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420 Public Reviews Given
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Depends. Sometimes, in depth, and sometimes, "just the feel of the item."
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Sci/fi and fantasy. Anything with a happy ending.
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Anything depressing.
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Static.
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I do not like reviewing anything that was not spell checked. Do your homework first.
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review of FRIENDSHIP  
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi Starchild,

This was a lovely story! It brought tears to my eyes. That's what stories are all about.

As far as giving you suggestions to improve it, I would suggest using the Microsoft Word Read Aloud function. You might find a few little things that you would like to edit.

This short story took me on a journey of friendship and loss. Thank you for sharing! *Smile*

Keep writing,

Tadpole1
2
2
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 13+ | (3.0)
What made the bird come for them? Was it summoned? A coincidence? It saw them and decided to help?

Maybe they noticed the bird’s arrival because of its shadow?

Comma after ladies.

The bird rescued them, and they didn’t thank it. Or, the bird grabbed both (odd if hunting), and they didn’t have a last thought after getting away? The escape was a bit too fast. Make us fear for them if the jay meant to harm them. Was there a nest with chicks?

Earlier, I was wondering if they had magically summoned it. It didn’t try to catch them again after they got away? They forget about it too quickly.

Missing hyphens: half-

In my mind, the bird flew them far and fast, so it surprises me that the redcaps are there so quickly. Then they escaped the redcaps too quickly/easily. Make it harder.

Don’t tell us about their conversation, let us see the dialogue because I imagine that this is important. Where are they when they’re talking?

Is it raining? Misty? Hot as a dwarf’s forge? Are their toes burning from frostbite ? Did a mosquito just stick one of them with its...? What do they hear? A stream? Thunder? The redcaps’ horns? Dogs barking? A féerie singing instructions to them? What colors? What smells? Just a little...a dribble here and a dribble there.

I have the feeling that the mental connection is big, so it’s good to give us a little information and make us hungry enough to learn more by turning the page.

Please, forgive, I’m on my phone and a bit succinct.

Thanks for sharing!

Tadpole1
3
3
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hi HM,

I was simply listening and following along with my eyes, and when I hit the following passage, it broke the flow (pulled me out of the story).

FLOW: Aira bit back the retort that any of her brownie friends would make far better use of an immortal life that Krysila was.

MISSING WORD: Though she pretending to be sleeping, her mind whirled as she planned to escape and find her clan.

When Serena first gets Aira and takes her from the cell, what is the purpose? Is it simply to inform us that Krysila left? Also, I think there could be more scenery because I did not see the room.

The next day, when both Serena and Leanan are there, I think there needs to be more scenery with the characters interacting with the scenery. I could not "see" the scene as the chapter progressed. Did anyone step in a puddle? Did light flicker across anyone's face? Was there a noise in the background? Did they have a particular smell? Although it's nice to have some scenery up front, I think that, during a long conversation, we need bits and pieces of scenery to show where a character is when.

Now, Aira has been able to fool her captors and may be able to get closer to Boroden. Clever girl!

Thank you for sharing! I enjoyed the chapter.

Tadpole1
4
4
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi HM,

I have my earphones on and am listening to the chapter. First chapters are so important. My ears caught a typo.

You wrote: ‘Of couse I do, but he wouldn’t let me
Typo: Of course

Be careful about mixing verb tenses:

You wrote: Tomorrow, the remaining oak timbers were dealt with, the humans would likely turn to butchering the trees around the brownies’ cottage. By tomorrow, she, Gretchen, the ponies and the unicorn must have left the forest.

To me, mixing the word tomorrow and past tense (were) doesn't make sense. Maybe you forgot a word. Maybe when or after?

Also, tomorrow is used twice. Maybe the second one could be: By then, she, Gretchen,...

I'm still listening and caught a missing word.

You wrote: Aira glanced down to where Gretchen was following her, motioning her to shrink down to the of a mouse as she had done already.

Missing word: size

The chapter is really interesting, so I'm only noting the little things that could be fixed.

I wonder if it would be interesting to notice that her stepmother's face, hands, or clothes are sooty after climbing up the chimney?

Suggestion: After you make your corrections, when you have five minutes, listen to the chapter to see if you think that there are repetitions that could be removed.

I just finished listening to the chapter, and now, I'm going to listen to it again with a different ear. Lol!

Care about the hero: In the very first paragraph, we learn that the hero is a kind person, which makes me care about her.

You wrote: Having a meal in the warm was a welcome prospect.
Do you mean warmth? Is there a word missing?

You wrote: Besides, the apples weighed more heavily in her basket with each step she took as her muscles grew tired.

But are these the same apples that she picked at the beginning of the chapter because a lot of time has gone by?

Typo: scurrried

I'm stopping here for the moment; although, I'm enjoying the chapter.

Aira's want: Maybe it is to see Boroden again, or maybe it's to protect Boroden.

Wait, one more thing, maybe you would like to break the chapter into scenes with scene breaks or into separate chapters when the place changes. For example, when she is no longer at home or in the forest but in the human's house. Maybe. It's up to you.

Thank's for sharing your great story.

Tadpole1
P. S. I'll be back!


5
5
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi HM,

I like the opening better. *Smile* There is a part that isn't completely clear to me as far as space goes though.

You wrote:

Hovering on the edge of the camp whilst her friends lit a fire and prepared supper, Aira knew the time had come.

Stepping down the worn rocks peeping from the grassy hillside, she found Quentillian hailing her. ‘Aira, wait!’

Glancing back

My interpretation: She's not moving because she's at the camp. Then, all of a sudden, she's in movement, and she sees Q in front of her, but then she glances backward as if he is behind her.

Obviously, I've misinterpreted something, silly me.

Thanks for sharing!

Tadpole1



6
6
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hi HM,

Here is the beginning of my review. What is happening is really interesting.

Be careful about the repetition of the word "as." It appears three times in the first sentence and then immediately in the second sentence. It really stands out. Sometimes, "when" can be substituted. In any case, I suggest using the find function (control f) to see when the word "as" appears, and then see if an alternate phrasing would work better.

I think the first paragraph makes the reader work too hard. Maybe break up the long sentence?

I think this sentence is better without commas because I think that everything that comes before the word "did" is the subject of the sentence (beware the autocorrections, lol). "Only when the final couple of hills lay between the brownies and the village and Boroden resumed some semblance of his former self did Aira’s keenness for her mission return."

Maybe consider reorganizing the beginning:

1. Aira recognized the land with each step she took. 2. Quentillian hailed her from behind. 3. She stopped, and when she turned around, she noticed Boroden trailing in the back. 4. His sadness lessened the joy of leading the group. 5. Quentillian asked her where she was going, and 6. when he said that it was dangerous, 7. Boroden said that she would not be going alone because she was going with him.

Okay, that was just an idea of how you might want to change the order of the opening paragraphs. Cause and then effect, which happens first and what is the result: Why did she turn around? Because Quentillian hailed her. She noticed Boroden's sadness, which lessened her joy. Quentillian said it was dangerous, but Boroden assured that she would not be alone.

Is this helpful?

I'll come back to review more soon.

Tadpole1

7
7
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Holly Merry – Where Rainbows Dance – Chapter One


Hi HM,

Thank you for sharing the chapter!

Plot: The kraken throws Aira into a cell to break her. Aira pretends to be broken, and Leeann takes her from the cave to her boudoir to eventually work as a seamstress.

What I liked best: All the imagination! I loved the way the kraken could choose a skin and change her shape; plus, the cave where her mind was tortured was pretty cool. Also, there is a lot of cool vocabulary.

When she convinced Leeann that she was crazy, it seemed a bit easy. Also there was a confusion about Serena showing up.

I thought it was great how you were able to stay in Aira’s head.

Thanks for sharing!

Tadpole1

“Coming around behind Aira, Krysila grabbed her arms, though she remained stiff and resisting.” The word “she” is confusing.

“Krysila raised her hand and thwacked the air, making the men start back. ‘No, I’ll deal with this puny House Elf. I want to feel her fear.’” Wickedly cool!

“Aira struggled against Krysila’s superior strength as she herded her forward. Her feet slipping on the damp rock, she involuntarily clutched at Krysila to steady herself. Beneath her fingers, the warm arm of the brownie woman twisted into the muscular bulk of a tentacle, cold as dead flesh.”

Suggestion: as the kraken herded her forward.

It’s no problem at all, but I’m surprised that Krysila’s arm was warm even in brownie form. Wouldn’t she still be cold even if she changed shape? Just curious.

“Krysila threw her into an utterly black cell in the loneliest corner. Behind her, Aira heard the door locked and Krysila commanding the knights.”

Into the loneliest corner of …?

Suggestion: Aira heard the door lock.

“About to hit the rock, she squealed.” I associate squealed with a happy sensation, perhaps, shrieked or something that shows both screaming and fright?

POV “Aira shook back her golden hair that fell over her weariness weighted eyes.” Would Aira actually notice the color of her hair? Maybe because she seems to be subject to some kind of mind tampering by the kraken.

“Distantly she heard Boroden yelling her name.” Suggestion: calling her name.

“With this hopeful plan, Aira endured the horrors. She had appeared too sane, too defiant, when Serena let her out before. This time must be different.” Clever brownie!

Telling: “She began to rave for her doll and describe the pretty clothes she would make for it, heedless of all else.” Let her actually rave.

Confusion: It is confusing as to who is saying what here. Also, where did Serena come from? I thought it was Leeann:

“Leanan raised one of her delicately formed eyebrows. ‘One may get used to hellfire after a while. Torturing others is not without pleasure for me. I find ample occupation in wringing the hearts of my knights. Why not join me? The way to heaven is narrow and fraught with stones, this other is easy.’

‘Never.’

‘You delight in choosing a difficult path.’

‘If that’s so, then you’ll enjoy spending more time in the cell.’ Serena moved to place Aira back for further torture with a vindictiveness that Aira guessed came from jealousy. After all, Serena had once tried to steal Boroden’s love from Aira.”

“Clasping Aira’s hand, Leanan led her away. After so long spent in the dank of the caverns, Aira’s lungs rejoiced to fill with the crisp, cold air of the cavernous passages that Leanan ushered her along en route to her dwelling.” The use of caverns and cavernous doesn’t feel right here. Maybe replace the second one? Maybe something like “crisp, cold air flowing through the passages?

“Aira curtsied to the bevy of handmaidens that met Leanan as she slipped into her stylish chambers.” Why would Aira curtsy to handmaidens, especially handmaidens of the enemy? Wouldn’t Aira feel superior to these handmaidens?

Typo: “‘You look so tiny sat there,’ Leanan said.” Suggestion: so tiny sitting there.

Between rocking and way, I was thinking of a boat. Lol! Also, would the cushion really rock?
“Aira nodded, the velvet cushion beneath her head rocking at the motion. ‘I’m grateful.’

Leanan waved a hand as if keen to shoo away her touched expression.” This is a bit confusing.

“‘Of course.’ Aira curled herself up as the handmaidens busied themselves. Though she pretending to be sleeping, her mind whirled as she planned escaping and finding her clan.”

Suggestion: Though she pretending to be sleeping
Suggestion: “as she planned her escape” or “as she planned to escape and find her clan.”

8
8
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)

HollyMerry – Where Rainbows Dance





I love the title


Aira crouched in the corner nearest the door of her cell, waiting for it to open. Great opening sentence!
Ears pricked to catch any approaching tread, she rehearsed how she would dart behind the stalwart oak door and hide. With any luck she might be able to slip out unnoticed as her captors searched the cave for her. She wished her heart did not pound so loudly in fear that it masked the distant sounds that she strained to interpret. Even the clink of water drops or the stirring of a bat set her on edge. I can’t put my finger on it, but I feel like the rhythm of the sentences is too similar. Hmm. Am I mistaken, or is it possible to alter the rhythm a bit? Otherwise, great.


Focusing on the chink of light filtering in beneath the door with its multitude of scratches doubtless left by past prisoners trying to escape, Confusion: What has the scratches the chink or the door? Perhaps rewording or punctuation?
Aira tried not to look back at her dismal surroundings. Yet, the clammy air pressing against her back made her want to look round with her senses alert to danger.

Maybe start the paragraph with Vile yellow threads?


Vile yellow threads of cavern sludge oozed down the walls like the venom of a giant spider, congealing into stalagmite fangs. The silence of the cave oppressed Aira after the clamour when she and her fellow brownies were captured by monsters under the kraken’s command to prevent them from taking back the coastal home that the kraken seized from them.

“look” x 2



Maybe something like this?

Vile yellow threads of cavern sludge oozed down the walls like venom from a giant spider, congealing into stalagmite fangs. Aira shivered from the foul odour and slid her focus toward the door with its multitude of scratches, doubtless left by past prisoners, and willed herself to focus on the chink of light filtering beneath it. She wanted to ignore her dismal surroundings, but the silence of the cave oppressed her. In her mind, the clamour from when she and her fellow brownies were captured still rang, threatening a wave of sadness. She shifted her gaze to the lock in the door and clenched her fist, remembering how the kraken had seized their home and then led the monsters to capture her and her companions to prevent them from retaking it. Somehow, she would get it back.





Something slithered along the tunnel outside, heading towards her cell. Aira’s breathing grew ragged as she pushed herself to her feet. In the ghastly glow of the lantern light, she glimpsed Krysila’s tentacle wrenching the door back. The kraken slipped inside the cell with the speed of a squid lunging at its prey.

Aira had no time to move to enact her escape plan. The shock left her no less dauntless. There would be another time. This sounds a bit telly, but part of it is thought.


Krysila selected one of the skins that hung from her tentacles, using magic to use the skin to cloak her sea monster form. Aira tried not to think of the hideous fate of Krysila’s victims who had supplied the skins. Cool image. Cool with Krysila using their skins.

Using/use
Skin x 3



In the kraken’s place stood a quaintly dressed brownie lady, her lips pursed as if she had sipped sour milk. Lol!
Aira’s stomach clenched in loathing of her detestable mockery. Krysila was no House Elf but an evil sorceress of the sea. Aira’s hands clench clenched


into fists in indignation at the memory of how Krysila used brownie form to trick the brownie clan into falling into her clutches. Like the others, Aira had thought she could trust a woman of their own kind, especially one beloved by the brownie king, Gruagach.

This is the second time that the idea of a memory is used.



Aira met her captor’s gaze with a steadfast stare. ‘What are you here for? I’ll never side with you.’

‘You don’t need to. I already have King Gruagach’s support.’

‘Your dupe?’ Aira asked crisply. ‘He’s not of royal blood, only married into the brownie royal family.’ She steadied her breath, her courage returning as she thought of her beloved, Prince Boroden. She would stand true to his cause to the end. ‘Boroden is the true King of the House Elves - I’ll serve no other. None of my fellow brownies will either, for our kind swore an oath to listen only to the true descendants of Velmoran’s first king and queen.’

I’m not an expert on hyphens and dashes, but I wonder if it shouldn’t be a dash above?

You wrote: House Elves - I’ll
Suggestion: House Elves—I’ll

There are a couple of kinds of dashes, and like I said, I’m no master of dashes.






Krysila bared her teeth in a scoff. ‘The coastal land of Velmoran is mine now - don’t forget that.’


Do people bare their teeth when they scoff?



A flicker of hope lit Aira’s heart as Krysila’s strong jaw twitched in annoyance. Perhaps her words had made Krysila reluctant to kill Boroden? They would certainly reinforce what King Gruagach said earlier when he begged the kraken to stay her wrath, arguing that the brownie clan would be outraged by his son’s death.

Suggestion: Delete strong and just keep jaw.
Suggestion: Instead of reluctant perhaps hesitant?



‘Prince Boroden is unfit to become king. His health shall soon be broken after a spell of torture in my dungeons. If you want to survive, you brownies have no choice but to obey Gruagach as regent in Boroden’s stead. I’m sure that, with my prompting, father and son will come to agree.’ Krysila gave a sickening smile. Coming around behind Aira, Krysila grabbed her arms, though she remained stiff and resisting.

When I read sickening smile, I thought of the word simpered.

I’m stopping her for now. So far, it’s a cool chapter. Thanks for sharing!

T

9
9
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hi HM,

I just read the chapter on my phone, which kept me from making inline comments, but allowed me to read quickly through.

Nicely done. Without going back and checking, I believe there are at least two people with Boroden, but I’m not sure exactly how many people are with him.

Right away, we meet and cheer for the hero. Go Boroden! We learn right away what his goal is. The chapter ends with us wanting to know how he’s going to escape and save Aira.

There are a few missing commas. If a sentence has this structure COMMA then remember to put a comma.

Smiles to you,

Tadpole1
10
10
Review of The Algorithm  
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Why thank you, Finster, for the lovely read. For years I have wanted to write a novel around the concept of AI but never found a premise that inspired me. You chose a different angle and an interesting one at that.

I enjoyed the read from the beginning to the end. The language was interesting, and the the flow was fluid. I enjoyed the little chuckle at the end. Nice touch.

There's a typo: Troughout the centuries.
There may have been a couple of repetitions (words or thoughts).

In American English we put the commas and the periods inside quotes, but this is probably British English.

Thank you for a the divertissement!

Keep writing,

Tadpole1
11
11
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hi HM,

I’m just reviewing the beginning of the chapter, but I thought you’d rather have this much than wait for a full review.

Confusion: In paragraph two, at first I thought the tentacle was inside, reaching for the door. Then I thought it was outside, reaching for the door.

Répétition: Thé first four paragraphs start with the same word—Aira.

Confusion: her victim, it almost sounded like Aira’s victim. 😂 This doesn’t mean the grammar is incorrect. Just read it fast.

Cool idea that the creature shape shifts.

I like the jaw twitching.

“But Prince Boroden is unfit” does not sound commanding. I would delete the “but.”

“ changeling man who Aira loathed” I think it’s whom.

Did the knights, etc., just arrive? It didn’t seem like they were there in the beginning.

So far, Krysilia doesn’t sound as commanding as I think she should.

Also, in general, I would have liked more dribbles of setting.

Double check: span or spun? It may be correct as is.
her head span feverishly.

I’m stopping here for the moment.

Thanks for sharing!

Tadpole1



12
12
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi HM,

This is amazing!

If you like, I can attach it to the book with your name.

Hugs,

T
13
13
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
The Kraken’s Prisoners – Chapter 1


Hello HM,

Hi HM,

The chapter is better and better.

Watch for pov. Whenever we write about “them” or “they,” we’re straying from the pov character’s pov.

I hope that the newsletter I forwarded to you came through. In it, Max talks direct and indirect discourse as well as a kind of a mixed mode. If you take a peek, it might be useful.

At one moment, there are a lot of names introduced about characters that were unnamed earlier.

The chapter ends with us worrying about Aira and Gretchen. Great!

