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[Planning Chapter 13]

by Lightsong


They gathered at Haka’s sparring spot which wasn’t used by anyone that evening. A field of bare ground covered the place with a line of trees circling it. It was actually a part of a forest, located at the south edge of the academy. When he was looking for a fighting area, Haka had told Gael he stumbled onto this place. Haka assumed someone before him had made it for the exact purpose. They were away from the public there, accompanied by the birds chirping and refreshed by the scent of the wood. Gael felt at peace here.

Sitting at the middle of the ground, they formed a square. Ilami started the discussion.

‘As you all know, we’re going to enter the Restricted Area,’ she said, sitting between Aleveri and Haka, ‘and we need to do that with stealth.’ She sat hugging her bent knees.

‘What time should we go there?’ Aleveri asked. Unlike Ilami, she sat on her knees, folded as if they were a blanket. It was a feminine posture.

Gael and Haka assumed a masculine way of sitting, knees entwined with each other and plastered on the ground. Gael rested his hands in the hole his knees made while Haka rested his on his laps.

‘Since Ilami will have to watch if someone enters the room after us, I think it’s clear we’re going there at daytime,’ Haka said.

Aleveri frowned. ‘Does she need to keep watch? I mean, it’s called Restricted Area so that people won’t come in. The shelves near it are usually deserted. If we go there together, shouldn’t we be safer that way?’

Gael glanced at Haka, then said, ‘Well, if Ilami sees someone going into the place, she should report them to the librarian immediately. She shouldn’t have any reason to warn us instead...’ He scratched his head. ‘But I think her report would keep that someone away from entering the room.’

Haka smiled, nodding. ‘Exactly.’

‘We’re not going at daytime,’ Ilami said, interrupting them. ‘We’re going at night when no one is around, which means I don’t have to guard the room.’

Haka frowned. ‘We’ve talked about this -’

‘And I’ve considered,’ Ilami said. She turned to Gael. ‘When you entered the room, there was someone in it. A dwarf. He caught you and you should be punished in some way if not for his kindness. He warned you not to enter again. Do you think he’s going to let you away this time?’

Gael thought about it. ‘You’re right,’ he said. Seeing Haka’s frown deepened, he continued. ‘Someone takes care of the room at daytime, Haka. You can’t deny that. It’s better if we go at night when it’s more likely the dwarf isn’t there. Aleveri has a point; it is safer if we enter together. More manpower.’ Plus, when it comes to attack, I won’t be of much use, he thought. If we have to pick between Ilami and me to get in there, she’s the better choice.

Aleveri put her hand on her chest, her mouth opened slightly. ‘At night! When the libary is going to be dark!’ She shook her head. ‘Are you guys mad? You know all public places are restricted when the sun goes down. We’re going to commit two crimes if someone finds out.’ She shuddered. ‘I don’t like the dark, anyway.’

Ilami’s expression showed no surprise. Perhaps she had anticipated Aleveri’s reaction. ‘From what I’ve heard, Arafel Ashav entered the library at night with his friend, Sensa Ashav. Both of them managed to get out of it alive. Arafel died soon, but I doubt it’s because he entered the Restricted Area. He wasn’t found dying in front of the library.’

The lack of emotion with which Ilami conveyed her words sent shivers on Gael’s skin. It dawned on him this was how she acted when she was focused on something. While there was an intensity in Haka’s words when he spoke them, Ilami employed calmness as if emotion would get in her way. In Gael’s opinion, people in general would listen to Ilami more instead of gravitating towards Haka’s overwhelming way of speech.

‘I have to agree with Ilami,’ Gael said, then cleared his throat. ‘Anyway, I’ve been thinking. Relying on my Darkening Spell to add in the stealth factor is too risky. I think we should prepare another one - the Muting Spell.’ He took out the diamond from the pocket of his robe and stared at it. ‘It’s a pity I only have one of these.’

‘Hmm? Can’t you use it to make the Muting Spell as well?’ Ilami asked, glad for him to switch the topic to the spells.

