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16+ Mature Content

Kagiso - Chapter 8

by AyumiGosu17


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for mature content.

Chapter Eight...

The next day, Mauger, Andrien, Gael, and Eduoard convened in the command tent with Laurent and Pierre. The ambassadors shared a look before Laurent addressed them. “Master Pierre and I have been discussing things since last night. We believe it would be beneficial to the expedition, and the establishment of a formal trade route, if we commandeer these ruins and revive them as a sort of checkpoint for future convoys.”

Gael frowned. The others didn’t react.

Pierre added, “We’ve been traveling through this gods-forsaken jungle for almost two months, and this is our first sign of civilization we’ve seen, aside from the tribal group a month ago. Settling down here for a few weeks would probably boost morale, and it lets us stock up on essentials like food, water, clothing, medicine. We might could even send a troop back for reinforcements, or a colony!”

Laurent held his hand up. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This place is far from ready for a full colony, although your reasoning is sound.”

“I object,” Gael finally blurted.

All eyes turned to him. Laurent cocked an eyebrow. Eduoard frowned, eyes flashing a little, but he said nothing. Laurent nodded slowly. “And why is that?”

Gael glanced at each of the men. “Even though this place has been abandoned, likely for centuries, it is still elven land. We should confer with Eleia about the tribal culture here so we make sure we’re not trespassing or making a… war move… on the locals. Tribes can be territorial. Just because no one’s here does not mean it’s not claimed.”

Eduoard chimed in. “If they’re so territorial, why haven’t other tribes attacked us?”

“Likely because we kept moving. I have no doubt that we’ve been watched the majority of our time here.”

“Superstitious.” He scoffed. “I think you’ve spent too much time in the wilds -”

“It’s a fair point,” Andrien offered. “We are in strange lands, and the culture is certainly different. We also don’t know if this place is abandoned for sure or not. There could be any number of feral creatures inhabiting it, if not savages.”

“Don’t call them that,” Gael growled.

Eduoard shot him a look. “We’ll call them what they are. And you’re proving my point with your little friend. She’s gotten to you.”

“Gentlemen. Do not make this personal,” Laurent warned. The group fell silent. After a moment, Laurent spoke again. “The decision is final. We will confer with Eleia, as much as she is able to, about the… proper approaches, but a settlement here is overall more beneficial to our cause than detrimental to it. Captain, I will let you delegate duties and responsibility to see that this is carried out efficiently and quickly.”

Eduoard nodded. He turned to each man, giving each one specific directions. To Andrien, he said, “You, Gael, and the other hunters will continue to explore the structures and see how large this ruin is and how much of it is salvageable. Clear away any brush, obstructions, or creatures that are necessary. Take Felic and the wildling with you.” To Mauger, he said, “You, Hamon, and a few others will continue to secure our camp here. It will be our duty to gather supplies from the ruins and jungles to establish at least a semblance of a barricade, to keep any wandering creatures or… territorial natives at bay.” He addressed Gael last. “Bring Eleia here, so the ambassadors can consult with her. She can guide our decisions as we finish setting up this compound.”

The men all nodded and dispersed.

Once Eleia was told of the plan, she objected to it immediately. She expressed the same concerns that Gael had presented before, but they fell on deaf ears. Pierre acknowledged her concerns, but he did not act on them or make any suggestions to changing their current plans. Laurent ignored them entirely. She ended up leaving the tent frustrated and confused.

“Why ask me? No listen!”

Gael sighed and shook his head. “I don’t know. But we’ve been told to check the ruins and make sure they’re clear. There’s nothing more we can do now.”

She exhaled heavily. “Come. We look…”

They headed down into the ruins. As they descended the slope, they saw Felic, Andrien, Baldouin, and Gauvain ahead of them. The two younger men were entering some of the abandoned buildings while the two older men cleared away vines and overgrowth. Gael shook his head, unable to keep from smiling at the young boys. “They are going to get themselves in trouble one day,” he muttered to her.

Eleia didn’t laugh. She looked at him sideways. “That is not funny.”

