1. Do you sense info-dump?
2. Are you at ALL drawn in - and how could it be more arresting?
3. Does it flow? Or does it show signs of over-editing?
4. WHAT can I do to make this a better opening?
5. Would you read more? ;) (honestly!!)
Braving the Winter
Marindel waited alone on the trail, and stared down at the bright blue flower with curiosity. One seldom saw such a brilliant blue on flowers, and the crystal dew in its curled petals was so beautiful it hurt her. Impatiently she turned away.
She was an important woman with important things to do. Yet sometimes, these days, she caught herself gazing at innocuous flowers such as these. Each time, she found herself with a momentary unbearable longing to lay aside her officious badge and find a small garden of her own to tend. No one would ever find her there.
It got harder every time, to put her tired heart into life again.
“I’m late! I’m late! I know! Sorry!” Huffed a girl’s light voice, as the girl herself came running down the dirt path, copper hair rippling behind her and a flush staining her pale skin. She was dressed to ride and clearly uncomfortable in the rigid masculine clothes as she tugged at the seams. Two lanky men followed in her wake, carrying their own travel bags and hers. Shanore tossed her hair and added: “I made Gorvez and Ledyn late too. Don’t blame them.”
Marindel hastily donned her smile and her leadership. She had never chided anyone for being late, but she had no will to fight Shanore. She never did.
“And Kent? Have you seen Kent?”
“Right here.” The young man surprised her as he appeared around the bend in the path, in his worn travel clothes, with his unruly brown hair in a ponytail. He strode up to his colleagues and grinned down at no one in particular. “Can’t leave without your trusty Elemental, can you.”
Marindel smiled a little, relieved. “You must’ve been right behind them,” she remarked.
“Ya, funny thing… they didn’t hear me yelling good morning!” Kent winked at Gorvez.
“Did you!” said Gorvez coldly, as he made a great show of fixing up the bags. “How unfortunate. I did not hear you.”
Shanore rolled her eyes, and snatched her bag from Gorvez. “I heard you Kent, but I didn’t want to be any later, and you know you do take your time. But I figured you knew that, so I’ll say good morning now.” She smiled coquettishly at him and offered her hand.
Gorvez and Ledyn stood back in mute and helpless fury. It was bad enough that two men from good families were passed over while this incompetent upstart had been named Elemental and trained in the powerful magic of the elements. To see the beautiful Shanore lavish her attentions on him, could hardly be borne.
Marindel, looked up from the blue flower again and sighed. “Shall we start?”
Everyone took one last long look over their shoulder as they headed into the mountains. Behind them lay the sprawling city, nestled in the humid valley and tangled in abundant greenery. They all knew their temperate skins were unprepared for the harsh cold of the wind-swept tundra on the other side of the mountains. Kent’s fire magic would have to keep them warm and alive.