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Author Topic: First 5 pages of Farrian's Quest  (Read 700 times)
LydiaRose
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« on: June 11, 2018, 08:52:45 PM »

This is a completed novel that I'm hoping to start querying before/by the end of the summer.

The sun rose over the great castle at Lamorl and into the chambers where Farrian was sleeping. Beams of light danced across his tranquil face until they came to rest upon the lashes of his eyes and dared to peek within.  With a smile, Farrian threw off the covers and leapt from his bed. Springing across the room to the window, he flung open the window, and leaned out to take in the view below him.
The cool morning air caressed him softly as he looked down upon the outer grounds. Bright tents were decked in fluttering ribbons, and everywhere there were baskets and garlands of flowers. The sounds of music and laughter mingled with the scent of baked goods, and Farrian closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, taking in the sensations of his favourite part of the year. The spring festival was when everyone came together to share wares, stories, and joy. The kingdom of Arbridan had seen much sorrow in Farrian’s childhood; now that the land was recovered from the ravages of war, the festival felt particularly enjoyable. 
With a final glance out the window, Farrian rushed around his room, pulling together something to wear. He found a pair of trousers in a corner of his room, and the tunic he had draped over the chair wasn’t that dirty. It did have that one mark from when he fell off his horse three days ago, but you could hardly see it. His manservant entered, took one look at Farrian and sighed; the young prince could be most haphazard in his choices, especially when he was excited. The manservant quickly redressed the prince and sent him on his way, after first lecturing him on the responsibilities of maintaining the appearance of royalty, even during a festival.

Farrian sauntered along the corridor with a light step, anxious to join in the festivities. He was so caught up in his thoughts that he did not see his older brother come around the corner. To be fair, Eyvan didn’t see him either; he was carrying a newly acquired manuscript, and was trying his hardest to decipher the ancient writing while walking. The brothers collided with a thud, both landing on the floor. It took them both a moment to determine what had happened, but then began to laugh. The sound of hard boots echoing off the marble floor silenced their laughter, and they both looked up into the disapproving eyes of their oldest brother.
Rorik looked down on them with obvious disdain. With a grunt he helped them to their feet and then looked Farrian over from head to toe. His unspoken disapproval was written all over his face, for while Rorik was clad in fine velvet, and wore one of his jeweled circlets, Farrian wore a simple linen tunic, and his signet was the only thing separating him from the lower nobility.
 “Get moving, let’s finish this tedious day as soon as possible,” Rorik said as he turned away. With a sigh and a shake of his head, he began walking down the hall towards the courtyard.
Farrian and Eyvan fell in behind their brother, and they made their way to the castle gates. As they entered the courtyard and neared the gates, Rorik’s countenance began to change. Every courtier they passed was given a nod of respect, but on several occasions he nearly collided with Farrian or Eyvan to avoid touching a commoner, and never met their eyes, raising his chin into the air instead.
Farrian noticed his brother’s behavior and commented on it. “They are our subjects, Rorik, why shouldn’t they receive the same courtesy you give to a nobleman?”
“You said it yourself, they are not nobility. They are not my equals, and I would not have them think they are. I am the heir to the throne of Arbridan; I should not have to mingle with the lower classes, pretending to enjoy their crude company. We have a distinction of rank to maintain, and honestly, I find it appalling that father insists on this pointless activity.”
Farrian said nothing, but rolled his eyes at Eyvan.

