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Blood Price - Chapter 1



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Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:25 pm
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CelticaNoir says...



The first draft is here:
Spoiler! :
Chapter One - Abduction

Ariana raised her cup to her lips, sipping gently at the steaming liquid. The tea swished and curled rapidly as she set it gently on the mahogany table. A length of chain ran in a straight line alongside the cup, linked to a small and ancient golden watch. She picked it up, running a finger over the scratches that decorated the glass surface. The two hands indicated it was 10.12.

"You're...late."

"I know, I know, it's the end of the world." He clicked his cane on the floor and then looked back at her with that typically impish grin of his. "You wanted to see me?"

"Yes." She turned the watch rapidly in her slim and pale fingers, keeping her dark amber eyes trained on him meanwhile. "I need advice. Father's passed away."

"That old loon?" He peered back at her face intently, as if trying to detect signs of emotion. He found none, of course. "Personally, I always thought him a bit of a cold fish. That turn he did for you was pretty unexpected, though."

"Stop joking." Thump. She dropped the watch on the table recklessly, earning a cold and irritated glance from him. She almost smiled to herself discreetly--he didn't take to people treating his possessions carelessly. Ironic, considering his profession. "I need your help."

He leaned forwards and took the watch out of her reach. "Didn't take long for the old man's protection to wear off, did it? When did he die--yesterday?"

"Last month. I sent you an invitation to his funeral but you never replied."

"Must've been on vacation." He tilted his head. "What did he die of? Did he perhaps go into a building and demolish it with himself in it?"

"Theo." He made a small noise, acknowledging the use of his name. "I beg you, if you have any care for me, stop joking. This is important."

He rolled his eyes and reached into his coat pocket, bringing out a cigar. "Want one?"

"No, thank you."

"Good. The only use I find for these are setting fire to things. In my opinion the old man got himself killed smoking so many of...these. That is, unless he died from something else?" Theo looked curiously at her but received no reply. He put the cigar back in his coat pocket and faced her fully for the first time since he sat down. "They're after you, aren't they?"

She couldn't meet the soft look in his bright eyes. "Yes. You're good at hiding, aren't you? You could help me."

"It's not like I am any good at hiding...it's more like they choose to ignore my existence, Ari." He adjusted the ragged top hat on his head--it was times like this that she could appreciate how young he looked. "One of the good things about being what I am."

"Being what you are..." Ariana stared at him meaningfully. "...you must know something that can help me."

He sighed. "You're right. Come on, I'll show you something."

***

"What is this place?"

Theodore watched her as she looked around with the curiosity of a kitten. The small room was packed with people-- but only a few girls were in here. The room was especially packed in front of the noticeboard. He took Ari's hand and led her towards the crowd.

"Theo?"

"It's a guild. They post jobs on that board there. That's how I get most of mine."

"You mean your vacations?" Ari wryly smiled back. He only shrugged and grinned at her. "There's other places for my vacations, Ari. These, unfortunately, are what they seem to be."

"How awful."

"Indeed. Excuse me, sir, excuse me - thankee." He tipped his bowler to the man who had moved of the way. "You see, Ari, it's the modern way of getting work around this country."

"Modern indeed. Father would have both our heads if he found out you took me to such a dingy place."

"Number one, the old man is dead. Two, he'd take off your head, not mine."

"How compassionate of you," she shot back. He wasn't listening, though; he reached for a note and plucked it off, much to the annoyance of a young lady who was observing it. "Sorry ma'am." He grinned back at her, only to be glared at. He shrugged and turned back to Ariana.

"Here's a good one. Looking for housekeeper, will pay 100 riels a month, no experience necessary."

"Sounds too good to be true."

"Frankly, what isn't?" He tipped his bowler towards the young lady he'd irritated earlier as she passed by him. She simply 'hmphed' and stuck her nose up in the air. "See that? I knew she was too good to be true."

"I thought we were here for me and not her."

"Right, right. Well. You should at least call in and see what's up with that ad. It's got a good pay, no requirements and fairly light work--I hope," he added, earning a sharp glare from her. "I'm just being realistic!"

