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Started by Mr.Obvious, May 07, 2023, 10:31:43 AM

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For the past few years I´ve been trying to write a fantasy novel.

I´ve never gotten far. But I am making good progress on the second chapter, right now.

Problem is, i´m writing in english and I am not sure if it comes across as tedious or alright.

No strings attached, but if I were to  post one of the chapters here, would anyone be interested on giving feedback?
"If we have to go down, we go down together!"
- Your mum, last night, requesting 69.

Atheist Mantis does not pray.


I'd read it, what's it about? 👀
God Not Found
"There is a sucker born-again every minute." - C. Spellman


An envoi of the king is sent to Ondoor, a mine which has for a while now failed to produce it´s quota of iron. He takes a small force in order to enforce the king´s law.

When arriving at his destination, they are overtaken by a host of decaying manlike and dwarven figures.

The envoi is the sole survivor of the onslaught and flees deeper in the mines where he is, after a period of being quarantined, taken in by the remaining dwarven miners.

Together with the outfit´s chief, they must defeat an awakened evil and retrieve an object of utmost importance from the depths of the darkness below.

If I could make it a horror/fantasy mix-up, that would be best. But we´ll see. Horror is hard to write well.
"If we have to go down, we go down together!"
- Your mum, last night, requesting 69.

Atheist Mantis does not pray.


It's hard to write, period, man. I know I can't get much more than Joyce's six words.

Gawdzilla Sama

I've read a few fantasy books, I'll give it a shot. No promises.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers


Envoi – chapter 2
Tarnum's bones ached. He felt older than his ninety-one years. And though he sat in a wooden chair, resting his body; it was his mind that kept on wandering. It swam in a sea of doubt and pain. The repetitive scraping sound from across the infirmary only adding to that migraine.

There were just three of them there, in the underground chamber. The five other beds were empty. Anyone asleep but their newest arrival did so in the sleeping quarters a bit down the hall. And it had been a while since they had suffered anyone ill this side of the barricades.

He was not an anti-social dwarf. Not more than most, at least. The scars of the past that haunted him still, had grown hard and rigid on his soul. That much was true. Slow to trust. But not unamicable to those he deemed worthy. And his crew worthy he deemed. Yet for now, it was solitude he yearned for, more than anything else. With as little of them there were left, as be, trapped underground for weeks on end, one might figure solitude would be found in plenty. But these days it was more rare than diamonds, down here in the mine. An iron-mine at that, lest one forget.
Though as paradoxical as it seemed, it was not only wholly understandable but indeed even to be expected. It had been his own creed as chief of the operation that none should travel the halls alone. Not since the sickness fell. And as the leader in these troubled times, he was sought out frequently.

Tarnum felt the eyes of his peers on him: day in, day out. Eyes that could not hide their fear, even behind stout and brave faces. His fellow dwarves bushy brows and thick beards did little to hide that most primal and intrusive of emotions. They were eyes eager for a solution. For reassurance. And they were judging him too, Tarnum felt. Why would they not be? For he was failing. He felt it deep inside.

The arrival of the human did little to bolster his spirit. But not naught: He had not known what sign he'd been waiting for. But if anything,  the envoi's entrance to their sanctuary had to be it. If one as frail as this one could be guided to the safe-haven by the blessings of the Gods... Guided unscathed through claws and teeth and pitfalls... Then there had to be some hope.

The chief of the mine regarded the sleeping young man and judged him a frail one indeed. The glowroot hanged from the walls of the infirmary was growing dim, but through the shadows it brought the youth's features into view. The only hair on his head was the short red haircut; Tarnum had seen more beard on new-born dwarves than what this boy possessed. And his face was sunken in. Days without food or water tended to do that with a man. The envoi's white armor, splendid though it was, probably already seemed a size too large for him. The malnourishment only added to this. And though they had helped the unconscious boy out of it, before putting him to bed, and in the meantime making sure there were no bite-marks on his body,  the memory of that thin frame inside that armor was still burned in Tarnum's memory.

There were no scars on the envoi's face either. Nothing to indicate any struggle overcome through display of righteous violence and strength. Nor any sign of callus on his hands following a hard day's work. No marks of glorious deeds past at all. He seemed as unintimidating and weak as any human he'd ever seen before. Not at all like a fierce warrior or a stern leader or a brilliant advisor; people Tarnum would surely have much better use for now. Indeed, the envoi didn't look much like anything.

