Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),
Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!
First Impression: OKayy loving the growing tension here. It seems we are in fact really diving in deep with this as far as this growing danger in the storm is concerned. It is so far proving to be a really exciting build up.
Anyway let's get right to it,
The storm did not relent, nor did Ryun's suspicions that something was off. While he whittled away at his surprise for Railyn and Railyn messed around with some wooden toys near his bed, Ryun's eyes were in a constant cycle of glancing out the window to his right, checking on the candle in front of him to keep tabs on how much time had passed since his parents went out to the coast, and to his left to keep an eye on Railyn. The younger boy was completely oblivious and didn't seem to share the same dread that something was wrong like Ryun held deep in his chest. His heart threatened to escape from his inside, and perhaps he was doing this to himself but perhaps not. Glancing at Railyn, sometimes Ryun wished he held the same naive optimism that Railyn had. Both of them were only child's and grew up in the same struggling village, but, while that fact had aged Ryun before his time, it never seemed to affect Railyn, who just accepted it as it was. Thankfully, Ryun had Railyn as he grew up, and Railyn had Ryun. They had grown up together and were as close as brothers, and sometimes it felt like it was going to be them against the world.
Okayy this is an interesting moment here. I love the tension from the storm continuing to build but the way it then transitions into some pretty complex backstory kind of breaks the tension and the pace a little. We do love ourselves some backstory but especially for a prologue this feels like too much to dump on the reader all at once. It seems all of this stuff is important for us to know potentially but even then it gets a bit monotonous there to just have a long paragraph on that, especially in the midst of building some tension with that storm from earlier.
But, when Ryun's parents had not shown up when the candle extinguished completely, the flame doused in the hot wax of several hours passing by. Ryun stared at the candle before lightning shocked the window outside, catching Ryun's attention in the corner of his eye. He glanced out the window, waiting still, letting nothing move until another lightning struck. The dim light of the smoldering embers in the fireplace gave him enough light to see just a bit in front of him, but hopefully not enough to show that he was staring outside.
Soon enough, lightning flashed once again, and Ryun saw someone, or multiple someones, moving in the darkness past the house.
This is a nice return to the tense moment here. Once we again see it all starting to build up and that's wonderful. I think without that larger chunk in there this would work quite a bit better, not that it needs to go completely, a few details do heighten the tension but there was one too many details in the earlier bit.
Ryun's heart wanted that to be his parents. His head told him it wasn't.
Ryun sucked in a breath. Something switched in him and he made a decision that would change both his and Railyn's life forever.
Ryun first glanced at the door to the back, then to Railyn. He moved over to Railyn, who smiled at him. Ryun offered a half smile back and, after a moment of consideration, he concocted a plan. "Railyn. How about... I was thinking, how about we go play some hide and seek?" He glanced back to the front window, then back to Railyn. "Let's play in the mines?"
"The mines?" Railyn considered that for a moment. "But that--"
Oooooh well Mr. Narrator popping in there to give us an interesting little not there and quite the sort of 180 there as well in terms of their afternoon plans. Loving the split second decision there, it adds to the excitement quite nicely especially combined with that insight from the narrator.
"I know, I know what I said" Ryun retorted, perhaps a bit too harshly, judging by Railyn's confused and slightly hurt face. Ryun sighed and tried to plaster a smile on his face, "Well, we can't play hide and seek in the rain, we'll get too wet. We don't want our parents to get mad at us getting soaked."
"Well, I am getting bored just sitting here. You don't have any good toys."
"I know, I'm boring like that." Ryun grabbed a fire poker from the fireplace and kneeled down next to Railyn. "So, who's hiding first?"
Hmm this is an interesting little dynamic to introduce there. We already get a good sense of the two being great friends and being all playful and friendly to each other, but this I think is the start of a good bit of differentiation between the two as Ryun potentially being slightly more responsible and protective here.
The abandoned entrance to the old mineshaft was right next to Ryun's house, so the walk in the rain was short, but it was still miserable. Ryun lingered behind Railyn, who managed to jump into every puddle he could find on the way to the entrance, to check behind them to make sure they weren't followed. He had no reason to really think they would be followed, but he had every reason to think they were followed, judging from what he saw from the flashes of lightning. The rain threatened to loosen his grip on the fire poker, but his whitened knuckles refused to let that happened.
Love the contrast there of Ryun being protective and fearful of what they might get into while Railyn is just yeeting himself into all of the puddles available. That extends the contrast quite starkly there and you can see the two different intentions they end up entering this mine with.
They reached the entrance of the mine, and Railyn hopped around, looking back to Ryun. "Hurry up!" he shouted into the storm, but the rain muffled it to a whisper by the time it reached Ryun. He couldn't help but chuckle at Railyn's completely unfounded optimism and ended up jogging to the entrance of the cave. "Okay, okay. You're hiding first, right? Right right?" Railyn said, jittery from the pent up excitement in his bones.
Ryun chuckled. "Let's get inside before we get to the whole 'hide-and-seek'ing thing, all right?"
I've probably said this too many times now but once again this dialogue is doing a lovely job of showcasing to us quite how different the priorities the two have in this moment happen to be.
Railyn nodded and ran inside, practically hopping through the wooden planks that were boarded up against the carved rocky opening. Ryun followed him in, crouching underneath the plank, glancing behind him one last time before he entered the cave entrance. Inside, it was pitch black, with the moonlight that peered over the storm clouds no longer granting them light. Railyn had quickly found a whale oil lantern and lit it with the nearby lighting station, fumbling a little bit from the slickness of the rocks. Ryun followed suit and grabbed another lantern, lighting it. His first thought was that the light of the lanterns might be visible from the outside, with how close they were to the entrance still. He saw on Railyn's face how excited he was to start the game, so he faked a smile and said "let's get a bit further into the mines before we start, so there'll be more areas to hide in." He didn't really have time or the energy to think more on what he said or if it was correct, but Railyn nodded along like it was completely sound advice. He admired Railyn's willingness to go with the flow.
Ryun let Railyn lead the way into the mines. While, usually, he'd be a little more hesitant going deeper into the mines as he knew they were dangerous, it'd be easier to stay hidden that way. While Railyn was looking for some good hiding spots, Ryun's mind was set on finding one of the abandoned mining outposts. While the fireplace poker in his hand was a decent weapon, a pickaxe would serve him better. However, he was set on trying to find an Eternal Flame. If they would be anywhere, they would be in the outposts.
So, lagging a bit behind, Ryun followed Railyn deeper into the mines.
Hmm this part is a little chonky here. The flow is actually great I think and these thoughts work quite well in the context we've got here, its just the paragraphing I think needs a bit of a reshuffle to make this slightly easier to digest as a reader. Right now this feels clunkier than it should.
Aaaaand that's it for this one.
Overall: Overall I think we've got a pretty strong moment here of these two almost fleeing to safety but with only of them having any knowledge of what to be fleeing from. It almost heightens the tension even more than if both of them ran from this unnamed force.
As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.