Once out in the open air, the noise grew to an exhilarating level. All around them were merchants calling out their wares, families greeting each other, and children playing. From the far side of the grounds there came the sounds of music; the familiar flutes and lyres intertwined with the more exotic sound of drums and pipes from the distant lands. The notes filled the air, and made Farrian’s heart sing.
The brothers’ number rapidly dwindled to two, Eyvan veering off the moment he saw a newly arrived trader selling manuscripts. Eyvan’s passion was for the written word and he leaped at any chance to acquire a new addition for the royal library. Rorik and Farrian continued toward the melee arena. Rorik’s disdain was soon replaced by a slight smile as they neared the sound of clanging steel and deep thuds. Voices joined the mix of sounds; bright laughter and friendly taunts from the men in, and around the ring. The knights were expected to display their skill throughout the day, and they had already begun to practice. Wide arrays of weapons were present, and every knight was expected to show his versatility with the collection.
The princes were greeted warmly as they approached, Rorik’s smile growing by the minute. Several of the knights there were close friends of his, and they would share a drink after their turn in the ring. The melees and the ample supply of ale were the only things that gave Rorik enjoyment at the festival.
Farrian was beginning to walk away when Rorik grabbed him by the collar, “You know what father says about me keeping an eye on you. The least you can do is stay near and not go wandering off.”
Farrian pried his brother’s hand from his tunic, and tugged the fabric straight again, “Thankfully for both of us, you are relieved of that duty. Father informed me that since I am of age, you no longer need accompany me. I am free to roam the festival as I please, and you are free to drink yourself to insanity as you please. I shall see you at dinner, brother.”
With that, Farrian turned on his heel and stepped lightly down the nearest aisle. Rorik glared after him for a moment, but hearing his name being called, spun around and strode to greet his nearest friend.
Farrian reveled in his new freedom; for the first time, he was able to roam the festival without Rorik’s icy breath down his back. He wandered in amongst the stalls, greeting everyone he met with a joyful smile. He strolled past the artists making pictures of all colours and sizes. He breathed deep the delicious aroma of the bakers’ tent, vowing to return later in the day. As the morning wore on he again passed the ring where the knights were now fully garbed in battle gear and putting on a great show of strength for all who would watch.
For Farrian this held little appeal. Though he had trained with a blade the same as his brothers, he had never taken up much of a friendship with any of the men in his father’s army. They all talked too loud for his liking, and many were fonder of good ale than anything else. So he sat for a while, and when he grew bored, continued his tour of the field. Though a noonday meal was provided within the castle for all nobility, Farrian remained outside, filling his stomach with a variety of delights, while watching the entertainment provided. There were jugglers tossing swords high in the air, men who could bend in half forwards and backwards, and the travelling entertainers from Gouatha who could make fire dance around them as if it was a tame creature. But for Farrian, the true entertainment came from watching the musicians, and the dancers who complemented them.
There were always common folk stepping in time to the notes, but the dancers who came with the musicians knew how to twirl themselves in such a way that it looked like magic. Farrian sat entranced, losing all track of time as he watched them weave in and out amongst themselves. Farrian was so mesmerized that had it not been for the aura of ale that accompanied him, he would not have even noticed Rorik sit down beside him.
“Entertained by the commoners joys are we? That says much about a man.”
Farrian leaned away as his brother slurred his words, every word sending waves of ale scented breaths in Farrian’s direction.
“Even a prince can be content with the simpler things of life. Is it a crime to enjoy more common pleasantries than your station?” Farrian replied, doing his best to shift away.
