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Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago
I wrote the first page of the new story that will in the same universe as Honor Among Thieves. I have my fairydragon story that I'm finishing before this one, but I wanted to see what everyone thought of it. The flags of Redlion fluttered high above the white stone walls of the city. The red lion with it’s crown, golden stalks of wheat crossed on the right side and crossed swords pointing downward on the left showed all who approached that it was a noble and just city that provided for its people and defended itself, but didn’t go looking for a fight. The guards patrolled the streets in their red uniforms, the sun glinting off their swords and helmets. Keeping order and protecting the citizens, they made sure every street in Redlion was safe for even the smallest child to play in during the day. During the night, the streets belonged to the Thieves’ Guild. They crept silently through the shadows or leapt lightly across the rooftops, protecting the city in their own way. No one ever became too rich or became too poor, and violent thugs in their territory met mysterious ends. When the Thieves’ Guild crossed paths with the Redlion Guards, it was bad for both of them, and so as much as they could they stayed out of each others way to keep the balance the city depended on. Very early one morning, between dark and dawn, two old women wearing hand woven black shawls came walking up the road to the city’s main gate. Walking with them was a girl with pitch black hair, worn in two long braids. Her faded dress was threadbare and patched, and her green eyes were sad as they took in the sight of the city. She had dark rings under her eyes as if she hadn’t slept, and she looked as if she hadn’t had a full meal in a long time either. “It’s too early to open the gates,” the guard on the wall called down. “You’ll have to wait another hour.” “There’s no need for that,” one of the women said in a stern but dignified voice. “This girl here is an orphan from our village, and so we are leaving her with the city.” “What?” the guard asked, frowning. “Doesn’t she have any other family?” “None at all,” the second woman replied. She wore a cruel expression on her face as she spoke. “Her mother was a whore who abandoned her, and her father was a lunatic who drowned himself in the lake last week. The whole family is cursed, and we’re happy to get rid of this one before...” “Hush Griselda,” the first woman told her. “There’s no need to drag out all the gossip.” “It’s not gossip, Esmerelda, it’s the truth!” The dignified woman sighed and turned back to the guard. “But look here young man! Our village pays taxes to the city. This girl has no one to look after her, and you’re supposed to deal with this sort of thing, it’s the law.” “Fine. Hold on a minute,” the man sighs, coming down off the wall and opening a small side door near them. “What’s your name?” he asks the girl. “Jetta...Jetta Blacklake.” “Is what they’re saying true?” “Y-yes...except my father wasn’t crazy. ” Jetta glared at the woman who had told the story. “Griselda is just a mean old hag with a grudge against him.” “Hmph.” The woman sneered back. “Like father like daughter, I can already tell.” She spit in the dirt, then turned back to the guard. “Anyway, we’re leaving the little brat here. If you don’t take her in, she can just starve. She’ll never amount to anything either way, and she’ll be more trouble than she’s worth.” Esmerelda looked embarassed, tugging at her arm to get her to turn away. “Come along Griselda, there’s no need to get worked up. You’ll just tire yourself out, and it’s a long walk back home.” The two started slowly back down the road, leaving the guard and the girl alone. “Well Jetta, my name is Tanser.” He smiled at her, but she only stared at him warily. “Hey, you look hungry and tired. There’s a bakery right around the corner, let’s go there and then find you a place to rest.” After a long moment she nodded and followed him through the door, taking her first steps into the city.

Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago

I'll be glad to see a larger story set in the same world. :)

The first thing I would say is that there is a bit of a missed opportunity here. If you wrote this more from Jetta's perspective, whether in limited third person or second person, it would be a lot more powerful. You could start with her fear, grief, and isolation as she's dragged to the gates of an intimidating city and abandoned there. She's only know what she'd heard of Redlion, and that could be skewed. Perhaps she sees the flags as a broken promise, or ironic. Or, maybe she sees them as hopeful, a promise of a better life and a fresh start. It depends on her personality.
We'd be introduced to the thieves, eventually, through her.

