White Magic (Working Title) Chapter 1

kopiteste

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Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
43
#1
Hey All,

This is my first effort at writing something of a decent length. It is planned to be a trilogy about a young magician who finds out he has magic in him when going for an interview to join the army. He gets recruited by a government agency set up to control magicians who use their powers malevolently.

I won't go into too much detail, but here is the first chapter which is to introduce the reader to the main antagonist and the protagonist's mentor.

Some of you may have seen it first time I posted it but it got locked due to me not having contributed to the forums much at the time. I have double checked with The Judge that I can now post a thread in Critiques.

Any contribution will be appreciated,

Ste

*****


Chapter 1

The Theft


There it was.

The prize.

Her prize.

Legend and myth surrounded it. Few people had ever laid eyes on it. Even fewer lived to tell the tale. The mysteries it held would soon be revealed to the one who had searched for decades to possess it. Thirteen had hidden it well, or so she had thought. She had desired this moment since the battles begun, when she caught and tortured the last living person to have seen it and understood its true meaning. She had expected it to be hidden in one of the most secure and secret places in Britain.

The room was a giant metal cave. Big enough to be an aircraft hangar, with corrugated sheet metal on the walls and ceiling. In the middle of the room was a metal cabinet, it was too dark for her to see what colour it was and she didn’t really care. It had a huge combination lock that would have been a nightmare for most people had they spent most of their adult lives searching for this hiding place. Not for her though, she could destroy the lock in seconds.

The trail that led her here had long gone cold and each wrong turn made her no wiser about the secrets it held. She had battled and destroyed some of the fiercest of her kind in her search and she only got closer to her goal by eliminating each from her list of possible hiding places. It was inconceivable, unbelievable and downright arrogant that Thirteen had thought to hide it here. The proverbial needle in a haystack was more like an iron bar in a hay bale. That she, the greatest and most feared of her kind had been fooled by such a simple ploy made her blood boil.

“Enough!” she muttered, musing that the self derision could wait until she had what she had come for. It was hard for her to believe that it held the powers that were touted about it. She hoped that she hadn’t been fed more lies, or there would be hell to pay.

She had seen some of the most valuable items in the U.K. on her way to this room, but money was worth nothing to her. If money was what she had desired, she would have been in the Bank of England, it would have been easier than the quest that she was close to completing now. She had no real use for money; it was too easy for her and her kind to acquire. That which she desired most was power. The power to rule over her kind with a rod of iron, to bring them out of hiding, to stand and fight humankind for the earth that she believed her kind should be in control of. The current authorities had her kind hiding, protecting the ordinary humans from knowing about them.

The hiding place, the previously unknown epicentre of her universe, was the British Library. This was the building where the country’s most precious books were kept. Never for one second had she thought that the agency entrusted with its protection would have hidden The Book of Truth here. It was too obvious. It was also too much of a tourist attraction for them to believe here was a good place to hide it. It was so ironic that she would have burst into laughter if she wasn’t seething and shaking with rage at her own foolishness.

The superficial part of the building, the bit the tourists got to see, was a little over thirty years old, but the underneath was centuries old. It was used during the war to protect all of the countries valuable books and possibly the valuable people. She had heard the legends surrounding this underground network of chambers, but had believed none of it. The frustration welled up inside her, but this time it was useful as she channelled it all into the door to the vault and before long there was nothing but a stream of glowing liquid metal, seeping from the vault in a red hot puddle.

She picked out the book careful, gentler than she had ever touched anything. She could feel a tingling from her fingers that went right to her heart. That was when she sensed movement in the corner of the room. Drawing her attention away from her thoughts and the object that was in her hands, she turned to look.

She gasped with shock.

“A...A...Albert,” she stammered.

Her hand grabbed over her should, feeling the top of a huge slash across her back that looked like she had been cut in half and roughly pushed back together. The merciful Albert had given her that wound to incapacitate her and prevent further deaths to his Defensores and to leave her with a constant reminder of why she should give up her chase for the book. He naively thought that this close call would lead to a truce, to her giving up arms, so to speak. He had always liked to see good in people, but some people had no goodness to see. She hated his patronising views of the world, almost as much as she hated him.