Tadpole1





Aira inhaled the scent of apples and began to sing snatches of one of the songs the dryads had taught her. Toiling as a brownie servant to humans had never been easy, but caring for the trees lifted her spirit. The dryads, at least, were grateful. They admired her care for their trees and how she helped woodland creatures find the bounty they provided.

She examined the overburdened crab apple, poor thing. It certainly needed her help. Its verdant branches bent like strung longbows from the weight of the rosy apples. Reaching up, she grabbed apple after apple from its branches and dropped them into her collecting basket.

The dryad slipped out of the silvery bark and sighed with a sound like the whisper of breeze through dry grass. The leaves forming her gown were tinged with autumnal red. ‘Thank you, my dear. That feels so much better.’ Is this Thunor?


‘You’re welcome.’ Aira scrambled up the tree branches, so she could collect apples further up.

Aira stretched, finding many of the apples out of her reach. Honestly, being just under three feet high made doing her tasks so inconvenient at times!

The dryad watched her, helpfully sweeping aside some of the branches I believe a comma goes here. so Aira could reach the apples without getting tangled in the leaves.

Smiling, Aira climbed higher, enjoying the sense of freedom in the forest. Unlike her time working in human homes, here she could command her destiny.

The sun dipped below the horizon, and Aira shivered. She found a good foothold and climbed down the tree, beginning to hum again as she swung down from the branches.

‘You sound quite content,’ the dryad ?Thunor?
remarked in her musical voice.

‘Indeed I am. I like the peace of the forest,’ Aira said, tossing back her golden hair and reaching for her basket, which hung suspended on a branch.

‘Hmm, it’s a quiet place. Time passes in the changing weather and yet gentler rhythm of the seasons. I’ve enjoyed nearly sixty years growing in this spot,’ the dryad said, rubbing the thick crust of lichen over her fissured forehead. ‘But you brownies are made for lives with more bustle and adventure. Don’t you wish you’d accompanied King Boroden?’

‘Of couse I do, but he wouldn’t let me go because he feared for my safety on the dangerous quest. I wanted to stay with him because he’s been my best friend since we were children.’ She tucked her hair behind her ear and, after a second, stood taller, facing the dryad. ‘I knew that he had to lead his brownie warriors to reclaim the kingdom of Velmoran from the evil kraken, but that didn’t make it any easier. He told me he loved me the day he left.’

Warmth fluttered in her heart as she recalled how he left his pack behind on purpose so that he might return to find her alone and admit his feelings without the moment being interrupted by his travelling companions. For years, she longed to hear him say he shared her feelings, only now the happy memory was entwined with pain. Perhaps she might never see him again.

Glancing at the silvery bark of the dryad’s face furrowed in sympathy, Aira shook her head. ‘There’s no point wishing things were otherwise. Boroden thought only of our safety when he insisted that Gretchen and I remain here. He travels a dangerous route… Sometimes, I worry my prayers might not be enough to protect him.’

‘Boroden has courage and right on his side. He’ll win Velmoran back, then you’ll live many happy years with him there.’

‘I hope so,’ Aira said, waving her hand in farewell to the dryad. Shouldering her basket, she headed towards the cottage that she shared with her stepmother, Gretchen. The shadows were lengthening. Aira picked up her pace. Although Aira was now a young woman, she knew that Gretchen would fret if she were late for dinner.

As she neared the cottage, the moon rose over the forest. The moon had been full like this soon after Boroden’s departure. On that spring night, she crept outside to admire its beauty, careful not to wake Gretchen. Watching the stillness of the moon amongst the scurrying clouds brought peace to her heavy heart.

That night, an animal crouched amongst a cluster of bluebells, its black fur blending into the shadows. A wolf. Aira blew out her candle as the wolf turned, fearful he might see her and startle away. Midnight blue eyes stared at her sending a shiver down her spine, tightening her heart and shortening her breath.

Over the following few nights, the wolf continued to come back. Why? What did it want? It didn’t appear to be hunting, nor did it attack. Should she tell Gretchen? She grimaced. The lone wolf mirrored her mournfulness at being separated from her friends. Aira did not want to discuss the shared secret binding her to the wolf with Gretchen. She resolved to show a cheerful, strong face to her stepmother who was already burdened with her own worries.

At the next full moon, Aira awaited the wolf with doubtful hope. To her surprise, he came bursting through the bushes, his chest heaving as though he had run a long way.

Aira crept towards the wolf as softly as a moonbeam. As she drew close, she noticed he was like no wolf she encountered before. He appeared smaller, and his limbs were almost human in shape.

She must have snapped a twig. He turned to look at her, wary and watchful. They kept their gazes locked, Aira’s heart pounding. His muscles tensed. Speaking softly, she held her hand towards him. At that movement he fled.

Here, is it possible to put something that brings her back to the here and now? Is she still walking home? Is she touching the doorknob to go inside? Did she just brush by a plant that made her itch? Is it day? Is it night? Is she putting away the apples? Is she washing dishes? Where is she physically? Just something to keep us grounded in the here and now. I rather thought that she was walking home and might have suggested a twig snapping, but you just used it. Maybe an howl hoots or the evening breeze chills her? I’m sure you’ll find an idea.

She can continue thinking about what happened before even though she is here right now.


Months passed since Aira encountered the wolf, but she hoped

he would appear maybe: appear again ? tonight.

The moon would be full, and the forest offered a bountiful food supply for wild beasts at this time of year.

After she had returned home for dinner, she would stay up to look for him after dark tonight. This will be good as soon as we know exactly where she is in space and time.

Maybe instead of staying up, maybe she would slip out to look for him?


She entered the brownies’ cottage constructed of earth and fallen branches, but she found the central hall deserted. Do many brownies live there?

new paragaraph
‘Gretchen, I’m back.’

No answer. Aira darted into the other rooms set around the central space. All were empty. Perhaps Gretchen was outside? It wasn’t like her to be out this late. She would normally be bustling about preparing a meal at this time of day. Aira hastened outside, calling her stepmother’s name. So, it’s still daytime?

Luan, the unicorn given to Aira by the Light Elf King Glimfyndor, looked up from cropping the grass. ‘What’s wrong?’

‘Have you seen Gretchen? I can’t find her in the cottage.’

‘She left a few hours ago, but she didn’t say where she was going.’

Aira wrung her hands. ‘What can have kept her out so long? Which way did she go?’

The creak of the door made Aira start round. She sighed to behold her stepmother entering the cottage. ‘Gretchen!’ This is much clearer.

Gretchen darted back outdoors, waving to Aira. A smile lit her freckled face framed by its nest of auburn hair. It’s night, isn’t it? Maybe a moonbeam lit her freckled face?

Aira ran towards her. ‘Where have you been? I was worried about you.’

Gretchen nibbled her lip, her forehead furrowed with guilt. ‘Sorry, love, I should’ve let you know. One of the dryads told me that she saw humans yesterday. They’re building cottages at the edge of the forest. I decided to help a family with their chores. I’m sick of the woodland food provided by the dryads. I hoped the humans might reward me with a gift of milk and a bannock, as most good folk do their brownie helpers.’

Aira cast Gretchen a concerned glance as she followed her into the cottage and began arranging her freshly gathered apples ready to be stored. ‘You might have got into danger traipsing all that way to the human dwellings.’

Gretchen helped her stepdaughter, forming a sack with her apron in which to carry the apples to the storeroom. ‘I know, and I’ve heard often enough of Boroden’s lofty ideal of us House Elves being free from doing chores for others, but I hoped things might be as they were with Isla.’

Recalling Isla, the kind human girl who once befriended the brownies, Aira’s heart gave a wistful tug.

Aira squeezed her stepmother’s hand. ‘I understand. I feel lonely at times too. I miss the others of our clan. Though the dryads are as kind as spring sunshine, they’re not of our kind. It feels odd staying with them. I’ll go with you next time you visit the humans to help about their house.’

They are talking about humans. Aira says she misses brownies. She offers to go help humans.

It feels like there needs to be more of a link between missing brownies and offering to help humans.


Glancing up at the harvest moon as she and Gretchen left for the village that night, Aira regretted missing the chance to await the arrival of the mysterious wolf. What a pity it was that brownies must do their work by night to avoid humans noticing them. This reads a bit telly.

Maybe something like:

Gretchen slipped out the door first. Aira walked behind her on the way to the village.

At the end of their xxxx (farm? land?), or
After a moment, or
Something happened and then she paused and glanced up at

Aira paused and glanced up at the harvest moon. She had waited all month for the mysterious wolf to arrive, and if he came, she was going to miss him. What a pity it was that brownies must do their work by night to avoid humans noticing them.



Entering the human homestead, they found not a crust left out in thanks for Gretchen’s labours.

Gretchen tutted. ‘Well, how ungrateful.’

Searching the cottage for any sign of a meal left for the brownies, Aira went to the fireplace. A pyramid of logs lay beside it, weeping sap. Aira stiffened.

I love “weeping sap”! Is that a common saying? It’s the first time I hear it. Lovely!


Aira came to Gretchen’s side, grabbing her arm.
She hurried to Gretchen’s side and grabbed her arm. ‘These are dryad trees! . . .

‘These are dryad trees. They’re sacred. The humans shouldn’t have done this. This woodcutter’s family isn’t worthy of our help. Come, let’s leave.’

Gretchen nodded, backing against a fire iron and sending it clattering. Footsteps in the bedroom above made dust shake down from the floor timbers. Tension is building!

‘Ah, so you came back, did you? Show yourselves!’ The booming voice of the woodsman sent Aira and Gretchen racing towards the door.

Suggestion:

‘Ah, so you came back, did you? Show yourselves!’ The woodsman’s voice boomed.

Gretchen dropped her cloth and sprinted for the door. Aira sprinted right behind her, looking over her shoulders.


Does this feel more active?



The woodsman kicked his dog awake, and the poor thing yelped.

‘Get after them thieves, you useless cur!’

He kicked again, but the dog jumped out of reach. Its cowering posture changed as it caught the scent of the brownies. Fear scampered across Aira’s skin as it let out a volley of barks, its hackles bristling. I like this, but I wonder if something needs to slow Gretchen and her down. Does Gretchen trip with Aira stopping to help her or something?

They need to make it outside before heading toward the cottage.


Urging Gretchen to keep up with her, Aira tore back to the cottage with her heart pounding so fast she expected it to burst, the dog snarling on her heels. Pulling Gretchen into the cottage, Aira slammed the door, bolting it tight. Above her shuddering breaths came fierce barking as the dog pounded at the thatch. Gretchen opened a window and tossed a pail of water over it. Shaking itself, the dog prowled irritably in the woodland surrounding the cottage. Aira was glad the mysterious wolf did not to appear tonight.

Believability: Usually dogs are much faster than humans. And brownies? How did they manage to outrun the dog all the way to the cottage?


When morning broke, Aira caught the sound of a human crashing through the undergrowth. It was the woodcutter searching

of for

his dog. He eyed the trees in this part of the forest, rubbing his chin greedily. They grew broad and strong, having basked in

mossiness spelling

She heard him, but she must also see him to know that he is rubbing his chin.


for years undisturbed. Aira’s heart sank as she guessed what he must be thinking.

Sure enough, he soon called in several fellow woodcutters. telling

All that day trees screamed as they toppled in their leafy finery.

Aira pressed her hands over her ears in anguish, doing her best to comfort Gretchen who was as distressed as she was. To Aira, the wails of the dryads as their trees fell were heart-breaking, but the humans heard nothing and cared nothing.

for the pain of the trees In a mist that rippled like cobwebs, the spirits of dryads left their trees. Something’s missing here.

Aira contemplated dashing out to bid her friend, the dryad matriarch, Thunor, farewell. She could not bear seeing Thunor next in line to be felled. But it wasn’t safe - there were humans everywhere. Thunor was helpless as the woodsmen closed in on her tree. Blow by ringing blow they shattered her oak, once the monarch of the forest. How sad.

Through her tears, Aira realised that by chance Thunor’s death had given the brownies time. The woodsmen left for their beds complaining about blistered palms. Only a quarter of Thunor’s great oak was cut for ship timbers, and the lengthy work of processing Thunor’s tree meant that the humans had no time to reach the brownies’ homestead hidden by the thicket behind the oak tree. Aira quivered, knowing she and Gretchen must act fast. Tomorrow, once they dealt with the remaining oak timbers, the humans would likely turn to butchering the trees around the brownies’ cottage.

Hi HM,

I forwarded a newsletter by Max to you. I think it could be helpful. He uses an example with “she reflected.”

Here you have: Aira contemplated, Aira realized, and Aira regretted.

Look at his example and see what you think.



Aira went in search of Luan. ‘Keep hidden deep in the forest. You’d be a grand prize for mercenary humans.’

Luan snorted warm breath over Aira’s outstretched hand Is this the unicorn? If so, tell us her name earlier.


in acquiescence telly


and galloped away.

What just happened and why? We jumped from her grieving to her looking for someone without a transition. Then we jump to the cottage.



Returning to the cottage, Aira found her stepmother piling provisions into bags.

‘We’ve got to leave,’ Gretchen said.

‘Thunor is dying. We can’t just leave her to die alone after all she’s done for us.’

‘But the humans are coming. We can’t stay.’

‘I know, but we can’t abandon our dryad friends!’

‘Aira, we can do nothing. The lives of the dryads are bound to their trees. Luan and the ponies depend on us. We can save them, even if we can’t save the drayds. If Boroden was here, he’d tell us to leave.’

Aira nodded, swallowing back tears. Gretchen was right. ‘We should head to the mountains following

the way Boroden took. Maybe: Boroden’s path ?


It’s a slim chance, but maybe we’ll catch up with him.’

Aira stumbled through her packing with shaking fingers. If only she might do something to save the remaining dryads, but it appeared impossible.

‘There must be some spell of protection.’ Aira pulled out the books of magic that Boroden had
left for her. Her magic was instinctive comma
and she found following the instructions hard, but she would not give up trying.

Rubbing her bleary eyes, Aira caught the murmur of Gretchen talking to the faerie ponies, Tam Lin and Janet, in the stable.

A red flicker darted over the darkening ceiling of the cottage. Crashes came through the undergrowth, drawing closer. Aira jumped to her feet, running to the window. Redcaps! Choking back a whimper, Aira knew that the goblins, with their caps dyed in the blood of their victims, sought only one thing. To kill. Ooh! Scarry!


‘Redcaps are here! We’ve got to go now,’ Aira cried.

Gretchen tore open the door

meaning to flee, POV, but maybe it’s okay.


but the redcaps waited nearby.

Peering from the window, Aira saw redcaps surrounding the cottage. Each redcap carried a flaming torch. The fires sparked an idea in her. Cool!


‘Up the chimney!’ Aira doused the smouldering windfall logs in the hearth with water. Fortunately, the fire had not gone well that evening or the chimney would feel blisteringly hot inside. She and Gretchen reached as high as they could up into the chimney, curling their fingers around the stones in the narrow space. They shrunk down to the size of mice; a useful trick often used by brownies to avoid being spotted when working in human homes.

In the sooty blackness, Aira was uncertain of finding places for her hands and feet. Each slip she feared would be into nothingness. Thank goodness brownies possessed long, sensitive whiskers like mice that she used to feel her way as she climbed. The oppressive tang of soot made her cough. Behind her, she heard redcaps breaking into the cottage and upturning their belongings, snarling in their ugly language.

Maybe: In the sooty blackness, Aira scrabbled for handholds.



Aira and Gretchen reached the chimney pot, gasping in the fresh air. In an instant the bracing breath of breeze blew thick with smoke. The redcaps carried torches not to see by but to burn the cottage. Already the thatch danced red, curling and flying away in cinders.

As soon as you say “Aira and Gretchen,” it becomes “they” and pulls away from Aira’s pov.

Maybe something like: Aira reached the chimney pot and gasped for breath. She crawled out and sat beside Gretchen. Gretchen was heaving in deep breaths. Aira patted her thigh, still struggling for clean air, and looked around. The breeze blew thick with smoke. She coughed and wiped the tears from her eyes. Flames soared from the nearby cottages. The redcaps carried torches, not to see by, but to burn the cottages. Roof after thatched roof danced red, flying away in cinders.

Do you see how this is closer to Aira’s pov?



Luan gave a whinnying call. Several redcaps grabbed her and

brought Good, but maybe something stronger? Dragged?


her towards two masked ladies. Aira clutched the thatch

with white knuckles telly


as Luan tossed her head, sweeping her horn at the redcaps. They fell back. Luan galloped to the stables which kindled fast, Tam Lin and Janet trapped inside. With one kick the unicorn sent the door crashing down. The ponies galloped free.

‘Go to Glimfyndor, Luan!’ Aira yelled, forgetting that her call would reveal her whereabouts. Glimfyndor had promised that he and his fellow Light Elves would help the brownies in their hour of need.

At the sound of Aira’s voice, one of the ladies looked up, forgetting to examine the pack of the brownies’ possessions that a redcap held towards her. Her luminous red eyes appeared like ill-boding moons. Oh dear!


‘She’s a sídhe.’ Aira shuddered. Only the sídhe, the most powerful elven race in the faerie kingdom, possessed red eyes.

Gretchen’s face crumpled in despair. ‘I know the sídhe scorn the idea of Boroden and us humble House Elves seeking a homeland for ourselves, but I’d never imagine they’d work with goblins from the evil Unseelie Court.’ Evil sidhes!


‘Nor I.’

This combination of malice and power froze Aira’s courageous heart. telling


‘Get your followers together. Surround the cottage,’ the sídhe witch yelled to the redcap captain. She stabbed her arm violently towards Aira and Gretchen. ‘Look - there the brownies are, on the roof. Bring them to me!’

Oops!


14
14
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
The Kraken’s Prisoners – Chapter 1


Hello HM,

The chapter is getting better and better. *Smile*

In the last few paragraphs that I reviewed, the POV changes to omniscient. Try to keep it in Aira’s POV.

Suggestion: Go through the last part of the chapter and verify whether the POV is Aira’s or not. If not, then pull it into her POV.

Tadpole1





Aira inhaled the scent of apples and began to sing snatches of one of the songs the dryads had taught her. Toiling as a brownie servant to humans had never been easy, but caring for the trees lifted her spirit. The dryads, at least, were grateful. They admired her care for their trees and how she helped woodland creatures find the bounty they provided.

She examined the overburdened crab apple, poor thing. It certainly needed her help. Its verdant branches were as bent as strung longbows from the weight of the rosy apples. Reaching up, she grabbed apple after apple from its branches and dropped them into her collecting basket.

Suggestion: Its verdant branches bent like strung longbows from…



The dryad slipped out of the silvery bark and sighed with a sound like the whisper of breeze through dry grass. The leaves twined in her hair and forming her gown were tinged with autumnal red. ‘Thank you, my dear. That feels so much better.’

Note: twined and forming are not equal.
In fact, read the sentence aloud. It doesn’t make sense (at least to me).



