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  • This is the third draft of a story prompted by Helel.

    A soldier wakes up on the battlefield after being knocked unconscious, and the terrors he witnesses there are the least of his problems, as he is unknowingly stalked by a monstrous undead being.

    Rules:

    • 6000 words or less
    • The story has to take place in Medieval age or earlier
    • Optional: utilize Early Modern English where possible

    I've kicked around the title of "What's Your Name?" How does that sound?


    Everything would be so easy, Papal Legate Anselm had said. Our crusade would fight with the power of Christ against the pagans and heretics to the East. We would be victorious.

    I didn't want to go fight the pagans, but Heinrich and Wilhelm said we had to. Pope Celestine guaranteed us our freedom if we fought in the Northern Crusades. His Holiness granted us the same indulgences as those who went to fight for the Holy Land. Absolution for all the sins we would commit during the crusade and for all our sins if we die. There would be loot for all. Legate Anselm said that their land is rich in meat, honey, grain, and birds. Our Duke even promised to grant land to the bravest hundred. This was our chance to become free and be landowners with slaves of our own.

    That was before I woke up buried in Heinrich's entrails. I threw up, sobbing. He had been cleaved like a pig by one of their barbarian swords. The horrible stench of gore was all around me. My head felt like it was bursting, and blood was flowing down my face. When I tried to move, I saw bright stars and became dizzy. I looked around, making sure that the enemy wasn't near. Fortunately, the pagans were running after the retreating remnant of Christ's soldiers.

    My helmet was so hot in the Summer heat. I took it off to examine it and saw the massive dent left by a heathen war hammer. What was the point of wearing it? I tossed it aside, and my padded armor followed.

    I was so confused that all I could do was lie back down. By the time I felt I could move, the savages were plundering our dead. Blood had turned the ground into sticky mud, and the entrails made it slick. Those who still lived were run through with spears first. The remnants of our Army fled towards the setting sun, the direction back home. Heathens chased them with their savage cries and the whistle of their sling bullets. To the East lay a forest. Death at the hands of some looting infidel had no appeal for me. I turned my back to my fellow soldiers in Christ and went to hide.

    The forest shade was cool relief. Then I began to hear voices. "Hermann," cried one. "Come this way. Come quickly." I thought it was Wilhelm, but the accursed ringing in my ears made it hard to recognize my own brother. When I tried to follow his voice through the trees, it always seemed to come from a different direction. Soon, I was lost. Then Wilhelm's voice stopped.

    By now, I was hungry, tired, and parched. Acorns filled my stomach, bitter or not. They didn't quench my thirst. Amid the howls and growls of wild beasts, I heard singing and splashing.

    The forest grew around me as I followed the sounds. When I reached the river, I spied around carefully. All I saw a basket of laundry and clothes spread out on tree branches to dry. I scanned the water, and my eyes met those of a woman trying to hide behind a bunch of reeds. "Come out, silly," I laughed.

    She moved away from the reeds and stood in the middle of the river. "Please, my Lord. Don't hurt me."

    I had no interest in hurting her. Truth be told, I was so exhausted and injured from the battle that I was afraid of her killing me. "Show me your hands," I said, clutching my ax.

    When she stood up in the water. I saw that her hands were empty, and her wet clothes revealed far more. This was no hooked nosed, yellow skin, bale of hay tied in the middle Slav woman. Her features and skin were fair, with eyes of cornflower blue and hair like pure gold. A heathen cross sat between the most marvelously sculpted bosoms. "Stay back."

    "I only want to drink and to bathe," I said, bending over and drinking before disrobing and entering the water. That was God's truth. Even if the urge had come to us both, I would not have been able. Though I must admit that I had never seen a woman more beautiful than her. It was as if she had been crafted by God's perfect hand.

    Tossing my clothes and ax in a pile, I entered the water. It was like a magic healing potion. All the tension and pain gently faded as the shining water washed it away. I felt more alive than I ever had been in my life. Colors were deeper. I could feel every vibration and notice every look or touch.

    "What is your name," she called.

    "Hermann," I said, drifting blissfully. Little bubbles tingled through every part of me. All my pain and problems had ceased to exist. "What is your name?"

    "Maria."

    "After the Mother of God. The name suits your beauty and grace." It was a befitting name, for no woman save the Mother of God could be as lovely. She swam closer, looking at me. "Are you Varangian," she asked in her strange Kievan Rus words.

    "What is a Varangian?"

