Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Fantasy

16+ Language

The Many Gifts of Malia--Part 73: "The Loss"

by dragonfphoenix


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

That wasn’t entirely surprising, but it was a shock that they’d moved so quickly. With Malia injured and me handling Hasda’s Trial, though, we had a moving front and no war gods monitoring it. So it made sense that the feast would be postponed until I could deal with this resurgence. Before following after the Oracle, I opened a portal for Hasda to Maas Taeful so he could rest and wash himself in the springs.

The atmosphere of Nebesa was somber as Phemonoe and I made our way through the city. Cliques of satyrs sulked in doorways, minotaurs smiled briefly before resuming their mouthy frowns, and even the harpies overhead shrieked but infrequently. Dryads which would normally be a flurry of foliage moved as if their leaves floated on motionless ponds. The minor gods we passed were a bit more cheerful, but even they couldn’t muster enough festive spirit to overcome the subdued atmosphere that had fallen over our celestial realm.

I found it hard to try cheering them up with the High Oracle walking beside me. Not that I minded her company, but rather that she served as a constant reminder of the strange event that had happened last time we met. I hadn’t had time to discuss it with Malia, much less work through the implications of what had occurred. And now there was the added complication of a mere mortal opening her own pathways to the maas.

She caught me looking again and gave me a strained smile. “Is there something on my face?”

I coughed. “That, ah, silver portal. That was yours?”

“Yes.” She stared down the rode, her robes swishing and her chains clinking. “I’m well aware of how unusual my new abilities are.”

“Abilities? Plural?” If that portal was from our meeting with the Spinster, what else had that eldritch goddess given her?

“I thought you could see the change, the way you kept drilling me with that look.” She laughed, confidence failing to mask the undercurrent of unease. “My outdated vision was my last. The scrying pool is clouded to me in the most mundane way.”

What?

I must have stopped because the crowd parted around me, leaving me on an island. A shiver jostled my spine, and not from the cool of Nebesa. An Oracle could lose her ability to scry? A High Oracle, no less. I frowned. But she wouldn’t count that as an additional ability, if it were truly lost to her.

“What else changed?” I asked.

“The mortal realm is lost to me, but…” She looked down at her folded hands and shrugged. With the graying sky and the dour mood around us, it brought the years on heavily. When she looked up, her eyes flashed with fleeting fear before the mask reasserted itself. “I can see the eddies of the gods.”

I blinked. Well, that certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. I went to fold my arms, stopped, and put myself in motion again. Catching her elbow, I half-dragged her along, scowling at the questions which floated up around us. With my glower firmly in place, the celestial denizens wisely kept their distance.

“Who knows?” I whispered, eyes tracing the most direct route to Seppo’s temple.

“Only you and Seppo,” she gasped. Although she stumbled over her hem, she caught herself and struggled to match my pace. “To the others, I’ve simply lost my vision and can now travel across Nebesa at will.”

“Any other secret abilities?”

“The way you’re tugging, hopefully the ability to regrow my limbs.”

“Sorry.” I released her arm but kept close, sheltering her in my shadow. Yes, it was conspicuous, but despite her assurances I didn’t know how far the news had traveled yet, or to whom. She’d be safe from most of the major deities, but a scheming minor god looking to advance their station could find any number of ways attempted manipulation. Phemonoe could hold her own, but no reason to put her in that position.

“I’m surprised you haven’t asked about Malia yet,” Phemonoe said as we rounded a corner.

“She’s fine.” And she was, if a bit grumpy. I felt her annoyance through our bond, on the lower right of my back. Roughly the vicinity of her temple. I wouldn’t be surprised if half the reason Nebesa felt so reserved was hiding from her cabin fever. She chafed at being forced to remain stationary, although she was already channeling that energy into various schemes.

“Are you?” She gave me a sideways look.

I sighed. “It’s been a long, chaotic Trial, and the rafters are coming down around my ears.”

She smiled. “I know that feeling.” With a gasp, she jerked upright, slamming into me. Her eyes glazed over, and a shroud of darkness formed a sphere around us. Mouth agape, she panted for air and blindly squeezed my arm. Then the shadowy bubble burst, her eyes cleared, and she straightened.

No one around us gave any indication that something had happened.

Fingers still clamped on my arm, she clutched on for support as her legs sagged. She gave me a worried look. “We should hurry.”

