The Princes and the Dragon, a Fantasy story | SparkaTale

Sparkatale

The Princes and the Dragon

By: Emi V.

Status: In Progress

Summary:

Years pass after Prince Jarin had witnessed the dragons ravage his home. On his fourteenth birthday, he and his brother find themselves in a very strange cave, meeting a very strange girl..

Created: October 15, 2014 | Updated: September 27, 2015

Genre : Fantasy

Language : English

Reviews: 4 | Rating:

Comments: 22

Favorites: 24

Reads: 3683


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1: Princes in a Cavern 2275
2: The Feast 1622
3: The Very First 1825
4: Damsel in Distress 2082
5: Dracaena 2119
6: Freedom's Kiss 1665
7: Lament of the Berura 3367
8: Curse of Mortality 2396
9: Pain of Another 2610
10: Fires in the Woodland 4728
11: Time 3316
12: We Dreamed 2301
Total Wordcount: 30306

Reviews (4)


  • Zachary Lloyd

    I'm really liking the whole idea of this story! I think I can seewhere it's going. Please update soon!!

    Rating:
    January 22, 2015 Flag


  • Henry M.

    This was incredible! Honestly, this was one of the few stories that I actually wanted to read again and again! Your narrater is a character all on her own, something I really miss seeing in stories, and the plot twists inside your story - I'm not going to give things away, but the girl is easily the most interesting character here! I hope you keep updating this!

    Rating:
    November 10, 2014 Flag


  • Natalie S. Batey

    This story is full of mystery, leaving me to ask question after question, but it's constantly feeding you answers as you continue reading.. The way you approached the narrative is simply genius, the old woman who's telling the tale of The Princes and the Dragon is an absolute mystery on her own, and I can't help but wonder just who she is? Same with how you make the story so immersive for the reader, we're made a character in our own right. We've traveled from a distant land, just to hear the unknown old woman's story. Apparently we're also searching for someone dear to us. I just love the whole vibe you give this tale. It is not just a fantasy, it is adventure and mystery- and I know I've used that word a lot already, but it is. The description makes for amazing images, the characters are simple but have many dimensions, and each chapter is long enough to satisfy me, but short enough to keep me interested. Sure there a few spelling mistakes, but I'm ignoring those because of the great story being told. I want to know what happens next for both Princes, the dragon-girl, and little Thea. Merek is hands down my favourite so far. I wish you'd update this one regularly, but I'm now aware you have other projects in the works. Looking forward for your next update.

    Rating:
    November 8, 2014 Flag


  • Danny Power

    This...this work is easily one of the most engaging fantasy novels that I had come across in a while. So engaging and immersive! There are virtually no negative aspects to it that I could think of, but there are certainly a whole lot of positives that spring to mind. 1. There's so much more emotion in this story compared to your last one, it's such an enormous leap forward! The very first chapter, the Dragon's attack on the Kingdom, the sense of fear from both mother and child, Queen and Prince, was something that took me by surprise. Discovering what was inside the cave, the feast, they were all memorable in their own right. 2. Your characters are MUCH more detailed compared to your previous work (which was hardly lacking in the first place) they all have their own personalities, their strengths and weaknesses, especially Thea, in my eyes. She seems more mature yet more juvenile than both Princes, because even though she wails at the earliest opportunity, she knows more about the realities of life than they do considering they are royalty and never need to clean up after their merriment, and why would they once servants like herself were around to clean it up? 3. The girl at the cave...this threw away my expectations. You see, I had originally thought that once the blood had been absorbed into the stone, a Dragon would hatch, compared to works such as 'Eragon' but I was pleasantly surprised by the supernatural woman, and her instant appearance drawing fear among her onlookers. The twist at the end of the third chapter was really unexpected and I applaud such a clever plot twist! 4. My only qualm with 'Skies' was the lack of description with the surroundings such as Merryvale. Here, however, that is not the case, and you painted the scenes very well, I could immediately grasp just how large, narrow, tight, or vast each new environment was, especially when the Princes visit the cave for the second time, so a very well done there. 5. The Narrator. This is a very clever way of telling a story, and she becomes a character in her own right. She had witnessed all the events, her identity is a mystery to me, and I have immediately tried in vain to deduce who she could be. I'm very glad she has her own personality and traits, because even other authors who include them assign them virtually no personalities whatsoever, simply assigning them to their role. The level of work here, the absolute lack of any grammar or spelling mistakes, the vast improvement over 'skies' and this is something I want to share with people, and I fully plan on doing just that, because this work deserves it, Well done.

    Rating:
    October 18, 2014 Flag


Comments / Critiques


    • Chapter: 1 Reply

      Chapter 1

       

      Very good beginning. Very good indeed. I liked how you started it off as though an old man was telling it then jumped into the past with a flashback and back to the present so fluidly. Great job.

      November 23, 2014 | Stacey Luster


    • Reply

      Thank-you! I'm glad you enjoyed it! I hope the other chapters are able to impress. :)

      November 25, 2014 | Emi V.


    • Chapter: 1 Reply

      Hi, so I saw this book was in the top ten and I wanted to give it a look, but my first impression of it is not exactly great, and since the first few paragraphs are the most important in the entire book I felt you should know. That whole thing in italics is just not a good idea. Very few writers can pull that off and most of them write children's books--and they almost never do it in first person. I was really interested in the premise of this story but that threw me off quite a bit. Sorry if it sounds harsh but I thought you'd want to know. 