‘You’re welcome.’ Aira scrambled up the tree branches, so she could collect apples further up.
Start a new paragraph after the dialogue.

Being just under three feet high made doing her tasks inconvenient at times.

?? POV ?? Omniscient ??
The dryad watched her, helpfully sweeping aside some of the branches so Aira could reach the apples without getting tangled in the leaves.

Aira smiled

as and


she climbed higher, enjoying the sense of freedom in the forest. Unlike her time working in human homes, here she

might Suggestion: could



command her destiny.

The sun dipped below the horizon, and Aira shivered. She found a good foothold and climbed down the tree, beginning to hum again as she

swung Suggestion: swang


down from the branches.

‘You sound quite content,’ the dryad remarked in her musical voice.

‘Indeed I am. I like the peace of the forest,’ Aira said, tossing back her golden hair and reaching for her basket, which

was left Suggestion: hung


suspended on a branch.

‘Hmm, it’s a quiet place. Time passes in the changing weather and yet gentler rhythm of the seasons. I’ve enjoyed nearly sixty years growing in this spot,’ the dryad said, rubbing the thick crust of lichen over her fissured forehead. ‘But you brownies are made for lives with more bustle and adventure. Don’t you wish you’d accompanied King Boroden and his fellow brownie warriors when they left to reclaim the kingdom of Velmoran from the evil kraken?’

‘Of course. I miss Boroden. He’s been my best friend since we were children. He told me he loved me the day he left.’ Aira sighed.



Suggestion: Don’t you wish you’d accompanied King Boroden?

‘He wouldn’t let me go. I wanted to because he’s been my best friend since we were children.’ She tucked her hair behind her ear (or another action) and, after a second, stood taller, facing the dryad. ‘I knew that he had to lead his brownie warriors to reclaim the kingdom of Velmoran from the evil Kraken, but that didn’t make it any easier. He told me he loved me that day.’

Breaking it up this way, sounds less like an info dump to me. Also, before she didn’t directly answer the dryad’s question.





Warmth fluttered in her heart as she recalled how he left his pack behind on purpose so that he might return to find her alone and admit his feelings without the moment being interrupted by his travelling companions. For years, she longed to hear him say he shared her feelings, only now the happy memory was entwined with pain. Perhaps she might never see him again.

Glancing at the silvery bark of the dryad’s face furrowed in sympathy, Aira shook her head. ‘There’s no point wishing things were otherwise. Boroden thought only of our safety when he insisted that Gretchen and I remain here. He travels a dangerous route… Sometimes, I worry my prayers might not be enough to protect him.’

‘Boroden has courage and right on his side. He’ll win Velmoran back, then you’ll live many happy years with him there.’

‘I hope so,’ Aira said, waving her hand in farewell to the dryad. She

turned Suggestion: grabbed her basket

and headed towards the cottage that she shared with her stepmother, Gretchen. The shadows were lengthening. Aira picked up her pace. Although Aira was now a young woman, she knew that Gretchen would fret if she were late for dinner.

As she neared the cottage, the moon rose over the forest. The moon had been full like this soon after Boroden’s departure. On that spring night, she crept outside to admire its beauty, careful not to wake Gretchen. Watching the stillness of the moon amongst the scurrying clouds brought peace to her heavy heart.

That night, an animal crouched amongst a cluster of bluebells, its black fur blending into the shadows. A wolf. Aira blew out her candle as the wolf turned, fearful he might see her and startle away. Midnight blue eyes stared at her sending a shiver down her spine, tightening her heart and shortening her breath.

Over the following few nights, the wolf continued to come back. Why? What did it want? It didn’t appear to be hunting, nor did it attack. Should she tell Gretchen? She grimaced. The lone wolf mirrored her mournfulness at being separated from her friends. Aira did not want to discuss the shared secret binding her to the wolf with Gretchen. She resolved to show a cheerful, strong face to her stepmother who was already burdened with her own worries.

At the next full moon, Aira

looked with ?? maybe ?? awaited with ??

doubtful hope for the wolf. To her surprise, the wolf came bursting through the bushes, his chest heaving as though he had run a long way.

Aira crept towards the wolf as softly as a moonbeam. Lovely! As she drew close, she noticed he was like no wolf she encountered before. He appeared smaller, and his limbs were almost human in shape.

She must have snapped a twig. He turned to look at her, wary and watchful. They kept their gazes locked, Aira’s heart pounding. His muscles tensed. Speaking softly, she held her hand towards him. At that movement he fled.

Months passed since Aira encountered the wolf, but she hoped he would appear tonight. The moon would be full, and the forest offered a bountiful food supply for wild beasts at this time of year. Nicely done.

Has she already waited for him to appear when she enters the cottage? If so, a transition is needed. Maybe another sentence here to make things clear.


She entered the brownies’ cottage constructed of earth and fallen branches, but she found the central hall deserted. ‘Gretchen, I’m back.’

No answer. Aira darted into the other rooms set around the central space. All were empty. Perhaps Gretchen was outside? It wasn’t like her to be out this late. She would normally be bustling about preparing a meal at this time of day. Aira hastened outside, calling her stepmother’s name.

Luan, the unicorn given to Aira by the Light Elf King Glimfyndor, looked up from cropping the grass. ‘What’s wrong?’

‘Have you seen Gretchen? I can’t see find (unless she’s there and just invisible)

her in the cottage.’

‘She left a few hours ago. She ago, but she

didn’t say where she was going.’

Aira wrung her hands. ‘What can have kept her out so long? Which way did she go?’

The creak of the door made Aira start round. She sighed to behold Gretchen entering the cottage. A smile lit Gretchen’s freckled face framed by its nest of auburn hair.

I think this still needs a tad bit of work. The door creaks, and Gretchen is entering the cottage, so Aira sees the back of Gretchen’s head and cannot see her smile.


Aira ran towards her. ‘Where have you been? I was worried about you.’

Are they inside or outside when Aira calls to Gretchen?


Gretchen looked guilty. Nasty me, I’m going to say “Show, Don’t Tell” us how she looks guilty.

‘Sorry, love, I should’ve let you know. One of the dryads told me that she saw humans yesterday. They’re building cottages at the edge of the forest. I decided to help a family with

their Normally, this should be “its,” but nowadays “their” is sometimes accepted.

chores. I’m sick of the woodland food provided by the dryads. I hoped the humans might reward me with a gift of milk and a bannock, as most good folk do their brownie helpers.’

Aira cast Gretchen a concerned glance as she followed her into the cottage and began arranging her freshly gathered apples ready to be stored. ‘You might have got into danger traipsing all that way to the human dwellings.’

Gretchen

began helping helped (began is a weak word)

her stepdaughter, forming a sack with her apron in which to carry the apples to the storeroom. ‘I know, and I’ve heard often enough of Boroden’s lofty ideal of us House Elves being free from doing chores for others. But I hoped things might be as they were with Isla.’

Suggestion: house elves
Suggestion: for others, but I hoped


Recalling Isla, the kind human girl who once befriended the brownies, Aira’s heart gave a wistful tug.

Aira squeezed her stepmother’s hand. ‘I understand. I feel lonely at times too. I miss the others of our clan. Though the dryads are as kind as spring sunshine, they’re not of our kind. It feels odd staying with them. I’ll go with you next time you visit the humans to help about their house.’ Touching. *Smile*

Glancing up at the harvest moon as she and Gretchen left for the village that night, Aira regretted missing the chance to await the arrival of the mysterious wolf. What a pity it was that brownies must do their work by night to avoid humans noticing them.

Entering the human homestead, they found not a crust left out in thanks for Gretchen’s labours. Nasty humans! Lol!

Gretchen tutted. ‘Well, how ungrateful.’

Searching the cottage for any sign of a meal left for the brownies, Aira went to the fireplace. Beside it was stacked a pyramid of logs, weeping sap. Passive.

Active: A pyramid of logs lay beside it, weeping sap.


Aira grabbed Gretchen’s arm as she came to her side.

Suggestion: What happened first?
Aira came to Gretchen’s side and grabbed her arm.
See? Which one feels more active?


‘These are dryad trees. They’re sacred. The humans shouldn’t have done this. This woodcutter’s family isn’t worthy of our help. Come, let’s leave.’ nice

Gretchen nodded, backing against a fire iron and sending it clattering. Footsteps in the bedroom above made dust shake down from the floor timbers. Lol! Are they heavy giants?

‘Ah, so you came back comma did you? Show yourselves!’ The booming voice of the woodsman sent Aira and Gretchen racing towards the door. Building tension, good!

The yelp of a dog as the woodsman kicked it awake became a volley of barking. ‘Get after them thieves, you useless cur!’

Isn’t this stronger?
The woodman kicked his dog awake, and the poor thing yelped.

‘Get after them thieves, you useless cur!’

He kicked again, but the dog jumped out of reach. It let out a volley of barking and nipped at Aira’s heels.


Fear scampered across Aira’s skin. The dog caught their scent. This doesn’t flow with what I suggested above.

POV is omniscient. The brownies tore back to their cottage with their hearts pounding so fast they expected them to burst, the dog snarling on their heels. The dog did not stop until they entered their cottage. Instead of giving up, it prowled about for hours - barking fiercely and pounding at the thatch every time they moved or spoke. Aira was glad the mysterious wolf did not to appear tonight. The last sentence is telling.

POV again. When morning broke, the woodcutter came in search of his dog and eyed the trees in this part of the forest greedily. They grew broad and strong, having basked in mossiness for years undisturbed. Soon he returned with several fellow woodcutters. All that day trees screamed as they toppled in their leafy finery.

POV Aira and Gretchen pressed their hands over their ears in anguish. The humans could not hear the keening of the dryads as their trees fell, yet to the brownies their wails sounded heart-breaking. In a mist that rippled like cobwebs, the spirits of dryads left their trees.

POV The dryad matriarch, Thunor, was helpless. By the time the sun waned her oak, once the monarch of the forest, lay shattered. In her death she gave the brownies time. The woodsmen left for their beds with blistered palms with only a quarter of the great oak cut for ship timbers, having no time to reach the brownies’ homestead hidden by the thicket behind the oak tree. Tomorrow, once they dealt with the remaining oak timbers, the humans would likely turn to butchering the trees around the brownies’ cottage.

I’m stopping here.

15
15
Review of Boardwalk Sally  
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi P,

I received the request for a review and popped over.

Immediate reaction, surprise. I certainly did not expect the subject or tone. Nevertheless, I continued on, giving the poem and author respect.

The rhymes were good. Most of the poem flowed smoothly. Then, I hit a part that felt like a bump. I'm going to pause and see if I can figure out why...I'm not sure why, but the bump occurred starting on the line "Making sure my voice had a commanding pitch." Read it aloud, and listen to the music, the rhythm. It's not as smooth as before.

Now for the content, this of course is a personal opinion, the attitude toward women is obviously going to lead toward the protagonist being a loser and an eternal bachelor.

Keep writing,

Tadpole1
16
16
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
The Kraken’s Prisoners – Chapter 1


Hello HM,

The opening of the book is all important, and the first paragraphs, and especially the first sentences are so important. That’s why I always start at the top when reviewing this chapter.






Aira inhaled the scent of apples and began to sing snatches of one of the songs the dryads taught her. Toiling as a brownie servant to humans had never been easy, but caring for the trees lifted her spirit. The dryads, at least, were grateful. They admired her care for their trees and how she helped woodland creatures find the bounty they provided.

Suggestion: Lol! I’m going to add “had.”

Aira inhaled the scent of apples and began to sing snatches of a song the dryads had taught her.

Aira inhaled the scent of apples and began to sing snatches of a song the dryads had taught her when (she first started working in the orchard).

This is still happening now even though there is the word had.


She examined the overburdened crab apple, poor thing. It certainly needed her help. Its verdant branches were as bent as strung longbows from the weight of the rosy apples. Reaching up, she grabbed apple after apple from its branches and dropped them into her collecting basket.
You have established empathy right away, which is a way to encourage the reader to care for the protagonist. Great!



The dryad slipped out of the silvery bark and sighed with a sound like the whisper of breeze through dry grass. ‘Thank you, my dear. That feels so much better.’

Okay, this is cool and is new. Now, I want to know what the dryad looks like. Before, I imagined it as some invisible xxx that communicates with Aira from within the tree. Does it have a humanoid form? Does it have branches and leaves for fingers and limbs? Is the skin wrinkly like bark? Or, does it look like a lovely floating fairy? Is it male or female? Dang, there is sooo much that I now want to know about the dryad.

I really want to see these things, but I didn’t need them before.


‘You’re welcome.’ Aira scrambled up the tree branches, so she could collect apples further up. Being just under three feet high made doing her tasks inconvenient at times.

Now that we have a physical dryad, where is it? Floating next to Aira? On the ground below? How does it move? What does its voice sound like? This is magical.

Be careful to keep the focus on Aira.

I’m stopping here for the moment.

17
17
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)

The Kraken’s Prisoners – Chapter 1


Hello HM,

I’m going to peek at the beginning of your chapter. The difference between this chapter and the first one I read is amazing! It’s better every time I look at it!






Aira inhaled the scent of apples and began to sing snatches of one of the songs the dryads taught her. Toiling as a brownie servant to humans had never been easy, but caring for the trees lifted her spirit. The dryads, at least, were grateful. They admired her care for their trees and how she helped woodland creatures find the bounty they provided.

She examined the overburdened crab apple, poor thing. It certainly needed her help. Its verdant branches were as bent as strung longbows from the weight of the rosy apples. Reaching up, she grabbed some apples from its branches and dropped them into her collecting basket.
Suggestion: a few apples (She could count them thus a few instead of some)



The dryad slipped out of the silvery bark and sighed with a sound like the whisper of breeze through dry grass. ‘Thank you, my dear. That feels so much better.’

‘You’re welcome.’ Aira scrambled up the tree branches, so she could collect apples further up. Being just under three feet high made doing her tasks inconvenient at times.

Aira smiled as she climbed higher, enjoying the sense of freedom in the forest. Unlike her time working in human homes, here she might command her destiny.

The sun dipped below the horizon, and Aira shivered. She found a good foothold and climbed down the tree, beginning to hum again as she swung down from the branches.

‘You sound quite content,’ the dryad remarked.

‘Indeed I am. I like the peace of the forest,’ Aira said, tossing back her golden hair and reaching for her basket, which she had left suspended on a branch.

This is really being nit-picky, but Aira will not be thinking that the color of her hair is golden. You might want to leave it, but it does slightly slip out of pov.



‘Hmm, it’s a quiet place. Time passes in the changing weather and yet gentler rhythm of the seasons. I’ve enjoyed nearly fifty years growing in this spot. But you brownies are made for lives with more bustle and adventure. Don’t you wish you had accompanied King Boroden and his fellow brownie warriors when they left to reclaim the kingdom of Velmoran from the evil kraken?’

Lol! I can hear the voices of the Ents in Lord of the Rings!



‘Of course. I miss Boroden. He’s been my best friend since we were children. He told me he loved me the day he left.’ Aira sighed.

New paragraph
Warmth fluttered in her heart as she recalled how he had left his pack behind on purpose so that he might return to find her alone and admit his feelings without the moment being interrupted by his travelling companions. For years she had longed to hear him say he shared her feelings, only now the happy memory was entwined with pain. Perhaps she might never see him again.

Glancing up at the sympathy contracting the silvery skin of the drayd’s face, which mirrored the bark of her tree, This is confusing and thus interrupted the flow. I suggest rewording.


Aira shook her head. ‘There’s no point wishing things were otherwise. Boroden thought only of our safety when he insisted that Gretchen and I remain here. He travels a dangerous route… Sometimes, I worry my prayers might not be enough to protect him.’

‘Boroden has courage and right on his side. He’ll win Velmoran back comma and you’ll live many happy years with him there.’

‘I hope so too,’ Suggestion: delete too


Aira said, waving her hand in farewell to the dryad. She turned and headed towards the cottage that she shared with her stepmother, Gretchen. The shadows were lengthening,

and so

Aira picked up her pace. Although Aira was now a young woman, she knew that Gretchen would fret if she

was This might pass, but it should be “were.” If she were, if I were, if we were, if they were.


late for dinner.


She had almost reached the cottage when the moon rose over the forest. The moon had been full like this soon after Boroden’s departure. She had crept outside to admire its beauty, careful not to wake Gretchen. Watching the stillness of the moon amongst the scurrying clouds brought peace to her heavy heart.

An animal had been crouched To get rid of the pesty “had”

That night, an animal crouched…



amongst a cluster of bluebells, its black fur blending into the shadows. A wolf. Aira had blown out her candle as the wolf turned, fearful that he might see her and startle away. Midnight blue eyes stared at her sending a shiver down her spine, tightening her heart and shortening her breath.

That night, an animal crouched amongst a cluster of bluebells, its black fur blending into the shadows. A wolf. Aira blew out her candle as the wolf turned, fearful that he might see her and startle away. Midnight blue eyes stared at her sending a shiver down her spine, tightening her heart and shortening her breath.


The wolf had come back The wolf continued to come back the next few nights, but why?

the next few nights, but why? What did it want? It didn’t appear to be hunting comma and it didn’t attack. Should she tell Gretchen? She grimaced. The lone wolf mirrored her mournfulness at being separated from her friends. Aira did not want to discuss the shared secret binding her to the wolf with Gretchen. She had resolved to show a cheerful, strong face to her stepmother who was already burdened with her own worries.

At the next full moon, Aira looked with doubtful hope for the wolf. To her surprise, the wolf came bursting from the bushes, his chest heaving as though he had run a long way.

?? bursting through ??


Aira had crept towards the wolf as softly as a moonbeam. Love this! As she drew close, she noticed he was like no wolf she had seen before. He appeared smaller, and his limbs were almost human in shape. Oh, wow, a surprise, I expected it to be even bigger. Cool. I like surprises!

She must have snapped a twig. He had turned He turned to look at her, wary and watchful. They kept their gazes locked, Aira’s heart pounding. His muscles tensed. Speaking softly, she had held She held her hand towards him. At that movement he fled.

Months had passed Months passed since Aira encountered the wolf, but she hoped he would appear tonight. The moon would be full comma and the forest offered a bountiful food supply for wild beasts at this time of year.

Entering the central round hall of their cottage constructed of earth and fallen branches, Aira found the room deserted. ‘Gretchen, I’m back.’ Nice, but I suggest deleting a few adjectives. If you really need all of them, create another sentence—central, round, constructed of, earth, fallen—that’s a lot of description in one sentence.

Maybe: She entered their cottage constructed of earth and fallen branches, but she found the central hall deserted.


No answer. Aira darted into the other rooms set around the central space. All were empty. Perhaps Gretchen had gone outside? It wasn’t like her to be out this late. She would normally be

bustling over preparing Is this correct? I’m not sure.

a meal at this time of day. Aira hastened outside, calling her stepmother’s name.

