I’ll start with what I enjoyed about your chapter first, Tod. I do like Kai as a character. He’s got real heart and soul, he tries to do what’s right as best he can. The fact that he’d take in Amber and try to protect her, in spite of the people who want her for nefarious purposes. It is part of what compels me to want to know what happens to him (and his friends).
I also enjoy the threatening part of the story. Hastor and his little band of nasties are definitely well-characterized and you did a great job of portraying them and how they treat Kai and Amber. They are indeed a menacing bunch and Kai stands up to them pretty well, all things considered. One thing I want to see more of us how they impinge on his ability to get Amber back home. You set up the journey so that now I’m sure there will be many obstacles on the way. There’s a lot of scope for different directions in the story.
Your writing has definitely improved a lot over the years. I am by no means the best writer on the RP, but I do think that I can see a difference since we both began writing together. I think that has been one reason I keep RPing is to get better and have fun while doing it. It’s good when growth shows up!
There are just a few minor issues I want to point out, Tod. The first one is that you might want to think about different words in sentences that parallel each other. The paragraph starts with “The town began to slowly murmur” and then in the next sentence you have, “the murmur” again. Also “preparing to break their fasts” and “preparing to cast off”. It’s a small thing but changing it up may help to add more variety. There was also a repetition here, “should be done carefully and only under very carefully controlled situations or spaces.”
I’ve also noticed that you use “the young man” an awful lot to describe Kai. Perhaps changing up things by saying “the youth”, the “earnest young man” or “Kai” on occasion would help break that up too.
You are pretty good about not using clichés but there was one in “gotten the green light” that might be replaced by something more interesting. It’s a minor thing but I wanted to comment on it and remind you about it!
All in all I like the direction you’re taking with the story and I am going to enjoy seeing how the tale unfolds as we move forward.