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Author Topic: Embers of Adeen  (Read 403 times)
Zach777
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« on: April 11, 2018, 06:04:12 PM »

Here are the first five pages of Embers of Adeen. I know I posted the first chapter, but I edited the first page a little and I wanted some more feedback. I'm still not sure about the opening since it's mostly exposition, setting, and no dialogue, but please let me know what you all think.
..............
Alain
Chapter 1

Parthage, not only the most glorious city in all the empire, but a city many claimed, in hushed whispers, to be built by commoners while the nobility dined on their backs. A claim none would speak, especially when considering the man in the rear of the wagon Alain drove. Not only would Lord Gray marry off his ten-year-old daughter to a grown man, but he’d happily order his knights to do his bidding, even if that bidding shattered the code they pledged to honor. His insides churned, but Alain would not dare to listen. Lord Herod was his liege, he would obey. If not for him, he would not be here once more, in this most majestic of cities. If not for his liege, he would not have spent the past several nights staring blankly into the flames as he did watch, begging the creator for forgiveness. No, not his problems, not his issue. Parthage, he had to think about Parthage, not the man who sat behind him, sipping tea as commoners begged for food. Obey, heh, such thoughts made him want to throw himself from the wagon at times. More times than not, he was tempted to desert and truly follow the code and the creator as he claimed to. More now than anytime before, he become tempted to abandon the Grays and their depravity and enter the streets of Parthage. 
Alain always felt such an honor entering the capital of Aqarr. For a mere knight to see the city up close and with the honor of protecting one of the upper nobles of the empire, he couldn’t think of anything on this side of eternity he’d rather do. Each of the buildings shone radiantly. Granted, part of the cleanliness had to do with Lord Gray’s arrival, but the city always seemed to be tended to. The horses’ hooves on the cobblestone road rung like music to his ears.
   He slowed the horses as a group of commoners passed them. They stared in awe at the five wagons that made up Lord Gray’s caravan. Lord Herod Gray, a man who loved himself above all. Painted on the side of each wagon sat emblazed the black raven of House Gray, along with Lord Gray’s personal crest, a ruby colored star which sat in the chest of the raven. How the commoners actually felt about the man, Alain couldn’t be sure. Not that it truly mattered, but often, the thoughts and actions of commoners could affect the fates of an entire realm. 
   Alain smiled at the passing commoners, offering them a brief wave as they passed by. A few waved or nodded. Though few commoners ever met him, most knew of him in part because of the Grays, how often he frequented the city, and due to his status as knight commander of House Gray. An honor serving them may be, somethings, he envied the commoners for their ability to mock nobility behind closed doors. 
Not far from the road, he spotted a group of children playing, wrestling on the ground, chasing each other through alleyways, simply having fun. He sighed. What he’d give to have a child. At twenty-nine past the year of his birth, even by human standards he was young, but with every passing year, the pressure on him to be wed grew continuously. As much as he wanted to marry, he could never find a woman who wanted to marry him for something more than his rank and perceived riches. He had fallen in love and grown close friendships with many women who valued him for his personality and other characteristics, but none of them had loved him back.
   He grimaced. Best not to think about that. The journey here had been for Lord Gray and his family, not himself. He couldn’t be selfish and think of his own problems. Besides, he could always adopt. Alain had come from a long line of knights whom had served House Gray for generations. Due to his father’s being the former knight commander of House Gray, Alain had inherited the title. To keep the tradition alive, he needed an heir. Adoption always a worthy goal, though it would insult Lord Gray who wanted his knight commanders to be trueborn heirs, specifically sons, though Lord Gray stood among the few nobles who wouldn’t mind a daughter for an heir. Not having an heir would stand as a greater disrespect, and he owed his liege that much.   
   He gently snapped the horses’ reins to speed them up once the crowd passed to hear scrambling from behind him. He glanced back to see the small form of Lord Shawn climb across the coach toward him. The young boy smiled, his eyes wide with the wonder and excitement typical of boys of seven past the year of his birth. His wavy brown hair splayed out in all its messy wonder. Unlike the rest of his family whose hair ranged from blond to light brown, Lord Shawn’s hair was dark brown.
   “How are you today, Lord Shawn?” Alain asked.
   Lord Shawn jittered about, bouncing his legs again each other. “I’m good. Morrigan says we’re going to the castle. Is that true? Can we go to the arena? I want to be in a tournament! If you’re in it, you might win! That would be so fun. We should all go, please? I promise I’ll try to behave.”
   Alain chuckled. “Maybe once the festivities are over and everything is packed away we can visit the arena. We still have much to do once we reach the Imperial City, including a feast which will have delicacies from across the empire.”
   Creator help him if the boy went to the arena. To be fair, the arena wasn’t a bad place. Alain had taken part in many duals and tournaments throughout his life. If only tournaments would be the only events there. For some reason, nobles from across the empire, along with the commoners and less common, loved watching prisoners be executing within the stone walls of Parthage’s arena. Ravenhall, Lord Gray’s estate, had its own chopping block, but most prisoners destined to die came to Parthage to be torn apart by warriors from across the empire or enraged animals.
   No child should be witness to such cruelty, but he knew Lord Gray would insist that Lord Shawn watch several executions. As a mere knight, Alain had no room to disagree with his liege. He could only sit back and nod his seeming approval. He, nor any other knight, had the position or authority to question those in charge. Now that he thought of the fact, Lord Shawn had paid host to several executions at Ravenhall. 
   His mind snapped back to focus when Lord Shawn said, “I know Carver wants to enter a tournament. He says he’ll win, because he always wins the tournaments he puts on at home, but those are all set up. Any real knight would easily win.”
   “Your lord brother is a fine swordsman.”
   Lord Shawn folded his arms. “But nowhere as good as you or the other knights. He won’t last a single round of combat.”
   Alain shook his head. Lord Carver did have a rather inflated view of himself, but Lord Shawn would be surprised by how many undisciplined men entered a tournament. The last time Alain had attended a tournament, over twenty men had signed up who had only practiced with a sword or their preferred weapon a few times in their lives. Everyone had to start somewhere though.
   “When I become a knight, we can both be in a tournament, or do a tag team tournament. That would be fun. When we get back to Ravenhall, will you start teaching me again?”
   “You lord father and brother have done a great job in training you so far,” Alain smirked, “but I suppose I have a few tricks I could teach you.”
   “And once I’m done training, you can take me to the Chain Mountains where you fought dwarves, battled orcs, and slayed dragons. What was it like, fighting a dragon? Were you scared? Did it breathe fire?”
   Alain couldn’t help but chuckle. The innocence of youth. “I’m afraid the tales you and Lady Morrigan keep spreading about me aren’t nearly so grand. I only fought dwarves in a tournament, of which I placed third. The Imperium hasn’t had any internal conflicts between dwarves for over a decade. Of course, orc raiders are common throughout the Chain Mountains, but they are to be pitied, not reviled. As for the dragon,” he shook his head, “that was a mercy killing. An older dragon, the last of his kind this far south, and severely injured. I didn’t have an epic battle, just ended the suffering of a misunderstood creature.”       
   Lord Shawn narrowed his eyes, confusion and disappointment splayed across his face. “So, you never fought a dragon in one on one combat? You never saved a princess or faced down an orc army? You never stood atop a large mountain, commanding an army of hawks as they defended a dying city? What of Moon Hill? How you said you protected the shattered king from the hanged man’s noose. What about all the stories?”
