Chapter 3: The Other Side of the Mirror

Chapter 3: The Other Side of the Mirror

A Chapter by Gosia

The Other Side of Mirror

 

 

May stared at the head at her feet as though she was in a trance �" it didn’t seem entirely real, but there was no way it was a joke. The blood now pooling around the man’s head was most definitely not fake. The eyes of the convict were glassy and half-opened, the life abandoned them.

 

May sharply took a breath, feeling her hands begin to sweat. This man had been killed before her eyes �" a minute ago he was talking and screaming and now his head laid here, separated from the rest of the body. May took a step back, shaking from panic. She didn’t know, what scared her more �" that she saw a man executed right before her eyes or that she finally understood, what had happened to her. This was no freaking TV show.

 

“Maewyn, I am terribly sorry, that you had to witness that  gruesome scene. Perhaps I should have delivered justice to this criminal outside.” The man, who just beheaded the convict approached her and ushered her into the neighboring chamber.

 

May was too shocked to protest or struggle. The panic and the sudden realization of her situation almost petrified her.

 

Her mind began processing things at great speed, basic survival instinct kicking in. The people around her were crazy and one thing was for sure �" angry, crazy people were violent, and she didn’t want to end up dead like the guy a moment ago. She couldn’t afford to make a mistake, not even a tiny one. If she did, she would surely lose her head.

 

“You seem distracted, Maewyn. Did something happen?” The middle-aged man asked her casually, as though nothing wrong had happened.

 

May lifted her head to look at him, frantically assessing her current situation. The people around here treated her like someone, they knew. They thought, that she was their Lady. Considering that she looked a tiny bit differently than her old self, she probably looked now like her. How would they react if she told them, that she’s a stranger? Dungeon? Execution? She thought fast, when suddenly, she got an idea.

 

“Actually, I tripped and hit myself in the head. I'm feeling very confused right now.” May blurted out, saying the first thing, which popped into her mind. Almost immediately she berated herself for coming up with the stupidest idea possible.

 

The man paled slightly and reached out a hand to feel her forehead, turning around yelling to the one of the servants:

 

“Bring the healer in here immediately and send for Hilda.”

 

The servant ran out frantically and May concentrated on surviving.

 

So, I am his daughter. If I’m a Lady, he must be the Lord of the castle. One of the Vikings called him a duke, May thought.

 

The Duke’s attention turned back to May.

 

“Maewyn, rest, please. I wouldn’t want you to overexert yourself,” he said and ushered her onto the bench in the corner of the room. With an impatient gesture, the Duke ushered the servants out of the chamber.

 

May sat down and stared at her knees. The situation was becoming more and more freaky with every minute and she was scared.

 

A woman and a man rushed through the door. The woman was in her fifties, dressed in fine silk. She was quite tall and slim; her face proud. She gave Maewyn a quick glance and turned her attention to the Duke. The man beside her looked somewhat like a rat �" he was short and thin, with gray hair; his back bent with age.

 

“Healer, examine the Lady,” The Duke ordered.

 

The woman gasped, covering her mouth with a hem of her sleeve and looked at May with worry in her pale blue eyes.

 

May flinched when the healer approached her; she definitely didn’t want the “rat-man” anywhere around her �" she was afraid, that he’d try to “cure” her with leeches or slitting her wrists, like they  had done in the Middle Ages. May tried her best to smile.

 

“Actually, I think that I feel better already,” she said quickly, wanting to avoid any phony treatment. The elder woman furrowed her eyebrows.

 

“Maewyn, let the healer examine you. You don’t want to faint when you meet Lord Abrran, do you?” she said sternly.

 

“Abrran who?” May asked.

 

She soon realized that the question had been a big mistake. The Duke, Hilda and the healer were now all staring at her as though she was crazy, well more crazy than she already felt. May shifted uncomfortably on the bench and tried to think of what to say. The healer was the first to break the awkward silence.

 

“Lady, Lord Abrran is your fiancé. You are to be married to him this summer. You don’t remember him?” the man asked.

 

Fiancé? Oh crap, May thought.

 

“No,” she said aloud.

 

“Who is the man beside me?” the healer asked while pointing to the Duke.

 

“My… father. The Duke…” May looked around searching for a hint. However, there were none. She closed her mouth, helplessly shrugging her shoulders.

 

“And the lady on my right?” he asked. May didn’t know what to answer. She heard her fake-father call her Hilda, but aside that, she didn’t have any information on her. The girl decided to give up.

 

“I don’t remember,” she answered.

 

The Duke scowled. Hilda looked at May in shock. The healer shook his head sadly and turned to the Duke.

 

“My Lord, I can heal the sickness of the body, but not that of the mind. If the Lady will regain her lost memories, I cannot say. This happens sometimes with head injuries. The best cure would be time. It would be wise to take the Lady to familiar places; it could help the memories to come back to her, but I cannot promise anything. This is beyond my ability,” the healer said, looking at May with genuine compassion.

