Full of Beans - 1160 words

Luiglin

by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe
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#1
This a a mid-section of a short tale that comes in at just of 5k.

I've started using these characters for shorts involving established myths / fairy tales. This one is finished and I'm currently nearing the end of another based on The Odyssey.

There are four main characters. Gil, a human warrior that is also ex-King of the Goblins. Orn, a mage of questionable power but not bravery. Nael, a young barbarian just out of school. Brol, the world's only bardic dog - his hired scribe, Nikolai, doesn't count.

This one should be obvious. As normal, good, bad, ugly comments welcome.

hr

The tunnel beyond the gate led out into a single hall. To all extent and purpose it looked like the inside of any farm house. The only exception? The size.

They could not help but add the word ‘giant’ to everything they saw, like their eyes had been branded with it.

Far above them rafters the size of tree trunks arced across a ceiling from which a hung a waxed coated wheel holding candles taller than Gil. Off to their left lay an unmade bed, its coarse blanket trailing onto floor like some woven frozen waterfall. On their right, a dining table, the length and breadth of an Emperors throne room. Towards the end of the hall, a single seat covered in the hides of what must have been a thousand cows sat before a fireplace that could have housed a barn.

Then that word burst like a firework. It didn’t need it to be attached to something, in this instance it happily existed all by itself.

Giant.

It sat in the chair, all thirty feet, head lolled forward, unruly mass of black hair eclipsing its face and uttering snores the sound of rampaging elephants trampling over a plain of cotton wool. Two feet, clad in mismatched socks, were perched up on a stout stool made of four tree stumps lashed together, a single grimy big toe sticking out of one of them. Two pudgy hands, fingers clasped tight, rested on a belly that pushed the shirt buttons to the edge of pinging across the room.

“Anyone see Orn?” said Gil.

“Nope, I’m too busy looking at the giant in the room,” replied Brol.

“Nael?”

The barbarian stood vibrating, every muscle in his body tweaking and twitching, eyes fixed on the giant.

“Nael, not now, find Orn first, yeah?”

“Right, Gil. I’ll look around the giant,” said Nael, unshipping his axe.

Gil grabbed hold of him before he took a step. “I don’t think so. We’ll do the giant last. Let’s check out the table.”

A soft whistle dragged their eyes upwards. High up, head over the edge of the table, peered Orn. He waved an arm, beckoning them up.

“How we going to get up there?”

A rope snaked down.

“There’s your answer, Brol.”

Nael dashed over and grabbed hold. “It’s spaghetti, Gil.”

He gave it a tug before swarming up. Nikolai followed and Gil tied the end around Brol to be pulled up by the others. He waited patiently, the spaghetti, dropping back down a moment later. The stickiness of the pasta helped with the climb, covering his hands in a slimy white film.

On the top Brol had his muzzle deep in his belly, worrying at the pasta that had stuck to his fur. Orn knelt behind a barrel that had been turned into a pepper pot pointing out something to Nael.

“—break easy with one swing,” finished Orn.

“What will?” he said, joining them.

“The lock on that.”

Gil followed Orn’s finger and spied an ornate gilded cage sitting atop a dresser beyond the table. Inside, on a nest the size of a shed, sat a goose that would have made an elephant look like it needed a good meal.

“It’s the goose that lays the golden eggs,” said Nael. “We’re going to rescue it.”

“Rescue? Don’t you mean steal?”

“It’s in a cage, Gil. It’s a rescue. It’s only right. That’s what Orn says.”

The wizard looked a picture of innocence and Gil didn’t believe it at all.

“That’s one fine goose,” said Brol, padding up.

“These pair want to rescue it.”

“And so we should.”

“Not you too, Brol,” said Gil. “We don’t even know if it lays golden eggs.”

For all intent and purpose, it could have been as if the God looking after Fate that week had an eye on them. With a ruffle of feathers and a shift of its backside the goose gave a gentle honk. They all heard the thud as something dropped into the nest. They followed the sound of the object as it rolled around in the cage. With a soft click, a flap opened at the front of the cage and a shining golden egg appeared.

“I think that’s decided it,” said Orn, licking his thin lips, the other pair nodding to back him up.

Gil sighed.

~

The gap between the table and the dresser looked too far to jump. Orn had been happy to allow Nael to try but Gil had prevented them from doing so. Just a pity that he’d used up his daily levitate spell getting up on the table in the first place.