   “I’m afraid nothing so grand. However,” the boy’s face brightened, “I have seen three dragons in full flight while up north. They aren’t quite as large as the mountain dragons that once swarmed the Dwarven Imperium, but they’re still a breathtaking sight. The stories you hear are often overblown tales of our adventures, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had enjoying adventures.” Where had Lord Shawn found the idea for the last two? Creator’s breath, he and Lady Morrigan came up with such odd tales.
   Lord Shawn’s eyes widened with glee. Like many boys his age, he had a fascination with dragons. “What color were they? Where were they?”
   “They were deep green, and I was on Hiberia at the time. Those were my earlier days when I constantly yearned for adventure and my father served as knight commander for your lord father.” Truth be told, if his father hadn’t succumbed to an illness that rendered him to a wheelchair, Alain would be only a regular knight, still adventuring somewhere. The creator always had mysterious ways of changing a person’s path. 
   “Hiberia? Did you see werewolves? Can you introduce me to one? Coraline told me she talked with one and howled at the moon with a werewolf when it transformed, but I don’t believe her.”
   “I’m sure during your training and once you complete your initiation I can take you to Hiberia. I have met several werewolves, though as you know, very few leave their island home. They are an interesting people, misunderstood, but not as feared or loathed as orcs.”
   “Yeah, but Coraline said they aren’t really scary. She said when they transform during a full moon they often howl in a sort of praise in celebration. Oh! Also, werewolves can turn into giant wolves and devour whole castles and even dragons. Did you know that, Alain?”
   “Oh, really? And care to tell me how Lady Coraline gained this information?”
   He shrugged. “I don’t know, she said the werewolf she talked to told her.”
   “You’re better off reading the books my young lord. Many werewolves do praise and worship the full moon, but their transformation isn’t large enough to consume a dragon, let alone a castle.”
   He sighed. “Yeah, I kind of figured that wasn’t real.”
   Alain nodded. “Now, in the topic of Lady Coraline, have you still been writing her? What about Lord Lucas?”
   “I have, Mother and Father said their letters won’t reach Parthage for a few days though.” He muttered to himself. “I wish they could have come. But Father said commoners, other than servants, aren’t allowed in Parthage. So, I’ve been stuck with Carver and Morrigan all day. At least Madelyn can’t talk yet. Either Carver’s been all talk about his skills in battle and wooing over some lady in the imperial city, or Morrigan’s talking about her wedding.” He threw himself against the seat of the coach. “I miss the old Morrigan, when she was fun and played in dirt and with swords. Not all this talking about a stupid wedding to a stupid man in the capital.”
   “That stupid man is the first heir of Aqarr, Lord Shawn. You would do best to respect him. One day he will be ruling over this empire and you may very well find yourself being knight commander of the empire, as your lord brother is to take the place of your father when the creator calls him to eternity.”
   Shawn muttered an apology, but Alain didn’t register the response. The wedding, well, betrothal now, but soon enough Lady Morrigan, a girl of ten, would marry Lord Samuel Martez, first heir of the Aqarran Empire and a man of sixteen. Sixteen may be the first year of manhood, but Lady Morrigan was but a child. A child who should be focused more on playing and learning the early stages of being a lady of House Gray, not worrying about weddings and perverted fools ogling her. Alain had disciplined more than enough of his subordinates to know just how disturbed the human heart could be.
   Arranged marriages, as often as he thought about putting himself into one, he could never rationalize the idea of arranging a marriage of a child to a grown man, even if in the first year of manhood, as right. To make it more… odd, Lord Samuel would be turning seventeen within the week, while Lady Morrigan had only turned ten a month ago. As much as the thought of child marriages disgusted him, he could do nothing about the fact. He was a knight, nothing more. A man made to serve his liege and follow orders, even if those orders and deeds tore his conscious to shreds.
   “Alain, hello, are you listening,” Lord Shawn asked. Alain snapped back to his senses. “You’re just like Carver, sometimes. Anyway, do I have to be knight commander of Aqarr? I don’t want to serve Lord Samuel. I want to go have fun and be on adventures.”
   “You will do no such thing, Shawn,” a voice called from behind them. Both glanced back to see Lady Morrigan Gray making her way to the coach and squished herself between Lord Shawn and Alain. “You are to be mine and Lord Samuel’s knight and you must do whatever I say and command. Right, Sir Alain?”
Sir? Since when had she started calling him that? He shook his head, deciding best not to ask about the formality. Normally, she only called him ‘Sir’ when she was upset with him. “Lord Shawn’s duty will be to protect you and Lord Samuel.”
   Lord Shawn folded his arms and glanced at his older sister who punched him in return. She quickly apologized for being not lady like. Alain shook his head. She had changed so much over the past few months once the betrothal had been announced. She had always liked dresses and balls, but preferred sword fighting and playing in the dirt with her friends. She even prided herself at being able to best Shawn with the sword, but now, she had changed. He expected some of it, after all, most young girls loved the idea of a wedding, but this… If he didn’t know better, he’d suspect some sort of alchemy in her personality change.
   “Anyway, Sir Alain,” Lady Morrigan said. “You will be at my wedding, right?”
   He gave a solemn smile. “Of course, it is my duty to attend your wedding and make sure everything goes well.”
   She smiled. “See, Shawn? At least Sir Alain knows how a proper knight is to act.” She stuck out her tongue. She didn’t admonish herself afterwards, so maybe a little bit of herself was still in there. “Anyway, I would like to go exploring the gardens of the castle, maybe pick some flowers.”
   “Lilies are rare in this part of the empire.”
   She moaned. “Darn, then maybe I’ll have to bring some from Ravenhall. They’d be so pretty, maybe I can dress up Shawn in flowers and make him dance.”
   “No!” Lord Shawn declared. Alain couldn’t help but laugh. Lady Morrigan gave him an evil grin, but then admonished herself.
   “Lady Morrigan,” Alain said. “There is no need to punish yourself. There are rules to being a lady, but you are still a child, and many of those rules are outdated.”     
   “Sir Alain, you know that it is my duty to be polite and properly serve my soon to be husband. I must be well behaved to give a proper heir.”
   Lord Shawn rolled his eyes. Alain forced himself not to. He shook his head. No point in arguing with her. Some of the so called ‘rules’ to being a lady predating the founding of the empire. Many others simply ways of men having control over their wives. Lady Gray didn’t follow most of them, as she shouldn’t, but why make Lady Morrigan? Maybe due to her soon to be betrothal to the first heir. Did Lady Martez have to follow the outdated laws? He never met her, but she seemed to be a strong woman like Lady Gray. Then again, who knows? 
   “Once we reach the inner city, I heard they have bears and lions and hippos wandering around. Can we see one?” Lady Morrigan asked after a few minutes of bickering with her brother. “We only have the badgers and squirrel back in Ravenhall, plus the occasional coyote Shawn brings.”
   “Fluffy was a good boy!” Shawn shouted. His lower lip trembled. “Carver had no right to kill him. He was to be my friend and companion when I become a knight.”
   “He was rabid.”
   “Was not.”
   “Was too.”
   “Was not.”
   That went on for a couple minutes until Alain decided to finally put an end to the increasingly loud shouts which even earned the stares of a few commoners. Alain gave them a prompt apology and said to the two, “His method may have been rather cruel, but Fluffy indeed had rabies and would have needed to be put down eventually.”
   “It’s still not fair. Carver gets everything. He gets dogs, a nice shiny sword made by dwarves, a fancy bow, he even gets a castle. But all I get is a stupid pony that can’t even walk right.”
   “You should be grateful for what you have, my lord. Most in the empire don’t have the luxuries we have in Ravenhall.”
   He hung his head. “I know, but Carver is getting a castle, Morrigan is leaving me to live here, and Madlyn is only a baby.” He forced a smile and said, “At least one day I get to travel with you and be your squire and learn how to be a knight.”   
   Lady Morrigan gave her brother a hug. “Don’t worry, I’ll come visit. Maybe you can be the ring bearer or whatever in my wedding.”
   “The imperial family doesn’t do rings.”
   “Does too.”
   “Does not.”
Logged
TigerAsh
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2018, 10:30:55 PM »