Luan, the unicorn who had been given to Aira by the Light Elf King Glimfyndor, looked up from cropping the grass. ‘What’s wrong?’

‘Have you seen Gretchen? I can’t see her in the cottage.’

‘She left a few hours ago. She didn’t say where she was going.’

Aira wrung her hands. ‘What can have kept her out so long? Which way did she go?’

The creak of the cottage door made Aira start round. She sighed to behold Gretchen returned. A smile lit Gretchen’s freckled face framed by its nest of auburn hair.

Wait, I’m confused. I’m guessing that Gretchen arrived behind Aira’s back and is opening the door from the outside to go in, right? She didn’t magically appear inside and open the door outwards, did she?


Aira ran towards her. ‘Where have you been? I was worried about you.’

This is actually quite nice. Aira was worried that Gretchen would be worried about her, but in the end, it is Aira that is worried about Gretchen!


Gretchen looked guilty. ‘Sorry, love, I should’ve let you know. One of the dryads told me that she saw humans yesterday. They’re building cottages at the edge of the forest. I decided to help a family with their chores. I’m sick of the woodland food provided by the dryads. I hoped the humans might reward me with a gift of milk and a bannock, as most good folk do their brownie helpers.’ Cool.

Aira cast Gretchen a concerned glance as she followed her into the cottage and began arranging her freshly gathered apples ready to be stored. ‘You might have got into danger traipsing all that way to the human dwellings.’

Gretchen lifted the basket of apples onto the table and began helping her stepdaughter.
Confusion: I was surprised that Gretchen would be lifting the basket after Aira was already arranging the apples. Did Aira leave it on the floor?

I’m stopping here. It’s late.

18
18
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
The Kraken’s Prisoners – Chapter 1


Hello HM,

I’m going to peek at your chapter…I only read a bit, but wow. Go girl!








Aira inhaled the mellow scent of apples and began to sing snatches of one of the songs the dryads taught her. Toiling as a brownie servant to humans had never been easy, but caring for the trees lifted her spirit. The dryads, at least, were grateful. They admired her care for their trees and how she helped woodland creatures find the autumn bounty they provided.

I like it. What can I find to suggest? Maybe, fewer adjectives. Let’s try and see what you think.

Aira inhaled the scent of apples and began to sing snatches of one of the songs the dryads taught her. Toiling as a brownie servant to humans had never been easy, but caring for the trees lifted her spirit. The dryads, at least, were grateful. They admired her care for their trees and how she helped woodland creatures find the bounty they provided.

I only deleted two words: mellow and autumn. Yes, it is less precise, but does it feel lighter when you read it?

I am just throwing this out. Of course, you don’t have to change anything.



She examined the overburdened crab apple, poor thing. It certainly needed her help. Its verdant branches were as bent as strung longbows from the weight of the rosy apples. Reaching up, she grabbed some apples from its branches and dropped them into her collecting basket.

The

crab apple Is this needed? She just looked at a crab apple.


tree dryad slipped out of the silvery bark

of her tree Maybe delete this or add a sentence if it’s necessary?

and sighed with a sound like the whisper of breeze through dry grass. ‘Thank you, my dear. That feels so much better.’ nice


‘You’re welcome.’ Aira scrambled up the tree branches comma
so she could collect apples further up. Being just under three feet high made doing her tasks inconvenient at times.

Aira smiled as she climbed higher, enjoying the sense of freedom in the forest. Unlike her time working in human homes, here she might command her destiny.

The sun dipped below the horizon, and Aira shivered. She found a good foothold and climbed down the tree, beginning to hum again as she swung down from the branches.

‘You sound quite content,’ the dryad remarked.

‘Indeed I am. I like the peace of the forest,’ Aira said, tossing back her golden hair and reaching for her full basket, which she had left suspended on a branch.

Suggestion: delete full (You don’t have to; it’s not wrong.)



‘Hmm, it’s a quiet place. Time passes in the changing weather and yet gentler rhythm of the seasons. I’ve enjoyed nearly fifty years growing in this spot. But you brownies are made for lives with more bustle and adventure. Don’t you wish you had accompanied King Boroden and his fellow brownie warriors when they left to reclaim the kingdom of Velmoran from the evil kraken?’

‘Of course optional comma
I do. I miss Boroden. He’s been my best friend since we were children.’ Aira sighed.

As they had parted, Boroden confessed that he loved her.
Suggestion: ‘He told me he loved me the day he left.’

I like the dialogue that you have going here. Personally, I think it’s a great improvement from the first version I read.

I’m stopping here for the moment, but I’ll be back. So far, I really like it. It is amazing how much your writing has improved. Kudos!

19
19
Review of Chapter One  
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hello Destiny,

I think you have a good chapter. We begin to care about the protagonist, and we know she has a problem, actually several. It seems that she has budding new powers that she neither masters nor fully understands yet. The chapter raises many questions to be answered in the upcoming chapters. Will be get caught for hurting the girl? Will Manny come after her? Will she be able to control her powers? What is she going to do next? Etc.

A trip or two through spell-check ally could only help the chapter. There were quite a few typos even if I'm not pointing them out.

Don't let the typos get you down, but please, do correct them.

Keep writing! And thank you for sharing.

Welcome to WDC,

Tadpole1
20
20
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi D,

This was very sweet. I loved the Twilight series too. I wonder if the way Jacob knew that it was Bella was because he could smell her?

I liked the idea of writing this "what if" story. It took me back to the books and the movie.

Thanks for sharing!

Tadpole1
21
21
Review of A Date With Death  
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
A Date With Death


Hi DK,

I thought I’d pop over and peek at what you wrote.

What I liked best was the voice. It sounds relaxed and natural. I was pulled right in to the text, good opening. My curiosity was held throughout.

I made a few suggestions. Keep what you like and discard the rest!

Thanks for sharing,

Tadpole1

Derek Berry Thorpe
May 2020

Valkyrie & Marge:

Death is a friend.

It's grown over time, as all things do, I suppose. Perhaps though he's more like a really strong acquaintance. I mean our meetings are frequent but brief, you know what I mean?

He shows up at my counter at the beginning of his shift--I issue him the right sized scythe

he asks for This makes the sentence awkward


depending on whatever assignment he's got for the day. You know, the big scythe for when there's a bombing or something, the smaller

every day everyday

There is a difference between everyday and every day.

I work at the factory every day.
When I work at the factory, I wear my everyday overalls.



ones for when there's a murder or your run of the mill car accident.— punctuation


Then at the end of his shift he hands it back in and I clean 'em up, get 'em ready for his next shift.

I'm getting better at cleaning those nasty things. Used to gross me out at first. But I'm a tough broad. So, his help is female.


Once a year though, the deaths are supposed to change out of their smokey ?? smoky ??


vapor cloaky hood thing they wear. I haven't been working here that long for that to happen on my shift yet though.

Recently though, things have been a little different. He's requested the megascythe for the past ten days. I speak, say hello comma
but he's been barely saying a word in reply. Then last Friday, he looked at me through the glass partition and said his name was Simon and kind of waved his skeleton fingers at me. You can't see his features clearly under his hood thing so you're never really sure if he's smiling or not.

I like the voice.



Yesterday though, must have been a rough day. He looked tired as he handed back in the megascythe. I swore


Suggestion: I swear




I heard him mumble how much he hated pandemics. I said, 'Bye, Simon,' As he walked away and that kind of froze him in his tracks. He turned back to the window and said the annual Caseguey change was tomorrow for him and he picked me to help him transition. Not sure if I was supposed to feel honored, but I kinda sorta did.

It's a big deal for a death to transition into new garb, I'm told. I'm sort of still in training myself as you know. He hesitated and blurted if I wanted to grab a cup of lava after it was done. Never got a chance to reply as he floated away in a blur.

A shy death. Hah. Go figure.

So management delivered the Caseguey kit about an hour ago along with a training video for me. Hope all goes well. I can almost see why he'd want to ask me out right after the Caseguey changeover. You know some guys want to be all fresh and fly with the gals.

I wore black just in case he still wants to go out afterwards. I don't know if he's going to pay or if he'd want to go a Dutch type arrangement, but I'm prepared. Is she really? I don’t think I’d want a date with death. Lol! Watch out girl!


But listen, Marge I'm going to have to get going with this training video, okay, I'll call you later. His shift is ending soon. Let's see what does it say here on the case... Ehhh... 'Training video for yearly Caseguey Grim changeover. Size: 86, Medium, Female, Simone.'

Simon and Simone

So, is Simone to become the new death?


Damn.
22
22
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
King of the House Elves - Chapter 4 - III



My feelings: The chapter is really improving, which allows me to pick deeper into broader elements of the chapter where I think improvements could be made.

I wanted to know the stakes earlier. I didn’t understand why Midhir would relinquish the first two things he asked for so easily: wife and fruit. I wanted to feel more of Midhir’s power and Boroden’s resistance, even if the resistance is a quiet and prudent resistance.

I wanted to feel more like Boroden was a leader. I would like to see him more confident unless this is part of his character arc where he must build his confidence from a low level. Nevertheless, if the brownies are going to follow him, he needs to seem like he is confident, right? I didn’t understand why he fled and abandoned his people. That does not seem very brave. Does he need to leave without them? Are they to become slaves? If he must leave without them, shouldn’t he at least be torn about leaving them behind? Do they need to push him to leave? Why does he leave? Is he the only one in danger of becoming a slave? I thought all the brownies were going to be enslaved. Are the others shouting their surprise/support/encouragement when he leaves? Is there more than one winged poney? Are the other brownies captured?

I would have liked to see more of a fight before he left. Also, they were inside the palace one moment and outside the next. More of a transition was needed.

It was easy to understand who was talking, and the characters were not confusing. Some of the scenery was really cool, and I would have liked to have more scenery. I liked the wand and the winged poney. *Smile*



Boroden’s mind fizzed with a torrent of grief as he knelt beside the body of his brother. There was still too much of the bairn in Ulfmolt’s ashen face. Boroden wished he had relented to Ulfmolt’s plea before the battle and run away with him. Then Ulfmolt would have lived. Boroden put his head in his hands and tried to shut out the pain and emptiness, but it clutched him.

‘Boroden, we’ve got to leave soon to meet King Midhir. He doesn’t like to be kept waiting,’ Leon called through the screen of cloaks that the brownies had hastily created to protect their injured comrades.

Watching the physician tending to the survivors, Boroden thought grimly that it no longer mattered to Ulfmolt if he was protected from the elements. He struggled to draw his attention from Ulfmolt to reply to Leon. ‘Surely Midhir will give us a little more time? So many were lost fighting the hobyahs. He must know we’re grieving.’

Leon pushed his way through the makeshift canopy. ‘Midhir wants the entire clan to go to the palace to beg his forgiveness for settling in his lands without permission and inadvertently bringing the hobyahs to fight his people and ours. Otherwise he may speak against us at the Seelie Court if we do find a homeland.’

Boroden shut his eyes, recalling that keeping in favour with the Seelie Court was paramount. His clan were proud to be part of the court of the faerie clans united into what humans called the People of Peace; good magical races that are generally benevolent to humans and returned kindness with favours of their own.

Casting his beloved brother one final look that he knew should never be enough, Boroden rose unwillingly from Ulfmolt’s side. ‘I’m coming.’

Leon laid his hand on Boroden’s shoulder in a reassuring gesture. ‘Midhir has been kind allowing us to bury our dead so near the burial mound of the sídhe outside the castle. You should take heart from that. We need to maintain his good will.’

‘You’re right,’ Boroden answered, though he felt far from ready to address the distinguished elven king and his court. He doubted he could remember the court etiquette of the sídhe with his energy sapped by the battle. Sorrow snagged his thoughts, and the loss of his brother and the uncertainty following his father’s disappearance plagued his heart.

A moment later, Boroden’s tutor, Carnelian, and Torden, a burly brownie chieftain stepped into the tent.

‘We’ve come to help carry Ulfmolt’s byre,’ Torden said.

Carnelian folded Ulfmolt’s hands, making them repose as if the young prince slept. He bowed his head, muttering words of prayer. ‘He’ll be going to a better place. Are you ready?’

Borodon locked his jaw. No he wasn’t ready. How could anyone ever be ready for his younger brother to die?

‘Yes,’ Borodon said.

He followed them, his feet heavy. The bright summer meadow

spread Suggestion: delete. Sometimes less is better.


around him mocked his bleak emotions, even if it did offer ample flowers for the brownies to gather to lay in the graves. As he passed the other brownies, they offered him words of comfort. He forced a nod and smile to each one, although his body felt too wooden to make these brief efforts. I love this paragraph! It’s very touching.


The procession halted in front of an ancient elm. Carnelian and Torden lowered Ulfmolt’s body into the ground and took a step away. As Carnelian led the brownies in prayers for Ulfmolt and the other dead, Borodon approached the gaping hole. He lowered his chin and let his arms hang by his sides. It seemed unreal to see Ulfmolt, who was always so full of life, laid to rest in the cold earth. It wasn’t right.

Once Ulfmolt and the rest of the dead had been buried, Boroden led the surviving brownies the short distance to Midhir’s palace. Glancing back at his motley crew of followers, some riding ponies, some of foot, many injured following the battle, Boroden saw that they were as reluctant to go as he was. Yet, as he met their eyes comma
he saw their expressions lighten. It fortified his resolve to see that his clan held high hopes for him. He would not let them down as he met with Midhir.

Passing through the elaborately carved gates, Boroden found the courtyard still prepared for the market, brightened by stall canopies and flags of colourful cobweb silk. Some traders had come from afar bringing ponies from the mountains, gold and precious stones from the dwarven mines and comfits and spices from across the seas. These travellers remained surrounded by their packs, looking even more disgruntled at the futility of their journey than the others.

I love “cobweb silk.”

I’m not sure if the picture I have of the travellers being surrounded by packs is the one you want to convey.



The signs of interrupted normality jarred at Boroden’s heart. He was already cowed by the grandeur of the palace.

Moistening his parched lips, Boroden motioned his chieftains to wait for him at the bottom of the stairs leading to the imposing gilded doors of the palace. Ascending the stairs so all his clan might see him, he gazed down at the huddle of brownies who glanced apprehensively about the spacious courtyard.

Did he pause to say this?
‘There is no need for us all to go in to apologise to Midhir. I will represent you all in addressing myself to Midhir. Stay and rest here in the courtyard whilst I go inside. Torden- I appoint you to take care of the clan in my absence. The sooner Midhir accepts our apology, the sooner we can be on our way and find a safer land to settle,’ Boroden said. Didn’t he convey this with his motion in the preceding paragraph?


Boroden’s heart melted at the grateful cheers that followed his words. Taking a deep breath, he turned

towards to awkward


open the gilded palace doors that towered over him. He had expected there to be servants to admit him but, other than the brownies and the traders, the palace appeared deserted. Don’t worry about that, Boroden told himself, his hand slipping on the gleaming door handle.

Boroden was grateful to find Leon come to his side.

Suggestion: Maybe something like: Boroden relaxed a bit when Leon arrived by his side.



‘Here, let me.’ Leon twisted the handle and the doors slid noiselessly open.

Boroden saw that Leon was not alone. Carnelian and Quentillian, another of the brownie chieftains, accompanied him.

Carnelian glanced at his two companions. ‘We’re coming with you, Boroden.’

Boroden cast them a grateful nod and led them into the palace. He felt small and vulnerable as the great doors sealed him and his companions inside. This irritated him.

He wanted to do well for his people, as he had in battle as he led a bold and victorious attack upon the hobyahs that waited to ambush his clan.

Repetition: Watch out for repetitions: ideas, phrases, words. Here “as” is used twice. Is there a better way to phrase the sentence?



His quickened senses had alerted him to the concealed band of hobyahs, and he had used his ability to run with preternatural speed to intercept them. By the time that brownie warriors approached to join his fight, he let his power fade. No one suspected how he used his power to bring them victory over the hobyahs in the battle.

Cool! He has a special power. Preternatural speed. Now, I’m wondering if other brownies have special powers, or maybe just some of them. I guess I’ll have to keep reading to find out! Good.



He looked to Carnelian for advice, pleased to be accompanied by the short brownie with unruly mousy hair that flicked out in all directions from beneath his broad-brimmed hat. ‘The room is deserted. Where’s Midhir?’

‘We’ll soon find him,’ Carnelian said. Coming alongside Boroden, he spoke in a low, reassuring tone. ‘You can do this, Boroden. You led our clan to victory in the battle,

remeber. typo


That’s the king your people want to see. I know you have it in you comma
and I’ll pray that God grants you courage to face the trials ahead.’

When two independent clauses (sentences) are connected by a conjunction (and, but, or, so, …) you need a comma.



Boroden nodded, although the fact that he was now king seemed unreal to him. ‘Let’s go on until we find someone to take us to Midhir.’

It is interesting to know how he feels about becoming king. *Smile*



Boroden led his companions into a vast hall. His breath froze in astonishment at the grandeur of the room. It formed its own exquisite world lit by globes like floating suns. A cascade replete with waterlilies ran down its centre. The water moved unpredictably; now rising high, now babbling. Birds flitted amongst the gilded columns and swags of green drapery. Boroden’s gaze followed their movements, hoping they might lead him to Midhir.

I love how the water moves unpredictably. Cool!



Leon tapped Boroden’s shoulder and he saw that his uncle guessed his thoughts. POV slip. These are Leon’s thoughts and not Boroden’s.


‘You should call him.’

‘King Midhir!’ Boroden’s call sounded bolder than he felt. The birds stopped warbling and settled by the cascade,

regarding Boroden accusingly. Do you really need this?


Boroden jumped as a beauteous company materialised out of thin air about the head of the stream. He guessed that the majestic sídhe dressed in green silk embroidered in a leaf pattern with shimmering gold threads was Midhir. He headed a bevy of ladies and courtiers.

Boroden was awestruck telling


at the stunning sight of their perfect faces and flowing blonde hair, yet their expressions were too imperious for him to be moved with wonder or love.

Midhir’s cold gaze made Boroden wince. telling

Midhir cold gaze bored into Boroden, and Boroden winced.

The sidhe king said,
‘What took you so long? I’ve been watching you these last ten minutes loitering on my doorstep and gawping like imbeciles.’

Boroden tried to speak his well-rehearsed words of apology, no comma
but found them stuck in his throat.

When to put the comma:

A sentence has a subject and a verb. An independent clause is like a sentence.
You can join two independent clauses together.

Only put a comma when two independent clauses are joined by a conjunction and not when a conjunction word is used in the predicate.

Correct: Boroden tried to speak his well-rehearsed words of apology, but he found them stuck in his throat. (There are two stand-alone sentences (independent clauses).

IC1 (Sentence1): Boroden tried to speak his well-rehearsed words of apology.
IC2 (Sentence2): He found them stuck in his throat.
You need a comma if you combine these two with a conjunction (but, and, so, or, etc.)

