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E - Everyone

(Need a name)-Chapter One~Part Two.

by StoneHeart


(Again, be warned that I speed wrote this chapter!)

Varien stirred the coals thoughtfully,” Ike says that we have to support the war. He fought in it, and he tells me stories some times . . .” he shivered,” if the Derns ever broke our defences then we'd all die.”

Dane shook his head, shoving a heap of scraps onto the floor where they would stay till recycled,” the government controls the stonemakers, and through them, they control everything. What if we're on the wrong side? What if the Derns are the good guys? What if they're the one's fighting oppression?”

Varien smiled thinly,” I guess we'll never know.”

Just then the door to the front of the shop opened and Paine stepped out, a worried look on his face, his brown eyes tenser than usual,” boys, come 'ere!”

Dane raised a curious eyebrow at Varien who just shrugged. They paced over to Paine.

“What is it?” Dane asked, glancing through the open door into the empty shop, with it's perfect shelves filled with beautiful candles.

“My Communicator stone just sent me a message from the maurman! He wants every person between the ages of fifteen and forty up at the fort grounds by tidefall!” Paine's face was pale, and he looked tense: worried.

Dane glanced down at his hand, clutching the small blue and white Communicator stone,” we'd better get moving then,” he muttered, looking disappointedly back at his unfinished work on the table behind him,” the tide was already going down when I last saw it.”

Varien gulped,” father,” he said, fear tinging his voice,” do you think they might be recruiting?”

Paine gave a short nod.” They might be. Just pray you're not chosen, if it is!”

Dane pursed his lips, and then stepping over to Varien put an arm around his shoulders,” come on! I bet it isn't anything!” But the message told otherwise, fifteen to forty. That was the age group from which soldiers were picked.

Paine nodded and smiled bravely, pushing his worries aside,” aye! Let's go. I'll pick up your mother and see you at the fountain!” he jerked his coat off of the hook on the wall and then slipped into the shop to close up.

Dane sighed,” come on.” Together he and Varien slipped out the side-door to the work-shop and headed out into the street. Earlier the whole street had been swarming with bustling, chatting citizens, but now it was quickly emptying. People were stepping out of their homes and turning, suspiciously, to head for the towering fort that loomed in the distance.

Dane and Varien followed the flow, walking quickly up the cobblestone road. They were silent, nervous even.

I won't let Varien be taken to the wars, I don't care what I have to do! Dane promised himself, glancing up at the towering granite houses and mansions lining the road. They'd entered the richer centre of the city, having just exited the merchant section. If it's a recruiting at all!

Nobody ever came back from the wars. Nobody. The last recruiting had been fifteen years ago, when Dane was two. Paine told him that there had been 43,329 men and women in the city who were of age at the time. One out of every four of them had been chosen, marched up to the fort for a day, then transported to a training facility closer to the War-zone.

All that returned to the city were letters of condolence. Not even a single body came back.

As they approached the city square Dane began to notice that something was wrong. He glanced back at Varien,” keep close! The crowd's pretty thick up here.”

Varien gave him a quick nod and stepped up close behind him. Up ahead Dane heard angry yells, and noticed that a number of people were moving away from the crowded area. Some had tear-stained faces. Something was wrong.

Carefully he edged forward through the surging crowd, trying to find out what had happened, or was happening, that would cause such a commotion. Suddenly he felt a body slam into his side and he was thrown forward through the crowd out out onto the bare cobblestones.

He winced, his knees stinging and slowly stood. And now he saw what was happening.

A row of steel plated guards stood, lined up in a perfect row right across the road that entered the city square. Their faces were impassive and dead-eyed, and they did not move from their positions as the people surged up to them and pounded on their armour, crying to be let through.

A few yards behind the guards were a number of thin, dark-cloaked men, shoving the people that the guards passed them behind them to join one of three separate groups of people, divided by age groups, and heavily guarded by soldiers.