      January 18, 2015 | Catherine Rose Hillin


    • Reply

      It didn't come off that way at all. First impressions, as they say, are everything. 

      While you mentioned that it usually found in children's tales, I should let you know that was exactly what I was going for in this story. Unfortunately it seems I seemed to miss my mark there. Whoops! I'll have to take a look and see where it is I went wrong. 

      You said it was the italics that threw you off, and while I appreciate your comment and advice, might I inquire why that is? It was very helpful don't get me wrong, I'd just like to know what about the italics that made it go awry.

      Thanks so much again for your comment, Catherine!

      January 18, 2015 | Emi V.


    • Chapter: 1 Reply

      Wow, your use of vernacular in this chapter was astounding! Where did you learn to talk like that? You have great diction, and I really liked how you employed subtle humor through the narrator's word choice and exclamation marks. It's cool how the whole story is told by a character, actually making the reader part of it. I wonder who the narrator is, and if she's part of the story. Since they said, "unfortunately, it was not so" I'm assuming that they didn't make the story up, and that it actually happened in the world he or she lives in.

      I would like to apologize beforehand I seem picky in my criticism, or insulting of your intelligence. I'm not sure whether what I'm about to mention are stylistic choices, the way you like to write, or just typos, in which case feel free to take anything with a grain of salt :)

      [I was advised you would have arrived today.] "Advised" doesn't seem like a fitting word. I would use "told (that)."

      [The Princes and the dragon] 

      [For I must warn you, the tale might be long. Our tale starts in the ashes of chaos...] Repetition of "tale" made this stand out for some reason.

      [the cobblestone panels that made the floor] I would say "made up" here.

      [Finally. they had reached a tomb.]

      [anymore time]

      [So suddenly his Queen mother had almost tipped over and fell flat on her face!] "fallen"

      [The prince, (who wanted very much to sit, even if the floor was muddy) had clung to the skirts of his mother.] This part might look better if you take out the parenthesis and add a comma after "muddy" or use dashes, and replaced "had clung" with "clang."

      [Should that had happened,] I would say "Should this happen". Also, what was being referred to here?

      [That was long ago. If one were to keep count, it would be roughly ten years to the day Jarin had awoken on his fourteenth birthday. His mother had long since perished. She had caught a deathly flu, and in her sleep she found she could no longer fight to breathe. And so she stopped. Just like that. Once he, his mother, and Sir Borin had fled to the kingdom of his uncle. His mother had remarried, and they had another son together: Merek. He was four years younger than Jarin, and much more brazen in character.] Maybe say that his mother died after talking about them moving to the other kingdom, to avoid confusion.

      [Where as Prince Jarin...] "Whereas"

      [...droned out ramblings.] "droned-out"

      [...pushed passed the crying girl,] [Prince Jarin walked passed the younger girl.] "past" 

      [His brother did not reply, he only urged his brother forward.] the repetition of "his brother" stood out as well, maybe replace the second one with "him"

      [Once her eyes opened (which were very sharp eyes. Sharper than the point of a blade)] I would say something like "Once her eyes opened-very sharp eyes, sharper than the point of a blade-they could see..."

      Those quotes are in chronological order, but of course to find them more quickly you can always press the "Ctrl" and "F" keys.

      The dialogue was a bit different from what I usually see. Unless the rules are different where you live, It should be double quotes (" instead of ') with a comma at the end if you're using a dialogue tag (he said, she cried, etc.) and the first letter of the next sentence capitalized.

      In the paragraph that started with "The Prince, who was merely a boy..." had a lot of verbs in the past perfect tense (had wanted, had tried, had reached, had stopped, had almost tripped) when, to me, it would make more sense to take out "had."

      Lastly, I really liked your description at the end and beginning, but if you could add some more of the secret passage that would be cool. 

      Again, I apologize if I seem rather negative. I wanted to point those out because I know self-editing can be a pain :P

      However, as I said I really admire your use of diction and the way you talked the way the narrator would. The narrator himself/herself (are they male or female?) was a nice touch, and I like how you wrote their words in italics to distinguish them from story they're telling.

      Another thing that added to the quality of your chapter was how you used similes and metaphors, such as comparing the dragons to eagles/demons, the orb to a lily, and the girl's eyes to blades. 

      It's good that the emotion in this chapter was plentiful, but you didn't force it on your readers, if that makes sense. When the knights were fighting even though they knew they'd die, Jarin looked back to see ashes were his father had been standing, and when he saw his mother crying, you just said that he was too young to feel as sad as the others, so we naturally feel his sadness for him.

      The chapter itself was well organized. It started with a intro that made us wonder who the narrator was talking to and why as well as an intense beginning, and the end was intriguing but too much of a cliff hanger. You used your 2,292 words well; the pacing couldn't be better, and not too much happened but I'm already immersed in the story. The characters made decisions, which is always good because it makes readers think and get more involved. Speaking of the characters, they're another good part of this chapter because they're all unique, and we already have a sense of their personalities so it's easier to put ourselves in their shoes.

      That's it for this comment. Sorry for talking so much xD Let me know if you have any questions, or if I can elaborate on anything.

      January 30, 2015 | David Boyce


    • Reply

      Wow, thanks so much! Don't worry this comment didn't come off as negative in the slightest. It's actually very helpful. One of my least favourite parts about writing is editing, even though it's essential. I just focus so much on getting my words out before I forget that I prioritize that over whether or not some of the sentence structure makes sense, or if it comes of repetitive. So this really helped :D 

      Thank you again for your kind and very helpful comment! 

