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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« on: 23 June 2009, 06:10:55 »

Ta ta!

(1) I still have to read through it again in the morning for false notes and other minor linguistic mistakes that escaped my notice the first time around, but it's pretty much done! grin

(2) Red - anything I am not sure of or needs a second, editorial eye
     Green - additions and corrections since its previous incarnation as Chapter 1 in the locked thread below

Unleash the editorial de geniuses! I sincerely want to improve my prose and story-crafting - so all the constructive criticism you can throw my way would be much appreciated!

Clean version
Coloured version

PS: Once again, as soon as we reach consensus on the final version, I'll convert it into the library format and email it to Arti :)
« Last Edit: 23 June 2009, 22:27:51 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #1 on: 23 June 2009, 06:11:39 »

The story so far...


Introduction
A Seagull’s Cry traces Dearan Asaen’s growth from a successful but frustrated young adult to a man with depth of character, vigorous in the pursuit of his own happiness. As Dearan unravels the truth behind his great expectations, the plot escalates - steering him towards maturity and a quest to live in line with his own nature. He emerges from these trials with an invigorating vision of life and an uncompromising belief in the capacity of man to be the master of his own destiny. The story and its memorable characters repeatedly spiral upwards, through anticipation, confrontation and self-correction. The end is a triumph of understanding, and of man’s right to face life on his own terms

Chapter 1: Adumbration
In Which the Young Krean mage Déárán, having Done his Duty as an Unwilling Imperial Appraiser, is Confronted by Master Merchant Terensis, the Latter believing Himself to have been Used Most Unjustly... Meet Master Terensis, the Great Vessel, who seems to be less enraged by being Fined than by the fact that he has been fined by A Man Half His Age, whom he considers to be Barely Past Adolescence. But this he will not admit…

Chapter 2: Anticipation
In Which a more Tender Side of Déárán is Revealed. As Déárán and Khalid continue walking towards Akantha, the lady for whom the party is held, Déárán lets his imagination run wild, with characteristic good-humour and mischief. When they finally meet, the air between them is dominated as much by the Unspoken as by the words that precede and frame it.


Chapter 3: Admiration
In Which, Déárán encounters Faivis Fang Caiaphas - who talks, walks and deports himself so handsomely, so gallantly and so gracefully, that, despite all his misgivings, Déárán’s sense of justice cannot help but wish him every happiness in life, a hundred leagues away. Discover why the young mage Objects to machete-wielding princes, and why skill in swordsmanship does not necessarily qualify one for happiness hereafter.
« Last Edit: 27 June 2009, 04:15:18 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #2 on: 23 June 2009, 06:12:27 »

"They looked at each other for some time, Déárán’s face touched with a half-smile. There was so much kindness and goodwill in that exchange that his general vitality and briskness melted into a frank and easy affinity, as if he had, in that briefest of encounters, found a measure of personal happiness. Between the three the unspoken lay like sunbows, a flash of life and light that broke and brightened, reared and rose in every look. Like wind that shapes and lifts and shifts sunbows through springing flames of spray, each breath, each tone and movement rekindled the kinship between them. But like the sunbows it was a passing sparkle, snuffed out in a moment like the larger waves upon the slopes of which they appear, those that break or at least try to break before they are decapitated by the waves that follow."



CHAPTER 2
Anticipation


As Déárán and Khalid moved on and up towards the reception on the third terrace to communicate their greetings, they passed dozens of little children arranged into groups of twos and threes, singing and offering them a variety of fruit liquor. Déárán marvelled at the discipline that kept the children, of such tender years, from fidgeting and presently retiring behind their elbows; and wondered by what method it had been imparted. Knowing something of children in general, and Akantha’s temperament in particular, he suspected the involvement of cajolements of a sugary nature – the children’s restless tendencies relenting at the sight of Krath-chocolate, generously administered.

Déárán considered himself a good judge of character; and to his expert eye, the little boy of six to his right looked like one inclined to invest his spare time in mischief. He puffed his chest out and sang at the top of his voice with utmost solemnity; cast an admonishing glare at the rest of the choir behind him when they failed to support his lead with enough zeal; and every now and then, when a difficult passage was imminent, turned back to make directing gestures at his friends, who did not seem very appreciative of this solicitude for their hitting the right notes. The stiffest spine, once bent, stays bent. “He,” Déárán thought, with some resentment, “must have been allowed the liberty of climbing onto Akantha’s lap – lucky child! – and to sit there munching quietly at his Khofuhshati.”

A curious and animating notion then entered Déárán’s mind: a picture of the boy taking Master Terensis by the cheeks in a tantrum, and smoothing his face all over with his hand. Unable to banish the incongruous image, Déárán chuckled – rather passionately. Khalid must have consigned his friend’s newfound mirth either to a cheerful disposition or as one of the eccentricities to which he was entitled by virtue of being Krean; apart from a glance in his direction he let the matter pass without further comment.

They found Akantha energetically engaged in making everyone around her feel welcome; not one guest who came her way escaped her notice.

“Khalid! Dearan!” beamed the young lady in whose honour the party was held, addressing the two men as though they were a pair of long promised emissaries from a faraway, exotic land. “How glad I am to see you!” Akantha had the Gift of making people feel welcome. Then, for a moment, her eyes were clouded over; and, turning to Déárán, she said, apologetically, “I am sorry about – (she blushed) - about that... unfortunate episode upon your arrival.”

“I should be,” Déárán took her hands warmly in his, “the one apologizing. I have no right to inconvenience you -- or to sour the festive air.” He sighed, following a small white cloud drift towards the sea. “So seldom I get an hour to myself that I try – I try very hard to leave all unwholesome incidents behind, especially when I am to meet such pleasant company. But Business seems to have a will of its own, sometimes contrary to my own inclinations.”

“I hope you have noticed my sanguine influence,” Khalid interposed, and winked with a conspiratory air at Akantha. He directed an eyebrow to the spot their hands met and coughed significantly, as if to say: “Ladies and Gentlemen! Take note! She bowed formally but – instead of a quaint Krean salutation – he returned it like a true Zhunite. What a savoury/congenial change!” Khalid concluded theatrically, “I rest my case.” They all smiled.

I am glad I could make it. A welcome reanimation of exhausted spirits!” Their hands parted, and Déárán added, “How gracefully is everything arranged! You have deserved it Akantha.” They looked at each other for some time, Déárán’s face touched with a half-smile. There was so much kindness and goodwill in that exchange that his general vitality and briskness melted into a frank and easy affinity, as if he had, in that briefest of encounters, found a measure of personal happiness. Between the three the unspoken lay like sunbows, a flash of life and light that broke and brightened, reared and rose in every look. Like wind that shapes and lifts and shifts sunbows through springing flames of spray, each breath, each tone and movement rekindled the kinship between them. But like the sunbows it was a passing sparkle, snuffed out in a moment like the larger waves upon the slopes of which they appear, those that break or at least try to break before they are decapitated by the waves that follow.

“But do forgive Master Terensis. He is like an uncle to me, you see” pursued Akantha, innocently, with some trepidation.

Déárán did not see; but he did not say so. Akantha continued:

“He is a kind-hearted man (The various muscles of Déárán’s face configured themselves as if to say, first “We have our doubts about that,” and then “but we shall submit to your better judgement”) but he has a great temper and does not know when to stop.”

“Such incidents are not uncommon in this line of business – or so I am told! Please, Akantha, do not trouble yourself over it. Besides, it is good practice. If I learn to handle your dear uncle, I shall have no problem with the Anpagan delegation tomorrow.”

Then, with a theatrical flourish mirroring his friend’s (which elicited a smile from Akantha), Déárán began anew: “Nothing should be allowed to cast a shadow over today’s party!”

The sun illuminated Lady Akantha’s white dress with alternating patterns of light; now her slender ankles, now her vivacious hands, now her chiselled face flared with high-spirited radiance.

“Dearan! How I envy you! Those who have seen so much of the world, who have travelled to all the Empire’s provinces and beyond – like Fang Caiaphas or yourself – how little you make these injuries seem! How swiftly you sweep such incidents aside!”

With the austere discipline that traces descent from a capacity to feel too deeply, Déárán resisted the urge to cringe. He did not like his name partaking in any sentence in which Fang Caiaphas had a presence.

“Dearan,” Akantha said after some time, with a touch of wonder in her voice. “I know that you would never wake up in the morning oppressed by the familiarity of everything or – ” She paused and closed her eyes, as if she were searching for the words that would accompany her sentiments and convey them across the chasm of space and silence stretching between them. Something in her manner, in the way her brows slowly came together, her chest rose, paused for several moments, and without warning sagged, dissipating the breath gathered in its vaults, reminded Déárán of a storm gathering at sea, when the ocean is aroused and a great tempest is rising on the horizon, rolling towards the shore. “ – dread coming out of bed wondering how small your world must be for such things to be so humiliating, so insurmountable. But – ” As sea-storms often do, whatever fervour, whatever intensity of feeling that was surfacing against the waves which covered it melted away as unexpectedly as it arose. “ – are not you ever hurt?” Akantha’s voice grew quieter as she spoke, but rose again in a while, as if the storm had been struggling under the might of the ocean and yearned to make its floor shake. “Or do you learn to shield your expectations, your feelings from the world?”

“I do not think that can ever be learned – I hope not! But Akantha!” The young Krean halted briefly, and as he contemplated Akantha’s words, his intelligent eyes widened slightly, as if he were mildly surprised or even amused, at the naiveté of her questions. Then, with a hardly laugh – a laugh inundated with humour and goodwill, unaffected, unembarrassed, beginning with a deep resonance and effortlessly climbing several octaves – he said: “Could I but be as you described, how simpler everything would be... The invincible man!” He smiled, but remained silent. Waiting. He seemed to be reflecting, gathering his thoughts. Or, perhaps he was simply searching for a turn of phrase in this language that was not his own. When he spoke again, he did so unhurriedly in a tone that was more earnest than solemn, articulating each word slowly as if their sounds were foreign to him. “But I must own the truth: They do hurt; I do feel the pain, but I refuse to let that matter.” Déárán looked away; the little cloud was no longer visible. He thought the horizon appeared somewhat blurrier. The sun was too bright. He turned back.

Finding them so determined to propound this to be a light-hearted day yet wander into melancholy, Khalid attacked the silence from another ground:

“Hmm, is it jasmine or lavender? I cannot quite tell” said he, pointing to a small white pouch tied to Akantha’s wrist.

“Both, I believe.”

“What a beautiful fragrance! Did you get it from town?”

“Ah, yes! From Caiaphases’ new shop, above the harbour.”

“Well done Khalid!” he thought, knowing well how his friend felt about a certain Caiaphas. By and large though, he considered it a rather useful interruption, for it supplied them with fresh matter for thought and conversation.

“You know, when I first entered the shop it occurred to me that the shop-keeper must be a very happy man to have so many little drawers so cleverly hidden. You must promise to see it Déárán; I believe the shop is of Krean design. It is a very elegant space. Though...” Akantha was lost in contemplation for a moment, as if she was measuring her next words and found the sum somewhat surprising. “I remember wondering, when I peeped into the tied-up packets inside, if the flower-seeds and bulbs –“

“Yearned for a fine day to break out of those jails, and bloom?” proposed the Krean.

“Yes! How did you – “

“I used to ask the same thing as a child. Now, I know that it is possible.”

“You don’t mean... that they actually – yearn?” Akantha felt the need to seek further clarification. Two things contributed to her uncertainty: Firstly, she knew that the Krean mind thought differently; one could never tell when a Krean ceased to speak metaphorically. Secondly, she knew that Déárán was a mage; that, rather significantly expanded the limits of what was possible without the involvement of any metaphors.

“That, the lively imagination can only suspect. I do know, however, that with a little encouragement they can – and do – bloom and escape.”

There hung in the air the soft, luminous scent of jasmines, tinctured by the sharper fragrance of lavender.

“Dearan...” Akantha said. “But enough of this talk of blossoms and exploring the world. As you said, today I must be grateful.”

Without warning Déárán broke into laughter, as full of life and as unanticipated as the dolphin-torn sea.

“Dearan, stop.” Akantha’s hands lost their composure. “Dearan! This isn’t funny! Will you stop please!”

“I would say I am sorry but I cannot quite bring my heart to agree. It seems I made a wiser choice than I realized.”

Akantha was not pleased; absentmindedly she had been squeezing the white pouch. The fragrance of crushed lavender intensified in the air, and the light breeze picked it up at irregular intervals.

“Here, please, a small gift from me.” The young Krean reached forward to pass her a grapefruit-sized package but withdrew it before their hands connected. “I want you to promise me that you won’t open it until all the guests are gone and you retire for the night.”

“Then I can assure you that it shall have a better fate than your advice has often found; for it shall be attended to!” interposed Khalid, who, being a close friend of Akantha and Déárán’s host, had appointed himself to the post of furthering their acquaintance. He put one arm around Akantha’s waist and another on Déárán’s shoulder, an impish smile lighting his face.

But Déárán’s attention was elsewhere.

“Is that?”


« Last Edit: 24 June 2009, 01:06:10 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #3 on: 23 June 2009, 16:47:41 »

CHAPTER 2
Anticipation


As Déárán and Khalid moved on and up towards the reception on the third terrace to communicate their greetings, they passed dozens of little children arranged into groups of twos and threes, singing and offering them a variety of fruit liquor. Déárán marvelled at the discipline that kept the children, of such tender years, from fidgeting and presently retiring behind their elbows; and wondered by what method it had been imparted. Knowing something of children in general, and Akantha’s temperament in particular, he suspected the involvement of cajolements of a sugary nature – the children’s restless tendencies relenting at the sight of Krath-chocolate, generously administered.

Déárán considered himself a good judge of character; and to his expert eye, the little boy of six to his right looked like one inclined to invest his spare time in mischief. He puffed his chest out and sang at the top of his voice with utmost solemnity; cast an admonishing glare at the rest of the choir behind him when they failed to support his lead with enough zeal; and every now and then, when a difficult passage was imminent, turned back to make directing gestures at his friends, who did not seem very appreciative of this solicitude for their hitting the right notes. The stiffest spine, once bent, stays bent. “He,” Déárán thought, with some resentment, “must have been allowed the liberty of climbing onto Akantha’s lap – lucky child! – and to sit there munching quietly at his Khofuhshati.”

A curious and animating notion then entered Déárán’s mind: a picture of the boy taking Master Terensis by the cheeks in a tantrum, and smoothing his face all over with his hand. Unable to banish the incongruous image, Déárán chuckled – rather passionately. Khalid must have consigned his friend’s newfound mirth either to a cheerful disposition or as one of the eccentricities to which he was entitled by virtue of being Krean; apart from a glance in his direction he let the matter pass without further comment.

They found Akantha energetically engaged in making everyone around her feel welcome; not one guest who came her way escaped her notice.

“Khalid! Dearan!” beamed the young lady in whose honour the party was held, addressing the two men as though they were a pair of long promised emissaries from a faraway, exotic land. “How glad I am to see you!” Akantha had the Gift of making people feel welcome. Then, for a moment, her eyes were clouded over; and, turning to Déárán, she said, apologetically, “I am sorry about – (she blushed) - about that... unfortunate episode upon your arrival.”

“I should be,” Déárán took her hands warmly in his, “the one apologizing. I have no right to inconvenience you -- or to sour the festive air.” He sighed, following a small white cloud drift towards the sea. “So seldom I get an hour to myself that I try – I try very hard to leave all unwholesome incidents behind, especially when I am to meet such pleasant company. But Business seems to have a will of its own, sometimes contrary to my own inclinations.”

“I hope you have noticed my sanguine influence,” Khalid interposed, and winked with a conspiratory air at Akantha. He directed an eyebrow to the spot their hands met and coughed significantly, as if to say: “Ladies and Gentlemen! Take note! She bowed formally but – instead of a quaint Krean salutation – he returned it like a true Zhunite. What a savoury/congenial change!” Khalid concluded theatrically, “I rest my case.” They all smiled.

I am glad I could make it. A welcome reanimation of exhausted spirits!” Their hands parted, and Déárán added, “How gracefully is everything arranged! You have deserved it Akantha.” They looked at each other for some time, Déárán’s face touched with a half-smile. There was so much kindness and goodwill in that exchange that his general vitality and briskness melted into a frank and easy affinity, as if he had, in that briefest of encounters, found a measure of personal happiness. Between the three the unspoken lay like sunbows, a flash of life and light that broke and brightened, reared and rose in every look. Like wind that shapes and lifts and shifts sunbows through springing flames of spray, each breath, each tone and movement rekindled the kinship between them. But like the sunbows it was a passing sparkle, snuffed out in a moment like (as are?) the larger waves upon the slopes of which they appear, those that break or at least try to break before they are decapitated by the waves that follow.

“But do forgive Master Terensis. He is like an uncle to me, you see” pursued Akantha, innocently, with some trepidation.

Déárán did not see; but he did not say so. Akantha continued:

“He is a kind-hearted man (The various muscles of Déárán’s face configured themselves as if to say, first “We have our doubts about that,” and then “but we shall submit to your better judgement”) but he has a great temper and does not know when to stop.”

“Such incidents are not uncommon in this line of business – or so I am told! Please, Akantha, do not trouble yourself over it. Besides, it is good practice. If I learn to handle your dear uncle, I shall have no problem with the Anpagan delegation tomorrow.”

Then, with a theatrical flourish mirroring his friend’s (which elicited a smile from Akantha), Déárán began anew: “Nothing should be allowed to cast a shadow over today’s party!”

The sun illuminated Lady Akantha’s white dress with alternating patterns of light; now her slender ankles, now her vivacious hands, now her chiselled face flared with high-spirited radiance.

“Dearan! How I envy you! Those who have seen so much of the world, who have travelled to all the Empire’s provinces and beyond – like Fang Caiaphas or yourself – how little you make these injuries seem! How swiftly you sweep such incidents aside!”

With the austere discipline that traces descent from a capacity to feel too deeply, Déárán resisted the urge to cringe. He did not like his name partaking in any sentence in which Fang Caiaphas had a presence.

“Dearan,” Akantha said after some time, with a touch of wonder in her voice. “I know that you would never wake up in the morning oppressed by the familiarity of everything or – ” She paused and closed her eyes, as if she were searching for the words that would accompany her sentiments and convey them across the chasm of space and silence stretching between them. Something in her manner, in the way her brows slowly came together, her chest rose, paused for several moments, and without warning sagged, dissipating the breath gathered in its vaults, reminded Déárán of a storm gathering at sea, when the ocean is aroused and a great tempest is rising on the horizon, rolling towards the shore. “ – dread coming out of bed wondering how small your world must be for such things to be so humiliating, so insurmountable. But – ” As sea-storms often do, whatever fervour, whatever intensity of feeling that was surfacing against the waves which covered it melted away as unexpectedly as it arose. “ – are not you ever hurt?” Akantha’s voice grew quieter as she spoke, but rose again in a while, as if the storm had been struggling under the might of the ocean and yearned to make its floor shake. “Or do you learn to shield your expectations, your feelings from the world?”

“I do not think that can ever be learned – I hope not! But Akantha!” The young Krean halted briefly, and as he contemplated Akantha’s words, his intelligent eyes widened slightly, as if he were mildly surprised or even amused, at the naiveté of her questions. Then, with a hardly laugh – a laugh inundated with humour and goodwill, unaffected, unembarrassed, beginning with a deep resonance and effortlessly climbing several octaves – he said: “Could I but be as you described, how simpler everything would be... The invincible man!” He smiled, but remained silent. Waiting. He seemed to be reflecting, gathering his thoughts. Or, perhaps he was simply searching for a turn of phrase in this language that was not his own. When he spoke again, he did so unhurriedly in a tone that was more earnest than solemn, articulating each word slowly as if their sounds were foreign to him. “But I must own the truth: They do hurt; I do feel the pain, but I refuse to let that matter.” Déárán looked away; the little cloud was no longer visible. He thought the horizon appeared somewhat blurrier. The sun was too bright. He turned back.

Finding them so determined to propound this to be a light-hearted day yet wander into melancholy, Khalid attacked the silence from another ground:

“Hmm, is it jasmine or lavender? I cannot quite tell” said he, pointing to a small white pouch tied to Akantha’s wrist.

“Both, I believe.”

“What a beautiful fragrance! Did you get it from town?”

“Ah, yes! From Caiaphases’ new shop, above the harbour.”

“Well done Khalid!” he thought, knowing well how his friend felt about a certain Caiaphas. By and large though, he considered it a rather useful interruption, for it supplied them with fresh matter for thought and conversation.

“You know, when I first entered the shop it occurred to me that the shop-keeper must be a very happy man to have so many little drawers so cleverly hidden. You must promise to see it Déárán; I believe the shop is of Krean design. It is a very elegant space. Though...” Akantha was lost in contemplation for a moment, as if she was measuring her next words and found the sum somewhat surprising. “I remember wondering, when I peeped into the tied-up packets inside, if the flower-seeds and bulbs –“

“Yearned for a fine day to break out of those jails, and bloom?” proposed the Krean.

“Yes! How did you – “

“I used to ask the same thing as a child. Now, I know that it is possible.”

“You don’t mean... that they actually – yearn?” Akantha felt the need to seek further clarification. Two things contributed to her uncertainty: Firstly, she knew that the Krean mind thought differently; one could never tell when a Krean ceased to speak metaphorically. Secondly, she knew that Déárán was a mage; that, rather significantly expanded the limits of what was possible without the involvement of any metaphors.

“That, the lively imagination can only suspect. I do know, however, that with a little encouragement they can – and do – bloom and escape.”

There hung in the air the soft, luminous scent of jasmines, tinctured by the sharper fragrance of lavender.

“Dearan...” Akantha said. “But enough of this talk of blossoms and exploring the world. As you said, today I must be grateful.”

Without warning Déárán broke into laughter, as full of life and as unanticipated as the dolphin-torn sea.

“Dearan, stop.” Akantha’s hands lost their composure. “Dearan! This isn’t funny! Will you stop please!”

“I would say I am sorry but I cannot quite bring my heart to agree. It seems I made a wiser choice than I realized.”

Akantha was not pleased; absentmindedly she had been squeezing the white pouch. The fragrance of crushed lavender intensified in the air, and the light breeze picked it up at irregular intervals.

“Here, please, a small gift from me.” The young Krean reached forward to pass her a grapefruit-sized package but withdrew it before their hands connected. “I want you to promise me that you won’t open it until all the guests are gone and you retire for the night.”

“Then I can assure you that it shall have a better fate than your advice has often found; for it shall be attended to!” interposed Khalid, who, being a close friend of Akantha and Déárán’s host, had appointed himself to the post of furthering their acquaintance. He put one arm around Akantha’s waist and another on Déárán’s shoulder, an impish smile lighting his face.

But Déárán’s attention was elsewhere.

“Is that?”


« Last Edit: 23 June 2009, 22:27:30 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #4 on: 23 June 2009, 22:29:22 »

Ready for comments! :)
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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
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« Reply #5 on: 24 June 2009, 05:45:08 »

Coren, I don't really know what to comment, what to say other than Ilike it very much. you write so well, that I don't even see the mistakes you might make.

Quote
the little boy of six to his right looked like one inclined to invest his spare time in mischief
LOL

and that green part you used as a teaser, it is so beautiful written...

And as I like the text as it is, it is difficult to apply the rules I learned on a German writing board. Maybe I should ask, what the first part with the children is for, if that could not/should not be cut out, for it leads nowhere.

You used 'infodumping' in the thread of the first chapter, but I can't find much of it here. Two many adjectives? Don't know, I like them. Do you show, and not tell? I can't even say, if that is true.

Well, others have more ideas and the questions the aspiring writers on that German board always pose: Would you like to read on? YES, I'd love to read on!
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« Reply #6 on: 24 June 2009, 12:30:14 »

I read it with pleasure, and look forward to more.  Great job, Coren. :D
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« Reply #7 on: 26 June 2009, 13:42:29 »

Oh, Talia - I forgot about your comments here! I'll address them as soon as I get back - off to tennis and then swimming now ;) I LOVE being on holiday!

Maybe, if I ever do a masters, I should do it on vacation-ing...
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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #8 on: 27 June 2009, 00:26:06 »

@Altario: Thanks!

@Talia:

- Re the part with the children: Good question Talia! But this time I'm prepared ;) I read somewhere that to keep the plot from being too readily anticipated, you need to "make the causal look casual". It's a bit like "planting", where you introduce something that is going to play a role later to an unsuspecting audience - giving rise to the "Aha!" factor when it comes up again. So, the part with the boy has several functions:

(1) Pacing: It provides comic relief after the tension with Master Terensis. Also, I needed a short scene in between two longer ones.

(2) Character building: Shows (rather than tells) that Dearan is very observant - even after a major argument, he is not lost in his own world but notices the small things going on around him without working a sweat. That he has a sense of humour, a warmer one than the sarcasm he used in Ch 1. Also, since humour is a defence mechanism, the fantasy about the boy taking M T by the cheeks suggests that the incident bugged him quite a bit.

(3) Plot: I really shouldn't be saying this, but it's difficult to resist :D : I wanted to introduce that boy and Dearan's gut reaction to him, because Dearan is going to end up babysitting him (!) later on... Heh heh... That'll be a fun chapter to write ;)

- As regards showing and telling: I, as the narrator, butt in a bit more than is customary in modern fiction but I always try to support what I've just "told" the reader by "showing" it in action afterwards. So for example, when I described Dearan as having "a penetrating mind and irresistible laughter" and as wanting everything to be just so, I tried to bring forth those qualities through his reactions, in the dialogue and conflict that follows in Ch 1 and 2. The telling is somewhat unavoidable given the ironic tone of the narration - It's hard to be a smart ass if you cannot interrupt the action to comment on it :P So you're right; I should do a little less telling - but again, rules are for breaking ;)

- "You used 'infodumping' in the thread of the first chapter, but I can't find much of it here. " >> I am sorry, I don't follow.  :( Can you please explain it again?

- Don't forget: Judith and you have both earned a character each ;)

I think I covered everything?
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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
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« Reply #9 on: 04 July 2009, 23:29:44 »

May I shamelessly bump this up a bit?
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"Everything should be as simple as possible and not simpler." Albert Einstein

"Is he allowed to do that?"
"I think that comes under the rule of Quia Ego Sic Dico."
"Yes, what does that mean?"
"'Because I say so', I think."
"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
"Actually, it's the only one he needs." (Making Money by Terry Pratchett)
Decipher Ziron
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« Reply #10 on: 05 July 2009, 00:15:34 »

While I like the flow of the text, I find the end very abrupt and a bit confusing. I understand he's probably looking at something, or someone, but 'Is that?' is hardly a complete question in itself at all!

Maybe mention what he actually notices in the end- I'm sure it wouldn't dampen any attempt at hooking the reader's attention into the next chapter as I assume you intend.

Deci
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Laugh ,and the World Laughs with you.

Weep, and you weep alone.
Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #11 on: 05 July 2009, 00:54:03 »

As Déárán and Khalid moved on and up towards the reception on the third terrace to communicate their greetings, they passed dozens of little children arranged into groups of twos and threes, singing and offering them a variety of fruit liquor. Déárán marvelled at the discipline that kept the children, of such tender years, from fidgeting and presently retiring behind their elbows; and wondered by what method it had been imparted. Knowing something of children in general, and Akantha’s temperament in particular, he suspected the involvement of cajolements of a sugary nature – the children’s restless tendencies relenting at the sight of Krath-chocolate, generously administered.

Déárán considered himself a good judge of character; and to his expert eye, the little boy of six to his right looked like one inclined to invest his spare time in mischief. He puffed his chest out and sang at the top of his voice with utmost solemnity; cast an admonishing glare at the rest of the choir behind him when they failed to support his lead with enough zeal; and every now and then, when a difficult passage was imminent, turned back to make directing gestures at his friends, who did not seem very appreciative of this solicitude for their hitting the right notes. The stiffest spine, once bent, stays bent. “He,” Déárán thought, with some resentment, “must have been allowed the liberty of climbing onto Akantha’s lap – lucky child! – and to sit there munching quietly at his Khofuhshati.”

A curious and animating notion then entered Déárán’s mind: a picture of the boy taking Master Terensis by the cheeks in a tantrum, and smoothing his face all over with his hand. Unable to banish the incongruous image, Déárán chuckled – rather passionately. Khalid must have consigned his friend’s newfound mirth either to a cheerful disposition or as one of the eccentricities to which he was entitled by virtue of being Krean; apart from a glance in his direction he let the matter pass without further comment.

They found Akantha energetically engaged in making everyone around her feel welcome; not one guest who came her way escaped her notice.

“Khalid! Dearan!” beamed the young lady in whose honour the party was held, addressing the two men as though they were a pair of long promised emissaries from a faraway, exotic land. “How glad I am to see you!” Akantha had the Gift should this be capitalized? of making people feel welcome. Then, for a moment, her eyes were clouded over; and, turning to Déárán, she said, apologetically, “I am sorry about – (she blushed) - about that... unfortunate episode upon your arrival.”

“I should be,” Déárán took her hands warmly in his, “the one apologizing. I have no right to inconvenience you -- or to sour the festive air.” He sighed, following a small white cloud drift towards the sea. Something in this doesn't sound right. "following a small white cloud drifting towards" or "following a small white cloud as it drifted towards" might sound better “So seldom I get an hour to myself that I try – I try very hard to leave all unwholesome incidents behind, especially when I am to meet such pleasant company. But Business capitalized? seems to have a will of its own, sometimes contrary to my own inclinations.”

“I hope you have noticed my sanguine influence,” Khalid interposed, and winked with a conspiratory air at Akantha. He directed an eyebrow to the spot their hands met and coughed significantly, as if to say: “Ladies and Gentlemen! Take note!" She bowed formally but – instead of a quaint Krean salutation – he returned it like a true Zhunite. "What a savoury/congenial change!” Khalid concluded theatrically, “I rest my case.” They all smiled.

“I am glad I could make it. A welcome reanimation of exhausted spirits!” Their hands parted, and Déárán added, “How gracefully is everything arranged! You have deserved it Akantha.” They looked at each other for some time, Déárán’s face touched with a half-smile. There was so much kindness and goodwill in that exchange that his general vitality and briskness melted into a frank and easy affinity, as if he had, in that briefest of encounters, found a measure of personal happiness. Between the three the unspoken lay like sunbows, a flash of life and light that broke and brightened, reared and rose in every look. Like wind that shapes and lifts and shifts sunbows through springing flames of spray, each breath, each tone and movement rekindled the kinship between them. But like the sunbows it was a passing sparkle, snuffed out in a moment like (as are?) the larger waves upon the slopes of which they appear, those that break or at least try to break before they are decapitated by the waves that follow.

“But do forgive Master Terensis. He is like an uncle to me, you see” pursued Akantha, innocently, with some trepidation.

Déárán did not see; but he did not say so. Akantha continued:

“He is a kind-hearted man (The various muscles of Déárán’s face configured themselves as if to say, first “We have our doubts about that,” and then “but we shall submit to your better judgement”) but he has a great temper and does not know when to stop.”

“Such incidents are not uncommon in this line of business – or so I am told! Please, Akantha, do not trouble yourself over it. Besides, it is good practice. If I learn to handle your dear uncle, I shall have no problem with the Anpagan delegation tomorrow.”

Then, with a theatrical flourish mirroring his friend’s (which elicited a smile from Akantha), Déárán began anew: “Nothing should be allowed to cast a shadow over today’s party!”

The sun illuminated Lady Akantha’s white dress with alternating patterns of light; now her slender ankles, now her vivacious hands, now her chiselled face flared with high-spirited radiance.

“Dearan! How I envy you! Those who have seen so much of the world, who have travelled to all the Empire’s provinces and beyond – like Fang Caiaphas or yourself – how little you make these injuries seem! How swiftly you sweep such incidents aside!”

With the austere discipline that traces descent from a capacity to feel too deeply, Déárán resisted the urge to cringe. He did not like his name partaking in any sentence in which Fang Caiaphas had a presence.

“Dearan,” Akantha said after some time, with a touch of wonder in her voice. “I know that you would never wake up in the morning oppressed by the familiarity of everything or – ” She paused and closed her eyes, as if she were searching for the words that would accompany her sentiments and convey them across the chasm of space and silence stretching between them. Something in her manner, in the way her brows slowly came together, her chest rose, paused for several moments, and without warning sagged, dissipating the breath gathered in its vaults, reminded Déárán of a storm gathering at sea, when the ocean is aroused and a great tempest is rising on the horizon, rolling towards the shore. “ – dread coming out of bed wondering how small your world must be for such things to be so humiliating, so insurmountable. But – ” As sea-storms often do, whatever fervour, whatever intensity of feeling that was surfacing against the waves which covered it melted away as unexpectedly as it arose. “ – are not you ever hurt?” Akantha’s voice grew quieter as she spoke, but rose again in a while, as if the storm had been struggling under the might of the ocean and yearned to make its floor shake. “Or do you learn to shield your expectations, your feelings from the world?”

“I do not think that can ever be learned – I hope not! But Akantha!” The young Krean halted briefly, and as he contemplated Akantha’s words, his intelligent eyes widened slightly, as if he were mildly surprised or even amused, at the naiveté of her questions. Then, with a hardly laugh – a laugh inundated with humour and goodwill, unaffected, unembarrassed, beginning with a deep resonance and effortlessly climbing several octaves – he said: “Could I but be as you described, how simpler everything would be... The invincible man!” He smiled, but remained silent. Waiting. He seemed to be reflecting, gathering his thoughts. Or, perhaps he was simply searching for a turn of phrase in this language that was not his own. When he spoke again, he did so unhurriedly in a tone that was more earnest than solemn, articulating each word slowly as if their sounds were foreign to him. “But I must own the truth: They do hurt; I do feel the pain, but I refuse to let that matter.” Déárán looked away; the little cloud was no longer visible. He thought the horizon appeared somewhat blurrier. The sun was too bright. He turned back.

Finding them so determined to propound this to be a light-hearted day yet wander into melancholy, Khalid attacked the silence from another ground:

“Hmm, is it jasmine or lavender? I cannot quite tell” said he, pointing to a small white pouch tied to Akantha’s wrist.

“Both, I believe.”

“What a beautiful fragrance! Did you get it from town?”

“Ah, yes! From Caiaphases’ new shop, above the harbour.”

“Well done Khalid!” he thought, knowing well how his friend felt about a certain Caiaphas. By and large though, he considered it a rather useful interruption, for it supplied them with fresh matter for thought and conversation.

“You know, when I first entered the shop it occurred to me that the shop-keeper must be a very happy man to have so many little drawers so cleverly hidden. You must promise to see it Déárán; I believe the shop is of Krean design. It is a very elegant space. Though...” Akantha was lost in contemplation for a moment, as if she was measuring her next words and found the sum somewhat surprising. “I remember wondering, when I peeped into the tied-up packets inside, if the flower-seeds and bulbs –“

“Yearned for a fine day to break out of those jails, and bloom?” proposed the Krean.

“Yes! How did you – “

“I used to ask the same thing as a child. Now, I know that it is possible.”

“You don’t mean... that they actually – yearn?” Akantha felt the need to seek further clarification. Two things contributed to her uncertainty: Firstly, she knew that the Krean mind thought differently; one could never tell when a Krean ceased to speak metaphorically. Secondly, she knew that Déárán was a mage; that, rather significantly expanded the limits of what was possible without the involvement of any metaphors.

“That, the lively imagination can only suspect. I do know, however, that with a little encouragement they can – and do – bloom and escape.”

There hung in the air the soft, luminous scent of jasmines, tinctured by the sharper fragrance of lavender.

“Dearan...” Akantha said. “But enough of this talk of blossoms and exploring the world. As you said, today I must be grateful.”

Without warning Déárán broke into laughter, as full of life and as unanticipated as the dolphin-torn sea.

“Dearan, stop.” Akantha’s hands lost their composure. “Dearan! This isn’t funny! Will you stop please!”

“I would say I am sorry but I cannot quite bring my heart to agree. It seems I made a wiser choice than I realized.”

Akantha was not pleased; absentmindedly she had been squeezing the white pouch. The fragrance of crushed lavender intensified in the air, and the light breeze picked it up at irregular intervals.

“Here, please, a small gift from me.” The young Krean reached forward to pass her a grapefruit-sized package but withdrew it before their hands connected. “I want you to promise me that you won’t open it until all the guests are gone and you retire for the night.”

“Then I can assure you that it shall have a better fate than your advice has often found; for it shall be attended to!” interposed Khalid, who, being a close friend of Akantha and Déárán’s host, had appointed himself to the post of furthering their acquaintance. He put one arm around Akantha’s waist and another on Déárán’s shoulder, an impish smile lighting his face.

But Déárán’s attention was elsewhere.

“Is that?” I agree with Deci... this is awkward.  Consider "Is that...?"  This might work better... it lets the reader know that the thought or sentence is not fnished.


Other than those few things I found, I can't see too much that I would change.  Like I mentioned, your style does remind me of Tolstoy (you really should read War and Peace :D) and I have enjoyed reading it.
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