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Children with Stars in their Veins (Chapter 47)

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

*

[Mishal]

Every day that passed after the ambush and Isadora’s injury was agony.

Isadora herself drifted in and out of conscious. Her brow was constantly doused in a thick sheen of sweat and she was always too warm to comfort anyone. Gracia constant and vigilant care got her back to the City of Bells, and her wound was treated. When the surgeons and healers had no more for her in the infirmary, she was brought back to Luthera’s manor, where she had been lying in a silent, terrifying sleep for several hours.

Mishal sat beside her, every muscle tense in his body. He hardly left her, and how could he?

If he’d just been a little faster. He should have reacted quicker. He’d frozen so badly, his mind jarred so violently at her injuries and the creature that had wrought them…

Gracia was on the other side of her bed, her face pale and drawn. She leaned back in her chair, watching Isadora as if that would do anything for her. Mishal gripped the arms of the rocking chair tightly so he did not tap against them or tear apart anything that found its way into his fingers. It felt like lightning ran through his nerve endings.

“It’s some form of venom,” Gracia said, frowning as Isadora murmured something in her sleep.

He clenched and unclenched and clenched his jaw. “What about it?”

She grimaced, as though she were the one who had been hurt. And with all the magic she had used in the last few days, she was likely suffering some of Isadora’s same anguish. “I don’t what I can do for her, Mishal. I don’t know what the thing was that did this. I can’t make an antidote for something I have no knowledge of. Even lessening the severity of the gash so she didn’t bleed out took most of my energy. I can’t draw out venom. Not that I could at full strength either. Weak doses of venom, of poison, I could probably do that, but this…”

At the mention of the beast, his mouth tasted of copper. He could picture it clearly. He imagined it even more vividly in his dreams, what few and fleeting that he had. It had sunk claws into his minds without ever having to touch him.

“It reminded me of something,” he said. “The beast. It sounded familiar.”

Gracia lifted her gaze. “What?”

“I said I thought it looked familiar.”

“I heard you, but how could it possibly look familiar?”

He shook his head, closing his eyes. “It’ll sound mad. But you noticed how… amalgamated it was?” He opened them again.

“I didn’t really look at it, I was more focused on getting you and Isadora away.” She leaned forward and gently touched Isadora’s temple. “If you have any insight, Mishal, please.”

It had been haunting him ever since they’d fled the ambush. “Golden crest of a wild cat, wicked point from a devilled arachnid tail,” he said. “But from its visage stares back eyes of ours, a glimpse that heralds doom and woe for those who face the mighty Manticore. It was from one Cassius’ poems.”

Gracia sighed and leaned away. “The manticore is a myth. They only ever show up in books that would also bolster pixies and shadowed boogeymen.”

He set his jaw and held it this time, glancing down at Isadora’s glistening face. “I may not be as read on my folklore as Cassius, Gracia, but I’ve listened to him enough that I’d stake my pride on that beast being a manticore. Body and mane of a lion, tail of scorpion, and face of a man.”

She shook her head.

Determination reared hot in his chest. It was insane, he knew it and he could hear it, but everything he’d ever learned of them… That thing was a manticore. “What’s that thing Professor Marita always said?”

“‘There is truth to every tale,’ but this isn’t a story. This isn’t one of Cassius’ fables.”

He met her gaze again. “Then what is it?”

She folded her hands together in her lap and her brow twitched. Isadora whimpered and shifted and whimpered again.

After a pause, Gracia put her face in her hands. “Even to entertain the idea that this… creature was a manticore, that would be of no use. I don’t know what can heal manticore venom unless by its own extract to make an antidote.”

He leaned onto one side of the rocking chair, putting one leg over the other. “If the tail was severed and brought back, would that suffice?”

She levelled him with a sharp look. “Don’t you dare get any ideas about that. That thing took Isadora out with one blow. We lost people to that thing while they were just trying to distract it away from us. Forestter, Remington, Liliana, Damona, Ursa.” She softened with a long exhale. “You can’t help Isadora if you’re dead. I mean that, Mishal. I wouldn’t suggest the most competent, strongest, bravest warrior take on that thing.”

He shivered. Whether from the cold of the stone floor, in the basement of Luthera’s manor, and the lack of warmth but that from the candles lit in the room or Isadora’s fever, or from the horror of the situation, he didn’t know, but it wracked through him. Light pooled in from the stairs that led above behind him, dousing the chamber in faint light.

Mishal curled into himself. His stomach ached from more than the tension he held in it.

“Then let me help extract the venom. You said you couldn’t do it on your own, so take my energy and latent magic to use. Take as much as you need.”

