Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Our third submission for First Impressions this month comes to us from Mason Matchak. THE BOOK OF LOST RUNES is adult fantasy.


The last man Shiloh ever wanted to see again stepped onto her airship.

Shiloh looked him over, wondered just how much ten years had changed him, and hoped she wouldn’t have to deal with him for long enough to find out.  “Lord Figaro,” she said, “welcome aboard, and thank you for choosing a Caldwell Company flight.”  The greeting was a habit, and helped Shiloh keep bitterness out of her voice.  She resisted the urge to check her schedule to make absolutely sure he was on it.

“Lord Edwin is fine,” he said, smiling at her, his teeth bright against his dark brown skin.  “Lord Figaro is my older brother.”

Of course, Shiloh recalled.  Edwin was the second son of the Brinmaar branch of House Figaro, and his elder brother must have taken over the merchant house’s business sometime in the past decade.  When last they met, Edwin wasn’t ‘Lord’ of anything.

“As you wish, Lord Edwin,” Shiloh said, forcing her voice into the practiced politeness she reserved for enduring difficult customers.  She did check her schedule then, tapping a few carved glass buttons on the runewoven bracer she wore on her left forearm.  The bracer was emblazoned with Caldwell Company’s red and gold logo, which clashed with the pale blue dress Shiloh wore, but there was little she could do about that.  After a moment, a few gleaming words appeared in the bracer’s largest crystal, confirming that Lord Figaro had indeed made a reservation for the evening.  There was no destination listed.

That wasn’t common, but Shiloh had dealt with wealthy folks who liked to think they were traveling incognito before.  She tucked a strand of her bangs back behind one ear; most of her wavy blonde hair was tied back in a simple ponytail that reached her waist, but she wore her bangs loose.  “Where do you wish to travel today, Lord?”

Lord Edwin glanced around the small airship as though it was his own.  He stood a bit over six feet tall, only a little taller than Shiloh herself, and wore a dark blue suit with beige trim, in what Shiloh figured must be the height of local fashion if he was wearing it.  His hair was tightly curled and trimmed close to his head, and she guessed he wore the neat mustache and goatee because he thought it made him look dashing, the same reason he wore a short, curved blade at one hip.

Sons of merchant families all seemed to have some of the same traits, no matter where they came from or how powerful their families were.  Or weren’t.  Shiloh frowned at another old memory, then waited by the airship’s wheel for Edwin’s reply.


Great start! I love the character descriptions. You've shown a lot of their personalities through their clothing and hair styles. There are just a couple of things that I think will bring tension to the story and help pull the reader in even more.

You did a wonderful job of showing that Shiloh doesn't like Edwin (the way she checks to see if he's really supposed to be there, the way she has to force her voice). However, I'd like a hint of why she doesn't like him. Were they a couple? Was it business? Giving that hint will add another layer to the tension.

If Edwin wasn't Lord of anything the last time they met, why did she address him as such? If she doesn't address him as Lord, and then he insists, then that adds extra impact to the sentences that follow.

Is Edwin the only passenger? Are Shiloh and Edwin the only people on the ship? If so, mention it. That will add more tension as well.

In all, you have a very interesting beginning. You've put a lot of questions in my mind (Where is he going? What happened in the past? Did he know it was her ship?) that would keep me reading. Thank you so much for sharing your work with us!

Make sure to head over to both Mainewords and Dianne's blog to see what they thought of THE BOOK OF LOST RUNES.


Mason T. Matchak said...

Thank you, Krystalyn. The issue with Edwin's name and title is clearly something I need to fix, as it's come up on all three First Impressions blogs, but thanks to everyone's comments I've come up with something that will solve the problem. As for why Shiloh doesn't like Edwin, the history between them and their families is covered over the course of the first chapter, but I'm glad you're interested in that just from the first page. ^_^ And thank you for catching that there's no reference to the people with him, I need to fix that...

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