To be truthful, I originally stopped reading right when I saw the all-caps letters. I don't know why, but that immediately threw me off. Maybe if it was a little clearer that this was a letter, I wouldn't feel as if I were being screamed at. After I continued past the first part, the middle hooked me. Your characters already have strong personalities and I liked that. There was no need to explain what they were like at all because I could already picture it, so you did good Showing instead of Telling. And I also agree with Chihuahua 0 about the adverb overuse in dialouge tags. It's very...distracting. It makes me think too hard about what the adverbs mean instead of the actual dialouge.
Here's my first chapter for my fantasy novel I've been slowly working on. There was a prolouge before this taking place 20 years before, but I know that some people skip those when reading books anyway. I wanted to see if my first chapter could hook someone without it. It's about ten words over the limit, but I didn't want it to end in the middle of an action.
Sol shifted on his throne as he looked over the report sent to him by the Sun Region, once the former Solar Empire. For the last few months, the continent’s crime rate had risen rather dramatically and his subjects were getting restless. If the trend continued, he would have to send extra solders there to keep control.
“As long as it doesn’t spread to the Moon Region,” He mumbled. Looking up from his scroll, Sol realized how quiet the throne room was. Too quiet. The castle was never this silent at high day. The King nervously ran a hand through his red hair before glancing at his wife. Queen Luna sat beside him, staring out the stained glass window.
“Sol, do you know where Tigris is?” She asked, turning around to meet his eyes.
“Of course I do,” He said with confidence. “She told me after breakfast that she was going to do her studies in her room.”
“And how long ago was that?”
“It’s been about four…hours…,” He trailed off, what he had just said sinking in. Tigris, of all people, studying for four hours with no breaks? The thought of it was laughable. His daughter wasn’t the type to sit still unless she was forced to. “She’s not there, is she?” It was more of a rhetorical question. Luna merely pushed her dark blue hair behind her ear and turned her gaze to the room’s entrance. As if on cue a panicked solider, fully armored and carrying a weapon, burst through the double doors.
“Your Majesties!” The two knights stationed beside the entrance drew their lances with practiced ease and pointed them at the newcomer. The young man yelped and fell on his backside. Neither of the two royals flinched, the King looking rather bored and the Queen struggling not to laugh at the sight before her. Sol gestured for the knights to let the solider be. He was obviously new to the guard. The solider quickly stood again and bowed before speaking. “Princess Tigris is missing!” That explained why the castle was so quiet. The tensed knights relaxed, used to Tigris disappearing. Sol sighed again, pinching the bridge of his nose with his fingers. This solider was definitely new.
“Do you have any idea where she may have gone?” He asked. The solider shifted on his feet.
“I-I believe she was last seen heading in the direction of the city, Sir.”
“Was Lady Paige with her?” Luna asked.
“Sir Capricorn said that Lady Paige was with Her Royal Highness when she left.” Luna nodded and sat back. Sol was satisfied with this information. As long as Paige was with her, Tigris would be fine.
“Tell the guards if the Princess doesn’t return to the castle by two, send out a search party.” Sol commanded. “She is most likely at the harbor, so start there.” The solider bowed again before turning to leave. “Wait a moment.”
“Yes, Your Majesty?”
“Where is Prince Drakon?”
“His Highness is in the courtyard with Sirs Leo and Taurus.”
“Right where he’s supposed to be, as usual,” Sol thought. The King
dismissed him. “Oh, Tigris…” he said to no one in particular. “Why can’t you be more like your brother?”
“Paige, look at the ships, they’re huge!” A girl in a deep blue cloak darted around the harbor, plowing through puddles like a child before stopping in front of the ocean. A taller young woman in a brown cloak followed after with less enthusiasm, stepping around the water as she caught up.
“You’ve seen ships before, Tigris.” Paige responded. She spoke with a strange accent that somehow made her sound more refined, regardless of her words. Tigris was fascinated by it when she was younger, pestering her handmaiden to talk for no reason other than to listen to the way she pronounced things. Now it was a sharp reminder of the places she hadn’t been to, the continents beyond the island of Nimbus.
“Yes, but this one’s bigger than the ones from before!” She paused, comparing the ship’s size to its dock mates. The red and blue ocean liner towered over the pier, casting a shadow that threatened to engulf the sailors unloading its cargo. Painted on the side in black were strange, indecipherable symbols that looked nothing like the alphabet Cloud Kingdom used. Protruding from the ship was a smokestack, but instead of black smoke, clouds of steam poured from it into the air. Almost all transport ships were steam powered now because of the lack of fuel needed to run it. Skilled mages could be hired to draw water from the ocean and heat it up, powering the sea vessel the entire trip. The cargo ships tended to look very similar because of this, the only uniqueness between them being color. “Or maybe I just haven’t been outside the castle in a while…” Paige eyed the steam ship critically.
“I think…” Her head tilted to the side as if deep in thought. “The one on the right is just a tad bigger.” She continued to walk down the pier, without waiting for Tigris. “Keep up, will you? We’ve stalled here for an hour.”
“Wait, where are you going?” Tigris sprinted until she was even with Paige’s longer strides.
“Didn’t you come here to see something specific?” Tigris’ eyes lit up as she remembered.
“Oh yes, I heard that a ship from Hava had tigers!” Tigers were by far her favorite animal, not that she had ever seen any outside of a book.
“And how did you know it would be here today?”
“I eavesdropped on some nobles discussing it.” She took off at a run again, weaving around crates, knots of thick rope, and mages lifting boxes with magically controlled wind or earth. “Come on, I don’t want to miss them!” Tigris called over her shoulder as she ran, not looking in front of her anymore. She was so focused on finding the tigers that it wasn’t a surprise when she ran straight into a man wearing a dark, ragged cloak.
edited 19th Jan '13 7:24:20 PM by ScorpioRat