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16+ Violence

Andre The White Wizard: Executioner's Song; Part I

by GoodieGoat


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.

The gentle luminance of the sun shined through the spindly canopy upon Andre's entertained face. He enjoyed watching the insects fly around framed in yellow against the setting sun. Valalar for his part never could shake Old Pine's arboreal titans from his subconscious. More importantly he was inexpressibly grateful for the resettlement of his kin to New Sallowing. But absent was any childish enthusiasm Andre possessed.

Gannoriel and Arassërochir lead the way through the city commons. What laid ahead was perhaps the most splendid building in all of Old Pine. It stood gothic and stately, it's four towers rectangular and upright. It was made of an antiquated masonry of amazonite, malachite, and coallike bricks Andre couldn't identify. Vines and greenery covered the exterior, but they dared not intrude on what wasn't thier's to hide. As everyone walked closer Andre took note of the oxidized copper statues of elves, and a great maze of geometry above the main door.

"This is the library of Old Pine." Spoke Gannoriel. "Valalar of any resource we can provide to you so that you may fulfill your oath of vengeance against Thunderthrore, you will find no better place than here." She held open one of the doors and everyone went inside. As Arassërochir led them to wherever they were heading, Valalar couldn't help but be overtaken by an aura of history as he beheld the hallways, studies, bookkeeps, and alcoves. They climbed up a stairwell that led to a new section of bookshelves and tables.

Arassërochir greeted the hidden figure standing off on the threshold of torchlight occupying themselves with a parchment. "Well met remembrancer! Valalar and Andre please meet Éviäarmassë the Loremaster."

Valalar beheld this new elf. He hadn't bothered himself with the city's library, he had been too busy with the construction of New Sallowing and practicing his swordsmanship with Arassërochir and various Old Pine men-at-arms. By nightfall he mourned and dreamt. Nevertheless he recognized Éviäarmassë though he may be a librarian everybody did their best during the construction of the Willowsweep elves' new homes. "Hello Éviäarmassë, we haven't yet made an acquaintance. My name is Valalar and I am most intrigued what you have in store for me and my Wizard."

Éviäarmassë spoke with similar mannerisms to Andre, "Aye, all in Old Pine are well aware of Thunderthrore and Willowsweep, and my Lord and Lady have made your story known to me." He went over to a bookshelf and pulled out an oldish looking manuscript, set it on a table and began to search through its indices. Finally he muttered triumphantly and spoke; "We live in a magical world don't we? Long have those lucky enough to vest their lives in study wondered why." He motioned for everyone to gather near the book and resumed speaking. "To the southwest of our fair Yárafaurë is a great desert. The way between its interior and Yárafaurë is veiled by a perpetual sandstorm. Those that enter it unwarranted are damned to wander aimless in its infinity, the ultimate fate of those souls is beyond our understanding. Our extrapolating has it that passage through can only be gained by the benedict of a Golden Unicorn. Reports say that beyond the desert are verdant foothills dominated by a holy mountain, and these hills and mountains are inhabited by a kingdom of men called Dravidia. The master of this kingdom is a Goddess who dwells upon Her holy mountain, and Her kingdom is in the stewardship of knights templar.

Valalar looked at Éviäarmassë with both impatience and a hint of wrath. Éviäarmassë continued; "Forgive me Valalar, it is imperative you and the Wizard be made aware of all the details. The crux of my monologue is this; within Dravidia is said to be a sword, a sword for people in situations similar to yours Valalar. It is with mythical things of legend such as this Dravidian sword of a Goddess that you hope to stand even the slimmest hope of bringing retribution to your foe the Stormdrake.

Valalar's hint of wrath turned into a modicum of shame; "Please forgive my annoyance Éviäarmassë, I grow more brash with each passing day. Indeed though elves are lofty, we are nothing compared to the strength of a Stormdrake. I have questioned how I will muster mortal harm against Thunderthrore, and you have informed me of a possibility. Andre, my Lady and Lord, have you anything to add?"

