Ookla the Shadowed

Shadows of the Seventh Sword

25 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Well, I finally have time to start writing this, so I guess I'll put it in here as I do. I can't figure out to un-bold it, but oh well. Any and all feedback much appreciated!

Prologue:

Spoiler

 

 

Shard breathed in deeply as he surveyed the dimly lit tavern which was a part of The Waystop Inn. Shard had on a midnight cloak, which contrasted with his starkly white hair. He had a sword scabbarded to his side, embroidered with runes that were no longer understood by man. In the corner near the hearth was a group of gamblers, betting on a game of cubes. There was a pair of men at another table, dressed with furs that distinguished them as trappers. A few people sat at the bar drinking wine and keeping to themselves

Shard walked up to the bar and waited for the innkeeper to walk over. The innkeeper was not portly like others, for one could not afford such frivolities in the outskirts of Gredlow. He was slightly above average height, though still a few inches shorter than Shard, and wore the drab clothing that was commonplace in these parts. 

“What would you like?” he grumbled. When Shard didn’t say anything, he looked up and started. “Shard?” he exclaimed, a hint of anger showing in his eyes, “What are you doing here?! I should just kick you out and send the Hounds your way!”

Shard gave him a pointed look. “You shouldn’t just toss around my name like that, Gred. I need to speak to you. Do you have a place where we can talk in private?”

Gred motioned towards a door on the wall next to the hearth, then picked up a mug and started cleaning it with a rag, ignoring Shard. Shard nodded, strode across the room, opened the door, and walked inside. The simple room had a table in the center with wooden chairs surrounding it. There was a hearth on one wall, though no fire was burning, as well as a door leading out on the other side of the room. After checking to make sure that the room was secure from prying ears, Shard sat down. Shortly after, Gred opened the door and walked in scowling.

“I told you to never return to my inn after your last visit, Shard. I can’t have you giving me a bad reputation. Some of my customers might have recognized you. You’ll ruin my business.”

“You didn’t help the situation by saying my name, you know. I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t have to, and my last visit wasn’t quite as bad as you say.” 

“Oh, yes. I guess you burning down half of my inn is not that bad? And what about my livestock, they were all set free because of you” Gred interrupted, jabbing a finger at Shard. He paused to breath, then continued, “And that’s not all. It took years to make travellers comfortable with staying in my inn again.”

Shard stayed silent until Gred was finished talking. “I need to talk to Kreen.” 

Gred’s face hardened. “I haven’t seen him for more than a year. And even if I knew where he was, I wouldn’t tell you.”

“Well, I guess I’ll just show myself out.” Shard stood up, and walked to the door to leave. He paused at the door, waiting. 

“He’s in there,” Gred blurted, pointing toward the door that went deeper into the inn, “But I’m warning you, if you go in there you won’t come out alive.”

“Is that a threat?”

“No. Just a promise.”

Shard lips turned up slightly into a smile, and he walked across the room to the other door. 

There was a long hallway on the other side of the door. Though the walls were bare, there was a carpet that led to a man sitting in a chair at the end of the hall. He wore a mop of greying hair, and had a sword sitting on his lap, one much more elaborate than the one on Shard’s hip. Shard strode forward, calling to the man ahead: 

“You are Kreen?” The man continued to stare forward with unseeing eyes. Once Shard stood in front of the man, his eyes snapped upward and met with Shards.

“I am Kreen, but you cannot have that which you have come to take.” 

An arrow struck Shard in the back of his right shoulder. It hit just below the bone, lodging itself inside. 

Shard did not feel any pain. 

He wheeled around to find his attacker, but saw no one. Another arrow hit him on his left shoulder, at the front this time. His eyes reached the doorway he had entered, and saw a man kneeling, holding a crossbow. The man was reloading another arrow, and behind him stood Gred his face in shadow. 

Shard reached down to grab his sword, but something blocked his hand. Another sword. Kreen’s sword. Protruding from his chest. 

Shard grunted and crouched over, holding his stomach. He hoped that he hadn’t been too slow, lest someone watching would learn of his condition. The sword was removed from his chest and Kreen walked up behind Shard, whispering in his ear. 

“You can never have this sword. I am the sacred keeper of this sword, handed down from father to son for generations, to be returned to the shadows when they return to Zaard once again.” Shard silently drew his own sword from his scabbard, out of view from Kreen. Then he drove it through his own heart, through his body, and into Kreen’s. Shard removed his sword from his chest and Kreen thudded to the floor behind him groaning quietly. 

Shard replaced his sword in its scabbard, then turned around and knelt down next to Kreen and whispered, “The shadows have returned, and they have come to take back what was stolen.” 

Shard yanked the arrows out of his shoulders and willed the injuries on his illusion of a body to close. He picked up Kreen’s sword, and turned around. Gred was watching him from the shadow of the doorway, frozen with his mouth agape with surprise. 

Shard met his eyes.

Then, he shifted into the realm of shadows.

Part 1: Shadows Descending

Chapter 1: Tests

Spoiler

Part 1 -- Shadows Descending


 

Chapter 1 -- Tests

 

In ages long past, in times long forgotten,

In stories not told, in legends now myths

--From the Legend of the Seven Swords

 

Khavm dreamed that he was falling. The walls of the hole raced past him, almost a blur. His short chocolate hair pulled up at his scalp, and the torrent of wind caused his plain shirt to billow up. The cold nipped at his bare feet, and goosebumps tickled up his arms. 

One half of the hole was bathed in light, while the other was filled with shadows. Though Khavm was falling, he was standing upright. His body intersected the line that separated the light and darkness. 

Khavm started to hear faint voices, but couldn’t make out what they said. They continually got louder and he guessed the noises came from below. Khavm studied the never ending hole beneath him, and saw two spots. 

One was in the light and the other was in shadow. As Khavm fell closer, the ringing of metal on metal met his ears. Khavm came even with the two people fighting and slowed down, now falling at the same pace as the two. 

The glowing white clothing made it hard to see the features of the one in light, although she looked feminine. On the right was someone clad in darkness. Their face was shrouded in darkness and their white hair, which felt out of place in the darkness, seemed to pull Khavm’s attention towards it. 

