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[Lum's Travel Guide] The Necropolis (#4 in a series)

edited July 2015 in SotA Stories
The ale wasn't helping. Not that there was anything wrong with it - Peladjar the Innkeeper was justifiably proud of his brew. "The best in Ardoris," he claimed, and I was not inclined to argue. No, the problem was the utter futility of the four weeks that I had just spent at Brightbone Pass. No matter how many undead we killed, more would arrive to replace them. There had to be a better solution. If we knew why this was happening, maybe we would stand a better chance of ending it. Perhaps the answer could be found in the Necropolis, that great city of the undead.

It was then that I overheard a customer mention hiring someone to converse with a recently deceased relative. I had not heard of such a thing, and pressed Peladjar for information on the subject. "Them who talk to the undead are spirit talkers," he said, adding "there's a few of them about and two, Kardan Marbane and Samael can be found right here in my inn."

I thanked Peladjar and then talked to each of the two spirit talkers in turn. I suspected that having a good spirit talker would be of pivotal importance, and chose carefully. We agreed to meet up outside the Necropolis, and after finishing my ale I set off along the West Perennial Trail until eventually I reached the Necropolis Barrens.

Entering a cave to my right I followed a short, winding path, before an exit appeared beyond which I could see the imposing entrance of the Necropolis. As arranged, my spirit talker was waiting for me. 

Past those doors there would be no turning back, but I had to know. We proceeded inside.


Comments

  • Here's the last one I owe you...

    One overall comment.  Isn't this more properly a description for the Necropolis Barrens and not the Necropolis itself?  The story ends before you enter the scene for the Necropolis.

    Not that there was anything wrong with it - Peladjar the Innkeeper was justifiably proud of his brew.

    I don't think this is a great use of the dash, but possible.  Period works just fine.

    "The best in Ardoris", he claimed, and I was not inclined to argue.

    Comma needs to go inside quotation marks.

    "Them who talk to the undead are spirit talkers." he said,

    You can't use a period to lead into a continuing sentence, should be a comma.

    adding "There's a few of them about and two, Kardan Marbane and Samael can be found right here in my inn."

    Comma after adding, decapitalize the T to begin the quote since it is a continuation of a sentence, and period after Samael to set off the appositive.

    I thanked Peladjar, and then talked to each of the two spirit talkers in turn.

    No comma!

    each of the two spirit talkers in turn

    This is confusing because you say there are more spirit talkers than just two.  You mean the two in the inn.  I think this sounds a little of without that clarification. 

    I suspected that having a good spirit talker would be of pivotal importance, and chose carefully.

    No comma.

    until eventually I reached the Necropolis Barrens.

    Eventually is a curious adverb begging for more description... adverbs are always problems in writing for this reason.  Why eventually?  Was it long? arduous? Interrupted? etc.

    A
    cave to my right led me down a short winding path, before an exit
    appeared beyond which I could see the imposing entrance of the
    Necropolis.

    The comma has no reason for being there, but this sentence is confusing.  A cave led you to a path - then the exit comes and you know the path is in the cave.  So maybe better said, "To my right a path led me through a cave"?  Something like that.  The way it is now we don't know whether the path is still in the cave.  The use of before leads to more confusion.  Before what?  The place it is in the sentence the read has to juggle many options.  The way you use it, before needs something like, "down a short winding path for a long way before an exit appeared".  I would describe this very carefully because it is a very important part of the scene. 

    Need a comma between short and winding since they are coordinate adjectives. 
  • edited July 2015
    For the first time I find myself somewhat in disagreement, and I shall explain why. No, I am not in disagreement regarding the grammar. You are far more knowledgeable about such things. Where I take issue is over the detrimental result of strictly adhering to the correct form, where I think that an incorrect form "sounds" better. I shall list some examples, and you'll no doubt disagree.  :)

    From the above:

    Here's the last one I owe you...

    One overall comment.  Isn't this more properly a description for the Necropolis Barrens and not the Necropolis itself?  The story ends before you enter the scene for the Necropolis.
    We have already discussed this one, so I won't address it again.

