This is a dark age, a bloody age, an age of daemons and of sorcery.


Postby VictorK » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:22 am

That's a working title, by the way.

I've had this project banging around upstairs for a while and I'm using NaNoWriMo to try and get a jump on it. So far I've got two whole scenes! Which is a remarkable pace. I'm taking liberties with the Warhammer setting because, well, it's my story, dammit. Part of the idea is to try and make Warhammer more accessable so if I'm explaining things that seem obvious to you that would be why. And I bet it's still pretty inscrutable to the outside reader.

I have another scene after this one, I estimate I'm at about 10,000 words, but I hand write so it takes time and effort to get it all in text form.


A group of rough looking young men toasted Karl Franz beneath the awning of a ramshackle inn. Light spilled out form the common room and cast their shadows onto the rain-slicked streets. Porters, the old witch hunter thought to himself. Men spending the coin they earned at the docks on the watered down spirits and loose women in Vermintown. A tavern wench laughed between them, her bodice slipping every time her bosom heaved. Every bit as drunk as the men. Victory had made the poorest district of Nuln even more wanton.

News had only reached the city in the past week that the Emperor Karl Franz had prevailed in the shadow of the Ulricsberg, the mountain citadel crowned by the city of Middenheim. Every night men had spilled into the streets, and bells had tolled from the tower of every temple. Bertolt had been among them, at first. Then he found himself retreating into the bottle rather than celebrating. He sat in empty inns and rubbed the part of his thigh where a chunk of the muscle was missing. He wasn’t so old. There was barely a frosting of grey in the stubble that never quite blossomed into a beard. He should have been there.

Autumn had drawn an iron curtain across the sky and closed off the summer of war and heroes forever. Bertolt had stood in the grand square outside the Temple of Sigmar and heard Luthor Huss, the itinerant warrior priest, call men of faith to war. The witch hunter had raised his own voice with the others, and pledged to join the tens of thousands of believers camped outside the city walls. Their numbers would swell over a hundred thousand before they clashed against the forces of the Ruinous Powers. But Bertolt had stumbled when he turned to go. A young man caught him.

Now Bertolt limped along Magnus’ Road, away from the city center. The same young man was at his side, but he darted away to slap one of the drunken porters on the shoulder and offer his own toast to Karl Franz. The youth was as green as a goblin’s ass, but he had an easy way with people. Bertolt gripped the hammer icon under his heavy great coat and offered his own prayer to Sigmar. They were all toasting Karl Franz, but no mention of Luthor Huss or Valten. Bertolt had seen Sigmar reborn with his own eyes, and now he was meant to believe that he had been cast down? Possibly dead? The witch hunter could not believe it.

“Tydas!” Bertolt called to the younger man. It was starting to rain again. He flipped up the collar of his coat as the youth returned. He was not a witch hunter. He smiled too much. “We’re already late.” Bertolt growled as he picked up his limping gait again.

Tydas clapped him on the shoulder. “We’re almost there, old man. We could stop for a bit of this Vermintown swill, if you like? It would calm your nerves, I think.”

Bertolt didn’t know which was worse, that Tydas could be cheerful in the wet, nighttime gloom or the Kislevite accent that grated against the Stirlander’s ears. He was young. He should have been there too. “It won’t get you any closer to any woman worth groping.” Bertolt replied.

Tydas answered with a laugh. “Lighten up, Bertolt.” He practically draped himself off the witch hunter’s shoulders. Then he whispered in his companion’s ear, all the mirth drained out of him. “Everyone in this city is laughing but you. They’re watching.”

The witch hunter immediately began to look over the dark windows that lined the street. Tydas gave him a squeeze. “Just smile.” He said again, before laughing himself. Bertolt couldn’t bring himself to do that, but he did smile. Tydas was right; a little alcohol would have loosened him up. Or made him weep. The bottle was a fickle thing.

