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 Post subject: Re: Ever After
PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2004 2:01 pm 
WhiteSkyFire: Thanks for the feedback, I'm glad that you're enjoying the story.



StrangeQuark: Yup there is some tension brewing. Thanks for your comments.



I'll be posting the next chapter after the weekend.



Edited by: Warduke at: 4/8/04 2:03 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Ever After
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:27 am 
Well when I said after the weekend, I didn't say which weekend :ashamed



Still here is chapter 7. Chapter 8 is almost finished, so it shouldn't be quite as long.





Chapter 7





Hannah and Jared made their way straight to the mayors house. It was a medium sized building about a couple of miles out from the town center. It was in a secluded area, set into a small grove of trees. Going round a bend in the road they saw a body up ahead. He was lying by the side of the road, His limbs contorted. Dismounting Hannah and Jared approached it. "It looks like we're too late." Hannah observed. She noticed a small needle sticking out of the man's neck and started to reach for it.



"You'd better let me handle that." Jared drew a cloth from his belt then carefully reached for the needle and placed it in the cloth. After putting it away, he drew his knife and ran it across the man's throat.



A little shocked by this Hannah said, "He was already dead."



Not answering this Jared said, "Come on we'd better check on the mayor." Inside they found her sitting on the stairs, holding a cloth up to her arm. "We found the body outside."



Elizabeth nodded, "There's another one in there." She indicated a side door.



After Jared had gone to investigate Hannah went over to Elizabeth and said, "You're hurt."



"It's not too bad, though I will need some attention from Morgan.



Hannah looked around, "Was there only two of them?"



"Three, but the third ran off after I'd killed his two friends." Elizabeth pulled the cloth away a little and Hannah was a little surprised at how red her blood was. Given how pale Elizabeth's skin was she hadn't been sure it would be.



"We think that they might..." Hannah stopped as Jared returned.



"We'd better get you to the healer. I'll send a couple of men to deal with the bodies."



Elizabeth nodded, "The one outside, I..."



"It's okay I took care of that."



"Thanks."



***





Once Morgan had stitched and bound the mayor's arm Hannah stayed behind a moment to talk to her. Noticing that Hannah seemed to be a little agitated Morgan asked, "What's up?"



Hannah looked around, not wanting to be overheard. It was then she noticed something, "Where's Sandra?"



"Oh she went to look for some herbs."



Hannah nodded then asked, "What about your body guard?"



"Outside, she doesn't seem to like me very much."



Hannah snorted, "She probably thinks that liking women is contagious. Anyway, one of the men who attacked Elizabeth, I think he'd been poisoned."



Morgan nodded, "You remember what Sandra told me." Hannah nodded. "Well Elizabeth admitted that she had been an assassin for the regent."



"That she was an assassin is bad, that she worked for the regent, well that's a whole lot worse."



"Yes, well I'm just saying I'm not surprised she'd be able to use poison."



"There's something weird. Jared cut the man's throat. I mean he was obviously dead."



"Suffer not a poisoner to live. That law isn't adhered to so much these days, but the use of poison is still frowned on."



Hannah nodded as she considered this, "Oh, so he was covering up for her."



"Most likely."



"I'd better get going. Elizabeth wanted to talk to Jared and me. I'll be back soon."



Morgan slipped her arm round Hannah's waist and kissed her deeply. After a while Hannah said, "I really ought to be going."



"Then go." Instead Hannah continued kissing her.



***





When Hannah reached the mayor's office Elizabeth looked up at her sharply before saying, "So Jared was just explaining that you suspect that the attackers were working for the Mithran royal guard."



"Well we did find there emblem but..."



"Come on." Jared interrupted, "Who else would it be. The way they cleared the site out shows they were professionals and Elizabeth had just been there."



Hannah hesitated a moment. "Uh..." She noticed that Elizabeth was watching her. There was something about the way the other woman seemed to be appraising her that made her suddenly want to defend herself. "You're right they did do a thorough job of cleaning their camp site, which makes it odd they left their emblem there. It's almost like they wanted us to find it."



"They might have just overlooked it." Jared argued, though without much conviction.



"I agree with Hannah. I think the people behind it are trying to worsen relations between us and Mithrar."



"And they chose you because you'd been there recently," Hannah added.



Elizabeth nodded, "Well it's comforting to know that it wasn't personal. Though I did put a few people out there, if only by being a woman in a position of authority."



"They didn't like that?"



"They're rather, shall we say, misogynistic over there."



"Well if it wasn't the Mithrans who was it?"



"Good question. I'll have to get in touch with the queen about this."



Hannah stopped listening to them. There was something bothering her, but she wasn't sure what it was. Then, after thinking about it a moment, she said, "Do you think this is connected to what happened to Morgan?"



"It doesn't seem likely."



"I was just thinking it's strange we've only seen one knight of Galeone, they normally don't work alone. Also they would benefit from causing a rift between us and Mithrar."



"Mithrar has always welcomed their order, so with our current witch friendly queen, they probably would want to prevent any alliance between our nations."



"That's what I was thinking."



"But it's still too early to tell."



"They'll most likely try again," Jared said, "You should have someone to protect you."



"I was just thinking the same thing."



***





Hannah got to the shop just as Morgan was leaving. "Greetings fair maid, wouldst thou like an escort home."



Morgan grinned, "Why of course brave knight, I wouldst." Hannah put her arm through Morgan's and ignoring the scandalised look from a woman on the opposite side of the street they started to walk home. "So how did things go?"



Hannah explained what they had discussed and the theories that she had had. "This seemed like such a quiet little town when we arrived."



"There certainly does seem to be a lot going on here at the moment."



Going inside Hannah said, "It doesn't look like Sandra's back yet."



Morgan frowned. She was thinking that it might not have been a good idea to let Sandra go off on her own, "No, I hope she's okay."



"I'm sure she will be."



***





Sandra arrived back half an hour later. Smiling sheepishly she said, "Sorry I lost track of time."



Rising Morgan smiled, "It's okay, though we were beginning to worry a little."



"Don't worry I can take care of myself." Sandra smiled, "After all I grew up with three brothers."       



As they went to have dinner Morgan asked, "So what was it like having three brothers."



"Oh it was a lot of fun," Sandra answered in a sarcastic tone. Sighing she went on, "I was very glad to leave home."



"Oh." Morgan said. They didn't speak much after that.



***





As Elizabeth finished up for the night she wrote out a report of what had happened. Folding the report up she opened her drawer up to get out some wax and her seal. She heated the wax in a candle and let some fall on the paper, before pressing her seal into it. After placing the report to be sent off she sat thinking for a moment. Getting another piece of paper Elizabeth wrote out the details again, though this time in smaller script and with less detail. After finishing she folded the paper up then got up and went out.



Jared met her as she left, "Are you heading home?"



"Yes, I am."



"Well then I'll escort you there."



"Of course."



***





Morgan woke up in the middle of the night. Seeing that it was still dark outside she wondered what had woken her up. Then she heard a slight tapping at the door. She woke up Hannah who asked in a sleepy voice, "What?"



"Sandra's outside." Morgan got up an threw her robe on before going to open he door. "Sandra, what's wrong?"



"Sorry to get you up, but I just had this thought and I wanted to discuss it with you."



"Um, couldn't it have..."



"It's about those wraith wolves."



"You'd better come in."



Morgan got back into bed, while Sandra went to sit on the end of the bed. "Well I was thinking about the wolves, and about that ritual that, that guard guy..."



"Jared," Hannah supplied.



"Yeah, Jared used to bring them back. Then it occurred to me. What if someone had used the same ritual to summon them in the first place."



"No," Morgan protested, "Why would someone do that?"



"I don't know, but think about it. Why else would they be so far away from the great mountains, and in such large numbers."



Morgan frowned, still not liking the idea. Sighing she said, "You could be right. We can go and look round the site tomorrow."



"Don't you need to work?" Hannah asked.



"Yeah, but..." Morgan thought a moment, "Catherine's coming in tomorrow, to pick up some herbs for the old mayor. I could ask her to keep an eye on the shop while I'm gone."



"Is she living with him?" Hannah asked.



"Yes, I thought that I mentioned it. They went to live on a farm together shortly are he retired." Seeing that Hannah looked doubtful she went on, "I'm sure that I told you."



"Well I agree, about the looking over the scene," Sandra put in. "Even if I turn out to be wrong we might find something out that tells us what happened."



Morgan nodded, "I think we owe it to the people who died to find out." Morgan shook her head, "I'm sorry but I hope you're wrong."



"Yeah, I hope I am as well."



***





Elizabeth slipped out of her room and went up the stairs to the attic. Setting the light she had brought down she went over to a small rookery. Getting the note she had written out of her pocket she selected one of the pidgeons and attached the note to it's leg. She then carried it over to the window and released it.



