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The Veil - Chapter 9 Part 2

by megsug


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

A/N: I'm not really happy with chapter 9 as a whole, but I'm going to leave it as is now. For this part, I want everyone to know that there is a card game they play. The problem is, I haven't decided what card game they're playing/if I'll be making up a game, so I just sprinkled some random terminology in there. All criticism is welcome. I really despise this chapter right now.

A card table had a prime place in the room which had been the main reason Obi had chosen it. Giving in, he flipped the switch and watched the bulbs in the electric chandelier flicker on. “I suppose the candles were sentimentality. Your father and I used to play cards in here. Of course, that was before lighting was installed.” He freed a deck of cards from his pocket. They were old and tattered, but Obi refused to replace them. A dark red design created a flowering vine overtaking a pagoda. One bloom in the top right hand corner of every card was larger than all of the others, illustrating a flower with three petals, resembling wisteria. He couldn’t remember who had told him that now. One of the women he had known when he was fighting far east in a war that his country wasn’t supposed to have won, he supposed.

Shaking himself out of the dreary mood he could feel himself falling into, he sat down and shuffled the cards. The familiar snap comforted him, and he looked up at Lekan as he dealt.

“These are the cards from years ago when you taught me how to play.” He gave Obi a lopsided grin that was a great deal like his father’s.

Obi’s hand faltered in the deeply engrained habit of efficient dealing. Lekan looked far more like his father at that moment than Obi had ever noticed, his mother’s fair skin and delicate features diluting the dark complexion and strong build Faruhi and Obi had shared. He often thought that it had been lost in Lekan, but it was there. He was hit with a pang of grief he thought he had swept away in the weeks after his brother’s funeral. It had been eradicated as efficiently as it could until he managed to walk around the house without guilt and regret.

“...I beat you every time back then. It’s surprising that you love playing cards as much as you do when you’re so bad at them.”

The moment was broken as Lekan threw a leg over the arm of his chair, something his father would never have done.

Staring at him in a silence a beat longer than comfortable, Obi smiled. “It’s been a while since we played, and you’re not eight anymore.” He set the remaining cards to one side of the table and picked up his hand.

Lekan frowned at his hand. “What does my age have to do with your abilities? I’m fairly sure I’ll come out victorious yet again in this case.”

Keeping his lips still and out of the smirk they wanted to fall into, Obi murmured contemplatively, “Do you want to know why I love playing cards? What’s your bet?”

“Are we betting with real coin or like we used to?” His eyes were bright over his cards.

Rolling his eyes, Obi asked, his voice soft and dry, "Do you have any money to lose?"

"I won't need it. Ah… Four gold pieces. Why do you love cards?"

"A man reveals himself when he plays cards. If you watch closely enough, you can tell any number of things which will be useful later.”

Scoffing, Lekan leaned back in his chair. “I don’t believe you. “

Obi laughed. “Then don’t. I did it several times while I was away. It saved my life a few times.” He looked at his hand one more time and shook his head in disgust. “I’ll give this to you.” Flipping his hand over to show him what he’d had, he waved at Lekan’s cards.

Ignoring him, Lekan raised an eyebrow. “Prove it. What do you see in me and why? I’ll know if you’re full of shit.”

Suppressing a smug smile, Obi raised an eyebrow and studied his nephew, taking in every aspect. “You’re impatient. You bet high and fast. You’re also not completely confident in your skills. Otherwise you would have kept quiet about how good you are. You’re one to mistake cockiness for dominance, so that’s expected, but I suppose that’s cheating since I knew that previously, so I’ll admit that it could be that you’re merely young and don’t know that surprise is a much better intimidator than talk.”

Eyebrows drawn together as they did in the rare times Lekan was intrigued and intellectually involved, his expression reminded Obi that his nephew wasn’t nearly as dull as his actions implied. A little hope bounced in his chest. If Qui’in could teach Lekan all she could in two weeks, Obi could slip in tiny lessons, and Lekan could actually make use of his good sense perhaps there was a chance.

“The longer the game goes on, the more you know?” he asked, his eyes flicking over Obi’s face as if he could glean the answer from that.

Nodding, Obi collected the cards without question, deciding the game was over. Lekan was much more interested than he could have ever hoped, and he didn’t want to push too far the first day. “Fencing is the same way, really. You just can’t take as long to make your observations, or you’re more likely to die.” He shrugged.

