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Children with Stars in their Veins (Chapter 37.1)

by mellifera


a/n: hey, thanks for checking out Starry Veins! This is the novel I wrote for Round V of LMS, and it's still a first draft! While I don't discourage any feedback, I prefer not to receive feedback on grammar! I'm not polishing this draft up yet, so I'm not as concerned about editing. I am, of course, open to all feedback, but I ask that you keep this in consideration! Thanks <3

*

[Isadora]



Isadora wasn’t certain that Mishal was being honest when he deigned to stay back at the manor house and said he was fine, but pressing wasn’t going to get another answer. She’d let him stew for the afternoon and prod him tonight.

She followed Margaretta through the streets, who had a much more purposeful stride than Isadora and Mishal had when they had gone exploring. The building rose around them like a comforting embrace. There were balconies above the streets with bountiful flora; ivy that covered whole walls or hanging flowers that dripping down from their pots.

When Margaretta had asked her and Mishal if they wanted to accompany her to the person Jax had sent the after, who had come back from the Sundown Ruins, she finally felt useful. So far, they’d done nothing to help the expedition, they had learned nothing. they had been attacked, lost many of their supplies, had to leave Partridge behind due to her injuries, and lost friends.

It was like a dark cloud overhead. She didn’t want to think about them, about any of those who they had lost. But she lay awake, staring at the ceiling, and every night when she didn’t think she had more tears to cry, she discovered she did.

So, having a day to stretch her legs and feel like she could actually learn something made Isadora feel lighter. Margaretta did not seem particularly affected, by even if she was glaring and speaking in the cool monotone that betrayed her anger, Isadora wasn’t going to let that bring her down.

She glanced up and found the tower Jax had mentioned.

It was… She sucked in a breath. One high steeple, rising up from an already impressive building that stood proudly above the rest of the city. The shingles were lined with something that made them gleam like diamonds, and the top rose up in a brilliant silver that arrayed itself with colour as the sun hit it. Inside hung a huge bell.

When you hear the bells, you’ll know it’s time to go home.

Her heart clenched. She wanted to bring the others here. She had not doubt Alanna would fall in love with the city, as she had already. Ember would be fascinated by the technology—She had seen many forms of travel, of carriages and of carts, and of kite-like things that danced in the air. She had even spied one of the airships from Heaven’s Keep, way off in the distance, on a clear day void of clouds. There were be so much for Cassius to do and get into, and Rowan…

Well. The ruins were close by.

She exhaled deeply and hurried her pace once more to catch up with Margaretta.

They were approaching a more unkempt building, with paint falling off the wood in chips but a lovely flowerbox out front, when Margaretta finally turned to her. “Their name is Averi, and they live with a young healer named Lidia. Averi has had some health troubles, which Lidia helps them with.”

“But they’ll be okay with meet with us?” she asked. She knew Margaretta had set up this appointment already, but she wanted to be sure.

Margaretta nodded. “Of course. Lidia is there if Averi needs anything.”

They approached the brightly painted, cheery aquamarine door, and Margaretta stepped forward to knock four times. There was a beat, before Isadora heard the clicks of bolts unlocking.

The door opened and a young woman poked her head out. Her sun-bleached brown hair was pulled back, but many strands were loose around her face. Her skin was a warm brown. She smiled at them. “You must be Margaretta,” she said. She opened the door further and held out her hand. “I’m Lidia.”

Margaretta shook her hand. “I am.” When her hand was free, she gestured back. “And this is one of my associates, Isadora.”

Isadora reached forward, and Lidia took her hand. “It’s lovely to meet you.”

Lidia smiled at her. “And you as well. Please, do come in.”

They bustled into the building. The ceiling stretched higher than Isadora would have expected, and the interior was much neater than outside. The floors were a polished, rich brown, and the panelled walls painted a fresh cream. Lidia gestured for them to follow her and led them into a brightly lit sitting room.

Sunlight streamed in through the windows, only veiled by thin white curtains that did little to disrupt the warm glow. It was charming, with all cushioned and plush-looking furniture. Lining the walls on either side of the doorway that led to the front hall where bookshelves. Built into the walls themselves, with dozens upon dozens of books. It smelled of parchment and cured leather. She inhaled deeply with a smile.

“Averi,” Lidia called. “Our guests are here.”

Across the room, bound in a wheeled chair with a blanket draped over them, sat Averi. Averi turned towards them as they entered the room, from the window they had been looking out of. Lidia hurried over, grabbed the back of their chair, and wheeled them over towards Margaretta and Isadora.

