Author Topic: Eloise and the Five Moons of Zarph (430 words)  (Read 4032 times)

Offline *Lorraine*

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Eloise and the Five Moons of Zarph (430 words)
« on: March 07, 2007, 05:54:43 AM »
This is a piece of fantasy and I would like to receive comments/advice about content/style etc as it's not my usual genre and I have limited experience of reading fantasy or sci-fi.  I think this section might form part of the opening.

Thanks.
Lorraine


Eloise was a ninth generation Kudu scout; ebony skin and raven hair was unique to her family. 

The third moon of Zarph hung over the northern ridge, casting a roseate glow over the encampment of domes which sprouted like mushrooms from the dusty, rock-strewn valley.  Eloise, who was spying from a screen of tall grasses, knew that each dome contained an Essian warrior and, more importantly, that they were sleeping.  The Essian race was known to sleep in a deep state of unconsciousness between the rising of the second and fourth moons.  By archaic decree it remained a male-only society for seven seasons of the year and this group were not due to return to Essia and their womenfolk until the next eclipse.  As a result there was a pheromone-laden cloud drifting towards the flanks of the forest where the nocturnal boars raised their snouts before continuing with their foraging.

Eloise gauged that she had enough time to return to the settlement at Kudu before the rising of the fourth moon when the Essians would gather for their only meal of the day; salt fish with black flat-bread dipped in kernel oil.  Wary of the tethered pack animals, Eloise scuttled away on palms and toes until she was at a safe distance; she unfurled the cloak of skins, flexed her lean limbs then sprinted away with lengthening strides, guided by the bracelet of stars in the eastern sky.

Famed for her soundless long-distance running, Eloise arrived at the pitted walls of the ancient town just as the call to prayer echoed over the roof tiles.  Once inside she followed the twisting route of the narrow alleyway until it opened onto an inner triangle.  Eloise nodded her tightly braided head at the twin guards before drinking thirstily from the fresh-water levada that ran beside the tent belonging to Xavier, their leader. 

Since assassinating his predecessor in a blood-soaked coup, Xavier had sworn never to live under anything other than cloth from the looms of his ancestors.  The floor of the tent was covered in a beautiful hand woven carpet in shades of clay, copper and calendula.  Behind a gauzy crimson curtain hung a musk scented oil-lamp which cast its amethyst light upon Xavier as he lounged on a mass of fringed cushions.

Eloise passed under the crossed sabres and entered the inner tent.  She interlaced her fingers in greeting and lowered her soulful gaze in deference to The Eye of Kudu that hung round her leader’s neck.
   “The Essians will attack us before the coming of the fifth tide” she said in a rich, husky voice.
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Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Eloise and the Five Moons of Zarph (430 words)
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2007, 06:46:30 AM »
Lorraine, I could find nothing worth noteing in either content or style that needs changing or rewording.

Fact is, I like this a lot.  Everything so far stays true to the world you have created and your POV character is introduced just enough to leave me wanting to know more of her and her world. 
I think you're on your way to revealing a very good story as you move forward.
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Offline Melita

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Re: Eloise and the Five Moons of Zarph (430 words)
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2007, 07:23:06 AM »
Don't usually stray into "Review my Work" territory, but I have today. Also not really a fantasy reader, but I wanted to say that I love the description of the tents. Have you seen the new film of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? It's not very good (probably not really worth watching), but your extract reminded me of it because they have these beautiful crimson tents that billow and waft, and your description was perfect.

Couldn't find anything stylistically worth picking you up on, I thought it read really well.

Have to admit I'm intrigued about the Essians now...  :)

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Re: Eloise and the Five Moons of Zarph (430 words)
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2007, 12:00:12 PM »
I also enjoyed this short read.  Very much so.  I tend to be critical of fantasy authors' work.  I find the majority of it boring or the style of writing unfitting to the genre, but I have nothing negative to say about this.  Not even any advice.  I really liked it. :) I hope you continue with this story.

Offline only_a_mortal

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Re: Eloise and the Five Moons of Zarph (430 words)
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2007, 01:40:06 PM »
I'm not a fan of most Fantasy, but this was good for what it is. Well done.
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Offline Jillanne Nehls

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Re: Eloise and the Five Moons of Zarph (430 words)
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2007, 02:31:23 PM »
Hi Lorraine,

You sure could have fooled me that you've never written fantasy before.  This is a great story with wonderfully succinct descriptions that allow readers to envision the place and characters.

