Wilderness

Wilderness

A Chapter by SpeedyHobbit Armstrong
"

Prince Folco was tired of the food shortage, tired of sleeping in places that did not even remotely resemble a bed and above all tired of overhearing plaintive comments with hostile glances his way.

"

            Folco leaned against the stone wall of the cave he and the other refugees had managed to find to shelter themselves from the bitter cold outside. It was not the most pleasant of accommodations. Their surroundings smelled heavily of mold, but  there was a pool of water in the cave in addition to the stream about a mile from which they could drink. It  beat being exposed to the freezing rain and howling rain outside. It was cold enough in here.  He pulled his hood as far forward as it would go and drew his cloak into a cocoon around his shivering form.

 

Earlier in the evening, several hobbits had scouted the cave both for predators and other animals that might occupy the cave in hopes of procuring something to eat. They’d been very short on commons in the past eight nights since they’d fled Drémeadow. To their disappointment, they’d found only bats. While they’d shot a few, it was not nearly enough to feed the entire group. Only the smallest children and the hobbits already showing symptoms of illness had eaten an evening meal. The prince himself refused to touch anything. He was on unsteady enough ground when it came to his subjects and fellow refugees without taking food away from those who needed it more.

 

 Around the youth, a mixture of heavy breathing, chattering teeth, snores, sniffles, coughs and the occasional complaint of those who, like him, were unable to sleep echoed throughout the cramped quarters. Folco closed his eyes, drawing his knees into his chest in hopes of stifling the nagging pain in the pit of his stomach. It was his second consecutive day on an empty stomach. Perhaps I should have had some lunch after all, he thought. He could have partaken in one of the deer from earlier, the deer the children and frail had finished for supper, but when he’d overheard several complaints about the meager commons, he’d lost all desire to eat.

 

 Folco was tired of the winter-induced meat shortage, tired of sleeping in places that did not even remotely resemble a bed and above all tired of overhearing plaintive comments supplemented with less-than-friendly glances his way as though he was somehow better off than the rest of them- or, more likely, as though his father’s actions nearly a fortnight ago were somehow his fault. Never mind that he’d come to Kiran’s defense, knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt the Cancalian emissary was innocent. Never mind that he’d planted false orders with the gatekeepers to anticipate a large group of early departures and allow them to exit. Never mind that both things, particularly misleading the gatekeepers in his intentions to sabotage efforts at capturing Kiran or any of the now-stateless hobbits amounted to treason.  Then again, Folco thought, he deserved it. After all, had he not acted so childishly on New Years’ Eve, he could have caught his mother’s assassin and prevented her poisoning. But he had, he hadn't been in the kitchen where he should have been. If he'd been there, his very presence might have stopped her death happening. Instead, he'd had someone else go in his stead, someone who missed the assassin tampering with the red wine, and now his mother was dead because of it.


If only he’d known what would happen. Folco would have insisted on staying in the kitchen, annoying though he found it at the time, whether or not Kirk was there. He might have seen something and been able to bring the real murderer to justice. Kirk obviously hadn’t seen anything that would help Kiran, or he presumably would have said something. So here was the situation where his mother was dead, the wrong person blamed and himself in disgrace for both helping Kiran to avoid unjust punishment and helping the other hobbits coming to Kiran’s defense escape an attack by his father’s people.

 

His face suddenly felt hot. His eyes stung. Gritting his teeth, the young prince picked up the open water skin beside him and stood, looking wildly for a place where he could be out of sight of the other refugees. His dark eyes fell upon a rocky protrusion from the ground near the edge of the cave, rising above the others. It would be cramped, but it would do. Folco began to carefully wind and weave between the others. Once safely out of sight, the teenager slid down the stalagmite to the ground, dropping his water skin next to him. His knees struck the rough stone wall, but Folco ignored it. He reached for his water. To his horror, Folco saw the cap had come off, spilling the contents. He pummeled his fist into the ground in frustration. Now he didn’t even have anything to drink! Just what he needed, on top of everything else!

 

One by one, the horrors of the past week and a half crashed over the youth. His mother, Queen Arabella, proposing a toast and drinking from her glass after saluting the life and health of all in the room. Ironic, Folco thought, how the concepts of life and good health were nearly her last words. His father accusing Kiran, Cancalia’s envoy, after exchanging words Folco could not hear with his advisor Jarmir Esteel. His father ordering an attack on those coming to Kiran’s defense, the act that spurred Folco into sending Lindo to his room to get travel necessities while he went to tell the guards outside, who remained unaware anything was wrong, that his father had said to allow anyone leaving early out. At least, after Lindo had offered his support when Folco told him what he was thinking of doing, expressed his intentions to join him in seeing to the safety of the others, and said goodbye to his family.

 

Folco wished his closest friend were nearby so he might talk about the crushing burden of guilt weighing him down. However, Lindo was with Kiran and three other Dremeadow refugees were somewhere between the wilderness of southwestern Baur and Kiran’s home city of Northchester in Cancalia. He only hoped Kiran would be able to find them. Folco had left four behind in the clearing where they’d spent the past few nights in case the delegation, changing out the designated four every hour or two, but what if Kiran’s group got lost?

 

Leaning against the wall of the cave, the young hobbit fell into an uneasy slumber.





© 2014 SpeedyHobbit Armstrong


Author's Note

SpeedyHobbit Armstrong
This isn't complete yet, but please let me know what you think so far. love it? Hate it? Why? Please give constructive criticism!

12/3/14: Several have pointed out that the flashback scene could be done better and i'm working on converting it into a different format to reveal things there, possibly as a conversation between Folco and Lindo. Let me know what you think please.

12/5 Flashback removed for the nonce, now deciding whether to incorporate it into one of the upcoming chapters or making it its own entity although presented differently

My Review

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Featured Review

You use dubiously and indubitably in close proximity.

If one person says some dialogue. And then a different person does an action, it helps to put the second person's action in a new paragraph. I ought to find a name for that rule. Do you know what I'm talking about?

"No need to crack your head open about it" LOL
"let sleeping hobbits lie" LOL

It is January 6th and he missed January 8th? Do you use an inverted calender or is that a typo?

Xenia had one, should be Xenia had won, I believe.

Nice last line.

Based on the dialogue you clearly know your characters well.

Good job explaining Kiran's abilities, and keeping it natural. (It didn't feel forced).

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

6 Years Ago

Whaaaaat, how did I not already reply to this? Thanks so much for the head's up about the typos abou.. read more
SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

6 Years Ago

*heads And that is why I ought never to write at midnight o.O



Reviews

Okay, so I have come to discover that I am slightly confused by this story. Maybe that is a good thing as it keeps me reading and wanting to know EXACTLY what is going on. Or it is a possibility you made changes while I died in my little winter world. I think I will reread much of what I already have, but for now I will review this. I found no spelling or grammatical mistakes, you write incredibly skillfully. I greatly admire that. The flashbacks slightly confuse me, but it is nothing the reader can't figure out by turning their brain on. I shall read on!

Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Skai Rain

6 Years Ago

Honestly, I think it is just the setup. It is also probably because I have not read in a while. It i.. read more
SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

6 Years Ago

Okiedokes! There actually was at one point a true flashback but I took that out and am giving the in.. read more
Skai Rain

6 Years Ago

Haha, I will do so! Keep it up, you're a very good writer. You'll get there! :)
I began to recollect the earlier chapter in which the Queen died and this began to make more sense. I saw nothing grammatical or typographical to comment upon. It would appear some of the suggestions from previous reviews, on what I assume was the previous version have been amended.
Interesting tale, so far.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

6 Years Ago

Thanks so much Noel! #belatedreply
Ack!!! I'm totally late in reviewing this (so sorry for that!!) my brain has decided to take a temporary leave so I'm pretty useless right now...but I am leaving this here to remind myself to get back on here tomorrow and give you a proper review (pinky swear I'll do that!). From what I've breezed through, it seems like a good read! I'll have a good list of constructive critiques on this for you tomorrow, promise! :D

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

7 Years Ago

Aww, thank you and excellent!
I got a bit confused how Folco ended up here. I don't remember him heading to a place like this at the end of the last chapter. I like the opening however, it is some of your best writing thus far

They shot some bats - do you mean with guns?

I don't really look for little things like this but I noticed you used slightly twice within a couple of sentences of each other - after - "I didn't mean to bother you." He looked slightly disappointed

I think the use of the flashback works, but I'm not sure how necessary it is.

I felt like there was a little too much explaining going on about Folco's thoughts after the flashback.

I like Lindo's sense of humor. You should capitalize on his character

Really nice name you made up "Nont'im - and an interesting combo of races

Explanation of paladins was good the way it came through dialogue

Don't know if Kiran needs to explain quite that much about himself all at once

Interesting mentioning of his sister also being disinherited

I like the last line from Lindo

I hope I don't sound harsh, but I think you could tighten up some of the paragraphs. Often it seems like we get a little too much info. As much as possible you only want to write what is absolutely necessary or adds to the story, moves it forward, adding to suspense and tension (doesn't have to be action related suspense either). I have a lot of trouble providing too much info at times. One of the things I do to rein in that tendency is outline the heck out of everything I write. I really, really love to do that, though I realize most people don't. For one chapter for instance: you could write an outline of only a few separate sentences, almost like mini titles within a chapter that anchor down what the most important things are that are happening.

Ok, I think I should be quiet now. I'll be reading more in the near future, of Folco and his adventures


This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

6 Years Ago

Thanks! I'll have to decide what can be deleted, what can stay and what can come out later.
You use dubiously and indubitably in close proximity.

If one person says some dialogue. And then a different person does an action, it helps to put the second person's action in a new paragraph. I ought to find a name for that rule. Do you know what I'm talking about?

"No need to crack your head open about it" LOL
"let sleeping hobbits lie" LOL

It is January 6th and he missed January 8th? Do you use an inverted calender or is that a typo?

Xenia had one, should be Xenia had won, I believe.

Nice last line.

Based on the dialogue you clearly know your characters well.

Good job explaining Kiran's abilities, and keeping it natural. (It didn't feel forced).

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

6 Years Ago

Whaaaaat, how did I not already reply to this? Thanks so much for the head's up about the typos abou.. read more
SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

6 Years Ago

*heads And that is why I ought never to write at midnight o.O
Nice chapter, I'm really getting into the world you are building here. Well done, I'll be reading the next chapter soon! :)

I added annotation on Diigo: https://diigo.com/01wv3w

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

6 Years Ago

Thanks so much!
I dig what you're doing here. The flashback handles a little strange as I'm not sure that you actually need a sequence to describe what happens.
Either way, the chapter itself pulls the story along and the halfhobbit halfelf idea is sweet.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

7 Years Ago

Yeah, i'm not feeling wholly sure about the flashback. I've wondered whether to not address this unt.. read more
I see you got a lot of reviews for a previous version, but from what I can tell you really took their reviews to heart and created a strong second chapter. I like the development and the fact that we got some background information to expand our knowledge. Just be careful not to provide too much information. I followed along, but for some readers it may come across as overwhelming.
This was a great continuation and I look forward to reading more when I get the chance.

~Stefanie

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Stefanie Holmes

7 Years Ago

This chapter is definitely long and could possibly be split into two chapters, but I'm not sure wher.. read more
SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

7 Years Ago

I'd probably split it where Kiran and Lindo return with supplies [=
Stefanie Holmes

7 Years Ago

Sounds like a good spot! :)
There's some good background explanations here that let me know a little more about what's going on, though there's a lot and it's almost overwhelming. I was able to follow it though. This is some good quality writing, though.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

7 Years Ago

Thanks so much! Do any bits stand out as where I could either delay the background until later or re.. read more
I will have to wait for the next chapter for the review, so far so good, its interesting :)

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

7 Years Ago

Thanks so much for the review! [=

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Added on March 6, 2013
Last Updated on December 5, 2014
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SpeedyHobbit Armstrong
SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

Long Island, NY



About
My name is Cher Armstrong, also known as Speedy Hobbit. I'm a USATF athlete in racewalking for the Raleigh Walkers club team. I just graduated from Queens College in Queens borough in New York Ci.. more..

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