Averi waved as they were wheeled over, but they were looking towards the middle of the left bookshelf when they did. Their grey hair, flecked with white, hung loose at their shoulders. And as they were pushed closer, Isadora realised their eyes were a cosmic blue—near solidly coloured, with flecks of murky white swirling through them. They were unfocused, flickering around the room, as if unsure where to land.

“Thank you for inviting us into your home,” Margaretta said. “I’m Margaretta, I’m the one who sent the letter. I have a friend with me, Isadora.”

“You have a wonderful home,” Isadora said.

Averi laughed. “Do I?” Their expression twisted into a frown, laughter dying, and they glanced towards their lap.

“They’re from the Chronicler’s Guild. They came to ask about the Sundown Ruins,” Lidia told them kindly. Then, glancing up at Isadora, she spoke in a much quieter voice, “They have a lot of trouble remembering things.”

She glanced towards Margaretta, who sat down stiffly in one of the chairs, arranged in a crescent. She sat on another, and Lidia settled down right next to where she had halted Averi’s chair.



word count:

1,046




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Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:17 am
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JabberHut wrote a review...



Okay so BASICALLY I love this idea of Isadora hanging out with Margaretta alone. We haven't seen this happen since the beginning of the novel when she was with her parents as they originally addressed this trip in the first place. So I really feel like we're going to find out some interesting information here and I'm Super Stoked for the next section.

Averi seems like a really neat character so far, though we're only just getting to know her. I'm guessing she's blind or at least have challenged sight, so hopefully I gathered that correctly from your description. It's also a fun little twist that the person Jax was referring them to is someone like Averi. I wonder what she has in store for them or how she'll be helpful to them. I'm guessing she has some good insight on the ruins or history or have some knowledge base that Margaretta would want to dig into. (I also don't really remember why Jax sent them to her, so that's just on me playing catch-up.)

I am so fascinated by the color of this house btw. Like... a bright aquamarine door and a noticeable flowerbox -- I mean, I LOVE this woman's style. XD I got so excited when I read the aquamarine door. I know right away this woman was going to be eccentric to a point at least and I love it.

I honestly feel like this city is just filled with so many interesting characters, and I say that after only meeting three of them LOL. but it's so wonderful! There's clearly such an open community here where people of varying backgrounds or beliefs are able to thrive and survive. I legit want to hang around here longer hahahaha.

I was a bit disjointed by how we never addressed the cartographer's house or whatever that they were meeting up at. Last we checked in with Isadora, they were heading to that home Gracia had mentioned, but here we skipped over all that and straight to Averi's place. That leaves me to wonder where Mishal is or how he's doing and also curious about the place he's staying in, like is it safe or is he alone, etc. Regardless, I reiterate what I said before: I'm SUPER excited about the idea of putting Isadora and Margaretta on a mission together. It just feels like a great way to revisit the starting chapter and compare their relationship between then and now.

I wish I had more to comment on, but I very much need to read the next segment first so I know what the outcome of this visit will be! Until next time, my friend!!




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Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:55 am
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Tuckster wrote a review...



Hi again mel! I am determined to make a dent in the Green Room this Review Day, so I am apparently going to be reviewing random parts of your novel in an effort to push some chapters out of the GR. Hopefully I can still be helpful!

When Margaretta had asked her and Mishal if they wanted to accompany her to the person Jax had sent the after, who had come back from the Sundown Ruins, she finally felt useful. So far, they’d done nothing to help the expedition, they had learned nothing. they had been attacked, lost many of their supplies, had to leave Partridge behind due to her injuries, and lost friends.

I would suggest de-italicizing "friends" here, since I didn't feel that it was the best way to emphasize the idea of losing friends. Using the rhetorical device of climax (don't come at me that's legit what it's called), for example, may show the emotional significance better than italicizing. Also, you've already italicized another word in this paragraph, which I felt was a more effective use of italics.

In terms of pacing (which is probably the only part of this story I'm qualified to comment on, since I bounce around from chapter to chapter), this chapter felt more rushed than the last one I reviewed. There were a lot of scene transitions, which made it hard for me to keep up with all of the description. Just as I felt I was settling into one description, the characters had moved, and now there's a new description for me to read and absorb. Echoing what I said last time, I think you could use a little more description here. I don't feel quite as wrapped up in the world you've established as I would like to be. You have the potential and ability to write breathtaking description, and I wish you would utilize that a touch more in the installments that I've read.

Overall, I liked the subtle ways you hinted at character motivations, character conflicts, and the emotional and physical struggles of a long quest. I'd love to see the pacing and description touched up moving forward as potential spots for improvement. Once again, definitely take these critiques with a grain of salt since I haven't read previous chapters, but I hope they were still helpful for you! Please feel free to reach out with any questions.