Gannoriel responded; "Long has been my time in this world. Though I have seen wars, the changing of lordships. Though I have traveled this continent from coast to coast, and treated with many, I have never seen what lies in the far southwest." Andre and Arassërochir responded similarly.

Valalar took pause. Frightened by the prospect of an odyssey into lands unknown filled with dire treachery. But he was also invigorated by the prospect of beginning to find his way to the doorstep of Thunderthrore, and destroying him. Thoughts of his dead wife and son, of a burnt out Willowsweep, and of his oath consumed him, and his loathing burned all trepidation out of thought. He spoke saying "So as I have sworn so it shall be. Andre are you ready to pack up and set out?"

"Yay. We must prepare for the lands in which we shall treadeth." Andre took heart in the development of his friend Valalar, and secondarily he was excited to learn about the mysterious lands that lay ahead of them and of the magic and wizardry therein.

Valalar and Andre set out with the blessings of Old Pine. Arassërochir had provided them with the most enduring steeds at his disposal, horses rather than Old Pine's more common elk due to the upcoming terrain. At first things were tame as they made their way through the idyllic countryside, passing through the hamlets of men, elves, and toadstools and the quaint groves of scattered woodland. Next came their last comforts in the thin lands of sahel that separated the hospitality of the living to the barrens of desolation. They restocked all their supplies and exchanged their horses for camels at a stable. The stablehands looked on with crude amusement seeing the direction the elf and wizard were going. Both were unnerved as they traveled, indeed the wilderness that now hosted them was awesome and fear-inspiring.

There were salt flats, great mirrors that swallowed Valalar and Andre in the blue yonder of the sky and its flotilla of clouds by day, and by night they'd join the galactic disk and a breathtaking multitude of stars. The only sound was the splish-splash of the camels as they rippled the silver moonlight in the shallow water. Great hilly swaths of dust and gainsboro granite and mountains that stood jasper and garnet at dusk were the two's company. Dried riverbeds that waited through time to port water scarred the landscape, and they were dreadful to behold. All this not mentioning the burning ire of the sun.

Twelve days they traveled, until Andre and Valalar sighted a maroon wall along the horizon. "Look Andre! That must be the sandstorm of which Éviäarmassë spoke!" Momentarily the weariness of their spirits lessened, and they hightailed it into the dust.

They equipped their facial wraps and eyewear to prevent laceration of their lungs and eyes. Andre sensed the faint countenance of the magic of this place, as he peered beyond that he shriveled back in horror as the infinity of the dominion they now trod upon bloated the great yet finite confines of his mind. "Valalar" spoke Andre; "The strangeness of what we have entered pains me. I haveth looked and it is limitless without boundary, it goes on and on in every direction. However there beeth a single abnormality I've found, a blind spot of enchantment behind which I cannot peer."

Valalar looked at Andre undaunted, whether this was because bravery, nativity, or his hell bent focus on finding this supposed sword, or a combination, Andre couldn't tell. "We must go to it." responded Valalar. To Valalar and Andre reality became a timeless blur. To them it seemed days had past, when in reality it was but a few hours. As they came closer to this blind spot the winds picked up and began to squall violently, and the air became dry to the point of sterility. After what seemed like the passage of all time, Andre and Valalar beheld the one that had received them. The disorder of the whirlwinds arrayed themselves, and at first a fearsome glint speared the air, as one looked down from the spiral horn one could see the yellow hairs of the unicorn blazing in the wind, his swanky gold coat exuded proudly and with magnificence.

Andre bowed slightly in knowledge of what he stood before. Valalar for his part stared into the horizontal pupils framed in brilliant amber, trying he supposed to reflect its gaze back at it. "My anchorage to this world grows evermore rusted and brittle. Perhaps I will expire from heartache and my spirit will rejoin those to whom it's kindred to, and I'll be captured in the thralls of regret and rapture." Said Valalar

The Golden Unicorn spoke; "How strange for one of you to show reverence, and the other to meet me in challenge, I find it charming. Valalar runes encircle our existence. So that we may have agency and be free. Who are you to break them?"

