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 Post subject: Group II
PostPosted: 09 Jul 2014, 22:55 
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For alum group of three or so to post their work. All can reply to this message and create a thread of posts and discussion below.

PostPosted: 16 Jul 2014, 06:27 
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Joined: 08 Jul 2014, 22:52
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I'm handing over the first Part of my novel (Four chapters) so you have more to work with. Feel free to edit by chapter, or scene, whatever you guys have time for!

Part I: The End of an Era
A weapon is only as deadly as the warrior that wields it.
Kirren ducked and the sword whistled over his head. He had yet to beat this foe, and this was his last chance. He took a swipe at his opponent’s ankles, but his sword met no resistance. His adversary’s hasty retreat swiftly shifted into a counterattack, and he laughed, exhilarated, as their blades clashed. Kirren blocked yet another jab aimed at his chest. He wasn’t going to hold out long and he knew it. But he had to try.
I have to win, just this once, he thought, executing a perfect slash that would have beheaded a less-experienced swordsman. But rather than separating skull from spine, his sword was blocked and then ripped from his grasp with a well-practiced flick of the wrist. Defenseless, Kirren raised his hands in submission.
“You lose again.” The sword tip hovered just above Kirren’s collarbone. He stood perfectly still. Despite his determination to win, he was wise enough to accept defeat. This swordsman was far deadlier than he. Swordswoman, he corrected himself.
Wyn flicked her white-blond hair out of her face and regarded him with obvious amusement. She let the point of her sword rest a moment at the base of Kirren’s throat before lowering her weapon and taking a graceful step back.
“You’ve nearly surpassed me, Kirren.”
They both knew she was being generous, but Kirren responded anyway. “Perhaps next time I will prevail,” he commented with light sarcasm and a grin. The smile slipped from his face as he remembered that there wouldn’t be a next time. Wyn also realized his error and glanced at her feet. The silence swelled and Kirren opened his mouth, searching desperately for something to say. But before he could relieve the tension, the door to the practice room slammed open, causing them both to jump.
“Lady Branwyn Woodward!”
Wyn sighed in an all-suffering way at the interruption. Kirren cringed at the implications of it. He withdrew from the center of the ring and turned away to retrieve and tend to his sword as Wyn’s handmaiden, Kiah, hastened toward her lady.
“Milady, you are supposed to be dressed and ready in a quarter-hour!”
“I am well aware, Kiah.”
“But, milady…” Kirren heard Kiah’s pause and imagined Wyn’s withering glare. Despite her youth, the Duchess of Ceville had a presence unmatched by many royals. The door to the training room opened and closed once more. Kirren sheathed his sword with a sigh. He turned to go, only to come face to face with Wyn. He looked into her clear green eyes, dark with sorrow, and realized just how much he had dreaded this moment. Everything was changing so fast, Kirren couldn’t keep up. His best friend was leaving, and he could think of nothing to say.
“I may not have time to say goodbye after the ceremony. I just wanted you to know that I will miss you, Kirren. So much.” Wyn seemed close to tears, something Kirren had never seen. That, more than anything, scared him into saying something. Anything.
“I know,” he sighed. He shook his head, unable to come up with the words to convey just how much he would miss her. He reached up and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. Kirren gazed at her familiar features with a hopeless air, trying to memorize the planes of her face, the shape of her eyes, the set of her mouth. He sighed again and wrapped his arms around his oldest friend. Wyn accepted his embrace for a moment before pulling away.
“I have to go,” she whispered. She closed her eyes against her tears, turned away from him, and was gone.

* * *
Fifteen stories above the practice room, the king sat in his study. Head bent over the maps on his large oak desk, he studied the movements of the Illyrian troops slowly advancing on his castle in Cyro, the capital of Cyrene. It was not a comforting sight.
“This will work, brother.”
Kynan Faulkner glanced over at his only sibling and younger brother, Trillian, lounging in a chair near the door. Barely thirty years of age, the sandy-haired prince had not inherited his father’s good looks or his brother’s thick build, but was arrogant in his plainness. It was difficult to find a resemblance between the two brothers; even their eyes were different colors. But they had the same Faulkner jaw line, the same broad shoulders. Trillian’s haughty face was set, his voice reassuring. But the king was not convinced.
“This Illyrian is untrustworthy and cunning. And worse yet, he is cruel. We have no proof that he will cease the march on Cyrene simply because of a marriage.”
“Kynan. You know we have no other options. The Duchess of Ceville is the only single, influential woman of age. Gryphon promised that his marriage to the Woodward girl would stop his army’s advance.”
The king scoffed. “The word of an Illyrian dictator carries no weight with me. And Wyn,” Kynan sighed. “Wyn has no say in any of this. Married off to an evil man in a last desperate attempt to save a kingdom.”
Trillian cocked a brow. “Branwyn knows her duty to her country. She should be honored.”
The king gazed out at the battlements, glorious in the late afternoon sun, smiling sadly. “She is only fourteen,” he replied. “She will be bitter.” He turned away from the window to meet the skeptical eye of his brother.
“The queen was not so bitter to marry you, as I recall,” Trillian pointed out.
“Fiona and I were in love. It was almost an afterthought that our union would be politically valuable. Wyn has never met this Illyrian monster. No, we’ll be lucky if she ever thinks kindly of her motherland, locked away in some Caius-forsaken castle in Illyria.”
“Oh, be honest, brother. Your main concern is for Kirren.”
The king merely shook his head in reply as a terse knock at the door heralded the arrival of King Kynan’s steward, Llais Rheswm.
“Your Majesty, the Illyrian convoy is at the gates.” The hawk-nosed man nodded at Trillian but centered his attention on his king, hoping that military action was in the immediate future. But the king nodded wearily and gestured to Trillian.
As the prince took his leave, Llais studied his king. Despite being only thirty-six years of age, Kynan’s black hair was streaked with silver at the temples. His grey eyes gleamed white in the failing afternoon light. The burden of decisions that weighed upon his conscience stooped his broad shoulders, and worry permanently wrinkled his brow. His Majesty looked worn down. He turned to Llais with a disheartened sigh.
“This alliance will be the death of me, Llais.”
Llais balked at his words, but he did not deny them. The kingdom of Cyrene had no other options. They did not have the manpower to continue resisting. Thousands of young men and women were dying every week, and the Illyrians just kept coming. The loss of life was devastating, and there was truly no justification for it. And the Illyrians were well aware of Cyrene’s desperate position. He met his king’s gaze with sorrow. “It has been an honor, sire.”
Kynan favored him with a small smile and a nod. “Please inform the Crown Prince that the Illyrians have arrived. Try to make him understand the gravity of the situation, if you please, Llais.” His steward bowed and turned to leave, but the king stopped him. “Wait. Give this to my son. Let it be a reminder.” The king pulled one of many rings from his fingers and dropped it into Llais’s hand. Kynan laid a hand on Llais’s shoulder. “Thank you, Llais, for everything you have done for me, and for this kingdom.”

