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4/13/2007 c1 12iamthedave
Good stuff! I like this, but I think there's quite a bit of niggling bits to shave or prune at, and I think the ending could do with some elongating. The way it just suddenly stops is a bit... odd. It's also a little disjointed, the use of the letters/thoughts of home thing could be better utilized. As it is they kind of just pop up randomly. In particular I don't think it works as an ending style.

In short, great story, not sure about the ending.

-Not that they had never stepped outside the borders set by the Lord Burnt who had made the empire great—all seven were veterans of the wars of the Tangle.

A little infodumpy and awkward. It's the 'lord burnt who had made the empire great' which does it. It doesn't fit. Also, I'm not sure about the bit at the end. There's really nothing here about the wars of the tangle, and why is it an intrinsic statement that the wars of the tangle didn't take place inside Lord Burnt's territory? Maybe work something in about the war later, if its important.

-With a nod, Roh left, but Pech went back to staring uneasily at the sand

Possibly 'Roh nodded and left, Pech went back to staring...' etc.

-For you there are marshes and rivers where you can fish, meadows and glens where you can spend spring afternoons, cliffs where you can join the wild young edask. I will keep the desert for myself, no matter how little I care for it, that you might have the fair places…

While you might want to keep this as mere character style, it would be improved if you cut back slightly. Two statements rather than three in both cases would strengthen the whole. In particular I'd say to lose 'no matter how little I care for it'.

-Best to err on the side of caution was the silent consensus.

Should be in quote marks, I'd say. Might be better just written as a thought.

-“How can the Winkomme even survive here? Why would they even want to?”

Two 'even's. Sorry. Pet hate. I think it's bad to re-use words too close together.

-Perhaps there is a great oasis where they have built their home, or perhaps they hunt on the plains and bring it back here for the warmth,” Pech said.

Feels like questions to me.

-They dozed in the pit until the sun had past its zenith, instinct telling them that they would need sleep for the ride ahead.

Not an -ing you need. I'd say switch it to 'told'.

-A slight burning feeling on his arm drew his attention, and he frowned at the red that spread across his arm as though he had been slapped

The last six words are a little awkward, I think. For one thing, it suggests a hand print of some variety. The way you describe it just before sounds more like an angry looking infection or something like that.

-With the moon came a terrible cold that completed contradicted all his expectations for a desert night, though he had been told more than once of the need they would have for a source of heat.

'completed' is wrong here. I think you can lose 'a desert night', if any reader hasn't worked out they're in a desert by now you shouldn't be giving them any help. Besides, you couldn't give them the help they need anyway :) I think the last section is a touch over-wordy, though I can't immediately think of what would fix it.

-And even if they did leave, where would they go? Deserters never went very far, and the empire was still growing. Where could they be certain to find refuge?

Seems overly thought through for someone who doesn't seem to be even remotely considering it. If he's loyal I'd expect the slant to be more accusatory, or even aggressive.

- the smudge gradually transforming into a series of stacked,

TransformED. Again, an unnecessary -ing, and I think it takes away rather than adds.

-They had given up their sunhigh rest, and for what? An empty town that might as well not have existed, for all the good it would do the seven.

A foolish assessment. They've got ready-made shelter and evidence of occupation. They seem rather 'green' here, which contrasts with them being described as veterans. Disappointment I can understand, but you'd have thought someone who immediately join a few dots and/or theorize.

-Pech smiled and closed his eyes. “You’re Seventh, Roh,” he said, or tried to say. It came out as more of a mumble. “Seventh. Do… what needs to be done… Seventh…”

Ending's a bit quick, I thought. It just kind of... stops. The fight bit is brief and well-done, but I dunno. I don't quite like it.
12/23/2006 c1 2Casey Drake
...wow... I like this.

:) CD

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