      January 31, 2015 | Emi V.


    • Chapter: 2 Reply

      Hmmm that storyteller and his/her tea. I wonder if they're trying to poison us, or whoever they're talking to, since they were insisting. It's also interesting why they're so interesting in the person. I like how you made them react to the traveler's actions. (No? Now, now, there's no reason to be rude.) I wonder what was done that was rude...

      [his brothers hand] [The sound of the girls cries was far to high,]

      [All About Dragons] 

      [She had not understood the meaning of the word] - It wasn't that clear what "the word" is, maybe try "the word 'woo'" 

      [It was graciously received, and quite princely of him. Thea could see the makings of a great king in him.] - Watch out for sentences that end in the same words. Also, I thought Thea was in love with Prince Merek, since she decided they needed a princess and that he would make a good king. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't Jarin be the king since he's older?

      [by the mere presence of her company.]

      [Thea the banshee] I think Banshee should be capitalized.

      [he had never heard on]

      [He rubbed his nose, that was still sore from crashing into the crystal.] - "which"

      [and so,] [ you remind me ] - The first words of these two quotes near the end should be capitalized.

      I was a bit confused when Prince Jarin suddenly wanted to see the girl again, even though he decided that her laugh was spine-chilling. He also was reminded of how he got hurt their, and the only reason he had for wanting to go back was how the cave was so shiny. Unless the obscurity was intentional, why did he really want to go? Was it curiosity, did he think that the girl might have something to tell him about dragons? How did his thoughts transition from dragons to her?

      However, the idea behind the ending was really intriguing. Jarin must want to be like a character from one of his stories, going on an adventure despite his fear. His decision to go back was really unexpected; I thought he's go back with some knights or with one of his new weapons (oh yeah, what types of weapons did they give him?) or maybe the girl would come to him. I get that feeling that he's going to die, though it obviously won't happen, so I can't wait to see what happens when he goes back.

      Jarin seems like an intelligent, open-minded individual since he considered the possibility that dragons and the cave girl aren't actually evil, and asked himself such philosophical questions. He also seems to have a big heart because of the way he thanked his father-in-law and in contrast with his brother, who was really mean to Thea. His preference to books over weapons make me think that he won't want to kill when they embark on their journey. Maybe he'll even spare the life of the dragon who killed his father. The narrator's statement that nobody knows who he is interested me. Since he was one of the first characters introduced we were made to think that he's normal, so that was unexpected as well and very mysterious.

      Prince Merek will probably be less likely to let his curiosity and character get in the way of their quest, though he may not be as clever as his brother. It was quite impressive of him when he helped his friend up after they were playing. They both have room for improvement, but it's clear that they already have it in them. It will be a pleasure to see their personal development as they go on their journey, and see what they learn along the way.

      The world they live in is quite different from our own, how they give little kids alcohol and weapons, and have a young boy's birthday full of drunk people and children running around causing havoc. Maybe the princes would be safer hunting the dragons ;) It all ties back to Jarin's thoughts about how maybe the dragons have souls and people don't. I wonder if he's right.

      One of the reasons I really liked this chapter is that it was really original, especially more than the previous one. While the idea of dragons and avenging loved ones is overused, you've put your own twist on it through parts like the weird girl, and the dragons possibly being the good guys. The originality was also due to the details such as Thea's insight on the word "woo" and the feast in general. You did an amazing job at not only capturing the mind of the narrator, but of little kids in general and how they interact with their environment. Their actions were very amusing and relatable.

      As for organization, I like your way of making some paragraphs bigger and some small to keep the pace steady. This chapter, like the previous one, was easy to read. The chapters' short length is another plus because readers are less likely to have to stop reading in the middle of a chapter, and you aren't loading us with tons of information.

      February 4, 2015 | David Boyce


    • Reply

      Thanks so much again for pointing out the mistakes. As I mentioned before, editing isn't my favourite. So this is much appreciated! I'll go back and smooth the things mentioned out a bit! 

      The interaction I have between the storyteller/reader is a bit difficult to write out.. especially since I try giving a personality to the reader, when they already have one, you can kind of see the problem there. How I write the reactions might not be the way you would act. None the less, I do my best :') 

      As for who's next in line for the throne, it is Merek. He is the true-born son of the King, as where Jarin is only the nephew. I imagine that the King would want his blood-line to succeed him when the time comes. And should Merek never bear any sons of his own, then and only then would the crown pass to Jarin- if he so chooses to take it. In my head though, I believe Jarin would never want to rule a Kingdom that didn't belong to him. He was in line for a throne- it just wasn't his uncles. 

      While we're on the subject on Jarin.. I never really had a goal in mind when writing out his thoughts and when they jumped from dragons to the girl in the cave. I just imagined him as being quite imaginative and scatter-brained that I thought he would jump subjects from one thing to another. Sorry if that disappoints!! D: I'll try to foreshadow things in future chapters, I haven't achieved master-mind yet. But I will do my best to aim for it. >:)

      Thanks so much for commenting again! Your comments are adding fuel to my fire, and is helping me break through the writers block I'm suffering from! 

      February 5, 2015 | Emi V.


