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E - Everyone

Wool of the Prince-- Chapter 48

by fortis

~1,389 words

Cabot moaned and lied down again. Jumping up, Salim grabbed a small stone bowl, and brought it over to him. He was just about to spoon and glob of green goop into Cabot’s mouth when Cabot spluttered, sitting up again. “No more of you drugs, sir! I am fine, see?” He demonstrated his wholeness of health by putting both feet on the ground and… crumpling to the floor. “See? Perfectly… fine…” he murmured pitifully. Salim helped him back onto the table, and Cabot returned this kindness by grudgingly taking the medicine.

“Listen, Jay,” Cabot started, after gulping down the medicine. His face had changed into an expression of sincerity that looked completely alien on his face—his eyes were wide, and he had none of his usual smirk. “You’d be better off just leaving someone like me to his… just desserts. I’m sorry for what I’ve done, but the past is in the past. I don’t expect to be seeing you any time soon.” He closed his eyes and fell fast asleep.

Jay didn’t know what to make of it, and Shep’s curious gaze at him didn’t help. His face felt hot and he felt so confused. Is Cabot turning good? Did he mean what he said? Why did he kidnap us—twice!—if he wasn’t the… villain? It was a strange thought, but Jay knew deep down that it was what Cabot had always been to him—the villain. What would happen if he turned out good? Will I ever be able to trust him? But Cabot had said that he expected never to see Jay again. Perhaps he will avoid me now, he thought hopefully.

Eventually, the sun set. Shep said, “The Enchantress will be taking us back to her ruins soon, Jay. You had better grab your things.”

Jay grabbed his knapsack from the room where he had slept last night, and when he came back down the stairs, he heard Shep and Salim talking.

“D’ya think you’ll be headed back down this way again?” Salim asked. “It’s been nice havin’ you around.”

“I’m glad I could be of help,” Shep said with a little bow. “However, I don’t think it’s likely that we’ll be coming back.”

Salim looked disappointed. “Well, I know it’s pretty out of the way. We don’t get none too many visitors down here, this bein’ the edge of nowhere an’ all.

“If I ever find myself passing even slightly close by, I’ll be sure to go out of my way if it means staying here at your inn,” Shep said with a smile. He turned to Jay. “Are you ready? We’ll be transported soon.” They gave a final farewell to Salim and then walked outside to round up the sheep.

“Why is the Enchantress doing this? It seems awfully nice.”

“I can’t rightly say,” answered Shep, pulling at his beard. “Perhaps it is because I had asked her to. However, she does not always do what you ask.”

“You just asked her to give us a free trip to anywhere and back?” Jay asked, aghast.

“Why wouldn’t I? Because of Cabot’s meddling, our belongings and the sheep—the very things that she asked us to obtain on our journey—were scattered around the country! I told her that she was needlessly prolonging the quest.”

“Then what did she say?” asked Jay, and then, “Why was Cabot working for her anyway?”

“Ah, two questions with the same answer. When we were arranging the initial terms of the agreement, the Enchantress warned me that there would be trials and hardships along the way. I assume that Cabot was her plaything to give us those trials. Cabot wanted my immortality, and she wanted to bug me. Their motives aligned, but she wasn’t really interested in helping him. The Enchantress tried to tell me that our scattered belongings and Sheep were just another hardship, but I… convinced her otherwise.” Shep drew his eyebrows together and pursed his lips.

“Yes, about the whole immortal thing:” Jay said, “what?”

Shep sighed. “Yes, I am immortal. No, I do not wish to tell you more than that.” He narrowed his eyes at Jay as if daring him to ask another question.

But Jay wanted to know one more thing: What Shep was hiding. He usually didn’t act like this. Perhaps he’ll let something slip if I keep pressing him, he thought. “I can’t remember the agreement that well. Can you refresh my memory?” he asked.

Shep screwed his eyes up to look at the sky. “I know what you’re doing but you’re not going to get anything out of me until it’s time for you to know. However, I will tell you the story again anyway, just in case there was some shred of honesty in your inquiry. The Enchantress was going to kill the population of Gozgarden castle. They had said impolite things about her when they thought that she wasn’t looking. She was about to slaughter them right in front of me when I stepped up. I asked her to forgive them; I told her that they were just petty animals and their words should mean nothing; I flattered her, and finally, she relented. She agreed not to kill them, but rather, she turned seven of them into sheep and scattered them throughout Trevon. She assigned the task of finding them to me because she knew I loved them so much. The rest of the castle of Gozgarden remains frozen to this day while the province crumbles—a country without a king.” Shep’s face looked stricken.