Llais found Kirren Faulkner kneeling alone on the floor of his chamber. The Crown Prince was fully dressed, resplendent in a black suit, white gloves and knee-high boots. His sword, Gwirionedd, was belted at his waist, his brow crowned with the silver circlet that marked him as the next in line for the Cyrenian throne.
But as he regarded Kirren on the floor, Llais was struck by how little the prince looked like a warrior. He did not look regal. The listlessness in his bearing dulled the silver of his eyes. He did not appear to have any strength left, even to stand. For all his studies and countless lessons, here before Llais now was not a royal young man ready to soon take his father’s place as king. Here sat a heartbroken, disillusioned fifteen-year-old boy. And Llais felt wholly and truly sorry for him.
“Your Highness,” he began. Kirren’s disinterested gaze stopped him. He could say little to the boy. Despite the king’s request to make his son understand, Llais knew full well that Kirren understood perfectly. And it was this cruel, clear knowledge that had him, quite literally, on his knees.
The Illyrians wanted to destroy Viridia. But Illyria did not have the means to take on the Viridian giant on its own. It needed the resources and the manpower that the much smaller Cyrene had to offer.
Lorna, queen of Viridia, had never answered Kynan’s pleas for help. Years before, a political alliance had been arranged between the queen's daughter and an Illyrian duke. But the Viridian princess disappeared, and the duke, Gryphon Foley, went mad with rage. He murdered the Illyrian royal family: his own cousin, King Lennox Laird, Lennox's wife Keltie, and their young son, Macaulay.
With control of the Illyrian military, Foley set about gaining his revenge on the Viridians. Lorna had long since retreated into her grief at losing her daughter, and Cyrene suffered without her aid.
Cyrene could no longer hold off the Illyrians; there was no doubt of this. King Gryphon had offered something in the way of a political alliance, through marriage. King Kynan, having no other alternative, had accepted the offer, in a last, desperate attempt to save the nation, sacrificing Kirren’s best friend in the process.
Llais knelt down to look Kirren in the eyes. “Kirren. You have to get up.” Llais saw something flicker behind the prince’s mask. He reached out and grasped Kirren’s shoulder, shaking him from his reverie. “You have to be strong for Wyn.”
Kirren’s eyes snapped into focus, seeing Llais for the first time. When he spoke, his voice came out in a rasp. “Llais, strength will not save her. Do you really think, even for a moment, that Gryphon will be true to his word? That a new queen will stem Illyria’s thirst for blood? That Wyn will have the respect she deserves and the love of a good man?” His eyes sparked with anger, and with desperation.
“Wyn already has the love and respect of a good man, Your Highness.” When Kirren didn’t respond, Llais continued, “Right now you cannot be that man to her. She needs a friend, Kirren. She needs you. The question is: will you be there for her?” Llais reached out and grabbed Kirren’s hand, setting the king’s ring on the prince’s palm. “From your father,” the steward said before taking his leave.
Kirren looked down at the object in his hand, surprised to see the silver band and black obsidian of the Ring of Caius. He peered at the ring, just making out the words engraved on the inside of the ring, an excerpt from a long lost poem about Cyrene. He knew it by heart.
Kirren whispered the phrase to the empty room. “Beneath the vast obsidian skies, the noble hawk keeps a watchful eye.” He had once asked his father what it meant, to which the king would only reply that a monarch must look out for his country, day and night, in peace or war, through good times and bad. “And keeping a watchful eye is the best way to prevent bad things from sneaking up on you,” Kynan would add with a wink.
Kirren closed his fingers over the ring, feeling the curve of it cut into his palm. The myths of Old Cyrene pushed their way into his mind.
According to legend, the hero of Cyrene had forged the obsidian ring himself. Caius Connolly had been a god among men, gifted with cosmic powers that allowed him to shape the world as it was today. Though many tried to wrest this power from him, only one evil entity came close. Anochel, a demon born in the boiling depths of a long-forgotten volcano in the far north, was determined to destroy Caius and take the god’s power, and lands, for himself.
Caius knew that Anochel had the ability to defeat him, and he could not take the chance that he would die and the power vested in him be used to rain destruction upon the people of Caius’s lands. He traveled to the mountain from which Anochel had risen and created the Ring of Caius. He poured his magic into this ring and gave it to his only child, a boy named Cyro. Caius then lured Anochel away from his people and his son, to give them the chance to survive.
When Anochel finally cornered Caius, he discovered that the god had sacrificed his powers to save his people. Angered by Caius’s deception and enraged at the loss of the power that he craved, Anochel attacked Caius. But Caius had known he could not win and had prepared for this moment. With the last vestiges of his magic, he shackled Anochel to the land north of the river, west of the mountains, so that the demon could not hurt the people.
Anochel went mad with rage. He killed Caius, who could no longer defend himself. But Caius’s death did not release the demon. Unable to escape, he wrought havoc on the land and any unfortunate souls who wandered into his domain. To this day, this land was known as the Hell of Anochel, a place where no one dared to tread.
There was no magic in the ring. Whether it had been used up since Caius had given it to his young son or whether it had never held magic at all, no one knew. But its power was of no consequence. What mattered was what the ring stood for.
The Ring of Caius was considered the one true symbol of the monarch of Cyrene. Kirren felt the responsibility of it heavy in the weight of the ring. The fact that his father had given it to him, today of all days, saddened him as much as it made him proud. Kirren knew, as his father did and as Caius had known centuries before, that sacrifices have to be made for the good of a kingdom.
Kirren slipped the ring on his finger, took a deep breath, and got to his feet.
He had a wedding to attend.
* * *
“His Royal Highness, Kirren, son of Kynan, Crown Prince of Cyrene!”
Trillian watched as Kirren strode into the throne room amidst the call of trumpets. The boy was tall for his age; with his regal bearing and serious countenance, he looked much older than his fifteen years. He surveyed the room with his glinting eyes, gloved hand resting lightly on Gwirionedd’s hilt. Even to Trillian’s trained eye, Kirren did not appear distressed in the least.
Trillian frowned, but he quickly rearranged his features into a more pleasant expression. It would not do for him to be grimacing in the direction of his beloved nephew. After all, it was a well-known fact at court that Prince Trillian harbored no resentment toward the young Crown Prince, despite the fact that Kirren had taken his place as next in line to the throne. And Trillian had no intention of revealing the truth any time soon.
“Her Royal Majesty, Fiona Miles, Daughter of Moira, Queen of Cyrene!”
The queen stepped into the room, dressed conservatively but beautifully in a high-collared ivory dress trimmed in gold thread. She smiled to the assembly but did not progress down the carpet, instead waiting for her husband.
“His Royal Majesty, Kynan Faulkner, Son of Kenrik, King of Cyrene!”
Trillian turned his attention to the entrance of his brother, the fanfare nearly deafening. Oh, Kynan. He truly did seem to carry the entire weight of Cyrene on his shoulders. He looked weak. Kynan was hardly worthy of the crown. But that would soon be rectified. Trillian’s gaze turned to Fiona, whose blue eyes rested lovingly on Kynan’s face as he led her down the length of the room. Her sleek golden hair was twisted up into an elegant knot and her easy smile melted the hearts of all who beheld her. All except Trillian, whose heart had long since hardened against any woman’s beauty.
“His Royal Majesty, King Gryphon Foley, Lord of Illyria!”
The last time Trillian had seen the Illyrian king, terms had been reached regarding the fate of the Cyrenian throne. Their meeting in the mountains on the border between Cyrene and Illyria had been chance, or so Gryphon thought. But Trillian had orchestrated it perfectly, giving the cruel Illyrian just enough information to entice him into using the ill-favored second son to overthrow his hated brother.
Flanked by a dozen men in black with a single red device on their breasts, the Illyrian king made his entrance into the throne room. Foley was clad just as he had been on his scouting trip in the mountains. His deep red mantle was striking over practical fawn-colored tunic and trousers. Foley wasn’t a large man, but he moved with the stalk of a predator, always ready to strike. He had a brutal face, and more than a few scars crisscrossed his cheeks and forehead. All told, he looked just as his reputation portrayed him: bloodthirsty and merciless.
Whispers hissed through the throne room. Though Trillian couldn’t distinguish any individual voice, he could imagine the gory rumors that were circulating at this moment. After all, he had planted men in the crowd to spread them.
Gryphon strutted down the center of the room as a conqueror might, casting an appraising glance over everyone and everything. His gaze came to rest for a moment upon Trillian himself, who returned the calculating stare with one of his own. A silent understanding reached, Gryphon continued down the carpet to the dais where the king and queen sat. Gryphon took a knee in deference to the ruling monarchy, but his posture held no respect for the man he was sure to overthrow.
“King Kynan,” Gryphon rumbled, his Cyrenian only mildly accented. “It is an honor to meet such a god among men, a mighty ruler so like myself. Thank you for your hospitality… As well as your gift. Will she be arriving soon?” Trillian wished for a twinge of satisfaction, but there was none. He had scripted this particular comment, designed to provoke an outburst. However, though Kirren’s hand tightened on his sword hilt, he made no other movement and remained silent. Trillian frowned once again. His plans depended on Kirren’s devotion to Wyn.
Queen Fiona sat forward, genuine mirth in her eyes as she looked down on the Illyrian ruler. “Why, Kynan, did you not correspond with King Gryphon concerning the nature of his bride?”
The king merely chuckled in reply.
Foley glanced up in confusion, not understanding the joke. The king leaned down and said in a low voice that nonetheless carried easily in the silence of the room, “Lady Branwyn, the Duchess of Ceville, is no one’s possession. And she will thrash you thoroughly if you try to treat her as such.” With a wink at his wife, he straightened again and motioned to the trumpeters. They raised their instruments once more as the doors swung open.
“Lady Branwyn Woodward, Daughter of Ifan, Duchess of Ceville!”
The court rose to see the bride, the monarchs in the room stood to honor her, and all were greeted by an empty archway.

