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18+ Language Violence

Prophecy of Thieves [chapter 2]

by mordax


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.

There were a variety of reasons why Rieka could’ve been pissed off. Maybe it was the lone soggy apple sitting in her otherwise empty stomach. Maybe it was the split lip and black eye she had received the night before, throbbing like hell. While all those reasons were valid, she knew the real reason was the damned heat.

Even along the docks where the briny breezes were usually cooling, the late summer day had to be the hottest of the year. Sweat poured down Rieka’s back, clinging to her threadbare tunic and plastering the escaped hairs from her braid to her forehead. Cursing the sun, she fanned herself with a hand and tipped back her skein of watery wine, the lukewarm liquid providing no reprieve.

A wealthy couple strolling along the seaside walkway shot her a suspicious glance. Rieka flipped them a vulgar gesture, setting the woman fretting and fanning herself scandalously. Rieka chuckled darkly under her breath.

“Get out of here, vagrant!” the woman’s lover shouted, waving a hand as though shooing a bird.

“Oh, fuck off,” she shouted back, guzzling another gulp of wine. It was disgusting, but it was better than drinking any water she could find in the slums. At least the wine didn’t get her sick.

The couple began marching off—no doubt to alert the authorities of the low-life lurking at the docks. With a sigh, Rieka pushed herself to her feet and stretched her sore arms over her head. Her muscles ached from fighting the night before, but it was the kind of ache she reveled in. Pushing back a few loose strands of her hair and wiping the sweat from her face, she marched off into the city to hunt down another meal.

She jangled the few coins she had won from fights in her palm. The vendors lining the street called out sales, attempting to sell their wares. She needed something substantial—something that might ease the anger beginning to irrationally bubble in her chest. But when she passed a vendor selling flavored ice, she stopped.

“One copper for a cone,” the vendor announced, his brows lowering as Rieka neared. She pulled out the small coin and dropped it into his palm. The man shot her a look before scooping out crushed ice and smothering it in juice and berries.

She nodded once in thanks before devouring it. And… stars, she blessed the man who invented crushed ice. This was what she needed.

As she swallowed the remainder of her dessert, the ice melting and cooling the boiling blood in her veins, she watched the midday traffic. With the heat sitting between buildings, the stench of the city was amplified to the point of unbearable. While Rieka had grown used to the reek of sewer mingled with fresh food sold by vendors—hell, she blended with the odor—on days like this, she couldn’t help but miss the clear scent of home. Stupid, nostalgic thoughts, she reminded herself.

The day she arrived in Reindale, the capital of Arlan, the stench had nearly knocked her on her ass. It was so different then the cool, crisp air of her village. Now, she stank as much as the gutters of the slums. She glanced down at her clothes. The worn, yellowed tunic tucked into baggy trousers—a tear at the knee—and her scuffed leather boots. It was no wonder those pricks had called her a vagrant.

Rieka finished off her ice and tossed the wrapper into the corner of a littered alley. Bright, hollow eyes peered back from the shadows, and she scurried along, not wanting to get in a conversation with the real vagrants.

The further she crept into the slums, the more suffocating the stench grew. Dirty hands reached from the sides of the street, begging for spare coin. Thin children darted along the road, chasing a worn ball. Cheap prostitutes slunk in the shadows, their dresses hung low on their chests and makeup smeared on their gaunt faces.

Rieka marched past them, headed for the abandoned, brick building at the end of the street. It would be more or less empty now until the sun began to sink, but she had nowhere else to go until then.

When she got to the wide, metal door on the side of the building, she pounded on it four synchronized times. She waited. Thirty seconds. A minute. Finally, a lock clicked on the other side and the door swung open to reveal a long, dark staircase.

Sharp eyes peered from within the shadows and they narrowed. “Oh, it’s you.”

“Your enthusiasm to see me is astounding,” Rieka mocked, shoving past him and down the steep staircase.

“The fights won’t start until sunset,” the man called to her back.

“I know. I just came to do some stretches. Warm up a little.”

“Boss won’t be happy with you loitering around.”

“Relax, Emil.”

“You tell me to relax, but it’s my ass on the line.”

“I get your boss more money then half the goons who frequent this shithole. He’ll be fine.”

She could feel Emil roll his eyes at her back as he sighed, but she ignored it, hopping the last step and shoving open the metal door at the bottom. It opened up to a large room with a sand pit lined with chalk in the center. Platformed steps surrounded it so the audience could better watch. In the corners were long counters for the bar with an impressive stock of alcohol behind. Off to a secluded side were curtained private rooms for those who decided the company of a whore would be more pleasurable than watching the fights.

Rieka had once been in the infamous Lounge—an ironic name for such a violent place—before opening hours, but the cleanliness still surprised her. Typically, the concrete floors were littered with blood, sweat, and spilled liquor. The air often stank of perfume and body odor, but now it only smelled of soap.

