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The Fallen King: Chapter One

by MaybeAndrew

The Fallen King

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

- John 1:1

Chapter One

Whispers of Power

It was much too bright the day his father died. Liam would have preferred it to be dark, the sky angry with churning gray clouds. He wanted it to be a winter day where the Darkness pressed up against the city walls and the blue beams from the lighthouse. But no, it nearly felt like spring, the sun shining between a few whimsical white clouds. It was the warmest the valley had been all winter, hinting of the oncoming spring. A beautiful day. A day he should have seen, Liam couldn’t help but think. Instead, it was the day he died. Liam felt that the world should have respected his death and lowered the lights accordingly. After all, it had been the Darkness that had killed him.

It was a similarly bright day a month later. Still cold though, his breath misting the crisp air and his fingers growing numb as they held the torch. Liam had just come out from under branches of the forest and was glad of it. At least the sunlight was warm.

Liam peered back at the forest. The thick, tall forest. Many of these trees were old and huge, with rough bark that almost looked like faces. Sometimes you can forget that trees are alive, breathing, creeping, even thinking. Arwen had frequently reminded him that.

“Remember that the trees are strong,” She would say, “We build ships with them that brave storms. Their roots can squeeze boulders until they crack. Most importantly, beneath their bark, they remember much. You don’t want them as your enemies.”

Liam turned away from the forest, but as he did so, he heard it again. It was the sound that had distracted him his entire way to the graveyard. He whirled back around, staring out at the trees. A slight breeze was muttering through their branches, causing their limbs to rub and creak against each other. He’d heard that sound countless times before, but today, he heard something different. Like a voice within the creaking. Liam shook his head. It was just his loneliness getting to him. Since his dad had died, the lighthouse had been quiet. Grandpa wasn’t much of a talker.

“He is coming,” he heard a thousand voices whisper. Each one so small that it would be impossible to hear on its own, but together they could not be ignored. The voices had come from within the trees, from within the sounds of creaking and the low breath of the wind. Liam looked at the forest a bit longer and then scowled at it, hoping maybe showing his disapproval would quiet it.

It did not.

Luckily, this was the last day he’d have to take the three-mile hike down from the lighthouse and up to the graveyard. Among his few responsibilities as Keeper of the Light, bearing the fire to the dead was one of them. Every day for the moon cycle after the Darkness claimed a life, he must take a fresh torch of Astrum up to the graveyard and light the fire in the crypt. The Darkness must not awaken the dead.

Up until recently, this had been his father's responsibility. But since last autumn, Father had grown weaker and weaker, so Liam had been taking more and more responsibilities. Eventually, the Authority had passed onto him, so he took them all.

Liam scampered away from the forest, deeper into the clearing, and higher up onto the hill. Once he was clear of the shadows of the trees, he turned and looked back again. The graveyard had the second-best view of the valley.

The landscape below him was dominated by the leafless limbs of trees. The forest was old, and even in winter, difficult to navigate. The village was an island of civilization in this forest. Lownire was enclosed in ancient stone walls as tall as four men and surrounded by a few acres of farmland on one side and the sea on the other. At high tide, the water came right up to the wall and lapped against the stones. Built against the wall was a low stone platform and docks with fishing boats tied up to them.

This circular city wall enclosed the tightly packed wooden buildings and cobbled streets with tiled or thatched roofs. The town was a perfect circle, and the iris of this circle was at the center of the city, where the buildings gave way to a green field of short grass. The pupil of this iris was the marble Keep and the funeral stone -- the stone Father had been burned on.

Across the valley, on the northernmost tip of the cliffs, sat Liams home. The lighthouse. Taller than even the largest oak in the forest, it sat triumphantly on the edge of a cliff. The rocky, moss-padded cliff shot out over the ocean, taller than any of the waves that crashed against it. If the graveyard had the second-best view of the valley, the lighthouse had the best.

It was there that Father had passed on the Authority to Liam. When it had become evident his Father would never recover, he had taken Liam’s hands in his and had him swear the oath of the Keeper of the Light. Father had died only four days later.

Further to the West of the forest, Liam could see the beginnings of the Dark Wood. The mass of trees and vine, so tightly woven that even the light of this bright day only began to flirt with its edges. The forest may be old and thoughtful, but the Dark Wood had real living malice in it. Even its birds and plants were corrupted. The tree’s gnarled limbs kept even the summer’s sunlight from piercing their shadows. It had been those Shadows that had killed his Father. A creature of Darkness had found Father while he was in the forest. It had struck him, seeding him with the Corruption that would eventually kill him. Liam had watched all winter as he withered away. If the correct Ceremonies were performed, and you did not submit, Darkness merely killed you, instead of turning you into one of Its mangled beasts.

