PDA

View Full Version : "NO REWARD CAN BE SPENT IN THE GRAVE" (EXCERPT FROM NEW SHORT STORY) LANGUAGE



MizzouRam
May 28th, 2016, 04:00 AM
The following is a excerpt from the beginning short story project I have been working on and I hope to sell to the short form market. As always any and all criticism is much appreciated.

Lately I have come to realize that all the characters in my work come from some sort of tortured pasts. I really wanted to get away with that with Remmy. While some of the stuff that he has been through in his life you can say is definitely traumatic to most people, he's able to dismiss things that have happened to him with relative ease. Anyway, all of my writing is about the people in the story, and so that is were I am coming from with this one. Sorry if the format is all jacked up. Copy and pastingfrom MS Word is no bueno. I hope you enjoy...


II

No reward can be spent in the grave.

Three men sat in silence on in the table directly across from Remmy, and to a man, they knew how to use a sword. He was acquainted with one of them; a particularly vile looking bastard by the name of Agmar the Blight, a professional killer who had collected bounties from all corners of the Empire.

“Harion’s bounty will follow me to the farthest end of the world and back” he thought to himself as he drank his ale. But that made no matter. Remmy had a something even more valuable; a name. And wherever the reputation followed, there would always be a steady stream of men looking to steal its glory for themselves, with or without the reward.

A comely maid walked in the side door of the tavern, carrying a wooden pale, a statuesque blonde with a shapely figure. He could tell immediately what attracted Markum saw to her.
A young girl ran in behind her. One glance of her precocious smirk and you could immediately see her father’s face.

“Dreama” he said in salutation. When she turned and their eyes met, her face turned to granite right in front of him.

Wordlessly, she kept walking, with little more than an icy glance.

Remmy didn’t take offense, though. He was a bygone memory in her husband’s past. A memory filled with blood and bile and war. Who wants to see those sitting at your table, drinking your ale?

Agmar still hadn’t taken his eyes off Remmy. One of his drinking buddies was a dwarf with black tattooed lines etching the contours of his face and shaved scalp. He sat there in a stupor, either scared or drunk or both, while the other, a stocky lad, hadn’t looked up from his ale since Remmy sat down.

And that made Remmy smile. “Know my name, do ya boy?” he whispered to himself.

“Deathless” they called him. It was a useful, all be it undeserved moniker, he had to admit, for Remmy was most definitely capable of dying. That being said, he didn’t think “Lucky Remmy” or “Remmy the Fortunate” sounded as good, so he never bothered to correct it.

A big hand clapped down on his right shoulder. Reflexively, he reached down for the dagger at his side, but when he looked up, a familiar voice greeted him for the first time in 8 years.

“One day, that hand isn’t going to be quick enough” he said. The face was thickly bearded and withered with age, but the scars were familiar and deep. His light blue eyes where bright as ever and the voice was an echo from younger, wilder days. Remmy stood and embraced the man he once considered closer than a brother.

“How goes ya’ old bastard?” he said in a gruff voice, unable to recall the last time he was this happy to see someone.

“Pride and glory, brother.”

“Pride and glory on you. What the fuck is this?” Remmy said grabbing at Markum’s thick beard.

“Dreama likes it thick. Covers up the scars.”

“Ay, fuck that. I can still see the old Markum Davies under there. Sit down, ya smarmy fuck, and have some ale with me, this time it will be on your tab, ‘Master Inman’.”

The smile on Markum’s face shortened as he took a seat next to Remmy.

“Won’t be necessary, friend.”

“Last I saw ya, that elbow was the size of my head. I must say I’m surprised you still have that arm.”

“Ay, it gets numb from time to time but nothing too bad.”

Remmy leaned in close. “I see you keep some rough patronage here.” He whispered in a low voice.

“Aye, Agmar comes through here every now and again, looking for work. I don’t mind a trustworthy sword hanging around these parts this time of year. Well, perhaps ‘trustworthy ‘ is
the wrong word, but you catch my meaning.”

“I’m afraid my presence might have given him the work he was looking for.”

Markum shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “I heard. Is it true? His son?”

Remmy nodded, not saying a word.

“By the gods, what did he do?”