TBC



There's more than one way to do it. - The Perl mantra



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 Post subject: Re: Ever After
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 9:44 am 
Very good character interaction and a really swift pace for this installment. I like the short scenes and to-the-point, often witty dialogue especially.



You've really captured all of the necessary micromovements (smiles, frowns, eyebrows rising, etc.) without cluttering the scenes with them. A great balance that you've achieved with that.



The poison-ban is a very inventive and intriguing device in this universe. It reminds me a little of a chemical-weapons ban :) It's the subtle little nuances like that which you've peppered throughout this MorgHannaverse that bring a much needed grounding element to a world that could easily get caught-up in its own fantasy.



Points of style--



When a new action takes place, new paragraph. Even if the paragraph is only one quoted reply or a nod. There are a few places where I got a little lost as to who was doing what to whom, and the new-paragraph structure would easily eliminate that. For instance, the Morgan/Hannah deep-kiss scene...



[Morgan slipped her arm round Hannah's waist and kissed her deeply. After a while Hannah said, "I really ought to be going."



"Then go." Instead Hannah continued kissing her.]



The first paragraph has two separate actions by two different characters. The second paragraph has what I assume to be Morgan replying, but the name Hannah appears as the second word after the untagged quote. My feeble brain knows who is saying what, but only after some analysis. I'm sure that you get what I mean...



Sorry for the nitpick, but it did frustrate me a little to have to verify the speakers and actions in a saucy scene....



Great stuff as always, Justin! I patiently await further updates-- with a complete and sympathetic understanding of any amount of time that it takes to create and post them.



-SQ



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 Post subject: Re: Ever After
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 9:25 am 
StrangeQuark: Thanks for your comments. I'm glad that you liked this part :)



Quote:
The poison-ban is a very inventive and intriguing device in this universe




Though, to be honest, I didn't come up with the idea. The line "suffer not a poisoner to live" is actually from the Bible (though only earlier versions. In the King James edition the word poisoner was mistranslated as witch)



Thanks for the style pointers. It is helping me improve my writing. And you're right about it being frustrating. Points like that which aren't quite clear tend to draw you out of the story, which can be annoying.



Though I am still considering ditching english in favour of Ruby, Don't be surprised if the next part is something like



Hannah.kiss Morgan

Morgan.moan :appreciatively



or maybe LISP would be better



(when (kiss Hannah Morgan) (moan Morgan appreciatively))



IMHO that's much better :P



There's more than one way to do it. - The Perl mantra



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 Post subject: Re: Ever After
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2004 1:12 am 
Chapter 8





Catherine arrived at the shop just before noon. After giving her the herbs she wanted Morgan asked, "Sandra and I wanted to go out to check on something. Um, I was wondering if you'd mind looking after the shop while we're gone."



Catherine glanced out at the sun dial which was standing in the town square, "Well, I don't know. How long do you think you'll be?"



"We should be gone an hour or so."



"Oh well okay then. There's nothing where I have to go urgently. If you don't mind me asking, where are you going?"



"We were going to go to Linacre. We had an idea about what happened."



"Oh well then go, certainly. Everyone lost a lot of friends there. If you can give us some answers, well everyone will be very grateful."



***





After finishing her morning shift Hannah went to Morgan's shop. Going in she was dismayed to see Catherine there. "I take it that they've left already."



"Oh yes, they left some time ago. They'll probably have arrived at Linacre by now."



Hannah nodded, telling herself that she should have expected this, "Okay, thanks."



***





Sandra, Morgan and Milicent came into sight of the small paddock as they crested the top of a hill.



"Was this where the first attack was?" Sandra asked.



"Yes." It was Milicent who answered. "First they attacked the live stock, then they killed the farmer, before moving towards the town."



"I've never heard of Wraith Wolves attacking animals before." Morgan got off of her horse and moved towards the the pen, "Though there's a lot that I don't know about them."



Moving up to the fence Milicent asked, "What exactly are you looking for?"



"Evidence of what brought the wraith wolves here," Sandra answered in a condescending tone, "Not that you'd understand that sort of thing." Sandra dismounted and went to join Morgan, while Milicent stayed on her horse.



"Have you got anything?"



Morgan shook her head, "To be honest I'm not certain what we're looking for."



"Me neither."



Milicent watched them as they worked for a while, "You think that someone summoned the wraith wolves."



"Obviously," Sandra answered.



"It just seems odd that the wraith wolves would travel this far," Morgan explained, "So we're looking for signs that someone summoned them."



"But would these signs be in plain sight? I'd imagine they'd be hidden."



"So where do you suggest, oh wise one?" Sandra asked.



"There are some caves nearby."



"We'd better go look."



Milicent lead them round the hillside, where there was an opening.



"Oh," Morgan whispered as they approached, swaying slightly.



"Are you okay?"



Morgan raised her hand to her forehead, "This is definitely it."



looking in the cave Sandra muttered, "I can't see anything in there."



Milicent sighed and got a torch out of her pack and lit it. She took a couple of steps into the cave and stopped, "I take it this is what you meant by signs." In the middle of the cave there was a large pole, which had a sheep nailed to it. There was a small pool of blood round the base. In the flickering torchlight they could just make out symbols painted on the walls. "So this is what witches do for fun."



"No witch did this," Morgan's voice was firm.



"These symbols look demonic," Sandra added.



Morgan, who had been approaching the pole stopped suddenly and ran out of the cave.



"And that confirms it." Seeing that Milicent didn't understand she added, "Morgan's very sensitive to demonic stuff."



"But you're not."



"I'd better go check on her." Leaving the cave Sandra found Morgan sitting on the ground, wiping her mouth. Sitting down next to her, and putting her arm round her back Sandra asked, "Are you okay?"



Morgan nodded, "It was just a shock. I wonder why it affects me like this."



"You're just sensitive."



Leaving the cave Milicent put the torch out asking, "So I take it we can go back now?"





***





When they had gotten back to the shop Catherine asked, "so did you find anything out?"



Morgan nodded. She thought about it a moment, "Actually I'd better see the mayor about it, that is if you don't mind waiting a bit longer."



"Not at all."



"I'll come with you," Milicent said.



"You don't have to."



"I think I do. The mayor made it clear I wouldn't like it if anything happened to you."



Morgan shrugged, "Well okay then."



A short while after they'd gone Catherine was just sorting a shelf out when she stopped suddenly and turned to the door, "Oh dear."



"What's up?"



"I meant to tell her that Hannah came by earlier."



"Oh well I'll tell her," Sandra offered in a reassuring tone.



***





When Morgan got to the mayor's office she instead found the deputy mayor there. "Can I help you?"



"I was looking for the mayor."



"Oh well I believe she was visiting some of the outlying farms."



"Oh."



"You'll probably find her at the Mckensie farm."



Morgan nodded, "Thanks."



***





"So who do you think did this?"



"What?" They had been walking in silence and Morgan was rather surprised by the sudden question.



"Well if the wolves were summoned then someone must have done it."



"Yeah I... I just don't know who."



"Of course they must have known it would be found sooner or later."



"So?"



"So maybe they wanted it to be found."



"So I'd be blamed. Do you really think they wiped out a village just to get at me?"



"See this is what happens if you consort with witches. The queen has brought death to this kingdom through her actions."



Morgan turned to Milicent in shock as she realised what the other woman was suggesting, "So you think it's to discredit the queen."



"It's possible."



"You know I didn't think that you liked me."



"I don't but I lost some good friends when Linacre was attacked. I'd like to see the people responsible get what's coming to them.



***





Elizabeth wasn't someone who got nervous easily. When she had been at Mithrar she had at first been spoke down to and patronised then, when that didn't work, she had been cajoled and threatened. Yet despite this experience she was finding the way that the old woman was looking at her rather unnerving. She was visiting Mr Mckensie along with some of the other farmers. She was finding Mr Mckensie easy enough to get along with, the problem was his mother was there. She hadn't said anything, just sat watching as she did her knitting.



"Well I think that's about everything," Elizabeth said.



"Oh yes," Mr Mckensie said as he rose, "You know I'd been sorry to hear the old guy was retiring, but I guess that you'll do as a replacement."



"Well I appreciate your..."



"What about the witch." The old woman said, speaking for the first time, her knitting frozen in her hands.



Elizabeth sighed inwardly, she had been expecting this to be brought up on her trip. She should have known it'd be this old battle axe to do it. Elizabeth turned to her, "What do you mean?"



"How long is she going to be allowed to stay here?"



"As long as she wants to."



"So we can expect more attacks like Linacre."



"Morgan had nothing to do with that."



"Don't give me that rubbish. Everyone knows she was behind it."



