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July 18th, 2006, 01:04 PM
Thankyou for taking the time to look at my work, i appreciate input during the editing process which can be quite drab all on one's lonesome. Without further ado-

The clatter of a hundred iron shod hooves rippled through the crisp morning air. The columns of knights moved quickly, seemingly in a hurry. At the head of the column rode a tall, powerful looking man, his armour hidden by a blue cloak, a flared helm sitting upon his head. The few townspeople up at this early hour quickly moved to the side of the street, allowing the lord and his knights to pass.
Andrija, Duke of Forlesco, shivered slightly. The brisk morning air had cooled the metal upon his body, and he was covered by a thin cloak only. He kept his knights moving quickly, aware that the streets were not the safest place for him to be at this time. Around him, his faithful officers were wary, hands resting on hilts, ready to ride to their lord’s defense at any moment.
‘My lord!’ A shout rippled through the morning air.
Turning, the duke quickly found the source of the shout. A young man, perhaps 20 years of age, with dark hair. The duke quickly assessed his plain clothing and thin frame. The lad was lower class.
The column continued on.
‘My lord, please! My lord!’ The lad persisted.
‘Sir?’ said Damcov, the officer’s eyes questioning. He and his men would go and berate the boy should the duke wish it.
The duke didn’t answer for a moment.
‘My lord, please!’ The lad was now running alongside the column, weaving in and out the crowd as he shouted. Many of the townsfolk were staring curiously at the young man.
The duke turned once more to regard the shouter. The lad seemed desperate to gain conference with him. It was rude, impertinent and dangerous for a commoner to shout at a noble so. But then, the Duke had never been too concerned with etiquette. And considering the news of the past week, his was curious as to why a commoner should risk a beating to talk to him.
‘Let him approach.’
Damcov seemed mildly surprised, but said nothing. The elderly officer ordered at halt, and the column came to a rugged stop. He than waved for the youth to approach.
The young man, relief flickering across his face, hurried forward as surprised and curious onlookers stopped to watch the strange occurrence. Damcov meanwhile had dismounted, and searched the man quickly before allowing him to step any closer.
The duke, sitting quietly upon his horse, watched carefully as the young man moved towards him. The lads face was tense, and all hint of emotion had disappeared. Crystal blue eyes returned his gaze steadily. He stepped to the duke’s horse, standing still for a moment before raising his hand. Swords rattled instantly from sheaths, but the young mans hand stopped a full half meter from the duke. A small scroll of parchment protruded from his fist.
The duke, staring intensely at the lad, reached down and accepted the parchment. Without a word, the young man turned around and walked away from the column, disappearing into the crowd.
Damcov, standing besides the duke’s horse, hissed under his breath. The boy was insolent to dare approach the duke in such a manner. Now bow, not even an acknowledgement of the duke’s title. The boy hadn’t uttered a word.
The Duke seemed not to have noticed however. He was busy scanning the lines of the parchment. Around him his knights watched, interested, waiting for a reaction. They were disappointed. The duke simply stuffed the parchment into his belt and motioned for the column to begin moving once more. As the clatter of hooves began to fill the morning air once more, the Duke’s eyes flickered back to the crowd, and for a moment, just a moment; a small smile crept onto his face.

Standing discreetly in the shadows of a doorway, an onlooker was particularly interested in the strange events occurring upon the city road. Branco watched as the column halted, as the boy approached the Duke, and lastly, as the boy handed over the note. Then the boy had turned and was returning to the crowd. Stepping from the shadows of the entrance way, Branco weaved in and out of the curious onlookers who were still babbling about the unusual encounter, until he spotted the boy a few yards ahead, walking towards him. The boy was older than he appeared from afar, a young man, perhaps 19 or 20 years of age. He was tall, maybe 6 feet in height, and rather skinny, with jet black hair and crystal eyes. Right now those eyes were on the road, ignoring the curious gazes of those around him. As the man passed, Branco noticed a small scar just above his left eye. Certain he would be able to mark the boy in the future should he need too, he quickly disappeared into a nearby side street.

July 18th, 2006, 07:19 PM
Not bad at all Quigly. It's a small sample, so as usual with the stuff that gets posted on this forum (as opposed to longer stuff that gets published in the community), it is difficult to form an impression of the tale.

One thing that jumps out at me is that you essentially describe this young man twice in a very small space. Both the duke and Branco see him for the first time, but this presents an obstacle to the reader who already knows what he looks like. If these descriptions were separated by a chapter or more, the character would warrant a second description to cue the reader in to who he is.

As this messenger approaches the duke, we are told that there is danger for a common person to approach a noble so boldly, but we aren't really shown the danger. What happened to the last common person who stepped out of line? "He and his men would go and berate the boy should the duke wish it." - what does this berating involve?

The duke is surrouned by columns of knights, yet you present a sense of impending danger as the company marches into town. What are they afraid of? Is the town sufficiently large enough that it could raise a militia against this noble? Are there magic users in the vicinity? You don't need to go into great detail in an opening, but a hint might add in a little suspense.

You have a decent opening though and it would be interesting to see where this leads.