@writelikeyourerunningoutoftime @TryToDoItWrite Here it is!
I can't hear love 'cause we're at war
And revenge is so loud and the drums are so proud
But oh, I'm in a cage and I hear mercy say "I'm here now"
And it's the only way out. - Andra Day _______
The tale of the entangled fates of houses Deracose and Seblire began with the very conception of the fair country of Darion. Many families, chased out of their homelands by the Kicrion invaders of the North came together in solidarity. Twelve noble houses from these families came together to create a government dedicated to the preservation and cooperation of their cultures. For decades, the Pravaci Court, as they came to be called, ruled the fertile region from the capital city of Estonie with a firm and fair hand. Over time, the structure of power shifted and the Deracose and Seblires rose to the top, ruling as a diarchy. All was well. But, there is always an until and that is where we begin our story.
The Uradavi matriarch tired of watching the houses follow the orders of the ruling families without question and devised a plot to depose of them. In 354 AE Marielle Deracose was with child, just as Eline Seblire was close to bearing twins. Straivia Uradavi, as the oldest matriarch of the families, has overseen the pregnancies of all Pravaci Court Women for the past 4 decades.
On the night before the twins were to be born, Straivia gave the young Marielle a sleeping draught mixed with her tea. While Marielle was sleeping, Straivia had her eldest son sacrifice a ram, he watched as she collected its fresh blood and then poured it between the legs of the young queen. When she awoke from her slumber, nauseous and lightheaded from the draught, she could feel that something was not right. Confused her hand went to cup her barely showing belly and came away with blood. Her screams of sorrow washed through the castle, sending the guards and her husband running to her chambers. Even Eline, heavy in her pregnancy tried to go to her friend.
Jerlorn burst through the doors, sword drawn ready to defend his wife and slaughter any would be assassins, only to find Marielle weeping in bloodstained sheets. He went to her, the angry scowl slipping from his face, replaced by a visage of mourning. He pulled her to him, murmuring that they would try again, that all was not lost. But the raven-haired beauty was broken hearted. She quieted, and all around her could see that this was worse. Jerlorn enveloped her, as if to shield her from the world. With her knees under her chin, she looked like a child, dwarfed by her husband. But there was no mirth, no light, no life in her eyes. She saw nothing and felt nothing. A black hole took root within her heart, sucking away the room that she built for her unborn child. It threatened to devour all of her.
Straivia, after making sure that Eline Seblire stayed in her bed, went to shoo Marielle’s loved ones from her. Marielle reached out and took Straivia’s wrist with the strength of Death. “Will…” she breathed. Straivia patted her hand and consoled her, “Of course child. The sun will return.” She drew up a bath for the Deracose Queen and bade her to soak in the water while she brushed her hair. Dosing her again with a sleeping draught, Straivia, put the poor woman to bed and instructed no one to disturb her. She then left with her leather bag of herbs and instruments, no one noticing that the Queen’s gilded brush and ceremonial dagger had vanished.
It was not soon afterwards that Eline went into labor, Straivia ordered the city women under her about with how to proceed as she kept a watchful eye over her charge. After many hours, the Seblire Queen gave birth to two healthy boys, happy to be a part of the world. The women worked quickly to clean up the exhausted queen so that they could hurry back to their own homes and children. King Solin, who had been pacing the chambers anxiously, especially after consoling his friend King Jerlorn. His fears were quickly assuaged when he was able to look at his sons, as radiant as the Sun and Moon, suckling at their mother’s breasts. Straivia soon sent the happy father away, insisting that the queen and her sons rest. Reluctantly, the king and the guards left the shared maternity chambers of the queens.
Again, they were summoned, this time by the frantic calls of Straivia. Panting, her cheek cut and fresh blood staining her high collar, she pulled them into a nightmare scene. Eline lying prostrate upon her bed, the handle of Marielle’s dagger protruding from her heart, one newborn wailing at her side and the other nowhere to be found. Straivia, frantically waiving her hands about, was only able to say “Marielle” over and over. The guards burst into Marielle’s chambers to find them empty. She seemed to be gone without a trace except for the open windows.
It seemed to all the land that Marielle, distraught at the loss of her unborn child and driven mad with jealousy for the Queen who had produced two sons, strove to take back what fate had robbed of her. King Solin mobilized his personal guard from Eline’s bed, giving whispered orders to bring back the Mad Queen dead or alive. He lay there for hours, his own queen’s head in his lap, stroking her blond hair and memorizing her face. A terrified nursemaid sat in the corner with the remaining newborn, his father refusing to let him out of his sight. Calling him Strisen after his pale hair and the loss that brought him into the world. On the other side of the ruling castle, King Jerlorn was distraught with the loss of his own child and wife. Knowing his wife to be a docile creature, he was bewildered at the allegations against the Queen. So he sent out his own personal guard to search for her. She was found floating in the river seven months later, her throat slit. Those months pulled at the once unbreakable bond between the two families, the two kings once as close as brothers could not bear to be in the same room. Jerlorn had hoped and prayed that his wife would be found and that she would be able to explain what happened the night Strisen was born. Solin however sunk deeper into himself, a vengeful rage boiling beneath the surface that was only lessened by happy coos of his remaining son. The tension gnawed at the both of them.
When news came back of her death, Jerlorn drew his sword on Solin, roaring about the injustice brought on his beloved wife. Solin wielded his own blade with deadly and heartbroken silence. Both rational men, knowledgeable of the law, fought not for justice, but out of vengeance. That day in the palace square, they fought until they were both bloody and bruised, matched in their skill and talents in combat. They were both dragged off the field, exhausted and permanently scarred.
This sent the two houses and their alliances at each other’s throats – turning the closest of houses into the bitterest of enemies, and thus tearing the city of Estonie apart. Straivia Uradavi, held an emergency meeting with the Pravaci Court urging the families, who had grown content to let the Deracose and Seblire houses rule (so long as they were able to keep their wealth), to elect a regent monarch until the feud could be resolved. She proposed that the remaining ten families put forth a single member so that a vote could be called to determine who would be best suited to guide Estonie out of danger. Of course, when it came to a vote, each family voted for its own representative. All except for house Uradavi. House Uradavi voted for the frail and bookish Lord Reviante of house Bestolin, a man that Straivia had mentored since his birth, another that she herself had overseen. Lord Reviante, a man that would be completely out of his depth and would rely heavily upon her council.
