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Akoya
February 21st, 2013, 09:32 PM
Furious tears fell past her cheeks. “Stop this.” Once again, she found herself gazing upon the sinister face of her tormentor; his short, silver hair highlighted his sunken eyes in which blue fire roamed.

“Did you say something?”

She shuddered with fear and slowly stood, her knees weak. “I will not give you my lands, my country. My home.” Her voice steadily grew stronger as she wiped blood from mouth to sleeve. Her back straightened defiantly and authority rang within her words. She spoke past the pain of her broken arm and cracked ribs. “You know nothing of our economy or traditions. Even if you where the next in line for the throne I would rather see a lowly farm boy King before you. You are not worth the dirt you walk on, let alone the minds you wander in.” Knowing she was simply digging herself in deeper, she took a step toward him. “I will never sign. I will never concede and I will never bow to you as king.” With new found courage from her final words, her right hand sang through the air and landed with an echoing clap on his face. The sound died off slowly, replaced with that of her accelerated breath.

His eyes followed her hand back to her side and then slowly found their way to her face. A small smile, a smirk almost, touched his lips lightly. “Is that what you want,” he asked lovingly, gently reaching up to touch her cheek.

“I demand you release me and never return to my mind.” The lady's voice was hard with hatred as she stood her ground. His loving mask turned to anger and open hand to a fist.

She slammed to the floor with what felt like a broken jaw and her ears ringing.

“Did you know, if you die in your dreams, you will die in life?” Laughter replaced the anger in his deranged eyes as he watched her crawl to her hands and knees with a small groan. “That is, of course, where we are. I must admit your head is an interesting place.” He raised his hands and turned away slowly. Things, memories, started to flash around them. He grinned like a child on his birthday and flicked his hands to swipe each moment in her life away.

She carefully favored her left arm and side as she began to stand once more, as in simple defiance even though she wanted nothing more than to lie on the cold white stone floor. When she finally managed to straighten the once white room was covered with a memory.

“My dear Sandra, this is my third visit and it appears...” He replayed the memory, letting it play before him. “It appears you have not told even your most trusted. It's as though you treasure our little interludes.”

With a grimace she slowly stood. “My name is Sandra only to close friends. I am ‘Your Majesty’ to my people and ‘My Liege’ to those who serve me. I am not your love, nor am I even your friend. You may address me as Queen Eslandra of Troview.”

“My love,” he whispered and turned back to face her. For a second he watched as she stood, “You have the most darling gray eyes, they complement the paleness of your skin and the lovely red tone of your blood so well.” Her posture stiffened as he approached, gently touching her tender jaw.

“I can’t have you awaken visibly broken and bruised. It would be so… unsightly… for a lady of your station.” He brushed his hand on her arm. “In your mind I can do what I will, whatever it may be. In these last few days, I have learned so much about you and your people. Well, mostly about you. I know,” He tapped her chest with one finger, staring down into her eyes, “Everything about you.” He paused, letting the depth of his words sink in. “How do you know I would not rule as justly as you?”

He reached down the five inches between them and brushed his lips on her ear. “You don't,” he finally whispered before straightening. “However, I know for a fact that there is no other monarch that is as selfless or proud, as you are for your little peninsula.”

Sandra was shaking with rage when he straightened and turned away once more.

He flicked a hand and a memory of her writing appeared. He watched her write for a moment listening to the thoughts she had at the time. “Oh, this is good. I wish you wouldn't burn these journal entries when finished with them, I would love to read more of your deepest thoughts.” He paused with a sly grin, inviting her to share the joke. With a clap of his hands her voice echoed all around, relaying her most privet thoughts.

“Enough!” Eslandra roared in anger causing the ghostly voice to fall silent.

“That, that right there, is exactly why you are different.” His eyes brightened. “You are so very strong.”

She whispered something under her breath but he ignored it.

“If only you had realized sooner, this would have been so much more fun. However, I have grown impatient with this game of wills.”

“Now,” he started and walked away. A table appeared and with a slight wave of his hand, maps, drawing tools and blank sheets of paper. Joyfully, he compiled a stack of maps he needed and wrote on the papers. When Eslandra finally made it over to him, he presented a contract.

“You will have to kill me before I sign that damned contract. I will never willingly hand you my lands.” Eslandra spat at him and turned her face away.