Here are the first five pages of Embers of Adeen. I know I posted the first chapter, but I edited the first page a little and I wanted some more feedback. I'm still not sure about the opening since it's mostly exposition, setting, and no dialogue, but please let me know what you all think.
..............
Alain
Chapter 1

Parthage, not only the most glorious city in all the empire, but a city many claimed, in hushed whispers, to be built by commoners while the nobility dined on their backs. A claim none would speak, especially when considering the man in the rear of the wagon Alain drove. Not only would Lord Gray marry off his ten-year-old daughter to a grown man, but he’d happily order his knights to do his bidding, even if that bidding shattered the code they pledged to honor. His insides churned, but Alain would not dare to listen. Lord Herod was his liege, he would obey. If not for him, he would not be here once more, in this most majestic of cities. If not for his liege, he would not have spent the past several nights staring blankly into the flames as he did watch, begging the creator for forgiveness. No, not his problems, not his issue. Parthage, he had to think about Parthage, not the man who sat behind him, sipping tea as commoners begged for food. Obey, heh, such thoughts made him want to throw himself from the wagon at times. More times than not, he was tempted to desert and truly follow the code and the creator as he claimed to. More now than anytime before, he become tempted to abandon the Grays and their depravity and enter the streets of Parthage. 
[The details in the opening paragraph are interesting, but I think you can start with more of a bang. For example, instead of telling us what a jerk Lord Gray is, maybe open with him doing/saying something in the wagon that shows us what a jerk he is.
Alain always felt such an honor entering the capital of Aqarr. For a mere knight to see the city up close and with the honor of protecting one of the upper nobles of the empire, he couldn’t think of anything on this side of eternity he’d rather do. Each of the buildings shone radiantly. Granted, part of the cleanliness had to do with Lord Gray’s arrival, but the city always seemed to be tended to. The horses’ hooves on the cobblestone road rung like music to his ears.
[I feel like I'm still not connected to Alain yet after this paragraph either.]
   He slowed the horses as a group of commoners passed them. They stared in awe at the five wagons that made up Lord Gray’s caravan. Lord Herod Gray, [Are Lord Gray and Lord Herod the same person? You use both in the first paragraph, so I was confused; I thought they were two different people. But if they're not, I would pick one name and stick with that.] a man who loved himself above all. Painted on the side of each wagon sat emblazed the black raven of House Gray, along with Lord Gray’s personal crest, a ruby colored star which sat in the chest of the raven. How the commoners actually felt about the man, Alain couldn’t be sure. Not that it truly mattered, but often, the thoughts and actions of commoners could affect the fates of an entire realm. 
   Alain smiled at the passing commoners, offering them a brief wave as they passed by. A few waved or nodded. Though few commoners ever met him, most knew of him in part because of the Grays, how often he frequented the city, and due to his status as knight commander of House Gray. An honor serving them may be, somethings, he envied the commoners for their ability to mock nobility behind closed doors.  [I feel like we already know all of this from what you've said previously.]
Not far from the road, he spotted a group of children playing, wrestling on the ground, chasing each other through alleyways, simply having fun. He sighed. What he’d give to have a child. At twenty-nine past the year of his birth, even by human standards he was young, but with every passing year, the pressure on him to be wed grew continuously. As much as he wanted to marry, he could never find a woman who wanted to marry him for something more than his rank and perceived riches. He had fallen in love and grown close friendships with many women who valued him for his personality and other characteristics, but none of them had loved him back.
   He grimaced. Best not to think about that. The journey here had been for Lord Gray and his family, not himself. He couldn’t be selfish and think of his own problems. Besides, he could always adopt. Alain had come from a long line of knights whom had served House Gray for generations. Due to his father’s being the former knight commander of House Gray, Alain had inherited the title. To keep the tradition alive, he needed an heir. Adoption always a worthy goal, though it would insult Lord Gray who wanted his knight commanders to be trueborn heirs, specifically sons, though Lord Gray stood among the few nobles who wouldn’t mind a daughter for an heir. Not having an heir would stand as a greater disrespect, and he owed his liege that much.
[I honestly like the details I've learned about Alain and Lord Gray up to now. But I feel like up until now, I'm still missing that spark that will draw me into the story and keep me immersed in it. Maybe some sort of action could help?]
   He gently snapped the horses’ reins to speed them up once the crowd passed to hear scrambling from behind him. He glanced back to see the small form of Lord Shawn climb across the coach toward him. The young boy smiled, his eyes wide with the wonder and excitement typical of boys of seven past the year of his birth. His wavy brown hair splayed out in all its messy wonder. Unlike the rest of his family whose hair ranged from blond to light brown, Lord Shawn’s hair was dark brown.
   “How are you today, Lord Shawn?” Alain asked.
   Lord Shawn jittered about, bouncing his legs again each other. “I’m good. Morrigan says we’re going to the castle. Is that true? Can we go to the arena? I want to be in a tournament! If you’re in it, you might win! That would be so fun. We should all go, please? I promise I’ll try to behave.”
[Lord Shawn seems like a fun character! But now I'm confused about where we currently are setting-wise. I don't feel grounded anywhere. Are they out on the streets still? And if so, wouldn't Lord Shawn have a knight of his own protecting him? Also, is Lord Shawn related to Lord Gray?]
   Alain chuckled. “Maybe once the festivities are over and everything is packed away we can visit the arena. We still have much to do once we reach the Imperial City, including a feast which will have delicacies from across the empire.”