“Looks like your boss isn’t around,” she told Emil. “No need to get your panties in a bunch.”

Emil scowled at her, crossing his tree trunk-like arms over his chest. Fortunately for her, he wasn’t a fighter in the pits. Rieka doubted even she could beat him. But if she got on his bad side, she knew he wouldn’t hesitate to toss her from the Lounge like a sack of flour.

Nearing the sand pits, she kicked off her leather boots and tore off her socks, tucking them inside. Once the smooth sand met her toes, she bounced on the balls of her feet, stretching out her limbs. She took a few quick jabs at nothing in particular. The rage simmering beneath her skin eased with each strike.

Still bouncing, she glanced over at Emil who watched, arms crossed and dark brows low. “Wanna spar?” she asked, grinning.

He cocked a brow. “Do you wish to add to your injuries?” His eyes darted over her split lip and black eye.

Rieka shrugged. “You’d have to be fast enough to hit me.” He would be though, she knew.

Emil cracked his broad neck before shaking his head. “Spar with your imaginary partner.”

“You’re no fun,” she pouted. Turning away from him, she did a couple rolls, dodging imaginary punches, before swinging back up on her feet and striking. After several minutes of fighting nothing, the sweat on her back began anew and she grew sick of not feeling her fists connect with flesh.

She fell still, letting her arms drop to her sides. Jumping from the sand pit, she padded over to the bar and peered at the wide array of liquor. It was early enough that if she took one, she would be sober by the time the Lounge opened…

“You drink, you pay,” a cool voice echoed through the chamber. Rieka swung around to find a tall, lean man, impeccably dressed, striding towards her. Emil stiffened in the shadows and glided closer to his boss.

“Would this suffice?” Rieka drawled, pulling a worn copper from her pocket. She slumped on a worn stool beside the counter and leaned her elbow against the bar’s surface.

The man stopped a few feet from her and slowly dragged his eyes from her face to the copper, then back to her face. “That would buy you a glass of water and nothing more.”

“Shame.” She tucked the copper back into her pocket and surveyed the boss. She had met him before—the day she had showed up on his doorstep, barely knowing a word of Arlanian and drunk on rage and bloodlust. He had mocked her, then, for her inexperience and wild recklessness, but had allowed her on as a fighter the minute she stabbed his letter opener into his desk, a mere centimeter from his hand. Since then, he had been scarce whenever she was in the pits and gaining him money. It seemed he rarely frequented his profitable Lounge at all.

“Might I ask what you are doing here so early?” the man said, tucking his smooth, unscarred hands into the pockets of his pressed trousers.

“It’s hot as hell outside. I wanted to get out of the damned sun.”

“This isn’t an inn made for your comfort.”

Rieka waved a hand at her pale face. “Do you see this skin? It’ll burn if I stay outside any longer. Then what will your investors think when your best fighter walks into the pits, bright as a tomato. It’s not very intimidating.”

The man raised a well-manicured brow. “Who says you’re my best fighter?”

“The money in your pockets.”

The boss silently appraised her before huffing out a chuckle that could’ve been a sigh. He looked over her clothes briefly then wrinkled his nose in disgust. “Have Emil show you to the bathing rooms. I’ll provide you with a new set of clothes as well.”

Rieka furrowed her brows. “I’m your fighter, not your whore.”

He turned around and started stalking off to the door he had entered through. “Yes,” he said over his shoulder. “But a pretty fighter will get me more money than an ugly one.”

She bristled at his comment, about to retort, but he already was gone.

Emil marched towards her and nodded a head for her to follow. She was half tempted to ignore him and stay in the condition she was, but… A free bath and new clothes… She couldn’t pass it up.

After she bathed, the tub nicer than any she had used in months, she was given fresh clothes to change into. Though they weren’t luxurious in any way, they weren’t covered in tears and therefore fine by her. With her hair combed and braided back, she felt better than she had in weeks. Satisfied with her cleanliness, she strutted back into the main room of the lounge and grinned at a few of the regular customers who were beginning to file in. A few courtesans wove between them, dressed in loose gowns and painted faces. A man was positioned behind the bar, wiping down glasses.

Rieka tugged at the new tunic, adjusting her trousers, before pushing towards the front of the forming crowd surrounding the pit. Two young and inexperienced fighters were brawling inside, the fight lame enough that the growing crowd hadn’t even bothered cheering. When the obvious winner knocked the skinnier boy out of the chalked ring, money was passed among the viewers and the announcer stepped forward and called for another fighter.

As the night wore on, she watched the fighters cycle through, waiting for the right moment to step in. She knew better than to waste her energy fighting the novices that always appeared in the early night. She also knew better than to pick a fight with someone who would tire her too quickly to allow for multiple wins.

