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God's Assassin ★ 5

by Lightsong


‘I have no other choice,’ Rila whispered. ‘They still have my mother.’

Ilami was about to reply to that when they heard a shout from someone familiar. Footsteps grew louder as Gael ran towards them. Distracted, Ilami turned to him and Rila used the opportunity to knock away Ilami’s sword with her dagger. As she was about to stab Ilami with it, Ilami’s hand quickly held hers, squeezing the wrist to loosen up her grip and let the dagger to fall to the ground harmlessly. Ilami pinned her other hand to the ground and locked her legs by putting pressure to them with her knee.

‘You can’t kill me,’ Ilami said softly. ‘And I unless I kill you, you won’t stop. You’re making things difficult.’

‘Kill me then!’ Gael already arrived as Rila shouted the dangerous words. ‘Kill me. If you want so much to help me without surrendering your life, kill me.’ She couldn’t bear to think what would the Church do to her mother and her if she arrived there with failure. Even if both of them somehow survived through the punishment, she couldn’t bear to continue her assassination knowing she did it with a false cause. A lie. ‘Please, kill me.’ Tear went down her cheek.

‘If that’s what you want.’ Gael positioned an arrow on his bow, stretched it, and was about to release it when Ilami stopped him.

‘No,’ she said, ‘I have a better idea.’ With a flash, she knocked Rila’s head, putting her into subconsciousness.

*

She opened her eyes and saw the sky had turned white before realizing she was staring at the ceiling. The pain on her head pressed her and the sensation was like having a bee buzzing there. She looked at her side and widened her eyes when the sight of Gael polishing a dagger - her dagger - met her. She quickly got up and tried to stay away from him, but scrapes of clothes tied her hands to the bed’s upper corners.

Gael looked up and raised his eyebrows. ‘You’re awake,’ he said, stating the obvious. He looked down at the dagger, then looked back at her. He shrugged. ‘I’ve nothing else to do while waiting for Ilami.’

‘Where am I?’ she asked, grateful her voice wasn’t tinged with fear.

‘Ilami’s bedroom. After you passed out, we kept you here. It was difficult to enter her house without anyone noticing. Mrs. Venaria had her guards at every corner.’ He continued polishing the dagger on a blunt rock. ‘Now she’s making sure no one is to enter this room.’

‘But why?’ She frowned. ‘Why keep me here?’

Gael raised his shoulders. ‘I’ve no clue. Didn’t have a chance to ask her about it when we were getting here. You should grateful though. She’s more merciful than I.’ At that, he bared his teeth in a grin. Glee, obviously, but perhaps for a reason Rila didn’t want to assume.

‘The Church will look for me when they know I’ve been out for too long. They’ll search, and they’ll find you and -’

‘Are you sure?’ Gael interrupted her. ‘For one, no one knows you’re here but Ilami and me.’ He leaned forward. ‘And two, I know the Brother Gods Church. Ever since I was a priest, Serra made me find out their secrets, and while I suspected they had assassins, I had no clear proof of that until now. If the fact of the Church’s assassins are not known, why would they risk that by looking for you?’ He looked at her from up to down. ‘Also, you aren’t wearing the assassin’s clothes. I bet there are more skillful assassins out there you. You’re expendable.’

Fear now clutched at her throat, making her difficult to breathe. She could see now why Kestari wanted Gael’s death. He must have been aware of the priest’s prodding. And the part about her being expandable... Her face darkened. No one told her about it, but she suspected Gael was right.

‘You know too much,’ she said, looking at Gael. ‘That’s why the Church wants you dead.’

‘That, and also because I resemble someone Lio is against,’ he said, putting the dagger and stone on the table next to Rila. He leaned back on his chair. ‘I’ve looked through the history about past assassinations. Remember Danizen?’

Rila nodded vaguely. ‘He was from a noble family, aiming to be the lord of Xian city.’ Talking to Gael about Danizen distracted her from wondering what Ilami wanted to do with her. ‘He promotes acceptance of sinners, saying they have a second chance.’