    • Chapter: 3 Reply

      Weeeeeell, that was unexpected. I couldn't stop laughing at the last part (Can you guess what she was, dear traveller? Yes, you know well. She was a dragon.) It sort of reminded me of Dora the Explorer for some reason xD Judging from the description on your profile, we can conclude that she's going to go on a quest with them because she's on their side. I wonder if Merek is going to think that he tamed her, given his personality. I can't wait to find out more about the dragon's background and how her relationships with the princes come to be. 

      [You're up I see, no, no, do not fret, traveller.]

      [he had somehow talked Merek in returning with him.] *talked Merek into?

      [They let out a yell, that echoed deep into the cavern.]

      [a fear inducing snarl.]

      I like how the way Jarin and Merek interact with each other was expanded upon, shown in a different way through Merek's teasing of Jarin but the older brother's use of a "silver tongue" to make a comeback and trick Merek, as well as Merek's purposely getting a better weapon that him. They're very...brotherly!

      Your details were great in this chapter. Not much happened, but it's all fitted into 1,825 words. The cave and the dragon girl were particularly descriptive, from the "hollow gazes of the skulls of the dead...haunted forever by whatever it was that had rendered them lifeless" to the way the girl "sat up with alarming speed. So fast were her movements that should they have blinked, they would have never seen her move! Nor heard her for that matter, for she was quite silent."  

      Another thing your chapter does well is maintain the balance of originality and realisticness. The way it's all written the way it would be said (by an old storyteller) is a really nice touch, and whenever I read about the two brothers I can't help thinking about how much they resemble my brother and I when we were that age :)

      So did the old lady put us to sleep with that tea?? And she offered us another cup??? Hmmmm I'm a bit suspicious of her now. I think she likes Jarin though, because of the way she described him (with the silver tongue and taking in burdens upon himself).

      I wonder why the dragon was all happy when they entered the cave. Maybe she likes Jarin too, and was happy he returned. If not I bet she will, since he was worried about her dying and only took a dagger instead of a sword to defend himself. It's strange though, since her babies killed his father, so . . . yeah, it'll be quite interesting to see how it all turns out!

      February 13, 2015 | David Boyce


    • Reply

      Oh my god, I do hope you'll forgive me for using all caps here but.. : HAHAHAHAHA! It does remind me of Dora the Explorer now that you mentioned it! 

      "Can you tell what it is? Say dragon! Muy bueno- very good!" That's aces right there.

      I'm glad the relationship between Merek and Jarin is realistic. I have brothers too, so  I kind of drew inspiration from that. But I can never achieve the 'bro' status they have together. So I tried to mimic it as best I could in my writing. I'm glad it worked out :'). 

      Thanks again for pointing out the mistakes. I went back to edit the chapters, but I can still see quite a few hiccups! 

      I'm really glad the narrator is making you question things. That's what I was kind of aiming for. Throughout the whole story she's supposed to be wondering about the reader (you), and I was hoping the readers would do quite the same.

      As for the dragon girl, well.. I'll leave the mystery to unravel itself as the story progresses. :D 

      As always, thanks for the comment and the input! Much appreciated!

      February 13, 2015 | Emi V.


    • Chapter: 4 Reply

      I'm starting to think that whoever visited the storyteller is one of the main characters, because of their focus on the dragons. However this chapter also revealed that the traveler is looking for someone dear to them (don't think that describes the dragons) and paid the lady to tell them the story (don't know how kids would be able to do that). The old lady knows a lot more about the traveler than we  readers do, so I assume she will reveal more through her side dialogue in later chapters. Well, either that or she's just crazy. Or both. She's such an intriguing character! :P

      In the second paragraph, this might just be me but I was confused when the storyteller started talking about Thea because she never mentioned her name itself so it looked like she was saying that the mother had enlisted the grandmother's help, and I didn't know who she was talking about in the next sentence.

      [She would not be able to handle it should anything terrible befall the royal children, which she considered friends] *whom

      [the Princes could had been]

      [The innocence of children are something to be nurtured, to be sure..]

      [an eight year old child]

      [He wished it was]

      ['Merek, come on!' He grabbed his brother] Same as with the second paragraph, you didn't mention Jarin's name so even though it's obvious he's what the lady meant by "he" but it could cause confusion.

      Did the dragon creator girl stop screaming? I think she did, because that would be awkward given they talked to each other and everything, but I didn't see it mentioned.

      Lastly, when the storyteller went off topic a few times throughout the chapter and then realized, I (personally) feel like there could be more of a transition to make her realization smoother. For example, between "Oh how you make me wonder, traveller.." and "Perhaps, I shall give you what you want instead." or "As for me, I am alone in this world, but I will always have my stories." and "Forgive me, I have digressed once more." It's just my opinion though, and I don't know if that was intentional.

      I really liked the development of the characters in this chapter. Their fear has already hardened them a little, though not dramatically. Thea (how do you pronounce her name?) risked punishment to save her friends-and as you mentioned considering them her friends, in itself, was brave of her - and the storyteller also said "her band of Knights" instead of "Sir Borin's band of knights" xD That was one of my favorite parts for some reason.

      I was surprised when Merek wanted to save the dragon girl and Jarin (the one with a big heart) didn't, but now I realize that's exactly what should happen. Merek just wanted to prove himself, as said at the end, and I'm pretty sure he didn't really know that the girl's the oldest dragon alive, nevertheless not human. Jarin hesitated because dragons are his "sworn enemy," but he saved her anyway. And it wasn't for recognition, but because his heart told him to. (I don't think Merek's that bad though, he just has room for development in different places.) All three of them were very courageous in this chapter, so I don't feel as bad for wanting them to go on some really dangerous quest even though they're just kids.