“If I had my way it would be. A prince can only be respected if he associates himself with what is noble and high of station,” Rorik grumbled.
 “Such as ale, I suppose?” Farrian queried, turning away from his brother as a new, wild, song began.
“Ale can be noble and most high of station, it merely depends on who is drinking it, the manner in which he drinks and who he drinks it with,” Rorik replied, twirling his hand in a dismissive, haphazard manner.
Farrian could not help but turn and face his brother, “That makes no sense whatsoever. You are currently filled with as much ale as any commoner I’ve ever seen, and your drinking companions, as you put it are probably in no better shape than you.”
Rorik meant to roll his eyes, but his entire head followed suit, and he all but collapsed onto Farrian’s shoulder. He raised a finger in an attempt to make a point. He lowered it, only to raise it a moment later.
“You are too young to know of such things. Eighteen years is not enough time to understand things as deeply as I do. When you have seen all I have seen, you will understand my logic.”
Since Farrian had no answer to this, he turned his ears toward the vibrant tune and his eyes to the lone dancer bringing life to the music.
The young woman was unlike anyone Farrian had ever seen before; the light clothes that swirled as she moved were as bright as a flower garden, contrasting starkly with the ivory of her bared shoulders. Her face was cheerful, and her cheeks were rosy from the exercise. Her eyes were as vibrant as the sky, and they shone with a brightness of life he had never seen before. Farrian’s eyes grew wide, and a smile crossed his face as he watched her dance. Even as her bare feet began weaving patterns in the dirt, Rorik made clear his disdain for her.
“Look at her, what a disgusting display she puts on. No sense of decency whatsoever. No self-respecting Arbridanian woman would dare show her shoulders in such a manner. Just look at the way she parades herself, look at her Farrian!”
Farrian nodded. He was doing just that, his eyes were riveted to the whirling figure. She seemed filled with all the joy of the day, her chestnut hair springing with every step. Rorik grumbled incoherently and stalked away, dragging Farrian by the arm, and though he stumbled and swayed every few steps, he did not hesitate to lecture his youngest brother on the fact that royalty should never lower themselves to view such an exhibition as they had just witnessed. 
Farrian endured his brother’s incoherent lecturing for a time, but pointed him in the direction of the ale tent the first chance he saw. He handed Rorik off to his friends, who assured Farrian they would look after him. Farrian hoped, rather than believed them to be sincere. No doubt this year would be the same as any other year: Rorik would drink himself into a stupor and his friends would all but carry him to his chambers. After downing a polite drink Farrian made his escape, and strolled once more down the field.
Halfway down the grounds Farrian saw a familiar face - the beautiful girl who had been dancing. She was now wearing a dress of muted colors, her shoulders covered by a simple shawl, but her face and hair were unmistakable. Procuring a small bunch of flowers from a nearby farmer’s wife, Farrian broke into a slow jog until he was beside her. As she looked his way, he presented her with the flowers.
 “A token for the most captivating woman at the festival,” he said, bowing with a slight bow.
She smiled and held them lightly, then realized who had greeted her. “Your highness, I thank you for your generosity.” She said as she dropped into a low curtsey.
He extended a hand and raised her to her feet, “Spare the formalities, I beg you. Today, I am Farrian. And you?”
“Alasya,” she murmured, and her cheeks took on a crimson glow.
“Alasya, I saw you walking and simply had to complement you on your dancing earlier.”
Her cheeks turned an even brighter shade of crimson, “It was but a country dance, nothing compared to the great dances of court I’m sure you’re familiar with,” she said, casting her eyes downward.
“It seems that a country jig can provide far greater joy than the finest waltz of the court.” He replied, taking her hand, “Now, Alasya, would you accompany me for the duration of the day?”
Her eyes grew wide, and her face blossomed into a smile, “I would be honoured, your highness.”
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Sabreur
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2018, 11:11:22 AM »

