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Fierce Winds ~ Prologue

Discussion in 'Critiques' started by Valhalla, Mar 22, 2010.


    Valhalla Vigilante Showboat

    Apr 1, 2008
    Western Australia
    The New Empress
    It was a grand occasion. Every citizen of Argentum had waited in hope of receiving an invitation, although many didn’t expect one. In fact, usually only high class members of the city would attend such occasions as this. However, strangely enough, this time members of the general public had been invited.

    This occasion had not occurred in over a millennia, but now it was the time. The crowning of a new Empress.

    The ceremony had actually taken place that morning, and now the empress would give her speech to us, her most beloved children. With her words we would be guided to the path of light.

    In all truth, many suspected they wouldn’t even see the real empress, rather a double. There was always a chance of rebels.

    However, there was one thing which could attest to the presence of the real empress. The presence of Number One, the highest ranked member of the Illumuni. He stood rigid, his sword hung at his hip his eyes trained on the empress’s every move.

    I stood off to one side with Number Three, our eyes following Number One. Whatever his first move was we would leap to his assistance without fail. It was the only thing which we could do.

    The empress stood, garbed in green, the royal colour, overlooking the gathered citizens. Her face was veiled with light green gauze, a safety precaution to allow the real empress to be easily substituted with one of the advisors and no-one to ever know the difference.

    She began speaking and her voice was exactly the same as the previous empress’s. The voice modifier was a further precaution, but what worried me now was why they hadn’t changed it. The precautions were in place secretly, and being found out could cause problems. Still, it was doubtful people would notice, I would have to over-see it myself.

    The crowd was well behaved, clapping and cheering at the appropriate moments and remaining silent the rest of the time. My full concentration, however, was still on Number One.

    Nearing the end of the speech he tensed, his eyes darting left. I felt Number Three shift next to me, indicating she had noticed as well.

    Moments later we leapt forward, cutting off the attack of a man dressed all in white.

    Seconds later three more had joined him.

    “Number Three! Get the empress to safety!” Number One yelled, “Number Two, help me hold them off.”

    “Yes sir!”

    The four men were all incredibly strong and fast but Number One was faster and stronger. He weaved and ducked through attacks, executing perfectly timed slashes and stabs, not one missing.

    I struggled to defend myself, let alone fight back. Within seconds Number One had left his two opponents as bleeding piles on the ground. He turned and came to my assistance, quickly dispensing of my opponents as well.

    “Sir… thankyou.”

    “Don’t worry about it Number Two.”

    Suddenly, as if he had never been injured, the first attacker stood behind Number One. I opened my mouth to issue a warning, too late.

    A large black spike speared through Number One’s chest. He fell, gasping for air. The injured man crumpled, as if he had achieved all he wished for
    and could now die peacefully.

    I dashed forward, dispensing of the injured enemy with a quick slash. As he crumpled I fell to my knees and grabbed Number One.

    “Number Two!” He gasped.

    “Don’t talk! You’ll be fine, I’ll just get a medic.”

    “It’s too late for that, just grant me this one thing.”

    “Don’t talk like that, you’ll…”

    “Just listen. My daughter, she has no-one else. Make sure she is taken care of.”

    “Of course, sir.”

    “You’ll make, a good Number One.”

    The ending... bothers me slightly. But otherwise does it flow okay? And generally the grammar.
    OH... and was it difficult to follow the 'Number One' 'Number Two' 'Number Three' thing?

    chrispenycate resident pedantissimo Staff Member

    Aug 10, 2005

    comma after "hip"

    split infinitive

    two sentences. Semicolon instead of comma? And do you need a hyphen in "oversee"?

    comma after "it"

    You know the comma in the last line is strange, and only because he's trying to grab breath, don't you? I might have used "wove" rather than "weaved", and find the "although many didn’t expect one" a bit superfluous in that context and form, but that's probably just me (like the split infinitive. Does anyone else even care?)

    Faraway Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2010
    It's not just you, it does appear to be superfluous:
    Regarding the split infinitive, I'm not bothered by this particular one. I guess I've read it often enough to get used to it, for example: "Is no-one to ever know of our fate?"
    I do, however, find the whole sentence a bit strange.
    I don't think "to ever know" works in this particular construction. I suggest "advisors. No-one would ever..." or "advisors, leaving no/giving no/appearing to/(anything you come up with)."

    "Speared" strongly implies "through." (I'm not just looking for words you can delete, I do find it jarring to read "speared through his chest".)
    If you want to keep the visceral imagery of using "through", I suggest finding a verb that does not imply the same motion; for instance "spike ran through his chest."

    Regarding the action scene: The protagonist follows his teammate's look; next thing we know, he's attacking someone. No mention of actually seeing the enemy? It seemed to flow a bit strangely.

    There're a few too many passive sentences, in my opinion.
    This lacks urgency. It's not at all badly written; if your protagonist were in a bar, trying to impress a serving girl with how he so effortlessly takes care of bandits and brigands, this would be good.

    I thought the part you wrote about the black spike was an engaging piece of action; I suggest using that style to re-write the rest of the action.

    General opinions: I think you have something interesting here; it looks like a build-up for a story about an orphaned girl becoming a warrior apprentice to this Number fellow, or something in that vein. (What do I know, just the feeling I got)
    Regardless, I'd like to see where you're going with this!

    P.S. When something in your writing bothers you slightly, you're probably right! The end of the dialogue seems rushed and a bit unnatural.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010

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