    Not that there was anything wrong with it - Peladjar the Innkeeper was justifiably proud of his brew.

    I don't think this is a great use of the dash, but possible.  Period works just fine.
    The phrase starting with Peladjar is a continuation of the thought expressed in the start of the sentence. Hence the dash.

    "The best in Ardoris", he claimed, and I was not inclined to argue. 

    Comma needs to go inside quotation marks.

    "Them who talk to the undead are spirit talkers." he said, 

    You can't use a period to lead into a continuing sentence, should be a comma.

    adding "There's a few of them about and two, Kardan Marbane and Samael can be found right here in my inn."

    Comma after adding, decapitalize the T to begin the quote since it is a continuation of a sentence, and period after Samael to set off the appositive.
    I have no idea why you want me to place a period after Samael. That would not make sense. In any case, the quoted text is straight from the game, and as a result I do not wish to alter it beyond the comma and decapitalisation.

    I thanked Peladjar, and then talked to each of the two spirit talkers in turn.

    No comma!

    each of the two spirit talkers in turn

    This is confusing because you say there are more spirit talkers than just two.  You mean the two in the inn.  I think this sounds a little of without that clarification.  
    Recall the previous line "there's a few of them about and two, Kardan Marbane and Samael can be found right here in my inn." - surely that is sufficient indication that I am referring to the two in the inn.

    I suspected that having a good spirit talker would be of pivotal importance, and chose carefully.

    No comma.
    I wanted the reader to pause here. The pause further emphasises the fact that a careful choice is being made. I have a fully paid up poetic licence, and reserve the right to break the rules of grammar where I believe it helps to tell the story. :) Yes, I'm sure that is something on which we'll never agree.

    until eventually I reached the Necropolis Barrens.

    Eventually is a curious adverb begging for more description... adverbs are always problems in writing for this reason.  Why eventually?  Was it long? arduous? Interrupted? etc.
    Why yes it was long, arduous and (possibly) interrupted. That is exactly the impression I wish to convey, but am happy to leave the reader wondering what happened. (Long journey? Random encounter? They'll have to follow in my footsteps to find out. No spoon feeding of information here!  :)  )

    A
    cave to my right led me down a short winding path, before an exit 
    appeared beyond which I could see the imposing entrance of the 
    Necropolis. 

    The comma has no reason for being there, but this sentence is confusing.  A cave led you to a path - then the exit comes and you know the path is in the cave.  So maybe better said, "To my right a path led me through a cave"?  Something like that.  The way it is now we don't know whether the path is still in the cave.  The use of before leads to more confusion.  Before what?  The place it is in the sentence the read has to juggle many options.  The way you use it, before needs something like, "down a short winding path for a long way before an exit appeared".  I would describe this very carefully because it is a very important part of the scene.  

    Need a comma between short and winding since they are coordinate adjectives. 


    I made several of the recommended changes, and appreciate and thank you for all your observations. No doubt one day I shall revisit this conversation and exclaim "Oh dear. He was right all along. Why didn't I listen?" That time is still some way off. :)


  • For the first time I find myself somewhat in disagreement, and I shall
    explain why. No, I am not in disagreement regarding the grammar. You are
    far more knowledgeable about such things. Where I take issue is over
    the detrimental result of strictly adhering to the correct form, where I
    think that an incorrect form "sounds" better. I shall list some examples, and you'll no doubt disagree.  :)

    As always, my comments are just that, comments to use as you see fit.

    From the above:

    Here's the last one I owe you...

    One
    overall comment.  Isn't this more properly a description for the
    Necropolis Barrens and not the Necropolis itself?  The story ends before
    you enter the scene for the Necropolis.
    We have already discussed this one, so I won't address it again.

    Not that there was anything wrong with it - Peladjar the Innkeeper was justifiably proud of his brew.

    I don't think this is a great use of the dash, but possible.  Period works just fine.
    The phrase starting with Peladjar is a continuation of the thought expressed in the start of the sentence. Hence the dash.
    The point of a dash is that it is a more emphatic form of punctuation, often surprising or interrupting.  But of course, there is room to decide here.