Incorrect: Boroden tried to speak his well-rehearsed apology, but found them stuck in his throat.

“found them stuck in his throat” is not a stand alone sentence (not an independent clause) it is just part of the predicate. There is only one subject: “Boroden.”




Action before reaction. Let the tutor speak before Boroden is grateful.





The silence stretched, awkward. He was grateful for his tutor coming to his aid, although he cringed to recollect that, as king, he should have been the first to speak.

Carnelian lowered his gaze apologetically. ‘Forgive us, Lord Midhir. We did not know the ways of the sídhe.’

I’m starting here.


‘Evidently, for you seem to think nothing of squatting, stealing and bringing death upon my subjects.’ …subjects.’ Midhir said.



Start a new paragraph once dialogue is finished.

Midhir’s hunting hounds, white with crimson ears, snarled at his raised voice. Boroden shuddered as the blood-red glares of the hounds fell upon him.

Personally, I’m not a great fan of the word “as.”

Suggestion: Their blood-red glares trained upon Borodon. He shivered but stood his ground. His courage returned with his anger.



Boroden’s courage returned with his anger. He held himself straight and looked Midhir in the eye.



‘We did not mean to be a burden to you, Midhir. As my father already told your messenger, we had no idea that you owned these lands. I thought inquiry should be made to find their owner before settling down, but my father thought it foolish. I’m not my father. I shouldn’t be punished for his wrongdoings.’

Midhir sneered. ‘You are responsible for your kind henceforth, wheedling child. You should have had the strength to be more persuasive. Besides, I don’t believe you are so different. You cannot escape your blood. Twice now

your family have has


wronged me.’

‘Twice, King Midhir?’

‘Do not forget that your forefather Peladach stole away Lady Frenudin who was to be my bride. A mere brownie slave, he forced her secretly to wed him leaving her a shameful outcast in the eyes of her sídhe kin. He wanted her land in Velmoran for his own beggarly kind. I still have no recompense for that comma
and I must ask it from you.’

Boroden lowered his head, unable to contain his glare at Midhir’s lies. The tales of Peladach in which he was a hero good and just could not be wrong.

Quentillian stepped forward. The stout brownie with immense ears and grey sideburns emerging from beneath his cap of maroon velvet looked out of place amongst the lithe figures of the sídhe courtiers. ‘What do you want of us?’

Midhir let his gaze rest on the reflections cast upon the ceiling by the purling water. ‘Since Frenudin was taken from me comma


then delete


I shall take one of her descendants for a wife.’

Boroden noticed that Leon looked uneasy as if he was hiding something from Midhir. ‘That’s impossible. Though my family line is descended from Frenudin my sister is dead and I have no daughter,’ Leon said.

‘Then I’ll ask for something else, some treasure of equal value.’

Boroden

stuggled typo


to keep his retort civil. ‘We have little to give you.’

‘It is said that the fruit of the Tree of Life is found in Velmoran. Its power of granting immortality would be useful to me. Perhaps you have some at your disposal?’

‘I’m afraid not. Its location

had just been ?? was only ??

discovered the day Krysila took Velmoran.’

‘Perhaps you might help me find more since you know Velmoran so well?’
Why find more? Wouldn’t he simply want “the” fruit? It sounds too easy, like he’s going to the grocery store. Wouldn’t the fruit be rare? Maybe there is only one unique fruit produced each thousand years, and this fruit is guarded by…in a secret place… ??



‘It’s impossible to get by the kraken and her followers. Make some other bargain.’

‘Very well. Be seated and let us begin our contest.’ If he really is agreeing, then it seems too easy.
At Midhir’s words two courtiers appeared carrying a Fidchell set with a silver board and a gold army of pieces. With graceful movements, they set the game out upon an elegant little table. Midhir settled himself to play, smoothing his robes with poise.

Maybe something more precise than elegant, little? Inlaid wood? Tortoise shell? Agate?



Boroden approached the table, his heart cringing at the awkwardness of the situation. In a protective move, Leon and Carnelian accompanied him. Boroden saw that Carnelian appeared anxious, having instructed him in chess to teach him strategy and the art of hiding his thoughts when in conflict. They both knew that, although similar, the sídhe game of Fidchell was more complicated and could easily trip Boroden.

You will probably learn more from others, but you can go into a pov to deeper levels. When using words like “saw” and “heard,” it is not very deep. They add distance to the pov. It’s complicated.



Midhir glared

dismissively Do you really want this adverb?


at Boroden’s retainers. ‘This isn’t a duel you know, there’s no need for seconds.’

Midhir wanted a wife. He didn’t get one. He wanted the fruit of the tree of life. He gave up. Now, he has challenged Boroden to a game, but what is the prize?



They did not budge. Midhir turned his attention to the game, appearing ruffled by their staunch behaviour. His hand hovered over the

neat gilded ?? neat ??


ranks before he moved a piece.

New paragraph. ‘Now it’s your turn, Boroden. Come, I may easily wait a thousand years - I’m born of one of the noblest and longest lived of all the faerie races - but not you. Make your first move.’

Boroden reddened as Midhir scoffed at the difficulty that he had viewing the Fidchell board. POV: Boroden does not see his face redden, but he might feel the heat scorch his cheeks.


Midhir beckoned to one of his courtiers. ‘The little king needs some help. He’s half the size of a sídhe.’ Now, I am realizing that Boroden is too short to see well.


The courtier fetched a hefty book and tossed it at Boroden’s feet. Retaining his composure, Boroden stepped up upon it.


‘Before I make my move and seal our bargain, What bargain? Did I miss it?


I would like to know what price you’ll name when I lose,’ Boroden said. Would he be more sure of himself?


‘I’m glad to see you truly appraising your lack of skill.’

‘I don’t think this game is a matter of skill,’ Boroden replied with sarcastic poise. ‘I’ve heard that you fix it so that I win the first two games and you the third and thus claim mastery. I want to know what you’ll ask me to give you then?’

‘You’ve already told me that you have little to give and, given your vagabond appearance, I can well believe it. I cannot believe, unfortunately, that you will cease to cause trouble. You think too highly of yourselves, that has always been the problem of your clan. In his role as overlord of the faerie races, my father The Dagda cursed brownies to serve mortals and, though some of you were privileged enough to be taken as servants to the higher ranks of faerie folk, you rebelled against it.’

Thus far in this chapter, I do not feel that Boroden has been a troublemaker or that he thinks too highly of himself. He seems rather humble to me. Maybe Boroden rebelled earlier, but he does not seem too rebellious here.



Boroden focused on the Fidchell board, trying to hide his glare from Midhir. ‘Would you not if you had to live your life a slave?’

Repetition: Glare is used at least six times in this chapter.



‘Tut, tut. You are too hot-headed and show no reasoning. It is a fact of life that work must be done - crops grown, food prepared, clothes spun. This freedom from servitude that you desire is nothing but a dream comma
and dreams make one discontent.

Discontent ?? Discontentment ??


leads to disobedience. Brownies have got fussy. They expect titbits and leave if their work is complained about. And now this…’

Almost without realising Boroden had joined the game whilst Midhir talked. He moved his king piece towards the opposite edge of the board that was his goal to reach before Midhir’s pieces surrounded his king. This is a bit confusing.


‘I hope we’ve not been disobedient. We’ve always tried to work within the terms of the Seelie Court. The Dagda granted us permission to seek a new homeland for ourselves when Velmoran was lost.’

‘I doubt that he meant you to steal lands from his son. Besides, you needed to ask to have your right to the land recognised by the Seelie Court. My father wouldn’t be impressed if what you’ve done had come out. Especially if he heard it from one…’ Maybe this could be a little clearer?


Midhir smirked at Boroden like a cat toying with a bird, ‘with such dubious right to call oneself Seelie. You know of what I speak, Boroden Ulfharen. Isn’t that what the monsters of the Unseelie Court call you - Ulfharen? It means wolf-coat. I wonder if your friends know what they mean by calling you that, creature?’ Cool


‘I told you that we didn’t know we trespassed,’ Boroden growled, finding it hard to keep his temper at Midhir’s threat uttered in a mellifluous tone. How had Midhir uncovered his secret?


‘Yet still it was done. You and your kin have wronged me, Boroden Ulfharen, and may do the same to others if left to roam. Think of your people too. If you were wise comma you’d let them be content with the situation of servitude fated to them.

All troubles happen when one goes against what one has been called to, including yours. awkward


I can see only one way to remedy it. You’re to become my slaves. I aim to take Velmoran back from the kraken. They say that the fruit of the Tree of life is hidden there and that you brownies know where it is. If you find it for me then I might let you go free. Eventually. If you resist, well, let us say that I can make things very unpleasant for you.’

Boroden was appalled comma and Carnelian nearly berated Midhir, an unusual thing for the naturally placid brownie to do. POV


Quentillian’s jaws worked like those of an angry bear. A look from Leon urged them to keep calm.

Boroden lowered his gaze, contemplating the Fidchell set. The word “gaze” is used at least nine times in the chapter.


Midhir played with the rings of silver knotwork decking his fingers. Boroden felt a flicker of satisfation as he saw that his silence unnerved Midhir. Midhir had clearly been expecting anger, desperation or even tearful acceptance.

Boroden raised his gaze from the board to meet Midhir’s. ‘So, if that is the answer to my question then when you win the last round you will take us for your slaves?’ I felt like this information needed to come faster in the chapter. That’s a personal opinion.


Midhir gave a tight smile. ‘I see that we understand one another.’

‘I’m close to winning this first round. The same rules apply to me also? That whatever I ask for I must be given?’ Cool


‘That is correct.’

New paragraph
Boroden was pleased to see uneasiness surface below Midhir’s carefully composed expression.

Boroden moved his king piece. He was but a short step from reaching the edge of the board now. ‘Then I would ask for the strength to resist you and to lead my people to a safe homeland where they can live freely in peace for the rest of their days.’

‘That is three demands at once and against the rules. If they were granted, then it would cancel out my request so there’d be no justice.’

‘Justice? Justice for whom? I call it a poor kind of justice if it merely benefits you, Midhir. I’d rather not make terms with you if this is all you have to offer. We’ll leave now and get as far away from here as is possible. Don’t worry that we’ll trouble you again. There’s no face in this world that I’d rather not see. You’re nothing but a vile, villainous viper.’ This sounds a bit childish.


Midhir started as though he had been slapped. ‘I’m not prepared to bargain with a truculent knave like you. It will be a true pleasure to break your spirit when you are my slave.’ Doesn’t he have the power to simply enslave the brownies?


Tipping the Fidchell board to the ground so that the pieces bounced and rolled over the floor, Boroden strode away. Carnelian, Quentillian and Leon hastened after him.


We need a bit of transition to let us know that they have gone outside.


Torden came forward eagerly. His heavy features were offset by wiry black dreadlocks and a tightly plaited moustache that made him look as if he had tusks. ‘What news?’

Carnelian winced. ‘Boroden called Midhir a vile, villainous viper.’

Overhearing this Carnelian’s father, Lord Asuril, a sour-faced old favourite of King Gruagach, glared. Something besides glared


Leon urged the clan onwards. ‘We must get out of here, quick!’ Shouldn’t we have felt this urgency before? Are they being chased?


They were delayed by horse traders leading their beasts across to the royal stables to see if any met Midhir’s standards. confusing


Behind them came the yell that Boroden dreaded. ‘Close the gates!’

Midhir appeared at the head of the stairs leading to the courtyard, his hazel wand in his hand. It had been foolish to arouse his wrath. Though some brownies were gifted with magic, King Gruagach had outlawed its practice. In any case, Boroden knew that no brownie ever had the strength or the skill to defend against the magic of a sídhe. cool


Leon cast a desperate glance at Midhir’s guards massing about the edges of the courtyard. ‘King Midhir, there are wives and little ones amongst our company. Spare them at least.’

Midhir gave a callous snarl. ‘Why should I do that? Why not wipe out your obnoxious spawn before they grow to trouble me?’

Boroden caught his breath. Perhaps he was a fool as Asuril seemed to think, but what else could he have done? Perhaps if he had Leon’s tact and way with words… but even then Midhir’s heart had been set on retribution from the first. As Leon continued to plead, Boroden’s gaze swept the courtyard walls, seeking a way out.

I feel like Boroden should do more leading.



A horse dealer ran by, almost knocking Boroden to the ground. He made to help his companion restrain a pony grown wilder than the rest. One of the traders reprimanded another who tried to lash the pony into obedience. ‘Careful, we don’t want this one damaged. Remember she’s for the King.’

His words made Boroden look closer. He had not noticed anything special about the pony with its shaggy black coat and mud besmirched legs. Then he saw the wings under the long locks on its back. Cool, flying ponies!


The trader with the whip squealed as Boroden knocked his legs from under him. The other started back from the pony’s flailing hoofs. Boroden caught at her forelock. Not knowing him from her captors, she tried to shake him off.

Squealed? Maybe something more manly?
When did Borodon get on the poney?



Boroden spoke soothingly. ‘Please

lady, maybe “gentle one” ?


I mean you no harm. I’ll set you free and always be your friend if you do as I ask now, period I swear it.’

She stilled her struggle, gazing at him with intelligent deep brown eyes. ‘What do you ask of me?’ The poney speaks! Yahoo!


Boroden had never heard a pony talk before, but this was no time to indulge his wonder at the sound of her whickering voice. Midhir’s guards closed in on the brownies who huddled, too cowed and weary to offer much resistance.

‘I need to get over the wall,’ Boroden said.

The pony acquiesced, kneeling for him to mount. He laughed as her wings brushed him. The air rushed by his ears. He clung to her neck, leaning over to see his clan and Midhir’s guards diminish below him. Here, with the shorter sentences, we can feel the tension!


‘I’m so grateful,’ Boroden told the pony.

‘It’s a pleasure. My name’s Blackthorn.’

The pony settled her hoofs on the ground outside the gates of Midhir’s fortress. Boroden slid from her back, landing unceremoniously on a heap of sacks marked ‘Killmouli’s finest flour.’ He pulled himself up, a sparkle of inspiration in his eyes.


What? He abandoned his people, leaving them to Midhir’s mercy?



23
23
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Part II of the review:

It's really coming along nicely and flows smoothly. It's easy to see the characters without getting them confused.

Good job!

Borodon locked his jaw. No he wasn’t ready. How could anyone ever be ready for his younger brother to die?

‘Yes,’ Borodon said.

He followed them, his feet heavy. The bright summer meadow

spread Suggestion: delete. Sometimes less is better.


around him mocked his bleak emotions, even if it did offer ample flowers for the brownies to gather to lay in the graves. As he passed the other brownies, they offered him words of comfort. He forced a nod and smile to each one, although his body felt too wooden to make these brief efforts. I love this paragraph! It’s very touching.


The procession halted in front of an ancient elm. Carnelian and Torden lowered Ulfmolt’s body into the ground and took a step away. As Carnelian led the brownies in prayers for Ulfmolt and the other dead, Borodon approached the gaping hole. He lowered his chin and let his arms hang by his sides. It seemed unreal to see Ulfmolt, who was always so full of life, laid to rest in the cold earth. It wasn’t right.

Once Ulfmolt and the rest of the dead had been buried, Boroden led the surviving brownies the short distance to Midhir’s palace. Glancing back at his motley crew of followers, some riding ponies, some of foot, many injured following the battle, Boroden saw that they were as reluctant to go as he was. Yet, as he met their eyes comma
he saw their expressions lighten. It fortified his resolve to see that his clan held high hopes for him. He would not let them down as he met with Midhir.

Passing through the elaborately carved gates, Boroden found the courtyard still prepared for the market, brightened by stall canopies and flags of colourful cobweb silk. Some traders had come from afar bringing ponies from the mountains, gold and precious stones from the dwarven mines and comfits and spices from across the seas. These travellers remained surrounded by their packs, looking even more disgruntled at the futility of their journey than the others.

I love “cobweb silk.”

I’m not sure if the picture I have of the travellers being surrounded by packs is the one you want to convey.



The signs of interrupted normality jarred at Boroden’s heart. He was already cowed by the grandeur of the palace.

Moistening his parched lips, Boroden motioned his chieftains to wait for him at the bottom of the stairs leading to the imposing gilded doors of the palace. Ascending the stairs so all his clan might see him, he gazed down at the huddle of brownies who glanced apprehensively about the spacious courtyard.

Did he pause to say this?
‘There is no need for us all to go in to apologise to Midhir. I will represent you all in addressing myself to Midhir. Stay and rest here in the courtyard whilst I go inside. Torden- I appoint you to take care of the clan in my absence. The sooner Midhir accepts our apology, the sooner we can be on our way and find a safer land to settle,’ Boroden said. Didn’t he convey this with his motion in the preceding paragraph?


Boroden’s heart melted at the grateful cheers that followed his words. Taking a deep breath, he turned

towards to awkward


open the gilded palace doors that towered over him. He had expected there to be servants to admit him but, other than the brownies and the traders, the palace appeared deserted. Don’t worry about that, Boroden told himself, his hand slipping on the gleaming door handle.

Boroden was grateful to find Leon come to his side.

Suggestion: Maybe something like: Boroden relaxed a bit when Leon arrived by his side.



‘Here, let me.’ Leon twisted the handle and the doors slid noiselessly open.

Boroden saw that Leon was not alone. Carnelian and Quentillian, another of the brownie chieftains, accompanied him.

Carnelian glanced at his two companions. ‘We’re coming with you, Boroden.’

Boroden cast them a grateful nod and led them into the palace. He felt small and vulnerable as the great doors sealed him and his companions inside. This irritated him.

He wanted to do well for his people, as he had in battle as he led a bold and victorious attack upon the hobyahs that waited to ambush his clan.

Repetition: Watch out for repetitions: ideas, phrases, words. Here “as” is used twice. Is there a better way to phrase the sentence?



His quickened senses had alerted him to the concealed band of hobyahs, and he had used his ability to run with preternatural speed to intercept them. By the time that brownie warriors approached to join his fight, he let his power fade. No one suspected how he used his power to bring them victory over the hobyahs in the battle.

Cool! He has a special power. Preternatural speed. Now, I’m wondering if other brownies have special powers, or maybe just some of them. I guess I’ll have to keep reading to find out! Good.



He looked to Carnelian for advice, pleased to be accompanied by the short brownie with unruly mousy hair that flicked out in all directions from beneath his broad-brimmed hat. ‘The room is deserted. Where’s Midhir?’

‘We’ll soon find him,’ Carnelian said. Coming alongside Boroden, he spoke in a low, reassuring tone. ‘You can do this, Boroden. You led our clan to victory in the battle,

remeber. typo


That’s the king your people want to see. I know you have it in you comma
and I’ll pray that God grants you courage to face the trials ahead.’

When two independent clauses (sentences) are connected by a conjunction (and, but, or, so, …) you need a comma.



Boroden nodded, although the fact that he was now king seemed unreal to him. ‘Let’s go on until we find someone to take us to Midhir.’