When the crowd’s roar was shaking the walls and a monstrous man won his fifth fight, Rieka pranced onto the sand, leaving her boots beside the announcer. The crowd hushed, whispering with doubts and jests in her direction. Only a few of the regulars that recognized her immediately placed money in her name.

Rieka flipped her long, blonde braid over her shoulder and bounced on the balls of her feet, grinning at her opponent. The man scowled, his harsh features splattered in blood—both his opponents’ and his own. Rieka wiggled her fingers at him in a wave.

A small bell rang and they began circling each other.

For five fights she had watched him. She now had the advantage in every way but size. She was faster, more energized, and knew his weak spots.

The man lunged at her, relying wholly on brute strength. Rieka easily sidestepped and sent a sharp jab at his bare ribcage. He scowled and swung towards her, but she had already darted away. When he swiped at her again—a killer blow straight for her skull—Rieka ducked and brought her fist up to his chin. He was knocked back several inches, but not enough to send him out of the pit.

And on it went—Rieka dodging his attempts to hit her and pounding him with quick strikes. Two minutes in and she hadn’t been hit once.

The crowd screamed with rage, pleasure, and excitement when the man sent a fist flying so close to her ear she heard the wind rush past. With his fists down from his attempt at the offensive, Rieka took her chance and lashed out. Her arm hooked and hit him square in the temple.

The man—almost a foot taller and wider than her—crumpled into the sand.

The crowd roared in delight. The few men that had bet on her grinned as mounds of coins were passed to them. Rieka lifted her hands, her knuckles bloodied, and smiled wickedly.

She nudged her opponent with her toe and he groaned from the ground, his eyes blinking open to glare at her. “Maybe next time, buddy,” she said. He scowled as the announcer ushered him from the pit and called for another to enter.

Three more fights she won, only gaining a few bruises on her ribs and busting open her scabbed split lip. By the end of her fourth fight, her clothes didn’t look any differently than the ones she had been wearing earlier—the white tunic dusted and splattered with blood, the trousers torn just above her right knee where a man had tried to swipe at her legs. She supposed, though, the boss’s technique at cleaning her up had worked for the first fight as many men had lost their money. But now they knew not to underestimate her again. Not when she won every fight after.

Panting and sweaty, she waited for her next opponent, knowing it very well might be her last. When a large, beefy man stepped into the pit, she cracked her neck, ready to swiftly lose. She could then spend the rest of the night spending her gold on booze and a comfortable bed to sleep off the alcohol.

“Come at me, Styrkish whore,” the man growled.

Rieka’s temper flared. She stopped her circling and glared at the man. She was sick of stupid, insignificant men insulting her heritage. They wouldn’t be laughing if they knew just how powerful her northern home was. Just how easily they could crush Arlan under their foot. “Why don’t you step closer and I will show you just what a Styrkish woman can do,” she spat, her voice thick with rage.

When the man lunged, Rieka unleashed herself. The fight lasted all of thirty seconds before he was groaning in the sand, his arm dislocated and his nose broken. She leaned close and whispered in his ear, “Next time you want to pick a fight, choose one you can win.” Before he could attempt one last lunge at her, she spun on her heel and marched out of the pit and straight to the bid collector. His eyes were wide when she stuck out her hand for the pouch of money meant for her. He set it in her palm and she stopped to grab her boots before stalking through the crowd and out the door leading to the long staircase.

When she broke into the dark, empty streets, she sighed as the cool night air caressed her sweat slicked skin. Without waiting to fully cool down, she knelt to tie on her boots. She knew she would get hell the next day for leaving the fights before she lost, but if she stayed any longer, she might just kill someone.

Sighing once more, she straightened and stretched her sore limbs, poking at her tender lip. Her finger came away bloody.

She started striding down the street, anxious to find a comfortable inn that sold hot stew and good ale, when a posse of royal guards stepped in front of her path. Rieka stiffened, her hand reaching for her back where her axe usually lay. When it came away empty, her arms dropped awkwardly to her sides.

“Are you Rieka Velsky?” one of the guards demanded. Shit. The fights weren’t exactly legal, but if she had been discovered for working for the Lounge, she doubted she would get arrested for it. Not when the boss of the Lounge held so much power and influence. If anything, the boss would kill her before she compromised his business.

So, what was this about?

“Yes,” she answered carefully, ready to bolt if need be.

“We need you to come with us,” the guard said. As they closed in around her, she doubted they would take no for an answer.


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Mon Aug 30, 2021 2:56 pm
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RealSadhours296 wrote a review...



Once again, excellent chapter filled with great characterization and descriptions. No nitpicks to speak of.

