mizal, The Apprentice Scrivener

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Last Activity

6/27/2017 11:18 PM

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Duel Stats

1 win / 6 losses


Lauded Sage of Avon


"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." --Anton Chekhov

I'm here on CYS primarily as a reader and reviewer. I have an interest in seeing good stories posted, and bad ones going away, and the site being a place readers can browse to reliably find quality work. I tend to be fairly busy during the week, but if you want general impressions or advice on a story or writing excerpt, feel free to PM me. (If you're new, just fyi getting advice and feedback is one of the things the Writing Workshop on the forums is for as well.)

Otherwise, past experience has taught me that the reason you're looking at my profile right now might be because I hurt your fragile feefees with critical remarks.


Haha I think Mizal has a gift for driving half-crazy members into full-fledged crazy :) - Will11

You made fun of something I am doing. That's not very nice. I want people to be nice. Please be nice. - some retard


Let me explain my approach to reviewing:

I said it just a moment ago, but I know words are hard, so I'll repeat: I'm here primarily as a reader and a reviewer. If I feel the thing I just read wasted my time, my review will reflect that.

A story, to be a story, needs an engaging plot, relatable characters and conflicts for them to overcome in a believable way. A rudimentary idea of pacing and structure and a creative idea or two thrown in the mix wouldn't hurt either! (Spelling, punctuation, grammar and proof reading are a given. Better to not publish at all if you can't even be bothered with that much.)

It's not any reader's job to pat you on the back for only failing to deliver in X or Y number of ways. When I see a story that's not a story, I rate it a one and move on. There are people happy to offer feedback, and you can write all you want for as long as you need, but once you hit that publish button you're throwing your work out into the wild and you'd better be sure it can stand on its own merits.

(Storygames with more focus on the 'game' part are rarer and have slightly different criteria, but they still need enough decent writing to hold them together, and above all need to be entertaining.)


Now, for all you kids just starting out, the Grammarly Handbook is a great resource, and above all I'd recommend you just read more books. Step away from comforting junk food like Warrior Cats a little while and challenge yourself by branching out to other genres, older books, and books above your age level. Whether you like them or don't like them, see if you can look at the author's choices from a meta level and identify why.

Trophies Earned

Earning 100 Points Earning 500 Points Earning 1,000 Points Thorough and consistent writing workshop contributions / excellent commenting.


Now You Gotta Deal With This S***

A tale told in verse. A text from your sister requesting a pick up from a party leads to a night of strangeness.

Inspired by Bucky's ballad contest. Though...I wouldn't call this a ballad. I'm not sure what I'd call it, actually, other than exceedingly stupid, and fun to write.

(Don't pay any attention to the scores, they're just for me to track which endings reviewers get.)

Articles Written

CYS Forum Advice and Etiquette
A modernized guide to the forums. The path to internet popularity and happiness, and a few CYS specific do's and don'ts.

Recent Posts

Week of Literature: El the second one on 6/27/2017 9:10:00 PM
Okay I wrote for a couple of hours. Unlikely I'll get around to finishing this, but it's a good prompt and which the exception of Everwriter's the other posts so far were just sad. Sad! ***** The Karan-ta messenger had been pale as death and looking ready to piss himself as he was ushered into the lift, and once he had his audience with the heads of the Selar family eighteen stories higher he really did; well, not himself, but the polished mahogany table the very elegant and refined elves of the elegant and refined clan were sipping their brandy and tea at. Ballsy fucker just whipped it out and started hosing everything down. Not the kind of message that could really be ignored. The Karan-ta wanted nothing less than to goad the Selar into an all out war with such insults, and seemed confident they could win it. All this Herida picked up in bits and pieces as she lounged on a balcony nearby, wind-beaten hat pulled low over her eyes to block the sun’s glare. A human enforcer, even a highly trusted one, of course wasn’t invited to the family tea times, which was fine with her; she’d been trying to read her periodical. They’d discovered a new variety of parrot in the Sunken Tomb Isles that could allegedly be spoken through by the spirits of the thousand year old dead. Research was ongoing as to whether this was a legitimate phenomenon, or (as skeptics suggested) the work of demonic impostors or simply some wizard’s trick. Fascinating stuff. But it didn’t seem she’d be left in peace to read and relax today. Herida was interrupted first by servants pitching the offending table and a couple of sullied chairs over the ledge, scattering the little flock of green finches she’d been sharing her lunch with and then standing around to gossip. And then of course, there was the screaming. Awful lot of it and kind of hard to ignore. It seems the man had gotten himself into debt to the Karan-ta family, with no way to get himself out, and delivery of today’s ‘message’ had been the way offered to repay and keep his wife and kids from getting sold off to some underworld brothel. Well, whatever. The Karan-ta could be ugly like that. The Selar were generally above such things, and she figured it likely if his story checked out, they’d let him go only missing a few fingers and teeth. Also he had hopefully not planned to father any more children. It had been sort of rough times for the Selar family and those in their employ these last couple of years. Being a family of reputation and means, with standards and a code of honor to uphold was difficult enough in these times without say, the Lady Chemeile’s estranged daughter marrying into that den of vipers, or her nephew suffering the shame of being arrested, and then of all things, cutting a deal with the king’s men instead of slitting his wrists before being questioned. As much looked down upon as the marriage had been, at least it has slightly eased tensions between the rival families. Each feeling they were being crowded out by the other when it came to the smuggling operations on the docks was still an issue, but they’d actually briefly worked together, sort of, in taking out a few high level members of a human run thieves’ guild. This thing with the nephew though. It was a fucking disgrace. It stung when a family as low as the Karan-ta could denounce their betters as turncoats and cowards, and there wasn’t much you could say because they kind of had a point. Some of the Selar’s lower level servants and contacts had been clearing out, and the last time she’d been out buying feed for her birds, Herida herself had been approached with an offer to switch sides. She’d spit in the man’s face, and only the fact that they were in a public market patrolled by kingsmen kept her from knifing him. Things weren’t looking great at the moment, sure, but her father and her father’s father going back five generations had served the Selar. The city and the politics of it all had changed, but there was still something to be said for loyalty. “Herida, the Lady Chemeile would have a word with you.” Well, no saying ‘just a moment’ to that. Her periodical would just have to wait. After hastily brushing off her clothes and removing her hat to smooth back her hair, she was led to a chamber on the nineteenth floor. Sun poured in from open doors leading out to the covered balcony, and the Lady was seated and sipping at a fresh cup of tea. Her rich, lustrous brown hair was drawn up elegantly to show off her pale, slender neck and pointed ears, but despite her composed appearance Herida quick, dark eyes couldn’t help but pick up the slight tremble in her hand as she lifted her cup. The Lady wasn’t alone. There were a couple of enforcers Herida was only vaguely acquainted with loitering nearby, watching her closely as she moved to pay her respects, and, hanging back in a darkened shadow of the room, an unassuming gnome called Lasimor, the family’s watch-smith and jeweler. For whatever reason his mother Lasima was there as well, an ancient gnome who had to be wheeled in a chair, recognizable after a moment as a pair of red-rimmed eyes peering out from a shapeless bundle of rags. Those two gave her chills. They were probably--no lie--responsible for more cold blooded murders than the entirety of every crime family in this city combined. She had no idea what they were doing here, and unfortunately it wasn’t really her place to ask. The Lady Chemeile spent a few minutes on small talk and pleasantries before getting to the point. “I assume you’re aware of that...unpleasantness a short while ago?” “I heard some gossip and...the man was screaming pretty loud. You know I don’t like to speculate however.” “Good. That’s a trait one likes to have in a servant. I’ve always liked that about you, Herida. That and your loyalty. I always can trust you’ll do anything I ask.” “Of course.” The lady seemed to be weighing her next words. “Now, will you tell me about the incident in the market place a few days ago?” That gave Herida a start. Casting a suddenly nervous glance toward the other enforcers, she haltingly relayed the details of the encounter. She’d reported it right after it happened, of course, and was told she’d behaved rightly, but there was a niggling little bit of fear now. Had she not been believed? If the stress of recent events was now leading to paranoia--after all, if kin would turn traitor, who could be trusted not to?--could she be about to receive her walking papers here? The fact that in the Selar tower, the walk in question was usually a long one right off a balcony’s edge was what made the situation so worrisome. She stole another glance at the enforcers, wondering if she could reach her whistle in time. This high up, they were close enough to the aerie to be heard. “I see I’ve unsettled you. Calm down dear, everything is fine. Would you like a cup of tea?” Herida politely declined. With the gnomes still watching silently from the corner, it was hard to forget the stories of how old Lasima the ‘apothecarist’ had made a name for herself and first gained employ. She had had a withered, liver-spotted hand in the recent thieves’ guild assassinations as well. “The reason I brought that incident up is that it gives us a certain opening. They’re looking to recruit our people out from under us, and that’s an angle to use. Now, what I’d like you to do is go to the Karan-ta and tell them you’re considering the offer.” “Ma’am?” “It’s a bit unorthodox, I realize, but they’ve forced my hand here. They’ll be skeptical, obviously, but that’s when you ask to make your case before my daughter. She’s such a sentimental thing, she’ll believe you. You used to get on well with her when you were a child, did you not? I remember you would train the birds together.” Herida took a steadying breath. She wasn’t sure she liked where this was all going. “Y..yes ma’am. We did.” “At any rate, do whatever you need to gain their trust enough that you’re allowed to speak to her privately. That part I’ll have to leave to you; you’ll have to go with your instincts.” It’s now Chemeile’s turn to draw a deep breath. “Then, I have a message for you to give her, and it’s that...her mother still loves her very much, and wants her back by her side. However the marriage vows she rashly bound herself with bring a great deal of pain to me, and all of our family, and must first be undone. And then give her this...” Without quite looking their way, the elven lady held out a slender hand in the direction of the gnomes, and Lasimor shuffled forward to place a small black box in her palm before bowing and stepping back to his spot beside his mother. Chemeile set the box upon the table and opened it, gesturing Herida over. “You may examine it if you wish, but do be careful. Do not touch the inside of the band.” Inside was a man’s ring, gold and set with diamonds and emeralds. Tasteful, yet masterfully worked and undeniably worth a fortune. It took her a moment to recognize it as an exact replica of the ring gifted to and worn by Chemeile’s Karan-ta son-in-law, as a sign of the Selar family’s grudging acceptance of the match. Herida waved off the lady’s offer to let her hold it, feeling ever so slightly ill. She didn’t doubt the counterfeit was perfect, right down to the inscription within the band. And cleverly hidden there as well would be a pressure plate that released a tiny barb, coated with the nastiest and fastest acting poison gnomish apothecary skill could concoct. Another tactic borrowed from the removal of the thieves’ guild, where methods of clean efficiency had been preferred to avoid drawing the attention of the kingsmen. “If she accepts it, and does what’s required, then she is my daughter again and you must defend her with your life, and bring her home safely.” “And if not?” The Lady Cameile’s voice was flat and emotionless. “Then remove her, through the quickest means available, and get yourself away.” She poured herself another cup of tea, sipping it slowly before setting the cup down and folding her hands. “It is wicked to war with one’s own blood, wouldn’t you agree? And as it seems war cannot be avoided, this whole disgraceful situation must be sorted, one way or another. I will not have her on my conscience.” Herida closed the box, and carefully placed it in the pouch at her side. She would have to think on where to hide it on the way to the Karan-ta estate. “When do I leave?” “Immediately.” Herida nodded, and with nothing more to be said gave a short bow and turned and walked out to the balcony, trilling a note on her whistle. After a moment’s wait, she stepped out over the edge. The wind rushed by and then she landed with practiced ease on the back of the giant eagle swooping neatly beneath her and began strapping herself into the harness clipped to the saddle. She took time to make a slow loop around the city, trying to settle her thoughts. The Karan-ta estate was just past the outskirts of the surrounding farms, a lordly mansion surrounded by what was nearly a village in its own right, high on a hill looking down on the city. It was a tall order she’d been given, on a number of levels. She might not survive the next couple of days. She certainly wouldn’t enjoy them. Below, the hustle and bustle along the lanes, shops and houses went about as it always did, the populous mostly oblivious and irrelevant to the struggles between the city’s elven families, as they had been as peasants working the fields so many centuries ago. The kingsmen made their little rounds, watching for pickpockets or brawls and so rarely looking up. A human King was on the throne now and wanted to keep things orderly, keep the people happy and hey, as a human herself she couldn’t help but respect that. But the ancient families of elven nobility were older than the kingdom, older than the city itself. Even with their activities forced underground and considered ‘criminal’ for the time being, they had always ruled here, always warred among each other here, and always would. @Endmaster I'll take one shiny gold star pls