“Good evening Muriel, cat got your tongue?” He let out a low, almost growling chuckle.

“I bet you weren’t expecting me to spoil your acquisition. How many years have you been searching for The Book Of Truth?”

“Almost fifty years” she said, spitting out the word fifty as if it was poisonous.

“So it must be” he said. “How time flies when you are having fun.”

Muriel scowled, letting a deep growl rip across her chest.
Albert continued.

“I am afraid the last time we met you made a promise to me to give up your search for it and to not trouble me again. I however, keep my promises and follow through with my threats”

Muriel was in a low crouch now, almost feline in her stance, a tigress about to pounce on her prey. Her lips were pulled back into a snarl, showing teeth that were perfect and sharp; they caught whatever light was in the dim room, showing her monstrous grin.

“You fool! I made a mistake the last time we met; you should have finished me off then. I was never going to give up this hunt and now that I have it I will be more powerful than you, director!” She said the last word with a callousness that had been burning inside her for too long.

She sprung, flying at least twenty feet into the air before pushing her arms out wildly, shooting from her palms a red beam, brighter than the sun, towards Albert. He reacted with a blue light emanating from his palms, catching the ball and rolling with it. Albert spun and let the ball shoot off back towards Muriel who dodged it, letting out a laugh and the whole room filled with thick black smoke.

When the smoke cleared, Albert was left standing alone, with nothing but a vault missing its door.
 
Last edited:

J Riff

The Ants are my friends..
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#3
Since this is the beginning, it should probably stay on track as much as possible for awhile, so deleting some stuff is probably advisable, always a better position than needing to drop stuff in, yes?

Legend and myth surrounded it. Few people had ever laid eyes on it. Even fewer lived to tell the tale. The mysteries it held would soon be revealed to the one who had searched for decades to possess it. good.new para>
Thirteen had hidden it well, or so she had thought. She had expected it to be hidden in one of the most secure and secret places in Britain.
(She had desired this moment since the battles begAn, when she (had)caught and tortured the last living person (to have seen it(,)) who saw it and understood its true meaning.) < maybe work on this sentence a bit, delete, or put it at the end of this paragraph.
The room was a giant metal cave. Big enough to be an aircraft hangar, with corrugated sheet metal on the walls and ceiling. In the middle of the room was a metal cabinet(.) It was too dark (for her- but not anyone else?) to see what colour it was (is it important what color?) and she really didn’t care. It had a huge combination lock that would have been a nightmare for most *safecrackers. Not for her though, she could destroy any lock in seconds.
*(people) had they spent most of their adult lives searching for this hiding place.(woop,wha? delete or reword this bit)

(The trail that led her here had long gone cold and each wrong turn made her no wiser about the secrets it held.) Hmm.

She had battled and destroyed some of the fiercest of her kind (during) her search, and she (had)only got(ten) closer to her goal by eliminating each (of their homes, palaces, strongholds..) from her list of possible hiding places.
It was inconceivable, unbelievable and downright arrogant that Thirteen had thought to hide it here. (This) proverbial needle in a haystack was more like an iron bar in a hay bale. That she, the greatest and most feared of her kind(,) had been fooled by such a simple ploy made her blood boil.

Onward!
 

TheEndIsNigh

...Prepare Thyself
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#4
Hi,

I can be picky.

R Remove
B comments
G suggestions

All opinions only



Hey All,

This is my first effort at writing something of a decent length. It is planned to be a trilogy about a young magician who finds out he has magic in him when going for an interview to join the army. He gets recruited by a government agency set up to control magicians who use their powers malevolently.

I won't go into too much detail, but here is the first chapter which is to introduce the reader to the main antagonist and the protagonist's mentor.

Some of you may have seen it first time I posted it but it got locked due to me not having contributed to the forums much at the time. I have double checked with The Judge that I can now post a thread in Critiques.

Any contribution will be appreciated,

Ste

*****


Chapter 1

The Theft

There it was.

The prize.

Her prize.

(It's a good start but then IMO it gets a little tiring. OK I get the obsession thing but I think you need a bit of light action in between the rants.