Again and again, their weapons clanged against each other, always meeting at the line that separated the hole in two. They did not appear to notice Khavm. 

The woman started to speak between breaths, “You must return what is ours, or the Chaos of our worlds will destroy us.”

The man replied, “You don’t know what you are saying. I have always sought to bring order.”

“What about what you stole from us? The one thing that can stop the end of everything? You know what I say, though you deny it. I can feel it’s presence here.”

“I will not stand for this nonsense. I have had enough.” On the last word the man pushed against the woman and melted into the shadows of the wall.

* * *

Khavm woke to the noise of silence. When his eyes opened, everything started to speed up. The sun rose to its peak. Birds flew by, only seen for seconds. Leaves, playing in the wind, jumped and ran past all in a blur.

He sat up, disoriented, and everything returned to it’s normal speed. 

To his left stood a copse of trees, green and tall. Other than that, there was nothing. Only ankle-high grass, spotted with the occasional tree, and cloudless blue sky that ran forever in all directions. He had no idea where he was, and couldn’t remember anything.

There was a brown satchel on the ground nearby, colors faded from years of use. Khavm lifted it up to see what was inside, and when he saw it was full of paper, he grabbed the top one out and started to read it.

These urgent letters to be read only by the private eyes of his majesty, the High King.

Once Khavm finished reading the sentence a deafening clap of thunder rolled across the great plains, surprising him so much that he dropped the satchel and a few letters fell out. 

Khavm’s eyes found the source of the sound. A large thunderstorm, maybe four leagues away, was making its way towards him from the right. As he watched to make sure that the storm was actually headed his way, a bolt of lightning struck a lone tree and the bellow of thunder followed soon after, echoing across the plains. 

 Instinctively, he knew that he had to protect the letters. Khavm quickly scooped up the letters from the ground and dumped them into the satchel, clasping the two buckles. 

Khavm knew that staying in the middle of the plains during the thunderstorm would be suicide. Grasping the satchel by its strap he started to run towards the copse of trees; the only semblance of shelter on the plains. 

The copse consisted of mostly maple trees, most of which had hollows inside. The ground had a few bushes scattered here and there but for the most part was empty except for twigs and leaves the color of autumn, contrasting with his dark brown hair. 

Khavm set the satchel inside one such tree that had a full head of leaves, then began to search the ground for sticks around the size of the hollow. After heading back to the satchel, he started wedging the sticks into the hollow, placing each on close by the previous one so as to better keep out the rain. 

The sky was starting to get darker by the minute, and Khavm hurried to try and think of some way to keep himself dry. Lightning flashed and the sky brightened for a split second, brightening his sky blue eyes, and the thunder bellowed soon after.

Khavm jogged to the edge of the trees to see how close the storm was and was surprised at how fast it was moving. It had at least halved the distance from before, and he could see each bolt of lightning as it curved through the sky. 

Khavm blinked and the storm suddenly halved the distance again, now only about one league away. He started to worry, and blinked again. The storm again rushed forward, lightning striking too fast to see, making the trees light on fire like candles laid out on a cake. 

Khavm started to turn to get to the shelter of the trees, but when he blinked the storm was still closer. By the time he had turned around and glanced over his shoulder it had started raining, and before he had taken even one step back to the cover of the trees, lightning struck, adding him to the many candles that were to be inevitably snuffed out. 

* * *

Lazh shuffled along the line, anxiety oozing out of her every pore. An afternoon breeze drifted lazily across the courtyard, catching her hair and throwing it into the air. Lazh quickly flattened her hair back down and continued forward, and glanced around to see if anyone had noticed. No one seemed to, thankfully.

She continued forward around the corner of a wall and saw the front of the line. Behind a wooden desk sat two people, one man and one woman. As the next person in line stepped up to it, the man asked them a question. A few moments later they started to speak and the women turned over a timeglass filled with water.

One minute passed and then the woman either nodded or shook her head. If she nodded the testee continued through a doorway behind the desk. If not, they were ushered by a servant through a door to the left. 

Going left ment failure. Going forward meant you had another chance. Another chance to prove yourself. Another chance to become one of them.

As Lazh came closer and closer to the desk, she started to hyperventilate. Calm down, Lazh, calm down. You can do this. You must do this. 

Taking a deep breath, she took another step forward. Another minute passed; another step. There were only four people between her and the desk. Two. And then she was there. 

The dark-skin man asked, “What is your name?”

“Lazh.”

The man sighed. “And your family name?”

Lazh almost answered automatically, but then caught herself. It had been three days, which meant that any mention of her family name would end her up in prison. After a few quick seconds she answered with a somewhat common one, “Fharan.”

As he wrote the name down the women turned over the timeglass, then asked, “You have one grame of flour and three grames with two trings of clave. You need to get as much food as possible for a trip from one side of the High King’s land to the next. How long are you able to survive with the food you trade with the flour and clave?”

“Five days,” Lazh answered almost before the question was finished.

The man’s eyebrows raised in doubt, “And how exactly do you plan to survive for five days off of less than five grames of flour and clave?”

Cursing her quick tongue she eyed the glass that only had at most ten seconds left. A drop of water leaked through, bouncing down to the bottom of the glass. Then another drop, and another. What cheap nutritious foods are there?

“Pecans, sir. They are cheap, and I could get enough to last me at least five days.”

The woman snorted. “And you plan to travel five days in the King’s Desert without any water?” She waved her hand, and a servant walked over. 

She was ushered through the door to the left. She would never have another chance. She had failed herself, and now she had failed her family as well.

 

Edited by Experience
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I just read that through--not bad, I'll say. I'll give some feedback after my next class.

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Well, that is a......

I'm interested.

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4 hours ago, Channelknight Fadran said:

I just read that through--not bad, I'll say. I'll give some feedback after my next class.

Thank you!

2 minutes ago, Frustration said:

Well, that is a......

I'm interested.

Thank you as well!

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5 minutes ago, Experience said:

Thank you as well!

Stabbing someone through your own chest is hardcore.

Spoiler

But, why is his name Shard?

 

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Just now, Frustration said:

Stabbing someone through your own chest is hardcore.

  Hide contents

But, why is his name Shard?

 

Shard is just a placeholder name right now, I still need to figure out a name, then change it into the worlds language which i'm going to do with each character. 