Together they seemed to wander the city streets aimlessly, further and further from the crowds that thronged the main thoroughfares. But they never took a side street that they didn’t intend to. It was early morning by the time they crossed into the yard of an old Sigmarite temple. Bertolt’s leg was beginning to seize up, but he kept pace with the younger man. He turned to look at the old temple. Part of him wanted to go inside and pray, and fall on his knees and ask forgiveness for all the good men dead while he was still stumbling around. Karl Franz’s army had survived. The mass of common, pious men who followed Valten? When he asked people who knew, they averted their eyes. Perhaps when he was done he would return and preach himself. The Empire would be in need of holy men.

Their destination wasn’t far from the temple. The small shack was nestled between two other buildings, almost as an afterthought. Bertolt slammed his fist against the timber while Tydas stood watch. The door didn’t rattle in its hinges like many in Vermintown. It was well maintained, but that was impossible to tell unless it was struck. Bertolt waited for the span of a heartbeat and then slammed the door two more times. A lock turned on the other side, and the door was hauled open. They were expected.

The door led to a flight of stairs hewn from stone. On a night like this they were treacherous; water from the intermittent rains ran underneath the door and made them slick. Bertolt had to brace himself against the wall as their host guided them down by lamplight. Tydas patiently followed. They joined two other men huddled around a low table. A map of Nuln was stretched out between them. All of the men save Tydas looked similar, clad in the great coats and tall hats that characterized the order of Sigmarite witch hunters. The Kislevite wore black.

“We thought you’d never get here.” A man with one eye on the opposite side of the table told Bertolt and Tydas. He didn’t look up from the map.

“Apologies, Helmuth.” Tydas replied. “We were caught up in some of the revelry. I had to pull Bertolt’s hand out of some harlot’s skirt but I assure you he’s focused now.”

Helmuth didn’t look up from his map. It fell to the younger, dark haired man at his side to give Tydas a reproachful look. The long faced man who had led them down hooked his lamp on a rafter and took his place with the others.

“Don’t give me that look, Bernhard. We’re here, we’re ready. You could have gone ahead without us.”

Bernhard bristled. Bertolt had known Tydas long enough that he simply left the young man’s side and stood over the map. “Three men against a den of cultists? Even you are not that foolish, Erickson.”

“Perhaps.” Tydas replied. “Do we even know the name of this cult?”

“Devotees of the Changer of Ways, is all.” Helmuth supplied that fact. Bertolt didn’t like the way the senior hunter was studying the map. He knew more than he was letting on.

“Hmm. Names won’t mean much, then.” The long faced man let Tydas circle by him. He was too busy checking pistol belts and ensuring that their equipment was ready.

“We got the all clear from our lookout. If they evade us this time…Perhaps they can open doors of hellfire.”

“With Archaon’s defeat in the north their power must be waning. We may not have a better chance to strike…before our armies return.” Bernhard said.

Bertolt frowned. “You’re expect a ruckus, Helmuth.”

The one-eyed man nodded. “We shouldn’t draw too much attention. Word is that the mayoress has gone south to Wissenburg with her household guard and half the city’s garrison. If this gets out of hand…we shouldn’t be interfered with.”

Bertolt’s fingers tightened around the table. Emmanuelle still had men enough to take a small army south? The fight was in the north. The city was full of dereliction.

“Are you sure you weren’t followed?” Bernhard’s brow creased as he looked between Tydas and Bertolt. “This is the ninth safe-house. The last were all empty. Something is…”

“Nine?” Tydas interjected. He was smiling. “Splendid. That’s his number. We’re certain to find them now.”

Bernhard blanched at the mention of Tzeentch’s favorite number. Bertolt had never been impressed with him. A strong arm, loyal, but with a weak will. Without Helmuth to guide him he was useless.

“Our Kislevite friend is trying to get a rise out of you.” Helmuth calmly told his subordinate. “We shouldn’t delay much longer.”

“You could all stand to be a little serious.” Tydas told the witch hunters. “Besides, Bernhard, it’s not eyes in the shadows you need to be worried about. It’s this eye.” He pressed a gloved finger to the center of his forehead.