Gael shook his head. ‘No, I can’t. A bright diamond’s function is to lighten the place. Using it as magical trigger would bring another effect to it, one that is quite contrary, which is darkening the place. To achieve its inherent ability to carry communication, we have to cut it into two, making it a dull diamond. Using it as a magical trigger would bring the effect of muting the surrounding to it.’

Haka snickered. ‘So, what you’re trying to say is, a bright diamond can lighten or darken an area. A dull diamond allows communication and muting the place.’

Gael flushed. Haka didn’t point it out, but he knew Haka teased his tendency to over explain things. Well, what could he do? This was his way of explaining. He decided to let it pass and nodded. ‘I need a dull diamond to mute the place.’

Ilami was lost in thought before her eyes refocused. ‘What a convenient...’ She fished something from her pocket and presented it to them. ‘I have a dull diamond. Someone gave it to me.’

Aleveri opened her mouth and covered it with her hand. ‘Of course! The servant that accompanied you to the academy! He gave you this. You were so fond of him.’

Gael expected Ilami to blush, but she only nodded. Curious, he thought. Could she not be aware of how expressing endearment to someone who is lower than you in social ranking is rare in Ciraciel? The rich people here treated those who served them with the expectation of an employer. Or, more accurately, an owner.

‘You can use this, then?’ Ilami asked, throwing the diamond to Gael.

Gael grimaced. ‘I think I can practice the other spell, but it will take longer than a week for me to master both spells.’ Blood magic was more difficult than he thought it was. Imagining something that didn’t exist - such as a dark area or a silent one - didn’t do well with his brain.

‘I - and Ilami, I guess - know nothing about blood magic. We’re going to focus on defending ourselves anyway when we’re in there. We’re more useful as fighters.’ Haka turned to Aleveri. ‘How about you? Can you learn the spell?’

Aleveri raised her eyebrows, seeing everyone’s shifting their attention to her. ‘I...’ Closing her eyes, she sighed. ‘I focus more on biology and chemistry, but I did read a bit of blood magic. Specifically on how it helps in healing.’ She adjusted her posture and nodded. ‘I think I can learn the muting spell. Unlike Gael, my imagination is quite good.’

Gael stared at her flatly. That being said, he was relieved she truly knew about the magic. Knowing the danger they might face in the Restricted Area, they needed every edge they could get.

‘The plan is,’ Ilami said, picking a stick nearby and drawing lines using it on the ground, ‘for all of us to enter at night. There will be no one there, so we can use the bright diamond to brighten our way to the Restricted Area. Before we enter it, Gael and Aleveri will perform the spells, making us invisible and silent. If the Muting Spell affects ourselves too, we will have to use sign language to communicate with each other. I’ll prefer it if it’s not.

‘Once we enter the room, we’re going to split into two - Aleveri with me and Gael with Haka - but we can’t stay too far away from each other lest we go out of the spells’ radius. We’re going to check everything in the room. The longest we have to be there is one hour and one hour only. Once time’s up, we exit. I don’t want to risk us being found just because someone wants to be in there longer. I definitely wish we won’t need Aleveri to heal someone’s injury.’

She looked at them one by one. ‘Is that all clear and agreed?’

Gael and Aleveri nodded. Haka frowned for a few seconds before grunting his agreement. Gael thought Haka saw flaws in Ilami’s plan, but if he didn’t voice out his opinion, then it meant he thought there was no other plan better than Ilami. Gael himself wasn’t the best in making strategies, but he was assured with the fact that they had contributed everything they could in planning one.

It was time for preparation and praying to the Naturals to have everything run smoothly.


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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: So....an entire part dedicated to the plan I see. Not a bad little conversation here. I wasn't expecting there to be a bit like this, but I think it makes sense for them to find a secluded spot like this and plan things out. And the way they discussed it was pretty good, you always like to see these groups of budding friends interacting and planning things like this together.

Anyway let's get right to it,

They gathered at Haka’s sparring spot which wasn’t used by anyone that evening. A field of bare ground covered the place with a line of trees circling it. It was actually a part of a forest, located at the south edge of the academy. When he was looking for a fighting area, Haka had told Gael he stumbled onto this place. Haka assumed someone before him had made it for the exact purpose. They were away from the public there, accompanied by the birds chirping and refreshed by the scent of the wood. Gael felt at peace here.