This point in the story is obviously taken some time to reach (even though you don't tell it) so why not start outside the Museum. Breaking through the various magical locks/protection and then have another rant section and so on.


Legend and myth surrounded it. Few people had ever laid eyes on it. Even fewer lived to tell the tale. The mysteries it held would soon be revealed to the one who had searched for decades to possess it. Thirteen had hidden it well, or so she had thought. She had desired this moment since the battles begun, when she caught and tortured the last living person to have seen it and understood its true meaning. She had expected it to be hidden in one of the most secure and secret places in Britain.

The room was a giant metal cave. Big enough to be an aircraft hangar, (A little jarring this early on in the tale. Aircraft hanger and magic somehow are hard to take this soon. Why not have a good old fashioned easily referenced olde worlde standard big room like a cathedral or some such) with corrugated sheet metal on the walls and ceiling. (again this is too modern and below you describe centuries old catacomb like place which wouldn't fit in with corrugated iron) In the middle of the room was a metal cabinet, it was too dark for her to see what colour it was and she didn’t really care. It had a huge combination lock (Would it need it? All this effort and it seems it's magically protected by a four tumbler lock? and if so why not a 'safe') that would have been a nightmare for most people had they spent most of their adult lives searching for this hiding place. Not for her though, she could destroy the lock in seconds.

The trail that led her here had long gone cold and each wrong turn made her no wiser about the secrets it held. (if she doesn't know what it's all about why the search) She had battled and destroyed some of the fiercest of her kind in her search and she only got closer to her goal by eliminating each from her list of possible hiding places. It was inconceivable, unbelievable and downright arrogant that Thirteen had thought to hide it here. The proverbial needle in a haystack was more like an iron bar in a hay bale. That she, the greatest and most feared of her kind had been fooled by such a simple ploy made her blood boil.

“Enough!” she muttered, musing that the self derision could wait until she had what she had come for. It was hard for her to believe that it held the powers that were touted about it. She hoped that she hadn’t been fed more lies, or there would be hell to pay. (Apparently not, otherwise the price would have been paid the last time she failed)

She had seen some of the most valuable items in the U.K. (Why just the UK?) on her way to this room cavern, but money was worth nothing to her. If money was what she had desired, she would have been in the Bank of England, it would have been easier than the quest that she was close to completing now. She had no real use for money; it was too easy for her and her kind to acquire. That which she desired most was power. The power to rule over her kind with a rod of iron, to bring them out of hiding, to stand and fight humankind for the earth that she believed her kind (Here we have a problem. It would seem that her kind were doing the hiding and in any case she doesn't want to share it with 'her kind'. While we're at it 'her kind' is getting a bit overused) should be in control of. The current authorities had her kind hiding, protecting the ordinary humans from knowing about them. (a little confusing)
The hiding place, the previously unknown epicentre of her universe, was the British Library. This was the building where the country’s most precious books were kept (not any more by the way. I think they are all in an underground repository out in the sticks but I might be wrong). Never for one second had she thought that the agency entrusted with its protection would have hidden The Book of Truth here. It was too obvious. It was also too much of a tourist attraction for them to believe here was a good place to hide it. It was so ironic that she would have burst into laughter if she wasn’t seething and shaking with rage at her own foolishness.

The superficial part of the building, the bit the tourists got to see, was a little over thirty years old, but the underneath was centuries old. It was used during the war to protect all of the countries valuable books and possibly the valuable people. She had heard the legends surrounding this underground network of chambers, but had believed none of it. The frustration welled up inside her, but this time it was useful as she channelled it all into the door to the vault and before long there was nothing but a stream of glowing liquid metal, seeping from the vault in a red hot puddle molten mass.

She picked out the book carefully, gentler than she had ever touched anything. She could feel a tingling from her fingers that went right to her heart. That was when she sensed movement in the corner of the room. Drawing her attention away from her thoughts and the object that was in her hands, she turned to look.

She gasped with shock.