“Karl.” The thin man stood and began to distribute pistol belts. Tydas and Bertolt were already armed. Karl lit a torch from one of the lamps, and went to the back of the small room.

“Helmuth.” Bertolt pulled the larger man aside. His black beard hadn’t yet begun to go grey. Bertolt had once asked him why he didn’t join Luthor Huss. Helmuth had replied that he didn’t need to go north with a circus to fight the Ruinous Powers. Their forces were all around. “You suspect the peregrines.”

Helmuth continued to secure his pistol belt. Bertolt became aware that Tydas was watching them, hanging on Helmuth’s response. “I do.” He said, cinched his belt, and turned away.

Karl threw his torch down into the trap door. It felt into the ancient, dwarf carved sewer below. One by one they descended the ladder and stood on the walkway beside the coursing water, swollen with the autumn rains. Bernhard had the map. He unfurled it in the torchlight. “We will need to…”

Tydas cut him off. “You won’t find them that way.” He was looking off into the gloom, one hand hooked into his own pistol belt.

Bernhard frowned. “What do you mean?”

“I mean that as soon as you drew that circle over their house they knew. This eye, remember?” Tydas tapped his forehead. “Up there we’re exposed to them. Bertolt and I were late, so our planned time is disrupted, but as soon as I saw old one eye trying to bore a hole into the map I knew that they would have us.”

“Are you sure?” Helmuth replied. He wasn’t flustered, Bertolt saw. The Ruinous Powers had many ways of knowing.

Tydas reached into a pouch on his belt. “There’s no book more wide open than a pious man. And you believe very strongly, Helmuth. These are peregrines, not cultis chanting riddles in the dark.”

“Then how do we find them?” Bernhard asked. “If they can follow our every move…”

“Not down here.” Tydas replied. He pulled a delicate toy top from his pouch. Bertolt had never seen it before, but its silver hoops and gold gilding glittered like a jewel in the torchlight. “The dwarfs carved these tunnels thousands of years ago…they protected it as they went. It’s not perfect, but, it can soak up ambient magic like a sponge.” Tydas gave the top a turn, and it began to spin in his palm. And it continued to spin. It didn’t even wobble. The young man frightened Bertolt sometimes.

“This is sorcery.” Bernhard declared. His hand went to his sword, but Helmuth stopped him.

“This is a good man’s last miracle. Sorcery? Perhaps. But also a compass…” Tydas’ eyes never left the top’s center, a spinning gyro, that now began to glow blue. “This thing has already eaten a man’s soul. I suggest none of you touch it, or look at it too long. Follow.”

“What about you?” Bertolt asked.

Tydas looked over his shoulder. His eyes were shadowed by the brim of his hat, but his smile was visible. “I killed its maker. It fears me.” Then he started forward. Reluctantly, the witch hunters followed. Bertolt thought he might be leading them all to their deaths, but, he had never let them down before. Perhaps Tydas had saved his life for a purpose, those months ago in the square when he filled Bertolt with rage and shame. The Kislevite had simply pointed out that, on the battlefield, a lame witch hunter could only get the men around him killed.

They quickly found that their maps of the underground were insufficient. There was no documentation left in a city that had been sacked more than once its two thousand year history to chart the ancient tunnels. But Tydas seemed to know where he was going. The torchlight mostly drowned out the faint blue glow emanating from the top, but Bertolt could still sometimes catch it when the Kislevite rounded a corner ahead of them. More than once the witch hunters had to wade through sludge, but never high enough to threaten the dry powder on their belts. They marched in three lines. Tydas led, followed by Helmuth and Bernhard, then Bertolt and Karl.

Bertolt didn’t mind Karl’s company. The man’s tongue had been torn out by depraved cultists long ago, so he was a quiet enough companion. They said that his hair had gone grey in the same encounter. Now that his line-worn face had caught up, Bertolt thought, that Karl’s long, silver hair seemed dignified. He eschewed the pistols that the other witch hunters favored. The Arch-Lector of Nuln himself had blessed Karl’s crossbow, and that was good enough for him.