Suddenly fear gripped Dane. The army was recruiting!” Varien, turn around! Get out of the crowd! Get to father, tell him-” he yelled frantically, turning to where Varien, stood, staring at him in shock.

But just at that moment a pair of powerful hands grabbed him by his jacket and heaved him to his feet. One of the men in the wall of guards reached out and tossed Varien behind him like he weighed nothing.

The guard who had grabbed Dane now firmly turned him around to face a thin, hawk-faced scribe holding a recording stone.

He glanced up at Dane, his face tired and bored.“ Name, age, rank, and occupation!” he demanded.

A couple feet away Varien stood frozen while another scribe asked him the same thing. Slowly his younger cousin began to answer,” Varien Verkeye, fifteen years old, first level merchantman, rope maker's apprentice,” he stuttered fearfully.

The scribe nodded, holding out another recorder stone. A moment later Varien was given a violent shove and sent stumbling forward into a group of scared looking kids, guarded closely by a ring of armoured soldiers.

“Kid! Answer me!” growled the scribe in front of Dane.

He snapped his gaze back down to him. This couldn't be happening! This had to stop! He shook his head slightly. He wasn't going to do this! He had to think of a way to get out of here! Now!

The scribe jerked his head to one of the awaiting guards and Dane felt a sharp prick of a halberd in his back. He winced. These weren't the usual town guards. They must have come in on the Naurstone.

“You're not gonna kill me!” he hissed stubbornly.

The scribe narrowed his eyebrows and pulling an oval black stone out of his pocket pointed it at Dane, closing his eyes slightly as he concentrated.

Dane stared at the stone, he'd never seen one like it before, and had no idea what it was. For a moment he stared at it, surprised. But nothing happened.

The scribe opened his eyes, a confused look flitting across his face,” if you-” he began, but suddenly Dane felt a rough hand fall onto his shoulder and the man stopped.

Jerking himself around he found himself face to face with Koth. The burly guard nodded slightly to the scribe and then turned his hardened, chiseled face back to Dane,” just tell them Dane. Don't worry. Chances are Varien won't be chosen! Don't make them have to work to get this information. You won't win.”

Dane nodded slightly. He trusted Koth a lot, even though they didn't really know one another.

Slowly he turned back to the scribe,” Dane Tarke, seventeen years old, first level -” he stopped, but a quick glance back at Koth told him to continue,” serf.” he finished.” assistant candle-maker.”

The scribe sneered at him,” a Tarke serf,” he muttered under his breath, lowering his recording stone and motioning to the awaiting guards to put him over with the others of his age. 'Tarke' was the last name given to any illegitimate, unclaimed child; it marked him forever as a slave, until he proved he wasn't one.

He was at least a first level peasant because he lived with a good family, and had some small skill.

He quickly found Varien in the crowd of silently whispering people, all very close to his own age,” stay with me,” he said softly,” chances are you won't be chosen. So don't worry!”

Varien nodded, his face pale, and they stood, side by side as they waited.


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Points: 373
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Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:10 am
ShadowHunter wrote a review...



This story is developing quite well, and I like the what I have seen of it so far. However, the major plot point in this chapter was easily seen in the last chapter when you set it up. My suggestion to you is to give us several different things that the main character and Varien are worried, throw the readers a few read herrings so that it is not as easy to recognize. Maybe there has been a threat or there is a test that every one must take, I don't know, just give us a few random things. The writing was also a bit choppy at times. You would jump from one thing to the next without giving a proper transition. Just smooth out the lines of this work and it could be a fantastic read! Just keep writing!






Guten pointio! :D

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Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:28 am
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skorlir wrote a review...



Take with salt; mind with care.

I'll try to work on reviewing "plot and prospectivity" a little. ;)

Varien stirred the coals thoughtfully*.* "Ike says that we have to support the war. He fought in it, and he tells me stories some times . . .” he shivered*.* ” (I]f the Derns ever broke our defences then we'd all die.”


