The Tale of Modeña: Chapter I

Fiction By Arthur // 9/17/2012


   This has been very much revised compared to my first draft. If you haven't read my first draft, don't; at least not until you've read this one. I am leaving it on apricotpie only for history's sake.

   Thank you Anna for your comment, it has helped me improve this story a great deal. I have hopefully gotten rid of my major problems and added a few characters. (Well, I had them planned before, they just didn't appear until a latter chapter)

   About Penten; he does not appear in this chapter, and has actually been completely cut out of the story. That doesn't mean that I won't add any of his brethren.


   Read The Tale of Modeña: Prologue


The Tale of Modeña

Chapter I


   The sun shone down upon a road that cut through a thick forest. A cart moved slowly down the rough road pulled by a work horse. Next to it, on either side, walked two young men. One was broad-shouldered, and looked to have the strength of the work horse that drew the cart. The other was taller and more slender, and though you could tell he was a worker, he looked as one who loved knowledge. A sudden splintering sound caused Hezί and Jeshua to stop their cart.

   “What happened?” asked Hezί from the other side of the cart.

   “The wheel cracked,” replied Jeshua with dismay, “I don’t think it will hold.”

   Hezί came around to the broken wheel to examine it, “It looks like it should hold until we get to market; then we can get it fixed.”

   “Aye, and a pretty penny that will take,” commented Jeshua somewhat frustrated.

   “You hear that?” asked Hezί. The sound of horses galloping up the road met their ears; faint, but growing stronger by the second.

   “Who could be coming down this way with a lot o’ horses?” wondered Hezί.

   “I don’t know, but we better get this cart off the road before they run into it.”

   At that moment the horsemen rounded a bend into the cousins’ sight. They froze in their steps.


   “Sir, a messenger from your father.”

   “Show him in, Járred,” was Zobed’s responce.

   The servant turned and left. “I hope he hasn’t gotten any threats from Jŭdum,” Zobed commented to Joseth.


   Both Zobed and Joseth turned to see the messenger in the door way, still breathing heavily from his journey.

   “Come in and rest yourself. Here take a drink of this, it will do you good,” Zobed said anxiously as he offered the man a cup.

   “Thank you my lord,” the man took a sip and set the cup down, “to get to the point, Serrát has invaded. It happened yesterday morning, the night before he was camped across the Serrát River and in the morning his whole army had already crossed. the King, your father moved quickly and stopped King Jŭdum’s advance. King Jŭdum has stopped, and does not attack. Your father the king thinks that he is waiting for more soldiers to reinforce him. He is anxious that you gather up an army and come to his support.”

   “When did you leave?”

   “I’ve been riding hard for two days,” was the reply.

   Zobed stood there thinking for a moment, then called for his servant, “Járred!” Járred came quickly. “Take this man, and see that he is put into comfort. Tell Captain Keðan and Captain Kôlec that their presence is required.”

   “Yes sir, immediately,” was the reply, as he snapped into motion.

   The cousins were left alone. Zobed turned to Joseth, “Joseth, I knew it would eventually come to this, but I was still not ready to hear it. How could this of happened? Serrát has been at peace with Modeña since the Kίshan alliance. Jŭdum was quiet friendly when he first became king, and now all of a sudden he turns on us; this should not happen! I am not a man of war, and cannot become one. If I were to lead men into battle, it would the sure death of them! Why is it that I am the one who this burden is laid upon?”

   “Calm down Zobed,” Joseth said, “We’ve been over this many a time. Jŭdum was only friendly when it served his purpose. Now that he has decided to rule the whole continent, he has changed his mind about peace. I say that we should have declared war against him a long time ago when he invaded Uthan.”

   “Yes, I’m sorry Joseth, I just can’t stand the thought of Modeña going to war, and so many dying. I guess that I am too similar to my father.”