Gracia raised her head, possibly to consider or maybe to chide him, but her eyebrows rose, and she looked past him instead, as some of the light filtering into the room went dark with a shadow.

“Take mine.”

He turned. Margaretta stood in an oaken archway that opened into the room, where great logs of wood extended out from and bracketed the panels behind. She strode into the room, rolling up the sleeves of her jacket, and came to stand beside Gracia.

“I know what to expect, and I have had moderately more experience than Mishal with magic and have more awakened power.” Margaretta stared down at Isadora grimly. “Take as much as you need.”

Gracia looked up at her in surprise, blinking, then shook her head. “I’m not sure how much that is, or how potent this venom is. If what Mishal speculates is true, and that thing was a manticore… Margaretta, I don’t know if there’s enough people in the world to draw it out.”

Margaretta held out her hand. Pointedly. “If it takes all my magic and all my life’s force, or you have to transfer enough of that venom to kill me, and it’s still not enough to save her, then Mishal had already volunteered.” She finally turned down towards Gracia. “But not until you’ve used every last bit of mine.”

He sat up taller, off the back of the rocker. “Margaretta—”

Her icy gaze locked onto his. “You of all of us cannot deny that this is my doing. I should not have pushed us like this, I shouldn’t have forced this on her. I should have listened. My own hubris should not fall onto Isadora’s shoulders, nor yours. I will do whatever is in my power to save her. If you do not believe me, or if I’ve caused your trust in me to waver, I understand. But believe me on this, Mishal. She will not die.”

Mishal held her gaze, his chest winding itself even tighter. A lump rose in his throat, his breathing went shallow, and he looked back to Isadora again. She looked pained, even in her sleep, her brow bent and her mouth firm and tense.

She will not die.

He let out a heavy breath. He released all the tension he was holding, that he had been holding for the past several days. The weight rolled off his chest. He suddenly felt very small, as he slumped back into the rocking chair, and nodded slowly.

She will not die.

“Yeah,” he said, softly. He shuddered, staring at Isadora, and nodded again, swallowing hard. “Yeah.”

She will not die. And as Margaretta took Gracia’s hand, he realised that her words had the same weight that his mother’s used to have, when he was much younger. It was the relief that accompanied an adult’s perspective, and their knowledge and experience. Margaretta knew Isadora would be okay.

She knew.

word count:

1,441


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Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:34 pm
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starlitmind wrote a review...



YAY IT'S MISHAL'S POV

Spoiler! :
this gif is sad
Image


When the surgeons and healers had no more for her in the infirmary, she was brought back to Luthera’s manor, where she had been lying in a silent, terrifying sleep for several hours.


please give us some hope :(

waittt what if Isadora dies without knowing who she really is. that's be so sad

If he’d just been a little faster. He should have reacted quicker. He’d frozen so badly, his mind jarred so violently at her injuries and the creature that had wrought them…


MISHALLLLLLL IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT.

“It reminded me of something,” he said. “The beast. It sounded familiar.”

Gracia lifted her gaze. “What?”

“I said I thought it looked familiar.”

“I heard you, but how could it possibly look familiar?”


Did he read about it or something? Mishal does spend a lot of time in the library cx

Gracia sighed and leaned away. “The manticore is a myth. They only ever show up in books that would also bolster pixies and shadowed boogeymen.”


Yeah I doubt it's actually a myth cx

“‘There is truth to every tale,’ but this isn’t a story. This isn’t one of Cassius’ fables.”


The more Mishal argues for the existence of manticores, the more I believe him. And also, Cassius is pretty smart. And he seems knowledgable in mystical creatures. I mean, he literally has a friend dragon xD

I don’t know what can heal manticore venom unless by its own extract to make an antidote.


Ooh, are we going to go manticore hunting?

We lost people to that thing while they were just trying to distract it away from us. Forestter, Remington, Liliana, Damona, Ursa.


Omg, did they all die? That's so terrible. I feel so bad and I didn't even know them that well

I wouldn’t suggest the most competent, strongest, bravest warrior take on that thing.


Okay I guess we aren't going manticore hunting, which is probably the wiser decision

“Then let me help extract the venom. You said you couldn’t do it on your own, so take my energy and latent magic to use. Take as much as you need.”


What if Rowan came and they were able to extract the venom???

“You of all of us cannot deny that this is my doing. I should not have pushed us like this, I shouldn’t have forced this on her. I should have listened. My own hubris should not fall onto Isadora’s shoulders, nor yours. I will do whatever is in my power to save her. If you do not believe me, or if I’ve caused your trust in me to waver, I understand. But believe me on this, Mishal. She will not die.”