Panic shot through Kirren, putting him on edge. Maintaining a dignified persona during the procession had drained most of his composure. Now every nerve in his body was alive, each of his senses magnified to an inhuman level.
The trumpets died away and the assembly looked at each other in confusion. The silence pounded in Kirren’s ears to the rhythm of his galloping heart. He glanced to his left, where his father stood, his face dark with foreboding. Kirren swung his attention back toward the archway as a moan sounded from the corridor.
Kiah stumbled into the archway, clutching her stomach. Kirren’s nervous system spurred him into action. He leapt from the dais and sprinted the length of the throne room while the doormen caught the poor handmaiden. They gently lowered her to the floor as Kirren dropped to his knees next to her. He heard someone call for a healer. Pandemonium erupted as everyone scrambled to see what had happened.
Kiah reached out to Kirren, her scarlet fingers searching desperately for a handhold in reality, a grip on life. She clutched his sleeve and looked up at him with terrified eyes. Kirren took her hand in his, glancing briefly at the damage. There was no hope that she might live, and she knew it. But she was not going to die silent.
“They… took her,” she gasped. She struggled to speak, knowing she had only moments before death claimed her. “F-four men… r-red on b-black su-su-su¬…” Her voice failed her. Certainty and hatred coursed through him, but Kirren held her hand until the light left her eyes. He spared a moment to close her lids before surging up in a rage.
Kirren’s silver eyes burned bright as he surveyed the room, taking in the chaos that surrounded him. The dais was now empty save for a single unconscious guard. The heavy wooden door behind the thrones stood ajar, the only clue as to the whereabouts of his parents.
He glanced down at Kiah’s body, faced with a choice. Beneath his gloves, two rings encircled his fingers. On his left hand sat a gift from Wyn, the birthday present that she had commissioned for him some time before. The simple silver band was set with a single emerald. On his right lay the Ring of Caius. Kirren felt his heart break, but he clenched his fists against the pain, his decision made.
He looked over at a wide-eyed young guard standing in the doorway of the throne room. “Did you hear all of that?” The boy nodded. “Then find the duchess. Please, she may yet be alive. They will have had to get her out of the castle; they wouldn’t dare kill her here if they allowed Kiah to make it this far. Save my best friend.” Kirren turned away from him, resolve hardening in his chest as the plea fell from his lips. “I have to save my parents.”
The guard reached out and clasped the prince’s arm momentarily. He obviously understood what was being asked of him. “May Caius be with you… Kirren.” With that, he saluted his prince and dashed out of the throne room.
Gwirionedd slid from its scabbard with a musical sound, like the peal of bells, clear and smooth and ethereal. The noise rang out through the throne room, cutting through the din and confusion. Voices stopped and heads turned to see the Crown Prince slowly advancing down the center of the room toward the dais, sword held at the ready, face dark with wrath, silver shining in his eyes and on his brow.
Kirren slipped into the dark corridor, leaving the din behind. He crept down the hall, checking doors as he went, ears alert to any sound. The second room on the left held a nasty surprise. Bodies lay haphazardly around the room, each one dressed in the black and red suits that Kiah had described. Blood spattered the walls and floor, and Kirren had to fight himself not to close his eyes against the massacre. He took a deep breath to steady himself, immediately regretting it as the coppery stench of blood filled his mouth and lungs. He forced himself into the room, avoiding the pools of crimson and systematically checking all eight men for a heartbeat. He found none. Head spinning with questions, he left the carnage behind and continued down the hall.
The passage ended at a spiral staircase that led up to the aviary. With nowhere to go but up, Kirren ascended the worn stone steps. As he climbed, he remembered the many times he had gone to the aviary to lose himself. The birds drowned out all thought and made it easy to forget who he was.
But today those memories seemed to belong to another person. Today, he was vividly aware of who he was and what he had to do. Indistinct noise reached his ears. He quickened his pace, taking the stairs two at a time.
The sounds above him became discernible. The birds were screaming, rattling their cages and making general commotion. But almost hidden amongst the avian cries of distress Kirren heard voices. As he neared the top, a scream of despair erupted, a heartbreaking sound that tore through his very soul. He slowed his steps until he was tiptoeing closer to the top.
The entrance to the aviary was designed with two doors. This prevented the escape of any loose birds. He pressed his ear against the wood of the outer door, listening for sounds in the immediate proximity that would indicate someone’s presence between the safety doors. Hearing none, Kirren carefully opened the door, discovering that the small chamber was empty. The inner door, however, had carelessly been left open a crack. As he listened, Kirren’s mind churned in desperation. It soon became clear what was happening amidst the rasps of parrots and the screams of eagles.
A monarchy was being disposed of.
* * *
Trillian watched with approval as the court dissolved into chaos at the sight of the dying handmaiden. Kiah’s testimony would quickly incriminate Illyria and send Kirren raging in the direction of Wyn’s rooms, where he would most certainly meet the same team that had slit the duchess’s throat a few minutes before. And as reputable as Kirren’s swordsmanship might be, no man could take on five of Trillian’s best and survive. Kirren had never even had occasion to use his skills to actually defend himself.
Gryphon Foley signaled to four of his men, who quickly apprehended the king and queen and dragged them through the wooden door at the back of the dais. Foley himself drew his sword and backed through the door. The rest of his men spread out, keeping to the wings of the room so that they could follow in pursuit once Trillian had taken up the chase. With his own men on his heels, Trillian drew his sword, crying out in anger and pursuing the treacherous Illyrians. His journey was hindered by the theatrical attack of Gryphon’s remaining men, whom he pushed through valiantly to reach his captured brother.
All in all, a very good show.
By the time Trillian finally stepped into the corridor, Gryphon had already disappeared up the staircase at the end of the hall. The king’s brother nodded to Maddock Dempsey, his loyal captain, and sauntered down the hallway towards the stairs. He heard the rest of Gryphon’s men file through the door. Their shouts of surprise echoed off the stone as Trillian’s men cornered them in one of the rooms off the passageway and cut them down.
Trillian sheathed his sword and made his way up the spiral stairs, his men close behind. With each step, Trillian ascended to the throne of Cyrene. It mattered not how long he had planned, what alliances he’d had to make, the people he’d had to eliminate. He spared a moment to remember the late Duke of Ceville. Ifan had been a headstrong fool. He’d had to kill Ifan, of course, to make sure that his daughter, Branwyn, would be an eligible sacrifice to the Illyrians.
It hadn’t been hard to make his death an accident. Ifan had always taken daily rides into questionable parts of the forest. He’d liked to laugh in the face of danger, much like his daughter. It would seem so tragic that, while his death had been a deplorable accident, hers was a horrific byproduct of a political takeover. Trillian was already forming his speech.
As he neared the top of the stairs, Trillian squared his shoulders. Taking a deep breath, he arranged his features into a pleasant expression and entered the aviary.
* * *
Kynan cried out in anger as Foley struck Fiona in the face. Bound to the cage of a noble-looking red-tailed hawk, the king could do nothing to help the love of his life and the queen of his realm. Her blue eyes found his as he struggled desperately to free himself. Her gaze stopped him. The resignation in her face brought tears to Kynan’s eyes as he realized that they were going to die, and their blood would not be the first spilt this day. He wondered if Trillian and Kirren would share their fate.
Gryphon reached up to strike the queen again when the door to the aviary swung open. Trillian strolled into the room, past the two men standing guard at the door. The prince surveyed the scene with an amiable air, gaze coming to rest on his brother’s face.
Kynan’s confusion vanished almost as quickly as it had come. He stared up at his younger brother. There could be no mistaking the triumph in Trillian’s stance, the vindication in his eyes. This had been a long time coming. “Hello, little brother,” Kynan said tonelessly.
Trillian did not respond, but held his brother’s gaze as he addressed his ally. “Gryphon, I specifically told you not to start without me. I wouldn’t want to miss the show.”
“I figured I’d rough them up a bit, warm them up for you.” Gryphon stepped away from the queen, making way for Trillian as he approached the royal couple.
The king’s younger brother bypassed Kynan and dropped a knee to look into Fiona’s face. Her gaze held no fear, only defiance. Trillian reached into his boot and pulled out a long, thin dagger, turning it over in his fingers. The queen spared it a passing glance before spitting in his face.
Trillian cursed and backhanded her, relishing Kynan’s hiss of anger behind him.
Fiona gasped in pain but would not be cowed. “You are a fool if you think killing us will gain you anything. The people will never support a king who throws his lot in with that monster.” Fiona’s cold gaze rested on Gryphon for a moment before returning to Trillian.
“Oh, I am well aware of that, my lovely queen. Do you honestly believe that I did not prepare for this? That I did not plan out every detail of this coup? I will be king, and I will be loved.” He got to his feet and drew his sword. Trillian turned to look at Kynan as he pointed the blade at Fiona. “First, I shall take your heart, big brother,” he said.
Fiona held Kynan’s gaze and gave him a small smile as Trillian drew back his sword. “Be strong, my love,” she whispered. The king’s brother made a small noise of disgust before running her through.
Kynan screamed as Fiona’s body went limp against the cage of a turtledove. His cry threatened to rip his throat, his despair to tear him apart. He threw himself against his bonds in vain, unable to look away from the now empty face of his wife.
Trillian stepped toward him, looking down on his agony. “You brought this on yourself, brother. All those years, overlooked and undervalued, I waited. I plotted. Today, my work pays off. Today, I beat you.” Kynan gave up his struggle and looked up at his younger brother, trying to find the little boy who had once worshipped him. All he could see was hate and anger.
Trillian noticed Kynan’s sorrowful gaze and exploded. “You thought you could have it all, didn’t you?” Trillian shouted at him. “You thought you could have power, love, and family, and not pay for it! Well, you lose all of it today. Your throne, the love of your life, and your family.”
The king froze, staring up at his brother, realizing what he was saying. “No,” he whispered in horror.
Trillian smiled nastily. “Oh, yes, brother. Your beloved son also met an untimely death today. His love for the late Duchess of Ceville sent him sprinting into the trap I left for him.” He chuckled in a surprisingly good-natured way. “Your line ended today, Your Majesty.”
A groan behind him caused Trillian to pause, and he slowly turned around to investigate the sound. Kynan could not see Trillian’s face contract in shock at the sight of the two guards lying dead on the floor. But he could see his son standing in the doorway, very much alive and with murder in his eyes.