I really like Rieka. Her life is such a huge contrast with Prince Ambrose's, yet I feel they're similar in their disbelief/defiance of the authorities that bind/hinder them. I have a feeling they would get along as long as Rieka's temper doesn't get to her (and a feeling that Kai would have the brain-cell between the three of them.).

I also like that, through your characterization of Rieka, we've also gotten more of a glimpse of the world the readers are going to be thrust into. Arlan isn't the perfectly religious land it's portrayed to be in the castle.

Keep up the good work Mordax!




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Sat Jul 24, 2021 12:02 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi mordax,

Mailice back with another review! :D

I think your round of introductions for each character is excellent. You create a fantastic atmosphere with the introductions you make. They give the reader the time they need to get to know the character better. It feels a bit like meeting someone at a party or something, and before you talk to them, making your first impression, while observing. :D

I like Rieka and how you portrayed her, and how her character is clearly revealed when she goes to Emil there. You portray her and the other characters well and I also like that you realise that Rieka is not so easy to get down. During the fights you also added some good new information without stopping the action, which I liked as well as your descriptions during the fight and these for the most part without having any dialogue. You have a knack for these long passages without direct speech and I like that. It doesn't seem boring or stretched out, but is the right amount of tension, to build up.

But I also noticed (also in my reviews in the more recent chapters) that you occasionally go to rendering some words in their (I don't know what they're called) crasser way (ass, whore, etc...). Since you also use these words in the dialogues, where I think it's also appropriate to the situation, I would recommend using the descriptions with the more "streetwise" words, otherwise as a reader you may assume that the narrator, who so far seems neutral, may as well be a character.

To sum up, I enjoyed the chapter. The set-up and structure are just right to introduce Rieka. She is fierce, energetic, confident and tactical, but also perhaps a little too quickly taken in by what others are saying. She has to show that she is the winner and win even the smallest discussion. In short, she is a bit hot-headed and so far I like the way you show her and am curious to see how she will work together with the other characters.

Other points that caught my eye:

Sweat poured down Rieka's back, clinging to her threadbare tunic and plastering the escaped hairs from her braid to her forehead.

Here I just wanted to note that I like the description, especially the "escaped hairs". I thought it was very fitting for her character.

Rieka marched past them, headed for the abandoned, brick building at the end of the street.

Here the comma is too much after the "abandoned".

Off to a secluded side were curtained private rooms for those who decided the company of a whore would be more pleasurable than watching the fights.

Here's where I noted earlier, with the terms. The rough tone you use is somewhat appropriate for this kind of place where the fights are held, but it doesn't suit the narrator.


Have fun writing!

Mailice




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Wed Jun 30, 2021 9:00 pm
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Heya mordax,

Shady back again! Looking forward to seeing what you have for me in this chapter. Let's get started...

Her muscles ached from fighting the night before, but it was the kind of ache she reveled in.


You are doing a really good job of characterization. It's a definite strength of your novel that I've noticed so far. Your descriptions are also on point as well. You've done such a good job of setting Rieka up as a rough, gruff sort of character who clearly gets into trouble and doesn't take things too seriously. It's such a marked difference from the vibes of the previous chapter and is a particularly good contrast to set us up for the differences in these characters as we move forward with them.

When a large, beefy man stepped into the pit, she cracked her neck, ready to swiftly lose.


The fight lasted all of thirty seconds before he was groaning in the sand, his arm dislocated and his nose broken.


I'm not sure how I feel about this progression. I really like that she goes from being like "Ah, well, guess I'll lose this one" to being enraged and then winning and choosing to quit afterward. But it seems a bit strange to me that he's so intimidating that she think she's going to "swiftly lose" and then for their fight to only last thirty seconds before she hurts him somewhat severely... almost anti-climatic, if that makes sense?

Maybe tone down how scary he looks (maybe just a "she decided to lose the next one" or something that makes it clear she *could* beat him and is choosing not to so that she can just be done) or up the fight and make it more dramatic?

“Yes,” she answered carefully, ready to bolt if need be.

“We need you to come with us,” the guard said. As they closed in around her, she doubted they would take no for an answer.


This is another place that feels slightly contradictory. You say she's ready to bolt, then the last sentence makes it seem like she's not going to try anything. Maybe either have her just contemplating running (rather than being "ready") or something instead? Or have more guards close in from behind her to block her options? I, obviously, don't know where things are heading for Rieka (in the short term) so maybe she does try running after all (seems like something she'd do aha), but for now this stands out as a bit odd to me.

Overall, excellent chapter, though! I really like this glimpse into Rieka's character. It's clear that she's used to being a rough and tumble sort of girl that has to fend for herself, and I think it sets her up nicely as a gruff, intimidating character.

Great work!

~Shady




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Sat May 22, 2021 4:33 pm
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starlitmind wrote a review...



