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Old 18th July 2011, 04:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ceisorundra (1.5k)

Now upon Elotia, in the garden kingdom of Aazyr, the King Dumarion Ben’s wife, the Queen Dylia, gave birth to a son.

When the news reached the people of the kingdom, their rejoicing was great. By day the hills and valleys of Aazyr rang with their laughter and by night their songs spiraled upward like the smoke of the incense they burned to the Great Spirit Eloih.

The people of the kingdom traveled to the Royal City by horse and on foot, bearing gifts for the heir. They bought gifts of jewels and gold and other precious things -- or simple offerings of bread and fruit and flowers. No gift was too humble or too great. The King and Queen received the travelers into the White Palace of Aazyr where they feasted at long tables beneath ruby chandeliers in the great banqueting halls. For three months the festivities continued and no tears were shed in the Kingdom of Aazyr save tears of joy.

Dumarion Ben however, was ill at ease. Mykraamus of the Ukonaai had invaded the Spice Islands and occupied them with his own forces, driving off Aazyr’s Llozdian custodians and cutting off the supply of hril to the Seven Cities of Erlos. The narcotic spice was highly prized upon Erlos. As with any large concentration of people, tensions occurred amongst Erlotians from time to time, especially in the lower cities.

Hril spice had worked to ease some of these tensions. By invading the spice islands Mykraamus was testing Erlos -- who could have crushed him easily but for their own high law which forbade any physical interference by Erlos upon the surface of the planet Elotia.

Erlos treated the invasion of the spice islands with the contempt it deserved and went without hril. There were many Erlotians who believed that Erlos may be better off at this dangerous time without too much of the sense of relaxation provided by the drug; it would still be obtained somewhere to those who really needed it. No doubt the desperate would find a way. More worrying to Dumarion Ben was the fact that, by taking the islands, Mykraamus was challenging Aazyr itself.



+



Auldrinda was not too surprised to find, when he returned from what had become a long and argumentative debate but one at which he had obviously achieved a large measure of support for his goal -- on a table in his room, in a silver ice bucket, a golden bottle of wine.

Assuming that one of his best friends Sumadji or Eldrus -- or even his sister Auldrius -- had sent it to congratulate him on his first debate as Hrothl of Erlos, he poured himself a long stemmed glass of the fragrant yellow liquid and sniffed it appreciatively before tasting it. He worked on his papers for an hour or so, sipping the wine. He drank two glasses before corking the bottle.

He was not to know that the wine was a gift not from his trusted friends but from Eilderoess, his sworn enemy, who had infected it with the ceisorundra virus of madness.

He slept.

His dreams were filled with deaths heads and hammers, with strange, wild beasts and faces contorted in pain.



+



Auldrinda woke early with a headache and was sitting on the edge of his bed when Sumadji rang.

“What is it?” Auldrinda groaned.

“Action ,” Sumadji said.

“On my way,” Auldrinda sighed.

“Hurry. They’re close.”

A powerful humming noise filled Auldrinda’s brain when he emerged from the transceiver at his fighter station. Sumadji was waiting for him.

“You don’t look well?” Sumadji observed.

“I’m fine.”

Sumadji saw a look in his friend’s eyes. He had a feeling something was wrong: “You don’t have to do it, just because your father did?”

“I’m fine,” Auldrinda insisted.

He felt a knot in his stomach as he put on his suit. The fighters were scrambling when he reached the noise of the port room where, above a roar of engines and the loud incessant jangle of alarms, men shouted to be heard. The noise seemed to be shaking around inside his skull. He pulled on his helmet and walked quickly across the metal floor to his fighter.

He strapped himself in. The roof of the fighter closed over his head, shutting out the din. His fighter moved forward into the lock. A light inside the lock glowed red in semi-darkness. Lights and data displays flickered across the control panel in front of him. The lock closed. He watched the red light on the outer door of the airlock, with a feeling of tension. The light went green and the outer door opened to the blackness of space. The light went blue. There was a gathering roar and then a whoosh as his fighter was catapulted out into the vacuum. His engines fired. He felt the accelerators pushing him hard back in his seat.