But even when we get to Jetta, her description is at arms length:
"Walking with them was a girl with pitch black hair, worn in two long braids. Her faded dress was threadbare and patched, and her green eyes were sad as they took in the sight of the city. She had dark rings under her eyes as if she hadn’t slept, and she looked as if she hadn’t had a full meal in a long time either. "

If you switch this out of a distant God narration to closer in, it becomes much more evocative:
"Jetta stumbled to keep up; her legs were tired of walking after the long march through the night. Her threadbare dress did little to keep out the early morning chill. The grand city coming into view loomed over the plains, its towers casting deep shadows in the red dawn light, transforming the buildings and walls into a grimacing facade. Her stomach knotted, but she didn't dare ask either of the woman for a piece of bread. Griselda, especially, would be furious. Instead, she sucked on the tip of one of her long braids. The swallowing might fool her belly for a few minutes, at least."

Instead, we start with some heraldry and then get a bit of a technical overview of how the city and the thieves operate. Not bad information, but it's set dressing and information better saved for later. It's also a little unrealistic, as both the city and thieves are portrayed as basically noble or well-intentioned. (Or maybe it's just my own personal pet-peeve to have giant "we only defend, and we take care of our people" cities, since in most feudal societies to get a large city with villages dependent on it would require some attacks over the years. And even if a kingdom has noble intentions, it rarely pans out perfectly due to politics. And it's doubtful a city with a powerful justice system would let even "robin hood thieves" alone. A city that claims to defend its people and be just, but willingly lets the citizens be robbed so long as a few worse criminals are taken care of, is more hypocritical than noble. This might happen in a smaller town where there aren't enough guards to deal with crime, but it's hard to imagine happening in city as prosperous and committed to justice as Redlion is made out to be.)

Overall, it's well written. The setting and plot sound promising.  I'd just recommend, again, follow Jetta and her perceptions through the story - at least, if she is supposed to be the main character. It can also help to do go back and do some line editing later to refine descriptions (you rarely need to say "looked like," and it's better to describe a bit of a motion or expression, such as "sneered" or "face hardened" than summarize it like "cruel expression.")

Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago

Well, it is called PROTECTORS of Redilion

Although yes, there probably should be some tension between the two factions. It's pretty common for two groups to have common goals and still have conflict over means, idealogy, etc.

Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago
You must really like orphans.

That second sentence is pretty clunky. It's like half a paragraph long. Your intro is important for hooking the reader, but everyone is just going to trip over that. Find a way to break it up and make it flow more naturally and you'll have fixed the major issue as far as technical aspects go. (It often helps to read story passages out loud to yourself to catch issues like this.)

I didn't mind the infodumping too much otherwise since you keep it pretty short, but there are other ways to start this out that would put the reader more in Jetta's head and feeling what she feels, as Camelon said. Right now everything from the overview of the city to the scene introducing the girl all feels a bit distant, like we're a controlling a camera rather than empathizing with the main character.

It seems like a focus of the story is going to be on the relationship between the guards and the guild, which is cool because that's what I said I'd like to see more of in my review. The day/night stuff and then the fact Jetta arrives right in between is a nice touch.

And you said we can join either side in this one, so that should make for a lot of branching.

(Did you change the title though? You said Rebels earlier, but I'm assuming this is the same story.)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to this once you do start seriously working on it. It's a little rough around the edges, but I'm assuming this is a first draft. My advice would be to just have fun with it and aim for branching and full plots this time above all, the major problem with the last one was just the length.

Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago
Some quick hit thoughts:

Initially, I was going to tackle this beast of a sentence.

"The red lion with it’s crown, golden stalks of wheat crossed on the right side and crossed swords pointing downward on the left showed all who approached that it was a noble and just city that provided for its people and defended itself, but didn’t go looking for a fight."

But then I thought better of it. The easiest way to improve the quality of your opening page is to cut the first four paragraphs from the manuscript. Those four paragraphs just aren't very important nor do they do anything for the plot right now. You can sprinkle bits of it in later if you want (but not here). Your first sentence should be a hook that draws your reader into the story. And the first page needs to be interesting enough to get them to page two.