   Creator help him if the boy went to the arena. To be fair, the arena wasn’t a bad place. Alain had taken part in many duals and tournaments throughout his life. If only tournaments would be the only events there. For some reason, nobles from across the empire, along with the commoners and less common, loved watching prisoners be executing within the stone walls of Parthage’s arena. Ravenhall, Lord Gray’s estate, had its own chopping block, but most prisoners destined to die came to Parthage to be torn apart by warriors from across the empire or enraged animals.
   No child should be witness to such cruelty, but he knew Lord Gray would insist that Lord Shawn watch several executions. As a mere knight, Alain had no room to disagree with his liege. He could only sit back and nod his seeming approval. He, nor any other knight, had the position or authority to question those in charge. Now that he thought of the fact, Lord Shawn had paid host to several executions at Ravenhall. 
   His mind snapped back to focus when Lord Shawn said, “I know Carver wants to enter a tournament. He says he’ll win, because he always wins the tournaments he puts on at home, but those are all set up. Any real knight would easily win.”
   “Your lord brother is a fine swordsman.”
   Lord Shawn folded his arms. “But nowhere as good as you or the other knights. He won’t last a single round of combat.”
   Alain shook his head. Lord Carver did have a rather inflated view of himself, but Lord Shawn would be surprised by how many undisciplined men entered a tournament. The last time Alain had attended a tournament, over twenty men had signed up who had only practiced with a sword or their preferred weapon a few times in their lives. Everyone had to start somewhere though.
   “When I become a knight, we can both be in a tournament, or do a tag team tournament. That would be fun. When we get back to Ravenhall, will you start teaching me again?”
   “Your lord father and brother have done a great job in training you so far,” Alain smirked, “but I suppose I have a few tricks I could teach you.” [So Shawn is a Gray?]
   “And once I’m done training, you can take me to the Chain Mountains where you fought dwarves, battled orcs, and slayed dragons. What was it like, fighting a dragon? Were you scared? Did it breathe fire?”
   Alain couldn’t help but chuckle. The innocence of youth. “I’m afraid the tales you and Lady Morrigan keep spreading about me aren’t nearly so grand. I only fought dwarves in a tournament, of which I placed third. The Imperium hasn’t had any internal conflicts between dwarves for over a decade. Of course, orc raiders are common throughout the Chain Mountains, but they are to be pitied, not reviled. As for the dragon,” he shook his head, “that was a mercy killing. An older dragon, the last of his kind this far south, and severely injured. I didn’t have an epic battle, just ended the suffering of a misunderstood creature.”       
   Lord Shawn narrowed his eyes, confusion and disappointment splayed across his face. “So, you never fought a dragon in one-on-one combat? You never saved a princess or faced down an orc army? You never stood atop a large mountain, commanding an army of hawks as they defended a dying city? What of Moon Hill? How you said you protected the shattered king from the hanged man’s noose. What about all the stories?”
   “I’m afraid nothing so grand. However,” the boy’s face brightened, “I have seen three dragons in full flight while up north. They aren’t quite as large as the mountain dragons that once swarmed the Dwarven Imperium, but they’re still a breathtaking sight. The stories you hear are often overblown tales of our adventures, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had enjoying adventures.” Where had Lord Shawn found the idea for the last two? Creator’s breath, he and Lady Morrigan came up with such odd tales.
   Lord Shawn’s eyes widened with glee. Like many boys his age, he had a fascination with dragons. “What color were they? Where were they?”
[Where is Lord Gray/what is he doing while Alain is having this conversation with Lord Shawn?]
   “They were deep green, and I was on Hiberia at the time. Those were my earlier days when I constantly yearned for adventure and my father served as knight commander for your lord father.” Truth be told, if his father hadn’t succumbed to an illness that rendered him to a wheelchair, Alain would be only a regular knight, still adventuring somewhere. The creator always had mysterious ways of changing a person’s path. 
   “Hiberia? Did you see werewolves? Can you introduce me to one? Coraline told me she talked with one and howled at the moon with a werewolf when it transformed, but I don’t believe her.”
   “I’m sure during your training and once you complete your initiation I can take you to Hiberia. I have met several werewolves, though as you know, very few leave their island home. They are an interesting people, misunderstood, but not as feared or loathed as orcs.”
   “Yeah, but Coraline said they aren’t really scary. She said when they transform during a full moon they often howl in a sort of praise in celebration. Oh! Also, werewolves can turn into giant wolves and devour whole castles and even dragons. Did you know that, Alain?”
   “Oh, really? And care to tell me how Lady Coraline gained this information?”
   He shrugged. “I don’t know, she said the werewolf she talked to told her.”
   “You’re better off reading the books, my young lord. Many werewolves do praise and worship the full moon, but their transformation isn’t large enough to consume a dragon, let alone a castle.”
   He sighed. “Yeah, I kind of figured that wasn’t real.”
   Alain nodded. “Now, in the topic of Lady Coraline, have you still been writing her? What about Lord Lucas?”
   “I have, Mother and Father said their letters won’t reach Parthage for a few days though.” He muttered to himself. “I wish they could have come. But Father said commoners, other than servants, aren’t allowed in Parthage. So, I’ve been stuck with Carver and Morrigan all day. At least Madelyn can’t talk yet. Either Carver’s been all talk about his skills in battle and wooing over some lady in the imperial city, or Morrigan’s talking about her wedding.” He threw himself against the seat of the coach. “I miss the old Morrigan, when she was fun and played in dirt and with swords. Not all this talking about a stupid wedding to a stupid man in the capital.”
   “That stupid man is the first heir of Aqarr, Lord Shawn. You would do best to respect him. One day he will be ruling over this empire and you may very well find yourself being knight commander of the empire, as your lord brother is to take the place of your father when the creator calls him to eternity.”