      I liked the little trickling in of information in this chapter through Sir Oliver and the elves. So we know now that the elves aren't evil (they'd just refused aid as opposed to trying to kill the humans) but would help the evil dragons if it comes to it. I'm hoping they would help our protagonists since the weird girl is like a dragon goddess thing and they worship dragons.

      If the rumors about Sir Oliver are true, especially if he's half elf or something, then the elves can't be too bad- that guy seems really nice to say the least. Maybe the dragons aren't bad either, and the humans are the bad guys, or this is all just a matter of there is no bad guy and they're all fighting to protect themselves. We don't know if the dragons had a reason to attack the castle. Given this possibility I'll try not to immediately look down on any of the characters introduced later on. I think that's what Jarin will do too.

      I can't wait to read the next chapter, because Sir Borin and the dragon girl are right there, so close to each other. That's going to be fun to read :P Sorry it talk so long to comment. I've been really busy lately, and got confused as to who's turn it was. Let me know if you have any questions.

      February 23, 2015 | David Boyce


    • Chapter: 5 Reply

      What, she hopes we choose to answer her questions when the time comes?? What does that mean? I love the mystery of this story. At times it's sort of like a dream, where you know what's going on but it doesn't make total sense, leaving much to reader speculation. Normally I would find such a story hard to read but the emotional atmosphere complements it perfectly. It's so simple but so complex, the way their feelings or change in feelings can be unexpected, like Merek being in love with Dracaena and Jarin liking her at the end of the chapter, but they always match the characters' personalities well. The way Jarin was grumpy even though he's the nice guy did a good job of showing that nobody here is perfect and they all have their imperfections.

      There was just one thing I didn't quite understand: Why was little Thea happy to spend time with Dracaena, even though she heard her screaming in the cave? Unless she is also in love, though I doubt that. Sorry if I misunderstood.

      [Of course some of the information written seemed complete rubbish to him; dragons taking the forms of pigs? None sense!] Did people talk like that in the olden days, instead of saying "nonsense"? If so I wouldn't be surprised.

      [For he too, had heard the unearthly cries of the girl from within the then sunken cavern.] 

      [Once, as Prince Jarin watched Thea and the Dragon-girl (who people began calling 'Dracaena'. A joke being spread around the castle for her claims of being a dragon-which she seemed fine with as she claimed no name of her own) sweep the courtyard clean, he noticed Dracaena stop and stare up at the sky.] I would find it less awkward if you said something like, "...the Dragon-girl, who people began calling..." without the parenthesis, and later write something along the lines of "They were sleeping the courtyard clean, but he noticed Dracaena stop..." 

      [He did seem a girl desperate for gossip he admitted.] What is meant by this phrase? Also, there should be a comma after "gossip." 

      [Merek hadn't woken him in the middle of the night in years, and last time he had was because he had soiled his bed due to a nightmare. He slept in Jarin's own that night because he was too ashamed to face the servants who had to clean it.] Unless it's just the way she talks, otherwise say "the last time," "he had slept," and "he had been too ashamed."

      ['Are we to travel? Shall I pack a lunch. I really should kiss my mummy good-bye, too!'] 

      [Alright, Merek. Where do you plan to travel?'] Who said this?

      ['Do not cause such an uproar, Jarin. Honestly, you haven't been acting yourself of late. And I know it's because of Dracaena. She is no monster, and I am keen to make you see that.' Merek explained walking away from the protection Jarin offered.] It was also hard to tell who said this.

      [Or have you only gotten half way.]  

      That lady keeps getting weirder and weirder (in a good way). But I think the most well developed and interesting character is Dracaena. Not only is she also mysterious but her emotions are realistic. Her personality is multi-faceted in the way she doesn't fully respect them, at least in thinking the humans are just "little things to be played with," but was polite and has a kinder side to her as well. I like the way she talks (well, all the dialogue is beautifully written but hers especially) and her conversation with Merek, about balancing his chatter.

      Part of me hopes she becomes more humanistic in the future, because of her thoughts about the other humans, and there seems to be hope because she's willing to bring the dragons under control, which would be beneficial to the humans. But it's for her own selfish reasons and I'm not sure if she'll betray them in the future. 

      The way everybody was like, "Is she really a dragon??" at the beginning threw me off, and I admire how well you wrote that part. At first I thought it was certain but now the storyteller has opened up so many possible theories when she said that the answer will only come at the end. So I think Dracaena and the storyteller are the same person, and if not a dragon then something like Jarin's non-traditional guardian angel, because of how their lives are connected. If dragons can just turn into humans willy nilly then surely they would have mixed with the real people to spy on them and... oh wait... Maybe there are spies among them. Well, I guess I'll have to wait to see what happens. Until then!     

      March 5, 2015 | David Boyce


    • Reply

      Thanks, I'm glad I was able to draw you in with the emotional aspect. It's usually pretty hard to delve into and convey what the characters are feeling in certain situations, so I'm glad that turned out alright. 

      I'm very happy you're enjoying Dracaena. I was a bit iffy on how she came out, I thought people might have found her bland, but I'm glad that's not the case! 

      Yes, Jarin is a bit of a grumpy-head when he's deprived of sleep. Though he has that luxury as a royal. Notice how Thea just shrugged it off like it was a thing expected? :P Oh, Princes can be the spoiled sort at times, despite all their chivalry.