And yet... Somwhere deep inside; hidden beneath his own fears and doubts, Tarnum knew in his heart that he was meant to be here, in this place and at this time, to meet this young man. For what reason, he could not yet fathom. But the realization bore through all, even the repetitive scraping of stone on metal that reverberated in his skull. He was certain of it and recalled something one had told him  over a decade ago. Tarnum Rockbreaker whispered it now.

"You are cursed with great purpose."

The dwarf's voice was but a whisper. The hewer across the room, sharpening his pickaxe with a large stone was sure not to have heard him. Perhaps for the best. If his men were to see him starting to talk to himself; think he was losing his grip on sanity... Then he was sure to lose his grip on them. The thought of losing another one of his men and have them turned into such mindless monstrosities was almost too much to bear.

"Otil." Tarnum called out, not taking his eyes of the ginger. "Stop that racket, would ye?"

"Stop what?" The hewer asked, not looking up either. He placed the stone back on the metal head. The dreaded sound returned.

"That." Tarnum answered. "Rocks is fine. But yer not supposed to be splitting my skull, Otil."

He heard a weary sigh. From the corner of his eyes, the chief could see his crewmate place the stone on the cupboard next to him. He did not face him. Cared not to see the face he'd seen every day for weeks. The lines and wrinkles he'd come to know so well that they were etched just as deeply in his memory. The long black hair. The beard tied into three thick tails and covered in plain steel rings.

Instead, Tarnum told himself his subordinate was a good person at heart. There probably was no disrespect intended in that sigh. Tarnum told himself he was not the only one tired. Not the only one on edge and crushed by the responsibility for his coworkers and the fear of the horrors that lay outside their wooden barricades.

This was no time to show Otil some manners. But if he acknowledged that look he imagined now, and if he were forced to respond if indeed it were there: who know what might be unleashed.

Besides, if truth be told; Tarnum had been elected to  lead a mining party, not a desperate attempt to survive an ungodly horror. Otil or his comrades might consider themselves better equipped for such a task. And Tarnum might welcome such a challenge to his leadership, if he were inclined to agree.

But the humans that had been under his authority were dead already. They had not been made of the same sturdy stuff as dwarves. They could not suffer the strategy needed to survive this peril. Too desperate for fresh air and too contemptuous to listen to the wisdom of those smaller than them, had hardened their hearts and emboldened their spirits. It had set fire to their feet and lead them to their grave.

Tarnum's words, as chieftain of Ondoor, had for now swayed his fellow dwarves. They shared his patience. Even when he failed to convince those poor human bastards who now undoubtedly stalked the shafts themselves; shades of their former selves, half-dead and looking to expand their ranks.

But he knew the hearts of dwarves. And none in his unit was without that most treacherous of flaws. Same for Otil Shatterhand. The flaw of pride. That most deceitful of poisons which shrouded one's vision of the world and promised anything to be possible. Which persisted victory could be attained even against the might of reality itself if only one's resolve was strong enough. Dwarves had an innate knack to believe that the world could be shaped to their will, if their will was forged into steel. It was one of the tenants of the Arzeshor; the faith which Tarnum had so devoutly followed as a younger man.

He still felt that dogma in the core of his being; shining like a diamond in the first light of a fair spring morning. He was not impervious to it, he knew. Not immune by a long shot. But, as his  fingers trailed for the bronze and red oval locket hanging from his neck and grasped it, knocking it's metal frame to the simple steel ring of a promise long gone; he knew he was never without an antidote. A bitter one born of memory and bought with regret.

He knew he was failing in his duty to his men. He knew he was not good enough. He knew that plain fact better than most. But he also knew that to relinquish that responsibility freely and willingly would do naught than doom them all the sooner. The foe they faced would care not for the bravery of his men. It could not be intimidated by the strength of muscle or character.

If they were lead by a better dwarf, they would die.

"What's your plan with him anyways?" Otis asked. When Tarnum eventually looked up, he continued. "We can't afford another mouth to feed, scrawny as he might be."

"He's an envoi of the king." Tarnum answered hollowly.

"Their king." Otis answered, emphasizing the first word.