The only way Bertolt could keep time in the endless, black tunnels was to note the progression of the pain in his leg. And even it was growing numb by the time Tydas raised his hand to call a halt. The sound of their footsteps was drowned out by the crash of flowing water issuing from a time worn face carved into the stone above. Once it might have been a dwarf, or a man, but years of trickling rainwater and other things had rendered it an indistinguishable mass of grey. Tydas signaled for them to quench their torches. The light died with a soft hiss. Ahead, Bertolt could barely see a faint, steady white glow. He could also the sorcerous blue glow emanating from Tydas’ hand.

Even that was snuffed out when Tydas closed his hand and stopped the toy from turning. He slipped it back into his pocket. In the dim light Bertolt thought he could see something dripping from Tydas’ hand. The top must have worn through his glove. Once again he had misgivings about the man in the black cloak. Once again he kept them to himself, and gave only a quickly prayer to Sigmar to see them through.

They moved forward carefully, with Tydas filtering towards the back. He whispered something to Karl, who moved ahead to take the lead. The witch hunters rounded a broad bend in the sewer system, and stood before the source of the white glow. A kind of lantern that Bertold had not seen hung outside of a reinforced door. A man was standing in front of it, a crossbow slung over his lap. He was dressed like a peasant, more at home in the Stirland countryside than in Nuln. An illusion, Bertolt thought. He would stick out, but disarm suspicions. One had to be able to think two ways about the same thing to effectively challenge the devotees of the Changer of Ways.

Karl shouldered his crossbow. The door was at a poor location. Water was rushing out of the sewer not far away, filling the entire space with a steady, crashing hum. The lookout might be able to see, but he could never hear them approach. Karl put a silent crossbow bolt down his ear, and he toppled just as quietly. The witch hungers surged forward. Helmuth kicked the cultist into the water, he would be carried out to the Reik and disappear forever. Berhard and Tydas took up positions on either side of the door. Both had drawn their pistols. Bernhard’s was simple, likely manufactured in the city. Tydas’ shone like silver, an exotic weapon the likes of which Bertolt had never seen until he met the Kislevite. Helmuth and Karl stood in front of the door. Bertolt hung back, his own gun drawn.

Bernhard stood by the lock, and produced a small cloth bag. He quickly stuffed it into the mechanism. No sorcerer could ever be a witch hunter, but they had a kind of magic of their own. Bernhard didn’t even light a fuse, he struck flint and a spark caught the bag. For a moment even the odd lantern was overwhelmed by the flash. The bag hissed, and when the light subsided the heat from the reaction destroyed the lock. Helmuth and Karl moved forward, and kicked the door in together. Tydas and Bernhard followed. Bertolt kept the rear.

There was no mistaking the place for a sorceror’s den once the witch hunters were inside. Cultists garbed in garish green robes were reaching for their weapons when the door flew open. The room was dim, and smelled of a sickeningly sweet incense. Helmuth fired first, killing a cultist who came at him with a heavy cudgel. In the small space the sound was deafening. Then they all began to fire, expending their shots on the men who seemed closest to their weapons. Pieces of parchment and fell icons scattered as the cultists cried in agony and fell to the ground. Tydas continue to fire at them while the witch hunters drew their second pistols. It took moments to clear the cramped room. By the time Tydas finished Bertolt’s ears were ringing, and cultist blood mingled with the inscrutable runes they had scratched into the walls.

The walls seemed to reverberate with the thunder of their pistols, but Bertolt knew it was only the memory of the sound slowly dying in their ears. The scent of the incense was choked out by the acrid stench of the spent powder. But they weren’t done. The witch hunters and Tydas swarmed the room. The hunters brandished their spare pistols, Tydas reloaded his. “Bertolt.” Helmuth said. He was tense, insistent; a field general engrossed in his own campaign. “Gather up the papers…I don’t want them bleeding on their secrets.” There was only the next battle, Bertolt thought.