    "The Danes."

    I shook my head as I lazily floated and scrubbed my sweat and stink away. "Poland."

    She swam closer, tracing her finger down one of my scars. "Do you fight Danes?" All my nerves were on fire, and her touch on my skin felt delicious. The muscles throughout my entire body relaxed. My soul had risen from my body and was being cradled to sleep by God, shielded from all worldly fear, anger, and pain.

    "I fight all enemies of the one True Church and our Holy Father in Rome." Once, I had meant every word of that. Now, the solace I drew from this place was all that mattered.

    She looked at me with complete confusion. Some of her words I knew, but many I didn't. Could she understand me? "Danes do evil," she finally said. "They steal Christians and kill for fun."

    I was in a cocoon of pure bliss and contentment. "That was a long time ago. The Danes and Swedes are now good Christian folk. They fight beside us in this Holy Crusade."

    "Long for you. Not long for me."

    Everything felt soft and light, and all was right with the world. No longer was I shy and frightened Hermann, too afraid to talk to a maiden. Her presence made me feel unstoppable like I could do anything. Part of me knew that being here with her wasn't a good idea, but that part seemed silly and distant. Her presence felt better than any beer or mead I ever had. I couldn't think straight, which was actually quite pleasant.

    She kissed me delicately before stepping back. This was true love, and it was Heaven on earth. I had never felt more alive and right in my life. It was if a piece of me that was missing my entire life was finally returned, and I was whole again. My entire being focused on the one primal urge. I smiled. "You are such a beauty, like a perfect flower."

    She took off her bodice and flung it onto the river bank. Her rosebuds were perfect pink jewels. I had seen many women and had some, but none could compare to her perfection. She led me by one finger into the cool deep. I felt myself being taken, and then she took off her dress and tossed it by her bodice.

    When I held her, she was warm and lovely. Our mouths met. If I could have created the perfect woman and perfect moment, this is what it would be. Soon my thundering loins met hers as her long hair wrapped about me. As I neared paradise, I could feel that her hair was now about my neck and choking me. When I tried to pull myself away, my loins held fast inside her as if by the bite of a mighty dog. What had been joy turned into pain and then to torture.

    She pulled me down under the water. With both of us at the bottom of the river, the very breath of life escaped me. Worms crawled in and out of her once lovely cheeks. She was now gaunt and gray, and her velvet skin now felt hard as boot leather and slimy as spoiled hagfish. Those locks of gold tarnished to moldy green and her sky blue eyes were now nightmare black. When she opened her mouth to speak, her teeth were blackened and rotting. Yet the witch still spoke. "Do you not recognize me, Varangian?"

    Horrified, I shook my head, I tried to struggle, but I was too weak to break free. All my pain and exhaustion had returned, my body and joints now ached. Despair swept over me and drowned me even faster than the water. I silently prayed for deliverance from Satan's spawn.

    "You did this to me. I was washing clothes. You beasts took me and used me, but that wasn't enough for you. Just for fun, you held me under the water until I drowned, but I can't die."

    "Not me, not me, Poland." I mouthed. Against all my will, I could no longer hold my breath. My mouth and chest heaved and flooded my lungs with water. I was already at the very gates of Hell.

    "You fight with Danes. You are Dane. I will kill you all until I have vengeance on everyone who did this to me."

    * * *

    They told us to ration our water. That was easy for our Sturmbannführer back at headquarters to say. By now, my canteen was empty. We were hunting, beating the forest in the summer heat to flush out partisans and Jews. Kilometer after kilometer of sweating and crawling in the dirt to avoid Red Army bullets. I crept low along the exposed edge of the forest, trying to avoid being seen. As if to remind me, I watched a Shturmovik try to rake a Panzer IV with its guns, only to miss laughably. Our tank rumbled on, illustrating why the Reich would be victorious.

    As I sat in a hollow behind bushes, I pulled out my field glasses and scanned everything around me. I saw kilometer after kilometer of swamp, marsh, and forest. Blood and soil. With our superior technology, we would clear this land. Once the area had been cleaned of impure blood, it would become a breadbasket for the Reich.

    When I heard the sound of singing and water splashing, I followed it. A woman was washing clothes in the river. No washboard, no washing powder. These barbaric Asians hadn't changed in centuries. I crawled on my belly to get closer and saw that she was no ordinary Bolshevik sow. This was a fine Aryan. Her blonde hair, sapphire eyes, and fine figure would have been the envy of the League of German Girls. I definitely wanted to plow her garden.