Her voice shattered the sad silence, saying, “What a heart-breaking rendition of that story.” Jay jumped and spun around. It was the Enchantress. “But really, Attolicus, Flattery? I had thought you were above such mean methods of persuasion.” She pouted.

“It was truthful flattery,” he responded slowly as he turned to face her, “but flattery nonetheless.” There was a sparkle in his eyes.

“Ah, well, I suppose if it was truthful,” she said, her voice a high, airy soprano, “then I can perhaps forgive you.” She flashed a glowing smile, and winked at Jay, who didn’t know quite what to do with his hands. “I suppose it’s time for your free passage back to my temple. But don’t think you get to squeeze favors out of me every time you leave your baggage back in the Scattered Isles. I’m not a mail service,” she huffed.

Jay blinked, and just like every time the Enchantress transported him, he found himself in another place, with no hint that he had been standing several hundred miles away the second before. Fleta, the Trolls, and Reyus were sitting on cracked blocks of marble, waiting for them. Fleta was examining her nails uninterestedly. Jay cleared his throat a little and she flinched, almost falling off her marble perch.

When she recovered, Fleta muttered, “I wish her teleportation came with a little warning noise or something, so that people don’t just show up on you from nowhere.”

Jay noticed she looked a little battered. “You okay?” he asked. “Did everything go alright?”

“Not as planned, no,” she said.

The Trolls popped their head over a fallen marble pillar and laughed. “There’s the understatement of the year,” Gilfred snickered.

“What happened?” asked Shep. He was surveying the surrounding landscape. The Enchantress was nowhere to be seen.

“That nice old lady that I assumed would take care of Reyus here?” Fleta nudged the king-turned-sheep resting next to her. “It turns out that she did want to take care of him after all.”

Gilfred giggled darkly, “And boy was she going to take care of him.

“I fail to see the problem in that,” Shep said, regarding Fleta curiously.

“It turns out she was a demon,” she winced.

“A what?!” Jay exploded. Fleta fell off her marble block again.

“A demon,” she said, reproachful as she dusted herself off.

Jay gaped at her.

Shep shrugged. “It happens. It’s more common than you would think. Especially among politicians.” Jay could hardly believe his ears, but Shep pointed towards a speck on the horizon and said, “If I’m not mistaken, that’s Roma.” He pointed in the opposite direction. “And over that way should be Gozgarden. Our eventual final destination. What do you think Marc has been up to?” He asked cheerily. 

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1416 Reviews

Points: 3633
Reviews: 1416

Sun Apr 19, 2015 1:06 pm
Noelle says...

Hi there!

I don't have a review for you here, as I couldn't think of anything much to say. I do want to say though, that I'm impressed with what you've done with Shep throughout this novel. He's such a dynamic character and we've seen a lot of different sides of him. Like here where he was acting more secretive and not wanting to give Jay answers, which is something he'd normally do without giving it much thought. He does seem spiteful towards the Enchantress as well, which is a trait that we haven't really seen from him in the chapters before. Awesome job creating such a dynamic character.

That's all. Onto the next chapter so I can start catching up ^_^


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1634 Reviews

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Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:59 am
Deanie wrote a review...

Hi Widdershins!

Review day may be over, but I am definitely not going to stop reviewing this until I am all caught up. I will catch up this time.

Yay! The group is all reunited once again at long last, which makes me happy because I feel like it's time we see a bit more of the trolls and Fleta again! I hope they get the lead of the story for a while now. As well as that, we officially have Cabot behind us, hopefully, so he shouldn't become a problem. Although I have a sneaky suspicion that the Enchantress might cause some trouble for them, or maybe someone else will do. I think we have to wait and see. It's good to see everyone reunited but other than that I didn't really get too much out of this chapter. It seemed to really be one there to help with transitions.

I felt like your writing style has become a bit simple. It's hard to place my finger on it, but it's missing something that your older chapters had that made them more lively. Maybe it's because I feel like it has become more they did this and they did that, and we have less lovely descriptions in there? Or maybe it's because the previous chapters have only been focused on two characters alone? But I feel like something is missing and I do hope it comes back in the future chapters. Remember to keep trying to make each chapter intricate and add something new or different to your writing each time. A metaphor, a hidden meaning or one that isn't too hidden, a lesson, a new character trait for one of them. Something that brings something new to our attention and stops the story from seeing a bit flat and simple. I am missing the liveliness of discover (I think that is what I am trying to get at here.)

