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E - Everyone

Chapter 13.1: Gael

by Lightsong


They moved through the hallway, concealing their identities with cloaks. Gael, using a bright diamond, and Ilami took the lead while Haka and Aleveri followed them. This was the first time Gael was out of his dorm late at night. It was past midnight and no one was watching the castle’s interior. The chilliness of the inside slipped through his garment like the air from the graveyard. Combined with the silence, he could feel the castle didn’t welcome him outside of his room.

They went to the back of the castle, taking small steps to avoid making any sound. As they reached the ground floor of the resource area, the scent of wood and mint greeted them. Gael felt his racing heart relax a bit. They took the spiraling stairs to the second floor and went to the door belonged to the library.

Once inside, Gael held his breath, expecting someone to hit them for intruding. No one was the. He sighed in relief. They went to the corner of the library where the shelves for history stood firm. There, a door attached to the wall with a warning (DO NOT ENTER WITHOUT PERMISSION) hung on it. They gathered in front of it.

Gael looked at Aleveri, who had her eyes moving frantically. She really didn’t like going out at night. He touched her shoulder and her eyes focused on him. Ilami held Aleveri’s hand. He nodded. Aleveri gulped, and nodded too. They took out their blood vials. Aleveri held Ilami’s dull diamond.

Gael let a drop of blood fall to his bright diamond. It sizzled, as if anticipating the words. Saracas stevenes, waracar irrevorar. Arfanis warrantis, araxex dormanixex,’ Gael whispered.

In an instant, the light originating from the diamond shrunk before darkness took its place, expanding. He could see the area where the spell affected darkened, though outsiders would see pitch black instead.

‘*Seleves raheses, sayalex calavex. Manatis unalis, afela leyela,’ Aleveri whispered.

Nothing drastic changed, but a slight distortion only they could see formed a barrier around them. Anything that made a sound inside the barrier could only be heard by the four of them. Aleveri had agreed to practice the Muting Spell when they planned for the infiltration. It had taken Gael and her two weeks to master their respective spells. They could hold them for exactly an hour now.

They went through the door. They had decided to search in the room together since there was no need for Ilami to guard the door and warn them if someone came. Ilami had rightly guessed no one would be in the library at night based on the rumours she heard about Arafel going into the place at night and coming out unharmed.

The door led them to a stairs, which they ascended to meet a dark room. They split into two, moving away from each other but not as far as getting outside of the spells’ radius. Gael lightened up the oil lamp they had brought. He and Haka had one while Ilami and Aleveri had another. Since they all weren’t affected by the Darkening Spell, the lamp worked just fine for them. They could also talk since the Muting Spell was working.

The room, with further inspection, consisted of glass cases that were placed with a gap between each other. As Gael suspected, the cases kept artifacts in them. Ancient scepters, spears and shields stood inside them, each one of them served as a magical trigger. Some of them were basic ones while the others were a combination of triggers. The latter ones were more powerful and versatile than the former.

‘So many artifacts,’ Haka whispered, standing next to him, close enough that Gael could feel Haka’s breath from his neck. ‘What are they for? These things are worth golds!’

‘Maybe it’s for the test,’ Gael said, pushing aside the tickling he felt and how he enjoyed it. ‘One Scholar student is rewarded this, remember?’

‘Dayel couldn’t just be dead because he saw these artifacts, could he?’ Haka said, touching the surface of the glass. ‘It’d be too cruel a punishment.’

‘We haven’t finished searching,’ Gael said, looking at the sword which was stored in the case Haka had touched. ‘Let’s go to the other side.’

They went to one end of the room while Ilami and Aleveri went to another. Thankfully, the distance between them was as long as the spells’ radius. Gael didn’t realize the place was actually smaller than he expected.

They found more artifacts. Gael stooped to read a label that was pasted at the bottom of one of them. Scepter of Cerelia.He gasped and looked up. In front of him was a scepter made up of diamonds, xerasium, and pearls. A legendary weapon belonged to one of the most powerful sorceress in Estagria, Cerelia the Mischievous. Legend had it that at a party, Cerelia cast a spell with the scepter that put all the noble people to sleep. Once they woke up, the jewelries were gone, carried away by the notorious blood user.

‘Precious thing,’ Gael whispered, mesmerized by the shining beauty of the object. ‘If I win the test, I can have this. I can be a master of blood magic.’

‘We’re not looking for that at the moment,’ Haka said and lifted Gael up.

‘Guys, come here.’ Ilami said at the other end of the room.