Can I ask who your target audience is? I wish we had a standard way of noting the genre of the samples.
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RockWhitehouse
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2018, 12:09:02 PM »

This isn’t a genre I read much but I liked what I saw. It wasn’t hard to read all the way to the end, which I mean as a compliment. Some people stopped reading my Prologue before the second paragraph and I think they were probably justified.

I copied this into Word to break it down and there were several complaints from the grammar nag about commas – both missing and extraneous. I am HORRIBLE with commas myself. So, you might want to look at that.  When I was in college my Father once threatened to hacksaw the comma out of the typewriter. Anyhow, I saw enough that it deserves some attention.

The opening sentences did trip me up. Perhaps I am too literal but the sun doesn’t rise into a chamber. And if the sun is rising over the castle from my perspective, I’m not IN the castle. I’m somewhere to the west.  But I like the image you’re trying to create. Maybe try something like this: The sun rose [over something poetic to the east?], it’s warm beams illuminating the chamber in the great castle at Lamorl where Farrian was sleeping. The light danced across his tranquil face until it came to rest upon the lashes of his eyes and gently pressed itself within.

The manservant quickly redressed the prince and sent him on his way, after first lecturing him on the responsibilities of maintaining the appearance of royalty, even during a festival.
I’d like to hear at least some of this conversation. It could be very engaging ala John Gielgud in ‘Arthur’.

The end of this sentence felt awkward to me:  The kingdom of Arbridan had seen much sorrow in Farrian’s childhood; now that the land was recovered from the ravages of war, the festival felt particularly enjoyable.
Maybe instead of ‘particularly enjoyable’ something like ‘felt more freely joyous’ would better express the feeling?

Looking at this sentence – Farrian noticed his brother’s behavior and commented on it. “They are our subjects, Rorik, why shouldn’t they receive the same courtesy you give to a nobleman?”
I feel like the ‘and commented on it’ is redundant. He's like, about to comment. Maybe try Farrian noticed his brother’s (rude/condescending/boorish/haughty) behavior. “They are our subjects, Rorik, why shouldn’t they receive the same courtesy you give to a nobleman?”

Also, Father should be capitalized in this context, I think, when referring to a specific person and not a generic role. Check me on that if you feel strongly about it.

There were nine semi-colons and three colons in seven pages (2200+words), which seems like a lot to me. Maybe some rework of at least some of those sentences would be worthwhile.

I hope this is helpful.

Best of luck, Ferrian, I hope Lydia lets you get the girl!



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Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. - Edison
LydiaRose
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2018, 02:53:29 PM »

Can I ask who your target audience is? I wish we had a standard way of noting the genre of the samples.

I should have mentioned that in the opening, oops. It's a fantasy, target audience I think would be New Adult (it has a few things too much for YA, but not enough for full blown Adult fiction).
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LydiaRose
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2018, 02:54:30 PM »

This isn’t a genre I read much but I liked what I saw. It wasn’t hard to read all the way to the end, which I mean as a compliment. Some people stopped reading my Prologue before the second paragraph and I think they were probably justified.

I copied this into Word to break it down and there were several complaints from the grammar nag about commas – both missing and extraneous. I am HORRIBLE with commas myself. So, you might want to look at that.  When I was in college my Father once threatened to hacksaw the comma out of the typewriter. Anyhow, I saw enough that it deserves some attention.

The opening sentences did trip me up. Perhaps I am too literal but the sun doesn’t rise into a chamber. And if the sun is rising over the castle from my perspective, I’m not IN the castle. I’m somewhere to the west.  But I like the image you’re trying to create. Maybe try something like this: The sun rose [over something poetic to the east?], it’s warm beams illuminating the chamber in the great castle at Lamorl where Farrian was sleeping. The light danced across his tranquil face until it came to rest upon the lashes of his eyes and gently pressed itself within.

The manservant quickly redressed the prince and sent him on his way, after first lecturing him on the responsibilities of maintaining the appearance of royalty, even during a festival.
I’d like to hear at least some of this conversation. It could be very engaging ala John Gielgud in ‘Arthur’.

The end of this sentence felt awkward to me:  The kingdom of Arbridan had seen much sorrow in Farrian’s childhood; now that the land was recovered from the ravages of war, the festival felt particularly enjoyable.
Maybe instead of ‘particularly enjoyable’ something like ‘felt more freely joyous’ would better express the feeling?

Looking at this sentence – Farrian noticed his brother’s behavior and commented on it. “They are our subjects, Rorik, why shouldn’t they receive the same courtesy you give to a nobleman?”
I feel like the ‘and commented on it’ is redundant. He's like, about to comment. Maybe try Farrian noticed his brother’s (rude/condescending/boorish/haughty) behavior. “They are our subjects, Rorik, why shouldn’t they receive the same courtesy you give to a nobleman?”

Also, Father should be capitalized in this context, I think, when referring to a specific person and not a generic role. Check me on that if you feel strongly about it.

There were nine semi-colons and three colons in seven pages (2200+words), which seems like a lot to me. Maybe some rework of at least some of those sentences would be worthwhile.