Tydas helped him by pulling a cultist who was bleeding out off of a stack of books. Bernhard and Karl moved to a door set at theback of the small, stone-hewn room. A ladder rose up to the surface next to it. The tow didn’t hesitate. Bernhard threw the door open and Helmuth strode forward. None of them knew how deep the hallway might go, but they had to press on, nonetheless. Rats fled when their house caught fire.

Before Helmuth could make it into the corridor Karl threw out his hand to stop the senior witch hunter.

“Sigmar!” Bernhard shouted. He fumbled for his pistol. Bertolt heard a man yelling down the hall, and getting loud. Tydas stopped helping him and moved to help the others. Bertolt craned his neck to see, but his knee was locking up, so he remained crouched.

A cultist was charging them. His hand was enveloped in an eldritch flame that had already fused the fibers in his robe to his skin, which was rapidly turning black. Consumed by his own power. Sparks fell from the swirling mass of flame and danced on the stones as if alive. Bernhard shot. He missed. The cultist didn’t seem to take any encouragement form the near miss. Sparks caught in his hair and his robes, and he was nearly a conflagration by the time he thrust out his burning arm and cast the fire towards the witch hunters.

Bernhard and Karl shied away. Helmuth, directly in the fireball’s path, raised his leather great coat and said a prayer to the god of men. He was thrown back when the spell hit him. It scorched away the leather and filled the room with the smell of charred flesh and tanning chemicals. The witch hunter cried out as he collapsed to the ground, holding his charred hand. “The papers!” He growled to Bertolt. Bits of green flame cast off from the ruined coat mingled with the parchment. Bertolt quickly stamped them out. He heard Tydas fire.

The Kislevite had stepped into Helmuth’s place and put a bullet in the cultist’s head. It wasn’t clear that he would have them to destroy the room anyway. The force of the blast blew apart his skull, which caught on the violent eddies rising from the flame and dispersed to ash. His knees buckled and he fell forward. Tydas beckoned to Karl and Bernhard. They stepped over the smoking remains and pressed on. The smell was faintly metallic.

“Bertolt…” Helmuth winced. Sweat was running from his brow. His arm was blackened, and he held it against him as he pulled himself up against the wall. “Take the ladder. I’ll watch your backs.” He unholstered his pistol, and fixed the other witch hunter with his stare. “No one escapes.”

Bertolt nodded and scrambled towards the ladder. He caught a faint green glow from down the corridor, but moved on. He gripped the rungs and raised his leg…only to cry out in pain. That wouldn’t work. He braced himself with his good leg and began to pull himself up with his arms. It crossed Bertolt’s mind that with his hands occupied he was defenseless; some witch could melt his face before he could scream. But no one had come down yet. Bertolt pulled himself over the edge and drew his pistol. He still wasn’t on street level, another flight of stairs led further up. The green glow he had seen earlier bloomed over a railing. He realized he was on a loft overlooking the room and the end of the corridor below.

Bertolt winced, and had to brace himself against the wall to regain his feet. He was sweating, partly from the lingering heat of the suicide cultist’s fireball and partly from his exertion. There was something else gnawing at his stomach, something more primal that he dare not name. He had battled the Ruinous Powers in the shadows for most of his life, but something about this house was different. He hobbled to the wooden railing, and peered down into the room below.

The source of the eldritch glow was a man. Or what might perhaps have once been a man. He sat on a mound of fine sand that barely obscured the eight-pointed star that was carved into the floor. Lamps burned green on the walls around him, their flames drawn from the horror beyond. Bertolt immediately understood what Tydas had meant when he had touched the center of his forehead. The sorcerer’s eyes had long ago atrophied; the sockets now sunken pits covered by wrinkled flesh. A new eye had opened in his forehead, massive and feline and searching. Bertolt had no doubt that it had been a fair trade; mortal sight for the gaze of the gods.