HEYO AGAIN <3 I've been enjoying this a lot already haha, so I'm excited to come back again :)

There were a variety of reasons why Rieka could’ve been pissed off. Maybe it was the lone soggy apple sitting in her otherwise empty stomach. Maybe it was the split lip and black eye she had received the night before, throbbing like hell. While all those reasons were valid, she knew the real reason was the damned heat.


Ooh, you can already feel Rieka's fiery personality from this little excerpt with the use of strong words and mild curses. Hm, and you also set up a bunch of questions already, too! c: Like I wonder why she is hurt and why her heart is the cause of her anger

Sweat poured down Rieka’s back, clinging to her threadbare tunic and plastering the escaped hairs from her braid to her forehead.


Ah, I love the descriptions here. Something that I think makes this even stronger is your use of very specific verbs - like clinging and plastering

Cursing the sun, she fanned herself with a hand and tipped back her skein of watery wine, the lukewarm liquid providing no reprieve.


Here again we have her cursing the sun, which shows us that Rieka seems to be quite upset / she has a strong personality

to the point of unbearable.


This could totally be just me, but I feel like this phrase doesn't word that well, if that makes sense? xD hm, perhaps an alternative way to write this could be "to the point of being unbearable," which makes more sense to me

While Rieka had grown used to the reek of sewer mingled with fresh food sold by vendors—hell, she blended with the odor—on days like this, she couldn’t help but miss the clear scent of home. Stupid, nostalgic thoughts, she reminded herself.


Ohhh this is really interesting. So it seems like she's been "lurking the docks" (as she puts it) for a bit now, but her life used to be much different and more comfortable. I wonder what happened for her to end up here :O

The further she crept into the slums, the more suffocating the stench grew. Dirty hands reached from the sides of the street, begging for spare coin. Thin children darted along the road, chasing a worn ball. Cheap prostitutes slunk in the shadows, their dresses hung low on their chests and makeup smeared on their gaunt faces.


Reindale seems to have a large amount of people in poverty, which is just </33 Your descriptions are really chilling and easily draw sympathy - the strongest one for me is children chasing a worn ball - that's really </3

“The fights won’t start until sunset,” the man called to her back.


Ah, okay, so that explains her wounds and why she revels in them

The man raised a well-manicured brow. “Who says you’re my best fighter?”

“The money in your pockets.”


AHH Rieka is quite a sharp character. I love her comebacks and the ability to stand her ground. I feel like her stubbornness / personality might get her in trouble one day xD but her character is so strongly felt through her actions and dialogue!

Only a few of the regulars that recognized her immediately placed money in her name.


I love this subtle detail that just further proves 1.) that she's an amazing, fierce fighter, and 2.) she has been coming here for awhile now or she comes pretty often

Ooh, you describe the fight really well! I also love how you showcase Rieka's smartness and cunningness, if that's the right word, by having her study the opponent and map out both his strengths and weaknesses

When the man lunged, Rieka unleashed herself. The fight lasted all of thirty seconds before he was groaning in the sand, his arm dislocated and his nose broken.


She expected to lose, but I guess the man's insults really propelled her to win! I think this fight would be an interesting one to elaborate on more - like Wolfe said, I understand that you don't want this to be too repetitive. But I think this is a key fight in showing how Rieka's anger fired her up, especially since she was expecting to lose within seconds

When she broke into the dark, empty streets, she sighed as the cool night air caressed her sweat slicked skin. Without waiting to fully cool down, she knelt to tie on her boots. She knew she would get hell the next day for leaving the fights before she lost, but if she stayed any longer, she might just kill someone.


Okay I know this is hard to avoid, but I really don't have any more critiques to offer, so I hope you don't mind me being nitpicky c: I was just going to point out that there are a lot of "she's" in this passage. It is a bit hard to avoid, so maybe you could slip in her name in the middle or something to lessen the amount?

She started striding down the street, anxious to find a comfortable inn that sold hot stew and good ale, when a posse of royal guards stepped in front of her path.


Where did these royal guards come from? From cars lined up on the side? From the shadows or something? You don't have to include this if you don't want to ^_^ but I personally would include something about the general direction from where these guards came from. Especially since they're royal guards, I feel like it would be hard to miss them

“We need you to come with us,” the guard said. As they closed in around her, she doubted they would take no for an answer.


Cliffhanger. Why :')))

Haha no, I do love your cliffhangers xD it is easily going to draw your readers back for chapter two ^_^

AHH OKAY it was so much fun to meet Rieka! You did a wonderful job characterizing her already. her personality aligns so much with what I felt from her in chapter 14, so I really like how consistent she is throughout the novel. I also l like how this chapter didn't feel info-dumpy. You gave us some information about her past life and the move from the village to the city, but it wasn't over explaining. It only sets up more questions and the ability to further explain her situation in future chapters. I am quite curious about why she moved and what her life used to be like before she did!

love this novel even though I'm only on chapter 2 xD I can't wait to come back for me, and I hope these thoughts prove useful to you! ^_^




mordax says...