[I think the conversation between Shawn and Alain is okay ... but I feel like it could bring a bit more conflict or bring us more into the plot. It seems like a lot of it is backstory about what Alain has done in the past, which I would think Alain and Lord Shawn would've discussed at least briefly in the past. Also, some of Lord Shawn's dialogue doesn't sound like it came from a 7 year old, so just be careful with that.]
   Shawn muttered an apology, but Alain didn’t register the response. The wedding, well, betrothal now, but soon enough Lady Morrigan, a girl of ten, would marry Lord Samuel Martez, first heir of the Aqarran Empire and a man of sixteen. Sixteen may be the first year of manhood, but Lady Morrigan was but a child. A child who should be focused more on playing and learning the early stages of being a lady of House Gray, not worrying about weddings and perverted fools ogling her. Alain had disciplined more than enough of his subordinates to know just how disturbed the human heart could be. [Since you talk about the arranged marriage here, I don't think it's necessary to mention it in the first paragraph.]
   Arranged marriages, as often as he thought about putting himself into one, he could never rationalize the idea of arranging a marriage of a child to a grown man, even if in the first year of manhood, as right. To make it more… odd, Lord Samuel would be turning seventeen within the week, while Lady Morrigan had only turned ten a month ago. As much as the thought of child marriages disgusted him, he could do nothing about the fact. He was a knight, nothing more. A man made to serve his liege and follow orders, even if those orders and deeds tore his conscious to shreds. [I like this line, but it repeats what you said in the beginning.]
   “Alain, hello, are you listening,” Lord Shawn asked. Alain snapped back to his senses. “You’re just like Carver, sometimes. Anyway, do I have to be knight commander of Aqarr? I don’t want to serve Lord Samuel. I want to go have fun and be on adventures.”
   “You will do no such thing, Shawn,” a voice called from behind them. Both glanced back to see Lady Morrigan Gray making her way to the coach and squished herself between Lord Shawn and Alain. “You are to be mine and Lord Samuel’s knight and you must do whatever I say and command. Right, Sir Alain?”
Sir? Since when had she started calling him that? He shook his head, deciding best not to ask about the formality. Normally, she only called him ‘Sir’ when she was upset with him. “Lord Shawn’s duty will be to protect you and Lord Samuel.”
   Lord Shawn folded his arms and glanced at his older sister who punched him in return. She quickly apologized for being not lady like. Alain shook his head. She had changed so much over the past few months once the betrothal had been announced. She had always liked dresses and balls, but preferred sword fighting and playing in the dirt with her friends. She even prided herself at being able to best Shawn with the sword, but now, she had changed. He expected some of it, after all, most young girls loved the idea of a wedding, but this… If he didn’t know better, he’d suspect some sort of alchemy in her personality change.
   “Anyway, Sir Alain,” Lady Morrigan said. “You will be at my wedding, right?”
   He gave a solemn smile. “Of course, it is my duty to attend your wedding and make sure everything goes well.”
   She smiled. “See, Shawn? At least Sir Alain knows how a proper knight is to act.” She stuck out her tongue. She didn’t admonish herself afterwards, so maybe a little bit of herself was still in there. “Anyway, I would like to go exploring the gardens of the castle, maybe pick some flowers.”
   “Lilies are rare in this part of the empire.”
   She moaned. “Darn, then maybe I’ll have to bring some from Ravenhall. They’d be so pretty, maybe I can dress up Shawn in flowers and make him dance.”
   “No!” Lord Shawn declared. Alain couldn’t help but laugh. Lady Morrigan gave him an evil grin, but then admonished herself.
   “Lady Morrigan,” Alain said. “There is no need to punish yourself. There are rules to being a lady, but you are still a child, and many of those rules are outdated.”     
   “Sir Alain, you know that it is my duty to be polite and properly serve my soon-to-be husband. I must be well behaved to give a proper heir.”
   Lord Shawn rolled his eyes. Alain forced himself not to. He shook his head. No point in arguing with her. Some of the so called ‘rules’ to being a lady predating the founding of the empire. Many others simply ways of men having control over their wives. Lady Gray didn’t follow most of them, as she shouldn’t, but why make Lady Morrigan? Maybe due to her soon to be betrothal to the first heir. Did Lady Martez have to follow the outdated laws? He never met her, but she seemed to be a strong woman like Lady Gray. Then again, who knows? 
[I like what Lady Gray brings, especially her relationship with Lord Shawn.]
   “Once we reach the inner city, I heard they have bears and lions and hippos wandering around. Can we see one?” Lady Morrigan asked after a few minutes of bickering with her brother. “We only have the badgers and squirrel back in Ravenhall, plus the occasional coyote Shawn brings.”
   “Fluffy was a good boy!” Shawn shouted. His lower lip trembled. “Carver had no right to kill him. He was to be my friend and companion when I become a knight.”
   “He was rabid.”
   “Was not.”
   “Was too.”
   “Was not.”
   That went on for a couple minutes until Alain decided to finally put an end to the increasingly loud shouts which even earned the stares of a few commoners. Alain gave them a prompt apology and said to the two, “His method may have been rather cruel, but Fluffy indeed had rabies and would have needed to be put down eventually.”
   “It’s still not fair. Carver gets everything. He gets dogs, a nice shiny sword made by dwarves, a fancy bow, he even gets a castle. But all I get is a stupid pony that can’t even walk right.”
   “You should be grateful for what you have, my lord. Most in the empire don’t have the luxuries we have in Ravenhall.”
   He hung his head. “I know, but Carver is getting a castle, Morrigan is leaving me to live here, and Madlyn is only a baby.” He forced a smile and said, “At least one day I get to travel with you and be your squire and learn how to be a knight.”   
   Lady Morrigan gave her brother a hug. “Don’t worry, I’ll come visit. Maybe you can be the ring bearer or whatever in my wedding.”
   “The imperial family doesn’t do rings.”
   “Does too.”
   “Does not.”



