Ok, firstly I’d have to say I did really enjoy this. Any critisism and comments are what I’d do for any beta test so no offense intended. It kind of reminded me of a cross between the deathless, dresden files and general mythology. I’m going to agree that the very beginning in particular is very similar to deathless. Although the story stands on its own (yes some of the plots are similar but still different enough in most places) the opening and closing sequences and the mirror pieces concept did very strongly remind me of the deathless story. Could it be tweaked slightly? Different imagery for the mirror pieces (which is important to the story I see) and maybe some different choices at the beginning as well. Also could possibly drop the repayments for your tuition which features quite prominently in deathless but doesn’t go anywhere in this story despite the repeated options to pay off the loan. (That I saw anyway). To be honest, failing in your job with the courts seem to have much more dire consequences, the academy is barely mentioned at all except in the start and end. Using your funds to get better equipment and paying just enough to keep the academy off your back would seem to be the way to go, but I couldn’t see any benefit or disadvantage in doing this. Anyway I can see this is your own work with some inspiration coming from COTD but to avoid comparisons a few changes could probably deal with it.
Onto some more comments and bugs
So you kill it. It isn’t terribly difficult; the strange, odd-looking thing is strong, and those claws aren’t just for show, but it isn’t nearly as quick or clever as you.
That accomplished, you wipe away the circle. Then, just for completeness’s sake, you torch the entire meadow. You feel a little guilt at the scale of the destruction, but that’s the nice thing about working for the army. You can pretty much set fire to anything you want, and everybody’s too scared to tell you off for it.
*This seemed to brief and easy to me. You’ve got some sort of ritual to bring something obviously important to your enemy over but you “just kill it” with no explanation or difficulty.
The walls need repaired. There’s not much room for debate on that point. So you set your people to fixing them, repairing the damage done in the previous day’s attack. It isn’t great, but the defenses are a lot more solid than they were before you started. Now if you can just manage to hold them, you might be in business.
Why would the daylight court be getting unofficially involved with werewolves? Or is it their champion who would be getting involved without permission? Are they being compensated somehow? Or is it personal interest since there might be other species involved? He also indicates you’ll be compensated for co-operating but I haven’t seen any evidence of that yet (quite the opposite).
Suddenly a goblin runs up to you and salutes, panting. “Firethorn sent me,” he gasps. “The enemy tunneled under the fortress. A group just came up under our position, and he’s not sure how long we’re going to last.” The goblin collapses, exhausted.
*Curious to what a goblin is doing in the daylight court? (I would have thought they’d be midnight?)
It’d be nice to know how much is remaining on your debt and how much spare cash you have. (It keeps asking you how much you want to pay but the choices don’t seem to matter much?) ie you don’t get extra gear for not paying it straight away or get benefits from reducing the debt early?
That does seem strange. You know werewolves have some odd abilities, sure, and it’s not like you’ve researched exactly what those abilities might be. But you’re fairly sure they don’t extend to sending messages between worlds, even leaving aside the question of how $[charlie_he} knew where to send it.
“Exactly,” Charlie says. "There aren’t very many of them, and normally I’d feel okay about taking them on, but these people are specialists. They’re good at what they do.
*To me they didn’t seem good at what they’re doing from the example in the park. They had the advantage of numbers and weapons but jut rushed him allowing him to run away and didn’t seem particularly disappointed he escaped?
You remind yourself to bring some back with you to the Courts; they don’t keep any of the stuff on hand, since their metabolisms are too inhuman to respond to the stimulant.
*I like the little bits like this dropped in to remind the reader that even with their position, the MC is still something a bit different, not quite of either world and of both.
The meeting’s supposed to take place at a small tavern on the outskirts of town. There don’t seem to be any employees or patrons there as you approach, which you suppose makes sense. This isn’t the sort of meeting that you want to turn into a public spectacle, after all.
