protect this boy and not abandon him no matter what. This was his child no matter what anyone said. Victor was HIS son and will be treated as such.

Gohan…I hope one day you forgive me and understand. Goku thought as he went out to do some training of his own.

Sorry about the oddly placed lines. It's not me it's the darn system or something with the site. The lines are used to try to divide point of view to give some sort of sense of organization. Well, thank you once more for reviewing my story. Thank you for your time.

1/27/2014 . Edited 1/27/2014 #1,359
boboleta

Hey, Zalkari. I'm sorry it took some time to get back to you, but consensus was as following:

We saw improvement when comparing to your earlier work, so we commend you for that, but unfortunately it's still a "fail", in the end. I'll be a little more thorough in my explanation, considering it's your second attempt, okay?

First and foremost: we love creativity, of course, and we're in no way against A/Us but they're not the only way to make a story completely original. The fact that you state that you're strictly writing A/Us, allied to the fact that you don't see yourself writing for any of our listed stories, worries us. We'd love to help you improve your writing, but we don't feel comfortable initiating a new story filled with OCs solely in order to help you do so. We have many stories that were initiated and left on hold after a chapter or two, so we have to be extra rigorous when it comes to that.

Also, and to be blunt, since you're a pretty recent ff.net member with less than 20k words posted in the course of a year, maybe it would help you improve if you first stuck with more basic storylines while improving on your overall skills before delving into a complicated A/U with various OCs. Master the basics before jumping for the the next level. This is my personal opinion.

As for the excerpt itself, these were the most blaring issues that came up:

You should work on your comma usage and overall punctuation, learn how and where to use them properly, but most of all, you should try to work on your delivery, meaning the way you make things/info/etc available to the reader. It seems clumsy, at times, it seems you focus too much on some things while not enough on others.

To be specific, we found it to be an unnecessary focus on the OC Solkarios, considering it was Gohan's POV and his feelings which should be transpiring on the first scene, when on the other hand, the telepathic convo with Goku seemed to be lacking in both build-up and flow. We get that he loved Solkarios immensely and resented Goku even more, possibly, but I'd focus more on Gohan's inner feelings in both of those scenes; ones of loneliness and stress - and maybe even tiredness, since he's been by Solkario's side for the last week - on the first one, and his resentment and rage and hurt, or whichever other emotion you deem would fit your narrative at that point on the latter. The dialog can only do so much for a reader, and it shouldn't have to do everything (you should try to work on that, too).

It seems like you want so deeply for readers to like your OC that you make him "too much", which, in turn, makes everything come out as a little forced. Remember that people read DBZ fanfic for DBZ, and even though OCs are not a bad thing (at all!), they have to be done not only well, but also in a way that doesn't overshadow the characters so much that the only resemblance to the fandom is the characters' names (it's not that severe, your excerpt, but it serves as an example).

The bit right after the dialogue with Goku was your best one by far. Every paragraph had an intent, every sentence stated an idea and the next expanded on it, following the flow. There were still some grammar/punctuation issues there, but you should try to do what you did on that particular bit everywhere. The POV character's most inner thoughts are what makes us as readers feel for him, which in turn hooks us to continue reading, so they should be everywhere (within reason).

I really admire your drive to improve, so I hope you take this as help, since it's its intent. As always, feel free to PM me if I can help you further, ok? And good luck!

2/1/2014 . Edited 2/1/2014 #1,360
RedhathackerSin

Hello everyone, the name that I go by while I'm on this site is RedhathackerSin. I don't really have a nickname or preferred name, so whatever you decide to call me will be just fine. I've been looking to join a collaborative group for a little while now, and I came upon your profile. I liked the stories you had come up with and decided to apply myself. Below is an excerpt from my work that is a Naruto and Fate Stay/Night crossover The Lucid Berserker, the chapter is First Night. The full story can be found here: The Lucid Berserker

-LB-

Berserker, who had been formerly known as Uzumaki Naruto in a past life, was confused. He was surprised that someone had been able to summon him at all considering he wasn't the most well known hero, and if the amount of prana (which he automatically knew was the new term for chakra) that he felt seeping into him from the little girl outside the circle was anything to go by, she probably was expecting someone else. Well, he supposed it didn't matter to him.

However, this little slip of a girl wasn't the cause of his confusion. Thanks to the Grail he now had a plethora of knowledge about the modern world stuffed into his head and this little girl was obviously a magus. No, his confusion was something much simpler. He knew that he had been summoned under the class of Berserker, but he couldn't figure out why his mind was so clear. If what he understood from the Grail was right he should be nothing more than a mindless beast, a terrifyingly strong mindless beast, but a mindless beast nonetheless.

Finally he felt the ritual complete and he began to comprehend his own lucidity. He then made eye contact with the little girl who had apparently summoned him. Sky blue met a bloody crimson and he took a moment to evaluate his new Master.

She had flowing white hair that framed her face that stopped around her lower back. Her skin was much fairer than he had been expecting, almost like snow. She was also wearing a simple white skirt with sensible purple boots and a purple jacket. Her ensemble was topped off by a lighter purple ribbon tied at her collar.

Berserker was feeling a bit antsy now that the silence had stretched for over a minute and decided to take the initiative.

"You who have summoned me, I ask of you, are you my master?"

The girl simply stared at him for a moment as if trying to comprehend what he had just asked. A surplus of emotions played across her face in this time period: bewilderment, anger, sorrow, fear, loneliness, and then a grudging sort of acceptance.

However, as quick as the emotion came, it was gone in a flash, locked behind the steel cage of an iron will. A cool indifference seemed to replace them as she finally answered him.

"I suppose I am."

Her voice was light and sounded as though it had a hint of ice to it, fitting considering the color of her hair.

"Although it annoys me to do this, I must ask. Are you Heracles? You don't look anything like what I expected if you are and did you fall under the Berserker class?"

This inquiry gave Berserker a small pause, before amusement began filtering into his thought process. Thanks to the Grail he had some knowledge of the workings of Heroic Spirits and he had to say that the little lady certainly set her standards fairly high. After all she had set out to summon one of the greatest Greek Heroes and under the Berserker class no less? No wonder she was feeling such bewilderment, if their positions had been reversed he would have felt the same.

It seemed as though his contemplation was beginning to get on her nerves if the frown that was beginning to adorn her face was anything to go by, but he couldn't help the amusement that crept into his voice as he answered her question.

"Sorry to disappoint Master, but I'm not the greatest Hero from Greek Myth."

Her eyes instantly held a bit of disappointment at that statement, but Berserker wasn't done quite yet.

"I did, however, fall under the Berserker Class in this particular Grail War."

The girl's sharp eyes now took in everything about him, as if trying to decide whether or not he was lying to her.

"You're surprising lucid for someone who is summoned under your classification."

Berserker couldn't help smirking a bit at her remark. After all, the one with Madness Enhancement was his Noble Phantasm, someone who had been with him since his birth and was intrinsically tied to his soul. His lucid state was more because he was not using his Noble Phantasm and he didn't really want to if his suspicions were correct. His Master would have to use a command seal to get him to use that. He supposed victory would be assured with the usage of his Phantasm, but most, if not all, of Fuyuki would be wiped off the map as well. However, his Master seemed like a fairly sensible person, so he supposed he would answer truthfully.

"The reason for this is actually most likely because of my Noble Phantasm. Rest assured, with Madness Enhancement it is befitting of the Berserker Class, but I refuse to use it in such a densely populated area."

Ilya glanced down at her command seals for a moment, but Berserker decided to nip that in the bud right away.

"Don't try to use those and force me to, if I use it anywhere near you, you won't survive the aftermath, even with the ridiculous amount of od you've got flowing through you."

His Master studied him for a moment before apparently coming to a decision.

"My name is Illyasviel von Einzbern. You may call me Ilya when we are in private and address me as Master everywhere else. Since you aren't Heracles, what do I call you?"

Berserker's grin took on an almost fox-like quality as he mock bowed to the little princess.

"My true name doesn't matter at the moment, suffice to say you may call me Berserker for the time being, Ilya-hime."

Berserker felt a sense of satisfaction as he observed a light dusting of red cross his new Master's face at his nickname for her. She crossed her arms in a huff and looked away, trying in vain to cover her embarrassment. Once she had her blush under control she turned to him once more.

"Very well then, Berserker, since you appear to be much more lucid than I had anticipated, I want you to take this time to go out and familiarize yourself with the city, are there any problems with that?"

Berserker merely shook his head in the negative at his Master's query.

"Good. Since you are like this, it will make the Servants second guess what type of class you are, probably never even knowing that you are the Berserker Class unless you explicitly state it and even then they might not believe you."

Berserker smirked at this, they would be in for a surprise, and just because he didn't want to access his Noble Phantasm didn't mean he wasn't dangerous in his own right. He decided that he liked the order that the little princess had given him and gave another mock bow.

"Your wish is my command Ilya-hime. I'll be back after I scout the city and see how many Servants are currently active."

Ilya couldn't stop the blush that formed on her face once more and was about to rebuke her Servant on that ridiculous nickname, but he astralized before she could. She then lost track of him since she wasn't actively looking through his senses. In a heartbeat he had crossed the grounds and left into the city. For the first time a small smile played across her lips. Perhaps she had summoned a decent Servant after all.

-LB-

Berserker stood atop the tallest tower in the city, haori and headband blowing in the breeze. He had abandoned his scroll in one of the many rooms of the Einzbern castle as it would have stood out too much. However, after walking through the streets trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, he realized that he just stood out too much. Even if he wasn't wearing something that was drastically different from what was the norm in Japan, his features stood out far too much. Apparent blonde hair, blue eyes, and whisker marks were not very common in modern day Japan.

He breathed in the fresh air as he became entirely still. It had been awhile and since he was in a city it took him slightly longer than he would have felt comfortable with, but eventually he felt prana flowing into him enabling him to slip into Sage Mode.

It was in this state that the city truly came to life for him. He could feel every living thing in the city and it was almost enough to overwhelm his senses. Although Konoha had been one of the larger villages in his own time, it was still quite small compared to even the fairly small city of Fuyuki. There were hundreds of thousands of people here and it was hard to feel all of them at once as well as all of the wildlife and pets and plants. However, he was also able to sense a few prana signatures that were outrageous compared to the many others he was feeling. He zeroed in on those to try and pinpoint whether or not there was anything happening.

It seemed that he was in luck. He could feel at least two signatures rising to ridiculous levels and he quickly deduced that there were two Servants battling. It seemed that they were in the direction of a school, how intriguing. However, there was something even more worrying than the Servants' little spat at a school. He was able to detect at least seven Servant signatures in total. As far as he knew he was the sixth Servant to be summoned, so who was this curious contender that felt quite powerful? And why did they feel so tainted? Almost like that bit of area where he had felt nothing growing. He supposed that was a question for another day. For the time being he thought he would go drop a hello to the fighting Servants and find out just what their fighting style would be.

-LB-

Lancer was getting thoroughly annoyed at the bastard he was fighting. They had been matching each other blow for blow, even though he had broken the bastard's blades, five times! It was ridiculous. No matter what he did he couldn't seem to gain the upper hand against this bozo. It seemed he might need to utilize his Noble Phantasm soon, but he really didn't want to. Once again he engaged that red clad white haired bastard and then the man suddenly threw one of his blades at him, materializing another one immediately after. Lancer was barely able to dodge and then block the Servant's follow up attack before the two sprang away from each other once more for a slight breather.

"I have to say, you both have some pretty interesting moves."

Lancer's attention was immediately grabbed by the newcomer who had just spoken. He had light blonde hair kept out of his blue eyes by a headband and was dressed in a garish orange, black, and red. He also seemed to be wearing some type of strange sandals. There was also the fact that he was sitting on top of the fence utterly relaxed, one hand placed on his crossed leg, the other placed under his chin to support his head.

The man clad in red also looked to be wary of this man. The newcomer didn't seem to give any presence, so perhaps he was Assassin? But that would be ridiculous, the man had announced his presence for everyone in the vicinity to hear, and even the red clad man's little Master seemed shocked by this turn of events if her slightly open mouth was anything to go by.

The newcomer's eyes then closed to near slits as he gave a very fox-like smile.

"Oh don't stop on my account! It's been awhile since I've seen a good fight and you guys were-"

Whatever he was going to say was cut off when a midnight black sword spun in his direction, courtesy of the red clad bastard. However, the blade was knocked away almost lazily with what appeared to be some sort of knife that had seemed to have materialized from nowhere.

"Maa, maa. None of that now! I decided to simply be a spectator tonight, and what did you idiots expect with throwing around that much prana? To simply be ignored? I don't think so."

The little Master seemed to be growing more and more irritated at how casually the newcomer was talking, as if he were simply out for a stroll and not staring down two enemy Servants. Lancer had to admire his guts if nothing else. It took pretty big balls to stare down two enemy Servants and be utterly nonchalant about it. Then the guy glanced over at Lancer. Lancer tensed as the newcomer took in Lancer's appearance, particularly his lance. It seemed as though he was calculating something.

"Hmm, well it's obvious that the dude in blue is Lancer, but what about you guy in red?"

The previously named bastard stiffened under the blonde's measuring look and his Master seemed to stand a little straighter as well. He didn't know why, but this bastard had a dangerous air about him, an almost unpredictable nature that would make it very difficult to fight, so naturally Lancer jumped at the chance.

"Hey, if you're gonna try to figure out this bastard I'd tell you not waste your time. The dude makes no sense. He uses blades, but claims he isn't a Saber, so I got nothing on him."

The blonde man flicked his gaze in Lancer's direction, but then a grim smile crept over his face.

"I'm surprised you haven't figured it out, especially since he threw something at you so accurately, if I had to guess I'd say he was an Archer."

Lancer blinked. The red guy blinked. His Master blinked.

Then Lancer smacked his forehead.

"Son of a bitch! He's right isn't he? How the hell didn't I figure that out?"

That bastard had thrown something so accurately on an impulse. If he hadn't dodged he would have had an artery nicked. The only people who could really pull something like that off were an Archer or an Assassin.

Archer merely smiled with contempt at Lancer, neither confirming nor denying the new guy's accusation. Lancer was kind of annoyed, what kind of Archer used swords anyway and fought in close combat? Sighing Lancer lazily spun his signature weapon in a circle. Perhaps he would have to finish this quicker than he thought and then kill that blonde haired bastard as well, he really didn't like blonde hair at the moment.

However, before anything else could occur, there was a crash. Lancer blinked as he looked over to near where the gym was and saw a student with bright red hair standing in the moon light observing all of them. Well, shit. Looked like Lancer now had to kill some innocent kid. Unfortunately, as soon as he made a movement to chase down the kid, the blonde haired guy was in his face and throwing a kick.