In case you forgot: asterisks denote changes or insertions in grammar or whatnot, small corrections of a single letter are surrounded in square brackets, red things are moved to their blue copies, and green things are longer additions or (asides to the author). And strikeouts are removals.

Also, I'm an American. While old British authors might spell "defenses" with a 'c,' my browser's autocorrect says it's wrong. As does Microsoft Word. Admittedly, those are both American-made software. I don't know if you will want to revise, but I've put my two cents out there. American cents.

Dane shook his head, shoving a heap of scraps onto the floor where they would stay till recycled*.* ” [T]he government controls the stonemakers, and through them, they control everything. What if we're on the wrong side? What if the Derns are the good guys? What if they're the one's fighting oppression?”


This is an intervention.

You have a comma problem. We cannot ignore this anymore. Stop using commas to lead from narration to dialogue. It's just wrong.

Also, try to remain somewhat formal in your narrative. For instance: "till" is actually a verb that means "to turn up dirt." Formally, one would replace "till" with "until."

And by all that is grammatically correct, I can't believe I missed this: "Maybe they're the one's"

"they're the one's"

"one's"

GAH. I don't think you mean to indicate possession here. ;)

Otherwise, interesting backstory developing. Be right back.

Varien smiled thinly,” I guess we'll never know.”


Gracious Thunderbirds! This is conspiracy. It smells like it. Then Varien just says "I guess we'll never know." Either that's terrible foreshadowing, terrible dialogue, or (this is the good option) Varien knows something.

Just then the door to the front of the shop opened and Paine stepped out, a worried look on his face, his brown eyes tenser than usual,” boys, come 'ere!”


Again with the commas. This is a run-on. I'll leave it to you.

I'm beginning to become curious about your naming conventions. "Paine" especially is an odd first name. Varien, Dane, and Koth - I've swallowed all those. But Paine Telyx just feels like two last names, one of which could double for a new Spandex product. These are just personal notes... Not exactly revisions.

Dane raised a curious eyebrow at Varien who just shrugged. They paced over to Paine.


Varien knows something. And it's terrible foreshadowing. Final answer.

“What is it?” Dane asked, glancing through the open door into the empty shop, with it's perfect shelves filled with beautiful candles.


Consider breaking this paragraph into two sentences. Also, the shop is called "empty," but then you describe its ornate and plentiful contents. I understand the shop is empty of people, but that descriptor does not apply only to people. Reword.

I tried to strike out the apostrophe on "it's," but it doesn't show up very well. Be on the lookout for struck-out punctuation marks. They're sneaky and still need to be removed.

“My Communicator stone just sent me a message from the maurman! He wants every person between the ages of fifteen and forty up at the fort grounds by tidefall!” Paine's face was pale, and he looked tense: worried.


Wait, wait. Did the "Communicator Stone" send the message to Paine, or just receive it for him?

And "the maurman" still feels like it should be capitalized. I see no reason why not. It (or he or she) is, for all appearances, a proper noun.

Consider revising "tidefall," which is not exactly a word, to "tide's fall." Otherwise you've gotten to the point this story is beginning to take some shape. It's a polygonal, lopsided shape. But shape nonetheless.

Some story notes: The progression so far is abrupt stair-steps. That does not necessarily have to be a bad thing, but Varien's not-so-subtle foreshadowing sentence gives away the most recent step. That could be a bad thing. If I see things coming, I'll be less excited when they arrive. Unless something else is in store. We'll see.

