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How was a Niite Owl supposed to hunt a Day Bird? And when would she sleep? But Zithre had warned her – at all cost hunt the Lady. Even if Lady became aware of her presence, she would just have to be more careful. Lia shivered and frowned at the wind. Crazy mission. The Old Life was better, before she met Zithre and before the wind had become perilous and the omens meant something. How could you stop a prophecy anyway? It never worked in the human’s stories. The foe always got carried away and brought the hero to their castle and locked them away, and then since the hero was close by, they would just conquer the enemy right there.
It was the stupidest thing she had been asked to do yet, much worse than fetching those poor men for Zithre to feed upon… yet more unnerving and even more wrong. Probably since the weight of this mission was of dire need to Zithre and because it all fell upon Lia to do it. And if she screwed this one up… No more meals until payment had been exacted. Lia coughed. Zithre’s payment was a nasty thing, indeed.
Oh, well. “Might get along now, better for me to get along now,” Lia sung softly to herself, and took off from the branch she had been resting upon. The wind stung a little, but felt good on her chest and face. Flying was a beauty. At least Zithre needed her this way – with wings. She would have eventually killed herself had she been turned all the way human.
The first paragraph may be a bit long for an opening, although it may be more acceptable since this is fantasy. Personally, I'd start a new paragraph with "Lia shivered…"
Grammar and Sentence Clarity
1. The pronouns "their/them/they" should be "his/him/he" to match "foe," which is singular: The foe always got carried away and brought the hero to their castle and locked them away, and then since the hero was close by, they would just conquer the enemy right there.
2. Same sentence: possible confusion between "foe" and "enemy." Since the foe is called "the enemy" at the end of the sentence, the reader may not be 100% certain it's the same thing.
3. I'm not sure "payment" is the right word in Zithre’s payment was a nasty thing, indeed. Isn't it more like a punishment? Payment sounds more like Lia's getting paid for hunting the Lady (especially since "until payment had been exacted" is a passive sentence construction and the reader isn't certain who's doing the exacting, i.e., who is the subject of the sentence).
4. Not technically accurate here: Probably since the weight of this mission was of dire need… This sentence literally/grammatically says the WEIGHT is of dire need rather than the mission.
Wording and Little Things
1. Technically, she's not frowning AT the wind, she's frowning at what the wind is doing--blowing cold air on her face, making her eyes water, making tree branches sway, or throwing debris and dust around.
2. May need consistency using Daybird vs Day Bird.
3. May need consistency using "the Lady" vs "Lady."
4. Verb tense: use she'd met or she had met, since it's in the past: The Old Life was better, before she met Zithre and before the wind had become perilous...
5. Not sure "all" is needed or the right word in this sentence: …this mission was of dire need to Zithre and because it all fell upon Lia to do it. It falls entirely upon Lia to do the mission, but having "all" next to "fell" doesn't really get that same/exact meaning across.
6. Be careful not to overuse the word "just" or "but." "Just" is used twice in the first paragraph, "but" is used twice in this short excerpt. They are commonly overused words.
7. "Away" is used twice in one sentence: The foe always got carried AWAY and brought the hero to their castle and locked them AWAY… Also, "carried away" could be wrongly interpreted as being carted off somewhere, which is not what the writer wants/means to say here.
8. Be careful not to overuse ellipses; these two instances are close together. Also, there shouldn't be a space after an ellipses where it's all part of the same thought or sentence (as in the first instance).
There is a really nice voice here, and good sentence length variation. I especially like the last line--it's a very intriguing bit of info that Zithre has turned Lia into a half-human from an original bird/owl form. The first sentence has a good hook, and right away sets up conflict along with an intriguing premise. I like the sing-songy dialogue and the almost childlike thoughts and actions of this bird-girl; those characteristics seem appropriate since she's half animal. The name Lia sounds like who she is--flighty, conflicted, delicate, and unique.
Can you add any other helpful comments to the above critique?
Have you ever read a fantasy novel with a half-human, half-bird/owl main character?