So I commented what I felt/thought as I was reading through the pages.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the first five pages of Embers of Adeen. I think the biggest thing I was missing was the special spark that should grab my attention, pull me into the story, and make me feel completely immersed/grounded in it. I felt like there was a lot of backstory, which was interesting, but was revealed too early. I can tell that you know all the details about your world and your characters, and that's awesome ... but try to save some of those details for later on. If you do that, I also think it will help you "show" more and "tell" less. In the first five pages, I want to get a sense of Alain's goals and/or the potential challenges/conflict he will face surrounding the main plot. Obviously you can't do all of that in the first five pages, but I think you could rework these pages a bit so that the beginning at least gets the ball rolling.


I hope my comments help. Good luck! Smiley


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Kerfuffle
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2018, 11:29:29 AM »

Here are the first five pages of Embers of Adeen. I know I posted the first chapter, but I edited the first page a little and I wanted some more feedback. I'm still not sure about the opening since it's mostly exposition, setting, and no dialogue, but please let me know what you all think.
..............
Alain
Chapter 1

Parthage, not only the most glorious city in all the empire, but a city many claimed, in hushed whispers, to be built by commoners while the nobility dined on their backs.

This is a hefty sentence that explains a lot. Its a glorious city, what makes it glorious? You are opening this story in a magnificent place, tell me what makes it magnificent. Does it drip in gold? Is the architecture renowned in its physics defying way?
Built by commoners is a rumor eh? How could I see that in the build? Are there little quirks here and there?



A claim none would speak, especially when considering the man in the rear of the wagon Alain drove. Not only would Lord Gray marry off his ten-year-old daughter to a grown man, but he’d happily order his knights to do his bidding, even if that bidding shattered the code they pledged to honor.

As the other commenter stated, Lord Gary is a jerk, show us don't tell us. Give us a reason Alain's stomach is churning in that moment.

His insides churned, but Alain would not dare to listen. Lord Herod was his liege, he would obey.  I like the word "obey" here. there is a connotation here. Very wise word choice.


 If not for him, he would not be here once more, in this most majestic of cities. If not for his liege, he would not have spent the past several nights staring blankly into the flames as he did watch, begging the creator for forgiveness. Great pull here. It really pulls the reader in, wanting to know more about this debt Alain has toward the man he seems to detest.


 No, not his problems, not his issue. Parthage, he had to think about Parthage, not the man who sat behind him, sipping tea as commoners begged for food. Obey, heh, such thoughts made him want to throw himself from the wagon at times. More times than not, he was tempted to desert and truly follow the code and the creator as he claimed to. More now than anytime before, he become tempted to abandon the Grays and their depravity and enter the streets of Parthage. 

I am left with a lot of questions at the end of this introduction. This is good. This means I will read more. Good job.



Alain always felt such an honor entering the capital of Aqarr. For a mere knight to see the city up close and with the honor of protecting one of the upper nobles of the empire, he couldn’t think of anything on this side of eternity he’d rather do. Each of the buildings shone radiantly. Granted, part of the cleanliness had to do with Lord Gray’s arrival, but the city always seemed to be tended to. The horses’ hooves on the cobblestone road rung like music to his ears.

I feel like this paragraph conflicts the first one. In the first paragraph you are talking about how he has conflicted feelings about the city and about his duties to the Lord, yet in this one, you're saying he couldn't think of anything on this side of eternity he'd rather do... im sure he'd rather be showing up there with a bit more of an upstanding charge, no?


   He slowed the horses as a group of commoners You have used the word commoners several times, is there another way to describe them? passed them. They stared in awe at the five wagons that made up Lord Gray’s caravan. Lord Herod Gray, [Are Lord Gray and Lord Herod the same person? You use both in the first paragraph, so I was confused; I thought they were two different people. But if they're not, I would pick one name and stick with that.] a man who loved himself above all. Painted on the side of each wagon sat emblazed the black raven of House Gray, along with Lord Gray’s personal crest, a ruby colored star which sat in the chest of the raven. How the commoners actually felt about the man, Alain couldn’t be sure. Not that it truly mattered, but often, the thoughts and actions of commoners could affect the fates of an entire realm. 


   Alain smiled at the passing commoners, offering them a brief wave as they passed by. A few waved or nodded. Though few commoners ever met him, most knew of him in part because of the Grays, how often he frequented the city, and due to his status as knight commander of House Gray. An honor serving them may be, somethings, he envied the commoners for their ability to mock nobility behind closed doors.  [I feel like we already know all of this from what you've said previously.]
Not far from the road, he spotted a group of children playing, wrestling on the ground, chasing each other through alleyways, simply having fun. He sighed. What he’d give to have a child. At twenty-nine past the year of his birth, even by human standards he was young, but with every passing year, the pressure on him to be wed grew continuously. As much as he wanted to marry, he could never find a woman who wanted to marry him for something more than his rank and perceived riches. He had fallen in love and grown close friendships with many women who valued him for his personality and other characteristics, but none of them had loved him back.
   He grimaced. Best not to think about that. The journey here had been for Lord Gray and his family, not himself. He couldn’t be selfish and think of his own problems. Besides, he could always adopt. Alain had come from a long line of knights whom had served House Gray for generations. Due to his father’s being the former knight commander of House Gray, Alain had inherited the title. To keep the tradition alive, he needed an heir. Adoption always a worthy goal, though it would insult Lord Gray who wanted his knight commanders to be trueborn heirs, specifically sons, though Lord Gray stood among the few nobles who wouldn’t mind a daughter for an heir. Not having an heir would stand as a greater disrespect, and he owed his liege that much.

You have spent a lot of time internally. There isn't much going on. Some action on the road would really kick this up a bit. You told us a lot but you haven't really shown us much to really engage the reader.


   He gently snapped the horses’ reins to speed them up once the crowd passed to hear scrambling from behind him. He glanced back to see the small form of Lord Shawn climb across the coach toward him. The young boy smiled, his eyes wide with the wonder and excitement typical of boys of seven past the year of his birth. His wavy brown hair splayed out in all its messy wonder. Unlike the rest of his family whose hair ranged from blond to light brown, Lord Shawn’s hair was dark brown.
   “How are you today, Lord Shawn?” Alain asked.
   Lord Shawn jittered about, bouncing his legs against each other. “I’m good. Morrigan says we’re going to the castle. Is that true? Can we go to the arena? I want to be in a tournament! If you’re in it, you might win! That would be so fun. We should all go, please? I promise I’ll try to behave.”
[Lord Shawn seems like a fun character! But now I'm confused about where we currently are setting-wise. I don't feel grounded anywhere. Are they out on the streets still? And if so, wouldn't Lord Shawn have a knight of his own protecting him? Also, is Lord Shawn related to Lord Gray?]
Agreed about the questions.

   Alain chuckled. “Maybe once the festivities are over and everything is packed away we can visit the arena. We still have much to do once we reach the Imperial City, including a feast which will have delicacies from across the empire.”
   Creator help him if the boy went to the arena. To be fair, the arena wasn’t a bad place. Alain had taken part in many duals and tournaments throughout his life. If only tournaments would be the only events there. For some reason, nobles from across the empire, along with the commoners and less common, loved watching prisoners be executing within the stone walls of Parthage’s arena. Ravenhall, Lord Gray’s estate, had its own chopping block, but most prisoners destined to die came to Parthage to be torn apart by warriors from across the empire or enraged animals.

I am having a bit of a conflict here. Alain, from what I can tell, comes from a long line of knights. this also seems to be set in some fort of feudal era. Alain is coming across a little bit too modern in his beliefs to me. He seems to desire love, rather than strong breeding and a good family line. I don't believe those were considerations in those times. If love happened great, but ultimately there were more important reasons to marry and produce children. Also, the belief that the tournaments weren't meant for children seems incongruent as well. As someone raised in a family of knights, I feel like competing in these events would be something they looked forward to and wanted people to watch them do regardless of their age. I don't think people in feudal times sheltered their children the way we do now.


   No child should be witness to such cruelty, but he knew Lord Gray would insist that Lord Shawn watch several executions. As a mere knight, As someone who comes from a long line of knights I doubt he would consider himself as a "mere" knight. It is a position of high honor. Alain had no room to disagree with his liege. He could only sit back and nod his seeming approval. He, nor any other knight, had the position or authority to question those in charge. Now that he thought of the fact, Lord Shawn had paid host to several executions at Ravenhall. 
   His mind snapped back to focus when Lord Shawn said, “I know Carver wants to enter a tournament. He says he’ll win, because he always wins the tournaments he puts on at home, but those are all set up. Any real knight would easily win.”
   “Your lord brother is a fine swordsman.” Can you inject some emotion here?
   Lord Shawn folded his arms. “But nowhere as good as you or the other knights. He won’t last a single round of combat.”
   Alain shook his head. Lord Carver did have a rather inflated view of himself, but Lord Shawn would be surprised by how many undisciplined men entered a tournament. The last time Alain had attended a tournament, over twenty men had signed up who had only practiced with a sword or their preferred weapon a few times in their lives. Everyone had to start somewhere though.
   “When I become a knight, we can both be in a tournament, or do a tag team tournament. That would be fun. When we get back to Ravenhall, will you start teaching me again?”
   “Your lord father and brother have done a great job in training you so far,” Alain smirked, “but I suppose I have a few tricks I could teach you.” [So Shawn is a Gray?]
   “And once I’m done training, you can take me to the Chain Mountains where you fought dwarves, battled orcs, and slayed dragons. What was it like, fighting a dragon? Were you scared? Did it breathe fire?”
   Alain couldn’t help but chuckle. The innocence of youth. “I’m afraid the tales you and Lady Morrigan keep spreading about me aren’t nearly so grand. I only fought dwarves in a tournament, of which I placed third. The Imperium hasn’t had any internal conflicts between dwarves for over a decade. Of course, orc raiders are common throughout the Chain Mountains, but they are to be pitied, not reviled. As for the dragon,” he shook his head, “that was a mercy killing. An older dragon, the last of his kind this far south, and severely injured. I didn’t have an epic battle, just ended the suffering of a misunderstood creature.”       
   Lord Shawn narrowed his eyes, confusion and disappointment splayed across his face. “So, you never fought a dragon in one-on-one combat? You never saved a princess or faced down an orc army? You never stood atop a large mountain, commanding an army of hawks as they defended a dying city? What of Moon Hill? How you said you protected the shattered king from the hanged man’s noose. What about all the stories?”
   “I’m afraid nothing so grand. However,” the boy’s face brightened, “I have seen three dragons in full flight while up north. They aren’t quite as large as the mountain dragons that once swarmed the Dwarven Imperium, but they’re still a breathtaking sight. The stories you hear are often overblown tales of our adventures, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had enjoying adventures.” Where had Lord Shawn found the idea for the last two? Creator’s breath, he and Lady Morrigan came up with such odd tales.
   Lord Shawn’s eyes widened with glee. Like many boys his age, he had a fascination with dragons. “What color were they? Where were they?”
[Where is Lord Gray/what is he doing while Alain is having this conversation with Lord Shawn?]
   “They were deep green, and I was on Hiberia at the time. Those were my earlier days when I constantly yearned for adventure and my father served as knight commander for your lord father.” Truth be told, if his father hadn’t succumbed to an illness that rendered him to a wheelchair, Alain would be only a regular knight, still adventuring somewhere. The creator always had mysterious ways of changing a person’s path. 
   “Hiberia? Did you see werewolves? Can you introduce me to one? Coraline told me she talked with one and howled at the moon with a werewolf when it transformed, but I don’t believe her.”
   “I’m sure during your training and once you complete your initiation I can take you to Hiberia. I have met several werewolves, though as you know, very few leave their island home. They are an interesting people, misunderstood, but not as feared or loathed as orcs.”
   “Yeah, but Coraline said they aren’t really scary. She said when they transform during a full moon they often howl in a sort of praise in celebration. Oh! Also, werewolves can turn into giant wolves and devour whole castles and even dragons. Did you know that, Alain?”
   “Oh, really? And care to tell me how Lady Coraline gained this information?”
   He shrugged. “I don’t know, she said the werewolf she talked to told her.”
   “You’re better off reading the books, my young lord. Many werewolves do praise and worship the full moon, but their transformation isn’t large enough to consume a dragon, let alone a castle.”
   He sighed. “Yeah, I kind of figured that wasn’t real.”
   Alain nodded. “Now, in the topic of Lady Coraline, have you still been writing her? What about Lord Lucas?”
   “I have, Mother and Father said their letters won’t reach Parthage for a few days though.” He muttered to himself. “I wish they could have come. But Father said commoners, other than servants, aren’t allowed in Parthage. So, I’ve been stuck with Carver and Morrigan all day. At least Madelyn can’t talk yet. Either Carver’s been all talk about his skills in battle and wooing over some lady in the imperial city, or Morrigan’s talking about her wedding.” He threw himself against the seat of the coach. “I miss the old Morrigan, when she was fun and played in dirt and with swords. Not all this talking about a stupid wedding to a stupid man in the capital.”