Also, you jump around and introduce a decent cast of characters: Koth, Dane, Varien, Paine, Dane's mother (sort of introduced). These characters all have their own proprioceptive "place" in the story - for the most part. Dane is the slowly revealed protagonist, with us from the beginning. Koth is the guard on the alley beat. Paine is Dane's apparently boring, humdrum, repetitively-described-as-"wrinkled" stepfather. Varien is Dane's unannounced friend. So far the only good interplay is between Dane and Varien. As of yet, I'm just stating the obvious. But I am sincerely hoping that Koth's introduction takes significance later in the story - the reader appreciates some sort of wrap-up to a character you take such time to introduce, even if the character does not last throughout the story. And hopefully Paine, as he is refined in these passages, develops into a less bland character. Just because Paine himself is bland does not mean descriptions and dialogue concerning him must be.

Dane glanced down at his hand, clutching the small blue and white Communicator stone,” we'd better get moving then,” he muttered, looking disappointedly back at his unfinished work on the table behind him,” the tide was already going down when I last saw it.”


Comma-dialogue flow abuse.

"when I last saw it" is unnecessary. I can surmise from his stating that "the tide was already going down" that he must have seen or otherwise been informed. Or you could even revise to "the tide will fall soon." Something shorter and with more punch.

Varien gulped*.* ”[F]ather[?]” [H]e said (asked?), fear tinging his voice*.* ” [D]o you think they might be recruiting?”

Paine gave a short nod.” They might be. Just pray you're not chosen, if it is!”


Wait, wait. Is Paine Varien's father and Dane's stepfather? Why didn't you tell me! Don't sneak up on me with stuff like this. Tell me when you introduce Varien.

Also: You didn't abuse commas in Paine's dialogue! Have a smiley face: :D
But you still did in Varien's.

"if it is" makes no sense. You are referring to "they" who may or may not be recruiting. "They" are not "it." This could be revised to "if they are!", but I suggest you just remove it.

Dane pursed his lips, and then stepping over to Varien put an arm around his shoulders*.* ”[C]ome on! I bet it isn't anything!” But the message told otherwise, fifteen to forty. That was the age group from which soldiers were picked.


"pursed" -> "stepping over". Your tenses get a little oncfuzzled. Perhaps "Dane pursed his lips as he put his arm around Varien's shoulders."

"But the message told otherwise, fifteen to forty. That was the age group from which soldiers were picked." Rephrase, restructure, and re-punctuate.

It appears Varien doesn't know anything after all. I was so hoping, though. You led me on a bit back there.

Paine nodded and smiled bravely, pushing his worries aside,” aye! Let's go. I'll pick up your mother and see you at the fountain!” [H] jerked his coat off of the hook on the wall and*,* then slipped into the shop to close up.


Comma-dialogue abuse!

And basic structural stuff. And whose mother? Varien's or Dale's? Do they have different mothers? The genealogy has me confused.

Dane sighed,” come on.” Together he and Varien slipped out the side-door to the work-shop and headed out into the street. Earlier the whole street had been swarming with bustling, chatting citizens, but now it was quickly emptying. People were stepping out of their homes and turning, suspiciously, to head for the towering fort that loomed in the distance.


"side-door" and "work-shop" do not need to be hyphenated. Put a space between "side" and "door"; and workshop is a word. You've slipped into past tense. Then you start going on in present tense. Sometimes those shifts are easy enough to follow. Sometimes not. You need to decide that for yourself (at least to some extent) and revise accordingly.

Why are people "turning suspiciously?" Do you mean that they are harboring suspicions as they walk toward the tower? Clarify. I do not think the people are acting suspicious, but feeling suspicious.

Dane and Varien followed the flow, walking quickly up the cobblestone road. They were silent, nervous even.


"The flow" describes the cobblestone road, but you use it as your main object. Rephrase for clarity, using "flowing" or some such as an adjective. Unless "the flow" refers to the people moving toward the tower? In that case, still rephrase. This is somewhat unclear.

I won't let Varien be taken to the wars, I don't care what I have to do! Dane promised himself, glancing up at the towering granite houses and mansions lining the road. They'd entered the richer centre of the city, having just exited the merchant section. If it's a recruiting at all!