“He tested my allegiance to his father one to many times and got what for.” Remmy stared down at his drink. “The whole matter was getting out of hand over there. Harion was getting more and more paranoid. A company of orcs started undercutting us on contracts. Fights broke out. Men were killed. It’s never hard to test a mercenary’s loyalty in the first place and when the money started getting thin, the old man started seeing daggers were there were none. Sella started accusing me and a few other members of plotting against him.”

“You have a name that people know, Rem. That’ll scare some folk.”

“Well it sure scared Sella. Until one night he said a little too much. Maybe we had drank a little too much.” Remmy cracked his knuckles inward, one by one. “Anyway, the next day I was headed westward. Last I heard the bounty was at 50,000 sullas.”

“No wonder Agmar is staring a hole through you. He could get himself a seat in the senate with that. Word travels fast”

“Faster than I, anyway. Don’t tell me the thought hasn’t crossed your mind.”

“Come now, Rem. You don’t think me a greedy man do ya?” He said as he clapped his shoulder.

He noticed Dreama working diligently behind the bar, every now and then shooting another icy stare in their direction.

“Greedy? No. But you look the type that does what your wife tells you and you can’t convince me she wouldn’t take the chance.”

“She’s just leery of you, that’s all. She’s afraid you and I are going to start thinking we’re 18, again.”

“She needn’t be worried about me. I have no power over you. I barely have power over my fuckin’ self. Besides, I haven’t heard of any wars being fought around here, no cities to raze, no kings to topple.”

“No Arkan Trears.” Markum said silently, as if saying it to himself.

“That, my friend, was a day to remember.”

“A day that I am trying to forget.”

Remmy didn’t know what to say to that. The Battle of Arkan Trear was a stunning victory for the Empire they fought and killed for. It was a day covered in glory by historians and minstrels all across the continent and far beyond. But for Markum, Remmy had the sensed that it has deep scar, not unlike the ones he had covering his body, except this one was on his soul.

“He’s different man now” Remmy thought. The friend he grew to know and love was wrath, aggressive, fiercely competitive, and forever loyal. Now he seemed melancholy, reserved, and above all, sober.

“Why are you here, Remmy?”

“Because every mercenary in the Outlands is looking to cash in on Harion’s bounty and this is the only place work can be found for a man like myself.”

“No, I mean, why are you doing this? I thought you had an estate waiting for you in Valorum. There are other ways to make coin then by selling your sword. What happened to your pension?”

“That’s been gone for a while. Left it my brother Rellon. I tried the life of a Valoran citizen for a few years, traveled the Empire, made a few bad investments with my pention. Lost it all. Killing is the only thing I have ever been good at, Markum. You were quiet good at it too, one time.”
Remmy nodded over to a deep brown stain that marked the wooden floor in the corner of the main hall. It was a deep beaten shade of brown, one that someone had scrubbed repeatedly into the floorboards but was never able to erase. He knew blood when he saw it. ”Looks like you still are, master Davies.”

“It’s a useful skill to have when you are all alone in this end of the world with nothing but your family and anything worth taking. When the pilgrimage season ends, that’s when the outlaws come around.”

“Is that so? So what’s this work I hear you might have for an outlaw such as me, old friend?”

“Aye, I got a job for ya. Pays well enough, but you are going to have to put the work in. This is no hack and slash affair, Rem. This requires someone with subtlety and a sharp blade.”

“Why would you send for me when you have your friend Agmar over there? He looks like he could use the coin.”

“I could use quite a few words to describe my friend Agmar, subtle is not one of them. This contract is at the behest of someone powerful, someone who wants to keep this very quiet.”

Remmy swirled the ale in his cup and watched the remainder of its frothy head dissolve.

“A girl disappeared coming back from pilgrimage a fortnight back. She was last seen in the tavern in Fool’s Gallo, a small collection of hovels just northwest of here. I need her returned, alive, and unmolested.”

“Daddy won’t pay the ransom?”

“No ransom has been demanded.”

Remmy snickered before taking another big draw of ale. “Good luck with finding her ‘unmolested’. There are only two reasons a highborn girl would disappear without a trace, and one of them is money. You’ll be lucky to find what was left of her in one piece.”

“There’s more” Markum said in a hushed voice. “A day’s ride to the north of the Gallo, folken say a camp has been erected by brigands that no one knows. The settlers rarely patronize the village, and when they do, they’re not exactly talkative. In the night, folken say they see large cook fires burning and hear strange songs. Been there, for the better part of a month from what most people can tell[JaJ1] (http://www.writingforums.com/#_msocom_1) .”
Remmy’s brow furrowed, and he ran his fingers through his thick black hair. “That is queer. I’ve never been with outlaws that like to stay in one place for too long. How many?”