“A...A...Albert,” she stammered. (Albert? it's a bit ordinary)

Her hand grabbed over her should, feeling the top of a huge slash across her back that looked like she had been cut in half and roughly pushed back together. The merciful Albert had given her that wound to incapacitate her and prevent further deaths to his Defensores and to leave her with a constant reminder of why she should give up her chase for the book. He naively thought that this close call would lead to a truce, to her giving up arms, so to speak. He had always liked to see good in people, but some people had no goodness to see. She hated his patronising views of the world, almost as much as she hated him. (Why would he be merciful given she had been let off once and warned before)

“Good evening Muriel, cat got your tongue?” He let out a low, almost growling chuckle.

“I bet you weren’t expecting me to spoil your fun acquisition. How many years have you been searching for The Book Of Truth?” (He presumably knows this anyway because this isn't the first time he's spoiled her fun)

“Almost fifty years” she said, spitting out the word fifty as if it was poisonous.

So it must be” he said. “How time flies when you are having fun.”

Muriel scowled, letting a deep growl rip across her chest.
Albert continued.

“I am afraid the last time we met you made a promise to me to give up your search for it and to not trouble me again. I however, keep my promises and follow through with my threats” (Apparently not, as above)

Muriel was in a low crouch now, almost feline in her stance, a tigress about to pounce on her prey. Her lips were pulled back into a snarl, showing teeth that were perfect and sharp; they caught whatever light was in the dim room, showing her monstrous grin.

“You fool! I made a mistake the last time we met; you should have finished me off then. I was never going to give up this hunt and now that I have it I will be more powerful than you, director!” She said the last word with a callousness that had been burning inside her for too long.

She sprung, flying at least twenty feet (what happened to the wound she had) into the air before pushing her arms out wildly, shooting from her palms a red beam, brighter than the sun, towards Albert. He reacted retaliated with a blue light emanating from his palms, catching the ball (it was a beam) and rolling with it. Albert spun and let the ball shoot off back towards Muriel who dodged it, letting out a laugh and the whole room filled with thick black smoke.

When the smoke cleared, Albert was left standing alone, the book was missing with nothing but a vault missing its door.
As I said the ranting is a bit much IMO. and the paragraphs are a bit too full. a bit more speech or more 'events' would break it up and give the reader a break.

Hope I helped

TEIN
 

chrispenycate

resident pedantissimo
Staff member
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#5
Albert and Muriel? really? sounds rather granparentsish to me
Yes, the trouble with living a few centuries is that your name tends to go out of fashion, sound like something graven on tombstones.

Who could take a mighty demon-raising Wilberforce seriously?

Hey All,

This is my first effort at writing something of a decent length. It is planned to be a trilogy about a young magician who finds out he has magic in him when going for an interview to join the army. He gets recruited by a government agency set up to control magicians who use their powers malevolently.

I won't go into too much detail, but here is the first chapter which is to introduce the reader to the main antagonist and the protagonist's mentor.

Some of you may have seen it first time I posted it but it got locked due to me not having contributed to the forums much at the time. I have double checked with The Judge that I can now post a thread in Critiques.

Any contribution will be appreciated,

Ste

*****


Chapter 1

The Theft


There it was.

The prize.

Her prize.

Legend and myth surrounded it. Few people had ever laid eyes on it. Even fewer lived to tell the tale. The mysteries it held would soon be revealed to the one who had searched for decades to possess it. Thirteen had hidden it well, or so she had thought. She had desired this moment since the battles begun
began
, when she
had?
caught and tortured the last living person to have seen it and understood its true meaning. She had expected it to be hidden in one of the most secure and secret places in Britain.

The room was a giant metal cave. Big enough to be an aircraft hangar, with corrugated sheet metal on the walls and ceiling.
if this was underground, they wouldn't have built it of corrugated iron; too temporary. It rots with London's damp (rusts, I suppose, but the galvanising makes white feathers to conceal the brown. Poured reinforced concrete, that's what they used on the equivalent ones under the natural history museum I used to break into as a student)
In the middle of the room was a metal cabinet,
semicolon
it was too dark for her to see what colour it was and she didn’t really care. It had a huge combination lock that would have been a nightmare for most people
comma I think. I'm not actually too convinced about the structure of this sentence)
had they spent most of their adult lives searching for this hiding place. Not for her though,
semicolon
she could destroy the lock in seconds.