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Very good- super intriguing and definitely something I would want to read more of. Here's my feedback

7 hours ago, Experience said:

Shard breathed in deeply as he surveyed the dimly lit tavern which was a part of The Waystop Inn. Shard had on a midnight cloak, which contrasted with his starkly white hair. He had a sword scabbarded to his side, embroidered with runes that were no longer understood by man. In the corner near the hearth was a group of gamblers, betting on a game of cubes. There was a pair of men at another table, dressed with furs that distinguished them as trappers. A few people sat at the bar drinking wine and keeping to themselves

One thing that you could improve is varying the way in which you start your sentences- especially in the first paragraph when text wasn't broken up by dialogue. Instead of starting with 'He' or 'Shard', perhaps try starting with verbs- e.g. 'hanging by his side lay a sword scabbard'. It might also help to try integrating your original descriptions of characters with their interactions with the environment- e.g. 'His midnight cloak made him almost invisible in the shadows if not for his noticeably white hair that almost glowed, appearing luminescent in the otherwise drab greys and blacks of the street at night.'

7 hours ago, Experience said:

Shard walked up to the bar and waited for the innkeeper to walk over. The innkeeper was not portly like others, for one could not afford such frivolities in the outskirts of Gredlow. He was slightly above average height, though still a few inches shorter than Shard, and wore the drab clothing that was commonplace in these parts. 

“What would you like?” he grumbled. When Shard didn’t say anything, he looked up and started. “Shard?” he exclaimed, a hint of anger showing in his eyes, “What are you doing here?! I should just kick you out and send the Hounds your way!”

This didn't quite sit right with me, and I think its because the description of the innkeeper was so visually focused and dispassionate that the idea of them knowing each other seemed too sudden, despite the fact that I think the general concept of the way you introduce their relationship is solid. Perhaps develop that description just slightly so we get the impression that Shard has some sort of emotional predisposition towards the innkeeper. Also try not to overuse some speech markers (grumbled, exclaimed) often your punctuation and description have already reflected this and the overuse of them can make your characters seem caricature in their actions and emotions. 

7 hours ago, Experience said:

Gred motioned towards a door on the wall next to the hearth, then picked up a mug and started cleaning it with a rag, ignoring Shard. Shard nodded, strode across the room, opened the door, and walked inside. The simple room had a table in the center with wooden chairs surrounding it. There was a hearth on one wall, though no fire was burning, as well as a door leading out on the other side of the room. After checking to make sure that the room was secure from prying ears, Shard sat down. Shortly after, Gred opened the door and walked in scowling.

Small thing: after Gred's outburst, this again seems slightly dispassionate. If he is intentionally being cold, or ignoring him so as not to attract attention, make that more clear, perhaps just by saying 'purposefully' or 'pointedly ignoring Shard'. 

The description of the room is good, and I have no real criticisms. In the sentence after, I think it is important to remember to show and not tell. Instead of saying 'After checking to make sure that the room was secure from prying ears, Shard sat down', try something like 'Shard walked in, quickly glancing round the room to ensure security from prying eyes, before pulling out a chair and slumping into it, relieved to be off his feet. He swung one foot up onto the table, before quickly pulling it back down and straightening his posture as Gren marched in, scowling.' Perhaps try to integrate the description of the room into Shards examination of it- that might also make it more cohesive and flow better.

The good news is the dialogue and action following that was very good and very enjoyable, only two small things: 

7 hours ago, Experience said:

Shard stayed silent until Gred was finished talking. “I need to talk to Kreen.” 

Gred’s face hardened. “I haven’t seen him for more than a year. And even if I knew where he was, I wouldn’t tell you.”

“Well, I guess I’ll just show myself out.” Shard stood up, and walked to the door to leave. He paused at the door, waiting. 

“He’s in there,” Gred blurted, pointing toward the door that went deeper into the inn, “But I’m warning you, if you go in there you won’t come out alive.

My criticism here is that I don't quite understand why Gred told Shard where Kreen was, especially as he initially seemed so set against that- try adding something there.

7 hours ago, Experience said:

There was a long hallway on the other side of the door. Though the walls were bare, there was a carpet that led to a man sitting in a chair at the end of the hall. He wore a mop of greying hair, and had a sword sitting on his lap, one much more elaborate than the one on Shard’s hip. Shard strode forward, calling to the man ahead: 

“You are Kreen?” The man continued to stare forward with unseeing eyes. Once Shard stood in front of the man, his eyes snapped upward and met with Shards.

“I am Kreen, but you cannot have that which you have come to take.”

Here I'd just love to see a bit of description of how Shard feels about this man. Is he afraid, is he unimpressed? Does he sense power, or danger? I would also love to see what Shard thinks this man feels. Does Shard think the man looks old, or tired? What about proud, does he feel that this man looks down on him? Is this man fearful, or is he regretful? I just think if you expanded on this it could have so much more atmosphere.

Now to the ending:

7 hours ago, Experience said:

“You can never have this sword. I am the sacred keeper of this sword, handed down from father to son for generations, to be returned to the shadows when they return to Zaard once again.” Shard silently drew his own sword from his scabbard, out of view from Kreen. Then he drove it through his own heart, through his body, and into Kreen’s. Shard removed his sword from his chest and Kreen thudded to the floor behind him groaning quietly. 

There's a repetition of 'this sword' that seems slightly clunky, try something like 'I am its sacred keeper', but that's really my only point there.

All in all- I know I said a lot, and most of it was criticisms, but I did genuinely enjoy it, so please keep writing, cause this has so much potential!!!!! 

 

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Thank you soooo much @Azarias for the feedback!! I do realize that I need to go back and make the descriptions and other things better. I'm going to go back and make it better, but I decided to put it up to make myself work on it cause I've been putting it off. 

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Shard breathed in deeply as he surveyed the dimly lit tavern which was a part of The Waystop Inn. Shard had on a midnight cloak, which contrasted with his starkly white hair. He had a sword scabbarded to his side, embroidered with runes that were no longer understood by man. In the corner near the hearth was a group of gamblers, betting on a game of cubes. There was a pair of men at another table, dressed with furs that distinguished them as trappers. A few people sat at the bar drinking wine and keeping to themselves

Shard walked up to the bar and waited for the innkeeper to walk over. The innkeeper was not portly like others, for one could not afford such frivolities in the outskirts of Gredlow. He was slightly above average height, though still a few inches shorter than Shard, and wore the drab clothing that was commonplace in these parts. 