“Information varies, some say as many as two dozen men and women. But no one has been close enough to know for sure. Every time the village sends someone to parlay with them, they don’t return.”

“Surprised the local lord hasn’t sent them scurrying yet.”

“They are all in Barberia along with damn near every fuckin’ boy of fighting age in the Flatlands. What’s left is hardly enough to keep the peace. That place has grown into a quagmire since we left, Remmy. We were hardened soldiers, every one of us blooded beyond our years. Now it’s legions of green boys, barely strong enough to lift a shield.”
Remmy took another concerned drink from his tankard. “You think the girl could be at the camp?”

“It’s your best chance. If not, I’m willing to bet you’d get a strong sense of what happened to her.”

“I am sorry Markum, but I can’t do this. No reward is big enough to be spent in the grave and to take on an entire camp you’ll need a few blades, not one.”

“No” Markum replied flatly ”This job is for you, Rem, because I know you are the only one I know that you will give this the discretion it deserves.” Markam took a deep breath. “And if somehow news of this girl does get out, I have something to exchange for my family’s wellbeing.”
Remmy felt something burning in the back of his neck. He sensed it coming for a while, the way he was beckoned to the inn, Agmar, the bounty on his head. A man with his history is always wary of the knife in the back. But there was no way Markum could be the one. Not him. Not a brother. “You know I don’t take well to threats, friend.”

“I’m just being honest, Rem. I have everything to lose so I have to minimize my risks whenever I can.”

“And all I have to risk is the skin off me own arse, is that the way of it?” he said, his voice thick with disgust and hurt. “I always knew the drink made you a crazy fuck, Markum. What I didn’t know it’s where you got all your loyalty, too.”

“Oh, I’m still crazy old friend. And as loyal as ever.” He nodded to Dreama behind the bar, making sure that all the mugs were in order. His daughter played precociously with two dolls on the floor nearby.

Remmy scowled across the room at Agmar, who leaned over to whisper something in the drunken dwarve’s ear. Word indeed travels fast, here. If he told Markum no, he’d have every cutthroat on the continent moving to the Flatlands to try to collect on Harion’s bounty, that is if he didn’t try to collect it himself. Most like, Agmar was here to make sure Remmy couldn’t leave in case he didn’t get the right answer. He could try to run, try to blend seamlessly into the background with the of the Valorian frontier. But he’s never been good at that. His name wasn’t “Running” Remmy. He is “Deathless.”

“You know, Markham, there is only good thing that comes from my name. Do you know what it is?”
Markum screwed up his face. “What?”

“It saves men’s lives.” Markham looked even more confused as Remmy took another drink of ale.

“I’ll run your little errand for you. But I won’t be threatened into it. This rich man is going to have to pay if he wants his daughter back dead or alive. ”Remmy leaned back in his chair.

“I want 25 thousand if I can bring her back alive and 15 if she’s dead.”

“Nothing up front, and if she is dead, I am going to need the killers instead. Alive, Remmy.”

“The killers will be an additional 5,000 per head, if I can give them to you alive.”

“Done. She has blonde hair and people say she is most fair to look apron with a shapely body. Her name is Mezzerine. Men last saw her wearing a blue stola that gives her away as high born.”

Remmy stood up, and finished the last vestiges of his ale. “If that is all, I’m off to Fool’s Gallo then.”

Markam grabbed his hand, preventing him from walking away. “Remmy, I’m sorry, this is just business.”

“Well, it seems you make your business as bloody an affair as you do your war, old friend. But at least in war I knew which side you were on.”

“What did you mean about your name?” Markum got in before Remmy was able to turn away. “You said that the only good thing about name is that it saves lives.”

Remmy peeked out of the side of his eye at Agmar, watching their conversation with intense interest.

Sometimes people don’t believe you will kill them until they see the steel sinking into their gut, by then it’s far too late. But he’s found, that if they know your reputation, hear the tales, know you, know what people say about you, they see the end far sooner. But only if you are congruent with the tales, no matter how crazy and untrue they may be. That is how lives are saved. But he couldn’t explain that to Markum, even if he wanted to.

