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The Taborda Chosen Kennedy Vega


In the Kingdom of Arshile benevolence and equality rings true. Centuries of relative peace and immense prosperity have been prolific in the country's history due to a tradition of honorable and capable leaders, all of whom have been chosen by the Taborda. The Taborda is an ancient formless being made of churning smoke and ash, so old that its origin is unknown and it is time for it to chose a new leader.

However, an unwillingness to relinquish power, betrayal, deceit, and a rival kingdom will threaten the very existence of Arshile and what it stands for.

Tradition will be upheaved. Old leaders will fall and new ones will rise from their ashes. Ancient opponents will emerge from fallen kingdoms as the struggle for power reaches a crescendo in this tale of love, deception, and magic.


  • 74818 words
  • About 299 pages
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96 comments on "The Taborda Chosen"

Snow on Feb. 10, 2018, 3:20 a.m. said:



I wouldn’t compare it, it stands on its own

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Adaline Welles on Jan. 27, 2018, 11:13 a.m. said:

Adaline Welles

So far I love the storyline and the plot! There are a lot of grammar mistakes that detract a bit from the novel, but for a first draft I am enjoying the progress. It is a promising start.

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Kennedy Vega on Jan. 28, 2018, 7:29 p.m. said:

Kennedy Vega

Yay! I'm so glad. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. :)

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Mia Reese on Dec. 28, 2017, 1 p.m. said:

Mia Reese

You are so welcome, Kennedy!! I'm glad I could help. If you need a sounding board as you reexamine your plot, I'm happy to help!

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Kennedy Vega on Dec. 28, 2017, 10:07 p.m. said:

Kennedy Vega

Yay! I will for sure keep that in mind. Thank you, thank you so much! :D

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Mia Reese on Dec. 27, 2017, 10:46 p.m. said:

Mia Reese

Part 1 -
I’ll preface with the advice that you cannot and should not take all story advice. You can’t please everyone, and in the end, it is most important that you are true to yourself and your story. I say this because I’m about to say a lot (culminating in strong opinions). I’ve seen from other comments that you are eager for feedback, and I love to edit. So I’ll tell you what I think. What could go wrong? Everything that follows is intended to be constructive. It isn’t personal.


This has a fabulous premise and a lot of potential. I liked it immediately. I also see a huge opportunity for improvement.

Someone else mentioned the story being slow, so I’ll start there. There is a lot of action, which I really enjoyed. It isn’t easy to create that sense of urgency. It is crucial, in these moments especially, not to slow it down. .
One example: Safe room scene. The dial is described thrice (twice on the same page). It is both complex and intricate. It whirs and clicks. Opening it leads to a hiss of air. When the door opens and the Queen Mother is there instead of Evzen we get a nice moment, but then the door opens again and this process kills the suspense. Couldn’t she die anywhere in the palace? Does she even need to be in the story? I don’t remember her doing anything except dying. Kill your darlings.
Apart from the Queen Mother moment, the excessive description and word rep, destroy momentum. Not everything needs to be described, and some things are described several times. One example: one sentence includes soft click, spacious bedroom, and cool marble. First, readers can assume the bedroom of a ruler is spacious. Second, this is not the only time we are told it is spacious. Several more examples: Word rep -(not necessarily story wide but several times in close proximity): smoke, churning, attire, lanky, gently, deep, hissed, dust, relief, click, dial, curtain, blood drenched, promiscuous reputation, carnage, blessed, frayed edges of nerves, opal tiles, dancing, seafoam, dove grey robes, acolyte . We know the jacket is thin x2. We know the fire is pathetic. We know her hair is brown x3+. “Flocked to me like a rumbling flock.” She talks about being covered in dirt and grime at least three times. Gloating is described as incessant and unyielding and constant. Taine’s scream is described 4 ways. “The Queen Mother gently took her daughter’s hands in her own gently wrinkled ones.” The King is the gentlest man off all time - and adding the metaphor about the first buds of spring slows the action. She is torn and waging an internal war = same thing. Worry = apprehension. Where else would a necklace rest? Had always been a source of stress - constantly put everyone on edge - no small amount of anxiety. He held out a hand to help me stand and when I took it he pulled me up. Soaked implies thoroughness. Several things are described as midnight, including people. What, exactly, does that imply?
Also - Orendain recognizes the runner’s power hidden in her small frame, and the spine of steel behind her petite frame. She also described herself as slender. This is not the only time she describes herself as petit. (Also, she has a tendency to, when thinking of others thinking of her, consider her frame/form not herself - her grandma finding her sleeping form - which she also wouldn’t know because she was sleeping).
Several characters push themselves into a sitting position - one thing to be careful of here is that characters should ideally be doing things in their own way. I found it odd that both she and Orendain swear “low and vicious”