Leaning forward again, Lekan rested his chin on his hand. “And you’ve done this with complete strangers?”

“It takes a little practice, but yes.” Though he wasn’t planning to deal again, he shuffled the cards.

“Are you doing this because I’m leaving?”

Obi’s lips flattened, and he banged the cards loudly against the table for no good reason.

“Because, really, like you said, we haven’t talked much since you came back. I remember the house always being happy when you were here.” He fell into a contemplative silence for a short moment before looking up at his uncle who was wondering if he was free of suspicion. “You know, a conversation would have worked just as well.”

The large smile Obi gave him was sincere. “It wouldn’t have lasted as long though, and you wouldn’t have learned something new.” He fingered his deck, rubbing the top right corner fondly.

“I suppose that’s true.” He blinked when his uncle held out the deck. “What are you doing?”

Unable to meet his eye, Obi jerked one shoulder up. “Giving you my cards. It’s served me well, and I want you to have every advantage you can have.”

Taking the deck reverently, Lekan bowed his head a bit. “Thank you. Maybe I can practice, and I’ll see what I can tell about other people.”

Standing up abruptly, Obi stuck his hands in his pockets, a small smile hovering at the corners of his mouth. “Maybe.”


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Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:10 pm
Pretzelstick wrote a review...



Heya sugar, pretzelsing here for another review,I choose to skip some chapters and review this chapter(because this one has 6 short reviews) those other chapters had 6 reviews each.
Anyways,let's begin, shall we?

A card table had a prime place in the room which had been the main reason Obi had chosen it.


It? :?I was confused at what you mean by this, is it "the place of the table" or "the table itself"? I would explain that.

Now there is no definite title of a game here, as you said, you just randomly made up a card game ;). That's creative kind of, but I would suggest that you research different popular card games to make it more realistic. The readers might be able to relate more if you make it a game that they play. Research it now,when you have time, and come back to this and edit it. Google is your friend ;)

One of the women he had known when he was fighting far east in a war that his country wasn’t supposed to have won, he supposed.


Did he suppose that a women told him, or that his country shouldn't have won the war. Which one is it,sugar? You decide and then move that last phrase next to what "thing" he supposed.

He was hit with a pang of grief he thought he had swept away in the weeks after his brother’s funeral.


You used "he" three time and "his" once. I think that you could cross one he out or not repeat yourself so much! Maybe cross out the third he and for the first he put his name:Obi.

“...I beat you every time back then. It’s surprising that you love playing cards as much as you do when you’re so bad at them.”


Do those ellipsis indicate that Lekan was saying something before this, to Obi, but he was so lost in thought? If that's the case, you should make known that Obi snapped out of his daydream and heard Lekan's voice,sugar.

Staring at him ina silence a beat longer than comfortable, Obi smiled.


The first "a" in unecessary,sugar :) I would also put a comma after silence to pause there and make the sentence flow better.

Eyebrows drawn together as they did in the rare times Lekan was intrigued and intellectually involved, his expression reminded Obi that his nephew wasn’t nearly as dull as his actions implied.


I think that you could separate these two sentences, because they don't belong here together.What if you wrote:

pretzelsing wrote:Eyebrows were drawn together as they did in the rare times that Lekan was intrigued and intellectually involved. His expression reminded Obi that his nephew wasn't nearly as dull as his action implied


I just added that "were" after eyebrows and then a period after "involved"

I really liked the last sentence, it was just so in place with the rest of the chapter and summed it up.So if you A/N you wrote that you aren't really happy with this chapter. Hmm,sugar, would you care to explain and pinpoint why exactly you aren't happy with it?Do you feel that something is missing or maybe something needs improvement?Just ask yourself these questions so that you can get to the heart of why you despise this chapter.


Obi seems really wise and observant, but I honestly don't think that the observation was fair game. Obi knows Lekan pretty well(he lives with him, right :?) and so he could observe Lekan from everything that he acts. You could do an example where Obi did it on a complete stranger,sugar.

I like how Lekan was challenged as a person and as a card-player. It shows his pride, but I would like to know, who won? (just curious because I think that you didn't mention this :D)

Anyways,that's it from me sugar. I hope that this review helps and I truly encourage you to keep on writing!

