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theorphan
February 28th, 2012, 09:57 AM
I am Celeste, Daughter of Audrey, Mother of White Forest, Last of the White Forest Witches, on the run from the Zealots. At only nineteen years old I was running for my life.
There has been nowhere I had been able to find had I been able to hide for long, they always found me. I hid in a shelter in the middle of one of the many forests in English Territory. I had decided I was going to make a run towards the Northeast, if I could make it to the northern forest and hide in the bitter cold. I thought that I could survive for long enough for the crown and the Zealots to forget me.

This had all started a moon ago when the “god blessed” warriors swept through white forest and killed all of my coven. We hadn’t threatened them, we had paid our taxes, and had kept out of their way. They killed our people in the name of their lord despite the fact that their scripture, as ours did, forbid them from killing. I only managed to escape by contorting my small body underneath one of the wagons. As soon as they rode out of the clearing chasing stragglers I ran as hard and as fast as I could to the storage wagon. I grabbed what food, herbs, and candles I could. Once I had everything, I could fit in a bag I ran. Kept running and hiding until I found a place to hide.

As hiding spots went this one wasn’t bad, I was under a small lean-to in the middle of the forest that was so far in you would have to be looking for me to find me. The problem was they were hunting for my kind and me.

Earlier today I ran down to the river at the bottom of the hill I slept on. I managed to wash all of the mud from hiding under the wagon off my body and out of my blonde hair. It felt good to have my hair flow smoothly again and to have the crust of mud washed off my skin. It made me freezing cold though, that is why I sat shivering close to the small fire that night. I was almost dry though and was beginning to think of sleep.

*


When I awoke in the morning it was raining and cold. My coat was damp and the only reason I wasn’t soaked was the fact that I had built the small lean-to covering me. I couldn’t stay here for long though, I had to get moving towards somewhere safer. Looking through my pack the only thing I could find to eat was a small piece of what used to be a loaf of bread. I would have to run through the next town I passed and steal some food. I hated to steel but I had only two bronze coins on me. I would leave one for one of the merchants I stole from but I couldn’t part with both coins.

After I ate the bread and stretched I packed my bag back up and set out to the North. Travel was slow with the rain falling as I walked. I didn’t bother to try and hide my tracks, each step I took left a print in the mud that would be difficult to cover. I was better off spending my energy getting further away.

The rain had let up by the time I walked into the first town of the day. It was small and had no wall. Good, I wouldn’t have to lie to any guards. I decided just to walk down the main street and pick food off of several carts.

I had just grabbed an apple off of the second cart I was stealing from and had dropped the copper coin when I heard heavy horse fall pulling into the edge of the town. Slowly I turned around, I didn’t want to look out of place by turning around too fast.

Three riders in the uniform of Zealots sat atop their horses, scanning the town. Fear held me where I was. Fear told me that if I ran I would be noticed right away.

“Theif!!! Thief, thief.” The yelling came from my right.

I looked to my right, back at the cart that I had stolen from and realized the apple was still in my hand. I glanced back at the riders. They had heard the shopkeeper and were riding towards me. I took a bite out of the apple for luck and ran. I turned down a smaller side street and turned again into a smaller alley. The sound of running boots continued to follow me.
I ran into the wall at the end of the alley, literally. I was momentarily dazed by the impact. The sound of feet stopped and I stumbled around to find the three Zealots standing in front of me, closing me into the alley slowly.

“Come on little girl, give yourself up. I don’t want to have to make this hurt.” Their leader said in a voice that sounded like he was talking to a two year old.

“I didn’t do anything. You have chased me for days.” I said stubbornly but my determination was undermined by the fact I stumbled a little bit while I was talking.

They seemed to decide I wasn’t a threat and moved in quicker. Their assumption was right; I couldn’t do anything to keep them from hurting me. I was week. The leader closed the gap between us and grabbed me by my hair, dragging me back towards the main street. I dug my heels into the ground but couldn’t keep it up.
He stopped dragging me when we were in the middle of the street. Pushing me onto my knees he had the other two hold my shoulders while he walked circles around me, making sure everyone’s attention was on me.

“This woman was found practicing witchcraft. Anyone who practices or supports witchcraft will meet the same end.” The Zealot said.

He drew his sword. As his hands pulled his blade back, preparing to strike, I prayed a quick prayer to the god and goddess. I knew I was dead.

The sword swung down.

*


I awoke in a bright field with the sun pointing down at me. People sang and danced in the field. A woman in a white dress came up to me with a smile on her face and a bounce in her step.
“Welcome to Summerland.”

“Thank you Mother Audrey.”

Rustgold
February 28th, 2012, 11:31 AM
There has been nowhere I had been able to find had I been able to hide for long, they always found me.
Tongue twister to start.

"I couldn't find anywhere to hide for long, because they always found me."

A quick glance sees many further similar tongue twisters. Maybe it'll be an enjoyable read with some work.

riverdog
February 28th, 2012, 04:21 PM
I'll keep this short and sweet.

1. Proof read your work. There is no excuse for mixing up steel and steal.

2. Passive writing is boring writing. Drop the "hads" and use action verbs.


We hadn’t threatened them, we had paid our taxes, and had kept out of their way.

We didn't threaten them. We paid our taxes. We kept our of their way. So on and so forth...

3. You started your story with backstory. Again, boring. Start with the action, weave the backstory in as needed. Ask yourself, "Where does the story I want to tell start?" Pick a date and move forward and tell the backstory only as it relates and is necessary to advance the real story.

ETA

One last thing. I see this a lot on these boards. You, the author know everything about your character and you want to tell me all about this super interesting person and story world that you've created. Me, the reader, wants to be eased into all that information. If you tell me everything in the first couple of paragraphs, why would I want to read any further? Make me turn the page. All I need to know on the first page is that a 19 year old girl is being chased by men that killed her friends. Thats it. I'll turn the page to learn why she's being chased, and whether she's caught. And if she's caught, how she escapes. Magic? Trickery? All these wonderful options.

Good Luck!