It is interesting to know how he feels about becoming king. *Smile*



Boroden led his companions into a vast hall. His breath froze in astonishment at the grandeur of the room. It formed its own exquisite world lit by globes like floating suns. A cascade replete with waterlilies ran down its centre. The water moved unpredictably; now rising high, now babbling. Birds flitted amongst the gilded columns and swags of green drapery. Boroden’s gaze followed their movements, hoping they might lead him to Midhir.

I love how the water moves unpredictably. Cool!



Leon tapped Boroden’s shoulder and he saw that his uncle guessed his thoughts. POV slip. These are Leon’s thoughts and not Boroden’s.


‘You should call him.’

‘King Midhir!’ Boroden’s call sounded bolder than he felt. The birds stopped warbling and settled by the cascade,

regarding Boroden accusingly. Do you really need this?


Boroden jumped as a beauteous company materialised out of thin air about the head of the stream. He guessed that the majestic sídhe dressed in green silk embroidered in a leaf pattern with shimmering gold threads was Midhir. He headed a bevy of ladies and courtiers.

Boroden was awestruck telling


at the stunning sight of their perfect faces and flowing blonde hair, yet their expressions were too imperious for him to be moved with wonder or love.

Midhir’s cold gaze made Boroden wince. telling

Midhir cold gaze bored into Boroden, and Boroden winced.

The sidhe king said,
‘What took you so long? I’ve been watching you these last ten minutes loitering on my doorstep and gawping like imbeciles.’

Boroden tried to speak his well-rehearsed words of apology, no comma
but found them stuck in his throat.

When to put the comma:

A sentence has a subject and a verb.
An independent clause is like a sentence, only it is part of a longer, more complex sentence, two sentences joined together.

Only put a comma when two independent clauses are joined by a conjunction and not when a conjunction word is used in the predicate.

Correct: Boroden tried to speak his well-rehearsed words of apology, but he found them stuck in his throat. (There are two stand-alone sentences (independent clauses).

Sentence1: Boroden tried to speak his well-rehearsed words of apology.
Sentence2: He found them stuck in his throat.
You need a comma if you combine these two with a conjunction (but, and, so, or, etc.)

Incorrect: boroden tried to speak his well-rehearsed apology, but found them stuck in his throat.

“found them stuck in his throat” is not a stand alone sentence (independent clause) it is just part of the predicate. There is only one subject: “Boroden.”




Action before reaction. Let the tutor speak before Boroden is grateful.

I’m stopping here for now.


24
24
Review by Tadpole1
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
HollyMerry - King of the House Elves - Chapter 4



Plot: After Boroden’s brother dies, he leads a group of brownies to Midhir’s palace. He wants Midhir’s help. They disagree. Boroden and his friends flee the palace.

My thoughts: There are lots of interesting things and creatures in the chapter. As a whole, I think the chapter is a bit rough and needs work to make it shine. *Smile*

I’m not sure what happens in chapter three. I suppose that is where Boroden’s brother dies? If not, I think there should be more time concerning the event of his death/burial before moving on.

I believe, but I’m not sure, that Boroden goes to Midhir’s palace to ask him for help. Perhaps show the reader why Boroden must leave his brother’s side so quickly before the brownies actually start their journey?

There are many different brownies in this chapter. I’m not sure how many. It seems that a character speaks and then we find out who is speaking and what they look like only afterward. Let us “see” who is speaking before they finish.

The setting is beautiful, but it is given in large chunks and then is forgotten. I suggest letting the characters interact with each other and also interact with the setting. This is also true during the chess game. Often, I think that setting is good when it is dribbled in.

Point of View: There are many points of view. My suggestion is to present everything from Boroden’s pov (only what he sees, hears, thinks, smells, tastes, and touches, everything in relation to him. The things are on his left, in front of him, etc.). It would make things clearer and flow nicely if all were in his pov.

There were some cool vocabulary words. Thanks!

Thank you for sharing. I’m happy to help. Please, remember that all comments and suggestions are given with respect and a will to help. As always, please, take what you like and discard the rest.

Thanks for sharing!

Tadpole1




Boroden was too numb to weep. His mind fizzed with a torrent of grief as he knelt beside the body of his brother. There was still too much of the bairn in Ulfmolt’s ashen face. Boroden wished he had relented to Ulfmolt’s plea before the battle and run away with him. Then Ulfmolt would have lived. Boroden put his head in his hands and tried to shut out the pain and emptiness, but it yawned before him. {b

He is in unfathomable grief. Maybe something different than yawned?



‘Boroden, we’ve got to leave soon to meet Midhir,’ Leon called through the canopy where Boroden sheltered.

Once Ulfmolt and the rest of the dead had been buried, Boroden led the surviving brownies towards Midhir’s palace. There could be dialogue here between brownies as they bury the dead and/or travel. Through the dialogue, we could learn about who the characters are as well as why they want to go to Midhir’s palace and what dangers await them. (Try to stay in Boroden’s head.) How long did it take to get to Midhir’s palace? Did they fly? Ride horses? Walk? Did they use a magical tunnel? How many brownies went? Do all the brownies think it’s a good idea to go? Do they follow Boroden without question? I’m not suggesting that you have to answer all these questions or change anything that you have in mind, but action between the brownies would be an opportunity to introduce them, the surroundings, and the quest.

When there are a lot of characters, let us know quickly which character is speaking rather than at the end of a long line/paragraph of dialogue. Let us “see” who’s talking. This can be done with interaction between characters and between characters and the setting.




The courtyard was still prepared for the market, brightened by stall canopies and flags of colourful cobweb silk. Some traders had come from afar bringing ponies from the mountains, gold and precious stones from the dwarven mines and comfits and spices from across the seas.

Pov
These travellers remained, even more disgruntled at the futility of their journey than the others.

The signs of normality and happiness

interrupted jarred ???


at Boroden’s heart. He was already cowed by the grandeur of the palace. His clan formed a huddle, glancing in apprehension at the imposing gilded door of the palace towards which he and a handful of chieftains headed. Show this. Use interaction between Boroden, the clansmen, and the setting.


Boroden felt small and vulnerable as the great doors sealed him and his companions inside a vast hall. This irritated him. He wanted to do well for his people, as he had in battle as he led a bold and victorious attack upon the hobyahs that waited to ambush his clan. His quickened senses had alerted him to the concealed band of hobyahs comma
and he had used his ability to run with preternatural speed to intercept them. By the time that brownies warriors approached to join his fight he let his power fade. No one suspected him. Is Boroden thinking about what he sees now and something that happened before in an earlier fight? No one suspected him of what? When?


‘That’s the king your people want to see. I know you have it in you and will pray that God grants you courage to face the trials ahead,’ Captain Carnelian, Boroden’s tutor, had told him. The fact that he was now king seemed unreal to Boroden. Have a trigger prompt the memory.


He looked to Carnelian for advice, for the room before them was deserted. Carnelian knew no more about how they should proceed than Boroden did. Show this. Also, how many brownies are with them?


The hall formed its own exquisite world lit by globes like floating suns, with a cascade replete with waterlilies running down its centre. The water was unpredictable; now rising high, now babbling. The air was filled with the song of birds that flitted amongst the gilded columns and swags of green drapery. This setting is pretty and interesting. I can almost hear the water. I think waterlilies is one word. Can you turn the last two sentences around to make them more active?


Boroden stepped forward.

‘You should call him,’ Leon said.

‘Midhir!’ Boroden’s call sounded bolder than he felt. Does Midhir have a title? He has a palace. Is he a king?


A beauteous company materialised about the head of the stream. Midhir, dressed in green silk embroidered in a leaf pattern with shimmering gold threads, headed a bevy of ladies and courtiers. They made a stunning sight with their perfect faces and flowing blonde hair, yet their expressions were too imperious for the brownies to be moved with wonder or love. This is pretty. Put it in Boroden’s pov. Did they materialize like in Star Trek? Did they step out of the water?


‘What took you so long? I’ve been watching you these last ten minutes loitering on my doorstep and gawping like imbeciles.’

Midhir’s greeting was far from encouraging. Telling and not from Boroden’s pov.


‘Forgive us, Lord Midhir. We did not know the ways of the sídhe,’ Carnelian apologised. Carnelian was a short brownie with unruly mousy hair that flicked out in all directions from beneath his broad-brimmed hat. Isn’t Boroden the leader? Wouldn’t he be the one to speak to Lord Midhir?

I’m stopping the review here for the moment. I’ll send it to you so that you have my beginning thoughts and will look at it again after you work on it a bit. Please forgive, I’m sleepy. Plus, I think there are enough comments thus far to provide food for thought.
*Smile*


‘Evidently, for you seem to think nothing of squatting, stealing and bringing death upon my subjects.’ Midhir’s hunting hounds, white with crimson ears, snarled at his raised voice.

They sensed in his tone a license to kill the strangers if bidden. Pov change


‘We did not mean to be a burden to you, Midhir. As my father already told your messenger we had no idea that you owned these lands. I thought inquiry should be made to find their owner before settling down, but my father thought it foolish. I’m not my father. I shouldn’t be punished for his wrongdoings.’ Boroden held himself straight and looked Midhir in the eye. End the paragraph here. Dialogue, with dialogue tag, deserves a paragraph of its own.


POV changes

Boroden’s words were studied and devoid of an accent in a way that spoke of his cultivated upbringing. Boroden bristled as he guessed Midhir’s thoughts from his sneer. Midhir thought that Boroden should be humble. The fact he was not made Boroden suspect and Midhir looked keen to put him in his place.

‘You are responsible for your kind henceforth, wheedling child. You should have had the strength to be more persuasive. Besides, I don’t believe that you are so different. You cannot escape your blood. Twice now your family have wronged me.’

‘Twice, King Midhir?’

‘Do not forget that your forefather Peladach stole away Lady Frenudin who was to be my bride. A mere brownie slave, he forced her secretly to wed him leaving her a shameful outcast in the eyes of her sídhe kin. He wanted her land in Velmoran for his own beggarly kind. I still have no recompense for that and I must ask it from you.’

Boroden lowered his head, unable to contain his glare at Midhir’s lies. The tales of Peladach in which he was a hero good and just could not be wrong.

‘What do you want of us?’ Quentillian, one of Boroden’s chieftains, asked. Quentillian was a stout brownie with immense ears and grey sideburns emerging from beneath his cap of maroon velvet.

There are a few different brownies introduced in this chapter.



‘Since Frenudin was taken from me then I shall take one of her descendants for a wife,’ Midhir said.

‘That’s impossible. Though my family line is descended from Frenudin my sister is dead and I have no daughter,’ Leon pointed out, although Boroden noticed that Leon looked uneasy as if he was hiding something from Midhir.

‘Then I’ll ask for something else, some treasure of equal value.’

‘We have little to give you,’ Boroden retorted. said


‘It is said that the fruit of the Tree of Life is found in Velmoran. Its power of granting immortality would be useful to me. Perhaps you have some at your disposal?’

‘I’m afraid not. Its location had just been discovered the day Krysila took Velmoran.’

‘Perhaps you might help me find more since you know Velmoran so well?’

‘It’s impossible to get by the kraken and her followers. Make some other bargain.’

‘Very well. Be seated and let us begin our contest.’ At Midhir’s words two courtiers appeared carrying a Fidchell set with a silver board and a gold army of pieces. With graceful movements they set the game out upon an elegant little table. Midhir settled himself to play, smoothing his robes with poise.

Boroden approached the table, his heart cringing at the awkwardness of the situation. In a protective move, Leon and Carnelian accompanied him. Boroden saw that Carnelian appeared anxious, having instructed him in chess to teach him strategy and the art of hiding his thoughts when in conflict. They both knew that, although similar, the sídhe game of Fidchell was more complicated and could easily trip Boroden.

Midhir glared dismissively at Boroden’s retainers. ‘This isn’t a duel you know, there’s no need for seconds.’

They did not budge. Midhir turned his attention to the game, appearing ruffled by their staunch behaviour. His hand hovered over the neat gilded ranks before he moved a piece. ‘Now it’s your turn, Boroden. Come, I may easily wait a thousand years - I’m born of one of the noblest and longest lived of all the faerie races - but not you. Make your first move.’

POV Midhir scoffed at difficulty that the young brownie, half the height of a sídhe, had viewing the Fidchell board. He beckoned one of his courtiers to fetch a hefty book and tossed this at Boroden’s feet. Retaining his composure, Boroden stepped up upon it.

‘Before I make my move and seal our bargain, I would like to know what price you’ll name when I lose,’ Boroden said.

‘I’m glad to see you truly appraising your lack of skill.’

‘I don’t think this game is a matter of skill,’ Boroden replied with sarcastic poise. ‘I’ve heard that you fix it so that I win the first two games and you the third and thus claim mastery. I want to know what you’ll ask me to give you then?’

‘You’ve already told me that you have little to give and, given your vagabond appearance, I can well believe it. I cannot believe, unfortunately, that you will cease to cause trouble. You think too highly of yourselves, that has always been the problem of your clan. In his role as overlord of the faerie races, my father The Dagda cursed brownies to serve mortals and, though some of you were privileged enough to be taken as servants to the higher ranks of faerie folk, you rebelled against it.’

‘Would you not if you had to live your life a slave?’

‘Tut, tut. You are too hot-headed and show no reasoning. It is a fact of life that work must be done - crops grown, food prepared, clothes spun. This freedom from servitude that you desire is nothing but a dream and dreams make one discontent. Discontent leads to disobedience. Brownies have got fussy. They expect titbits and leave if their work is complained about. And now this…’ He does not seem hot-headed.


Almost without realising Boroden had joined the game whilst Midhir talked. He moved his king piece towards the opposite edge of the board that was his goal to reach before Midhir’s pieces surrounded his king.

‘I hope we’ve not been disobedient. We’ve always tried to work within the terms of the Seelie Court,’ Boroden said, recalling that brownies were part of the court of the faerie clans united into what humans called the People of Peace; good magical races that are generally benevolent to humans and returned kindness with favours of their own. Boroden went on to support his point. ‘The Dagda granted us permission to seek a new homeland for ourselves when Velmoran was lost.’

‘I doubt that he meant you to steal lands from his son. Besides, you needed to ask to have your right to the land recognised by the Seelie Court. My father wouldn’t be impressed if what you’ve done had come out. Especially if he heard it from one…’ Midhir smirked at Boroden like a cat toying with a bird, ‘with such dubious right to call oneself Seelie. You know of what I speak, Boroden Ulfharen. Isn’t that what the monsters of the Unseelie Court call you - Ulfharen? It means wolf-coat. I wonder if your friends know what they mean by calling you that, creature?’

‘I told you that we didn’t know we trespassed,’ Boroden growled, finding it hard to keep his temper at Midhir’s threat uttered in a mellifluous tone. How had Midhir uncovered his secret?

‘Yet still it was done. You and your kin have done me much wrong, Boroden Ulfharen, and may do the same to others if left to roam. Think of your people too. If you were wise you’d let them be content with the situation of servitude fated to them. All troubles happen when one goes against what one has been called to, including yours. I can see only one way to remedy it. You’re to remain here as my slaves. I might even let you go free one day should you manage to find me the fruit of the Tree of Life. If you resist, well, let us say that I can make things very unpleasant for you.’ How can he remain as a slave and get be free enough to find the fruit of the ToL?


Boroden was appalled and Carnelian nearly berated Midhir, an unusual thing for the naturally placid brownie to do. Quentillian’s jaws worked like those of an angry bear. A look from Leon urged them to keep calm.

Boroden lowered his gaze, contemplating the Fidchell set.

Midhir played with the rings of silver knotwork decking his fingers. Smugness flickered in Boroden. Midhir had clearly been expecting anger, desperation or even tearful acceptance. Boroden’s silence unnerved him.

‘So, if that is the answer to my question then when you win the last round you will take us for your slaves?’ Boroden asked.

Midhir gave a tight smile. ‘I see that we understand one another.’

‘I’m close to winning this first round. The same rules apply to me also? That whatever I ask for I must be given?’

‘That is correct,’ Midhir said, composing his face to hide his uneasiness. pov


‘Then I would ask for the strength to resist you and to lead my people to a safe homeland where they can live freely in peace for the rest of their days.’

‘That is three wishes at once and against the rules. If they were granted, then it would cancel out my request so there’d be no justice.’ Oh, I didn’t realize that there were wishes involved.


‘Justice? Justice for whom? I call it a poor kind of justice if it merely benefits you, Midhir. I’d rather not make terms with you if this is all you have to offer. We’ll leave now and get as far away from here as is possible. Don’t worry that we’ll trouble you again. There’s no face in this world that I’d rather not see. You’re nothing but a vile, villainous viper.’ Now, he’s showing his temper.


Povs
This alliteration made Midhir start. Boroden guessed that the sídhe king had always been treated with respect, even by his enemies. Never had anyone spoken back to him thus.

‘I’m not prepared to bargain with a truculent knave like you. It will be a true pleasure to break your spirit when you are my slave.’

Tipping the Fidchell board to the ground so that the pieces bounced and rolled over the floor, Boroden strode away. Carnelian, Quentillian and Leon hastened after him.

‘What news?’ asked Torden, the chieftain charged with minding the brownie clan as they waited in the courtyard. He had heavy features offset by wiry black dreadlocks and a tightly plaited moustache that made him look as if he had tusks.

‘Boroden called Midhir a vile, villainous viper,’ Carnelian said.

Overhearing this Carnelian’s father, Lord Asuril, a sour-faced old favourite of King Gruagach, glared.

‘Which means we must get out of here, quick!’ Leon urged the clan onwards. They were delayed by horse traders leading their beasts across to the royal stables to see if any met Midhir’s standards.

Behind them came the yell that Boroden dreaded. ‘Close the gates!’

Midhir appeared at the head of the stairs leading to the courtyard, his hazel wand in his hand. It had been foolish to arouse his wrath. Though some brownies were gifted with magic, King Gruagach had outlawed its practice. In any case, Boroden knew that no brownie ever had the strength or the skill to defend against the magic of a sídhe. Ok, sot the sidhe are magical and can grant wishes, something between a wand-wielding wizard and a genie?


‘King Midhir, there are wives and little ones amongst our company. Spare them at least,’ Leon protested in desperation, seeing Midhir’s guards massing about the edges of the courtyard.

Midhir gave a callous snarl. ‘Why should I do that? Why not wipe out your obnoxious spawn before they grow to trouble me?’

Boroden caught his breath. Perhaps he was a fool as Asuril seemed to think, but what else could he have done? Perhaps if he had Leon’s tact and way with words… but even then Midhir’s heart had been set on retribution from the first. As Leon continued to plead, Boroden’s gaze swept the courtyard walls, seeking a way out.

A horse dealer ran by, almost knocking Boroden to the ground. He made to help his companion restrain a pony grown wilder than the rest. One of the traders reprimanded another who tried to lash the pony into obedience. ‘Careful, we don’t want this one damaged. Remember she’s for the King.’