'Kay. Revise to clarify the changing scenery somewhat, and emphasize the futile hope Dane clings to at the end of his thoughts. Right now, those are both a little under-the-radar, and are not meant to be subtle. At least, I assume you mean to protract the suspense - if not, you should still consider doing so.

Nobody ever came back from the wars. Nobody. The last recruiting had been fifteen years ago, when Dane was two. Paine told him that there had been 43,329 men and women in the city who were of age at the time. One out of every four of them had been chosen, marched up to the fort for a day, then transported to a training facility closer to the War-zone.


"closer to the" can be revised to "near." "Closer" is comparative, and yet you do not explicitly compare the relative distance of the facility with any other place. Thus, by grammatical jury, I rule this phrase incorrect. Or at least unclear, which is cause enough for revision.

Otherwise, the backstory is coming along nicely. Loose ends to keep in mind: Dane's mother (who was furtively introduced as a sidenote, which was somewhat unfulfilling); Paine's wife/somebody (Vaine?)'s mother (who has yet to be introduced, really); Koth (who I anticipate will be at the Tower).

All that returned to the city were letters of condolence. Not even a single body came back.


Hrmm... I think you can be more powerful, more poignant with this passage. And with the passage leading up to it. Reconsider some of your diction and structure, and leave some room for suggestion. You are rather explicit about letters of condolence and bodies that never return. Try being more... mysterious.

As they approached the city square*,* Dane began to notice that something was wrong. He glanced back at Varien,” keep close! The crowd's pretty thick up here.”


Comma-dialogue abuse! If I yell it often enough, maybe it will go away!

Otherwise fine.

Varien gave him a quick nod and stepped up close behind him. Up ahead Dane heard angry yells, and noticed that a number of people were moving away from the crowded area. Some had tear-stained faces. Something was wrong.


You are more careful, it seems (and I do not think on purpose) with egregious verbiage. I still found some to remind me to say this, of course. The story is coming along, and the language is flowing slightly better. But you still have many passages which can be readily improved. Do not think my failure to shout at all of them means they are not there. ;)

So... interesting turn?

I'll be blunt. The plot so far is somewhat obvious. My best guess? It's recruiting day. The people turning back have recently been relieved of husbands, children, relatives...

Carefully he edged forward through the surging crowd, trying to find out what had happened *-* or was happening *-* that would cause such a commotion. Suddenly he felt a body slam into his side and he was thrown forward through the crowd out out onto the bare cobblestones.


"He" does not have a clear antecedent. Antecedents do not carry across paragraphs very well. The first "He" I suggest revising to "Dane."

There are two "out"s. Remove one.

This is a good opportunity to introduce you to the wonders of punctuation!
You use a lot of commas. But there are semicolons, full-on colons, dashes - bigger dashes — parentheses, tildae, and so many more! (Not really, that's about all of them.)

The dash especially I think you could make use of. Some are inserted as a suggestion above. Dashes are very popular for demarking asides and brief tangents, as you may already know. So try doing that!

He winced, his knees stinging and slowly stood. And now he saw what was happening.


Tense disagreement. "Winced," "knees stinging." This could be correct if worded as follows: "He winced at his stinging knees, prompting him to slowly stand." Or "He winced, his knees stinging. He slowly stood." Language is silly that way. Tense shifts within a sentence or paragraph can be confusing. Helpful rule of thumb: try to avoid doing it, and emulate places where you have seen it done where it does not break flow. Some authors are darned good at it.

A row of steel*-*plated guards stood, lined up in a perfect row right across the road that entered into the city square. Their faces were impassive and dead-eyed*.* and [T[hey did not move from their positions*,* even as the people surged up to them and pounded on their armour, crying to be let through.


"armour." Again it's somewhat of a British spelling. American cents.

"steel plated" might need a hyphen. I would suggest it. "steel-plated."

