This is a 3500 word story. I only need crits on the first thirteen for now.
The wheat is tall in the fields when Master Gundaro comes to claim his bride. Lala stands behind Mistress Jandala on the marble portico in front of the house, looking out on the dirt road and the fields. She closes her hands into fists and hides them in her robes, ignoring the pain from her cracked calluses. The state of her hands shames her, as does the sunburn on the tips of her tentacles, earned by the long hours spent with the other servants attaching a thousand pink ribbons to each swaying stalk of wheat. Old Dia says this is what it means to be a good servant: to be forever shamed by your condition, forever proud of your good work. The strong wind pulls at each ribbon, lifting the stalks by their bountiful heads for the new Master to see.
The only ting I saw that would possibly be a problem in a short story was that you repeated the information about how she a ashamed of her appearance, however I don't think it's enough of a problem to actually change it. I must commend you on the very beautiful imagery with the wheat and the ribbons. I enjoyed myself there. I would read on. If you don't mind waiting for a response I could possibly take a look at it for you.
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Overall, I liked it, and I'd probably have read on.
quote:...earned by the long hours spent with the other servants attaching a thousand pink ribbons to each swaying stalk of wheat.
I'm not an authority on wheat, but I am a farm girl. These were my thoughts when I read this: A thousand ribbons on each stalk? I don't think wheat is tall enough for that. Perhaps she meant one ribbon on each of one thousand stalks of wheat. Though I wonder why someone sent servants out--potentially trampling the wheat--just to put pink ribbons in it? Must be something for the upcoming wedding. People do weird things for weddings.
Then I got to "The strong wind pulls at each ribbon, lifting the stalks by their bountiful heads for the new Master to see."
So the purpose of the ribbons was to emphasis the wheat as bountiful? Um, you do realize that wheat is essentially a grass, right? So a field of only 1,000 wheat heads probably wouldn't be very large. Second, wouldn't the ribbon be fluttering in the wind and obscuring the wheat head? Maybe I'm not correctly imagining where the ribbon is attached or how thick the ribbon is. Finally, my understanding is that the heads would normally be visible under these conditions even without a ribbon to catch the wind and "pull the heads up." Am I missing something?
I really liked it as well. It hooked me with tentacles as well (on her head right). I was expecting sunburned ears or nose or something - so I would've read on to see what other surprises were there.
I was confused with Lala not being the intended bride. Maybe something like this would clear it up...
...Master Gundaro comes to claim his bride. Lala stands behind the intended, Mistress Jandala, on the marble portico...