Without a word, I scooped her up and strode through the streets. Crowds parted before me, but not quickly enough, and as we cleared another busy road a pair of centaurs galloped next to me. They made obeisance and offered their assistance, so I sent them ahead to make sure I had an unobstructed path to Seppo’s temple.

“A vision?” I asked. My stride lengthened with each step, until I was nearly overtaking the chestnut centaurs who raced ahead.

She nodded into my chest. “This is embarrassing.”

“Don’t be.” I shifted her weight as we reached the steps of Seppo’s temple. Arms locked, I pounded up the steps.

Her voice was small. “I’ve never been scared by a vision before.”

That gave me pause. I glanced down at her, but she wouldn’t meet my eyes. “You want to talk about it?”

She shook her head. “I…might need your help. To talk to the spirits of the Oracles before me.”

I blinked. Discerning a vision was a delicate task, but to be so unsure as to consult the souls in Peklo? That must have been one hell of a vision.

Curling tighter, she tapped my chest. “Please. Don’t tell anyone I’ve seen this. It’s…it’s nothing like I’ve ever witnessed before.”

Coming from the mortal who’d braved the astral plane and seen an eldritch deity without passing out, that chilled me.

I stumped up the rest of the stairs in silence. A prophecy of doom from, not one, but two elder goddesses. An unflagging Arbiter who failed to assess a Trial. And now this. An Oracle losing her powers, only to receive a vision so terrifying she wanted to talk to the dead. I shook my head as I reached the top of the steps.

So many things going wrong, and that didn’t even consider the Paeden mess. The Spartan guards gave me a quizzical look but said nothing, pulling the doors open with practiced and professional ease. I thumped across the threshold into the cloudy expanse beyond.

Inside, Seppo plowed through the clouds in his habitual pacing. His bronze exoskeleton sighed and hissed, pipes sliding along with his paces. Off to the side stood a handful of the Seated gods, arranged in an arc that let them converse with Seppo and each other without obstructing the latter’s war path.

Azoria, arrayed in white and blue robes, was no surprise, since much wisdom would be needed in this meeting, but Tarrha was, her dark hair floofy today. Usually the Goddess of Beauty didn’t bother herself with the affairs of war, and without Malia I’d have to figure out her angle on my own. Synnefo, now fully occupying the Office of Weather, was also present, looking skinny in Zephyrus’ robes. The harvest goddess, Vrixia, stood next to him, a pining look on her face as she stared off into the horizon. Although her simple brown robes looked out of place next to the finery of the others, it complimented her nicely. She was probably wishing she could be with Resef, who wasn’t in attendance for whatever reason.

I frowned as I glanced over their faces. Kydon wasn’t here, either. Neither was Thane, for that matter. Phaeus rarely left his forge, and Loutro was unnecessary without a feast to prepare, but I’d have expected Thane at least to have crawled back from whatever excursion he’d been up to.

Seppo grunted an acknowledgement of my arrival, but it wasn’t until he saw Phemonoe in my arms that he came to a stop. “Is she okay?”

“She’s fine.” I plodded into the room. “Just had a bit of a fainting spell on the way over.”

He hummed and stroked his chin. Waving his other hand, he shaped a portion of the clouds into a long, low couch and gestured for me to set her down. “Well wishes for your health, High Oracle.”

I squinted at the formality, but at least he hadn’t stripped her of her title. Which meant he hadn’t told the others yet. Phemonoe picked up on the unspoken statement as well and smiled her thanks as I lowered her onto the cushion.

Seppo sighed, more weary than agitated, and settled back into his pacing. “Well, now that you’re here, we can begin.”

Something heavy slammed against the throne room doors.


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
3420 Reviews


Points: 363316
Reviews: 3420

Donate
Tue Aug 09, 2022 6:06 pm
HarryHardy wrote a review...



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

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Well...things certainly heated up in this one as I expected it to, but the way it heated up was certainly not the way I was imagining things going but well I think that just maybe this was the last part where we're going to be seeing lots of warnings about things to happen and we're going to start seeing this war situation actually head towards some sort of a climax. With that summary there and the ending we saw, it seems plausible although that knocking at the end certainly complicates matters.