The sorcerer held a pile of sand in his outstretched hand, and grains flowed between his skeletal fingers as if he were keeping an endless time. There was a mantra on his withered lips, and though it was uttered at no more than a whisper Bertolt could feel its cadence like a beating drum in his head. The sand never seemed to diminish. Bertolt searched for his companions. He had to lean to the side to find them. Karl and Bernhard were pinned to the wall by an invisible force, their eyes closed and faces contorted in pain. Their boots scrambled for purchase against the loose grains at their feet. Only Tydas stood, a few paces from the entryway. But his pistol was at his side.

Bertolt held back a cry. He didn’t want to alert the sorcerer to his presence. Besides, Tydas was advancing on his prey with slow, measured steps. The sand swirled around his legs when his feet disturbed it. It rose, caught on hidden eddies and an impossible current. From above Bertolt could see Tydas to reach towards the sorcerer with the same hand that had held the top. Perhaps it was a trick of the unnatural light, but Bertolt thought that the blood that slicked the leather looked black. Had he not noticed it before? A drop fell to the sand where it hissed, throwing up a green flame.

“Come.” The mantra never ceased. The word was spoken over and through it, reverberating off the walls. The shriveled sorcerer, his ribs protruding from his parchment-thin skin, could not have produced that sound. “Champion. Tydas Erickson. Come. I will show you what is in my hand…”

To Bertolt’s surprise Tydas began to comply. His palm turned down, and he started to align it with sorceror’s upturned hand, where the sand flowed. “I will show you something you have seen, and reveal something new. Come. Put your mind at rest.”

That primal force gnawing at Bertolt’s insides twisted his stomach. The currents in the chamber began to build. Tydas’ cloak was whipped around him, and his hat was thrown from his head. Sand caught in his black hair.

“Bertolt.” Tydas managed to speak. He was close the sorcerer now. The viscous, black seeming blood that flowed from his hand looked ready to fall to the ground. A drop went through the sorcerer’s fingers, and turned all the cascading sand into a brilliant fire fall. “Bertolt…”

“Come. We await you, champion. The peregrines call. My master sends his welcome. Look!”

“Bertolt…” Tydas swallowed. The witch hunter saw the sand in the sorceror’s hand change. It shifted and drew a feline eye enclosed by a triangle. It was a symbol that Bertolt had not seen. “…Shoot him!” Tydas finally managed.

The command snapped Bertolt awake. His pistol had been dangling over the edge; he almost dropped it. The witch hunter closed his hand around it and braced himself. The spell was broken but the sand was starting to obscure his view. Bertolt took aim, and fired. The sorceror’s third and only eye exploded. The walls themselves seemed to scream, and then all the fires went out. Tydas and the other witch hunters slumped to the ground. Bertolt exhaled.

When Bertolt climbed back down the ladder, helped off by Karl, Tydas was frantic. Helmuth, still holding his blackened and oozing arm, tried to control the Kislevite but the pain was getting to him. Tydas nearly hit Bernhard with a book thrown violently over his shoulder.

“Tydas!” Bertolt shouted. “What was that? That symbol?” Karl fixed him with a look. The mute witch hunter had not seen it.

“It is the mark of the one who endures.” Tydas replied as he sifted through more sheets of parchment. “I have to know…Helmuth!” He gripped the stricken witch hunter by his collar. “Have you seen a pyramid? A serpent? A golden serpent? The mark of an eye weeping?” Helmuth’s mouth worked silently; his brow was glistening with sweat from pain.

“Tydas he needs a healer!” Bertolt snapped. He shook off Karl’s arm and limped towards the younger man. No one else seemed up to confronting him so soon after coming into contact with a powerful sorcerer. Bertolt grabbed at Tydas’ cloak and meant to pull the other man back. Instead, Tydas turned to face him. He held a round piece of parchment in his hand. To Bertolt it was almost inscrutable. Text he couldn’t read meandered in crisscrossing lines around what looked like a pyramid. “…what is it?” He asked.