"It's you who's talking rubbish. Morgan is a good person, I guess you're just too hateful to see that." Elizabeth stopped, shocked at what she had just said. She had learnt at an early age that it was best to keep her thoughts to herself and to watch what she said. There was just something about this woman that made that difficult.



"Edward are you going to let her talk to me like that?"



"Now I think that you should..." He stopped as there was a knock at the door. Clearly relieved to be getting away from this tense situation he went to answer. "Hello Milicent, Ma'am. What can I do for you both?"



Elizabeth turned to the door as she heard Milicent's name, thinking 'It couldn't be could it? That would be too much of a coincidence.'



"I was looking for the mayor."



Elizabeth groaned inwardly, as she heard Morgan's voice. She had a feeling that this would go badly.



"Edward, why don't you show the ladies in?" A gleam in her eyes suggested that she had recognised Morgan as well.



Elizabeth shifted uncomfortably, wondering how she cold avoid a confrontation. Finally she decided to take the cowards way, she glance out the window and made a tutting sound. "I've got a couple more farms I need to go to. I'm going to have to get going if I'm going to get back in time."



"Such a shame." It was obvious that the old woman didn't believe her, but Elizabeth didn't particularly care.



Elizabeth made her way out, intercepting Morgan and Milicent on the way.



As they were leaving Morgan asked, "Why do I get the feeling you didn't want me to meet that lady?"



"Because you are entirely too observant." Smiling Elizabeth went on, "She has taken rather a disliking to you."



Morgan looked sad at this, "And we haven't even met."



"She suggested that you might be responsible for what happened at Linacre."



Milicent gave Morgan a Knowing look.



Morgan said, "We've been looking into that."



"Oh yes? Well you'd better tell me on the way."



Morgan explained what they had found. When she had finished Elizabeth frowned, "So not only is someone attacking me, they're also attacking the town." She sighed, "Okay Morgan you better get back to your shop, Milicent if you could show me where this cave is." With that they both set off in their respective directions.



***





The next night as they were eating dinner Hannah asked, in an offhand tone, "So how long were you thinking about staying?"



"Hannah!" Morgan sounded shocked.



Sandra smiled, "Are you getting fed up of me already?"



"Oh." Hannah blushed, "I didn't mean it to sound like that. Sorry, I was just wondering."



"Oh well I had only been planning to stay a week or so, but it seems like you've got a mystery here. I'd like to stay to help you sort it out."



"And we appreciate that," Morgan said, "Don't we Hannah?"



Hannah nodded, trying to look convincing. "Oh yeah, definitely."



***





"Has Sandra done something to offend you?" Morgan asked, trying to keep any traces of accusation out of her voice.



"Oh, no, Really. I didn't mean it to sound like I didn't want her to stay. I was just curious about her plans."



"Okay then," Morgan nodded.



"It's just..." Hannah hesitated, "It doesn't matter."



"No, what is it?" When Hannah didn't answer Morgan went round to kneel in front of Hannah and took her hands, "We shouldn't have any secrets."



"Well you're spending a lot of time with her."



"Well Sandra doesn't know anyone here, and being a witch makes it harder for her. I guess she just finds it easier to relate to me."



"Yeah, I noticed." Hannah couldn't keep a trace of jealousy out of her voice.



"You're jealous."



"No, I'm not. It's just like you have something, because you're both witches, and it's something that I'm excluded from."



Morgan stared at Hannah, not sure what to say, "You're right Sandra and I do have something, and you're not a part of that. But I thought that You and I had something, which she wasn't a part of. I though that we loved each other."



Hannah looked away, avoiding Morgan's eyes. "Morgan, I..."



Standing Morgan said, "I'm going to bed."



***





The next morning Elizabeth was woken up by a bird arriving at her window. Opening the window she quickly caught hold of it. There was a small note on it's leg. Setting the pigeon down on a perch she removed the note and unrolled it. After reading it she said, "Oh dear."





"To mess up a Linux box you need to work at it; to mess up a Windows box you just need to work on it."



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 Post subject: Re: Ever After
PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 5:44 pm 
It took me some time to catch up, but I'm enjoying this story. Thanks for the update.:)



Yvonne:peace



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 Post subject: Re: Ever After
PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 7:10 am 
Great update!



I like the way that you've managed to have so many characters --all very distinct, by the way-- surrounding a single, monolithic plot. It's better than what I've dug myself into, with so many characters, so many plots, sub-plots... not the best way to tell a story (If you want people to be able to follow it.)



I'm pleased to see tension building between Morgan and Hannah. Not that I don't wan them to be happy together but drama needs tension and conflict, and you've delivered just the right amount in order to lend some palpable unease between the two. The tension that's been brewing is now at a steady simmer, and it will make their relationship all-the-more meaningful and real if and when they manage to resolve it.



Your micromovements (smiles, eyes closing, shoulders sinking, etc.) are getting a lot better which is breathing some more emotion into the characters. The one thing that I'd recommend is to take the time (which I'm sure that you have less of than myself) to craft a few transitional sentences or even paragraphs to establish scene-beginnings. It makes the movement less jumpy and more deliberate in the reader's perception.



I write a bunch of scenes... I place some of my characters in a setting, throw a conflict at them, and record how they react to it. I don't usually write the transitions or set-ups (If I even do in some cases) until I'm happy with the action, movement, dialogue, and emotion of the scene. Sometimes -- for me at least-- having those scenes all nice-nice beforehand helps me to construct better lead-ins and exits because the emotional 'flavor' of the moment is very concrete by that point. Kind of like planning a meal --Get the main course planned first, and then think of the appetizer and dessert that will best accompany the entree.



Again, I don't get paid to write, so take my advice with a measure of caution. I have read a LOT of books on the subject of writing though, and they all seem to indicate that my particular technique has some merits.



Great update, great story, great characters, and great conflict --A good read that keeps getting better.



Looking forward to more, always.



-SQ



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 Post subject: Re: Ever After
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2004 1:58 pm 
Onyxsundrops Thanks, I'm glad that you're enjoying the story :)



StrangeQuark:

Quote:
Your micromovements (smiles, eyes closing, shoulders sinking, etc.) are getting a lot better which is breathing some more emotion into the characters.




I'm glad that I'm improving here. Though it's an area that I still need to work on.



Quote:
The one thing that I'd recommend is to take the time (which I'm sure that you have less of than myself) to craft a few transitional sentences or even paragraphs to establish scene-beginnings. It makes the movement less jumpy and more deliberate in the reader's perception.




To be honest I haven't been as happy with this story as I was with the first, and a lot of that is I've rushed writing it. I've decided to not start posting the next story till I'm well ahead with writing it so I'll be able to take the time needed to polish it.



Thanks for the advice. I am taking all your suggestions to heart.



I do have trouble with beggining and ending scenes so your suggestion makes sense.



Thanks for the kind words.



I've finished writing the story, so it's now just a matter of adding the needed polish. I got a friend to read over it and, well, there's an embrassing number of spelling and punctuation errors :blush



"To mess up a Linux box you need to work at it; to mess up a Windows box you just need to work on it."



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 Post subject: Re: Ever After
PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 11:15 am 
Chapter 9



As Morgan, Hannah and Sandra were getting ready they were surprised when a messenger arrived summoning them to see the mayor. When they arrived at her office, seeing that Jared was already there, Hannah nodded to him before sitting down.



"I asked you here as I have some information about the attacks against you," This was said to Morgan, "and against myself." Turning to Hannah she went on, "You remember you thought that they might be connected, well it seems that you were right."



"I was?" Hannah didn't sound as though she believed this.



Elizabeth was quiet a moment, as if debating something. Finally she said, "I have a contact at Prince Edmund's palace. I contacted her a few days ago. She replied last night that Edmund had been in contact with the a sect of the knights of Galeone." She paused a moment to let that sink in.



"So Edmund, and my sister are behind this? This is just another attempt at the throne."



"It certainly seems that way. Then, of course, there's Linacre."



"You're not saying that the knights of Galeone were behind that?" Morgan asked, "There were demonic symbols there. Why would they be dealing with demons?"



"There were also symbols that resembled the emblems of groups within the order."



"How do you know that?" Sandra demanded.



"I've just spent several months in Mithrar, where the order are quite common."



"I can't believe she'd kill all those people just to get the throne," Hannah muttered.



"Some people don't value lives the way most people do."



Morgan looked up at this, wondering which group Elizabeth was in.



"Is there anything we can do about this?" Jared asked.



Elizabeth shook her head, "I doubt if we can prove any of this. All we'd do is put my contact in danger."



"So what are we going to do?" Sandra asked.



"I'm still working on that. Well I just wanted to let you know what's happening."



***





As soon as they got back to the shop Morgan set about working while Sandra sat down watching her. During a quiet moment Morgan said, "I wonder who this contact is."