Lancer barely had time to be surprised as he blocked the kick with the shaft of his lance and felt like he had blocked a semi. His arms shook as he was sent flying backwards, skidding to a halt. Even though he was unharmed, he really was annoyed that the little shit had decided to butt in.

"What's the big idea? The runt saw something he shouldn't have and now he's gotta die, that's just the rules my Master set for me."

The blonde merely smiled in response as two of those knives shot out of his sleeves. He then took a battle stance and Lancer realized that Archer and his Master had somehow slipped away in the commotion that the blonde haired man had caused.

"Sorry, but I'd rather not kill some kid just because he happened to wander into a battle between Servants. If you want to kill him you'll have to get past me."

Lancer couldn't help the slightly bloodthirsty grin that came unbidden to his face as he heard that declaration. Get past the runt who intended to fight against his lance with two little knives? He could do that.

"You're on!"

-End Excerpt-

Reason I believe I should be part of Team Dragon Star:

I love to write and read. Whether that be fanfic, books, manga, or comic books, I've dabbled in all of those fandoms and have also read fanfiction for most of those as well as Movies and TV Shows. I'm constantly trying to better myself and my writing and to do that I understand that the best way is to practice and to absorb technical knowledge from other standout authors on this site. I'm pretty sure I can write almost any genre of writing, and even when I'm in one genre, I like to add other elements as well. For example even in an action/adventure and suspense story, there can still be comedy that doesn't take away from the gravitas of the situation as long as I insert it in the right place.

I believe I have the capacity to be a beta reader, but I haven't truly beta'd any works as of yet. My grasp on the English language is pretty decent, especially since my ultimate goal is to become an English teacher.

I have some weaknesses that I'm trying to get rid of as well. I can actually type a chapter fairly quickly, my record is about 10k words in about 4 hours, but I'm also prone to bouts of laziness in which I just either don't have the urge to write, or am hitting some pretty bad writers block. However, I'm working on this constantly by setting goals for myself, sometimes I meet them, other times I don't, but I always try my best at accomplishing the goals I set for myself. I'm hoping I can work on this with the authors already on the team.

What I intend to do should I become a member:

Like I said, I have a lot of knowledge of a lot of fandoms. I have a working knowledge of pretty much all the fandoms that Team Dragon Star has written in with the exception of Dragon Age and Super Smash Bros. The more I read of you guys, the more I like, so if you have a particular project that hasn't been worked on in awhile and you want to update, I'd be happy to work on that. I actually found the team through your fic Plus One, so it'd be cool to work on that if I could. I also have a few ideas that I might like to pitch, but we'll wait to see if I pass or not. No matter where I go I intend to work hard, have fun, and hone my skills as a writer to the best of my ability.

Bonus Information:

Well, I'm a laid back individual who stresses hard work, but to have fun while doing said work. I prefer quality writing over quantity any day, give me a 500 word story with amazing grammar and spelling over a 200k monster that constantly switches from first person to third person mid sentence any day. If the two can be combined, the usually become one of my favorite authors. I can't think of any other things to say at the moment, so I suppose I'll just have to wait until you get back to me on whether I passed or failed.

RedhathackerSin

2/5/2014 #1,361
boboleta

Hey, Red! (How about that for a nickname? :P) I'm Bobo.

We've gone through your application and consensus was as follows:

Even though we weren't really familiar with one of the fandoms of your excerpt, your work was good enough to keep us hooked on the action, which is great! We did make out a few awkward sentences here and there, and commas really aren't your forte, but those issues are easily taken care of. We like your reasons for joining, your attributes, and your bonus information, and, of course, your piece was enjoyable, so it's a PASS, in the end. Congratulations!

I'll be sending you your introductory package in a few minutes. :D Welcome to the team!

2/6/2014 #1,362
blackmambauk

Hi Good afternoon, my name is Blackmambauk here's my application for joining Team Dragon Star on this page.

Below is an extract of my writing for the fic I was working on till recently due to personal life (work, time etc.) that has led to me putting it on hiatus (I'm currently looking to see if someone would be able to finish it with me beta reading it).

This is the first half of Chapter three Of Code Geass Colorless Memories Sidestories (side fic to another fic), it focuses on the Kyoto group from Code Geass, the guys who fund the JLF and the Black Knights, they were a group I feel should have been given more of a role in the series.


Kyoto Hideout Mount Fuji Secret meeting room

Taizo Kirihara head of Kirihara Industries and Head of the six houses of Kyoto was at that moment a very pleased man. The meeting with the Black Knights today had gone better than he thought possibly, not only had he learned who Zero was, but that it was that boy Prince Lelouch Vi Britannia, a boy he had taken in eight years ago against some strong opposition from some heads of the six Kyoto houses.

But as he thought back then this boy was a rare type of flower. Now this flower had bloomed and was about to undertake the path of blood as well.

"I always knew that boy would grow up to be quite the character, He will be interesting to watch, as he will no doubt continue to have much success against his home country, oh yes his anger will serve him and us well." Kirihara said in his mind with a smirk across his face.

Kirihara had always possessed an eye for talent, which showed in both Lelouch, and in the head of the Sumeragi clan Kaguya, that he knew very well that Kaguya Sumeragi his protégé. Who on the outside seemed like a silly girl on the inside, was a person, who possessed great will and intelligence.

In Kirihara's opinion that could match her aunt Shizuka he thought, though he doubt Kaguya would be swinging any sword (thanks goodness he thought in his mind). He also knew for a lack of better sayings when to fold his 'cards' while ahead, hence why his head was still attached and wrinkled.

In addition, he knew by intuition, which individuals were most likely to go far in life again hence his taking in Lelouch and covering up Genbu's son's killing of him.

These qualities had kept him in control of his clan for many years, and head of Kyoto in the years after Shizuka Sumeragi left Japan with her Britannian 'husband'.

Kirihara never had liked Jonathan Thurston, though the guy was nice and charming, and was very respectful of Japanese people and culture. He still had that Britannian attitude of knights always following orders for the good of the people, traits that Kirihara thought were the most likely reason that Shizuka and her children were now among the dead. Along with Jonathan and the rest of the Thurston family.

"Kirihara-san?" Someone talking as Kirihara came out of his thoughts.

Tatsunori Osakabe those words came from, who as always wore his black cloak over his suit, whenever they met for their meetings.

"Yes what is it?" He said in response while glaring for being disputed in his thoughts to Tatsunori.

"Let's talk about your meeting with Zero and the Black knights today?" Osakabe said in his serious voice.

"Ok let's talk then, what do each of you think of the events of today? I'm sure you each have an opinion on the subject?" Kirihara responded in a quiet but blunt manner.

"I still think it is a mistake to support that group, sure they may have public support, that they are making good progress against Britannia. Nevertheless, their leader Zero is the problem here; ever since he has appeared, he has been hogging the spotlight of the resistance against Britannia. Making himself out to be some savior of our people, while willing to aid the maggots of the filth who hold our leash when it suits him. Now we know he is not Japanese how we can back a man like that? Not to mention he hides his identity what sort of resistance leader hides who they are? Overall I reckon he must have some plan to take control of our country once he's done with the Britannian dogs." Osakabe said in a serious, threatening, and distasteful manner.

Tatsunori Osakabe was an old stubborn, proud man; a militarist one would call him, who was head of the noble Osakabe house. Which handled matters related to infantry military, ammo, and some forms of armor? His family had always been known among the Japanese populace to hate anything that was not Japanese, even if it would benefit the people and the economy all round.

Though his uncle Orochi had been known to influence his behavior somewhat at times.

This has been demonstrated at times in the last seven years of Britannian Occupation by his support of Resistance groups like the Blood of the Samurai. Who were very well known to conduct very brutal attacks against the Britannian military, without having any regard at all for the local populace and for damage they caused in doing so.

The Blood of the Samurai was infamous among many groups for its actions in Osaka, where they committed which came to be known was the Osaka festival massacre, where they launched a sneak attack that involved bombs going off in public places, surprise attacks and killing any that got in their way, even Japanese civilians. They did not care whom they hurt just as long as they sent a message.

They also once hit Hiroshima with a poison gas attack that led of the deaths of a tenth of its occupants. This led Clovis to clamp down on the population after he made an effort to appease them with measures like the honorary Britannian system, to help to rebuild hospitals and schools for them in some places.

This gave them very little support among many of the people, of other resistance groups like the JLF whom they had once been a part. The only reason Tatsunori was able to support them, was through unofficial channels wiring money and through some of his factories items going 'missing' according to him, when Cornelia wiped them out while looking for Zero no one missed them, well except Tatsunori that is.

He was also supportive of Lieutenant Colonel Josui Kusababe, his squad the Special Forces Assault division's takeover at Lake Kawaguchi. Being the one who 'arranged' to have them test the Raiko, after pulling strings to get it for them, despite the fact the whole thing brought bad publicity to the JLF. Allowing Zero the opportunity to make himself a viable alternative.

Tatsunori was also one of the members of the military faction of the old Diet government, who had advocated Japan to become a military power again. In addition, they were keen to focus on maintaining a strong and viable army, to protect the country against threats from Britannia, the Chinese Federation and if need be the EU.

This faction held quite a bit of influence during Genbu Kururugi's reign as prime minister. Due to his long held vision of wanting to see, a strong Japan that would become an empire again, like the one it had not too long ago before the Great War happened and they lost it.

This whole event had led Tatsunori taking in account Zero's speech, to think that Zero was more than happy to protect their conqueror's people, while manipulating his people for his own ends, to which he felt no true Japanese person, would do. This led him to suspect Zero was not Japanese (or at least not pure Japanese in his mind). That he would allow Britannian dogs to serve in the Black Knights.

Because of his very anti foreign culture, he even disliked anyone who was a half-breed, unless they earned his respect and admiration; it surprised many when he joined the rest of the heads in the NAC. Which he conceded to do after much 'persuasion' and threats as well by Kirihara and the other head of Kyoto.

Nevertheless, Tatsunori knew very well when to be pragmatic and to keep his prejudices to himself (when it suited him that was). That he mainly felt this way about current events because Britannia had killed his two eldest sons. Years before they invaded over a petty business matter, they did not even let him have the bodies back to bury or cremate the bodies, all this and the Invasion. Along with Genbu Kururugi committing Seppuku instead of full resistance, as he preached had convinced him. That anything other than Japanese was not to be trusted at all.

The only thing that kept Tatsunori somewhat sane was the fact his wife Ursa and his daughters Akari and Sayuri, who were able to talk some sense into him now and then. Along with them being supporters of finding a peaceful way of liberating Japan, even though they knew deep down that Britannia would never hand Japan back to the Japanese.

Kirihara had always made an effort to watch Tatsunori for any activities that would be of trouble, while sometimes he was able to keep him in check. Other times he could not find anything on him, which left Kirihara on edge of him at times.

"I concur to a certain degree, while aiding the Black Knights is a safe bet, keeps that group alive, as well as feeding more opposition to Viceroy Cornelia and her army. In addition, giving hope to the common people, I still feel the JLF are the group we should be putting most of our support behind, there made up of proper, and honorable Japanese fighters like Lieutenant Colonel Tohdoh and his officers the Four Holy Swords. They just need time to rebuild and access to new technology.

Especially after, they took most of the brunt of the Britannia attack at Narita, while Zero just used them as a distraction to pull off his sneaky tactic and attack on Cornelia. Zero in my opinion is a reckless and opportunistic individual who wants his own way at times, without thinking of the effect it has on those around him, and on the people as well." said Hidenobu Kubouin who wore a yellow robe at every one of the meetings of Kyoto in a calm but rational way.

Hidenobu Kubouin head of the Kubouin noble house, to which the populace knew, were big supporters and financiers of the way of Bushido, Japanese tea making, religious figures, and of Japanese arts like Noh etc.

Which while these things gave them little financial and political power among the houses; it made them very powerful when it came to solving conflicts and disputes among the houses, it also made them powerful symbols of any resistance groups they chose to support.

Hidenobu was an old man with no heirs after years of trying to produce one. He is mainly a man who is very much steeped in old Japanese traditions and beliefs. He personally felt that while he definitely likes that the Black Knights were helping the populace. Tackling the refrain problem that harmed many people, he still felt that they were in the infant stage and that Zero was stealing the fight from the JLF feet.

Although he held no hard feelings for Zero personally, he just felt his theatrical nature, along with some of the stunts he has pulled like at Narita. Could've been done with much fewer causalities and damage in the process, plus the fact he kept his identity hidden was in Hidenobu eyes dishonorable, as in his view you fight your enemies in the open. Showing them who you are and where you come from, not sneaky ambush tactics like Zero seem to use at times.

Hence why he was supportive of the JLF, to whom he was good friends with General Katase and Lieutenant Colonel Tohdoh. Men he considered honorable and whom always kept civilians out of harm, an aspect he conceded was one Zero possessed as well as he always kept civilians out of harm's way despite the other aspects of him.

Hidenobu disapproved greatly of Lieutenant Colonel Kusababe actions at Lake Kawaguchi, which damaged the JLF's reputation greatly and led to Hidenobu having to make sure that Katase were not involved with his actions.

Overall Hidenobu knew that while the JLF was his preferred choice of the main resistance. The winds were shifting after Narita, that the Black Knights had the people's support and now with Taizo Kirihara and Kaguya Sumeragi backing them greatly. They would continue to grow so he would remain neutral for the most part until he felt the Black Knights evolved more.

"I have to disagree, with the JLF public support at an all-time low, plus their numbers reduced to minimal levels, along with all other resistance groups destroyed by Viceroy Cornelia. The Black Knights are now the biggest resistance group in Japan; with the huge support of the public and the knightmares, Lady Sumeragi has arranged for them, they are going to be our best hope for Japan… so from a logical and rational point of view. We should aid them." Tousai Munakata, who was dressed as always, in a Victorian era brown type suit, top hat and had grey straight hair and beard said in a passionate and wise tone.

Tousai Munakata head of the Munakata house, which was well known and famous among the people of Japan for the many businesses and corporations they run (or did run), to which range from beers to rice fields, local cuisines (when allowed by Britannia). Finally, they handled many affairs of finances for not just businesses, but for the old Japan government this duty came in very handy when handling taxes and making sure Britannia's cut was as low as it could be.

At least while Clovis ran Japan, with Cornelia around it has become harder to do so, but Tousai knows how to use each loophole to his advantage.

The Munakata's business duties, along with the Kirihara's capacity for intelligence gathering and knightmare building, and along with the Sumeragi's political and capacity for famous figures and individuals like Shizuka Sumeragi made them the three major houses of Kyoto, therefore, giving the three of them a good influence in the group, which showed in their support of the Black Knights.