Valalar's eyebrow arched somewhat startled that the unicorn knew his name. "You speak in enigmas and riddles. How can two coexisting destinies combine to form free will? Do I interpret your words correctly?"

Again the Golden Unicorn spoke; "How indeed? I speak in riddles because that is my charge and station, inaugurated by Her Grace Ishabooru. You seek the Executioner's Sword so that you may reap vengeance against Thunderthrore. I hope you succeed, truly I do. But you must prove yourself worthy and sound of mind to wield such a powerful weapon."

"And how might I do that?" Asked Valalar

"There are three trials you must undertake, for now don't concern yourself with the other two. Mine is the first and it is thus; you must solve my riddle. Success will lead you on into Dravidia, failure will result in your damnation to join my assembly of souls and wander these immeasurable wastelands until the end of all things. I advise you to consider this with superlative thoughtfulness. Do you accept?"

Valalar was a cauldron of emotion and thought. On one hand he wanted to consult with his friend The Wizard, but he dared not include Andre in his fate if he were to fail. The bubbling disregard for his own safety told him to leap upon his moment. Lastly he took morbid hilarity in the disproportionate results of failure. Andre veneered his face awaiting the doom. "Yes." said Valalar.

You have asked for a verse to ponder, to face the perils of rhythm, the poisons of rhyme,

So take ear to these pointed words, so you may see the inheritance by tasting this lexiconal wine

At the wintertime shrouds of the starless nightfall, before the beautifulest in celerity you always flee,

And like the resounding song of a Cedar Waxwing, it's love and yearning of shadow blazes in secrecy

For what wishes to forsake this world and seek the fastness of yesteryear's mirth?

But can only do so when the foreseeable chameleon is made alike in unfeeling dearth?

"What say you Valalar?"

Valalar bent his thoughts towards the Unicorn's words, doing his best to block out the world with partial success. For perhaps half an hour all three were soundless, and to Valalar outside his mind became an unreality trying to assail his skull. But unreality was cast back against the bony ramparts. Valalar stood aloft with a victorious glare in his eyes, Andre reacted with a subtle terror, the Unicorn remained unchanging in expression. Valalar reached for his ear and spoke; "Take ear to these point words! Are my ears not pointed? By tasting the lexiconal wine I shall see my inheritance of passage into Dravidia. Indeed to me each night is a starless winter evening. When I think of the perfection that was my wife and son I recoil, and afterwards with the intensity of that bird's morning call in my loneliness I wish for oblivion in secret. But alas!" Valalar's speech became increasingly more desperate; "I'd love nothing more than to crawl hopeless into the deepest hole and liberate myself from heartache. But if I did that injustice would continue forever in its taint, and I'd languish forever faced with my own blessed kin's contrite!" Valalar now was kneeling teary eyed and snarling at the Unicorn; "You glorified equid! Do you think I don't know myself? Who can miss the maddening plainness of the vile Storndrake? I am the answer! The answer to your accursed riddle is Valalar."

The Unicorn beheld Valalar with a grim pity, if a unicorn was capable of such emotion. "You have answered correctly. To wield the Goddess's Executioner's Sword, you must know yourself. Any handler of such power must know why they seek it, and any handler of that much power must have the fortitude to weather the anguish and pain ahead of them. Not only that, you have displayed selflessness by not putting your companion Andre in any doom of failure, even when the intelligence of his starion would be priceless to the solving of my inquiry. You're pinned under your own grief, yet you face down eternal damnation and sally forth. In truth those that fail my riddle aren't doomed to wander the desert until the world grows old, that would be unjust. They are knighted into Her Grace's Templars. Go now, the next trial awaits you, may Ishabooru bless you.