   “Any righteous man would feel that way towards war, but when it comes, he will take up the sword to defend his land,” Joseth spoke reassuringly. “God has put this into your life to strengthen you. You are the eldest prince, and therefore shall someday rule this nation. You will need the character to lead this country. Zobed, remember, 'Preserve yourself in patience-'.”

   ‘For anger can be as an intoxicating drink.’ Yes it is a familiar verse, from the book of Gálanth,” he said, then added, "you have all the qualities of a leader, so why don't you become king?" Joseth did not respond, not quite knowing if that had been a rhetorical question. Zobed stood still, deep in though, “Ah, here comes someone down the hall.”

   At that moment, Captain Kôlec came into the room closely followed by Captain Keðan. “Sir, we have both been informed of the news and are awaiting orders,” Kôlec said bluntly, standing as a giant in front of him.

   “Good,” said Zobed, “Both of you send messages to every town and village, every highland or lowland earl or lord; tell them that we must raise an army to defend our land against an invading army from Serrát. This army is to gather here, outside of the gates of Kesheyn. All should be gathered in three days. Send out that message immediately.”

   “I will do that,” was Kôlek’s short gruff answer.


   One of the horsemen yelled, and the horses slowed to a walk. They halted in front of the cart, and the front horseman, who looked to be the captain, spoke out in a commanding voice, “What are you doing with that cart?” and without letting either of the cousins answer, continued, “We will take this cart off of your hands make good use of this produce.” The man ended this with a mocking laugh.

   “What! But this is our's, and we shan't let you have it!” said Hezί angrily.

   Jeshua tried to quiet him down quickly, “Hezί, we cannot do anything at this moment; just cooperate for right now.”

   “Yes, listen to your wise brother,” the captain said annoyed at Hezί's defiance, “though he's a Kishan, he knows a thing or two!” At that all the horsemen broke out in laughter. "Now get out of here, lest I embed my sword into you thick skulls."

   Jeshua could see the blood vessels popping out of Hezί’s forehead and knew that he would explode any second. Acting quickly, he whispered into his cousin’s ear, “Run.” Jeshua grasped Hezί’s hand, pulling him around the cart, and they both ran into the vine maples that bordered the road. The laughing of the men fade away into the peaceful songs of the bird of the forest.

   The cousins continued to run until far beyond reach. They slowed to a stop when they reached a stream. The stream gurgled peacefully past, makeing it seem as if the previous scene had been imagined. Both of them knew that it had, though, and were still trying to process what they had just been through. After a while Jeshua spoke up, “Let's get back home, quickly.” He started moving downstream.

   Hezί followed suit, climbed over a log that lay in the path, and asked, “Isn’t this somewhat far for a raiding party to come?”

   “I don’t believe that that was a raiding party,” was Jeshua’s reply. The water continued to flow pass them, ablivious to their conversation.

   “Then what was it?” asked Hezί, who didn't listened much to news of the outside world, but was content with his own small sphere of life.

   “I believe that we are being invaded by Serrát, and should get home quickly to warn everyone,” again replied Jeshua, “for I fear that they may do what they have done in other countries.”

   “And what is that?” Hezί asked, looking inquisitive.

   “Have you not been listening to any of the talk at market? I heard it and did not want to tell my father, or your father, for I did not want to give them needless fear. They say that Serrát is doing what Jarrgôn did; they take some of the people away to a foreign land and bring foreigners here, weakening resistance. I fear that they may do this right away, before anyone is prepared to resist.” At this, Jeshua quickened his pace.

   Hezί was silent.


   The two boys slowed to a stop outside of the village close to their houses. Half the village was in flames. Smoke went up in the sky like pillars, giant grey pillars of doom. The air was filled with screams, and shrieks, and of weeping. Horsemen were rounding people up. Strangely the other half of the village was untouched by flame and sword. The horsemen acted as if it didn’t exist. Several men came out of the untouched side of the village. They recognized them both as an elder and his son. They were both immediately surrounded by horsemen. The horsemen then dispersed leaving two bodies lying on the ground.

   “No!” exclaimed Hezί, at the sight.