The trail that led her here had long gone cold and each wrong turn made her no wiser about the secrets it held. She had battled and destroyed some of the fiercest of her kind in her search and she only got closer to her goal by eliminating each from her list of possible hiding places.
the sentence actually suggests she was "eliminating" the fiercest of her kind, rather than ticking off hiding places proved unfruitful.
It was inconceivable, unbelievable and downright arrogant that Thirteen had thought to hide it here. The proverbial needle in a haystack was more like an iron bar in a hay bale. That she, the greatest and most feared of her kind had been fooled by such a simple ploy made her blood boil.
Starting the repetition of "her kind"
“Enough!” she muttered, musing that the self derision could wait until she had what she had come for. It was hard for her to believe that it held the powers that were touted about it.
The alliteration in "touted about it" renders it amusing; to be avoided if possible.
She hoped that she hadn’t been fed more lies, or there would be hell to pay.

She had seen some of the most valuable items in the U.K. on her way to this room, but money was worth nothing to her. If money was what she had desired, she would have been in the Bank of England,
semicolon
it would have been easier than the quest that she was close to completing now. She had no real use for money; it was too easy for her and her kind to acquire. That which she desired most was power. The power to rule over her kind with a rod of iron, to bring them out of hiding, to stand and fight humankind for the earth that she believed her kind should be in control of. The current authorities had her kind hiding, protecting the ordinary humans from knowing about them.
continuing and making excessive the repetition of "her kind"
The hiding place, the previously unknown epicentre of her universe, was the British Library. This was the building where the country’s most precious books were kept. Never for one second had she thought that the agency entrusted with its protection would have hidden The Book of Truth here. It was too obvious. It was also too much of a tourist attraction for them to believe here was a good place to hide it. It was so ironic that she would have burst into laughter if she wasn’t seething and shaking with rage at her own foolishness.

The superficial part of the building, the bit the tourists got to see, was a little over thirty years old, but the underneath was centuries old.
try and eliminate the repetition of the "so and so old" mechanism had been
used during the war to protect all of the countries
country’s (you got it right in the previous paragraph)
valuable books and possibly the valuable people. She had heard the legends surrounding this underground network of chambers, but had believed none of it. The frustration welled up inside her, but this time it was useful as she channelled it all into the door to the vault and before long there was nothing but a stream of glowing liquid metal, seeping from the vault in a red hot puddle.
if molten, rather hotter than red hot. Seriously white hot. And could you find a synonym for one of the "vault"s? (If previously she was outside the vault, with the door closed, how could she see the corrugated interior décor, and the cabinet with the combination lock? Or was that the cabinet door she was burning through? I would have thought that applying that much heat (a lot more than Fahrenheit 451) in the vicinity of something she much desired, presumably written on paper, or parchment, somewhat unwise.
She picked out the book careful, gentler than she had ever touched anything. She could feel a tingling from her fingers that went right to her heart. That was when she sensed movement in the corner of the room. Drawing her attention away from her thoughts and the object that was in her hands, she turned to look.

She gasped with shock.

“A...A...Albert,” she stammered.

Her hand grabbed over her should
shoulder?
, feeling the top of a huge slash across her back that looked like
oh, I suppose you can get away with the "like" nowadays, but it ought to be "as if". And you've been going through some rather archaic language, presumably to emphasise how old she actually is.
she had been cut in half and roughly pushed back together. The merciful Albert had given her that wound to incapacitate her and prevent further deaths to his Defensores and to leave her with a constant reminder of why she should give up her chase for
perhaps "search for" or "chase after"
the book. He naively thought that this close call would lead to a truce, to her giving up arms, so to speak. He had always liked to see good in people, but some people had no goodness to see. She hated his patronising views of the world, almost as much as she hated him.

“Good evening Muriel, cat got your tongue?” He let out a low, almost growling chuckle.

“I bet you weren’t expecting me to spoil your acquisition. How many years have you been searching for The Book Of Truth?”