Valalar and Andre departed from the Golden Unicorn out into the clarity of a desert now free of bewitchment. They passed through the town of Beth-Tallmë, marked with it's great clay wrought architecture and oases of liquid gold. They quartered that evening in the city of Ezebullon, now in the Dravidian Foothills and out of the sands. The residents and knights of Ezebullon took subtle notice of the newcomers with gazes of intrigue and commonality. Valalar had been stern and wordless. Andre was concerned for his friend and hoping Ezebullon's pink walls, rainbow stained glass, and many common areas of domed pools, amongst other amenities would soften Valalar, he initiated his inquiry. "Valalar, whenst thou brought thine grievances against the Unicorn, what did you meaneth by 'Wanting to crawl hopelessly into the deepest hole. But such action would result in the ire of thy blessed kin?'

Valalar looked at Andre with a solemness Andre hadn't seen since the aftermath of the Great Dismal Swamp. Valalar sighed; "Andre sometimes I have this dream where I'm standing in the middle of a great landscape with a view atop a gentle hill. It's nighttime and when I look up at the stars of Vulpecula, the constellation becomes far more realistic than it should be. As I watch the star fox runs and impaled itself on the thinnest waning crescent moon I've ever seen. The sky turns a terrible red and heaven collapses. As the red sky falls away from its hinges I cower. As the enormity is about to crush my puny form, I awake in a night sweat." Valalar withdrew his bronze sword. "Sometimes I fantasize about throwing myself upon my sword, and rejoining my wife and son. There we're tales of the afterlife in Willowsweep. I fear that if I were to rejoin them, even though we'd be together it would be but a moment and I would become wraithlike damned to haunt the living in my regret and incompleteness, rather than were my beloved and whole souls may yet dwell." After a silence Valalar made a jaded laughed. "Perhaps this uncertainty is why I was always afraid to seek out the theology tomes, or ask yourself, Gannoriel, or Arassërochir."

Andre's heart floundered. What should he say? How does one respond? He thought. Andre looked at Valalar for approval to speak his knowledge to which Valalar nodded. Andre uplifted his staff and created a blue frame, and as he spoke as the storytellers do, his narration appeared within the frame. "Amongst the stars which your kin doth coveteth so great, the angelic maestros grindeth their melodies upon heaven's blazars with bows of celestial steel." Valalar's posture faltered, and he covered his ears in vain. "In halls and columns wrought from unknowable quarries, with every color both known and unknown. The elven souls which haveth left their mortal forms congregate to make merry and sprouteth new roots of Solomon’s fruit on glass fields blanketed with crystalline diaphanous mist. These halls beeth presided over by the High Elven Goddess Lunalynnlë, a being of moonfire, starlight, and nocturne." Andre at this point was choosing his words very carefully in anticipation. "Some souls are reincarnated, though the understanding of this is limited. Others shall remaineth there until the end of days. Regarding thyself, the vengeful fire within ye will not go to those restful realms until thy loathing be quenched. Such is the strange and incomprehensible way of souls."

Andre had been so focused on trying to be truthful and tactful, thinking that Valalar would set aflame with inquisition and ferocity about why his family simply didn't reincarnate. The truth was Andre didn't know the secrets of Lunalynnlë's judgements. However when he beheld his elf friend, Valalar disintegrated into a foreboding defeat. The look on his face was horrible, always more horrible though Andre. What came out of Valalar crawled out of an abyss from the bottommost and most carnal part of the emotional spectrum. All the locals within the sound’s great earshot froze, something they seldom do. It was like the bereaved shrieking of a vampiric lord in fervid heat. What Andre didn't yet know was Valalar's wife had been a human, and his son half-elven, or Leth-Edhellen as they are called. Valalar, deprived of any hope or prayer, wept the night away. 


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Mon Sep 06, 2021 9:45 pm
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Plume wrote a review...



Happy RevMo! Plume here, with a review!