      As for Thea wanting to be near Dracaena, well in my mind I just pictured her excited having a new girl to play with. There are definitely other girls she could latch onto, but I just didn't imagine Thea really connecting with any of them. So I guess the prospect of someone new was just something she relished. 

      I really like all the speculations and theories you've come up with. A part of me just wants to spill all the secrets, but in the end that wouldn't be much fun, would it? :P 

      March 10, 2015 | Emi V.


    • Chapter: 6 Reply

      This is like one of those crime shows where they investigate all the suspects and everything. At the end the old lady was spewing out all those questions rapid-fire, and I got the sense that she's a bit suspicious of us. (I'm going to pretend I'm the traveler because why not.) In a previous chapter she was talking about how we aren't as mysterious as we think, so maybe she lied but was trying to get us to tell her our secrets. There could be some police officers hiding until we confess that we did something wrong. At least I don't know why else we would be keeping our secret from a harmless old lady. Hmmmm.

      [The day had passed quickly as they traversed through the ever thickening woods.] "ever-thickening"

      [She treated it more of a burden- a liability than anything.

      [They settled in to their bedrolls, too frightened to start a fire, lest bandits were drawn to the flame.] I like your use of the word lest though! 

      [For the days she spent alone in the tower, she would spend her time scraping away skin on her back and her sides- only successful in drawing blood. She could not breathe in those times. She dared not.] Why didn't she breathe, and how?

      [Would they survive if they encountered a hungry bear, or a territorial buck? And if they encountered bandits, would they be so callous as to murder children?] I would use a difference word for "encounter" to vary the diction.

      [Thea believed her mother whole heartedly none the less.] "wholeheartedly"

      ['My mother once told me that Elves are scant of dress.' Thea regaled as they stepped over fallen logs. From up ahead Merek called back:

      'Your mum is stupid.' He had been listening to their conversation as Dracaena had gone silent. She grew tired of his prattling.

      'Shut-up, Merek.' Jarin called back as he noticed Thea's eyes began to well.] It seems unnecessary to talk about her being tired of him, since the lady doesn't talk about her until a couple lines after, and you can get rid of it anyway since it's implied :)

      I feel like there could it could flow more at the beginning in between the first and second paragraphs and at the part where he was dreaming, where it switched from Jarin's perspective to Dracaena's, and then back to Jarin, as well as the transition between his dream and the next morning. It was really nice to get some of her view on things and it makes sense since they're connected and all, just took a while for me to understand what was happening.

      But damn, the amount of vocabulary I learn just from reading your story! Your writing style is good enough to know that at least most of the errors are just typos. I totally feel like I'm actually being told a story by an authentic storyteller. It still has the important aspects of a normal story, as in the way the plot is laid out and it's impact on the reader.

      I was somewhat surprised when it turned out that Dracaena dislikes being connected to Jarin. She seemed to accept it in the last chapter, but that must have been a way of getting him to join them and use him as a puppet, as mentioned before. I really like how cold she is to them (I know, right?) because it leaves room for personal development. If she knew acceptance of others and of her downfalls she would seem too perfect.

      The characterization overall progressed with the chapter at the right pace. More of their personalities were revealed so that we can relate to them, but we weren't overloaded with information about them. For example, this chapter made me see Thea in a different way.

      Though she can seem like a weak and dependent character, we can already see a lot of potential for personal growth. She shows acceptance in playing with Dracaena and Merek, responsibility in telling him not to touch his face, and intelligence in reasoning that beasts can't be reasoned with but bandits can. Also, the way she gets sad instead of angry, as opposed to all the other characters, makes her seem like a girl of character, and the way she was regaling and all makes her seem funny too. She's my favorite character now.

      Oh yeah, one thing I noticed xD It's so cute (ugh I shouldn't be saying that word) how Merek apologizes to her by giving her little things, instead of just saying "sorry." I can totally see people shipping them. #therek 

      It's cool that although this is a fantasy story, realism is aplenty here. The way they were playing at the beginning and their dialog reminds us that they're still kids, just being chaperoned by a dragon goddess.

      Though I wonder if she will be able to protect them. She wants to be back in her human form for a reason, one can assume. (That was so sad, by the way, how she was scratching herself because she felt constricted in that form. That really does sound like something a dragon would do, and the appeal to pathos really made me lighten up to her a bit.) Anyway it seems that she's the only one without a weapon. They could be in trouble when the elves are introduced in the next chapter, unless whoever's coming is literally named Danger. What a cliff hanger! I can't wait for the next chapter! (Not to rush you, though.)

      March 14, 2015 | David Boyce


    • Reply

      I should very well hope you see yourself as the traveller :D That's what I was going for anyways. And who knows about the old story-teller? She could be working different angles here; an all knowing hermit teasingly implying things, to an wistful old woman holding onto sentimentality that come in the form of stories. 

      Sorry for all the typo's and errors D: I'm like an over-eager puppy when I write, and can't slow down to check if I did things right hahaha, in my mind everything must get out ASAP. I need to slow down a bit when it comes to that. Thanks for putting up with it, and thanks again for showing me where I went wrong :) 

      I agree with you, at times certain things jumped and felt a bit choppy. I've tried to make it flow better, but I'm still not happy with it. I'll be coming back to those parts and see just how I can improve it. Believe you me, I will have this story primmed and polished by the end. 

      The part where Dracaena 'dared not breathe' was meant to be taken more lightly hahaha. Almost like a panic attack and you become short of breath, so you think you've stopped breathing. Well, I could have added a bit more description there. 