Jay cleared his throat a little and she flinched, almost falling off her marble perch.

She must've been sitting at the edge of that perch, or maybe done one really huge flinch to fall off of it! Maybe you should mention that she jumped instead? She's much more likely to fall off that way instead.

At the end, the mention of the demon is pretty sudden and quickly brushed over! I was left with the impression that they didn't care and we had missed something! Obviously at the beginning of the chapter Reyus is mentioned as being there so they have defeated this demon. But don't let us skip over the action! Let us know what they did and how they handled it without the two people who usually deal with the demon-like creatures. I want to know what this demon actually looked like because the old lady skin must've been a disguise. Were there any consequences or small injuries? Yes, it might only be a retelling of what happened, but it's still worth telling us about so we don't feel like as readers we have skipped over something important to the story. It sounds like it could be an interesting moment! So my idea here would be to backtrack and include it as part of the story!

I'm off to read the next chapter!

Deanie x

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Sun Mar 08, 2015 3:31 am
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Kale wrote a review...

Hello, Widdershins. In the name of the illustrious YWS Cup II, I am here to rescue this chapter from the confines of the Green Room!

I haven't read any of the other parts, so if I bring up something as an issue that was addressed earlier in the story, feel free to disregard it.

With that said, I might just go back and read the earlier parts one of these days because what I see here looks interesting.

Now, there were a few things about this chapter that didn't quite work. A few times, your dialogue tags made it unclear who was talking, which was very confusing. For example:

“It was truthful flattery,” She responded slowly as he turned to face her, “but flattery nonetheless.”

Who is talking here? From the dialogue, it's clear that it's Shep talking, but that tag in the middle makes it read like the Enchantress is the one talking, which makes no sense.

On a different note, when you're inserting an action into dialogue without the dialogue pausing, you typically use m-dashes to show that the two things are going on at the same time. "This character is talking—" While the character also does something. "—without the dialogue coming to a pause."

The other main issue with this chapter is how everything is pretty much told to the reader, especially Jay's feelings. You do have some showing, but a lot of times, that showing comes right after a telling, which makes the showing feel a bit redundant, and a lot of this, especially Shep's rehashing of the agreement, felt like an infodump.

Your dialogue paragraphing could also be improved. Generally, when a different character speaks or acts, you start a new paragraph to make it clearer that a different character is responsible for the action/dialogue. Right now, you have multiple characters' actions in a single paragraph with dialogue, which makes keeping track of who is doing what while who is saying what a bit difficult.

Splitting your dialogue into more paragraphs would make keeping track of what the characters are saying and doing much easier for your readers.

I also think that breaking up the dialogue a bit more and including more character actions would help flesh this chapter out. Right now, there are large chunks of dialogue which are sparse on the character actions, and that makes some things feel a lot more abrupt than they should be. A good example is the last paragraph, where Shep asks about Marc. That felt like a rather sudden change in topic, though it doesn't have to be. Showing Shep changing expressions or looking thoughtful would help transition between the talk of destinations to wondering about Marc.

That aside, I didn't see any issues with the story or characters, which is always nice. If you could fix up the infodumpy feel of this and the issues with the dialogue's structure, this would be a very smooth read.

Widdershins says...

That quoted section was just a typo; thanks for fixing it!
I've honestly never used the m-dashes for action breaks in quotes, and I feel like I haven't seen it as much as just commas... but maybe I'm wrong.
Tbh, this chapter was pretty much an info dump. some of my readers had forgotten what had happened-- what the initial plot of the story was (we went off into a branching area for quite a while)-- so I wanted to refresh their memory. I'll probably remove most of it in the editing phase, because these people have been reviewing for months on end, and it's only natural that they forget, but someone actually reading the story straight through might not.
I'm really bad at actually having actions with the dialog. When I put them in there, they feel so forced to me, because when characters have a dialog, they're not doing anything important, so all the actions they're left with is fiddling with stuff in their pockets or whatever. Most of the time when I have a conversation with someone, we're both just sitting doing nothing but have that dialog. Or, working on one tedious thing, like knitting, or like running a mile. Eh. I probably just need to practice and improve, but I've always had a weakness with that.
Thank you for your review! I really appreciate it.