So I'm going to start by pointing out the first sentence. You should consider showing rather than telling the fact that he's in the inn. Instead of saying "the dimly lit tavern which was part of the Waystop Inn," say something to imply that he's in an inn, then pull the name out later--probably in his dialogue with the bartender. You also begin by describing Shard before the inn, but the way you structured the first sentence makes it look like you're going to describe the inn first and then Shard. To inform the reader that you're going to describe him first, give him something interesting to do. Something like this (I also did my best to help the descriptive phrases flow better):

Shard breathed in deeply, eyes flitting from one person to the next, his mug untouched before him. Shard had on a midnight cloak, white hair as a stark contrast to his dark getup. A sword lay scabbarded to his side, embroidered with runes that were no longer understood by man. The people he looked at were nothing remarkable: In the corner near the hearth was a group of gamblers, betting on a game of cubes. There was a pair of men at another table, dressed with furs that distinguished them as trappers. A few people sat at the bar drinking wine beer and keeping to themselves.

The first sentence in the next paragraph has a repeat of the same verb, which makes it a little rough to read over. Other than that, it's perfectly fine.

Shard walked up to the bar and waited for the innkeeper. The innkeeper was not portly like others; someone like himself could not afford such frivolities in the outskirts of Gredlow. He was slightly above average height, though still a few inches shorter than Shard, and wore the drab clothing that was commonplace in these parts.

Quote

“You can never have this sword. I am the sacred keeper of this sword, handed down from father to son for generations, to be returned to the shadows when they return to Zaard once again.” Shard silently drew his own sword from his scabbard, out of view from Kreen. Then he drove it through his own heart, through his body, and into Kreen’s. Shard removed his sword from his chest and Kreen thudded to the floor behind him groaning quietly. 

I'll give some vague advice here to take care with your action scenes. A well-written action scene can really paint a picture in a reader's mind. How you write it is up to you, but you need to highlight when the most important moments are. The first time I read through this, I missed the part where he stabbed Kreen with his own sword; part of this, of course, was due to subject-dialogue agreement (I just made that up that term on the spot and wow do I feel like an english teacher). The focus of the paragraph is on Kreen, because he's the one talking, so I missed the fact that Shard was doing something important.

"You cannot have it. I am the sacred keeper of this sword. It has been handed down from rather to son for generations, to be returned to the shaows when they return to Zaard once again."

Shard fingered his own sword, and then, quiet as a mouse (ew, simile) drew it from its scabbard.

"You will never have it."

Without so much of a grunt, Shard spun his blade about to aim the point at himself, then rammed it through his heart. Behind him, Kreen gasped, a cry trying to escape but caught beneath shock.

Shard removed the sword, blood dripping onto the floor like a drunken man's beer (oooh, simile). Behind him, Kreen crashed to the sword, groaning quietly.

I would add more advice here, but I'm tired, so I won't. Hope this helps!

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This is good! Interesting so far, and a it has a good hook. Well done. I’m impressed!

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3 hours ago, Bearer of all agonies said:

This is good! Interesting so far, and a it has a good hook. Well done. I’m impressed!

Thank you!

I'm currently working out some issues I had with the first chapter. I re-did I little of the world building which is taking a little longer then expected. I should have it on in the next couple days. Please hassle me if I don't. :) 

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Ok, thanks! Can’t wait for more!

Spoiler

I will bully you if you don’t get it on on time  

 

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11 minutes ago, Bearer of all agonies said:

Ok, thanks! Can’t wait for more!

  Reveal hidden contents

I will bully you if you don’t get it on on time  

 

Good, hopefully you won't need to. 

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Wow, it's been a while. Well, after just over a month of writers-block, world building, story building, character building, creating a language, and otherwise delaying writing, I am almost done with chapter 1. I should this out by the end of the month. Please annoy me if I don't, cause I really need to finish the first chapter. 

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Here it is: Chapter one. I'll add it to the OP as well. 

Spoiler

 

Part 1 -- Shadows Descending


 

Chapter 1 -- Tests

 

In ages long past, in times long forgotten,

In stories not told, in legends now myths

--From the Legend of the Seven Swords

 

Khavm dreamed that he was falling. The walls of the hole raced past him, almost a blur. His short chocolate hair pulled up at his scalp, and the torrent of wind caused his plain shirt to billow up. The cold nipped at his bare feet, and goosebumps tickled up his arms. 

One half of the hole was bathed in light, while the other was filled with shadows. Though Khavm was falling, he was standing upright. His body intersected the line that separated the light and darkness. 

Khavm started to hear faint voices, but couldn’t make out what they said. They continually got louder and he guessed the noises came from below. Khavm studied the never ending hole beneath him, and saw two spots. 

One was in the light and the other was in shadow. As Khavm fell closer, the ringing of metal on metal met his ears. Khavm came even with the two people fighting and slowed down, now falling at the same pace as the two. 

The glowing white clothing made it hard to see the features of the one in light, although she looked feminine. On the right was someone clad in darkness. Their face was shrouded in darkness and their white hair, which felt out of place in the darkness, seemed to pull Khavm’s attention towards it. 

Again and again, their weapons clanged against each other, always meeting at the line that separated the hole in two. They did not appear to notice Khavm. 

The woman started to speak between breaths, “You must return what is ours, or the Chaos of our worlds will destroy us.”

The man replied, “You don’t know what you are saying. I have always sought to bring order.”

“What about what you stole from us? The one thing that can stop the end of everything? You know what I say, though you deny it. I can feel it’s presence here.”

“I will not stand for this nonsense. I have had enough.” On the last word the man pushed against the woman and melted into the shadows of the wall.

* * *

Khavm woke to the noise of silence. When his eyes opened, everything started to speed up. The sun rose to its peak. Birds flew by, only seen for seconds. Leaves, playing in the wind, jumped and ran past all in a blur.

He sat up, disoriented, and everything returned to it’s normal speed. 