His words made Boroden look closer. He had not noticed anything special about the pony with its shaggy black coat and mud besmirched legs. Then he saw the wings under the long locks on its back.

The trader with the whip squealed as Boroden knocked his legs from under him. The other started back from the pony’s flailing hoofs. Boroden caught at her forelock. Not knowing him from her captors, she tried to shake him off.

‘Please lady, I mean you no harm. I’ll set you free and always be your friend if you do as I ask now, I swear it,’ Boroden begged.

She stilled her struggle, gazing at him with intelligent deep brown eyes. ‘What do you ask of me?’

Boroden had never heard a pony talk before, but this was no time to indulge his wonder at the sound of her whickering voice. Midhir’s guards closed in on the brownies who huddled, too cowed and weary to offer much resistance.

‘I need to get over the wall,’ Boroden said.

The pony acquiesced, kneeling for him to mount. He laughed as her wings brushed him. The air rushed by his ears. He clung to her neck, leaning over to see his clan and Midhir’s guards diminish below him.

‘I’m so grateful,’ Boroden told the pony.

‘It’s a pleasure. My name’s Blackthorn.’ It’s a flying pony!


The pony settled her hoofs on the ground outside the gates of Midhir’s fortress. Boroden slid from her back, landing unceremoniously on a heap of sacks marked ‘Killmouli’s finest flour.’ He pulled himself up, a sparkle of inspiration in his eyes.



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Review by Tadpole1
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
King of the House Elves, Chapter 2



My new comments are in magenta. The blue are from the email I sent previously.

Plot: Aira learns that her father may be in danger, and although she is forbidden to go help him, she decides to go anyway.

Setting: There could be more bits and pieces of setting dribbled in here and there, just a word here and two or three there, not long paragraphs, just enough to remind us where they are.

POV: It’s getting closer and closer to Aira’s point of view, but there are times when the narrator sneaks in and tells what is happening.

Style: There are a few adverbs that explain what is happening. Without going crazy with the active words, whenever possible, use active verbs to show what is happening. Words like “they” and “was” might indicate that it’s the narrator is speaking (pov) or that there is a passive sentence that could be transformed into an active one.

It’s always great to have dialogue without a dialogue tag. When there are several characters involved, try to let the reader know who is talking before the character finishes a complete paragraph of dialogue so that we can see who is talking while they are talking and not afterward.

Grammar: In general, the grammar is pretty good. *Smile*

My opinion: Aira is about to get into a lot of trouble. Yikes!

It’s a great world with likeable characters and problems to solve. Everything needed for a fantastic novel!

Thanks for sharing!

Tadpole1




Hi HM,

I’m going to try to give your chapter a quick read. Did they invite you into the writing group?

I didn’t finish. This is all I can do tonight.

If you would like to read the first two chapters of Moon Curse, let me know.

Smiles and good night,

B





On the same Midsummer’s Eve that Boroden braced himself to fight the hobyahs, the moon rose upon a humble scene some miles away in the human world. Peasants cutting the hay returned home to their beds, leaving the field edges and thickets to become the haunts of faerie troops celebrating the solstice. High above them, overlooking the tremulous waters of the loch, the castle of Tullochgorm frowned from arrow slit eyes. Some remained lit, casting silver slivers of light across the water.

It wasn’t immediately clear that “some” were the loopholes.



In the Great Hall, a poor drudge of eleven, freshly sent from one of the crofts to work at the castle, struggled through tidying away the remains of the banquet, her eyes bleary. A page boy passed her by, searching for the missing gauntlet that his master needed for the morrow’s hunt. He headed to the servants’

quarters I don’t know why this was flagged.


where an elderly widow forced her aching bones on, for she must earn enough to buy a few crusts from her spinning. This sentence still feels like it’s coming from left field.


Finally, for a few short hours, silence fell.

Moonlight slunk like a silent watchman through the castle window, beckoning. It revealed an offering of fresh cream and lightly baked bread placed at the foot of a flight of stairs as a token of thanks to the brownies that worked doing chores in the castle by night. A few paces away was a hole left in the wainscoting where a knot of wood had come away. Golden hair flickered in the moonlight as a brownie peeped out. With her whiskers and pointed ears set at right angles to her face, Aira might have been mistaken for a mouse by any passing human.

Nicely done. The only thing I can pick out is “was a hole.” Maybe there’s a way to use an active verb here?



‘Is it safe to step outside?’ Aira’s stepmother, Gretchen, asked. Nice.


New paragraph. Aira glanced back at her stepmother with her familiar thin nose and lips countered by large, warm brown eyes and a complexion mottled with freckles.

Aira felt relectant reluctant


to answer. On the verge of becoming a young woman, she was of an age when she needed to learn to tell how to discern if it was safe to enter the castle unnoticed by humans. She still found this hard to judge. Adding to her uncertainty was the pressure that the safety of her clan rested on her response. She was acutely aware that the eyes of a score of other brownies were upon her.

Aira looked from Gretchen to her father, Airen. ‘I’m not sure this time. What do you think?’

‘Yes, all should be well. The humans have been long asleep, lass.’

New paragraph. Airen jumped out of the elf knot, a quick grace in his movements. He turned back to offer Aira his hand to help her step out into the human world. His reddish gold hair appeared washed white by the moonlight, but Aira recalled how it kindled like burnished copper when illuminated by the fire in his forge in the brownie village that they left behind half a mile from the faerie door into the castle. This sentence is nice but a bit long.


Airen’s pack of metalwork clanked on his shoulders as he turned to bid Aira farewell. ‘I’ll be on my way. I can’t believe you’re 424 years old tomorrow, my dearie. Almost too old to call a bairn now. It’s a great shame that arrogant elf, King Midhir, picked this day for the market, but I must earn our tithe money from selling my weapons at

they ?? the ??


fey market tonight, and you and Gretchen must earn our bread serving the humans in the castle. I promise I’ll hurry back as soon as I may to wish you many happy returns.’ Nicely done.


‘Perhaps once you’re back comma
we can go and pick some of the pretty flowers in the hedgerows? The meadows look so jolly in summer,’ Aira said.

Airen shook his head. ‘You never want for much by way of birthday gifts, lass.’ Oh, I totally misunderstood this. To want for something means that you are lacking something that you actually need, but I think that you want to say that she doesn’t ask for much.


Airen assumed his true height; a little under three foot, Foot or feet? I think it’s feet. He is under three feet tall, so he uses a three-foot ladder. I could be wrong, so you should check.


to better help him scurry down the stairs. All brownies shared this ability to magically alter height. It was essential to help them go about their tasks unnoticed by humans. Although in the faerie world Aira was perfectly sized, in the world of humans she felt tiny. Even standing at her full height of two foot six, she was dwarfed by the castle hunting hounds. I hope they’re friendly!


The air shimmered as Aira left the protection of the faerie world, entering the dangerous territory of the castle. Humans had once persecuted faeries nearly to extinction. The faeries used their remaining magic to create a parallel world touching the human lands yet hidden from them except for a few special spots like the elf knot in Tullochgorm Castle.

The brownies went to the Great Hall to strew fragrant lady’s mantle sprigs amongst the rushes on the floor to freshen the air. They tiptoed to avoid awakening the servants who slumbered there. Then the coppers needed polishing in the kitchen. POV: All the description is nice and well-done. However, I don’t feel like I’m in Aira’s head, thinking her thoughts. It feels like a narrator is talking.


‘The cook’s always astounded how well these keep their shine. He has no idea that it’s due to the secret diligence of us brownies,’ Gretchen said, handing Aira a fresh rag to buff up the copper kettle that she was polishing.

Suggestion: Turn the about around. Have Gretchen had the rag and then talk.





Maggie Moloch, one of the older brownies, shuffled over. She was so stooped that her parsnip shaped chin was almost on the floor.

She stood by the door and said, ‘It was laundry day for the humans yesterday. There will be plenty of linen needing folding and putting away.’

Aira obediently set aside the polished kettle and followed Maggie. She was keen to perfect the technique of folding the heavy tablecloths and sheets, which she struggled with. ‘I’ll help gladly. I promise I’ll try to fold the cloths neatly and not trip over them again.’

Generally speaking, dialogue deserves a separate paragraph.

Suggestion: new paragraph

“I’ll help gladly,” Aira said. “I promise….”



Gretchen, Maggie and Aira each seized a corner of one of the cloths. They set to work, pulling their edges together in what seemed like the steps of a dance. This is fine, but it’s not in Aira’s head.

Aira seized a corner of one of the cloths; Gretchen held another; and Maggie held the last two. Maggie lifted her edges in a lithe motion while Gretchen hummed. Folding with Maggie and Gretchen was more like dancing than work.

Does that read more like it’s from Aira’s point of view rather than from the narrator’s? (However, notice that the next paragraph starts with “Aira.” Avoid not starting too many sentences or paragraphs in a row with the same word.



Aira fetched the next tablecloth from the top of the pile. It feels like something’s missing here. A hand burst from the laundry basket, grabbing her wrist. Aira screamed.

Gretchen darted to her aid, holding a peg bag poised to strike Aira’s attacker. She froze. Aira blinked,

puzzlement overcoming her fear. telling


The stowaway was an unfamiliar brownie and nearly a mirror image of Maggie, except that this brownie looked worn to a thread as her work-roughened fingers slid from Aira’s wrist. nice

The first sentence is telling, but you can turn it around and make it active. Whenever you use the verbs “was, were,” ask yourself if it is a passive sentence that could be written in a more active way.

The stowaway looked from Aira, past Gretchen, to Maggie. Amazing! The unfamiliar brownie’s features mirrored Maggie’s, except that this brownie looked worn to a thread… Her work-roughen fingers slid from Aira’s wrist, reaching out for Maggie.




With an effort, Aira got her

shaking delete

breathing under control. ‘How did you get in the washing basket?’

Maggie flung her arms around the stranger. ‘It’s all right, Aira. This is my sister Meg Mullach.’

‘Sorry, I think we both scared each other.’ Aira offered Meg her hand and helped her out of the laundry basket. Meg was so weak that her knees almost gave way as she stepped out.

‘Deary me, whatever’s happened?’ Gretchen asked.

‘Here, have some of the bread and cream the humans left for us. You look famished,’ Aira said, giving Meg a
concerned telling

smile. Aira handed Meg her own meal

without a second thought. telling

‘I can’t believe that others of our clan survived the attack on Velmoran,’ Meg said.

Aira shook her head

mournfully. telling (adverb)

Seeing Meg looking so anxious awoke Aira’s sorrow over the scattered and broken existence that the brownies lived since Velmoran was lost. Very nice. It’s not necessary, but a second sentence might be okay here.

‘It’s lovely to know that more brownies escaped. escaped,” she said. “I hate I hate Krysila for destroying Velmoran. All for what? She may have seen the fruit of the Tree of Life as a great treasure, but the immortality it grants is nothing compared to living a peaceful life in freedom.’

Very short action by Meg to make the reader think of her before reading what she says. ‘Perhaps those times will come again? King Mazgrim has been leading us to find a new home where we can be free of our endless years of servitude under the ungrateful humans,’

Meg said. delete

‘Have King Mazgrim’s sons survived? What of Boroden?’ Aira both wished and feared to hear Meg’s reply.

Suggestion: “ Have King Mazgrim’s sons survived?” Aira stepped closer. “What of Boroden?” She both wished and feared Meg’s reply.


‘He lives.’ great

In spite of Meg’s reserved tone, Aira clapped her hands in delight. As a child, she had spent many happy hours in the gardens about the palace of Velmoran comma playing with her friend Prince Boroden. Each day she thought of Boroden and prayed that he had survived.

‘Could you take me to him?’ Aira asked.

New paragraph
Yet amongst her eagerness wariness arose. Her father had long feared to meet with any companions of the brownie king.

Suggestion: Wariness stiffened her muscles. (or some action) Her father had long feared meeting companions of the brownie king.


Meg tightened her lips

sorrowfully. Telling. Once you join the writing group. You’ll get these adverbs flagged almost every time.

‘I don’t think so. Boroden is in grave danger. Hobyahs have been searching for us since we fled Velmoran. They’re under Krysila’s orders. A scout spotted them on our trail the same day that a sídhe king found our camp. King Midhir

threatened that we must ordered us to

move on or else become his slaves.’

Aira and Gretchen cast each other knowing looks, having the misfortune

to know of knowing

Midhir themselves. This is not exactly from Aira’s pov.

Aira touched Meg’s arm. ‘I’m sorry you ran into him, Meg. How did you manage to get away and come to find us?’

Aira asked. delete

Meg laid aside her empty plate. ‘One of Midhir’s knights mentioned to him that perhaps the brownies that work in Tullochgorm Castle invited King Mazgrim and his followers to his lands. Could be reworded.

She turned to her sister. I couldn’t believe it when I overheard the knight say that you were the village matriarch, Maggie. I almost got sprung upon by the hobyahs on my way here and had to travel by day when humans were about. I used my last drops of precious glamour ointment to make myself invisible to them. In desperation I hid in a basket of clean linen that a maid was carrying into the castle. It’s not safe for you here since Midhir is in such a rage with the brownies.’ This is a good way to give us the information.

Gretchen’s face paled. ‘Hobyahs? This isn’t good. My husband’s out there heading to the market.’

Gretchen pressed her hand to her forehead as if she were going to faint. Aira put her arm around her and helped her to sit. Building tension. Good.

Since there are several people, give us an idea of who is going to talk. ‘We can’t leave our village. Where else would we go?’ Maggie

fretted. In general, try to stick to “said” and “asked.”

‘Meg, I’m sure that Midhir wouldn’t want to lose the tithe payments we give him. Midhir is hungry for riches and demands payment in gold. Fortunately, we pay him

easily, Since this is inside the dialogue, it’s fine to keep the adverb.

for the metalwork sold by Aira’s father is worth its weight in gold. “Sold” and “gold” rhyme.

His fine work has won him renown amongst the faerie kingdoms of these parts. Airen should come back safe and sound, and laden with riches after selling his wares at the market tonight.’

Aira turned to Meg, keen to introduce her father. ‘Father prefers to be a swordsmith, though he’s always busy making nails, letter openers and other useful implements for humans. It’s fortuante he’s able to work metal, since iron burns most faeries. Years of living alongside humans had built up the resistance of brownies to iron.’ This seems out of place, but I suggest that you leave it and see if you receive any comments from the writing group.

Meg clutched Aira’s arm so hard that it hurt. ‘You father’s gone to the market at Midhir’s palace?’ nicely written

‘Yes.’ Aira’s voice trembled as she saw the concern etched in Meg’s face. ‘You think he’s in danger there?’ good

Meg nodded. ‘If Midhir even allows the market to go ahead what with the trouble brewing between our clan and the hobyahs.’ This bit of dialogue is really working well!

‘Then he’ll not return with any gold? We’ll be ruined.’ Maggie crumpled back against the laundry basket,

aghast. telling

‘I need to warn him,’ Aira said, wringing her hands.

new paragraph Some sixth sense told her that her father was in danger. Although the thought of heading into peril appalled her, she would never forgive herself if she stood by whilst Airen got hurt.

Meg looked at her

pleadingly. How can you show this?

‘Aira, please. It’s too dangerous to go to Midhir’s lands. I didn’t come all this way to warn you only for you to get killed. You’re so young. I’m sure your father wouldn’t want anything to happen to you.’

Aira began to protest but Maggie stared her down, her hands on her hips. ‘Aira, no. As matriarch of our village, I forbid you or any others to go. If we give Midhir any reason to suspect we’re involved with King Mazgrim, then it’ll be the worse for us. I’m sorry but your father will have to fend for himself.’ Her personality is showing through. Good.

Aira quaked, fighting back tears. Although she was never one to get into an argument, she felt a sudden urge to defy Maggie and tear out of the castle to the faerie portal that led to Midhir’s realm. Go, girl, go!

‘Come and help me restock the medicine chest of the castle apothecary. He’s run out of woundwort,’ Gretchen told Aira gently. new paragraph

Aira’s heart leapt. Clumps of woundwort grew near the portal to the faerie market. Did Gretchen mean to use collecting the herb as an excuse for them to go there and search for Airen?

Once they were out of earshot of the other brownies in the pungently herbal smelling cupboard of the apothecary, Gretchen turned to Aira. ‘Maggie’s right that going into Midhir’s lands is risky, but I don’t feel easy about your father. If he manages to make it back to the portal, there will be more trouble. It’s almost dawn, and he’s got no glamour with him. There’s a chance the humans might capture him and do all manner of evil things.’ Oh no! It’s getting more and more dangerous. Good.

‘The least we can do is take him some glamour to give him the protection of invisibility if a human does appear. We’ll take some ourselves, so they shan’t spot us.’ Aira said.

Aira She

motioned Gretchen to give her the valuable vial of glamour. Glamour was one of the most precious things they possessed, made in the traditional way with four-leaf clovers, buds of hollyhock, marigold flowers, wild thyme from a fairy knoll, buds of young hazel and grass from under a fairy throne. Cool!

‘What about Maggie forbidding us to go? I’ll head off home comma and if Maggie calls comma then I’ll say that you’re feeling too upset to see her. Aira, promise me that you’ll wait for him by the portal and not leave the human world.’

Aira had thought of going to the market to find Airen, but Gretchen’s desperate plea brought her to her senses. She had other loved ones to think of besides her father. This is good, but it feels like telling.

‘I promise. I know the meadows near the castle well, and I’m quick on my feet.’

Gretchen hugged her. ‘I’m proud of you, lass. Now go quick before the humans stir. Your father should be returning now, whether Midhir held the market or no.’

As Aira slipped out of the castle, dawn light was beginning to burnish the waters of the loch. Soon farm workers would be about, making the most of the long hours of high summer.



Finding the entrance to the sídhe kingdom deserted, Aira lingered. She collected some regal maroon flower spikes of woundwort and stowed them in the basket that she had taken to give herself the excuse of heading out to pick herbs if Maggie or another of the brownies spotted her. The pungent aroma of the snapped stems of the woundwort filled the air. Their soft, bristly leaves brushed Aira’s arms, for her sleeves were still rolled up from doing her chores.

Dewdrops

bejewelled British spelling?

the grass, sparkling with rainbows. The sun peered eagerly above the castle. Soon the grass began to steam in the heat of the sun. Aira kept close to the trees, avoiding the clumsy hoofs of cows and a yawning dairymaid. There was no sign of Airen.

Anguish welled as Aira frantically searched the nearby countryside. Can you show this?


Soon it would be too dangerous for him to return to the human world that day. nice
© Copyright 2020 HollyMerry (hollymerry at Writin

































Hi HM,

Parts are the chapter were very poetic! The images were beautiful.