All had gone according to her plan, all except for the loyalties that she placed in her youngest son. Erion was Straivia’s pride and joy. A handsome man, his hands rough from endlessly training with a blade and his mind sharp and witty, far clever than all of his four brothers. He alone was a match for her cunning mind, so she gave him the task of disposing of poor Marielle. She had no idea that the village girl, who had caught the eye of then Prince Jerlorn, had first befriended Erion. In callously asking her son to get rid of his childhood friend and first love, Straivia brought about her own demise. Erion whisked Marielle away from the Maternity Chambers of the castle and took her far into the countryside, to where he had a cottage on a remote wheat farm waiting for them. Rightly so, for when the queen awoke, her screams would have revived the dead. When Erion was finally able to calm her down, he told her everything. In shock, her hands slowly cradled her unborn child, still alive, its small heartbeat masked by its mother’s. Erion swore there and then that he would give his life to protect Marielle and her unborn child. Marielle came to understand that her life had changed forever and the best course of action was to trust him and hope that one day she could return to her husband. Six months later Marielle gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in that cottage by the river. A girl with hair darker than her mother’s, a shade so deep it seemed to rival the vastness of a starless night. They named her Natiselle, hoping that it would bring her luck and courage.
Three weeks later, Erion and rode out to the nearest village a day’s ride away, in search of a wet nurse. He searched for several days and was about to return empty handed to the tired Marielle when he heard a commotion coming from a rundown inn. A huge brute of a man was terrorizing a young waif of a woman, her eyes gaunt and her cheeks sallow. He yelled obscenities and threw dishes in front of her, the glass flying towards her face. “Again, you worthless woman! You eat my food, take my shelter, and yet cannot keep your duties! I have no use for you if you can’t keep a damn thing alive!” Erion burst through the door, thinking only of protecting the woman. He drew his sword on the man ready to run the him through. The man took one look at Erion and said “Take her; I have no use for a defective woman. May you have better luck.” and threw her at Erion.
He shed his coat and draped it around her shoulders, to which she took gratefully. Bowing, she said “Thank you m ’lord. If I had stayed any longer I am sure he would have killed me.”
Erion could not help but ask, “Why did he call you defective? You look to be of sound health, maybe in need of a rest, but otherwise healthy.”
She looked down at her feet as they walked to his horse, “In two years of marriage, I have killed five of his heirs.” She shifted her skirts, “Tonight was the latest.”
Somewhat ashamed at the notion, but desperate to bring home someone who could help Marielle he asked “Forgive me, I have yet to even ask your name and I must ask you the grandest of favors. My wife gave birth a few weeks ago and we had need of a wet nurse. Er… would you be able to help us?” while rubbing at the nape of his neck.
Surprisingly to Erion, the woman broke into a sweet smile that seemed to lift 10 years off her. “I would be most happy to. And my name is Onell.”
Onell, climbed on the back of the stallion that was much to fine for a simple flour miller to have. And they rode the entire day’s journey. On the way, Onell filled the silence with her voice; sometimes singing, other time telling the stories of her homeland: tales of splendor and wise men and women. They did not, however, talk of their pasts. It seemed to be an unspoken rule among them. The words would come when they needed to.
Marielle appeared at the door as soon as she heard them coming, and Onell could not help but be in awe of her. As exhausted as she was, Marille had managed to plait her hair so that it becomingly framed her face while it kept itself out of the way. She moved softly and sweetly, like a spider dancing on her web, precise and graceful. “Oh, thank you. My Starling, as sweet as she is, is insatiable.” She whispered gratefully as she moved aside to let them in. The baby was fast asleep, having just been fed, in her cradle, lovingly made for her by Erion. Smells of a stew wafted through the house from the hearth and worked to welcome in the weary travelers.
Against Marielle’s wishes, for she wanted to start on the laundry in the river, she joined them for dinner. The party of three, merrily, but quietly ate to their heart’s content. Finally, with a basket under her arm the exiled queen made her way to the river. She had no thoughts of the court she had left behind; her mind was only on how good the gentle breeze felt as it caressed her face. The sun shone bright and kissed her cheeks with warmth, for a moment she seemed to panic that she did not have a hat to keep her skin fair and unblemished. Then she realized there was no court here to dissect and criticize her every move. A silver lining… let the sun shine, I am free of the harpies. She thought to herself.
She smiled softly at the possibilities of returning to her humble roots as she began to wash the clothes. Remembering her mother, she hummed a lullaby from her childhood, the words long forgotten, and the melody seemed to float all around her. Marielle was so consumed with her task that she did not hear the soft rustling of footsteps behind her. But Erion saw the figure. He had just finished cleaning after the meal and helping Onell get settled, when he looked out the window to watch Marielle. By the time he grabbed his sword it was too late.
The man wasted no time in the act. He grabbed her braid tightly and gave a mighty yank. He looked down at her blue eyes, as blue as the Strician Ocean, wide with terror and drew his cursed dagger across her exposed neck without a word. A low gurgle replaced the song in her throat, barely audible over the bubbling of the river as she crumpled into it.
Blind with rage, Erion leapt upon the man as if he had been sent by the gods, full of their wrath and all of their might. But the man was skilled with a blade and was not an easy foe. They fought to the cusp of dusk before the man’s hood fell from his face, revealing Caiusen Uradavi, Erion’s oldest brother. Throwing off the guise of a stranger entirely, Caiusen attacked his brother with words along with his sword. “You would betray your own mother for that whore? You would betray our family? Traitor!” Erion had intended to let his mother rule Estonie. He knew of her wisdom and her brutality, she would lead Estonie and its people into an age of prosperity. He had told himself that by saving Marille from her clutches; that would be enough. But in this moment, he realized that his mother had twisted the truth in her own son so badly that Caiusen could no longer see his actions for what they were. That maybe Straivia herself thought her actions were pure, that the death of an innocent was required to bring about the greater good.
“No brother, you are the traitor. You took an oath and it lies broken. This is not something that my love for you can abide.” Erion murmured with a deadly and empty heart. “You took the life of an innocent. You and Mother both. Many more will fall at her hand; it is my fault for permitting it. That is my burden. But, I will not allow you to take anymore.”
“Allow me?” Caiusen roared, predictably enraged. “You do not –” Erion took his brother’s sloppy indignation as an opportunity to drive his sword hilt deep into his brother’s heart. “Yes, brother, this is my battle now. It’s a pity that you were the first to fall.” With a face twisted in rage, Caiusen was able to growl, “Curse you. The blood of brothers will be my vengeance.” before his last breath escaped him.