Kirren took stock of the room before slipping in through the half-open door. From his viewpoint on the stairs, he could see his father tied to the cage of Cai, Kirren’s favorite hawk and constant companion in his younger years. All he could see of Trillian was the bloody tip of his sword, swinging around wildly while the embittered prince shouted at his older brother.
Kirren could also see the backs of the two Illyrian men standing guard on either side of the door. He quietly sheathed Gwirionedd. Pulling a small dirk out of his right boot, Kirren rose to his feet.
Stepping into the aviary, he came up behind one of the Illyrian men and slit his throat. Before the first man fell to the ground, Kirren’s blade darted between the second man’s ribs, passing through his lung and piercing his heart. Both men crumpled to the ground as Trillian smiled viciously down at Kynan, telling him his son was dead.
“Well, hello, Uncle.” Kirren’s voice rang with malice as he stepped further into the room. His eyes took in Gryphon and his two remaining men standing near the far end of the room, surprise quickly morphing into battle-ready stances. Ten more men, each bearing the Cyrenian crest, stood scattered amongst the cages, swords at the ready. Trillian stood center stage, towering over the king. Behind him, Kirren could see the slumped form of his mother. His heart contracted, anguish rising in his throat, but he did not let it overwhelm him. He locked it away and focused all of his attention on his uncle.
Trillian’s shock rapidly evaporated as he recognized that he would still win this day. “Kirren. What an unpleasant surprise.” He looked his nephew up and down, lowering his sword and adopting a conversational tone as he addressed the boy. “I’m sorry, my dear nephew, but your mother is dead. May the stars watch over her.” Trillian paused maliciously. Unrewarded with a response, he continued, “Or perhaps you’ve come to avenge your beloved duchess?”
Still Kirren did not react. He had known that Wyn’s death would be on his hands when he had turned away from Kiah to follow his parents up to the aviary. Every choice bears a consequence. At least he would not have to live with the consequences of his choices for much longer.
Trillian’s lip curled in response to Kirren’s silence. “Lady Branwyn was dragged into the woods a few moments before her handmaiden met such a tragic end on the floor of the throne room. My men slit her throat and tossed her into the River Caius. I doubt anyone will ever find her body.” He observed Kirren’s expression, completely impassive in the face of Trillian’s cruelty. Getting no satisfaction from goading the Crown Prince, he sighed dramatically and turned to Foley. “Oh, just kill him.”
Trillian’s men stayed where they were. Kirren knew that Trillian was playing with him. Even if Kirren disposed of Foley, he could never take on ten men and his uncle. Sitting outside the aviary, he had known he wouldn’t win.
Kirren wondered briefly what would have become of him if he’d fled while he’d had the chance in the throne room, even as he’d listened at the top of the stairs. It had never occurred to him. He couldn’t have run away. It wasn’t in his nature. Kirren lifted his head high and stared the Illyrian king down.
“The rest of your men are dead, Gryphon,” Kirren said.
Foley’s face twitched slightly.
“There are eight bodies downstairs, each one of them bearing the Illyrian crest and none left alive. I certainly didn’t kill them,” the prince continued. “Now, who on earth would do such a thing?”
“Gryphon, kill the whelp and be done with him,” Trillian said angrily.
“And then what?” Kirren asked. “Take the Cyrenian throne together? Do you really think, after fifteen years of plotting to take the throne, that Trillian will share it? No,” Kirren said quietly. “No, he will kill you and use you as a scapegoat. He will be the hero, the last surviving member of the royal family, valiantly taking the reins of a kingdom he never aspired to rule.”
Foley snarled and charged, flanked by two savage looking men: one large and muscled, the other thin and sinewy. Before they had taken a few steps, however, Kirren hefted the dirk in his right hand and hurled it at his attackers. It flipped end over end before embedding in the lanky man’s eye, who collapsed with hardly a sound.
Rage filled Kirren as he slid Gwirionedd out of its sheath and his dagger from his belt to meet the onslaught. He might not leave this room alive, but by the Fiery One, he’d take Foley down with him, Trillian if he could. Kirren ducked under Gryphon’s slice, spinning a low kick at the beefy man’s ankles. Meathead lacked agility, and Kirren’s heel collided with his anklebone. A hideous crack rent the air as the muscular man cried out and dropped like a stone. Kirren’s left hand, holding the dagger, shot up from his crouched position to block Foley’s downward stroke.
Jabbing with Gwirionedd, Kirren drove Foley backwards and launched himself towards Cai’s cage. Gwirionedd quickly freed the king, who pulled his ceremonial sword from its place at his left hip and stood beside his son. Side by side, the Cyrenian royals faced their usurpers. Foley’s sword was leveled at Kirren, his face clearly stating his intentions to make Kirren suffer. Trillian looked extremely annoyed by this turn of events. He hadn’t sheathed his sword or wiped it clean of Fiona’s blood, and now it dangled in his right hand, dripping red swirls on the stone floor.
Kirren feinted to his right, smiling inwardly as Gryphon charged his offside, trying to catch Kirren off balance. Kirren quickly shifted his stance to accommodate the charge. Gryphon did not notice his disadvantage until it was too late. Kirren swung downward with the dagger, displacing the mistimed jab and finding himself, as he’d known he would, in perfect position for the slash that had been blocked so cleanly by his childhood friend.
For the briefest moment before his sword made contact, Kirren could see the face of a handsome prince who had come to the Cyrenian court over a decade before. Four-year-old Kirren had worshipped Macaulay Laird. Even after the Illyrian royal family had returned to their home court, the princes had exchanged letters, keeping their friendship alive.
As they reached their teen years, neither Macaulay nor Kirren had wanted to lead his kingdom. And thanks in large part to Gryphon Foley, neither would have to.
Gwirionedd howled through the air with so much force that when the blade connected with Gryphon’s neck it severed his head from his body. The grisly projectile landed in Meathead’s lap as he lay moaning on the floor. He discarded it with a yelp as the rest of Foley’s body collapsed near the door to the aviary. Kirren completed the swing until he was facing Trillian, sword bloody and face murderous.
Trillian spared Gryphon’s head a passing glance, reluctantly impressed with his nephew’s swordsmanship. He looked at Kynan, who stood by Fiona’s body, sword in hand. Trillian had no time for a battle to the death, so he signaled his men, who converged on king and prince. The king was overwhelmed almost immediately, forced to his knees in his wife’s blood. He had little will left to live and hardly put up a fight.