    She slipped into the water, trying to hide behind the reeds, but those eyes shined like stars.

    I filled my canteen, watching her. Finally, I asked, "What's your name?"



    Written by DrBobSmith
    Content is available under CC BY-SA

      Loading editor
    • Everything would be so easy, Papal Legate Anselm [had] said [*]. Our crusade would fight with the power of Christ against the pagans and heretics to the East. We would be victorious, and the pagan's land is rich in meat, honey, grain, and birds.

      Heinrich, Wilhelm, and I [had] looked at each other [*]. Our family had nothing. Legate Anselm said that this is [was going to be/ would be] an occasion for us to save our souls and become landowners at the same time. The Pope had even promised us the same indulgences as those who went to fight for the Holy Land. [;] Absolution for all the sins we would commit during the crusade and for all our sins if we die. How could we lose?

      That was before I woke up buried in Heinrich's entrails. I threw up, sobbing. He had been cleaved like a pig by one of their barbarian swords. The horrible stench of gore was all around me. My head felt like it was bursting, and I could feel blood was flowing down my face. When I tried to move, I saw bright stars and became dizzy. I looked around, making sure that the enemy wasn't near. Fortunately, the pagans were running after the retreating remnant of Christ's soldiers.

      My helmet was so hot in the Summer heat. [you should consider dropping another hint or two about the temperature. It’s a good bit of atmosphere building] I took it off to examine it and saw the massive dent left by a heathen war hammer. What was the point of wearing it,[?]  and [I] tossed it and my thick padded armor away.

      I was so confused that all I could do was lay[lie] back down. By the time I felt I could move, the savages were plundering our dead. Those who still lived were run through with spears first. Others were following our Army towards the setting sun, the direction back home. To the East lay a forest. Death at the hands of some looting infidel had no appeal for me. I turned my back to my fellow Crusaders and went to hide.

      As soon as I got into the forest, I heard voices. "Hermann," cried one. "Come this way. Come quickly." I thought it was Wilhelm, but this [the] accursed ringing in my ears made it hard to recognize my own brother. When I tried to follow his voice through the trees, it always seemed to come from a different direction. Soon, I was lost. Then Wilhelm's voice stopped.

      By now, I was hungry, tired and parched. Acorns filled my stomach, bitter or not. They didn't quench my thirst. The howls and growls of wild beasts surrounded me. Amid all of this, I heard singing and splashing.

      The forest grew around me as I followed the sounds. When I reached the river, I spied around carefully. All I saw [was] a basket of laundry and clothes spread out on tree branches to dry. I scanned the water, and my eyes met those of a woman trying to hide behind a bunch of reeds. "Come out, silly," I laughed.

      She moved away from the reeds and stood in the middle of the river. "Don't hurt me."

      "Show me your hands," I said, clutching my ax.

      When she stood up in the water. I saw that her hands were empty, and her wet clothes revealed far more. This was no big nosed, yellow skin, sack of hay tied in the middle Slav woman. Her features and skin were fair, with bright green eyes and hair the color of gold. A heathen cross sat between the most marvelously sculpted bosoms. "Stay back there."

      "I only want to drink and to bathe," I said, bending over and drinking before disrobing and entering the water. That is what I said, though truthfully, I did want more.

      Tossing my clothes and ax in a pile, I entered the water. It felt so marvelous, so refreshing. I enjoyed washing the sweat and the stench off.

      "What is your name," she called.

      "Hermann."

      She shrugged. "Army man. It fits. Not after a Saint."

      "What is your name?"

      "Maria, after the Mother of God." She swam closer, looking at me as I scrubbed. "Those are great scars."

      "From swords, in battle."

      She swam closer, tracing her fingers down one. "And such big muscles." She looked up at me. "You know, you are kind of cute," and kissed me delicately before stepping back.

      I smiled. This would be better than I had thought, and the sin had to be less if she wanted it too. Not that it mattered. I was still absolved. "You are such a beauty, like a perfect flower."

      She smiled too, as she took off her bodice and flung it onto the river bank. Her rose buds were perfect pink jewels. "Come where it's deep and cool."

      How could I resist? She led me by one finger, then took off her dress and tossed it by her bodice.