Anyway let's get right to it,

That wasn’t entirely surprising, but it was a shock that they’d moved so quickly. With Malia injured and me handling Hasda’s Trial, though, we had a moving front and no war gods monitoring it. So it made sense that the feast would be postponed until I could deal with this resurgence. Before following after the Oracle, I opened a portal for Hasda to Maas Taeful so he could rest and wash himself in the springs.

The atmosphere of Nebesa was somber as Phemonoe and I made our way through the city. Cliques of satyrs sulked in doorways, minotaurs smiled briefly before resuming their mouthy frowns, and even the harpies overhead shrieked but infrequently. Dryads which would normally be a flurry of foliage moved as if their leaves floated on motionless ponds. The minor gods we passed were a bit more cheerful, but even they couldn’t muster enough festive spirit to overcome the subdued atmosphere that had fallen over our celestial realm.

I found it hard to try cheering them up with the High Oracle walking beside me. Not that I minded her company, but rather that she served as a constant reminder of the strange event that had happened last time we met. I hadn’t had time to discuss it with Malia, much less work through the implications of what had occurred. And now there was the added complication of a mere mortal opening her own pathways to the maas.


Hmm...well I suppose it seems we're going to go ahead an address the whole portal issue before we actually dive further into the other pressing matter of this ever so rapidly developing war lurking about in the background there.

She caught me looking again and gave me a strained smile. “Is there something on my face?”

I coughed. “That, ah, silver portal. That was yours?”

“Yes.” She stared down the rode, her robes swishing and her chains clinking. “I’m well aware of how unusual my new abilities are.”

“Abilities? Plural?” If that portal was from our meeting with the Spinster, what else had that eldritch goddess given her?

“I thought you could see the change, the way you kept drilling me with that look.” She laughed, confidence failing to mask the undercurrent of unease. “My outdated vision was my last. The scrying pool is clouded to me in the most mundane way.”

What?


Well...yup that definitely does qualify as a proper bombshell, and I suppose that wasn't entirely unexpected although this definitely seems like its going to have consequences that a little more far reaching that what I initially suspected.

I must have stopped because the crowd parted around me, leaving me on an island. A shiver jostled my spine, and not from the cool of Nebesa. An Oracle could lose her ability to scry? A High Oracle, no less. I frowned. But she wouldn’t count that as an additional ability, if it were truly lost to her.

“What else changed?” I asked.

“The mortal realm is lost to me, but…” She looked down at her folded hands and shrugged. With the graying sky and the dour mood around us, it brought the years on heavily. When she looked up, her eyes flashed with fleeting fear before the mask reasserted itself. “I can see the eddies of the gods.”

I blinked. Well, that certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. I went to fold my arms, stopped, and put myself in motion again. Catching her elbow, I half-dragged her along, scowling at the questions which floated up around us. With my glower firmly in place, the celestial denizens wisely kept their distance.


Well I'm sure this is not going to result in multiple disasters although somehow I am not quite seeing exactly why Charax is reacting nearly as strongly as he is. Perhaps I haven't quite grasped the gravity of that second ability just quite yet I suppose. The other two bits of information though are probably enough to justify Charax's reaction on their own too.

“Who knows?” I whispered, eyes tracing the most direct route to Seppo’s temple.

“Only you and Seppo,” she gasped. Although she stumbled over her hem, she caught herself and struggled to match my pace. “To the others, I’ve simply lost my vision and can now travel across Nebesa at will.”

“Any other secret abilities?”

“The way you’re tugging, hopefully the ability to regrow my limbs.”

“Sorry.” I released her arm but kept close, sheltering her in my shadow. Yes, it was conspicuous, but despite her assurances I didn’t know how far the news had traveled yet, or to whom. She’d be safe from most of the major deities, but a scheming minor god looking to advance their station could find any number of ways attempted manipulation. Phemonoe could hold her own, but no reason to put her in that position.


Well that's nice of Charax to be thinking ahead like that although it does seem quite like he is going to accidentally shoot himself in the spot by the current display he's putting on that is very much attracting all sorts of attention at the moment.

“I’m surprised you haven’t asked about Malia yet,” Phemonoe said as we rounded a corner.

“She’s fine.” And she was, if a bit grumpy. I felt her annoyance through our bond, on the lower right of my back. Roughly the vicinity of her temple. I wouldn’t be surprised if half the reason Nebesa felt so reserved was hiding from her cabin fever. She chafed at being forced to remain stationary, although she was already channeling that energy into various schemes.