I did not expect that from Margaretta. That's so sweet, and I'm really glad she said that; it was comforting. I hope she genuinely means that

It was the relief that accompanied an adult’s perspective, and their knowledge and experience. Margaretta knew Isadora would be okay.

She knew.


That's what I was getting at! Her words brought comfort. I just hope she's right

If she's not, we're going to have a problem, mellifera




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Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:28 am
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JabberHut wrote a review...



SHE WON'T. IT'LL BE FINE.

IT'LL BE FINE.

I loooove that there's this idea of a manticore and how, despite all the magical things in this world, a manticore is unbelievable. XD It's SO awesome, I love that kind of thing. And I TOTALLY would recommend foreshadowing this waaaay earlier in the novel. The reader won't think at all about it, but it would just be such a goosebumpy thing to throw in there. 1) It would show Cassius' enthusiasm for stories of legend and adventure. 2) Well, it would foreshadow this. So I would looove to see that Cassius reads about the manticore or tries to scare someone with the idea of a manticore instead of the boogeyman or things like that, you know?! Just one little nugget IT WOULD BE SO COOL.

Also, I'm not gonna lie, I TOTALLY believed Mishal was gonna go out and kill a manticore for Isadora like some sort of incoming Hercules. I would have been all over that, but I also recognize that it might not be so realistic depending on how that fight went, and Gracia also pointed out that a lot of good warriors died to it protecting them. So honestly, it makes sense that Mishal would back down and allow Margaretta to assist. ...But I totally wouldn't be surprised if Mishal faced a manticore later anyway. ...I'm all about that kind of hero stuff.

I'm very Cassius, aren't I?

OMG CAN CASSIUS KILL A MANTICORE THAT WOULD BE SO AWESOME

My... biggest takeaway this chapter is obviously Margaretta volunteering to help save Isadora. Now, I understand that she'd want to save Isadora, but despite her speech, I can't tell if it's because Isadora is a trueblood or if she genuinely cares. I mean, it was a pretty damn good speech. I wouldn't doubt her to that extent. And yet, part of me as the reader just DOES NOT trust her, so I feel like I see right through her kindness and see evil intention. But I just don't knooooowI JUST CAN'T TELL IF I TRUST HER??

But I CAN trust her to save Isadora, so I am content with whatever happens as long as she is okay BECAUSE SHE WILL BE OKAY.

Dude what if, like, that fortune teller had some pricey manticore potion or some alchemist did or something. or one of the kingdoms specializes in alchemy, potions, and the sort. ...what if the journal talked about manticorE AND NO ONE KNOWS BECAUSE THEY CAN'T READ IT

I am curious about whether or not they'll run into the manticore again though. Because the Wilderlands are so odd, I wonder if they'll be as sparse as the rocs since we never see rocs anymore either. How significant is this manticore to the plot? Is it a subplot incoming? Is it another example of the wilderlands at work? ...Also how many are in their party anyway? They've lost so many from the original party that I just wonder if there's only the four of them plus hired hands?! It's just so depressing and astounding and man, I hope Margaretta feels as guilty as she says in her speech because she TOTALLY pushed it too far. >:|




mellifera says...


And I TOTALLY would recommend foreshadowing this waaaay earlier in the novel.


lol I TOTALLY didn't actually decide what this encounter was going to entail like, maybe a month or something before I wrote it, what are you talking about (jk I did know this fight was going to happen but I didn't know the specifics, so foreshadowing def needs to happen next draft earlier!!)

...what if the journal talked about manticorE AND NO ONE KNOWS BECAUSE THEY CAN'T READ IT


I can neither confirm nor deny :eyes:

bless and thank!! I feel like a broken record every time I say it but it's true <3



JabberHut says...


I can neither confirm nor deny :eyes:


AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH



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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 back for more!!

First Impression: Ahh...I just say the same thing every single time. Its amazing and that's about it. The characters are portrayed really well as always, the descriptions are amazing as always and the plot is going along really well....as always. I just never find anything wrong anymore...ahh...I feel like I'm not being helpful. :)...Yaa...so just expect a whole lot of fangirling down there...and crying..:)

Anyway let's get right to it,

Every day that passed after the ambush and Isadora’s injury was agony.


You and me both Mishal...

Isadora herself drifted in and out of conscious. Her brow was constantly doused in a thick sheen of sweat and she was always too warm to comfort anyone. Gracia constant and vigilant care got her back to the City of Bells, and her wound was treated. When the surgeons and healers had no more for her in the infirmary, she was brought back to Luthera’s manor, where she had been lying in a silent, terrifying sleep for several hours.


Ahh...*sniffles*...good description there of he effects of that sort of thing.