Sitting at the middle of the ground, they formed a square. Ilami started the discussion.

‘As you all know, we’re going to enter the Restricted Area,’ she said, sitting between Aleveri and Haka, ‘and we need to do that with stealth.’ She sat hugging her bent knees.

‘What time should we go there?’ Aleveri asked. Unlike Ilami, she sat on her knees, folded as if they were a blanket. It was a feminine posture.


Okay....well I was wondering why this chapter had a different name to everything else and was maybe the only chapter that had an actual chapter title..but hmm, so it looks like this is literally just one full chapter to plan out their excursion to the Restricted Area. That's an interesting choice there. Usually when you do this kind of thing, you jump into the action and describe the plan in chunks as you go along cause most of the time these plans aren't too complicated to follow and its more exciting that way, but this is the first time I've seen a "mission" of this type carried out by children having a scene dedicated for planning. Well this should be interesting at any rate. :D

Gael and Haka assumed a masculine way of sitting, knees entwined with each other and plastered on the ground. Gael rested his hands in the hole his knees made while Haka rested his on his laps.

‘Since Ilami will have to watch if someone enters the room after us, I think it’s clear we’re going there at daytime,’ Haka said.

Aleveri frowned. ‘Does she need to keep watch? I mean, it’s called Restricted Area so that people won’t come in. The shelves near it are usually deserted. If we go there together, shouldn’t we be safer that way?’


OKay, I do like seeing a little bit of debate happening here. It seems everyone is now fully committed to entering the area and they are all trying to make sure things are as safe as they can be and that they don't get caught. One slightly odd sounding part was saying "masculine way of sitting". I feel like that's not the best way to describe that there, its a bit odd sounding at least to me, could be different for others. :D

Gael glanced at Haka, then said, ‘Well, if Ilami sees someone going into the place, she should report them to the librarian immediately. She shouldn’t have any reason to warn us instead...’ He scratched his head. ‘But I think her report would keep that someone away from entering the room.’

Haka smiled, nodding. ‘Exactly.’

‘We’re not going at daytime,’ Ilami said, interrupting them. ‘We’re going at night when no one is around, which means I don’t have to guard the room.’

Haka frowned. ‘We’ve talked about this -’


They had like one tiny conversation on the matter earlier. Come on Haka...don't be like this. Hmm, anyway this is fun to see them really talking it all through like this. It looks like Ilami is going to work hard to make sure she is not left just standing outside...but hmm, I do think someone probably should be standing guard even if they go out at midnight. Also places like that are usually far more dangerou at night so I don't know how good of an idea this is. Nighttime is also when there will be less people awake to really help them.

‘And I’ve considered,’ Ilami said. She turned to Gael. ‘When you entered the room, there was someone in it. A dwarf. He caught you and you should be punished in some way if not for his kindness. He warned you not to enter again. Do you think he’s going to let you away this time?’

Gael thought about it. ‘You’re right,’ he said. Seeing Haka’s frown deepened, he continued. ‘Someone takes care of the room at daytime, Haka. You can’t deny that. It’s better if we go at night when it’s more likely the dwarf isn’t there. Aleveri has a point; it is safer if we enter together. More manpower.’ Plus, when it comes to attack, I won’t be of much use, he thought. If we have to pick between Ilami and me to get in there, she’s the better choice.


Okay...this is maybe not the most logical plan. One would think the night would have more guardians, not less but I suppose given their age, its fair that they would think this way and I mean...having more people is always going to be a bit of an advantage, and especially keeping one of their two fighters standing outside doing nothing is probably a bad idea.

Aleveri put her hand on her chest, her mouth opened slightly. ‘At night! When the libary is going to be dark!’ She shook her head. ‘Are you guys mad? You know all public places are restricted when the sun goes down. We’re going to commit two crimes if someone finds out.’ She shuddered. ‘I don’t like the dark, anyway.’