He sighed. “It wasn’t meant to be. Come on. Let’s go this way.”

They went down past the pavilion, toward the pool again. Gael used his machete to clear the path a little, exposing beautiful, smooth stones of the walkway. She followed him with her own blade, carefully cutting away vines in a way that didn’t kill them. She simply draped the vines over the stone banisters. He noticed the tenderness with which she worked and he couldn’t help but smile. It also let him admire her a little. He had never noticed it before, but she was lean, with a gentle curve connecting her ribs to her hips. Her shoulders and neck were also lean and graceful, smooth, but her arms were toned. Her clothes were simple, but they did expose her body a little, her upper body covered loosely by a loop of raw hide that tied behind her neck and back. Her shoulders and a small section of her chest were exposed, and her stomach was often left exposed. The same leather was used to wrap around her hips. Most of her thigh was exposed. Her hair was caught up in a leather cord, but he suspected her hair was longer than her waist. He finally caught himself and blushed, looking away from her.

But he didn’t know that she was admiring him too. He always wore a leather vest, so patches of his torso were exposed, but his arms were completely bare. His shoulders and arms were almost as thick as her thighs, and he had a few scars on his upper arm. They reminded her of a jungle cat. His hair was done like hers, kept braided and bound up with a leather cord. He had grown a light beard in the past few weeks, but it suited him. The thing that drew her the most was probably his eyes, the brightest color she had ever seen on someone with their slightly darker complexion. His skin was not as dark as hers; while she was as dark as heartwood, his skin was the color of leather.

They ended up on the other side of the pool before they realized it. They cleared a bridge of the vines and brush, and there was an open trail all the way up to the pavilion. They couldn’t see or hear anyone else.

Eleia set her blade down on the bank of the pool and knelt by the water. It was completely clear. There was a rainbow of smooth pebbles covering the bed, and lilies floated like pearlescent crowns on the surface. She splashed the water on her face, neck, and chest in front of him, sighing softly.

He clenched his jaw a little, biting on the tip of his tongue. He made himself look away from her.

“Gael? Come with me? Water is good.”

He looked back over at her. She was still kneeling at the edge of the pool, but she was looking directly at him. Her eyes were big and warm, and her fingers sloshed lightly through the water. She did not blink or look away from him. He swallowed and smiled a little. Something about her thrilled him, and he couldn’t say no to her. He walked over and set his blade next to hers. He sat down beside her and slid his boots off. He put his feet down in the water; it was a little cool, but it was a welcome coolness. “The water is nice–”

She kissed him on the cheek again, letting her lips linger for a moment. He turned slightly toward her. He glanced between her eyes and her lips. He could spy the shadow of her cleavage. She was making no move to hide from him. On the contrary, her posture, leaning forward a little with lips parted, seemed to invite him in. He swallowed, and obeyed. He touched his lips to hers.

She was soft against his lips, and her breath was warm as she sighed. Her fingers brushed lightly over his, where his hand rested between them. He curled his index and middle fingers over hers as he held her mouth with his own. He saw her eyelids flutter closed, and he closed his right after. He felt her lips soften and part a little…

Voices above them prevented him from tasting her affection. He pulled back from her, releasing her lips and looking up at the pavilion. Andrien and the others had reappeared. Gauvain’s leather satchel was full, and he was talking loudly, tone elevated. “...bet they’re worth something!”

“We’ll see. Wait ‘til we get to the elven kingdom, and they’ll tell you. If they don’t chop off your hands first!”

“This place is abandoned! It’s not theft!” Felic argued.

“What do you think they are?”

“I’m not sure.”

“They’ve got to be some kind of stoneware or container.”

“Whatever they are, they’re hard as stone!”

“Well, whatever they are, just make sure you aren’t seen with them. Knowing Laurent or Pierre, they may try to keep them for themselves.”

Their voices faded as they headed back up the slope toward the camp.

Gael sighed. He looked back at her again. The moment had dissipated with the interruption, but he wasn’t ready to move away from her yet. “What was this for?” he whispered to her, lightly rubbing her knuckles.