 

There was silence once again. The Duke looked as if he was battling with his thoughts.

 

“Is there nothing that can be done?” he asked sharply, knitting his thick eyebrows and gazing demandingly at the healer. The rat-like man tugged his ear, hanging his head in an apologizing gesture. He shook his head.

 

“I can only pray for the Lady to get better,” he said quietly, bowing his head. The Duke furrowed his brows, as he began pacing, uneasiness reflecting on his face. Finally he stilled and looked at Hilda and the healer sternly.

 

            “Maewyn’s sickness must be kept secret. If it was known that the Lady cannot remember neither her father nor the woman who has raised her, the dignity of the Thoen family would be put in jeopardy. I cannot take such risk. The only ones who know about my daughter’s… condition, are us three. I trust you to keep silent.” the Duke said in a threatening voice. The Healer nodded turning slightly pale at the intimidating tone the Duke used.

 

Oh, great, May thought, They’re not counting me.

 

“Maewyn,” Duke Thoen turned to May. The girl flinched slightly as he said that name. “It is important that you do not let anyone know that there is something wrong with you. You may rely on me, Hilda or healer Kolbrunn. We will make sure no one will discover the truth about your sickness. Do you understand?”

 

“Um… I think so,” May answered unsurely.

 

She was still confused about what was going on, but she was glad that the Duke and the rest of the people in the room were helping her keep her identity a secret. It was a miracle that she managed somehow to make them think she had amnesia �" surely she was lucky on this one. A stupid idea turned out to be not so stupid at all… God, if they only knew the whole truth…

 

“It is settled then,” Duke Thoen stated. “I shall meet my advisors now, as you're in no shape to sit in on the council, Maewyn, have Hilda take you back to your chambers.”

 

With those words, he marched out of the room, followed by the ratlike healer, leaving May  with the stern-looking woman. The girl stared back at her, not wanting to be the first to break the silence. The old woman cleared her throat.

 

“I imagine that you must be tired, Maewyn. Would you like to rest in your quarters?” she asked.

 

Quickly, May thought of ideas. Well, one thing was for sure, she wasn’t going to let them keep her locked up in her room. She had to look around and find out where exactly she was. Plus, There was one more thing she had to confirm.

 

“Actually,” she started, gathering her courage to speak up. “I would feel better if I had a stroll outside . The healer himself said that I should look around for the memories to come back.” she tried to sound as convincing as possible. The older woman sighed, obviously not happy about the perspective of the walk.

 

“Very well, Maewyn. Let us go then.”

 

For the next hour May and the older woman walked around the castle, barely saying a word to each other. The place was huge and looked like no other medieval castle May had seen in the documentaries. The castle was not a single building, but a whole complex, which housed hundreds of people, maybe even more than a thousand. The part where May was was just a tip of the iceberg. It was the upper castle which was situated high above other buildings and was the residence of the Duke, his family and the closest advisors.

 

Its interior was fully decorated with the most beautiful pieces of furniture and art which all looked disturbingly… new. Most castles looked old and destroyed while this one actually looked like someone had remodeled it just a couple years ago to make it look like a castle would have looked in the Middle Ages. Though it would be hard to tell in which Middle Ages �" the architectonic style was unrecognizable for the girl. The basic elements resembled the typical European gothic castles, but the decorations and sculptures looked rather oriental. The beautifully woven arrases hung next to the pieces of china, which resembled Ming dynasty vases. May had no idea why, but the vases in the movies have been always from the Ming Dynasty. Moreover the sculptured pillars looked a lot Viking-like, with the pattern of dragons winding around them. The mix of styles baffled the girl.

 

 The servants and nobles were dressed in variously designed clothes. From what May saw, the noble women wore the expensive silk Chinese-style robes with some elements of the European royalty attire, just like she did, while the rest was dressed in plain cotton clothing, which would be common in Europe  somewhere around 15th century. May pondered on the thought that the clothes on her back were probably worth a lot more than all she possessed back at home.

 

“Hilda?” May suddenly spoke up. “Can we go outside the castle?”

 

“My Lady!” the woman scolded May harshly. “You want to go to the village? That’s unthinkable!”

 

“The doctor said, that I should visit places, so the walk will be good for my health,” the girl insisted, set on getting out of the castle hoping to find more clues to what was going on. Hilda placed her palm on her chest, as though the woman was about to get a heart attack.

 

“What an idea! But…” Hilda paused, as though she was battling hard with her inner thoughts. “I think it is in order, if it is for your health. Very well, I will get the palanquin ready.”

 

May’s eyes widened. A palanquin? She was supposed to ride in the thing?

 

“No need, I’m fine with walking,” she protested as firmly as she could before Hilda took off. A strange voice escaped the old crone’s throat, as though she was choking, apparently shocked by her words.

 

“Walk? On foot? You could get yourself dirty!”

 

However, May  eventually managed to talk some sense into the old woman and convince her not to take palanquin, but four armed bodyguards followed the women.

 

May and Hilda went outside the gates of the upper castle, heading down the ramp, which encircled the gothic-style palace hidden behind the massive stone walls. The girl expected to be already out of the castle, but that was only its smallest part. Beneath the palace were other fortifications �" the buildings made of the large stone blocks were building a circle around the upper palace and the high towers were emerging here and there, their multitude making them look like a stone forest. May noticed a lot of armed Viking-like warriors in chain mail and assumed, that the place must be mainly barracks, housing the entire army.

 

Outside the gates of the middle level there was another one, likewise equipped in high outer wall and guardian towers. Here the colorful crowd of craftsmen and merchants was filling the streets. The castle was like a real city, gathering all the most useful people under the protection of the fortifications.

 

As May and Hilda finally managed to step out of the outer gates, this time leaving the stone stronghold for good, the girl was turning her head in all the directions, greedily taking in the sight. The whole castle wasn’t surrounded with a moat, how she had expected, but the settlement of farmers was built right under the walls, the wooden huts practically linked to the gray stone of the fortifications. However, the moat seemed to be unnecessary, as the walls themselves were an obstacle impossible to overcome �" erected to the height of over fifty feet and casting a mighty shadow over the village. Undoubtedly it was the most gigantic stronghold May had ever seen. The construction of such a huge castle wasn't something she could even imagine.

 

The armed guardsmen bowed to May, as she and her “nanny” left the stronghold. The older woman complained all the time �" about the dirt on the ground, about noise on the streets or the peasants’ lack of manners. They were walking across the village situated next to the castle. The people there were staring at them and pointing at her with their fingers, whispering. May also noticed that they were all bowing and avoided looking her in the eye. Such strange behavior made her feel uncomfortable, but it wasn’t really surprising. She was dressed like a Lady and her hair was so long that it reached her knees. The village itself looked like something out of one of  those Renaissance Fair’s or those trips schools would take you too see how real communities lived in the past. All the people here had similar peasant clothing and unusual hairdos.

 

The girl noticed, that the majority of the villagers were either blonde or had brown or red hair. Black hair seemed to be rather rare around here. The young women had their hair either undone or had one or two braids falling on their backs. The older women, probably the married ones, had their hair done up in a bun. All the men had their hair rather long, reaching to their jaws, some to shoulders and even past it and had little braids on them. Beards seemed to be also quite popular, which again reminded May of Vikings.

 

May paled, as the trip to the village confirmed her greatest fear �" she was defiantly not at home anymore. Not only was she not in Baltimore �" judging by the night sky she was probably not even on Earth. Just… where was she?

 

Hilda noticed May’s distress.

 

“Maewyn? Child, you are so pale! Let us go back to the castle!” she said turning around and dragging her along.

 

All these thoughts flooded through May’s brain as she was guided back to the castle.

 

Why do all the bad things happen to me? Why was it me who was sent to the damn freaking Narnia by some freaky magic mirror, not, for example, Hailey?  

 

May knew that she had to think of some type of plan and she had to do it quickly if she didn’t want to end up decapitated. Objective number one: stay alive. Objective number two: go home. Sounded like a good plan to her. May had a pretty good  idea of what would happen if the Duke and the people here found out that she was not the real Lady: losing her head... literally. She had to act like a Lady would. That  shouldn’t be too hard, yeah right.... Thankfully, the Duke himself had solved some of that problem for her. To go home though, she had to figure out how to get that cursed mirror to work �" it had to be the core of the problem.

 

She was almost in her quarters when she heard a commotion from a sobbing woman.

 

Hilda rushed into her room and May followed her. They found a servant sitting on the floor and leaning over something, trying to pick it up. The woman looked up at her with teary eyes and guilt on her face.

 

“My Lady, please, forgive me,” she pleaded. “The gift from Lord Abrran… I was cleaning and…”

 

She tried to say something more, but it was no longer audible. May looked at what exactly the woman was trying to pick up, hoping to reassure her it was no big deal. Her eyes widened when she what it was though. Fragments of the mirror! May leaned heavily against the wall, processing what she was staring at: the mirror shattered, her only way home! Her family… she wouldn’t see them ever again! What was she supposed to do now?

 

 

Hatchets’ Museum, Baltimore

 

 

Anna Hatchets walked towards the basement, carrying some self-made donuts.  She was sure May would appreciate a little snack.

 

“May!” she called. “I’ve got the donuts. Want one?”

 

Nobody answered. Mrs. Hatchets got a sudden nervous feeling and stormed into the storage house. May was lying on the floor unconscious. Next to her was the mirror. Anna  quickly hurried over to check May’s pulse. All right. Her heart was beating and she was breathing. The old woman looked once more at the looking glass, a very bad feeling washing over her.

 

May moaned and her eyes slowly opened.

 

“May!” Mrs. Hatchets exclaimed. “Oh thank goodness! Are you all right?”

 

May looked at Anna’s wrinkled face, then down at her summer outfit and finally around the room, and let loose a loud scream. The professor’s wife tried to calm her down, but that only made matters worse. Panicked, May backed away from Anna.

 

“Who are you?” she yelled. “Answer me this instant!”

 

Mrs. Hatchets didn’t know what to think �" the girl was thrashing in her embrace, genuine bewilderment and fear showing on her face. Didn’t May recognize her?

 

“I’m Anna Hatchets. May, don’t joke…”

 

“May?” May looked confused and slightly angry. “How dare you speak to me in that manner? I am a Lady, the daughter of a powerful Duke! What do you want with me, demon?”

 

“So… you are not May?” asked Anna slowly.

 

Oh dear. Steven and his artifacts.

 

 

 

 

 



© 2013 Gosia


Author's Note

Gosia
Hello, reviewers. It's the raw version of the chapters, so it may have a lot of mistakes. Actually, I have some doubts: isn't the part with May in Thoen Stronghold too long and boring?

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Gyaah! I didn't know you posted more of 'The Mystical Mirror'! I'm way behind now! Anyhow:

Yeah right, and get a first class ticket to Capital Decapitation No, she would rather not die. -->Yeah right, and get a first class ticket to Capital Decapitation? No, she would rather not die. (you just forgot a little punctuation mark. I liked this line, it was humourosly blunt and yet again showed some of May's wit in everyday thought)

She felt so helpless, all alone in this strange foreign place.-->She felt so helpless, all alone in this strange, foreign--or--strange and foreign...

Here she was free from her mom lecturing her all the time, dad’s disappointed look and Hailey’s boasting. -->Here she was free from her mom lecturing her all the time, her dad’s disappointed look[s], and Hailey’s boasting.

Back at home the life never focused on May, but here it seemed to be different; here it was all about her. She knew that now she was the main heroine, not Hailey, and only she had the power to shape her destiny. --> comma after 'home'; instead of 'main heroine', perhaps consider 'main character' or simply 'protagonist'. I understand you may be wanting to establish the fact that both Hailey and May are female (or something like that), but I feel that 'heroine' implies that May desires to be a, well, heroine figure and it may give readers the idea that Hailey IS the valiant, rescuing, intelligent heroine figure. I thought the point of the metaphor was simply to show that the story in May's life usually revolved around Hailey and not May, so saying something more generic with a less specific archetype might establish this better. Just a suggestion, and that might just be me : )

But, she still wished someone would just tell her what to do, like they always did.-->nothing wrong with this sentence, just thought I'd mention how great it is to mention that, despite May's rush of liberty, she still feels the natural, realistic need to be instructed by something higher.

The girl’s gasped, as an idea popped into her head.-->The girl gasped, as an idea popped into her head.

However, the girl took absolutely no interest in the listening to the strict old crone.-->However, the girl took absolutely no interest in listening to the strict old crone.

no more indeciveness-->indecisiveness

Some of the books must be really old!-->must HAVE BEEN really old (remember to stay in the same tense : ) )

Her footsteps and breathing were the only sounds in the huge chamber " it felt as lonely as on cemetery here-->Her footsteps and breathing were the only sounds in the huge chamber--it felt as lonely as on a cemetery--or--as it did on a cemetery...

Apparently the Duke and the inhabitants of the palace weren’t too fond of knowledge. --> comma after 'Apparently'

She hoped to find some books on mystical mirrors, that transported people from Baltimore to this place, but apparently occult and religion weren’t the duke’s most favorite topics.--> no comma needed after 'mirrors'

As she was already in the library, she could make use of it to learn more about the strange place, she was in. Quickly, she began gathering books and scrolls with basic information about the country, she was in, and dumping them on the desk.-->As she was already in the library, she could make use of it to learn more about the strange place she was in--or--this strange place (avoids redundancy of ;she was in'). Quickly, she began gathering books and scrolls with basic information about the country and dumped them on the desk.

A moment later May was sitting by the solid table made of the finest oak with a huge pile of tomes and scrolls before her. Not really knowing, where to begin, she picked up the first book from the top... She didn’t recognize neither the weird-sounding names of the countries, towns, mountains and rivers nor the outline of the continent. It looked like nothing on Earth " her crazy suspicion, that she found herself in some foreign world seemed more real with every passing hour. May straightened her back and took a few calming breaths, before proceeding with her research.-->A moment later, May was sitting by a solid table made of the finest oak with a huge pile of tomes and scrolls before her. Not really knowing where to begin, she picked the first book from the top...She didn’t recognize the weird-sounding names of the countries, towns, mountains and rivers nor did she recognize the outline of the continent. It looked like nothing on Earth, and her crazy suspicion that she was now in some foreign world seemed more real with every passing hour. May straightened her back and took a few calming breaths before proceeding with her research.

Soon after she learned, that she was currently in the Callesmere Empire, which consisted of twelve autonomic dukedoms and the Capital City Thorongard. The administrative side of the empire resembled feudal Japan or medieval Germany with the multitude of the local rulers and a puppet Emperor. The empire boarded the sea from the east and south, with the northern wastelands and uncross-able Bradan Mountains from the west. In one book, which appeared to be a geographical work, she read, that the most of the mountain tops were seven to eight thousand meters tall and the highest peak was over a thousand and six hundred meters high, what meant, that it surpassed Mount Everest nearly twice. May also learnt, that she was in Thoen Stronghold, the capital of Farn, which was one of the smallest dukedoms in the empire. Farn had been ruled by Thoen family, which May was temporarily part of, for over five centuries.-->Soon after, she learned that she was currently in the Callesmere Empire, which consisted of twelve autonomic dukedoms and the Capital City Thorongard. The administrative side of the empire resembled feudal Japan or medieval Germany with the multitude of the local rulers and a puppet Emperor. The empire boarded the sea from the east and south, with the northern wastelands and uncrossable Bradan Mountains from the west. In one book, which appeared to be a geographical work, she read that most of the mountain tops were seven to eight thousand meters tall and the highest peak was over a thousand and six hundred meters high, which meant that it surpassed Mount Everest nearly twice. May also learnt that she was in Thoen Stronghold, the capital of Farn, which was one of the smallest dukedoms in the empire. Farn had been ruled by the Thoen family, which May was temporarily part of, for over five centuries.

Knowing the old bat Hilda she would have a heart attack when she suggested it. --> Perhaps consider revising this to something less familial because it makes May seem as if she really DOES no Hilda, which she does not given how long she has known her. Ex.: 'From what May had observed, that old bat Hilsa would probably have a heart attack...

May took a turn left and found herself in the courtyard. There were a couple of nobles strolling and talking to each other. All the faces were unfamiliar except one " duke Thoen! May’s fake father was deep in conversation with some guy that was wearing overly a fancy hat, which was sparkling with gems, and somewhat feminine robes. --> May took a turn left and found herself in the courtyard. There were a couple of nobles strolling and talking to each other. All the faces were unfamiliar except one--duke Thoen! May’s fake father was deep in conversation with some guy that was wearing an overly fancy hat that sparkled with gems, and wore somewhat feminine robes.

Then, an idea popped into May’s head " if she stumbled upon the duke, she could use this opportunity and make sure, that she’d be able to visit the temple’s library and find out something about the cursed mirror... Gosh, May has been never really an expert at convincing people, but it was the highest time to become one now. She kept in mind that she had to keep the façade of being a princess. She walked towards duke Thoen, trying to appear graceful. ---->Then, an idea popped into May’s head: if she stumbled upon the duke, she could use the opportunity to make sure she’d be able to visit the temple’s library and find out something about that cursed mirror... Gosh, May has never really been an expert on--or, when it came to-- convincing people, but it was the high time to become one now. She kept in mind that she had to keep the façade of being a princess. She walked towards duke Thoen, trying to appear graceful. She positioned herself in a place where he could see her (eliminate the passive voice).

Oh s**t. I don’t have a choice but to ask someone to show me the way.-->Oh s**t. I don’t have a choice but to ask someone to show me the way. (May doesn't strike me as someone who would curse for such a light reason, I'm not sure why, but perhaps try substituting 's**t' with some other word...maybe 'man' or replace the whole phrase with 'aww, shucks'...okay, maybe not that...I don't really know what to suggest for this, do I'll leave it up to you....just a suggestion^^''

She chose a young maid as her target and stalked to her.-->Haha! This put a really funny image of May in my head, and the way you had the maid react was perfect! : )

“Ekhem,” -->"Ahem"...that's usually what people use as onomatopoeia for clearing one's throat, but it doesn't really matter...

“What a behavior! Tomorrow, you shall spend all day in your room.”-->Maybe have Hilda describe what this behavior is as it is a bit vague as of now: "What outrageous/remiss/unladylike/___ behavior!"

Okay, so I didn't post a correction to every typo or error I saw (I mean, it is the 'raw' version, so I figured you see some of these things when you went back to edit), but I noticed you seem to have comma problems. One common mistake you seem to have is putting a comma before almost every 'that'...which, for the most part, isn't necessary unless it is preceded by a conjunction. Also, in regard to dialogue, a comma is used in place of a period in the last sentence of each portion of dialogue so that the whole sentence ends after things like 'he said' or 'she accused'. Example:

“I will not allow it.” said Hilda, glaring sternly at May, surprised how the princess defied her.
As it is now, there are two sentences: 'I will not allow it.' --and--'Said Hilda, glaring sternly at May, surprised at how the princess defied her.' Obviously, the second is no sentence, so, to fix this,

it should be

“I will not allow it, [COMMA]” said Hilda, glaring sternly at May, surprised at how the princess defied her. (maybe consider, on a side note, changing 'at how the princess defied her' to 'at the princess's defiance' as 'how' implies that it there is a way the princess could defy that Hilda would not be surprised by...who knows, maybe there is : ) ) This way, the sentence ends at 'defied her', as it should, leaving no fragments or dependent clauses that are all alone.

I really like the way you're developing the story here, giving us background on the empire she has found herself in and having her answer some of her questions practically, keeping her problem-solving in character (I mean, more protagonists should go to the library for answers instead of threatening people for them or something, you know?). Speaking of that little paragraph on Thoen, I think it was perfectly informative except one thing, the mentioning of the puppet emperor. Would a society like this really KNOW that there emperor is a puppet, or is it something May would discover through observation alone? Just a thought...of course, if the emperor is not important, then tell keep it in there. Something else I loved, though it was equally sad, is how you showed how May's character slowly twisted their world into her own. May was a shame on Earth with her mother, and now she is becoming a shame to her female guardian in Thoen Stronghold. : ( I really began to feel pity for May at this point near the end of the chapter because it seemed that the more of her personality she let show, the more people view her as dishonorable. Great chapter, I'll have to read more later.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Gosia

10 Years Ago

As always, I'm extremely grateful for the extensive review. I'm glad you liked the direction of the .. read more
Gosia

10 Years Ago

I'll have to print your reviews... and think seriously about building that pyre for the lamb ;-)
read more
Writer #00

10 Years Ago

Aww, thanks, but seriously don't kill anything for me...or burn anything...or do anything, just keep.. read more



Reviews

I do like your story very much. Dropping May into this totally alien society is totally brilliant. She has to push aside her natural shyness and introverted nature to survive. She is thinking quickly to handle situations, so it is a good thing she is a naturally introspective type, less worried about her nails, etc.

Posted 10 Years Ago


Gosia

10 Years Ago

Yay, you reviewed. Thank you.
annie lee

10 Years Ago

I had a house guest over the weekend, and the read requests kept piling up. I like to read stuff qui.. read more
Since Writer #00 singled out most of the errors I noticed, I won't repeat them here.

This chapter was a good length and it was focused. I liked how May is developing and how she's peeling back the layers of the world. However, the Empire seems very small to me and I get things are being viewed from her perspective but there does not seem to be a whole lot going on. Her handler/nanny is annoying and gives me the feeling that she probably physically abused Maewyn when she was a child. This makes the nanny interesting to me.

Her father still feels a little two-dimensional and the other characters appear like ghosts, wandering into the scene for a bit to push the plot forward and then disappearing. This is not entirely a bad thing but I would have liked to see May connect more with others instead of just the nanny.

I also loved how May immediately realized that this could be the best thing that's happened to her. I know if such a thing happened to me and I find my consciousness trapped in a body in a better and more exciting place, I'd be ecstatic. So I loved that May acknowledged it while still trying to find a way back. I also liked how you explained that the language she was using and reading are residual knowledge but I think you've spent a little too long on it. It could have been summarized in one sentence instead of 4-5 lines.

Overall, I liked the tighter narrative, the focus and the pacing. It's going at a good speed with a few characters in and out that do not clog up the chapter. Just flesh these characters out more and you've got another dynamite chapter on your hand.

Also, I figured I'd start the review first since you've been so nice :)

Posted 10 Years Ago


Gosia

10 Years Ago

Thanks for the review.
I had a hard time writing the castle chapters, because I had to strip t.. read more
Christopher Angel

10 Years Ago

Yeah I could see that. You made the right choice in focusing on May. The others as I said, need some.. read more
its not eventful but i didnt find it boring at all. you got us up to speed on your world and it was entertaining. Mistakes? What mistakes?

Posted 10 Years Ago


Gyaah! I didn't know you posted more of 'The Mystical Mirror'! I'm way behind now! Anyhow:

Yeah right, and get a first class ticket to Capital Decapitation No, she would rather not die. -->Yeah right, and get a first class ticket to Capital Decapitation? No, she would rather not die. (you just forgot a little punctuation mark. I liked this line, it was humourosly blunt and yet again showed some of May's wit in everyday thought)

She felt so helpless, all alone in this strange foreign place.-->She felt so helpless, all alone in this strange, foreign--or--strange and foreign...

Here she was free from her mom lecturing her all the time, dad’s disappointed look and Hailey’s boasting. -->Here she was free from her mom lecturing her all the time, her dad’s disappointed look[s], and Hailey’s boasting.

Back at home the life never focused on May, but here it seemed to be different; here it was all about her. She knew that now she was the main heroine, not Hailey, and only she had the power to shape her destiny. --> comma after 'home'; instead of 'main heroine', perhaps consider 'main character' or simply 'protagonist'. I understand you may be wanting to establish the fact that both Hailey and May are female (or something like that), but I feel that 'heroine' implies that May desires to be a, well, heroine figure and it may give readers the idea that Hailey IS the valiant, rescuing, intelligent heroine figure. I thought the point of the metaphor was simply to show that the story in May's life usually revolved around Hailey and not May, so saying something more generic with a less specific archetype might establish this better. Just a suggestion, and that might just be me : )

But, she still wished someone would just tell her what to do, like they always did.-->nothing wrong with this sentence, just thought I'd mention how great it is to mention that, despite May's rush of liberty, she still feels the natural, realistic need to be instructed by something higher.

The girl’s gasped, as an idea popped into her head.-->The girl gasped, as an idea popped into her head.

However, the girl took absolutely no interest in the listening to the strict old crone.-->However, the girl took absolutely no interest in listening to the strict old crone.

no more indeciveness-->indecisiveness

Some of the books must be really old!-->must HAVE BEEN really old (remember to stay in the same tense : ) )

Her footsteps and breathing were the only sounds in the huge chamber " it felt as lonely as on cemetery here-->Her footsteps and breathing were the only sounds in the huge chamber--it felt as lonely as on a cemetery--or--as it did on a cemetery...

Apparently the Duke and the inhabitants of the palace weren’t too fond of knowledge. --> comma after 'Apparently'

She hoped to find some books on mystical mirrors, that transported people from Baltimore to this place, but apparently occult and religion weren’t the duke’s most favorite topics.--> no comma needed after 'mirrors'

As she was already in the library, she could make use of it to learn more about the strange place, she was in. Quickly, she began gathering books and scrolls with basic information about the country, she was in, and dumping them on the desk.-->As she was already in the library, she could make use of it to learn more about the strange place she was in--or--this strange place (avoids redundancy of ;she was in'). Quickly, she began gathering books and scrolls with basic information about the country and dumped them on the desk.

A moment later May was sitting by the solid table made of the finest oak with a huge pile of tomes and scrolls before her. Not really knowing, where to begin, she picked up the first book from the top... She didn’t recognize neither the weird-sounding names of the countries, towns, mountains and rivers nor the outline of the continent. It looked like nothing on Earth " her crazy suspicion, that she found herself in some foreign world seemed more real with every passing hour. May straightened her back and took a few calming breaths, before proceeding with her research.-->A moment later, May was sitting by a solid table made of the finest oak with a huge pile of tomes and scrolls before her. Not really knowing where to begin, she picked the first book from the top...She didn’t recognize the weird-sounding names of the countries, towns, mountains and rivers nor did she recognize the outline of the continent. It looked like nothing on Earth, and her crazy suspicion that she was now in some foreign world seemed more real with every passing hour. May straightened her back and took a few calming breaths before proceeding with her research.

Soon after she learned, that she was currently in the Callesmere Empire, which consisted of twelve autonomic dukedoms and the Capital City Thorongard. The administrative side of the empire resembled feudal Japan or medieval Germany with the multitude of the local rulers and a puppet Emperor. The empire boarded the sea from the east and south, with the northern wastelands and uncross-able Bradan Mountains from the west. In one book, which appeared to be a geographical work, she read, that the most of the mountain tops were seven to eight thousand meters tall and the highest peak was over a thousand and six hundred meters high, what meant, that it surpassed Mount Everest nearly twice. May also learnt, that she was in Thoen Stronghold, the capital of Farn, which was one of the smallest dukedoms in the empire. Farn had been ruled by Thoen family, which May was temporarily part of, for over five centuries.-->Soon after, she learned that she was currently in the Callesmere Empire, which consisted of twelve autonomic dukedoms and the Capital City Thorongard. The administrative side of the empire resembled feudal Japan or medieval Germany with the multitude of the local rulers and a puppet Emperor. The empire boarded the sea from the east and south, with the northern wastelands and uncrossable Bradan Mountains from the west. In one book, which appeared to be a geographical work, she read that most of the mountain tops were seven to eight thousand meters tall and the highest peak was over a thousand and six hundred meters high, which meant that it surpassed Mount Everest nearly twice. May also learnt that she was in Thoen Stronghold, the capital of Farn, which was one of the smallest dukedoms in the empire. Farn had been ruled by the Thoen family, which May was temporarily part of, for over five centuries.

Knowing the old bat Hilda she would have a heart attack when she suggested it. --> Perhaps consider revising this to something less familial because it makes May seem as if she really DOES no Hilda, which she does not given how long she has known her. Ex.: 'From what May had observed, that old bat Hilsa would probably have a heart attack...

May took a turn left and found herself in the courtyard. There were a couple of nobles strolling and talking to each other. All the faces were unfamiliar except one " duke Thoen! May’s fake father was deep in conversation with some guy that was wearing overly a fancy hat, which was sparkling with gems, and somewhat feminine robes. --> May took a turn left and found herself in the courtyard. There were a couple of nobles strolling and talking to each other. All the faces were unfamiliar except one--duke Thoen! May’s fake father was deep in conversation with some guy that was wearing an overly fancy hat that sparkled with gems, and wore somewhat feminine robes.

Then, an idea popped into May’s head " if she stumbled upon the duke, she could use this opportunity and make sure, that she’d be able to visit the temple’s library and find out something about the cursed mirror... Gosh, May has been never really an expert at convincing people, but it was the highest time to become one now. She kept in mind that she had to keep the façade of being a princess. She walked towards duke Thoen, trying to appear graceful. ---->Then, an idea popped into May’s head: if she stumbled upon the duke, she could use the opportunity to make sure she’d be able to visit the temple’s library and find out something about that cursed mirror... Gosh, May has never really been an expert on--or, when it came to-- convincing people, but it was the high time to become one now. She kept in mind that she had to keep the façade of being a princess. She walked towards duke Thoen, trying to appear graceful. She positioned herself in a place where he could see her (eliminate the passive voice).

Oh s**t. I don’t have a choice but to ask someone to show me the way.-->Oh s**t. I don’t have a choice but to ask someone to show me the way. (May doesn't strike me as someone who would curse for such a light reason, I'm not sure why, but perhaps try substituting 's**t' with some other word...maybe 'man' or replace the whole phrase with 'aww, shucks'...okay, maybe not that...I don't really know what to suggest for this, do I'll leave it up to you....just a suggestion^^''

She chose a young maid as her target and stalked to her.-->Haha! This put a really funny image of May in my head, and the way you had the maid react was perfect! : )

“Ekhem,” -->"Ahem"...that's usually what people use as onomatopoeia for clearing one's throat, but it doesn't really matter...

“What a behavior! Tomorrow, you shall spend all day in your room.”-->Maybe have Hilda describe what this behavior is as it is a bit vague as of now: "What outrageous/remiss/unladylike/___ behavior!"

Okay, so I didn't post a correction to every typo or error I saw (I mean, it is the 'raw' version, so I figured you see some of these things when you went back to edit), but I noticed you seem to have comma problems. One common mistake you seem to have is putting a comma before almost every 'that'...which, for the most part, isn't necessary unless it is preceded by a conjunction. Also, in regard to dialogue, a comma is used in place of a period in the last sentence of each portion of dialogue so that the whole sentence ends after things like 'he said' or 'she accused'. Example:

“I will not allow it.” said Hilda, glaring sternly at May, surprised how the princess defied her.
As it is now, there are two sentences: 'I will not allow it.' --and--'Said Hilda, glaring sternly at May, surprised at how the princess defied her.' Obviously, the second is no sentence, so, to fix this,

it should be

“I will not allow it, [COMMA]” said Hilda, glaring sternly at May, surprised at how the princess defied her. (maybe consider, on a side note, changing 'at how the princess defied her' to 'at the princess's defiance' as 'how' implies that it there is a way the princess could defy that Hilda would not be surprised by...who knows, maybe there is : ) ) This way, the sentence ends at 'defied her', as it should, leaving no fragments or dependent clauses that are all alone.

I really like the way you're developing the story here, giving us background on the empire she has found herself in and having her answer some of her questions practically, keeping her problem-solving in character (I mean, more protagonists should go to the library for answers instead of threatening people for them or something, you know?). Speaking of that little paragraph on Thoen, I think it was perfectly informative except one thing, the mentioning of the puppet emperor. Would a society like this really KNOW that there emperor is a puppet, or is it something May would discover through observation alone? Just a thought...of course, if the emperor is not important, then tell keep it in there. Something else I loved, though it was equally sad, is how you showed how May's character slowly twisted their world into her own. May was a shame on Earth with her mother, and now she is becoming a shame to her female guardian in Thoen Stronghold. : ( I really began to feel pity for May at this point near the end of the chapter because it seemed that the more of her personality she let show, the more people view her as dishonorable. Great chapter, I'll have to read more later.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Gosia

10 Years Ago

As always, I'm extremely grateful for the extensive review. I'm glad you liked the direction of the .. read more
Gosia

10 Years Ago

I'll have to print your reviews... and think seriously about building that pyre for the lamb ;-)
read more
Writer #00

10 Years Ago

Aww, thanks, but seriously don't kill anything for me...or burn anything...or do anything, just keep.. read more

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Added on July 23, 2013
Last Updated on October 1, 2013


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Gosia
Gosia

Poland



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Hello, my name is unpronounceable for most of humankind, but fortunately it can be shortened to Gosia. I’m an university student in my twenties, about to face the real life very soon. I’ve.. more..

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