Sumadji, the squadron commander, came through on the radio: “Forty-twenty!”

Auldrinda picked up the co-ordinate, sighted and fired. A Bueloetian spotter exploded in a white ball of fire. Sumadji had a Bueloetian coming down on his tail but Auldrinda was positioned. He sighted and fired and the Bueloetian exploded.

“Thanks,” Sumadji said.

Suddenly Auldrinda felt as if a knife had pierced his brain.

He grabbed the sides of his head with his hands in reflex action, even though he was wearing a helmet, leaning forward as his fighter went out of control. Sumadji was on Auldrinda’s wing for they always fought together as a team. He saw Auldrinda’s craft began to zig-zag around and assumed he’d been hit.

“Are you hurt?” he shouted.

“What? Oh, hurt? No. I'm not hurt.”

Auldrinda’s voice came back on the radio.The pain had gone as suddenly as it had come.

“Are you hit?”

“No. I just … I just … ”

“Do you want to go back in to base?”

“No … I’m fine.”

Side by side they streaked back into the fight -- sighting and firing, pulling up and firing again, each defending the other. Auldrinda’s head ached as he worked the controls -- thinking of nothing but sighting and firing, watching for the blinding fireflash of the hit then pulling around, checking his own slipstream and then Sumadji’s before swooping back in a hurtling parabola and firing again. There were always more Bueloetians, death always just seconds away. His head seemed to be bursting; he thought it must go on forever.

Again white-hot agony knifed through Auldrinda’s brain, and again Sumadji watched Auldrinda’s craft begin to zig-zag.

“What’s wrong?”

Sumadji’s desperate voice bought Auldrinda back to reality as again the pain disappeared. They were already miles away from the fight, Sumadji sticking with his partner.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I don’t know -- I just -- blacked … out.”

“I think you had better get back in now,” Sumadji insisted.

“No. I’m fine.”

“You cannot control your craft! You’ll be hit. As commander I am ordering you to return to base -- and I will accompany you to make sure you do,” Sumadji shouted.



+



Sumadji took Auldrinda to his bed and made him lie down.

His sister came in. “Auldrinda! What’s wrong?”

He raised himself up on an elbow to look at her. “I don’t know. But I have just given up in battle.”

“Nonsense!" she cried. You are unwell.”

While they waited for the doctor, Sumadji picked up the bottle of wine. He uncorked it and sniffed it: “Good stuff.”

“Well, thanks for sending it -- but I actually think it’s a bit off,” Auldrinda replied weakly.

“I didn’t send it,” Sumadji said. He turned accusingly to Auldrius. “Did you?”

“No!”

“I’m taking this bottle to the lab right now.”




+



“We have caught the virus in time to save his permanent sanity, but it will take his brain years to recover.”



+



“The Council of Elders accepts the resignation of Auldrinda Benkilte as Hrothl of Erlos. Auldrius Benkilte, are you prepared to take the vows? ”

“I am.”



+




“Yes, my sister, I’m sorry to have let you down like this.”

I know how you must feel. What are you going to do now?” she asked.

“I think I’ll just disappear for a while.”

Auldrius gave her brother a deep look.

“To Elotia,” he explained.

“Six hundred years it’s gone on so far, this war,” she sighed.

“I don’t know; I have the feeling maybe you have the personality to end it all,” he said.

“Not without your help.” She hugged him. “Come back to me -- soon.”

Last edited by RJM Corbet; 18th July 2011 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 18th July 2011, 07:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Ceisorundra (1.5k)

This piece is a bit all over the place, and I find it very hard as a reader to really get good grasp from the action, not talking about POV's. It's almost like with Christian Nash's piece, where both of you let this strong third person narrator to take over the piece and let him to do all storytelling. If you are ever going to send your books to the publishers/agents you need to really get a good grasp from close third and how you can connect different POV's together.

