Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April Secret Agent #12

GENRE: YA Fantasy

As I hurried down the castle’s vast stone corridor to meet my half-brother for the first time, his name echoed around me, uttered like a curse: Mordred.

The vaulted doorway of the Great Hall loomed ahead, hewn from stone older than the ages. Squaring my shoulders and forcing my spine straight as a sword, I marched toward the raised dais, careful to keep my pace steady—calm and collected as a Prince of Camelot should be. At least I hoped I looked that way. My muscles strained as my legs urged me forward. Every step was too fast, yet the dais still seemed far away.

Armored knights and soldiers filled either side of the high-ceilinged hall. I passed them and focused straight ahead on the three thrones, though as hard as I tried, I could not block out the poisonous words infusing the room, burning my ears.

“How is that bastard Mordred still alive?” A knight to my right sneered.

“Vermin never did die easy,” another said.

I bit my tongue, not for the first time that day. Such disrespect, all because of an unfounded—and unreliable—prophecy made decades ago.

My heels clipped against the stones. No point in arguing with them. They wouldn’t heed me, prince or not. In terms of garnering respect, Mordred and I stood on almost equal ground. Though I was King Arthur’s legitimate son, my rank did not erase the years he spent avoiding me.

Or the lies the queen had spread about me.


  1. I like how the very first sentence gives us a feeling of time and place by mentioning Mordred (at least for those who gave knowledge of the Arthurian world!) along with atmosphere and tone (clearly, there's something wrong). It makes me want to read more!

    The description makes me feel like I'm in the great hallway with him, too. We've got a great set-up t the background of the story as well as the characters. Well done!

    Love you, Kelly haha I wish I had more constructive criticism but I can't think of anything. Fantastic job!

  2. Very solid start. Lots of intrigue at meeting the brother for the first time and great descriptions. At first I thought the knights were insulting Mordred, but then at the end, it seemed the narrator took offense to those words as if they were directed at him and the rumors the queen had spread. I would definitely keep reading, though!

  3. I love this, and the mystery surrounding it. Immersive, and very vivid.

    You get a real sense of Vael's character as well. I would only say maybe, is there stained glass? More description or does that come later?

    Awesome, though, dude :) x

  4. Yes, this definitely grounds the reader in time and location with 'Mordred' and an ancient, stone great hall.

    I like 'my spine straight as a sword.' Makes me think of Excalibur.

    I'm not sure about the voice, though. The only part that I hear as YA is the dialogue of the disrespectful knights. The rest sounds off/younger to me.

    Consider rewording the first sentence to avoid using 'as.'

    I find it interesting that the MC bites his tongue about this disrespect, and that the rude comments burn his ears. It makes it sound like even though he has never met Mordred, he is on his side.

    The line about such disrespect because of a prophecy has me wondering, does the narrator refer to a prophecy about himself or about Mordred, or about both of them?

    There's some pronoun confusion here: my rank did not erase the years he spent avoiding me. I think 'he' is supposed to refer to Mordred, but in fact refers to Arthur.

    I missed any reference to the narrator's name (Vael? as mentioned by Jade).

    As a fan of T.H. White's The Once and Future King, I am intrigued by this story-line.

  5. Parg 1 - perhaps say 'his name echoed in my head.' If there's no magic ivolved, it doesn't seem likely it would echo in the halls. And if use metaphorically, it doesn't make a lot of sense.

    Parg 2 - you've got a lot of nice description here, but what's missing is the mc's take on the situation. Is he looking forward to seeing Mordred? Does he think they could be friends? Is her wary, knowing about the prophecy? Letting us know how he feels about the situation will hint at where the story is going and add a bit of mood. As is, it just seems he's nervous about meeting his brother.

    Second last parg - his heels clip on the stones. Then he says no use arguing with them. 'them' refers back to his heels, and I believe you mean 'them' to mean the soldiers. Change 'them' to knights, or gossipers, or soldiers.

    It's a nice setup and works overall, I think.

  6. This is a good start. It shows the time period and location and also about both Mordred and the prince (I’m not sure his name since it wasn’t mentioned). I did wonder why he wasn’t respected, being King Arthur’s legitimate son and prince of Camelot. It made me curious what the lies the queen spread about him and why no one was reprimanding the guards or anyone else for their disrespect to their possibly future ruler.

    Thanks for entering!