This had been Brol’s idea. The more absurd ones often were and, while Orn could see the science behind it was sound, the application together with his involvement in it left him feeling like he always did.

Very nervous.

Orn shifted his foot, altering his balance on the edge of the bowl. Before him, they’d managed to setup a wooden spatula on the pepper barrel to act as a makeshift teeter-totter. Nael stood on the other side of the spatula, back to the dresser, a length of spaghetti tied round his waist. He shifted his feet again, the wood of the bowl shiny from use. Why they’d had to pick the bowl of piccalilli to use he didn’t know, the smell sending his stomach tumbling over and over.
“Gil, can we go? Otherwise I’m going to add the contents of my stomach to this stuff behind me if I don’t jump soon.”

The ex-King of the Goblins gave a final minute shove on the spatula, frowned and gave a thumb up.

“At last.” Orn jumped, his aim true, landing on the tip of the spatula, his momentum and weight shoving it down. Nael flew up, straight up, arms stretched to the ceiling. Then, gravity doing what it does best, he started coming down... straight down.

“Gil… he didn’t—”

Nael landed back on his side of the spatula, catapulting Orn up in the air, spinning backwards to land deep in the grey green mulch of the piccalilli. He surfaced gaging on the relish, fighting hard against the stodge and head sized chunks of cauliflower, onion and gherkin. Orn reached the side of the bowl as Gil appeared, hands out to drag him out of the piccalilli.

He slumped onto the table with a splat covered in the stuff.

“You stink, Orn,” said Nael.

Orn patted his waist, trying to find a pouch, any pouch that wasn’t sodden. He gave up and flung a gobbet of piccalilli the barbarian’s way. It missed.

“My best robes, Gil. Ruined.”

“What you on about, Orn? You stole those after your others were ruined when that flatulent cow exploded.”

“Yes, and whose fault was that?”

“I didn’t know,” said Nael. “No one’s ever told me that you’re not meant to have a flame by a cow’s backside.”

“I give up,” said Orn.
 
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#2
I can't really tell if this is supposed to be funny or not.

The narration is unusual, and I don't think it works to have third person narration that asks rhetorical questions and makes allusions to words branded into eyeballs - that seems like the realm of first person narration, where the narrator's personality comes through in their story telling. Using third makes the reader wonder who is talking to them, because it makes it sound like all the characters are simultaneously thinking the same things about their odd environment. Especially when you use so many metaphors in the descriptions and sometimes refer to specific characters with those descriptions, like Gil and candle.

How is a barbarian a graduate from school? Is "barbarian" his history, or job description?

Why do your characters keep addressing each other by name in casual conversation, Luiglin?



I fully admit to the possibility that this piece is written in a recognized fantasy/humor style that I'm not aware of and maybe it meets some conventions of that style. But it comes off as a first draft for a Terry Gilliam film like Baron Munchausen where the humor will be mainly visual and doesn't really work as text alone. I can't tell if I'm supposed to be laughing at the characters smelling like food or just think that this is something they're struggling with.
 

Luiglin

by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe
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#3
Thanks @Onyx . Perhaps I selected the wrong part to copy / paste - which seeing I was doing it on a beach in Crete is a distinct possibility :)

It is meant to be humourous so I've fell at the first hurdle there. Cheers.
 

tinkerdan

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#4
This reads okay to me.
If it is meant to be humorous.
You could look at the POV; however I think that it easily compares to the narrator in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and does fit humorous material.

It is allowable in omniscient to have a narrator who injects his personality into the story; however that is usually at the expense of getting close to the characters. You in essence are relying on the narrator to fill you in with information about the character's inner feelings and thoughts, which could be on the mark or somewhat misleading--the reader has to somehow trust them.

Looking at this from the humorous aspect, the narrator works for me--however that does tend to set the tone for the whole piece and we're getting more about the narrator than about the characters.

This could bother some readers who are not used to an active narrator who doesn't show up in the story.
 

The Judge

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#5
A fun read!

Pace-wise it seemed fine to me, and the characters came across well and differentiated, though I'd have liked a bit more from Brol, who really intrigues me! Some editing problems, though, particularly over the use of the continuing past tense and missing commas, so I'll do a speedy nit-pick.