"Indeed..." She shook her head. "I still don't trust this. Do you honestly think...Theo?"

He was staring apprehensively at a group of people standing near the exit to the guild. There was nothing positively different about them--the same shabby coats and bowlers, moustaches and canes as any other man in this guild. But most notably, perhaps, they kept glancing at Theo--and herself, she realized with slowly growing alarm. "Theo, who are those people?"

"No one you want to be involved with, in particular." His bright green eyes swept the room at a glance. He steered Ari to the back of the room cautiously, trying not to attract attention. "How long has it been that you have a bounty on you, Ari?"

Her tongue darted out and licked her bottom lip, which still felt dry as before. "Since Father died."

"Why didn't you come to me before?" His eyes bore into hers. "An entire month...why...?"

"Isabella kicked me out just the day before yesterday." Ariana smiled wryly at him. "Apparently I was besmirching the family name."

"Kicked you out...of the clan? But you're her sister!"

"Doesn't matter. You might remember the way she treated you the last time you were there."

"Yes, but...with me it's different." They reached a rackety door. He took hold of the handle and wrenched it open. "With me it's...I mean, she's always been close to you."

"You know what happened, and what came of it." They were out in an alleyway now. Ari slightly jumped as a shadow slithered across what light there was, but relaxed when she realized it was only a black cat. Theo shook his head sadly.

"You're so jumpy nowadays."

***
Sigh. "It's so cold."

The wintry night brought in gale after gale of sharp and knive-imitating winds, making Ari wish she had an overcoat on. Theo patted her on the shoulder, then cringed. "Wow, you really are cold."

"Shut it."

"I could make an ice cube with that temperature." Saying so, he took his own jacket off and covered her shoulders with it. "There. You could almost pass for me, you know. I'd give you my hat to complete the look, but I'd have to die first."

"Prefered method of death?" Ari's voice suggested sarcasm, but he didn't seem to get it--he simply put his hands in his pockets and grinned right back at her.

"I think that would be strangulation, preferably by your own hands." He added a little nod at the end of his sentence, as if to confirm that to himself. "After all, your hands are really soft."

Ari rolled her eyes.

"What? It's true." Drip.

Immediately Ari's hands gripped at her shoulders. She looked around. "I hate that sound." Her voice had lowered to a slight whisper. "What is it?"

"Probably the park's well..." He stared at her. "Are you alright?"

"I really hate that sound." Ari shuddered, rubbing her arms with gloved hands. "Reminds me of the old house. Father fell down the stairs, you know." Her rubbing became more insistent. "I remember..."

"Remember what?"

"His blood. It went dripping down the stairs." Drip. "Just...just like that." Her mouth stretched into a grin--a fearsome, almost insane grin. "You know what really happened?"

"Ari, are you honestly alright?" He put his hand to her forehead. "You don't sound good at all."

"Oh, I'll be fine." She laughed slightly. "I'm always fine, Theo. You know it."

He wasn't sure she was.

"I think I'll be alright here."

"What?" Ari had stopped near a rather ancient oak tree. One of the branches creaked uneasily as a sudden wind sliced through the park, taking even himself off guard. Ari simply shivered and said nothing. He shook his head in remonstrance. "Ari, you can't sleep out here. I told you, I know a place--"

"No!" She shook her head vehemently. "I'll be alright here. I'll be fine. Please, Theo."

"You might want to reconsider that, lady."

Someone approached from behind Ari. Even as she turned around, he grabbed her shoulders and kept her back facing to him. "No need to make any sudden moves, Miss Lawrence." He chuckled in a rather rough tone and leaned in; she could smell his cigarette-coated breath. "We're just doing our job."

Theo moved forwards. "I demand that you release her, sir." His voice came out in a hiss. "Right now, before I lose my temper."

"Be quiet, boy!" the older man barked at him. "A child like you should be at home with their parents, not be gallivanting across town with a criminal!"

