A round of applause everyone for the Jack-O-Lantern King! This is probably the only time in this story he will ever appear in, so I think he used that time wisely to make an interesting impression of himself. Courteous, polite and ever-helpful, but his real talent is for asking the questions you didn't want spoken aloud. That's what you get from a spirit who is five parts dapper and one part pumpkin. Oh, and now I can't wait until the next fey garden host spirit! Should it be the Head Honcho Hare, the Queen of Mazes or the Grassy Knoll Troll?
This is a part of my High War project, a story about people in a D&D-inspired world that I have tried very hard to make my own. I really don't want to step on anyone's copyright toes here, which to some degree is not easy at all. I have no idea where the background of my preview image comes from, as far as I know it came from a free image site; if you know otherwise then please tell me so I can take it down, although I would be happier to use it with the permission of its creator. This will be a story for somewhat mature audiences, there will be occasional violence, language and adult themes ... but because I want everyone to be able to read it I am leaving the mature content filter off for now. Thanks for understanding, and if you don't then I would be happy to discuss with you my thoughts on the issue.
“save two opposite compass points between which runs the wide dirt road that they walk upon.”
I don’t get it.
The sky is empty of clouds, the horizon unmarred except for the dot of what might be a farmhouse and there is absolutely nothing else to see.
I would delete, “and there is absolutely nothing else to see.”
Rolf smiles and speaks from his position directly behind her, “Miss Teal, I am a traveler by profession. If anything yer added company makes this more enjoyable than I am usually permitted.”
(I think you should have this be the start of a new paragraph)A small table floats in the air in front of him as he walks, upon which sits a notebook and a mismatched set of beakers, tubes and bottles full of various churning, bubbling or smoking liquids. (How did he do that?)(This is a long sentence. This should probably break into a two sentences if possible.) He alternates between mixing the liquids, watching the results and noting down reactions by tapping the notebook pages and causing words to appear, though nothing interrupts his taking quick glances every now and then at Teal's backside.
Talls (Talls?)shakes a fist at Teal's back.
white glow washes over Teal and she pauses to look down at Klax, who holds a hand up in front of her. (A white glow? Like an actually white glow?) He speaks as if nothing just happened, “As for me, my ministry work takes me (too) many places without a local rift circle. I too am no stranger to a long road, though I am not the equal of the Drunk.
“Klax, do not cast your (magic) upon me.”
Is this story present tense?
Mantra is what Teal was repeating?
Rolf is Teal’s sidekick right?
Rolf stares off in thought (Was he talking out loud or thinking in his head?), “Another era?” After a moment he shakes his head, “No, there is nothing people of one age can do that people of another age cannot. Magic is sometimes lost but always reveals itself to the studious, therefore anything possible through magic can and will be discovered by those who give the proper effort.”
Teal begins patting his (The Drunk’s hair? Or do you meant it to be her) shaggy head more roughly, her eyes wide.
(Where they came upon a board?) Rolf wraps his arms around Teal's torso, only pretending like he might fall off any moment, while the others all find their own way to become more secure: Klax takes a death grip face-down against the board, Sorrow remains sitting but holds on tighter with his feet, Talls grabs hold of Shorty and she leans close to the more-stable center-point of the post. (Where they actually on a bridge? And it swung closed? What is really going on?)
I like how you described the setting of the pumpkin like maze. It reminds me of a corn maze.
Sorrow's matter-of-fact tone still manages to make her (Teal’s?) eyes widen, and he continues in the same way.
Did they need to get to Goldenburg to stop this evil Robin Hood like guy from keeping the orphans?
He nods again, “If we all introduce ourselves to the host, he or she will not allow us to be lost.” Sorrow looks around and speaks as if to someone listening behind the trees, “Greetings honored host, I am Sorrow and my father here is the Drunk.” He looks to Teal, waiting, and she lets go of him to speak.
I like how you got these characters to say their names to the host of the maze. Well done with that part.
“Welcome weary travelers!” The voice from above causes everyone but Sorrow to jump, then they all look up as a man in a dapper black suit and with a pumpkin for a head lowers down from a hanging vine. He energetically shakes each of their hands in the order they introduced themselves – except for the Drunk, whom he bows to – before anyone can say a word.
(This could be a new paragraph.)“Welcome, I am the Jack-O-Lantern King. May I take your coats? Armor? Weapons?” His eyes, empty holes from which a solitary candle glimmers, crinkle at the corners as he looks to Klax. “Your faith? Your fear? I can take anything you don't need while staying here, and you can leave it behind when you go, if you wish.” Klax whimpers and shakes his head. (I liked how you described the jack-o-lantern, this makes me miss Halloween.)
When the jack-o-lantern had them trapped in the maze, I thought he was going to scare them. He seemed nice for a pumpkin.
Rolf speaks without thinking, “A bed and a romantic fire for Teal and I.” (I chuckled)
The Jack-O-Lantern King nods and another curtain in the air closes between them, cutting Teal and Rolf off from the others as the forest seems to warp and shift around them. An orange bed grows up from the earth as a roaring fire appears in the hollow of a blackened tree. (Way to go Rolf.)
“But (Miss) Teal, ye said yerself there was something between us, some attraction!”
“But (Miss) Teal - !” (It should be capital M)
When did Rolf’s fiancé mentioned in the story?
It has been a while since I have done a critique of one of your stories. I am sorry of the delay. Other than that, I am looking forward to reading what happens next. There are a few scenes that got me confused to what is going on. I would like to learn more please. What did you think of my critique?
By the way, here is the link to chapter 26: Hybrid, Chapter 26: Helen's Diary: Part 4
“Fields of golden wheat stretch in every direction, with a wide dirt road that plows straight ahead and behind the short line of people walking together. The sky is empty of clouds, the horizon unmarred except for the dot of what might be a farmhouse, and the whole world looks to be divided in those two colors of summer-blue or gold-brown” … better? I was a little worried about that “save two opposite compass points” line too, so I hope this is clearer
“Talls?” … Talls is the Small Folk bandit they captured, along with his orc wife and partner Shorty
“A white glow? Like an actually white glow?” … white is the color of his divine magic, so when he does something magical there's a white glow. Does that seem strange?
“Is this story present tense?” … yep
“Rolf is Teal’s sidekick right?” … love interest and potential friend. They only met a day ago, but he does become something like a sidekick since she's a front-line combatant and he's good at support magic
“Was he talking out loud or thinking in his head?” … talking. I rarely dip in to first person POV because I want a cinematic feel
“Where they came upon a board?” … the Drunk took it from a fence
“Where they actually on a bridge? And it swung closed? What is really going on?” … where did you think they were on a bridge?
“Did they need to get to Goldenburg to stop this evil Robin Hood like guy from keeping the orphans?” … no, they don't know Rusty took the children because they only found a crushed town. They are traveling to Goldenburg to tell people about the destruction of Burroughs and warn them
“I like how you got these characters to say their names to the host of the maze” … yeah, it was fun to have everyone say it a bit differently. Teal stresses her (adopted) parents, Rolf pretends that he's normal, Klax makes sure to say he follows Light, and Talls speaks for himself and Shorty
“When did Rolf’s fiancé mentioned in the story?” … chapter 5.1 is where they realize that Rolf's fiance (first mentioned in chapter 3.1) and Teal's best friend Reina (first seen in chapter 3.2) are probably one and the same person. This occurs after leaving town between chapters 1 and 4 (so they wouldn't stop in to see Reina) and right before discovering her apparent death in chapters 5 and 7
“What did you think of my critique?” … it was very good, thank you!