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Reprisal

by Mirfain26


They took her, stole her from me! This thought pushed me onwards into the very heart of danger. I shifted noiselessly through the trees. I heard a sound and whipped behind the large trunk of a tree that hid my slender frame. Fool. It was only the wind. However, it was wise to be so alert.

The Nightlanders are a sly, cunning kind: masters of night. They could turn into shadows at will since they were half human and half-darkness. They also had such keen hearing, that they could even hear your deepest and darkest thoughts. I was once one of them and I knew their ways, but this mission I set for myself made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. They stole her from me. They snatched her life away! I reminded myself over and over again, harboring the anger that was boiling inside of me. An unwanted flashback replayed for the millionth time in my mind since that day:

My father had left my mother right before she found out that she was pregnant with me. Five years later, the Nightlanders had a new leader, Acerbus, and he declared that one person from each family had to work in the forges. My mother managed to keep me hidden from this new King's terrible power, but she was not as lucky. To make up for the absence of her ex-husband, she had to work in the forges. Over the years, the fires and ashes clouded her lungs and made her ill. Acerbus still forced her to work and it worsened her condition, but would he or his men listen to my pleas? No! As if that was not enough, his men beat her if she did not perform her task the way they wanted it done. She was weak and one day they went too far. They killed her; they gave her too much pain to bear and she lost the will to live.

They took her, stole her from me! That was the final straw. I ran away, vowing vengeance on them. They will pay for what they have done! Many a day later, the people of Aduron found me alone in the woods. I was petrified at first, for they were the ruthless enemies of my kind. But I was just a small child, not yet thirteen, who was lost and alone; they showed compassion and sympathy. They took me in and trained me in their ways. While I could not create nor bend light to my will, I was able to learn how to block my thoughts from the invading minds of the Nightlanders. I may not have been able, nor will ever be able to run as fast as the speed of light, but my running endurance strengthened throughout the years. Their weapons consist of staffs of the sun which I had no such power to wield. So in its place, I received a gleaming dagger from Cielo herself, leader of the Aduron. I trained like an Aduron, thought like an Aduron, became an Aduron. Never before had there been any like me: born of night, learned in light. As much as I trained, however, they would never be able to erase the Nightlander inside me completely. Which is why, as I grew, my lust for revenge intensified.

I have now come of age, ten and seven, at the height of my powers. I snuck out of Domus Lux, the House of Light where the Aduron dwell. I left, hidden from any living eye and against the protests of Cielo, who thought it unwise to seek revenge. "Revenge is dark and cruel." she once told me, "If we are not careful, it can devour us in darkness." Her words rang clearly in my mind. "That is the way of the Nightlander, the barren world you left behind. They feed on revenge, live and breathe it. This is what makes us different from them." She looked straight at me, "Forgive, but never forget."

I knew her words were wise, but I struggled to overcome the conflict inside me. The thirst I felt to justify my mother's death was too strong. I had set out under the cloak of night in a five-day venture until, there it was, the Nightlanders' mighty fortress: Opus Nox. I stared at the familiar stronghold. Memories of blood-curdling screams came rushing back. Seething anger raged through me. I stalked over to the side of the fortress and changed from my human form into my Nightlander shadow form and I drifted up the walls and through the nearest window.

Opus Nox was as silent as the dark clouds in the sky above. Nothing stirred. The moonlight, peeking through the clouds, came through the windows and cast ghastly shadows everywhere, making it easy for me to blend in. "The Nightlanders are loyal to their leader, the king of darkness: Acerbus," I thought to myself as I crept towards his chambers, "They would be lost without him." I transformed back into my human form and took out the same silver dagger Cielo presented to me when I first decided to learn the ways of the Aduron. "Potestas Diem," she called it. "The Power of Day."

I silently entered the master bedroom. Two bodies lay still under the cover, save the gentle rise and fall of their chests. "Two?" I thought. A man with short black hair and dark circles around his eyes that greatly contrasted his rather pale complexion sat straight up and his companion was roused as well. I converted back into a shadow and pressed myself against the wall to hide as I cursed myself for forgetting to shield my thoughts from the Nightlanders' mind powers as the Aduron had taught me.