But before Trillian’s men could reach him, Kirren had charged his treacherous uncle. This is for you, Mother. And for you, Wyn.
Trillian’s sword barely met Gwirionedd as Kirren attacked with all the strength his broken heart could muster. The bad block was not enough to buy Trillian time to correct his stance, and Kirren easily broke through his uncle’s defenses. Gwirionedd sliced downward, cutting off Trillian’s ear and then lodging in his shoulder.
Then Trillian’s men were upon him. Kirren did not go down without a fight, managing to kill two of them and seriously injure a third before Gwirionedd was finally ripped from his grasp.
“Take the Crown Prince into the woods, slit his throat, and throw his body into the River Caius to join the dead duchess,” Trillian snarled at the four men holding Kirren down. He was clutching his left shoulder, his head bleeding profusely. They moved to obey the order when Trillian stopped them. “Wait just a moment,” he purred. “I want Kirren to see this.” He turned to his brother, gritting his teeth against the pain. “Your son made a valiant effort, Kynan. He’s smart, too smart. But in the end, he’s just as weak as you are.”
Trillian raised his sword, still red with the blood of the queen, and drove it into the heart of his older brother. He heard Kirren’s scream, heard it muffled by a gag. The gurgling faded away as the prince was dragged out of the room, but Trillian ignored it, relishing the look in Kynan’s grey eyes, their spark of life quickly fading into darkness. He felt the sword tip reach the metal cage, felt the weight of Kynan’s body slump on the blade, saw his brother’s life extinguished, and was satisfied.
* * *
Kynan saw Trillian’s blade descending upon him. He did not burden Kirren with the responsibility of his father’s dying gaze. Instead, he turned the full power of his royal grey eyes upon his murdering brother. He felt the tip of the sword pierce his mantle, destroy the chain mail, and rip through the leather jerkin underneath before finally rending his heart.
I will haunt you, brother. I will stalk your dreams and whisper doubts in your ear and I will make you pay for the violence you have done to this kingdom. And this family.
This promise cut silently through the air as Kynan’s eyes lost focus. The last thing he saw was his little brother’s triumphant gaze. The last thing he heard was his son’s scream of anguish. But the last thing he felt was fiery certainty. Kynan Faulkner’s last breath slipped through his lips, his soul stole into the dim light of twilight, and the King of Cyrene died with a vengeance.
* * *
Trillian stood at the balcony overlooking the courtyard, his head bandaged and his arm in a sling. Thousands of people had gathered below him. The occasional sob rent the air as the people mourned the loss of their beloved monarchy. The darkness was kept at bay by the torches ringing the square, as well as by the moon rising above the tops of the trees to illuminate Cyrene’s despair.
Above the masses, the stars glared down at him. Constellations drawn in the time of Caius flickered in anger. Caius himself glimmered dully in the western sky. The Fiery One burned in the west, and Cyro shone directly above the palace, his light staring accusingly at the new ruler of Cyrene. Trillian paid the stars no mind. He never believed the superstition that each person’s soul lit up a star, which was just as well, for if he had looked to the heavens he would have found that his own star had long since gone dark.
Maddock appeared at Trillian’s side. “It is done, Your Majesty,” he said quietly.
Trillian did not look at him. “Are you sure?”
Maddock handed Trillian a slim silver object. “I did the deed myself. I did not want some new recruit destroying your victory.”
“How very kind of you, Captain. And rather heartless. I thought you liked my nephew.” Trillian considered the circlet in his hands, the symbol of the next in line for the Cyrenian throne.
“Appearances can be deceiving, Your Majesty.”
“Indeed. Well, you have done well, Maddock. Place this in the vault with the rest of the crown jewels.” He handed him back the priceless object.
Maddock hesitated, causing a twinge of annoyance somewhere in Trillian’s empty chest.
“Was there something else, Captain?”
“May I see my daughter?”
“No, I think not. But it will please you to know that Seeker is safe at the orphanage until further notice.”
“Thank you, my lord.” Maddock backed away with a bow, and left the last surviving Faulkner on the balcony.
Trillian stood back from the railing, observing the grief that emanated from the masses, carefully arranging his features into the pained expression the people would be expecting. My people, he thought. These are my people now, and I am their king. Trillian briefly wished for satisfaction and elation to fill him, but his wish was unfulfilled. He stepped forward into the light of the lanterns lining the rail.
A hush fell over the crowd below as Cyrene looked up to its new ruler. Successfully summoning a tear or two, Trillian made to speak, but stopped, emotion choking his voice and forcing him to turn away. He regained his composure and once again wiped an empty smile from his face as he turned to face his people.
“My family is dead,” he said into the silence. “In a desperate attempt to take our great kingdom for his own, that Illyrian king murdered my brother. He murdered the queen. And he dealt the mortal blow that killed my young nephew. But we will not let Gryphon Foley defeat us.
“We will rise from these ashes. We will overcome the tragedy. We will make my brother proud!” A teary cheer rose at this last; hatred erupted in his chest. “We will put this bloodshed behind us and move forward!” A louder cheer sounded from the people below.
Suddenly a voice called out from below. “We will destroy the people responsible!”
The cheer that greeted this statement was deafening and heartfelt. Trillian squinted against the glare of the lantern to find the revenge-seeker, but could see only shadowy figures of thousands of Cyrenians. Even as he recalled it in his mind, he found he could not remember whether the voice had been male or female.
“Prince Kirren slew the Illyrian monster before succumbing to his many wounds, which were too great to overcome. May he rest in peace knowing that he protected his country with his dying breaths. And may we all rest a little easier knowing that his bravery gave us safety.” Trillian nodded to the crowd and raised his fist. The cheering continued as he retreated into the darkness.
In the morning, Trillian was crowned King of Cyrene, the former monarch merely a ghost in the back of his mind, murmuring doubts to his brother’s soul as he had sworn he would. The ceremony was extravagant as well as teary. Many of the same attendees of the Woodward girl’s would-be wedding quietly lined the long red carpet, jumping at any loud noises. A few of them, as they looked morosely at the scene around them, could see only the image of their beloved prince striding toward his death with determination.
The sun streamed in through the high stained-glass windows, painting the scene with brilliant swaths of blue, green, red and gold. In the years to come, the citizens of Cyrene would wonder what had become of this bright morning, what should have been the dawning of a new era of justice and peace. 