Tousai Munakata personally was a man who had never fully disliked Britannia or its people, while he hated their arrogant attitude towards the world and ways of destroying countries and cultures and turning their conquered territory into simple numbers and slaves as Area 12 was a few years back.

Tousai recognized that Japan hadn't been too different to Britannia in the past; what with Japan once having an empire across most of Asia that brutalized its conquered people and cultures, until 70 years ago when they were defeated very badly in a war that led to the Imperial Family being disposed and a democratic Japan rising. In addition, that Genbu Kururugi had at times acted more like a Britannian would than a Japanese person.

Therefore, Tousai knew very well that the problem with Britannia was not mainly with its people but its system, which no doubt encouraged most Britannians to act the way they do. In addition, with some for the Japanese resistance groups that Tatsunori supported under the table committing various acts that disgusted many people in Japan, he knew very well that good and evil people existed on both sides of the conflict.

Tousai even employed quite a few Britannians in his businesses (which by law he had to meet the quotas set by Britannia). He found quite a few of them were pleasant people, liked Japanese people and culture, believed that Britannia has to change, granted most of the Britannian employees were commoners who had little to no chance in advancing in the Britannian system.

Nevertheless, the fact they had these feelings and wanted Japan to get its freedom comforted Tousai and gave him confidence. That there was a future for Japan, for Britannians who wanted to be part of it.

"Still, you have to wonder? What Zero's main goal is? He obviously has his sights set on more than just justice for the people; he must have some very grandiose dreams to boot to match his flamboyant nature." Hiroyosi Yoshino Responded in a snarky, but witty tone with his youth aged face looking fresh as ever, his blond hair styled like a Bishonen manga character, and his business clothes looking smart, stylish and one young girls would find desirable. He was, as some people would put it part of a new generation of Japanese people. Though he had a habit of twitching his neck a bit, he said it was just a minor health condition from when he was a kid that he could not be healed, so the others just accepted it.

The Yoshino house was the newest house to the Kyoto group, having risen only a year ago after the Kururugi's were disgraced by the actions of Genbu's son Suzaku Kururugi, to which all Kyoto members were well aware of, and now the Kururugi's live in self-exile, in the Hokkaido region in shame.

Because the Yoshino were new to the group. Along with the fact, they had always been a minor house, though they were known and famous for being one of the main backers of the new Japan that rose in 1945 a.t.b. They had decided to stay minor out of humility because they desired no power at the time. They were restricted to own a few mines and one or two other minor roles in Kyoto, to fit their newbie status plus Hiroyosi being only 24, his reclusive nature and having only a few years of experience. It led to his opinions to hold less weight in the Kyoto meetings.

However, Hiroyosi was a man who when let loose showed has charismatic he could be, he was popular with many Britannian nobles and women. He is known for giving to charities and orphanages. He found himself in a great friendship with Sub Viceroy Princess Euphemia for these reasons, he rarely made public appearances, but when he did, he always impressed most people while coming across kind, humble and well-cultured person.

However, beneath his youthful, charming, kind and secretive nature. Hiroyosi was a man who had dreams and ambition to him, it was not about the money or power that led to him being head of his house. He wanted to raise Japan to its former status, for it to become an empire again, as he felt the Japanese had the means to do so i.e. the Sakuradite. That they had an enemy they could hold as justice for their actions as they 'liberate' the other areas of Asia from Britannian rule.

He had already started to cultivate relationships with various people to start building up his family resources and status, he even had ties to one or two Britannians whom he felt could benefit Japan, but also he as well of course, while he was not involved in any Knightmare or weapon production like Kirihara, Sumeragi, and Osakabe were. He did look into research that involved certain 'areas' that he kept to himself for now.

To which worried Kirihara at times, as Hiroyosi didn't seem like that when he was younger he seemed to desire no power at all, but something changed about him after the invasion in 2010 a.t.b. He was still the man who desired reform in Japan, helping the poorest out, but he seemed more willing to gain power to do so, why Hiroyosi was acting like this now? This made Kirihara wondered especially as Hiroyosi had gone missing after the invasion for about 5 months. Before being found alive near Tokyo port looking starved and weak.

He told them he did not remember anything that happened to him in that period, which was even more suspicious Kirihara thought.

In addition, when Kirihara went to visit one of Hiroyosi's orphanages he could swear some of the children looked like they were scared of something and of Hiroyosi himself, which was odd. He also encountered one child who seemed of show no emotion, no fear, and emptiness to the world he just acted and moved like he was a robot waiting for its commands which unhinged Kirihara a bit.

"Well, Zero-sama is the champion of the people, he is the man of miracles, and he has led the Black Knights so supporting him is something we should completely and utterly do" the cheery and genki voice of Kaguya Sumeragi in the background behind her open curtains position she usually took.

It was very well known how much Kaguya Sumeragi. Head of Sumeragi Conglomerate has supported the Black Knights, what with the Guren knightmare, also now the Gekka production prototype being given to them as well. She had even helped one of them escapes into the tunnels earlier today, and that she planned to be Zero's future 'husband' in the future, all of which led all, but Kirihara her mentor and Tousai of the members of Kyoto to keep their distance from her.

They remained pleasant and cordial to her when they spoke to her. Nevertheless, they would rarely chat with her or take her views seriously, plus her young age and to Tatsunori her gender, led to some condensing and patronizing behavior among some of the members of Kyoto.

Each of the Kyoto's members continued to say what they thought and argue with each other, until Kirihara raised his hand for silence, this was his usual way of bringing the meetings back under his control.

"Ok enough, that's everyone's view on this matter, and I thank you for it as always, let me say that I always take your opinion and views into consideration when I make my choices" Kirihara spoke, in his stern, but calm voice.

"But in my personal opinion I lean towards Tousai-san opinion on the situation, while I definitely see Hidenobu-san's view on the JLF being honorable and being the true resistance group. The truth is the actions of Lieutenant Colonel Kusababe have damaged their reputation and level of support severely; add in their losses at Narita as Tousai-san pointed out. The JLF have very little strength at the moment, as a result are in no position of continuing the fight against Britannia at this time," Kirihara continued speaking in the same tone as before.

"Plus with all other resistance groups crippled or destroyed by Viceroy Cornelia, Zero and the Black Knights are the only real group who has a chance of fighting Britannia right now. Plus along with all the public support they get, the fact their numbers and allies keep growing. Supporting and aiding them is the most practical, logical, and most morally beneficial action to take, so that is why I have thrown my support behind them. So for now the Black Knights will be the group we will support the most, now this meeting is over, thank you for attending today." Kirihara said concluding the meeting.

After his last remarks, all the Kyoto members left the room to attend to their own personal matters and other business affairs they had.


Chose this chapter as the first two had been beta read by FierySuzkau, who replaced words, cleared grammar up etc. Plus to show how I tend to focus on different things than some fanfic writers do.

The reasons why you believe you should be a part of the group:

Why should I be part of this team? I feel that my strengths are looking at a series or characters and thinking are they really thinking that, or is there more to them than meeting the eye. Alternative character interpretation is something I like to do. So thinking of different ideas is one I feel as I tend to think of ones others may not have, I recently put up a fic with some of the ideas I have had for Code Geass.

Another strength I feel is I am always online, so I can reached at most times of the day (part from 12am to 7am uk time where I live). Course sure most of you are online as well so probably not much of a strength. Another is I am willing to research any series I would be working on, so be willing to watch all of Dragon ball series (never watched any of the shows or read the manga for that, but since you like to work on that series the most, I assume at some point I would work on a dragon ball fic). I'm currently going through all of Naruto at the moment after avoiding it for a long time due to no interest in it (and because it is a part of my research into one of my friends fic that takes ideas form it) up to the pain arc which I feel is where canon Naruto starts to fall apart in, me I like to watch stuff that I feel tries to play with what they are covering. Check out my profile page for what I like in general.

I'm good according to my beta reader at keeping characters in character, that's always my main aim to do as I hate it when they are not in character. I can do long chapters, but I can do short chapters as well.

I also feel a strength is lack of interest in shipping, so you don't have to worry about preferred pairings on my end, as I care far more about what the plot, characters and story are. Romances for me are a dressing that works only when done right. Most of the time it should stay in the background.

I am also very knowledgeable in my favourite series due to checking out wiki pages, watching them over and over again. Checking out TV tropes pages for them etc., so I can answer questions relating to them most of the time I feel, also because I try to keep in the loop for most of them as well.

I can help out with making wiki pages if you ever want to set up wiki pages for any of your fic's, where more information and background can be added that wouldn't fit right in the body of the work.

I am very willing to beta read, sure you have loads already, but this is a role I feel I would be best at in this group, since I can make time for it, plus I feel I'm better at giving advice, or suggesting something instead of trying to write it myself. Not beta read before just to let you know.

Whether this one is a strength or not will depend on your view. But I also like to do stuff other writers don't, so explore a character, setting or background that a canon series doesn't explore much of, I think it's boring to just explore what has been explored before, fanfic writing I feel is the place to explore many different things. Plus if you want your fic to stand out, you have to do something that others don't, take Code Geass for example, how many Lelouch has a code, stays in Britannia etc. are out there. It's just boring to see the same stuff explored over and over I feel. Plus Lelouch is a character that overall I feel has been explored in every way possible. So exploration of someone else in Code Geass world would be nice for a change.

I like it when a fic does something different, as each fic needs a unique selling point.

Weaknesses are that my spelling, punucation and grammar are really not good, I am way too reliant on word to help fix mistakes I can make, and even then I make silly mistakes due to just not spotting them despite reading my stuff over and over, hell I'm sure there are plenty of mistakes in the work above, despite me going through it three times in the last year alone. I also feel a real lack of confidence im anything I write. I just doubt myself a lot in writing and in my life generally.

Another would be that I suck at describing a scene, situation or how a character feels, I use very basic words as I want to avoid trying to do purple prose type writing. So some things can look awkward or confusing to someone who reads it. As what makes sense to me won't make sense to someone else.

I tend to tell not show more, try to avoid that, but it's hard sometimes to show something in the past without flashbacking towards it. Plus i can tend ages on something that can be seen as not important or interesting to the fic. As my sense of interest etc. probably differs quite a bit from most peoples.

Also, I can be lazy at times though I am capable of motivating myself when I really need to, sometimes I will just not want to deal with something that needs to be dealt with. But I would give my all to this group if given the honour. Another weakness or doubt I am sure you have by now is the fact I have kinda stopped writing, yes I have due to mix of stuff, but I want to help out in any capacity I have, whether it's beta reading, suggesting ideas for future fic's, as in any group, there's more to do than just writing itself, the most popular fic's aren't popular just because of it's writing.

I also can be opinionated in my views and what I think of something, mainly due to feeling that if I don't voice what I think, then no one will take me seriously, or just because it is how I feel about the subject in hand. But I will always respect what everyone else's view and opinion is, I am not one to get angry at people for a different view, frustrated a bit yes, but not one to hold it against anyone.

That's quite a bit to take in, but that is what I generally view my strengths and weaknesses? Whether they are strengths and weaknesses would certainly be for you to decide. As overall I don't really have much of a good view of myself.

What you intend to do should you join the group:

What would I do if you allowed me to join the Group? I would help out in whatever project needs the most help, but I could help out with the Code Geass fic, due to that being something I have written for. I would be willing to help start any projects that you have in mind, whether it would be beta reading, just giving advice etc. But if there is a chance of one of my ideas being adapted for use in the group, that would be awesome. But of course I wouldn't dare to assume that they would be adopted, I'm not arrogant to think that. As you have quite a few projects going at the moment. So getting those done would take priority at the moment.

As I'm sure most of my ideas suck, and yours are better, but let's get to that if we cross that road. Since I know quite a few fandoms and series, I can contribute there as well I reckon.

I would also undertake any advice or lessons that one of the senior writers would want to give me, I am very willing to learn and fit in as best as I can to this group of very talented writers.

I would also be willing to give constructive feedback on anything that might benefit form it, as I feel that too many reviews don't give the feedback that would help authors in how people generally view their fic, for example what they are doing well, not so well, what could be improved. As saying good chapter tells you nothing.

Yes I know that I have stated that I won't be ale to do any writing will work against me, but still I want to help out in other ways if possible. Another weaknesses I can be repetitive at times in what I am saying.

Bonus information:

Overall I am a nice enough person who would do anything to help the group out, though I'm sure you have plenty of people like that to go round already, I'm on Facebook and Skype etc., so I can be easily reached. I know somewhat of politic's business due to studying it, so I can offer advice if need be in those areas. I have written both very long and short chapters in my work. I know I still have a lot of learn about writing and beta reading. That I would be learning as I go along if I was to be part of this group.

I have been to many countries so I can give some info on how they are like. Been to Japan so i can tell you about parts of Tokyo or what it's like to sing in a karaoke booth there sober. Or how Japanese girls look great in kimonos etc.

I can laugh at quite a few things, I find most things hilarious in a way to be honest. I can tell you stuff about England in general, about what shit the weather is here, or how much we complain etc. Blah blah blah you get the picture.

My nickname could be snake, blackly or something witty someone could come up with.

I can also set up a TV tropes page for you to help promote any of your fic's, I did that for my fic and it does work, plus as I have said before. I have set up wiki pages before on the fic I have worked on.

I hope my attitude is ok, but I am just trying to be honest about who I am, I am very open to constructive feedback and if always aim to please people as best as I can.

That's enough about me I think. Hopefully I have given you an impression of what I am, and whether I would fit into your current group structure or not. I hope that your current fic's are coming along well and that you are able to finish them, wished I had been able to finish my fic, check it out if you want to get more of an idea of what my writing is like.

Thank you for giving your time and attention today. I hope I haven't wasted it in anyway.

Good Afternoon

Blackmambauk

2/23/2014 #1,363
boboleta

Heya, Black! I'm Bobo, thank you for applying. :)

We went through your application and consensus was as follows: You seem like a really nice person, and you do have potential in your writing but we've decided to Fail your application in the end.

Your grammar needs work, but most of all, your punctuation needs a lot of revising on your part. It's not just a misplaced comma here and there, as it happens with lots of people, but the lack or misplacement of punctuation throughout the whole excerpt actually made it hard to read. We had to reread things over and over to understand what was being said simply because there was no adequate punctuation there to help out. I suggest you go ahead and try to improve this because it was a major throw back for us, as it would be for other readers, I'm sure.

If you want to, we can send you a more thorough report of our findings through PM, ok? Again, thank you very much for applying and I hope you try again in the future after you work on improving your skills a bit. Best of luck!!