With the blanket of night upon him, Erion knew there was no way he could hope to find Marille; the river’s current was much too strong for her be within reach. And so, drained of energy, he slowly began to build the pyre for his brother. He was halfway done before he heard the cries of a baby. Suddenly snapped out of the fog of grief for his brother and Marielle, he ran towards the sound. He expected to reach the cottage and find a terrifying scene of more attackers. But the path was different and he came upon a roan mare without a rider, calmly grazing with a screaming saddlebag. He gently opened the bag and found a baby boy almost seven months old with hair as bright as the moon. “Oh Caiusen.” He murmured as he took the missing Seblire boy into his arms.
Erion held the baby close and rode the mare to the cottage. Without thinking of Onell, he opened the door. What he found terrified him first, and then filled him with comfort. She stood in front of Natiselle’s cradle, trying to make herself as large as possible with an axe in her arms. “I saw everything.” She sobbed. “I am so sorry. I, I –.” He gave the baby to Onell. “I will explain everything when I return.”
“Return?” She asked, fear permeating every syllable. “I must go burn my brother.”
When he returned, he tried to peel the now blood encrusted clothes from himself. Onell appeared with a warmed bucket of water and a rag, all of her fear seemingly replaced with steel. “Sit.” He had no energy to argue and was truthfully grateful to forgo through the pain of peeling away his shirt. She began with his hands and slowly worked the shirt away from him, gently removing as much of his brother’s blood as possible. She washed his face and Erion stared blankly through her. But soon the bucket’s water was closer to red than clear. “Get into the bath.” He followed her every demand with compliant silence. She was unabashed with his body as she washed him. They were silent for a bit while she worked, until finally she could not hold back any longer. “Tell me everything. Spare no detail.”
Erion paused for a moment, listening intently to the splash of the water against him. “Marille and I have been close for a long time. I was twelve when we first met; she was carrying water from the well to her house. It should have been much too heavy for her, but she pressed on, refusing to admit that she needed help. I almost had to beg her to let me take it.” His head slumped forward as he looked at his empty hands, worn and callused. “I do not recall why, but I brought her into the palace soon afterwards. Perhaps, I wanted to show off. She met Jerlorn then and it was a sight, seeing her so shy around him. She was usually a spitfire if there ever was one, free and stubborn to a fault. Marielle was so nervous that she tripped over the hem of her skirt and tumbled down some stairs. Jerlorn ran over to her expecting her to be a bawling mess, he had a kerchief ready for tears but found her laughing instead. He told me later that that was when he knew. He loved that she did not need to be perfect, she can find – ah, found joy in everything.”
Onell listened intently as he went on, turning away as he dressed but otherwise, keeping a rapt attention on him. He went on describing happier times up to the joy he had felt when they asked him to be godsfather to their first-born, before Marielle had even begun to show. Then to the utter devastation he felt when his mother told him of her plan. The blood drained from Onell’s cheeks as she began to grasp the weight of Erion’s tale. She could feel its oppressive hand clawing at her heart. No detail was spared; he told her everything to him walking through the door.
“She was the ‘Mad Queen’?” Onell breathed.
“Yes, my mother’s doing.” He sunk into himself. “I should have had the courage to turn her in before all of this. Marille would have been better off if I had just left her to struggle that day by the well.”
Onell took his hands into hers. “Breathe not a word against yourself. You were forced into an impossible position between friendship and family. No mother should ask that of her child, and I feel that if you had spoken out, she would not have hesitated to place the blame on you. And you gave Marielle what sounds like a beautiful life. No one can shoulder all the world’s weight, not even you.”
@writelikeyourerunningoutoftime @TryToDoItWrite Here it is!
The idea behind this is absolutely excellent, and the closer to the end, the better it got. My complaint about the beginning and middle? Very, very exposition-y. Feels like an information dump. Lots of names and dates to remember, like a history book instead of a novel. I'm not sure what the main plotline is, but maybe slow it down at the beginning. Give more detail and less of an overview –maybe cut the history lesson at the beginning altogether until later on when you've convinced the reader to care. It seems like from the beginning until Erion and Marille's story, it's an outsider's look or an overview. However, once you get into the stuff happening with Erion and Marille, it gets really, really, really, seriously good. The dialogue is good, the flow of action is good, the characters are good, but it just takes too long to get there. I recommend writing the beginning over, starting closer to the action, and forgoing the info dump until later on.
That's really my only critique, though. It's very obvious you've thought this out. The world building here is excellent. I love high fantasy like this only when it's written correctly (i'm assuming that's the genre lol) and this is one of those case. Very good job. I want to know more about Erion! Is he the main character?
@writelikeyourerunningoutoftime This warms my heart so much, like seriously thanks a bunch! So here is were I'm struggling - none of these guys are the main characters. Erion does have a major part to play but more as a father/teacher figure with his own motivations. He does develop his own love story with Onell (the nursemaid), but his main purpose is to push his agenda on his adopted children. Natiselle (Marielle's Daughter) and Kraiotan (the baby that Caiusus brings in the saddle bag, who is one of the twins) are the main characters. The main story follows these two, and later Kraio's twin brother (Strisen, who is unaware he even has a twin), as they try and expose Straivia (the midwife) and the corruption within Estonie and return their country to the diarchy (and lesser oligarchy) that it once was. So the little girl you read earlier was Natiselle as she grows up. I guess the real question is should I flesh everything out in the beginning to make it more of a prologue, or should I nest it within the story and have the audience learn the history as the children do? But you're totally right, I think this started as kind of a info dump and (I'm an International Relations major so I'm stuck reading and geeking out over dry documents about state building all day and forget that its actually super boring, lol). Thanks so much for pointing it out!
I think a prologue would be a great idea. Write a prologue, probably from Erion's POV, explaining everything that happened from a closer perspective. And then in Chapter 1 jump to the actual main characters/plotline.
I agree with @writelikeyourerunningoutoftime and even before I read her review to you I was thinking the same thing. I had to re-read the exposition a couple of times to keep the names straight in my head. That whole thing could be a novel in of itself if you took time to unpack it all lol.
Overall, very nice!!! But like was said, speed up a bit. Your style and thoughts are good that it's a pity to miss any of the story that gets pulled under the exposition bog.
A prologue in Erion's POV is a solid idea. :) I'm looking forward to more!
(sorry i took so long whoops)
@TryToDoItWrite @writelikeyourerunningoutoftime You asked and here it is! Tear it apart please :)!