A good first page has many qualities. It opens with a hook. It happens in the "now" of the story. It orients the reader to the immediate setting. It contains action; the protagonist has some kind of turmoil, either internal or external. In other words, the protagonist is not just idly doing little nothings or musing passively. And it presents story questions. (Or most of these things, at least. Establishing story questions is very important though).

“It’s too early to open the gates,” the guard on the wall called down. “You’ll have to wait another hour.”

Now, that's a pretty good opening. We can already see potential conflict. We don't really get any from it, and that's a bummer. But you could easily rewrite the scene to show some more tension here.

Okay, enough story writing advice for now. Let's move onto realism.

“Fine. Hold on a minute,” the man sighs, coming down off the wall and opening a small side door near them.

If you have tall stone walls, you're not putting a small side door into your gatehouse to get to the outside. Maybe you have a sally port somewhere, but that's not going to be for letting in the riffraff. The sally port would also be fortified. This seems like the main approach to the city, so they'll probably have to raise the portcullis.

“Anyway, we’re leaving the little brat here. If you don’t take her in, she can just starve. She’ll never amount to anything either way, and she’ll be more trouble than she’s worth.”

I dunno. If I'm the guard, she's not really selling me on taking this kid. The hag might be bitter, but I'm not sure she'd basically tell the guard that he has every reason to not let the kid into the city.

“Hey, you look hungry and tired. There’s a bakery right around the corner, let’s go there and then find you a place to rest.”

He's leaving his post? What a trash guard. As End would say, he lacks DISCIPLINE. But hey, it's the end of the first page. Maybe it's a lie. Maybe he's going to stuff her into a sack when she's not looking and sell her as a slave when his shift ends.

There were some grammar issues, but I think these are more important as far as the story goes.

But I will circle back to the flag for a moment. Unless the flag is central to the story somehow, it's only going to be serving as world building and characterizing the city. You can work that in almost anywhere. But it shouldn't be taking up a bunch of space near the top of your first page unless it can be hit very crisply with strong imagery.

Hope this helps. And remember it's your story. These are just some things to think about.

Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago
Speaking of realism in fantasy settings, I came across a little blast from the past I thought might amuse Camelon and Bucky.





This village is oppressed and in the midst of a famine btw. There's going to be a rebellion. Maybe Wildblue can draw some inspiration from this pro-tier worldbuilding, idk.

Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago
I don't recall this. But oh boy.

Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago
The elf's name is Marcus? XD What story is this from?

Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago
Thanks everyone for all the advice, but I just wanted to say I'm worked on a new version of this story. I wrote this page really fast after I got the idea and it's not as good as it should have been. One thing I forgot to mention was that this was just the intro page, and the rest of it will be from the 'you' point of view. Redlion is also not a feudalism, each of the cities are independent, like in Greece. Jetta is an orphan because what happened to her father is important to the backstory. And orphans just make more sense for adventure stories I think. If you're not an orphan you grow up to be a farmer or a baker. The info about the thieves and the guards is important, and so is the flag. The city and protecting it is what the while story is about. The title I'm not sure of yet. I like Rebels of Redlion the best, but I realized it didn't fit. I could come up with a plot about a rebels, but then I'd have to put it in all the paths and I wanted to try and avoid that after I had so much trouble with the murder story in Honor Among Thieves. I'm just going to work on it on my own now when I can and publish it when it's done. I'm trying to finish my dragon game first so I'm not sure when that will be. But my other story was almost rated a 5 so I think this one will be a 6 when it's ready.

Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago
Wildblue has learned to tell everyone to fuck off in a nice way. I'm so proud. :*)

Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago
Thanks!

Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago
I do want to say though that I don't find a lot of value in 'the saddest and most abused ever' as personality traits, so I hope Jetta learns to kick ass as well as the last character, or at least has the option for it.

Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago
She's only that way because of what happened to her dad. The story will go more into this. After the first page it jumps ahead 2 months.

I'll put up a demo when the first chapter is done, the part that leads to choosing Thieves' Guild or the Guards.

Protectors of Redlion - New Story

one month ago
I'll link it in here i mean, I know not to publish a demo.