|Hi, Literary Wolf
Here's a Coffee Shop for the Fantasy Society Anniversary Raid review for you. I hope you find it helpful.
THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS:
This is a very fine story, or more accurately, the beginning of what promises to be a very fine story. Your main character is mysterious, principled, and formidable. The "odd demon" is a strange being who cries out to the MC's curiosity and to the reader's, as well. I look forward to further installments!
SOME TECHNICAL SUGGESTIONS:
Alternatively, maybe it was simply a matter of the huddled in a ball demon having some tendon severed that had paralyzed its body in the fetal position that had lead to this mismatch and my mistaken impression of it’s character. These are no doubt simply typos, but in the interest of clarity, I'll point them out. The spelling you've used here is either the present tense of "to lead" or the noun describing the heavy element "lead". The correct form for the past-tense verb is "led". Also, "it's" is the contraction for "it is". The possessive form of "it" doesn't have the apostrophe.
There are few things that a demon hates more than prey that refuses to fight back. It will not stop them from killing you, but it will make them quite sour while their going about it. The contraction for "they are" is spelled "they're".
Of course you could not trust a demon’s word. I could turn back, get a few steps away from them, but then I would hear the whisper of their feet as they glided over the concrete towards me mere instants before I felt their claws slid over the tendons of my ankle, or my neck or, if they were feeling like showing off, my spine.
"I felt their claws slide" would probably be the correct way to put this. Again, probably a typo.
Understandably, this confused the poor creatures and they stopped laughing, choosing instead to waste five seconds staring at me as the reality of my continued, and unmoved, presence sunk into their demonic heads. I think the simple past tense form, "sank", would be more appropriate here.
I was so glad that they finally were given me proper consideration as an honest threat against them. I think you want "giving" here.
The demon who managed to dodge his fellow’s corpse closed the gap between us with a remarkable leap, and decided to use the same tactic as his recently deceased brethren. "Brethren" is the plural form of the noun. Since the MC has only killed one demon at this point, the correct word would be "brother".
Out slid a fine silver blade, roughly four and a half feet in length. Though you have established that the MC is not human, he appears enough like one that the demons mistake him for human. Here's the point: a four and a half foot blade hidden inside a cane would necessitate the cane to be at least five feet long, perhaps even a few inches longer to accommodate the sword's handle and the cane's foot. This is closer to the length of a staff than a walking stick, even for a very large human.
By the time that I had screwed my sword back inside its hollow cane casing and walked over the headless one, the dead demons had changed back into their original forms. By "headless one", I assume you mean the third demon killed by the MC. However, you did not actually say that the demon had been beheaded, hence my momentary confusion.
This time, it was a man. I think it's rather unclear to which demon you are referring. Demons #1 (neck-broken) and #3 (sword-slashed) lie near one another halfway between the alley mouth and the "odd demon". Demon #2 lies handless and heart-pierced near the alley's mouth. Demon #4 has been burned to ash. There are three dead demons who have all, presumably reverted to whatever was their original form. It would be less confusing for the reader if you were just a bit more specific.
While I might give the impression that I am a lackadaisical individual, allow me to make something quite clear at the onset of this story. This comment comes quite late in the story. Unless, as I suspect, this is to be the first chapter of a longer work, I would suggest you re-phrase it.
Aside from the trifling grammatical/typographical stuff I concentrated on in the previous section, I want to say something about narrative voice. Your first-person narrative is, for the most part very well done, with a minimum of self-consciousness. By that, I mean that strangeness that happens when a POV character tries to describe himself and his actions, as if he is the host of a TV documentary about a day in his life. For more on this, you might be interested in my article, "Invalid Item" .
Your narrative works quite well, but at the beginning of the story, your MC makes several references to his long life span. This caught my attention after the third time or so, as being redundant. You might want to tweak the narrative a bit in that regard. Also, I was unsure of the character's demeanor at first, because it atmosphere of the piece has such a "Sam Spade private-eye film noir" feel that I was expecting him to fall into the private-eye patter. When he didn't, I was a bit off-balance for a while. The narrative seemed to firm up after a bit, when the MC began moving about and doing things, but the contemplative part at the beginning might benefit from another look.
This is a fine effort, Literary Wolf . As I said at the outset, I hope to read further installments. Keep on writing!
These comments are made with respect and the best intentions. Please accept them in the spirit with which I offer them. Embrace what you find useful, and allow the rest to trickle off into the void....
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