Life is a matter of outlooks. Personally, if not for my wife, mine would have been ‘there is only one constant; life comes and goes’. A jaded sentiment perhaps, but the truth nonetheless. At the very moment I needed her most, she was there, a beacon of light in the darkness. To her a life is measured by the memories of your children. I would never deign to tell her that I like her’s better. You are here, ultimately for the story of our children, but to understand them – you must also hear our twisted tale.
We begin our story in the fair country of Darion. Many families, chased out of their homelands by the Kicrion invaders of the North came together in solidarity. Twelve noble houses from these families came together to create a government dedicated to the preservation and cooperation of their cultures. For decades, the Pravaci Court ruled the fertile region with a firm and fair hand. Over time, the houses tired of the demands of ruling and chose to relinquish parts of their power to the two houses, Deracose and Seblire, who actively enjoyed governance. These two houses, through a unanimous vote rose to the top, and ruled as a diarchy. Each house still presided over their own domains whether it be as patron of the arts or medicine or what have you, however, they all fell under the wise direction of the two king houses.
My family, House Uradavi, is one of the Pravaci Court and my mother acts as the matriarch, overseeing the house and the medical domain. This position gives her the right to act as Head Midwife of the kingdom and Chief Medic, it was up to her to monitor legions of people and ensure their training. But, as my mother would never let us forget, our lives were almost very different. My mother used to take us on trips through Estonie when my brothers and I were children. We would leave the gleaming limestone walls of our manor near the palace, past the clean capital city streets, to the rough outer reaches. From the confines of the carriage, she would narrate what the common citizenry were doing. She would remind us that this was how she spent her childhood. The areas might have changed, but the message was always the same:
Only my actions separate you from them. If I had let life pass me by, we would still be there, in the filth struggling to stay alive. Boys, nothing in life is without struggle. Even the things you were born with can be taken away if you fail to protect yourself. Only through diligence and hard work can you support and ensure your slot in life.
My brothers would all nod solemnly and think of all the wonderful things they had back in their rooms and how they would never want to be without them.
However, when I looked out the carriage window, I did not see men and women throwing their lives away. I saw people working hard to make their lives a little bit better day by day. The sweat on their brows was hard earned and not without benefit. A constant I saw among all of them was that there was a look of determination about all them. There was an air about them did not touch the noble men and women of the palace and Pravaci Court. The work may have looked humble, but there was pride in them. The swordsmith at his bellows, the fishmonger hawking his wares, and the baker kneading her dough – they all fascinated me in a way the tittering nobles never had.
Mother tried to take us at least once a season perhaps to reinforce that no matter the weather, we should be grateful of our station. My brothers would always moan when left for these trips, but I looked forward to them. My family saw poverty, but I saw freedom. Whenever I would return from these trips, I could not help but look out the window and wonder if the bricklayer had finished the wall yet or if the girl selling potatoes had made enough for the day. Sometimes the other Pravaci children would ask me about the outside world, but most were content to stay within their bubbles of luxury. However, without fail, Prince Jerlorn and Prince Solin would always hungrily grilled me for more.
“Where did you go this time Erion?” Solin would ask – eyes as big as saucers. I would revel in being the center of attention for a moment before Jerlorn would grow impatient and pretend to leave. “Wait, wait! I’ll tell you…” I would pause for dramatic effect and then go in depth in the new things I had seen.
Soon, it was not enough to just watch the world from the carriage window. So when I was eleven I made a plan to see the city on my own. After weeks of preparation, I snuck out of the Pravaci district one afternoon after my lessons were over. I changed into my oldest and muted clothing, devoid of my house color, that I had stashed under a rock just outside the palace gates. After making sure the knife I had stolen from the palace kitchen was in my pocket, I set out for adventure. That first day I did not get very far before I realized that I would need a better mode of transportation than my feet.
That first afternoon, when I came back I was so scared of being caught that I snuck in through the servant’s entrance. Instantly, I was amazed at the chaos. Laundry Maids whisked by with baskets full of clean and dirty linens and footmen yelled at each other with trays full of cutlery. But what interested me most were the smells of the kitchen. It wasn’t until the scent of the fresh food hit me that I realized how ravenous I truly was. With my nose in the air, I found the kitchen and slipped inside. Immediately afterwards, I wished I had stayed outside. The bustle and pace that everyone moved almost knocked me off my feet. The kitchen maids scampered around busily chopping and stirring under the bellowed directions of the cook. I had thought the streets of Estonie were busy, but they had nothing on the kitchens.
I must have stood there in amazement for a full minute before I was pulled out of my stupor by a tiny hand. “Move dummy or you’re going to get caught!” she said as she gave my sleeve a mighty yank. “Follow me.” And the little blond girl slipped around a corner. With no better plan, I followed her as she scampered up a staircase to a balcony that overlooked the culinary chaos below. She sat down with her little legs dangling between the iron bars of the balcony railing and looked up at me as if to ask why I had not joined her yet. It looked like this was a well-frequented spot for her, there was a basket full of cookies and a jug of what I assumed was juice next to her.
She offered me a cookie as I sat down and turned back to watch the kitchen below. “You are in the classes below me, right? You are one of the Camile girls!”
She shot me a look and scoffed. “Obviously,” gesturing to her amethyst hairpin. “I guess you’re just another dumb Uradavi, huh?”
My face burned and I gaped at her for a second. How could someone be so mean and nice in the space of a minute? “I’m not dumb! I was just trying to make conversation.”
“Not very well.” She mumbled through a mouthful of cookie.
I truly did not know what to say and to give myself a moment I took a bite. The warm chocolate melted in my mouth and despite how foul this little girl was; nothing was wrong in the world. “Can we start over?” I asked, offering her my hand. “I’m Erion, it’s nice to meet you.”
She just looked at me for a beat before gingerly shaking my hand, “I’m Eline.”
“So how did you manage all this?” I asked.
Her brow furrowed, “manage what?”
“This, the food, the juice, your own little spot?” I gestured to her little basket.
“Oh, the cook caught me stealing snacks and told me that if I wanted food I was going to work for it. So, I suggested being a taste tester. I think he just thought I was cute, but everyday there is a basket of new sweets and at the end of the day, I tell him what I think. I just like to come up here and watch them while I do my schoolwork.”
“Wait your house is in charge of education and they still make you do your work?” My eyes were on the very of popping out of my head.
“I thought we were past asking dumb questions.” She said while lifting one eyebrow, looking professorial.
“Dumb is your favorite word isn’t it?” I grumbled.
“Dumb is simple and to the point, but my favorite word is precocious. It means to be smart earlier than other children.” Eline lifted rolled her shoulders back and gave me a pointed look.