Like for example,

Quote:


“We have caught the virus in time to save his permanent sanity, but it will take his brain years to recover.”

+

“The Council of Elders accepts the resignation of Auldrinda Benkilte as Hrothl of Erlos. Auldrius Benkilte, are you prepared to take the vows? ”

“I am.”

+

“Yes, my sister, I’m sorry to have let you down like this.”

I know how you must feel. What are you going to do now?” she asked.

“I think I’ll just disappear for a while.”
the reader is absolutely lost in those lines. They could as well be reading a stage play and waiting for an actor to come to do the descriptive bits because you are unable. So with this piece, go back, start over and this time try to write in descriptions from the character perspective. And start from the top rather then just putting your hands in the dirt with these lines.
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Old 18th July 2011, 11:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Ceisorundra (1.5k)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctg View Post
... you let this strong third person narrator to take over the piece and let him to do all storytelling ...
Yes, I do. That's how it's written. It's written as if someone is telling the story, not from inside this particular character's head. I don't know about POVs and stuff, but I believe it's called the 'omniscient narrator' or something, and I'm not comparing myself, but it worked for, lets say, Tolkien?

Nevertheless, you may have a point; it is duly noted and thank you for reading ...

Last edited by RJM Corbet; 18th July 2011 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 19th July 2011, 10:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Ceisorundra (1.5k)

RJM, even then you need to let the readers to know what the characters are doing as they are not in your head, and they certainly are not in the narrator head. They need to see descriptions of things, and dialogue tags etc. etc. etc. You cannot leave them out there guessing what's what.
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Old 19th July 2011, 10:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Ceisorundra (1.5k)

Thank you. That is the thing with crits, that one only posts short sections, out of context. I do always take your comments very seriously ctg, but I believe there is stuff that has gone before, which makes this passage self-explanatory to someone who has been with the story up to now?

The characters and places have already been introduced earlier?

Auldrinda Benkilte has just become 'Hrothl', or king, of Erlos, after his own father, Shelron Benkilte, was killed in battle, but he is tempted to drink a little wine, in spite of having taken a coronation vow not to do so; his enemy has poisoned the wine with a virus of madness. Because of the 'ceisorundra' virus, Auldrinda gives up in battle, which he has also sworn never to do, and so he has to abdicate the throne in favour of his sister, Auldrius Benkilte.

That's what's happening here?

As I say, I would be foolish not to consider your advice seriously, and I am ...

Last edited by RJM Corbet; 19th July 2011 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 19th July 2011, 02:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Ceisorundra (1.5k)

I think it is possible to write good scenes which consist entirely of dialogue, literally with nothing else, not even dialogue tags -- I sincerely hope so, anyway, as I have several in my WIP2. I've also got two "scenes" (one in each of my main WIPs) which each consist of one line of dialogue amounting to no more than a dozen words, so again I think it can be done, and can be effective.

But, and I'm afraid that it's a big but, I agree with ctg that they don't work here, RJM. Firstly, coming one after another like this, it's far too much, making the whole thing seem disjointed -- again, rapid, snapshot scenes can work in some contexts, but not, I think, here. Secondly, these are big important scenes, and writing them in this way short-changes the whole drama.

I didn't know about the having-to-abdicate thing, but I certainly understood what was happening because you put a giant info-dumping, drama-killing, explanation in there
Quote:
He was not to know that the wine was a gift not from his trusted friends but from Eilderoess, his sworn enemy, who had infected it with the ceisorundra virus of madness.
I don't know why you chose to do it this way, but I think you would be far better off deleting that line, leaving his illness a mystery and then have the solution unfold in the course of two or three properly written scenes with plenty of action/drama/tension. As it is, there is no tension here, we're given no time to worry about him, and consequently we really don't care what happens.
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Old 19th July 2011, 04:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Ceisorundra (1.5k)

Ah yes: missed opportunity.

Thank you. Point well taken ...
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