2/25/2014 #1,364
RedRangerBelt

Penname: RedRangerBelt

Why I want to join: I consider myself to be an okay writer, and I don't have any problems with spelling, grammar, or punctuation, but things like plot, descriptions, and staying in-character I have a lot more trouble with. I got interested by reading Failings and Misunderstandings, have read through the entire Marshalling Zone forum, and decided it would be a good way to improve my writing and meet (ish, I guess) cool people.

What I could do for the group: I can beta read and have for my sister PokemonKnight's two stories Half-Demon Swordsman and Potential Stories, and like I said before I'm good at spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Fandoms I can/would be willing to write in: Naruto, Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist, Dragonball Z, Sword Art Online, Digimon, Pokémon, Yugioh GX, Code Lyoko, CSI/Miami/New York, NCIS, Power Rangers, Wizard101, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima, any of Tamora Pierce's work, Midnighters by Scott Westerfield, Mighty Ducks movies, and Unwind by Neal Shusterman.

Bonus: I'm dedicated, I guess, since I've been studying karate since September of 2004; I currently hold the rank of red belt and am working towards my next rank, which will be black belt. I'm also willing to do research on any topic if someone needs information about something and doesn't have time to look it up, especially if it involves animals, because my major is wildlife biology. I will admit, though, that I'm a terrible procrastinator, because deadlines rarely (read: never) mean anything until they're staring me in the face. I have one story posted, and I'm not really sure it's my best work… somehow it seems like I got off track from the original concept I was going for.

Writing sample: Here's an exert of my un-posted story Konoha's Lunar Flash, a Harry Potter, Naruto, and Heir Chronicles crossover.

My name is Aiden Randolph Moon, and I've been told I resemble my grandfather, with my auburn red hair and sapphire blue eyes. Aiden, Gailic for "little fire", was something my mother, who died when I was only two, had made my father agree on for their first son, and Randolph was my grandfather's name, my father's father; I assumed I was given his name instead of my father's, like most pureblood heirs are, because he was the one who had been responsible for the House of Moon's promotion to an Ancient and Noble House, and Father didn't get along with him, he does like being the Lord of an Ancient and Noble House.

In the beginning of May the year I turned eleven, just days after my birthday, my father decided that it was long past time he ensured I had a wizard stone, instead of something else; in order to maintain House Moon's status as an Ancient and Noble House, this generation had to be all wizards.

Every generation, each Ancient and Noble House that hasn't had given birth to more than five generations of magical children has to meet certain requirements for Weirstones and magical power to maintain their status. Since House Moon was only promoted about ten years before Father, the oldest child, was born, we were subject to the requirements. His parents were allowed a single non-wizard child, while his children, myself included, have to be Weirflesh and only Weirflesh. Father didn't care about the possible consequences of changing a Weirstone so late, only about keeping House Moon's status. I have two older sisters, Olga and Vivian, and they're the apples of Father's eye—both manifested when they were about seven, like good little wizard girls. I'm eleven, though, and I still have yet to show signs of having a wizard stone, and somehow, I doubt I ever will, because I'm pretty sure I'm a warrior.

I closed my eyes as I recalled the facts about warrior guild I had been taught since I was old enough to speak—warriors were tall and fit, were experts at any kind of combat, and their powers didn't begin to make themselves known until the teenage years—and compared them with my own situation.

Point one: I'm three years younger than Olga, and four years younger than Vivian, and I'm taller than Olga, and nearly as tall as Vivian; part of it is just because I'm a boy, but if we were all wizards, I shouldn't be taller or almost as tall with a three/four year gap.

Point two: I've always been way more physically fit than either of them—I can run faster, and longer, than the two of them put together; again part of it could be explained as me being a boy and more inclined to exercise, but even when I just barely started I could.

Point three: when I found a sword last year, and held it for a few minutes, just to see what it was like, it felt like something I had been missing without knowing for a very long time.

And last, point four: wizards manifest when they're young, usually ten at the latest, but warriors don't manifest until they're teenagers, and since I'm already eleven and haven't show anything that could even come close to manifesting as a wizard, it's not likely I'm going to.

3/24/2014 . Edited 3/24/2014 #1,365
DarkVoid116

Hey Red, we've finished grading your application.

The general consensus was as follows: the writing was solid-to-good. The main issues some members had were that the sentences were long and could've been broken up, some character description was vague, and that there should be more full stops in your writing. However, there is obvious desire to improve, and you showed excitement for joining the team, which worked in your favor. The procrastination could be troublesome, but isn't anything that can't be fixed by some hard deadlines.

All in all, it's a PASS. Congratulations, I'll send you the introductory package in a few minutes. Welcome to Team Dragon Star.

3/25/2014 #1,366
Pandor4

Why I believe I should be a part of the team: I think that I have a good deal of different experiences that I can bring to your team. I have been an avid fanfiction reader for the past ten years, and have been writing fanfiction for almost as long. I have also participated in various original fiction writing communities over the years, so working with a group of writers is not a completely new experience for me.

I think that one of the best things that I can bring to the team is my imagination. I feel that the fanfictions that I have written have always had a unique plot idea and don't follow the generic plots of the genre.

I fell that one of my biggest pitfalls is grammar and punctuation. It is something that has never come easily to me, and while I feel like I am much better with it now, I know that it still often times needs work. As they say, practice makes perfect.

What you intend to do should you pass: I would like most to help develop the ongoing plot lines of the multi-chapter fics that the team is working on. In addition to this I would also enjoy contributing to these stories. The TDS stories that I have read thus far include: Plus One, Tortured Souls, Tranquil Violence and A Home Once Lost.

I also would be willing to help beta other writer's works. I do not have any experience in editing fanfiction, but at a previous job I worked on editing hundreds of pages of biographies. Not quite the same as fanfiction, I know, but valuable experience none the less.

Based on what I have read in the forum it looks like you guys are not terribly interested in starting any new stories at the moment, but if the time ever came that everyone was ready to take on a new project, I would be interested in helping create new story ideas. Until that time comes, though, I would be more than content to help with the stories already in progress.

(What I am not very interested in doing: I know that your team publishes quite a number of one-shots, and I will admit that writing one-shots has never really appealed to me all that much. There is always so much more that I want to explore that a one-shot always seems insufficient. I know that you request a one-shot after membership, though, and have started thinking about what I would write if accepted.)

Whatever bonus information you would like to include: As to why I am interested in joining, it is more about the community and comradeship, than what fanfiction the group is writing. As I have mentioned before, I have been a part of writing communities before, and while the groups eventually disbanded, I always greatly enjoyed the time that I spent with them. I think that knowing that there is a group of people supporting you greatly influences the way an individual writes and causes the writer to put more focus into the quality of writing. I would very much like to become part of such a community again, and based on what your group is publishing, I think that I would greatly enjoy getting to work with all of you.

Excerpt from A Journey Between Realms:

(Please feel free to visit my profile for more if you feel this is too short of an excerpt. I was not sure how long of one you were looking for.)

Thorin was not having one of his best days. Firstly, it was raining. Secondly, the roof of his workshop had numerous leaks. Scowling up at the beams of the workshop, Thorin vowed to himself that he would leave this miserable little town soon. He had left Ered Luin to find work as a blacksmith in some of the far outlying towns of men, but with his coin purse growing fatter once again it was time to start thinking about returning home to his sister and her sons.

With a frustrated sigh Thorin set aside his blacksmith's hammer and undid the thick leather apron. His father would be laughing at him now if he could see him. Thorin Oakenshield, the King-in-Exile, was now a common blacksmith. With a scowl firmly set on his face he walked back towards the corner of the small workshop while listening to the pitter-pattering of the rain on the roof.

The workshop was not technically his, hence its state of obvious disrepair, but the men of the town had granted him access to it, and allowed him to lodge within it so long as he was doing work for the townspeople. He had arrived here over a fortnight ago and found that the town was lacking in any type of simulating work. There were farmers that came to him to commission new tools or to repair their old ones, and a few of the housewives came to ask him to make new pots or pans for their kitchens. None of it was a challenge, and it only worsened his mood.

Sitting down at the small table that occupied the space along the back wall, Thorin lit a small candle. Digging into the covered basket that sat on the table, he came back out with a chunk of cheese and a small loaf of bread, both of which he had purchased earlier that morning. He wondered what his sister, Dis, was serving tonight. It had to be something more appetizing than plain bread and drying cheese.

Slicing into the cheese with his knife, Thorin dejectedly stared out his open doorway at the street which was very quickly becoming a lake of mud. There would be no new work today, or even possibly tomorrow with everyone staying inside to avoid the rain and mud.

With that thought in mind, he decided that once the roads had dried, he would leave. He was spending almost as much money living here as he was bringing in from the small jobs that the town was able to provide for him. It was time for him to go home again. Home. The thought made him laugh bitterly to himself. While it had been many years since he had finally given into calling the Blue Mountains home, it still made his heart ache and reminded him of what had been lost.

'One day,' he thought to himself. 'One day we really will go home…' With his thoughts turned to Erebor, he almost jumped when a blindingly bright flash of light illuminated his doorway and the one window that led outside. 'Lightning?' was his first thought. He sat still, his ears straining to pick up the sound of thunder, but none came.

He was about to dismiss it when a figure appeared in his doorway. It was a young woman, soaking wet and covered in mud. "May I come in?" she asked as her eyes landed on him.

He gave a curt nod, and stood up, wondering all the while what in the world she was doing traveling to his workshop on such a day.

3/29/2014 #1,367
boboleta

Hey, Pandor4! I'm Bobo. We've gone through your application, and consensus was as follows:

We liked your excerpt, and even though we did spot some minor punctuation/grammar issues, nothing stood out as incredibly detrimental. Just a few kinks to address, nothing too bad. :)

Your creativity and experience are a plus, and we found refreshing the fandom you selected for your excerpt. The only thing that made us worry was your actual willingness/availability to write. We are indeed a community (and a kick-ass one at that xD) but we are a writing community most of all, so producing solid pieces of writing should be our top priority. That being said, our worries come mainly from past less-than-satisfactory experiences, which is not your fault, so we do hope you'll be just as willing to contribute in writing as you are with joining our group for the social aspect of it.

It's a PASS. Congratulations!! I'll be sending you a PM in the next few minutes. :)

3/30/2014 . Edited 3/30/2014 #1,368
Individual Lies

Greetings all and one! The name is Individual Lies, but you may call me whatever you like. Contrary to popular opinion, I am a 26 year old male. I follow DBZ fanfic closely, and have read more fics than I can remember. I've been on Fanfiction.net as a reader for about eight years, and have been writing off and on since 2008. I only have two stories to my credit, the first of which I lost interest in due to a multitude of coinciding and interfering circumstances. My second story, Witness, is nearing completion and has nearly reached 200 reviews.

(Excerpt from the story I was working on before I abandoned it for Witness)

Bardock glanced around the field of the enclosed arena as the audience roared a thunderous welcome for the two combatants. Behind both warriors were two rows of five individual thick metal walls. They were obviously supposed to be some sort of obstacle for the fighters, but they were rendered obsolete by the fact that most of the warriors could undoubtedly fly. But he was sure he could use their placement for some strategy or another.

His eyes moved to the ground beneath his feet and he allowed himself a smirk. Dirt. It would be difficult for either warrior to maintain their footing should they opt for ground combat. That meant that his opponent would most likely attempt an aerial battle, which was fine by Bardock. He did his best fighting in the air.

His attention was rudely brought back to his red-skinned opponent when he heard his own name over the intercom. He had been ignoring the announcer, he realized, when he was scolded for not responding.

He curled his upper lip back as he shot a glare up at the announcer where he was hovering on a railed-platform high above the warriors. The announcer, a short green alien, ducked behind his podium and continued with his task.

"Erm…Participant Bardock, are you ready?"

Raising his voice enough for the announcer to hear, the Saiyan snapped out to the height-challenged alien. "Of course I am! Let's get this thing started."

Across the field, his opponent smirked.

"Right…Participant Hani, are you ready?"

Bardock lowered his gaze to his opponent, and mirrored his smirk. He blinked and his smirk faded when Hani grinned.

"I am."

"Good. Let the preliminaries commence! Fighters! You may begin!" The announcer's platform suddenly shot up to hover at a height he viewed safe.

The crowd roared with excitement as both fighters immediately dropped into stances. They stood facing one another, the roars of the crowd drowning out any other sound from the arena. Neither warrior could hear them, however.

Bardock stared at Hani, his gaze unwavering as he watched for any sign of an opening. He knew better than to rush headlong into battle. That was a lesson he had learned at an early age in his training as a youngster. He suddenly smiled, thinking back on the naïve, young boy he had once been. He had been born as a lower class Saiyan, but he never found liking with the phrase. It was why he had pushed himself beyond his limits; why he and his team had constantly taken the most difficult jobs. He had wanted nothing more than to prove to his peers that he could be just as strong and just as tough as them. He was a Saiyan, too. Lower class or not, he was still a Saiyan!

With those thoughts running through his mind he felt his blood boil, and he clenched his fists tightly. His blood was pumping now. He loved that rushing feeling he got when his anger began to get the better of him. He always felt like he could do amazing things when he was angry. As extra fuel he recalled the day his team had been slaughtered by Dodoria and his lackeys and the sound of the crowd faded into nothing. He narrowed his eyes, the final words of his partner Toma ringing in his ears.

"Are you going to fight me, or just stare at me the entire duration of the fight?"

Bardock blinked as he was brought back to the present and he growled at the alien standing across from him, no longer in his fighting stance. He was now standing with his hands on his hips, his guard completely dropped as if he were mocking the Saiyan.

"Stupid jackass. You want a fight? I'll give ya one!"

Hani smirked. "I doubt that, Saiyan."

With a roar of irritation, Bardock leapt forward with his fist drawn back. He closed the distance between him and his opponent in a flash, his fist flying forward with incredible speed…and striking his opponent in the cheek. The force of the hit sent Hani flying backwards and into one of the metallic walls, which caved in under his bulk.

The entire arena went quiet as they stared down at the swaying wall. Hani was embedded in a sizeable dent that had actually knocked the wall loose from its moorings in the ground. After a few moments the wall toppled backwards, and a cloud of dust rose from where it now lay, concealing the wall and its current occupant.

Bardock frowned as he returned to his stance. Hani took the punch purposely, that much was clear. He had made no effort to block or dodge the attack, and he had clearly seen Bardock charging him. He had seen Hani's eyes following him the entire distance.