I hope this is helpful.

Best of luck, Ferrian, I hope Lydia lets you get the girl!





Really awesome advice, thanks!
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JBeachum
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2018, 08:46:57 PM »

I think you could cut the entire first paragraph and the story would be better off. Starting a story with someone waking up is a no-no in the agent world, unless the waking up part is key to the plot in some way.
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Sabreur
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2018, 07:22:21 AM »

First, let me say this isn’t a genre I’m familiar with, so take everything with a BIG grain of salt. Second, if I have overstepped myself, somebody please yell at me. My eldest daughter also writes, and this is how we edit each other’s work.

Overall, this seems like a nice beginning. Although, as JBeachum says, the opening is a bit cliché. My other comments are below.


Quote
The sun rose over the great castle at Lamorl and (shone?)into the chambers where Farrian was sleeping. Beams of light danced across his tranquil face until they came to rest upon the lashes of his eyes and dared to peek within.  With a smile (Why does he smile? Is he preternaturally chipper? Is he a driveling idiot? ;-) How about: With a happy smile of anticipation), Farrian threw off the covers and leapt from his bed. Springing across the room to the window, he flung open the window, and leaned out to take in the view below him.

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The cool morning air caressed him softly as he looked down upon the outer grounds (not a criticism, just curiosity: is he an elemental, that the sun and air are so saucy with him?). Bright tents were decked in fluttering ribbons, and everywhere there were baskets and garlands of flowers. The sounds of music and laughter mingled with the scent of baked goods, and Farrian closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, taking in the sensations of his favourite part of the year. The spring festival was when everyone came together to share wares, stories, and joy. The kingdom of Arbridan had seen much sorrow in Farrian’s childhood; now that the land was recovered from the ravages of war, the festival felt particularly enjoyable (I agree with Rock: could be more poetic to go with the tone of the rest. All the more joyous for sorrows forgotten?)

Quote
Farrian sauntered along the corridor with a light step, anxious to join in the festivities (would you saunter if you were anxious to get somewhere?). He was so caught up in his thoughts that he did not see his older brother come around the corner. To be fair, Eyvan didn’t see him either; he was carrying a newly acquired manuscript, and was trying his hardest to decipher the ancient writing while walking. The brothers collided with a thud, both landing (landing both) on the floor. It took (each of them: you used “both” twice in successive sentences) them both a moment to determine what had happened, but (they) then began to laugh. The sound of hard boots echoing off the marble floor silenced their laughter, and they both looked up into the disapproving eyes of their oldest brother.

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Rorik looked down on them with obvious disdain (you use “disdain” three times in describing Rorik. Change one?). With a grunt he helped them (Would he? Help them, I mean? Wouldn’t he just stare in disgust while they got up and dusted themselves off?) to their feet and then looked Farrian over from head to toe. His unspoken disapproval (second disapproval in two paragraphs) was written all over his face, for while Rorik was clad in fine velvet, and wore one of his jeweled circlets, Farrian wore a simple linen tunic, and his signet was the only thing separating him from the lower nobility.

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Every courtier they passed was given a nod of respect, but on several occasions he nearly collided with Farrian or Eyvan to avoid touching a commoner, and never met their eyes, raising his chin into the air instead. (To Rock’s comma comment, how about a semi-colon here? “… commoner; he never met their …)

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From the far side of the grounds there came the sounds of music; the familiar flutes and lyres intertwined with the more exotic sound of drums and pipes from the distant lands. The notes filled the air, and made Farrian’s heart sing. (Something about his love of music, here? It feels like a good opportunity to reveal something about his character)

Quote
The brothers’ number rapidly dwindled to two, Eyvan veering off the moment he saw a newly arrived trader selling manuscripts. Eyvan’s passion was for the written word and he leaped (you used leapt, earlier)

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Farrian pried his brother’s hand from his tunic, and tugged the fabric straight again, (saying) “Thankfully for both of us, you are relieved of that duty. Father informed me that since I am of age, you no longer need accompany me. I am free to roam the festival as I please, and you are free to drink yourself to insanity (into insensibility?) as you please. I shall see you at dinner, brother.”