 Post subject: Re: Group II
PostPosted: 16 Jul 2014, 07:17 
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Joined: 10 Jul 2014, 08:34
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Yaaaay Liz!!! Yaaaaaay :D Can't wait to read more! Ok, now that I'm done with all the girly "yaying" I will be business-like;)
Love that you dive right into the action in those first few 500ish words. It's clear from the initial paragraph that this is fantasy, but I'm wondering if a tiny bit of additional description or internal monologue can clue the reader in a bit more as to the world that you're building, and help to distinguish this piece from its genre competition.

 Post subject: Re: Group II
PostPosted: 16 Jul 2014, 07:32 
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Joined: 10 Jul 2014, 08:34
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I suppose I'll be brave and go's the first 500 words of The Chemicals Between Us.

England is weeping and sparkling tonight, in great gusts of rain and steam and lights on pavement. The city of Oxford’s spire skyline and belly of modern red buses dispenses passengers to pavement and throws its riddles of mud onto the face of my black boots. I ran here from Radcliffe Square, dodging the cameras, the questions, the lights and limbs against car doors as my driver dispatched me from Heathrow.

Deverelle, Deverelle, Deverelle. The photographers’ chant is always the same. “May we have a picture, a statement…”

“A kidney?” I suggest, then temper myself, knowing that my father would glare and scratch his left elbow in veiled frustration at my unwillingness to smile a few times and tuck my chin for a paparazzi picture slated to sell to the Daily Mail by midnight.

This whole thing was his idea—his plan of entitlement—to send his 17-year-old daughter (soon to be saddled as heir to his industrial empire) to a city in which she could be tutored by a collection of students and scholars whose average IQ exceeds the 180s without breaking sweat. I pinch my eyes closed, fight the headache that accompanies the abandonment and sweltering expectations I feel at the thought of here and now, Oxford and tomorrow.

In my scheme to disappear into the chaos of tourists tangled across Cornmarket Street, I am outsmarted. The rain has worsened, dampened the shoppers and sent them scurrying to the insides of Debenhams and Marks and Spencer. In their absence lie sirens and lights, screaming towards the surrounding traffic, corralling the cross streets as if to stage a tiny horror show.