“Are you?” She gave me a sideways look.

I sighed. “It’s been a long, chaotic Trial, and the rafters are coming down around my ears.”

She smiled. “I know that feeling.” With a gasp, she jerked upright, slamming into me. Her eyes glazed over, and a shroud of darkness formed a sphere around us. Mouth agape, she panted for air and blindly squeezed my arm. Then the shadowy bubble burst, her eyes cleared, and she straightened.


Well....that was...quite something. Love how we were in what seemed like an actually really important and BAM that just takes you by surprise so well. There was absolutely no expecting that. Well...it certainly seems as if we're already seeing the effects of the bombshell dropped not too long ago.

No one around us gave any indication that something had happened.

Fingers still clamped on my arm, she clutched on for support as her legs sagged. She gave me a worried look. “We should hurry.”

Without a word, I scooped her up and strode through the streets. Crowds parted before me, but not quickly enough, and as we cleared another busy road a pair of centaurs galloped next to me. They made obeisance and offered their assistance, so I sent them ahead to make sure I had an unobstructed path to Seppo’s temple.

“A vision?” I asked. My stride lengthened with each step, until I was nearly overtaking the chestnut centaurs who raced ahead.

She nodded into my chest. “This is embarrassing.”


Well this is certainly turning into quite the spectacle, I suppose with the rush around this particular situation, any chance of thinking of this as something of a thing to keep secret is fully out the window because it is something of an emergency.

“Don’t be.” I shifted her weight as we reached the steps of Seppo’s temple. Arms locked, I pounded up the steps.

Her voice was small. “I’ve never been scared by a vision before.”

That gave me pause. I glanced down at her, but she wouldn’t meet my eyes. “You want to talk about it?”

She shook her head. “I…might need your help. To talk to the spirits of the Oracles before me.”

I blinked. Discerning a vision was a delicate task, but to be so unsure as to consult the souls in Peklo? That must have been one hell of a vision.

Curling tighter, she tapped my chest. “Please. Don’t tell anyone I’ve seen this. It’s…it’s nothing like I’ve ever witnessed before.”

Coming from the mortal who’d braved the astral plane and seen an eldritch deity without passing out, that chilled me.


Hmm...well that is quite the ironic twist there towards the end. She is a mortal but she's not just any mortal so the horror factor there counts a lot more than you'd think but then also there is a tiny grain of salt in there somewhere. Either way with that request, this is definitely shaping up to be quite the vision here.

I stumped up the rest of the stairs in silence. A prophecy of doom from, not one, but two elder goddesses. An unflagging Arbiter who failed to assess a Trial. And now this. An Oracle losing her powers, only to receive a vision so terrifying she wanted to talk to the dead. I shook my head as I reached the top of the steps.

So many things going wrong, and that didn’t even consider the Paeden mess. The Spartan guards gave me a quizzical look but said nothing, pulling the doors open with practiced and professional ease. I thumped across the threshold into the cloudy expanse beyond.

Inside, Seppo plowed through the clouds in his habitual pacing. His bronze exoskeleton sighed and hissed, pipes sliding along with his paces. Off to the side stood a handful of the Seated gods, arranged in an arc that let them converse with Seppo and each other without obstructing the latter’s war path.


Well...that was another nice little summary of just how crazy things have been here of late. There is certainly no doubt that we are barreling towards some very dangerous times here but the sheer number of incidents in that summary there is still somehow surprising.

I frowned as I glanced over their faces. Kydon wasn’t here, either. Neither was Thane, for that matter. Phaeus rarely left his forge, and Loutro was unnecessary without a feast to prepare, but I’d have expected Thane at least to have crawled back from whatever excursion he’d been up to.

Seppo grunted an acknowledgement of my arrival, but it wasn’t until he saw Phemonoe in my arms that he came to a stop. “Is she okay?”

“She’s fine.” I plodded into the room. “Just had a bit of a fainting spell on the way over.”

He hummed and stroked his chin. Waving his other hand, he shaped a portion of the clouds into a long, low couch and gestured for me to set her down. “Well wishes for your health, High Oracle.”