"Who goes there?" Acerbus asked in a low voice. He lit a single candle which didn't do much to contribute light to the room. "I can see you, Shadow," he hissed as he looked straight at me, "Show yourself!" I emerged into human form with Potestas Diem glinting in my hand. Acerbus stood up out of his bed, scrunched his eyebrows, and squinted his eyes. "Who are you?" he asked.

"I am Laila Atralis, Beauty of the Night! And the cause of your own destruction." I said dangerously. He looked at me. "Atralis? As in Laborella Atralis?" I felt the fury inside me rise as he said my mother's name.

"You tortured her," I growled. "You left bloody scars on her back and never thought twice about it!" My voice was growing louder and fiercer with every word. "You had no right to do what you did!" Acerbus spoke to the other woman in the bed without taking his eyes off me. "Viktoria, dear," the soulless grey eyes of the dark-brown haired woman snapped to Acerbus after they had been glued on me for so long. "Why don't you go get yourself a glass of water? This matter is between me and Atralis." Viktoria slipped out of the bed and slid past me. Once alone, Acerbus stared at me with intense curiosity. I did not like it; my senses stood on edge.

"Laila," he drew my name out in a way that sent shivers up my back. I held my dagger in a position where I could fling it straight at his neck if he made any motion to attack me.

"What is your relation to Laborella?" he asked calmly.

"I was her daughter. Then you ordered your men to kill her!" I screamed at him. Tears welled up in my eyes and my throat became tight. I could feel my lips trembling. Acerbus's face changed drastically from pure curiosity to utter shock. "They killed her?" he asked in a quiet voice. How could he not have known?

"They told me she escaped and ran away," he said half to himself and half in answer to my silent question. His expression was full of bewilderment and he was obviously upset. His dark, black eyes showed me he wasn't bluffing.

"Why should you care?" I snarled.

He stared at me with sad eyes. "She was my wife." I exhaled in disbelief and started breathing heavily; my throat squeezed tight again and confusion flooded my thoughts.

"She told me we had to end our relationship. Things were getting complicated and she said that we should focus on our work and training. I told her we could make it work. I told her I loved her, but she pushed me away. I got angry at her and hit her." Acerbus shook his head as his lips started to quiver. I continued to stare at him incredulously.

"I-I hit her and ran away," he continued. "Years later I returned under a new name and a new appearance. I rose to power and took my place as leader of the Nightlanders. I wanted to make Laborella pay for breaking me spiritually, for in those years after I ran away, anger, hatred, and a never-ending hunger for revenge festered inside me. So, when I gained power, all my anger exploded. Yes, I made the rule that one person from each family must work in the forges as part of my revenge. I also admit to telling my men to torture her, but I never wanted to kill her. I did not realize this until after my men had told me that she ran away, but I still loved her. My resentment disappeared and I finally realized what I had done. I broke down into a crumpled life-form no longer functioning right. I focused all my forces into finding her again. I did this for three years-"

"The Vast Silence." I realized. I overheard the Aduron talking about how the Nightlanders have drawn back after they found me and they stayed away for three years. They called this time of peace "The Vast Silence". No one knew the truth behind why the Nightlanders retreated, but they suspected it was related to my running away somehow.

Acerbus solemnly nodded his head in agreement. "I searched for her for three years until I finally gave up hope. For the past two years, I've had to refocus as the leader of the Nightlanders and start training and building again. But even now, I still send out a handful of riders to search for Laborella in case, by sheer luck, they find her." His eyes grew watery. "I've been hunting for a ghost." he realized as his voice cracked and a lone tear slid down his pale cheeks. "Gone. Gone forever. Dead." More tears filled his eyes. I stood there, confused and fearful of what this meant.

"If...If my mother was your wife, that means you're my-" I choked on the word. Acerbus looked at me with sad, black eyes.

"No," I whispered as I shook my head. "No. No!" I started screaming. I turned back into a shadow and flew out the window. I could feel my father's eyes on me as I left. I changed back into my human form just before my feet hit hit the ground and I started running blindly towards the trees. I kept running, lost and confused, until I tripped on a tree stump and fell. Laying on the ground, I cried hysterically. Tears were streaming down my cheeks. Soon enough, darkness took me.