"I think I can guess. It'll be..." Sandra stopped, her forehead creasing in a frown, "I can't remember her name. She's in the royal guard, quite short, red hair and kicks like a mule."



"You mean Cassandra?"



"Yeah, that's her. She's been friends with Elizabeth for some time now. I'm not surprised she's spying on the prince for her."



"I liked Cassandra. She reminded me a bit of Hannah."



Sandra just shrugged, "I guess."



***





When they had been there a while Sandra decided it was time to talk to Morgan about what had happened that morning. "You know, um I couldn't help noticing that things were kind of tense between you and Hannah this morning."



Morgan nodded, looking upset, "It's... I just don't know what's going wrong. Hannah just seems so jealous."



"It's me isn't it?" Sandra guessed, "Maybe I should go."



"No, this isn't your fault. Maybe it's me, maybe I'm not being attentive enough."



Sandra considered it a moment, "I think the problem is that Hannah doesn't think that she's good enough for you."



"But that's silly. Why would she think that?"



Sandra just shrugged.



"Maybe I should go talk to her." Morgan stopped, looking round the shop.



"Actually perhaps I should. I mean if Hannah's worried about me then I could tell, I don't know, not to?"



"Would you? Oh, I'd really appreciate that."



"Okay then I'll go now."



As Sandra left Morgan wondered if she'd made a mistake. Thinking she should have gone herself. She pushed these thoughts aside telling herself she'd talk to Hannah that evening.



***





Sandra hadn't been gone long when the door opened and someone came in. "You weren't..." Morgan started, stopping when she saw that it was Elizabeth, "Oh, I thought that you were someone else."



Elizabeth nodded, "I wanted to talk to you about these dreams."



It took a moment for Morgan to remember what she was talking about, "You mean the ones about your mother?"



"Yes. I'd hoped that they'd fade, but if anything they're getting stronger."



"I really wish I could help, but I haven't had much experience with dreams."



Elizabeth nodded, "Well it was a long shot. I guess I'll just have to learn to live with them."



"Do you think these dreams might be repressed memories?"



Elizabeth laughed, stopping when she saw the look on Morgan's face. "You're serious?"



Morgan nodded.



"My mother died in a hunting accident. Anyway I think there'd be some sort of record of it if demons had attacked the palace."



Morgan looked down, "You're right. It was a stupid idea."



"Well, I'd better get going."



When Elizabeth had gone Morgan stood still wondering what she could have done to help Elizabeth.



***





Hannah was standing outside the gates of one of the store houses, fidgeting slightly.



"So I see they've got you on guard duty."



Hannah shrugged, "Yeah well the newbies get all the good jobs. So what can I do for you?"



"Uh, well I just wanted to talk." Sandra went to stand next to Hannah. "Things seemed to be a bit tense this morning."



"I know. It was all my fault. Me and my stupid mouth."



"You know Morgan really does love you."



"Yeah I do. I don't know why she does but..." Hannah suddenly stopped. After a moment she said, "I know Morgan loves me, and I love her." Hannah looked thoughtful, "Maybe I should tell her." Hannah smiled slightly, "Or better yet maybe I should show her."



Sandra nodded, "Yeah. You know Morgan doesn't look down on you."



"Yeah of course..." Hannah stopped, "What?"



"I mean because you're not a witch. I'm sure that doesn't matter to her."



Hannah looked down, feeling uncertain.



"Morgan told me that you only learnt to read recently, but you know Morgan isn't going to think less of you because of that."



"She told you that?"



Sandra nodded, "So you see, you shouldn't feel like you're not good enough for her."



"Uh..." Hannah turned, spotting another guard approaching. There was a certain amount of relief in her voice as she said, "My relief is here, I better get back to the barracks." Hannah hurried off before Sandra could respond.



***





Sandra went straight back to the shop.



"Hi," Morgan said, seeing her, "How'd it go?"



"Well, you know, I guess that it went pretty well."



Morgan turned to Sandra, her expression worried, "What? You didn't fight did you?"



"No, of course not." Sandra smiled slightly at the thought, "She just seems so insecure."



Morgan nodded, "Do you have any ideas what I can do? To make her see I love her?"



"Well I think there are some trust issues." Sandra hesitated, seemingly not sure whether to go on or not, "You have to be completely honest with her."



"But I have been. I..."



"Have you told her about your parents?" Sandra interrupted, in a low voice.



Morgan stared at Sandra a moment, "But... How do you know about that?"



"All of the family records, census's, stuff like that, are stored at the palace library."



"Oh, do you think I should tell her?"



"The question is, do you?"



Morgan nodded, "I do, don't I? How can I expect Hannah to trust me if I don't trust her?"



***





All through the day Elizabeth kept thinking about what Morgan had suggested. Finally she decided that she needed to check it out.



Getting her horse out of the stall Elizabeth rode down to a small hamlet to the south of the town. Seeing her approach Gilbert said, "Ah I wondered how long it would take you to come down here. Having problems?"



"You could say that." Elizabeth said as she dismounted from her horse, "However it was Catherine that I wanted to see."



"And why do you think that she's here?"



Elizabeth laughed, "Come on, everyone knows that she's been living with you since you both retired."



"Oh, well then you'd better come on in."



Having overheard the conversation, Catherine came to greet them, "So what can I do for you?"



"I believe that you worked at the palace about forty years ago, as a maid."



Catherine and Gilbert exchanged surprised looks at this. "Yes that's correct. I worked there for ten years."



"Do you remember anything unusual happening during that time."



"Well there was always something unusual. The palace was always a very hectic place."



"I mean involving demons, and possibly my mother."



"There was never any demons there. I mean until these stories about the regent no one ever really believed in them. I do remember your mother though. She was such a nice woman, so elegant. We were all upset when she died, a hunting accident I believe."



"Oh." Elizabeth told herself that she had been expecting this, but was still disappointed.



"Now what is this all about?" Gilbert asked, he'd been following the conversation and hadn't been able to make any sense out of it.



"Ah well." Elizabeth wondered how she was going to explain that she was checking into a dream that she had been having.



She was saved from this as Catherine dropped the cup that she had been holding. "Oh my. I've never thought about this before but now that you mention it, the palace was attacked by demons. They were all over the place."



"You never told me about this."



"Like I said, I never thought about it. I remember... Oh my."



"What is it?"



"I remember your mother was listed amongst the dead, but I also remember about her dying in a hunting accident."



Elizabeth nodded, "I also have two sets of memories about what happened."



"What does it mean?"



"I'm not sure. I'm going to have to look into this."



"Please tell me anything that you find out."



Elizabeth nodded, "Of course."



On the way back Elizabeth thought about what she had found out. She wasn't the only one who had repressed memories from that event. Either that or their memories had been altered.



***





Hannah was walking home when behind her someone called, "Hey bitch."



Turning Hannah saw two men there. The first, who had shouted, she didn't recognise. But the second one she did. Hannah's hand went to her sword as she said, "You again?"



TBC



"To mess up a Linux box you need to work at it; to mess up a Windows box you just need to work on it."



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 Post subject: Re: Ever After
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 5:40 am 
Justin--



Things are really revving-up now, aren't they? The Morgan/Hannah tension is proceeding nicely. The Demon-attack tie-ins and intrigue are all leading in a nice collision-course with everything else. The ending of this installment was a dastardly cliff-hanger. Trying to give me some of my own medicine? It's bitter, yet invigorating. :)



I was so glad that Sandra was going to be the one to speak with Hannah. It served to illustrate the distance that had found itself so gradually between Morgan and the redheaded guard. I like drama, a lot. A lack of drama is the difference between reality television (edited ad-nauseam for the illusion of conflict) and real art. I have a bit of advice for punching-up the scenario of Sandra speaking to Hannah. Take it for what it's worth...



Bear with me through the following dramatic-structure idea...



Act I

1. Sandra probes Morgan for the source of her apparent unhappiness.

2. Morgan doesn't want to talk about it (conflict)

3. Sandra pushes the issue, citing a good magickal reason or something that Morgan needs to sort out the problem (more conflict)

4. Morgan reveals, reluctantly at-first, starting with the M/H history, following into its present degraded status (Resolution to first two conflicts, introduction of another)

5. Sandra asks why Morgan hasn't addressed the problem (conflict)

6. Morgan explains that she's afraid of something i.e. saying the wrong thing, making Hannah feel less secure, et al. (mucho conflict)



ACT II

1.        Sandra takes it upon herself to set the two in the proper direction again (conflict-- acting without knowledge or consent.)

