Cal is sent to spy on a new enemy, but is seduced by the magic the enemy promises.
|*I'm starting to get into writing and would like some people to critique my writing and help me identify problems I have. Some things specific I'd like to know about are: I feel that the first few paragraphs are not too engaging, can you help me or is it okay for now?Is the chapter too boring? Should I just start off in the action right away (put them in the enemy camp already) and allude back to prior events? Thank you and here it is!*
*this is the second draft, hopefully cleaner than the first one*
Cal rushed down the path to the Council Chambers. There was a last minute meeting sent out to all members of the Guardian Order. Which was considerably odd because there were no signs of any future conflict with anyone, peace had been flourishing for years now and seemed quite ready to continue. The letters sent out barely said anything except that the leaders and others were to meet up immediately.
As Cal continued down the stone walkway, a young couple were taking a stroll as the passed him. When they noticed the insignia of a Guardian and recognizing the uniform, they immediately bowed. He returned with his his own bow and bode them to not mind him. It was his job to protect this place, he didn't need to be praised for doing his job.
At this point the sky started to blush from the setting sun, cuing the city lights to turn on. It gave the city a twilight mystique with glowing lamps dotted about the looming shadows of the cliffs and hanging gardens.
Curious onlookers gave him an eye wondering where he was going. As many others in his order were doing the same. Cal could already here all the whispers and gossip spreading across the town. He wished he could go reassure them, but he had his orders from the letter.
About ten minutes later he finally made it to the temple they were gathering at. It wasn't really a temple, everyone just called it that, due to the mysticism the Guardians aroused but just mere infrastructure built by founders of the Guardian Order of the country's military. By now a small crowd was already formed outside the premises, although not rowdy, their faces showed concern and demanded answers. Guards immediately came and started backing the people off.
As Cal entered the chamber there were already most, if not all, his colleagues there. He quickly took his seat.
Their leader, Lord Gran, stood up, and cleared his throat. A man well in his years, Cal didn't know how old but he guessed around sixty, but still strong it seemed. His white hair, that went to the stub of his neck, reminded Cal of the eagles that would glide across the clouds.
“As many of you probably already realized, a question of gravity has been presented to us.” He waited for any comments. None came.
“I will get to the point then.” He continued. “We all know that certain trade partners and other allies of ours have suddenly gone quiet, we haven't heard word from them for months. Recently we dispatched a small unarmed expedition to the mainlands to figure out what was going on.” He paused one moment, as if considering what to say next.
“They-- he came back a week late...” He said, quickly.
Murmurs began to erupt from every corner of the chamber. Several men-- high ranking, too, from the badges they wore called out.
“What do you mean?”
“Sire, please explain.”
Gran raised his hand palm open into the air, to signal silence.
“Please, there will be time to talk later...” He moved on, although a little hesitant. “Obviously, we have a new problem upon us. From what our sailor could tell us: They ravaged the land completely, leaving nothing but ash behind.”
Cal tensed up, his body nearly shaking. When did this happen? Who could have done this? Why would they do this? Cal prepared to stand up and ask.
It seemed all the hard work and efforts that sought to push in an era of peace evaporated in that instant. The leader spoke again, interrupting Cal's thoughts.
“The higher authorities have been noted and decisions are being made right now. Our country is now being put in full alert. A joint task between us and other branches of our military are in plans.” He let out a small breath. “ I hope your skills have not dulled too much in our recent time of peace. Cal saw he forced a weak and short lived smile. “Soon you all will be given your orders. Are there any questions?”
One of the men in the left part of the chamber stood up. He looked pretty old with small streaks of silver in his hair. Probably a man who has seen to many battles and the stress was setting in.
“Yes, Lieutenant” Gran said.
“My Lord, what are the current plans being made? Shouldn't we be informed of this, if there is one?”
All eyes dropped on the lieutenant. He swallowed but kept his composure.
“I know the amount of information we have at this time is alarmingly low.” Gran replied. “But we will give you more as they come.”
“Forgive me for being skeptical,” The lieutenant persisted.” But you have not even provided us a name for these...conquerors.”
“I understand your concern, lieutenant, but realize, we too, do not know much more than you do.”
The lieutenant stood for a moment longer, deciding if he should say more.
“Thank you, sir.” He conceded and sat back down.
Gran simply nodded, and then looked around the room.
“Then that is all. You are all dismissed.”
That's it? Cal thought. How are we supposed to prepare for something we know nothing about?
Cal glanced at all the men leaving, all with the same confused or sore faces.
As everyone stood up and left, Cal remained seated. Contemplating his thoughts with his hands clasped together.
* * *
“You still here Cal?” Called out Lord Gran.
Cal immediately snapped out of his trance and stood up straight out of his seat.
“It's not as bad as you think...” he said. “There's not much we know, else, maybe our other friends have done the same and fortified themselves, all safe.”
“Sir...” He hesitated. “How can any of us be calm, if you haven't told us everything, and wouldn't an enemy we don't know anything about be much more dangerous than one we do know?”
Lord Gran smiled. “I guess you are right.” He conceded. “You are right that none of this should be taken lightly, and yes I have kept some other things from the rest of you.” He added the last part, a little quickly and mumbled it.
Cal averted his eyes away from Gran down to the chamber floor and a silence occurred.
Well, if I'm not supposed to know anything I shouldn't, maybe it's better if I don't, Cal decided.
“Do you have a family? You're pretty young, compared to most of the others.” He asked suddenly. Cal thought he was trying to change the subject, but he didn't mind.
“Yes sir—only a wife. No children, yet, either. My mother and father passed away, but she supported me through the hardships-- my close friend Maien, also helped me.”
“That's good, we all need someone to depend on. A wife and good friend. His name was Maien?” He said.
“Yes sir, he is also in our order.”
Gran simply let out a smile.
“Do you have any plans? For your future, I mean.” He asked suddenly, again. He seemed to like to ask questions. Although it was kind of odd Cal just assumed that he was just an old man looking for some company.
“Hmm, not much sir, I plan to continue my duty, that's for sure.”
“You like to have a more spontaneous life, eh? Much more fun to react to what life throws at you.”
Cal simply nodded, not understanding how Gran came to such a conclusion. His mind slowly drifted off into other thoughts.
The two of them sat there for a length of time, Cal didn't know. His thoughts slowly sifted through past memories, all the way up to today. And then he remembered his discontent with the “meeting” they just had about an hour or two ago.