1370: Poison – Chapter Five

Title: Poison
Author: 221B-Tardis
Media: Books
Topic: Snow White / Fairy Tale
Genre: Fantasy / Adventure
URL:  Chapter Five
Critiqued by Addicted Reader

Welcome back, Patrons, to our short Snow White fanfic “Poison.” At the end of today we’ll be halfway through, so make sure to stay for the light dessert reception to celebrate that at the end of the post.

So what’s been happening in this fic?  Let me explain.

No, there is too much.  Let me sum up:  the Evil Queen Stepmother wants Snow White left in the woods because she’s the “fairest of them all.”  Standard plot element from “Snow White.”  But here’s the twist that ought to make this story a lot better than it is:  the Queen, Aurora, is really SW’s mother, Arianna, who is a witch and had to change her form after SW was born.  So everyone thinks Arianna died in childbirth and SW hates Aurora.  Arianna/Aurora is already a high-level Witchy Sue and SW is trying to get there.

In the last chapter, Arianna called in a guard, Ryan, and told him to leave SW in the woods or else [something bad that is not entirely clear].  He had been hoping she’d take him as a lover out of desperation in her isolation, so he was disappointed.  Apparently the order to do something that could hurt someone was too much for this palace guard and we left him passed out from indecision.

Onward!

Chapter 5

Ryan waited till late in the eve when most of the guards went down to the local inn and then would stagger back to there rooms with numbed senses and blank eyes. He carefully made his way towards the princess’s chambers. Thankfully the onyx haired girl was asleep. He lifted her up and made his way past some drunken guards and walked through the jade and umber woods.

Okay, what in the name of Holy Snark is it with this author and using the names of mineral, gems, etc. as colors?  Snow White’s hair was previously “jet,” now it’s “onyx.”  Seriously, it’s getting to be a really annoying habit and it’s not even consistent!  And I’m pretty sure the  woods are not made of stone and paint.

SW is 17 years old.  We’ve had no physical description of either character so far other than SW’s mineral colors so I have no idea how tall or heavy either she or the guard is.  But odds are they’re relatively close in size, which would make him carrying her while she’s sleeping – and therefore dead weight – pretty awkward.  Carrying a sleeping toddler half my height and a quarter of my weight is not easy, I really can’t imagine any realistic way that he’s doing this without waking her up.

Snow flickered her eyes open. Her body was being moved to nymphs-know-where in a strange mans arms.

Ah ha!  I was right.  Though it doesn’t say how long it took her to wake up.  Anything more than a minute or two is still unrealistic.

And there’s been no mention of religion or deities thus far, so invoking “nymphs” where the common phrase is “God-knows-where” really threw me at first.

“Put me down.” She yelled. “Put me down this instant!” Ryan seeing he was deep enough into the woods set the girl down. Snow feeling less disoriented studied the kidnappers body. He was in his late 30’s with messy ochre hair and cold azure eyes. He wore a knight’s uniform the simple metal chainmail armour with a piece of indistinct-coloured cloth tied at the waist by a plain brown belt and on his left side of his chest was a coat of arms. It was a dark crow with a sword in its beak and a crown of its head on top of a cobalt background with a mauve circle directly behind the crow. It was the coat of arms for her father’s kingdom. She swallowed.

Oh, and I forgot to mention – this author likes long sentences but can’t be bothered with commas.

So they are now “deep enough into the woods” with no sense of the time or distance actually traveled.

And this guard/knight is wearing chain mail, some old and dirty cloth around his waist tied with a belt (???), and an insignia on his chest.  Is the weird cloth/belt combination part of the uniform?  Doesn’t sound very military-looking.  Is the insignia directly on his chain mail?  This is outside my area of expertise, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the usual way to do things.

This author really sucks at descriptions of anything other than color, and even that is very limited.

“Why did you take me here?” she asked, fear colouring her tone.

Oh FFS, I was NOT asking for more “color” description!

“Your step-mother told me to bring you here.” He said his eyes confident but also undecided.

I’m pretty sure that “confident” and “undecided” are complete opposites.  He really can’t be both in this situation.

“Why?” she asked taking a step back involuntarily

And now the author has given up on periods as well as commas.  Great.

