I thought this was a great chapter. Exciting, mysterious, and effectively moving your plot forward. The Sleeper, the moment where Ascyra invokes ancient, obscure magic to stop him, the mystical sword that Geor wields, were all awesome.
Couple of notes/suggestion.
First, I know that, with respect to the first chapter, I said I liked the complicated storytelling, with the descriptions of the magic, the civilization, and the other details integrated into the narrative. But I don't think it works so well in this particular chapter, which consists almost entirely of a straightforward action sequence. Instead, it slows down the action for me when I have to stop to read about the Shores of Cranta and the last kyr magus. Let me be clear: I want you to tell me about these things, which are fascinating parts of this story. Just not in the middle of a fight. It's enough I know the dude's a zombie. When he's dead, you can tell me about the history.
In fact, if you wanted to make it a longer chapter and tell me more about the history of the Sleepers and the kyr magus and all the rest, I'd be fine with it.
I thought the ending was a little abrupt -- unless the innkeeper set it up, he has a surprising lack of reaction to what seemed like an unusual event. Also, he actually witnessed little Ascyra doing magic, but he had no apparent reaction. That seemed odd. It seemed like the conclusion of the scene could have been a bit more detailed, particularly with the reactions of the 3 people concerned. (Even though I understand you're saving some of the debriefing for the next chapter.)
"Ranagol, the ram-headed God, it's a Sleeper! Hadn't Lady Alidax sent them all to eternal sleep with her last command?"
(I hope the spacing works with the above quotation.) This is a great line, but, at the same time, a little awkward. Specifically, if they are Sleepers, then sending them to Eternal Sleep struck me as a bit much. (I got the pun, but, for my part, I'd rather see a clearer distinction in terminology between an inferi/zombie state and "death" death? E.g., "true death." Or a term you use yourself later on: "eternal peace.")
Let me say again that I think this can be an absolutely outstanding story. I apologize if I seem overly picky -- again, I thought that was what you were looking for, so here it is.
I hope you will consider devoting a chapter, or a part of a chapter, to backstory. The backstory may (as I said before) be totally familiar to readers familiar with the source material, but, even it it is, you can make it your own. It is fascinating.
Right back at round 2 of your suggestions.
The lack of reaction to the events can be attributed to the simple magic called Mist of Forgetfullness geor had applied after the fight. See last paragraph. He led the girl away before anyone could assess what had just happened and his magic made the eyewitnesses forget about it.
You are right, the tem "eternal peace" is much better on its place in that sentence.
I will seriously rewrite this chapter later on in order to accommodate your remarks on the flow. You are absolutely right; that way it should read better.
Once again, many thanks for your valuable remarks. WIth your help, I will be able to write the STORY I always wanted to write.
Zoltan, I am so happy to see you writing a story like this. I will read the other chapters as soon as I am able.
Perhaps a little bit of an introduction to orient the reader to the time, place and proper nouns involved in the story. The fantasy world of this Hungarian writer may not be terribly familiar to most American and Brit readers. It’s unclear, for example, whether this inn is located in a desert or elsewhere, or what a Pyarron or a Jaad is, and so forth.
The language, for the most part, has a translated-from-the-Magyar (or Turkish, or some other not-too-familiar language) quality that actually works rather well. I gathered that you intentionally tried to make it stylistically consistent with the source material. This may be a matter of personal taste, but I thought the unusually complicated sentence structure and particular odd observations (like the reference to Pyarron’s 28 verb tenses) contributed to the sense that we were reading of events in another world.
Which is why the occasional intrusion of American slang ("done deal" "rip him off" "Not going to happen, effendi" "wardrobe malfunction") were so jarring and felt so out-of-place.
The glance the innkeeper cast at him was far from friendly, the smile on the jaad's face, however, a perfect mask." – ---- I found this sentence confusing. The POV is that of Geor, the soldier of fortune (as I took him to be). If the jaad was smiling, how was the glance "far from friendly"? Did the jaad’s smile fail to mask his hostility? If so, what did Geor see that manifested the innkeeper’s unfriendliness?
The jaad had enough self control to reach slowly for the money - a quick movement could be easily misunderstood for an attack on this part of Ynev and punished with a swift movement of a knife or sword bringing more or less painful death.
Why? Are people in this part of Ynev unusually jumpy? So jumpy that they worry about an innkeeper attacking a patron who has just paid him?
The lack of the jaad shawl on her head clearly indicating her tender age, her purity still not spoiled by monthly female troubles. ------- "Monthly female troubles" made me wince, and I doubt I’m alone in this. Also, the word "purity" is ambiguous. Unless your fictional people have particular rituals and beliefs relating to menstruation (e.g., one becomes unclean at the onset of menstruation and has to do something to ritually cleanse oneself), the sentence is odd. Purity, with reference to a young woman, is usually a euphemism for virginity – but that obviously is not what you mean. So, without belaboring this, I would suggest this: the kiddo is a young prepubescent girl, probably about 10 or 11, no? Why not just put a period after "tender age" and be done with it.
I don’t know why it’s a big deal that the kid is a Pyarronian (I’ll have to keep reading), but, obviously, it is significant that Geor realizes this. I would describe it simply. China-white skin, blue eyes and yellow hair are classic Pyarronian coloring. (I had to google forget-me-not, and learned that the darned things can be blue or violet – you might want to consider describing her eyes with a more familiar word for – I guess – blue.)