I saw some of your chapters were still in the green room, so I thought I might start at the beginning with the goal of bumping them out!

I enjoyed this part of the story! I think you've constructed a very compelling fantasy world, and even though I'm not normally one for high fantasy, I was able to dive right in. This story feels very much like an extended fable, what with the morals and contrast shown in the characters (or at least that's how I interpreted it.)

One thing I enjoyed about this story was the uniqueness of the plot points. I feel that fantasy (medieval/high fantasy, especially) can be hard to put a unique spin on because so much of the time it's all just about quests and such, but I enjoyed some of the freshness your piece had come with. For example, I thought the answer to the Unicorn's riddle being Valalar himself was very unique and not something that had been done before. I also loved the way your dialogue characterized the people in your story; I think that a lot of the time, people tend to ignore language signatures in prose, but you've definitely let it come out and shine. Nice work!!

Specifics

It stood gothic and stately, it's four towers rectangular and upright.


Small thing here: "it's" is actually a contraction between "it" and "is" rather than being the possessive form of "it." It's a common mistake, so not to worry! I make it all the time too.

Vines and greenery covered the exterior, but they dared not intrude on what wasn't thier's to hide.


Tiny things here: you mistyped "their" as "thier," and there's no apostrophe in "theirs."

"This is the library of Old Pine." Spoke Gannoriel.


Since "spoke" is a dialogue tag, you need a comma after "Pine" and "spoke" should be lowercase.

Next came their last comforts in the thin lands of sahel that separated the hospitality of the living to the barrens of desolation.


I think since Sahel is a place/region, it needs to be capitalized.

"You have answered correctly. To wield the Goddess's Executioner's Sword, you must know yourself. Any handler of such power must know why they seek it, and any handler of that much power must have the fortitude to weather the anguish and pain ahead of them. Not only that, you have displayed selflessness by not putting your companion Andre in any doom of failure, even when the intelligence of his starion would be priceless to the solving of my inquiry. You're pinned under your own grief, yet you face down eternal damnation and sally forth. In truth those that fail my riddle aren't doomed to wander the desert until the world grows old, that would be unjust. They are knighted into Her Grace's Templars. Go now, the next trial awaits you, may Ishabooru bless you.


I noticed you forgot the end quotes on this piece of dialogue from the unicorn.

Overall: nice work! I look forward to continuing to read this story. Until next time!!

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GoodieGoat says...


Hello Plume! Thank you for taking the time to review my work and provide your feedback. I greatly appreciate it! I%u2019m thrilled that I could be of entertainment when high fantasy isn%u2019t one of your primary choices for genres.

I wanted to thank you foremost for all of your grammatical edits. I always find that aspect of reviewing to be my least favorite. I will do my best to apply your corrections moving forward and when I get the time I%u2019ll come back to this work and edit it!

I%u2019m happy you found this work unique. Coming up with the riddle and the dialogue in the aftermath was a troublesome but fun experience. As for the character Andre speaking in Middle English I don%u2019t really know why I decided to do that but I%u2019m excited to see that and other differences in individual characters' speech mannerisms were pleasing to you. I made a comment on part three of %u2018Executioner's Song%u2019 about my plans moving forward. However when I was brainstorming the climatology wasn%u2019t adding up. So I plan to add a new taiga region that will be the chapter in between the current one and %u2018Conspiracies Within a Frozen Web.%u2019 I already had some cool and strange ideas about what is going to happen, then the other day I had this bizarre dream that only dumped more weirdness on the fire. I%u2019m really looking forward to that installment!

Thanks again for your thoughts and attention. They and the input of others are dear to me.
GoodieGoat



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Fri Sep 03, 2021 9:08 pm
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GoodieGoat says...



Hello Que! Thank you for taking the time to review. I'm always excited and appreciative to see others' reactions and feedback.