“She didn’t tell me why.” He looked down and turned his body to stare off into the dark woods. A single roaming beam of moonlight gleamed off a dagger that dangled from the stranger’s belt.

There’s so much to not understand in that short paragraph I can barely get started!

  1. “Turned his body”to stare off – did he hurt his neck carrying all that dead weight of Snow White all that unspecified distance?
  2. “Roaming beam of moonlight”?!?!?!?  What does that even mean?  Moonbeams generally move very slowly over the course of the night.
  3. What stranger?  Is there a 3rd person in this scene all of a sudden (from behind!)?

“No!” snow stumbled backwards in a half-run, falling to the ground her head missing it by inches. She sat up looking at the bewildered man. “NO! Stay away from me!” she screeched. The man raised his arms and stepped back confused by some missing accusation. Snow eyes flickered from the stranger’s befuddled face to the blade, his eyes followed and he jumped back again his face showing a wave of horror.

There’s something off about that “missing the ground by inches.”  It sounds like her head went past with only a small gap between it and the ground, which then puts me in mind of how Douglas Adams describes flying – throwing oneself at the ground and missing.  But I think the author means something closer to “her head stopped just short of hitting the ground and concussing any remaining sense out of Snow White.”

Again, I’m not actually sure how many men are in this scene.  Is Ryan-the-guard the one described as “the stranger” or is there someone else?  Again, I think I can tell what the author is trying to do, but she’s not doing it at all well.

“No, the queen wouldn’t ask that! She wouldn’t!” Ryan’s face paled. She could have asked that. She may not have said it in words but her face and her tone could have been implying it completely. His mind searched back and remembered worry break through the queen’s tone. Was she worrying about him not getting her underline message? “I don’t think she- NO! – I wouldn’t- did she know I wouldn’t?”

Would or wouldn’t WHAT?!?  Cut out SW’s heart, as in the source material?  Good fanfic shouldn’t rely on the reader to fill in details from the source material – details need to be provided in the writing, just as in any original work.  And why did SW herself jump to that conclusion?  So far, we had a reference to the king eating the heart of a disobeying guard, but why would SW think that applied to her?

Also “underline message” for “underlying message.”  ::headdesk::

Snow listened warily to the mans mumbled monologue. She didn’t want to hear his conclusion. She tried to move but her body wasn’t co-operating with her. She tried to sit her self-up so she could jump up to run but her body was paralysed. Her heart beat faster hammering against her rib cage, how either weren’t broken was a miracle in Snows eyes. She felt adrenaline course through her.

“… how either weren’t broken …” – Either what?  Either rib?  Author, there are more than two of those, you know.  And generally a fall to the ground from standing/running wouldn’t break ribs unless she’s landing on a pretty uneven surface.  Most likely injuries from a fall from standing would be to the hands and arms from trying to catch herself.  Possibly a busted knee if she fell forwards, which she didn’t, or a bruised or fractured tailbone from falling backwards.

Suddenly a jolt shot through her beaming eyes and directed its blazing glare on the stranger. The man fell to the ground and started to convulse. Snow watched his face as it warped with pain. He looked like he would scream in agony if he could. Whatever emission Snow white unleashed came to a sudden halt and whatever it was paralysing her stopped. She stumbled around to stand up and ran far into the woods.

What. Just. Happened???

As weird as all this is, the thing that catches my attention is the word “emission.”

Anyway, SW has finally reached her desired Witchy Sue status and fried the stranger, who still hasn’t been identified with Ryan-the-guard, but obviously is.  The author just can’t be bothered with a consistent POV for the narration, instead having it bounce between the characters like a ping pong ball.

I probably should have pointed out the literary sickness bags sooner.  Sorry about that.  I’ll get some Darkwraiths in to clean that up.

She had run for about an hour and a half before she collapsed in a pile onto the moss carpeted ground. With her shaking hands she scraped the mud and tears from eyes.

I’m surprised we haven’t been told that it’s “emerald moss.”

Dark trees that reached out for her with bark claws stood tall under a starless sky. The icy breeze wailed and scratched at her as it blew past. A lonesome plea howled in the distance forcing creatures of the night to cower.

How does a breeze scratch?  How does a plea howl, and how does that howl *force* creatures to cower?

I’m asking too many questions again, aren’t I?