Tarnum reminded himself that Otis Shatterhand was a fierce loyalist. Most of his men were, in some form or another, beholden to the hidden throne of Helberath. Not even those who had lived amongst the humans for most of their lives were like to shake off that devotion. It ran deeper than any vein of gold did. Though for many, and especially the younger dwarves who had been born in various clans, villages and outposts out in the wider world, that faithfulness seemed more like a matter of principle rather than a core belief. To them Helberath was law, because that was what it was. And yet to the youth it was also far off and not always all that relevant. But then again, unlike Tarnum, most of them had not been raised there. And unlike both Tarnum and Otis, the newer generation was not raised by those who had survived the great tremble. And as such had not had their hearts filled with the same loathing and sense of injustice.

It was perhaps another reason why he felt Otis did not particularly like him, Tarnum reflected. To be such a devout loyalist and to have to work under the command of one who dared to defy the will of Helberath... forgiven as he might have been... had to sting.

"He'll go mad like the others, down here." Otil argued, referring to the rest of the humans. "We have no food to spare.  Especially now that he brought new bodies down into the shafts. You know this, chief."

Tarnum let gravity take the locket. His tired eyes drifted back to the sleeping lad. The boy's chest rose and fell softly and slowly.

"They will outlast us, Rockbreaker."

"Ye would have me send him out there, to be another obstacle for us? Another body, bereft of free will, standing in 'tween us and freedom?"

He watched Otis now, sternly.

The black-haird dwarf straightened himself on his wooden stool and seemed to weigh his words for a few moments. An underlying anger rising in Tarnum agreed that he should.

"No. I would not have that." Shatterhand countered.

"Have him starve then? Leave him wailing and screaming in these halls for days as his strength fades, his stomach drives him crazy and his throat turns dry like parchment? Have us consume our rations while he pleads for death to release him from the pain?"

The hewer seemed taken aback now, at the coldness and harshness of Tarnum's voice. His brow furrowed, but his lips remained sealed.

Tarnum found himself rising from his oaken chair. His hands balled in to fists.

"Or perhaps ye would have me give the lad pity? Slice his throat here and now, ere he wakes?"

To his credit, or lack thereof, after a moment of  silently matching his boss's gaze, Otis answered. And he answered clearly and plainly.


"I have enough blood on my hands as is, Otis"

"Aye." The hewer repeated. "Truer words, chief. Yet chief you are. And such decisions you must make. Fail to act now, and more blood still shall follow."

"And a decision I have made, Shatterhand!" He shouted. "Though ye are under no obligation to agree."

"Hath madness overtaken thee?" Otis rose to meet him. "You speak of his strength leaving him, if we were to let him starve? What strength would that be, Rockbreaker? The boy is skin and bones as is. He is more cleanshaven than a babe. What could he be to us now but a burden? What could he do that is worth anything to us?"

"He made it from the pithead all the way down here." Tarnum answered, more calmly now. "Not a scratch on him. How many have we lost? How many has he? And yet here he lies; unconscious only for the fact that we let him rot for four days."

In the steady, be it dim, light of the glowroot, Otis' expression seemed to change. His anger subsided not. Though an understanding dawned on him. And with it, seemingly, a new source of frustration.

"That is it, then? The source of this folly?"

"Ye will guard your tongue."

Otis ignored him. "You judge him to be under divine protection, Rockbreaker?"

"It is not for me to judge."

"No, it is not." Otis agreed. "Not anymore. Your weakness saw to that. Lost you all that you did in Andalad." He raised his pick-axe, pointing it, not menacingly but definitely disrespectfully, at Tarnum. "And your weakness will get us all killed."

Tarnum felt his blood boil. He might have charged Shatterhand then and there. Were it not that the door on the wall to his left creaked open. The hinges wept as slowly two faces came into view.

The first was as old as time itself. It belonged to a kind dwarf with kind brown eyes and hair as white as snow. His neat beard was most kempt and long, even by Dwarven standards. It was woven in two long tails and draped around his neck like a scarf. A few whisps of his short hair peaked from the bronze miner's helmet atop his head. Old Chars Deeplander walked in, armed with a sharpened shovel.