Some of them,’ Gael said. ‘He also thought love was beyond gender compatibility, wasn’t he? That a man can love a man and a woman can love a woman.’

‘He did - wait.’ Rila frowned. ‘Are you telling me -’

Gael sighed. ‘For Lio, I’m a sinner, because my existence doesn’t help him expand his army. By liking men, I deny having intimacy with a woman. I don’t put my ability to contribute in reproduction in good use.’

Rila’s mouth opened a little. She had been wondering about the truth of such love that meeting someone who had it seemed surreal. ‘What do you mean by Lio wanting to expand his army?’

‘You didn’t know?’ He paused. ‘I guess you are an assassin first and foremost. It’s what Serra and Xesar are against. Lio’s forcing people to be in his army against the Hollows, the inhuman race that wiped out the Naturals. Before we served them as deities, they were a race, and they called themselves naturis. Those who bend the nature. He’s also aiming to control Estagar based on fear and loyalty.’

Rila took a deep breath. This was too much to handle. Kestari had a bigger plan for his god. The assassins for one thing, and now an army? The Church didn’t want people to serve the Naturals; it wanted them to serve Lio. He wasn’t Rila’s god. All of her assassinations - they felt awfully wrong now.

The door opened to reveal a silver-haired girl. Ilami looked at Rila and closed the door. ‘The guards and maids have been notified. I think we can keep you here for a week or two before we save your mother.’

Rila’s eyes widened. ‘Y-you what?’

Ilami went to the corners and untied Rila. Rila saw Gael giving her a disapproving glare but Ilami didn’t care. Rila suspected she knew Rila wasn’t going to harm them now that she had mentioned her mother. ‘The three of us are going to get your mother out of the Church. It’s the only way for you to stop assassinating people.’ She moved to the other binding. ‘Once both of you are free from it’s clutch, I can find some jobs for your mother and an institution for your education.’

‘Why would you do that?’

Done untying, Ilami stared at Rila. ‘Isn’t it obvious? I’m Xesar’s priestess, and if there’s anything I can do to weaken Lio’s hold of Estagra people, I would do it. Plus, you’re not fit to be an assassin. You have better use somewhere else.’ She didn’t say what it was. ‘I’ll gather a few friends of mine to join this mission. They know I’m a priestess and they trust me.’ She tilted her head. ‘What do you say, Rila?’

She called her Rila, not assassin. A future in which she didn’t kill people, living freely with her mother. Rila nodded. ‘I’m in.’

A/N: And we’re done! So for the last section, part 6, I’m going to ask you guys if you prefer to skip the saving scenes to the ending part where Rila’s mother is saved, or do you think we’ve had enough actions for today and want things to wrap up nicely?


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Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:08 pm
Lavvie wrote a review...



Hello! I am back for the final part.

This is now my favourite part of the entire story, with part 4 a close second. As great as you are at writing compelling action scenes, it was becoming a little stale and also challenging to really grasp the storyline. Here, I think you've written a fabulous denouement, and I definitely think that this should be the end of the story. As much as some people might want to see the saving scenes, I think we can rest assured that they will be successful. There is something about the way you wrote this fifth part that make the reader feel confident that all will be well for Rila.

I'm thrilled that we got to know Rila more than just at the surface, as an assassin, but I reiterate the fact that I wish you had started on this conflict of character much earlier on in the story. It is a more powerful storyline and resonates better with the reader. As much as action is fun, it is nothing much than surface plot - a filler plot, if you will. At this point, the most valuable part of the story came at the very end which leaves us with a very rushed feeling. Rila has made a complete one-eighty and would have been interesting to see her grapple more with her internal conflict before she succumbs to Ilami and Gael. Essentially, your plot should focus more on Rila and less on the the subplot of killing Gael. An internal conflict is so much stronger, so much more interesting, and character-driven plots just lead to stronger stories, in my opinion.

Ultimately, I am really pleased with how this developed, aside from how late you introduced Rila's conflict. If you decide to revise the story, I would love to see more of Rila, not as an assassin, but as someone struggling with herself. The potential here in enormous.

Thank you for the lovely read,
Lavvie




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Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:44 am
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Mea wrote a review...



Hello! I've finally gotten around to reading this. I don't have too much to say, as I agree with a lot of what the other reviewers said, but I thought I'd quickly leave you with my thoughts.

First off, this if probably my favorite chapter yet. I think your strength is dialogue and character-heavy chapters like this one, rather than action scenes. I love Ilami's determination not to kill Rila, and how they're just going to go and save her mother because they want to get her away from the church.

I'm really interested to see what Rila does now, once she's free from the church. Will she be content to go live a normal life with her mother, or will she want more? I guess we'll see. I wish we could see a bit more of her emotion in this part. My guess is she's shocked, but what else? Afraid? Happy?

My main issue with this story right now is that I'm really having trouble keeping track of the different gods and organizations, and the powers they grant. What does being a priest/priestess of these gods really mean? Why is Lio building an army? Is the main point of contention in all of this whether or not loving your own sex is a sin, or are there other conflicts involved?

Something I'd especially like to get a feel for is what your normal, average person knows about all this stuff with deities and armies and magic. Is the whole country rapidly becoming war-torn, or are these things taking place more quietly?

Anyway, those were just a few of my random thoughts. I've really enjoyed this, and I'm sad to see it go, though I hope you will wind up expanding this into a full universe.




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Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:33 pm
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Kays wrote a review...



Hi there Lightsong! This is Kays here dropping in for a review on another chapter of God's Assassin.

Only one more part after this? Whew! I didn't know that we'd be finishing soon so I better soak this up while I can. Without further ado, let's review. The grammar and flow is a little more clunky in the opening paragraphs than usual though for the most part I'm going to attempt to look past that for the sake of the content. The first paragraph and the movements are a little more rigid instead of fluid which is what the fight scenes were before in the first couple parts. I enjoyed the fight scenes better before and while you've got an okay handle on how to write them, depending on the diction and fluidity it's hit or miss. This time is a miss for me because there wasn't as much weight or substance to the reader. That's not a punch or sting. Battles aren't made interesting by what goes on in them.

What I mean by this is that fights are made interesting because of the tensions and conflicts between two or more characters that all have their own individual goals. Rila wants to get her mother back, yes? Show us through the action and her actions that she wants to do this. A well-written fight should not only be fluid and have weight behind each punch, it should also narrate what's going on between the characters. Not the largest issue but I did want to go into that tangent for the sake of those parts being improved in future drafts.

‘No,’ she said, ‘I have a better idea.’ With a flash, she knocked Rila’s head, putting her into subconsciousness.


Here I figure that you mean 'unconsciousness' instead of 'subconsciousness' and make a mistake with the prefix. Fix that.

That volley of information is truly a volley of information to the point that I'm a little confused. The actions of Ilami and Gael changing where Rila ends up teaming up with them at the end of this part and the whole attack of words is almost too much to handle at once. I can't say that I understand all of this and the amount of history and information that you're dumping onto the reader doesn't equal the overall length of this short story which is why I'm going to ask a couple questions. I want this to be longer, to be honest. Ten parts is what I assumed for this to be and what I kind of wish that this ended up being.

There's room for more character development and more time to give set-up as to what's going on. What are the Naturals? I'd imagine that I'd have an easier time consuming all of the content that's here if the names were a bit more distinct--it's difficult to soak up details than it is to know plot points and motivations. I suppose that those details don't matter in the end because I've mainly been following Rila in the first place and her motivations. If you're wanting to make these other aspects that don't have to do with Rila getting her mother back (or the content that goes into more detail) more prominent, I'd suggest doing more worldbuilding. If this is intended to tell Rila's story then I don't think that's needed.