To his left stood a copse of trees, green and tall. Other than that, there was nothing. Only ankle-high grass, spotted with the occasional tree, and cloudless blue sky that ran forever in all directions. He had no idea where he was, and couldn’t remember anything.

There was a brown satchel on the ground nearby, colors faded from years of use. Khavm lifted it up to see what was inside, and when he saw it was full of paper, he grabbed the top one out and started to read it.

These urgent letters to be read only by the private eyes of his majesty, the High King.

Once Khavm finished reading the sentence a deafening clap of thunder rolled across the great plains, surprising him so much that he dropped the satchel and a few letters fell out. 

Khavm’s eyes found the source of the sound. A large thunderstorm, maybe four leagues away, was making its way towards him from the right. As he watched to make sure that the storm was actually headed his way, a bolt of lightning struck a lone tree and the bellow of thunder followed soon after, echoing across the plains. 

 Instinctively, he knew that he had to protect the letters. Khavm quickly scooped up the letters from the ground and dumped them into the satchel, clasping the two buckles. 

Khavm knew that staying in the middle of the plains during the thunderstorm would be suicide. Grasping the satchel by its strap he started to run towards the copse of trees; the only semblance of shelter on the plains. 

The copse consisted of mostly maple trees, most of which had hollows inside. The ground had a few bushes scattered here and there but for the most part was empty except for twigs and leaves the color of autumn, contrasting with his dark brown hair. 

Khavm set the satchel inside one such tree that had a full head of leaves, then began to search the ground for sticks around the size of the hollow. After heading back to the satchel, he started wedging the sticks into the hollow, placing each on close by the previous one so as to better keep out the rain. 

The sky was starting to get darker by the minute, and Khavm hurried to try and think of some way to keep himself dry. Lightning flashed and the sky brightened for a split second, brightening his sky blue eyes, and the thunder bellowed soon after.

Khavm jogged to the edge of the trees to see how close the storm was and was surprised at how fast it was moving. It had at least halved the distance from before, and he could see each bolt of lightning as it curved through the sky. 

Khavm blinked and the storm suddenly halved the distance again, now only about one league away. He started to worry, and blinked again. The storm again rushed forward, lightning striking too fast to see, making the trees light on fire like candles laid out on a cake. 

Khavm started to turn to get to the shelter of the trees, but when he blinked the storm was still closer. By the time he had turned around and glanced over his shoulder it had started raining, and before he had taken even one step back to the cover of the trees, lightning struck, adding him to the many candles that were to be inevitably snuffed out. 

* * *

Lazh shuffled along the line, anxiety oozing out of her every pore. An afternoon breeze drifted lazily across the courtyard, catching her hair and throwing it into the air. Lazh quickly flattened her hair back down and continued forward, and glanced around to see if anyone had noticed. No one seemed to, thankfully.

She continued forward around the corner of a wall and saw the front of the line. Behind a wooden desk sat two people, one man and one woman. As the next person in line stepped up to it, the man asked them a question. A few moments later they started to speak and the women turned over a timeglass filled with water.

One minute passed and then the woman either nodded or shook her head. If she nodded the testee continued through a doorway behind the desk. If not, they were ushered by a servant through a door to the left. 

Going left ment failure. Going forward meant you had another chance. Another chance to prove yourself. Another chance to become one of them.

As Lazh came closer and closer to the desk, she started to hyperventilate. Calm down, Lazh, calm down. You can do this. You must do this. 

Taking a deep breath, she took another step forward. Another minute passed; another step. There were only four people between her and the desk. Two. And then she was there. 

The dark-skin man asked, “What is your name?”

“Lazh.”

The man sighed. “And your family name?”

Lazh almost answered automatically, but then caught herself. It had been three days, which meant that any mention of her family name would end her up in prison. After a few quick seconds she answered with a somewhat common one, “Fharan.”

As he wrote the name down the women turned over the timeglass, then asked, “You have one grame of flour and three grames with two trings of clave. You need to get as much food as possible for a trip from one side of the High King’s land to the next. How long are you able to survive with the food you trade with the flour and clave?”

“Five days,” Lazh answered almost before the question was finished.

The man’s eyebrows raised in doubt, “And how exactly do you plan to survive for five days off of less than five grames of flour and clave?”

Cursing her quick tongue she eyed the glass that only had at most ten seconds left. A drop of water leaked through, bouncing down to the bottom of the glass. Then another drop, and another. What cheap nutritious foods are there?

“Pecans, sir. They are cheap, and I could get enough to last me at least five days.”

The woman snorted. “And you plan to travel five days in the King’s Desert without any water?” She waved her hand, and a servant walked over. 

She was ushered through the door to the left. She would never have another chance. She had failed herself, and now she had failed her family as well.

 

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Neat, maybe work on prose I found myself drifting a little. I'm very interested in how you continue.

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Wooaah. I just read the prologue, but I'm already shook. Super cool. Keep it up, I look forward to more.

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Okay, first off, use Shard less and try to use pronouns. Feels repetitive. Also, try and avoid pronouns as well. Makes the narrative read more smoothly. Few grammar mistakes here and there, but otherwise, you make it clear where everyone is and what's happening. I will try and give specifics when I'm freer.

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On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

Shard breathed in deeply as he surveyed the dimly lit tavern which was a part of The Waystop Inn. Shard had on a midnight cloak, which contrasted with his starkly white hair. He had a sword scabbarded to his side, embroidered with runes that were no longer understood by man. In the corner near the hearth was a group of gamblers, betting on a game of cubes. There was a pair of men at another table, dressed with furs that distinguished them as trappers. A few people sat at the bar drinking wine and keeping to themselves

Shard breathed in deeply as he surveyed the dimly lit tavern. which was a part of The Waystop Inn. He had on a midnight cloak, which contrasted with his starkly white hair. He had a sword scabbarded to his side, embroidered with runes that were no longer understood by man. In the corner near the hearth was a group of gamblers, betting on a game of cubes. There was a pair of men at another table, dressed with furs that distinguished them as trappers. A few people sat at the bar drinking wine and keeping to themselves

Okay, so first off, try and reveal locations as smoothly and naturally as possible. This feels a little too exposition-ly. Remove the white hair description for now and put the sword there instead. Sounds better, especially since he is not looking at himself and noticing the contrast. That kind of description works better from someone else looking at him and thinking that. Also yeah, try and avoid characters describing some of their own features. Can be done, but it can also be awkward for them to think. (And yes, I'm aware this is a narrator saying all this, but It's just better for everything to sort of match the characters thoughts)

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

Shard walked up to the bar and waited for the innkeeper to walk over. The innkeeper was not portly like others, for one could not afford such frivolities in the outskirts of Gredlow. He was slightly above average height, though still a few inches shorter than Shard, and wore the drab clothing that was commonplace in these parts. 