2.        Hannah is defensive and uncomfortable by Sandra’s presence (conflict)

3.        Hannah wishes that Sandra would mind her own business, but part of her is eager to discuss the troubles which she has –to this point- had no one else to confide in. (inner conflict/character conflict)

4.        Sandra brings up Hannah’s shortcomings as invalid reasons for her to doubt Morgan’s love (conflict/ shame conflict)

5.        Hannah’s outlook is lifted by a single insight –maybe unintentional- from Sandra (resolution)

6.        Sandra realizes that she has made some difference for the two (more resolution/reward for actions)



ACT III

1.        Hannah rushes to Morgan, eager to make thing work with her new-found knowledge and conviction (hopeful resolution)

2.        Hannah meets a dangerous detour on the way to Morgan (Capital-C conflict with deferred resolution implied)



As you can see, you've already done a lot of this tension and release already in the story as you've written it. Notice how the tension in this model escalates, doesn't let up, and the central conflict's resolution is deferred... Much like the way that you've constructed it in your own way. But notice also the order of presentation, and magnitude of the conflicts that I'm proposing. Drama is all about conflict. Conflict keeps readers interested. Resolving the conflict in the right way, at the right time can make the difference between a good story and a great one.



As an author, you have to juggle so many elements, characters, plots, emotions, scenes, ideas, and words-- all at the same time. If you manage to keep none of the previously-mentioned articles from hitting the floor, the you have to concentrate on dramatic structure. It breathes life into anything for the reader, and the author.



Jeez, I'm in a lectur-ey mood today, hugh? Sorry about that. Please do consider what I have said though. I love this story, world, and characters a lot. I think that you have the skill to make they and their reality all-the-more compelling to even more readers by turning your already-strong dramatic structure into a powerhouse of emotion-provoking, excitement-inducing, page-flipping compulsion for the readers.



-SQ





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 Post subject: Re: Ever After
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 6:44 am 
StrangeQuark,



Thanks for the comments and the adivce. Of course I consider and appreciate your advice, after reading Latency I'd be a fool not to.



Though I think we have markedly different views on the 2nd act, which is entirely my fault. Anyway this is my take on that act



1: Sandra goes to talk to Hannah

2: Hannah is defensive, not feeling comfortable around Sandra.

3: After some pushing Hannah begins to examine her feelings and started to realise that there is hope for her and Morgan

4: Sandra brings up Hannah's shortcomings

5: Faced with the reasons for her insecurities, her belief that she isn't good enough for Morgan, begins to doubt herself again

6: Hannah takes the first opportunity to flee the conversation



Basically my idea for the conversation was that it should end with Hannah feeling even more insecure than she was at the beginning, and for there to be some ambiguity about Sandra's role in that. Did she just say the wrong things, or did she have some reason for bringing up Hannah's shortcomings (such as how she only recently learnt how to read)?



Anyway thank you again for taking the time to comment in such detail.



"To mess up a Linux box you need to work at it; to mess up a Windows box you just need to work on it."



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 Post subject: Re: Ever After
PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 12:11 pm 
Hehehe... You might find this source-code handy:



;My formula for writing structure(simplifed):

;Establish a conflict, null values cause end-users to close book



;check conflict variable for null-state

if Conflict <= Null

PlotConflict = PlotConflict +1

endif



;check for satisfactory conflict level

if PlotConflict = Enough

goto More Conflict

endif



;check for too much conflict

if TotalConflict > Enough

goto NextScene

endif

if MegaConflict > Enough

goto NextScene

endif

if Conflict > Enough

goto NextScene

endif



;execute if conflict is at correct level

More Conflict

;add character conflict if plot is too thin

if PlotConflict = Enough

cat PlotConflict CharacterConflict TotalConflict

endif

;add inner conflict if previously concatenated conflict is too thin

if TotalConflict = Enough

cat TotalConflict InnerConflict MegaConflict

else goto NextScene

endif



End



The point? There's almost never enough conflict.



I'm just being silly now, aren't I?







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 Post subject: Ever after
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 12:34 pm 
Heeeeeeee, I just would like to say that I love the story and love the character morgan. But she really need to do something with the

insecurity of Hannah.



And by the way Hannah is a orphan can it be that Elizabeth

is her mother??????



Keep it up!!!!!





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 Post subject: Re: Ever after
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 10:49 am 
Strangequark:

:eek :shock You used goto :no



I'm not sure I agree it's impossible to have too much conflict. In particular I think that adding conflict to a story purely for the sake of having conflict is a bad idea (exhibit A, Buffy The Vampire Slayer)



Thanks for all your advice :)



DreamLover: I'm glad you're liking the story.



Elizabeth as Hannah's mother? That is an interesting idea. For one thing it would mean that Hannah has some elven blood. Elizabeth is old enough :hmm



What other people think of me is none of my business - Ellen Degeneres



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 Post subject: Re: Ever after
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 2:09 pm 
Chapter 10



Malcolm hurried to catch up with his friend while protesting, "We're not supposed to touch the red head till she's finished with her."



Stopping Maurice turned to look at the other man, "She's taking too long," He hissed, "She's had long enough. It's my turn now."



"But..."



"Look, Are you going to help me or not?"



"Of course I am, you know that."



"Well come on then." He turned and they both started walking again. As they got in sight of Hannah Maurice shouted, "Hey bitch."



She turned towards them, and Maurice was pleased to see a moment of fear cross her face as she recognised him.



***





Hannah reached for her sword as she asked, "You again?"



"Shut it bitch, I've got a bone to pick with you."



"Well I've kind of got one to pick with you too. You know the whole attempted rape thing." She turned to the other man and asked, "How'd you get roped into this?"



"Well, uh..."



"Shut up," Maurice growled. He began to slowly circle round Hannah. Hannah took a step back, trying to keep both men in sight. Watching them she got the feeling that the unnamed man didn't want to be there. Still keeping an eye on Maurice she took a step towards the other. He made a half hearted swing at her which she easily parried. Knocking his sword out of the way she punched him in the face, hitting him with the pummel of her sword. With a groan he fell to the floor. Hannah had to turn quickly in order to block a thrust from Maurice, . He pressed his attack, forcing Hannah to back up. Moving backwards Hannah stumbled over the other man's body. As she stumbled Maurice swung at her, catching her on the arm. As she moved to get some space between herself and Maurice she felt a surge of anger. At one time she had thought of this man as being a friend, but first he'd tried to rape her, now he was trying to kill her, all because she'd had the nerve to say no to him. She moved forward to attack, catching him by surprise. However he soon recovered and started press Hannah back again. As they were fighting Hannah noticed that Maurice was favouring his right leg. Remembering where she had stabbed him, she blocked a thrust, then stepping forwards she kicked him in the thigh. He cried out, falling to one knee. As he fell Hannah brought her sword across, cutting him across the stomach. He tried to rise, but fell down again, blood bubbling on his lips. Hannah took a step back and for a moment their eyes met. They both realised that the wound was fatal. For a moment Hannah wondered if Morgan would be able to do anything to help. As she was thinking this Maurice struggled to raise his sword and made a feeble swing at Hannah. Hannah knocked his sword aside and, feeling her anger returning, she drove her sword through his chest. Maurice made a small gasping sound, then slumped backwards.



Hannah watched Maurice a moment. A part of her couldn't believe what she had just done, while another part couldn't believe how calm she was about it. Pulling a cloth out she wiped her sword, then sheathed it. Going over to the other man she took his sword away then shook him roughly, "Hey, wake up."



The man started to wake up, "What?"



"What's your name?"



"Malcolm."



"Well then Malcolm, who were you working for? Who wanted you to kill me."



"But, she didn't. That was Maurice's idea. She just wanted us to watch you."



"Okay then, who's she?"



"I don't know. We never saw her, She sent us instructions in writing along with our money."



"Then how do you know it's a woman?"



"The handwriting."



Hannah hauled Malcolm up and led him towards the guard house.



At one point Malcolm tried to make a break for it, but, holding her foot out, Hannah tripped him up. Holding her sword at his throat she said in a hard tone, "Don't try that again."



***





Hannah took Malcolm to the barracks where he was taken into custody and a cart was sent for the body. After explaining what had happened Hannah went to the training room.



She was training with one of the attack dummies when Jared approached her.



"I thought that I'd find you here," He commented, "Needed to blow off some steam."



Hannah just nodded.



"That was your first time wasn't it?"



Hannah finally turned to him, "Yes it was."



"You know that it's normal to feel guilt."



"That's just it, I..."



Hannah stopped as Morgan appeared at the entrance, "Hannah, I just heard what happened. Are you okay?" Running over Morgan took Hannah into her arms.



Holding Morgan, Hannah said, "really I'm alright."



"What about your arm?"



"It was just a light cut."



Clearing his throat Jared suggested, "Maybe you should take the rest of the day off."



"But..."



"I'm not going to take any arguing on this."



***





They both went back to Morgan's shop. When they arrived Morgan said, "I'm not busy at the moment."



"Oh that's a shame."



"I mean, I might as well take a look at your arm."



