Happy Birthday this month! From Showering Acts of Joy Group.
A man on horse is being chased through a dark and forbidden forest. His men stay behind to fight and give him the chance to escape death. Eventually the assassins catch up to the Prince, but fate may just provide him with an alternative ending.
Check for sentences where you have multiple “and’s” and split them up. Your writing got a lot better at the dialog between the assassin and the Prince. I enjoyed this piece, it has imagination, sounds, action, and adventure.
A rider burst into a clearing, his black stallion foam flecked and steaming as if emerging from the flaming pits of the Netherworld.
I am unsure as to what “foam flecked” is but you flip tenses here in this sentence form flacked to steaming. A suggestion: A rider burst into a clearing, his black stallion giving off steam as though it had emerged from the flaming pits of the Netherworld. Or: A rider burst into a clearing, his black stallion was steaming as though they had emerged from the fiery pits of the Netherworld.
Precious moments were lost to gaze at the stars and direct his steed towards the Northern Traverse.
Seems to be missing the moment where he stops to gaze up at the stars. This is one of those moments when (we all can do better at this, even me) we need to show what is happening, rather than tell.
The rider gasped an angry, desperate prayer, or perhaps a curse, and urged his mount onwards.
I recommend sticking with one, it should never be both or either. This part defines your character, is he religious or is he angry?
Through the thick underbrush, ducking under grasping branches, hoping the horse would find its way.
It seems like an incomplete sentence. Try: Together the horse and rider moved through the thick underbrush, ducking under grasping branches.
The sound of conflict faded, overwhelmed by beating hoofs and disturbed quiescent growth.
I suggest rethinking the word “faded” as I don’t think the sound of conflict got quieter, it’s just that it was overpowered by other sounds. Right? Maybe the sound is fading, if so the second part of your sentence about the overwhelming beats may need to be reworded. Perhaps; The sound of conflict was dying out ( to literal though) and the galloping hoofs took it’s place.
He held out no hope that his men’s lives would stay this side of the balance, cursing the necessity of his flight and aching to turn around and unleash his wrath and despair on his pursuit.
To many ands, you can break this up into a couple sentences.
A chill wind blew from the North and foreboding shivered through him.
Word play here, foreboding cannot shiver. Try: A chill wind blew from the North and a strong sense of foreboding caused him to shiver.
The forest seemed to pull at him, promising safety and retribution both.
Remove “both” from the end. It is ambiguous and not needed.
With a shocking suddenness, the man found himself in the forest.
I thought he was in the forest. I was thrown on this line, also it is a bit telling, rather than showing. I don’t understand this part that well but I will try a suggestion: The man’s vision blurred for a brief moment, but when it had clear he was no longer in the clearing.
Abruptly, his mount stumbled and went down squealing, throwing him over his shoulder.
Remove “Abruptly” it takes away from the story. Just show that the horse stumbled. ‘ly’ words should be avoided, but there are times when needed.
The ground loomed close and the man could see himself falling on his face and breaking his neck.
How did he “see” himself falling? Was there water showing his reflection? Did he have a vision? I suggest explaining this better. Try: The ground loomed close and the man knew he would face plant into the hard rock if he didn’t act quickly. He tucked his head…..
The black stallion collected his forelegs under him and, with effort, pushed himself up, stumbling and limping on a few steps, whites showing and snorting.
What whites showing and snorting?
The trees were silent despite the cold wind, water dripping from them like tears.
One goes against the other, dripping water makes a sound, but I know what you are trying to do and it does work. I am probably just being overly picky on this one. Sorry.
The silence was deafening.
Confused, I thought it was nosy from the loud hoof beats.