“Almost fifty years” she said, spitting out the word fifty as if it was poisonous.

“So it must be” he said. “How time flies when you are having fun.”

Muriel scowled, letting a deep growl rip across her chest.
I'm not sure you want themboth growling; sounds like a pair of aggressive dogs.
Albert continued.
“I am afraid the last time we met you made a promise to me to give up your search for it and to not trouble me again. I however, keep my promises and follow through with my threats”

Muriel was in a low crouch now, almost feline in her stance, a tigress about to pounce on her prey. Her lips were pulled back into a snarl, showing teeth that were perfect and sharp; they caught whatever light was in the dim room, showing her monstrous grin.

“You fool! I made a mistake the last time we met; you should have finished me off then. I was never going to give up this hunt and
comma
now that I have it
comma
I will be more powerful than you, director!” She said the last word with a callousness that had been burning inside her for too long.

She sprung, flying at least twenty feet into the air before pushing her arms out wildly
"wildly" suggests lack of control.
, shooting from her palms a red beam, brighter than the sun, towards Albert. He reacted with a blue light emanating from his palms, catching the ball and rolling with it. Albert spun and let the ball shoot off back towards Muriel who dodged it, letting out a laugh
comma, and consider changing the "and" for an "as"
and the whole room filled with thick black smoke.

When the smoke cleared, Albert was left standing alone, with nothing but a vault missing its door.
 

kopiteste

Active Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2010
Messages
43
#6
Thanks for the very constructive comments, I will get on with the rewriting.
Other than the technical aspects, and the names, (which, as chrispeny pointed out are to show age. It would be hard to believe a 100 year old witch could be called zsa zsa or something.) How does the story feel? Is it gripping enough for a first chapter? Would you want to read more?
 

TheEndIsNigh

...Prepare Thyself
Supporter
Joined
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Messages
2,924
#8
The problem I had was the back story, which she reveals as she's cursing the world, sounds like it would be interesting to have first. You say you're thinking trilogy; so there's no excuse for this massive info dump instead of the actual events.

As I mentioned I think it needs breaking up with details of what she's actually doing while these rants are taking place.

As in:-

....

The window wasn't even protected; well not magically. A wave of the hand; some simple telekinesis and it was open. She wondered if this was another false trail. Surely there should be at least an alarm spell. The mechanical alerts of the normal security systems would hold no problem even for the youngest novice.

She had seen some of the most valuable items in the U.K. on her way to this room, but money was worth nothing to her. If money was what she had desired, she would have been in the Bank of England, it would have been easier than the quest that she was close to completing now. She had no real use for money; it was too easy for her and her kind to acquire. That which she desired most was power. The power to rule over her kind with a rod of iron, to bring them out of hiding, to stand and fight humankind for the earth that she believed her kind should be in control of. The current authorities had her kind hiding, protecting the ordinary humans from knowing about them.

When the guard saw her his first reaction was too late.

"Hey y..." was all he managed to gurgle before his life left him. Though again why he wasn't he able to defend himself; why wasn't he at least 'protected' worried her even more. Thirteen didn't normally use 'cannon fodder'. There should at least be a Mage on site, if only to raise the alarm.

...

And so on
 

Teresa Edgerton

Goblin Princess
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Messages
13,348
Location
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#10
Just a few impressions as I read through this:

There is a lot of info dump at the beginning. Some of it is tantalizing, but it goes on much too long. For me, there was simply too much about what she had done to get where she was at that moment. OK, she was there; now she needed to get on with it.

Also, there was too much about what she didn't see, didn't care about, didn't have any use for, and would have done but she didn't want to. It was all irrelevant. If she didn't care, why should readers? It made for a slow beginning, and did nothing to heighten the mood.

Then when Albert arrived, I couldn't help but wonder, "Why are they talking?" He meant to kill her, so why didn't he do it when he had the advantage of surprise? And once he lost that, why did she seem more interested in the verbal sparring than in looking for an opening that she could turn to her advantage? The whole exchange was obviously mean to enlighten the reader, but it came at the expense of the credibility of the characters. Dialogue can be info dump, too.
 

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