And, astonishingly enough, it works. The two of you proceed into the tavern, where three werewolf hunters are waiting for you at one of the tables. There are a few tense moments trying to get Charlie to sit peacefully with so many armed enemies nearby, but in the end you sort it all out.
*Not sure you could simply “sort it all out” so easily IMO. You’ve got two very hostile groups, one of which is pretty intent on killing the other at the moment and they both know it. Maybe something more like “…in the end you convince him to stay. The tension in the air is palpable and Charlie looks as if he might get up and run/reach for a weapon at any moment.”
Then the older one, who you realize must be the leader of this group, pulls out a knife and cuts the younger man’s throat. He says something you can’t understand, and the werewolf hunters start to file out of the tavern.
*Maybe a bit more description here to amplify how ruthless the hunter group is? It just seems a little flat for something that brutal. (ie Then the older one, who you realize must be the leader of this group, pulls out a knife and cuts the younger man’s throat in one swift movement. He says something you can’t understand as he lets the lifeless body drop to the floor in a growing pool of blood. With barely a glance at their former comrade, the werewolf hunters file out of the tavern. - or something like that)
Why would they choose you to protect the magician after you failed the first time? Maybe give a reason for this apart from the location (as they would have more than just yourself from the academy). Perhaps have the magician request you? He could have alterior motives for wanting you there in revenge for failing last time, or some other reason? (It’s not a big thing, I just couldn’t understand why they’d choose you again and the magician would be happy about it).
“Well enough,” she says. “Better than you do, probably. I know enough to know that this probably won’t end well. I’ve been trying to keep it from coming to this, but it seems I’ve failed. Good luck dealing with the consequences.”
*I’m surprised she’s not a bit more helpful after offering help at the conference. She seems to be keeping you in the dark, without a word of advice, even though it’s in her interests to stop the person you’re protecting, which you’ve shown yourself willing to do before. Instead it’s more of a “good luck cleaning up the consequences of something I know lots about but you know nothing about. Bye.”
You don’t have the chance to recover much. The mage is next to you, and he doesn’t seem to be feeling the aftereffects of the trip at all. He strides briskly past you, and you force yourself into motion behind him, stumbling a little until you hit your stride again.
“I have my Court.”
“I have the Midnight Court. They won’t be happy about this.”
“I have an army of werewolves that don’t like being used as test subjects.”
“I have a few of your colleagues who really don’t approve of what you’re doing here.”
“I have friends.”
*Are all these options meant to be blanked out? I’m guessing it would be on purpose given you’ve just been asked who you really are but I would have thought I would have at least had the werewolves (Shut down lab, helped charlie, helped the werewolves instead of returning in the first instance) and colleagues (Was given a card saying they’d help) given my choices. Possibly the midnight court (helped them get into the magician’s lab and helped the half banchee escape) and my own court as well unless the queen was in on the whole thing before hand which seems unlikely given how Mile’s talks about it and her reaction after the battle. (approached by the queen at the dinner, working for the daylight army etc).
Why were you suddenly able to channel that much daylight power? A consequence of the balance being disrupted by miles? Or something else?
Why does the Queen’s champion try to speak in your defense for staying (not that it helps much) since it sounds like you’d be getting his job? Where would he go- sounds like that’s a high ranking position he holds. Also bringing up that you helped him in the unofficial assignment isn’t exactly helpful since you defied direct orders to stay and help I would have thought.
Edit- just saw the note about the endings. Still not sure why I didn’t get the werewolves (I thought I helped them out whenever possible) and the citizens available (thought I had a good personal presence (ie presented well at the conference etc) and did get an offer of help from her). If other people are getting those endings though may be something I’ve missed.
Also just a thought, but might be good to flag the werewolf investigation as only having time to do a few things before you have to stop. (ie you will only have time to investigate a few options before dark or something like that). I was thinking I could continue to investigate for a while but suddenly got cut off. I probably would have considered by choices more if I had have realised this.