The first paragraph is perfect. It makes me want to know more right now.

Congratulations!  I hope you keep writing this story.

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Offline Titania

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Re: Eloise and the Five Moons of Zarph (430 words)
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2007, 07:03:40 PM »
Science fiction and fantasy are definitely not my thing, but having said that, I thought this was very well written with beautiful visual images and I really enjoyed it.
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Offline jeff

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Re: Eloise and the Five Moons of Zarph (430 words)
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2007, 04:25:06 AM »
I like this a lot, but there are a couple of points I'd like to make:

Zarph - I suggest you think of another name, this really does sound like a corny, made-up Skiffy (as opposed SF, Science Fiction or Speculative Fiction) kind of name. Kudu sounds ok, and Essian sounds very good for warriors (reminded me a bit of Hessian, the soldiers used by the hanoverian kings)

'The Essian race was known to sleep in a deep state of unconsciousness between the rising of the second and fourth moons'

Do they sometimes sleep during the day? Did the length of sleep vary?  Think of our single moon which rises and sets at different times. If you've got more than one moon then the time between their rises will vary. Unless they become tide-locked the moons will take different times to complete an orbit so eventualy the inner moons will lap the out ones.

'seven seasons of the year'

Is this just a throw away line, or do you have a specfic reason why there are so many seasons and what are they? Seasons normally reflect changes in weather and the number, you have per year will depend on local climate and latitude (compare northern europes 4 seasons with the meditarian / south east asian 2 seasons)

I'm sorry if this sounds like nit picking, but that's what science fiction readers are like.
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Offline *Lorraine*

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Re: Eloise and the Five Moons of Zarph (430 words)
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2007, 10:43:20 AM »
Hi and thanks to everyone who read and/or commented on this piece.  Feedback is always very useful, especially in this case as I'm writing in a genre that is virtually unknown to me.  I shall make some changes to this opening scene and then attempt to write more of the story.

Thanks again.

Lorraine
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DtheR

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Re: Eloise and the Five Moons of Zarph (430 words)
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2007, 11:42:58 AM »
jeff,  I know that Woss’name, you know, that Scots bloke out of Star Trek, is responsible for the wisdom that “Ya canna change the lawz o’ Fizzics”  but could this not be happening in a world  where, for example, the globe diznae tilt like ours and that in fact the seasons are controlled by some other factor.  Or even that the globe’s speed of rotation at Lorraine’s chosen point in its history was not fast enough to have yet allowed for the lapping of one moon by another.  And the water is from lakes in the absence of  (tidal) seas    Or  wot ?  I’ve prob’ly shown myself up as the  non sci fi   twerp that I am here, so don’t be too hard on me if  this is a load of twaddle.

DtheR

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Re: Eloise and the Five Moons of Zarph (430 words)
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2007, 01:06:44 PM »
Jeff.  Just to add I do  agree with you about the word 'Zarph'.  It seems to be one of those words the universe can do without.  I would suggest the world be called "tt17"   
Lorraine :   I agree with all the previous commentators;  well paced and just enough descriptive to set the scene without labouring the point you're describing another world. Watch out Jeff   she'll be an SF nerd like you soon !

Offline jeff

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Re: Eloise and the Five Moons of Zarph (430 words)
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2007, 02:58:17 PM »
DtheR

OK, you're calling my bluff on this one so I do my best...

The time it takes a moon to orbit a planet (like the time it takes a planet to orbit a sun) is going to depend on the distance between them. The further out, the longer it takes, the closer in, the less time.

 So lets say the two moons rise at the same time on day one. You see the inner moon move across the sky quicker than the outer one. On day two you might see the inner moon well in the sky before the outer moon appears. On day three the inner moon might be almost setting when the outer moon rises. Day four and you don't see the inner moon at all. Day five and the outer moon rises first followed by the inner moon. Day six and they rise at the same time again. Day seven is a repeat of day two.

That's what I meant by lapping.

Perhaps tide-locked is the wrong word... What I meant was nothing to do with seas and lakes  - I meant that the two moons might be so close together that they have a significant gravitational pull on each other so they always rise together and cross he sky in lock-step.

As to the seasons... yes I'll grant that they can be affected by lots of things including things which have little influence on Earth. Eccentricity of obrit is one possible factor (see Heliconia Spring by Brian Aldiss) I wasn't saying Lorraine shouldn't have mentioned seven or more season, just that she ought to be aware what she's letting herself in for.

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