Ilami’s expression showed no surprise. Perhaps she had anticipated Aleveri’s reaction. ‘From what I’ve heard, Arafel Ashav entered the library at night with his friend, Sensa Ashav. Both of them managed to get out of it alive. Arafel died soon, but I doubt it’s because he entered the Restricted Area. He wasn’t found dying in front of the library.’


Okay...well that's a bit of a cold way to come up with logic like that. Ilami seems to oscillate between been a more emotional character with respect to death to sometimes planning around it as if she is perfectly fine with that whole thing. Its a bit odd sometimes, but then she is consistently odd about it so as a character she is still consistent? Anyway...Aleveri's reaction is pretty good there. It's in character for her and more important it tells us of a few more dangers with what they are doing at that time.

The lack of emotion with which Ilami conveyed her words sent shivers on Gael’s skin. It dawned on him this was how she acted when she was focused on something. While there was an intensity in Haka’s words when he spoke them, Ilami employed calmness as if emotion would get in her way. In Gael’s opinion, people in general would listen to Ilami more instead of gravitating towards Haka’s overwhelming way of speech.


I don't really think I agree with Gael. For threatening messages or something, lack of emotion is powerful and scary, but for planning some kind of group heist like this, often the one who speaks with more emotion can inspire people a bit better to do something, its something I've noticed over the years.

‘I have to agree with Ilami,’ Gael said, then cleared his throat. ‘Anyway, I’ve been thinking. Relying on my Darkening Spell to add in the stealth factor is too risky. I think we should prepare another one - the Muting Spell.’ He took out the diamond from the pocket of his robe and stared at it. ‘It’s a pity I only have one of these.’

‘Hmm? Can’t you use it to make the Muting Spell as well?’ Ilami asked, glad for him to switch the topic to the spells.

Gael shook his head. ‘No, I can’t. A bright diamond’s function is to lighten the place. Using it as magical trigger would bring another effect to it, one that is quite contrary, which is darkening the place. To achieve its inherent ability to carry communication, we have to cut it into two, making it a dull diamond. Using it as a magical trigger would bring the effect of muting the surrounding to it.’


OKay....I do like these little explanations of magic scattered about. With how knowledgeable Gael is compared to the others, it makes sense for him to say it and as a bonus we get to learn more about the magic of the world, so these little parts are quite fun to read.

Haka snickered. ‘So, what you’re trying to say is, a bright diamond can lighten or darken an area. A dull diamond allows communication and muting the place.’

Gael flushed. Haka didn’t point it out, but he knew Haka teased his tendency to over explain things. Well, what could he do? This was his way of explaining. He decided to let it pass and nodded. ‘I need a dull diamond to mute the place.’

Ilami was lost in thought before her eyes refocused. ‘What a convenient...’ She fished something from her pocket and presented it to them. ‘I have a dull diamond. Someone gave it to me.’


Hmm, well this is fun....now isn't it? I love how the diamond that Jaxin gave her is now going to end up coming in handy although maybe now losing its communication powers by whatever blood magic spell this is could be a way that Mrs. Venaria catches wind of what is going on here with this group trying to get into the Restricted Area.

Aleveri opened her mouth and covered it with her hand. ‘Of course! The servant that accompanied you to the academy! He gave you this. You were so fond of him.’

Gael expected Ilami to blush, but she only nodded. Curious, he thought. Could she not be aware of how expressing endearment to someone who is lower than you in social ranking is rare in Ciraciel? The rich people here treated those who served them with the expectation of an employer. Or, more accurately, an owner.

‘You can use this, then?’ Ilami asked, throwing the diamond to Gael.


I don't mind seeing Gael's thoughts there, also it appears his POV is the one we are going with although it wasn't mentioned in the title...but basically, I feel like those are unnecessary there. It makes sense in story for him to make that observation, considering how he normally speaks, he's the sort of person who would analyze a thing like that in detail, but also like we as readers already know all of that so I feel like maybe not voicing those thoughts here would be a good idea.

Gael grimaced. ‘I think I can practice the other spell, but it will take longer than a week for me to master both spells.’ Blood magic was more difficult than he thought it was. Imagining something that didn’t exist - such as a dark area or a silent one - didn’t do well with his brain.