Thank you for your feedback on the startling tempo at which the main characters breeze through the journey from Old Pine to the outskirts of where the unicorn is. A reviewer on ‘The Quest To Old Pine’ had commented on the ways travel can be used to develop characterization through dialogue as well as geography, worldbuilding, and advancing the plot. While traveling without these elements can be boring. I didn’t have anything to add while Valalar and Andre journey through the countryside which is why I breezed through it. Looking back, that was poor technique and casts new readers straight into the setting. In the future I’ll try to moderate the speed at which travel develops in a balanced fashion without being too jolting or snailish and find a happy medium I can use to include details that worldbuild, move the plot, and provide more characterization. However minor those elements may be.

Your interpretation that Old Pine is already in the forest is correct. The reason this isn’t clarified is that I wrote assuming readers would already come in having read previous installments which is a faulty way of thinking. As MailicedelyNamedy suggested I will begin including introductions to each installment with a summary of previous events to ground one off readers, even though my intention is for the next few chapters to be a novella.

I noted your suggestions on how limited narration can be used to provide more details for characters and how that translates over to 3rd Person Omniscient and making the characterizations distinct and individualized. I was wondering if you had any suggestions to make this so? To answer your question on character relationships Valalar and Andre are close friends and Arassërochir and Gannoriel are married, and are intended to be duel executors over Old Pine. Whose government I suppose could best be described as a diarchy with them having equal governmental power though I’m still thinking about that aspect.

Thanks for your compliment on worldbuilding. I try to think about it while I go about doing mundanity which has been difficult as of late due to school. I’m also a big fan of Tolkien. Lord of The Rings is what got me into the fantasy genre and I enjoy using Sindarin and Quenyan as influences for names. Realelvish.net and Elfdict.com are invaluable resources for exploring Tolkien’s languages and I am grateful for the staff of those websites for their hard work, note to mention Tolkien himself. As for the names my hope is that each reader pronounces them however they like :). If you're curious how I personally pronounce them, I did my best to annunciate to MailicedelyNamedy in the comment below.

Lastly, I wanted to thank you for the resource on Middle English. I’m not sure why I decided to have Andre speak like that. I am trash at Middle English and improvise and I’ll be making use of your resources to better my grammar in that aspect.

Thank you very much. I love feedback and am always thankful for others' time and the ability to share my world with others!




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GoodieGoat says...



Hello MailicedelyNamedy! Thank you for taking the time to review. I'm always excited and appreciative to see others' reactions and feedback.

To answer your first question I suppose I am trying to express myself in a philosophical context, and by doing that I can imagine things being obtuse or awkward to the reader. I find a lot of the ideas I come up with are heavily influenced by the media I consume, and the overarching themes and 'philosophical undertones' are based on my real life experiences and are an attempt to express myself in a world that isn't as dull and dreary as our real one can be and share these thoughts with others.

The reason I never bothered with any sort of 'Previously On Andre And Gang' is I always imagined 'The Quest To Old Pine', 'Executioner's Song', and the next few installments to be a novella of sorts. However your suggestion to add an introduction and a summary of previous events is an excellent one and I'll do my best to develop that into the next installment. As well as making the characterization more accessible to one off readers.

As for the fanciful names I've heavily utilized the elven languages of J. R. R. Tolkien and pretty much every name is an element or amalgamation of Quenyan and Sindarin minus Valalar. I'm thankful for this creative resource and the two websites I use for this are realelvish.net and elfdict.com. Not to mention Tolkien himself lol. My intent was for every reader to pronounce names as they interpret them. Though personally I pronounce them as such:
Gannoriel as it's spelled
Arassërochir like Arass- ë as a soft e sound- and rochir with the ch sounding like a sh noise
And the dosey of Éviäarmassë like Eviair-arm- a with a soft inflection- sse with the e also being a soft e.
Though I'd prefer readers to interpret them however the like :)

Again I greatly appreciate all feedback and I hope my response answers your questions.




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Thu Aug 26, 2021 5:36 pm
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Que wrote a review...



Howdy, GoodieGoat!

