Thank you for the comments, especially considering their content. As I say to others, ego stroking is good, and I'll admit, I love to hear I'm great, but it's the negatives that tell you how you can improve yourself, and make the next one even better than it is now. Oh, and thanks for the review topic itself, you're right, I should have thought of that, making a separate one for review and one for the story itself, but then, I had no examples to work with here. Now, I suppose I should respond to the critiques.
Rereading the whole thing, yes, I agree, I think I got a little -ly heavy, but it sets a tone for the characters themselves, and in later chapters I won't have to be quite so heavy with those, as you'll know how they say things and react. Now to your specific critiques
*Opening paragraph --- you have too much crammed into one short paragraph. The opening is a descriptive, which is good for getting the setting, but then you begin introducing the entire world at one time. You conclude with a focus on the foxes. Would be better as two paragraphs, one to set the location and one to introduce the cast.*
As for the opening paragraph...well I don't think there was too much wrong with that. The overview of the forest zooms in on known characters. The overview was basically just to set a feel for the scene, as well as establish a time of day.
*This morning, as with every morning, the clearing was empty. Yet, an odd feeling would have touched any who walked through it. = Illogical. If the place is taboo, who would be walking through it?*
The clearing thing, I say that as a description of it. No one was actually in the clearing, but if they were that's what they would have felt. And also, these are still human based intelligences, and that means the young are likely to be more than a little prideful, and with that in mind it would be no great stretch to say that every once in a while one of the youth would go to the clearing to prove his bravery. Heck, that was going to be a plot point with Rif later.
*This was lucky too, as, the moments bleeding into a tapestry of morning and then into noontime, were interrupted by a blast of air. = I know you are going for suspense, but it comes across as a clunky read. Needs clarification.*
Reading that sentence again, I can see how it might be a bit confusing, as it sets a time change for the scene, where I could have left it out and simply started at noon. However, I feel, again, that it sets a tone to the whole scene.
*The Ferret Village for instance. = A suspense killer, suggest eliminating this sentence
least bit ready of them. = think you mean "ready for them"*
I'll agree with this one. It was a bit of a scope changer, and didn't need to be, so I extracted it, and rereading it twice, I don't see any flow problems with the surrounding paragraphs.
*"Hey Doc, I think your calculations were a bit off. This doesn't look like the lab at all," said a gruff voice, and out of the dust cloud came the owner, a largish man. His bulk would appear to be sheer muscle from a distance, and his walk implied that as well. Getting closer though, one would see that he was what would be considered a modern human. His bulk, while it was muscled for his type of person, was no where near as much as it appeared, a portion of it just being fat. = watch the compound words, such as "nowhere" This is a paragraph that makes the most common mistake any new writer makes. He tells the reader everything at one time instead of showing us.*
I cannot agree with you here, more because you can tell this by the way the person carries their bulk, and thus, looking at Andrew, only as an outline, a viewer would be able to tell this kind of detail. Notice the other details, his hair, his clothes, and his eyes, are given elsewhere. This was only the details one would first notice about him as a shape in a cloud of dust. In the next, as the air clears, are the farther details one would be able to see about the character.
*looking askingly at Doc. = not a word, eliminate "askingly"*
You are correct. The word I was going for was askance, changed.
*Look around you / it looked dark / that looked like = all in one paragraph, needs word variety. Try not to use the same verb or description in the same paragraph, as well as the one before or after.*
You are correct there as well. I've altered it to read appeared and seemed instead, though I felt I was using he word seem/ed there too much for a while.