If he’d just been a little faster. He should have reacted quicker. He’d frozen so badly, his mind jarred so violently at her injuries and the creature that had wrought them…


Don't blame yourself there Mishal. The blame is 100% with that stupid creature thing.

She grimaced, as though she were the one who had been hurt. And with all the magic she had used in the last few days, she was likely suffering some of Isadora’s same anguish. “I don’t what I can do for her, Mishal. I don’t know what the thing was that did this. I can’t make an antidote for something I have no knowledge of. Even lessening the severity of the gash so she didn’t bleed out took most of my energy. I can’t draw out venom. Not that I could at full strength either. Weak doses of venom, of poison, I could probably do that, but this…”


Stop scaring me evil author...but that's a nice little baseline for her powers there. Should be very useful going forward.

At the mention of the beast, his mouth tasted of copper. He could picture it clearly. He imagined it even more vividly in his dreams, what few and fleeting that he had. It had sunk claws into his minds without ever having to touch him.


Yes...this paragraph...perfect addition in there to make it all the more true to reality.

“I didn’t really look at it, I was more focused on getting you and Isadora away.” She leaned forward and gently touched Isadora’s temple. “If you have any insight, Mishal, please.”


That sounds about right.

It had been haunting him ever since they’d fled the ambush. “Golden crest of a wild cat, wicked point from a devilled arachnid tail,” he said. “But from its visage stares back eyes of ours, a glimpse that heralds doom and woe for those who face the mighty Manticore. It was from one Cassius’ poems.”


Ohh....that thing...awesome poem by the way...:)

Gracia sighed and leaned away. “The manticore is a myth. They only ever show up in books that would also bolster pixies and shadowed boogeymen.”


Gracia, you do realize you are in a fantasy novel right?

He set his jaw and held it this time, glancing down at Isadora’s glistening face. “I may not be as read on my folklore as Cassius, Gracia, but I’ve listened to him enough that I’d stake my pride on that beast being a manticore. Body and mane of a lion, tail of scorpion, and face of a man.”


Haven't run into a manticore in a while so I don't quite remember what those little suckers look like but then that seems pretty legit Gracia, you should believe him. Great description by the way.

“‘There is truth to every tale,’ but this isn’t a story. This isn’t one of Cassius’ fables.”


The Professor is a wise man.

She levelled him with a sharp look. “Don’t you dare get any ideas about that. That thing took Isadora out with one blow. We lost people to that thing while they were just trying to distract it away from us. Forestter, Remington, Liliana, Damona, Ursa.” She softened with a long exhale. “You can’t help Isadora if you’re dead. I mean that, Mishal. I wouldn’t suggest the most competent, strongest, bravest warrior take on that thing.”


Oh dear...we are really losing people fast aren't we?

He shivered. Whether from the cold of the stone floor, in the basement of Luthera’s manor, and the lack of warmth but that from the candles lit in the room or Isadora’s fever, or from the horror of the situation, he didn’t know, but it wracked through him. Light pooled in from the stairs that led above behind him, dousing the chamber in faint light.


Some amazing imagery that you've got going on right there.

“Then let me help extract the venom. You said you couldn’t do it on your own, so take my energy and latent magic to use. Take as much as you need.”


YOU CAN DO THAT????

“I know what to expect, and I have had moderately more experience than Mishal with magic and have more awakened power.” Margaretta stared down at Isadora grimly. “Take as much as you need.”


Yaa sure about that one Margaretta?

Gracia looked up at her in surprise, blinking, then shook her head. “I’m not sure how much that is, or how potent this venom is. If what Mishal speculates is true, and that thing was a manticore… Margaretta, I don’t know if there’s enough people in the world to draw it out.”


Well that doesn't sound too good.

Mishal held her gaze, his chest winding itself even tighter. A lump rose in his throat, his breathing went shallow, and he looked back to Isadora again. She looked pained, even in her sleep, her brow bent and her mouth firm and tense.

She will not die.


Lovely description there once again.

She will not die. And as Margaretta took Gracia’s hand, he realised that her words had the same weight that his mother’s used to have, when he was much younger. It was the relief that accompanied an adult’s perspective, and their knowledge and experience. Margaretta knew Isadora would be okay.

She knew.


*dabs eyes*....Let's hope she's right...

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Aaand well that's that. Another really awesome chapter to tug at them heartstrings. The plot is plodding along smoothly and it looks to be headed in some interesting directions if this one is anything to judge by. Looking beyond the obvious here there were some pretty interesting hints in this one. Looking forward for more!!

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

Stay Safe
Harry

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"I feel like if men sent unsolicited dragon pics instead of *other* unsolicited pics they’d get a lot further in life"
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