"Criminals...I've seen enough of criminals. Enough to know that this country's perception of them..." He raised his head, and they saw his eyes--brittle, eerie, an icy green. "Is entirely a facade."

Then, all hell broke loose.

Ariana wasn't sure what had happened--whether she had lurched forwards first, barely avoiding the tree as it fell right where she was just a moment ago--or whether the man had cried out first. She tried to block her ears of the terrible, brutal sound--tried not to realize what had happened.

But her gown's skirts felt heavy and wet, her shoes squished as she walked forwards, and the man was still screaming, and Theo's eyes, his eyes, Lord, why did they look so inhuman? She grabbed at his arms, trying to make sense of it all.

"Theo--"

"Run."

"But--"

"JUST RUN!"

***
She ran. She didn't know how long she had been running. The heels of her feet hurt, her cheek burned with a cut she had sustained from one of the tree's branches; still, she kept running, from them, from what she had done...from Theo. People stared at her as she ran past them--a few young ladies fainted at the sight of her.

But all she could think of was...Theo.

"What have I done?" She kept repeating to herself, again and again. "Lord Vanar, what have I done? What have I done? What have I done?"

The streets grew lonely as she ran. Sometimes a carriage would go by, but wouldn't notice the scarlet-caked girl lurking in the shadows, wondering what she had done; slamming her fists against the wall, again and again, until they bled; staining the walls of the building with the same colour her own gown was sporting vividly. "What...have...I...done?"

"Just what many other young people before you have done. Just what other young people after you will continue to do again."

She started to turn around--her palms throbbed with pain, but she was numb to it. The voice continued. "What you have done, others will do in their own fashion--their own way. You are not the first--nor will you be the last."

"Who are you?" She had come face to face with a young boy in a wheelchair. His silver-blue eyes reminded her of Theo just a while ago--the same disquieting expression glowed in the boy as it did in Theo. "What do you want?" She clasped her hands to her chest--it was burning. "I...only..."

"You will know, soon enough." He leaned forwards, a dangerous glint shimmering in his eyes. "Little researcher, you don't know what you've got yourself into, do you?"

"What have you done to me?" Her chest burned even more--the pain was unbearable. "Stop it, stop it!" But he didn't stop it, and the more she tried to resist it, the more it burned. The world started to swim.

"Beatrice..." He smiled. "I found you."

Everything turned black.


Revised version:

One - The Abduction

A cold breeze whispered in her ear as she stood against the tree, her gown unable to resist the rough and scratchy surface brushing against it. A dark red stain covered the greater part of her skirt, sticky and wet to the touch. But even so, her hands probed into its folds insistently, seeking for something.

“You are...late.”

Ariana raised her cup to her lips, sipping gently at the steaming liquid that swished and curled rapidly as she set it gently on the mahogany table. A length of chain ran in a straight line alongside the cup, linked to a small and ancient golden watch. She picked it up, running a finger over the scratches that decorated the glass surface. The two hands indicated it was 10.12.

Her companion clicked his cane on the floor, then leaned to one side and rested his head on his left hand, staring at her with a curious sort of look on his face. “Enough about me. How about you? Have you been eating lately? The works?”

Ariana shook her head, smiling a little at the watch as she twirled it about in her long and pale fingers. “You are impossible, you know that?”

“I’ll bet you haven’t seen another specimen like me yet.” He stuck his tongue out at her and then resumed his laid-back position. “So how’s the family? Is the old man still alive and kicking? The Bellhead still walking around with her nose stuck up in the air?”

Ariana paused, her fingers tightening themselves around the smooth golden edges bordering the ticking face of the clock. “Father is not here.” She set down the clock and pushed it towards him--it slid across the table right into his hands, but he didn’t look happy. Probably worried it would get scratches on its surface. “He...has become one of Lord Vanar’s.”

“You mean he’s dead.”

“To put it bluntly, yes.”

“Hn. I’m curious...” He took the watch and glanced at it, leaning back against his chair. “The old man didn’t somehow go into a building and demolish it with himself in it, did he?”

“Stop joking. I’ll take your hat if you keep that up.”