There are three things I see as I stretch to view whatever damage has sent the city into a chaos of black and gold, red and blue.

First, there is the girl. Silent, wide-eyed, and still as a long, dark crane. She stands centrifugally to it all, as pretty as she is severe, her short hair a raven mess beneath the lamplight.

Second, there is the blood. A pool like a small burnt moon centers the cross streets of High, Queen, and St. Aldates.

And third, there is the unmistakable way in which the girl—this thing that stands immovable against the flood of police scraping samples from the scene—trains her eyes on me. Like she and I are similar things, things that belong to that corpse-less scorch of black-red blood that forms an Atlantic between us, and catches the rain in its anthracite edge.

 Post subject: Re: Group II
PostPosted: 16 Jul 2014, 07:56 
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Excuse me for a moment while I just say, "Damn, girl." (And I mean that in the best, most amazing, most this is right up my alley I want to read it kind of way).

Okay, that aside. The scene length and structure are great. The scene opens, evolves (quite spectacularly, I might add), and closes. You've introduced your main character with just enough backstory to let us know who she is and why she is where she is.

I would be careful with the wording at the beginning. I love the imagery of the first sentence (though I might personally play around with the structure slightly, to match the parts of England that are weeping and the parts that are sparkling), but it is knocked slightly askew by the second sentence. Oxford's spire skyline doesn't seem to connect with the passengers being dispensed onto the pavement.

The tension of these scene is awesome. You did not waste any time jumping into the story. There's some internal tension, the result of Deverelle's father and his motives, and then some serious external conflict in the form of, you know, blood and sirens and this chick just standing on the edge of it all. Also, I appreciate your vocabulary and its subsequent beefing up of my own (read: I had to look up anthracite).

The way you've written it makes me want to read on (sadly, there isn't any more, and now I am trapped in suspense). I would do a once-over of your sentences and check on subject/verb agreement. Your writing is evocative, but every now and then I find the subjects of the sentences a little confusing.

Also, I love the first person and I can't wait to read more! As in, Brittany, post more now I must know who this girl is and why there is blood in the middle of the street.

 Post subject: Re: Group II
PostPosted: 16 Jul 2014, 18:09 

Joined: 15 Jul 2014, 06:12
Posts: 2
Hey Brittany, hey Liz!

I'll start with Liz :)

(Quick Question - Is this the entire prologue or just a part of it?)

So I absolutely loved this - this kind of fantasy is right up my alley. You've managed to introduce a whole bunch of characters in a short period of time in a way that's clear and effective. And I'm already in love with Wyn. What a total BAMF.

Specific sections:

Part 1.1: I loved the immediate relationship we see between Kirren and Wyn. The one thing I would say is age - you find out in the second part that Branwyn is fourteen, and I just assumed the two swordfighters were like in their twenties. Maybe sneak in a little part that indicates they're young? But I love that scene, it's perf.

Part 1.2: This scene is just really well written Liz. Truly, it's great. (AND OMG LIZ YOU DIDN'T TELL ME I STARRED IN YOUR BOOK!) ahahah. One question though, why was there no justification for the loss of life?

Llais balked at his words, but he did not deny them. The kingdom of Cyrene had no other options. They did not have the manpower to continue resisting. Thousands of young men and women were dying every week, and the Illyrians just kept coming. The loss of life was devastating, and there was truly no justification for it. And the Illyrians were well aware of Cyrene’s desperate position. He met his king’s gaze with sorrow. “It has been an honor, sire.”

The other thing is the opening for the part; with the dialogue; 'this will work, brother', it's unclear which one is talking.

Fifteen stories above the practice room, the king sat in his study. Head bent over the maps on his large oak desk, he studied the movements of the Illyrian troops slowly advancing on his castle in Cyro, the capital of Cyrene. It was not a comforting sight.
“This will work, brother.”
Kynan Faulkner glanced over at his only sibling and younger brother, Trillian, lounging in a chair near the door.

Maybe include a brief like 'a voice says' or something to show that the speaker is not the first person we were introduced to (the King) ** Or maybe it's just that it's harder to read the formatting online - looking back that structure actually does make sense.

Part 2.1: Lovely.

Part 2.2: The first part of this part contradicts with the 2.1 section.

Trillian watched as Kirren strode into the throne room amidst the call of trumpets. The boy was tall for his age; with his regal bearing and serious countenance, he looked much older than his fifteen years. He surveyed the room with his glinting eyes, gloved hand resting lightly on Gwirionedd’s hilt. Even to Trillian’s trained eye, Kirren did not appear distressed in the least.

Didn't he look young just moments before? Or is it that he is appraised differently by different individuals?

The only criticism I have of this part is that Trillian's inner thoughts get slightly superfluous, and that we find out a whole bunch about his plans. This slightly kills the suspense for the end - you know by the time these chapters are over, serious shit was going to go down.

Part 3.1: Tension really mounts in this part, and I like how Kirren jumps to action. But in the confusion, I was sort of confused as to how everyone was suddenly gone? Weren't the King and all the nobles at the wedding? How come his parents suddenly need saving - don't they have guards, ect.

"Save my best friend.” Kirren turned away from him, resolve hardening in his chest as the plea fell from his lips. “I have to save my parents.”

Maybe I just missed a key sentence or something.

But the end sentence of that part.... pwhooooar so good :lol:

Part 3.2: Now's the perfect time to see into Trillian's evil mind, and his sick glee is perfect. And so Trillian managed to get all the royal guards, I'm assuming, as there wasn't much resistance when he seized the King and Queen?

Part 3.3: AAYY EXCELLENTE!! The only part I noticed was the quick escalation of anger - Trillian is very cold and calculating and suddenly bursts out and looses it.

Trillian stepped toward him, looking down on his agony. “You brought this on yourself, brother. All those years, overlooked and undervalued, I waited. I plotted. Today, my work pays off. Today, I beat you.” Kynan gave up his struggle and looked up at his younger brother, trying to find the little boy who had once worshipped him. All he could see was hate and anger.
Trillian noticed Kynan’s sorrowful gaze and exploded. “You thought you could have it all, didn’t you?” Trillian shouted at him. “You thought you could have power, love, and family, and not pay for it! Well, you lose all of it today. Your throne, the love of your life, and your family.”

You could maybe add a few more words to build that anger before it boils over, to make it seem more authentic.

Part 4.1: NONONO Wyn can't be dead! LIZ TELL ME SHE'S NOT DEAD.

Part 4.2: Slaughter :(

Part 4.3: Such a great ending to the scene. Of course, I know the lil' spoiler, but the introduction to Seeker's name really piqued my interest. Really can't wait to read more.

