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Ascension: Corso 13 (The Myriad book 1)

by Feltrix


Until now, I hadn’t had a chance to take in the forest scenery. The first chance I had to relax was when I was held at arrow point. The irony wasn’t lost on me. But before I’d been stopped, I hadn’t noticed the way that the trees looked like pillars holding up an emerald sky, or how the moss stretched like a sea.

My captor glanced back at me. “Keep up,” he growled. His vocabulary seemed to consist of little else.

We continued in silence for over an hour. I had begun to notice things about my captor that seemed off. His clothes, for instance, weren’t made out of linen or any other cloth, but were fashioned from the organic material that the forest itself was made of. My captor’s clothes were woven together from leaves, vines, pieces of moss, and bits of bark. And the fact that he was here at all was astounding.

What is he doing outside a Wall? I kept thinking. I couldn’t find an answer. There were myriad dangers in the forest, yet here someone was with almost no protection.

As we went, the tree trunks thickened. First, I could wrap my arms around them. Later, it would take two people to wrap their arms around it. Now I estimated the trees to be seven arm lengths around.

“We’re approaching the village,” my captor hissed.

“What village?” I asked.

“The elven village,” he continued in a murmur. I had to bite my tongue to stop from saying anything. My captor was an elf? I’d heard rumors that elves lived in the forest, but they were vague at best. “Now, stop talking!”

“Why are you whispering?” I said. “There’s no one around…. Wait, is there?”

“We have guards around our village,” the elf replied. “Just like you. Ours just stay hidden.”

We continued through the forest, and I kept expecting armored elves to burst out of the trees at any moment. I wasn’t disappointed. Only a few minutes later, a figure dropped to the mossy ground from the tree branches above us, landing with catlike grace.

“What have you got there, Laryn?” the new elf asked.

My stomach lurched when I realized that she was addressing the elf who had captured me. He was the one the Harbinger had told me to find? Why hadn’t he told me? And how would finding a dry, sarcastic elf help my situation? The Harbinger hadn’t been clear as to why I was supposed to find Laryn. I tried to keep my confusion from reaching my face.

My captor’s face twitched at the mention of his name and his eyes flicked towards me. “You know what he is, Shalana,” Laryn replied.

“But what are you planning on doing with it?” the woman replied. “You’re not….You’re not actually bringing it to the village, are you?” Laryn nodded stiffly.

“I’m not an ‘it!’” I protested, but the elves ignored me.

“Why would you bring it to the village?” Shalana asked, baffled.

“His….The boy’s village was destroyed.” Laryn feigned anguish. There was no way he could know what really happened, but he struck close far too close to home. “He was the only survivor.”

“But….” Shalana lowered her voice. “He’s a human.” She said the word ‘human’ the way she might say ‘plague’ or ‘saber-toothed stink worm.’

“Really?” Laryn said. Sarcasm dripped from each syllable. “I hadn’t noticed.” He looked back at me. “Let’s go.”

Laryn trudged on. I looked back at the other elf; she had a raised eyebrow and parted lips, fixing us with a questioning look as she returned to her post in the tree. I raced to catch up with Laryn.

“Why didn’t you tell me your name?” I asked.

“You didn’t tell me yours.”

“Sure, but….”

“What difference would it have made?” Laryn continued.

I sighed. I didn’t have an answer to that. “Who’s Taanyth, anyway?” I asked.

“You’ll find out soon enough.”

When I first arrived at the village, I didn’t know what it was. When Laryn first said “Here we are,” I thought he was mocking me. The moss had been walked on, showing paths branching through the trees, but that was the only difference I found from the rest of the forest. And then I looked up.

The village wasn’t really on the ground, most of it was suspended over one hundred feet above it. Each tree had a hut-like structure wrapped around it, so that it looked like the huts had been speared on their trunks. Several had stairs spiraling up them, and bridges made of rope or branches forming natural bridges connected the houses to each other in a chaotic spiders’ web.

I could see scores of people moving around the village above my head; it made me nostalgic of Market Day in Stratha. I could even see what appeared to be shops and stores amid the houses.

None of the elves noticed Laryn or me, or be at all conscious of the height. They went about their lives at about one hundred feet off the ground.

I grinned, ogling at the houses towering over my head. “Quit grinning like an idiot,” Laryn muttered. “Let’s go see Taanyth.” Laryn lead me onwards, but couldn’t manage to wipe the wonder-struck look off my face.

We approached a tree at what I judged to be the center of my village, a tree that dwarfed the rest. The trunk was over one hundred feet in diameter, and the lowest branches began above the forest canopy. Another striking feature was the trunk itself. From a distance, it looked like the trunk was covered in carvings, but it wasn’t. I looked closer and realized that the bark had grown in rivulets, so it appeared that the entire trunk was covered in runes and swirling images.

“What is this?” I murmured, in awe of the massive tree.