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Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:04 pm
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TimmyJake wrote a review...

Timmy hereee

Still going to be reviewing this novel - one of my few continuing projects in my absence. Haven't reviewed in a week. *crosses fingers* Let's see how I do.

You have a way of putting so so much inside of a piece (like the difference between a pb&j and a sub sandwich - odd example >< I'm hungry) without me thinking that we're going along too fast, or that there's too much to take in. Your pacing has always been quite lovely, and while it is true that there is no "correct" pacing for anything (although something has to be said about books that drag on and on and on. Hullo, Moby Dick. ouch), the pacing you give to this novel seems to just fit. Keep it up.

wholeness of health by putting both feet on the ground and… crumpling to the floor

So this next part is completely my opinion, and is by no means a writing rule - and if it is, I'm completely oblivious to it. xd But when you use an ellipsis, I've always thought it implies a pause. And the part above is used to conjure a pause in the scene, so you see it as that, too. But while I've always seen it as a perfect tool for creating a pause in dialogue, it's always seemed clunky when used in action. An em-dash has always been the ticket for me, doing an: on the ground and-- (a line break) --crumpling to the floor. Or something similar.

someone like me to his… just desserts.

Um, talk about confusing. >< What do desserts have anything to do with this? (although, seriously, they have everything to do with anything)

Eventually, the sun set.

Okay, so firstly, I am going to thank you for not giving me a three page description of sunset (beautiful, I'm sure), but at the same timeee - this seemed to need more description to me. Or perhaps not that, but just more detail. And putting it alongside Shep's little dialogue dooliwicker thingy seemed disjointed, as they read as two different ideas. Split 'em up, I think. And more detail, even though I don't know what kind of detail you could add. That sentence just seems like an empty box needing to be filled.

Noticing the dialogue differences with Salim we used to see. ;)

“I can’t rightly say,” answered Shep, pulling at his beard.

The dialogue tag isn't necessary. Not. One. Bit. You have an action from the character - perfect. STOP. Shep is pulling at his beard. Put that next to the dialogue sentence, and whalaaah - your readers now associate the dialogue with Shep. A tagline is only necessary when you don't have anything else to notify the reader who is speaking. Use everything you can, as taglines can become rather dull (especially answered, said, asked, etc...)

Jay asked, aghast.

So this is similar to what I talked about above, but a bit different. The aghast is like you were looking at your piece and was, erm, aghast - thinking to yourself: "the characters are showing no emotion." And so you went and inserted the aghast. It's tacked onto the end of it, and doesn't belong. Becauuuseee I asked doesn't need anything else onto the end of it. It's whole - because its purpose is only only only to tell the reader that a character asked a question. And then it's time for the other character to speak. Either take out the aghast and leave the he asked, or take out the tagline and pull apart the aghast and work on making that emotion visual. Again, many people may have a different opinion than I do. So if you disagree, just ignore. c:

“It was truthful flattery,” She responded slowly

Wait, who's talking here?

About the transporting? I understand that it's flash - boom, you're there. But that part just seems so rushed and a bit empty, like there isn't enough to fill it. If you could build those parts so the transportation still seems instant, but it's filled with enough to appease me your readers, everyone would be happy. *nods* tis the truth

It’s more common than you would think. Especially among politicians.”

This was too funny. xD You get extra points for being so clever and humorous.

As it turns out, I really needed that story from Shep. It seems so familiar, like you've told us about all that before. But at the same time, I'm not sure I've heard all of that. Especially how the Enchantress was involved with it all. O_0 And she wasn't just involved, she was the reason for it all. Hm Hm. If she wasn't so charming, I might not like her. During the story part, it would be a good idea to delve more into his thoughts. Because I'd be very interested to know what his reaction is. And the enchantress, the seeming reason for all his problems (or at least some), popping up in front of him. She sounds a bit like the fairy from Beauty and the Beast, turning them all into sheep to show them a lesson. I wonder if, like that story, you can even turn them back. ><

We find out next chapter maybeee.
And I've forgotten who Marc is. >< OH. I sorta remember him. A guard? They met him at a library a longgg time ago. Let's get reacquainted.
~Darth Timmyjake

There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.
— Bram Stoker