The rest of my suggested revisions feel better shown, not told. The essence is thus: revise for clarity. I know. That's getting to be a repetitive suggestion. I cannot really explain it better than that - if something is unclear, it is difficult to pin down why. Such is the nature of unclear things.

A few yards behind the guards were a number of thin, dark-cloaked men, shoving the people that the guards passed them behind them through to join one of three heavily guarded, aged separated separate groups of people, divided by age groups, and heavily guarded by soldiers.


Alright. Another tip for clarity and precision: Whenever something can be used as an adjective before a noun, as opposed to afterwards, do it before. (This is assuming that doing so beforehand is not somehow an atrocious breach of grammatical, syntactical, aesthetic, or personal standards. It rarely should be.)

And remove egregious verbiage.

Suddenly fear gripped Dane. The army was recruiting!” Varien, turn around! Get out of the crowd! Get to father, tell him-” he yelled frantically, turning to where Varien, stood, staring at him in shock.


Big surprise!

It is not necessarily a bad thing that I suspected it would be recruiting day. But you could perhaps be less obvious about it earlier. You make many suggestions leading to my guess, and some of those suggestions could be omitted to make the guesswork more rewarding. That does not mean it won't be obvious enough still - I've been suspecting something like this ever since I found out about a war with the Dern.

Obvious is not bad. But less obvious is good.

But just [A]t that moment a pair of powerful hands grabbed him Dane by his jacket and heaved him to his feet. One of the men in the wall of guards reached out and tossed Varien behind him like he weighed nothing.


I feel the suspense is stronger without "But just."

While "him" has some sort of antecedent, you do talk about both boys (and antecedents do not carry well over paragraphs anyway), so I suggest revising to "Dane."

I did not realize that Dane and Varien were so close to the wall of guards... I thought they were looking on from afar? Or perhaps the crowd pushed them on? This could be clarified. It's a bit of a gap in the story.

The guard who had grabbed Dane now firmly turned him around to face a thin, hawk-faced scribe holding a recording stone.


The action above could be quickened by emphasizing verbs: "Dane was now firmly turned to face a thin, hawk-faced scribe holding a recording stone." Since we already know a guard grabbed him, the faster action helps the read to flow better.

Alright, you capitalized "Communicator Stone," but not "tracking stone" or "recording stone." Choose whether you want to capitalize these things. Then do or do not capitalize all of them. Please.

He glanced up at Dane, his face tired and bored.“ Name, age, rank, and occupation!” he demanded.


Good. No comments. (Whoah. This is the first paragraph without comments.)

A couple feet away Varien stood frozen while another scribe asked him the same thing. Slowly his younger cousin began to answer,” Varien Verkeye*.* [F]ifteen years old*.* [F]irst level merchantman*.* [R]ope maker's apprentice,” he stuttered fearfully.


"Verkeye?" What is the significance of these names? I am curious. Names typically have an origin in one's family occupation or some such. My last name means "lumberjack" in some language or another.

When listing things, sometimes periods can draw out the individual items and give the reader time to digest them. Like in this case. That's a lot of information all at once.

The scribe nodded, holding out another recorder stone. A moment later Varien was given a violent shove and sent stumbling forward into a group of scared looking kids, guarded closely by a ring of armoured soldiers.


This paragraph is a little wordy, a little bland.

“Kid! Answer me!” growled the scribe in front of Dane.


Eh. It's okay. Also a little bland. Consider: "'Kid! Answer me!' Dane's attention snapped forward." There's more action in my sentence. More action helps the work read faster, and is just more exciting all around.

He snapped his gaze back down to him. This couldn't be happening! This had to stop! He shook his head slightly. He wasn't going to do this! He had to think of a way to get out of here! Now!


In light of my above suggestion, you would remove the first sentence of this paragraph. Again, it helps the read go a little faster, and it provides more active, straight-verb story.

The thought-like narration sequence and the desperation come across quite well.

The scribe jerked his head to one of the awaiting a guards and Dane felt a the sharp prick of a halberd in his back. He winced. These weren't the usual town guards. They must have come in on the Naurstone.