“This is the first time I’m hearing of it, though! Did he die yesterday?”

Ariana glared at him--he was moving a bit too much in his chair for her taste. Now he was staring directly into her face with those wide green eyes of his. “I sent you an invitation last month, idiot. Will you stop trying to observe every single move I make?”

“But watching your eyebrow twitch is so fascinating!”

Ariana pinched the bridge of her nose. “Theo...”

“Don’t say I’m not allowed to admire you!” He winked, again clicking his cane on the floor, ignoring the way she was glaring at him. “But don’t take my hat, I’ll call you ugly and never talk to you again if you do.”

“Blatant, much?” She shook her again and laughed. “You really are impossible.”

“So the old geezer’s dead, huh?” He sat up straight, staring directly at her. Tap. “I vote we go to Bellhead and make her confess to his murder.” Tap tap.

“Theo...!” She checked herself. How had he known? Knowing him, he had probably assumed it.. He was the King of Assumptions, after all. “Do not say such things. It isn’t wise to do so.”

“I am right, though, aren’t I? She pushed him off the stairs. You saw it yourself.”

Drip, drip, drip. Fresh blood on the floor, pooling around her feet, soaking into her slippers. She stepped back, and her slippers squelched. Her finger tensed against the trigger of her gun. The memory slid into her vision, and she blinked in an attempt to seem unaffected. “L - lies. What are you saying, Theo? I never saw any such thing.”

“More like...” He sighed. Another tap from his cane. “Nobody would really believe you if you told them, would they?” She winced, and he nodded at her reaction. “I thought so.”

“How did you...”

“Never mind how I knew.” He frowned. “Rather, mind what you’re going to do now. Bellhead...she’s clan head now, isn’t she?”

“There is more...”

“You need a place to stay. Annnd...hm.” He looked at her--not at her, really, as he seemed to be rather thoughtful. “I think I know something that can help you.”

“Not one of your...’vacations’, I hope.”

“Not...exactly.” He grinned and adjusted his hat, making it straight. “Come on Ari, we’re taking you to a guild.”

“A guild?”

***

"What is this place?"

Theodore watched her as she looked around with the curiosity of a kitten. The small room was packed with people-- but only a few girls were in here. The room was especially crowded in front of the noticeboard. He took Ari's hand and led her towards the crowd.

"Theo?"

"It's a guild. They post jobs on that board there. That's how I get most of mine."

"You mean your vacations?" Ari wryly smiled back. He only shrugged and grinned at her.

"There's other places for my vacations, Ari. These, unfortunately, are what they seem to be."

"How awful."

"Indeed. Excuse me, sir, excuse me - thankee." He tipped his bowler to the man who had moved of the way. "You see, Ari, it's the modern way of getting work around this country."

"Modern indeed. Father would have both our heads if he found out you took me to such a dingy place."

"Number one, the old man is dead. Two, he'd take off your head, not mine."

"How compassionate of you." She shot back. He wasn't listening, though; he reached for a note and plucked it off, much to the annoyance of a young lady who was observing it. "Sorry ma'am."

He grinned back at her, only to be glared at. He shrugged and turned back to Ariana.
"Here's a good one. Looking for housekeeper, will pay 100 riels a month, no experience necessary."

"Sounds too good to be true."

"Frankly, what isn't?" He tipped his bowler towards the young lady he'd irritated earlier as she passed by him. She simply 'hmphed' and stuck her nose up in the air. "See that? I knew she was too good to be true."

"I thought we were here for me and not her."

"Right, right. Well. You should at least call in and see what's up with that ad. It's got a good pay, no requirements and fairly light work--I hope." He added, earning a sharp glare from her. "I'm just being realistic!"

Another note had caught Ari’s eye, however--it had been pinned to the board with a pin or rather gorgeous design, and her eyes couldn’t help but be drawn to it. “Looking for a companion. Pay will be negotiated on contact, advanced knowledge in runes of course necessary,” she murmured, an eyebrow raised. “Looks as though someone has high expectations. This pin, however...” She picked it off the board, her eyes fixed on the accessory rather than the note itself. “I wonder...what do you think, Theo?”