The tunnel beyond the gate led [out] into a single hall. [single confused me a tad. Is there such a thing as a double hall? :p] To all extent and purposes it looked like the inside of any farm house. [farmhouse -- one word, not two] The only exception? [Not a question unless you've already said something like "With one exception, it ..." so you're effectively answering the point] The size.

They could not ["couldn't" perhaps] help but add the word ‘giant’ to everything they saw, like [strictly not grammatical and should be "as though"] their eyes had been branded with it.

Far above them, rafters the size of tree trunks arced across a ceiling from which [a] hung a waxed coated wheel [either "waxed, coated" with a comma, though that would mean it's waxed and coated with something else, or "wax-coated"] holding candles taller than Gil. Off to their left lay an unmade bed, its coarse blanket trailing onto the floor like some woven frozen waterfall. On their right, a dining table, the length and breadth of an Emperor's throne room. Towards the end of the hall, a single ["single" as in only one of it? If so, perhaps "solitary". If single, ie not a double sofa, how do they know if it's so large?] seat, covered in the hides of what must have been a thousand cows, sat before a fireplace that could have housed a barn.

Then that word burst like a firework. [don't think this simile works] It didn’t need it to be attached to something, in this instance it happily existed all by itself.

Giant.

It sat in the chair, all thirty feet of it, [otherwise reads as oddly, and makes him sound like a centipede!] head lolled forward, unruly mass of black hair eclipsing its face, [comma definitely needed to avoid the hair seeming to utter the snores!] and uttering snores like the sound of rampaging elephants trampling over a plain of cotton wool. Two feet, clad in mismatched socks, were perched [up] on a stout stool made of four tree stumps lashed together, a single grimy big toe sticking out of one of them. [strictly, this means a toe is sticking out of one of the tree stumps] Two pudgy [pudgy doesn't sound nearly big enough!] hands, fingers clasped tight, rested on a belly that pushed the shirt buttons to the edge of pinging across the room.

“Anyone see Orn?” said Gil.

“Nope, I’m too busy looking at the giant in the room,” replied Brol.

“Nael?”

The barbarian stood vibrating, every muscle in his body tweaking and twitching, eyes fixed on the giant.

“Nael, not now, find Orn first, yeah?”

“Right, Gil. I’ll look around the giant,” said Nael, unshipping [verb seems a bit odd -- where is the axe kept?] his axe.

Gil grabbed hold of him before he took a step. “I don’t think so. We’ll do the giant last. Let’s check out the table.”

A soft whistle dragged their eyes upwards. High up, [slight clumsiness with "upward" and "up" so close, especially with two more "up"s in the following two sentences] head over the edge of the table, peered Orn. [bit of a clumsy sentence] He waved an arm, beckoning them up.

“How we going to get up there?” [think better to have eg "said Brol", otherwise we think it's Gil talking and then have to revise it in two lines' time]

A rope snaked down.

“There’s your answer, Brol.”

Nael dashed over and grabbed hold. “It’s spaghetti[, Gil].”

He gave it a tug before swarming up. Nikolai followed and Gil tied the end around Brol so the bard could be [to be] pulled up by the others. He waited patiently, and the spaghetti dropped [, dropping] [wrong use of the continuous past] back down a moment later. The stickiness of the pasta helped with the climb, covering his hands in a slimy white film.

On the top Brol had his muzzle deep in his belly, worrying at the pasta that had stuck to his fur. Orn, kneeling [knelt] behind a barrel that had been turned into a pepper pot, was pointing [otherwise it's the pepper pot pointing] out something to Nael.

“—break easy with one swing,” finished Orn.

“What will?” Gil [he] said, joining them.

“The lock on that.”

Gil followed Orn’s finger and spied an ornate gilded cage sitting atop a dresser beyond the table. Inside, on a nest the size of a shed, sat a goose that would have made an elephant look like [again, properly it should be "as though" or "as if"] it needed a good meal.

“It’s the goose that lays the golden eggs,” said Nael. “We’re going to rescue it.”

“Rescue? Don’t you mean steal?”

“It’s in a cage, Gil. It’s a rescue. It’s only right. That’s what Orn says.”

The wizard looked a picture of innocence and Gil didn’t believe it at all.

“That’s one fine goose,” said Brol, padding up.

“These pair want to rescue it.”

“And so we should.”

“Not you too, Brol,” said Gil. “We don’t even know if it lays golden eggs.”