Father never submitted, and as a consequence, the Darkness took him like it had so many others. Four years after he had lost his daughter and fifteen after he had lost his wife, Father followed them to the stars. Liam looked away from the Dark Wood. Best not to dwell on the Corruption.




This is just part one of the chapters, part two is linked here:

Feel free to review however you like, but the two parts are meant to be taken together (: 

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103 Reviews

Points: 1590
Reviews: 103

Mon May 02, 2022 9:34 pm
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waywardxwanderer wrote a review...

Hello! Here for a quick review:

Among his few responsibilities as Keeper of the Light, bearing the fire to the dead was one of them

While each of these clauses work separately, together, they get jumbled up grammatically. You could say either "Among his few responsibilities as a Keeper of the Light was bearing the fire to the dead" or "As Keeper of Light, bearing the fire to the dead was one of his few responsibilities".

sat Liams home

Here, you just need to add an apostrophe.

The mass of trees and vine, so tightly woven that even the light of this bright day only began to flirt with its edges.

This sentence works, but I would recommend replacing the comma with "was" - it makes it more of a complete thought.

Again, take what you like and leave the rest!

This chapter (part?) was very beautifully written. Your imagery is immersive and lovely, and through the descriptions you manage to weave in Liam's character and his thoughts and processes, showing the reader exactly what he's been through and revealing his character without falling into infodumping. I often select a few sentences I really like so I can dissect them, but there are too many to choose from here! It's all very lovely, and you write grief well.

Keep writing,

MaybeAndrew says...

Thank you so much for the review!

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1189 Reviews

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Reviews: 1189

Wed Jan 19, 2022 8:01 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...

Hi MaybeAndrew,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

I could review the first section or the whole part that you have here, but let's start small. At first glance, a good introduction, a good text and, above all, a good tension and appeal for the reader to continue the story.

I'm a huge fan of it when many things have happened in a story that you didn't directly experience, but gradually learn more about, like when a map is cleared of clouds, where the reader then sees how much is actually connected.

It shows that you definitely have a knack here of telling the story in such a beautiful tone. I especially like the way you make the storytelling seem epic in tone, as if it's something that's been around for thousands of years and has been passed down from generation to generation.

That's also what I particularly like about the first section. You've created a very great way of linking the sentences between a longer and shorter word count, and it reads so smoothly and, above all, like a kind of ripple effect. You create an inner conflict that shows the reader how much Liam is still grieving (and I think there is some hate in him) and how much he is trying to blame the environment.

On this view, it also seems like Liam is too focused on himself and his father, with little room for anything else. In fact, during the part here, it feels like he remains in tunnel vision. But the first section is not the only one I liked.

You keep this build up right to the end and you have this ripple effect really well, so that the reader just keeps reading. The descriptions are incredibly descriptive and easy to read, so that a picture quickly forms in the mind. There is actually only one small point that I noticed that stands out a bit:

It was the warmest the valley had been all winter, hinting of the oncoming warmth.

I would just change the last “warmth” with “heat” to rewrite it.

Otherwise, I find it a very exciting and well-told beginning.

Have fun writing!


MaybeAndrew says...

Thank you so much for the review malice! I agree about that warmth bit, I'll edit that now.

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32 Reviews

Points: 226
Reviews: 32

Tue Jan 18, 2022 10:21 am
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VengefulReaper wrote a review...

Hi, just here to drop a quick review.

Firstly, you have used a lot of descriptive language which really helps paint a picture of the world the reader is in. I think the lack of dialogue works for the aim of the chapter which is mostly description.
Are the trees conscious? You say they remember much. Is this like the ents from Lord of the Rings?
I like how you are building a sense of culture in the civilization Liam lives in and how it has adapted to deal with the Darkness. I hope you explore that more in the future as the world is what intrigues me the most at this stage (which marks a good fantasy novel).
As for complaints, none so far (Though I am not a picky reader). I think it's still pretty early on for me to start criticizing xD.
The entire chapter reminds me of the ents from Lord of the Rings with the whispers and the dark woods.
In conclusion, I am looking forward to reading the next one. It's a good premise and seems promising.
As always, Thanks for the read and take what's useful to you from this.

MaybeAndrew says...

Thanks so much for the review! The ents from the lord of the rings has some fun imagery, but this is a bit different (;
I like how you are building a sense of culture in the civilization Liam lives in and how it has adapted to deal with the Darkness. I hope you explore that more in the future as the world is what intrigues me the most at this stage

That's been one of my favourite parts of the novel, the darkness relation to lownires culture has been super fun to write so I'm glad you like it.

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.
— Albus Dumbledore