I’d bet that, at minimum, 5,000 words could be cut from the story without altering the plot or characters. Example: Markum gave him a salute before taking Otieno’s reins as well and leading the two large animals away - easily becomes - Markum gave him a salute before taking Otieno’s reins and leading them away. I’m not trying to be harsh with that estimate.

Infodumps also kill momentum. One example: Kitheron Backstory. When Taine is yelling at his son this extra info slows the scene and we don’t need all of it, if any. We know it’s bad when the King says “Would you really be willing [to] potentially doom us to the fate Kitheron suffered just so that you could rule?!” Also that sentence is choppy. - Are you willing to doom us to the same fate Kitheron suffered?! I know their abilities with elements will come become important later - however, we don’t need this information right now and Taij explains it to her later.

Closing out the subject of pacing - remember, not everything needs to be explained or described. Readers are smart. Cut redundancies (scene with Orissa has tons of them). If it is important and we need to know, when do we need to know it? Is there an opportune moment? One instance where I think this could be improved is with the Prians. If they are mentioned before they actually make an appearance, they won’t be a random surprise.

On showing not telling - Throughout the story there are several occasions in which someone reaches out a ‘comforting hand.’ The act of reaching is, in itself, comforting. We know it is comforting without needing to be told it is. More importantly - the relationship with Taij and Niaya has a lot of telling. There is some good showing, and the telling isn’t necessary. (More personal preference, but when another character tells us how they see one character like another, it feels like a whole new level of telling.) Final example - “Snapping into the mindset of ruler and queen” - we see her do this. It is shown, and therefore doesn’t need to be told.