"Why let me hit him, though?" Bardock murmured under his breath as he watched the dust settle around where both Hani and the wall now lay. After several moments the dust finally cleared enough for the crowd to see…nothing. Hani was no longer in the dent his body had created.

Momentarily stunned that his opponent had escaped his sight so easily, Bardock began to look around the arena, searching for any sign of Hani.

It didn't take him long to realize that Hani was nowhere in the arena. Frowning, he looked up to the announcer questioningly, but started when he spotted Hani standing behind the green alien.

The announcer, having noticed Bardock's change of expression as he stared up in his direction, blinked in confusion before turning in place. He gave a yelp and stumbled backwards upon seeing Hani standing so close to him.

The warrior flashed him a grin before phasing out of sight. He reappeared standing before Bardock, who started again and stepped back slightly.

Hani smirked and folded his arms. "You have shown no fear. Which means you must be fairly confident in your own ability."

Bardock smirked as well, not leaving his stance. "I'm very confident in my ability. But I'm also a seasoned warrior, so I'm used to seein' such actions from my opponents. But I have to admit that you're stronger than I had guessed. I was sure that a punch like that would have at least caused a nosebleed."

"I guess that means I'm out of your league, then."

"No, not really."

Hani's smirk faded into a look of bemusement. "Oh? And what does that mean?"

"It means I need to get serious." this statement was greeted by laughter, which made Bardock frown. "Find somethin' amusin'?"

"I apologize." said Hani as he wiped at his eyes, chuckling still. "You are a Saiyan, my friend. Even if you were to 'get serious,' you would still be outclassed. I viewed your power reading before our match, and I found that your maximum power level is just under 20,000. You do not stand even the slightest chance."

It was Bardock's turn to laugh, and Hani's turn to frown.

"What is funny?"

"Don't trust that reading. When they took it I was still recoverin' from some serious injuries, so my power was still lackin'. I'm stronger than ya think." the Saiyan smirked as he tilted his head, indicating to Hani that he was ready to begin again.

Hani stared at the Saiyan for a few moments, his face expressionless. Slowly he smiled and stepped into a stance. "Do not disappoint me, then."

"Whatever you say! AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!" Bardock let out his battle cry, his voice deepening almost to a roar, and charged forward.

Hani braced for impact as he watched his opponent advance. He smirked, but it was quickly wiped from his face when Bardock's body was suddenly enveloped in blue aura-flames. His eyes widened in surprise as the Saiyan's speed nearly doubled.

Bardock thrust his fist forward, expecting to make contact after seeing the look of surprise on Hani's face. Instead, his fist was parried away and Hani lunged in for an attack. Bardock ducked under his outstretched arm, again earning a look of surprise from his overconfident adversary. His other fist was clenched tight as he struck out at Hani's unprotected stomach, but he met nothing but air as his opponent phased out of sight.

Bardock straightened up and began looking this way and that for his opponent, cursing the regulations that denied him a scouter. He looked up to the announcer's platform again, but Hani wasn't there this time.

"Hm…" Frowning, Bardock jumped into the air and flew up as high as the announcer's platform. He came to a stop and looked down upon the arena again, his brows knitted together as he searched every nook and cranny with unblinking eyes.

"Dammit, where the hell's he hidin'?" He paused in his motions and slowly lowered his clenched fists to his sides, easing his hands open as he relaxed. He hovered completely motionless, only his dark eyes moving as he looked all over the arena for Hani.

"60,000..."

Bardock's eyes widened and his whole body went rigid. He slowly turned his head to glance over his shoulder at the red-skinned warrior, hovering directly behind him. Bardock remained silent as he regarded his opponent for a moment. He didn't ask what Hani meant by that number, because he knew that was his power level. Bardock didn't know an exact number for his own power level, but he knew that it was less than 50,000 easy. He had seriously underestimated his opponent's strength; that much was clear. But he wasn't done just yet.

Hani glanced down at the crowd calling up to them from below. "The fans demand action, Saiyan. I'll allow this fight to drag out long enough to appease their thirst for violence." He looked back up at Bardock and grinned.

Bardock growled and spun around to face Hani. "Like hell you will!" Blue aura-flames erupted to life around his body, and he let out a tremendous battle cry!

Hani blinked in surprise as a shockwave of rising energy slammed into him and knocked him back several lengths. He charged up more of his ki, and his backward movement stopped, and he stared at Bardock in a mixture of surprise and amusement.

"That is the best you can do? You still disappoint me, Saiyan."

"Well, let's see how you like this! It's a little technique me and my team picked up on Planet Vaanil: The Vaanilian Spirit Ki Burn! Or…" Bardock grinned, and clenched his fists tight by his sides. "as I like to call it: Burning Spirit times two!" The aura-flames surrounding his body intensified and he vanished in a flash of blue light, leaving behind wisps of residual ki that faded into nothingness.

Hani stared at where Bardock had been in complete shock. He knew that technique, but he had little time to reflect upon that as a powerful fist suddenly connected with his cheek, and he felt himself go flying towards the ground. He didn't go far before another hard blow was struck to him (he wasn't sure, but he thought it might have been a kick) in his side, and he was sent flying towards another one of those metal walls. He didn't reach it, however, as he found himself face-to-face with a ki blast.

As an explosion lit up the entire arena, Bardock touched lightly down onto the ground below. He lifted his cold Saiyan gaze and stared up at the billowing clouds of smoke that shrouded Hani from view. He knew he hadn't beaten him, yet. Hani was still stronger than him, even when he used the Burning Spirit multiplied by two. He knew that he could pull off a third multiplier, but he had so little practice with the technique that he was wary of taking a risk like that.

He smirked as the smoke was suddenly blown away and Hani appeared from his shroud, his armor cracked all over, with tiny pieces flaking off as he hovered down to the ground. He touched down before Bardock, his violet eyes hard and fierce as he regarded him.

Bardock chuckled quietly. "Guess that one got your attention."

"Oh, yes. That one did get my attention, Saiyan. I will have to end this fight right now if you have a technique like that at your disposal." Keeping his unwavering gaze on Bardock, Hani slowly began to dust off his arms.

"I'll say when this fight is over."

"No, Saiyan. You will not." And with that, Hani vanished.

Just as he lifted his gaze to search for his red-skinned opponent, Bardock was struck in his exposed gut and sent flying back through one of the metal walls, the alloy tearing like paper as he shot through it. He slammed into the second wall, and he felt this one break apart at its moorings and fold around him as he continued flying backwards. Finally, with the second wall wrapped around his body, he came to a stop when he slammed against the force field that protects the crowd. The hunk of metal dropped to the ground and he fell to his knees out of his indention.

The Saiyan stood up shakily, breathing heavily as he stared at Hani across the arena. He narrowed his eyes as he wiped at his mouth with the back of his hand. Feeling something warm and sticky he looked down at his hand to see bright red blood. Bardock stared at his own hand for a moment, before smirking and looking back to where Hani still stood.

"You tryin' to give me a hint?"

" 'A hint'?" Hani echoed as he folded his arms over his chest.

"Yea, you just standin' over there while I pick myself out of the hole you put me in. What do you expect me to do? Realize that I'm outclassed and give up?" Bardock dropped his hand to his side as he stared at his opponent, his smirk still in place.

"Perhaps I did harbor a thought or two along those lines."

"Well, I ain't givin' up." Bardock grinned and stepped into a stance. "Saiyans never run from a fight. The harder the fight, the better. You may outclass me, Hani, but the excitement boils my blood. And that makes me more dangerous than you can imagine."

"I know about your people's love for battle, Saiyan. However, it does not matter and has not mattered this entire fight. You have proven to be more powerful and more resourceful than most Saiyans, but you will not make it to that tournament." He flashed Bardock a grin. "I promise you that."

"Don't be makin' promises you can't keep, now."

Hani's grin vanished as the Saiyan flashed him his own grin. He frowned and bared his fangs in irritation. "I will have to show you the hard way, I suppose."

"Don't disappoint me, Hani."

(Was that too long? lol)

I believe that I should be a part of the team because I have many interesting ideas that I feel would benefit Team Dragon Star. I am also very familiar with Dragonball Z, having seen every episode multiple times in both English and Japanese. There are some details that I can recall for help with continuity of stories that others might forget.

One of my greatest strengths, I believe, is my willingness to try things that might lose me readers. I have lost readers due to things I've done in Witness (my best and only example) but I have persisted. I feel that stories should be written for fun, and with the fan in mind to an extent. But not to the point where the fan is dictating your every move because your ideas are "stupid." Uhm...I probably just failed, didn't I? Oops.

Should I pass the application, I intend to share my ideas and offer whatever help I can wherever I can. I'm always down to improve my writing and explore new avenues.

I'm not sure what else to add, so I submit my application for review. Enjoy!

5/3/2014 #1,369
DarkVoid116

Hey Individual Lies, I'm Dark.

We've finished grading your application, and our consensus was as follows.

It's a little alarming that you've disappeared for chunks of time, but not detrimental to the application. The writing piece was a good length and well written. There were a few issues with punctuation and grammar, but nothing serious. The usage of slang in Bardock's dialogue came across as odd, but again, nothing overly concerning.

Your reasons for joining drew mixed reviews, but were overall solid.

All in all, it's a PASS.

You'll be receiving the introductory package shortly.

5/5/2014 #1,370
JMarieAllenPoe

Hello! I am JMarieAllenPoe, and thank you for giving me the chance to apply to Team Dragon Star. I discovered this group through the story Failings and Misunderstandings, and I must say that that piece is one of the most unique and well written Naruto fanfics I have had the pleasure of reading; I absolutely love it. Great job, guys! If I am lucky enough to get accepted, I would love to help work on Failings and Misunderstandings, as well as any other Naruto stories that come down the road. Really, I'd be happy to help with any stories I would be familiar with; feel free to check my profile for a list of my favorite anime, books, movies and musicals. Feel free to give me a nickname! :)


The excerpt I have chosen is completely original work—not a passage from my currently incomplete Glee fanfic, A Side, B Side: The Oblivion Within My Heart, or any fanfiction—I hope that is okay. I am currently writing a novel that I hope to publish someday soon, Book One of a trilogy, actually. It is called Trigger: Book One: The Target. Here is a bit of backstory, since the excerpt is Chapter 13:

Olivia Purview, a high school senior, has been suffering from relentless, terrifying nightmares for the past 3 months; they are all about a school shooting (that has not happened), and a mysterious, unknown "Nightmare Girl" is always the shooter and is always after Olivia and her twin brother, Sig. Olivia once had a best friend named Camellia Alum, but their friendship deteriorated during their freshman year of high school more than 3 years ago. The even numbered chapters provide memories Olivia has of her friendship with Camellia, most are not completely pleasant because Camellia has secrets that Olivia still does not know about; at the end of each of the Memory Chapters, Olivia (set in Book 3), reflects on these memories with vague hindsight, explaining how Camellia blamed Olivia for all the pain she (Camellia( has ever felt. The odd numbered chapters of book one are set in the present, from Monday, March 11, 2013 to the start of Friday, March 15, 2013, and show an average school week for Olivia, the awkward, normally infrequent run-ins with Camellia, who appears to be involved with sketchy behavior. ("Beware the Ides of March," from Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, will be highly relevant to the plot later on.) The memories are triggered by Olivia's constant taxing nightmares, which Sig tries to help her overcome, and they show that Camellia was not always a good person. Olivia is an excellent students, but she has never really had a friend since Camellia. In chapter 11, the previous Present Day Chapter before the excerpt, Olivia's mother verbally abuses her before Olivia leaves for school, and Olivia tries to not feel any emotions. Olivia lives in the fictional Linseed, Pennsylvania and attends the fictional Cassidy Lark Public High School.

I apologize for how long that explanation was. I hope you enjoy the excerpt, and I would really appreciate it if no one plagiarizes my work; I have been working on this story for two years and I would hate for all that time and hard work to go to waste. So, yeah, that would be really nice.

Oh! I hope you don't mind, but some of the words, such as thoughts, are underlined instead of in italics because there is something wrong with the formatting. So, anything that is in italics and/or underlined will be thoughts, stressed words, writing, etc. :)


---EXCERPT---

Chapter Thirteen

March 13, 2013; 7:39 AM

I feel like I'm constantly walking with a thick necklace around my neck. It's woven out of some type of plant material—rope, not metal, as far as I can tell, maybe it originated in some Caribbean country, I don't know—and there is no clasp, no tie, no way of removing it. The necklace just sort of appeared around my neck one day. The diameter is far too small for it to have been able to fit around my head; it's like a dog collar, or a choker with spikes that rock stars wear, but there is no way of easily removing it from my person. There are no dog tags, no fake spikes, no explanation for why I have this object around my throat. I do not know why I have to wear it. I don't even remember when I began to wear it. No one ever comments on it or acknowledges it. The necklace is a nuisance. When I am walking in the crowded hallways at school, for example, I feel the necklace get tighter and squeeze so that breathing becomes difficult. Or when Mother is nagging about my appearance or something else that is utterly trivial, it gets tighter then, too. It hurts, but I do not acknowledge the pain. Sometimes, at night, when I am in bed trying to sleep, I will feel the rope necklace scratching the flesh of my windpipe. I sometimes close my eyes and try to remember when exactly the necklace appeared. During either eighth or ninth grade, I'd like to say, but I can't be completely sure when, maybe before that time, maybe after. The necklace will also grow tighter during the rare occasions in which I am walking down the street alone and a car coming in my direction, maybe six feet to my right if I am walking on the sidewalk against traffic like a good little pedestrian, while the car passes me the material resting inches below my head will scrape against my skin, almost drawing blood, as if daring me to do something, something drastic, but then the car is gone and the feeling slowly leaves until the necklace is nothing but a dull weight that can be forgotten for a few moments. It usually happens whenever I am alone, actually. The necklace is a constant thing. I'm learning to live with it, despite the fear it brings me, similar to the nightmares.

As I walk through the main entrance of Cassidy Lark, face red and cold from the brief trek inside and Sig a few paces ahead of me, I feel the dull weight of the necklace. I reach up my hand to run my small fingers along it, expecting to feel a stiff, rough surface, but instead I feel soft cloth. I glance down. It's just my winter scarf, nothing more. No necklace. There never was one:

I feel like I'm constantly walking with a noose around my neck.

* * *

Eyes closed, I lightly press my forehead against the cool metal of my closed locker door in hope that this will either dull my sudden headache or keep me further away from Dreamland. I step back a few inches to allow my hands to fiddle with my combination. I mess up three times in a row before getting the compartment open and stuffing my coat inside. I pull out my needed books and binders, and I make an effort to not look at myself in the old mirror that I've had stuck to the door for forever. I unwind my scarf from around my neck and hang it on a different hook than my jacket.

