11000th post

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Jo Zebedee

Aliens vs Belfast.
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blah - flags. So many flags.
Unbelievable. Okay, so what to put up. Most stuff I'm working on needs some polish. For now, I'm going to put up something from Sunset over Abendau, and tease those of you reading. It's a new point of view character, but I'll not reveal exactly who he is or his agenda yet. And there's an old friend here too.

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Baelan watched the soldier make his preparations to leave for the compound. He was so jealous he could taste it, like the dark medicine his mother gave him when he wasn’t well: rich, sticky and metallic. It was his life-oath; his killing to carry out. He focused on the desert-scoot the soldier was about to mount, one showing the insignia of the empire. It was bigger than the scoots the tribes normally used, its four treaded wheels lifting the carriage and double-seated pod well off the desert sand.

The engine started to smoke, tendrils rising in the still air and Phelps nodded sharply at him.

“Calm down,” the general grated, his voice hoarse from cigaro-smoke.

“Yes, sir.” Baelan balled his hands into a fist and the tendrils stopped, only a lingering smell of burning left in the air. His forehead tightened with the strain of holding the power within himself. It felt like handling a snake the wrong way round, and it took a moment before he was able to breathe in any way easily. Phelps was right, though -- things happened when he got annoyed, and even though he was better at controlling himself the power kept growing, making him feel he was in a race he couldn’t win.

“How did my Lady control it?” he asked, when he felt able to speak.

“She practiced.”

Baelan frowned. He practiced all the time, and it made no difference.

Phelps approached the marksman. “You know what to do?”

The soldier nodded, his lack of ankhar setting him apart from the tribes. “Of course, sir.” That, and the hard eyes, professionally reading the landscape. A bought in soldier, posing as one of the tribes. Phelps’ choice and, as it was his mission, the tribes had acceded to him.

Phelps slapped his back. “May our Lady’s pleasure go with you and sustain you.”

The soldier inclined his head, but his eyes carried an edge of irony, telling Baelan that the blessing was for the benefit of the watching tribes-people. The soldier’s eyes sobered; he knew, as they all did, that he might not return from the compound. He climbed onto the scoot, settling into its high, wide saddle. The sturdy vehicle would be quick and steady, its camouflage programmes perfectly matched to the desert sand. The soldier nodded to Phelps and pulled the scoot round in a tight circle, sending up a flume of sand. It roared away, the sound muffling in the warm air as it vanished.

Phelps turned to Baelan. The desert was quiet with the scoot gone and the tribal guides dispersing back to the camp. He grasped Baelan’s shoulder. “Your quest is just as important.” A tightening of his hand. “More so.”

Baelan looked at the horizon. The words were of no comfort. A tribesman knew from earliest childhood that their oath was what gave them status. If his was stolen from him, carried out by someone else, he’d never become an elder.

Phelps crouched in front of him. “I have hundreds of marksmen, all trained and eager, but only one person with your powers. A man of the tribe accepts his destiny, and doesn’t turn from it.”

He lifted Baelan’s ankhar, turning it so the stone caught the light and shone like a real emerald. Baelan’s eyes followed the pendant’s movement, and he wanted to stop the chain twisting but to snap the ankhar was to break Baelan’s tribal link, and he didn’t dare move. Phelps held the stone for another moment and then dropped it. It thudded dully against Baelan’s chest. The general leaned in. “You are a man, now, aren’t you? Or did I choose my son without wisdom?”

Baelan fought against the urge to pull back, away from the sour cigaro smell and direct, hard eyes.

“I’m proud of my role,” he said. “I wish only to serve my Lady.”

They climbed onto their single-scoot, Baelan perched in front of Phelps, and headed into the desert. There were no ports here or grand cities, but there were things hidden in the sand. To leave Abendau city, they’d used one of the ancient tunnels, taking him far below the new city. They were used sparingly and Baelan had felt important at being chosen to use them. He felt the same excitement when he entered a docking area, disguised within one of the old quarries dotted through the desert, where a small transporter waited. As he boarded it, his mouth went dry. Phelps was right: his life-oath was his own, but his quest belonged to the tribe. He would see that it was completed.
 
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Crikey 11,000 posts, that's a lot!

I rather liked it Jo, but then I thought I would anyway.

It seems to give some new depth to the Abedau world, which is what I would expect, and it is a tease of a glimpse too. The way it ended is almost ominous, now just have to wait for it to appear!
 
11,000, holy mother of god.... congratulations...?

Is Phelps the General? Confused at first....

Baelan balled his hands into a fist Into fists?

it took a moment before he was able to breathe in any way easily it took a moment before he was able to breathe in easily

“She practiced.” “She practised.” [The word 'practice' is a noun...] (Unless this is for the American market, where they only have practice...)

A bought in soldier A bought-in soldier


 
Congrats on the 11 thousand! Nice piece, nice teaser. Looking forward to reading it in context... :)

One bit right in the beginning pulled me out and broke the flow, as I had to reread it to figure out Phelps was nodding at Baelan. At first I thought he was nodding at the soldier on the scoot.

He focused on the desert-scoot the soldier was about to mount, one showing the insignia of the empire. It was bigger than the scoots the tribes normally used, its four treaded wheels lifting the carriage and double-seated pod well off the desert sand.

The engine started to smoke, tendrils rising in the still air and Phelps nodded sharply at him.
 
Crikey 11,000 posts, that's a lot!

I rather liked it Jo, but then I thought I would anyway.

It seems to give some new depth to the Abedau world, which is what I would expect, and it is a tease of a glimpse too. The way it ended is almost ominous, now just have to wait for it to appear!

I think that that's the big difference in the later books - how much more we see of the world. In the first book the protagonists are in the rebellion and have a more limited life view. In the next two they both move more to central stage and are more mature, so more involved in and responsitive to the world.

11,000, holy mother of god.... congratulations...?

Is Phelps the General? Confused at first....

Baelan balled his hands into a fist Into fists?

it took a moment before he was able to breathe in any way easily it took a moment before he was able to breathe in easily

“She practiced.” “She practised.” [The word 'practice' is a noun...] (Unless this is for the American market, where they only have practice...)

A bought in soldier A bought-in soldier


Thank you, good points all. That Phelps is the general should be known.

Congrats on the 11 thousand! Nice piece, nice teaser. Looking forward to reading it in context... :)

One bit right in the beginning pulled me out and broke the flow, as I had to reread it to figure out Phelps was nodding at Baelan. At first I thought he was nodding at the soldier on the scoot.

I shall have a wee tidy up of that. :)
 
Jeepers.... Stop talking, Jo! :LOL:

Congratulations.

At first glance the only thing that I thought while reading it was that when Baelan looked at the horizon, I might have liked to read what he saw upon that horizon. Of course, if there was nothing to see, then sand isn't a very interesting description of landscape. :rolleyes:

To me it read pretty smooth and was quite happy as things are. Nice work!
 
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Okay, Jo, firstly the brains-trust have covered the very few niggles in your fine story, so I've nothing to add. Except of course, Holy *&%^-#@$+* mother of God, 11,000 posts? Do your family ever get to see you? Kidding. Huge congratulations on a mile-stone achievement.
 
Thanks, all! Telford - I'm supposed to see the family? I mean, I feed them and clothe them as it is. But interact... steady on. ;)

Warren - it is mostly sand, I'm afraid. I think I do describe the compound - some of the scene was cut so as not to give away who Baelan is and which characters from book one are still a player in book two. :)
 
I liked it Jo. It has a very different flavor than Abendau's Heir. It feels more like "Dune" with the desert, and the tribes, and the life pledges etc. I could easily get into this story. I was a little disappointed that the "scoot" was more like an ATV than a "land speeder," but as S.F. junkies can't have everything I suppose. :)

Well done and Congratulations on 11,000?!!! posts in less than 4 years?!!! --- You must write, a lot!
 
Congrats. As usual, I haven't read other replies, and will be horrendously brutal.

*unsheathes claws*

preparations to leave for the compound - leave where?

dark medicine his mother gave him when he wasn’t well: rich, sticky and metallic. - dislike shoving the rich stickiness at the end of the sentence, some way from the 'dark medicine'. I'd put them next to each other.

It was his life-oath; his killing to carry out. - not sure a semi-colon is correct, I'd probably go for a full one.

He focused on the desert-scoot the soldier was about to mount, one showing the insignia of the empire. - is the insignia especially significant? If it is, keep, otherwise axe (an imperial scooter with imperial insignia is like a Focus with a Ford badge).


The engine started to smoke, tendrils rising in the still air and Phelps nodded sharply at him. - comma after 'air'

and it took a moment before he was able to breathe in any way easily - axe 'in any way', extra words but they don't add much

“She practiced.” - practice, like licence, takes an S when used as a verb. So, *practised [and on the line just below].