   “That stupid man is the first heir of Aqarr, Lord Shawn. You would do best to respect him. One day he will be ruling over this empire and you may very well find yourself being knight commander of the empire, as your lord brother is to take the place of your father when the creator calls him to eternity.”
[I think the conversation between Shawn and Alain is okay ... but I feel like it could bring a bit more conflict or bring us more into the plot. It seems like a lot of it is backstory about what Alain has done in the past, which I would think Alain and Lord Shawn would've discussed at least briefly in the past. Also, some of Lord Shawn's dialogue doesn't sound like it came from a 7 year old, so just be careful with that.]
   Shawn muttered an apology, but Alain didn’t register the response. The wedding, well, betrothal now, but soon enough Lady Morrigan, a girl of ten, would marry Lord Samuel Martez, first heir of the Aqarran Empire and a man of sixteen. Sixteen may be the first year of manhood, but Lady Morrigan was but a child. A child who should be focused more on playing and learning the early stages of being a lady of House Gray, not worrying about weddings and perverted fools ogling her. Alain had disciplined more than enough of his subordinates to know just how disturbed the human heart could be. [Since you talk about the arranged marriage here, I don't think it's necessary to mention it in the first paragraph.]
   Arranged marriages, as often as he thought about putting himself into one, he could never rationalize the idea of arranging a marriage of a child to a grown man, even if in the first year of manhood, as right. To make it more… odd, Lord Samuel would be turning seventeen within the week, while Lady Morrigan had only turned ten a month ago. As much as the thought of child marriages disgusted him, he could do nothing about the fact. He was a knight, nothing more. A man made to serve his liege and follow orders, even if those orders and deeds tore his conscious to shreds. [I like this line, but it repeats what you said in the beginning.]
   “Alain, hello, are you listening,” Lord Shawn asked. Alain snapped back to his senses. “You’re just like Carver, sometimes. Anyway, do I have to be knight commander of Aqarr? I don’t want to serve Lord Samuel. I want to go have fun and be on adventures.”
   “You will do no such thing, Shawn,” a voice called from behind them. Both glanced back to see Lady Morrigan Gray making her way to the coach and squished herself between Lord Shawn and Alain. “You are to be mine and Lord Samuel’s knight and you must do whatever I say and command. Right, Sir Alain?”
Sir? Since when had she started calling him that? He shook his head, deciding best not to ask about the formality. Normally, she only called him ‘Sir’ when she was upset with him. “Lord Shawn’s duty will be to protect you and Lord Samuel.”
   Lord Shawn folded his arms and glanced at his older sister who punched him in return. She quickly apologized for being not lady like. Alain shook his head. She had changed so much over the past few months once the betrothal had been announced. She had always liked dresses and balls, but preferred sword fighting and playing in the dirt with her friends. She even prided herself at being able to best Shawn with the sword, but now, she had changed. He expected some of it, after all, most young girls loved the idea of a wedding, but this… If he didn’t know better, he’d suspect some sort of alchemy in her personality change.
   “Anyway, Sir Alain,” Lady Morrigan said. “You will be at my wedding, right?”
   He gave a solemn smile. “Of course, it is my duty to attend your wedding and make sure everything goes well.”
   She smiled. “See, Shawn? At least Sir Alain knows how a proper knight is to act.” She stuck out her tongue. She didn’t admonish herself afterwards, so maybe a little bit of herself was still in there. “Anyway, I would like to go exploring the gardens of the castle, maybe pick some flowers.”
   “Lilies are rare in this part of the empire.”
   She moaned. “Darn, then maybe I’ll have to bring some from Ravenhall. They’d be so pretty, maybe I can dress up Shawn in flowers and make him dance.”
   “No!” Lord Shawn declared. Alain couldn’t help but laugh. Lady Morrigan gave him an evil grin, but then admonished herself.
   “Lady Morrigan,” Alain said. “There is no need to punish yourself. There are rules to being a lady, but you are still a child, and many of those rules are outdated.”     
   “Sir Alain, you know that it is my duty to be polite and properly serve my soon-to-be husband. I must be well behaved to give a proper heir.”
   Lord Shawn rolled his eyes. Alain forced himself not to. He shook his head. No point in arguing with her. Some of the so called ‘rules’ to being a lady predating the founding of the empire. Many others simply ways of men having control over their wives. Lady Gray didn’t follow most of them, as she shouldn’t, but why make Lady Morrigan? Maybe due to her soon to be betrothal to the first heir. Did Lady Martez have to follow the outdated laws? He never met her, but she seemed to be a strong woman like Lady Gray. Then again, who knows? 
[I like what Lady Gray brings, especially her relationship with Lord Shawn.]
   “Once we reach the inner city, I heard they have bears and lions and hippos wandering around. Can we see one?” Lady Morrigan asked after a few minutes of bickering with her brother. “We only have the badgers and squirrel back in Ravenhall, plus the occasional coyote Shawn brings.”
   “Fluffy was a good boy!” Shawn shouted. His lower lip trembled. “Carver had no right to kill him. He was to be my friend and companion when I become a knight.”
   “He was rabid.”
   “Was not.”
   “Was too.”
   “Was not.”
   That went on for a couple minutes until Alain decided to finally put an end to the increasingly loud shouts which even earned the stares of a few commoners. Alain gave them a prompt apology and said to the two, “His method may have been rather cruel, but Fluffy indeed had rabies and would have needed to be put down eventually.”
   “It’s still not fair. Carver gets everything. He gets dogs, a nice shiny sword made by dwarves, a fancy bow, he even gets a castle. But all I get is a stupid pony that can’t even walk right.”
   “You should be grateful for what you have, my lord. Most in the empire don’t have the luxuries we have in Ravenhall.”
   He hung his head. “I know, but Carver is getting a castle, Morrigan is leaving me to live here, and Madlyn is only a baby.” He forced a smile and said, “At least one day I get to travel with you and be your squire and learn how to be a knight.”   
   Lady Morrigan gave her brother a hug. “Don’t worry, I’ll come visit. Maybe you can be the ring bearer or whatever in my wedding.”
   “The imperial family doesn’t do rings.”
   “Does too.”
   “Does not.”



So I commented what I felt/thought as I was reading through the pages.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the first five pages of Embers of Adeen. I think the biggest thing I was missing was the special spark that should grab my attention, pull me into the story, and make me feel completely immersed/grounded in it. I felt like there was a lot of backstory, which was interesting, but was revealed too early. I can tell that you know all the details about your world and your characters, and that's awesome ... but try to save some of those details for later on. If you do that, I also think it will help you "show" more and "tell" less. In the first five pages, I want to get a sense of Alain's goals and/or the potential challenges/conflict he will face surrounding the main plot. Obviously you can't do all of that in the first five pages, but I think you could rework these pages a bit so that the beginning at least gets the ball rolling.


I hope my comments help. Good luck! Smiley



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