ERLOS: 1st 1500 words (reworked) ...

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RJM Corbet

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Page one …
ERLOS
By RJM Corbet
Book One -- 'Two Worlds'


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Douglas Perry was born somewhere in South Africa with most of the back of his skull missing.

The back of his head looked strangely caved in. His breath did not smell good and his eyes were small black pebbles that glittered with intensity. His parents, whoever they were, had provided a good home for him at Camphill Village, a communal farm for 'mentally challenged' adults just outside the city of Cape Town. They appeared to care for him and to visit him reasonably often during the 27 years of his short life, while he waited for Erlos to rescue him.

Douglas was a quiet man who rose early to work on the farm and then worked late into the night on his papers. Though exhaustion could make him irritable and thought make him distant, he never showed boredom or lack of respect toward the other mentally damaged people with whom he was forced to live.

Distant, I hear my name, and it becomes my whole life work to journey to that voice; and all the million broken fading parts move as they can toward that name – Obekallah – and pieces begin to come together in old familiar patterns, bits of myself, stronger, like streams that join and flow together becoming a mighty river that at last finds the sea – the final explanatory whole.


Perhaps to him this world, this dimension, this room of nature, was like a kindergarden in which we, like infant souls, live and grow -- contained and protected by walls of time against vast unknown forces that would destroy us, just as a three year old child could not survive half a day alone in the city before being hit by a bus or something.
Douglas was only interested in finding someone to write the story for him.




Nothing can stop the words.

Hamish El Tyrone sighed with frustration. Parts of the story scrawled back to back and upside down in notebooks, on invoices, between the entries in old diaries – upon any paper available at the time – littered his desk and toppled from shelves. Bits of paper, most yellow and brittle with age, lay in heaps and bundles and boxes all over the room. It was a paper jungle. He had no idea how to order them into readable form. Yet he was determined to. It was no task for weaklings.

Squawking gulls woke thin hard wings into the wind, twisting to sudden ocean downdrafts. Sunlight bought incandescent colour of day. Hamish El Tyrone defended his library. It was a place where he knew he would not be disturbed – for days on end if necessary.

He read a page from an old diary: 'After four years I have managed to arrange a holiday to Marana. We will never return of course. Hopefully Mykraamus will not concern himself with me. Hopefully he will not. One day the shepherd will be free. It will not be soon.'

He tore out the page and wrote on the other side: 'The wind howls and leaps and assaults the senses. The wind booms and bangs, as always here on the corner of the sea. To open the door is to invite disaster. To venture outside is to lose one’s hat to the Marana cape South Easter. The wind is a physical force. It pounds for days and weeks and months on end. There is no escaping it. Gulls white as froth blown from the sea – twisting, crying, fishing off the gale. The world exists in infinite dimensions. Let each man find his own world.'





The King, Dumarion Ben, strolled in the gardens of the White Palace of Aazyr late on a summer afternoon. His long silver hair was twisted into a plait that hung down the back of his red cloak. He was no longer young. Dumarion Ben was with his gardener, a stooped old fellow with a face as wrinkled as a walnut. Late sunlight glittered upon the walls and steps of the White Palace – jewel of Aazyr, set among splendid gardens and tranquil waters upon which drifting lilies opened soft petals to the sky. A big frog croaked on a lily pad.

“King of the pond,” Dumarion observed.

“But if he enjoy so to boast, one day a big bird will swoop down from the sky and eat him,” grumbled the gardener.

“A humbling experience,” Dumarion agreed. He stooped to examine an unhealthy young orange tree. “’Tis dying downward from the top,” he said.

“Aye, but ‘tis so young and weak that I fear pruning,” the gardener replied.

“Now is the time; It must be done," Dumarion advised, "for if the disease holds further it will then be too late.”

He rose from his crouched position and laid a hand on the gardener’s shoulder to affirm friendship. Blue eyes crinkled easily at the corners when he smiled. After a moment of indignation at the King telling him how to do his job, the gardener’s heart went out to Dumarion, realizing the wisdom of his judgment. He marveled that this man, who carried upon his shoulders the burden of a world, should stoop to concern himself with one sick sapling in a grove of healthy trees – a sapling he, the gardener, had given up as lost. The King however was thinking that in many ways he wished that he had been born as a gardener.

They talked for awhile and then the King took his leave and walked back up through the orchards to the White Palace, pausing atop the wide marble stairway to look outward with a kind of fierce pride at the land that he had been born to rule. Here at the heart of the Great Continent of Aazyr was the true seat of power upon the world of Elotia. Dumarion Ben turned to enter the palace. He was expecting an important visitor – Shelron Hrothl of Erlos.