“I know what that means. It was one of our words a few months ago.” I stuffed the rest of the cookie in my mouth. “Has anyone told you that you’re pretty mean?”
To my surprise, Eline’s cheeks grew red and she could not meet my eyes. “Yeah, I’m not really good with people. I need to work on it, I just like books better.”
“I’ll make a deal with you. Let me join you and I’ll help you be nicer.” I said as my stomach growled loudly. If I could not get to the outer reaches, this would have to be good enough.
She giggled and handed me another cookie. “I cannot really stop you, but sure. I can never finish these anyways.”
And so, for the next month I sat with Eline after classes with an assortment of sweets, some better than others, and soon we were fast friends. One day, while we were talking about how Eline had managed to offer advice nicely when I saw a man push a wheelbarrow out the door. “Eline, where does that man go every day?” She leaned over to look at him closer. “That’s Geraln; he goes out to the market to get fresh food, like fish, beef, and vegetables.”
The wheels began to turn in my head. “And he also has to get back before dinner, right?”
She rolled her eyes “You’re asking dumb questions again….”
I jumped up, grabbed the day’s jug of juice, and replied, “You’re being rude again.”
“Hey! Where are you off too?” She called after me as I flew down the stairs.
I snuck behind Geraln and his cart, careful that no one but Eline followed. He stowed the wheelbarrow in a covered, mule pulled wagon and after closing up the back and lowering the tarp, he moved to ready the mule. It was now or never.
Eline finally caught up to me as I was climbing over the gate at the back of the wagon. “Where are you going?” she hissed at me, “Erion!”
With what must have been the most mischievous of grins, I gave her a wave and pulled the tarp closed. The cart began to roll forward and I was off to what I was sure was the beginning of a life of adventure.
I hid next to the wheelbarrow and I tried to stay awake, I really did, but the darkness and the sway of the wagon sent me to one of the deepest sleeps of my young life. I did not wake up until I found Geraln nudging me with his foot.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he asked.
I looked up at him sheepishly and offered him the jug of juice, grape today, and explained, “I wanted to go exploring but I needed a ride who would come back before dinner. Sorry. Take this as payment?”
Surprisingly, Geraln guffawed and took the jug. “Well aren’t yah a clever one. Be ma guest, but be back before the bell tolls 4 times, or else I’ll leave yah.” I was so happy that I threw my arms around his waist before scampering out of the cart.
I had been here before, but it was so much more exhilarating to be in the thick of the crowd. Everyone was selling something and the smells of the market overwhelmed my senses, the spiciness of cinnamon mixed with the brine of salt water and the tang of citrus and the sweet smell of strawberries. I wandered around market until it started to lead towards dwellings. I looked at all of the stone houses, sturdy, simple, and unadorned and could not help but feel at ease. Barely into the neighborhood, I found a well and suddenly I became aware of how thirsty I was. I ran to it but realized that the water was far below and I did not know how to bring it up.
“You having trouble there?” asked a soft voice behind me.
I whirled around and found the prettiest girl I had ever seen before.. “Uh whaa?” I said, very intelligently, lost in the depths of her Strician blue eyes.
The girl smiled and gestured at the well. “You forgot your bucket, would you like some help?”
It was too much to look at her. I kicked a pebble with my boot and mumbled something like, “Yes please, no one has ever shown me how to use a well.”
She gave me a funny look and smiled pityingly at me. The absurdity of it, this common girl pitying me! A Pravaci child! “First you need a bucket and you hook it into the pulley like this.” And she went through the steps of drawing water. She unhooked a little cup from her belt and offered me some water once she had pulled up the bucket.
I guzzled it down and was shocked with how refreshing it was. “I understand now, can I try?”
She handed me the bucket and said, “be my guest.”
All went smoothly until I had to pull the water back up. I would like to consider myself one of the best at swordplay of my year, I regularly bested my older brothers – but this… this was heavy. It took all my effort to not huff and puff as I pulled up the now full bucket. She had struggled a little but, I thought that it was just because she was so slight. I set it down with a thud and looked at her with a new light.
“Thank you, now I really must be going.” The girl said as she picked up the handles of both buckets and began to waddle towards her home, her thick black braid swinging behind her.
“Wait! I do not even know your name.” I said jumping after her.
“Marielle, you?” She huffed as she stepped.
She stopped in her tracks. “As in Erion Uradavi?”
I puffed out my chest a little, “You’ve heard of me?”
She set down both buckets and genuflected “Of course my Lord, I am so sorry I didn’t recognize you earlier. I would never have made you draw the water if I had known!”
I scrambled to pull her to her feet. “Stop that! I’m nobody.”
“But – ”.
“Does it make you feel better if I forbid you from calling me that or bowing?”
She seemed to consider that for a moment, “Well if I really can say anything?”
I nodded my head so vigorously that it could have flown off.
“I don’t care to be forbidden from anything. But thank you for being kind.”
My face burned a little, “Sorry.”
She moved to pick up both of the buckets again but I cried “Wait, let me help you.”
“Oh no, I could never. And I’ve got it. I can do it.” She said with a determined look.
“Oh I know that you can, but I feel rude just watching you and I want to say thank you for the water. Please? Don’t make me beg.”
Marielle gave her lip a little nibble and finally gave me a bucket. We walked towards her home and I asked her about herself, she seemed wary at first but she slowly opened up. I learned that she had lived here her entire life with her two sisters, her mother and her grandfather. Her father was out fighting in one of the foreign campaigns. She had just turned eleven and we bonded over finally being in the true double digits; that ten did not really count. We had just reached her door when I heard the bell begin to ring.
“Oh no! I’ll come back tomorrow!” I exclaimed as I set down the bucket and sprinted back towards the market. I reached the market just as the last bell stopped ringing.
Geraln just looked at me with a lifted eyebrow and said “Cuttin it a bit close there, eh?”
I nodded, hands on my knees, trying to catch my breath. He waved me up to sit on the bench beside him, “Come on then.” We made our way back to the palace and I could not help but grin all through dinner.
The next day I came to Eline and my spot to find her angrily tapping her foot. “Have fun did you? You talk a lot about being nice, but that was just pain mean!” she said, jabbing her finger into my chest.
I couldn’t help but grab her hands and jump around. “It was amazing! You have to come this time. I went to the square and met the most wonderful person; you’re going to love her!”
She pulled her hands away and patted her hair down. “I am not sneaking off with you. So many things could have gone wrong. That was a dumb thing to do.”
