Here are the first two pages of my book. What do you think? Am I wasting my time?
“Milady? Pardon me, milady." Deana hurried to catch up with the townswoman crossing the otherwise deserted street. She had never visited Rakart'ver before, and she had expected to see folk running errands and taking care of business despite the early hour. Yet, other than the sleepy guard at the town gate, she had caught only glimpses of figures in the distance until now. The capital was quieter than the tiny village near her family's farm on a Sabbath morn.
At her call, the townswoman paused and allowed Deana to approach. "Yes?"
"Milady, can ye tell me how to find the Mage's Guild?"
The townswoman stepped back and pulled her shawl across her face. "Are you a mage, then?"
"Nay, milady, I hope to be, but I do not know where the Guild might be. Can ye help me?"
"You should turn and return home to your parents."
"Why do ye say such, milady? The life of a mage is an honorable one. Tis all I have e'er wanted." Deana frowned.
"Honorable, yes, but not much of a life, not now. Still, it is best if you learn of this from the Guild. Turn to your right at the next crossing and take the third left. Halfway to the next crossing, knock at the red gate. Do not forget, it is not yet too late to return home." Shaking her head, and with the shawl still covering her face, the townswoman turned and scurried off.
Deana stared after the townswoman, her flesh creeping. She thought about chasing after her and demanding an explanation, but decided against it. She was not far from the Guild and maybe the townswoman was right and she should ask her questions of the Guildmages. Shouldering her pack, she set off towards the crossing she had indicated.
With no folk there to see her gawking like the country lass that she was, she craned her neck to stare at the tall buildings she passed. Each of them was at least twice the height of her family's modest cottage. Ornate paintings surrounded every door frame and decorated the wooden shutters firmly closed over every window. Lush flowers dripped from boxes in front of most windows.
She turned right at the crossing and made the third left. The huge, red gate of the Mage's Guild shone in the early morning light. She paused outside; her head tilting back as she surveyed the immense building within. The towers and turrets rivaled those of the Duke's castle on the hill above the town.
What was she doing here? She had no business with a grand place such as this. Who was she, a simple shepherd's daughter, to think she could be a mage?
She dithered for a long moment, thinking on the townswoman's words, before lifting her hand to brush her knuckles over the red wood. No sooner had she let her hand fall to her side than the massive gate swung inward. Deana peered into the shadowy courtyard, but could see no one. She walked forward, her head swinging from side to side. The gate swung silently into place behind her.
"Greetings, Deana Trindle. Welcome to the Mage Guild." A deep voice issued from the arched doorway at the far end of the outer courtyard.
Deana tripped over her own feet, almost falling to one knee before recovering. "Mi-milord?"
A man stepped into sight. He was just over average height, not overly wide in either shoulders or waist, and his blue robes were simply cut. His brown hair and brown eyes were unremarkable. However, one look from his commanding gaze and no one could fail to recognize his status.
Deana dropped into a deep bow, her pack thumping to the flagstone path.
"Do not bow to me, Deana. I am no Lord." The Guildmage paced forward, one hand on her shoulder in welcome.
"Nay, Milord. My pardon, Milord."
He chuckled. "I am Guildmaster Tarak Shernfeld. Ye may call me Guildmaster or Tarak, tis yer choice. I am sure ye have many questions. Let us join the others in the hall and I will attempt to answer as many as I am able."
He turned to lead the way through the shadowed archway and Deana followed. She did not know much about the workings of a Guild, but surely the Guildmaster did not routinely meet new applicants to the order. Then there were those concerns the townswoman had expressed. Something odd was going on and she felt off-balance.
Beyond the archway, whose stones were etched with runes and symbols Deana did not recognize, there was a long entryway with graystone walls and a ceiling open to the floor above. Heavy oak doors lined the passageway. Guildmaster Tarak passed two of these, flinging open the third one and indicating with a short nod that Deana should precede him into the chamber before them.
Deana hesitated, and he gave her a reassuring smile. "Tis well, Deana. Ye will come to no harm in the Guild."