      When I held her, she was warm and lovely. Our mouths met. Soon my thundering loins met hers as her long hair wrapped about me. As I neared paradise, I could feel that her hair was now about my neck and choking me. When I tried to pull myself away, my loins held fast inside her as if by the bite of a mighty dog. What had been joy turned into pain and then to torture.

      She pulled me down under the water. With both of us under the water, the very breath of life escaped me. Yet the witch still spoke. "Do you not recognize me, Army man?"

      I shook my head, silently praying for deliverance from this terror.

      "You are the one who made me a rusalka. I was washing clothes. You beasts took me and used me, but that wasn't enough for you. Just for fun, you held me under the water until I died."

      "Not me, not me," I mouthed.

      "Then I will kill you all until I have vengeance on the one who did this to me."

      • * *

      They told us to ration our water. That was easy for Field Marshall von Küchler to pronounce from the comfort of his base. By now, my canteen was empty. My orders were to scout the edge of the forest for enemy troop movement. Scouting meant kilometer after kilometer walking sweltered in the Summer [summer] heat. The weight of my rifle killed my back as I crept low along the edge of the forest, trying to avoid any Red Army bullets.

      I heard the sound of singing and water splashing and followed it. A woman was washing clothes in the river. No washboard, no washing powder. These barbaric Asians hadn't changed in centuries. I crawled on my belly to get closer and saw that she was no ordinary Russian sow. This was a fine Aryan. Her blonde hair, green eyes, and gorgeous figure would have been the envy of the League of German Girls.

      She slipped into the water, trying to hide behind the reeds, but those eyes shined like stars.

      I filled my canteen, watching her. Finally, I asked, "What's your name?"

      -

      Mechanical issues – you get the tense wrong at first. I’ve marked sentence with a * to show these, but once you get going those kinds of mistakes die away. Overall, I got the sense you wrote this quite quickly but once you got going, you focused and started making fewer mistakes. You should pay attention to sentence structure and keep the tenses consistent. Nothing too egregious though. Just little slips.

      Style issues – You miss a fair few opportunities to wring the most out of your ideas. The smell of rotting carcasses, the distant sound of the battlefield, some more details about the animals he hears, etc. You pay a lot of attention to the woman, giving the world around the narrator a similar level of creative description (just a phrase here or there) would help give a greater sense of place. The forest, for example, is lacking a bit of attention, as is the initial battlefield he wakes up in.

      Plot issues – Short and sweet, there’s not too much to criticise or point out here. You get it done quickly and that’s a really important thing to do.

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    • Christian,

      I wrote the story using a Leshy as the monster and then wasn't satisfied. If you disregarded details like Hermann was about to be tortured and then be eaten, it would have actually been rather cute. The point where I went to a complete stream of consciousness rewrite was the point where you noted the story is improving. Ironically, I spent far less time on the second part of the story than the first.

      You are absolutely right on the lack of detail on the battlefield and the forest. I can picture a woman in the river. I don't know that sort of forest or that sort of battle. What little I could channel came from one Wikipedia article on an old-growth forest on the Polish-Bielorussian border and the old movie Alexander Nevsky. I'll take this as a growth opportunity.

        Loading editor
    • Okay so, the whole technical aspect was covered by Christian so I'm not going to go into that. I'll dive straight to the plot instead. 

      I like your use of a unique undead creature, even though it's more of a spirit than a creature but I guess Hel will let it slide. I also like how you've tried to keep it as close as possible to the actual folk tales of said spirit. However I think you should avoid the use of the word "Rusalka" in your story because until the nineteenth century Rusalkas were regarded as something of a Slavic Nymph kind of spirit rather than a vengeful water ghost. This came about fairly recently. So if anything, ditch the name. 

      Also, according to records in order to be part of a crusading order you had to be properly religious and of good public record and character. So I kind of doubt the possibility of rape being perpetrated by members of the Teutonic Order, sure, slaughter of infidels (none including none catholic christians) would've been a thing, rape, I'm not so certain. You can let that slide though, cause most people only know that the crusading orders were basically warrior monks or soldiers with a religious goal.

      The ending felt particularly wrong. As much as people might've been racist back then, Germans wouldn't call themselves "Aryans". 

      The term "Arya" means "Indo-Iranian peoples" in Sanskrit. It's the name of the people who were the ancestors of Indo-European ethnic groups in India and of various Iranic people groups. There's a hypothesis that states that the name means "Noble" but either way it was a south-western name and word until the Nazis found it, minsunderstood it, twisted it and brought it back to Europe under the guise of social darwinism. 

