Hi, Finally reached thirty posts, and hopefully none of them were too dreadful. Hurrah! So now I can finally ask for some critique of my new novel. A chance for a little payback perhaps? Anyway, Maverick is finally in its editing stage and I have a feeling that Easter is not going to be any sort of holiday for me. But my goal is to publish it in the next few months, so I could use mainly guidance as to the writing style, flow, obvious problems etc. I know it starts slow, but then its a hundred and eighty some thousand words so I wasn't really in a hurry. Thanks in advance. Chapter One. There are some days it doesn’t pay to get up in the morning, days when you know nothing good can come from them. The Moonday of the third tenday in the Late Boarfrost was one of those days, and Marjan knew it from the moment he opened his eyes in the morning to see the bright new sunlight, just as he had known the same for every one of the previous ten days. It was bad outside even if he didn’t quite know what was so bad about it apart from the usual springtime morning frost. Regardless, wrapped up tight in his freshly laundered homespun linen sheets, covered with heavy blankets which in turn were buried under a thick eiderdown he was comfortable and warm in his big soft bed. It seemed a shame to have to leave it, and for the longest time he tried not to and simply lay there, enveloped in comfort, pretending the rest of the world didn’t exist. Eventually though he knew he had to get up, since as always there was nothing to do but get on with the day and begin his normal errands. Years of living alone in a remote cottage, hidden deep within the vast Allyssian Forest, far from the usual amenities of the nearest towns, especially children who he could pay to do his chores, had taught him it was that or starve, - and he liked to eat. Despite the hardships of living so far away from civilisation he liked where he lived too. The vitality of the forest, which almost completely surrounded his house in its little glade sang to his very soul. The small lake at the glade’s far end that provided him with fish and sometimes a refreshing dip, was a joy on a sunny day. The living colours and serene beauty of the glade, especially when the sun shone as it did most days, its yellow light filtered through the leaves of the distant trees to create a vision of yellow and green, the flowers that formed a tapestry of colour, these were the beauty that ruled his life. Then there was the air, crisp and fresh and filled with the scent of life, the peace and tranquillity that living so far from other people gave him, and most of all the sense of belonging that he felt living there. All of these things made the difficulties of living in such isolation unimportant. The creatures too, the foxes and stoats, the owls in the trees and the deer in the forest, the ducks hunting for food in the lake, they brought him enjoyment and sometimes even company as they seemed happy to make his home theirs. Once, when he had first arrived they had feared him, now he was simply a part of their home, and in his idle imaginings at least, he sometimes let himself believe that they would have missed him when he was gone. Not that he planned on going anywhere. More then that however, this single glade, lost in the middle of the vast Allyssian forest leant him a feeling he knew nowhere else, a sense of belonging. In this one glade, deep in the middle of a vast forest, leagues from the nearest town, much further still from the city where he’d been born and raised and cast out from the guild he’d once called his family, he felt at home. That was something he hadn’t known anywhere else, not in a long time, but such was probably to be expected of an exiled wizard’s life. Though he had to leave his home from time to time for various reasons, the regular day trips to Snowy Falls to sell his wares and buy provisions, the occasional overnight journey into Gunder itself to pick up the more exotic goods that he couldn’t find elsewhere such as his scrolls and tomes of magical knowledge, and even the odd trip still further afield into the larger cities of Whitney for those true specialty items, and he usually enjoyed the experience, he always looked forwards to his return. A couple of days away and that was as much as he could handle. It hadn’t always been so. As a youngster he’d loved the cities, he’d loved running through the streets of Gunder with his friends, spending his scarce coin in the stalls or on the street entertainers, playing ball games, tossing hoops, sometimes just chasing one another around for fun, and getting into endless trouble with the city guard, but that was a long time ago. These days he simply didn’t need fancy inns and bustling shops, outlandish entertainments and exotic foods, not even company to pass the time of day with, not as much as he needed a place to call home. So his return journey from such places was always a somewhat rushed affair, and the sense of happiness he got when he finally returned to the forest that he knew so well, and the simple joy he felt when the glade and his cottage came into view, was overwhelming.