I squinted at the formality, but at least he hadn’t stripped her of her title. Which meant he hadn’t told the others yet. Phemonoe picked up on the unspoken statement as well and smiled her thanks as I lowered her onto the cushion.

Seppo sighed, more weary than agitated, and settled back into his pacing. “Well, now that you’re here, we can begin.”

Something heavy slammed against the throne room doors.


Well isn't that such a wonderful end there. Clearly a lot of tension is also naturally being built up among everyone because of this whole situation, and well you can't quite blame them but it looks like something is going to have to give by just the sheer sort of setup that we've got going on here.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, it seems as usual we're being left off on a cliffhanger, although this chapter weirdly seems like a turning point here, it might just be because the previous one was the first sort of rest chapter we had in a while, but I suppose I'll find out soon enough.

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

Stay Safe
Harry




User avatar
1113 Reviews


Points: 91472
Reviews: 1113

Donate
Wed Jun 15, 2022 9:12 pm
View Likes
IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hello again!

Conveniently, the chapters of this that are in the Green Room all seem to be in chronological order so whilst I can't comment too much on character development or pacing vs earlier in the story, I should be able to pick up on those things for this particular section (once I'm a few chapters further in though probably).

I'm always sad to see a celebration postponed but it's good to see that priorities are clear here. Invasion = protect/defend not have a party. I feel like some people in the real world could learn from this, but never mind.

I got the impression that Charax and Phemonoe haven't had much of a chance to catch up recently but I enjoyed the interaction between the two of them. It really seems like she's got the short end of the stick and I feel really sorry for her. I hope this is something that gets dealt with/resolved in later chapters. Hopefully now Charax knows about it something can be done?

One quick thing:

She nodded into my chest. “This is embarrassing.”

“Don’t be.” I shifted her weight as we reached the steps of Seppo’s temple. Arms locked, I pounded up the steps.

This felt a bit off to me as the 'don't be' in response to her saying 'embarrassing' makes it seem like Charax is saying 'don't be embarrassing' rather than 'don't be embarrassed' which I don't think was the intention.

I feel like we're approaching a big bad and I don't know if I'm ready for that (she says after reading like 2 chapters haha).

I think this chapter was really well written and I'm looking forward to catching some more of these chapters in the future!

Icy




User avatar
587 Reviews


Points: 64800
Reviews: 587

Donate
Wed Mar 16, 2022 1:10 am
Plume wrote a review...



Hey there! Plume here, with a review!!

Ooh, I loved the dive into Phemenoe's new powers, as well as her loss of them, in this chapter. It's quite interesting how ascending to the astral plane did that to her. I'm curious if she'll still remain high oracle now that her scrying ability is gone, but it definitely seems like she's still an asset in puzzling out the whole situation with the ancient gods Charax'll most likely be dealing with sometime in the future. And gah you always have the best chapter endings!! I mean, I'm sad that the chapter ends, but you've got a knack for cliffhangers, let me tell you. Curious to find out what that "something heavy" is.

One thing I enjoyed about this chapter was just... the movement in the scene. I know that sounds kind of weird, but I was able to visualize this chapter very clearly. I loved the dual movement happening in the dynamic conversation between Phemenoe and Charax along with the physical action as they walked through Nebesa. There was a lot of ebb and flow and it made it very interesting and engaging. Very cinematic in its presentation, if you will. I could nearly see the camera angles in my mind's eye. Anyways. I really liked this chapter, if you couldn't tell.

Specifics

Dryads which would normally be a flurry of foliage moved as if their leaves floated on motionless ponds.


I guess it would depend on how sentient these dryads are, but it did disrupt the flow of my reading when you put in "which" instead of "who." Also, I think you need commas around the "which would normally be a flurry of foliage" phrase. I do really love the alliteration between flurry and foliage, though!! It's a great bit of description!

So many things going wrong, and that didn’t even consider the Paeden mess.


Gosh, that's quite the understatement—honestly, I think at this point, everything is going wrong. I'm really interested to see how you handle this many conflicts. Fingers crossed it doesn't get too confusing!!

Overall: really nice work! I think this chapter was so well written and engaging, and I think the interactions between Charax and Phemenoe were the highlight. You did some great plot-furthering, and I'm curious to know where the next chapter will take us!! Until next time!!





I tell the neophyte: Write a million words–the absolute best you can write, then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. At that point, you’re ready to begin.
— David Eddings