   A horseman heard exclamation and turned his horse their direction. The cousins turned and fled.

   They went around the village and headed toward their houses, staying away from the roads. They came out of the forest, and into the fields belonging to them. Then they beheld something which made their hearts jump. Smoke coming from the houses in the distance! They began to sprint as fast as they could toward the group of three houses and several barns. As they came closer, they saw that two of the houses were on fire while the other was not.

   They sprinted into the small courtyard. They saw no one about, until Jeshua looked over to a barn that's roof was a flame. Jeshua’s little sister sat weeping over what loooked like the lifeless form of his father. He rushed over to his sister and embraced her. She grabbed a hold of him as to never let go. He held her, and glanced over to his father’s body. “Where was the rest of his family? What had happened? Why would the Lord do this to my father?” were a few of the questions that went through his mind.   Then he noticed that his father was still breathing. He turned, still holding his sister, and touched his father. His father groaned in pain and opened his eyes. His father had a deep gash in his leg, and blood was coming out of his side.

   “Father,” he said, his voice cracking. His swelled with emotion of the realization of the moment, “what happened?”

   His father’s eyes centered on him for a moment, “They came, and…I tried to save Lidyá,” he paused for a moment, “Jeshua. Take Lidyá and protect her.”

   “Yes papa,” was all that Jeshua could say. Tears filled his eyes, and he became a little dizzy.

   “Hezί,” Jeshua’s father addressed his cousin who was behind him, whom he had almost forgotten about. “Hezί, look after Jeshua and Lidyá. May the Lord look after you three.” He stopped, and Jeshua could tell he was having trouble breathing. All the four were silent, even Jeshua’s little sister, Lidyá, had quieted down. After a minute, Jeshua’s father breathed out, and did not breathe back in.

   “Why?” he muttered, and then wept bitter tears.

   “Hezί?” “Uncle Derίk!” came two confused, and frightened voices.

   Jeshua turned his head around to see two girls running toward them. The first was Hezί’s sister, Erina, who was about 17. The other was also his cousin, Amnina; she was Hezί’s age, 21. Hezί ran to meet up with them, and embraced his sister. Amnina tookup the folds of her skirt and knelt down next to Jeshua’s father; she realized with horror that he was dead and looked at Jehsua with dispare. His face reflected total sorrow.


Wow, that's drama! I like

Wow, that's drama! I like your plot; is this meant to be in Italy somewhere? I kinda thought that because of the little marks over the names.

:D Just a few things: I think that in the first paragraph you said to boys instead of two boys. Probably a typo. And when Joseth says for Zobed to calm down, but he didn't really seem uncalm in the first place. It might of just sounded that way to me though. I love the way the two cousins boys talked at the start; one said "aye" and some other stuff. Really cute! I love it; it was a really good idea. One more thing; when J. and Z. quote this verse from a book, it sounded quite familiar. Does it by any chance come from the Bible? :)

Maddi | Tue, 09/18/2012

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

My thoughts.

The first sentence, "The sun shone bright over the tops of the trees along the road." The very first sentence of your story is extremely important. If I didn't read further than your first sentence, I would have just read this sentence. So it is important what your very first sentence is. The way you put the phrases in this sentenslce is confusing. Did you mean the the sun shone bright along the road or the tops of the trees were along the road. Now, if you come to think of it, those two meanings don't exactly make sense. There are many ways you can fix this sentence, depending what you want to convey. But since I don't know yet what you want to convey, I can't help you.

When the cousins were left alone and Joseth tells Zobed to calm down, it caught me by surprise; Zobed already sounded calm. It is the same when the cart wheel cracked. He didn't sound dismayed...

Saw quite a number of missing commas before nouns of direct address i.e. Yes papa should be Yes, papa.Oh and I saw that you didn't captilize "What happened?" when his father was dying. I don't have time to explain when you should capitalize diagolue or not so maybe some other time. And I wouldn't recommend putting a semicolon in the diagolue when the speaker is being interupted. Please put a dash.