Accompanying the ancient dwarf was a face that was most unlike in features. Though not in demeanor. Where Chars' was riddled in deep valleys of wrinkles and spots of age, his companion's was still fair and young. With red lips, a small blond goatee and long luscious, blonde hair. Iluna Starforger was not only the youngest member of Tarnum's team, she was also undoubtedly the fairest. And tough as nails despite her appearance.

Luckily, both of them were quick to a smile and a laugh. Even in these darkest of times. Or, as Tarnum suspected; in defiance of these darkest of times. Many a night he'd been thankful for their insistent optimism.

"Change of guard!" Chars bustled in happily. "Get some rest you two."

Tarnum turned to them now, after Otis had lowered his pick. If Chars had noticed that, or the tension which suffocated the room, he hid it well.
From Iluna, for a moments, Tarnum detected a  sheer moment's hesitation. She had seen. And he knew she had. As certainly as the fact that she was already thinking of a way to defuse the entire thing. He could tell by the stance she took, her hands on her hips; her thumbs slipping under the heavy belt that sported two small hammers.

His sympathies went out to her. In her place he too would not have wanted to  be caught between a squabble between her foreman and the de facto second in command.

"We can look after stretch here." She spoke, hardly skipping a beat and with all of her signature enthusiasm.
"Took you long enough." Otis barked, not quite as well-equipped to burying his emotions. As he moved to the duo and turned his back on Tarnum, the black-haired hewer continued. "Not like he's going to wake up anyway."

"You are probably right." Chars said, smiling a smile which missed quite a few teeth. His free hand found Otis' shoulder a moment before they passed. "He don't look well, now do he? Doc did what he could, but he is only human still."

At that very moment, the tall human stirred in his sleep. A short gasp and a murmer of a word as she stretched and retracted. Eight eyes were on him.

"He might surprise us yet." Tarnum spoke, hoping there was truth in his words.

He sighed and walked over to his fellow dwarves. "Ye three get some shut-eye." He decided.

Chars and Iluna shared a confused look.

"'s your turn, chief." Iluna offered. "'s why we're here;"

"I feel fine." Tarnum lied. "I'll keep an eye on him for a while longer. Besides, Chars ain't getting any younger." He joked." He could use a tad more sleep.

Otis swung his pick-axe on his shoulder and measured up Tarnum.

"I thought we were not to wander alone, even inside the safe zone." Otis challenged.

One had to have witnessed the earlier argument to sense this intended slight. Tarnum did and chose to ignore it.

"I won't be alone." He argued. "I'll have him. And I won't be wandering. I shall stay righ here."

The hewer exhaled deeply through his nose. "You are the chief." He acknowledged.

"Get some rest."

Tarnum patted him on the arm. The others turned and began taking their leave. Otis returned the gesture, but took hold of his chief's arm instead.
"You are the chief." He whispered urgently and hastily, out of earshot of the others. His eyes both pleading as well as judging. His voice a rushed rattle "He could attack you. You could do it in self-defence. None would know. None would hold it against you. None would tell if we make it out of this place."

It took Tarnum a moment to answer.

"You would do well to remember your place."

"You would do well to remember the creed of Arzeshor, holy man." The response came lightning fast. "We were given six gifts. Destruction is not evil. It is a tool. And it can be necessary for construction."

Tarnum broke free from his grip.

"You coming, Otis?" Ilusa called, poking her head back from out the door.

"Be right there." The black-haired dwarf declared without turning around or even taking his eyes off Tarnum. He waited a moment before continuing, by which time  Starforger had left once more. "Allow many to built further in their lives, by tearing down his. That is right; you know it is. And when all is said and  done, I shall lie for you. For that too would be right."

"Go to bed." Tarnum ordered, leaving no room for argument in his  command.

There came none.

Instead Otis smirked, clearly content that he'd gotten under his skin. He walked backwards with a sense of bravado and purpose. He bowed low in honor of his chieftain.

Tarnum felt the humiliation creep up on him. Even after Otis Shatterhand hand left the infirmary and his smug face had left him pretty much alone, something he'd longed for, for a while, ... Even then Tarnum could still recall that wicked grin.

He sighed deeply and took place once more on his oaken chair beside the bed of the boy. Whom was no longer sleeping quite as deeply. One could see the rapid eye movement.

"Time to wake up, kiddo." He pleaded. "We've got work to do."