Some plot holes -
-Shouldn’t the guard or maid already have a torch? There shouldn’t be any reason to slow down the progression to the safe room. Also, from their spacious bedroom, the King and Queen must travel down several crumbling staircases and never ending hallways to reach the safe room? Shouldn’t they have a secret passage that gets them to the safe room in twenty seconds? Also,
some clarity when the guard and maid first arrive would be valuable. When the name Isao comes up later, it takes a moment to realize who he is.
-Her land has been invaded and she doesn’t want to take action or jump to conclusions but she must assume the worst? There is an active attack and she doesn’t want to take action or jump to conclusions but must assume the worst?
-Why doesn’t Grandma stay in the cave? Does she have any reason to return to the village?
Side note: Do we need the scene with cave and Orissa at all? It accomplishes a few things, including she feels a little better, makes a decision, loses the horse we didn’t know she had, and loses most of her supplies. Cutting it saves us time and moves the story forward faster - no Orissa or Kirala, no horse, no cave - she could find the supplies in the rubble, find grandma’s body, and make her decision to seek vengeance on those who did this. Then no one has to wonder why Grandma isn’t in the cave.
- What happens to Luna?
- How far away is Juliek - she says 2 days then hundreds of miles. She isn’t going to cover hundreds of miles in 2 days. If she has never left how does she know how long it will take, or how her use of backroads will delay her? How does she even know the way? Why does she even consider the distance during her fight? The timeline is also confusing. Sometimes what I thought was a few days or maybe a week for one character, turned into months and months for another.
- How does she have enough energy to run away after 2 all out sprints?
- Why does Jahan think she specifically needs to stay away? The Lords burned a village. They were not looking for her at that moment.
- How does the blood cause her to crash? Seems like the horse causes her to crash. If the blood caused her to slip, the horse is unnecessary.
- Fight with Orendain - Even though she wants to save her friends she behaves recklessly here and she doesn’t need to. She doesn’t really have the power to help anyone right now. She has been captured. Her options are to what? Pretend to be dead to survive and attempt to formulate a good plan, or (repeatedly) attempt to thwart the dude saving her and try to actively free her friend and family, which will almost certainly result in her actual death? I get that she needs to be knocked out to wake up confused and alone. Fix: Orendain knocks her out to begin with. If he used the rock, she probably needs a head wound. If he just hits her neck that works too. (I wouldn’t expect this hit to knock her out, unless he is magical). Having her get knocked out immediately solves her desire to act irrationally. It also shows her that Orendain is an ally - just less obviously. This would also add the potential for later confusion and conflict if she doesn’t suspect it was intentional. When he shows up later (I assumed he would but then he didn’t - and he really needs to for him saving her to make any sense), he can be all “I saved your life.” And she doesn’t want to believe it, but can’t deny it. He might possibly be more interesting and conflicted if he had more wraiths on his armor?
-Do people stop and weep in the middle of a raging inferno or do they run?
-How does poisoning the watering holes make sense to his plan? Tagon is threatening to kill them once they wander out delirious from a lack of water. But, if they drank the water, they would die from poison. And if they just guarded the watering holes, they could find them anyway.

Watch for tense changes and grammatical errors. Commas are lacking.

Names: Not saying you should change anything, but so many start with T, which gets a little confusing . The one name I would consider changing is Sansa - because GOT.

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Mia Reese on Dec. 27, 2017, 10:48 p.m. said:

Mia Reese

Part 2
Factual things
No amount of joy is going to make a knife through the sternum painless. Evzen is going to need some force to jam a knife through a sternum. It would be much easier to stab someone between the ribs, for example. Also if she is hugging him, how did he stab her in the sternum? And if he did go through the sternum, he hit something important. Her first thought will not be, the front of my nightgown is wet. There is no time for all of her emotion or talking. She will be dead. The reaction, as written, could be more accurately attained if he stabbed her somewhere else. Again, life will not leave her slowly if she is stabbed through the sternum.
Sidenote ---“Causing a sickening slurp” - there is a better way to say this without the word causing. ***I’ve noticed this a few times with words like -evident, indication, causing. Readers don’t need these words. We know what caused the slurp sound. We know that actions lead to reactions without it being explicitly stated. We know that characters are noticing these reactions in others, as well.

A healer is not going to dump foul liquid into someones mouth and force them to swallow it, when they are on their back - sit her up or she will aspirate...and get pneumonia.

The pupil is not the colored part. The pupil is the opening in the colored iris.

Pulmonary contusion (bruised lung) - if she has one she almost certainly has a rib fracture, and she should have more symptoms than just coughing up blood, once. Also, not going to wrap ribs- she needs to be able to expand her lungs and wrapping her up is going to limit her ability to do so. We don’t want her to get pneumonia.

There was something about bruising and the stages are off.

Other thoughts -
Honestly, if the people believe in the Taborda’s choosing ability and the marks are so detailed and specific, why would anyone think they could fake it? Does one need a gift to prove it, when the marks should be enough? Seems like the gift is more of an awesome perk than a way to prove it. Has someone tried to cheat their way to the throne before? Also if they are always Sargon why would a non-Sargon attempt to carve up their arms to prove they are chosen instead? Near the end Taij says she isn’t an ordinary Taborda Chosen - what does this mean? She has a gift, they all do. I caution against making her too special. She was chosen and that is great. She has a wisp of power. Does she need to be more special than that?

