Also, if you're still doing critiques, here is the start of another abandoned fantasy story:
>This happened in a far-off inn, at the end of a long day of wet travel and no food.
>Really wretched autumn travelling it was. Curse these hill-places, where the paths are too narrow for even a fox, and a hundred hidden bonfires sting your eyes with woodsmoke.
>But I had been ordered to these parts, and ordered by authority of the orchard-master. He wanted my report on a new variety: a fine mottled type, and the only thing he had spoken of for two months past -- but you do not care, I am sure, about pears. Only know this: that I was weary, and there by the track was the inn.
>Its door was so sunk among the dripping brambles that, had a pale nag in the gloom not neighed out to my horse, I would have ridden right by. I tied her to the same post, and gave a grateful stroke down the nag's mane, and left the pair to their nuzzling.
>And sunk still further, down into the earth, was the stony floor of this place when I entered. It was a low, expansive place, like the great tuber-cellars of the fenland farmers. Tuber-like, too, were the faces all round me, deep in their wet leather collars. Dim eyes looked then looked away. I did not feel upon me the spiteful scrutiny one feels in a trading town. They had the indifference born from exhaustion, these men like heaps of leather. Though what they toil at beyond their innumerable bonfires I cannot imagine.
>Then came the pink flash of bare feet on stone, and up pattered a woman in an embroidered apron, all spotless. And as she led me further within, below the beams and the hanging herbs, she spoke with the quiet, inner stillness known only to peasant women and forest pools. It unnerves me, this stillness. And there are men who say a peasant woman is a frolicsome, hot-blooded thing.
>I asked her, Did they have lamb? They did not, only a sort of hill-fowl, roasted. But it would do. And I seated myself in my nook, very deep now in this strange place, and no one about me. All the dreary day's moisture began to seep from my travelling-coat, my sodden boots, and made rivulets on the floor. I felt lighter by the moment as I expunged this chilly weight.
>She brought me my beer -- a porter, very good -- and while I drank I studied the icons that hung there on the walls. There were icons of the limbless martyr and the wasp-stung martyr and others of the familiar sort, but I could not identify the curious species of glossy black wood from which they were carved. This was fine amusement, after a day lost among bracken. And for a moment I thought of writing a few verses on these icons: these 'mournful, lustrous icons', perhaps. But I compose at my best only when replete and well-fed; and really at that moment I was ravenous. For I had not yet received my roast.
>Where, in the name of the martyrs, was my roast?