With a huff I started to move towards the stairs.
“Wait,” she called. I turned and found her holding a new jug. “It’s currant juice and I hate currant juice.”
I snuck out like this every day after our classes. I tried to go see Marielle as much as possible but Geraln only went to this particular market once a week and while it was exciting to see different part of the city, I really just wanted to see Marielle again. When we finally did go back to the same market as the first day I went straight to the well and found her there.
“Hi!” I said, bouncing next to her.
She giggled and smiled at me, close lipped and demure, “I was beginning to think you were never coming back.”
I explained what had happened and promised that I would come as often as I could. “I brought you something,” I said as I offered her a cinnamon cookie.
She took a bite and immediately her eyes grew wide. “This is the best thing I have ever eaten in my entire life.” She threw her arms around me and hugged me tightly. Right then and there I promised myself that I always try to make her this happy. I made sure to come back every week. ((Will probably add more dialogue later))
I thought I was so brave and strong, sneaking out on my own. It had not crossed my mind that plain clothes Pravaci guards followed at a distance every time. Maybe a month into out excursions, my mother called me into her work chambers.
She did not even bother to look up from her desk and I was certain that I was about to be spanked within an inch of my life. My fists were clenched so tightly at my sides that my entire body was shaking with the effort to stay still. But she just continued to write in her book as I stood there.
Finally, she broke the silence, “So you snuck out of the district?” When I did not respond she prompted me with “I give you permission to answer.”
“You have been planning this for weeks.”
“After watching their schedule, you snuck out on a servant’s run to the markets.”
“Yes” Each answer was growing closer and closer to a mumble.
“You made sure that you would make it back to the palace in time.”
“Hmm, I was wondering which of you would be the cleverest.” She said, still writing.
“Ye- what?” I was so dumbfounded that I forgot to be terrified.
“I think you heard me. You may go.”
I almost made it out of the room before asked, “Why?” With my hand on the doorframe, I turned to her and was surprised to see her looking at me. “It’s interesting mother. I like watching them while they work.” She seemed to find this answer acceptable and waved me away, I was all too happy to run off before she changed her mind again.
A week later, on the day of rest, our manservant, Kornime escorted me to our courtyard where a little cart and donkey was waiting with a white bow tied around its neck. “From your mother, she said to make sure to tell you that ‘Cleverness will always be rewarded. Use your freedom wisely.’” I cautiously approached the animal and offered him my palm to sniff. He lipped at my fingers and finding nothing, he gave a snort and looked at me with a mild consideration. Kornime gave me a quick lesson in how to use the cart and immediately I was off! I knew exactly where I was going to go first.
“Can I speak to Eline please?” I asked the Camile maid who had opened the door.
Before she could say anything I could hear “What do you want Erion?” and Eline came to the door.
The maid disappeared and it was just the two of us. “Look at what my mother gave me! We can go wherever we want now! Come with me.”
She looked at me hard and after what felt like eternity; she nodded, “But only to keep you out of trouble.”
Yoooo! This is good! it flows very well I think, and the introduciton at the beginning is solid. The only over arching fault I can find with this is that it is very lengthy for a prologue and while it is amazing and gets the reader deeply invested into how these peoples lives turn out, it promised at the very beginning to get the reader invested into their children's story. If it were me writing it, I would cut only to the parts of the introduciton of the world as a whole and the main point of the thing, i.e. Erion and Eline's story of their romance and marriage and the set up to the story to come. I may not be understanding the point of this, but from what I understand this is not the main story but the introduction.
But that's all up to you.
On the grammatical side:
One thing I noticed is that sometimes you forget to indent for new speakers. You end up with paragraphs that look like a block, and the different speakers are hard to follow. Also, don't forget to use commas with speaker tags and periods with complete sentences.
For example, your little bit here:
“Wait! I do not even know your name.”I said jumping after her. “Marielle, you?” She huffed as she stepped. “I’m Erion.” She stopped in her tracks. “As in Erion Uradavi?” I puffed out my chest a little, “You’ve heard of me?” She set down both buckets and genuflected “Of course my Lord, I am so sorry I didn’t recognize you earlier. I would never have made you draw the water if I had known!” I scrambled to pull her to her feet. “Stop that! I’m nobody.” “But – ”. “Does it make you feel better if I forbid you from calling me that or bowing?”
“Wait! I do not even know your name(comma here)” I said jumping after her.
“Marielle, you?” She huffed as she stepped.
She stopped in her tracks. “As in Erion Uradavi?”
I puffed out my chest a little, “You’ve heard of me?”
She set down both buckets and genuflected(period here, cause it's a complete thought) “Of course my Lord, I am so sorry I didn’t recognize you earlier. I would never have made you draw the water if I had known!”
I scrambled to pull her to her feet. “Stop that! I’m nobody.”
“But – ”(you don't need a period here)
“Does it make you feel better if I forbid you from calling me that or bowing?”
Also, the sentence that said:
She rolled her eyes “You’re asking dumb questions again….”
The ellipses (the three dots) is a grammatical punctuation used to show that something is being left out of the sentence. I think that you were trying to show that she trailed off her sentence or drew out the last word using the dots, and that would be fine if it was more casual writing (like texting, i do that a lot in texting) but in narrative style writing you would do better to describe it with words.
Random example I made up:
"Sure…" she said sarcastically.
"Sure," she said, drawing the word out in a long, sarcastic tone.
But the little grammar mistakes in generally don't draw me away from the story! I thought it was entertaining and drew me into the story and into the characters. I can understand the motivations and thoughts of all and they aren't all the same! It's so good! (cause that's very difficult and writing is much harder than it seems)
The only thing I would be wary of is spending so much time developing this introduction, this prologue, that you forget your end goal and end up disappointing or confusing readers who got so into the characters that end up not being a main part of your story.
But I have no clue what you're doing with this. It's ultimately up to you, the creator, cause I, the reader, am ignorant to your plans.
It's awesome! Keep it up!
I ageee with @TryToDoItWrite. This is so good! Do be careful of the dialogue mistakes mentioned above–no one wants to read a confusing mass of dialogue. Otherwise, I like the imagery a lot. You are very skilled with descriptions and the world you're creating is absolutely bursting with life. I think this is a very gripping beginning and has the potential to be amazing! Good job.
