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Hunter: Chapter 3.1 - Agrona [Edited]

by FalconerGal9086


After wandering aimlessly for several hours, I eventually found myself in the slums. Here, the buildings weren’t of brick and stone and wood with clay shingles on the roofs. Instead, the houses were mud with thatch for the ceiling. The people here were much quieter, and it was less crowded. Some worked the fields or fed the animals while others made the home. The children that played in the streets stopped to look at me as I passed with wide eyes and an almost fearful gaze.

I didn’t stop, despite the ache in my leg and arm. I couldn’t stop here. They were afraid of me.

The best place to go would probably be the inn, but I had no money, so I’d have to do with an alleyway. Sleeping down here in the slums was a bad idea — what little I had would likely be stolen. Finding somewhere in the better part of town was my best bet. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite sure which way I had to go. It wasn’t that I had a bad sense of direction; I was simply exhausted. The language barrier didn’t really help me much, either.

It took quite a lot of wandering and wrong turns before I found my way back to the better part of town. I was in the square which was suddenly very quiet compared to the earlier hubbub of traders and merchants. The only sound besides the occasional stray animal or drunkard wandering home was the gurgling of the leviathan-shaped fountain in the center of the cobbled plaza.

It was a simple matter to crawl behind a building to huddle down for the night. I curled up on my sack for a pillow and fell into a fitful rest.

I awoke to the sound of a voice yelling in that language that I hated being unable to understand. There was a man no more than four feet tall standing above me and screaming. His black hair was cut short and his amber eyes were furious.

I scrambled to my feet and darted away down the alley, disappearing around the corner. His voice carried but he didn’t pursue me, which was all I could hope for.

Where to now? I’d escaped the Pack and the Hunters and found my way to civilization. But now that I was there, I was suddenly unsure about what to do. I couldn’t speak their tongue. I didn’t know their culture. All I knew how to do was fight and I was fairly certain that wouldn’t help me much here and now.

Without knowledge of where I was or what to do, I simply wandered to the place where there seemed to be the most people — it was all I had in the way of a start. As it turned out, it was an inn with a sign depicting a large, gold gryphon.

I slipped into the din. It was full of humans, halflings, and gnomes, working at every activity imaginable: brawling, wrestling, betting, gambling, bartering, drinking, haggling, bartending, and even simply watching the pandemonium. No one so much as looked up when I entered.

But there was something about that place. Instinct told me that there was an opportunity but also a danger — what, I could not tell. I found my way to a corner and sat down where I wouldn’t be noticed. Much to my relief, I wasn’t.

So I waited. I watched. I learned. I’d heard about the Alliance and their ways but they still seemed alien to me — the idea of assigning great value to soft, useless metals still seemed pointless and nonsensical to me. Why use that when you could trade tools that were more practical?

As the day went by, few figures stayed for more than a couple hours unless they were unconscious from the consumption of too much alcohol or were staying in one of the rooms upstairs. The barkeep was a woman with tan, heavily tattooed skin. She had four piercings in one ear as well as one in her lip. The woman’s eyes were an almost perturbing shade of yellowish gold.

It was she who first took notice of me. She didn’t glance up twice at first, but as the hours passed she began to watch me, likely trying to work out what I was doing and whether or not I would buy anything.But she didn’t approach me nor did she address me. She simply worked the day and ushered me outside as she closed up. I left without argument, limping outside. She nodded to me and slipped inside.

Clink.

Something had fallen onto the ground as she’d left. Something metal by the sound of it. I knelt, scanning the ground for a shape, any shape, on the stone.

And there it was. A small, thin wire-like piece of metal.

A lock pick. She’d dropped a lock pick. Had it been deliberate? Was she helping me? Testing me? Or was it honestly an accident?

I’d learned the skill from Lupus whose father was a locksmith. My own father had moved on to apprentice to a traveling weaponsmith when one had come through town instead of taking after those before him, but he’d learned well how to open a lock without a sign nor damage. He, in turn, had taught me.

I hastily slipped it into the inside of my bandage on my arm, lest someone see it and steal one of my most valuable tools. The gauze was now dirty, bloodied, and ripped, but it still at least covered my wound.

This was the key to any door. The small, slender piece of metal was more precious than any amount of gold, for it would gave me access — albeit illegal —to opportunities to get myself food and water or transportation or goods that I could use to keep myself on my feet.

I waited that evening in the alleyway for the blanket of night to conceal my approach. I would see if I could get into the inn and get more food and drink to nourish myself. After what seemed like an eternity but was only about an hour, the sun had finally set and the moon hung high in the sky.

I {} padded through the now-vacant square betrayed only by the light of the crescent moon and the stars. One in particular shone brighter than all the rest. It was a single spot of sunlight in the field of silver — this one was golden and brilliant, not glistening and pale like the rest. Later I would know it as Akaron, the first star to rise in the morn and the last to set in the eve. The beacon of hope for the Alliance and their Hunters.