‘I - and Ilami, I guess - know nothing about blood magic. We’re going to focus on defending ourselves anyway when we’re in there. We’re more useful as fighters.’ Haka turned to Aleveri. ‘How about you? Can you learn the spell?’


Okay...I think we're slowly sort of establishing the roles for this little crew here and I do love little discussions like this. You're sort of plugging potential plot holes as you go when you write a chapter like this and its a good plan here.

Aleveri raised her eyebrows, seeing everyone’s shifting their attention to her. ‘I...’ Closing her eyes, she sighed. ‘I focus more on biology and chemistry, but I did read a bit of blood magic. Specifically on how it helps in healing.’ She adjusted her posture and nodded. ‘I think I can learn the muting spell. Unlike Gael, my imagination is quite good.’

Gael stared at her flatly. That being said, he was relieved she truly knew about the magic. Knowing the danger they might face in the Restricted Area, they needed every edge they could get.


The imagination line is a bit weird? I don't think she would know Gael well enough to really judge the whole imagination thing, but uhh well, it sure is great that she knows how to use a spell like than. It now gives everyone at least one important thing to be doing and at least I think they all do have roles that make sense for their individual skills.

‘The plan is,’ Ilami said, picking a stick nearby and drawing lines using it on the ground, ‘for all of us to enter at night. There will be no one there, so we can use the bright diamond to brighten our way to the Restricted Area. Before we enter it, Gael and Aleveri will perform the spells, making us invisible and silent. If the Muting Spell affects ourselves too, we will have to use sign language to communicate with each other. I’ll prefer it if it’s not.

‘Once we enter the room, we’re going to split into two - Aleveri with me and Gael with Haka - but we can’t stay too far away from each other lest we go out of the spells’ radius. We’re going to check everything in the room. The longest we have to be there is one hour and one hour only. Once time’s up, we exit. I don’t want to risk us being found just because someone wants to be in there longer. I definitely wish we won’t need Aleveri to heal someone’s injury.’


Okay....so that's the summary of the plan. Its simple and I feel like it has a decent amount of flaws that these folks aren't seeing, but for their age and general ability, that's not a half bad plan and I think it could actually work.

She looked at them one by one. ‘Is that all clear and agreed?’

Gael and Aleveri nodded. Haka frowned for a few seconds before grunting his agreement. Gael thought Haka saw flaws in Ilami’s plan, but if he didn’t voice out his opinion, then it meant he thought there was no other plan better than Ilami. Gael himself wasn’t the best in making strategies, but he was assured with the fact that they had contributed everything they could in planning one.

It was time for preparation and praying to the Naturals to have everything run smoothly.


Well this should be quite fun to see...let's see where it ends up going in the next part...which also looks to be part of chapter 13...so it seems this chapter is maybe the longest one so far.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, I think its a good start to this thirteenth chapter. We shall see where this one ends up going. Also I think when I get to the end of this chapter I will officially have made it halfway through the currently uploaded parts. Hopefully by the end of next month I will have caught up :D

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry




Lightsong says...


Thanks for the review! Just to add, this isn't actually a chapter haha. Chapter 13 starts at the next one. ^^'



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!!

Oh wow...I was wondering why it had such a different name..xD



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Panikos wrote a review...



Hi, Lightsong. This is going to be a shorter review than usual, because my thoughts about this chapter are essentially the same as Mea's: it's unnecessary and doesn't really need to be here. As such, I'm not going to go through nitpicks. I'm just going to try and address more general problems with style and narrative that you can generalise to other sections of your story.

It was actually a part of a forest, located at the south edge of the academy. When he was looking for a fighting area, Haka had told Gael he stumbled onto this place. Haka assumed someone before him had made it for the exact purpose.


Something you need to work on (just like all writers, really) is only including information that's actually interesting to read about. The quoted section above is full of very mundane details, nothing that really stands out and gives me a sense about the characters or world. If Haka had discovered the spot while chasing after a squirrel that had nicked his sandwich, maybe it would make for a more interesting anecdote. As it is, it doesn't engage me.