For all intent and purposes, [bit to close to the "all extent and purposes" of earlier, so I'd suggest deleting] it could have been as if the God looking after Fate that week had an eye on them. [very clumsy sentence that took a while to parse; suggest rewording] With a ruffle of feathers and a shift of its backside, the goose gave a gentle honk. They all heard the thud as something dropped into the nest. They ["Then"?] followed the sound of the object as it rolled around in the cage. With a soft click, a flap opened at the front of the cage and a shining golden egg appeared.

“I think that’s decided it,” said Orn, licking [strictly a wrong use of the continuous past as he can't do this while talking, but I'd probably let it slide, but the "nodding" that follows is definitely wrong] his thin lips. The other pair nodded [nodding] to back him up.

Gil sighed.

~

[I'd suggest you get Orn's name in here first, as I thought we were still in Gil's POV and had to re-read when I got to the last line and couldn't work out who had levitated] The gap between the table and the dresser looked too far to jump. Orn had been happy to allow Nael to try but Gil had prevented them from doing so. [unless he talks a lot and this is characterisation, I'd suggest just "but Gil had stopped them."] Just a pity [that] he’d used up his daily levitate spell getting up on the table in the first place.

This was [had been] Brol’s idea. The more absurd ones often were and, while Orn could see the science behind it was sound, the application together with his involvement in it left him feeling like he always did.

Very nervous.

Orn shifted his foot, altering his balance on the edge of the bowl. Before [I got a bit confused about the layout of this on he first read; I think "Below him" would be better to make it clear where he's standing] him, they’d managed to set up [two words] a wooden spatula on the pepper barrel to act as a makeshift teeter-totter. Nael stood on the other side of the spatula, back to the dresser, a length of spaghetti tied round his waist. Orn [He] shifted his feet again, the wood of the bowl shiny from use. [non sequitur without some link between the two] Why they’d had to pick a [the] bowl of piccalilli to use [use/use repetition ungainly] he didn’t know, and the smell was sending his stomach tumbling over and over.

“Gil, can we go? Otherwise I’m going to add the contents of my stomach to this stuff behind me if I don’t jump soon.”

The ex-King of the Goblins gave a final minute shove on the spatula, frowned and gave a thumbs up.

“At last.” Orn jumped, his aim true, landing on the tip of the spatula, his momentum and weight shoving it down. Nael flew up, straight up, arms stretched to the ceiling. Then, gravity doing what it does best, he started coming down... straight down.

“Gil… he didn’t—”

Nael landed back on his side of the spatula, catapulting Orn up in the air, spinning him backwards to land deep in the grey-green [hyphen needed if sticking with the colour, but surely piccalilli is bright yellow?!] mulch of the piccalilli. He surfaced, gagging on the relish, and fighting hard against [how fighting? Fighting to get away from?] the stodge and head-sized chunks of cauliflower, onion and gherkin. Orn reached the side of the bowl as Gil appeared, hands out to drag him out [again too close repetition, this time of "out", and I'd suggest you stop there to avoid repeating "piccalilli"] of the piccalilli.

He slumped onto the table with a splat [covered in the stuff]. [as written, the splat is covered, not Orn, and it's not needed as we know he'll be covered in it]

“You stink, Orn,” said Nael.

Orn patted his waist, trying to find a pouch, any pouch, that wasn’t sodden. He gave up and flung a gobbet of piccalilli the barbarian’s way. It missed.

“My best robes, Gil. Ruined.”

“What you on about, Orn? You stole those after your others were ruined when that flatulent cow exploded.” [who says this? I thought it was Gil replying as Orn is speaking to him, but the next question makes it sound like it's addressed to Nael]

“Yes, and whose fault was that?”

“I didn’t know,” said Nael. “No one’s ever told me that you’re not meant to have a flame by a cow’s backside.”

“I give up,” said Orn.
Hope that all makes sense.

Ah, posts have come in while I've been toiling away. The POV was fine for me, save with the first para after the scene break, which just needed a tweak. It didn't worry me that it's omniscient with the characters' POV, because it is meant to be -- and, as far as I'm concerned, is -- comic, and the voice and style suited it. I wonder if it's an English thing, though.

Anyhow, I wouldn't have minded a bit more comedy to it, eg in the use of language and hyperbole, but it's fine as it is. I look forward to reading more of their adventures, but definitely I want Brol to have a bigger role!
 
