The lovely and talented Michelle Hauck is running a blog hop to critique first pages and I am super excited to be taking part! If you’d like to join in the fun, here’s the post with all the details. Methinks the first page of The Price of Mercy could use a bit of help, but I’m not entirely sure where, so if you’ve got ideas on what would take it from blah to AMAZING, please, drop ’em in the comments below!
Revision (The revised version is a bit longer than 250 words (think ~280), but I wanted to include everything I covered in the original entry, so you get an extra thirty words of fun). 🙂
“Please, your Highness, have mercy. I beg you.”
“I would very much like to, sir,” Prince Vegin said. Light filtered into the gallery through twin rows of stained glass windows, exaggerating the poor farmer’s haggard appearance. “I sympathize with you, but drought or no, you’ve still got taxes to pay. I cannot simply let you go.”
“Your Highness, I’ll do anything – anything at all – only let me go back to my family.” Dirty tears carved grooves through the layers of grime on his face, but hope shone in his eyes.
Before Vegin could reply, the chamber’s heavy wooden door burst open. The prince flinched as his father stalked into the room, the queen trailing behind him. King Tol’s gaze swept the room as the court fell to its knees. The guards scattered about the room stood a little straighter, not wanting to provoke the king’s famous temper. The peasant trembled before him, suddenly afraid for his life. The prince groaned inwardly – he hated fighting with his father, especially in public.
“Vegin!” Tol’s voice boomed through the chamber. “If you’re not going to sentence this man, I’ll be more than happy to do it for you.”
The prince’s eyes narrowed. “What makes you think he’s committed a crime?”
“He’s a peasant, isn’t he?” Tol sniffed in the man’s direction. “A farmer, by the smell of him.”
“Just because he’s a peasant doesn’t mean he’s a criminal, Father.”
“Then why is he here?”
Vegin opened his mouth, but no words came out. What could he say to that?
“Fine,” the prince said after a moment, “he’s done something wrong. Are you happy now?”
The king smiled smugly. “So you’ve sentenced him, then?”
“I was about to, but you interrupted.”
Dirty tears carved grooves through the layers of grime on the poor farmer’s face. “Please, your Highness, have mercy. I beg you.”
Prince Vegin sympathized with the man, whose pitiful appearance was exaggerated by the light filtering through the stained glass windows lining the gallery. But drought or no, he still had taxes to pay; surely he had other ways of obtaining the necessary funds. Even if he didn’t, was prison really the most suitable penalty? How could he ever hope to earn what he owed if he was stuck in a prison camp? But he couldn’t simply let the man go, either.
As Vegin opened his mouth to speak, the room’s heavy wooden door burst open. The prince flinched as his father stalked into the room, the queen trailing behind him. King Tol swept his gaze around the room as the court fell to its knees before him. The guards scattered about the room stood at attention, ready for anything. The pathetic heap of a peasant trembled, prostrate, before him. The prince, out of habit, stood atop a dais in front of two intricately carved thrones, and froze the king in place with the sternest gaze he could muster.
“Vegin!” Tol’s voice boomed through the chamber, commanding attention. “If you’re not going to sentence this man, I’ll be more than happy to do it for you.”
The prince’s eyes narrowed. “That’s really not necessary, Father.”
“Oh? So you’ve sentenced him, then?”
“Well, no. I was about to, but you interrupted.”
There you have it! Questions, comments, and suggestions will all be gratefully received, so let me have ’em!
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