I awake the next day to find myself in a white, plush bed. My jet-black hair is spread out behind me. The sun shines brightly through the windows and I could hear the birds chirping outside. Cielo, with her golden hair and fair blue eyes, stood at the foot of my bed neither frowning nor smiling. I blinked the sleep out of my tear-dried eyes. Memories of the night before came rushing back. Cielo held up her hand to silence me before I could speak.

"I sent Fortis after you when Bethanie noticed you weren't in your bed early this morning," she said. "Fortis tells me he found you lying on the ground in woods near Opus Nox." I avoided her eyes and remained silent. "Did you find what you were looking for, Laila? Did your revenge satisfy you?" Her voice was calm, but I could tell she was not happy that I pursued my journey in secret.

"No, my Lady," I replied quietly.

The events of last night would change me forever, that much I knew, but for better or worse was yet to remain.


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Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:57 am
TriSARAHtops wrote a review...



Hi there! Here to review as requested!
I love the premise this story is built upon. It seems really original, and you've already shown some great worldbuilding. This is a very original feeling story, and I am honestly intrigued about where you will take it. Nothing felt dry, and although there were some elements that aren't exactly new, you managed to twist themin a great way so that the story was 100 per cent your own. This story has potential to go some really excellent places.

I like your character so far. She is strong but not perfect, and you've given motive to her actions. Everything she does makes sense given what has happened to her, and it seems as though you know Laila very well.

A lot's been pointed out by the others, but I picked up a few quibbles. Forgive me if repeat anything that's already been said.

The Nightlanders are a sly, cunning kind: masters of night

'Are' should be 'were', just to keep everything nice and past tense.

"Revenge is dark and cruel." she once told me,

'Cruel' should be followed by a comma rather than a full stop.

Two bodies lay still under the cover, save the gentle rise and fall of their chest

I'd just reword this to make it a bit clearer for the reader. Try 'Two bodies lay under the covers, still save forcthe rise and fall of their chests.'

"You tortured her," I growled. "You left bloody scars on her back and never thought twice about it!" My voice was growing louder and fiercer with every word. "You had no right to do what you did!" Acerbus spoke to the other woman in the bed without taking his eyes off me. "Viktoria, dear," the soulless grey eyes of the dark-brown haired woman snapped to Acerbus after they had been glued on me for so long. "Why don't you go get yourself a glass of water? This matter is between me and Atralis." 

You should begin a new line for a new person's dialogue. In this case, I'd start a new line between '...what you did!"' and 'Acerbus spoke...'

His dark, black eyes showed me he wasn't bluffing.

If his eyes are black, it kind of goes without saying that they're dark as well.

Years later I returned under a new name and a new appearance. I rose to power and took my place as leader of the Nightlanders. I wanted to make Laborella pay for breaking me spiritually, for in those years after I ran away, anger, hatred, and a never-ending hunger for revenge festered inside me.

Hrrm, this is a bit of an info dump here. Everything that he is saying is important, but you can take a bit more time to get it across, rather than just in a few paragraphs of speech. Maybe have Laila ask him questions to split it up a bit.

I awake the next day to find myself in a white, plush bed. My jet-black hair is spread out behind

You've suddenly gone into the present tense here, so just make sure to keep everything in the past tense.

You've made a great start, and I look forward to seeing where this story goes.




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Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:10 pm
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megsug wrote a review...



Hey Mirfain,
Here as requested~
I skimmed through Magenta's review, but forgive me if I missed something and repeat it.
I'm going to jump in with some critiques, but I have the fun happy stuff at the end.

Nightlanders

Name's kinda cheesy... Why don't Nightlanders get a Latin name like everything else?

They also had such keen hearing, that they could even hear your deepest and darkest thoughts.

You don't need that comma, and I think the that makes the sentence read awkwardly.

ex-husband

Seems like a rather modern term for the tone of your story, and you didn't mention divorce. Maybe you should just say "her coward husband" or... "her fickle husband." I don't really like either of those, but you get the idea.

While I could not create nor bend light to my will,

...Who can do that? The Adurons? Remember, we don't know your cultures as well as you do, so we need you to spell things out for us.