She bit her lip, blushing a little. “I… wanted to. You are kind to me… You are gentle. You are… good to look at.”

He chuckled softly. “It’s ‘handsome.’” He kissed her on the forehead. “And you’re adorable.” He toyed with the thought of kissing her again, but he stopped himself. He splashed himself with the cool water and stood. He carried his boots and returned to the trail. “We should head back.”

They returned to the camp.


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Thu Feb 08, 2024 3:21 am
Wolfi wrote a review...



Hello there! Quick disclaimer that I haven't read the other chapters and am plunging into this one blind. Though I won't be able to comment on overarching plot things, hopefully I can provide some useful advice nonetheless!

It seems like you give special care towards giving each character a unique voice. I noticed right away that Laurent has a more calm and proper way of speaking, using phrases like "let's not get ahead of ourselves" and "your reasoning is sound." Pierre, meanwhile, seems a little more driven by emotion, saying "gods-forsaken" and bringing extra evidence to prove his point, like morale and supplies. He uses an exclamation point, too!

Laurent held his hand up. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This place is far from ready for a full colony, although your reasoning is sound.”


Fittingly, Laurent attempts to balance him out with logic here. He doesn't want his partner to get carried away.

I immediately related most to Gael's personality! Hesitant to contribute to a conflict or hurt anyone's feelings, but so convicted of his truth that he manages to work past his fears to speak up and stand up for what he believes in. Gael's morals are further enforced when he reacts strongly to Andrien calling the elves savages.

He addressed Gael last.


Small critique here. Wasn't Gael already given a task earlier in the paragraph?

Once Eleia was told of the plan, she objected to it immediately. She expressed the same concerns that Gael had presented before, but they fell on deaf ears. Pierre acknowledged her concerns, but he did not act on them or make any suggestions to changing their current plans. Laurent ignored them entirely. She ended up leaving the tent frustrated and confused.


Laurent, I expected better from you! Mr. Logic! : (

“Why ask me? No listen!”


Though it's obviously Eleia speaking based on the context as well as how she speaks, I feel a little spatially confused here. Where is each character in relation to each other? Are Gael and Eleia alone? What time of day is it outside the tent? Things like that - this chapter would benefit from taking the time to slow down a liiiittle bit, especially when scenes change, to help ground the reader.

He had never noticed it before, but she was lean, with a gentle curve connecting her ribs to her hips [...]


These descriptions, by comparison, are wonderfully detailed! From this and the "Romance" genre of this chapter I can see where this is going. It does feel a bit jarring just how detailed this paragraph is because we haven't had many descriptions at all up to this point.

There was a rainbow of smooth pebbles covering the bed, and lilies floated like pearlescent crowns on the surface.


Just lovely!

Andrien and the others had reappeared. Gauvain’s leather satchel was full, and he was talking loudly, tone elevated. “...bet they’re worth something!”


Very effective shift here. The scene up until this point had been so slow and gentle and tender, only to be literally crashed upon by loud voices and harmful words. You didn't say it, but I can picture them slicing through the vines without hesitation.

He chuckled softly. “It’s ‘handsome.’” He kissed her on the forehead. “And you’re adorable.” He toyed with the thought of kissing her again, but he stopped himself. He splashed himself with the cool water and stood. He carried his boots and returned to the trail. “We should head back.”


I want to know what's going on in his mind more! I assume this was the first time they kissed, but by this point he doesn't seem very surprised. He seems cocky here, if anything - quite different from his hesitant interruption earlier in the chapter! Perhaps that's exactly what Eleia does to him - brings him confidence.

Very well done! I really enjoyed the genre and setting and tone: jungle new world exploration with elves and other fantasy elements... feels unique and adventurous! The dialogue is excellent. It's a big cast of characters but you seem to have a good grip on how to balance the supporting characters from the main ones.

Keep up the excellent work! You've got something magical here!




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Tue Feb 06, 2024 1:10 pm
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R33SES wrote a review...



