Lesson 4: Relationships

Characters aren't just collections of traits that move around alone. In some ways, they are defined by their relationships to the characters around them.

Vague prompt: In 500 words, depict a relationship between two characters who know each other well. Focus on consistency, characterization, and emotion.

Specific prompt: Raven Lionsheart is the captain of the elite King's Guard and has served for over 20 years. In 500 words, depict the relationship of trust between him/her (your choice) and King Reginald IX.

RE: Lesson 4: Relationships

Nathan dismounted from his horse in front of a rundown and dusty shack. Katarina looked around at the disheveled shack and groaned. “We snuck away from the army, possibly face treason and desertion just to visit a shanty old shack.” Katarina was disgruntled by Nathan’s preposterous urges to visit this desolate portion of the mountains.
Nathan could only sigh. The last he been here being when he was with her and now…. Nathan smacked his face with both hands and gave a resolved look.  “Kat lets go, I have someone to consult with”. Katarina gave him a look before dismounting from her horse and trudged behind him.
Nathan pushed apart the grass curtains and entered a dingy room full of ingredients. A cauldron sat in the center of the room and a small wooden bed full of quilts and furs was stuffed in the corner beside a desk and bookshelf.
Katarina wrinkled her nose in disgust at the smell of the room but Nathan took a deep breathe, Only memories resurfaced at the smell of the place. “Hurry up, Jenna isn’t going to be fond of our little “detour”. Nathan went to the desk and was about to grab pen and paper when there was a cough at the door.  He briskly turned around and a familiar face met him.  “Kat step down, she’s a friend” Nathan said and Katarina who had drawn her blades at the notion reluctantly lowered her blades but had not sheathed them.
“Troubled again deary? Not with Lux I see, did you guys break up?” the elder woman cackled and she stepped over toward the bed and started putting bags down. Nathan opened his mouth to retort but the elder woman spoke before he could “Nothing to worry about, I know why you’re separated but don’t let it bother you too much” Nathan gave a cry of anguish “But she died, how can I ignore this.” “You’ve got better things to worry about than your first love deary. The rebirth of the tribes is throwing this world into war” Nathan opened his mouth once more but once more the women cut him off. “A special spirit has been appearing around these mountains lately, dressed in blue and seemed to be able to bend both light and darkness, helping good people they say” the women sighed. Nathan didn’t wait and asked “What do you want me to do about it?” “Why visit the spirit of course, you’d be surprise how elusive she is, in light she’s gone in darkness she’s gone.”  Nathan stood shocked. “Now you’re catching on deary, say hello when you meet her” Nathan grew excited at this sudden revelation. “Thanks Saja, I would’ve drowned in despair without you, Kat lets go, we have a spirit to meet” Nathan ordered and he ran out the door. Kat gave the women a look before departing herself.
Saja sighed and opened a drawer. In the picture was a woman and kid. “You haven’t changed a bit”

RE: Lesson 4: Relationships

The King is dead! ...Long live the King!

Specific Prompt - 515 words

The young and portly steward lifted the fine cloth draped over the doorway to make eye contact with King Reginald, ninth of his name. He popped his head into the makeshift lodgings. "My liege, Captain-at-arms Raven of the Lion's Heart is here at your summons." The steward gave a short bow and kept his head downward awaiting the King's response.

"Oh yes. Thank you Jacoby, do let her in." King Reginald gave a wave of his hand while remaining half-turned from the door. He had been lost in contemplation about the war campaign. The political burdens on him had been severe. It wasn't often that a King would be expected to kill his own brother on the fields of battle.

The eager steward finished his bow, took a step backward, and lifted the cloth so that a shadowed figure could step through. The figure made its way from out of the night into the warm and illuminated presence of royalty. A robust woman of middling age stepped under the overhang and entered into the tent. She took two steps forward and then dropped to a knee, lowering her gaze to the temporary wooden planks below. Her armor was heavy and the leather straps beneath the plate groaned as she lowered herself to the ground. Her sheathed sword scraped along one of the planks.

"Majesty, I am afraid that I answer your summons with the most dire of news weighing heavy on my heart." She held her pose. Her black, straight, and shoulder-length hair obscured the front of her face slightly. Her armor was well-decorated with the gold embroidering of the King's personal guard. Small banners of cloth trailed down from her shoulders and armored plates of her back, showing small replicas of the King's own heraldry.

Reginald took a few steps forward, leaving his thoughts behind in the place he was previously standing. Seeing the most loyal member of his elite retinue made him a shade happier for the moment. He had selected Raven when she was still a young woman. She was orphaned at a young age and he had brought her into his household as a step-child. 

He neared her and set his right hand on the cold plates of her left shoulder. "Please, Raven, do rise up." She lifted herself with a groan to her full height. "No need for such formalities in private. I assure you." He looked into her green eyes and felt the same kinship for her as if she was one of his own blooded children. "Dire news or not, I am happy to see you. A familiar and loyal face among those who fight for the crown."

"Yes, my liege. It lifts my heart to be in your presence. I dutifully serve you, as I always have." Raven gave a nod and returned her gaze to the floor once more. "If I may have your leave, I must reveal the news I have been given. It may change the entire scope of your campaign."

"Yes, so be it. Straight to the matter." Reginald gave in warm reply.

RE: Lesson 4: Relationships


I don't recommend that you do a bunch of exercises in a row without feedback, as it rather defeats the purpose of doing multiple exercises if I comment on the same elements every time.

Again, too much extraneous stuff that doesn't accomplish the goal set in the prompt. Learning to focus in on single elements in your writing will help you decide what is important and what is not when you zoom out to a longer piece of writing with multiple writing elements going on at the same time.

In this scene, you depict the king's affection for Raven, but really, I see no reciprocity. She's perfectly poised and perfectly formal, breaking eye contact as soon as she can and moving on with business.