I love your writing style - it's exciting and rich - but the only thing I have to say is that at times I think you could cut down word count. (Ahaha remember Liz.. 100,000 is the magic number!) :wink:

"They both knew she was being generous, but Kirren responded anyway. “Perhaps next time I will prevail,” he commented with light sarcasm and a grin. The smile slipped from his face as he remembered that there wouldn’t be a next time. ]Wyn also realized his error and glanced at her feet. The silence swelled and Kirren opened his mouth, searching desperately for something to say. But before he could relieve the tension, the door to the practice room slammed open, causing them both to jump.
“Lady Branwyn Woodward!”"

For example there ^, though that sentence adds to the scene, the reader could infer the awkwardness and you save yourself a few words :)

The other thing is that there are so many characters you introduce. While I was able to follow them all (and each one of them is necessary), keep that in mind when you're making your revisions. Clarity is key.

ANYHOOO thank you for sharing, I enjoyed it so much! Such incredible writing, you're burstin' with talent!

Psstttt - Can you send me the whole thing? PRETTY PLEASE LIZ! <3

 Post subject: Re: Group II
PostPosted: 16 Jul 2014, 19:35 

Joined: 15 Jul 2014, 06:12
Posts: 2
Hey Brittany!

Wow. You're writing is so lyrical oh my goodness! You've provided the perfect snapshot into your story, and it's a perfect tone to set it up.

As for criticism... hmm not much. I guess the same as Liz - there's some ambiguity because your writing is so fluid, but I feel like editing that too much will make it loose some of the nice flow.

“A kidney?” I suggest, then temper myself, knowing that my father would glare and scratch his left elbow in veiled frustration at my unwillingness to smile a few times and tuck my chin for a paparazzi picture slated to sell to the Daily Mail by midnight.

^ the only thing with this one is that it's a really long sentence - you may want to consider breaking it up.

The other is the "soon to be saddled as heir to his industrial empire" - is there a time you can put that in somewhere else? it feels a bit forced in the intro and interrupts the flow.

The way this passage progressive gets exceedingly more tense and deliciously wonderful, and I honestly was hooked by the end! SEND MORE!

 Post subject: Re: Group II
PostPosted: 17 Jul 2014, 03:16 

Joined: 28 May 2014, 00:44
Posts: 9
Brittney, I really liked this section. It was really poetic and interesting. I can't wait to see what else you have. Very strong writing.

1. Scene length and structure (1-5): 5.
2. Clarity of spatial set (1-5): 5. We know where the character is, what she’s doing, who she is.
3. Comprehensible prose narrative (1-5): 5. This is very lyrical. I would say, be careful that the lyricism doesn’t get in the way of the story telling, that you don’t chose metaphor over just a plain description. In other words, be wary of getting to complex.
4. Tension on the page (1-5): 5. This whole submission is tense, tension with the paparazzi, with her father, with the rain, with the dead girl.
5. Dialogue mastery (1-5): Not applicable
6. Exposition delivery (1-5): 5. There’s a nice brief section where she talks about why she’s in London. It doesn’t get in the way of the action. It augments it.
7. Narrative composition (quality of set, tension, cinema, character interactions) (1-5): 4. It all happens very quickly. And I wonder if this is because of the use of present tense and of sentence length. I’m a fan of present tense. So, I’d say keep it. But use it wisely, for example, the paparazzi scene should all be in past tense. Also, think about sentence length, and breaking up run on sentences with commas. This will slow it down a little.
8. Cinematic imagery (static and dynamic) (1-5): 5. You do a great job of showing us what’s happening, especially in first person POV.
9. Point-of-view dynamics (1-5): 5. We know the character’s voice right away. Here’s a question. The character seems really smart and poetic, will that be maintained throughout the story, will it also be present in her dialog?
10. Wise use of craft technique (1-5): 4. See #7

 Post subject: Re: Group II
PostPosted: 17 Jul 2014, 23:36 

Joined: 28 May 2014, 00:44
Posts: 9
1. Scene length and structure (1-5): 5. The scenes flowed well, even when you shifted to different characters and we had to step back in time a little.
2. Clarity of spatial set (1-5): 5. We know where we are at all times, even during the POV shifts.
3. Comprehensible prose narrative (1-5): 4. You do a really good job of creating energy on the page, but toward the end you introduce a character named Meathead. This comes out of no where. I had to look back and try to figure out who he was. Based on the context, I’m assuming he’s a soldier and an oaf. A simple line introducing him when he attacks Kirren would suffice. Also, the name Meathead is a little comical, and doesn’t really fit the tone. You might want to think about renaming him, something more ominous.
4. Tension on the page (1-5): 4. You did a really great job of this, especially toward the end. I found myself becoming wrapped up in the story and caring about the characters. I wanted to read more. A very exciting read.
5. Dialogue mastery (1-5): 3. Initially the characters all sounded the same, similar speech patterns and word choices.
6. Exposition delivery (1-5): 4. You do a nice job of delivering the mythology of these people in the narrative.
7. Narrative composition (quality of set, tension, cinema, character interactions) (1-5): 4. Overall, really great start. You hook the reader and let them know the stakes. I wasn’t really sure about Kirren and Wyn’s relationship. Are they cousin’s, brother/sister, friends? And the first line reads like a tag line. You could cut it and jump in with the action and not lose anything.
8. Cinematic imagery (static and dynamic) (1-5): 5. We get to see the story told from multiple POVs. We learn details of the events that we wouldn’t other wise see.
9. Point-of-view dynamics (1-5): 5. Nice use of Third person POV, from multiple characters.
10. Wise use of craft technique (1-5): 4. Really solid. You do a great job of building tension and getting your readers invested in your characters and story.

 Post subject: Re: Group II
PostPosted: 18 Jul 2014, 06:52 
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Joined: 10 Jul 2014, 08:34
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Liz, Fiona, Ben....thank you thank you thank you! Really good and amazingly helpful feedback. Can't tell you how much I appreciate you guys taking the time to read and critique. Will post more soon if you guys are up for some more reading :)

 Post subject: Re: Group II
PostPosted: 18 Jul 2014, 07:18 
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I second that sentiment and can't wait for more, Brittany :)

 Post subject: Re: Group II
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2014, 18:47 
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Liz I love this story. I also want to read more. I have a quick question. Is the story happening now or later? Only asked because of the "ed" was being used at the end of words.

"A weapon is only as deadly as the warrior that wields it." This sentence was brilliant.

I could tell right away this was a fantasy.
The tension in the story was great.
The POV of the charecter was clear that it was from Kirren.
The inner dialogue flowed with story.

Liz really good story.

 Post subject: Re: Group II
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2014, 19:44 
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Joined: 10 Jun 2014, 20:01
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I love the way you discribed london. It reminded me so much of when I was there. So the scene was well written.

It was very clear where she is.

I like the way you can tell that she really did not want to be there. So her POV was clear.

The tension on the page with the reporters wanting to get a statement from her was good. She clearly was annoyed with the whole thing.

Her internal dialogue was draws you into how she feels, so I felt that was well written.

The set was good. You can imagine how dreary it is in london at the time.

The way you written the story spurs me on, to read more. I would love to get more on the dynamic of the father, daughter relationship.

I do not know if I would put the reporters in the past tense, if you want it to be as if it is happening now. I love that it is in present tense.

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