Welcome back, beta-readers. This is the fourth chapter of Heroes... and introduces our fourth of five main characters, Melbourn. Just a couple of spelling notes: I have elected to use the word "masque" instead of "mask," hewing closer to the definition of "masquerade." I've also opted to choose to use "bassist" instead of "bass player." It sounds anachronistic, and I suppose it is, but "bassist" sounds a bit more generic to me. When I hear "bass player," I immediately think of John Deacon or Geddy Lee. Just realize I'm talking about a large stand-up bass here, and not a smooth-bodied four-string Fender bass.
As always, read and enjoy, but please consider offering me your thoughts; I genuinely do appreciate (and need) the feedback. This rewriting project is the most important project on my plate, and though it's running much smoother when it was when I first posted the Prologue, I'm still trying to find the rhythm and voice to bring it all together.
Let me know what you think! And in case I haven't said it enough: Thank you!
Chapter Four - Melbourn
In a huge, well-appointed room in High Town, one man sat in a high-backed calf-leather-and-teak chair to enjoy the finer things life had to offer. His boots rested on a low stool in front of him, and a heavy book rested in his lap. On a small table next to him sat a nearly-empty decanter of sherry, a nearly-full glass, a tall white Willem candle in a silver candlestick, and a glass ashtray. Over the back of the chair he had casually tossed a long black cloak. As he listened to the cedar wood crackling and popping in the fireplace, he reached out and upended an ivory pipe over the ashtray. He tapped the glass, discharging burnt tobacco into the receptacle. He propped the pipe against the rim and reached for the tiny glass. He put the glass to his lips and tossed back the sherry, as if it was whiskey. He sighed and set the empty glass back on the table.
He refilled the pipe with tobacco from a pouch in his own vest, using a long match to transfer fire from the candle. He took a long draw and began reading again. Idly listening to the deeply seasoned wood in the fire, he read each page, line by line, his finger tracing his progress. After some time, he stood and stretched. Something in his back cracked. A slight groan escaped.
He eyed the crystal decanter. He took it and poured out the last remaining drops of sherry. Ivory pipe dangling from his lips, he crossed the room to a huge teakwood desk and slipped the book into an open leather bag sitting atop it. Several other volumes were already inside. He closed the bag, and wrapped the pipe in a dark cloth. The pipe went into a vest pocket; the bag he slung over his shoulder. Returning to the chair for his cloak, he donned it and fastened it with a burnished silver clasp.
Dressed all in black, except for a long-sleeved royal blue shirt under his leather vest, he was short and wiry. His almond-shaped eyes were blue flecked with silver. Long, copper-brown hair was tied back with black and blue ribbons, revealing a face of sharp angles. His ears were elongated, but not so pointed as Dunbar Stormglow’s.
He was mal sidhe, a lesser elf.
To continue: http://www.writersownwords.com/washroomannex/work/291/