OMG thanks SOOO much! I have a lot of trouble with dialogue (mostly I just grow impatient and forget about formatting). So here is the thing, I think my poor brain heard Prologue and said Prequel, the people want a prequel and now characters that never really had motivations are very real. Like Eline was not supposed to be snarky, and holy shit is she snarky and everything I wish I was as a little girl. And @TryToDoItWrite usually, that is what I try and do but now all of these characters are dancing around being annoying so I think for my sanity's sake that it demands to be written, maybe to make Erion's story that much more tragic…idk. And just a point of glee for me is that Erion doesn't end up marrying either of them. So here is my line of thought… basically Eline is the queen who has twins and is stabbed in the heart by Stravia (Erion's mother) and Marielle is the queen who gets stolen away by Erion (who he has been in love with since childhood). (It's going to get dark and twisted for him bc of his initial loyalty to his mother, he basically stands by and allows the death of one of his best friends, effectively choosing the object of his one sided love (who is also just as good of friends as Eline is but still) over her). But yeah… they both end up dead at like 21/22.
His wife is actually the woman who comes in near the end of the first post, Onell, the wet nurse who can't have kids. (She's actually a super interesting character as well, she was caught by slavers in on of the neighboring kingdoms and may have something to do with coming wars, wags eyebrows). After the death of two of his childhood friends, she comes in (literally right before Marielle dies) and the effective exile from his other two best friends (the two queen's husbands) and keeps him from falling down a precipice of despair. So I guess where I'm going with this is a fully developed prequel that ends with the deaths. Another pang for Erion is that Natiselle (Marielle's daughter that Erion and Onell (raise along with one of Eline's sons)) looks very similar to Marielle.
@writelikeyourerunningoutoftime Thanks so much for the imagery kudos, I'm always kind of wary of having too much and word vomiting all over the page. I would love the both of y'all's thoughts on the storline.
Thanks again guys! Each time after I post something, I can't wait until I see that little 1 pop up next to the discussions tab.
Dude I'm down for a prequel. I only wanted to help point out that this is a very long and detailed prologue. Heck, you can make this book one and the next the sequel about the kids. Keep it up! I'm very interested :))))
So, here is an except from the original storyline since I don't have the time to write something new. I'm sorry in advance.
Natiselle – There was so much blood. It ran from the wound in his chest, blooming like a vengeful lily on his shirt. He hadn’t shaved, his cheeks were rough against my palm. It was sticky and hot. And bright. It continued to bloom through my fingers.
“Papa?” I whispered, “Papa, stop it.”
His eyes, so different from mine or Kraiotan’s, seemed to pierce right through me, seeing me and seeing past me. “Nati, you know that I am not…” red drops flew from his mouth as he coughed, wincing.
“Shhh, you are my Papa. Mine and Kraio’s.”
For a moment a corner of his mouth, now dribbling blood, seemed to twitch. “I love you both… as if you were… mine.” And with one last shudder, his eyes became fixed.
Kraiotan – I heard her faintly at first, I don’t know if it became louder as I drew nearer to her, or because she grew louder. “Papa!” “Papa!” “Pa –!” She hadn’t called him that since we had been told the truth. The steps flew by, I cannot remember how many there were, only that there seemed to be too many and not enough. The heavy wooden door seemed to absorb most of her wails, when I threw it open the full force was like a shock wave. I do not remember my saber falling from my hand nor do I remember sliding down the side of the filthy cell. But I will never forget the sight of Natiselle. It seemed as if she was no longer in control.
“Nati?” I whispered. She either ignored me or couldn’t hear me over the sound of herself.
Nati held him to her chest, “Papa.” Their bodies shook with every breath that she managed to take. Eventually she quieted, nothing left but her heart breaking sobs.
I remember moving, but I cannot recall making the decision to do so. “Nati,” I placed my hand on her shoulder “we have to go now.” She managed to look up at me, her face puffy and swollen, drained of any remaining energy.
“Kraio, I…” she looked so tired “I don’t know what to do.”
He looked so small now, like the shell of a man. He was no longer the man who used to tease Nati with me, the man who taught me how to whistle, or the man who taught me how to fish. He was a graying shadow of himself.
“Erion taught us better, we have to go.”
She turned to look at him, moving as slow as syrup. “But –”
“Get up!” I snapped. She visibly jumped. I grabbed her elbow and yanked her onto her feet; she did not fight me as I pulled her to the door.
“I can not,” she whispered.
“What do you mean, you –” and then I saw it. It seems the bastard had gotten her too. The blood on her dress was spreading too fast for it to be Erion’s. She crumpled into me; a hand on her waist, trying and failing to keep pressure on the wound. It was only when I carried Natiselle that she seemed small.
Woah. Dang. Heavy stuff.
From what it looks like, you have a clear plot and character arc outline in your head and it shows in the writing. That's super awesome!
The only critique item I can see is the very quick POV jump from character to character. POV jumping is fine when the reader is ready for it (ex: end of chapter, end of part one, that sort of thing) but in the middle of an action scene it can get confusing and take the reader out of the intense scene. Find a way to keep it all one character at least for this scene. Show what the other character is thinking through their actions if you can't have it in their POV.
If I was editing your scene I would keep it all the POV of Kraiotan? The thoughts of Natiselle are very clearly portrayed in her screaming and sobbing and dialog.
Anyways, tho, good scene! Keep it up!
Yup I agree, one POV would be better. This is a really good scene!! Very emotional and well written. No critiques here except the POV thing. Good job :3
Hey y'all! If you guys had spring break I hope it was great! LMK what y'all think!
“No. Death is too kind.” More than any other words, these ones haunted me most. I had tried so hard to forget her rotting away in that tower. The same room where Erion breathed his last. The room where I drove my sword, hit deep into Lorias’ () throat.
I had vowed to never enter that cursed chamber again. Yet I found myself climbing the steps towards my nightmare. After what felt like a lifetime, I arrived at the massive oak door and with a wave bade my guards to open the door. The smell hit me like a battering ram, so repugnant that I reached out to the wall to steady myself. It smelled of a battlefield left to the sun, of dried blood and the release before death. It was smaller than I remember.
The stone walls were still filthy and the sole window at the top of the high ceiling still seemed to mock us. It was close enough to let occupants see the light of day but too far to even dream of reaching it. Condensation dribbled down the walls.
I tried to reconcile with myself that I had been kind. A maid was ordered to come by twice a day to feed the wretch and change the chamber pot. She was given a clean gown twice a year, her son’s birth and death days. But standing here, I faltered.
“So … the day has finally come. Welcome to my little kingdom.” She croaked from the shadows.
My eyes adjusted and I could just make her out. She sat there leaning against wall, her face tilted up in defiance, even now. Her hair was a wild halo of grey and her once plump skin had shrunk back, leaving her noble face looking like broken leather.