Thank you so much!! Your thoughts and critiques are soooo helpful and I am so glad you are taking the time to do this and enjoying it!



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Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:28 pm
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Riverlight wrote a review...



Hey, mordax! I'm back here for chapter 2, and I can't wait to get started on it!

There were a variety of reasons why Rieka could’ve been pissed off. Maybe it was the lone soggy apple sitting in her otherwise empty stomach. Maybe it was the split lip and black eye she had received the night before, throbbing like hell. While all those reasons were valid, she knew the real reason was the damned heat.

Personally, I would either change "ll those reasons" to "both of those reasons" or include at least one more reason to be unhappy. Also, neat-- character POV changes!

Even along the docks where the briny breezes were usually cooling, the late summer day had to be the hottest of the year. Sweat poured down Rieka’s back, clinging to her threadbare tunic and plastering the escaped hairs from her braid to her forehead. Cursing the sun, she fanned herself with a hand and tipped back her skein of watery wine, the lukewarm liquid providing no reprieve.

I really like this description, but I fee like a few small improvements could be made. Making use of similes and metaphors can do wonders. Compare "The cat caught a squirrel" to "The tabby cat pranced along the brick wall and then pounced on the squirrel like a bird of prey."

A wealthy couple strolling along the seaside walkway shot her a suspicious glance. Rieka flipped them a vulgar gesture, setting the woman fretting and fanning herself scandalously. Rieka chuckled darkly under her breath.

I feel like using the word "setting" is a bit awkward here.

I'm not going t quote it here because it was so long, but all of the dialogue you've used is spot on and perfect! I really love it as it portrays what these unique characters are all like. :)

I'm going to pause right here because you've marked a timeskip in your chapter here. Sometimes, chapters can get a bit lengthy, so it's a good idea to post them in two sometimes three) parts so that way when you get feedback, it can be more specific than generalized and you also draw in a larger audience that doesn't have t read so much at once.

The tub she had bathed in was nicer than she had expected, and the clothes provided for her were cleaner than she had worn in months. Though they weren’t luxurious in any way, they weren’t covered in tears, sweat, and blood. With her hair combed and braided back, she felt better than she had in weeks. Satisfied with her cleanliness, she strutted back into the main room of the lounge and grinned at a few of the regular customers who were beginning to file in. A few courtesans wove between them, dressed in loose gowns and painted faces. A man was positioned behind the bar, wiping down glasses.

So, I've altered a bit of the wording again-- that's all in italics. I feel like yu could've described the place she was in and maybe described what she looked like a bit more here.

Again, skipping the next few paragraphs because I'd just be repeating myself xD

“Yes,” she answered carefully, ready to bolt if need be.
“We need you to come with us,” the guard said. As they closed in around her, she doubted they would take no for an answer.


Ooo, dramatic >.> I like that! It really prepares the readers for what may or may not happen next, and it leaves us with a lot of questions. Is Rieka part of the prophecy? Is she aware that it exists? Will Rieka ever go home again?

Have a nice [*insert time of day here*]!!!




mordax says...


Thank you again!!!



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Fri Feb 26, 2021 3:38 am
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SpiritedWolfe wrote a review...



Hi mordax! Back again :)

I was really pleased with this chapter! I thought you did a great job of introducing our second main character, and also distinguishing her voice in the writing so it sounded like, well, Reika! Having had a different upbringing from, she clearly has a different way of looking at the world from Ambrose, and I enjoy seeing that reflected in her narration and descriptions. The only thing that I might suggest you play around with in that regard is maybe vary up the sentence structure some! Play around with the syntax of the writing itself to give the whole atmosphere of the chapter a completely different feeling from the prim and proper Ambrose. Maybe slightly shorter sentences, more blunt observations, etc. But that's just a suggestion of something fun to try ^^

It definitely felt like you'd settled better into Reika's voice by the second half of the chapter, since the beginning didn't feel quite as strong. Like, in the beginning it feels like there's a couple of sentences that don't read quite right. They're written in a way to be snippy and witty, but they're not quite smooth in their execution. Consider your first paragraph:

There were a variety of reasons why Rieka could’ve been pissed off. Maybe it was the lone soggy apple sitting in her otherwise empty stomach. Maybe it was the split lip and black eye she had received the night before, throbbing like hell. While all those reasons were valid, she knew the real reason was the damned heat.