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#6
You could look at the POV; however I think that it easily compares to the narrator in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and does fit humorous material.
I think it is too straight - Hitchhiker works because the descriptions the narrator offers are absurd, while a chair for for an 80 foot giant could easily be the product of 1000 cows. I don't see humorous juxtaposition and absurdist humor throughout, but an occasionally cheeky reference to a kind of 4th wall breaking type of humor, plus scatalogical humor.

If the piece is intended to be a humorous part of a humorous story, it needs to go further in that direction. I've been reading and watching English humor since I was five - I don't think this is a cultural thing.

Maybe this is more like Piers Anthony or Bill the Galactic hero in tone? I haven't read either.
 

Joshua Jones

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#7
I thoroughly enjoyed this, and picked up pretty quickly the intended humor. That said, I thought it dragged a bit leading up to the action. Now, my comments here may not be entirely fair, as this was in the middle of a story, rather than the introduction. So, in context, it may work just fine. As an excerpt, though, it came across as an info dump with some humor mixed in. Also, I tend to prefer metaphors over similies ("a woven, frozen..." rather than "like some woven frozen..."), but that is likely just a personal preference.

I'll defer to my judicial compatriot for the detailed critique.

So, nitpicks and conditional statements aside, I found it an enjoyable and humorous tale. I definitely would want to read more. And yes, the dog seems really interesting. More from the canine, please!
 

Luiglin

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#8
Cheers all and @The Judge for the fine tooth comb - it does make me question the quality of my writing but is welcomed.

I try to give each of the characters their own sections depending on what I feel is needed at that point, making sure that across the story they have roughly the same amount. In this instance the next section along is Brol.
 

Plucky Novice

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#9
I enjoyed this excerpt but found it light-hearted rather than outright funny.

The POV and dialogue moves between characters frequently and I struggled to follow it at times. This may be because there are five characters in this scene as well as other character references e.g. bard, barbarian. Greater familiarity in reading the rest of the story might resolve that for me.

Do you need four main characters? Could it work just as well with three?

Other than that I agree with @Onyx the humour needs to go further, metaphors and similes should be more absurd.

This is definitely something I'd want to read though. Well done!
 

The Judge

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#10
Cheers all and @The Judge for the fine tooth comb - it does make me question the quality of my writing but is welcomed.
Well, don't. Don't question its quality, that is. You know when I start red-penning I can't stop myself -- it's a compulsion! :p (And you got away lightly compared to some!)

I think what's happening here is that you're writing just as you speak, and naturally in the normal course of conversation we don't adhere to strict rules of grammar and the like, plus tone of voice and emphasis helps understanding of what is going on. When I nit-pick, I'm pulling extracts back to rule-based writing which is more formal than talking. In a comic piece you can actually get away with a conversational, informal style and it's mostly fine, and I don't suppose many readers of this would have noticed much wrong. On the other hand, I don't think the things I've suggested here would actually hurt the story or its atmosphere/tone if you adopted them, and if/when you write more serious stuff these kinds of corrections might be more important.

Good luck with it!
 
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#11
I like the premise, but the story itself seemed more absurd than funny. (This is not to say that it can't be both, but the struggle of existing in a world so large is real!)

Is the humor supposed to come from the description? The action? The dialog? I don't know enough about humor to say for sure, but I wonder if you need to choose one or two and focus on these. In a lot of heist stories (which this is), the dialog provides the humor, while the action is for the most part deadly serious. The witty banter balances the danger the characters face.

The other key to heist stories is that every character brings his/her own skill set to the table. You need the hacker, the driver, the blonde-bombshell, etc. Make sure that every skill is necessary and on display. (I know we only have a bit of the story, so if you do this, ignore me.)

Another concern I have is that the stakes don't seem all that high. Presumably if they get caught the giant will kill them, yet they don't seem too concerned about this.

Have you come across the novels of PW Catanese (YA or MG), but he's got one called The Thief and the Beanstalk which has some similarities in setting. It might we worth a look to see how he handles the small person/giant world issue.
 

Luiglin

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#12
Cheers @SamThomas. I don't particularly concentrate on where the humour comes from just what appears to be relevant at the time.

It's also not meant to be a true heist tale, more of an accidental one and the characters tend to reliant on luck/instinct than any particular skills. Something that they are all cognisant of to a lesser or greater degree.