When Tagon is talking over multiple paragraphs use a quotation mark at the beginning of each, but at the end of only the final paragraph. But the paragraph after “everything I clawed and killed for” is unnecessary.

Some confusion when Sunil sees Evzen before rushing to embrace him. Then her seeing him is described more fully.

If the horses have riders, they are not untamed

They haven’t left anything in their wake, if they are still there.

As we took in the nightmare unfolding before our eyes - we know it is unfolding. We know why her chest is heaving without the explanation.

Taut = with tension.

Rough marble floor in the throne room?

If she mentions the “sumptuous decorations…” they registered.

It is interesting that the council of Kitheron began as a way to balance the power of the country so that it couldn’t fall to pieces again, but the Kings will still do exactly what they want anyway.

I should hope that Tagon knows his hired swords are ruthless, blood thirsty and cruel.
Why else would he hire them?

“And therefore the council has said that we need to keep you safe above all else” I should hope so! -You are the Taborda Chosen. We must keep you safe.-

Wouldn’t Evzen bare his arms for the ceremony?

How does one seem to shake?

Should sentinel be sentient?

There are some phrases used throughout the story like ‘for the record’ and ‘aim to please’ and they didn’t seem to fit into this world

It is really hard to see through a downpour. How far away is she?

How does one press their ear to the air?

Eleventh hour = last minute

Tagon likes to monologue! - wicked smugness, wicked dagger (how is a dagger wicked?). - by the way x2. When did the guard put the flag on? In the last two seconds or was he wearing it this whole time and hoping no one saw it? Unlikely that a bunch of trained assassins decided not to kill their targets because they were so goodly. Especially if they know that others who failed to complete the task were beheaded. Recommendation is to cut back on this monologue and remove the failed assassins. All this talk of loyalty isn’t overly vital to our understanding.


It’s time for strong opinions - I try to avoid encouraging major plot alterations because I don’t really feel that it’s my place to do so. I’m making an exception because I saw so much promise from the first three sections. I was so excited and invested in the story, but as I continued, I sometimes felt that I had to force myself to keep reading. Eventually, I enjoyed Niaya and Taij, but they weren’t enough to carry the story. You can chalk any of this up to personal preference, and that’s totally fine. You can hear me out or ignore me completely. That’s up to you. Regardless I wish you the best of luck in your dreams of publication.

Evzen time - I thought he would be a super awesome bad guy. He is pissed off. He wants that throne, and he is willing to kill his own parents to take it when it isn’t given. That is intense motivation which directly interferes with our protagonist, who hasn’t even been mentioned yet. I can see all this future conflict between the hero and Evzen. That’s honestly why I kept reading. But it never happens and it can’t happen, because he isn’t even the bad guy. He is just a pawn. (It’s how I felt when Bane wasn’t the BIG BAD of Batman. He was just a henchman.) There is so much time invested into his character in the beginning that it feels like a bait and switch. Then poof - he vanishes from the story until the end where we find out he doesn’t even matter, at all.

(Sidebar - which characters tend to make the most awesome villains - the ones we care about. The ones whose motivations are clear and understandable, if not relatable. Loki is a great villain and Malekith is not (if you watch Thor) because we care about Loki. Tom Hiddleston helps. When I read this story I care about Evzen. He is interesting. Evzen is the Loki. Tagon is the Malekith. Just another bad guy.)

If I was you, I would cut Tagon out of the story completely and make Evzen the BIG BAD. He hates our protagonist because she is the only thing that can take his throne. He has enough motivation to send assassins and mercenaries without Tagon. He can kill his parents anyway when they don’t help him get the throne. He doesn’t need to get grabbed by a hand and invited/forced into the deal. He can be evil all on his own. (Tagon is just mad because of what? Trade disputes? I had to go back to the beginning, because I couldn’t remember. This conflict is just not as strong.)