"Oh yeah." Hannah said, rolling up her sleeve.



After inspecting it Morgan said, "Your right, it's just s shallow cut, but you should still be careful."



As she was saying this an elderly couple came into the shop.



Hannah said, rolling her sleeve back down, "I think that I'd better get out of your way."



"But don't you want to talk, about what happened?"



"I think I really need some time to think."



"Well if you're sure." Morgan watched Hannah as she left, before turning back to the couple.



***





When Hannah got home Morgan asked her, "Are you okay?"



"To be honest I'm not sure."



Hannah sat down next to Morgan, "I just don't feel anything. I mean I killed someone, I should feel something, but I don't."



"Maybe you're in shock," Morgan suggested.



"That might be it. I don't know. I'm not sure what's worse, that I had to do it, or the fact that doing it has left me feeling so empty."



Morgan held Hannah trying to think of someway to comfort Hannah. They were interrupted by Sandra arriving. Glancing between the two women she said, "So I take it you've told her."



"Ah..." Morgan said.



"Told me what?"



"Oh, no." Sandra looked horrified as she realised her mistake. As Morgan got up and walked over to her she went on, "I'm so sorry, I though that..."



"It's okay," Morgan said in a gentle voice, "Can you give us a while."



"Sure, I'll get out of your hair."



As Sandra left Morgan went back to sit next to Hannah.



"So what did you have to tell me?"



"I was going to tell you, but then this stuff with Maurice happened and I wasn't sure it was the right time and..."



Hannah lifted her hand to cup Morgan's face, "Morgan, it's okay."



"Okay then..."







What other people think of me is none of my business - Ellen Degeneres



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 Post subject: CH 10
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 1:39 pm 
Jo Justin,



I still loving it, but it's mean to let me hang just at the moment of confession. I'm curious about how Hannah will react to Morgan's life story. Because of al the frustrated feelings she's carrying with her. I can't wait, until I come back from vacation to read your next up-date.



Henny









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 Post subject: Re: CH 10
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 12:55 pm 
Great development, as always.



There's a nice closure to the whole Maurice matter. It happened at the right time, and in the right way for Hannah. I feel a great sympathy for her freshened perspective-- now she's killed someone-- and the lack of reaction that she is grappling with. I've never killed anyone myself, but from what I understand, Hannah's non-reaction is quite human. You really brought out a sense of Hannah's internal conflict over her non-reaction. A very thought-provoking and stirring idea for our favorite redheaded guard to digest.



She has insecurities that are rooted in her miserable upbringing, one which she-- at times-- looks back upon with a misguided nostalgia which is also a very human quirk. She has been reinventing (or discovering) herself through Morgan's support and approval, and now, when that sub-structure has been removed, we (the readers) see her at her strongest and most independent, while she sees herself collapsing further, being thrust into a world that, despite all that she has been through, is even more stacked against her than ever.



That's the kind of conflict that really drives a story. It's subtle, complicated, interesting, and easy to empathize with. There's so much great stuff going on inside Hannah as well as the world around her... really well done.



Morgan's a little less to-the-fore in this installment, and that was a good choice. This is Hannah's chapter, clearly an important point in her life that will trigger permanent changes in her outlook and behavior.



Great content. Well-delivered. Now the style...



Overall, you have a very speedy and terse narrative. That is a good thing :)



Your action scene is one of the slower parts of this installment. That's very common for most writers: Often the parts that need to move the fastest read the slowest. You've used a few of the speed-tricks in other installment's action scenes and to great effect, but that big, fat paragraph of the swordfight was not nearly as tense and exciting as I think you're capable of describing. Remember short, simple sentences move quickly and as they get shorter, the reader's excitement builds.



(I’ll take a shot at it… Just for fun, you know…)





Hannah drew her sword. The blade's polished edges glided against the scabbard, offering a cold, steely whisper into the tense silence that lay between the mercenary and herself.



Maurice chuckled, his upper lip bent into a crooked sneer. He rolled his shoulders, loosening his arms, adjusting his sword's battered hilt within his grip as his eyes fixed on Hannah's. "," he muttered. His torso lowered, his knees bent, and his muscles coiled, ready to strike.



"," Hannah spat as she lifted her sword, gripping tight, aiming its point toward Maurice's head.



Maurice lunged ahead, thrusting his blade straight at her ribs.



She tucked her arms in close, leaning right, dodging his attack. Her shoulder crashed into the cragged stone wall, confounding her parry.



"!" Maurice bellowed, swinging, taking another slice at Hannah's mid drift.



She tensed, lifting her blade just in time to deflecting the sweep of his sword, redirecting its deadly force against the wall. She ducked, rolled away, and sprung to a stand holding her sword at-the-ready as Maurice drew back his claymore, winding up for another attack.



He charged.



Hannah swayed to her right. The tip of his sword sliced her sleeve, biting into the flesh of her left arm. She flinched, gasping, her balance upset as her feet scrambled back and away.



He thrust at her again, driving the tip of his sword straight at her heart.



Hannah spun away from the blade, pirouetting on her left heel. Her body completed the swift revolution, her sword following the turn, the blade slicing deep into Maurice’s gut as it went.



He doubled over in an instant, collapsing to the floor, sputtering, gasping, and choking as he went.







(And so on…)



Notice that I kept away from internalizations such as the viewpoint character noticing things, having doubts, revelations, etc. I also used a lot of pronouns to convey urgency. Short, choppy sentences mixed with 'phrase chains' like ["She tucked, rolled, and sprang to her feet, her blade poised, ready to defy his next attack."] There's a great, fluid motion to little strings of clauses like that which speed up the action and elevate the drama depicted closer to the level that the character is feeling.



Don't misunderstand me, you did a good job with the scene. It just stuck out to me as being the heaviest and slowest part, yet with the most actual (physical) drama. Remember dramatic structure: Goal, Conflict, Disaster, and Sequel... a completely developed scene has all four of those elements (not necessarily in that order.) If a character's goal is to defend herself, then she should save her internalizations for after the conflict and disaster. That's what sequels are for... internal reaction. If someone were about to slice one of my characters, I'd have her get through the conflict and disaster before sharing her thoughts...



I don't mean to get all lecture-y on you. I love this story, the ideas, and characters. They invigorate me. It makes me eager to share some of the writing-knowledge that I've been able to absorb through the past couple of months. You've already shown us that you have a great ability and lots of imagination and that makes me want to offer any help that I can to enable you to express your story even better.



Geez... I'm the veritable windbag this week, eh? Sorry about that.



Great story, great characters, great imagination. Always refreshing, mentally stimulating, and more and more emotionally resonant.



I look forward to reading more.



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 Post subject: Re: CH 10
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:06 am 
DreamLover: I'm glad you're still enjoying the story. I'll try to update soon so as to not keep you hanging too long.



StrangeQuark: As always I really appreciate your advice. I don't know if I've said this but from having read Latency it's clear that you know your stuff when it comes to writing.



About the fight scene, in retrospect it would have been better to split that paragraph up, rather than leave it in one lump.



When writing that scene I had one central idea. Which was after Hannah slices Maurice's stomach of them having a moment of shared Revelation. Hannah that she had just killed someone and Maurice that he was going to die. Then I wanted to explore there different reactions to this. Hannah reacts by trying to fix this, while Maurice reacts by trying to take Hannah with him, forcing her to administer the final coup de grace.



Again, thanks for your comments. I'm certainly learning a lot from posting this story.



What other people think of me is none of my business - Ellen Degeneres



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 Post subject: Re: CH 11
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 12:35 pm 
Yowzer, has it been that long :blush anyway here's the penultimate chapter.



Chapter 11





"It's about my parents." Morgan said after a while.



"Well I know that they beat you." Hannah frowned as she wondered what could be upsetting Morgan.



"But there's something that you don't know." Morgan hesitated, not sure how to put this. She decided it would be best to get it out as quickly as possible, "I killed them."



"Morgan..."



"Please, this isn't easy. Please let me finish this."



Hannah just nodded, seeing the pain on Morgan's face and wanting to do something about it.



"It was when I was thirteen. It had been a really bad night and I had run out of the house not really sure where I was going. I just knew that I hated them so much, I wanted them dead. As I felt this, I felt this surge of energy run through me. It's like nothing I had ever felt before or since. I can't really describe it but I knew I could have anything I wanted and I wanted them dead. At that very moment the house was hit by lightning and the roof collapsed. I went back to try to help but they were both dead." Morgan looked down waiting for the outburst to begin, the rejection, but there was nothing. Looking up Morgan saw Hannah staring at her. She could see a mixture of shock, anger and contempt in her eyes. "Hannah, please, say something." But Hannah just kept staring at her. Finally, not able to take it any more Morgan stood up and whispered, "Goodbye Hannah." With that she quietly walked out of the house.