One note on her hair: you describe a
straw-coloured halo of unkempt, shoulder-length hair.A halo is usually a ring of hair, or, at least, hair warn atop one’s head. If, something like the late Amy Winehouse, she is wearing it up in a halo and also has hair hanging down, that probably warrants more description.
You might want to consider first describing the girl – just his sensory perceptions. Then describe his reactions to her.
What’s the deal with the warning signals?
Also, he touches the kid to straighten her dress. That might be okay if she’s a little girl. If she’s of an age to be viewed as a sexual partner, it would be advance. The gesture bothered me, because the girl’s role was ambiguous.
I liked the bit about the magic trick. Nice touch.What do you know about pain, real pain, oh child? ---- Seriously. The kid is a child slave. Probably more than he does.
He wants to sell me the virginity of this poor child for a golden ducate.
What makes him think this kid is a virgin. If she’s so comely, and so expensive and rare, and a slave, I’d expect she was abused and prostituted for years. If her owner expects to specifically make money off her as a virgin, he wouldn’t sell anything so valuable as casually as he seems to be doing. Love the Black Scorpio clan. (Are they from the original source?)When the entrance door broke off its hinges, it didn't even surprise him. Why do I always have to be right?
Sure as heck surprised me.
I hope this did not come across as negative. You asked that revewers make suggestions; I tried to do that. I think this is a great beginning for a story, and I look forward to reading the other chapters.
Wow. Just... WOW!
So many good ideas and so many things to correct....
First of all, I completely agree with your point that a description of the foreign names, countries, civiizations and words is absolutely needed. In fact, I have already been preparing an Encyclopaedie Ynevica, the first draft of which I've just uploaded to this story. I will be expanding it as my time allows, but I will be trying explain here everything to my best knowledge.
Of American slang and mice. Quite right your are, Master Jedi. On second thought, they need to go. There are so many nice phrases I can put it in there; I just have to find the best ones. I need to admit that I wasn't thinking while writing the first four chapters - I wrote them in six hours in one go, because I was hit by a baseball bat called INSPIRATION.
The inkeeper tried to rip off Geor and didn't succeed. The jaad have no friends except gold. They are merchants in blood; they will be all attention and all friendliness as long as they smell money on you.
Of jumpiness. The Emirate of Madab el-Sobira is the gathering point of all kinds of fortune seekers as seen in paragraph 3. A tough place for tough men and mistakes are not tolerated, more often than not paid for with blood.
The girl. Her Pyarronian origin is of paramount importance. Six hundred years after the Big Burn, Pyrarron - and its people, knowledge and magic - is thought to have disappered in the bottomless chasm of History and Time. She has recently been acquired by the innkeeper - her knowledge of the jaad language is still not perfect and her skin still didn't obtain the usual deep tan from the relentless Southern sun. She's about 11-12 years of age. So far treated well by her owner, she works as a waitress in the inn and nothing else, but if the jaad can make big money on her, he will force her to do things. In the light of this, I can't agree with your remark on who had seen how much pain. As the story unfolds, you will get to know more of Geor's life and you will see I was right. But, you are right, this sentence can be interpreted several ways.
Elizabeth, your points surely haven't come across as negative. On the contrary, they will help me make this baby a really good story, much better than I could have ever made it on my own. From the mouth of such a terrific writer, even CC like this sounds as kudos. Thank you for your valuable time and suggestions.
Why is it that you can't have a simple drink in the local pub without some overdressed mountain trying to kill you??? Huh? Why is that? HE!HE!HE!
Well, you've jumped right into the Q&A period already: Who is she, how'd she know what to do, why was this guy still walking around looking to kill our hero?
Stay tuned, boys & girls, I'm sure Uncle Z will be forthcoming will all the answers ( and accompaning action ) in future chapters!
"Don't ask me, here I am minding my own business and someone decides to throw a living dead at me" Moaning Myrtle, slightly paraphrased :D
Questions, questions, all tough to answer, until the very last chapter. There will be more action to come, rest assured!
Well, this is the start of a real adventure, I can just tell! . . .
and of course, I'm hooked!
Very tight writing, which got the ideas out and planted without long, tiresome blathering, as some authors do; just get on with it and we'll pick up the facts as we go along!
only 2 tiny grammar/translation of phrase boo-boos:
and he satisfiedly wiped his mouth . . . .and he, satisfied, wiiped his mouth
and only whose who dared to tempt their fate were walking . . . drop their
Can't wait for the next chapter! this looks like a winner!
You don't have to wait long for the next one, I hope; I've just posted it! :D
Thanks, in first instance, for your encouraging words. I was rather reluctant posting this story as it's my very first original one and I don't have a clear and concise storyline at this point, only the beginning and the end.
I've read quite a few fantasy books, back in my younger years, and I have to admit that I was trying to write in the style those bookd had been written. No long prologues, as you said, not walking around the subject, straight to the point. I hope this will work.
I will need to write a separate chapter for some explanations, for example
- the jaad and other people
- the different gods and religions
- the different countries mentioned like Crane, Pyarron and Gorvik
I hope that the text, as it is now, still well readable.
Once again, thanks for holding my hand. You have have helped me enormously in becoming the writer I'm today.