Plot: Aira is in the castle with other faeries. They come out to do their evening chores. Her father leaves. Later, Aira discovers a hiding brownie, Gretchen’s twin. They learn that Aira’s father could be walking into danger. Will Aira save/warn him?

Confusions: It took a long time for me to understand why they were in the castle. It was confusing as to why her father left. I’m not sure why he commented about her birthday.

Grammar: When two independent clauses are joined by a conjunction (and, but, so, etc.) a comma is needed. Independent clauses are groups of words that could stand alone as a sentence.

Independent clause1: Jack and Jill ran up the hill.
Indedement clause2: Jill fell and broke her crown.

Correct: Jack and Jill ran up the hill, but Jill fell and broke her crown.
Incorrect: Jack and Jill ran up the hill but Jill fell and broke her crown.

Correct: Jill ran up the hill and broke her crown. (There are not two independent clauses here—no comma.)

Dialogue: Let us know who is talking before rather than after, especially when there are many characters.

Train of thought: Before adding a new thought (or action), give a reason for the character to have that thought. Let the character first see or hear something that would lead to that thought.

Example: After picking apples, Aira hurried home. The sun set, and the moonlight lit the valley just like the night that Boroden left. A heavy pain tugged on her heart. She missed him so much.

In the paragraph above, it is the moonlight that triggers the thought about missing Boroden.

Information dump: An information dump is when the author wants to give a lot of information at once. It is better to trickle in the information. Usually, dialogue is a good tool to help. Sometimes, it is necessary to limit the information given at one time, trickling in the rest as needed.

I enjoyed the chapter!

Tadpole1




On the same Midsummer’s Eve that Boroden braced himself to fight the hobyahs, the moon rose upon a humble scene some miles away in the human world. Peasants cutting the hay returned home to their beds, leaving the field edges and thickets to become the haunts of faerie troops celebrating the solstice. High above them, overlooking the tremulous waters of the loch, the castle of Tullochgorm frowned from arrow slit eyes. Some remained lit, casting silver slivers of light across the water.

A poor drudge of eleven, freshly sent from one of the crofts to work at the castle, struggled through tidying away the remains of the banquet, her eyes bleary. A page boy searched for the missing gauntlet that his master needed for the morrow’s hunt. An elderly widow forced her aching bones on, for she must earn enough to buy a few crusts from her spinning.

The sentences in the above paragraph are interesting. Is it possible to create a link between them? They seem very distinct and unrelated. Maybe the castle could be the link?

In the great hall, a poor drudge…, while on another floor (something better) a page boy searched. But I don’t know where the widow is. Is she in the castle?

I understand that this is part of the setting, and as a reader, I would like to see what they have in common, what they have to do with each other. Did I manage to explain what I mean? It feels like they are simply interesting facts.



Finally, for a few short hours, silence fell.

Moonlight slunk like a silent watchman through the castle window, beckoning. It revealed an offering of fresh cream and lightly baked bread placed at the foot of a flight of stairs. A few paces away was a hole left in the wainscoting where a knot of wood had come away. Golden hair flickered in the moonlight as a brownie peeped out. With her whiskers and pointed ears set at right angles to her face, Aira might have been mistaken for a mouse by any passing human. The writing is very poetic!


‘Is it safe to step outside?’ Aira’s stepmother, Gretchen, asked. Gretchen had a thin nose and lips countered by large, warm brown eyes and a complexion mottled with freckles.

Though young and quick of hearing, Suggestion: delete


Aira was reluctant to answer. On the verge of becoming a young woman, Aira was of an age when she needed to learn

to tell suggestion: how to discern


if it was safe to enter the castle unnoticed by humans. She still found this hard to judge. Adding to her uncertainty was the pressure that the safety of her clan rested on her response. She was acutely aware that the eyes of a score of other brownies were upon her.

‘I’m not sure this time. What do you think?’ Aira appealed to her father, Airen, for guidance.

Suggestion: Put an action before the dialogue instead of explaining afterward. For example:

Aira looked from Gretchen to her father, Airen. “I’m not sure this time. What do you think?

This allows us to already be thinking about her father, so we naturally know to whom she is posing the question before she asks. This helps us to see what is happening as it is happening instead of being told afterward.



‘The humans have been long asleep, lass.’ Airen jumped out of the elf knot, a quick grace in his movements. I didn’t understand what was being said and happening here, so I just kept reading. Now, after having read below, I realize that he’s saying that, yes, it’s safe to step outside.

Spend a bit more time here.

‘The humans have been long asleep, lass.’ Airen jumped out of the elf knot, a quick grace in his movements.

He turned and offered Aira his hand. (Now, she can be thinking about her father, so it’s okay to add some of the information about his history that is in the paragraphs below because the action leads to the thoughts.)

After thinking about her father, perhaps either he or Aira offers a hand to Gretchen. This could introduce thoughts as to how Gretchen came into their lives (Freya died…).

Give a reason for the character to have the thoughts like in the other chapter where Aira looks at the moon and then remembers that night long ago when Boroden…. You see? An action or an occurrence leads to the thoughts. The thoughts don’t just appear.




Airen’s reddish gold hair kindled like burnished copper when illuminated by the fire in his forge in the brownie village that they left behind half a mile from the faerie door into the castle. He often made nails, letter openers, knives and other useful implements for humans. Airen made an ideal metal worker since years of living alongside humans had built up the resistance of brownies to iron, which burns most faeries. However, Airen preferred to be considered a swordsmith. He was renowned for his fine work amongst the faerie kingdoms of those parts. His weapons sold quickly at the monthly fey markets, to which he headed this night. Info dump.

There is too much information in the above paragraph that has nothing to do with what is happening here.

Aira looked from Gretchen to her father, Airen. The moonlight made his hair kindle like burnished copper.

“I’m not sure this time. What do you think?” she asked.




The swords that Airen made, Aira was sure, rivalled the great blades wielded by the heroes of old who Airen told her of as she helped him in the forge by fetching tools and tending the fire. Aira would rather be there than anywhere else, even when the sun shone, or her dinner was on the table. The legends he told her of their ancestors inspired her, bringing a light and hope to their lives as refugees from the brownie stronghold of Velmoran. Once there had been brownie kings, noble and just, who fought for what was right. As Airen spoke of these times, such a light came into his eyes. He seemed to see another, brighter world in the flames of his furnace. Info dump.

Though Airen’s eyes readily sparked into a merry twinkle, he had a wistfulness about him. He understood sorrow only too well, having lost his beloved wife, Freya, soon after they arrived at Tullochgorm. Why is this information important right now, and why would Aira be thinking about this right now?

The memory of how Freya died traumatically when she miscarried Aira’s stillborn brother still haunted Aira. Fortunately Airen had the forethought to take a new wife to help him care for Aira. Aira adored her stepmother, Gretchen, a kindly spinster of middling years. The question is “Is it safe to step outside.”

Airen’s pack of metalwork clanked on his shoulders as he turned to bid Aira farewell. ‘I’ll be on my way. I can’t believe you’re 424 years old tomorrow, my dearie. Almost too old to call a bairn now. I promise I’ll hurry back as soon as I may.’

Okay. They’re in the castle. They want to know if it’s safe to step out. It is. Now, he’s leaving. And? What? Why? Why are they in the castle? Were they always there? Why is all this important? Was the whole point that he needed to leave?

I thought that they were afraid they would get caught. So, what are they doing? Ok, her dad is leaving. Why? Where is he going? Why isn’t he staying? Why aren’t they going to? Why are they staying? What is the point?

Why is he thinking about her birthday? Why is he leaving when it’s her birthday? Why isn’t she going with him? Is it important that it is her birthday?

I feel like, as a reader, that I was expecting something that I wasn’t given. We have the brownies in a human castle, and I think that the humans put food out for them, but I feel like I should know something more.


‘Perhaps once you’re back we can go and pick some of the pretty flowers in the hedgerows? The meadows look so jolly in summer,’ Aira said.

Airen shook his head. ‘You never want for much by way of birthday gifts, lass.’

Airen assumed his true height; a little under three foot, to better help him scurry down the stairs. All brownies shared this ability to magically alter height. It was essential to help them go about their tasks unnoticed by humans. Although in the faerie world Aira was perfectly sized, in the world of humans she felt tiny. Even standing at her full height of two foot six comma she was dwarfed by the castle hunting hounds.

The air shimmered as Aira left the protection of the faerie world, entering the dangerous territory of the human castle. Humans had once persecuted faeries nearly to extinction. The faeries used their remaining magic to create a parallel world touching the human lands yet hidden from them except for a few special spots like the elf knot in Tullochgorm Castle.

The brownies went to the Great Hall to strew fragrant lady’s mantle sprigs amongst the rushes on the floor to freshen the air. They tiptoed carefully to avoid awakening the servants who slumbered there. Then the coppers needed polishing in the kitchen.

The cook was astounded how well they kept their shine due to the secret diligence of the brownies. Interesting point. I just want to point out the point of view. How does Aira know that the cook was astounded? Did she always exclaim that it was easier to keep them shiny than in her previous employment? Did she brag about how bright and clean she kept the kitchen? I’m just point out the pov. That’s all.


Show me who is talking because I don’t know yet.
‘It was laundry day for the humans yesterday. There will be plenty of linen needing folding and putting away,’ said Maggie Moloch, one of the older brownies who was so stooped that her parsnip shaped chin was almost on the floor.

Maggie Moloch, one of the older brownies, who was so stooped that her parsnip shaped chin almost reached the floor, said, “It was laundry day…”

Aira picked up a cloth. “I’ll help gladly…”

Don’t keep us guessing as to who is talking. Let us know before the dialogue is said.


‘I’ll help gladly. I promise I’ll try to fold the cloths neatly and not trip over them again,’ Aira said. She was keen to perfect the technique of folding the heavy tablecloths and sheets, which she struggled with.

Gretchen, Maggie and Aira each seized a corner of one of the cloths. They set to work, pulling their edges together in what seemed like the steps of a dance.

Aira fetched the next table cloth tablecloth

from the top of the pile. A hand burst from the laundry basket, grabbing her wrist. Aira screamed. Tension building. Good.

Gretchen ran to her aid, holding a peg bag poised to strike Aira’s attacker. She froze. Aira blinked, puzzlement overcoming her fear. The stowaway was an unfamiliar brownie and nearly a mirror image of Maggie, except that this brownie looked worn to a thread as her work-worn fingers slid from Aira’s wrist.

Nice.

Gretchen, Maggie, and Aira are together, so how did Gretchen run to Aira?


‘How did you get in the washing basket?’ Aira asked, getting her shaky breathing under control. Ok. I’ll stop repeating myself here and won’t note it again below. I think you understand. Since there are several characters, show the reader who is about to speak rather than telling the reader after the dialogue is spoken.

Maggie flung her arms around the stranger. ‘It’s all right, Aira. This is my sister Meg Mullach.’

‘Sorry, I think we both scared each other.’ Aira offered Meg her hand and helped her out of the laundry basket. Meg was so weak that her knees almost gave way as she stepped out.

‘Deary me, whatever’s happened?’ Gretchen asked.

‘Here, have some of the bread and cream the humans left for us. You look famished,’ Aira said, giving Meg a concerned smile. Aira handed Meg her own meal without a second thought.

‘I can’t believe that others of our clan have survived the attack on Velmoran,’ Meg said.

‘It’s lovely to know that more brownies

got free. Survived? Escaped?

I hate Krysila for destroying Velmoran. All for what? She may have seen the fruit of the Tree of Life as a great treasure comma but the immortality it grants is nothing compared to living a peaceful life in freedom.’ Aira shook her head mournfully. Seeing Meg looking so anxious awoke Aira’s sorrow over the scattered and broken existence that the brownies lived since Velmoran was lost.

‘Perhaps those times will come again? King Mazgrim has been leading us to find a new home where we can be free of our endless years of servitude under the ungrateful humans,’ Meg said.

‘Have King Mazgrim’s sons survived? What of Boroden?’ Aira both wished and feared to hear Meg’s reply.

‘He lives.’

Aira clapped her hands in delight, too overjoyed to notice Meg’s reserved tone. As a child optional comma she had spent many happy hours in the gardens about the palace of Velmoran comma playing with her friend Prince Boroden. Each day she thought of Boroden and prayed that he had survived.

‘Could you take me to him?’ Aira asked. Yet amongst her eagerness wariness arose. Her father had long feared to meet with any of King Mazgrim’s companions.

Meg tightened her lips sorrowfully. ‘I don’t think so. Boroden is in grave danger. Hobyahs comma under Krysila’s orders comma have been searching for us since we fled Velmoran. A scout spotted them on our trail the same day that a sídhe king found our camp. King Midhir threatened that we must move on or else become his slaves.’

Aira and Gretchen cast each other knowing looks, having the misfortune to know Midhir themselves.

‘I’m sorry you ran into him, Meg. How did you manage to get away and come to find us?’ Aira asked.


Who is talking? I thought it was Meg, but it must not be.
‘One of Midhir’s knights mentioned to him that perhaps the brownies that work in Tullochgorm Castle invited Mazgrim to his lands. I couldn’t believe it when I overheard the knight say that you were the village matriarch, Maggie. I almost got sprung upon by the hobyahs on my way here and had to travel by day when humans were about. I used my last drops of precious glamour ointment to make myself invisible to them. In desperation I hid in a basket of clean linen that a maid was carrying into the castle. It’s not safe for you here

after ?? since ??

Mazgrim has put Midhir in such a rage.’

Aira squeezed Gretchen’s hand, trying to comfort her stepmother in her shock. She only had to look at Gretchen’s blanched face to see that she too worried for Airen. Not only might he run into hobyahs and a furious Midhir but if Mazgrim discovered him he would be branded a traitor by his own kind.

I think the above paragraph can be improved, by showing more.

Gretchen’s face paled. She put her hand to her forehead as if she were going to faint. Aira put her arm around her and helped her to sit. Gretchen’s blanched face wailed that she too worried for Airen. Not only might he run into hobyahs and a furious Midhir –COMMA-- but if Mazgrim discovered him --COMMA-- he would be branded a traitor by his own kind.


They weren’t even thinking about Airen before, so why do they think he is in danger. I was surprised when I read this part. Maybe an extra sentence somewhere to make this more clear?

Several names begin with A, and several names begin with M. This can be confusing to the reader. It confused me.



‘Where else would we go?’ Maggie fretted. ‘Meg, I’m sure that Midhir wouldn’t want to lose the tithe payments we give him. Midhir is hungry for riches and demands payment in gold. Fortunately optional comma we pay him easily, for the metalwork sold by Aira’s father is worth its weight in the finest faerie gold. Airen should come back laden with riches after selling his wares at the market tonight.’

Is Midhir a brownie? Earlier in the chapter, it was mentioned that Airen was a great metalworker. Maybe it would be better to move that information here because it seems more relevant here.


Meg clutched Aira’s arm so hard that it hurt. ‘You father’s gone to the market at Midhir’s palace?’ Good. We know who is going to speak before the words are spoken.

‘Yes.’ Aira’s voice trembled as she saw the concern etched in Meg’s face. ‘You think he’s in danger there?’

Meg nodded. ‘If Midhir even allows the market to go ahead what with the trouble brewing between our clan and the hobyahs.’

‘Then he’ll not return with any gold? We’ll be ruined.’ Maggie crumpled back against the laundry basket, aghast.

‘I need to warn him,’ Aira said, wringing her hands. Some sixth sense told her that her father was in danger. Although the thought of heading into peril appalled her, she would never forgive herself if she stood by whilst Airen got hurt.

‘Aira, please. It’s too dangerous to go to Midhir’s lands. I didn’t come all this way to warn you only for you to get killed. You’re so young. I’m sure your father wouldn’t want anything to happen to you,’ Meg said in a pleading tone.

Aira began to protest but Maggie stared her down, her hands on her hips. ‘Aira, no. As matriarch of our village comma I forbid you or any others to go. If we give Midhir any reason to suspect we’re involved with King Mazgrim comma then it’ll be the worse for us. I’m sorry but your father will have to fend for himself.’

What happened to Gretchen?


Aira quaked, fighting back tears. Although she was never one to get into an argument, she felt a sudden urge to defy Maggie and tear out of the castle to the faerie portal that led to Midhir’s realm.

‘Come and help me restock the medicine chest of the castle apothecary. He’s run out of woundwort,’ Gretchen told Aira gently. Aira’s heart leapt. Clumps of woundwort grew near the portal to the faerie market. Did Gretchen mean to use collecting the herb as an excuse for them to go there and search for Airen?

Once they were out of earshot of the other brownies in the pungently herbal smelling cupboard of the apothecary, Gretchen turned to Aira. ‘Maggie’s right that going into Midhir’s lands is risky comma but I don’t feel easy about your father. If he manages to make it back to the portal comma there will be more trouble. It’s almost dawn comma and he’s got no glamour with him. There’s a chance the humans might capture him and do all manner of evil things.’

‘Then the least we can do is take him some glamour to give him the protection of invisibility if a human does chance to see him. We’ll take some ourselves comm so they shan’t spot us.’ Aira motioned Gretchen to give her the valuable vial of

glamour.Glamour missing space

was one of the most precious things they possessed, made in the traditional way with four-leaf clovers, buds of hollyhock, marigold flowers, wild thyme from a fairy knoll, buds of young hazel and grass from under a fairy throne.

Lots of people write faery while others write fairy. You have used both. What’s the difference?


‘What about Maggie forbidding us to go? I’ll head off home and if Maggie calls comma I’ll say that you’re feeling too worried about Airen to see her. Aira, promise me that you’ll wait for him by the portal and not leave the human world.’

Aira had thought of going to the market to find Airen comma but Gretchen’s desperate plea brought her to her senses. She had other loved ones to think of besides her father. ‘I promise. I know the meadows near the castle well comma and I’m quick on my feet.’

Gretchen hugged her. ‘I’m proud of you, lass. Now go quick before the humans stir. Your father should be returning by now, whether Midhir held the market or no.’

As Aira slipped out of the castle, dawn light was beginning to burnish the waters of the loch. Soon farm workers would be about, making the most of the long hours of high summer.

Finding the entrance to the sídhe kingdom deserted, Aira lingered. She collected some regal maroon flower spikes of woundwort and stowed them in the basket that she had taken to give herself the excuse of heading out to pick herbs if Maggie or another of the brownies spotted her. The pungent aroma of the snapped stems of the woundwort filled the air. Their soft, bristly leaves brushed Aira’s arms, for her sleeves were still rolled up from doing her chores.

Dewdrops

bejewelled British spelling?

the grass, sparkling with rainbows. The sun peered eagerly above the castle. Soon the grass began to steam in the heat of the sun. Aira kept close to the trees, avoiding the clumsy hoofs of cows and a yawning dairymaid. There was no sign of Airen comma and soon it would be too dangerous for him to return to the human world that day.


Can you increase the ending tension just a notch so that the reader cannot wait to turn the page?


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