Best,
Tuck




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Fri Jul 17, 2020 2:53 am
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HarryHardy wrote a review...



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

Aaand I am back for this story. Sorry it took me a few hours because it was like midnight for me when you uploaded it and I didn't want to leave a review influenced by being awake that late.

First Impression: Well...looks like we are definitely approaching the end of arc one if the ruins are close by. When they actually get to the ruins things are going to get really interesting. As it is this one was pretty curious too especially Isadora trying to tie in that fortune teller earlier and that cryptic statement towards the end.

Anyway let's get to it,

Isadora wasn’t certain that Mishal was being honest when he deigned to stay back at the manor house and said he was fine, but pressing wasn’t going to get another answer. She’d let him stew for the afternoon and prod him tonight.


Oh dear he's still stewing over that. This gets interesting.

So, having a day to stretch her legs and feel like she could actually learn something made Isadora feel lighter. Margaretta did not seem particularly affected, by even if she was glaring and speaking in the cool monotone that betrayed her anger, Isadora wasn’t going to let that bring her down.


So she's angry about Mishal refusing to come or is there something else here?

It was… She sucked in a breath. One high steeple, rising up from an already impressive building that stood proudly above the rest of the city. The shingles were lined with something that made them gleam like diamonds, and the top rose up in a brilliant silver that arrayed itself with colour as the sun hit it. Inside hung a huge bell.


That's a really nice description there.

When you hear the bells, you’ll know it’s time to go home.


Oh my god. I have sooo many theories about what this means.

Her heart clenched. She wanted to bring the others here. She had not doubt Alanna would fall in love with the city, as she had already. Ember would be fascinated by the technology—She had seen many forms of travel, of carriages and of carts, and of kite-like things that danced in the air. She had even spied one of the airships from Heaven’s Keep, way off in the distance, on a clear day void of clouds. There were be so much for Cassius to do and get into, and Rowan…


That's nice to see. It gives you the feels too.

They were approaching a more unkempt building, with paint falling off the wood in chips but a lovely flowerbox out front, when Margaretta finally turned to her. “Their name is Averi, and they live with a young healer named Lidia. Averi has had some health troubles, which Lidia helps them with.”


And she waited till they were at the door for what reason exactly? Shouldn't this have been said like before setting out?

Margaretta shook her hand. “I am.” When her hand was free, she gestured back. “And this is one of my associates, Isadora.”


That seems a little weird to me. She was definitely not treating Isadora as an equal adult for most of the trip so calling her an associate seems a little off. Or maybe she's just making an impression on this Lidia. I don't know.

Sunlight streamed in through the windows, only veiled by thin white curtains that did little to disrupt the warm glow. It was charming, with all cushioned and plush-looking furniture. Lining the walls on either side of the doorway that led to the front hall where bookshelves. Built into the walls themselves, with dozens upon dozens of books. It smelled of parchment and cured leather. She inhaled deeply with a smile.



Really nice description again there.

Averi waved as they were wheeled over, but they were looking towards the middle of the left bookshelf when they did. Their grey hair, flecked with white, hung loose at their shoulders. And as they were pushed closer, Isadora realised their eyes were a cosmic blue—near solidly coloured, with flecks of murky white swirling through them. They were unfocused, flickering around the room, as if unsure where to land.


That is a very strange eye color indeed.

“They’re from the Chronicler’s Guild. They came to ask about the Sundown Ruins,” Lidia told them kindly. Then, glancing up at Isadora, she spoke in a much quieter voice, “They have a lot of trouble remembering things.”


Very cryptic line or maybe it's simply referring to Isadora's past. Who knows? At least there's a part two for me to go read to try to figure that out.

Aaand that's it for this one. I am heading over right now to go read part 2. I was just so happy to see two parts being posted.

Overall: Okayy...some interesting developments. And we meet two more characters. I think I'm going to need a spreadsheet to keep track of the side characters now. All your main characters are so memorable and easy to know apart but there's a ton of side characters and I'm starting to forgot some of their names. Luckily they are only side characters. As for the plot it is progressing nicely as always. I sense the first act of the story coming to a close.

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

Stay Safe
Harry




mellifera says...


Oh my god. I have sooo many theories about what this means.


I would LOVE to hear any and all theories they are my favourite thing

(also, thank you as always for your reviews!! <3 I really appreciate all the dedication you put into them!)



HarryHardy says...


Hmm...if any of my theories are true...or sounds like they are coming true...I'll spill.
Your Welcome!!! <3 This had been a lovely story to read.



HarryHardy says...


has*




Teach a man to fish, he eats for a day. Don't teach a man to fish, you eat for a day. He's a grown man. Fishing's not that hard.
— Ron Swanson (Parks and Rec)