Gael and Haka moved towards Ilami and Aleveri, who was clutching Ilami’s shoulder from behind, her body shivering slightly. The two girls stood in front of something, and upon closer inspection, Gael realized it was a door. A room in a room?

Ilami twisted the doorknob and it cracked open. ‘It isn’t locked,’ she said. ‘Whoever was here definitely didn’t expect anyone to come here at night.’

Or maybe they went out for a while before going in here, Gael thought, and he was uncomfortable of how his mind betrayed him. He shooed away the anxiety and focused on what was in front of him.

They went inside the room, which was different than the Artifacts Room. In fact, it replicated the library to the tiny details - shelves lined up in front of them, filled with books and manuscripts. Gael stepped closer to one of the shelves and took a deep breath. He didn’t smell any dusty scent, which meant the shelves were used regularly. But why? The library outside was bigger and had more books than it was here.

He picked one of the books and read the title. History of Human Transformation. He frowned. That was unexpected. He was sure the academy didn’t teach the weird subject. He turned it around and read the handwritten blurb.

In this book, I have written down as much as I can about the instances of human experiments carried out in the history of Estagria. While these examples mark as the dark side of our country, I have found bits of necessity and wisdom behind the actions of these people, and hopefully this record would serve to help future scientists in figuring out the solution to create serex hanis.

Gael gasped. Serex hanis was the ancient Esteese’s term for super human. If memory served him correct, experimentation on human was forbidden during the reign of the Twin Deities due to lack of consent from the subjects and the high risk put on them. This book was a blasphemy and should be banned from being read. What was it doing over here?

Someone poked at his shoulder. ‘Gael, check this,’ Aleveri said, and as he turned back, she gave him a book thicker than the one he held.

He put back History of Human Transformation and read the new one. He frowned deeper looking at the title: Contributions of Human Modifications in the Four Continents. He flipped the book to the back and read the blurb.

Estagria was not the only country in the continent of Reva to conduct human experiments. The attempts to modify the basic components of a person have been started in countries of other continents. Arxios, a country-continent, is widely known for their experimentation on their war slaves who consist of humans. This book contains a helpful guide in studying the various forms of human modification practiced by countries from the continents of Reva, Arxios, Desta, and Solos.

The temperature dropped to the point where Gael felt he was in Desta’s winter. His forehead started to sweat, and he looked slowly at Aleveri. Fear knitted her eyebrows, her mouth opened slightly. This was bigger than what he thought. It was bigger than the academy and now he didn’t know just what exactly he was dealing with. All of these experiments were illegal and sinful and they were written down in the books of the area that seemed to be frequently used by someone in the academy.

Seeing his frightened expression, Ilami took the book from Gael and read its cover and back. She pulled a frown, though it was the kind that someone put on when he encountered shit on the floor. ‘What the hell is the academy thinking?’

* [In ancient Esteese] Silence reigns, sounds ceased. Many unheard, a few listened.


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Thu Oct 28, 2021 11:33 am
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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: OKayyy so their little excursion begins and it looks like so far everything is going according to plan and nothing has gone wrong, which seems to be an indicator that maybe things could go wrong in the next part. I don't think everything will end up just going well for them.

Anyway let's get right to it,

They moved through the hallway, concealing their identities with cloaks. Gael, using a bright diamond, and Ilami took the lead while Haka and Aleveri followed them. This was the first time Gael was out of his dorm late at night. It was past midnight and no one was watching the castle’s interior. The chilliness of the inside slipped through his garment like the air from the graveyard. Combined with the silence, he could feel the castle didn’t welcome him outside of his room.

They went to the back of the castle, taking small steps to avoid making any sound. As they reached the ground floor of the resource area, the scent of wood and mint greeted them. Gael felt his racing heart relax a bit. They took the spiraling stairs to the second floor and went to the door belonged to the library.


Ohh, I like the total lack of dialogue there and just the descriptions of the places as they walk through them. It really manages to bring to light what sort of situation we have going on here and just sort of immediately manages to create some tension simply based on that. Its a really neat way to get this started here.

Once inside, Gael held his breath, expecting someone to hit them for intruding. No one was the. He sighed in relief. They went to the corner of the library where the shelves for history stood firm. There, a door attached to the wall with a warning (DO NOT ENTER WITHOUT PERMISSION) hung on it. They gathered in front of it.