how do i do on 6/27/2017 4:03:12 PM
Maybe just write 'wolfplay' in your head, perhaps the world is not ready for it.

Week of Literature: El the second one on 6/27/2017 12:05:23 PM
There is no respect involved with posting anywhere on this forum.

something is wrong with my account on 6/27/2017 11:55:26 AM
May have just gotten mixed in with some troll alts. March and April were dangerous times to be a newbie.

New Contest Starting Soon on 6/27/2017 11:13:25 AM
Why not make those the official three days for outlining and give us the theme now?

something is wrong with my account on 6/27/2017 10:11:23 AM
An admin. You might be able to assist him in narrowing things down here by killing anyone else who has access to your computer.

something is wrong with my account on 6/27/2017 10:07:08 AM
March of this year. It's easy to tell because you have not yet aged from MonkeyKing4 to MonkeyKing5.

something is wrong with my account on 6/27/2017 10:04:07 AM
But I mean let's be honest here, even if Berka made a mistake with IPs, what was lost?

something is wrong with my account on 6/27/2017 10:01:51 AM
Important: what rating did ApeKing4 give to Necromancer?

something is wrong with my account on 6/27/2017 9:59:41 AM
I do vaguely remember an ApeKing making a newbie thread. There was the usual 'please use English' advice because...well look at them, but the thread is gone now so I assume Berka got him.