Re: Looking for Mentor/general advice. Sample included.

#2
What kind of advice are you looking for?  Syntax and grammar, descriptors, the overall idea? 

In any event, here is some advice I can offer after reading it. I hope it's what you're looking for:

First, I think you're off to a good start here with your idea. I appreciate how you set a tone that many can relate to - that of a father adoring his baby daughter, and immediately introduce a heart wrenching conflict as she is placed in danger. It pulls the reader in immediately.

There are some things in the writing, however, that slow down the frantic emotions the reader should be feeling, and break immersion. 

I always strive to consider how the reader will interpret my description of a scene, given only the information I've already presented them. I may see the scene in my head, but they are seeing something completely different in their own minds, and only have my words to go on. When you write "Her plump cheek grazed my thumb" - given that she just closed her eyes, is resting her head, and is a baby not yet skilled at subtle or controlled motions, I think this would be better phrased as "My thumb grazed her cheek as I brushed my hand over her head", or something along those lines.

One thing that always pulls me out of a story is a frequently repeated word, phrase, and descriptor. These can become distracting to the reader.  You mention "parted lips" twice fairly close to one another. Finding other ways to describe the same thing more than once may benefit you there.  More on this below.

You write of a flaming bottle that is thrown into the room, and say that it ignited. What did it ignite? The bottle itself was already flaming. This kind of descriptor is easy to overlook as an author, as you can see the scene in your head - but the reader can't. I was left wondering if a rug was ignited, or perhaps curtains? Was it the end of the baby's blanket which had draped through the bars of the crib to rest on the floor?  I wasn't sure.  I also didn't know if the room had a stone floor, if everything was wood and thus the whole room would soon be up in flame, etc.  You have a great opportunity in one or two sentences in that scene to tell us an awful lot about the environment, as well as the setting that we're in.  

Inner Monologue: You establish in the second paragraph that some of the characters' thoughts will be projected to the reader via italics.  I happen to like this technique and have used it myself.  However, we need to be consistent with it. In the sixth paragraph, "How is this possible - what happened to the guard?" reads like a thought, and yet it isn't italicized.  Furthermore, the mention of the guard immediately leads me to think this is perhaps medieval or fantasy. Had you described the room a bit more before everything caught flame, I'd have a much better idea (not having read any story blurb prior to this) in seeing the environment in my mind's eye.

Backtracking in my comments to the use of repeated words, you have two sentences where the word "maid" is used three times. "Making my way towards the kitchen, the maids trailed behind me. The younger maids trembled, and the old maids kept their gaze on me." . This becomes distracting.  By stating it in the first sentence, we now know that "the people" following you are maids. This gives you an opportunity to further flesh them out if you want, by describing them with words other than "maid" in the next sentence.  Example: "Making my way toward the kitchen, the maids trailed behind me. The two young girls trembled, clutching one another's hand, but the three elderly servants stoically kept their gaze upon me." 

In the next section you go on to keep using "maid" as you state: "A young maid with green eyes said..." and then the line below that you write: "My oldest maid put the candle...".  In the line after that you mention "the green-eyed maid". At this point as a reader, I'm stuck on this word and removed from what is otherwise a very tense scene that should have me pushing to read more. The thesaurus is an author's best friend. Maid, chambermaid, girl, servant, help, woman, etc.

I think you have another great opportunity when you mention "...my father's old sword" to be more descriptive.  When I read that, it seemed more like it was the sword your father no longer used, because he has a new one. However I get the impression you're seeking to convey the swords actual age. If that's the case, you could draw more attention to some rust, perhaps chips in the blade, or the patina the bronze guard has taken on after how long it's sat unused.

I'm not sure how you can stuff your pockets with ruins. Ruins are generally massive, stone remnants of buildings. Another term may be better to describe what you stuff your pockets with, as I'm not sure what you're describing.  

After stuffing your pockets, you pull an "old lever" -- if you decide to keep the descriptor of your father's sword, then "old" becomes another repeated word here that may be better suited with another adjective.

I enjoyed how what seemed to me to be plausibly medieval, renaissance, or some other historic setting, turned out to be a far future setting - so far into the future that technology was now ancient, and society had reverted to non-technological dependencies. You've got a strong start here, but if my personal experience is anything to go by, 85% of writing a novel is editing and revising until what is in your head can finally properly be conveyed to the reader while also keeping them engaged.  Good luck!