I just spent some time re-watching Lord of the Rings, and this story is definitely feels like it's in that same epic fantasy genre, which is super neat. :) I didn't have the chance to read your first part, "The Quest to the Old Pine," so some of the questions that I have might have been answered there. But I'll just start right off from here!

I was a little confused from the get-go, as we started off with two characters (Valalar and Andre) seemingly in a forest, and then immediately after there's a larger group (containing Gannoriel and Arassërochir) headed into the "city commons." The lack of transition made this feel very abrupt, so I'm unsure if the city is present within the forest or if the city trip comes after the little forest scene. Any way you might be able to smooth the abrupt beginning might be helpful for readers just getting used to this world.

It doesn't take too long to get at what I think is the basis for your plot--Valalar's family was killed by a Stormdrake, Thunderthrore, and he has sworn revenge; but, in order to properly get said revenge, he needs a particular sword: thus the quest. (let me know if I interpreted that wrong!) You do a pretty good job of referencing this throughout, which is great because I think it's important to make sure the goal is visible in the midst of everything that is happening!

Speaking of everything that's happening... I'm not sure where this is going long-term and what your plans are, but at the moment it feels like it's moving super fast! After Valalar hears about the sword (which, since he was just introduced to this library, I thought would take a long time and lots of research), he immediately sets off on an adventure. The pair zips through the countryside and suddenly they're exchanging horses for camels, traveling through a desert area, and coming upon this unicorn! Wow. For readers entering a new world, that's a whole lot of stuff to happen, and it feels like I can't quite absorb it all. It also feels a little like you're rushing towards something, and since the encounter with the unicorn is still a small chunk of this chapter, I'm not really sure what it is that you're pushing forward to. My main advice here is just to slow it down a bit; the journey doesn't have to take up whole chapters if that's not important for the plot, but make sure there's enough room to pause, adjust to a new setting, re-orient and get a sense of how this world works.

One thing I absolutely love about your world-building is how detail oriented this chapter is. Not only do you have incredible descriptions of things, but you also make the world seem normal. There is no surprise over wizardry, traveling through a desert on camels, or meeting a unicorn. It makes the reader feel a kind of awe, I think, at the smooth functioning of this world (which seems almost limitless). I also love how you make allusions to other things which are present in the history of the world, or in other parts of your world. It gives readers the feeling that this world and its history and geography are extremely well-developed, even if they cannot see the whole world yet. Again, this feels very much like Tolkien to me, which is something I can really appreciate. :)

A note on the characters; as Mailice noted below me, the names can be a tad confusing (although I think they're super cool!), but mainly it's just hard to differentiate one from another right now. You've probably thought through all your characters and developed them, but readers don't know them yet. While I'm sure, as with any novel, readers will become more familiar with the characters and their quirks as the story continues over several chapters, it's important to characterize them from the beginning so that readers can separate them and begin to discover their character.

One of the things that is unclear (and again, this may have been explained in your first part) is the relationship of the characters to each other. While we know that Andre seems to be Valalar's wizard and they are evidently traveling companions, it's hard to tell whether they have a more formal, business-like relationship or something closer to a friendship, whether this has been long-term or is a new, more circumstantial relationship. While their dialogue in the last two paragraphs seems to be very meaningful and emotional, the readers just don't know enough about the two characters, the world, and their relationship to each other to really get the full impact of this passage. Similarly, we know very little about Gannoriel and Arassërochir or their relationships to Andre and Valalar, as they appear only briefly at the beginning.

Also, part of this issue may arise from your narration, which seems to be 3rd person omniscient, as the readers are aware of what multiple characters are thinking/feeling throughout. A limited narration can help readers focus in on one character, so when you're using omniscient, it's important to make sure the characters are distinct from one another.

