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18+ Language Violence Mature Content

The Daughter of War- Chapter 1: Trial One

by Ley


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

Chapter 1: Trial One

Josephine stared at the body in front of her. She dropped her sword. The skull—cracked… the bones—protruding… the blood—evident. She’d never seen a dead body before. She thought about the smell of the blood, strong iron and metallic jus. She didn’t look away even for a second, and the body was dragged away by a man wearing silver-stained armor and brown boots. She sat there, watching as the body slowly disappeared from her blurred eyesight.

“We have a victor!” The announcer exclaimed as the crowd burst into a well-deserved cheer.

Still, Josephine stayed silent, and stared at the doorway at which the body had faded into. She finally glanced down at her hands, finding sores—blisters, bloody and raw—from the sword she had wielded just seconds before. She didn’t want to be victor. It was hard enough as it is, being the daughter of Ares—having to slay and destroy and be undeniably ignorant. She wanted to paint. She wanted to study music, and shadow Apollo once she graduated pre-trials.

Those dreams ended when her father burst into her room and declared that she was to be the white sheep, the one that didn’t follow orders and rebelled against the gods. She instantly became inspired to prove her father wrong, and successfully complete his trials—in the hope that she gained his respect.

Respect was everything in Olympus. If you didn’t have it, you were nothing, and nobody turned a head in your direction. You became exiled, like Circe did. She was exiled by her father Helios, where she lived on an island called Aeaea, for killing the prince of Colchis, who was her husband at the time.

Josephine rebelling against her father and becoming a musician was just about the same as Circe killing her husband—for different reasons, of course. Josephine would be killing her reputation, her glamour, her bloodline, for a hobby.

The world slowed around her as she ducked underneath the overpass. The sound of journalists and news reporters bombarded her with questions as soon as she entered the arena side-rooms. The Koroibos was a large arena, mostly used to host some of the Ancient Olympic Games, where gladiators and Olympians would fight to the death to prove their strength and power. These games drew in people from all around Greece, from Olympia to Delphi and beyond.

“How does it feel to defeat the son of Zeus?”

“Is your father going to be attending the next trial?”

“Do you have anything to say to those watching?”

Josephine ignored every question and continued into the large stone corridor which led to the outskirts of the area. She had no warrior to protect her, and at that point she was a target to everyone else competing in the pre-trials.

Crowds shuffled out, and she blended in with them. She eventually lost the journalists and made it to a quiet area, right on the edge of the lake about a mile from where the trial took place. She could feel nothing but anxiety, her hands trembled, and her leg shook once she sat down on the cold, steel bench. A couple further away could be seen hugging and dancing to the fiddle player—the melodies and strings enough to eventually relieve Josephine of her negative thoughts. The sounds were distant enough to not be overwhelming.

She looked up at the sky and closed her eyes. She couldn’t help but wonder if her father had secretly watched her from above, or maybe sent one of his minions to spy on her. Surely, he would be intrigued on whether or not Josephine passed her first trial. If he hadn’t, she was sure he’d already received news of it, and wondered if she’d survive the next five. Maybe he doubted her.

It was nice to get a breath of fresh air. The smoke from the tobacco-feigns in the stadium were disgustingly potent, and Josephine’s lungs were starting to hurt about halfway through her fight. Just as she thought about returning home, the air in front of her turned into orbs, slowly creating the outline of a body. Josephine sighed, and her mother appeared. Her long, blonde hair was braided elegantly down her back, and her eyes were a seafoam green. Josephine had seen her with her glamour turned on, but never like this.

Josephine’s mother, Aphrodite, was the goddess of love, lust, sex, and procreation. Josephine had taken most of her looks from her mother—and barely any from Ares. Aphrodite basically copied and pasted her high cheekbones, golden blonde hair, curvy silhouette, and cherry-red lips onto Josephine. Unlike Ares, Aphrodite supported Josephine and sympathized for her daughter.

“Why are you here all alone, my dear?” The goddess of love purred and took a seat next to her tired offspring.

“I just need a minute,” Josephine responded as she played with her still-raw fingers. Her mother glanced at her anxiety-prone reflex and placed her soft, warm hand on top of Josephine’s—In an attempt to calm her down.

“I saw you, and I couldn’t be prouder,” Aphrodite lifted Josephine’s chin so that their eyes met, “And yet, you seem defeated. Talk to me.”

Josephine felt her eyes start to water, and her face started to generate heat. She isn’t defeated. She’s tired. Tired of doing things to impress others to gain clarity.

