*Yes, there are a lot of words here, but they're all pretty important! Please don't dismiss this because of its length--I really want to help you out in any way I can!*
Hey there Cailean!
Beefyre seems to have had a pretty sucky life until now. You portrayed him fairly well in context to his extremely unfortunate circumstances. Fantasy seems to be your thing, and you've created a very realistic start to a potential story. It was fun to read, and now that I'm done, I find myself wondering just what Geralt has in mind for his new apprentice.
But while the concept is well done, the execution still needs a bit of work. I'm not sure if this is a story you want to keep up with, but even if it isn't, there is some good practice involved with editing and revising works that may never lead to anything further. Think of it as scratch paper for an artist sketching out concepts. The more time you take editing and revising and rereading and perfecting, the better you will become at it naturally the first time around--though you'll always need at least a dozen edits in the end.
My mantra in reviewing is "forget the errors and focus on the problems," meaning, of course, that the author is more or less responsible for picking up the small mishaps that are inevitable in writing--the forgotten comma, the misspelled word, the fragment or run-on, etc. But I have to say, one of the biggest problems in this short story is the abundance of errors . Errors, while they do not reflect on the content of the story, serve as a hindrance to the reader who has to mentally work through what is written and envision how it instead should be written, which messes with the flow of the story. I would strongly suggest starting out your editing process by carefully reading through each word and sentence, reading them each at least twice before moving on, to ensure that the word order is the easiest for the reader to understand, that there are sufficient sentence parts before every period, etc. (If you want, I would be more than happy to send you a detailed copy of the errors I found and explain why each of them is listed.) And enjoy it while you can, because this is by far the easiest part of revising your own work.
This next part will be a little more painful. It deals with changing the content. Now trust me, I know that this is the hardest thing to do: When you've written something for the first time, you want to believe with all your heart that you included everything you wanted to and everything the reader needs to know, and just the mere thought of changing a single sentence's content can bring you to tears. But in order to improve, it has to be done. General Lewis B Puller said that "Pain is weakness leaving the body", and I say that it is the same in revising. It's painful, but you're removing your writing "weaknesses" and putting in something stronger.
Here are some examples as to what I mean.
There are a couple questions you need to ask yourself when looking at a short story, especially a fantasy one. First of all, probably the most blatantly obvious, is "who is this story about?" Well, it's in the title: Beefyre. Easy answer. Correct. But what about the connotations? This story is about Beefyre, so everything you write should directly tie into the relationship between the author and Beefyre. By the end of the first few paragraphs (earlier in this case because it is so short), your reader should be emotionally and mentally attached to your protagonist. He should feel his pain as he's bullied, feel rejected when his father rejects him, and feel the responsibility of caring for his mother. According to Keith Oatley, a cognitive psychologist and novelist, fiction is “a simulation that runs on the software of our minds. And it is a particularly useful simulation because negotiating the social world effectively is extremely tricky, requiring us to weigh up myriad interacting instances of cause and effect.” Basically, reading a novel is the melding of the reader's brain with the protagonist's, allowing him to essentially live the same life, to know the underlying subtleties that only the protagonist would know. I think that this is one of the most important things to know in creating a good main character, and this article explains perfectly what I mean: http://writerunboxed.com/2013/07/11/6-ways-to-make... --I would really suggest you read it!
So what does that mean for your story? The reader is unfamiliar with the background of Beefyre. He doesn't know what the Shimmering Castle is, nor how the nobility works, nor what social customs are for children and if there are any consequences for bullying, or anything! The reader's not an idiot . . . but we're always a little stupid. While you've provided a context for his very unfortunate situation in life, you have not supplied anything for the rest of his life! (See number three in that article for a further and much better explanation than I can do). Make the reader care for what happens to him, otherwise we're just reading words on a page.
Which evidently leads me to the next major point I want to make: The climax. The scene where the reader's fingernails inevitably shorten because they're worried. If you have successfully created a protagonist that the reader will care about, this can become the most powerful moment in the story. The climax you have here is the trial. Here's this poor little boy, trying to fend for himself in a world full of hostility (much like Aladin), and he is very likely to be put in a most unfortunate situation. While you do have some wonderful internal dialogue, the effect of this climax is shot by its sudden onset and quick conclusion. Draw it out, make the reader wonder what is going to happen. First, he's caught. Oh no! What's going to happen? He has no parents to claim him. Oh no! What's going to happen? There's going to be trial, but it's going to take a long time. Oh no! What's going to happen? He's probably going to be ostracized from the capitol--you get the point. This is your big point of conflict, so make it hurt real good! (A good place to start might be to grab a whiteboard and bullet point out several main markers in this climax and fill in between these marks with Beefyre's thoughts and emotions along with what goes on around him, all the while being sure to provide the context that the reader needs!)
Okay, that's it for the major revisions that I think would send this short story up many rungs of greatness. I do just have one final follow-up comment. Geralt mentions that he had been watching Beefyre for some time and had noticed his natural abilities. When I read that, I thought that maybe Geralt was lying, because I didn't notice any natural abilities Beefyre had in stealing. I knew that in order to provide for himself, he started stealing and selling the silver in the black market, and then he got a little bolder which eventually got him caught--but that doesn't sound like Thief Lord material to me! Make the reader think that he's a natural thief before he gets to where Geralt says it. Let it be mulling in the back of the reader's mind, "Wow, that's a pretty sneaky kid." For example, you mention that Geralt noticed how Beefyre used the moon's shadows to mask himself. Well, why not tell the full story of that expedition, maybe even including Beefyre's notice of a masked man watching him from a distance. This would also help solve some issues with the context part for the reader as you would no doubt have to describe the city or the layout of the palaces, etc. At the same time, it would get the reader invested more in Beefyre. Then you could even follow it up with how he does get caught--maybe it's a clumsy mistake since he is a rookie, or maybe it's a set-up. Really, these are all just suggestions. You can go anywhere with this, do anything you want. Just make it believable. Otherwise, your reader just thinks Geralt doesn't know what he's talking about.
So, there are my thoughts on this. I truly hope these thoughts are encouraging you to take a look at this short story with fresh eyes and see all the amazing potential that is awaiting you. And remember as I said in the beginning: Even if this is not something you want to continue, it's no doubt worth practicing on and honing your skills as a writer. I doubt Crime and Punishment was written in one draft, and I think we can all agree that Dostoevsky was a much smarter man than most of us. Don't be discouraged either. I noticed from your bio that you are fairly new to writing and that this is the first time that you've opened yourself up for others to see your work. Trust me, this is what you want! While it might feel awful at first, someone coming at you suggesting one thing or another, know that your reviewers' only goal is to help you polish your story to perfection. Heck, were I to listen to half of the advice I'm giving you, my own stuff would be a lot better! It's a long, hard process, but it is doable, and the end result is amazing!
If you have any questions or want me to clarify anything or give some examples, let me know, and I would be more than happy to. I hope you take these words to mind and let them muddle through. And when you do go through an edit, let me know, and I would love to read it again and see what you've done with it. My rating now might seem fairly harsh, but it only shows how much this can improve!
All the best,