      I'm glad little Thea has managed to plant a seed of admiration in your heart. She's one of my favourites too, I'll have you know!

      And pshaw! Who says you can't call things cute? I found it more bratty of Merek than anything, but I can see how it would look cute too x). And oh my. A Thea/Merek ship! That's awesome hahahahaha that's too great. I don't know- should Therek be a thing? 

       

      March 15, 2015 | Emi V.


    • Chapter: 7 Reply

      Hmmm, after finding out how powerful these elves (or Elves) really are, it makes me wonder how the humans have lived for so long in a world populated by much stronger species. The old lady must not have been exaggerating when she said that what the humans lack in strength, they make up in will. They also seem more friendly (since the sympathized with the Elven woman), possibly allowing them to make more allies than enemies. Though the Elves seem somewhat as friendly, their leader could have been tricking them and then again, they're willingly sacrificing a baby to the Dragons. I wonder if the humans do have some sort of power, since the Elf said that they were powerless when in the Elven Realm.

      I was also wondering, is there a general lack of communication between the Dragons and the Elves? The one they met mentioned that the dragons didn't ask anything of them, but Dracaena knows stuff about them and I assume the Dragons give them at least some of their powers, since their weapons had fire magic in them. It was great to get some interesting and thought-provoking information while still not feeling overloaded.

      The ending of the first paragraph was quite surprising and made me think twice about the humans' probability of surviving, as well as backing up the question of how they will do so. To bring the paragraph to its full potential I would recommend making the first few sentences more attention-getting; maybe move the fourth sentence (None can blame...) to in front of the first one, if you like how that looks :)

      [She tripped and stumbled- just barely missing the point of the Princes blades.]

      There are some sentences with a comma instead of a period or vice versa, such as: [In her arms was a babe wrapped up tightly in a bundle of blankets, she cradled it close to her chest protectively.] I don't know if this was your intent - it certainly helps the authenticity - but thought I'd tell you just in case.

      [A clear reminder to Jarin of what she truly was- an enemy who he allied himself with.] You probably know this already, but the dash should be a colon : and "who" should be "whom" because it corresponds to the stress pronoun him/her.

      [And with a squeeze of Merek and Thea's hand,]

      [They could not understand her words but they could clearly read he actions.]

      ['Shut-up, Merek!' Jarin interjected.]

      [and so she sympathized slightly with the Jarin.] This part felt like a nature documentary for some reason :D

      [With a tiny hand it waved at her as she was marched along by her Elven jailers.] I believe this should be "with".

      [She missed how it quickly reeled back into its hidey-hole, as Dracaena walked passed.] "saddened when"?

      ['What you are hearing is the choir of the Berura,' he held up his hand, muttering a light incantation before opening his palm and revealing an orb of light. Thea, and the Princes gaped in wonder.] He opened his palm? That's a bit graphic! :) Maybe "unclenched his fist" or "opened his hand" unless people do say palm.

      The little details in this chapter, like Thea thinking how slaps hurt more when strangers inflict them and the rope being made of spider silk, did a good job of spicing up the story. But I really like your description of the setting in this chapter, including the impact it had on the characters (like making them forget their fears) as well as the impacts the characters had on each other in the end, thus fluidly tying together these elements of the story.

      That ending though! I definitely wasn't expecting Dracaena to abandon them like that, though it was in her character :( Even if she didn't have her powers, she was the backbone of their group, one of the main reasons they wanted to go on the adventure in the first place. It's hard to doubt that Merek and Thea look up to her. I don't think their separation will be permanent, though, because she is part of the title and has that connection with Jarin. Then the intriguing part is how they will be united.

      Hopefully if they don't reunite any time soon they won't be too unmotivated. Thea seems to be matured a little already. She ran forward and denied the Elves, and took interest in the forest with its mothmen and beautiful laments rather than be afraid. Well, the ending shows that she and Merek still have some room to grow but they're getting somewhere, right? 

      March 25, 2015 | David Boyce


    • Reply

      Oh god, 'the Jarin', that definitely sounds like a nature documentary, you're right. hahahaha I was going to write 'the prince' but instead it came out as you see. Thanks again for the comment/suggestions. I need to set a time where I just sit down with my work and edit the ever living crap out of it. :P 

      I'm glad I've made some character progression with Thea, there will be more to come for all characters. And yes, don't you worry about Dracaena leaving the kids, she'll make her way back to them. 

       

      March 26, 2015 | Emi V.


    • Chapter: 8 Reply

      Oh, so we're with the hope of meeting someone precious, eh? It feels like the secrets behind the storyteller/traveler part of the story are right under our noses but it's still so mysterious. But the old lady also seems sort of philosophical, the way she was talking about who gods go to when they need someone to guide them. In addition to exposing one of Dracaena's weaknesses it makes you think about real life, with gods representing parents and humans/elves representing children. That storyteller's pretty wise, isn't she? 

      One thing I noticed, I don't know if this is archaic, but the word "god[s]" is capitalized throughout the chapter.

      [They descended steps of shining marble towards three thrones placed regally upon a stage. Behind the thrones was a hall, guarded by two large statues of dragons with rubies as eyes. It had been carved into the wall of the temple, beckoning Dracaena with its mystery. She felt the Atarah could wait for her council then, just so she could sate her curiosity. Just what was beyond the thrones?] What about the dragons and the hall intrigued her? Was it the elven magic shown at the end? She wasn't impressed with the rest of the temple, thinking of how it was "nothing but stone". (That 's definitely something she would say though hahaha.) 