Not heard of PW Catanese but I'll take a look.
 

TheEndIsNigh

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#13
I'm a picky s.. person.

Also, some have said in the past I lack courtesy and my critiques are blunt and impolite.

Please be aware that I only have opinions and have no intention of being so.

(you could skip to the summary first)
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This a a mid-section of a short tale that comes in at just of 5k.

I've started using these characters for shorts involving established myths / fairy tales. This one is finished and I'm currently nearing the end of another based on The Odyssey.

There are four main characters. Gil, a human warrior that is also ex-King of the Goblins. Orn, a mage of questionable power but not bravery. Nael, a young barbarian just out of school. Brol, the world's only bardic dog - his hired scribe, Nikolai, doesn't count.

So all the usual suspects :)


This one should be obvious. As normal, good, bad, ugly comments welcome.

hr

The tunnel beyond the gate led out into a single hall. To all extent and purpose it looked like the inside of any farm house. The only exception? The size. (difficult to judge - are you saying all farms in this world are accessed by a tunnel and have a hall? in which case ???)

They could not help but add the word ‘giant’ to everything they saw, like their eyes had been branded with it.

Far above them rafters the size of tree trunks arced across a ceiling from which a hung a waxed coated wheel holding candles taller than Gil. (not sure here - but just to prevent a fire risk, do these sorts of candle holder not have proper candle holders to prevent wax dripping on the guests - I would have thought so) Off to their left lay an unmade bed, its coarse blanket trailing onto floor like some woven frozen waterfall. On their right, a dining table, the length and breadth of an Emperors throne room. Towards the end of the hall, a single seat covered in the hides of what must have been a thousand (OTT 1000 cow skins = 6000 sq ft approx) cows sat before a fireplace that could have housed a barn.

Then that word burst like a firework (does this world have firework tech cos if it doesn't then we've leapt back to Earth and out of this world - thunderclap). It didn’t need it to be attached to something, in this instance it happily existed all by itself. (I get what you're trying to do - but if it took them that long to get the idea - the tunnel, the big door etc. then this group of travellers are a few groats short of a sovereign)

Giant.

It sat in the chair, all thirty feet, head lolled forward, unruly mass of black hair eclipsing its face and uttering snores like the sound of rampaging elephants trampling over a plain of cotton wool (totally silent then). Two feet, clad in mismatched socks, were perched up on a stout stool made of four tree stumps lashed together, a single grimy big toe sticking out of one of them. Two pudgy hands, fingers clasped tight, rested on a belly that pushed the shirt buttons to the edge of pinging across the room.

(Position issue - when did they get to the front of the chair between the fireplace and the giant - plus at thirty feet distant, I'm not sure you would see his toe even a big one in this much detail - and if the fire lit they'll be roasted too)

“Anyone see Orn?” said Gil.

“Nope, I’m too busy looking at the giant in the room,” replied Brol.

“Nael?”

The barbarian stood vibrating, (too much info, yeuk) every muscle in his body tweaking and twitching, eyes fixed on the giant.

“Nael, not now, find Orn first, yeah?”

“Right, Gil. I’ll look around the giant,” said Nael, unshipping (? delivered by ATAL freight?) his axe.

Gil grabbed hold of him before he took a step. “I don’t think so. We’ll do the giant last (there's confidence :) but I like the attitude). Let’s check out the table.”

A soft whistle dragged their eyes upwards. High up, head over the edge of the table, peered Orn. He waved an arm, beckoning them up.

“How we going to get up there?”

A rope snaked down.

“There’s your answer, Brol.”

Nael dashed over and grabbed hold. “It’s spaghetti, Gil.”

He gave it a tug before swarming (one man a swarm does not make, nor three) up. Nikolai followed and Gil tied the end around Brol to be pulled up by the others. He waited patiently, the spaghetti, dropping back down a moment later. The stickiness of the pasta helped with the climb, covering his hands in a slimy white film. (sticky and slimy?)

On the top Brol had his muzzle deep in his belly, worrying at the pasta that had stuck to his fur. Orn knelt behind a barrel that had been turned into a pepper pot pointing out something to Nael.

“—break easy with one swing,” finished Orn.

“What will?” he said, joining them.

“The lock on that.”