While there was an intensity in Haka’s words when he spoke them


I don't feel like I've ever really witnessed this 'intensity' with which Haka speaks. Your characters do have different personalities, there's no doubt about that, but I don't always feel like those differences manifest in their dialogue. In a chapter like this where you have lots of characters speaking, it's really quite easy for me to get turned around and not know who's saying what. The reason for that is that the dialogue isn't differentiated enough. Even though Haka is a hugely different person to Gael and Ilami and Aleveri, his speech style isn't very different from theirs. None of them really stand out to me as having their own way of talking. Gael does a little, I suppose, because he uses a lot of technical terminology, but the others are prone to using that kind of language as well. It's something you really need to work on, because a novel with a cast as big as this one can't afford to let said cast blend together.

Draw on their personalities and backgrounds to get a stronger sense of how they talk. Think of the kind of words they favour, the kind of phrases the overuse, whether they use long sentences or short ones, whether they speak a lot or a little, whether they're polite and tentative or blunt and to-the-point. Obviously, you can't take speech style too far or they'll start seeming parodied, but I want them to feel different from each other. It doesn't make sense for such a diverse group of people to speak in such similar ways.

‘I think I can learn the muting spell. Unlike Gael, my imagination is quite good.’


When I read this, I was quite confused, because at no point does Gael actually talk about his imagination out loud. He only thought about it, yet Aleveri brings it up as if she can read his mind. This is something I've seen you do quite a bit over the course of the novel; you talk about something in the prose, then another character starts talking about it as if it's actually been voiced. It's jarring to read, so watch out for that in future.

I'll leave the review here. As for why I agree with Mea that this chapter is unnecessary, I just think you've been in a planning period for too long. It's time to take the leap and get into it. There's no real need to show them constructing the plan (especially when, as Mea pointed out, there isn't much to it) - you could just cut straight to them entering the Restricted Area during the night and show them putting their ideas into action. That would be so much more exciting.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




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Mea wrote a review...



Now that I've gotten started with this, I decided I just want to go ahead and catch up rather than saving it for later. So I'm back again!

Gael expected Ilami to blush, but she only nodded. Curious, he thought. Could she not be aware of how expressing endearment to someone who is lower than you in social ranking is rare in Ciraciel? The rich people here treated those who served them with the expectation of an employer. Or, more accurately, an owner.

Everything after "she only nodded" can be cut, honestly. We can guess that this is what the nobility is like in Ciraciel.

And that leads me into my main thought on this part: that, to be blunt, it's unnecessary and kind of boring. In some books, I always want to see the characters plan their mission/heist/whatever because the characters are experts, the plan is complicated, and it's cool to watch them plan for stuff we would have never known to anticipate. This isn't the right genre or situation for that because none of them really know what they're doing or what to expect in the Restricted Area, and their best plan is quite simple.

Pretty much all I got out of this part was that they're going at night and use spells to disguise themselves. We didn't need an entire scene of planning for that - you could just jump to them sneaking out of their dorms at night with the stuff they need for the spells at the ready, or summarize the plan in a single paragraph at the start of the next part.

I think you were hoping that this scene could reveal character and show how they work together and stuff. It could, yes, but although I can see some ways that you're trying to add interest by having Gael comment on Ilami or having Haka embarrass Gael, overall it still feels kind of flat and dull. It'll be much more interesting and powerful to see how they work together while they're doing the infiltration, because they'll be in an intense situation under a lot of pressure, and that's the perfect recipe for showing character.

As far as showing the magic system goes (which I'm guessing was the other thing you were trying to do with this chapter), I am interested in your magic system, but this kind of dialogue from Gael is one of the more boring ways to explain it (mostly because that's almost always how you explain it), and I don't always understand the explanations.

Sorry this review is a little short (and blunt), but since I don't really think you need the scene at all, I don't think you need a lot of feedback on the line-by-line stuff. I'm still impatient for them to go through with their plan! I want to start seeing everything come together. :D





'Hush, hush!' I whispered; 'people can have many cousins and of all sorts, Miss Cathy, without being any the worse for it; only they needn't keep their company, if they be disagreeable and bad.
— Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights