Hey everyone,

Fairly new writer here. Currently, on my first draft, was hoping to get feedback on first impressions and opinions on my idea.

I know most first drafts should never see the light of day and should be hidden away in cringe and shame, however, as I am new to this I thought I would ask for people's opinions and see what you guys think before I dive head first into my project.

So here it is, hope you enjoy the small snippet:

The blistering sun that bore down on the bare desolate wastes of the Disputed Lands, scorched the broken branches of dead trees and the dry cracked soil. A place that few could survive. A war-torn land which sat between the Realm of Reverie and the Nightmarshes beyond. Centuries of fighting had scarred it leaving it to be an unspoken border that divided the world.

For Myekal, it was all he knew. It was home. The harsh landscape, the insufferable people, the constant survival, a place where he always had to prove himself, never knowing where he belonged. The small communities who settled in the disputed lands were often unwelcome anywhere else. Looked down upon as the lowest of the low, criminals, runaways, exiles, disgraced sons or daughters from prominent families. It was seen as a place where people escaped or fled to, not wanting to be found.

Myekal had always thought it unfair, the way he was treated. He had done nothing wrong. It wasn’t his fault his family lived here. Why should I be punished with this life?

The grey expanse, devoid of color, stretched for miles. Myekal paced back and forth on the crest of a dried bank, his broad chest and shoulders, sucked in the dry dusty air. Trying everything he could to take his mind off the importance of the day. The mere thought bore a hole in his heart. He gripped the hilt of his sword tight enough it made his blisters sing, shooting shards of pain up his cramped forearms, before launching his attack.

Myekal swung a deathly blow, one after the other, beads of sweat pouring off the strands of hair that hung over his forehead. His face contorted into focused aggression as he continued his avalanche of blows. Every muscle screamed out at him, but he ignored and fought through the pain, the sheen of sweat dancing with the sunlight making his muscular form look as though It were chiseled from stone.

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Spinning strikes, two-handed overhead blows, and lunging stabs, he threw everything he had at his foe. Unyielding and unrelenting just like the great Agines who he one day dreamed of becoming.

“I think he’s dead,” A voice from behind said, giggling afterward.

Myekal spun on his heels, dropping his makeshift sword to his side. The rotten carcass of the tree trunk, burnt and twisted, bore notches and scars from his repeated attacks. “What are you doing out here Raine? Does mother know you followed me out here?” He said, wiping his face with the crook of his elbow.

Myekal’s sister, Raine, looked at her older brother the same way he looked at great warriors that sometimes passed through on their way to the Nightmarshes, like he was a hero. Her deep blue eyes in awe at his every movement, Raine followed him around religiously, mimicking Myekal’s behavior and mannerisms, trying desperately to be like her older brother.

“What are you doing?” Raine said with an inquisitive look. She thought a moment before suddenly remembering something she had in her bag. “I bought you some water.” She said. Producing a waterskin, holding it out proudly while smiling.

Myekal sighed and walked over to his little sister, dropping to one knee, he leaned on the hilt of his wooden sword. “It’s dangerous out here. You shouldn’t follow me this far out ok?” He said. Giving in to her, he grabbed the waterskin and scuffed her hair. “What would I do without you?” Myekal said, brandishing his own smile. He took a cold refreshing swig and looked out to the distant lands of the Nightmarshes in the east, cloaked in darkness and misty shadows, a land of nightmares if the stories were to be believed.

“I came to watch. Anyway, It’s not dangerous for you.” Raine said in complete confidence and pride. “You’ll protect us from the monsters.”

“Monsters?” Myekal laughed. He rested a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t listen to the other kids, Raine drop, you’re smarter than they are. The only monsters in this world are people. Remember that.” He said, giving her shoulder a reassuring squeeze. “And I can only protect you and mum, so long as I can practice in peace, without little girls interrupting me,” Myekal added, raising his eyebrow to Raine who gave him a devilish grin. He rose back up and wiped the dusty soil of his knee. “Right. Let’s get you back home before mum has a heart attack.” He said.

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“No! Let me watch you for a bit, I don’t want to go back.” Raine demanded. Her face soured.

“What’s wrong?” Myekal asked.

Raine went quiet, eyes to the ground, she sullenly stood, kicking clumps of dried dirt. “Mother…Mother said that you were leaving us.” Her voice broke as she spoke. “She said now that you are a man grown, you’ll find out if you have been given the gift of the Astrals.” The look of worry painted her face. “And…And…If you have…Then…Then you’ll leave us forever.” Raine said, a few tears fell to the ground causing the parched soil to faintly sizzle and smoke.

Myekal hated to see his sister upset. She was his world, her and his mother, the both of them were all he had. The thought of causing them pain struck something deep within him. However, what hurt more was that it was the truth. Today he did turn sixteen and would find out if he would be given the gift of the Astrals. A dream every boy held since being able to walk and talk and fight.

The gift of the Astrals… -// Goes on to give some explanation and then the rest of the chapter continues.

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