She looked around. “Theo?”

He stood not far off, staring apprehensively at a group of people standing near the exit to the guild. There was nothing positively different about them--the same shabby coats and bowlers, moustaches and canes as any other man in this guild. But most notably, they kept glancing at Theo--and herself, she realized with slowly growing alarm. "Theo, who are those people?"

"No one you want to be involved with, in particular." His bright green eyes swept the room at a glance. He steered Ari to the back of the room cautiously, trying not to attract attention. "How long has it been that you have a bounty on you, Ari?"

Her tongue darted out and licked her bottom lip, which still felt dry as before. "Since Father died."

"Why didn't you come to me before?" His eyes bore into hers. "An entire month...why...?"

"Isabella kicked me out just the day before yesterday." Ariana smiled wryly at him. "Apparently I was besmirching the family name."

“She took her time.” Theo shot back. “If you had come to me earlier, it would’ve been better. At least the hunt wouldn’t have been as serious as it looks right now.” He shook his head. “Bellhead knew what she was doing.”

“What are you saying? Is it really all that...?”

“The newspapers tomorrow will have a story with your face on it, count on that.” He looked around suspiciously, checking for anyone who might’ve noticed them, and reached out for the handle of the door they were standing near. With a wrench it flew open. “Come now, Ari. No need to waste our time anymore here.”

“I found something--” She found herself unable to complete her sentence as he dragged her forwards by the arm. “Theo, listen--”

“Not now, let’s get out of here!”

***
Her hands quaked as she aimed the rust-stained gun at her pursuer, unable to think properly. What happened? I don’t understand. I don’t understand at all! She took a step back, just as he homed in and launched himself at her, making her shriek and fire off a few warning shots in response. He hung back warily and stared at her. Predator and prey, analysing each other’s every move.

Ariana gulped.

Snip.

His head dropped from his shoulders, severed as though by a precise and clean blade, his blood swishing through the air and all over the fabric of her already stained gown. A dark shadow stood behind his carcass, the bright green eyes unusually radiant and piercing. A mad grin framed the rest of his words. “What are you still doing here, Ari,” he whispered, licking his lips, “when this is already the land of the unknown?”

She had been running for a long time, her hands still wrapped around the compact revolver. People shrieked and screamed at the sight of her--a few people had called out to her to stop. She didn’t care, really--considering she had just seen a Hunter having his head sliced off. Not a big occurrence at all. It was just merely your everyday run-of-the mill news.

Those Hunters had chased them clear out of the guild and into the park--she had been running, she knew, even though Theo had stopped. Her skirt felt wet. Had she stepped in water? She couldn’t remember. All she could remember was running... and then that had happened.

“Madwoman!”

“Is that...darling, is that blood on her skirt?!”

“Don’t look, Milly!”

Her eyes were closed, her heart pounded insistently against her chest, demanding to be let out. She could imagine it ripping itself from her bosom, veins and all, and leave her a sodden mess of of clothes and dead body lying on the streets of Bodrem. Her hands shook, the gun still firmly grasped in her hand. Concentrate, Ari, concentrate. There’s a pack of Hunters on your tail now. Don’t think--don’t think about him. What you saw was nothing more than your imagination. Just a nightmare, Ari. You probably went to sleep without realizing. Just a nightmare, really. It couldn’t really be Theo, could it?

Could it?

The gun slid from her sweaty palm onto the ground, and her heart thumped more insistently. For a moment the world became a sea of dim lights and brick roads twisting and coiling into a whirlpool--of the unknown, as he had said. “The unknown...do you want to know what the unknown really is, Ariana Lawrence?”

She turned around, slowly--her gown had by this time become too heavy to allow her to move freely. Shadows lurked in the corner of her vision, attempting to crawl into her consciousness and claim it for their own. She stood steady, but felt as though she could drop below the ground and nobody would notice.

