Critique Group – Dreams of the Adrogans

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Dreams of the Adrogans – by Sofia (From the epilogue)

“If you want my advice, my lord, I would highly counsel you not leave now on this campaign. Your place is here, among your people. Your leadership and wisdom are needed here in Erid, not elsewhere. You must stay and strengthen the alliances with the other kingdoms, rebuild the villages and fortify them, train the new recruits. Your presence here would encourage the people to build a stronger relationship with the refugees from Strathclyde.” Sarel paused a moment to see if there was a change in Trygaeos’s face, but there was none. “And your family needs you most of all. Ariahna has confided in me countless times that she longs to have you by her side once again as in the days when you were first married. She is weak from childbirth, and may not last long; you don’t know that because you never see her anymore. You are a stranger to your son; he sees you from afar but hardly knows you in person. Trygaeos, your relationship with your wife and son are more important than anything else in the world – especially this campaign. If there would be anything that I would want you to do, it would be to stay and repair the relationship with your wife and son.”

Trygaeos did not respond. He remained silent for a long moment as his consciousness questioned again as to whether it was right for him to leave on this campaign. He wanted desperately to leave, but a part of him told him that it was not right and unwise. Aloud, he said, “I made my decision with the Council, Sarel. I leave in the morning.”

Sarel nodded. “Fine. Do what you want. But as I said before, I still won’t give you my blessing.”

The king was taken aback. “What? After all I’ve done to protect the kingdom, how can you not see that this campaign is a worthy cause for the good of everyone? That it needs to be done? Sarel, listen –“

“No! We will not go through this again! We already discussed this and I am through trying to persuade and convince you that it is not the right thing to do. Did I not give you counsel as to why you should not leave? Did I not tell you that this decision is of your own accord?” Sarel put his hands on his hips. “Trygaeos, you are free to go, but as I said, I am not giving you my blessing because this is –“

“The right thing to do!” Trygaeos rolled his eyes. “I know, Seer! You do not have to preach at me again!” He gave an exasperated sigh and looked up at the stars. “I am still going.”

“I’m not stopping you, Trygaeos,” Sarel said. “You fully well that the decision is yours. You were the one who stopped listening to me.”

“I know! Stop telling me that!”

“Don’t yell at me, Trygaeos,” Sarel said. “I know… “ He sighed. “Seeing that you have clearly made up your mind, I hope you realize someday that you have to live with the consequences of the decisions that you make, both the good and bad. No matter what happens, you will always reap what you sow. If you succeed in this campaign, you will gain an enormous empire and will return with a vast amount of wealth; but no one will know who you are anymore because you will have changed in your mind, heart, and actions.”

Trygaeos sighed. “And if I fail?”

Sarel grimaced. “If you fail… well, your kingdom will still here for you to rebuild. The noblemen, if their hearts have changed, will want to work with you. But the armies of the north and south will stand at your doorstep and want to fight.” He smiled grimly. “Through it all, your wife and son will still be here to welcome you back with open arms, ready to love you, to forgive your actions, and rebuild the broken relationships. I tell you again: whatever decisions you will ever make, you must live with the consequences. I will not be there to pick up the pieces for you and to fix everything. You must learn to do that on your own.”

Trygaeos nodded slowly. “I am still determined to leave in the morning with my men, Sarel. I’m sorry, but I have to do this. Give my best regards to my wife and son.” He turned on his heel and left Sarel standing there on the terrace.

The seer remained there for a long time, deep in thought. As much as he wanted Trygaeos not to go on the campaign, he knew that the king must in order to learn what it meant to live with the consequences of his decisions. No matter what he does, it will be hard for him to accept. He had always been the stubborn goat of the royal family – determined to have his own way, oblivious to anyone who might want to help him. He had always relied on Sarel for help and when something went wrong, it was Sarel who picked up the pieces and fixed the problems. But Trygaeos must do it on his own now. It would be a challenge – one that would determine the future of the kingdom of Erid and the Alliance of Riadin.

Sarel raised his eyes towards the night sky. “Adenaï, if it is your will,” he said softly, “break Trygaeos into a thousand pieces. Through any means, help him understand that he is stubborn as a mule. I know it is not the best thing to say, but let this campaign of his fail so that he will learn that the consequences do matter. And in the process, let him somehow rebuild his relationship with his wife and son.”

His burden lifted, he turned on his heel and returned to his quarters within the palace.

***

At dawn, Trygaeos, with his three Journey Advisors and five generals, strode into the courtyard where the three armies of Erid, Kehnia, and Valencia stood at attention. To the side, the mercenary soldiers from Strathclyde, Aleuzeneva, and the Isle of Arran stood patiently, awaiting for the signal to march.

Trygaeos stopped a few paces away from the armies. His generals and advisors stood behind him. Looking over the men, he smiled and looked back at the generals. “All of you have done well, my generals,” he said. “The training has payed off.”