Gil followed Orn’s finger and spied an ornate gilded cage sitting atop a dresser beyond the table. Inside, on a nest the size of a shed, sat a goose that would have made an elephant look like it needed a good meal. (overdoing the elephants IMO)

“It’s the goose that lays the golden eggs,” said Nael. “We’re going to rescue it.”

“Rescue? Don’t you mean steal?”

“It’s in a cage, Gil. It’s a rescue. It’s only right. That’s what Orn says.”

The wizard looked a picture of innocence and Gil didn’t believe it at all.

“That’s one fine goose,” said Brol, padding up.

“These pair want to rescue it.”

“And so we should.”

“Not you too, Brol,” said Gil. “We don’t even know if it lays golden eggs.”

For all intent and purpose, it could have been as if the God looking after Fate that week had an eye on them. With a ruffle of feathers and a shift of its backside the goose gave a gentle honk. They all heard the thud as something dropped into the nest. They followed the sound of the object as it rolled around in the cage. With a soft click, a flap opened at the front of the cage and a shining golden egg appeared.

“I think that’s decided it,” said Orn, licking his thin lips, the other pair nodding to back him up.

Gil sighed.

~

The gap between the table and the dresser looked too far to jump. Orn had been happy to allow Nael to try but Gil had prevented them from doing so. Just a pity that he’d used up his daily levitate spell getting up on the table in the first place.

This had been Brol’s idea. The more absurd ones often were and, while Orn could see the science behind it was sound, the application together with his involvement in it left him feeling like he always did.

Very nervous.

Orn shifted his foot, altering his balance on the edge of the bowl. Before him, they’d managed to setup a wooden spatula on the pepper barrel to act as a makeshift teeter-totter. Nael stood on the other side of the spatula, back to the dresser, a length of spaghetti tied round his waist. He shifted his feet again, the wood of the bowl shiny from use. Why they’d had to pick the bowl of piccalilli to use he didn’t know, the smell sending his stomach tumbling over and over.
“Gil, can we go? Otherwise I’m going to add the contents of my stomach to this stuff behind me if I don’t jump soon.”

The ex-King (not the place to mention it - it drags the reader away from the immediate IMO) of the Goblins gave a final minute shove on the spatula, frowned and gave a thumb up.

“At last.” Orn jumped, his aim true, landing on the tip of the spatula, his momentum and weight shoving it down. Nael flew up, straight up, arms stretched to the ceiling. Then, gravity doing what it does best, (nice) he started coming down... straight down.

“Gil… he didn’t—”

Nael landed back on his side of the spatula, catapulting Orn up in the air, spinning backwards to land deep in the grey (?) green mulch of the piccalilli. He surfaced gaging on the relish, fighting hard against the stodge and head sized chunks of cauliflower, onion and gherkin. Orn reached the side of the bowl as Gil appeared, hands out to drag him out of the piccalilli.

He slumped onto the table with a splat covered in the stuff.

“You stink, Orn,” said Nael.

Orn patted his waist, trying to find a pouch, any pouch that wasn’t sodden. He gave up and flung a gobbet of piccalilli the barbarian’s way. It missed.

“My best robes, Gil. Ruined.”

“What you on about, Orn? You stole those after your others were ruined when that flatulent cow exploded.”

“Yes, and whose fault was that?”

“I didn’t know,” said Nael. “No one’s ever told me that you’re not meant to have a flame by a cow’s backside.”

“I give up,” said Orn.

This has great potential. The opportunities for character interplay are enormous and I think in the main you pull it off well. I think you get carried away a bit with the metaphors (as noted) and you need to play down your over sizing IMO. I like it. I would like to see the rest and would read (and comment) on any further extracts should you wish.

By the way - That egg will not be pick up-able gold having the weight it does and all. Shrink the goose IMO.

Hope I helped

Tein.

P.S. If I would appreciate any PM feedback on my critique. As I said above, some have in the past, not been happy with my curt techniques. If I offend I would like to know - but within the spirit of the none critiquing of critiques of course.


P.P.S I'm assuming from your avatar that my comments are age appropiate if not please forgive.
 

Luiglin

by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe
Joined
Mar 22, 2012
Messages
1,538
Location
Mercia, UK
#14
Cheers @TheEndIsNigh. I've never had a problem with blunt critiques. I find them quite refreshing.

By the way, the Four aren't exactly stupid - well Nael is - more like naive.

I'm on my last day in Crete and will take a good read through of all the replies when I get home :)
 

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