So, I've underlined and bolded some parts to try to illustrate my point better. First off, the bolded sections are more harsh, a bit crude, but they fit the character and give off the feeling of annoyance, bluntness. It feels like it fits Reika, based on the rest of the chapter. Then there are also the underlined sections that feel like they contrast with that idea, because "variety of reasons" feels like a more proper way to say "a lot of reason" or "those reasons were valid" is another more proper way of saying "those were good reasons." It gives off two conflicting vibes and makes it difficult to initially settle into the character.

Rieka flipped them a vulgar gesture, setting the woman fretting and fanning herself scandalously.


I don't think that scandalous is the word you're going for here. I'm imagining this prim, proper woman would be flustered or something else from Reika giving them the bird? (or equivalent of, haha.)

Okay, this might be a little bit nitpicky but if Reika has only eaten like an apple and some shaved ice the whole day, how is she still able to fight so effectively? I really can't imagine that eating that ice cream would have made her hunger go away completely, especially not in the later hours, and I would think that it would be difficult to throw punches and move around quickly without at least a couple of calories in your stomach. Just something I thought about since there was never any other mention of food or hunger later in the chapter, and it seemed like a bigger deal in the start.

Bright, hollow eyes peered back from the shadows, and she scurried along, not wanting to get in a conversation with the real vagrants.


Another small thing is that I wasn't really familiar with the word vagrant, but it was interesting for Reika to distinguish herself from the "other" people in the slums. Obviously she's poor, doesn't seem like she has a place to live, and does what she has to in order to survive (like participating in this fighting ring). So what's the difference between them and her? Maybe even a brief thought in passing to show how she distinguishes herself?

She had met him before—the day she had showed up on his doorstep, barely knowing a word of Arlanian and drunk on rage and bloodlust.


This has so little explanation it's not even funny xD What is this supposed to me? At first I thought she was actually drunk (I mean, she was drinking wine earlier), but this leaves me with way more questions with answers. Why did she show up at his doorstep and why was she so angry? Why did she come to this capital anyway? What are her motivations? What does she do when she's not fighting here? Similar to what I said in the first chapter, you definitely don't need to answer all of these questions right now. If Reika wants to continue to be mysterious about her origins, by all means she can (as long as we get some explanation later.) I'm just confused where this line in particular came from because we have zero idea why she sought this guy out, what she was mad about, and why she chose this life at all. I'd like a little bit more to go off of.

Also, why did the boss just come in to have this conversation with her and then leave? What was he doing there to begin with?

The fight lasted all of thirty seconds before he was groaning in the sand, his arm dislocated and his nose broken.


I was a little disappointed that you didn't give us anything about what changed between this fight and the first one you took. I totally get not wanting to be too repetitive, but it seems significant that she was riled up for this one, and I would have liked even a couple of lines describing her movements, her adrenaline, her strength, etc.

Rieka stiffened, her hand reaching for her back where her axe usually lay.


Did she have an axe even when earlier in the chapter? o.o This seems like such an important detail for her to overlook!

I'll keep the end brief since this review is already getting pretty long, but I did want to add that I still thought this chapter was very well written. It was easy to read, it had a good flow, and I thought that you did an especially good job of writing the action fights, as well as the dialogue surrounding it. Rieka's dialogue felt genuine to her character, and again, while crude, I'm definitely here for it. I'm also happy to have the set up from the first chapter so that we can get the stark contrast between her world and Ambrose's! It also feels like she'll get wrapped up into the prophecy too (and might even be more useful for it from the looks of it!)

I look forward to reading the next part :) Happy writing!
~ Wolfe




mordax says...


Thank you so much again for this wonderful review!! It means so much, and you have a great way of noticing things I hadn't even considered. Thank you, it is so helpful!



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Tue Jan 19, 2021 10:51 pm
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shieldmaiden wrote a review...



Hello, Sheildmaiden again.
This chapter really threw me for a loop. It is so different from the previous one that I had to check the title to make sure that I was reading the correct one. This one was just as riveting as the last one and I find intriguing how we get to see such a different viewpoint. That and Reika lives a very different lifestyle compared to Ambrose.

I liked her, but at the same time felt that she was trying too hard to come across as tough. It gives me the feeling that she is constantly trying to prove herself. Which very well may be the case, since you've shown what a rough life she is living. Currently, and this is only my opinion, I feel that Reika lacks depth.However, I'm looking forward to seeing her character grow.

I do love how you are building this world! All the hints of different cultures and the discrimination that Reika is facing, it's really intriguing! I'm excited to learn more about this world you are creating!

Great work!
Sheildmaiden




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Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:59 pm
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LUNARGIRL wrote a review...



There were a variety of reasons why Rieka could’ve been pissed off. Maybe it was the lone soggy apple sitting in her otherwise empty stomach. Maybe it was the split lip and black eye she had received the night before, throbbing like hell. While all those reasons were valid, she knew the real reason was the damned heat.


Wow, great start to the second chapter.

