Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Fantasy

12+

Chapter 1

by r4p17


The traveler walks silently through the cornfield. He wares a dark blue hood and brown cloak. He has brown hair and a full beard. His features are rather hard to discern from where I sit crouching behind a rock. In his right had he car-ries an oaken staff. In front of him looms a forest. The leaves are just budding out. Above him a bright three quarter moon sheds light on the fields of Balston.

"Halt! Who goes there?" another man shouts as the traveler emerges from the cornfield and reaches the fringe of the wood. The traveler stops instantly.

"I am just a simple traveller wandering these lands." the traveler replies.

"Where are your citizenship papers the man asks." The traveler looks at the man quizzically. "You know that anyone who travels abroad in these lands who doesn't have his citizenship papers is liable to be arrested and subsequently put to death by a death squad." The traveler looks and sees more guards around him. His face pales but his look remains determined and he replies confidently.

"I have been wandering the lands periodically for years without any papers."

"Are you aware that any foreigner wandering about in the lands of the king of Piremë is liable to imprisonment and even able to be killed? Also any who flee the lands of the king will be killed instantly without any trial whatsoever?"

"I am not breaking any law to which I am subject. Last I heard the lands were the property of the king of Húrn, Alfred. And I do not obey the king of Piremë."

I grasp my sword ready to spring to the aid of the stout and loyal traveler.

"Arrest this man guards!" The sentinel roared. But befor I or the guards can join the fray the traveler draws his sword. In a flash the sentinel's sword is cut in two. The traveler then slices through the sentinel's steel cap. John and I pounce on the other guards in an instant. After a short encounter I disarm one.

"Anmë, kill that bowman." I shout urgently my companion. He instantly takes out a knife and throws it at the man. The knife is buried into the man's chest.

John and I soon dispatch a second guard and knock another senseless.

"So." John says. "The rumors are true the Piremë have overrun the border."

One week later I walk about my hunting lodge with anxiety. The expedition went well: too well. We found out much that had once been secret. I turn on my heel as I hear a knock on the door. My squire John answers the door. Anmë the traveler walks through the door with his stout oaken staff in his hand.

"Ah! I was waiting for you to arrive." I say. "Come in and have some coffee."

He throws off his blue hood and follows me and John to a large living room furnished with two black couches and two wooden rocking chairs. The couches face each other while the rocking chairs have theirs back to a large fireplace at an acute angle. In the center of the room sits a coffee table. I order one of the servants to put a pot of coffee on the fire. He does so at once. In the meantime the three of us sit down and start talking together about the "expedition".

"Something has to be done about the threat to the Húrnan border." I say.

"I agree." Amnë says "But the problem is that Alfred will not consent to have foreign troops enter his land. That even extends to us. We can't help them."

"Why do we have to help them in the first place though." John says. "It is not our custom to help others unless they plead with us for it or pay us money. I say that we wait for an offer from them. I know that I am only a squire but I think that I should have a say. We have nothing to gain but trouble. I say we lay low."

"I get your point." I say. "But it is up to the Council to decide what our mission is. For now we will lay low but I will take the matter before the other councilmen first. You, John, will come with me." I say before turning to address my former apprentice. "Traveler I want you to head back into Húrn and continue keeping an eye on the Piremë." (Traveler was the nickname I gave him during his youth.)

"Aye sir, I will. But what do want me to do if I encounter Piremë?" he asks.

"Avoid large bodies of troops. If you run into Piremë patrols take out one or two and then give them the slip or give them these." I hand hand him a folder.

"Forged papers I imagine?" he says. I grin communicating he guessed right.

"What if they see that they are actually fake?" Amnë asks with concern.

"They won't." I state flatly. "They hardly even look them over." I continue.

Anmë let out a short barking laugh. As a member of the Order he was used to being careful and secretive. But he has learned that the Piremë, though cruel and brutal, we're rather indifferent as long as you gave them what they wanted such as papers or a bribe and acted like you were minding your own business.

"Now we better get out of here." John says as he packs his things. I agree.

"Right." I say donning my hood and cloak and taking my staff in hand. We all walk outside and get our boots on. We walk over to the stable and enter. After saddling our horses we mount them and bid each other a merry farewell.

John and I turn our horses west toward the Fertile Valley. After riding for an hour we emerge from Underbrush Forest and come out into the open. The fertile valley encompasses us on three sides. Far ahead in the distance the Stormy River running through the Great Canyon flows south to the sea. More than twice that distance to the north loom the Fell Mountains. But we go south.

We turn our horses down the royal road, which splits Húrn in half. For miles ahead we see no one. Little farms and villages can be seen with smoke rising up from chimneys. But to the east all the land is barren and devoid of any homes. Instead they are replaced by fire, ash, and a horde of Piremë. But they are still many miles away and cannot see us even though we sit astride horses.

"We will have to be less careful than I at first thought." I say to John. "There are no travelers for miles round. All we have to do is avoid Triston Castle."

"Do you think the Pirmë have come to it yet?" John asks me. "If they have–"

"No." I say cutting him off. "The fires have not come close to it. But they do have scouts. We will have to be careful to avoid any and all civilization until we come to Kore." Kore is a a small island to the south of Deydon (day dawn) the continent where the realms of Húrn and Piremë are. It is less powerful as well.

"I guess that means hard tack and whatever else we can glean for a while?"

"Yes. I am afraid so. But at least the land here in Húrn is extremely fertile."

After our short discourse we ride on in silence as our horses eat up the road. After riding for a long while we see a a party of horsemen crest a low, distant ridge. I think about how we should react. The enemy will soon spot us even if they haven't already. Finally I come to a firm conclusion and address John.

"Those horsemen are probably Piremë." I say to John as I watch the riders slowly come toward us. "We will give them these papers that I made in the past week. If they are Húrnan then we will act like soldiers going to the war. We will try to act as unobtrusive as possible. No charging into them all right, John?"

"Fine, though I beg to differ about charging into them. I would shoot them all."

"Point taken. But I do NOT want you doing anything of that nature either."

"Killing five Piremë would do about as much damage as spilling a drop in five buckets anyhow." John says. I merely grunt in agreement with my apprentice.

"Just act natural. As long as you do that the Piremë won't be suspicious."

"I know. I'll act as I'm trained." With that we are silent as they approach us.


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
396 Reviews


Points: 27
Reviews: 396

Donate
Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:34 pm
Pompadour wrote a review...



Hey there! I'm going to echo Wolf here and say: Welcome to YWS!

I'll just take a quick run through the entire piece first, so hang tight~

He wares a dark blue hood and brown cloak. He has brown hair and a full beard. His features are rather hard to discern from where I sit crouching behind a rock. In his right had he car-ries an oaken staff. In front of him looms a forest. The leaves are just budding out. Above him a bright three quarter moon sheds light on the fields of Balston.


1) "Wares" should be "wears."

2) You have a tendency to say, "His/He/Him" a lot and it can get rather monotonous for the reader to have to plow through the first paragraph; try spicing it up a bit by using alternatives like: "the man," "the stranger," or such. But don't create too much of a variety, otherwise it looks just plain disorganized.

3) "had" should be "hand" and "car-ries" should be "carries."

4) Alrighty, so while I can't spot any other technical errors here, I do think that your narration isn't as well-established and your point-of-view not as clear as it could be. This is because while this is in first-person, you kind of stray from that certain perspective to providing us a general picture of the setting/scenery as a whole, so it's like you've suddenly shifted to a third-person omniscient kind of perspective. Also, you rush the details out. You tell us there's a forest before the man, the moon in the sky and what he looks like, his appearance, apparel, etc. Now, I notice you tell us a lot of things, and the thing is that having too much "tell" and less of "show" can make your chapter opening seem like an info-dump. You can remedy this pretty easily, either by being subtle with your descriptions or tweaking a couple of your sentences. For example, instead of simply stating: "In front of him looms a forest," you could play with imagery and say something like: "The forest seems to whisper with itself as he stands before it; the leaves rustle ..."

Or something like that. Personally, I think you should focus more on writing from perspective here, since I doubt anyone could be as observant to tick details off one by one. What is your character thinking as he/she observes the man? Can they see his face in the darkness? Why are they there? You need to make room for the reader to connect with the main character: don't stray so far into the action that your character just stands like a puppet on the sidelines.

Original: "Where are your citizenship papers the man asks." The traveler looks at the man quizzically.

Corrected: "Where are your citizenship papers?" the man asks. The traveler looks at him quizzically.


"I am just a simple traveller wandering these lands." the traveler replies.


~ A comma should replace that period, since dialogue tags (said, replied, cried, etc.) are usually preceded by or followed by commas.

~ Typo: "traveller" should be "traveler."

The traveler looks and sees more guards around him.


This was pretty sudden. Also, I'm wondering where all those guards popped out from. You don't really give us much of an insight into setting besides that first para, and your reader might get pretty shocked when you bring in different people and actions out of the blue. Be subtle; lead up to it so the reader doesn't question your choices and digests information easily. Also, revert back to your MC's thoughts over here. I want to know what he/she is thinking and since this is first-person, what he/she sees, understands and infers about his/her surroundings.

Another thing: Pacing. This is somewhat inconsistent in your writing, mainly because everything is just too fast. You could expand on the fight scene instead of flitting by there. I was kinda ticked off by how you suddenly fast-forward to a week later without tying all the loose ends together. It doesn't really make sense. So take it slow, develop your characters, your setting and your plot. So far, your story's pretty good, and I understand that this is meant to be epic fantasy--it is epic fantasy, right?--which is always pretty difficult to write considering you have to create an entire work to house your plot. This is one of the reasons why it would be better for you to establish a base; the first chapter is the only fling at an introduction you'll get and if you plunge straight into the action instead of helping your reader grasp the general layout of the background/characters/surroundings, you might end up confusing them later when you realize that there's so much that your reader doesn't know.

Perspective plays a great part in your novel, too. Your narration gets stronger nearing the end, I've noticed, and that's because you manage to connect to your character. All you need to do is to nail the perspective in the beginning and you're good to go!

Your dialogue is your strong point: it flows naturally and is fun to read. I love it! You just need to learn to make connections and give us a little more description, otherwise I enjoyed reading this!

Keep writing! Keep it up! PM me if you have any questions~

~Pompadour




r4p17 says...


Thanks for the review, pomp! (Do you mind if I call you that). I have a reason for the period in dialogue. Check out the first chapter of Wordsmithing by dragonfphoenix if you want to know more about that.

I already had people tell me about the pacing. It does slow down after this.

I will try to work on the description. By the way the reason for the guards suddenly appearing was to add to the whole mystique of the story.



User avatar
77 Reviews


Points: 878
Reviews: 77

Donate
Sun Jun 08, 2014 9:18 pm
AdjiFlex wrote a review...



Hello there. You reviewed my work not long ago. Naturally, I am here to return the favor.

So let's start on a good note. I quite like the shady, shifty vibe that the story has. It gives it a theme that is working well for what's happening. Also, your working in the present tense is a brave choice. Not many novels are written in this tense, so this alone makes your work stand out a bit.

So moving on - the story barely progresses in this chapter. I don't entirely mind that, as I am getting a very good feel of the environment and the characters. Still, more plot movement could give more drive to the chapter.

Now as for the technical stuff, Wolfie36 has covered more than half of that. Be sure to proofread your work to get rid of those distracting little errors. Disturbingly, even the second sentence has a spelling error in it.

Well keep writing. I really like the setting of your story, and I will continue to read and give my reviews. Take care. Happy writing.




User avatar
212 Reviews


Points: 3486
Reviews: 212

Donate
Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:14 pm
TheCrimsonLady wrote a review...



Hey! Aurora here for -hopefully- a long review. But that really depends on how long my meager internet access lasts, so....

Let's start off with technicalities, love.

In his right had he car-ries an oaken staff.
In his right hand he carries an oaken staff.

In his right had he car-ries an oaken staff. In front of him looms a forest.
Vary your sentence structure a bit.

The leaves are just budding out.
Leaves don't bud; flowers do. Leaves unfurl. However, you may want to use some descriptive language, "He observes the dark green shoots of baby leaves unfurling as the summer approaches"... or something more imageristic.

"Arrest this man guards!" The sentinel roared.
Uh.. a little weird? people don't add on who they are addressing as an after thought. "GUards! Arrest this man!"

Well my internet is faltering, so...bye.




r4p17 says...


The reason for writing carries with a hyphen in the middle is because the word was split in-between two lines on notes which doesn't have justify on it. And leaves do but out. Besides this has no bearing on the story whatso-ever





Sorry about that, love. I was going to move onto plot later, but then my wifi disappeared.



User avatar
419 Reviews


Points: 4509
Reviews: 419

Donate
Sat Jun 07, 2014 6:25 am
View Likes
Wolfical wrote a review...



Hi, and welcome to YWS!!! :D
So you are Messenger's cousin? Neat!
I'm going to jump right into the nitpicks before delving into the real stuff...

He wares a dark blue hood

"Wears" instead of "wares."
The first paragraph is a little choppy. To make it sound better, combine and lengthen sentences.
"Halt! Who goes there?"

Why does the font change here?
wandering these lands."

Insert a comma instead of a period.
"Where are your citizenship papers the man asks."

It looks like you put the quotation mark in the wrong place...
Also any who flee the lands of the king will be killed instantly without any trial whatsoever?"

Add a comma after "also" and a period instead of that quotation mark.
I grasp my sword ready to spring

Insert a comma after "sword."
But befor I

A simple spelling error.
I or the guards

A proper way to say this is "the guards or I"
After a short encounter I disarm one.

Add a comma after "encounter."
One week later I walk about my hunting lodge with anxiety.

Put a comma after "later." In addition, I would recommend changing "with" to "in."
After this, your writing seems to get much better! :D
"Traveler I want you to head back

Insert a comma after the first word.
I grin communicating he guessed right.

Comma after "grin."
I see that you and Messenger have the same problems with commas. It must be a hereditary issue. ;)
"They won't." I state flatly. "They hardly even look them over." I continue.

To make this better, here are two variations:
Spoiler! :
"They won't," I state flatly. "They hardly even look them over."

Spoiler! :
"They won't" I state flatly.
"They hardly even look them over," I continue.
^Writing "add" instead of "continue" might be better if you chose this option.

a short barking laugh

Comma after "short."
we're rather indifferent

No apostrophe here.
We all walk outside and get our boots on. We walk over to

I would refrain from using "walk" twice in such close proximity.
After saddling our horses we mount them and bid each other a merry farewell.

It looks like they're traveling together, so why would they be saying goodbye to eachother?
I think about how we should react

Try "act" instead of "react."
as much damage as spilling a drop in five buckets anyhow.

I don't understand this simile, though I appreciate that you imputed one.

I know that those were a lot of errors, but you can easily fix them all by editing your chapter again. Remember to use a comma instead of a full stop in instances like "This," he said.
You could try and describe the scenery and characters some more, too. You did a nice job with the living room, but the description was still flat. We know that there were furniture and a fireplace, but that's about all. What color were the walls, for instance?
Overall, I like your first chapter. This world seems adventurous and dangerous, with a medieval side to it all. Your writing was good, even though there were many nitpicks. I am looking forward to reading some characterization of John, Traveler, and the narrator later on. And who are the mysterious riders that are approaching? I guess I'll learn soon! Keep up the good work!




r4p17 says...


I have a reason for replacing the comma with a period try reading the first chapter of Wordsmithing by @dragonfphoenix.

I think the font issue happened in the transfer from notes to YWS.

I will try to work on the description as well as the nit-picks.

Thanks for the review! :D




In short, Mrs. Pontellier was beginning to realize her position in the universe as a human being, and to recognize her relations as an individual to the world within and about her.
— Kate Chopin, The Awakening