I'm not sure I have any general advice as to how to include this information without overwhelming readers, but I would say that it might be helpful to simplify your characters in the beginning. You already have a complex world, and your characters can be just as complex, but in the very beginning it could be better to start off with the most key parts. For example, Valalar. Revenge seems to be important to him. I would use this as a focus point--this is his drive, a part of his history, the person who he is right now is (or at least seems to me) centered on the death of his family and his need for vengeance. As the story progresses, maybe readers will be able to see other aspects of his personality and behavior, but I think it's important to focus in on a central motivation or defining character attribute until the characters become more distinct. While we know Valalar's motivations, we don't really know Andre's. The more individualized you can make each character, I think the more that will become clear to readers and help them differentiate each character.

The last thing I wanted to mention is grammar. There are some really minor things to watch out for, such as "gothic and stately, it's four towers" -> its shouldn't have an apostrophe, and "Gannoriel and Arassërochir lead the way" -> "lead" is present tense, so you would need to have "led" here. These are super easy fixes that you just might want to remember to check for, things like google docs and Word are usually pretty good at doing grammar checks.

Additionally, you have some old English style grammar here; I'm not an expert, so I'm only speaking from having read Shakespeare and biblical things a lot, but some of your word usage seems off. I'll give one example I noticed:

"Yay. We must prepare for the lands in which we shall treadeth."

What we pronounce "yay" is actually spelled "yea," and in my experience, something like "treadeth" should be used in present tense, as in "he treadeth;" since you have "shall" here, the verb should be in its infinitive form as far as I know, so "in which we shall tread." Again, I'm not exactly positive on the grammatical rules here, and am just going off of my own experience and what "sounds right." If you're going to be using this language a lot, then I would suggest familiarizing yourself with some of the rules. Here's one article I found after a quick internet search: https://proofreadingpal.com/proofreadin ... %EF%BB%BF/ I'm not sure if that's necessarily something you'd be interested in researching, but there's definitely material out there if you want to learn more!

That's all I've got for you today, sorry if it was overwhelming! This was really interesting to read, I haven't seen world-building this complex for a long time so I'm super impressed. :) You have an incredible attention to detail which really shines through here! You can take or leave any advice from this review as you wish, whatever happens to be helpful for you. Feel free to let me know if you want me to review your other sections as well.

Happy writing!!

-Q




GoodieGoat says...


Hello Que sorry to comment separately I've had difficulty responding directly to others due to length. My main comment towards your response should be at the top of the comments to this work. Thanks again! :)



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Tue Aug 24, 2021 6:02 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi GoodieGoat,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

An interesting story with an unusual plot, where I must honestly say I also had a little trouble getting to grips with the names. :D

Let's start with something I noticed right away while reading; your writing style is unique and well-developed in that it has a certain weight to it, like reading something that happened a while ago, or from a different era. Sometimes I had the impression that you were expressing yourself in a philosophical context and sometimes, however, I was there wondering if it could not now be a writing error.

In general, I liked this heaviness when reading. It had the right level to make a connection with the names that came up. In parts it reminded me of my reading of the Edda or Dante's Divine Comedy, where you can't read for long in one piece because you have to pause briefly to think a bit. How are the names pronounced anyway? Is there something like a clue?

Since I haven't read any previous stories with Andre and Co. it seems to me that you jump from one adventure to the next here. You assume that the reader already knows a lot about them and therefore has no problems following the story. I found that there wasn't much depth in the characters or that you had to have previous experience from the other stories to know why someone acted or spoke the way they did at that particular moment. Even if it is a new story, I would still include something like an introduction, where you can also find your way in as a new reader, which can also lead to you becoming curious and wanting to read the previous stories. Or at least a short paragraph with the main characters and a bit about their characteristics. This makes it seem very exclusive for the readers.

Otherwise, I liked the story so far. I can't interpret exactly what it is, but I think this writing style plays a big point in it. In summary, it was a good start to a new story.

Have fun writing!

Mailice




GoodieGoat says...


Hello sorry to post my reply separately I've found the responses to comments can only be so long. Thanks again!




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