The generals bowed and one of them told them that the leaders of the mercenaries had arrived. Trygaeos thanked him and then, standing still before his men, he spoke in a loud voice, “My brothers of the Alliance! Today, we leave on the Eastern Campaign. I need no necessary to remind you of the trials and obstacles that we all have endured to arrive at this point. We fought against betrayers who would see nothing but my own downfall; an army of more than ten thousand against this city of Eridanus; rebellions in the northern parts of Erid, Kehnia and Valencia that would have brought our ruin if it had not been for the Dragons of Achia and their Warriors. Did they prevail against us? No!

“My brothers, I did not lead you in those trails for you to fail for there were greater things destined for us all. You were downhearted and discouraged when you returned from the Northern Rebellions, but then took heart when reminded that we do not do this out your own strength, but that we work together to accomplish these things.

“And so now, I remind you once again: we do not do this of our own accord but with the help and blessing of Adenaï. Through His might and power, we will do the impossible: conquer an empire so mighty and huge that our enemies will bow down to us and call us ‘the Extraordinary.’ Who is with me?”

A great cry went up from the soldiers. The generals clapped Trygaeos in back and the order was given to depart within the half hour. Everyone dispersed quickly to gather their belongings. Trygaeos, waiting at the gate for everyone to follow him, turned and looked up at the terrace where he and Sarel had been talking the night before. There was a figure standing there and he knew that it was Sarel.

The seer lifted his hand in a motion of farewell and then quickly departed. Somewhere inside, Trygaeos felt a tiny voice telling him that it was wrong of him to on this campaign, but he shoved it aside. He could not and would not turn back on this campaign.

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4 replies

  1. Sofia,

    Since this excerpt is from the epilogue and not the beginning, I had a hard time figuring out what was going on. This is why I prefer to see the beginning of a piece instead of the end. Therefore, my critique will be short, because I can’t really analyze the story.

    It looks like you have an intriguing concept. I enjoy reading stories in which a leader has a spiritual guide who tries to influence the leader for good.

    This excerpt had a lot of dialogue with almost no scene setup. Maybe you set the scene earlier, but I can’t tell. In any case, the dialogue seemed overly long all of the way through. I think Sarel and the king can speak their minds in a considerably shorter way.

    Also, I wondered about your point of view. At first it was from Sarel’s POV, but then you switched to Trygaeos’s POV. Are you trying for omniscient POV?

    In short, I think you should cut the dialogue by at least a third. Show more of the surroundings, show reactions such as body language. Give the readers more visuals and less talking.

    Details: “If there would be anything that I would want you to do, it would be to stay and repair the relationship with your wife and son.” – Three uses of “would.”

    He remained silent for a long moment as his consciousness questioned again as to whether it was right for him to leave on this campaign.” – Use conscience instead of consciousness.

    “The king was taken aback.” – Can you show this instead of telling it?

    Trygaeos sighed. – Sarel sighed in the previous paragraph. Be careful of too much sighing.

    He turned on his heel and left Sarel standing there on the terrace. – No need for “there.”

    Looking over the men, he smiled and looked back at the generals. – Repeated use of a form of “look.”

    “The training has payed off.” – Use “paid” instead of “payed.”

    “I need no necessary to remind you of the trials and obstacles that we all have endured to arrive at this point.” – Do you mean “It is not necessary”?

    but then took heart when reminded that we do not do this out your own strength – “out of your own strength”?

    Overall, I like the concept. Strive to enhance the experience for the readers rather than simply informing them.

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  2. Sarel seems like an interesting character.
    There is a very long chunk of dialogue at the beginning, before we even know who is in the room or who the speaker is.
    Also, maybe it’s just me, but this doesn’t sound like an epilogue. It sounds like it’s the start to an interesting story, making me think you’ve got a sequel on your hands.

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  3. Nice Job Sophia! I am already interested.

    A few things I noticed were (1) the seer must be extremely familiar with the king to talk so . . . freely with him. The way he reprimands the king is more like a brother to and brother than an adviser to his king, and (2) the castle must have an EXTREMELY large courtyard if three whole armies can fit inside it. Maybe have the king meet them in a field outside the castle/city. That would make A LOT more sense visually.

    Other than that, keep at it. Good luck!

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  4. Nice work, Sofia! 😀
    I really liked the tension. [When Trygaeos said that they had Adenaï’s blessing on the mission, I immediately thought, “Ooooohhh noooo… Trygaeos, that was a really bad call. You should have listened to Sarel.” 🙁 ]
    I just noticed a couple things you might want to know:
    “If you fail… well, your kingdom will still __ here for you to rebuild.”
    ~ I think you’re missing “be” in the blank. 🙂

    “I need no necessary to remind you of the trials and obstacles that we all have endured to arrive at this point.”
    ~ This doesn’t sound right… Maybe, “I need not remind you…”?

    “The generals clapped Trygaeos in back and the order was given to depart within the half hour.”
    ~ I think you meant they clapped him “on the” back. 😉

    Other than those, Great Job! 😀

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