Hey Ayumi!! Reese here for a review!

INTRODUCTION:

Spoiler! :
(Sad to see so many works stuck in the Green Room for so long! I used to love making sure nothing went unreviewed for more than a week with all my fellow Green Knights, but here we are.)

Since I haven't read the previous chapters of your work, I'll just focus on my first impressions of your writing style and delivery before I move on to the following chapters! Please take everything I say purely as my opinion, I'm simply a fellow reader/writer such as yourself and what are words but poetic insights into the soul.


CHANGE THE PACE:
Spoiler! :
First thing that I notice is the pacing. Your dialogue seems well spaced, each character taking their turn. Though it lacks a little luster (can seem like a soap opera flashing back and forth to each face without much realistic flow, people cutting in, broken sentences, etc.) you do have adequate "back-and-forth" that keeps it moving.

But one thing that comes out as a bit...redundant is your way of beginning each new quote, and even most paragraphs, simply with stating the character's name, and then what they said. This can seem dull at times. I find I enjoy it when an author chooses to describe the way something is said, before saying it, and then places the character's name/action following, which is perhaps the easiest way to do this. An example:

Gael frowned. The others didn’t react.

Pierre added, “We’ve been traveling through this gods-forsaken jungle for almost two months, and this is our first sign of civilization we’ve seen, aside from the tribal group a month ago. Settling down here for a few weeks would probably boost morale, and it lets us stock up on essentials like food, water, clothing, medicine. We might could even send a troop back for reinforcements, or a colony!”

Laurent held his hand up. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This place is far from ready for a full colony, although your reasoning is sound.”


Here you have three characters making three remarks. Each paragraph begins virtually the same. So maybe break the cadence up such as:

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves." Laurent stated, lifting a hand as if to interject politely. "This place is far from ready for a full colony...."


Probably not the best example but I'm sure you can see what I mean.

Simple changes in the grammar placement make a BIG difference for sure!


SHOW ME, DON'T TELL ME:
Spoiler! :
I VERY much love the detailed deliveries you provide, making sure you focus on the actions of each scene rather than skipping and assuming the reader knows. Biggest mistake most writers make is failing to provide enough information.

Similar to my first note, though, is just your methodical "step-by-step" formatting. I most certainly am not lost while I read, which is a GOOD thing! At times, I can feel it's too robotic, though. Like this:

She kissed him on the cheek again, letting her lips linger for a moment. He turned slightly toward her. He glanced between her eyes and her lips. He could spy the shadow of her cleavage. She was making no move to hide from him. On the contrary, her posture, leaning forward a little with lips parted, seemed to invite him in. He swallowed, and obeyed. He touched his lips to hers.


The scene is very easy to make out, and I have no qualms with what I'm reading, it flows well with everything before and after and I appreciate the character building I see! But, can you show me, instead of telling me? An example perhaps:

Gently kissing him on the cheek again, Eleia let her lips linger for a moment, causing him to turn slightly, his gaze glancing between eyes and lips. Soft shadows between her cleavage, making no move to hide from him. Leaning forward a little with lips parted, seeming to invite him in. Gael swallowed, and obeyed, touching lips to hers.


Again, I'm sure a terrible example and each of us has our own unique style we choose to paint these beautiful pictures in. I see lots of room for vibrant language, unique descriptions and more importantly adjusting the grammar so that it becomes less redundant. Generally I find that I don't need to delete anything to make it grippingly readable, I just have to take every other sentence and flip it, spin it, twist it or do whatever to make the grammar and delivery sound different than the one before.


Aside from that, I don't have much to say other than I look forward to reading more! I'm sure once I have a connection with the story and characters I'll be able to provide a lot more insight and compliments, you definitely seem well versed in character building and scene building, so I can't wait to delve into this obvious fantasy world. You had me at elves and politics haha!

Thanks for letting me read your work! Feel free to reply with any notes or explanations, I love to learn about why you write what you write!

Always your muse,
Reese





You are all the colours in one, at full brightness.
— Jennifer Niven, 'All the Bright Places'