Shard walked up to the bar and waited for the innkeeper to walk over. The innkeeper was not portly like others, almost like a twig for one could not afford such frivolities in the outskirts of Gredlow. He was slightly above average height, though still a few inches shorter than Shard, and wore the drab clothing that was commonplace in the outskirts of Gredlow. 

 

Okay, move 'to the outskirts of Gredlow' to the  'these parts'. It's the perfect place to drop the location name. The previous way seemed forced. And remember, this is the prologue. You don't have to name drop too much yet. It's okay to keep a mysterious tone. When describing the innkeeper. try and give some remark, build Shard character, or use some comparison to the other innkeeper. First option will start to show some personality, the second option will help with worldbuilding.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

“What would you like?” he grumbled. When Shard didn’t say anything, he looked up and started. “Shard?” he exclaimed, a hint of anger showing in his eyes, “What are you doing here?! I should just kick you out and send the Hounds your way!”

Shard gave him a pointed look. “You shouldn’t just toss around my name like that, Gred. I need to speak to you. Do you have a place where we can talk in private?”

“What would you like?” he grumbled, not paying him any attention. When Shard didn’t say anything, he looked up, finally noticed his white hair, and started. “Shard?” he exclaimed, a hint of anger showing in his eyes, “What are you doing here?! I should just kick you out and send the Hounds your way!”

Shard gave him a pointed look. “You shouldn’t just toss around my name like that, Gred. I need to speak to you. Do you have a place where we can talk in private?”

Okay, this might be a place to mention his white hair, seeing as it's an important detail of his appearance and would make him more recognizable to people and be the first thing they see... assuming that's special. I bolded it because I'm not sure if white hair is common in this universe. If it is, the line is useless. If not, it could work. Also, nice details calling law enforcement hounds. Adds a little color to your universe.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

Gred motioned towards a door on the wall next to the hearth, then picked up a mug and started cleaning it with a rag, ignoring Shard. Shard nodded, strode across the room, opened the door, and walked inside. The simple room had a table in the center with wooden chairs surrounding it. There was a hearth on one wall, though no fire was burning, as well as a door leading out on the other side of the room. After checking to make sure that the room was secure from prying ears, Shard sat down. Shortly after, Gred opened the door and walked in scowling.

Gred motioned towards a door on the wall next to the hearth, then picked up a mug and started cleaning it with a rag, ignoring Shard. Shard nodded and strode inside. The simple room had a table in the center with wooden chairs surrounding it. There was a hearth on one wall, though no fire was burning, as well as a door leading out on the other side of the room. After checking to make sure that the room was secure from prying ears, Shard sat down. Shortly after, Gred opened the door and walked in scowling.

Overall good scene, but never say "Simple room". Ever. It sounds really bad, and the only way I can see it being used was from someone who is used to a higher standard of living using it as an almost an insult to the room. Either just remove it or say "the room was simple, with a table and wooden chairs surrounding it". It may not seem that big a deal, but I swear, that word choice makes all the difference.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

“I told you to never return to my inn after your last visit, Shard. I can’t have you giving me a bad reputation. Some of my customers might have recognized you. You’ll ruin my business.”

“You didn’t help the situation by saying my name, you know. I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t have to, and my last visit wasn’t quite as bad as you say.” 

“I told you to never return to my inn after your last visit, Shard. I can’t have you giving me a bad reputation. Some of my customers might have recognized you. You’ll ruin my business.”

“You didn’t help the situation by saying my name, you know. I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t have to, and my last visit wasn’t quite as bad as you say.” 

Good so far. Implying past relationship and natural back and forth.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

“Oh, yes. I guess you burning down half of my inn is not that bad? And what about my livestock, they were all set free because of you” Gred interrupted, jabbing a finger at Shard. He paused to breath, then continued, “And that’s not all. It took years to make travellers comfortable with staying in my inn again.”

“Oh, yes. I guess you burning down half of my inn is not 'that bad'? And what about my livestock, they were all set free because of you,” Gred hissed interrupted, jabbing a finger at Shard. He paused to breathe, then continued, “And that’s not all. It took years to make travelers comfortable with staying in my inn again.”

Put quotations around not that bad so that way it sounds like he's mocking him or using his own words against him. Switch interrupted with hissed, it's more accurate, and technically Shard finished what he said before Gred started talking, so it's a bit confusing why you would say he interrupted. Also, you made a few spelling mistakes with breathe and travelers.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

Gred’s face hardened. “I haven’t seen him for more than a year. And even if I knew where he was, I wouldn’t tell you.”

“Well, I guess I’ll just show myself out.” Shard stood up, and walked to the door to leave. He paused at the door, waiting. 

“He’s in there,” Gred blurted, pointing toward the door that went deeper into the inn, “But I’m warning you, if you go in there you won’t come out alive.”

Gred’s face hardened. “I haven’t seen him for more than a year. And even if I knew where he was, I wouldn’t tell you.”

“Well, I guess I’ll just show myself out.” Shard stood up and walked to the door to leave. He paused at the door, waiting. 

“He’s in there,” Gred blurted, pointing toward the door that went deeper into the inn, “But I’m warning you, if you go in there you won’t come out alive.”

Don't make him wait. Sounds awkward. Otherwise, it seems good.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

“Is that a threat?”

“No. Just a promise.”

Shard lips turned up slightly into a smile, and he walked across the room to the other door. 

“Is that a threat?”

“No. Just a promise.”

Shard lips turned up slightly into a smile, and he walked across the room to the other door. 

