Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August Secret Agent #6

TITLE: The Voice of Asheva
GENRE: Fantasy

The prince was on trial.

It was impossible, and yet there he stood in front of High Judge Vate, his hands bound in front of him, defiant in his lack of fear. Pausing the proceedings, the High Judge rubbed his temples and wished that the garish sunbeams streaming in from the windows were covered by clouds. Perhaps then he could think.

It wasn't just that the atmosphere was stifling, despite the cold spring, nor that spectators filled the court with muttering. No, it was the sheer absurdity of the thing. Prince Theyrin on trial? Especially such a trial as this, where his conviction seemed inevitable? Looking down again at the prince, Vate balked at the idea that the young man in front of him would never be king; even in a peasant shirt and pants, Theyrin stood as if his father's crown were upon his head.

Captain Artaine had produced his condemning testimony and several witnesses; all that now remained was the prince's defense. Vate's arms were moist under the thick velvet of his robes, but he stared down at the young man in front of him and continued the trial.

"Theyrin Fortan Jeldi Regalis, Prince of Stoyria, you have been accused of treason. Specifically, you are charged with hiding and protecting Souran spies, aiding them, and publicly supporting the Soura traders. According to these accusations, you have, in front of assembly, spoken treason about the king and the laws of this land."


  1. I'm loving this so far. I already have a good sense of the prince and Vate, and this is only 250 words! This line especially speaks volumes about the prince: "...even in a peasant shirt and pants, Theyrin stood as if his father's crown were upon his head."

    My one suggestion would be that you change the second sentence to "It seemed impossible to High Judge Vate, and yet there the prince (or Prince Theyrin, either works) stood before (instead of in front of, because you repeat that in this sentence, or you could always switch it around) him..." I couldn't exactly determine whose POV it was until the third sentence, but if you make that change, the reader will know right away.

    I'd definitely read on!

  2. I wondered about the judge's POV. It seems this story is about the Prince and I wanted to see his POV.

    I also would have preferred to see and hear some of the things you described. Perhaps show us the crowded courtroom. Let us hear the muttering. Make us feel the heat.

    And I wonder if the last paragraph works. In the paragraph before it, you say the Captain has already presented his case against the prince, and the prince now needs to present his defense, so why is the judge reciting all his supposed crimes etc. in the middle of the trial? Wouldn't he have done that at the beginning, before it started, or at the end when he is being sentenced?

  3. You do an excellent job of presenting the judge and the prince, their emotional states, and giving us a sense of atmosphere, all in this short scene. Bravo! I’m definitely interested in a prince who would endanger his father’s empire and the judge who is terrified of finding him guilty and would certainly read more.

  4. Interesting opening. I’d suggest shifting ‘now’ earlier in the sentence for better flow: now all that remained was… The sentence beginning with Vate’s arms being moist under his robe is good; it shows us something. But, the last part is telling; he stared down at the young man in front of him and continued the trial. Don’t need that at all. By is dialogue we know the trial continues. With a little jigging, I’d be hooked.

  5. I relaly like that this is starting out from the judge's POV. Princes always get to be the center of attention, we know all their stories. :) I like hearing about this from the judge! I want to know more about the judge! (But then, I always did like the stagehands better than the actors....)

  6. Good intensity! Great details.

    I was a bit confused by the shift in narrator at the beginning. In the "It was impossible" line, it seems like either an omniscent narrator or perhaps someone in the crowd, since it refers to the judge by name and title. All the lines after that seem to be from the judge's perspective.

    I'm hooked!

  7. The first sentence was nice and to the point.

    The judge's title and the fact that the prince's hands were bound, not handcuffed, helped ground me to a pre-modern time period.

    The last sentence in paragraph #3 referring to the prince's dress and attitude is nicely done.

    The accusation of treason against the prince was the final hook that makes me want to read more.

  8. just don't like lines such as:
    and yet there he stood. sounds too contrived.

    other than that i like the set up of a prince in trouble for treason against his father, the king.

    word verification:

    unhki... product to remove unsightly patches of discoloration from teenagers' necks.