View Full Version : The Sixteenth Squall

December 8th, 2013, 03:51 PM
Hey y'all. Right in the middle of my novel, I decided to switch from 3rd person to first. I've got to re-write the whole dang thing - here is the first bit I rewrote, what do you think? (I'm happy to trade reviews, just let me know!)


The glowing red eye stared up at me from the shadows. My feet were at the edge of the first step, but I was disheartened to see the rest of the staircase disappear into the darkness. They led right into the shadowy well, down toward the eye.

I took a long breath to loosen the knot of anxiety in my chest and took the first step down. My hands reached out to the rough stone walls, more to steady my nerves than my balance. I descended through the thick shade and into the meager light cast by the eye, which I found with great relief to be a candle in a red glass jar.

It was set next to a heavy wooden door set into a grey stone frame. I snaked a finger underneath the cold iron ring hanging from the door, and let it drop with heavy thud.

There were no sounds of approach, only the wind whistling along the streets above. A long moment passed, during which I nervously tried to slip my hands into the robe that I was no longer wearing. (this is explained in a previous chapter).

I jumped at sound of an iron bar being drawn back, followed by a whine of hinges as the door opened a few inches. An almond-shaped eye peered out before drawing back quickly. The door opened fully to reveal a handsome man with short, shiny black hair and a pointy goatee.

“How may I help you this evening, sir?” he asked in an unfamiliar accent.

“I was told I could find someone here,” I replied. “Her name is Pavielle.” My mind searched for something more descriptive to add, but returned only embarrassment at having nothing more than a name.

The corner of the man’s mouth lifted into a half smile. “And you are?”

“I’d rather not say, if it’s all the same. It would be less trouble for both of us.”

“Trouble isn’t stupid enough to knock on this door, Serat!” The man was now smiling with abandon.

I was too stunned to say anything, suddenly feeling very overexposed at hearing my name.

He flung the door open. “Come in, laykei. We are your comrades here,” he said.


The hallway smelled sweet and sharp, like overly ripe fruit. A half-dozen of the red candle jars were set along the narrow, elegant passageway. I touched a finger to the red and black patterned walls and felt a tickle, as if they were papered with soft cotton.

The tapping of the man’s leather boot heels echoed off the polished wooden floor, drawing my eyes to their exotic metal clasps, high ankle cuffs, and brilliant shine. I’d never seen anything like that in Geburat before.

“Serat, my name is Cai Lotan and I’m pleased to welcome you to the Hazelyn,” he said in a well-worn cadence. “I’m aware of the perilous conditions that bring you here tonight, and you should know that there is no place in Geburat safer for you than the Hazelyn.”

I didn’t say anything. I was unsure of what Lotan had heard, but it wasn’t worth risking upset by saying anything more.

“Have you ever met Pavielle before?” he asked.

“I haven’t.”

He stopped walking and turned to look at me with wide eyes. “Take this to heart, Serat. Tread carefully with Pavielle, lest you find yourself parted from that which is most precious to you.”

A smile crossed his face, but it looked more sinister than pleasant. “Far too many smugglers choose Pavi for the wrong reasons.”

“Such as?” I asked.

“Even to a man of the Crimson, these reasons will soon be very obvious.”

I bristled at the implication. “Pavielle was not my choice, Master Loten. Things just worked out this way.”

He chuckled as he turned a corner. “I was wondering why anyone would choose the Valkyrie for personal transport.”

“What do you mean?” I replied, feeling a pang of nervousness.

“Pavi moves small treasures. Spices, precious stones, silver; this is how she butters her bread. Her and the Bandit…they are without equal in this sort of business,” he said emphatically.

He continued. “People though, she’s not an experienced mover of people, you understand.”

“I see.” It was all I could mutter through the haze of disappointment.

“Three of the Sixteen Squalls are exceptional escorts,” he said, tapping his finger to his temple as if flicking through a book of records, “The Tempest, the Painted Arrow, the Buffalo; these would get you over the border as a matter of routine.”

“Are any of them available?” I asked.

His face became serious. “No. Pavielle is the only Squall in town right now, and it’s too late to change your mind anyway. From what I understand, you are damn near out of time.”

He patted my shoulder encouragingly. “I’m sorry, Serat, I didn’t mean to shake your faith. She’s incredible, that’s the truth. Men see her beauty, but miss her cunning. She earned her way into the Sixteen, same as anyone. She’ll take good care of you.”

He turned down the final hallway, sweeping his arm forward towards an approaching doorway. A tall swordsman moved from in front of the door, shoving it open with a thick forearm.

Lotan stepped aside to wave me through. “You’ll know her when you see her.”

“Thank you Master Lotan,” I said, stepping through the door.

December 8th, 2013, 06:27 PM
It's fine, quite brisk and functional, easy to read. There was the odd description that felt a bit flat, like 'overly ripe fruit', but otherwise little to criticize.

December 8th, 2013, 08:03 PM
Noticed you're missing a word or two, some grammar corrections, but that's all in the editing.

I'll make a note. I've never really been a fan of 1st person writing. I'm not the character, and associating with that throughout an entire novel is painful for me.

However, I have seen, written to great effect, writers incorporate first person sequences into third person povs, and it's gone off quite well.

At any rate, keep on your path. Things seem to flow well for you.

December 11th, 2013, 03:39 PM
Great pacing. It flows very naturally and rhythmically. I'm not sure where this excerpt falls in the overall book, but it hints at a rich back story and strong world building. Being that it is a short look into this world, I found it hard to grasp some of the references (man of the Crimson, the Hazelyn) just from the context of this passage. But they're likely explained or given more context elsewhere. I felt like the Squalls, however, were given plenty of context and weight in the little mention of them and they sound pretty intriguing and awesome.

December 15th, 2013, 04:02 AM
Thanks so much guys, the reviews are very appreciated. I actually switched back to third-person, on second thought.

Stew, if you dig the Squall so far, the next passage I'm going to post will show one in action, and I'm really digging it. Hope you'll check it out!

December 17th, 2013, 06:40 AM
The work was very well done. I really enjoyed your use of vocabulary to describe smells, sights, and even how your character felt. It is a very good piece. I would be interested in seeing what the whole is about.