I breathe in slowly as the detestable discord of my classmates destroys the small amount of internal solitude I could find peace in. People around me push and shove and goof off and act like idiots and use popular incorrect grammar and acronyms and diction that contains no coherent meaning—the gibberish that flies out of my classmates' mouths like wasps is rather vapid—and make jokes against various minorities and screech lyrics to idiotic songs that appear on the radio or YouTube that I absolutely resent, all of which cause me to cringe and regret being an American. I stick my head into my locker, feel the softness of my scarf against my cheek, and all I can think is I have no respect for you people. A common thought of mine.

I groan in annoyance at my class's stupidity, not that anyone notices. I put my right hand on the door of my locker and shift my body to move in that direction, catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror by mistake for only a half-second. I slam the metal and the lock activates.

The hallways' poor insulation turns my blood cold.

I clutch a notebook to my chest, all other materials staying inside my bag at the moment. I move through the maze of people silently and try to get to the bathroom in the next hall down, so two hallways away from Sig. I make no sound.

Inside, the building is frigid.

I'm so tired.

Or maybe it's just me.

The rope contracts against my throat.

* * *

I flinch when the unexpectedly icy water makes contact with my skin as I stand in front of the sink closest to the door of the girls' bathroom, scrubbing my hands. I avoid looking at my face in the mirror. I stare at a corner of the porcelain sink instead: someone stuck a piece of pink chewed gum to the side of the faucet. It's gross. Why? I think. There is a trash bin and paper towels about three feet away. I don't understand people.

The water shuts off, and I tear a piece of sandpaper from the dispenser and rub it against my dripping hands. Our school really can't afford better quality hand towels, huh? I crumple it into a ball, it feels like stiff stationary, and throw it into the trash. I guess not.

I bend down to grab my messenger bag from the floor and hear a toilet flush and a stall open behind me. I glance up when a female figure enters my peripherals to wash her hands. I push a small strand of hair out of my face. I glance again, surprised.

Camellia certainly looks different compared to yesterday.

Her auburn hair is shiny—not the greasy kind of shiny, but the clean kind—and she looks far more lewd, I suppose is the word I would choose to describe her attire. She's wearing a short top with an image of Marilyn Monroe and a likely misquote in white lettering that exposes her stomach and her thighs are barely covered by the ratty skirt that hangs from her hips. I notice that she has tube socks and black slippers on her feet. I wonder if she is cold. She looks ridiculous. There is snow on the ground! Her face is smeared with makeup, especially around her eyes, and I can unfortunately assume that a majority of today's society would find it attractive.

I straighten up and grab my bag. My eyes make contact with Camellia's for a second, her pupils seem bigger than I remember, possibly dilated, I don't know. I look away, towards one of the stalls behind me marred with pink graffiti. We both say nothing. I don't even think about offering my ex best friend a fake, forced smile. I remain blank, expressionless. I'm not significant. I am a shadow, a bomb, a rat.

Don't feel. Don't feel anything. You can't feel anything. You mustn't!

I pull open the door to exit the bathroom as Camellia moves behind me. I hold the door open for a second out of habit and common courtesy, and I have to freeze on the spot to avoid being trampled by a throng of six feet tall giant letterman jackets and sweatshirts. Camellia plows into me from behind as a result, and I stiffen further. I catch her scent and almost gag. She smells like—I don't even really want to know—urine? Though, that might have something to do with simply being in the bathroom. The crowd in the hallway thins slightly after three seconds, I squeeze past a group of girls in sweatpants. Despite the fusillade of gossip and chatter and shouting that circles around my head as I slowly struggle to get through this crowded hallway, I somehow manage to distinctly focus on a conversation that occurs a few feet, maybe four, behind me. I recognize one of the voices as Camellia's. The other voice, loud, feminine, nasally, stereotypically unintelligent, belongs to a recent transfer student, Blythe—or is it Blith?—who I have never spoken to. I know she struggles with understanding the proper way to write plural form of the word Go. I don't know her last name; it might start with a J or an M. I'd forgotten she and Camellia were friends. I'd forgotten Camellia had friends.

Here is what I hear of the conversation behind me:

Blythe: "Gurl, did ya hear? Oh my gawd! I just got the alert on my iPhone from last night.

Camellia: "What, Blee?" Laughter.

Blythe: "It's Ker again. Didn't you hear about the latest stuff on the news? That man is seriously demented!"

Camellia: "He's totally batshit crazy. So he strikes again?"

Blythe: "Duh. This is, like, his thirtieth murder in three months!"

Camellia: "Thirty-seventh now, actually. Who was it this time?"

Blythe: "Shit, thirty-seven? Already? Dafuq is he doing with his time?"

Camellia: "Killing people. Who was it this time?"

Blythe: "Oh, yeah, right. One sec . . . Emme Hunsberger."

Camellia: "Never heard of her."

Blythe: "Yeah, me neither. . . Stupid name. She—hold on, let me scroll down—she was twenty . . . worked at some bookstore in Allentown."

Camellia: "Damn. When she die? Last night?"

Blythe: "Well, apparently she died Monday night in an alley near the . . . Crocodile Rock Café, it's just that she was only found last night."

Camellia: "Crazy. So, like, uh, I'm gonna guess she was frickin' stabbed, like, twenty times or shit. Ker does that every time."

Blythe: "You're right. So, anyway, Lia, we should totally go see Julian tonight, she said she bought some ice off her brother's roommate." More laughter.

Their conversation fades out of my hearing, I assume it's from them entering a classroom or something, and I lose interest. I'm glad Blythe's voice is out of earshot; it is exactly like one of those stereotypical dumb blondes or popular girls in the movies, though the girl is a long haired brunette. And Camellia gained the habit of shamelessly cursing whenever she could about two years ago, which is unpleasant. It gives me more of a headache.

Oh, right. Ker. Haven't thought of him in the past few days. Wait, he had been talked about on Fox News this morning, I remember, I just must have not been paying attention because of reasons. Fox does love to constantly strike fear into the hearts of Americans with talk of the End of the World or whatnot.

I pass my AP US History classroom by a few doors on accident and have to quickly turn around. I glance up at one of the few clocks within the hallway: 7:52. I pull open the classroom door and catch sight of Sig in his third row seat, reading a book. Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar this time. He's been into reading classic plays and novels, probably an influence from taking AP Lit. I trek over to the seat in front of him. Mr. Haddock is not in the room currently. I stare at the blank whiteboard, bored, wishing I had brought a book to keep me company. Maybe I'll leaf through Frankenstein when I get home. Or The Kite Runner. I still need to buy A Thousand Splendid Suns at some point. The clock turns to 7:53. I might as well continue my extra credit assignment. I pull out my laptop from my bag, turn it on, click on a search engine, and begin looking up more information on Ker and his victims.

* * *

"Ker" is an alias. No one knows who he is, just that he's been an active serial killer for the past three months. His weapon of choice, determined by forensics, is some kind of thick kitchen knife. Ker has killed thirty-seven people as of Monday. Everyone is stabbed exactly twenty-three times. That is the only thing all the victims have in common. Ker's victims have varied widely in age, occupation, appearance, though all have occurred here in Pennsylvania. No one here appears to be safe, and the police have very little leads. A majority of the murders have happened late at night, but no all have. The days these events happen are completely random too. Who is next? When? Where? I have no idea.

The moniker for this man appeared on some popular Website, I'm not sure which, and the media spread it like a disease, so that is who he is now to us. Ker. There is some reasonable mythology behind the name, actually: it's ancient Greek religion. "A destructive spirit, often known just in the plural form, Keres, that most Greeks believed to be the cause of cruel or morbid death, disease, death by accident, death during battle, and homicide. Some thought that Keres were monsters who sucked the blood of their victims and dragged the bodies of those defeated in battle to the Underworld. . . ." Or at least that is what I've read.

So, his thirty-seven victims.

I've composed a list of all his known victims, ordered by the chronological date of their deaths. I've added ages, occupation, locations of each murder, nationality, date they were murdered, anything I could find in the hopes that I could discover a pattern, a reason, behind these killings. God knows the police have no concrete leads. It's a very boring list of information, but it's extra credit, and it can be interesting, attempting to find the pattern Ker is giving us.

The list looks like this so far:

1. Bethina Zanardi: 21 years old; sales clerk; Italian; murdered in Hegins, Pennsylvania on December 15, 2012. . .

2. Estelle Graham: 50 years old; accountant; white; murdered in Exton, Pennsylvania on December 16, 2012. . .

3. Wade Newman: 37 years old; flight attendant; Dutch, French, white; murdered in Kunkletown, Pennsylvania on December 17, 2012. . .

4. Alma Brewer: 75 years old; retired bus driver; Irish, Dutch; murdered in Weatherly, Pennsylvania . . .

5. Sakura Ryu: 16 years old; international exchange student visiting from Japan; Japanese; murdered in Quentin Pennsylvania on December 19, 2012. . .

6. Eunice Chavez: 60 years old; geography teacher; English; murdered in Erie, Pennsylvania on December 21, 2012. . .

7. Toby Hood: 12 years old; middle school student; African American; murdered in Dickson City, Pennsylvania on December 28, 2012. . .

8. Hector Rines: 19 years old; college student; Norwegian; murdered in Addison, Pennsylvania on December 31, 2012. . .

9. Edna Coffman: 26 years old; algebra teacher; white, German; murdered in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania on January 1, 2013. . .

10. Ila Collins: 28 years old; welder, Irish; murdered in Zullinger, Pennsylvania on January 3, 2013. . .

11. Dwight Nash: 33 years old; pharmacist; French Canadian; murdered in Venus, Pennsylvania on January 4, 2013. . .

12. Eric Foster: 45 years old; construction worker, Hawaiian; murdered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 5, 2013. . .

13. Shawn Ellis: 11 years old; homeschooled student; Dutch, African American; murdered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on January 7, 2013. . .

14. Owen Garrett: 56 years old; criminal lawyer; Hispanic; murdered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 8, 2013. . .

15. Felix Bell: 22 years old; secretary; white; French, Italian; murdered in York Haven, Pennsylvania on January 10, 2013. . .

16. Meredith Mendelson: 20 years old; McDonald's employee, teen mom; Korean, white; murdered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 13, 2013. . .

18. Alex Vides: 26 years old; college student; Polish; murdered in West Elizabeth, Pennsylvania on January 15, 2013. . .

17. Robert Alkire: 17 years old; student; murdered in Scranton, Pennsylvania on January 16, 2013. . .

19. Claudia Barnes: 45 years old; baker; English, Dutch; murdered in Adah, Pennsylvania on January 18, 2013. . .

20. Henry Cooper: 9 years old; student; Italian, white; murdered in Berlin, Pennsylvania on January 21, 2014. . .

21. Ora Seal: 7 years old; elementary school student; African American; murdered in Denver, Pennsylvania on January 22, 2013 . . .

22. Logan Adams: 18 years old; high school student; white; murdered in Idaville, Pennsylvania on January 26, 2013 . . .

23. Ian Skidmore: 24 years old; radio host; white; murdered in Bart, Pennsylvania on January 27, 2013 . . .

24. Vienna Porter: 33 years; college English professor; English, Icelandic; murdered in Aspers, Pennsylvania on January 30, 2013 . . .

25. Ingrid Davis: 55 years old; doctor; German, French; murdered in Athens, Pennsylvania on February 5, 2013 . . .

26. April McGee: 4 years old; preschooler; Dutch; murdered in Kane, Pennsylvania on February 9, 2013 . . .

27. Alice Easley: 10 years, student; Chinese; murdered in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania on February 11, 2013 . . .

28. Margaret Anderson: 58 years old; nurse; Canadian; murdered in Cyclone, Pennsylvania on February 14, 2013 . . .

29. Benjamin Horrell: 39 years old; bank clerk; Hispanic; murdered in Clarington, Pennsylvania on February 17, 2013 . . .

30. Ellie Fields: 57 years old; columnist; Austrian, white; murdered in Brave, Pennsylvania on February 19, 2013 . . .

31. Raymond Holdings: 44 years old; painter; white; murdered in Linden, Pennsylvania on February 20, 2013 . . .

32. Peter Atkins: 30 years old; relater; white, Egyptian; murdered in Neffs, Pennsylvania on February 22, 2013 . . .

33. Ursula Gardner: 93 years old; retired; British, French; murdered in Mercer, Pennsylvania on February 25, 2013 . . .

34. Ryan Scott: 15 years old; student; white, Irish; murdered in Gipsy, Pennsylvania on February 28, 2013 . . .

35. Victor Stone: 29 years old; med school student; English, murdered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 2, 2013

36. Ina Goodson: 5 years old; elementary school student; Indian; murdered in Reading, Pennsylvania on March 3, 2013 . . .

And now Emme Hunsberger joins the list at number thirty-seven. It's sad seeing this list grow every random day with every new random death.

37. Emme Hunsberger; 20 years old, Barnes and Noble employee; white, Russian; murdered in Allentown, Pennsylvania on March 11, 2013 . . .

But maybe the pattern, the key characteristic within this list of numbers, is the fact that everything is random. Maybe Ker is the type of killer who will just start shooting a gun in the middle of a concert, not caring who he kills as long as he feels powerful. I haven't been able to decipher the code yet, aside from this guess..

Maybe there are other Keres. I don't know. I'm not sure if the idea of multiple Keres lurking in the shadows should be reassuring or terrifying. Reassuring in that Ker isn't a single, completely evil mastermind, and terrifying in that people are following him, the original, and support these random murders. If there is only one, it will be easier to stop him, but it also makes him harder to find.

I look at the list again, trying to think of a reason for these people to die. I come up with nothing, as always. These people should have never died in this way.

* * *

Mr. Haddock comes into the room two minutes late, and I wonder when these serial killings will end. I hope it is soon. I hope I don't become a target. I hope no one else has to die at Ker's hand, or knife. I hope Ker is stopped. Did he have friends when he was younger? How old is this madman? What brought him to this point? What provoked this—his rage, his bloodlust, his horrifying need to kill innocent civilians, young children? It gives me chills. Ker hasn't hit Linseed, Pennsylvania yet, and he very well could any day now, any second. I fear I won't be ready to die if he decides to come for me with the bloodied blade locked in his stained grip.

Maybe the Nightmare Girl and Ker are good friends who like to torture the innocent.

I close my eyes for a moment, and I see two silhouettes against a red backdrop.

They stand on a sea of blood. There is no noise, if you don't count the unrelenting screaming. I go under the sticky crimson; I am drowning. Suddenly I'm at the bottom, standing on the old carpet in the cafeteria, the blood still drowning me. All I can see is a deep, dark red. And then the blood evaporates. I can't move.

