Michaela Whatnall, Rebecca Podos, and Elle Thompson for taking the time to critique these entries. And a shout out to the brave authors whose work will be on the blog this week. You are awesome!
Entry 2: The Keepers of the Crown
Dagny Silversight, the lost exiled princess of the former murdered King[MW2], wants to kill the new King more than anyone. Dagny— armed with a grudge, dark powers, and the knowledge and uncanny abilities of Moratheen’s most mysterious and all-seeing cult — wants revenge for her slain family. She is going to help the Keepers to do just that.
Once a timid child, Dagny now finds herself leading the three bickering Keepers: a doctor from a colonized race who wants justice for her people, a veteran knight seeking to end a witch’s curse, and an immortal pirate who wants…. well, the King’s supply of wine. One problem: they believe only one of them can get what they want[MW3].
After a comedy of errors where the Keepers thwart each other’s assassination attempts, the fearful King goes into hiding. Now their biggest enemy is each other. The three plunge every province into civil war in a race to find the King. Now their only hope in finding him rests in the hands of Dagny and her dark affiliations. After losing one family, Dagny refuses to lose another, and won't help them unless they unite[MW4].
But sometimes the only worthy price is blood. The four motley heroes stumble over one another to end the King’s reign, life, and belief that all heroes are good.
THE KEEPERS OF THE CROWN is complete at 95k words, told in a dark but humorous tone akin to that of Nicholas Eames’ Kings of the Wyld. While the story does have series potential, it works as a standalone as well[RP1][ET1].
First 250 Words:
Some die peacefully in their beds with their heirs cozy at their side… and by “some” I refer to only four of the 233 High Rulers the vast land of Moratheen has seen.
Others have been poisoned, stabbed, bludgeoned, ransomed, flayed, drowned, burned by sorcerers, frozen by witches, beheaded; they have swallowed a stone instead of a berry, swallowed something else and choked, or have been swallowed; pushed from towers, succumbed to “natural causes” (meaning those yet to have seen a coroner), and all other sorts of imaginative, colourful devices.
Every king has four carefully selected Keepers to protect them from harm, and they— as you have probably come to realize— have a tremendously busy job.
The announcement ceremony when a High King elects his Keepers is always joyous. Men and women come from all edges of Moratheen; some only ever heard of in legends or bedside tales, and swear themselves to the new king upon his invitation. Centuries of Keepers had been chosen in the High Keep of the High King, and all of them had been showered in wealth and applause, adored and celebrated throughout the realm, and most importantly, given the unsoiled seat at the bar. Even the Keepers themselves, honored, would gleam on at the crowd as they were knighted, sworn in to forever protect the High King so long as they stood.
Today, the ceremony was happy for only three men[MW5][RP2][ET2].
[ET2] I think it’s interesting that you’ve chosen a first person POV storyteller to witness the story. Who is the storyteller? You don’t need to tell us in the query or first 250, necessarily, but there ought to be an answer somewhere in the book. Otherwise, I actually quite like this set-up; I think the voice sounds fun, and the pacing seems promising.
Given the plot structure concerns, this is currently a PASS for me, but I do hope you find my notes helpful in thinking about how you’re setting up that relationship between world-building and character motivations!