OK, you said to hit you up in the forums...
As much as Matthew wanted to believe otherwise, he was holding one of his own arrows. --- does this work better? There is an order issue in these paragraphs. M goes still with shock, ignoring the cries of his men. Then he has an internal dialogue about the men being his brothers. Then he confirms what his eyes tell him and agrees that the arrows are his. My suggestion was to move the sentence up...first M goes still. Then he confirms the arrow is his. Then he has the internal dialogue in reaction. Does this make sense?
Some of this is style preference, and some is a distancing that I'm finding it hard to explain to you. Almost a neutral narrator coming into play. You do something that I see a lot in R Vaugn's work, where you step back and summarize. (maybe it is easier to see in the work of others.) My version: Tazar stepped onto the dry leaves, moving his toes underneath the crumbling scree to find the solid ground beneath his feet. No one at the nearby fire called an alarm. Your version: Tazar stepped lightly, sure that the leaves were going to betray him to the infidels sitting around that nearby fire. As much as he wanted to believe otherwise, he knew that there was a huge risk of discovery tonight.
In both versions, Tazar is stepping through leaves and trying not to be discovered. In my attempt to imitate your style, there is a lot of preplanning...thought and summarizing that (IMO) detracts from the stress and anxiety of the character. It slows the action. So if I were to use this as an example of the sentence, "Much as M wanted to believe otherwise, he was holding one of his own arrows," then I would turn it around to make it more sensory...more immediate.
Ex: M went still, aware but numb to the cries of outrage around him. The arrow passed to his hand, marked with Geordie's lifeblood smeared down the shaft. It was fletched by a master and banded with M's family colors. (Italics) This isn't a cheap copy. This is my arrow! (end italics) M felt his pulse beating in his forehead as he flushed with anger. (Italics again) Only a handfull have access to my stores and all but Walter are here with me now!
This eliminates the filler words and phrases and sticks to the action. (as much as M wanted to believe otherwise...his eyes confirmed...felt much older than his two and thirty years...he couldn't get his brain to process any questions, implications...) Again, IMO. You and I agree to disagree, so this may be a style issue that I'm not familiar with. However, writing action is one of my strong points, so give it a thought for me?
Matthew felt much older than his two and thirty years. (I have been showing what he was thinking and feeling up to now, that should be enough to allow some showing to get things moving? And I don't really want him to come across as a big wuss either) He isn't a big wuss. Period. See above why I brought up this sentence.
Is the blackguard playing a game? Mocking me? (who is the blackguard? This hasn't been mentioned much prior to this point. I would remember this name.) Thinking back, I realize that the Blackguard has been mentioned before. Oops.
Matthew had serious doubts they would find anything there (again, this is that outside perspective summarizing the implications of a search that hasn't happened yet.)
I'm thinking to make Black John really good at hiding his emotions and thoughts, except to those that knows him really well, so can't really give it a description, only a feeling, and that can't really be described. (This is M seeing BJ's stress. He knows how to read his friend. There would be signs. BJ isn't a Vulcan. He has reactions even if these are only subtle.
They'll have blankets - it's standard equipment. They do travel light and fast - that's why they're not wearing armour .... But they wouldn't leave necessities - and blankets are standard gear for these guys. (Props HAVE to be accounted for. My first experience with this was me having a character throw up into a bucket that was tucked beneath a nearby bed. Someone raged at me, typing, WHERE THE F**K DID THE BUCKET COME FROM? If a prop is going to come into play, it MUST be mentioned before. So the men have to have bedrolls tied to the back of their saddles prior to leaving the keep.
Really? Why would Catherine 'see' a typical cottage interior when the only thing she's worried about is Margery and just being informed Geordie is dead (There is a fine line between staying in someone's head and having the reader navigating a new scene without any description but a fireplace along the wall. I use my neutral narrator to describe the scene at the beginning of most changes. That way, the reader can visualize. Since we've only been in a castle so far, this cottage is unexplored territory and not defined. Honestly, I see four empty stone walls with a fireplace and a clean table with two chairs. That is it. The room is a blank.
Try to eat/ Try to rest for me, would you? (I would skip these sayings. This is just me...the person who talks to people about their dead loved ones all the time...these sayings are more for the person who is trying to comfort rather than the person who is grieving. Just have C guide the mother into the father's arms and give them privacy. That is all you need to do)
Catherine found Matthew in the same spot where they had met earlier that morning. It didn’t seem like the same day they had watched the sunrise together. (suggest adding C's tension earlier. C found M in the same spot where they met earlier that morning. Her shoulders ached with tension, yet another thing different from the idyllic moment less than a day before...to me, C's tension needs to be stated before it can go away. That is why I think of it as an order issue.)
Can't find my breeches (He got led up the stairs and THEN lost his breeches? Or did he lose his breeches before walking up the stairs? The way this is worded, I'm not sure:-) Oh, men who are getting drunk on purpose are usually pretty loud. I'd expect C would know the men were toasting Geordi much earlier because of the noise.