“My dear, rash woman, this is quite a different kind of contract. Please let me explain to you its intent. I agree to stop my tirade on your mind immediately and never return. In addition, I agree to give up any hope I ever had to have your throne, if that is, you agree to the terms. Firstly, you will go out to the farthest-reaching village in Troview and choose a farm boy to be king. He may be up to 25 years of age and know nothing of matters of state. I am sure you will enjoy getting your people to accept his rule, especially your nobles. The young man should be in perfect health and have no noble lineage whatsoever. You have one year to teach him everything you know.”

“What if I do not, what would happen after that one year?” Eslandra asked tiredly, reigning in her fury and turning to him.

He showed surprise at the simple question. “Isn’t it obvious? He will not make a very good king; and when you’re not there to advise him, your country will go to ruins. Queen Eslandra, you currently have no direct decedents, nor do you have any close relations. If you do not teach him, than a civil war will break out and your home will be in shambles, and horribly poor, neither of which either of us would like.” A smile spread across his face. “Let me sweeten the deal, if you teach this farmer to be a king, I will never enter the minds of any who are loyal to you and, essentially, him. I don’t think the terms are too much, do you? You get so much for so little. I don‘t care how you make him king, just do it.”

“This is too much like making deals with the devil. What is in it for you? The excitement of watching a country about to rebel on its ruler? Maybe you’re looking to make a profit raiding our ports as we fight a civil war.” She took a slow breath, biting her lip, fearing the answer to the next question. “Where will I be after that one year?”

He simply smiled softly at the last question, ignoring it. “As you know, I own all of this.” He waved his hand over the majority of the map, excluding the ocean, islands, and Troview. The map, she could not help but notice, was highly detailed, a rarity except for those located in Troview’s royal libraries. “You see, I own not just my own country, but all your neighbors and their neighbors too. It was quite a feat if you ask me, but with my abilities it was no problem at all.” He chuckled to himself and continued, “The point is, you cannot defeat me. You have no choice but to agree to my terms and deal with the consequences later.”

“You stated you would not like to see Troview poor and desolate. Why do you care? Unless I am mistaken, you are Demesies Oleo, 3rd son of King Mirl of Amon. From what I recall you are the last of the family line, making you their new King. You fit the description to a pin, except my reports failed to mention that you were insane.”

“My darling; you’re not as simple as you look. Underneath that alluring figure and long black hair is thinking being, that is odd. No wonder you make such a fine queen.” Demesies laughed heartily when she glared and pulled her into his arms, lowering his voice. “I may be mad, darling, but I know what I want in life, and I will have it.”

Queen Eslandra pushed away from the King of Amon and looked over the contract in front of them. The unanswered questions nagged at the back of her mind. “Why do this? Why not kill me and take Troview for yourself. You said it is easy for someone with your ability, so why play this game? What do you want from me that the last five Kings couldn't give you?”

“Would you like me to kill you? It would indeed make some things simpler.”
Eslandra looked down at the table at a loss for words. “I would rather you did not.”

“I'm glad we agree.”

The Queen looked at him quizzically but then looked back at the contract. “Do you swear never to enter my mind again,” She questioned. “You swear that you will not break this contract in any way?”

“I will do more than swear it; I will sign it in blood.”

“I do have one issue with the contract. I wish you to swear that you will never enter the mind, from this point on, of any who are loyal to Troview, not just to me or the farmer. In return for this I will grant you...” She thought for a moment. Her skin crawled at the thought but she could see nothing else he could wish for. “Entrance to my mind one last time.” She tapped the paper with her finger, “And I don’t see the… repercussions written. How do I know you will stay true to your word and will not change the contract later?”

Demesies laughed, “A blood oath is forever binding; I could not break a blood oath even if I wanted too. I will agree to your terms as long as you agree to let me in your mind twice more and I will not kill you at either point. That is the best you will get.”

“Deal,” she whispered and picked up the quill. Softly she dipped it in the ink-pot and signed the contract.

“Good girl, I knew you had to accept.” Swiftly he drew a knife and cut his palm, letting the blood pour from his wound. He dipped his quill into the blood and signed, the red marks finalizing the agreement with a sensation of irrevocable damnation.




So I understand this is very long but stay with me. I have gone over this a few times but I did do a recent update/rewrite so there may be some small errors. I am however looking for readability. What you think of the characters, would you keep reading(in general), are there rough spots that need polishing and what you would do to make it a better start to the story. This is just one of the 3 plot lines in this particular story and the one I am having the hardest time... I want to say liking/utilizing/ believing in. I feel like this little plot is a tad over used and, although I like it and want to use it, may bore the reader. Thoughts on the subject and overall would be much appreciated.
Thanks.