Snow drew her knees to hr face and brushed the mud from her scratches. She pulled some stray eaves from her knotted hair and dangled her arms on her legs. To stop herself from thinking she sung crows lullaby to herself. Ordinarily crow screeched it to her to help her sleep. Hs voice although is not a favourable one his singing was the most beautiful snow had ever heard. Slowly rocking forward and backwards snow fell into silent sobs.

“Eaves”?  She has bits of roof in her hair?  How did it get there?

The mention of icy wind and the lack of capitalization makes the phrase “snow fell” a bit confusing here.

So Snow White has been lost in the woods.  Next major plot point reached.

And with that, we’ve reached the halfway point!  Crunchy, please bring in the cookies.  Patrons, enjoy some celebratory cookies while we enjoy this break.  Next time, on to the second half!

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21 Comments on “1370: Poison – Chapter Five”

  1. GhostCat says:

    Dark trees that reached out for her with bark claws stood tall under a starless sky.

    Why is the bark considered claw-like? Bark isn’t really known to resemble claws, unless the forest is full of acacia trees. Typically the claw metaphor is used to describe a tree’s branches, not its bark.

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      I think she meant dark claws.

      • GhostCat says:

        So instead of making no sense, it should be summoning the DRD.

      • Addicted Reader says:

        Shh!

      • batjamags says:

        *Alarms blare*

        Too late. *Gets headshotted in the head*

      • *Agent [GREY] appears in front of the DRD Agents, holding a tray with tea and Allergen-Free scones*

        Agent [GREY]: Hello, lads and lasses. I know you people are rather proud of your headshotting skills-

        Lead DRD Agent: You mean our skill at headshotting people in the head?

        Agent [GREY]: Yes, that. Anyway, why not instead take these cups of Earl Grey tea that are Earl Grey back to you boss? And maybe sneak yourselves some of these scones that are Allergen-Free scones while you’re at it?

        Lead DRD Agent: *Looks at Agent [GREY] with suspicion* …Very well. *Takes the tray*

        *The DRD Agents disappear*

    • Addicted Reader says:

      To be fair, there is bark on the branches, but yeah, it’s weird.

  2. AdmiralSakai says:

    “Put me down.” She yelled. “Put me down this instant!”

    *loads pistol*

    Happy to oblige!

  3. AdmiralSakai says:

    Suddenly a jolt shot through her beaming eyes and directed its blazing glare on the stranger. The man fell to the ground and started to convulse. Snow watched his face as it warped with pain. He looked like he would scream in agony if he could. Whatever emission Snow white unleashed came to a sudden halt and whatever it was paralysing her stopped. She stumbled around to stand up and ran far into the woods.

    Remind me again why this character is supposed to be the protagonist?

    Also, is anyone else getting a really strong ““Crookshanks!” I shouted” vibe from this scene? I keep expecting Snow to cry against the tree where she lost her virility to Draco.

  4. batjamags says:

    Okay, what in the name of Holy Snark is it with this author and using the names of mineral, gems, etc. as colors? Snow White’s hair was previously “jet,” now it’s “onyx.” Seriously, it’s getting to be a really annoying habit and it’s not even consistent! And I’m pretty sure the woods are not made of stone and paint.

    So, your hair isn’t made out of rocks?

    Weird. Mine’s made out of brownstone (Is that a thing? I couldn’t think of any brown rocks, but that sounded right).

    And it could be the woods are fake, a clever ruse using painted stone replicas of trees to make Ryan think he’s taken Snow White into the woods, but he’s actually taking her into the fake woods where she’ll get lost just as easily! It’s brilliant! Nothing could go wrong with that plan, and the objective that would be accomplished by it is obvious!

    • Addicted Reader says:

      And it would make so much more sense for the next chapter, where he makes it back to the tavern well before last call after taking a sleeping teenager, who probably fell asleep pretty late, pretty deep into the “woods.”

      • batjamags says:

        *Headdesk*

        If I’m interpreting this right, that should mean that Snow White would be able to get out of the woods just as easily.

        *Headdesk*

        This is like the rough draft of a mediocre-good story. The VERY rough draft.

      • Addicted Reader says:

        Exactly. The bare bones of the plot so far, minus the Witchy Sues, have potential. This author is completely squandering it.


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