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Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:17 pm
ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Egs!

Shady back with another review for your wonderful story. Hopefully I'll be able to come up with some things that'll be helpful to you. c:

A card table had a prime place in the room which had been the main reason Obi had chosen it.
~ This sentence isn't super clear. The fact that there was a prime place was the reason that Obi had chosen the room to put his card table? Obi chose to play cards in this room because the card table had a prime place? And what do you mean by "prime" anyway? Prominent? Central?

I think another adjective would be clearer there, as well as maybe a very short modifier on the end of your sentence that explains what he chose it for. Like, if he chose it as his card room... or if he chose it as a place for him and Lekan to go bond more? I dunno. I might be making a big deal out of nothing. But as the first sentence of your part of a chapter, I think it could be stronger. :)

his expression reminded Obi that his nephew wasn’t nearly as dull as his actions implied.
~ *smirk*
~ ~ ~

Gosh. Obi is seriously adorable. But you're probably tired of hearing that. I'm getting tired of saying it. xD But I'm not tired of reading him. These interactions seriously make me smile and want to read more. They're very well done. c:

Keep writing!

~Shady 8)




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Sun Jul 27, 2014 10:41 pm
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Noelle wrote a review...



Hi there! Noelle back again for another Review Day review!

I think this chapter is going well. I know that you said that you're not happy with this chapter, but there's always a chapter like that. It's a good chapter I promise you. What I like the most about this chapter is that we get to see more of Obi and Lekan's relationship. Honestly, it's something that has been lacking throughout this novel so far. And it's all for good reason. There really hasn't been any time for Obi to sit down with his nephew and really talk things through. Everything has been moving at such a fast pace. Now there's a chance for things to slow down and time for the two of them to talk things out. Sure Obi is still trying to prepare Lekan for what he has to do when he leaves, but they're still getting quality family time. And this is especially important since in a previous chapter, Obi told Sefu that his main concern was to take care of his nephew first.

So here Lekan finally mentions that he's leaving soon. That's the first time that it's been mentioned since the sentence was given. Honestly, I would've like to see more of a reaction out of the two of them when Lekan mentions it. It's more of just a passing mention. It's not like Lekan feels anxious or Obi's breath catches in his throat because his aims have been figured out. It would've been a nice time to explore your characters's feelings about the current situation.

Another thing good about this chapter is the character development. You've done a great job with it up to this point, but here it's very apparent. It's like you've sat us down at the card table with Lekan and Obi and instructed us to learn about them. I like that. It really shows us some sides of them that we haven't seen yet.

One more thing quickly before I go. After reading though all these chapters, I've realized that you're missing some backstory. Here and there there are snippets of backstory, of Lekan's history. For example, here in this chapter (or maybe it was the previous chapter?) you mention how Laken's dad used to play cards with Obi. That's a nice bit of information for us to have. Now we know just that bit more about Lekan. But I'd like to know more. Maybe there could be a bit more backstory sprinkled in there somewhere as we go along. Of course this would have to be done when you go back and edit since you've already written this much of the story...

Right then, onto the next chapter!

Keep writing!
**Noelle**




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Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:49 am
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Deanie wrote a review...



Hey there Meg~

Happy review day!

I wouldn't know why you don't like this chapter. It seems to live up to your common standard in my opinion. I liked the idea of Obi seeing Lekan's father in him. You did mention a name but it seemed a little thrown in there in my opinion, because you only use it once and continue referring to him as Lekan's father. And, he hasn't been mentioned by name before either. Maybe keep it without a name so we don't get too confused, and besides, I believe I have forgotten it already. If you do want to keep the name, make sure you continuously mention it, so the reader remembers.

I won't be all nitpicky about the card game because you mentioned it already yourself. But I have to say, it was an awesome method for Obi to teach him a mini lessons, and then we've got Qui doing all he can as well. I don't think Lekan realizes how much Obi cares about him, and that is kind of sad. But at least he knows Obi cares somewhat, due to the gift of cards and the bother Obi has gone into to spend time with him.

If Qui’in could teach Lekan all she could in two weeks, Obi could slip in tiny lessons, and Lekan could actually make use of his good sense perhaps there was a chance.


Only nitpick I could find! I suggest putting a comma after the word 'sense' and then after that comma having the small word 'then' in there too, just for the flow of the sentence.