“I’ll show you” he said to Markum as he turned.
Then again you have the blood thirsty asshole willing to do anything to gain a measure of glory off that name and reputation. Remmy didn’t know which one of those Agmar the Blight was, but he was going to find out.

When Remmy slowly walked over to their table the green boy’s posture straightened, all the while being ever so careful not to meet eyes with him. Agmar, however, sat there with quite the self-satisfied smirk on his face. The kind of smile Remmy’s mother would smack the piss out of him for while growing up. To his other side the dwarf sat hunched over in his chair, sleeping silently until Agmar shook him awake with one hand. When he woke up and saw Remmy standing at the table’s head, his eyes widened, and he placed a hand on the hilt of a throwing ax on his belt.

“They all have their hands on their weaponry” Remmy thought to himself. Should it come to steel, Remmy gave himself a 50/50 chance, provided Markum didn’t get involved.
He saw fear in all of their eyes, even Agmar’s. It was a thin coat of bravery over the instinctual urge of self-preservation that every human knew. A fear of death. Now was the time to for “Deathless” to save all of their lives.

The lad raised a shaking mug to his lips but Remmy, snatched in out of his hand before he could get a drink. The ale ran down his chin on both sides of his mouth as he took his drink down in 4 large gulps, the following belch breaking the deafening silence in the room. He lazily cast the mug aside, before grabbing the one in front of the dwarf. This one had barely a drink, but Remmy, never the less took the drink and discarded the mug in the same lazy contempt.

Then he grabbed Agmar’s mug, making sure he met his eyes with a dead stare as he picked it up. But before he brought it to his lips turned the mug upside down until all of its contents were emptied onto the table in front of him. “The Blight” sat there dumb founded, scared, and Remmy could see the hate boiling over behind his eyes.
“But there ain’t a fucking thing you are going to do about it.” He thought to himself, his eyes burning back at him.

A heavy, thick silence remained in the room as Remmy took one final look at each man. It stayed that way as he opened the large wooden door at the front of the main hall, the light of the gray, overcast sky, greeting him as he walked out.

PrinzeCharming
June 12th, 2016, 04:35 AM
Hey,

I'm surprised nobody has said anything here. I'll provide a few notes of advice for you.


Three men sat in silence on in around the table directly across from Remmy, and to a man, they knew how to use a sword. He was acquainted with one of them; a particularly vile looking bastard by the name of Agmar the Blight, a professional killer who had collected bounties from all corners of the Empire.

Omit "on in", replace with "around". Omit "of them". Wait, are you describing him, the one being acquainted with a sword, or the name of the sword? Allow me to show you the confusion through a simple breakdown.

"-- and to a man, they knew how to use a sword. He was acquainted with one of them; a particularly vile looking bastard by the name of Agmar the Blight, a professional killer who had collected bounties from all corners of the Empire."

Do you understand? You can even take the semicolon out to see what would happen if they were both in independent sentences.

Sentence 1: He was acquainted with one of them.
Sentence 2: A particularly vile looking bastard by the name of Agmar the Blight, a professional killer ...

Watch for word choice.


“Harion’s bounty will follow me to the farthest end of the world and back” he thought to himself as he drank his ale. But that made no matter. Remmy had a something even more valuable; a name. And Wherever the reputation followed, there would always be a steady stream of men looking to steal its glory for themselves, with or without the reward.

Omit "But that made no matter," as it doesn't matter. Go straight to the point. Omit 'a'. Not needed.


A comely maid walked in the side door of the tavern, carrying a wooden pale, a statuesque blonde with a shapely figure.
Try this:

"A comely maid, a statuesque blonde with a shapely figure, walked in the side door of the tavern carrying a wooden pail."


I'll be back to offer more.


Thanks for sharing.


Anthony

MizzouRam
June 12th, 2016, 05:06 PM
Wow. Thank you for your input! I will apply these corrections immediately.

PrinzeCharming
June 12th, 2016, 05:09 PM
Hey,

Thanks for the prompt response! Sorry, it was late last night. What I meant was to correct, "pale" to "pail." :)

Jay Greenstein
June 12th, 2016, 11:30 PM
First, that II at the top says this isn't the beginning, and that evokes two problems. First is that only on page one can the reader begin to read and not need a bit of "what has gone before," to provide context.