      [Though the face he showed Dracaena was anything but.]

      ['We could be of use to each other, dragon,' came Jimena's voice as she walked passed.

      I feel really bad pointing out typos since the rest of the story is so beautifully written. Not only does it sound authentic and old-fashioned but sill easy to read, but the way the storyteller talks ("But, oh!" xD) really brings life to the story. 

      Yet the true charm in this chapter, and the story as a whole, is the way there seems to be a bigger meaning to the plot as hinted at by the storyteller, like the gods thing. This makes connecting with the characters (especially the traveler) easier because we're also learning the lesson. It's deep, man.

      I found that final wording, the way she said that fear is a privilege, quite interesting. It must be some statement about how no one is perfect, and even if someone seems to be better than everybody else it's still worse because they don't know their own weaknesses. I look forward to learning more about Dracaena in the future, and how Babette managed/was willing to capture her. 

      It's also interesting that the old lady compared the traveler to Dracaena in saying, "there is a glow to you as well." Hmmm, are the two related somehow? Is the traveler female? I suppose they could live in two entirely different universes and they're relation could be indirect, or maybe it'll be revealed near the end. Either way I can't wait to see how it's all connected.

      In the mean time, it's a bit sad that Dracaena's being in human form - and sleeping for all those years - is making her mind lame. It's hard to tell who she really is, I guess. We got glimpses of a motherly figure in this chapter. Hopefully she was that kind of person the whole time and only seems bitter because of the dragons' and elves' (because we now know they hated her too) betrayal and imprisonment. The Atarah (who is unnamed as of yet, hmm) is of mixed portrayal as well, since he seems cruel but only because there's bad blood between them and he obviously loves his wife dearly. All the characters have this multi-dimensionality to them that makes them hard to figure out, but all the more intriguing. One can only guess what they'll get themselves into next. 

      Hopefully you have found this comment helpful :) Please feel free to let me know if you have questions or if there is something I can clarify on.

      April 10, 2015 | David Boyce


    • Reply

      Thank you a thousand times over for your continually helpful comments! Please don't fell bad about pointing out any flaws in the story :D I always miss something or other when writing/editing, an extra pair of eyes is really helpful. As is your insight, and perspective on the story as a whole. 

      When Dracaena found herself intrigued by the dragon statues and the hall hey guarded, yes, it was because of magic. I think it'll be better clarified in the next chapter. :) 

      The story teller is pretty philosophical. I was trying to go for a 70's stoner, 'like, dude, you know? What is the concept of God and stuff?' Hahaha she's old, and old age comes hand in hand with wisdom. But that doesn't mean the wise should stop asking questions! :D

      The traveller's gender is supposed to be synonymous with the reader's. So in your case, the traveller is a dude. 

      Your comments are as helpful and insightful as ever. And I hope you enjoy the story. If I come up with any questions, I shall ask swiftly and without reservation :D 

      April 10, 2015 | Emi V.


    • Chapter: 1 Reply

      "'Quickly this way!' Sir Borin said as he led the Queen and the Prince through the catacombs of the castle. The King had been burnt to a crisp in his attempt to face their foes, so that his wife and son might have lived. When Prince Jarin had turned to see what became of his lord father, all that had been left was a shadow upon the wall, scorched in like a memory."

      ~~after that rambling introduction, this paragraph packs too much into three sentences.  A paragraph takes ONE idea or the ACTIONS OF ONE CHARACTER and should NOT jumble Borin, the King and Jarin all together.  As a general rule, actions flow from previous actions and do not spontaneously pop-up.  Back story matters.  Take a little time and get the set-up right.   

       

      Where was the king when the dragon burned him?  Establish that, and who was with him.  If the king was not with his knights, but was already within the catacombs, how did the dragon kill him?  Get the death scene worked out.  (I use a 3 foot by 5 foot dry erase board like a foot-ball play by play action/analysis. I'd be lost without it, but a pad of newsprint is also helpful.)

      After the king dies, go on to the next move.  If the king dies in the catacombs, go directly to the running.  If the king dies in the general fighting there are new questions:  Where was Sir Borin?  Where was the Queen?  Where's the door to the catacombs?  --This is known as getting the ducks in a row.  All writers need to do it.

      It's sometimes difficult for an author who knows the story inside out and backwards to step back and read what's been put down and ONLY what's been put down.  Try to forget what happens next and make sure what you're writing NOW is what you want the reader to know.

      September 9, 2015 | Lynn Hollander


    • Reply

      Thanks so much for the comment! Great piece of advice, I never really looked at the set-up as a "game plan". I always tended to just write and get the words out there. So that's actually really helpful advice! 

      I'd just like to clear up one thing. The story tends to have three points of views, all told by the old woman who plays the roll of the narrator. At the time where the dragons attack the kingdom and the king, it is told from the perspective of Jarin, who is at an age where details from such a traumatizing event. So my intention was to have it vaguely written. 

      Never the less, I value everything you've suggested; I'll definitely have it in the back of my mind every time I write! 

      Cheers!

      September 9, 2015 | Emi V.


    • Reply

      *Such a traumatizing event would only be so clear for him. Which is why I wrote it to be vague. 

      I missed out writing half a sentence in my other reply, whoops! :D 

      September 10, 2015 | Emi V.