Gael looked at Aleveri, who had her eyes moving frantically. She really didn’t like going out at night. He touched her shoulder and her eyes focused on him. Ilami held Aleveri’s hand. He nodded. Aleveri gulped, and nodded too. They took out their blood vials. Aleveri held Ilami’s dull diamond.


OOoh, I'm liking how smooth this all feels here. You can tell they've done a decent bit of planning and probably a bit of practice. Neither one of them has to say and word and they are just proceeding along with their plan with no trouble whatsoever. Of course I suppose things will eventually become crazier but for now this is off to a neat start.

Nothing drastic changed, but a slight distortion only they could see formed a barrier around them. Anything that made a sound inside the barrier could only be heard by the four of them. Aleveri had agreed to practice the Muting Spell when they planned for the infiltration. It had taken Gael and her two weeks to master their respective spells. They could hold them for exactly an hour now.

They went through the door. They had decided to search in the room together since there was no need for Ilami to guard the door and warn them if someone came. Ilami had rightly guessed no one would be in the library at night based on the rumours she heard about Arafel going into the place at night and coming out unharmed.


Okayy...that is definitely quite a lot of preparation time there. Two weeks means they are all being very serious about everything and that's good to see. Loving the bit of description on the spells as well, we already got to see a taste of at least the darkness one but its good to get a refresher going into this scene as the two spells will end up being crucial to the whole thing.

The room, with further inspection, consisted of glass cases that were placed with a gap between each other. As Gael suspected, the cases kept artifacts in them. Ancient scepters, spears and shields stood inside them, each one of them served as a magical trigger. Some of them were basic ones while the others were a combination of triggers. The latter ones were more powerful and versatile than the former.

‘So many artifacts,’ Haka whispered, standing next to him, close enough that Gael could feel Haka’s breath from his neck. ‘What are they for? These things are worth golds!’

‘Maybe it’s for the test,’ Gael said, pushing aside the tickling he felt and how he enjoyed it. ‘One Scholar student is rewarded this, remember?’


OKayyy...well here we go an we are officially inside the room and looking at everything. Well, let's see what they end up finding her. I somehow suspect these aren't just here for the students though, cause that isn't the type of thing that would end in multiple murders. Also I wonder why they are whispering if they can talk normally? Is it cause they are standing fairly close to each other?

‘Dayel couldn’t just be dead because he saw these artifacts, could he?’ Haka said, touching the surface of the glass. ‘It’d be too cruel a punishment.’

‘We haven’t finished searching,’ Gael said, looking at the sword which was stored in the case Haka had touched. ‘Let’s go to the other side.’

They went to one end of the room while Ilami and Aleveri went to another. Thankfully, the distance between them was as long as the spells’ radius. Gael didn’t realize the place was actually smaller than he expected.


Okayy....well, that's good. If the place ended up being a bit too big, they'd probably get a lot of trouble trying to explore the area so this is a bit of convenience but will its a believable enough things and it works out well enough. :D

They found more artifacts. Gael stooped to read a label that was pasted at the bottom of one of them. Scepter of Cerelia.He gasped and looked up. In front of him was a scepter made up of diamonds, xerasium, and pearls. A legendary weapon belonged to one of the most powerful sorceress in Estagria, Cerelia the Mischievous. Legend had it that at a party, Cerelia cast a spell with the scepter that put all the noble people to sleep. Once they woke up, the jewelries were gone, carried away by the notorious blood user.

‘Precious thing,’ Gael whispered, mesmerized by the shining beauty of the object. ‘If I win the test, I can have this. I can be a master of blood magic.’

‘We’re not looking for that at the moment,’ Haka said and lifted Gael up.


Hahah, Gael being distracted by an important historical artefact is exactly the thing I expect to happen...and I love that you took the time to include a scene like that before we get to the actual mysteries of this place.

‘Guys, come here.’ Ilami said at the other end of the room.

Gael and Haka moved towards Ilami and Aleveri, who was clutching Ilami’s shoulder from behind, her body shivering slightly. The two girls stood in front of something, and upon closer inspection, Gael realized it was a door. A room in a room?

Ilami twisted the doorknob and it cracked open. ‘It isn’t locked,’ she said. ‘Whoever was here definitely didn’t expect anyone to come here at night.’

Or maybe they went out for a while before going in here, Gael thought, and he was uncomfortable of how his mind betrayed him. He shooed away the anxiety and focused on what was in front of him.