“Enough.” Tydas rolled up the parchment and stowed it in his cloak. “Bernhard. Karl, Bertolt and I will take Helmuth to the Shallyan temple to be healed. Alert the other hunters about this place. Make sure they guard it tight. Then send word to the College of Light in Altdorf, as quickly as you can by whatever means. They’re in danger.” He didn’t elaborate, he simply gestured for Bernhard to go and then turned to Helmuth.

Bertolt rested a while. His leg was throbbing again. He looked around the disheveled room, and at the corpses they had created. A sorcerer had made his nest in the heart of Nuln. The porters and whores above might celebrate the defeat of Archaon, the Everchosen of the Ruinous Powers, on a distant battlefield, but for a witch hunter the war never ended.

The battlefield was just closer to home.
"The gods are not all powerful, they cannot erase the past." -Agathon
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Re: Succession

Postby Athelassan » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:16 pm

I don't have too many comments to make about the story itself, which is fine, or the characters, but there were a few stylistic niggles.

Firstly, I realise that you've designed the story to be accessible to the "lay" reader, which is admirable, but I wonder whether your first two paragraphs are a bit blunt and the information about KF and the location of Middenheim could be worked in more elegantly. A minor niggle, though. The only other thing on that count I spotted was the reference to Emmanuelle as the "mayoress" of Nuln - she's the Countess, and the mayor (if there is one) would be one of her servants (and usually referred to as burgomeister in the pseudo-Germanic setting in any case).

Second, you have a habit of ending dialogue segments with full stops even where it's not a fully self-contained phrase, which comes across as a bit jerky, e.g.
“Apologies, Helmuth.” Tydas replied.
I seem to remember a discussion on this a while ago and I know some people don't like using commas, but commas are standard, and full stops look awkward. In the above example I would be expecting Tydas to be replying to the phrase "Apologies, Helmuth" rather than uttering it.

In contrast to the frequent full stops and shorter, punchier prose of the dialogue and some of the description sequences, the action segment at the end comes across as a bit languid, largely I think down to choice of tense. Lots of imperfect and "they began to" suggests a kind of lethargy and detachment rather than hurling us into the action, especially when contrasted with the abruptness of some of the earlier passages. There are also a few ellipses knocking around; there's nothing wrong with them per se, but I just don't like them, especially in the middle of sentences rather than where dialogue is tailing off.

There was the odd grammatical slip, such as
Bertolt frowned. “You’re expect a ruckus, Helmuth".

but nothing much to worry about. It might be worth just giving it a quick proof-read, though.

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Re: Succession

Postby VictorK » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:17 am

Athelassan wrote:The only other thing on that count I spotted was the reference to Emmanuelle as the "mayoress" of Nuln - she's the Countess, and the mayor (if there is one) would be one of her servants (and usually referred to as burgomeister in the pseudo-Germanic setting in any case).

I've seen her referred to as mayoress in some other sources, though you're right that, in canon, she is the countess. I'm aware of that, I've taken a liberty. Though I think I will keep mayoress because burgomistress sounds like a character in McDonaldland.

Second, you have a habit of ending dialogue segments with full stops even where it's not a fully self-contained phrase, which comes across as a bit jerky, e.g.

My grammar isn't good on the best of days and the speed writing isn't helping matters. I've always preferred the full stop but it is a habit that I need to break myself of. Thanks for calling it to my attention.

Lots of imperfect and "they began to" suggests a kind of lethargy and detachment rather than hurling us into the action, especially when contrasted with the abruptness of some of the earlier passages.

Something to work on. I suppose it does make it seem as if the action is always a second in the future.

I've talked this over extensively with another reader and I'm now extremely dissatisfied with the work as a whole. I feel like I've wasted your time and if I could lock this thread I would because there will be nothing more forthcoming.

Thank you for the comments, though. I apologize that I haven't been up on Friends in High Places. I hope to get to it over the weekend.
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