Quote
With that, Farrian turned on his heel and stepped lightly (walked with a sprightly step? “Lightly felt odd to me)

Quote
As the morning wore on he again passed the ring where the knights were now fully garbed in battle gear and putting on a great show of strength (and skill? Or are they just thugs without real training?)

Quote
For Farrian this held little appeal. Though he had trained with a blade the same as his brothers, he had never taken up much of a friendship with any of the men in his father’s army. They all talked too loudly for his liking, and many were fonder of good ale than anything else. So he sat for a while (why did he bother?),

Quote
“Entertained by the commonersjoys

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“Even a prince can be content with the simpler things of life. Is it a crime to enjoy more common pleasantries than your station? (Awkward construction. …enjoy even the common pleasantries of life?)

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“Ale can be noble and most high of station, (another semi-colon?)

Quote
Farrian could not help but turn and face his brother (. He told him), “That makes no sense whatsoever. You are currently filled with as much ale as any commoner I’ve ever seen, and your drinking companions, as you put it, are

Quote
The young woman was unlike anyone Farrian had ever seen before; the light clothes that swirled as she moved were as bright as a flower garden, contrasting starkly with the ivory of her bared shoulders. Her face was cheerful (possible, I guess, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone dance cheerfully), and her cheeks were rosy from the exercise. Her eyes were as vibrant (you use vibrant in the paragraph above) as the sky, and they shone with a brightness of life he had never seen before. Farrian’s eyes grew wide, and a smile (what kind of smile? There are too many meanings possible with just the one word) crossed his face as he watched her dance.

Quote
Farrian endured his brother’s incoherent (two incoherents in two paragraphs) lecturing for a time, but pointed him in the direction of the ale tent the first chance he saw. He handed Rorik off to his friends (then he escorted him to the ale tent, no?), who

Quote
Halfway down the grounds Farrian saw a familiar face - (this should be an em dash) the beautiful girl

Quote
“Now, Alasya, would you accompany me for the duration of the day?”
Her eyes grew wide, and her face blossomed into a smile, “I would be honoured, your highness.” 
Okay, this just took a big turn--he's going to impose his station on the poor girl? Really difficult to make that come out well.
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LydiaRose
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2018, 10:09:25 AM »

You're totally not overstepping at all. In fact, it's a more thorough look than most of my beta readers gave it. There's some really good advice there, lots of food for thought.
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PureVictory
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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2018, 02:06:37 AM »

There was great world-building in the first few paragraphs. It was easy to get the feel of a Medieval setting. I also liked the image of a sun rising over a castle. That sounds beautiful.
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vulpion
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« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2018, 01:03:22 PM »

I liked the sample, although I must agree with the other commenters that the text needs tightening and the first paragraph should go. No more about that; you can google excellent top 7- and top 10 lists on how to pare your prose quickly and easily.

The medieval atmosphere is present, and the different personalities of the three princes are apparent. I assume this will be a prince-and-beggar story (hopefully with some twists), and so Rorik will be the antagonist. If so (even if not), I'd build him up a little more, and make his depravity less on the nose. When he didn't greet the commoners, and worse, avoided them at all costs, I said, "Nice characterization!" When the same topic went on and on and on, I grew tired of it. His first gesture toward the servants said all about his attitude I needed to know. Show me something else on the next occasion. Nuance his character a bit. The same goes for the beer-drinking part. He drinks beer with Father's soldiers - fine, but don't repeat it. Describe instead what kind of soldiers does he drink with. Fellow aristocrats? Respected veterans? All kind of riffraff? Is talking to commoners beneath his dignity also when it comes to soldiers or does he treat them differently? Such details add a lot to his character, as well as satisfy my curiosity as a reader.

I hope this helps, good luck with the querying!  Smiley
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