She looked straight at me, "Forgive, but never forget."

Is she criticizing the Nightlanders for this or saying this is what Adurons do?

I was her daughter

o.o I thought she was a he until this moment.

Then you ordered your men to kill her

Uh... He did not. His orders led to his death, but that's not the same thing.

telling my men to torture her

This wasn't mentioned in the beginning...

No one knew the truth behind why the Nightlanders retreated, but they suspected it was related to my running away somehow.

It seems hard to believe that they would assume that since she held no importance to the government.

Towards the end you get a little melodramatic with the dialogue and the actions. You might want to read over that and tone things back a bit.

I feel like you smashed a lot of information into this little short story. It almost has the feel of a summary. There are a lot of things that aren't explained (like why her mother said they needed to end their relationship) and a lot of things that deserve more detail in general. I'm talking about your setting mostly. I think you need to chunk this up a little bit, think out some holes a little more.

All that said this is a fantastic start.

Your ideas are solid, your character is likeable. All you need to do is some tweaking. I wish you luck with that!

If you decide to rewrite it, let me know, I'd be happy to give it another review.
Also, completely unrelated, if you have any questions about the site in general, feel free to ask me a question. I know it can be a little crazy as a newbie on a site this big.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this review feel free to contact me.
I hope to see you around,
Megs~




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Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:27 pm
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Magenta wrote a review...



Hello! You haven't met me before I see because you've just joined! Congratulations for coming to YWS and welcome. I see that you've already submitted a work or two and have done some reviews. I'm glad to see that you are enjoying it here. I haven't been here too long myself, but I'll still offer my assistance if you need anything, though it seems that you're a pro already! ;) Anyway, i'm Magenta and I'm here to do some reviewing for you.

"They took her, stole her from me! " I think that you could use a semicolon here instead of the comma that you've put here. It would make sense, but of course, you can decide which option seems best for your story. Although, I like the beginning of your story. I thaw enough emotion and description but you were able to draw the reader's curiosity which is what you want. You had a well-written exposition because you were able to develop your character while describing the setting.

"They took her life from her! " This seems to be worded a bid oddly, in my opinion. They way that you repeated the word "her" sounded a bit repetitive for the small bit in the sentence. You could say,"They stole her life," or "They'd stolen her life". Something like that.

"Five years later, we, the Nightlanders, had a new leader, Acerbus, and he declared that one person from each family had to work in the forges. " This is grammatically correct, but I feel like there are a lot of commas here. You don't have to change it , but the commas just seemed to be a bit much.
But here," I was petrified, at first, for they were the ruthless enemies of my kind," I don't think that you need the comma before "at first". Punctuation in some places are minor details, but I thought should still point them out. But the story is amazing and it truly makes up for such small mistakes.

Are you using some Latin in here? It seems like the language that is added in parts of the dialogue and story are Latin.

"Which is why, as I grew, my lust for revenge increased." I think that increased is a weaker word than what you need here to make it a powerful and dramatic statement, don't you think?

"I cou;d feel my lips trembling." Just change this typo here.

""They told me she escaped and ran away," he said half to himself and half in answer to my silent question. His expression was full of bewilderment and he was obviously upset. His dark, black eyes showed me he wasn't bluffing.

"Why should you care?" I snarled.

He stared at me with sad eyes. "She was my wife." I exhaled in disbelief and started breathing heavily; my throat squeezed tight again and confusion flooded my thoughts."

Major Plot Twist Ahead!!! Wow, you are a great writer. I love how you were able to do this.

I hope to see some more of your writing. This was truly a great piece. Keep on writing and reviewing. And if you need anything, let me know.

~ Magenta




Mirfain26 says...


Thank you for reviewing this! I'll be sure to make those changes! I appreciate your insight!



Mirfain26 says...


and yes, I am using Latin! I didn't think Spanish would look right. :)



Magenta says...


I think that Latin was the better choice. It sounds so regal, perhaps? I'm not sure a language can be regal, but you know what I mean. ;)



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Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:55 pm
Mirfain26 says...







I can't understand why people are frightened by new ideas. I'm frightened of old ones.
— John Cage