“Who are you, Ariana?” The boy--no, he was older, Ariana realized. Maybe even older than herself. He sat in a wheelchair, staring at her with blue eyes--radiant and eerie, sharp and ghostly, just like the eyes of the shadow. It couldn’t be Theo. “You have some interesting thoughts there. Would you like me to help you?”

Where am I? She stared down at her hands--the gun wasn’t there. It lay a good distance away from her, nearer to the boy rather than herself. She couldn’t help thinking he was a boy. She also couldn’t help thinking that the buildings seemed to be trying to close around her. “Who are you?”

“I believe you were thinking much, much more than that, Miss Lawrence. You were thinking the thoughts of the like that say...‘I wish to faint’, were you not?”

“How would you know...” The strength in her legs faded--it was as if it wasn’t there in the first place. “What’s happening...to...me...?”

“I would watch what you pick up in the future, Miss Lawrence. That artifact in your pocket is so much more than a simple accessory, after all.” He wheeled over to her, looking at her more closely as if she was a lab experiment. “Yes I am...very interested in what you have to say.”

“Stop...”

He smirked and leaned forwards, clasping her face in his hands. Ariana stared bleakly up at him, trying to make out the details of his face. All that swam in her vision, however, was Theo...Isabella...papa...

“You’ll...perfect...” His words became dim to her ears, as the entire world began to shut down. Am I dying? Is this death? Her eyelids flickered in a last moment of rebellion. Theo...I mustn’t die...even if Theo...even if...I must...he must...

“Goodnight...Beatrice.”
Last edited by CelticaNoir on Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:06 pm, edited 14 times in total.
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world's food and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history.
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Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:49 pm
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Quibbons Quill says...



I liked it, it felt like a rollicking adventure. It was fast paced and it just threw us into the story, no long explantions or incredibly awkward lines.
Only criticism would be the odd line of dialogue toes the line of awkwardness "Criminals...I've seen enough of criminals. Enough to know that this country's perception of them..." He raised his head, and they saw his eyes--brittle, eerie, an icy green. "Is entirely a facade." it may just be me but this felt a little forced like you were telling us the society was corrupt. maybe a line more like "criminals" "you have no idea what a criminal is, look at yourself" or something. Mines hardly any better, but maybe just inject a bit more naturalism.
But I really liked it I shall watch out for chapter 2
Good Work
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Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:55 pm
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Deathcurrent says...



Great, though it was a little confusing at the beginning. Try to use the main characters name (Ari that is) a little more often. Cut back on some of the pronouns. It will clear up some of the confusion, along with making sure the reader knows who your talking about. At the beginning, you should give some more detail ahead of time about what happened. Not too much, but enough to explain to the reader where, who, and why. Other than that, I couldn't find anything wrong with it. Great piece. Could you inform me when you put new chapters up?

Deathcurrent :D
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Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:28 pm
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confetti says...



Ariana raised her cup to her lips, sipping gently at the steaming liquid that swished and curled rapidly as she set it gently on the mahogany table.

This is a mouthful. I feel like it would be better if it were two sentences rather than one:
Ariana raised her cup to her lips, sipping gently at the steaming liquid. It swished and curled rapidly as she set it gently on the mahogany table.

The two hands indicated it was 10.(colon instead of period)12.

"You're...late."

You really give no indication that it's her speaking, or who she's actually speaking to. At first I thought someone else was speaking, but then a man (who you failed to introduce) replies.
"Last month. I sent you an invitation to his funeral, but you never replied."
"Must've been on vacation." He tilted his headat her.

"Theo." It was the first time she'd used his name in their conversation.

This is incredibly pointless. The reader knows, she knows, and he knows. It adds nothing to the story.
In my opinion, the old man got himself killed smoking so many of...these. That is, if unless he died of natural causes?" Theo looked curiously at her, but received no reply.

He put it back in his coat pocket and faced her fully for the first time since he sat down.

What is 'it'?
"How compassionate of you.(comma)" She shot back.

I hope.(comma)" he added,

"Be quiet, boy!" the older man barked at him.

Theo's eyes, his eyes, Lord, why did they look so inhuman?