My forehead meets the barrel of a gun. I suck in a breath.

A blade rests against my neck, not yet pressing hard enough to draw blood.

And then I open my eyes with a start and I sit back in my chair. Sig is tapping my shoulder, telling me to get out my textbook. I look at the clock: it has been five or six minutes since I closed my eyes. Our assignment on the board, due Friday, is chapter notes. Mr. Haddock is at his desk, typing away on his keyboard. He doesn't really care if someone falls asleep in class as long as he isn't talking.

There is a lump in my throat. That headache from before is back, more noticeable too.

Another dream. And at school, too. This is the first time I fell asleep so carelessly in public, in class, when I should be alert and at attention. Shamefully, I press the sleeve of my sweatshirt against my eyes to stop myself from crying and to avoid drawing attention to myself. Breathing is difficult, but I manage to struggle silently. A thought strikes me, and I hide my face in the pages of my AP U.S. History textbook:

I will never be safe.

The rope is a constant thing.

---END EXCERPT---

If you are interesting in reading the rest of the story (as of the completion of chapter 13, I am 50 percent done with Book 1), feel free to PM me, and I would be happy to either email you the word document or share the Google Doc, and constructive criticism is always appreciated. :)


Reason I believe I should be a part of Team Dragon Star:

I have often been told that the best way to improve your own writing style is to read a lot, which is something I love to do. When I am not reading fanfiction during my spare time, I am reading a book or writing my own story. I would love the chance to flex my writing muscles with other great, experienced writers and to receive constructive criticism. It is my dream to become a New York Times Bestselling Author, and writing with you all would be a wonderful way to practice my writing style, spelling and grammar, and overall ideas and plot-twists. I just love Failings and Misunderstandings so much, I want to help you guys make more amazing stories.


What I intend to do should I become a member:

Despite never having officially beta-ed for anyone before, I believe I do a good job at checking grammatical errors and that a chapter has a nice flow and writing style. I would be happy to beta chapters; though, I would prefer to only work on stories I am familiar with (such as Failings and Misunderstandings). I enjoy coming up with different creative ideas and plot-twists, though I am sure you don't really need anymore people for that. If all I am requested to do is write out a scene that is predetermined, I would be perfectly fine with doing that, too.


Bonus Information:

I am currently 16 years old, and I am still in high school; when school starts up again I will be stressing with all that comes with junior year. Despite this, I am very dedicated to writing when I can find time, which is usually on the weekends and during breaks from school. If you visit my profile, you will notice that I have not updated my incomplete fic in nearly six months. This is because I have developed Writers' Block for the newest chapter, but I hope to find time to update sometime this summer. Also, the advanced placement classes I was taking were very time consuming, and I have been spending more time writing my novel, which I hope to publish before I finish high school. I am a very openminded and accepting person about most things, and I love to give positive feedback were it is due. I love brightening a person's day, and my friends always say I manage to do that with my hugs. I love music, I am a percussionist at school. I am a proud member of the Nerdfighter Community. Oh, and one of my dear friends, author of the Naruto fanfic For the Love of the Hokage (Please go check out his fic if you have not already; it is excellent!), said to me in a PM:

"...And wait, did you say shy? You're kind, open, romantic, believe in true love and real relationships, and you're shy too? I'm sorry, but are you Hinata? XD There are way too many similarities there."

That made me happy. :) Again, please feel free to check my profile of additional information about me.

Thank you very much for considering me, and I hope to read an in-depth census from one of you guys soon! :D Whether I pass or fail, I will respect the decision. Have a great day. :)

6/16/2014 #1,371
Kakarot Son

Hey Marie, my name's Kaka. Congratulations, you passed! Welcome to the team.

As far as your actual application goes, the consensus was that it was very well written. Although the size of the excerpt was a little large, we were glad to find something completely fresh and new in that your excerpt was completely original. It was executed well and your vocabulary was great, you didn't make it obvious that you could use big and interesting words but rather used sophisticated language smoothly when necessary. There were a few tiny issues like punctuation and sentences which seemed to drag on a little too long but that's not all that big an issue. It's nice to know that you would be ready to beta chapters if required. As a side note, as one of the authors for Failings, I'm incredibly glad to hear you like the story so much.

Keep an eye on your inbox, I'll be sending you a private message with the orientation package in it soon.

Once again, congratulations on passing!

6/18/2014 #1,372
Lans13

Hi,

I go by the (pen)name Lans13. I originally just wanted to pick Lans, but somebody was quicker as it seems. While the most recent post is almost 1 month old, I hope you are still considering applications!

a piece of writing

This might be a bit unique, but I found no rule against it; so I'm sharing the first few lines of my own story:

Lisa was sure, she just made the biggest mistake in her life. She was sent to this city, to find somebody and she ended up intervening with somebody's life. But how was she supposed to remain passive and let somebody kill himself in front of her? She might get a punishment for this, but to live with the conscience that she just watched as somebody died, knowing that she could have prevented it… that would have been far worse. Finally she figured out which train to take to get to the Ataku College with a few hours delay and then as she was waiting for the train to come, her eyes locked to a guy. He was about the same age as she, around 18 and he was just standing too close to the tracks. Then the train became visible and instead of stepping back, he stepped even closer to the security line. Sure, he could have been an impatient passenger, who wanted to have a seat or at least a possibility to get on the vehicle at all, but she knew better. Lisa had the ability to sense people's general feelings. In case somebody was outraged, but controlled it from the outside, she felt it. Just by looking at people, she could tell how they felt in general. It wasn't anything like reading somebody's mind, but occasionally it had the same effect. Looking at the guy, she felt sadness, which was so deep, what she never felt before. Her body acted on her own, she stepped behind him and when the train was dangerously close, she grabbed his hand and yanked him back, looking at him angrily.

"Don't you dare to jump before the train!" She said, making sure to keep a low voice in order to avoid any unwanted attention.

"What?" He asked back, shocked.

"A lot of people would be late for work/school, not to mention, that some would have awful nightmares, who would see your body getting trenched!"

"What?!" He repeated, then as he realised that she was holding his arm, he tried to pull it away, but she had an iron grip on him.

"You heard me! Just because you had a bad day…" but Lisa couldn't finish it as he interrupted angrily:

"A bad day?! Try a bad life!"

"You are overdramatic."

"Yeah, like you know so much about me!" He snapped, then winced and looked at her frozen, surprised by the fact that she was still holding him.

As the doors closed, the train slowly pulled out of the station, causing Lisa to become even angrier.

"Great, I just missed my train! I have no time to fool around, I'm…"

Then she stopped and she looked at the boy for the first time for real. He was a bit short for a man, about 170cm, which was only a bit taller than Lisa's own height. He had spiky short dark brown hair, which was a bit messy, standing at random directions. He wore black-rimmed glasses, army-green trousers with many pockets, boots and a jumper. He looked as an average guy, nothing special.

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Are you Rey Kurogawa?"

"How do you know my name?"

"So you are! Wow, I never expected to find you so easily. Well, relatively easily, I got lost and I'm travelling since 2 hours, but anyhow…"

"Who exactly are you?" Rey asked, looking at her.

She had long slightly wavy raven hair and strange light green eyes, which almost appeared to be yellow. She had tight, short navy jeans on with purple tennis shoes and a red strapless top. She was just too beautiful for Rey and he couldn't imagine, what a girl like that wanted from him.

"Oh, I'm sorry, my name is Lisa" here she held a short pause before saying "Nogisawa. Just call me Lisa, no need to be formal!"

why I believe you should be a part of the team:

You know there is a saying; working in a team is good, because you always have someone to blame :D But to try to answer it seriously: I'm always writing my stories alone and I have no idea, how it could be to write something together as a team. I'm willing to try it out, as I'm quite sure that holds a huge improvement opportunity. I believe that it can benefit a story a lot, to have more point of views. Also, while I can write funny stories (at least I enjoy my own jokes), I have issues with battle scenes and the general description of a character. I could really use some help on those.

what I intend to do should you pass

So far I have only written Dragon Ball fics, as that is my absolute favourite anime. I plan to write some more about the saiyans :)

Though I'm also familiar with many other anime like Full Metal Alchemist, Inuyasha, Toradora, Gakuen Alice, Pretear, Full Moon etc. I might want to try to write something FMA or Inuyasha related as well.

bonus information

I always keep the deadlines; regardless whether it was forced on me or I picked the date. I write quickly, but I tend to read it through 4-5 times, before I post it. I posted my first story here in January and since then I completed 8 and working on the 9th. 4 for them are relatively long; they consist from more than 36k words.

Truthfully I'm not confident I'm qualified to join. English is not my native language; hence I still have grammar mistakes in my stories – as you have already figured it out by now, I'm sure. But in order to at least fail; I have to try it, haven't I?

7/5/2014 #1,373
kalebxdd

Hey Lans,

First of all, sorry that we took so long to decide. We had quite a few points that needed discussion, so we ended up taking longer than anticipated. This is what we reached as a conclusion.

To pretty much all of us it was clear that you need to work on your writing a lot, but this is mostly in the sense of using grammar, punctuation and formatting. Your actual writing was actually good enough to convince us that you do have a lot of potential. You also still have to work on your flow and balancing description and dialogue, but that's what we 're here for.

As for your reasons: We have no reason to doubt you when you say you can meet deadlines. We've noticed you've finished more than one story, so this really works in your favor. It's kind of unspoken, but the fact that you write for DBZ makes it a lot easier for both you and us to get to writing, as well as getting to know the team, although it might be a good idea to look into some other fandoms as well. We also think it's brave of you to admit that you might not qualify; we don't see it as a weakness, but rather knowing your yourself.

To conclude: We like your writing, but it needs a lot of work. Your reasons are all convincing, so there's nothing to drag you down. In the end, the biggest issues with your application were the amount of flaws in grammar, comma usage and flow. Since we had some trouble reaching a decision, we found an alternative. We would happily see you join the team, however there is a 'but' to it all. We would like you to join TDS but also be placed under the guidance of a mentor. This mentor can help you along the way with everything you could imagine getting help with (from help with your writing writing to the inner workings of the group). I have so graciously decided to take up that part, so if you still want to work with TDS, you can expect me to be your mentor :)

So, if you are okay with getting help from a mentor, that means you.... *drumroll* .... PASSED! Congratulations and welcome to Team Dragon Star! Someone will send you your introduction package shortly.

Oh, and P.S.: it's no problem that English isn't your first language. Some of our most talented souls aren't English by heart. I'm Dutch, Joana is Portuguese and so on. If you hang around with the team a bit and talk to us all on a regular basis, as well as keeping up with your writing, your English will improve drastically. I promise :)

7/8/2014 . Edited by Team Dragon Star, 7/8/2014 #1,374
boboleta
P.S.: I'm the Joana he mentions, by the way. Just wanted to introduce myself since Mr. Kaleb here didn't remember my pen name doesn't have my real name attached as it does on facebook. xD Welcome to the team, Lans!!!
7/8/2014 #1,375
OneOfMillions

Hey, you can call me Miles. I'm an eighteen-year-old guy going to college this fall.

Here's an excerpt of my one-shot:


Naruto and Sasuke don't move until the wind stops blowing.

Then they're gone, tearing across the water faster than bullets. Their clothes are whipped with the speed of their motion, and water vapor stings their skin as they race alongside one another.

One brandishes a sword, and the other a kunai.

Still sprinting, they slash and parry with increasing ferocity until each blow leaves the receiver reeling. After a particularly powerful blow from Sasuke's snake sword, they stop as Naruto skids back in the water.

There is a lull in the battle, and the two warriors stare at each other again, their eyes saying far more than words alone could ever convey.

Then Sasuke's eyes narrow, Naruto grimaces, and the two rush back into combat.

The Uchiha's strikes are enough to put any normal jōnin in a grave with a single hit. His snake sword crackles with lightning, and the keen edge of the blade whistles as he slashes the air again and again.

But this time, he's sure he has won. With a roar, he sweeps his sword in a devastating arc.

The air is all he hits.

Naruto somehow dodges Sasuke's blow by twisting to the side, the blade's unforgiving edge passing harmlessly past his torso. Time stands still for a moment as Sasuke deals with the shock that he missed, and Naruto finally realizes why Sasuke's eyes are a muted grey instead of pitch black.

The world unfreezes, and Sasuke snarls with frustration and rage.

Naruto may be stubborn, but he knows when he needs to retreat. And when he sees the back of his former teammate's throat glow a cherry red, there's no question that now is such a time.

He turns and leaps onto the face of a riverside cliff. His feet barely touch the stone when he looks up, and the world is filled with fire.

Naruto's legs tense, and suddenly he's twenty feet away, watching as the fireball slams into the cliffside, scorching the stone with its heat.

There is no time to rest as Sasuke spits jutsu after jutsu, all aiming for him.

Naruto grits his teeth and dances, weaving through the bolts of flame like it's been rehearsed. Seeing that his attacks aren't working, Sasuke stops.

Then chakra surges through his legs, and he leaps, hurtling straight for the orange-garbed shinobi.

It takes mere seconds for him to see Naruto barreling towards him as well.

Growling, the snake sword readies in his grip, and Naruto does the same with his kunai.

The blades clash, and Sasuke's sword cuts straight through Naruto's weapon, catching him off guard. The broken tip of the kunai twirls in the air before falling to the river below. Naruto stares at his useless stub of a knife, then gasps as the wind his shoved right out of him.

After Sasuke's foot plants itself firmly in his stomach, he flies.

He manages to roll to a stop at the top of the cliff, desperately gasping for air.

A shinobi is always on guard.

The hairs on the back of his neck stand on end, and he jumps back as Sasuke's sword passes through where he was just a moment earlier.

Slash after slash he dodges, unable to truly fight back due to his lack of a weapon. Slowly but surely, after dodging a barrage of slashes, Naruto finds himself backed up against the edge of the cliff.

There is nowhere else to run, and nothing to defend himself with.

Sasuke smirks at Naruto's desperation, then he throws everything he has into one final blow.

The sword is humming with pent-up energy from channeling the Chidori for so long with no release. This strike is something that can't be dodged, and Naruto knows it. He doesn't turn away. In the background, he can hear Sakura screaming his name.

'Sakura-chan . . .'

Click.

That's the sound of ivory against steel. Naruto has caught the sword with his teeth.

As Sasuke's eyes widen and his mouth opens in utter disbelief, Naruto turns his head and gives a mighty heave.

The Uchiha is hurled straight off the cliff and in to the water, sword and all. He goes so fast that he bounces off the surface of the water once, twice, until he manages to flip himself upright and skid to a stop.