“I’m tired, Mom,” She responded, “I didn’t ask for this. I was perfectly comfortable, at home, studying and playing my violin,” Aphrodite nodded as Josephine continued, “What if I’m not made for this? What if this is all for nothing, and I die in the second or third trial? What happens then?”

Her mother scoffed and dropped her hand from her daughter’s chin, and looked at the fiddle player that Josephine was listening to a few minutes ago, “I was like you once, you know, except my idol was Poseidon. When he created me, I was lost, scared, and lonely. Then, I found your father…” she smiled lightly to herself, “Hephaestus is wonderful. He takes care of me. He’s my protector, but your father… he has a soft spot; and I promise, Josephine, that he sees you.”

Josephine smiled towards her mother, and longed for that type of relationship with somebody, “If he does, he doesn’t care to show it.”

“Time, darling. Time,” Aphrodite whispered into the warm breeze, “Now, lets get you home and bathed.”

Josephine stood up and brushed off her torn-up pants. The buttons were no longer buttoned, and they were burnt into a crisp at the bottoms from the flames her opponent tried to wield on his sword. She took a deep breath as both of them disappeared and teleported to the east side of Mount Olympus, where Josephine felt most comfortable.


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Sat Apr 13, 2024 4:26 am
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avianwings47 says...



Hello, Ley! I'll be trying to read and review lots of your novel this month! I'll mostly be reviewing the chapters in the green room (or chapters where I have a lot of thoughts.) That's why I'm not dropping a review on this chapter, as it seems it already has quite a few.
I have to say, though, that I am really excited to read this! I'm already hooked on the first chapter, and can't wait to see what this book has in store. <3




Ley says...


Well thank you! I appreciate it :D



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Fri Apr 05, 2024 2:51 am
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goodolnoah wrote a review...



Hello there!

I would like to check out this work using my own method! I hope my review is of some use!

I peeked only to see some references to greek mythos, and this work was on my backlog for those reasons! I love Olympian shenanigans.

Writing Commentary

What a gripping first chapter! I was drawn in by your very first paragraph.

Josephine stared at the body in front of her. She dropped her sword. The skull—cracked… the bones—protruding… the blood—evident. She’d never seen a dead body before. She thought about the smell of the blood, strong iron and metallic jus. She didn’t look away even for a second, and the body was dragged away by a man wearing silver-stained armor and brown boots. She sat there, watching as the body slowly disappeared from her blurred eyesight.


It’s an instant tell of what kind of person Josephine is, and the carnage that is displayed is oh-so elegant. I like that the focus is on what Josephine feels at the moment. The smells in the air, and her shock at what she had just done to please her father.

The writing overall here is great! From dialogue to description, everything is pristine. One of my favorite parts about your writing that I am trying to work into my own is the use of sensory information. The smell of blood, the coldness of the steel bench, the fiddle player in the background. It all does a great job to balance out the feelings from Josephine’s perspective while also fleshing out the world around us.

Story Commentary

I looooove narratives relating to Olympian myth, and it seems you have gone all in with it. Plunging the reader into a set of trials by battle for select competitors trying to gain honor. Josephine is introduced well, here. Her complicated relationship with her father is one of the main driving factors. Something that is unique is that the reader knows that Josephine wants to do anything but war, but feels pressured to do so by her father. While her mother, Aphrodite seems to take a more gentler approach. It seems she is a combination of her parent’s values, parents who just so happen to be polar opposites. An interesting recipe indeed!

Closer

I look forward to continuing reading!




Ley says...


Aw thanks for the review :D I loved your commentary :3



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Wed Apr 03, 2024 1:47 pm
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aaliyahlaurier wrote a review...



Hi there! I'm reviewing using the YWS S'more Method today!

Hi, this is Aaliyah! Very excited to review this work for you today.

Top Graham Cracker - What I Know
This seems to be a fantasy story surrounding a girl named Josephine, who wants to rebel against her father and become a musician because she's unhappy with the hand she's been dealt.

Slightly Burnt Marshmallow - Room for Improvements
Not much that I can see right now! This is an incredible first chapter, from the grammar to the storyline. I can't wait to read more from you. You're so talented.

Chocolate Bar - Highlights of the Piece
"Josephine’s mother, Aphrodite, was the goddess of love, lust, sex, and procreation. Josephine had taken most of her looks from her mother—and barely any from Ares. Aphrodite basically copied and pasted her high cheekbones, golden blonde hair, curvy silhouette, and cherry-red lips onto Josephine. Unlike Ares, Aphrodite supported Josephine and sympathized for her daughter."

I really love this. I don't know what exactly I like LOL but I know I just love it, I think it's how well described everything it is.

Closing Graham Cracker - Closing Thoughts
Thank you for uploading! I can't wait to read some more from you




Ley says...


Hello! Actually, Josephine wants to impress her father by completing a series of Trials. :D



aaliyahlaurier says...


i misunderstood!! thank you so much haha that makes a lot more sense



Ley says...


Thank you for the review either way <3 I appreciate it!



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Tue Apr 02, 2024 9:25 pm
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Horisun wrote a review...



Hello, Leya! I hope you're having a good afternoon!

I really like the way that this story kicks off! Rather than starting in the middle of the action, we begin in its aftermath. Your descriptions of Josephine's fallen opponent, and the line

The skull—cracked… the bones—protruding… the blood—evident. She’d never seen a dead body before.


is particularly enthralling. Not only does it set the tone for the chapter, it also tells us a lot about who our main character is. The act of killing doesn't seem to faze her (though perhaps the horror hasn't quite sunk in), which tells us that this fight to the death is this world's "normal." But the fact she hasn't seen a dead body before suggests that this is still new to her.

All in all, it's a sick way to open a chapter, and I love it! I think the one thing I'd consider rearranging would be the lines, "Josephine stared at the body in front of her," and "Josephine had never seen a dead body before." <--- they accomplish very similar things, but I think that the latter is just such a perfect first line for a novel!

This is down to your personal discretion, but something along the lines of...

Josephine had never seen a dead body before. The skull—cracked… the bones—protruding… the blood—evident. Her sword clattered to the floor.


...might flow a wee better!

I really like your characterization of Aphrodite. Often, reiterations of Aphrodite focus on her more romantic elements- but some of her best myths are about her as a mother figure. I'm glad to see that represented here!

You do an excellent job showcasing their relationship through their dialogue. Like I said, I like how you portray Aphrodite, and I like that she genuinely cares about her kid.

You also do a great job communicating a characters emotions through their actions. However, in lines like

Josephine responded as she played with her still-raw fingers. Her mother glanced at her anxiety-prone reflex and placed her soft, warm hand on top of Josephine’s—In an attempt to calm her down.


you don't need the clarification "In an attempt to calm her down," the reader can already infer that this was intended as a comforting gesture, and so the additional information here isn't necessary.

With all this said, I've really enjoyed the way this stories kicked off! Your prose, dialogue, and characterization are all excellent, and I'm excited to see what the next couple trials will entail!

Keep on writing, and have a great rest of your day! :D




Ley says...


Thank you for the review <33



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KateHardy 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!! I saw quite a few chapters looking lonely in the green room so I thought I'd take a look starting from chapter one.

First Impression: This was a lovely first chapter here. I am already loving the groundwork that's been laid down here. It definitely looks this is shaping up to be a really interesting little tale. Josephine is already a very interesting character and Aphrodite also seem like someone we'll see a lot of that's going to end up doing some pretty interesting things.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Josephine stared at the body in front of her. She dropped her sword. The skull—cracked… the bones—protruding… the blood—evident. She’d never seen a dead body before. She thought about the smell of the blood, strong iron and metallic jus. She didn’t look away even for a second, and the body was dragged away by a man wearing silver-stained armor and brown boots. She sat there, watching as the body slowly disappeared from her blurred eyesight.

“We have a victor!” The announcer exclaimed as the crowd burst into a well-deserved cheer.

Still, Josephine stayed silent, and stared at the doorway at which the body had faded into. She finally glanced down at her hands, finding sores—blisters, bloody and raw—from the sword she had wielded just seconds before. She didn’t want to be victor. It was hard enough as it is, being the daughter of Ares—having to slay and destroy and be undeniably ignorant. She wanted to paint. She wanted to study music, and shadow Apollo once she graduated pre-trials.


Well this is quite the opening for sure. The imagery on the opening paragraph just does not let you stop reading this and just immediately sucks you right in. Its a wonderful opening and then the follow up there of exactly why such an opening is happening and how Josephine feels about it is the perfect way to sum that up right there. I think it ends up working out really well as a result. Let's see where we're headed next.

Those dreams ended when her father burst into her room and declared that she was to be the white sheep, the one that didn’t follow orders and rebelled against the gods. She instantly became inspired to prove her father wrong, and successfully complete his trials—in the hope that she gained his respect.

Respect was everything in Olympus. If you didn’t have it, you were nothing, and nobody turned a head in your direction. You became exiled, like Circe did. She was exiled by her father Helios, where she lived on an island called Aeaea, for killing the prince of Colchis, who was her husband at the time.

Josephine rebelling against her father and becoming a musician was just about the same as Circe killing her husband—for different reasons, of course. Josephine would be killing her reputation, her glamour, her bloodline, for a hobby.


Well that definitely seem like the sort of crazed reason you would get out of the gods, well specially Ares at any rate. I am already loving that vibe it creates here. Josephine story just keeps on getting more and more interesting here.

The world slowed around her as she ducked underneath the overpass. The sound of journalists and news reporters bombarded her with questions as soon as she entered the arena side-rooms. The Koroibos was a large arena, mostly used to host some of the Ancient Olympic Games, where gladiators and Olympians would fight to the death to prove their strength and power. These games drew in people from all around Greece, from Olympia to Delphi and beyond.

“How does it feel to defeat the son of Zeus?”

“Is your father going to be attending the next trial?”

“Do you have anything to say to those watching?”


Oooh love that little section. Very much recognizable as the typical questions that you do expect to happen at an event like that but changed just enough to fit exactly where its currently taking place in.

Josephine ignored every question and continued into the large stone corridor which led to the outskirts of the area. She had no warrior to protect her, and at that point she was a target to everyone else competing in the pre-trials.

Crowds shuffled out, and she blended in with them. She eventually lost the journalists and made it to a quiet area, right on the edge of the lake about a mile from where the trial took place. She could feel nothing but anxiety, her hands trembled, and her leg shook once she sat down on the cold, steel bench. A couple further away could be seen hugging and dancing to the fiddle player—the melodies and strings enough to eventually relieve Josephine of her negative thoughts. The sounds were distant enough to not be overwhelming.


Well it looks like poor Josephine is trying to get away and find a quiet moment here, and given what we learned in that first part she is very much in need of that so its good to see that she's about to get it here.

She looked up at the sky and closed her eyes. She couldn’t help but wonder if her father had secretly watched her from above, or maybe sent one of his minions to spy on her. Surely, he would be intrigued on whether or not Josephine passed her first trial. If he hadn’t, she was sure he’d already received news of it, and wondered if she’d survive the next five. Maybe he doubted her.

It was nice to get a breath of fresh air. The smoke from the tobacco-feigns in the stadium were disgustingly potent, and Josephine’s lungs were starting to hurt about halfway through her fight. Just as she thought about returning home, the air in front of her turned into orbs, slowly creating the outline of a body. Josephine sighed, and her mother appeared. Her long, blonde hair was braided elegantly down her back, and her eyes were a seafoam green. Josephine had seen her with her glamour turned on, but never like this.


Oooh well this is going to be intriguing to see. As much as the Ares might be spying foreshadowing is intriguing who her mother happens to be is probably going to prove even more exciting at the moment.

Josephine’s mother, Aphrodite, was the goddess of love, lust, sex, and procreation. Josephine had taken most of her looks from her mother—and barely any from Ares. Aphrodite basically copied and pasted her high cheekbones, golden blonde hair, curvy silhouette, and cherry-red lips onto Josephine. Unlike Ares, Aphrodite supported Josephine and sympathized for her daughter.

“Why are you here all alone, my dear?” The goddess of love purred and took a seat next to her tired offspring.

“I just need a minute,” Josephine responded as she played with her still-raw fingers. Her mother glanced at her anxiety-prone reflex and placed her soft, warm hand on top of Josephine’s—In an attempt to calm her down.


Oooh well that's not every day you see Aphrodite being the most supportive, that's a very interesting to go in. This just continues to get more and more exciting as we go on.

“I saw you, and I couldn’t be prouder,” Aphrodite lifted Josephine’s chin so that their eyes met, “And yet, you seem defeated. Talk to me.”

Josephine felt her eyes start to water, and her face started to generate heat. She isn’t defeated. She’s tired. Tired of doing things to impress others to gain clarity.

“I’m tired, Mom,” She responded, “I didn’t ask for this. I was perfectly comfortable, at home, studying and playing my violin,” Aphrodite nodded as Josephine continued, “What if I’m not made for this? What if this is all for nothing, and I die in the second or third trial? What happens then?”


Well that's certainly quite the situation to be in. I am really liking how these problems are being slowly introduced to us here although I do have to say the most intriguing thing at the moment is now how Aphrodite is going to be reacting to that particular statement.

Her mother scoffed and dropped her hand from her daughter’s chin, and looked at the fiddle player that Josephine was listening to a few minutes ago, “I was like you once, you know, except my idol was Poseidon. When he created me, I was lost, scared, and lonely. Then, I found your father…” she smiled lightly to herself, “Hephaestus is wonderful. He takes care of me. He’s my protector, but your father… he has a soft spot; and I promise, Josephine, that he sees you.”

Josephine smiled towards her mother, and longed for that type of relationship with somebody, “If he does, he doesn’t care to show it.”

“Time, darling. Time,” Aphrodite whispered into the warm breeze, “Now, lets get you home and bathed.”

Josephine stood up and brushed off her torn-up pants. The buttons were no longer buttoned, and they were burnt into a crisp at the bottoms from the flames her opponent tried to wield on his sword. She took a deep breath as both of them disappeared and teleported to the east side of Mount Olympus, where Josephine felt most comfortable.


Hmm, that certainly was quite the assurance from Aphrodite. I feel like its maybe not exactly what Josephine wanted to hear there, but it certainly did seem genuinely comforting so we have ourselves one more thing to think about then. Let's see where this will take us.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, I'm loving the vibes of this story here. I definitely will be taking a look at all of the chapters as I make my way to the ones in the green room. A lovely start with a premise that I find very intriguing. Let's see where we end up here.

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

Stay Safe
Kate




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Thu Dec 14, 2023 10:03 pm
RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello, fellow fantasy writer!

I was intrigued by the label "fantasy/action" alone, and within the first couple of paragraphs, I was immediately invested! Not only did you deliver on that promise of action so soon, but you have an Ancient Greece theme as well? I like it!

Reading about the main character, Josephine, and this shocking experience of hers, I was getting the feeling that she would be a reverse Percy Jackson character. I say "reverse" because Percy was the kind of protagonist who was oblivious to his place in Greek mythology, stepped into it from a normal life, and had to learn how to fight, use his powers, etc. Whereas Josephine seems well aware of her position, and not only is she already talented in these skills, but she wants to step *back* into a normal life from this grand world. Needless to say, it's a very interesting take, and I see this story appealing to many readers from that fandom.

I have no qualms with structure, nor could I spy any errors. And your descriptions -oh, your descriptions! So vivid! The eerie way you described the dead body in the beginning was not only chilling to the reader, but you did an amazing job at capturing Josephine's emotions at the moment. Likewise, while Josephine is talking to her mother, you do good at narrating her tone and body language, so we can really understand and relate to her. I'd say that's important in a first chapter, to get readers' invested.

Of course, I am no professional, so even if I did have critiques, you could take them with a grain of salt ~

Overall, 10/10, no complaints from me, and I would love to read more soon!




Ley says...


Thanks for the review! :D



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Mon Nov 27, 2023 12:29 pm
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PKMichelle wrote a review...



Hello friend!
I saw your work in the Green Room and figured I’d check it out.


Per my interpretation, this was a really incredible start to what seems like it could be an even better novel! It opens with a harsh beginning, then leaps into the story of the girl and how she really didn't want anything to do with the trials. It shows her desire to just be who she wants to be even while she's being forced to do something she doesn't want to, which is an amazing story trope!


If I could offer any sort of advice, I don't think I would! But there is a big reason for that: the massive experience gap between you and me. Reading this, I knew right away that I have a long way to go until I get to your level of writing, and I not only didn't notice anything wrong with this, but I don't think I would even feel comfortable telling you if I did.

So instead of offering a critique, I will just say that this was remarkable and definitely the kind of writing I aspire to be capable of one day!


If I had to pick my favorite part, it would certainly be the vivid details! You did a wonderful job painting a picture of what you were trying to show, especially in the opening paragraph.

The skull—cracked… the bones—protruding… the blood—evident. She’d never seen a dead body before. She thought about the smell of the blood, strong iron and metallic jus.


As brutal as this is, it was a beautiful description of what everything seemed like and what was going on, so kudos to you for that!

I would also like to say that the characters being who they are in the place that they're in, and this being somewhat factual for the time period, was really cool as well!


Overall, this was a joy to read, and I am looking forward to what is to come! You did an awesome job on this, and I would like to thank you for taking the time to write and post this for us all to read!


Goodbye for now! I hope you have a magnificent day (or night) wherever you are!





Why should Caesar just get to stomp around like a giant while the rest of us try not to get smushed under his big feet? Brutus is just as cute as Caesar, right? Brutus is just as smart as Caesar, people totally like Brutus just as much as they like Caesar, and when did it become okay for one person to be the boss of everybody because that's not what Rome is about! We should totally just stab Caesar!
— Gretchen Wieners