Critique Group – The Prophecy

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The Prophecy – by I Am Thor (Updated version of Elf Story)

The two boys crept past the guards, one smirking and one as nervous as can be.

“Careful Zad. If we get caught again, I’ll kill you,” the older one said. Zad ruffled his brother’s blond hair.

“Don’t be such a worrier. We’ll be in and out! It’ll be great! Besides, when will you ever have another chance to rob the prince?” Zad laughed. “We’ll be fine, Wolf.” Wolf ducked his head to keep Zad from touching his hair.

“We will see, Zad. Are you ready?” he asked. Zad slapped a blue mask on and pulled his cloak’s hood over his head. Wolf eyed his brother’s hair, noticing for the first time how shaggy it was. “You need a haircut,” Wolf said. Zad leveled him with an icy glare.

“Get ready. You ain’t touching my hair,” he said. Wolf sighed.

“What am I going to do with you?” he mumbled, putting his green mask on.

“Are you done yet?” Zad asked, annoyed. He looked over the boulder they were hiding behind, watching the rounds of the guards. “I should go about now,” Zad remarked. Wolf ignored him and walked to the gates. He walked as if he belonged there, but the guard still stopped him.

“Name,” the guard said. Wolf stopped.

“You do not know me? Why, I am the prince of the wood!” he swept his brown cloak behind him dramatically. The guard bowed his head in respect.

“I am sorry, Prince Aleon. Forgive me. The mask hides your identity.” The guard motioned the sentry at the gate. The sentry cranked open the gate while the guard talked. “Welcome. I hope you enjoy the masked ball and feast.”

“I should hope so,” Wolf said. He passed through the gate with his nose in the air, then looked around the courtyard. He couldn’t help being in awe at it. There were vines on the gray stone of the castle, flowers decorating the grass and benches every five feet along the path. Sitting on one of the benches were two ornately dressed young elves. Wolf didn’t have time to analyze them, but he did notice the circlets gleaming on their hair. The girl looked up and saw him. She smiled and waved. He waved back, albeit shyly. There weren’t many girls in his line of business. Wolf opened his mouth to say something to her as something slammed into him. He fell on his knees, catching himself with his hands before he smacked his face. Wolf rolled over to glare at the elf who ran into him, namely his brother.

“Excuse me! I’m terribly sorry!” Zad said, though he didn’t sound sorry to Wolf.

“Let me help you up. I’m Alaoson. You may have heard of me. Or my dad, which is much more likely, seeing as he’s an Elder.”

“Elder of what, exactly?” Wolf asked mockingly, though when he noticed the girl watching, he toned down his rebuke. “I mean, there are many places in Elæmus you could be from.”

“Aerius,” Zad said proudly. “Where are you from?”

“Silvasian.”

“The woodland realm? How interesting,” the girl who had waved at Wolf earlier walked over to them. “What’s it like?”

“Uh. . .” Wolf hesitated. “It’s very. . .woodsy. With a lot of nature.” He cringed, expecting her to see through him, but all she did was laugh.

“You’re right. I don’t know what else I would imagine from a tree realm. My name is Princess Zarya.” She held out her hand. Wolf took her soft hand in his and bent over it, as was the custom in Abrevar for royalty.

“My name is W – Aleon. Prince Aleon.” Wolf grinned at her, showing his dimples. Before Zad could say anything, though, the other elf stood and walked up to them.

“Sister, don’t keep them too long. I’m sure they’re tired from traveling and would like something to eat,” he said. Zarya smiled apologetically.

“Daxton is right. I’m so sorry. Here, come with me. I’ll show you to the feasting table.” Zarya walked in the double doors. The brothers looked at each other, then followed. Wolf gaped in amazement when he saw the inside. There were blue banners along the walls and torches between. But the best part was the designs etched into the stone. They looped up, around and through the banners, on the ceilings, and filled every wall to the brim. The designs were seemingly random, but when Wolf looked closer he saw a face here, or an animal there. He was certain the designs were telling a story, so he watched them the rest of the way to the dining room. He didn’t notice Zad disappear and didn’t even notice that they had arrived until Zarya nudged him.

“We’re here,” she said.

Wolf’s head snapped up. “When did we get here?” he breathed, gazing at the shiny blue walls that rippled with light, giving him the effect that he was underwater. He suddenly felt very claustrophobic. There was a long table in the middle of the room filled with foods from every kingdom and the smell almost overpowering. It almost made him sick, seeing as he hadn’t eaten since the day before. To get his mind of off food, he observed the nobles at the table. Almost all the nobles were there, from the dwarves of Incendiumis and the elves of Silvasian. Wolf stopped at the Silvasian elves with a jolt. Prince Aleon and King Areon weren’t supposed to be there! Wolf and his brother had seen to that. But here they were, Aleon sitting stoically and his father talking to the lady Tiolna of Centella. Zarya seemed to notice his distress.

“What’s the matter?” she asked him, resting her hand on his arm. Wolf looked at her.

“Nothing, nothing,” he said, trying to speak without stuttering; her touch made him unsettled for some reason. “I’m just. . .hungry.”

“I know you’re not Aleon,” Zarya whispered.

“W-what?” Wolf stammered.

“I grew up with Aleon. I knew you weren’t him the moment you introduced yourself, but I decided to watch and see what you would do. Why did you lie to attend a feast? Are you starving or something?” she asked, looking worried.

“I, uh. . .” he had just started explaining to her when Zad walked out of a corridor behind Zarya. He held up a satchel and grinned, then walked back into the hall. Wolf glanced back at Zarya. She looked concerned.

“Are you okay?” she asked. He nodded absent-mindedly.

“I, uh, I have to go. Sorry for lying,” he smiled at her.

“Wait, I didn’t get your name,” she called, but she was too late. He was already out of earshot, heading towards the spot he saw his brother. Halfway to the hallway, Wolf tripped into someone and fell backwards. The elf he ran into reached down and hauled him up. “Watch where you’re going,” the guy said irritably. He had blond hair, electric blue eyes and wore the sign of Centellan servants on his arm.

 

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16 replies

  1. This is pretty intriguing right now! I’m curious as to why they were sneaking into this big, fancy looking banquet, and what Zarya is going to do. Keep writing!

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  2. I really like this story! 😀 Keep up the good work!
    My only advice is keep the different characters’ actions and quotes in different paragraphs.
    e.g.
    “Careful Zad. If we get caught again, I’ll kill you,” the older one said.

    Zad ruffled his brother’s blond hair. “Don’t be such a worrier. We’ll be in and out! It’ll be great! Besides, when will you ever have another chance to rob the prince?” Zad laughed. “We’ll be fine, Wolf.”

    Wolf ducked his head to keep Zad from touching his hair. “We will see, Zad. Are you ready?” he asked.

    Otherwise, I really liked the intrigue you wove into your story. 🙂

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  3. I will try to critique this sometime this weekend.

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  4. Kari,

    You have a fun idea going. The interactions between these two characters are funny.

    The number one issue, which Alexis mentioned above, is your misplacement of dialogue beats. You need to put a character’s actions in the same paragraph before he speaks.

    For example:
    ************
    “Careful Zad. If we get caught again, I’ll kill you,” the older one said. Zad ruffled his brother’s blond hair.

    “Don’t be such a worrier. We’ll be in and out! It’ll be great! Besides, when will you ever have another chance to rob the prince?” Zad laughed. “We’ll be fine, Wolf.” Wolf ducked his head to keep Zad from touching his hair.
    ************

    You need to move Zad’s introductory action to the beginning of the second paragraph and change the second use of his name to a pronoun, then move Wolf’s action to the next paragraph, and you can eliminate the “he asked” speaker tag, like this:
    ************
    “Careful Zad. If we get caught again, I’ll kill you,” the older one said.

    Zad ruffled his brother’s blond hair. “Don’t be such a worrier. We’ll be in and out! It’ll be great! Besides, when will you ever have another chance to rob the prince?” He laughed. “We’ll be fine, Wolf.”

    Wolf ducked his head to keep Zad from touching his hair. “We will see, Zad. Are you ready?”
    ************
    You do this several times. You need to change them all.

    Also, there are point-of-view (POV) issues. This appears to be in Wolf’s POV. I don’t think he would refer to himself as “the older one.” In addition, if you are going to use a speaker tag in that paragraph, move it to the earliest possible position, like this: (Watch for this in other places. Always put the speaker tag as early as possible in the paragraph.)

    “Careful Zad,” Wolf said. “If we get caught again, I’ll kill you.”

    There are other more minor POV issues. For example: “Wolf’s head snapped up.”

    Since we are in Wolf’s POV, it should be, “Wolf snapped his head up.” This way, Wolf is doing the action. The way you have it, readers are observing the action outside of Wolf’s POV.

    There are also punctuation and capitalization issues. For example:

    “You do not know me? Why, I am the prince of the wood!” he swept his brown cloak behind him dramatically.

    The “he” in “he swept” should start with a capital H.

    Also this: “I, uh, I have to go. Sorry for lying,” he smiled at her.

    The “he smiled” is written like it’s a speaker tag, but you can’t smile your words. It should look like this:

    “I, uh, I have to go. Sorry for lying.” He smiled at her.

    You also have motivation/reaction issues. For example: Wolf gaped in amazement when he saw the inside.

    You report that he gapes before you report the reason for the gaping. If we are in Wolf’s POV, we will see the reason for the gaping before he actually gapes.

    Here is another POV problem:

    He didn’t notice Zad disappear and didn’t even notice that they had arrived until Zarya nudged him.

    If he didn’t notice Zad disappear, and we are in his POV, how can you report that he disappeared? Also, the nudging comes before he noticed the arrival, so report the nudging before reporting the noticing of the arrival.

    There are other minor issues to address, but I will leave you with the above for now.

    On a more subjective note, I probably wouldn’t read the story because I couldn’t connect with Wolf and Zad. Their only goals were to deceive and steal. I have a hard time connecting with villains. If you showed me some reason to sympathize with them, maybe I could connect.

    Keep working at it!

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  5. I really like the dialogue you use. Its very natural, which allows me to connect with the characters better. Keep it up!

    On another note, it was a bit difficult for me to follow the emotions of the characters in the first few paragraphs, when the brothers are preparing. At first, Zad is carefree, despite their supposedly dire situation, but it seems as if his attitude changes to a more irritable one with very little transition. That might be something to look into.

    I hope you find this comment helpful!

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  6. You have some great stuff going here! I really like how you go into some of the customs of the world you’re working with. I would add some more description of the setting, but other than that I have nothing to add! Keep up the good work!

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