You're going to sigh, "Really? How much does this girl want from me?" when I say this... again, I don't feel that you had a completely satisfied ending.

"then she noticed the extent of what was happening." takes away from the drama and tragic events that just occured. Maybe you could say that she noticed that the face was deadly white or something and her reaction. Doesn't have to be long, maybe just say that she glanced back to Hezi's face and back to the lifeless 's one of his fathers and back again...because I think you either don't want to describe her reactions or want to write it into the next chapter...I don't know.

I think the thoughts right after Jeshua's fathers death was misplaced. That should go before; those are the types of thoughts that come immediately, not after, If you do want to add some thoughts, instead os him asking the Why questions, maybe have him ask the How questions.

I have to admit that I only enjoyed the chapter after I read it. It was a bit difficult to get past the chapter which I do not KNOW why. If I do, I will tell you. But overall, This is a good chapter. I would enjoy reading more. But maybe add a little more descriptions, maybe? I 'd love to see how walking on rocks in the stream sloping down feels like. And what about the scenery? Very much enjoy the description in the billowy part where they see the destruction of their homes. I like your plot too. It's exciting. And intriguing. Good job.

Lucy Anne | Wed, 09/19/2012

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good job, Arthur! I think how

Good job, Arthur! I think how you rewrote it was very satisfying; and you made it seem like Zobed was more upset in the first place. :)

Maddi | Thu, 09/20/2012

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh


1. I was glad to see you'd posted.
2. When the wheel cracked, you used the word "cracked" or "crack" about 3 times in close succession, which is somewhat repetitive. I think you could easily be more descriptive with the sound it made when it cracked.
3. I liked the ending, and I don't think that Jeshua's thoughts are misplaced, especially considering everything happened so fast, he didn't have time to think it before then.
4. I'd love more descriptions, too. The first paragraph was good that way, describing their height and build.
5. I missed the old first 2 paragraphs. I like introductions like that.

... if there was one thing I learned writing my books, it was that by the time you get to the end you'll have grown a LOT in your writing and will want to go back and re-write and edit a ton. So don't get discouraged. I can't wait to see where all this story goes; you're doing a wonderful job setting it up, building the plot - it's just details to change, to make it come alive a little more.

Kyleigh | Thu, 09/20/2012

Much, much better, Arthur! :)

Much, much better, Arthur! :) The first sentence is much, much better--everything is! If you hadn't said that they were in the thick forest, I would have continued to think that they were walking on a open road.

The only things I would critique is that the speech of the characters sometimes seem too formal, and a bit unrealistic. For example, I didn't see much elliptical sentences--fragments that are understood.

For example, if you say," What doctor office do you go to?" I don't think I would reply, "The doctor office I go to is Dr. Smith's office." I would say it like, "To Dr. Smith's office," or something like that.

And when you have a different scene, could you warn us and put something like a **** instead of just double spacing it? Cause it gets confusing when I assume the double spacing is a typo and then it doesn't make sense. Thank you! :)

That's all, again, great plot! And I agree with what Kyleigh said.

Lucy Anne | Thu, 09/20/2012

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank's for the Critique!

   Thank you for your corrective comments. It helps me a lot especially because no one edits my works beforehand. (I was going to have James read it over, but I he's only here for the weekends and he didn't have time.) As you can see, I had a lot of problems, but hopefully have fixed them.


   Not in Italy. It's in "my own world." I haven't thought of a name for it yet though. The symbals over the letters are for two reasons: one, to show you which syllable the accent is on; and two, because they look cool.

   Corrected! I mistookenly called them boys. For they are both (in that culture) at the age to be considered men.

   I am sorry for that he didn't seem uncalm, and hopefully my corrections have fixed it. It's something that will happen with me; I will be imagining something and not write it down correctly. Yet I think that it is fine because I knew what was happening before reading it. If I examine it though, I do find the mistake.