"If we have to go down, we go down together!"
- Your mum, last night, requesting 69.

Atheist Mantis does not pray.


To be sure, I now realize I turned ´otil´ into ´otis´ in the latter part. That is a dumb mistake.
"If we have to go down, we go down together!"
- Your mum, last night, requesting 69.

Atheist Mantis does not pray.


That's very readable. The only thing I saw wrong was that "tenants" should have been "tenets." Other than that there were only a couple of typos, which can be easily fixed.

I'm curious to know what the payoff will be and what obstacles must be overcome to get to it.
God Not Found
"There is a sucker born-again every minute." - C. Spellman


Quote from: Unbeliever on May 09, 2023, 07:21:47 PMThat's very readable. The only thing I saw wrong was that "tenants" should have been "tenets." Other than that there were only a couple of typos, which can be easily fixed.

I'm curious to know what the payoff will be and what obstacles must be overcome to get to it.

Thank you. I´ve got two chapters finished by now, a third and a fourth partway done and a filth in General outline.

Only barely over 10.000 words by now, but making slow yet steadily progress.

Glad it is readable.
"If we have to go down, we go down together!"
- Your mum, last night, requesting 69.

Atheist Mantis does not pray.

Mike Cl

More than readable.  When I go hunting for a good new (to me) book to start, I use this system.  Read the cover front to back.  If still interested, open the book to a random spot and read a couple of paragraphs or so.  May do that 2/4 times; then if I find I like the style of writing well enough I set it aside.  Do it again for other books.  After finding 3/4 books I'm interested in, I then do the same system and pick the one I will purchase.  My fav hunting ground for books is a great second hand book store.  After the reading that book, I take it back to the store and donate the book back, and select another one. 

Based on what I've read of your book, I'd probably purchase it. 
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?<br />Then he is not omnipotent,<br />Is he able but not willing?<br />Then whence cometh evil?<br />Is he neither able or willing?<br />Then why call him god?


So many books, too little time to read! 🥸
God Not Found
"There is a sucker born-again every minute." - C. Spellman



I finished what will likely be the first chapter today. Might start on a prologue later.

I´m currently a little under 17500 words. Still a ways away from a respectable size novel. But I still also have still much to write.
The prologue and the unfinished chapter I have already partially wratten might, together, put me over 22.000 words already.
And I still have at least 10 more chapters to write.

When finished, I should get over 70.000 words at least.
Which is still not very long. But I find that as I write, more ideaw for chapters come to mind.

Sorry for geeking out here, but I am actually giddy that for once I seem to actually be making progress.
"If we have to go down, we go down together!"
- Your mum, last night, requesting 69.

Atheist Mantis does not pray.


Had a bit of a down-period due to some strife at work, lately. And the performance of a play I directed.

But I managed to write my prologue this week. Only for last night to realize I had made a grave error and would have to rewrite a lot of it.

Rewrote about half of it today and managed to bring it up from 3500 words to 4000, so far. But will still have some correcting to do.
The upside, counting my faulty part prologue (because I figure I will have to rewrite everything to some point), I am now at about 21.500 words. If I managed to finish it and finish my other in progress chapter, I imagine me getting up to 24.000 words.

But hey, I passed the 20.000 mark, and that counts for something..

I´ll be visiting my brother and his wife in sweden, in a few weeks... perhaps I should try to get the bringing chapters written and ask them to go over it for me and ask if they would mind being my bèta readers... both studied literature and are most proficient in english, her being american.
Part of me doesn´t want to disturb them, and wonders: ´what if the story is just really bad´...
Mulling it it over.

I have two weeks. Rewriting the prologue, finishing the half-written chapter and writing the three connecting chapters will be most challenging. But perhaps it can be done.
"If we have to go down, we go down together!"
- Your mum, last night, requesting 69.

Atheist Mantis does not pray.


Sooooo... my Main character is redheaded. And I need a slur for someone like that. But I would like it to be something else than ´ginger´. As qwful as it may be, can I ask for examples?

Just reached 26.000 words
"If we have to go down, we go down together!"
- Your mum, last night, requesting 69.

Atheist Mantis does not pray.


Fanta Pants
fire truck
carrot top
blood nut
match stick
Fire crotch
Freckle face