A Shadow in the Night Chapter One 1540 Word (Fantasy)


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  1. #1

    A Shadow in the Night Chapter One 1540 Word (Fantasy)

    Hello all. I thought I would post some parts to a fantasy novel I am working on called A Shadow in the Night. It is the first novel in what I am hoping to turn into a three novel set.

    Keep in mind when reading this I am a novice writer who never had any training. Just some basic English classes in high school and that was 22 years ago. So if you leave feed back be gentle.

    Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy.


    ASHADOW IN THE NIGHT



    ONE


    Arch Bishop Eycks walked the streets at a hurried pace, he glanced behind him every few minutes to ensure that he was not being followed. Not that anyone would think to follow him, not the way he was dressed. Rather then the rich flowing white robes of his office he wore the foul smelling rags of a beggar. The Arch Bishop leaned against a near by wall, his breath coming in labored gasps. He was not used to traveling such distances at this pace. Most of the time when the church official traveled no matter how short the distance he did so in his ornate carriage. Tonight however he could not afford to draw attention to himself, not when the fate of the church depended on his actions.
    After catching his breath the Arch Bishop went on his way. He took the twisting and turning side streets without fear of getting lost, he had poured over the maps of the city for a week before his journey. Only after making one hundred percent sure that he was not being followed did he male his way to his destination, a run down building with boarded up windows and crumbled masonry. The
    Arch Bishop paused in front of a door that looked as if it were about to fall it’s frame and knocked three times before pausing and knocking four more times. He felt that such precautions were melodramatic but the person he was dealing with had insisted. The door opened with aloud groan.
    “You are late.” Came the gruff voice of the man who answered.
    “I had to be sure that I was not followed. The holy man responded as he entered the dwelling closing the door quickly behind him in case the street was not as empty as it seemed. He then looked at the man he had traveled to see with thinly veiled contempt. A man who like him wore robes, but his were the robes of a mage.
    “If you find me so distasteful perhaps you can find another to aid you.”
    “It is not you that I find distasteful but magic.”
    “And yet here you are.” The mage walked to a blanket that hung from a door way and moved it aside. “In here.” The Arch Bishop looked at the dimly lit room beyond the door but did not enter.
    “You step inside the circle.”The mage said impatiently. With a deep breath to steady himself the church man stepped through the door. The room he entered was lit by a single torch, the faint outline of a white circle barely visible on the dirt floor.
    “Please step inside the circle.” The mage instructed. With slow hesitant steps the Arch Bishop complied. The mage lowered his head and began to chant softly. Soon the Arch Bishop felt a tingling on his skin and he had to fight the urge to run from the building. It felt as if there were a thousand bugs crawling on him, The chanting grew louder.
    “Stop this!” Eycks yelled at the mage. “I changed my...” The words trailed away with a blinding flash of light. When the light faded the circle was empty.


    Father Douglas Gensler sat at his desk going through Cardinal Fenton’s correspondence trying to decide which letters needed immediate attention and which ones could wait. He came across a letter from Johnathan Mullins. In it he wrote about an incident where a family of peasants sat in seating reserved for nobles at The Cathedral of Phalmoth. The situation had been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction at the time but The Lord of Phalmoth still felt the need to send a letter expressing his outrage.
    ‘Typical.’ Father Gensler thought as he rolled his eyes and placed the letter at the top of the pile. All letters from Lord Mullins no matter how trivial went to the top of the pile. The father was about to look at another letter when he heard someone approaching. He looked up and saw a beggar, although the father noticed that the man did not have the manor of the downtrodden. For one thing his hair and beard were neatly trimmed, for another the man was grossly overweight.
    “You will take me to see Cardinal Fenton right away.” The beggar ordered in a powerful tone.
    “The Cardinal is very busy. If you are looking for..” The father started to say before being cut off.
    “Do you know who I am young man?”
    “No I do not.” The father admitted.
    “Well I promise you the Cardinal does. Please go get him.” The father hesitated. “Now!” The beggar added in a forceful tone. Maybe it was the beggar’s tone but something compelled Father Gensler to obey. He quickly stood up, opened the door to the right of his desk and went inside. He returned a moment later with a tall man wearing the white robes that marked him as a Cardinal in The Church of Storan.
    “Rodger.” The man exclaimed in surprise. “What are you doing here? And dressed in such a way?”
    “It is urgent that we speak. Do you have the time?”
    “For an old friend. Of course.” The Cardinal gestured for the beggar Rodger to follow him into his office. “Father some wine please.” With that the two men walked through the door leaving a very confused Father Gensler behind.


    “I hope that Father Gensler did not recognize me when you called my name.” Rodger Eycks worried as he sat in a seat across from Cardinal Fenton’s desk.
    “Oh I doubt that he did. After all how often do you see an Arch Bishop in beggar’s rags? Now tell me why you are dressed like that?” It was at that moment that Father Gensler walked into the office with a bottle of wine and two glasses. The Arch Bishop dressed as a beggar waited until the wine was poured before speaking again.
    “You will make no record of my visit, is that understood?” Father Gensler looked to Cardinal Fenten who nodded his head.
    “Yes I understand.”
    “That will be all father. Please see to it that we are not disturbed.”
    “Yes Cardinal.” With a slight bow towards his superior the father turned and left the office closing the door securely behind him.
    “Now tell me Rodger what is all this about? Why are you dressed as a beggar? And what are you doing here? I had not heard that you had left the Isle of Kings.”
    “No one knows. I used magic.”
    “Magic!” Cardinal Fenton exclaimed. “But Church law...”
    “Yes I know it is forbidden. But what I have to talk to you about is to important.”
    “Come now enough. You come here dressed as this and speak in riddles. What is it all about?”
    “The Pontiff is dying. Arch Bishop Eycks answered sadly.
    “Dying? But the healers.”
    “Are of little use. Whatever disease The pontiff is suffering from the healers are unable to help him.”
    “My word.” Cardinal Fenton sank back in his chair and let his friend’swords sink in. “I had not even heard that he was sick.”
    “He has told very few people. As his assistant I was one of the first to know.”
    “Why tell me?”
    “Because you are one the list to replace him.”
    “Me the next pope?” The Cardinal was not sure he had heard right. His whole life he had dreamed of acceding to the church’s highest office. And now he was being told that his dream was about to come true.
    “As I said you are on the list.”
    “List? What list?” Fenton asked as if hearing the words for the first time.
    “Let me explain. As soon as The holy father realized that he was dying he ordered The Council of Cardinals to compile a list of candidates to replace him. You are on that list.”
    “Who else is one the list?”
    “It is a short list. It is just Cardinal Rosser, Cardinal Yuma, and yourself.”
    “Surely Rosser is the front runner. After all he is the Cardinal of The Isle of Kings.” Cardinal Fenton felt his dream slipping away. In wardly he cursed his friend for raising his hopes only to destroy them.
    “Rosser may be the front runner but The Cardinal feels the church would be greatly damaged if he were elected.”
    “But why?”
    “As distasteful as the church finds the mages of The White Tower we have struck a balance with them, a balance that has kept the peace for centuries. Rosser would upset that balance. His hatred of magic is well known. With the full power of the church behind him there is no telling what he would do.”
    “You make it sound like he would start a war.”
    “The problem is that we do not know. The pope feels that Rosser is too unpredictable to be elected. Now the pontiff can not endorse a candidate nor can I as his personal assistant but I can still be of help.”
    “Help? How?”
    “By quietly making deals to gather support for you. As the king’s cousin many will be drawn to you. Together we can make sure that you are elected the next pope if Waveland.”
    Last edited by Zander Willmore; November 26th, 2019 at 07:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Hi,

    Fantasy is my preferred genre so I thought I'd jump in. It seems you have a pretty well-developed world and situation in your mind which as far as I am concerned is
    a key cornerstone of high or epic fantasy. It also starts with a nicely tense situation - the Archbishop scurrying through the streets while potentially being followed. It's drama, it's threat, and we like drama and threat.

    There are several grammar and style wobbles however, though the WF formatting does weird things with text pasted from Word etc. - removing spaces and whatnot so I won't labour those. Just a couple:

    Dialogue punctuation: there are a couple of ways to attend to this. If, as in the sentence below, you have the speaking action (said, replied, asked, expounded, ululated, whatever) after the dialogue, then where you might end the dialogue with a period / full stop, use a comma and no capitalisation afterwards *unless it's a name); so:

    “You are late.” Came the gruff voice of the man who answered.

    will become, with corrections in red:

    “You are late,came the gruff voice of the man who answered.

    Apart from that I can't see too many SPaG issues.

    Stylistically, there are a few things to think about. One is there is a big wodge of dialogue pretty soon after Eycks (awesome names throughout by the way) gets to the Caridinal. It doesn't really let up after that, but it would be good to see Eycks both as he moves through the city and also through his own perceptions. What is he thinking? Let us readers be him. Let us see the world that way, and learn about the situation via him. It's fantasy - we want to journey to neat places more than we want to see a couple of clerics chinwag. I mean, the guys need to talk but you can intersperse it with references to the outside world. This is known as "talking heads" - where there's no scenery, just chat. See if you can break that up.

    Contentwise: There are quite a few new names and it is somewhat easy to get them mixed up. Maybe introduce characters a little slower. Just focus on one event at a time. Also - what is this town called? Take us there. I note you call the Church of Gilliad. First thing I think of there is the Handmaid's Tale. You may not know it but that's the Republic there. Same in The Dark Tower. Same in the Bible quite possibly, I don't know, but a name change might help it seem a little less derivative.

    Anyway good luck. Hope this helps.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    The first cut don't hurt at all
    The second only makes you wonder
    The third will have you on your knee
    s
    - Propaganda, "Duel"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous








  3. #3
    Thanks for the feedback. I didnt know that the name of my god was used so many times else where. I will look at changing his name.

    I thank you for your ideas and will give them a lot of thought. This is by no means a final draft so there is lots of time to make changes and improvements.

    I changed the name of the god from Gilliad to Storan. I edited the post to relfect this.
    Last edited by Zander Willmore; November 26th, 2019 at 07:33 PM.

  4. #4
    This is a good piece of work, considering your newness and all.
    You convey a clear image of the story you are telling.
    Where you could use some improvement is introducing your characters. It felt like you were rushing to tell the story, at the expense of your characters.
    Always take your time to introduce your characters, give us a feel for them, maybe a glimpse what they look like (just the physical characteristics that speak to their nature) and get us in their heads so we know what kind of person they are. THEN you can tell the story.

    Characters are the most important element in a modern story.

  5. #5
    Zander -

    I like your story so far. I’m a newer writer as well but an avid reader. As I mentioned in your short story about the scarecrow I would always recommend reading your works out loud because that will help catch small errors. Another thing I would recommend is spending a lot of extra time on your first sentence and last sentence for each chapter and work... example (you use the word walked in the first sentence when traversed works better, and you just say streets when you could use one word in front of it to help the reader visualize the setting better like city or cobblestone). The first sentence hooks the reader and the last sentence keeps them coming back for more. I use an online thesaurus a lot for words in the first and last sentence.

    i love that you had him run around in begger clothes as this really helped me get sucked into the feelings of the main character in the scene.

    Use Man of Faith instead of church man as that is usually how people of faith talk or think about themselves.

    Altogether I love the story so far and would love to read more... if you want to send me more work I would love to read it!!

  6. #6
    Thanks for the feedback. As for reading over and fixing errors I am going to start printing my stories as I can read easier in print then on a pc. I think that may be one of my problems.

    I would love to send you more work. if you want to pm me maybe we can work something out.

  7. #7
    Not often the first word hits me Archbishop, it's all one word, unless of course he is only a normal bishop who is arch. I'll go back and read a bit more.
    Visit my website to read and connect to my 'soundcloud', where you can listen to stories songs and more
    Hidden Content

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    Piglet's picks. Hidden Content

  8. #8
    Okay, I have read and as people say, a good start. It is obvious from what you say that you do not regard this as final, but I thought I would give you a bit more of a break down to give you an idea of what to look out for.

    Arch Bishop
    Combined words seem to be a bit of a blind spot for you.
    The door opened with aloud groan.
    He spoke aloud, it opened with a loud ...
    In wardly he cursed his friend
    Inwardly

    Eycks walked the streets at a hurried pace, he glanced behind him every few minutes to ensure that he was not being followed. Not that anyone would think to follow him, not the way he was dressed. Rather then the rich flowing white robes of his office he wore the foul smelling rags of a beggar. The Arch Bishop leaned against a near by wall, his breath coming in labored gasps.
    Be careful of using 'He' and 'Him' too much, you are about on the upper limit here, look at this, I am not saying this is how it 'should' be written, but it is an example of how you can avoid it and condense things a little without losing meaning (I hope)
    Eycks walked the streets at a hurried pace, glancing behind him every few minutes to ensure he was not followed. Not that anyone would think to the way he was dressed.
    Take a look at what I have deleted, we all tend to over-write on a first go round, I usually start my editing by going through and taking out 'that' many times.
    "Rather then the rich flowing white robes ..." This is a list of words that describe the 'white robes', so it needs commas. Rather then the rich, flowing, white robes.

    He was not used to traveling such distances at this pace. Most of the time when the church official traveled no matter how short the distance he did so in his ornate carriage. Tonight however he could not afford to draw attention to himself, not when the fate of the church depended on his actions.
    I thought 'labored' might be an American spelling, but I'm sure 'traveled' is not, turn on 'spellcheck', it is a really useful tool.

    Look at the words I have highlighted with bold, I reckon you could lose all of them. Words which 'Qualify' something are very tempting things to add, but very often the phrase is actually more powerful without them. See what I 'very actually added' there?

    Sometimes spellcheck will not help, "the man did not have the manor of the downtrodden." manner, 'manor ' is a large house.

    "what I have to talk to you about is to important.” Check out two, too, to. Do it for yourself and you will remember it

    I am not going to pick at every nit, apart from manner/manor I have tried to stick to things that are generally useful, but when you have edited a bit I would be happy to have another crack at it, it promises well.
    Visit my website to read and connect to my 'soundcloud', where you can listen to stories songs and more
    Hidden Content

    A thread of links useful to writers wishing to learn
    Piglet's picks. Hidden Content

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    The first 200,000 words are just practice.
    People often seem to say that, but I am sure it is not always true, some will get there sooner, some take longer.
    Visit my website to read and connect to my 'soundcloud', where you can listen to stories songs and more
    Hidden Content

    A thread of links useful to writers wishing to learn
    Piglet's picks. Hidden Content

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