A cerulean moon spotlighted the center courtyard pedestal displaying a kneeling man, arms separated and tied to the two posts above him. Gazing at the man’s wrists dripping with blood, and bits of scalp hanging from his head, Khoran felt nothing but aggravation.
“I thought the sorceress would castrate you for the prisoner’s silence.” The voice whispered from the white scorpion, Khoran’s demon, his constant companion.
“Her poison burning through my veins was not terrifying enough for you?” He massaged his inner arm, where the Sorceress Evixen Mosk had inserted her poison punishment. Punishment for to Khoran’s failure to convince the king to talk.
Khoran grasped the balcony rails for support and glowered at the pedestal. “I’ll find your son and extinguish his life, Henry -- King of Abana. Though you have hidden him. He will die before his next birthday.”
Khoran looked out over the towers of the City of
The incubus white scorpion twisted on her perch, tendrils twitching. “Evixen approaches!”
This is a relatively exciting hook with a problem up front. They've got some guy (the king? Not clear) tied to a post for questioning and torture. So far so good. I like the creepy scorpion—more on it in a moment. Khoran seems maybe anti-heroish, or even evil. I like me some evil protags. And Khoran has a clear problem, even if we're not yet sure what it means to him and the situation. That's okay. Also, some traditional-seeming fantasy, which we're not seeing a ton of. So far so good.
But I've got some deal-breaker issues, too.
I'm not crazy about the present participle phrase starting with Gazing. I don't like 'em in general, though I've used them. It's not wrong, but I've just been introduced to these people and I'm still trying to get my bearings. Who am I following here, the kneeling man or who-ever's gazing at him? I have to get through 38 words to find our POV, Khoran. It might seem minor, but really none of it made any sense to me upon first reading until I found the name Khoran. So while the phrasing is technically okay, I don't think this structure is best utilized in the first graph. I'd suggest moving Khoran up a few notches, even to the first sentences. Cerulean moons are cool, tortured guys are cool, but I want to link up with my guide as quickly as possible.
There's a couple of unnecessary fragments. Punishment for to Khoran’s failure to convince the king to talk. Contrary to popular belief, this tired device does little for emphasis. This info can be easily integrated into the previous sentence without the eye having to pause over a word echo. And it appears again, a couple of graphs later. Powers greater than the Sorceress Evixen Mosk. I hate this kind of trick enough I'd probably reject it based on that. Yes, it's that much of a pet peeve.
Let me clarify. I, and I'm not alone in this, like clear, concise writing. Good writing does not call attention to itself with a lot of tricks and devises. You've got enough cool stuff going on here without mucking it up with word echoes and unnecessary phrases and fragments. Seeing these tired devices makes me wonder if the writing will be up to par throughout. And yes, I realize I just started a sentence with an "ing" word, but in that case it's a gerund phrase that serves as the subject. I did it on purpose so I could discuss the difference. Smooth, huh?
I think there's some over-explaining that can be cut. Phrases like: the Sorceress Evixen Mosk (her sorcery could be easily shown) and his constant companion. And while we're on the scorpion thing, she gets a ton of description and names. She's a white scorpion, a demon, a constant companion, an incubus white scorpion…it's almost like the writer couldn't make up his mind. What I don’t know are some basics, like how big she is or if other people can see her.
My suggestion to this writer is to clean up the writing and let your promising story elements shine.