“Trust me,” Laryn growled. “Taanyth will yammer on and on about the Tree of Souls. You don’t want me to talk about it.”

Laryn’s foul mood was starting to offset me, but it wasn’t enough to completely dampen my excitement about everything that was happening.

The elf lead me around the gargantuan tree trunk. There was a rift spreading through the bark, about the height of a door. It hadn’t been cut, it looked like it had grown into an entrance the same way the bark had grown into carvings.

Laryn nudged me toward the rift. “Go on,” he said.

“You want me to go inside the tree?”

“Yes.”

I glanced at Laryn’s bow, not drawn, but ready. He hadn’t threatened me recently, but all the same…. I stepped through the door and into the tree.

It took a few moments for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. The interior of the tree was hollow, but it appeared to have grown that way. Mushrooms and other fungi dotted the walls, bathing the inside of the tree in a pale blue light.

At the center of the tree was a pool of water, about the size of an average room. A white haired figure was peering into the depths. He wore a leafy garb similar to Laryn’s, but his was more of a robe. His silvery hair and beard stretched down to his waist.

Laryn noisily cleared his throat, and the figure looked up. “Laryn,” the old man said. “Why have you brought this human here? Take him back to his village.”

“Taanyth. He claims he needs out help,” Laryn replied. “Both of ours.”

“Oh.”

“And I found him running from Stratha.”

“Oh. I see,” the old elf, Taanyth, said. “Come with me, Corso. We have much to discuss.”

I was bubbling with excitement. It had only taken a few hours for me to locate both Laryn and Taanyth, and I’d even found an entire city of elves. Still, something felt wrong.

“How do you know my name?” I said.

“He knows because we’ve been expecting you to arrive here,” Laryn replied.

“Expecting me?” I repeated. “Why?”

This time, it was Taanyth who answered. “Because you’re going to save us all.”


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Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:12 pm
Rydia wrote a review...



So I’m on my way to Shanghai and I have 15 hours travel time to kill. This is hour 2 and you’ll probably not get this review until tomorrow but I wrote it in Paris and that’s pretty cool?

Specifics


1.

There were myriad dangers in the forest, yet here someone was with almost no protection.
I think the use of myriad feels out of place/ forced here. It feels like too unusual a word for describing something pretty ordinary.

2.
“The elven village,” he continued in a murmur. I had to bite my tongue to stop from saying anything. My captor was an elf? I’d heard rumors that elves lived in the forest, but they were vague at best. “Now, stop talking!”
The man seems wary of the elf village or at least cautious in his approach so surely the first instinct should be to think he’s not an elf and is as out of place there as Corso? It doesn’t feel like there’s enough reason for Corso to jump to the conclusion that he’s an elf.

3.
My captor’s face twitched at the mention of his name and his eyes flicked towards me. “You know what he is, Shalana,” Laryn replied.
“But what are you planning on doing with it?” the woman replied. “You’re not….You’re not actually bringing it to the village, are you?” Laryn nodded stiffly.
Try to avoid using replied twice in a row – it feels a little awkward.

4.
Several had stairs spiralling spiralling up them, and bridges made of rope or branches forming natural bridges connected the houses to each other in a chaotic spiders’ web.
Nice description of the village and the woods in general – I’m enjoying the visuals a lot in this chapter.

5.
None of the elves noticed Laryn or me, or be at all conscious of the height. They went about their lives at about one hundred feet off the ground.
This is phrased awkwardly – it’s the ‘or be at all conscious’ part. I think that should be ‘or seemed to be at all conscious’.

6.
I grinned, ogling at the houses towering over my head. “Quit grinning like an idiot,” Laryn muttered. “Let’s go see Taanyth.” Laryn lead me onwards, but I couldn’t manage to wipe the wonder-struck look off my face.


7.
We approached a tree at what I judged to be the center of my the village, a tree that dwarfed the rest. The trunk was over one hundred feet in diameter, and the lowest branches began above the forest canopy. Another striking feature was the trunk itself. From a distance, it looked like the trunk was covered in carvings, but it wasn’t. I looked closer and realized that the bark had grown in rivulets, so it appeared that the entire trunk was covered in runes and swirling images.


8. I feel like Corso is very quickly taken in by the elf village, which might be fine under other circumstances, but he has just come from his own village being taken over by a strange madness and he doesn’t yet know what has become of the only people he has ever known and loved. Also, Laryn called him the only survivor just a few minutes ago and even if I doubted he could know more of the village’s fate than I did, that would make me really worried/ sad. It feels like Corso’s emotions don’t fit his situation.

Overall

There’s good description in this chapter and a great sense of plot advancement but I can’t help feeling that Corso should be more angry/ sad/ scared about losing his home than he is. This feels really at odds with the emotions he felt at the end of the last chapter and I think you need to re-think the atmosphere of this one.

It’s possible to describe a wonderful scene/ place from a position of fear/ melancholy as well as excitement so you don’t have to change everything but I do feel like we need to be seeing Corso be less happy.

See you at the next chapter!

~Heather




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Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:27 pm
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Nikayla wrote a review...



This is Nikayla here dropping in for another review on Review Day!

I understand now that these chapters have different perspectives, and this one is in the perspective of Corso. I have to say that this perspective uses more description, and I like that much. The first paragraph gives us more of an idea of the scenery around Corso, though I still believe that you could use some practice in that aspect of the piece. The setting around you is described quite well, sure, but how much does that add to your novel? Make and use your description with reason.

Use imagery to convey a certain tone, mood, or atmosphere. Take that much into account, since your reader will most definitely judge the work based on how you write it, which may not be how they perceive it. I find this to be a good example of intention versus perception and a way to learn it. What feeling do you intend to get across, versus what feeling does the reader actually feel here? I also found the pacing here to be fine, and it certainly doesn't suffer as much as the other chapter did. This one is smarter and more reserved, in a way I've found.

I have a bit of a distaste for the end of the chapter and the cliffhanger that you leave, because it is a little cliche to say and makes for an uninteresting end that draws me away from reading the next chapter. The pacing here is still a little quick and while I don't want to spend light years travelling like some novels do with endless descriptions of the characters simply walking, I also want you to expand and flesh out during this time before these characters end up arriving at the village, since it all goes a little too fast for my taste.

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! I hope I helped and have a great day.

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Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:47 am
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PrincessInk wrote a review...



Hello there--I'm here with another review! :)

The setting here was much better than in the last chapter, and it isn't too clunky with the infamous "purple prose". I did think the elves' home in the forest is a rather common setting, but the trees-village was fascinating. Are the trees a special type? I hope I'll learn about it later!

Anyways, on with the rest of the review! I think your pacing is okay, but when Corso and Laryn were travelling through the village, I'd like to see a little slowing-down. Why? Because I'd love to know the village more (perhaps this is just me). What were the elves doing? There's no need to drop a bomb of description here, but in my opinion, here's an excellent place to strengthen the setting and worldbuilding.

So here's the first time I met the elf Taanyth. I'm not so familiar with him because I haven't seen him in action so much. My first impression of him was: "Ah, the wise man in the story". I'm hoping I'll see more of him as the plot moves on, because he seems an interesting character though.

I was rather disappointed about the end because the last line was something like, "let's discuss" and then the chapter closed. I believe I've seen a couple of your chapters end like that (let me know if that's not true) and, though it's interesting in the beginning, its charm wears off by doing this multiple times. I think I ever mentioned that some of your early chapters tended to end with fainting narrators. I'm not saying it's a bad idea; simply it can be overused and no longer effective.

Moving on to minor stuff now:

What has happened to Shalana after their brief talk??? After you said she was hurt and all, she completely disappeared.Was she following them? Or did she go back up the tree? I was wondering all the time where she had gone.

I had decided that the person must be an elf. I was thrilled. I’d heard stories of elves living in the forest, but, of course, had never encountered one. This elf was unfriendly and frequently threatened my life, but that did little to quell my excitement.


Okay, this part is quite awkward in my opinion. No need to go into every detail, but I was startled when Corso suddenly stated that in his thoughts. I'd prefer something more gradual; for example, Corso examining his captor carefully and coming to a conclusion.

When Laryn's name was introduced, I saw that Laryn had a funny look on his face. But I absolutely didn't see Corso's reaction! When this chapter's from his POV! I was wondering if he would ask himself, Is he the elf I'm supposed to go to?

she was confused and slightly hurt.


Show, don't tell. I think you got the message, so I'll be moving on.

Several had stairs spiraling up them, and all of the houses were connected to each other either with rope bridges, or with the branches themselves forming natural bridges between the trees.


I think you can shorten it. Look at this sentence, for example:

Several had stairs spiraling up them, and the bridges built from rope or branches connected all the houses to each other


Not too sure why Corso grinned. I'd like to have a better reason. Was it funny for him? I guess there is a reason, but it's not really clear here--and perhaps I don't really know him so well.

The elf lead me around the gargantuan trunk of what Laryn had implied was the Tree of Souls.


I already know that this is the tree, so you can cut from "of" to the rest of the sentence. I loved the description of the inside of the tree. I don't like description pointing every little nook and cranny--yours was like a big picture, and I'm hoping you'll be sliding in little details occasionally.

Whew! This has been a long review, but I hope it helped and I'll be moving on to your other chapters--soon. Have a great day and I'll see you soon! ^_^

~Princess Ink~




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Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:40 pm
Feltrix says...



I'm worried about the pacing for this chapter. And does anyone know a synonym for 'really big tree?'




Sparkawan says...


"All I can find is Shrubbery" -Feltrix




Make sure you marry someone who laughs at the same things you do.
— Holden Caulfield