Become a Fan
Chapter 1: Dante
By Roland D Brown
Thursday, December 12, 2002
The warm night crept slowly upon the people in a small town by the name of Siriso. Farmhands stored their tools in the sheds and led the animals to their proper places. Tavern owners prepared to make the most money and innkeepers prepared their record books for any travelers that might be passing through.
Just before night enveloped the city, a small caravan rumbled noisily into town and stopped when the four individual carts made it inside the caravansary. Inside the caravans were soldiers in a small troop from Midgard, the colossal kingdom to the north, to prevent wandering monsters from attacking the small peaceful villages and towns that lined the countryside. Siriso required extra attention because it was a harbor city and thus could be attacked from the ground and the sea by anyone or anything.
A single head poked out from behind the caravaneer, looking at the inn whose light shone bright into the caravansary. The driverís breath stunk heavily and his voice was littered with avarice, "Go and see if they have three rooms."
"Yes, sir," the soldier behind him said.
The young soldier jumped out of the head caravan and removed his helmet. He was about twenty years old, and had dead black eyes (For what reason Dante didnít know exactly). From his extended amounts of traveling, the manís long black hair had twisted and locked together and stretched down past his shoulders. He was medium build and dressed in the blue cloth clothing that he had received when he joined the Midgard Grand Army. The manís name was Dante.
Dante entered the inn whose light illuminated the caravansary.
The inn was beautiful on the inside. Flowers grew in pots all over the place, benches, obviously made of expensive wood were lined up perfectly, and a small statue of two regal griffins awaited in the doorway on the inside of the inn.
The innkeeper was a scrawny old elf with long white chin hair, but no hair on his head. His eyebrows were constantly angular, giving one the impression he was permanently angered. He most likely was close to two thousand years, (about the final fifty years of an elfís life). He glanced over at Dante, "Eh, what do you want, boy?"
"Excuse me sir, but I am sent in the service of-" Dante began
"I said what dost thou want, twit," the old manís uncouthness surprised Dante.
Dante took a breath to avoid getting angry and shouting something he might regret at the old man, "I am a soldier in the Midgard Grand Army and-"
"I said say what thou has to say, thou impotent little bastard! Dost thou need thy ears cleaned?"
"May we rent three rooms for the night?" Dante said quickly.
"Well I donít know. Maybe thee can, maybe thee canít. It all depends on-"
"Grandfather!" someone shouted from the doorway of the inn.
Standing in the doorway was a young woman, maybe not even out of her adolescent years. Her body, which was covered by a white thin blouse, was lithe, with a thin waist and slender arms. She wore a blue dress that stretched down to the floor, but did not drag. She had long, crimson brown hair that extended to well into her lower back.
"Grandfather, give them a room now. We need the money." Her auburn, baby-like eyes were on her grandfather.
The young ladyís grandfather looked as mad as ever, "Well, if thou art convinced good shall come from it. Who, may I ask, are these three rooms for?"
"Commander Cavalera, General Tribbett, and General Troi."
The color left the old manís face, "G-G-General Alexander Troi?"
"The one and only."
The manís color quickly returned, "Go and get the three for whom the rooms art to be rented.
"Thank you my good sir," Dante said, not showing his irritation.
"Whatever," the old man said. The young lady smacked him on the back of his head as hard as she could and the old man quickly fixed what he said, "Mine hopes are with you that thy night treats thee well."
Dante turned away, smiling, trying desperately not to laugh. "The troops of Midgard thank you, good sir."
Midgard? Thatís five times the price! The old man thought humbly to himself.
Dante strolled over to where the rest of the troops were waiting.
"What did that old bastard say?" The caravaneer said, showing his abhorrence toward the old elf.
"They have the rooms."
"Well, good. Nice to see that bastard finally open up. General!" The caravaneer called back to General Alexander Troi.
General Troi was a marvelous man who had won many battles in his time for Midgard. He had long, flowing, white hair that went almost down to his feet with dark brown eagle-like eyes that some said stared into your very soul. On his back was always a crimson cape and black clothing underneath and brown shin-high boots that had the tops turned down. In his hand or never far away was his long sword, almost ten feet long. No one else had ever wielded the weapon, much less used it with such grace and stature as the General. Many battles had been won with the wielding of this weapon.
Dante, almost forgetting his manners as a soldier, saluted the great warrior, "Good evening, General."
The caravaneer did the same as Dante; even tough he did not catch on as quickly, "I shall summon the maids to fix up your room, General." He ran to the back of the caravanís line.
"You, soldier," the General addressed Dante, "what is your name?"
Did Danteís ears deceive him? Surely the winner of the Great War was not addressing a lowly soldier.
"Soldier?" General Troi called again.
"Dante," he responded.
"And have you no family name?" General Troi asked.
"I prefer not to use it."
"Understandable. How long have you been a part of Midgardís Grand Army?"
Why was the General making such small talk?
"About a three years now, but it seems like itís been an eternity." Dante tried to select his words carefully.
"And do you enjoy yourself?"
"Itís alright, but it could be better."
"Oh?" the General seemed to find fascinating material in Danteís insipid ramblings.
"I wanted to go to war when I joined. This was back when the Great War was still going on. I was supposed to be sent to the front lines in the final battle. After sitting in a caravan for two weeks, we get to the battle site and the war is over, and almost everyone had gone home."
"What did you do then?" General Troi inquired.
"I was put in patrol, in charge of protecting Midgard-allied cities from any threats from other kingdoms."
"Where are you staying tonight?" the Generalís question was completely off the subject and took Dante aback.
" I donít know. Out here I guess."
"Nonsense. You shall stay in my room. I will remain here with the troops."
Dante was surprised at the Generalís kindness, "I-I donít know, sir."
The General grabbed Danteís arm and forcefully led him into the inn. General Troi stopped suddenly and stared at the old elven innkeeper, who in return stared back at the General. The two locked gazes and Dante thought that they knew each other. Just as suddenly, though, the General said, "Where is my room?"
The old manís tan skin turned almost pale and he began to quiver and stammer, "W-Well l-l-let m-me s-s-s-see." He opened his record book with a quickness that deceived his old age and placed his small reading glasses on his nose.
Dante noticed the young woman lying on a bench in the far corner of the room
She wore a thin slip that only reached down to her middle thigh. She had slightly muscular legs, which ended in her small feet. Her crimson-auburn hair draped over firm, round, supple-
"Ah, h-here we a-are," the innkeeper said, bringing Danteís attention back, "Top of the stairs and three rooms down on the right."
"Thank you, sir. Good night." General Troi flashed another glance at the innkeeper when he thought Dante wasnít looking. He brought Dante up to the room with no less amount of force as he had exerted bringing Dante inside the inn. He opened the door to the room and pushed Dante inside.
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|Reviewed by Kip Raney
|I have to agree with john . . . there is not much feeling in this bit that I have read. And it does not give me an overwhelming desire to read more of the story. The language, well, it is very tricky, especially when trying to write in a specific dialect type. I suggest reading the elements of style . . . going over your words with this tiny book in hand will clear up many of the issues that need tended to. But whatever you do, don't give up. There is promise, and I do enjoy a good story in a world never before known. Also, try to cut down using the same word or variant of a word over and over so closely together.|
|Reviewed by john zimmerman
|this needs work:
1. language is stilted
2. you tell rather than show
3. your characters are flat and a tad shopworn
4. point of view?
try rewriting from Dante' s POV, using the active voice and standard english.
tell your story as simply and clearlly as you can...