I love this.
Everything turned black.

Nice ending.

Aside from the nitpicks, the writing flowed well. Had I not been looking for mistakes, I would have lost myself in the story. It's a bit confusing at times, but I'm assuming that you'll sort that out in the next chapters.
I don't have a whole lot to say, except, well done! Hope this review helped.
"So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads."
— Dr. Seuss

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Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:22 pm
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CelticaNoir says...



Thanks everyone, I really appreciated your criticisms!
I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world's food and clothes.
I am the audience that witnesses history.
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Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:04 pm
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DSF6647 says...



The tea swished and curled rapidly as she set it gently on the mahogany table.


I like this description a lot, but using the word “curled” sounds a bit awkward to me. I would try to using something that more describes a liquid like: sloshed, flowed, spun. Don’t know if I am making sense, but curled makes me picture an animal tail wrapping around something or a child curling into a ball to cry. Small thing I know, and maybe more a matter of opinion then anything else.

She picked it up, running a finger over the scratches that decorated the glass surface.


So I really liked this to, but I would even describe it a bit more. You told us there are scratches on it, but adding one word like, “a finger over the floral scratches that decorated the glass surface.” Something like that not only lets us picture what the design looks like, but also isn’t to lengthy and helps keep things short.

"You're...late."


As someone pointed out, who is talking?

He clicked his cane on the floor and then looked back at her with that typically impish grin of his.


Hahaha I liked this. I liked that he “clicked” his can on the floor. Sounds good to me, the only word that sounded odd was “typically”. I want to say the sentence should be, “then looked back at her with that typical, impish grin of his.”

She turned the watch rapidly in her slim and pale fingers, keeping her dark amber eyes trained on him meanwhile.


I REALLY like what you are trying to describe here. I just feel it is a little longer then nessecary and you could cut some words to help it flow better. Something like, “She turned the watched rapidly in her slim, pale fingers. Her dark amber eyes watched the man the entire time.” I feel like this is a bad example but hopefully you get my point.

The small room was packed with people-- but only a few girls were in here. The room was especially packed in front of the noticeboard


Try not to use “packed” twice like that.

"How compassionate of you," she shot back. He wasn't listening, though; he reached for a note and plucked it off, much to the annoyance of a young lady who was observing it. "Sorry ma'am." He grinned back at her, only to be glared at. He shrugged and turned back to Ariana.


I personally liked this whole paragraph. Gave us a glimpse into Theo a bit, and it was well written.

There was nothing positively different about them


Positively seems like an odd word choice. Maybe replace it with something like “unique” to help the whole thing flow better. So it would say, “There was nothing unique about them…”

But most notably, perhaps, they kept glancing at Theo


So… is it most notable? You start out by saying this is important, and then toss it out of the window with the perhaps.

Theo moved forwards. "I demand that you release her, sir." His voice came out in a hiss. "Right now, before I lose my temper."


Instead of me being impressed with Theo this made me laugh at him. He “demands” that the guy released her and even calls this assailant “sir”. It just seems out of character with who you have created Theo to be. I could see Theo cursing the man, calling him a dirty bastard and demanding he let Ari go. Or something more like that. Sir just sounds so… polite. And it should be "forward" not "forwards" I think.

whether she had lurched forwards first,


Should be “forward”.

She tried to block her ears of the terrible, brutal sound


This sentence doesn’t really flow. I think you mean to say “from” instead of “of”. Also I don’t think you need to say terrible and then brutal. Feels repetitive. I would just say. “She tried to block her ears from the terrible sound…”

a few young ladies fainted at the sight of her.


This seems a little overly dramatic. Maybe they could whisper or shriek, but faint… meh seems like to much of an extreme.

Sometimes a carriage would go by, but wouldn't notice the scarlet-caked girl lurking in the shadows, wondering what she had done; slamming her fists against the wall, again and again, until they bled; staining the walls of the building with the same colour her own gown was sporting vividly.


Semicolons are good and fine, but this sentence is still WAY to long. You could make three sentences out of this.