***





Hannah walked out of the town, not really sure where she was going. A part of her still couldn't believe what had happened. She had wanted to talk to Morgan, to take her in her arms and comfort her. But she hadn't been able to say or do anything. Morgan had gotten up and whispered, "Goodbye Hannah." Hannah's heart had broken when she saw the tears running down Morgan's face, yet still she did nothing. Then Morgan was gone and Hannah was left sitting alone.



Hannah knew she had ruined things between herself and Morgan. She wondered if it was still possible to fix things. She was broken from these thoughts as she spotted a body sitting propped next to a tree. Moving closer Hannah saw that it was Malcolm. She tried to work out how he'd gotten out of prison and how he'd been killed. Examining his body she noticed something glinting on his arm. Looking closer she saw that it was a small silver needle.



***





Morgan found Sandra in a small inn. She was easy to find due to the large space around her in the otherwise crowded bar.



"Morgan, how did..." Sandra stopped as she saw the tears running down Morgan's face. "Oh, goddess, I am so sorry."



"She hates me," Morgan whispered.



"Did Hannah say that?"



Morgan shook her head, "She didn't have to."



"I'm so sorry, this is all my fault."



"Why? You didn't do this."



"But I pressured you to tell Hannah. I guess I was wrong..."



"No, you were right, I did need to tell Hannah, otherwise our relationship would have been a lie."



"So are things over between you and her?"



Morgan seemed a bit taken aback by the question, "I don't know."



"But if she hates you," Sandra pressed, "Besides you're better off without her."



"Sandra, how can you say that?"



"Because it's true. She's so insecure and jealous. When she has ever done anything other than hurt you?"



Morgan was growing more and more perplexed by the way Sandra was talking, "That's not true. Hannah has never hurt me."



"Hasn't she?" Sandra wiped some of the tears off of Morgan's face and showed them to her, "Don't you see you're better than her, you should be with someone who will make you happy?"



"Someone like you?"



"No, I mean someone who deserves you, who deserves your love."



Sandra reached out to take Morgan's arm, but Morgan pulled away.



"I love Hannah and nothing will ever change that fact." Turning Morgan stormed out of the inn.



***





Elizabeth was writing up a report to send to the palace when the door slammed open and Hannah stormed in.



"You seem to be upset," Elizabeth commented.



"You killed him," Hannah's voice quivered with anger.



Elizabeth didn't even look up, "You're going to have to be a bit more specific than that."



"Malcolm." Seeing that Elizabeth still didn't understand Hannah added, "The man who attacked me."



This got her attention, "I thought that he was safely locked up."



"Yeah well at this moment he's lying against a tree in the woods."



Elizabeth tilted her head slightly as she considered this, "I fail to see why you're blaming me for it."



"He was killed by a poisoned needle."



"Oh well then it must have been me," Elizabeth's voice was dripping with sarcasm.



"Malcolm said that a woman had hired them to watch over me."



"And you think that was me? Do you have any evidence or do you just like throwing around any random accusations?"



"No I don't have any evidence."



"Then I suggest that you leave. Now!"



***





Hannah was walking down a side alley. She was lost in thought trying to work out how she was going to prove what Elizabeth was up to. The problem was she wasn't sure what she was up to. Hannah stopped as she heard someone approaching her from behind. Before she could turn she was struck round the back of the head.



***





When Morgan got home she wasn't entirely surprised to see that Hannah wasn't there. Sitting down she got a pen and a sheet of paper and began writing a letter. She was interrupted from this as the door burst open and an agitated looking Milicent came in.



Standing, Morgan asked, "Milicent what's wrong?"



"Morgan you have to come with me?"



"What's going on?"



"Hannah's been kidnapped."



"But..."



"Quickly, we don't have much time."



"Okay, lead on."



Milicent lead them to a small house on the outskirts of the town.



Morgan suddenly stopped, "Milicent, you're in on it aren't you?"



Milicent turned to face Morgan, "You're not going to cause trouble are you?"



"I take it it would be bad for Hannah if I did."



Milicent smirked as she answered, "You've got that right. Her only hope is for you to cooperate."



Morgan shook her head, "Then, no, I won't."



"Good. Come on, we're expected."



TBC

"VOOM"?!? Mate, this bird wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! 'E's bleedin' demised! - The Parrot Sketch



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 Post subject: RE:CH11
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 4:30 am 
Content- I admit surprise at Morgan's admission- not THAT she admitted, but WHAT she admitted to. It lends a lot of flaw and doubt to an otherwise (fairly) saintly character... always a good thing. I like Hannah's (non)reaction a lot. Very natural and believable for anyone having news like that dropped on them.



Style-Your structure for that scene was perfect, giving Hannah her own short POV sequel in the next cut and then halting the reflection with new intrigue. Propulsive, to say the least.



Content- Sandra is a little hard to read in the scene with Morgan. I question her reaction, motive, and explanation. Is she trying to break the two up by pointing out flaws in their relationship, or is she trying to coax Morgan into self-explanation -thus 'earn' the self-conviction of her love for Hannnah- so that she will realize that her perception of the conflict may be a tad colored by high-running emotion? The ambiguity that I see in this is really a good thing, since it lets the reader decide for themselves (at least until later events solidify Sandra's motives) and that's a great psyche-mirror. All good fiction raises questions about the human existence. Not providing an answer can be as rewarding as full disclosure if handled properly, which you've done here.



Content- Hannah's accusation is a great little scene. It's wonderful to see a character put two and two together only to find that they're still missing an operand in there somewhere. I could feel Hannah's frustration, and the polite confidence of Elizabeth's dialogue and actions were very effective at putting further pursuit to rest. Elizabeth has a very authoritative way about her... Well done.



Style- This scene is a classic goal, conflict, disaster model. The goal is clearly defined, the conflict goes through a little verbal thrust-and-parry, and the disaster has a challenging NO/No, But outcome... Scenes like this make great fiction.



Content- How did Millicent find out about Hannah getting thumped? Involvement? A messenger? Hmmm...



Great update, Justin. I'm eager to see how this all pans-out. I'm sure that I speak for other readers as well when I say that we're all looking forward to either a harrowing rescue, sloppy-kissing reunion, riveting fight-to-the-death, sad sacrifice, devious rescue, or any combination thereof.



-SQ



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 Post subject: RE:CH11
PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:27 pm 
He Justin,



Sorry for the late feedback, my computer had her monthly problem thinggy, I think it's computer pms or something like that. Anyway I'm 200% agreeing with StrangeQuark. You had us surprised with Morgan. Ooooh Morgan I'm so in love with her dream, dream.... back to reality. I can't wait to see how the rescue operation save Hannah will go.





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 Post subject: Re: RE:CH11
PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 3:43 am 
StrangeQuark Thanks. To be honest I wasn't certain that that chapter worked, but if you say it did, who am I to argue? :)



DreamLover Thanks. You love Morgan? Better not say it too loud or Hannah might hear and then it'll be a case of :punish



Now here's the final chapter of this part. IHYEI



Chapter 12



Hannah ran as fast as she could, her feet slipping on the undergrowth behind her. As fast as she ran, though, she could still hear the thing, whatever it was, just behind her. Looking back over her shoulder, Hannah lost her footing on the wet ground. Picking herself up Hannah turned, expecting to see the thing. Instead she saw a shining figure standing in front of her. Shielding her eyes she realised that it was Morgan and she knew that she was safe.



***



Hannah woke up to find herself in a small darkened room. She was sat on a hard chair, her arms tied behind her. “Shit,” Hannah swore. She tried to loosen her arms but couldn't, “Shit, shit shit.”



“Do you know what I hate?” A voice asked from behind Hannah.



“Oh Sandra," Hannah felt a surge of relief, "Thank the goddess. I think it was the mayor, she's brought me here.”



“Now why would she do that?"



“I don't know, help me please.”



Moving round in front of Hannah Sandra said, “You didn't answer my question. It wasn't rhetorical you know.”



“What?” Hannah was starting to grow agitated, why wasn't Sandra helping her?



“Do you know what I hate?”



“No, I don't know.”



“I hate love. It's just so pointless, not to mention inconvenient.”



“What are you talking about?”



“I'm talking about you, Morgan, the fact she's still protecting you.”



“Protecting me?” As Hannah's head cleared a bit she began to work out what was happening, what the dream meant, “It was you.”



“Finally she figures it out.”



“Why? What do you want?”



“I want something you've got.” She tapped Hannah's head, “Up here.” Hannah stared at her blankly, “I know there isn't much up there but there is one very important thing.”



“You're talking about me being the oracle.”



“Yes, I want that ability.”



“How?”



“I have this ability of my own. I can drain the abilities from other people.”



“You're not really a witch are you? You lied to us.”