      Back in the 12th century Germans didn't have much of a national or ethnic identity but I'm certain a German man of the time wouldn't call himself Aryan either way. He might've referred to himself as a German or even a Roman considering the whole mess that was The Holy Roman Empire no Aryan though. 

      Also considering the geographic location of the Teutonic Order(s), the Slavic women they most likely have encountered were North Russians/Ruthenians and North Polish both have quite the similar phenotype to the German folk and the neighboring Scandinavians. Also, the Rus' were known for their "Rus" hair which is like a light brown/dark blonde hair color. I don't see how that whole "Oh wow, she looks so german" well of course, she lives in Northern bloody Europe, or rather lived. 

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    • Bloody Spaghetti,

      Usually, I agree with you. I'm curious about the part after the asterisks. Yes, the guy uses the word Aryan, but he is carrying a rifle and is avoiding Red Army bullets. He also mentions the "League of German Girls." (Bund Deutscher Mädel).

      Was that just a fast read or is it legitimately not clear that our rusalka is still at it a good eight centuries later? If so, I'll add a couple of additional clues. (Looks at watch and/or compass, that sort of things).

        Loading editor
    • DrBobSmith wrote:
      Bloody Spaghetti,

      Usually, I agree with you. I'm curious about the part after the asterisks. Yes, the guy uses the word Aryan, but he is carrying a rifle and is avoiding Red Army bullets. He also mentions the "League of German Girls." (Bund Deutscher Mädel).

      Was that just a fast read or is it legitimately not clear that our rusalka is still at it a good eight centuries later? If so, I'll add a couple of additional clues. (Looks at watch and/or compass, that sort of things).

      Oh I didn't notice the time lapse because I thought you were just using modern language for previous times and because I was reading a little too fast. I guess it wasn't exactly clear... (I also had no idea in regards to the LGG, mostly because of language barrier). So I guess it's fine. 

        Loading editor
    • I like the story. Not a big fan of the word choices within your dialogue between the rusalka and the soldier. The phrasing seems off for the time period you're going for. It could just be me though. In my head I am imaginging the two voices back and forth and something about it sounds wrong. I wish I could pin-point what exactly it is though.

        Loading editor
    • The story is now at second draft. I've tried to address the issues found in the comments. Any and all reviews would be very much appreciated. It needs something else, but it's hard to find it and harder to do it.

      I've kicked around the title of "What's Your Name?"

        Loading editor
    • Not much to said that hasn't already been said, but still a bit left.

      I have a feeling like there are massive parts of the story missing. The ease with which Hermann fell into a trap seems a bit odd. The "stalking" part is fairly non-existent, and the depiction of the Rusalka (for the lack of better term) isn't really as monstrous.

      Dialogue is in places a bit anachronistic, and a bit crude in some places. A bit of a brow tilter, really.

      Maybe it's just my penchant for longer pieces, but, as I said, it feels like a lot was left unsaid.

        Loading editor
    • I'm with Locked on the dialogue in the river. The rusalka sounds very modern, until they're underwater that is. The rest of the writing is good as always though. Otherwise, I might add to the pain of drowning, increase that threat level a bit. I wasn't uber scared by this piece, so I'd advise making the peak just a little stronger. And the name works well.

        Loading editor
    • I have listened to your feedback, and have rewritten that whole middle section of Hermann and Maria. I think the dialogue is better. The story is around 500 words longer, but I've eliminated almost all of that dialogue.

      This is being far harder than I thought it would be. It is the first creepypasta I have written that takes place before the 21st century. While I thought my knowledge of history was above average, clearly I don't know enough to bring it to life.

      Bonus points to anyone who figures out what I used for inspiration.

        Loading editor
    • Well it certainly feels less like it's from a modern rom-com, nice. This is just me being picky, but perhaps have Hermann respond with "And yours?" instead of repeating "What is your name?".

      Still, now it just seems a little flip-floppity how one minute she's saying "Stay back.", and the next she's all over him without another word. Perhaps have her ask a bit about the war again, it seems like a good lead in to the touching of his scars. I didn't have a problem with it existing last time, rather it was the way she spoke that felt unrealistic.

        Loading editor
    • Red Nova Tyrant,

      Thank you for the review. It's not right until it's right.

      Your note about discussing the scar and the fighting gave me what I hope is a good idea.

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    • My only critique was already addressed by Red. I like this draft far better though. Good work.

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    • A FANDOM user
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