Naruto drops down in front of him, his landing causing a series of ripples.

Their expressions are grim as they draw upon the immense power they both hold: a lightning blade against a spiraling spear.

An unspoken command sets them loose, and they clash and their jutsu collide.

Time loses its meaning.

They find themselves somewhere else, somewhere away from the river. A place with white walls and white floors: white further than the eye can see. It's in a dwelling of the soul more than anything else.

The two teens stand there, staring at each other.

"Can you see, Sasuke? Can you see what's in my heart?" Naruto's voice is tired, on the edge of breaking.

There is no answer. Naruto knows that doesn't matter, though. Not one bit.

"I can see you, you know. I see you, and I understand." Naruto stops talking, and for a moment the silence threatens to swallow them whole.

"You could never understand." Sasuke's voice is firm in his denial, unyielding, but he can't fool Naruto. Not now.

The blond merely chuckles softly at his ex-teammate's answer. "You're still saying stuff like that, even now."

Without preamble, Naruto walks forward until he's next to his teammate.

"Do you really have to continue down this path?"

Sasuke merely gives him a cold, Sharingan glare. Naruto snorts. "Oh, who am I kidding? Of course you do."

The Uchiha says nothing, merely observing the blond beside him with a cautious sort of curiosity. Naruto sighs and throws his hands behind his head. "You know I have to stop you when you come. I can't let you kill anyone from Konoha."

Sasuke's glare tightens, and his anger flares. Who was Naruto to tell him any of this? What does he know?

Naruto continues, as though sensing what the Uchiha is thinking, "When you come, take all of your hatred, every bit of it, and focus it on me."

Sasuke can't hide the shock on his face. But then, in this place, he can't hide anything. Neither can Naruto. The blond gives him a side-long look: the same kind of look he had given him during the infiltration of Orochimaru's hideout. It's a staggering gaze, one that pierces all defenses and homes in on the soul.

"After all, I'm the only one who can bear the burden." Naruto turns away, and Sasuke can't stop staring. "But you already knew that."

He did.


Haruno Sakura has a routine.

She gets up at precisely five in the morning, brushes her teeth, takes a shower, and goes straight to the hospital for her rounds.

Over the years, she has become used to the fast pace, the lively atmosphere. Her actions have direct consequences on whether her patients live or die.

It gave her a sense of purpose, doing this every day. Closing the hole in one man's chest, reattaching a woman's arm, unblocking another woman's throat. These were the things she could do. These were the things that she knew.

At five in the afternoon, Sakura leaves the hospital. She takes a different route from the other medics every day without fail, going out the side instead of through the front. Kakashi-sensei always waits for her. He never fails to greet her with a 'Yo!', a finger salute, and a lazy smile.

They walk together, talking about nothing important. It distracts them, and distractions help.

They always stop their chatter when they arrive at the monument.

It's a great, onyx statue, erected six years ago. Two wild-haired men tower over the field. One has a sword buried in his stomach, and the other a kunai in his throat. The Konoha headband is noticeably absent on one of the men.

The inscription at the base reads: In memory of a true hero, and of what he has done for us all.

Rest in peace, Uzumaki Naruto.

Even after six years of visiting every day, Sakura can't stop her heart from ripping in her chest. She lets out a choked sob, then begins to cry.


Why I believe I should be part of the team:

Well, I'm quite good at beta'ing and the like. I can catch numerous grammar mistakes, and I can help with sentence flow if need be. I can also contribute numerous ideas, as I'm an avid fan of the Dragon Ball franchise as well as the Naruto franchise.

But why I want to be a part of the team? Being in a writer's group would be such a great learning opportunity for me, and would help improve my style immensely simply due to the exposure of so many different techniques. That, and I've never written anything with anyone before. Sure, there's 'writing' something with an editor (don't get me wrong, I love editors and what they do), but I feel like it wouldn't be the same as writing something with another writer. You know?


What I intend to do should I pass:

Well, I'll be able to contribute the occasional one-shot since—despite having a summer job—I make it a point to write a little every day. I'll also be able to beta some stories every now and then. I'm familiar enough with Dragon Ball and Naruto to write about them, but not much else. ATLA is a maybe, but I'd need to go back and watch for a bit of inspiration.


Bonus Information: At heart, I am an archer.

I know my bows, I know my arrows. I know the arrows from the head down to the fletching, because I've shot so many different kinds. I know exactly how it feels to draw the string back, to feel the bow straining with all its might against my arm. I know the subtle nuances of the different kinds of bows, how they should be held, how long their arrows should be, how powerful they are.

And I know the feeling of victory and triumph as my missile pierces a target dead-center.

Archery is my passion more than writing is, because it's what I grew up with. My point with this? If anyone has any questions about archery, you have only to ask. I will answer to the best of my ability.

7/8/2014 . Edited 7/8/2014 #1,376
HermioneeBlack

Hi ya..

Reason for applying : I am kind of busy, there are ups and downs for writing I go through. I want my stories to continue and reach an end even if I am too busy.

What I bring to table : I haven't done this before, but I can beta read, I am good with spelling and grammar, or very good with finding the right word to use when it's some one else's writing. I will be constantly available for reading. so I guess I can join marshal team too, if need be.

I will say I am a quality writer - i.e. I punctuate correctly, use correct grammer etc. not that I write riveting stories which leave readers asking for more.. though I would hope some day I will get there.

Ideas: I have some ideas that are in plot bunny state, once I wrote my first story, i realized I need some help to speed up and a perspective other than mine to actually edit the story. so..

I write mostly for HP & Naruto, I am not sure I wanna consider others.

a one shot: The Genin Team

a running story: hatake asylum

I am assuming you PM if you decide to let me in.

I will wait for that.

7/8/2014 #1,377
Kanotari

HermioneeBlack: The Marshaling Squad felt that your current busy schedule indicated that this was not a great time for you to join. We also feel that you didn't read the first post of this thread which described what we need to see in applications for this team. We don't want a link to your fics; we want you to give us a select sample of what you feel is your absolute best writing. Good punctuation and grammar are not selling points; they are expected. What unique things do you bring to the team? (e.g. Can you create unique OCs? Are you skilled at writing battle scenes? Do you write snappy dialogue?) Furthermore, there were grammatical errors in both of the linked fics. Overall, the Marshaling Squad felt that you didn't put enough effort into your application. Please read the initial post in this thread and some other applications to get an idea of what a typical application looks like. I recommend looking at Boboleta's application for an excellent example. We are sorry, but we cannot pass your application at this time. Please do reapply next month and we will reevaluate.

7/8/2014 #1,378
DarkVoid116

OneOfMillions:

We've reviewed your application and reached a consensus.

Overall reviews of your choice to use present tense were mixed, with some graders liking it and some finding it odd, but most felt you handled it well. None of the members found anything glaringly wrong with your grammar or punctuation, although some graders found your usage of italicizes verbs to be weird. There were mild concerns about the fact that you'll be entering college in the fall, and we would've liked to see an example of beta experience. However, we found your reasons to be adequate, and the writing was good enough for a PASS. Congratulations! I'll be sending you an introductory PM shortly.

7/8/2014 #1,379
Cherry Blossom's Age

Hello, everyone! My name is Cherry's Blossom Age but please call me CB. I'm a teenager who is a major tomboy in a lot of categories. To be honest, I believe that I'm a not really an "Awesome" writer but a modest writer (which means to me that I will of the time make about 3 or 4 mistakes which each writing I try)

I think that if I join Team Four Star I'll be able to add my writing silliness to anything that I end up in. And also so I could increase my chances of becoming a Fan Fiction writing legend with lots of followers and favorites. I know I'm relatively a new member but I have actually been around Fanfiction since 2008 just never decided to sign up. (For those who think that is Trolling I believe that it just getting to know others writing without their knowledge)

Oh I almost forgot somethings. I'm could be a great Beta for stories cause I'm what I think someone who will catch a mistake on scene though some seem to avoid my eye even though I actually haven't done it for a story (So I have no example of anything I ever was a Beta for) on FF.Net yet. I'm not really into working for any specific story because all the stories I've read by TDS so far are very amazing. But like I said on my account, I'm a What-If type of person so you could give me a lemon and I would ask "What if it was an orange?"

My preferences are about everything except song-fics but I haven't you guys do one yet so...though I'm more interested in One-Shots but chapter stories are fine. I'm not aware of the weaknesses I may have besides the ones I mention earlier.

For anything bonus, I think I can get one for the fact that I update pretty fast and I could help with other writer's writer block by providing ideas and suggests from my own mind.

Any who here's' a piece of my writing from my story "A Heartplead Echo" It's Naruto fic but it's Sasuke/Sakura.


Sakura stormed into her house after the rainstorm seemed to appear from nowhere. She sat on the step where started to take off her now wet boots with her pink hair dripping to the carpet. But the liquid wasn't just from the rain but from her own tears. The thunder roared making her flinch a little. The lights were turned off so the lightning lit up the entire house. Her parents were most likely working the late shift. She walked quickly to her room where she almost slammed to door before falling against it. She sank to ground curling up crying out loud. She didn't know how to stop and sounded as if she was competing with the thunder.

"Why! Why! Why! Why!" She chanted over in her mind, shivering with each letter. She balled her fist and held back from punching the ground, which she knew could destroy her own house. She remember the day which only brought more tears to her eyes.

After almost 3 years since he left her after her confession, Sasuke came back to the Leaf. Tsunade said since he had killed the rogue Orochimaru along with his partner, Kabuto, that he would be forgiven only he would have to stay in the village for about 3 weeks for his probation. Sakura could almost recall the look of happiness that appeared on Naruto's face when he saw his best friend/rival had returned. She had left the room without saying a word to the black-haired Uchiha. She wandered about the village till the rainstorm had started and which she decided to return to her home.

A single thunder crash made her think back to the night he had left.

"What are you doing, wandering around here at night?" He asked with his back turned to her five feet away.

"Because in order to get out of the village, you have to take this road." She replied softly yet honestly.

"Go home and sleep." He instructed before walking not even 5 steps more.

Right as he was about to take another step, she cut it off. "Why?" She said it almost in a whisper but he heard it enough to stop. Tears rolled down both of her cheeks. "Why won't you ever tell me anything? Why do stay so silent? Why won't you say anything to me?"

He didn't turn to her. "Why do I have to tell you anything?" He sounded annoyed as she stared at him. "It's none of your business. Stop concerning yourself with what I do."

Sakura look only got worse as she put the pieces together. A dark smile crept on her face as she gazed down. "You've....you've always hated me, huh?" She then and looked up to him with the tears visible. "D-Do you remember the day we became Genin and when our three-member team was first chosen? The day you and I were here alone, you got mad at me, remember?"

"I don't remember." Was his response, which changed her face expression before it reverted back to her previous one. She knew he probably lying to spare her feelings...

"Makes sense. That was something that happened awhile back anyway." She stated instead of catching his lie. Soon her grim smile turned into half of a real one. "But that's the day everything when everything started...you and I...and also Naruto and Kakashi-Sensei. The four of us completed a number of missions together. They were tough and a lot of work...but above all, it was so much fun!" She tried to sound cheerful but it failed but she kept up the act. "I know about you clan but revenge...It won't make anyone happy. No one. Neither you...or I." The moon was covered by the clouds as she finished the statement.

After seconds of silence, Sasuke spoke. "Just as I thought." The words made her look to him. "I'm different from you guys. I walk a different path than you guys. I've tried to think that it was my path to do the things we've done up until now. The four of us did things together, but my heart chose revenge in the end. That's my purpose in life. I can't become like you or Naruto."

Hurt burned inside her after he stopped. How could he...how could he...was he gonna.. "Are you gonna choose to be all alone again?!" She asked, her voice raising slightly. With all the questions she wanted to ask him, that one came out. "On that day, you taught me that solitude is painful! I understand that now. I have a family, and I have friends but if your gone...it will be the same to me as being all alone!" A pool of tears sprang from her eyes and on to the ground while her hands clenched over her heart to keep it from going into parts.

"From here on...A new path will open for all of us." Sasuke said not seeing the torture he was doing to her.

That was it. That the final straw. "I..I.." It was now or never or she might lose it. Her heart thumped as her mouth flung the words as fast her voice could say them. "I love you so much I can't even stand it! If you stay with me, then I'll make sure you don't regret it! Everyday would be a joy and we'd be so happy. I'd do anything for you, Sasuke! So please, don't walk away! I-I'll even help with your revenge! I'd do whatever it take to happen I swear! So stay here...with me. And if you can't...." She did a .5 second thinking process before saying something that was pure desperation and heartbreak. "Take me with you!"

"You.." Sasuke started turning around slightly making her stare into the onyx eyes that she had fell in love with. "You really are annoying."

At that precise moment when his sentence stopped, everything froze and her heart broke right inside of her as he turned back around to leave. Her face dropped into a powerful frown. All her hope of talking it out had just went to the shadows. It was like everything went into slow motion. Sakura could almost hear the crash of it as it dissolved into pain and agony. If anything, she was ready to just die right there and then.

Sakura covered her ears as she tried to block out the flashback but it kept going along with lightning. "No..."

"Don't leave me!" Sakura exclaimed going after him. She wasn't let it end like this. "If you go I'll scream!"

Sasuke shadowed behind her which she knew, feeling his presence behind which made her stop walking. She turned around and looked him right in the eyes. Which he stared back before pulling her towards him and kissing her firmly on the lips making her cheeks flare up red but she kissed back. It was her first kiss and it would have been a dream come true if only...

"Stop it..." Sakura said softly closing her eyes to stop the image.

Sasuke let out and kissed her forehead giving her a soft hug. She hugged him back lightly. "Sakura..." He whispered into the top her head while her head was on his chest . The pieces of her heart seemed to be trying to be brought back together. "Thank you for everything."

A crash. That's all she heard as she blacked out was her heart remains and love being shattered once again into pieces that couldn't be put back together.

"I said stop it!" Sakura cried out along with a thunder crash. "I can't take it anymore! I can't take it!"

She stood and ran out the room but tripped over a table leg falling hard to ground. She laid and cried for awhile as the storm started to finish. Finally, getting some of herself back, she stood and saw that it was 1:00 in the morning. Sakura walked back into her room and grabbed her gray bag. Not even stopping to think, she threw a few things in before glancing at her picture of the team that she picked up before a scowl appeared on her face. It meant nothing anymore...nothing at all. Sakura grabbed the picture and threw it at the ground listening to the glass breaking it and walked away without another word.

- - -


Well I guess that's about it. I hope you take this into consideration. Thank you for you time! Ps: If there are any mistakes please let me know!

7/19/2014 #1,380
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