Nice bit of personality with that smile.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

There was a long hallway on the other side of the door. Though the walls were bare, there was a carpet that led to a man sitting in a chair at the end of the hall. He wore a mop of greying hair, and had a sword sitting on his lap, one much more elaborate than the one on Shard’s hip. Shard strode forward, calling to the man ahead: 

There was a long hallway on the other side of the door. Though the walls were bare, there was a carpet that led to a man sitting in a chair at the end of the hall. He wore a mop of greying hair, and had a sword sitting on his lap, one much more elaborate than the one on Shard’s hip. Shard strode forward, calling to the man ahead: 

all seems good, though I will ask you to think about what he was doing sitting there for so long

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

“You are Kreen?” The man continued to stare forward with unseeing eyes. Once Shard stood in front of the man, his eyes snapped upward and met with Shards.

“I am Kreen, but you cannot have that which you have come to take.” 

An arrow struck Shard in the back of his right shoulder. It hit just below the bone, lodging itself inside. 

“You are Kreen?” The man continued to stare forward with unseeing eyes. Once Shard stood in front of the man, his eyes snapped upward and met with Shards.

“I am Kreen, but you cannot have that which you have come to take.” 

An arrow struck Shard in the back of his right shoulder. It hit just below the bone, lodging itself inside. 

Nice moment. Certainly unexpected.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

Shard did not feel any pain. 

He wheeled around to find his attacker, but saw no one. Another arrow hit him on his left shoulder, at the front this time. His eyes reached the doorway he had entered, and saw a man kneeling, holding a crossbow. The man was reloading another arrow, and behind him stood Gred his face in shadow. 

Shard did not feel any pain. 

He wheeled around to find his attacker, but saw no one. Another arrow hit him on his left shoulder, at the front this time. His eyes reached the doorway he had entered, and saw a man kneeling, holding a crossbow. The man was reloading another arrow, and behind him stood Gred, his face in shadow. 

Still good. Nice introduction of his power, though I will say there seems to be a slight confusion as to how he didn't see him when he already turned around.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

Shard reached down to grab his sword, but something blocked his hand. Another sword. Kreen’s sword. Protruding from his chest. 

Shard grunted and crouched over, holding his stomach. He hoped that he hadn’t been too slow, lest someone watching would learn of his condition. The sword was removed from his chest and Kreen walked up behind Shard, whispering in his ear. 

Shard reached down to grab his sword, but something blocked his hand. Another sword. Kreen’s sword. Protruding from his stomach chest

Shard grunted and crouched over, holding his stomach. He hoped that he hadn’t been too slow, lest someone watching would learn of his condition. The sword was removed from his chest and Kreen walked up behind Shard, whispering in his ear. 

Chest and stomach are different, and if he was stabbed in the chest, I don't believe it would block his hand. Other than that, nice job with making the protagonist use his powers in a clever way rather than making him just keep fighting without care.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

“You can never have this sword. I am the sacred keeper of this sword, handed down from father to son for generations, to be returned to the shadows when they return to Zaard once again.” Shard silently drew his own sword from his scabbard, out of view from Kreen. Then he drove it through his own heart, through his body, and into Kreen’s. Shard removed his sword from his chest and Kreen thudded to the floor behind him groaning quietly. 

“You can never have this sword. I am the sacred keeper of this sword, handed down from father to son for generations, to be returned to the shadows when they return to Zaard once again.” Shard silently drew his own sword from his scabbard, out of view from Kreen. Then he drove it through his own heart, through his body, and into Kreen’s. Shard removed his sword from his chest and Kreen thudded to the floor behind him groaning quietly. 

Still going strong and quite the attention puller.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

Shard replaced his sword in its scabbard, then turned around and knelt down next to Kreen and whispered, “The shadows have returned, and they have come to take back what was stolen.” 

Shard yanked the arrows out of his shoulders and willed the injuries on his illusion of a body to close. He picked up Kreen’s sword, and turned around. Gred was watching him from the shadow of the doorway, frozen with his mouth agape with surprise. 

Shard met his eyes.

Then, he shifted into the realm of shadows.

Shard replaced his sword in its scabbard, then turned around and knelt down next to Kreen and whispered, “The shadows have returned, and they have come to take back what was stolen.” 

Shard yanked the arrows out of his shoulders and willed the injuries on his illusion of a body to close. He picked up Kreen’s sword and turned around. Gred was watching him from the shadow of the doorway, frozen with his mouth agape with surprise. 

Shard met his eyes.

Then, he shifted into the realm of shadows.

Again, no notes. You seem pretty good on those scenes with action but start to stutter when there isn't much going on. I suggest you be a little extra aware when writing those scenes, as those seem to be your weak point. Otherwise, quite interesting, you put in several world elements that would pull people in, the most interesting the surviving a sword stab, the illusion of a body, and the realm of shadow. Your back and forth between character is ok for the most part, thought the talk with Shard and Kreen was a bit awkward for some reason I cannot fully explain, but it's probably because of how they seem to be fairly confident in what their saying and what they say requires a bit of knowledge of what the hell they're talking about. I have not read Chap One yet, but I will be doing that one soon as well.

 

And hey, since I ripped your story apart? Mind checking out mine? Sources of the Universe? Should be close to the top of the thread. Would appreciate it. 

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Thank you @Aspiring Writer. I don't want to quote that whole thing, so ill just tag you. :P

21 minutes ago, Aspiring Writer said:

though I will ask you to think about what he was doing sitting there for so long

There is a specific reason for that. 

23 minutes ago, Aspiring Writer said:

but it's probably because of how they seem to be fairly confident in what their saying and what they say requires a bit of knowledge of what the hell they're talking about.

Ya, I wanted the prolouge to be an attention-grabber with a lot of mystery about how everything works, and then by the time you finish the, if you go back then it will make (at least more) sense. 

24 minutes ago, Aspiring Writer said:

And hey, since I ripped your story apart? Mind checking out mine? Sources of the Universe? Should be close to the top of the thread. Would appreciate it. 

Ya, I'll do that. Might not have enough time right now, but I'll get to it. Annoy me if I forget. :P 

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Ok could you confirm this and add to this description I want to do some art

White hair

[Enter facial shape here]

[Enter type of build here]

Midnight cloak sleeved, holes for arms or sleeveless. long cloak or short cloak? what is he wearing under the cloak

What pants is he wearing?

