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Brain Fever

by Em16


The palace air was tinged with excitement, its golden tendrils drifting casually among the marble pillars. Senators convened in corners and balconies, stubby fingers pinching grapes, apples, and pomegranates. Floating among the halls was the sound of a lute player practicing, her golden hair a mark of territorial interests, her soft voice crooning the language of conquest. But she was drowned out by the noises of lovers and friends, their soft whispers mixing with the smoke from the temples and the smooth swinging of women’s skirts.

Taking in this scene, how must the Emperor have felt? He must have felt at least a little of what Alexander did, gazing upon the lands that had fallen to his extraordinary capabilities. In his hand, the Emperor held a golden cup engraved with images of his ascendance to the throne, and upon his head rested a crown of golden laurels, the mark of a god walking among man. Within his heart were great hopes and high expectations, eclipsing even those of the men who had come before him.

He was a man on the cusp of greatness, his name waiting for the most precious gift man can bestow: immortality in the memory of mortals.

But as the historians dipped their quills in ink, and the women spun the tales that would soon become fact, a bit of dust landed on the scale of time. This little fragment, broken from the cliffside of chance, was enough to shift the balance. Like a tsunami, sweeping away the spoils of a city with swift, sudden severity, this change would leave bodies littered on once idyllic shorelines.

As the sun arose over the seven hills, the centurions found a sleeping Emperor. As the sun set over the empire, the Senators found a country in chaos. Heirs and honest men conspired to prop up a falling pillar and watched all their prophecies disappear on the lips of a man without the strength to move his head. Historians gathered up their scrolls, readied their gray ash and quills, and the women covered up their fair hair, the jewels around their necks in shades that were muted and sombre.

No one thought he would wake.

But when he did, he was not the same. When a man sees Hades and still returns to the ones he loves, he bears a mark upon his soul. Like a tree struck by lightning, what had once stood tall was now charred and weak. The darkness in his eyes made once-boisterous Senators turn silent, the coldness in his touch made once-flirtatious women turn serious. The people that had once adored him now erected effigies of his likeness to burn.

They were right to fear, all of them. For the immortality the Emperor had hoped for would come, but not in the form of praise justly earned. No, for he would be remembered as one remembers a plague; with consternation, with sorrow, with memories of hopelessness, and most of all, with a desire for retribution that can never be exacted. He would be remembered for all the tears he drew from the city of Rome, a man who been given unchecked power and lost his senses in the space of six months. His name was Caligula, and his reign had just begun. 


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Sun Jan 31, 2021 8:12 pm
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starlitmind wrote a review...



Ahh, this seems like such an interesting piece, and I just had to check it out!! Caligula is such an interesting dude cx so I'm curious as to what your take on this is going to be!

The palace air was tinged with excitement, its golden tendrils drifting casually among the marble pillars.


What a lovely opening! Engaging, and I love your inclusion of marble pillars, as it already gives a sense of the time and place we are in. What tendrils are you referring to? Are they on the pillars? Or surrounding all of the palace? What exactly are they, of a plant's? Just a bit of confusion I had while reading that I thought would be lovely if you could clarify! c:

The palace air was tinged with excitement, its golden tendrils drifting casually among the marble pillars. Senators convened in corners and balconies, stubby fingers pinching grapes, apples, and pomegranates. Floating among the halls was the sound of a lute player practicing, her golden hair a mark of territorial interests, her soft voice crooning the language of conquest. But she was drowned out by the noises of lovers and friends, their soft whispers mixing with the smoke from the temples and the smooth swinging of women’s skirts.


Okay so I noticed in your first paragraph that all of the sentences have the same structure; you have your main independent clause and then a phrase further describing the noun/subject right after it. It gets a bit repetitive, so I think varying your sentence structure and the way you form your sentences would be super helpful!

Within his heart were great hopes and high expectations, eclipsing even those of the men who had come before him.


I am super enjoying your word choice! Your descriptions are so vivid, and you use such interesting language, like "eclipsing" -> you seem to have a very mature writing style! <3

He was a man on the cusp of greatness, his name waiting for the most precious gift man can bestow: immortality in the memory of mortals.


Agh, I super love this. It shows how much power each emperor wants to have and thinks they have; it shows the superiority they feel. Super neat <3

a bit of dust landed on the scale of time. This little fragment, broken from the cliffside of chance, was enough to shift the balance. Like a tsunami, sweeping away the spoils of a city with swift, sudden severity, this change would leave bodies littered on once idyllic shorelines.


Wow, this is super gorgeous! I love your smilies and even the alliteration you have sprinkled in this section. I would love to know what this dust is though - what caused this sudden shift in balance? How did such a small piece of dust have enough power to become a tsunami? Just a few thoughts for you to consider!

Overall, I think this is a super powerful piece of writing, Your language and descriptions are so vivid, and I can picture everything clearly in my head. I would love it though if this was a little less vague. Your description posed a question and I assumed it was going to be answered in this piece. Maybe you did answer it and just completely missed it xD but if not, I would love to hear your theory on it. You mentioned him going to Hades - why did he go there? How did he get there? How did he change as a result? Just some thoughts for you <3

You have a very mature writing style, and I've read a lot of pieces from you, but I think this is my favourite in technical things! This had a very string poetic sense in it, and I love how your descriptions matched the historical time period. I hope my comments are helpful to you! :D




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Sun Jan 31, 2021 5:33 am
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ChesTacos wrote a review...



