Hey guys, I've heard the importance of "hooking" the reader in the first couple paragraphs, and I'm curious to what effect I've achieved that, if at all. Any advice/feedback would be appreciated. Thanks!


For what felt like the hundredth time, Apostle Byga attempted to wipe the sweat off his brow. His long dark hair stuck to his face as he watched the ship’s crew lower the walking platform down to the dock. He stood just inside the doorway of his private quarters, savoring the last moments of shade. The heat of the day had passed, but Port Yearon was about as far from the Epi-center as you could get, and he knew to expect little relief from the relentless humidity that seemed to permeate the islands of the outer rim.

“It just had to be black,” he muttered to himself.

He looked down accusingly at his dark robes. The three-pointed triangle in the middle of his chest was a clear identifier – he was an Apostle from the Church of the Prism, acting on official Imperial business. The rest of his attire was a sweltering black. He took the prism pendant out of his pocket and lowered it over his head, a soft glow radiated from its center. As always, Byga was surprised at how heavy the small thing felt around his neck.

“Apostle.” a royal guard appeared at the top of the platform, dressed in plate-mail of color he could only assume.

Red, from what I’m told. He let out a sigh, hesitating.

The guard scanned the deck, moving quickly after spotting Byga. “Apostle! This way…” He reached out to grab his arm.

Byga swatted the metal clad hand away. “I can see you.”

“Oh. My apologies, I thought…well, your eyes..”

“It’s fine. Just lead the way. I’m sure the Vice-Royal is as anxious to get this over with as I am.”

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“Of course.” The guard turned promptly on his heel and strode down the platform, saluting the guards stationed on the deck as he walked by.

He supposed he couldn’t fault the man; he was used to people assuming he was blind. His eyes weren’t blue like the Aquosians, or green like the Farisee’s, or even red like the Geonites eyes were said to have been.

In fact, his eyes held no color at all.

Byga sighed again, bracing himself as he stepped out into the sun. A soft breeze filled his nostrils with sweat and salt, providing a precious measure of respite from the heat. He had to move quickly to match the guard's long strides.

He scanned the bay as he stepped onto the dock. The overhead suns had not yet sunk beyond the lone mountain that towered over the island city, and his pale eyes watered against their invasive rays. He raised his hand to shield his face. It wasn’t much, but he was now able to distinguish between the various shades of gray, the scene before him shifting from watery blobs to discernible shapes.

Most of the docks were empty, their occupants presumably out to sea fishing for the day's bounty. A handful of vessels remained floating idly, however – secured to mooring along the docks or to anchor buoys just inside the bay. Leather-skinned crew-members ambled around the small ships, drifting laggardly about in thinly veiled attempts at looking busy. Some had discarded the front completely, lounging in the shade of the masts or sitting on wooden crates playing cards. He ignored their double takes as he followed the guard through the maze of floating wooden pathways that populated the bay.

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He would be a strange sight indeed to these island folk. His sun-starved skin was ashen and pale, his coal black hair falling across his wan complexion in stringy webs. He walked with a slight hunch, a result of a broken back during birth that never healed correctly. No dark words came his way, however, no curses, and nobody spit in the dirt at his feet. He felt their lingering stares slip off his back as he walked past.

My reputation has its limits, it seems. He did not hear the words he was so accustomed to in their whispers. The Eyeless Void, The Intruder in Black, The Pale Stranger, The Queen’s Unwelcome. There were a dozen iterations, but they all carried the same meaning.


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