"What have you done to me?" Her chest burned even more--the pain was unbearable. "Stop it, stop it!" But he didn't stop it, and the more she tried to resist it, the more it burned. The world started to swim.


I think you need to rewrite this part a bit. She should be saying, “What are you doing to me,” instead of what have you done. Done implies that he isn’t doing it anymore, but later she yells for him to stop and you say he didn’t stop. So he is continuing to do “something” to her.

"Beatrice..." He smiled. "I found you."


This was a creepy sentence. Good job. I don’t know if it is the kid in the wheel chair or how I pictured him saying this, but I shivered a bit.

Okay so there are all of my little nitpickers. You can take them or throw them out the choice is yours. I feel like you got a good start. Your characters aren’t bad, but I felt closer to Theo then Ari because he was more relatable. Maybe add a bit more with Ari, make her a little deeper and really dwell into her character. Of course this is the beginning of something so maybe all of that will come with time.

Also you use a lot of commas and semicolons. I pointed out the one big sentence I saw, but there are a few others in there you could shorten up a bit. It would just help everything flow smoother and allow readers to enjoy the piece with ease.

You have a good start though. I like Theo and his whole eye thing. Not sure what the point was of taking Ari to the Guild, that felt a little random, but I am hoping you will explain why later. Good job and keep writing!
  





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Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:51 pm
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StellaThomas says...



Hey Celtica! Stella here!

I. NITPICKS

The tea swished and curled rapidly as she set it gently on the mahogany table.


Okay, look at this sentence. Two verbs (I'm not sure "curled" works), two adverbs and an adjective. Don't be too purple.

"Last month. I sent you an invitation to his funeral but you never replied."


Do people send invitations to funerals??


The small room was packed with people-- but only a few girls were in here.


Rephrase this, I think...
"Indeed. Excuse me, sir, excuse me - thankee." He tipped his bowler to the man who had moved of the way.


I thought he was wearing a top hat?

Sigh. "It's so cold."


I don't like the "sigh." It just looks too chatspeaky.

"What?" Ari had stopped near a rather ancient oak tree. One of the branches creaked uneasily as a sudden wind sliced through the park, taking even himself off guard. Ari simply shivered and said nothing. He shook his head in remonstrance. "Ari, you can't sleep out here. I told you, I know a place--"


Start a new line after the "What?" otherwise it's too confusing for the reader, then a new line again as Theo starts speaking once more.
Ariana wasn't sure what had happened--whether she had lurched forwards first, barely avoiding the tree as it fell right where she was just a moment ago--or whether the man had cried out first. She tried to block her ears of the terrible, brutal sound--tried not to realize what had happened.


I think you need more explanation- did a tree just fall? You don't make it clear...

"What have I done?" She kept repeating to herself, again and again.


Small s.

Everything turned black.


This is such a cliché to end on... Think of a more interesting way to put it!

II. OVERALL

I had already read most of it- the introduction to the second last scene the way you have it is much clearer, and I understood what was going on with Theo this time. I think you should clarify a) the exact nature of her relationship with Theo (is he her brother?) and b) what exactly goes on with the tree. I also think it'd be important to settle early on that this is an AU and not real Victorian London, we don't realise that until the second scene and it throws your reader off balance. Just a warning against purple prose, there were only a couple of times you were veering towards it but remember, simplicity is often the most sophisticated! Other than that, your dialogue is wonderfully strong and your planning's served you well, everything seems to serve its purpose!

Hope I helped, drop me a note if you need anything!

-Stella x
Absolutely not a ninety year old German lady masquerading as an Irish med student.

"Stella. You were in my dream the other night. And everyone called you Princess." -Lauren2010
  





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Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:28 pm
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NightStormxd says...



This is really good.
It gives a really good mind movie and i really like that. Its like i dont have to work so hard to get what you mean!
Keep writing!!!

But just one thing. You can always add a line or remove one line. Never leave it just cause you think is done have another person review it befor eyou publish!

Fly On~ Raven
  








Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen.
— Homer Simpson