“Aazyr must take the threat seriously,” said Shelron.

“Why should we?” said Dumarion, “The Ukonaai cannot live without Aazyr. No man devours his own body.”

The planet Elotia was largely given over to agriculture. Above them Erlos inhabited seven orbiting cities. Few Erlotians would care to exchange their soft slippers for rough boots or sandals and walk the soil of their world of origin. Indeed, the punishment of earthdeath – banishment to the surface of the planet Elotia – was the worst an Erlotian could receive.

“Madness shows neither reason nor restraint,” replied Shelron, “Aazyr must arm herself. Be forewarned.”

Shelron Hrothl was three hundred and twenty years old. He was not particularly old for one of his race and, like most other Erlotians, was about five feet tall and hairless. His bald head was topped with the distinctive Erlotian triple ridge; Erlotian mental and psychic development over the generations had pushed out lumps in the skull to accommodate new cerebral matter. As with most Erlotian men, the side bulges on Shelron’s head were the more prominent ones. With Erlotian women the central bulge was more pronounced. The same was true for some of the men. Erlotian’s fingers were slightly webbed.

The first Erlotian City had been constructed many thousands of years before and by now the Erlotian City dwellers had little in common with the surface dwelling Elotian race. Erlotians and Elotians shared ancient ties of blood, but with the passing of so many generations the link had become distant. Whatever contact there was between the two civilizations was usually conducted between the Royal Family of Erlos – at that time represented by Shelron Hrothl – and that of Aazyr, represented by the King Dumarion Ben.

"Arms have no place in the garden kingdoms, Shelron. You know this,” said Dumarion.

“Dumarion – my dear old friend; how can I make you understand? Mykraamus has united the Ukonaai. Aazyr must draw armies from Llozd. You must do it now. Erlos is powerless to help you.”

Erlos was forbidden by its own High Law from any physical interference upon the surface of Elotia

Among the five continents of Elotia the Continent of Aazyr was the greatest and most prosperous. The northern lands of the Aazyr were inhabited by wanderers and nomads loosely bound together in tribes and family groups – the Ukonaai. Although they did not live by the garden code of Aazyr, and were constantly engaged in petty tribal warfare, the scattered, argumentative Ukonaai had never thought to challenge the Garden Kingdom. The two cultures lived side by side.

Below the Garden Kingdom of Aazyr – which occupied the central part of the Great Continent of Aazyr to which it gave its name – stretched Llozd, to the southern seas. The Llozdian people were tradesmen and merchants for the most part and of greatly mixed blood.

The many small towns and villages of Llozd were loosely bonded by a central government whose main reason for existence was to distribute the food and other materials that flowed to Llozd in great abundance from the Garden Kingdom of Aazyr. Llozd’s own wealth came mostly from its mines ...

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My initial impression is that the first three sections read faster and tighter than the previous draft. Good job on reworking that. The last section, beginning with the paragraph

Shelron Hrothl was three hundred and twenty years old. ...

gets slightly information heavy as you describe the various races and kingdoms. I think you might be able to deliver some of these details through dialog instead of narration.

Just a couple of other small things. In the first section, in regards to Douglas, saying "His breath did not smell good,..." is a little weak. I'd rather hear something like his breath was "foul." Also, while I thought this

...this room of nature, was like a kindergarden in which we, like infant souls, live and grow -- contained and protected by walls of time against vast unknown forces that would destroy us,...

was very good writing, the ending of that long sentence,

...before being hit by a bus or something.,

needs another word besides "something" to complete it. Or just end that sentence at "bus." so that it doesn't dangle.

I don't have a lot of big criticism on this draft. I think you're doing a good job of building your world and establishing your characters. It was also easier for me to follow the connections between the different sections this time. Good luck with continuing it.
 
Thanks a lot Terry. Ok, I'll lose the 'something' and see what I can do with the other bit. The first page matter so much.

I've also taken 'Erlos' off the site where I had the full text posted -- I don't want to mess with my chances with an agent, and no-one, including me, appears to want to read more than a page or two on the web anyway.

Kindle may be different, but to me the web is not really where people really read extended text, unless they're doing research. There's you tube, etc. The web is very immediate.

Thanks, I'll make that change right now ...
 
RJM. This piece is much better and I don't have anything to add there. So I think you're ready for the other people and tackling with rest of your book.
 
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