"awaiting" is a poor descriptor here. It does not add much, and encourages a lengthy structure. "a prick of a halberd" is grammatically generic-generic. Must either be revised to particular-generic: "the prick of a halberd", or "a halberd's sharp prick," or some such. I haven't made all possible suggestions. Just a few.

I presume the "Naurstone" is a ship of some sort? And is the "Maurmon" too? You should capitalize both names, if so. And perhaps clarify somehow that they are ships. Although I think, now that I've been looking at it, that you already introduced the Naurstone as the recently docked warship.

“You're not gonna kill me!” he hissed stubbornly.


Oooh. We got a real tough guy over here.

The scribe narrowed his eyebrows and*,* pulling pulled an oval black stone out of his pocket*,* and pointed it at Dane, closing his eyes slightly as he concentrated.


Tense agreement revisions.

Dane stared at the stone*.* [H]e'd never seen one like it before, and had no idea what it was. For a moment he stared at it, surprised. But nothing happened.


"Dane stared at the stone... For a moment he stared at it..." Redundant. Remove something.

The scribe opened his eyes, a confused look flitting across his face*.* ” [I]f you-” he began, but suddenly Dane felt a rough hand fall onto his shoulder and the man stopped.


Comma-dialogue abuse!

Jerking himself around*,* he Dane found himself face to face with Koth. The burly guard nodded slightly to the scribe and*,* then turned his hardened, chiseled face back to Dane,*.* [J]ust tell them*,* Dane. Don't worry. Chances are Varien won't be chosen! Don't make them have to work to get this information. You won't win.”


Koth is back! Nice.

Comma-dialogue abuse!

Dane better have to be a soldier, or I'll be disappointed.

Dane nodded slightly. He trusted Koth a lot, even though they didn't really know one another.


Ah. A good, nice paragraph. Nothing to say!

Slowly he turned back to the scribe*.* ” Dane Tarke, seventeen years old, first level -” he stopped, but a quick glance back at Koth told him to continue*.* ”(s]erf,” he finished. ”[A]ssistant candle-maker.”


Comma-dialogue abuse! Twice! Thrice! Quaternion!

Consider using an ellipsis to emphasize Dane's pause. The dash is rather abrupt.

The scribe sneered at him*.* ”[A] Tarke serf,” he muttered under his breath, lowering his recording stone and motioning to the awaiting guards to put him over with the others of his age. 'Tarke' was the last name given to any illegitimate, unclaimed child; it marked him forever as a slave, until he proved he wasn't one.


Some name etymology. I appreciate that.
"Awaiting" is not a very nice verb. Just use "waiting."

"Until he proved he wasn't one." What is this supposed to mean? Perhaps "Until he could prove his worth" or something. One does not simply "prove" one is not a slave when one has been indefinitely marked as such. At least, one would not think.

He was at least only a first level peasant because he lived with a good family, and had some small skill.


Tried to clarify this, but I'm not so certain about the revisions. I understand what you are getting at.

He quickly found Varien in the crowd of silently whispering people, all very close to his own age,” stay with me,” he said softly,” chances are you won't be chosen. So don't worry!”


Comma-dialogue abuse! Find it yourself!

Varien nodded, his face pale, and they stood, side by side as they waited.


Good ending. Sufficient suspense, sufficient intrigue. A little too much foreshadowing for my taste. And the language could use some improvement beyond what I was able to cover. But alas, a good piece has but to tell its story. And yours is coming together. I'm curious to know more. And maybe next time you can screen a little more for grammar, even if you speed write it first. :)

Final answer: I like it. I wouldn't buy it just from this preview alone, but I am nonetheless intrigued. Keep my attention!

Be forever hortatory,

~Skorlir





Memento homo, quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris (Remember, man, that you are dust, and you will return to dust)
— Genesis 3:19