Oooh, I really like how Gael's mind immediately thinks of not just the answer that's beneficial to them but also the one that could spell trouble. That's a good sign for them going forward, you should always know the points where you plans could go wrong...and well, this secret room inside the secret room is indeed interesting, and I have a feeling that could be where the more secretive stuff is kept.

They went inside the room, which was different than the Artifacts Room. In fact, it replicated the library to the tiny details - shelves lined up in front of them, filled with books and manuscripts. Gael stepped closer to one of the shelves and took a deep breath. He didn’t smell any dusty scent, which meant the shelves were used regularly. But why? The library outside was bigger and had more books than it was here.

He picked one of the books and read the title. History of Human Transformation. He frowned. That was unexpected. He was sure the academy didn’t teach the weird subject. He turned it around and read the handwritten blurb.


Okayy....well here we go, we're getting into some interesting things here. I have a feeling none of the kids here are going to have enough context to really understand whatever craziness happens in this room, but there will be plenty of suspicious things happening here.

In this book, I have written down as much as I can about the instances of human experiments carried out in the history of Estagria. While these examples mark as the dark side of our country, I have found bits of necessity and wisdom behind the actions of these people, and hopefully this record would serve to help future scientists in figuring out the solution to create serex hanis.

Gael gasped. Serex hanis was the ancient Esteese’s term for super human. If memory served him correct, experimentation on human was forbidden during the reign of the Twin Deities due to lack of consent from the subjects and the high risk put on them. This book was a blasphemy and should be banned from being read. What was it doing over here?


Oooh, well there we go. That could also explain why some people die...this is really taking a few interesting turns and doing so rather quickly here. I'm very excited to see what all of this information is going to end up revealing to us.

The temperature dropped to the point where Gael felt he was in Desta’s winter. His forehead started to sweat, and he looked slowly at Aleveri. Fear knitted her eyebrows, her mouth opened slightly. This was bigger than what he thought. It was bigger than the academy and now he didn’t know just what exactly he was dealing with. All of these experiments were illegal and sinful and they were written down in the books of the area that seemed to be frequently used by someone in the academy.

Seeing his frightened expression, Ilami took the book from Gael and read its cover and back. She pulled a frown, though it was the kind that someone put on when he encountered shit on the floor. ‘What the hell is the academy thinking?’


Yup...well, it doesn't seem too outlandish compared to some magic I've seen, but in this world this appears to be something truly terrible...and it looks like someone in the academy wants to learn a lot about it and perhaps even perform some of these spells....well this quite the exciting point to cut this chapter off here.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, we're off to a really nice start here to this excursion. Already some wonderful things are being introduced and I really like seeing this information slowly being revealed. Excited to see where this goes next. :D

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

Stay Safe
Harry




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Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:10 am
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Mea wrote a review...



Yes, we're finally here! :D Pan is way too good at covering every bit of critique, but I'll see what I can come up with

This is a well-executed part. You do a good job of setting up the atmosphere and keeping the tension high. Although we don't really understand all the reasons for Gael and the other's horror at the research of superhumans, the way you show their reactions makes me really interested and concerned.

That being said, I still agree with Pan that you could push this even more. Giving us more of a sense beforehand of the sorts of things that are outlawed and why they are outlawed - showing the horror of it - will help the reader not just be intrigued by the group's disgust reaction, but be able to have that reaction themselves.

I still don't understand why the school gives these artifacts to graduates who do well on the tests. They seem to be priceless and irreplaceable - what will happen when they run out of artifacts? Is it because the students need some kind of powerful artifact so they can go on to do important work as a spellcaster? What kind of work would that be? We just don't know enough about why people train in magic and what they use it for after school.

One thing I noticed is that they seem to just be looking around - they aren't really talking about or thinking about why they're there, other to poke around. I've actually kind of forgotten the exact reason they're sneaking in, other than to find more information about what happened to Alyosha and Dayel, and I couldn't figure it out again just from reading this chapter. Gael should be thinking about what the group is looking for, trying to piece information together from random clues. Does he wonder if Dayel was trying to steal an artifact? How does he connect what he sees here with his first foray into the Restricted Area, when he met that weird dwarf? Shouldn't he be afraid of seeing him again?

On that note, I also agree that it's highly unlikely the place isn't guarded. Even if they don't want to draw attention to it by having some guards there, some sort of magical alarm spell would do the trick. (In fact, I'm almost wondering if that's exactly what happened, and they're about to get caught.)