But a second point is that when people post this way it usually means that they spent a lot of time on backstory in the opening, and want to present what they view as more of a more exciting scene for review. If that was your reason, think about this: If we don't grab the reader and begin to entertain from page one, will they turn to page two, and get to this part of the story? Plot events and story background matter, but the writing must entertain from the first line.


Three men sat in silence on in the table directly across from Remmy, and to a man, they knew how to use a sword. He was acquainted with one of them; a particularly vile looking bastard by the name of Agmar the Blight, a professional killer who had collected bounties from all corners of the Empire.This is presented as a report. Were you telling this aloud, it's how you would set the scene, because there would be no visuals. But while you hear your own voice, filled with emotion, as you read this, the reader gets data delivered in a machine voice. So instead of you telling the reader what you visualize in the film version, why not tell what matters to Remmy?

Remmy settled back in the chair, ignoring the noise of the bar around them and studying the three toughs facing him.

In one line we've placed him in a bar and established that the men are with him, and that they're not gentlemen. Do we need their history at this point? No. Remember, he's not thinking about their past, he's focused on what he hopes to accomplish. So any explaining you do isn't story, it's history, and gossip.

But...you opened with him facing three men. What do you think the reader will expect, having learned that? Won't they want to know why he's with them, and what's going on? But instead of answering the questions you raised, you abandon them and talk about:
“Harion’s bounty will follow me to the farthest end of the world and back” he thought to himself as he drank his ale.What does this have to do with the men sitting there? You give not a hint. Worse yet, you say:
But that made no matter.If it doesn't matter, why did you make the reader take the time to read it?

And as a minor matter, thoughts get no quote and appear in italics, so there's no need to tell the reader it was a thought.
A comely maid walked in the side door of the tavern, carrying a wooden pale, a statuesque blonde with a shapely figure.Here you generically identify the woman. But...We're still waiting to find out why he's with those men and what he expects. We're still waiting to learn what was meant by his "having a name." So again, you veer off subject. And it turns out that the woman isn't a "comely maid," she's a woman who has a name and a history with him.

The short version, and I really hate to say this: from an editor's viewpoint the story is out of control. There is a flow to a story that a reader expects. They're not expecting to learn details about things in the scene, they're expecting the scene t begin, move forward moment-by-moment, and flow in a way that seems natural to his perception. He's not one of the people you talk about as part of the story, it's his story. Thanks to tags, facial expression, thoughts, gestures, and such, we know exactly how he speaks his lines and what's in his mind. But you can't tell the reader how you speak the lines you assign to the narrator.

To hear what the reader gets, have your computer read the first two paragraphs to you. Aside from learning what a reader hears as they read it, you'll hear the extra word in each paragraph that your editing missed.

It's not a matter of good or bad writing, it's that at the moment you're missing the basics of how to structure a story on the page. And because you are, you're using the fact-based and author-centric writing we all learn in school, which informs when the reader is expecting to be entertained.

Think about how you would have approached writing this section were you aware that the three things a reader needs, so as to have context to make the writing meaningful, are: Where am I. Who am I? What's going on.

How to present that invisibly, and a hundred other tricks, are some of the necessary professional knowledge if you want to draw the reader in and keep them turning pages. So it makes sense to dig out a few of those tricks to make your job easier, and more fun.

Like any other field, writing fiction for the page has issues that aren't obvious from the outside, but which are necessary knowledge. So some time spent in the library's fiction writing section can yield valuable knowledge, and be time well spent.

MizzouRam
June 16th, 2016, 04:26 PM
Yeah the story is definitely clunky at the outset. I will update this thread with revisions. Thank you for the feedback.

MizzouRam
September 21st, 2016, 05:53 PM
Tell me what you think of this...

This bounty will be the death of me. Remmy stared blankly into his ale cup. Smoothly he took another swig, doing his best to act as if he hadn’t noticed them.

The three men sat silently at a table across the tavern from him, each one armed with rustic blades from shoulder strap to belt. Remmy knew one of them by name, a particularly vile bastard known as Agmar the Blight, who had earned his surname fighting the hill men of Ramone for coin and plunder, or at least that was his reputation.

And Remmy knew a thing or two about reputations, for he had one of his own. And he knew that wherever the name followed, there would always be a steady stream of men looking to steal it’s glory for themselves, with or without the reward.

A comely maid, golden blonde hair with a shapely figure, walked in the side door of the tavern, carrying a wooden pale. He could tell immediately what attracted Markum saw to her.

A precocious young girl ran in behind her. One glance at her smirk and you could immediately see her father’s face.
“Dreama” he said in salutation. When she turned and their eyes met, her face turned to granite right in front of him.

Wordlessly, she kept walking, with little more than an icy glance.

Remmy didn’t take offense, though. He was a bygone memory in her husband’s past. A memory filled with blood and bile and war. Who wants to see those sitting at your table, drinking your ale, asking to see your husband?

Agmar still hadn’t taken his eyes off Remmy. One of his drinking buddies was a dwarf with black tattooed lines etching the contours of his face and shaved scalp. His short trimmed beard covered a pointy chin, and was half soaked in excess ale and god’s knew what else. He sat there in a stupor, either scared or drunk or both, while the other, a stocky lad, hadn’t looked up from his ale since Remmy sat down.

And that made Remmy smile. “Know my name, do ya boy?” he whispered to himself.

He was right to be scared of Remmy. “Deathless” they called him. It was a useful, all be it undeserved moniker, he had to admit, for Remmy was most definitely capable of dying. That being said, he didn’t think “Lucky Remmy” or “Remmy the Fortunate” sounded as good, so he never bothered to correct it.

A big hand clapped down on his right shoulder. Reflexively, he reached down for the dagger at his side, but when he looked up, a familiar voice greeted him for the first time in 8 years.

MizzouRam
October 23rd, 2016, 02:50 AM
bump

Jay Greenstein
October 23rd, 2016, 05:35 AM
Much better, but you're still explaining the story to the reader in your own voice.
Smoothly he took another swig, doing his best to act as if he hadn’t noticed them.Watch out for adverbs. When needed they do their job, but does it matter how he drank? In his viewpoint he's not doing it smoothly, he's lifting and drinking. So this line can come only from your viewpoint. But drop that one word and it's him.

And in his viewpoint, he's not acting as if he didn't notice "them" because the reader has no clue of who "they" are. But given that you next explain, why not say he hadn't noticed the three men? That way, the reader will wonder who the men are, and that leads them to the next line, as if you're answering their question.
The three men sat silently at a table across the tavern from him, each one armed with rustic blades from shoulder strap to beltAssuming you change the first line, having introduced the men and the number in the previous line, you can say," The men sat at the other side of the tavern, watching him. Do we care if they're talking? Does that matter to the plot? No. Do we know what a rustic blade is given that we still don't know where we are in time and space, or what's going on? No. Do we care how they're worn? Again no. That's visual detail the reader can't see, and which doesn't matter to the scene. Must we say they each are armed, or is it inclusive to say they're armed, at this point? Let implication work for you. Tell the reader only what matters to the protagonist in the moment he's observing and deciding, based on what he notices. That way we make the same decisions and observations as the protagonist, and share the action.

It's his story, so let him live it in real-time, moment-by-moment, as our avatar, rather then as someone who is the subject of your focus. In your viewpoint it's dispassionate because we can't hear your voice. In his, we know how he feels and why.

Given the progress you've made I would strongly suggest you dig into Dwight Swain's, Techniques of the Selling Writer, a book I often recommend. You can preview it with this article (http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/scene.php). It condenses one of the points he makes in the book. It's the best way I know of to place the reader into the scene as a a participant.

You're making progress. Keep it up.

Hope this helps.

Phil Istine
October 23rd, 2016, 10:15 AM
I'm not an experienced writer, so take this with whatever value you wish to assign to it.
I like that you've set the scene and given some descriptions so that a reader can conjure up images without having your pictures imposed upon him. Also, I see you've tidied up some of the SPAG errors. I may be a bit nitpicky, but I prefer SPAG to be sound before I go through a piece (not necessarily perfect though). It does feel a little wordy still as you squeeze in some backstory. If the story is to be a longer piece, is it possible to work it in more gradually in other places? Also, it feels a little heavy with adverbs in some areas.
I've made a few suggestions below. Make of them what you will.

Addendum:
I didn't intend to use so much red ink, but when I got into the nuts and bolts, it did seem to need it.
I always try to avoid imposing style on a writer, and always seem to fail miserably :)








Tell me what you think of this...