Overall another solid part! If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask and have a great day. Can't wait to see how this turns out. Also--saving scenes are preferred! Those are the climax and I want that.




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Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:56 am
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Dino wrote a review...



Hello, Dino here for a short review as requested! Since I didn't read the previous chapters, do let me know if I get/assume anything wrong. A suspenseful beginning, I likely. Mainly because it kind of gives off that impression of who has her mom (perhaps I'll have to see who has her mother in the previous chapters). When Rila is going to attempt to stab Ilami, that scene felt kind of slow. Like, Ilami was distracted and still knew Rila was gonna stab her. What I think should happen, just because I like a good struggle, is Rila could potentially try to stab him but Ilami steps forward a bit and she ends up cutting his clothing or something. Then Ilami turns around or something and does what happened. Just a suggestion, of course, but I think it'd be better to rewrite that little scene.

Ooh, so the Church has Rila's mother. Interesting. I like the dialogue between all three of the characters but I kind of what to know what their voices sound like. Give some description to them so it could help the reader have a better grasp of it while they are reading it. Anyway, you seem to do a nice job of giving an outside look on what other character's thoughts on how Ilami is acting; I think most people attempt to do just that but it doesn't always work but you seem to do it quite nicely.

Fear now clutched at her throat, making her difficult to breathe.


Rewording the last part of the sentence won't make it as awkward. Like this: .... making it difficult for her to breathe.

I never knew a Church could be eerie and sinful. It's rather amusing to me because of the irony. And the ending is very lovely mainly because I know it will open up to chapter six quite nicely. Personally, I love a good action scene here and there. If you add one, though, try to focus on one point at a time and don't switch the camera too often when writing them.

This was a nice chapter and if you write another one, do let me know! Also if you have any question, also let me know.

Dino




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Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:34 pm
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TheSilverFox wrote a review...



*waves emphatically*

Here is a quiet and dialogue-heavy part, making it quite a contrast to the previous ones. However, it's also a wonderful breather, precisely because you provide your audience a chance to lean back, relax, and learn a bit more about this world. For instance, I'm rather happy to have more of a look into Rila's mindset, particularly when it comes to her opinions of the Church. Clearly, she feared it as much as she respected it, and I like how Gael emphasizes the (truly overwhelming) negativity of the Church by bringing up new facts that destroy Rila's worldview. Under such a barrage of information, like the tactics of Lio, the expendability of Rila, and simply the fact that the Church cannot confirm the existence of its own assassins by looking for her, it makes sense why Rila would be happy to abandon the Church and live peacefully with her mother. I personally admire that the process in which she shifts her ideology and life goals, as it's done smoothly and reasonably. Old memories break down her assumptions and new truths, supported by their speakers being the ones to bring back such memories, fashion a new worldview for her. Hence, character and theme-wise, this story is remarkable and well-written.

Beyond that, everything else is great (save for the spelling and grammar, though I've likely already talked of it before, and will not repeat myself). The pacing is smooth, while the descriptions of the setting and the positions of the characters (as well as what they're doing) give them vibrancy. It was interesting to learn about Lio's plot, Gael's sexuality, and the plot by which Rila can lead a better life (I'm looking forward to the strike on the Church to rescue Rila's mother, and I would love to read the entire event in detail, but you may shorten it if you don't have the time or motivation). Most of all, I respect the mercy of Ilami in the sense that she's willing to see to it that Rila has a happy life and will not be a puppet of the church anymore. As such, she's definitely coming across as more of an outright protagonist than ever before, and her machinations, combined with Lio's endgoal of taking power to fight an arguably worse evil than himself, leave me intensely curious to see what will happen next. After all, thanks to your descriptions, I can now empathize with Rila and her situation, and now I deeply want to see her succeed and live happily, defying the Church and its vile master. So, all in all, well done!





Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you.
— Louis L'Amour