“Have you come to gloat? To see what three years has done to me?”
My soul stood divided; part of me wanted her dead as much as I had that day in the square, the other wanted to beg for forgiveness at throwing her to these conditions. “No,” to my surprise, my own voice refused to shake, “I come to ask for your help. Estonie asks for your help.”
ohmyword. the last sentence!! I'm intrigued!!
the only two things I have are very very picky and some people wouldn't bother with them
One: cut it into shorter paragraphs for easier reading. an example would be after the sentence ending with "bade my guards to open the door." I'd end the paragraph. it shows the transition to a new place and emphases that first sentence (which is a nice sentence, i like that sentence) I'm a believer in paragraph cuts and I have lots and lots of one word paragraphs. you don't have to go that far with it, I'd say just cut it up a bit for the reader's eyes
Two: I paused and reread the sentence: "Condensation dribbled down the walls and I was left to wonder if it helped or detracted from the miserable conditions." because it didn't make a lot of sense to me. Why would water dripping down the wall ever help it feel or look better? I'd cut it to "Condensation dribbled down the walls." you don't have to give any commentary. it's just an image and the reader is left to add it to the whole picture of the miserable conditions.
But that was it!! it was a really smooth read overall and I really enjoyed it! keep it up and keep it coming ;)
I agree with cutting it into paragraphs. That huge chunk of writing is a bit hard on the eyes. Another thing I noticed is that you use a few unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, and a few descriptive phrases, which kind of bog down the writing. An example: Yet I found myself climbing the infernal steps towards my nightmare. I would cut infernal from the sentence. It's nitpicky I know, but it feels so stilted. Don't tell us the steps are infernal. Chances are the reader can figure it out from the narrators reaction to the stairs. You don't repeat the mistake very often, but just a tip since I can't find anything else to critique! It's really very good. I loved the description of the smell of the room. That was quite effective. Idk. Overall it was just great.
As always I love y’all’s critiques! Here is the current dilemma… @writelikeyourerunningoutoftime I think you called it “high fantasy” and that just made my heart sing and I want to be in that genre but, my mind can’t think up a complex system of magic, so I have really tried to stay FAR FAR away from magic. But I’m playing with the idea of “crones” who have extensive knowledge in hallucinogens and herbs… So I wrote this little scene between Natiselle and her mother’s ghost that is maybe drug induced? But I’m reluctant to include it at all. Thoughts?
She seemed to sit on the bench, hands demurely folded in her lap, looking for all the world like the queen she was. She was dressed simply, likely in the frock she was murdered in, with her hair plaited neatly around her head. If not for the unearthly glow and her translucence, you would have thought she sat there the same as any living being.
When she saw me, she stood up and flew to me with her arms outstretched. Her fingers stopped just short of my face and her smile faltered. “Oh my Nightingale, how you’ve grown. I would love nothing more than to hold you again. Spin for me, you look so lovely and strong!” I was grateful for an order because all the thoughts of what I would say to her had fled. I turned and let her have the full view of me. Muddy boots, torn trousers, frayed blouse and all.
If a ghost’s eyes could shine, hers did. “I’m so sorry my child. I’m so sorry for leaving you.” I moved to console her without thinking and my hand passed through her arm. It was like plunging your fist into an icy bucket in the middle of winter, so cold that it burned. It was all I could do to not yelp. If possible, she looked even more mournful at my pain.
“You have nothing to be sorry for. Erion told me about the love you had for me.”
At his name, she smiled and chuckled, shaking her head. It was a bubbly sound, light and full of joy despite her sad visage. “That silly man, what would we have done without him?” She looked almost regretful now, ashamed. “Did he ever…find someone,” she took a breath and I couldn’t help but wonder if she actually needed it “who could return his love?”
“He did, he married a Lianian woman named Onell who – ”
“The wetnurse? She was Lianian?” She trailed off, looking to something in the distance. “Natiselle listen to me, things are not as they seem. Lian is…” She seemed to be choosing her words carefully “Lian is malleable.”
“Mother, can you give me more? I do not understand.” She tucked a ghostly wisp of hair behind her ear and looked at me again with guilt. “I am sorry, there are rules. I try to say more and my tongue grows heavy. Somethings the universe, or the gods, or someone does not want said.”
I ran a hand through my hair; this was not what I had hoped for. I wanted concrete answers. “May I ask you something?”
“Of course child, that is the duty of a mother – to prepare her children for the world.”
“What do I do about that Straivia Uradavi?” It felt like all the air was pulled out of the room at the mention of her name. My mother’s face twisted in rage into something almost unrecognizable and she transformed before my eyes. She truly looked like the wraiths of the old tales. Her skin became shrunken and her mouth stretched into a gaping maw, her hands morphed into long spindles and her dress clung to her in tatters. Turning away from me, the new creature shrieked and flew about the chamber. A part of me knew it wished me no harm but it still brought dread to the very depths of my soul.
I did not realize I was huddled on the floor until the air returned and I felt a cool breeze against my cheek. “I did not mean to frighten you. Try as I might, I cannot control my rage for the witch.” When I finally found the strength to look up at her, I found her to be as she was before. Beautiful with rosey cheeks, a high nose, and full lips – nothing like the creature she just was. “This much I can tell you. You must end her the way she did us. It is the only way we can be free.”
Woah dang i like this. Writing wise i can't find a single grammatical thing to critique. This is partly because I was flying through it because it was so smooth and easy to read. Nice!
But I'm a little confused about the drug thing though. Isn't this just straight up magic? or is the magic in the herbs?
Thanks! I made sure to split up the dialogue like y'all said! Yeah the drug thing is my last ditch hope to stay out of magic. Maybe something like the fruit from Black Panther (if you guys havent seen the movie I HIGHLY recommend it) where it sends you into a deep dream like state where the dead are able commune with the living easier? idk? I'm really bad at magical thinking lol.
I'm supposed to be asleep tbh but I had to read this! So good. I like the idea of an ancestral plane like black panther (which, yes, is amazing). It's both magical but a big more grounded than complicated magic systems. I like this a lot. Very smooth and easy reading.
umm *awkward laugh * not that i don't want to help you with your writing but i'm actually uncomfortable with that so i'd rather not. . .
That is A-okay! I’m glad that I asked before hand lol!
ohhh thank goodness lol I was going to reply but I didn't wanna seem like a wimp if @TryToDoItWrite wanted to read it… i'd rather not as well awkward finger guns