Okay, so Lekan knows he is getting all this attention from Obi just because he is going to b leaving, and no one is sure that he will come back. But how does he feel about this? That his uncle only really wants to get close to him because he might not be there anymore? Is he asking himself why he never bothered before? I know I would, and it would be nice to see thoughts like these swirling around in his head.

I also wondered, is Obi pleased that Lekan has enough sense to figure out his intentions, or more let down that it was so easy to do. If the latter, I think you should have a moment when he thinks about the revolution and feels annoyed that his guard is not up like it once was. Id the case it is the first, maybe mention he smiled with hope that Lekan might make it through this after all, or something similar to this.

Either way, this was not a rubbish chapter. I am going to bunk off and continue reading :)

Deanie x




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Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:30 am
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Snowery wrote a review...



Megsug! Hey! :D It seems that I only review your chapters on review days :/ That has to change.

Main Points

One of the women he had known when he was fighting far east in a war that his country wasn’t supposed to have won


I feel like this was a little wordy to read. I would replace when he was with while[i] just to make it a little smoother and easier to read.

his mother’s fair skin and delicate features diluting the dark
complexion and strong build Faruhi and Obi had shared. He often thought that it had


Fascinating, so there are fair skinned people here? Where is [i]here
exactly? So there are fair and dark skinned people here? Or, is Lekan's a special case? I'm a bit confused as how to picture the people.

“What does my age have to do with your abilities? I’m


Haha! I love your humour so much! I also love the fact that you imply that Obi had lost those games on purpose because Lekan was only eight and it's just hilarious that Lekan thought he seriously one! Ahahaha! XD

Eyebrows drawn together as they did in the rare times Lekan was intrigued and intellectually involved,


This chapter flowed really strangely. It's almost like you were trying to express two different things at once.

Eyebrows drawn together as they did were rare and only appeared at times when Lekan was intrigued and intellectually involved,

That's the best I can do to make it flow slightly better, I hope it helps :)

I have nothing much else to say. My main problem was that they didn't actually seem to play any game of cards? They seemed to talk about playing cards and then all of a sudden Obi gave Lekan the cards to keep?
I've really enjoyed this story so far. I enjoy your characterisations and the wonderful humour that you inject into these chapters. I am looking forward to Lekan being sent as a spy (to who I'm still not aware of yet) and seeing what it'll be like and how he'll cope. Hopefully I'll have more to say in the next few chapters. :D Keep it up and happy writing! :D :D

Silverlock




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Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:54 am
TheCrimsonLady wrote a review...



Hello,,love! Aurora here for a review. Hmm, let's see

I'm not going to critique your grammar or any other technicalities.

Alright.

In this chapter, I can see a lot of character development. I liked it, because it gives me a good idea of what the MC is like. I also like your imagery and descriptions in your first paragraph or so. It sets the scene really well, and makes me like it. However, I was confused about what exactly you were describing. Where are the flowers? The walls? Or are they pictures on the cards? I might have just misread it, and if that is the case, forgive me, love..

One more critique. I realize that you have no idea what they are playing, but it's still a standard, 52 card deck, right? I'd like some descriptions of the numbers and symbols on them. Are they written in old timey font with a bunch of calligraphy? Does the card for the King show a crown or a figure? Also, give us a good idea of what Lekan has. Four aces and a king? Or at least tell us if his hand is good or bad.

It also seemed odd to me that Obi couldn't meet Lekan's eye when giving him the deck. I'd like it better, and it'd be more realistic if Obi met Lekan's eyes, but with tears in his eyes or whatever. In my experience, while doing nice things, people show sincerity, and sincerity is shown by meeting someone's eyes. Looking away makes it seem like he has an ulterior motive. :)

Also, he stood up abruptly (at the end) and yet smiled smally? That just doesn't fit together, somehow.

Anyway, keep persisting! I liked this chapter and the pacing and characterization were very noteworthy! You also deserve a compliment for your style of writing! It fits the old timey feel of your novel!

a




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Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:04 am
Unique wrote a review...



This is very interesting...I LOVE IT! It is so capturing and its shows so much emotion. I am just wondering if any of your emotions are rubbing off on this. I really like where the setting is, it goes well with the subject of the story as a whole. You really should continue writing this. It could become very popular... Keep the amazing writing!





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