This was an amazing chapter, everything about it was great to the point where I could not stop reading it. I loved the personality and attitude of you character Rieka, she was such an interesting character. And there is till so much that I don't know about her, like the reason she left her homeland.

In my opinion, this chapter was a lot better than the first, but that's mainly because I loved all the action you had in it. I also loved your ending to this chapter, how you left it on a cliffhanger, making everyone wonder what will happen next.

Amazing job, this is a great story! Can't wait to read what you write next!

Carpe diem,
LUNARGIRL




mordax says...


Thank you!



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Tue Jan 05, 2021 2:21 am
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Honora wrote a review...



I'm back with another review in hand! Since in my last one I just told you the main things I noticed, I'm going to go a little more in depth and show you your work and then an example of what I mean. I hope what I have to say will help you with your writing! :)

Your work: She pouted. “You’re no fun.” Turning away from him, she did a couple rolls, dodging imaginary punches, before swinging back up on her feet and striking.
So this is what I was meaning when I said that you add dialogue into your descriptions. This one is actually not too bad but it was the first one I noticed so here it is!

Example: "You're no fun." She pouted, turning away from him. She did a couple rolls, dodging imaginary punches before swinging back up on her feet and striking the air.
Of course, this particular example could be just a writing preference but does it make sense or am I just rambling on to you?

Anyways, moving on. I noticed a few long sentences that if reading out loud would definitely take too much air to breathe :-P There were a few commas but in their case, I think a period or two could've been used without making them choppy.
One last thing would be that there are a few paragraphs that could easily be combined into one. For example:

Your work: The crowd screamed with rage, pleasure, and excitement when the man sent a fist flying so close to her ear she heard the wind rush past. With his fists down from his attempt at the offensive, Rieka took her chance and lashed out, her arm hooking and hitting him square in the temple.

The man—almost a foot taller and wider than her—crumpled into the sand.

The crowd roared in delight and the few men that had bet on her grinned as mounds of coins were passed to them. Rieka lifted her hands, her knuckles bloodied, and smiled wickedly.

I think these three could have been combined for sure and maybe even the one above them as well. This also help the flow as it'd give your reader varying lengths of paragraphs which minimizes the risk of repetition. (Again, this could just be a preference but I figured I'm here to give my opinion! ;))

Other then that, I loved it! Actually, even with the things above, I'd keep reading in a heartbeat if I had more to read. Your way with words is amazing and I'm truly jealous of your talent! Like really jealous. I'd definitely be surprised if any publisher/editor turned your potential away so I wish you the best of luck!

I'm intrigued by Rieka's character...why did she leave her homeland? Was she part of some scheme? Murder? Abuse? I also love her attitude and from what I can tell, her fiery love of her homeland. I'm also guessing she's one of the "pawns" in this prophecy and that makes me very excited. She's going to bring a lot of intrigue into your book and that's awesome! :D

I'll be honest and say that with her spunk, I had imagined a brunette (no offence blondies reading this!) and was kinda surprised when you said blonde but oh well! I'm sure my brain will make the switch eventually. This is another thing you could watch is to catch your reader's imagination before it goes off into something completely different. It's hard for me to transition it to something else when it's fixed on a picture XD

Anyways, that's it from me and I really hope you can find some use in my reviews and I'm not just wasting your time! I look forward to your next chapter! :D :D :D

Happy writing!
Honora




mordax says...


Wow, thank you again for this amazing review. I love your advice and suggestions, and I will definitely keep that in mind in both future writing and editing. Thank you!



Honora says...


Glad I could help! :)



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Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:30 pm
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orbiteliza wrote a review...



Oh. My. God.

THIS IS AMAZING!

I loved this chapter and Reika? Wow. She. She is so cool and I love her character so far. This chapter, in my opinion, was better than the first, but that's because I'm a sucker for action. I'm so excited for the next chapter, this genuinely feels like one of those hyped up fantasy books on a bestselling list.

My opinion on what book this reminds me of has switched from Throne of Glass to Six of Crows. I'm not sure if you're familiar with these but Six of Crows is one of my favorite books of all time, and this reminds me of it so much, with the rag-tag crew theme.

Anywho—to the review— I have no criticism. The description and story-telling is phenomenal, once again. I like how you incorporated bits of information about the world in this, it was very subtle yet fitting. The pacing is also perfect, not too slow, not too fast.

This is amazing. That's all I have to say. Keep it up!




mordax says...


Thank you so much!! And yes, I love Six of Crows too. I did base part of the concept with a quest of a ragtag group on that book, but I also strove to be original, so if it ever feels like a copy-cat, let me know!!



orbiteliza says...


Not at all. It feels very original so far! Plus, the rag-tag group is a very popular trope so there's no need to worry <3




A woman knows the face of the man she loves as a sailor knows the open sea.
— Honore de Balzac