Ariel
February 23rd, 2013, 03:51 PM
It might be overused but it's still believable in a fantasy world. I like the queen and the crazy king gives me chills.

I don't see anything wrong with this as an introduction. It gives why she's choosing a farmer for her heir, it gives a good portion of the setting, it shows us the madness of Demesies and it shows us the strength of the queen. As such I don't see anything wrong with using it.

There are a few grammatical/spelling errors that a quick once-over will smooth out.

bazz cargo
February 23rd, 2013, 10:36 PM
Hello Akoya,
first impressions. Somehow this seems too long the detail is somehow off. The king seems to be less mad and more in need of a diversion. A game player. Queen Eslandra is more of a cipher. The commoner into ruler plot point is well made. The literal battle of wills is nicely done. Everything is reasonably easy to read.

Yes, there are a few SPaG nits, nothing bad enough to throw me off reading. I would be tempted to read on.

Bazz

NathanBrazil
February 24th, 2013, 04:17 AM
Overall the story reads well enough, but I did feel the early battle of wills went on a bit too long.

I'd like to see that tightened up. There is a fair amount of repitition in regards to the queen's indignation and tormentor's lasciviousness. Can you show everything that you feel is important about these characters using less words? Are there parts that feel weaker than other sections, that could be cut or merged?

I think she might change her tack after two previous entries in her mind. Yes, she is a proud woman, but do you consider her to be cunning?

I have a difficult time with battling all knowing, all powerful wizards. There is always some heretofore, unmentioned weakness that is exploited at the last moment. I would like a hint of that weakness inserted much earlier in the story.

Narnia
March 2nd, 2013, 07:42 AM
I love it it keeps me wanting more. There really isn't much I would change about it. The flow at the beginning seemed to be a little harder to get through than the end but that might be explained by what comes before that we don't get to see. Also I agree the king seems to be less mad at the beginning then he is at the end. It's almost like a personality switch. However, I'm guessing the rest of the story will explain his change. Overall you've created a very descriptive scene that captures the imagination. I am dying to read the book in its entirety when it's been published. Keep it up!

Akoya
March 2nd, 2013, 10:33 AM
Thank you for the feed back! I should have replied earlier but each time this has been replied too, I made sure to take each note into consideration. There are some things you mentioned that I made sure to address in the next chapter, to clear up any left over confusion, and then I just kept writing more and forgot to say thank you. So, thank you.

This is a rewrite from my original 3k word start that begins and ends the same. The King was, at that point, crazy violent, some blood and gore, and angry for no reason. So, when I started the rewrite I made some changes to the character. I didn't realize he still carried anger towards the end. Yes, he was originally insane, now however, not at all. As weird as it sounds, mild madness is a yes; insanity, no.

What word or sentence tipped you guys to think he was angry?
Do you get an insanity feeling from him and if so, what made it?

I'm aiming for a political player with an agenda more than the Great and Power, evil, Oz.



>Bazz: I'm so glad you picked up on the Chess player type feel. As though this isn't all about this one move and he is really just using her as a game piece. Thank goodness, I thought it was lost! Would there be a better way to make that a tad more obvious without outright saying it?

Narnia
March 2nd, 2013, 06:43 PM
I was going with mad as in crazy not irrate. Sorry I should have clarified that.

Akoya
March 5th, 2013, 08:10 PM
Awesome. Thanks for your help!

bazz cargo
March 5th, 2013, 11:06 PM
>Bazz: I'm so glad you picked up on the Chess player type feel. As though this isn't all about this one move and he is really just using her as a game piece. Thank goodness, I thought it was lost! Would there be a better way to make that a tad more obvious without outright saying it?
One of the things about long stories is the way later events change the beginnings. You will also develop more of a feel for the characters which in turn will make their behaviour and attitudes more consistent. The arty bit is getting the whole thing down, then moving bits around and culling stuff until you have a workable piece then park it somewhere for a while. Coming back to it with fresh eyes gives you a chance to polish it up.

If you spend time fixing things as you go it will take forever.

As for putting over the game player attitude, metaphor is probably your easiest bet. To be honest, for me the clue was pretty strong already.
Good luck.
Bazz.
(Drop a link on my home page for the next part, I'd like to follow this).