I also love seeing everyone together and how they naturally spit up into groups of Gael and Haka, then Ilami and Aleveri. This isn't quite an immediate, high-stress situation yet, but they should still be nervous - let that come out in their interactions with each other. Really show how they work well together (or don't work well - this is their first time trying this, so there should definitely be room for improvement) and how they overcome obstacles.

So yeah, a great part, one that's really pulled me back into the story. So now I'm going to push you to improve it even more. :D Looking forward to the next part!




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Panikos wrote a review...



Hi, Lightsong! Pan back to review. Glad that you decided to change it so that this was the true chapter thirteen. It works much, much better, as I suspected it would.

Nitpicks

Gael, using a bright diamond, and Ilami took the lead while Haka and Aleveri followed them.


It's not a good idea to stick a non-finite clause right before a connective - it just disrupts the rhythm and makes it feel disjointed. I don't think you really need to mention the bright diamond until he actually gets it out to do the Darkening Spell. You could rephrase it to something as simple as this:

Gael and Ilami took the lead, Haka and Aleveri following close behind.

If you still want to bring up the bright diamond, you could have a sentence after this one talking about him fiddling with it in his pocket or something. It could be a good way to communicate his nerves, come to think of it.

This was the first time Gael had been out of his dorm late at night.


The chilliness of the inside slipped through his garment like the air from the graveyard.


Awkward expression. You could just have something like:

The chilly air slipped through his cloak, tracing his skin like ghostly fingers.

That's probably more in my style than yours, but you see what I'm getting at. Rephrase it how you wish, but 'chilliness of the inside' just comes across as strange. I also think you should use a more specific noun than 'garment', as that's a bit vague and doesn't really let me picture his clothes.

Combined with the silence, he could feel the castle didn’t welcome him outside of his room.


This isn't too bad, but just seems quite a bland way to express the pint. It's very to-the-point and obvious. Can you get into more detail about why he feels unwelcome? Does it seem to him that the very walls of the castle are watching his movements?

Gael felt his racing heart relax a bit.


Why not have: Gael's racing heart relaxed a bit? Always be more concise if you can.

They took the spiraling stairs to the second floor and went to the door belonged to the library door.


Gael looked at Aleveri, whose eyes were moving frantically.


He touched her shoulder and her eyes focused on him. Ilami held Aleveri’s hand. He nodded. Aleveri gulped, and nodded too


This is a bit confusing to keep track of who's doing what. Do you mean Gael is the one doing the nodding? If so, change the bolded 'he' to his name. At the moment, it reads like it's either Ilami or Aleveri doing the nodding, but you accidentally wrote 'he' instead of 'she'.

He could see the area where the spell affected darkened, though outsiders would see pitch black instead


I don't think I've brought this up in previous reviews, but I kind of...don't get how the Darkening Spell is helpful. Sure, it wraps them in darkness, but that in itself makes it obvious that someone is there. If you look over at the other side of the room and see this pitch-black blob wandering by, you're hardly going to ignore it. It might work in an already dark environment (but then again, you'd hardly need it if it was already dark) or for just concealing your identity, but it seems of limited use in a task like this. I feel like a spell of invisibility would be much better suited to infiltration.

Ilami had rightly guessed no one would be in the library at night based on the rumours she heard about Arafel going into the place at night and coming out unharmed.


That's a pretty big assumption. Arafel surviving doesn't necessarily mean that there were no guards. He could just have managed to sneak past them.

The door led them to a staircase


Gael lit the oil lamp they had brought.


Ancient scepters, spears and shields stood inside them. Each one of them served as a magical trigger.


‘What are they for? These things are worth golds!’


'Gold' isn't normally a noun you can pluralise, unless of course he means it in a new kind of sense. Is a gold a kind of currency in this world, like a coin? Or does he mean they're worth a gold as in a gold medal or something? It just needs to be clearer. If he just means they're worth gold as in the metal gold, then it shouldn't have an 's' on the end.

‘Maybe it’s for the test,’ Gael said, pushing aside the tickling he felt and how he enjoyed it.


Honestly, Gael, now is not the time to go moony over boys! :P

Once they woke up, the jewelries were gone


Jewellery (or jewelry, as it's spelt in American English) is doesn't have a plural form as it's what we call a mass noun, so this sentence should just be:

Once they woke up, their jewelry was gone

‘We’re not looking for that at the moment,’ Haka said and lifted Gael up.


Do you mean he helped him to his feet or something? Lifting him up suggests he's literally got him by the waist and picked him up off the floor, and while I'm sure Gael would delight in that, it doesn't seem to be the image you're going for.