For now, though, I simply saw it as a nuisance that luminesced me more than necessary. I padded over to the door in perfect silence and slipped the lockpick into the door. One, two, three tumblers and there was the satisfying click as the door swung open with a low creak.

I shut it behind me as I slipped within the inn. I slowed my breathing and listened carefully for any movements above me — nothing. Good.

I nosed around behind the bar, gathering some rags before wandering back into the storage room underneath the inn.

Shelves of cheeses, wines, ales, flour, and other foodstuffs lined the cool cellar. The stone was cold to the touch. I slipped some more food into my bag as well as more water as I walked deeper into the depths of the rather cell-like place.

Clunk.

A hollow thud as my foot hit something…forgiving. Well, more forgiving than stone, anyways. It creaked as I put my weight on it. Taking a step back, I looked down at whatever I’d stumbled upon.

It was a trapdoor made of reddish wood. A large, iron rung served as the handle. I glanced around and after making sure I was alone, opened the threshold.

How little I knew how that single, innocent action would forever change my life.


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Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:10 pm
saentiel wrote a review...



Hello, FalconryGirl9086! I'm here to review your work! I'm sorry in advance if my review isn't all that helpful. I'm trying to become a better reviewer, but I'm still not used to reviewing some of the things I'm going to mention in this review.

I didn't have any overall problems with your grammar, but there are two instances where I think you can change something in your future revisions.

The first one of these is as one part of the chapter comes to a close. I'll put it in a quote underneath this paragraph. The transition between the two parts of the narrative seems sudden. I would suggest either including a line break or changing the first line of the second paragraph to something like, "When I awoke, it was to the sound of a voice yelling in..."

It was a simple matter to crawl behind a building to huddle down for the night. I curled up on my sack for a pillow and fell into a fitful rest.

I awoke to the sound of a voice yelling in that language that I hated being unable to understand. There was a man no more than four feet tall standing above me and screaming. His black hair was cut short and his amber eyes were furious.


You also included two brackets (?) in one of your sentences.

I {} padded through the now-vacant square betrayed only by the light of the crescent moon and the stars.


When it comes to the setting of the chapter, I think you did a great job at describing it! Like in the previous chapters, I could imagine what was happening and where the action was taking place. You also showed more of Agrona's resourcefulness, and I love how you chose to give her the ability to lockpick.

I'm excited to see what happens in the next installment of your novel, especially because of that closing sentence!

I hope this review helped. I really enjoyed reading your work, and I'm sorry if any part of my review seemed harsh! Also, please feel free to PM me if something I said doesn't make sense. I'd be happy to explain it to you. Keep up the great work - which I doubt you'll have trouble with - and good luck on your writing endeavors! I hope you have a wonderful day/night!

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Pffft. That bracket was just a note to myself of where I'd started that day, lol. Thanks for dropping by, I really appreciate it!



saentiel says...


You're welcome!



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Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:22 pm
BlueAfrica wrote a review...



OOPS I forgot I hadn't reviewed this yet.

Clunk.

A hollow thud as my foot hit something…forgiving. Well, more forgiving than stone, anyways. It creaked as I put my weight on it. Taking a step back, I looked down at whatever I’d stumbled upon.

It was a trapdoor made of reddish wood. A large, iron rung served as the handle. I glanced around and after making sure I was alone, opened the threshold.

How little I knew how that single, innocent action would forever change my life.


A strong ending to this installment. We're left with something to wonder about - the trapdoor - but also with the even better "how little I knew that would forever change my life." Because we know something particularly exciting, mysterious, and plot-driving must be beneath the trap door.

OR maybe it's not - maybe something Agrona does in response to whatever she finds below, no matter how trivial that might be, is going to change her life. We can't be sure, and it's a good way to leave off and keep us reading.

I was a little confused by this.

The people here were much quieter, and it was less crowded. Some worked the fields or fed the animals while others made the home. The children that played in the streets stopped to look at me as I passed with wide eyes and an almost fearful gaze.


I was in the square which was suddenly very quiet compared to the earlier hubbub of traders and merchants. The only sound besides the occasional stray animal or drunkard wandering home was the gurgling of the leviathan-shaped fountain in the center of the cobbled plaza.


The low-income part of town was already described as quiet, but then when she gets to the next area she describes that as quiet compared to the "earlier hubbub of traders and merchants," which we didn't see before in this chapter. I'm thinking maybe you mean compared to the part of the city she FIRST ended up in, in a prior chapter, but it's unclear, especially because this new area is "suddenly very quiet," which makes it sound like it's loads quieter than the place we saw her in right at the start of this chapter.

I also find it kind of funny that she's so concerned about her stuff being stolen in the poor area when she's a scary wolfkind who would probably wake up immediately if someone tried to pick her pocket. She might have less danger of her stuff being stolen in a more affluent area, but she's also more likely to stick out like a sore thumb, which you probably don't want to do if you're on the lam.

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Thanks for dropping by! Heheh, yeah, she shouldn't be worried, but considering the scramble for scraps as a wolf-child, she is XD




When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.
— Abraham Heschel