I do enjoy this! I love your usage of metaphors like the tsunami and the tree struck by lightning. I also love the detail in this story, such as over here.

Floating among the halls was the sound of a lute player practicing, her golden hair a mark of territorial interests, her soft voice crooning the language of conquest.


Also oh my that final paragraph. Beautiful. It seems so powerful and it sums up Caligula perfectly. I love it!

I know who Caligula is but I'm still confused by what exactly happened? I feel like this story would be better if you explained what caused Caligula to become the way he was. Anyways, great story! I love the metaphors and detail!




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Fri Jan 22, 2021 3:00 pm
kryptonianmenace wrote a review...



I love this!

But as the historians dipped their quills in ink, and the women spun the tales that would soon become fact, a bit of dust landed on the scale of time. This little fragment, broken from the cliffside of chance, was enough to shift the balance. Like a tsunami, sweeping away the spoils of a city with swift, sudden severity, this change would leave bodies littered on once idyllic shorelines.


This paragraph stood out to me because I wonder about the bit of dust. It's such an interesting way to describe a random happenstance that I've never seen used before. It's very unique!

When a man sees Hades and still returns to the ones he loves, he bears a mark upon his soul.


I adore this phrasing. It's cool because it shows that despite the wreckage to come, he still has loved ones.

All in all, I love this and it left me researching Caligula.




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Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:43 pm
izzywidgeon says...



..I thought this was about Alexander Hamilton until I reached the last paragraph.




Em16 says...


Oh really? That's so funny.



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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 this had some beautiful language in it. I feel like not too much happened in terms of an actual story but it was a lot of fun to read and I definitely enjoyed the poetic feeling of all the descriptions had in here.

Anyway let's get right to it,

The palace air was tinged with excitement, its golden tendrils drifting casually among the marble pillars. Senators convened in corners and balconies, stubby fingers pinching grapes, apples, and pomegranates. Floating among the halls was the sound of a lute player practicing, her golden hair a mark of territorial interests, her soft voice crooning the language of conquest. But she was drowned out by the noises of lovers and friends, their soft whispers mixing with the smoke from the temples and the smooth swinging of women’s skirts.


Well that certainly does a wonderful job in setting the scene for us. It is a little wordy but I think that's totally fine because it is helping out in setting out quite a neat little scene for us and that's always helpful at the start of a story.

Taking in this scene, how must the Emperor have felt? He must have felt at least a little of what Alexander did, gazing upon the lands that had fallen to his extraordinary capabilities. In his hand, the Emperor held a golden cup engraved with images of his ascendance to the throne, and upon his head rested a crown of golden laurels, the mark of a god walking among man. Within his heart were great hopes and high expectations, eclipsing even those of the men who had come before him.


That does seem quite like a typical roman emperor so I think that is pretty spot on for the most part as far as character goes, but we'll see how it goes.

He was a man on the cusp of greatness, his name waiting for the most precious gift man can bestow: immortality in the memory of mortals.


Well I mean he's not wrong although it does sound a touch egotistical I suppose.

But as the historians dipped their quills in ink, and the women spun the tales that would soon become fact, a bit of dust landed on the scale of time. This little fragment, broken from the cliffside of chance, was enough to shift the balance. Like a tsunami, sweeping away the spoils of a city with swift, sudden severity, this change would leave bodies littered on once idyllic shorelines.


Oh wow, that is super poetic which is awesome at the moment, as long as its used in moderation this type of paragraph can be quite epic to have in a story and its going great so far.

As the sun arose over the seven hills, the centurions found a sleeping Emperor. As the sun set over the empire, the Senators found a country in chaos. Heirs and honest men conspired to prop up a falling pillar and watched all their prophecies disappear on the lips of a man without the strength to move his head. Historians gathered up their scrolls, readied their gray ash and quills, and the women covered up their fair hair, the jewels around their necks in shades that were muted and sombre.


Uh oh...there we go...things starting to get bad and the way you describe that is amazing.

No one thought he would wake.


That's a great use of the single line paragraph.

But when he did, he was not the same. When a man sees Hades and still returns to the ones he loves, he bears a mark upon his soul. Like a tree struck by lightning, what had once stood tall was now charred and weak. The darkness in his eyes made once-boisterous Senators turn silent, the coldness in his touch made once-flirtatious women turn serious. The people that had once adored him now erected effigies of his likeness to burn.


Oh wow, that did take quite a term and a very believable one at that to be honest cause that sort of experience certainly can change you and change you not for the better.

They were right to fear, all of them. For the immortality the Emperor had hoped for would come, but not in the form of praise justly earned. No, for he would be remembered as one remembers a plague; with consternation, with sorrow, with memories of hopelessness, and most of all, with a desire for retribution that can never be exacted. He would be remembered for all the tears he drew from the city of Rome, a man who been given unchecked power and lost his senses in the space of six months. His name was Caligula, and his reign had just begun.


Yup...that about sums up his reign. He definitely does deserve all of that, he's not a nice guy to be around that's for sure.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall I think this is a pretty well written story where you bring your point across rather well. It certainly made for an interesting read. Well anyway, that's all I have to say on this topic.

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

Stay Safe
Harry





I want to see people turn and writhe; make them feel things they cannot see and sometimes do not know.
— Anna Held