“Oh no. If you remember, when I first met you I told Morgan that I wasn't a witch. It's not my fault that she didn't believe me.”



“But you've done... You stole those abilities from other witches. What happened to them?”



Sandra shrugged, “Why should I care?”



“So what does Morgan... You can't take my abilities, because of the charm.”



“As long as she loves you I can't hurt you.”



“My dream... It wasn't a dream, it was you.”



Sandra ignored this, “I've done everything I can to break you up, not that I had to do much. But she's just so damn devoted to you, she's still protecting you, even after you rejected her.”



“She really loves me.”



Sandra just laughed.



“You're not going to hurt her are you?”



“I wish it was that easy. But if I kill her while she's still protecting you then the protection will become permanent.”

They heard a door opening just outside the room. “Ah they're here.”



The door opened and Milicent and Morgan came in.



“Hannah, are you okay?” Morgan started towards Hannah.



“Stay back.” Sandra warned.



“I'm okay,” Hannah said, “She hasn't hurt me.”



“You can go,” Sandra said to Milicent. Milicent nodded and left the room. “Now will you remove your protections?”



Morgan looked her in the eyes, “Go to the abyss.”



“Tough words. Hannah, you know how I said I wasn't going to hurt Morgan? I lied.” With that she punched Morgan in the stomach. Falling to the floor Morgan was sick.



“Hey!” Hannah shouted.



“She has to break the protection.” With that she kicked Morgan.



“Morgan,” Hannah moaned. As Morgan looked up at her, “Do it.”



“I can't.”



“Please.” Hannah pleaded, she couldn't bear to see Morgan being hurt. She just hoped she could find a way to stop Sandra.



“I...” Morgan nodded.



“So predictable.” Sandra walked over to Hannah and grabbed her head. Hannah screamed as her head was filled with pain. Her vision began to dim. As she felt herself lose consciousness, Hannah suddenly realised what she needed to do. Then the pain began to fade. It was then Hannah noticed that Sandra was screaming.



“No stay away from me.” Sandra backed away, raising her arm to shield herself. Hitting the corner she fell down in a heap, “Please leave me alone.”



Grabbing the table and pulling herself up Morgan walked over to Hannah and began working on the knots, “What did you do?”



Hannah shook her head, “I don't know. I just wanted to stop her.”



The door opened and Milicent came in, “What's going on?”



“Your employer failed.”



“My employer?” Milicent glanced over at Sandra, “What are you... How did I get here?” She raised her hand to her head, looking confused.



“Let me guess, Sandra enchanted you?” Morgan asked, even with everything that had happened she couldn't help smiling.



Milicent nodded, “Yes, that must be it.”



“Whatever,” Hannah said, “Come on we'd better help Sandra.”



***



Hannah looked up as Morgan approached her, "So what's going to happen to Sandra?"



"They're taking her to a hospital in the next town. She's pretty heavily sedated at the moment."



Hannah shook her head, "I had no idea that would happen. I was just trying to defend myself."



Morgan sat next to Hannah and took her hand, "It's okay. You didn't have any choice."



"I know but she was our friend, or at least I thought that she was."



"I did to. Was it all just a trick, or did she..."



"She was trying to break us up."



Morgan nodded, "Though to be honest she didn't really need to do much."



"Yeah, and it was all my fault." Morgan started to respond,

"No let me finish. When we were both back at the palace everything just seemed so perfect but when we moved here all my insecurities came back. I started to doubt..." Hannah stopped, looking down.



"Doubt what?" Morgan prompted, moving her hand to cup Hannah's chin.



"That you really loved me."



Morgan blanched at this a little, "Have I... have I done anything that would make you doubt that?"



"No, goddess, no. You haven't done anything wrong. You don't understand, all my life my sisters have told me that I was stupid and ugly and that no one could ever love me. I mean I know that they're wrong but..."



"But the doubt still remains."



Hannah nodded, "I'm sorry I..."



"Shh, it wasn't just you. I had my own doubts. I doubted that you could love me if you knew the truth."



"I know that I didn't react well and I am sorry for that. It's not much of an excuse but I guess that I was surprised. I know that if I had gone through what you had then I might have..."



Morgan shook her head, "Don't... don't make excuses for what I did."



"What I'm trying to say is whatever happened, whatever you did in the past, I still love you."



"You do?"



"Yes, I love you more and more each day. I know that this relationship is going to take work, maybe more than most because so many people seem to be against it, but I'm willing to make that effort. I mean, if you are."



"Of course I am."



***



Morgan had just gone inside when Hannah saw Elizabeth approaching.



Standing she said, "I know why you're here."



"You do?"



"Yes, and I'm sorry. I shouldn't have accused you like I did. Not when I didn't have all the facts."



Elizabeth nodded, "So it was probably Sandra who hired those two men, and who killed Malcolm."



"Yeah, it seems that way."



"Well I guess that is what happens when you make assumptions. Like you're doing now."



"What?"



"Well while I appreciate your apology, I'm actually here to see Morgan."



"Oh." Hannah leaned in the doorway and called for Morgan. Turning back she said, "So does anyone believe Milicent's story about having been enchanted."



Elizabeth frowned, "Jared believes her and I prefer to leave running the guards to him."



"Oh, so she's going to get away with it."



Elizabeth smirked a little, "Not necessarily, there are ways of punishing someone without it being obvious that you're punishing them."



At that point Morgan arrived, "You wanted to see me?"



"Yes it's about the dreams I've been having, I think your idea was right."



"You mean about them being repressed memories?"



"Yes. I've spoken to other people who were at the palace at the time and their memories are also murky. At first they don't have any memory of any demons but when I press them they do start to remember."



"So someone or something has altered everyone's memories. At least everyone who was at the palace."



"The regent," Hannah suggested.



Morgan nodded, "He wouldn't want anyone to know about his arrival, so he made everyone forget."



"That's what I thought," Elizabeth said, "And now he's been banished I guess the original memories are returning. You know a part of me had always blamed my father for my mother's death. I guess it's good to know the truth at last."



***



Morgan woke up with a start. Being careful to not disturb Hannah she sat up and wiped her forehead. It was the dream in which she was being burnt at the stake. It had been a while since she'd had that dream and Morgan wasn't sure what it meant that she had it now. She felt and arm slip round her shoulder.



Hannah kissed Morgan and asked, "what's wrong?"



"I had a bad dream."



Hannah hugged Morgan, "Don't worry I'll chase them away."



Morgan smiled, "I know you will." Lying back down Morgan wondered if the dream was just representing her own insecurities, or if it was some sort of premonition.



Hannah kissed Morgan, "Goodnight."



Watching Hannah go to sleep Morgan told herself that her dreams couldn't be true, as there was no way that Hannah could hurt her.



The end



"VOOM"?!? Mate, this bird wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! 'E's bleedin' demised! - The Parrot Sketch



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 Post subject: RE:CH11
PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:52 pm 


NOOOOOOOOOOOO :cry not the end, never ever the end.

Thank god they are back together again.



But you were right never ever mess with Hannah I learned my lesson :punch



DreamLover





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 Post subject: Re: RE:CH11
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2004 6:20 pm 
Wow.



I like the wrap-up. You kept it very tight, terse, and still put that little dash of sweetness just before the end. I also dig the last sentence. It says a lot without saying much at all-- the mark of good prose. Did the vision of being burned have an association with the fiery-haired one? Or is it a more literal connection of vision and premonition. I didn't think that Hannah would ever be the one to light a match in Morgan's direction, but that last little unspoken thought keeps me curious.



Again, I love this universe, the characters, and the way that you tell about them. Thanks again for sharing another great installment of the Morgan/Hannah ^hopeful^ trilogy. Great work and great imagination on your part have once again graced the kittenboard with hours of FREE enjoyment! Bravo!



:applause :applause :applause :applause :applause :applause :applause :applause :applause :applause :applause :applause :applause



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 Post subject: Re: RE:CH11
PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 2:43 am 
DreamLover Don't worry there'll be another story soon (for the correct value of the word soon ;) )



Quote:
Thank god they are back together again.




Shouldn't that be thank the goddess? ;)



Strangequark I'm very much glad you liked the ending.



A trilogy? Well only in the way that the Hitch Hikers Guide series was a trilogy. Actually I've got two morse stories planned for the series.





"VOOM"?!? Mate, this bird wouldn't "voom" if you put four million volts through it! 'E's bleedin' demised! - The Parrot Sketch



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 Post subject: Re: RE:CH11
PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 7:10 am 
Yeah Yeah You are right but I was a little dizzy at that moment. Because of Hannah's :punch so:



:pray :pray :pray :pray :pray



FORGIVE ME GODDESS OOOO GODDESS FORGIVE ME!!!!!!





DreamLover :lol

Edited by: DreamLover at: 9/10/04 7:43 am


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