Boots?

Belt?

Scabbard with runes on it what does the hilt of the sword look like

 

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5 hours ago, Somebody from Sel said:

Ok could you confirm this and add to this description I want to do some art

White hair

[Enter facial shape here]

[Enter type of build here]

Midnight cloak sleeved, holes for arms or sleeveless. long cloak or short cloak? what is he wearing under the cloak

What pants is he wearing?

Boots?

Belt?

Scabbard with runes on it what does the hilt of the sword look like

 

White hair

 

He's just over 6 feet, so six one or six two, but's he's not really skinny... Just... strong? I dunno how to describe it. He's tall but not large I guess.

So the cloak is really nice fabric, it's long and goes down to about his ankles-ish. There isn't any armholes or sleeves, it's just clasped around his neck.

The clothes underneath are very poor. They are very well used, dull colors, maybe some holes at the knees starting to form.

It' like leather shoes. They are a faded black.

Just the scabbard. So the hilt. It's silver-colored. And plain with no designs on it.

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On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

Khavm dreamed that he was falling. The walls of the hole raced past him, almost a blur. His short chocolate hair pulled up at his scalp, and the torrent of wind caused his plain shirt to billow up. The cold nipped at his bare feet, and goosebumps tickled up his arms. 

One half of the hole was bathed in light, while the other was filled with shadows. Though Khavm was falling, he was standing upright. His body intersected the line that separated the light and darkness. 

Khavm started to hear faint voices, but couldn’t make out what they said. They continually got louder and he guessed the noises came from below. Khavm studied the never ending hole beneath him, and saw two spots.

Mostly pretty good. I suggest rather than using continually, use progressively, but that's about it. great description, great expression, on to the next point.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

One was in the light and the other was in shadow. As Khavm fell closer, the ringing of metal on metal met his ears. Khavm came even with the two people fighting and slowed down, now falling at the same pace as the two.

Okay, first, I suggest putting the first sentence with the last sentence of the previous paragraph, like "and saw two spots, one in the light and the other in shadow." Next, the other sentences are very hard to understand at first. You start talking about two people without clarifying those are the spots you spoke of, so put in a line that as he neared them, he could start making about they were people fighting. Next, saying he came even with them sounds... off. I would suggest saying that he got closer he started slowing down until he was falling next to them, which is easier to understand and convey what you mean to the reader.

 

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

he glowing white clothing made it hard to see the features of the one in light, although she looked feminine. On the right was someone clad in darkness. Their face was shrouded in darkness and their white hair, which felt out of place in the darkness, seemed to pull Khavm’s attention towards it. 

Again and again, their weapons clanged against each other, always meeting at the line that separated the hole in two. They did not appear to notice Khavm. 

The woman started to speak between breaths, “You must return what is ours, or the Chaos of our worlds will destroy us.”

The man replied, “You don’t know what you are saying. I have always sought to bring order.”

“What about what you stole from us? The one thing that can stop the end of everything? You know what I say, though you deny it. I can feel it’s presence here.”

“I will not stand for this

Good. Only suggestion I can make is to describe the two beings more.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

Khavm woke to the noise of silence. When his eyes opened, everything started to speed up. The sun rose to its peak. Birds flew by, only seen for seconds. Leaves, playing in the wind, jumped and ran past all in a blur.

He sat up, disoriented, and everything returned to it’s normal speed. 

oohh, time manipulation? or is it that his thoughts slowed down so everything appeared faster? hmm...

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

To his left stood a copse of trees, green and tall. Other than that, there was nothing. Only ankle-high grass, spotted with the occasional tree, and cloudless blue sky that ran forever in all directions. He had no idea where he was, and couldn’t remember anything.

There was a brown satchel on the ground nearby, colors faded from years of use. Khavm lifted it up to see what was inside, and when he saw it was full of paper, he grabbed the top one out and started to read it.

These urgent letters to be read only by the private eyes of his majesty, the High King.

Once Khavm finished reading the sentence a deafening clap of thunder rolled across the great plains, surprising him so much that he dropped the satchel and a few letters fell out.

Nice description of scenery.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

Khavm’s eyes found the source of the sound. A large thunderstorm, maybe four leagues away, was making its way towards him from the right. As he watched to make sure that the storm was actually headed his way, a bolt of lightning struck a lone tree and the bellow of thunder followed soon after, echoing across the plains. 

 Instinctively, he knew that he had to protect the letters. Khavm quickly scooped up the letters from the ground and dumped them into the satchel, clasping the two buckles.

Still good.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

The copse consisted of mostly maple trees, most of which had hollows inside. The ground had a few bushes scattered here and there but for the most part was empty except for twigs and leaves the color of autumn, contrasting with his dark brown hair. 

Khavm set the satchel inside one such tree that had a full head of leaves, then began to search the ground for sticks around the size of the hollow. After heading back to the satchel, he started wedging the sticks into the hollow, placing each on close by the previous one so as to better keep out the rain. 

The sky was starting to get darker by the minute, and Khavm hurried to try and think of some way to keep himself dry. Lightning flashed and the sky brightened for a split second, brightening his sky blue eyes, and the thunder bellowed soon after.

I'd suggest using a different tactic to get character traits off. Either use another view character to notice those details or put in an event where one might think about their hair or eye color, like him passing someone with a rare hair color or hair color that signified him being someone or important or foreign. People don't normally think about lighting brightening their eyes.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

anxiety oozing out of her every pore.

...okay, I know we're supposed to try being original when portraying our thoughts, but sometimes, it might just be better to do something more simple like, her hands shook. Just saying.

On 8/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, Experience said:

She was ushered through the door to the left. She would never have another chance. She had failed herself, and now she had failed her family as well.

Nice, nice. I will say that this moment is not nearly as impactful as it would be with context. I would make it clear why she needs to pass, what had happened to her family, and then say she failed, you don't have to explain everything, but enough that we know to feel worried, kind of like with Shallan and her attempt to become Jasnah's ward. we knew a lot rode on it, even if we didn't understand all of it, so when Jasnah said no, it was more impactful.

So far, looks pretty good. Interested in what the next chapter will bring. 

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This is good! I like it.

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