    "The best in Ardoris", he claimed, and I was not inclined to argue. 

    Comma needs to go inside quotation marks.

    "Them who talk to the undead are spirit talkers." he said, 

    You can't use a period to lead into a continuing sentence, should be a comma.

    adding "There's a few of them about and two, Kardan Marbane and Samael can be found right here in my inn."

    Comma
    after adding, decapitalize the T to begin the quote since it is a
    continuation of a sentence, and period after Samael to set off the
    appositive.
    I
    have no idea why you want me to place a period after Samael. That would
    not make sense. In any case, the quoted text is straight from the game,
    and as a result I do not wish to alter it beyond the comma and
    decapitalisation.
    I meant a comma, sorry.  The two names are an appositive and it's a pretty hard rule to set them off by commas. If the text is straight from the game, I will put in a bug report for it.

    I thanked Peladjar, and then talked to each of the two spirit talkers in turn.

    No comma!

    each of the two spirit talkers in turn

    This
    is confusing because you say there are more spirit talkers than just
    two.  You mean the two in the inn.  I think this sounds a little of
    without that clarification.  

    Recall the previous line "there's a few of them about and two, Kardan Marbane and Samael can be found right here in my inn." - surely that is sufficient indication that I am referring to the two in the inn.
    If you think it is sufficient that's fine.

    I suspected that having a good spirit talker would be of pivotal importance, and chose carefully.

    No comma.
    I
    wanted the reader to pause here. The pause further emphasises the fact
    that a careful choice is being made. I have a fully paid up poetic
    licence, and reserve the right to break the rules of grammar where I
    believe it helps to tell the story. :) Yes, I'm sure that is something
    on which we'll never agree.
    Most people will see this just as a break in punctuation and not a poetic move.  There are other ways to accomplish what you want to do.  "I suspected that having a good spirit talker would be of pivotal importance.  Therefore, I chose carefully."  But it's always just my two cents.

    until eventually I reached the Necropolis Barrens.

    Eventually
    is a curious adverb begging for more description... adverbs are always
    problems in writing for this reason.  Why eventually?  Was it long?
    arduous? Interrupted? etc.

    Why
    yes it was long, arduous and (possibly) interrupted. That is exactly
    the impression I wish to convey, but am happy to leave the reader
    wondering what happened. (Long journey? Random encounter? They'll have
    to follow in my footsteps to find out. No spoon feeding of information
    here!  :)  )
    Again that's a possible choice.  However, it devalues the word to the point that in most readers minds, they won't consider it like I did.  You have to "show it".  Most writers would use some tantalizing tidbit to pique curiosity.  

    A
    cave to my right led me down a short winding path, before an exit 
    appeared beyond which I could see the imposing entrance of the 
    Necropolis. 

    The
    comma has no reason for being there, but this sentence is confusing.  A
    cave led you to a path - then the exit comes and you know the path is
    in the cave.  So maybe better said, "To my right a path led me through a
    cave"?  Something like that.  The way it is now we don't know whether
    the path is still in the cave.  The use of before leads to more
    confusion.  Before what?  The place it is in the sentence the read has
    to juggle many options.  The way you use it, before needs something
    like, "down a short winding path for a long way before an exit
    appeared".  I would describe this very carefully because it is a very
    important part of the scene.  

    Need a comma between short and winding since they are coordinate adjectives. 


    I
    made several of the recommended changes, and appreciate and thank you
    for all your observations. No doubt one day I shall revisit this
    conversation and exclaim "Oh dear. He was right all along. Why didn't I
    listen?" That time is still some way off. :)

    If you want other resources and references to validate my suggestions, I am happy to provide them.  But as always, this is your work, to do with as you wish.
  • edited July 2015
    Keep it coming, you two! I am learning so very much, and that is sincere.

    I woke up at 6:30 this morning thinking, "Drat, I should have used a comma."
    That might be a common waking thought for you writing folk. You may believe that it is a not for me. :)

  • Ha ha! A roughly 300 word story has resulted in a roughly 1,000 word post that is more engaging than the story!

  • Maybe we can write a meta-story!
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