The soldier nodded, his lack of ankhar setting him apart from the tribes - if ankhar's defined earlier, fine. If not, at least vague definition's needed.

the tribes had acceded to him. - axe 'to him' or change the verb [agreed would fit well enough, or acquiesced if you wanted it to be more reluctant]

tribes-people - tribesmen, unless it's a universe-specific term you're using

flume - plume. A flume is a waterway in a ride at a theme park.

“Your quest is just as important.” A tightening of his hand. “More so.” - it can't be both. Axe the second dialogue, or change the first to something like "Your quest matters too."

Baelan’s eyes followed the pendant’s movement, and he wanted - I'd end the sentence at 'movement' and have a second starting "He wanted..." Think two short sentences read better than one longer one.

They were used sparingly and Baelan had felt important at being chosen to use them. - perhaps 'trusted' instead of 'chosen'?

but his quest belonged to the tribe. - not sure about 'quest'.
 
Lovely teeth, thank you, Thad. :) Parson, I genuinely believe it is a trilogy that builds as opposed to one where it's expanded for the sake of being three books. It is still character led and that's the growth primarily is, but I do think - have always felt - book one is not the strongest of the three, although it does have Ealyn in it, and he is probably my 2nd fav pov character ... which makes it hard to say for sure. :D
 
The odd comma and many of them I felt were subjective and done by already by members much better than me in the use of grammar. The last section where they get on the scoot and move was a little confusing on the first read. You refer to past events and then move to a docking area that doesn't get described much, all the more noticeable as description is very good in this section. I appreciate your winding the section up, but it felt a little rushed to me. Do you really need the movement to the transporter to finish the section, or could it be left at getting on the scoot and heading off. The reference to a past event (the tunnels under the city) muddies the water for me if I'm honest.

Anyway, a minor niggle and I always find a niggle, and usually it's just me with a niggle, so I wouldn't worry too much. Wonderful depth and character development, very nice description with a great hint or more to come, well done. I would keep reading, what more do you need. Reminds me of Dune when reading and that sold ok, so good luck with it.
 
11,000? That's ridiculous. You should be ashamed of yourself ;)

It's good. Of course it's good. Some of the jargon was alien to me as I've still not started Abendau 1 yet, but everything seems to be in good order and sets the character up nicely.

Couple of ever-so-slight thangs...

“Calm down,” the general grated, his voice hoarse from cigaro-smoke. - Not sure about "grated" as a dialogue tag. I'm sure "said" would be fine - the rest of the line adds the description.

Phelps’ choice - Phelps's choice.

tribes-people - not sure you need the hyphen. Should be ok as a single word.

thudded dully - is there any other type of thud than a dull one? It's super minor but just seemed like an obvious turn of phrase. And that doesn't necessarily mean a bad one.

There were a couple of others but I see Thad's done a sterling job.

And that's it! Lovely prose, and an intriguing premise for Mr Baelan.
 
The only part that I had to reread was the one bit of untagged dialogue where the General answers Baelan. At first that seemed like internal monologue.

And 11,000 posts? That is simply amazing! How does anyone even begin to write that much? Looks around for the leg chains and the thousand monkeys busily typing out posts on a thousand laptop computers.
 
The only part that I had to reread was the one bit of untagged dialogue where the General answers Baelan. At first that seemed like internal monologue.

And 11,000 posts? That is simply amazing! How does anyone even begin to write that much? Looks around for the leg chains and the thousand monkeys busily typing out posts on a thousand laptop computers.

Hee. I need to get out more, is all...

Which bit of dialogue is that, if you don't mind me checking? And thank you. /)
 
Just that "she practiced" bit.

I don't know why it seemed that Baelan was answering himself but it just did. Maybe because its a thing you would say to answer yourself, or because the General doesn't seem the type to cosset the boy through his inabilities by teaching him or offering advice.

The General really seems to be the "throw the kid in the water and he will learn to swim by himself or drown", type.

If it had been mixed with a rebuke, then I would have said, that sounds like the General.
 
Just that "she practiced" bit.

I don't know why it seemed that Baelan was answering himself but it just did. Maybe because its a thing you would say to answer yourself, or because the General doesn't seem the type to cosset the boy through his inabilities by teaching him or offering advice.

The General really seems to be the "throw the kid in the water and he will learn to swim by himself or drown", type.

If it had been mixed with a rebuke, then I would have said, that sounds like the General.

Ah, thank you, I'll make it clearer. :) yes, not a lot of the milk of human kindness in General Phelps... :)
 
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