This bounty will be the death of me. Remmy stared blankly into his ale [cup]not needed-flows better without cup. [Smoothly]suggest removing 'smoothly' as two adverbs in quick succession (blankly ... smoothly) He took another swig, [doing his best to act as if he hadn’t noticed them.]a little wordy - maybe reduce word count and let reader do some work

The three men [sat silently]maybe 'sat in silence' to reduce adverb usage. Adverbs OK but better to use more sparingly IMO at a table across the tavern [from him]not needed, [each one armed with rustic blades from shoulder strap to belt]armed to the teeth with rustic blades?. I know it's a cliché, but it might work here. If I were a reader, I would be content with "The three men sat in silence across the tavern, each armed to the teeth with rustic blades.". Remmy knew one of them by name, a particularly vile bastard known as Agmar the Blight, who had earned his surname fighting the hill men of Ramone for coin and plunder, or at least that was his reputation.

And Remmy knew a thing or two about reputations, for he had one of his own. And he knew that wherever the name followed, there would always be a steady stream of men looking to steal [it’s]its (no apostrophe) glory for themselves, with or without the reward.

A comely maid, golden blonde hair with a shapely figure, walked in the side door of the tavern, carrying a wooden [pale]pail.(Now I would be content with "A shapely maid entered, carrying a pail." - unless her hair colour is relevant for some reason later in the story). He could tell immediately what attracted Markum. [saw to her]not needed

A precocious young girl ran in behind her. One glance at her smirk and you could [immediately](this word appears in previous sentence so maybe avoid it. Anyway, "glance tells of the immediacy) see her father’s face (if you drop 'immediately', you may prefer to add 'straight away' here. Personally, I wouldn't) .
“Dreama(comma - or possibly exclamation mark)” he said in salutation. When she turned and their eyes met, [her face turned to granite] right in front of him.

[Wordlessly,]not needed she kept walking, with little more than an [icy] glance.(You have used 'granite and 'icy'. I suggest consistency like "face froze" and "icy" OR "granite" and "stony" - or maybe you can think of better ones?)

Remmy didn’t take offense, [though]not needed [as h]e was a bygone memory in her husband’s past. A memory filled with blood and bile and war. Who wants to see those sitting at your table, drinking your ale, asking to see your husband?

Stopped here for a rest :)
------------------------------------------------

Agmar still hadn’t taken his eyes off Remmy. One of his drinking buddies was a dwarf with black tattooed lines etching the contours of his face and shaved scalp. His short trimmed beard covered a pointy chin, and was half soaked in excess ale and god’s knew what else. He sat there in a stupor, either scared or drunk or both, while the other, a stocky lad, hadn’t looked up from his ale since Remmy sat down.

And that made Remmy smile. “Know my name, do ya boy?” he whispered to himself.

He was right to be scared of Remmy. “Deathless” they called him. It was a useful, all be it undeserved moniker, he had to admit, for Remmy was most definitely capable of dying. That being said, he didn’t think “Lucky Remmy” or “Remmy the Fortunate” sounded as good, so he never bothered to correct it.

A big hand clapped down on his right shoulder. Reflexively, he reached down for the dagger at his side, but when he looked up, a familiar voice greeted him for the first time in 8 years.

I've done a classic. "Use adverbs sparingly." Ha ha.

Gold Bearer
April 21st, 2017, 11:29 PM
Nicely written and I liked the ending.

'He could tell immediately what attracted Markum saw to her.' Markum to her or attraction.

'Remmy didn’t take offense, though.' Is a comma supposed to be out before though?

'8 years' and 'thinking we’re 18' I think eight and eighteen would be better.

'Well, perhaps ‘trustworthy ‘ is
the wrong word, but you catch my meaning.”' New line for no reason.

'one to many times' Too many.

', Remmy had the sensed that it has deep scar,' Sense or no the.

'There are other ways to make coin then by selling your sword.' Than.

'Been there, for the better part of a month from what most people can tell[JaJ1] .”' Strange link.

', try to blend seamlessly into the background with the of the Valorian frontier.'

', there is only good thing that comes from my name.' One good thing.

'“It saves men’s lives.”' Not sure if it's mens, men's or mens'. Hmm, it's already pluralised so I'm not sure.

'This rich man is going to have to pay if he wants his daughter back dead or alive. ”Remmy leaned back in his chair.' Space needs to be after the " instead of before.

'She has blonde hair and people say she is most fair to look apron with a shapely body.' Apron? :)