If Evzen became the priority I think he deserves to be, we need a clearer picture of him because all we know is he is lanky with red hair. Something is missing, but again, the potential remains. I imagined a tall, lean, muscular guy. Then he is yanked into a room by a hand. So I wondered if he is kind of wimpy. Opportunity for character building-is he strong, does he train with the army? Can he defend himself? He clearly doesn’t mind hurting people, but we have only seen him prey upon the defenseless. Is he weak? Is he just an entitled punk kid throwing a tantrum? If is isn’t strong, what does he do with his time? Does he read? Will he know strategies other people won’t think of? Does he have any friends or allies?

Other opportunity after he isn’t chosen and is talking to his parents.
I doubt his parents have no clue that he has a dark side if he freaks out like this. I just don’t see how he has kept up his charade of niceness for 18 years, so that his parents think he is the perfect angel, and then in this moment, freaks out like this, tries to get his mom to name him king anyway, freaks out again, and then smiles nicely and walks away. He is smarter than that. If he is the the psychopath, I think he is, he is going to try to get his mom to name him king and he is going to remain calm and calculated when it doesn’t work because he is plotting their demise. There are also a lot of telling moments. Like when he shouts that he wants to rule over people and this won’t stop him. - felt like when the Duke of Weseltown said “ “Ah, Arendelle, our most mysterious trade partner. Open those gates so I may unlock your secrets and exploit your riches! Did I say that out loud?” It was a really? moment. We know he wants to be king. We know he has no intention of this getting in his way. He doesn’t need to declare himself the bad guy. I’d also cut the preface. 99% of the time prefaces are unnecessary. Plus it makes it more of a surprise when he enacts his plan.

I also think we need to see a few scenes throughout the middle of the story from the bad guy’s point of view. So we know how he (whoever he is) is continuing to go after her and what else he is doing in the country.


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Mia Reese on Dec. 27, 2017, 10:48 p.m. said:

Mia Reese

Part 3

I absolutely would not recommend starting the novel with Niaya instead of Evzen. It sets up the conflict beautifully.

I still recommend cutting the cave scene, Orissa and Kirala. And the Queen Mother.

I would also cut the POV from ‘the traitor.’ - several reasons - we know who it is within 5 seconds, it is more surprising and mysterious if Kou attacks without warning. And it seemed odd that Kou announces Tivot’s part of the plan when there is the possibility that someone could hear.

If I am to believe she reacted that horribly to something that everyone else will survive no problem, we probably need some indication that she has allergies or something to explain that. From a plot perspective, I don’t know why she needs to have the reaction.

Orendain needs to reappear. He can’t just save her because he is a good guy or he feels bad.

I would cut the color changing eyes because they don’t serve the story. They are cool, I get it, but they aren’t even mentioned after a certain point.

I would also be careful about how much magic is used. Any of the creatures Tagon creates or befriends could easily be created or befriended by Evzen, so that argument still stands. Evzen could easily study dark magic. All the ash warriors and the smoke monster stuff just seemed extraneous, in a way. Maybe they are explained in the sequel I assume you are writing/have written, but that was my thought.


So that was a lot. If you read this far, I hope you don’t hate me. I know I can be overzealous in my editing. On the chance you like what I have to say, I’d be happy to read revisions.

Good luck

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Kennedy Vega on Dec. 27, 2017, 11:06 p.m. said:

Kennedy Vega

Ohmygoodness Mia you are seriously an angel sent from heaven! I can not thank you enough for the time you have taken to give your in depth feedback. I must confess I have felt uncertain about elements in my story, but I feel like your feedback has really helped me take a step back and re-examine my plot. Again you are so freaking amazing!! Thank you thank you!!!

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Stephanie Joanna on Dec. 23, 2017, 4:58 p.m. said:

Stephanie Joanna

The pacing is a little slow, and I'm having a hard time actually caring about any of the characters since the perspective has been switching so much.

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