I don't actually remember you saying that Gael crouched down, though, so if Haka did help Gael to his feet, maybe specify beforehand that he got on his knees to look at the cabinet or something.

Gael realized it was a door. A room in a room?


He says that like it's an unusual thing. It's not exactly uncommon for rooms to lead into other rooms, so why is everyone so apprehensive about it?

Or maybe they went out for a while before going in here, Gael thought, and he was uncomfortable of how his mind betrayed him. He shooed away the anxiety and focused on what was in front of him.


Just be careful not to say more than you need to. You hold the reader's hand a lot, even though they can often work out what you're meaning in much fewer words.

He was sure the academy didn’t teach the weird subject.


Expression is weird. Maybe have 'he was sure the academy didn't teach such a weird subject' or 'he was sure the academy didn't teach that kind of weird subject'.

If his memory served him correctly, experimentation on humans was forbidden


The attempts to modify the basic components of a person have been started in the countries of other continents


All of these experiments were illegal and sinful and they were written down in the books of the area that seemed to be frequently used by someone in the academy.


That last part of the sentence gets quite convoluted. See if you can toy around with the expression.

She pulled a frown, though it was the kind that someone put on when he encountered shit on the floor.


Expression is weird here, and while swear words certainly don't bother me, I do feel like the use of 'shit' is out of place here; it doesn't fit the tone of the piece. You could just have something simple like:

She frowned, her nose wrinkling as if at a bad smell.

Overall Thoughts

1) This has definitely been the most exciting chapter for a long while, but I still think you could ramp the jeopardy up even more. What with the reveal at the end, I feel like there's no way that this place wouldn't be guarded, or at least locked up. The unlocked doors in particular made me think 'yeah right'. There's just no way in hell that they wouldn't have some kind of security measures in place.

It's maybe something to consider for future drafts, but this chapter would be more exciting if the group actually faced some proper obstruction. The lack of locked doors and guards not only hurts the realism, but it makes the whole thing too easy. We need more conflict. More fear. More of a sense that this could go terribly, terribly wrong.

2) As for the reveal at the end, my feelings on it are quite neutral. It's an interesting concept and I want to know how it ties in with Zivil and the church and Venaria, but it didn't really hit me in a kind of 'oh my god, really!?' sort of way. I was just like, oh, superhumans, okay. I don't feel any horror or disgust at it.

I think part of the reason for that is that you've sprung it on us quite suddenly. I have no idea what experimenting to make a superhuman actually involves, and because it's not an inherently negative plotline in wider literature (lots of superheroes are made via experimentation), I don't take an automatic dislike to it. There's also the fact that you basically tell us how bad it is rather than showing us. Gael is talking about it being illegal and awful and blasphemous, but I just have to take his word for it. If the gang had stumbled on the mutilated body of a subject, then maybe I'd feel the horror for myself.

It's a tricky thing to make a reader feel disturbed by fantastical things, as we can't relate to them the way we can relate to more realistic horrors. Northern Lights, the first book in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, is really good at this. You spend the whole novel knowing that children are being kidnapped and experimented on for some unknown purpose, and when you discover what it is, you're so immersed in the world that you feel the horror of it, despite it being something completely imagined. It's an amazing trilogy. Definitely worth you reading, if you haven't already, because it's a stellar example of how to write a mature, sophisticated fantasy book while still having very young protagonists.

Anyway, I won't go off on a tangent. In short, the reveal is okay, but it would be a lot, lot stronger if you showed us the horror rather than telling us about it. When I'm reading about the phenomenon from a book blurb, there's a limit to how disturbed I can feel.

3) I do like seeing the gang all together in a little squad. It feels like things are all coming together, and they're all very well suited to balance out each other's strengths and weaknesses. I would like a bit more conversation between all of them - a bit of nervous squabbling, maybe. Let's not forget that these are all a bunch of kids. None of them are masters of espionage, and I feel like you could actually get a little more humour out of the whole situation. Or at the very least some humanity. They're so unprepared for disaster, I'd like to see you stress a bit more that this is a bunch of kids who basically has no clue what they're doing. They're all so serious and professional, I have a difficult time picturing them as a bunch of eleven-year-olds.

That's all for now! I feel like this was a really harsh review, but please be assured that I did really enjoy this chapter. I only think there's scope to do a lot more with it, if you get what I mean. Nevertheless, I'm excited by the plot developments and I can't wait to see what happens next. Will something go disastrously wrong for them all? I hope so.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan





You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.
— J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan