View Full Version : The prologue for a fantasy novel.

January 9th, 2013, 07:48 PM
this is around a 1k words of a 120k words novel, i'd appreciate any thoughts, suggestions etc.

In the time that was before, in the age of Elves and men. The world turned slower then, keeping pace with the beating heart of the land.

Unbidden and unwanted it came to Astervaelt, a great wind of change that chastised the land after countless aeons of contentment and peace, reviving old hostilities and stirring long smoldering embers of distrust. Elves and men, who for centuries had dwelt in peace and harmony, turned once again to their own paths of heritage, and the once tight knots of kinship loosened and slipped. Ancient bonds were acrimoniously severed, leaving only scattered remnants of unity and familial ties, thus the company of nations that was Astervaelt fractured; suspicion and distrust stalked the land with devastating result. Division and enmity embroiled the people and the land was torn with civil unrest.

Wars and rumours of wars from the East spread like disease, and tidings of great turmoil from neighbouring countries were whispered in the dark corners of the land. Even the brave cast fearful glances eastward. Woesome tidings and terrible reports reached Astervaelt and imbued her with a great and apprehensive foreboding. Evil thoughts, once harboured deep in the secret hearts of men, began to reform. Nurtured by interlopers and exaggerated by the agents of the east, they festered, poisoning the thoughts and twisting the minds of all and soon, a great and terrible civil war ravaged the country. Brother strove with brother, bitter territorial conflicts tore the land asunder, and the Elves, now outcasts in their own land, retreated to the security of their Citadels.

Watching from the Eastern reaches, the scheming hordes of the Mongral bade their time, revelling in the nation’s distress. Sensing the advantage, they seized their moment, and from the East they came. Their massed armies, ordered by the Mordgan, Lord of the Firerealm descended covering the earth like locusts. Merciless and cruel, driven by Mordgan’s ruthless instruction, they swept all before them, offering no quarter to men at arms; they savaged the land, from the summitless Mountains of Avgour down to the shores of Norksmar the Great Northern Sea, havoc was loosed and death and destruction followed swift on its heels.

Thus was Astervaelt, Shield of the West and Gatekeeper of the South over-thrown. The land, once green and bountiful, became wasteland, untended it returned to wild wilderness. The cities conquered and abandoned, fell into ruin, and thus, that which the conquerors had coveted, eluded them.
But their ambition and greed was boundless, and as the centuries if occupation became tedious, the soldiers, lazy and indolent began seeking other diversions, turning against each other in lethal feuds. So Mordgan, turned his eyes and mind southward, he plotted and schemed, sending spies and agitators as forerunners, seeking to destabilise the neighbouring country of Grendglen. With their attention thus diverted by the promise of a new conquest, The Mongral began to re-organise. But by this very act, a chain reaction was initiated, for in the decimated countryside of Astervaelt, the seeds of rebellion began to take root.

Of the Great cities, only Ardalan, the Amber City remained untouched, the last bastion Elven power in the World of men. Like a beacon she prevailed, one great light illuminating the darkness, impenetrable, alone and proud, undaunted and unbowed by the great forces that stood against her. In the foothills of the summitless mountains of Avgour, she denied their right of the sword and withstood their strength of arms.
The one solitary flame of hope burned brightly in the wilderness. Undaunted and free, defiant and stalwart, for half a century she resisted all assault, until the Invader, tired of brutal and fruitless attacks and weakened by grievous losses, ceased their aggression.

For it was in the hearts of the Eastern men that Ardalan won her war; she grieved their pride and wearied their spirits, instilling a hatred and fear that festered deep in their evil souls. Unable to take her by force of arms, the Mongral laid siege and encompassed her with great forests, forbidding all to enter there, seeking to isolate and condemn her to forgetfulness and decay.

Thus the centuries passed, and the Elves took the forest as their own and it became no longer a siege stockade, but a defensive shield for the city, a place of dread, inhabited by strange and loathsome creatures and marshalled zealously by the Elves. Those who dared trespass its boundaries were never seen again, swallowed by the forest or met by Elves.

The siege faltered and died, for they who had thought to encompass their enemy, became ensnared themselves. Consumed with resentment and envy, and tortured by their own fears; they abandoned the forbidding forest thereafter calling it Hadesgate.

So it was, that the histories and legends, passed down to the children of men, became corrupted and the truth rewritten. As the years passed, and the forest grew old, only the foolhardy and ignorant trespassed there. The memory of Ardalan faded in the mists of antiquity. The slow, deep waters of time drowned all true remembrance of her power and beauty in the creeping monotony of centuries. All that remained was myth and legend, half remembered childhood tales of ancient heroes and distant echoes of truth.
Ardalan endured the passage of time. Secure in the deep forest, far from the prying eyes of men, and unknown to the new generations that dwelt in Astervaelt. Only those graced with longevity, as the Elves, remembered her splendour and majesty. Of men, few were left who recalled her true glory.
Of the once beauteous City ArcÚlan, the crystal fortress and sister to Ardalan, which had fallen in the latter days of the war, only a small remnant of her inhabitants had escaped, entombing her secrets and wealth in the deep underground halls of the Dwarves before they fled.

There they remained, waiting for the day when their rightful heirs would reclaim them.

The Prophecy of Duanann, inscribed in the Scroll of Days, foretold of a time of renewal, a return to the former ways. Whispered secretly in darkened beer cellars and privy councils, the spark of hope was rekindled and it was said that that Duanann himself, would one day return, and the words of power would be heard once again in Ardalan.

But Ardalan carried her own burden, guarding so great a secret, that none but three of those who escaped The fall of ArcÚlan knew of it, and these were bound by blood oath never to speak of it: Galadril, Redonal and Aranil, princes of the Amber city and the last remnant of that Royal House of Ardalan.

January 9th, 2013, 10:01 PM
One thing I would suggest from the first sentence.
Is somthing I have done recently
dont use elves an dwarves make up your own race that is called somthing else so you have the opertunity to play with it.

If you do decide to use elves as an example you are then bound straight away to the stereotypes in place already even if that's not how you want them to be.

The moment you mentioned elves I immediately thought legolas.

Ive based the races in my novel on the elves an dwarves but I've manipulated them into somthing new

any way rant over an I don't want you to think I am having ago about your work.

The greatest advice I was ever given was "keep it fresh an original"

ps the rest looks like a very interesting read and I intend to give a thorough read through after David Attenborough on the telly :D

<3 silen.

January 9th, 2013, 10:13 PM
The Prophecy of Duanann, inscribed in the Scroll of Days, foretold of a time of renewal, a return to the former ways. Whispered secretly in darkened beer cellars and privy councils, the spark of hope was rekindled and it was said that that Duanann himself, would one day return, and the words of power would be heard once again in Ardalan.

I would make this your prolog and let all the other information unfold during the course of your story, maybe over a game of bones.

If your dead set on using it all as a prolog, I'd open with this.

Ilasir Maroa
January 11th, 2013, 04:15 PM
This sounds like a straight rip from a Wheel of Time opening. The wording is actually fairly good, and the tone is very mythic. But overall it's very generic, and I'm not sure how it adds to the story when we don't even know the characters.

In specific terms, the line about beer cellars and privy councils bothered me. I think it would be better to pick another location similar to the beer cellar, rather than a ruling council to a king.

The part that Whisper suggested actually reads more like back-cover copy to me, and would actually be very effective as such, coming right before the character intros.

This is a case where I don't think the prologue enhances the novel.

January 12th, 2013, 02:15 AM
I agree with Silen on the use of elves. There's nothing wrong with using elves, but perhaps try making up your own race. Other than that, I think it's a pretty good (but lengthy) prologue.

January 17th, 2013, 09:39 AM
Thanks for the input Guys,
The story is not about Elves Per Se, although they are used to support the background, So I thought the prologue would give the reader Information, which, while not essential, would give relevant understanding as to historical background/Character motivation etc., to the subsequent tale. Perhaps it is a bit long winded, I'll have a look at shortening and only relating the important bits. Thanks again.

January 17th, 2013, 06:32 PM
Sounds good

January 18th, 2013, 08:42 PM
This prologue really invested me in the history of your world, and it's a very well-worded piece, but I am a sucker for some good world-building history. However, I do agree, that aside from some of the necessary points, it would be good to have some of this interesting back story be revealed at a place they are more relevant in the story. I know that I had been, and maybe still am, an abuser of writing pages of history, and I feel its much smoother to spread it out.
Just my two cents.

January 21st, 2013, 11:14 PM
It seems too heavily Tolkienesque, clearly derivative. Galadril? Elves? A forest marshalled by Elves that to enter was to never be seen again? Ardalan (Cardolan?)
I would also consider this a prologue. All these centuries in a few paragraphs left me cold, particularly as it limits your writing to the most obvious and standard phrases to describe these cataclysmic events. It's hard going too, in one paragraph we get 'consumed', 'tortured', 'forbidding', or else things 'fester' or are 'decimated'.

As MBNewman said, spread this stuff out, give us instead a real person, a connection to this place, our guide. Leave the history half painted, a rich colour in the background, as Tolkien did to great effect.

January 22nd, 2013, 08:41 AM
I feel like the main improvement has been hit dead on the head. It feels like theres lumps of history in my yummy story stew and if you could smooth that out you'd have a great meal here. I believe Caragula has already posted an awesome suggest with giving us a person to connect to, or to follow maybe. It gives the reader more of a direct attachment that just makes you want to have another bowl of yummy story stew.