   You flatter me. The verse came from the Holy Book of that world. I did try to make it sound Biblical, and I see that it was convincing.

Lucy Anne:

   I am not really good at starting things off so I hope that my correction was an improvement.

   I corrected the thing with Zobed, but am not quite sure what I would change about the wheel-cracking-responce to make it sound more dismaying.

   I went through and hopefully caught all the missing commas. Don't worry, I don't need a lesson on capitalization, for I know basic grammar rules. It wasn't that I forgot to capitalize the W, I just put a period in front instead of a comma. Not sure where the semicolon is that you were talking about, but I might of fixed it when I went through.

   "You're going to sigh, 'Really? How much does this girl want from me?' when I say this... again, I don't feel that you had a completely satisfied ending." That made me laugh. I hope that the correction doesn't take away from the suspence, but adds to it.

   I changed it slightly, but maybe not to you satisfaction. I find nothing wrong with Jeshua asking why questions afterwards, and in fact I think that it would be more natural to ask How first and Why after.

   That would be one of my greatest weaknesses; discription. I will try to do better though.

   Joseth and Zobed are supposed to speak formally. Hezi and Jeshua not so much. I guess that it's sort of the way I write. (You should see my cousin Benjamin, he can really make his writings sound as if they were written a hundred years ago. By the way, if your reading this, Benjamin, or Johanna you can tell him, you need to get that Declaration posted.


   Thank's for pointing that out; I've fixed it.

   Should I write a seperate introduction (There's a lot of background to cover), or just fit it into the front of this chapter?

Now it is my turn to ask a few questions:

   Can you tell who is the main character between Joseth and Zobed and between Jeshua and Hezί?

   By reading this chapter, did you know that Zobed was the prince? (before I added that bit about him being the heir)

   Did the conversation between Hezί and the Serrátan Captain seem a little cheesy?

Now I should give you a little background. Actually, on second thought, I'll write an essay on the history that created that prejudice of the Serrátans/Modeñans against the Kishans. (Kisha is a region that makes up both Southern Serrát and Southern Modeña) Just imagine what the English thought of the Irish and the Welsh, except in this case, there was no right to think that way.

   I will continue to work on this, and hopefully get that essay written, next chapter posted, and possibly an introduction.

Arthur | Thu, 09/20/2012

"My greatest wish for my writing is that it would point you to the Savior."


I think it would be better as a separate introduction.

The part with the wheel breaking is great now! :)

Kyleigh | Fri, 09/21/2012


I think the main character is Jeshua and Zobed, is it not?

No, I didn' t know Zobed was the prince until you added that bit.

When I said I thought there were too formal conversations was the Hezi and Serratan Captain, which yes, it seemed a little cheesy.

I think you should write a separate introduction cause I really like your first sentence. I wished you kept the walking downstream scene and described it a bit more though. And thank you for the ******** thank you! It is much more clearer. :)

You changed the calmed part to satisfactory so I think you can too with the dismayed part. I noticed you added some exclamation points in the calmed part which helped a little. But the cracking part is good now.

I think wherever you choose to put the Jeshua's thoughts are fine.

Lucy Anne | Fri, 09/21/2012

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson


Hey, Arthur, I was wondering if you could ask James, since he's your brother to fix the picture problems when he has time. Sarah Andrews told me that James told her that he is working on learning how to do it so please just remind him. I would really appreciate it. Thank you! :)

Lucy Anne | Tue, 10/02/2012

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

finally read this...

1. I can't really tell which is (are) the main character(s), but I'm sure that would become clear with more than one chapter to work on.
2. I already knew that from the old version, so I didn't even think about it...
3. Yeah. It did to me, anyway. The Serrátan seemed so... typical. Nothing much set him apart from a billion other evil captains. Maybe he as an individual isn't significant, but you did ask.

I'd just add that it could use more descriptive details - not that you need to go all-out into flowery writing or anything, but I would like to be able to /see/ the characters and the settings.

Anna | Sat, 10/06/2012

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief


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