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Ascension: Phyrza Prologue (The Myriad book 1)

by Feltrix


The setting sun shot a blazing path through the barren plains, bathing it in a bloody light. This had been an ocean once. There were tentacled creatures and murky depths. I had been there in that time. This had been a forest once, lush and verdant. There had been wet vines, canopies, the drone of insects flying through the air. I had been there, too. Now it was an inferno. Tongues of translucent, silver-blue flames rolled over the cracked dirt, consuming everything indifferently. The conflagration rose thousands of feet in the air, rose above everything in sight, even the fringe of mountains on the horizon. Stone, weeds, even water. All were destroyed by the ghostly fire.

I stood next to a figure cloaked in blood red, silhouetted on a rocky cliff the flames hadn’t reached yet and watching the scene unfold.

“And so it ends,” I said, a hint of cold amusement touching my voice. I watched a touch of ash float gently through the air before landing on my alabaster robes.

“No, no, this is just the beginning, my old friend.” The red figure spoke quietly, but his words carried across worlds.

“The Game has reached a turning point, my ancient enemy, but it began long ago,” I calmly replied, headless of the roaring flames drifting in our direction. “It isn’t beginning. It’s changing.”

For a moment, neither of us spoke; we just watched the ethereal blaze lick at the landscape, taking gouges out of it.

The blaze flooded into a canyon, incinerating it immediately. It had taken over sixteen million years to form; I’d watched it happen. All that history was gone in an instant. “We’re getting old, Parallax,” I murmured, not with sadness or joy or even resignation.

At this, Parallax actually laughed, a cold sound devoid of any real pleasure. I hadn’t heard it in several millennium. “Some would consider us ancient. Others eternal. We're long past old.”

I almost smiled at that, but still, I shook my head gently. “Nothing is eternal. Nothing lasts forever. Everything has an end. Everything dies.”

“The next era promises to be interesting,” Parallax observed. An icy smile brushed his face. “I can’t wait to see how it plays out.”

“The age of the Maelstrom,” I agreed quietly. “The Eternal Game is going to be very interesting after this.”

“Your pieces are in play, Phyrza?”

“You know the answer to that.”

We stood in silence and watched the world end.


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Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:02 pm
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BluesClues wrote a review...



Here I am for my first review!

So on top of what others have said about showing the characters emotions - like cold amusement - rather than telling us about them, I think you really need to focus on what you want our response to them to be. I know you told Rydia we're not supposed to like them, and that's fine.

But right now my feeling is not so much "I dislike them" as "I don't care enough to feel one way or another about them."

Additionally, I'm honestly not sure at this point I'm actually supposed to dislike them. They don't seem to feel any particular way themselves - Phyrza mentions feeling "cold amusement," but it's just a touch and it's mentioned instead of shown in any way, and then later on s/he mentions how they're not feeling (sad, resigned), but I don't know how they are feeling. If they're stoic, okay, I guess, but I don't actually see them doing anything cruel right now except that they're watching the world end (apparently) and don't seem to care. But even there, it doesn't feel that cruel, probably because it's just a barren wasteland and there's no mention or thought of people who once lived there dying or getting hurt or losing their homes or anything else.

I do enjoy the dialogue between them anyway, particularly because of the "my old friend/my ancient enemy" parts, which is interesting. Your description is also beautiful and a great step toward world-building! But it's hard for me to feel invested at this point because I don't care one way or the other about the characters you've introduced.




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Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:06 am
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Tuckster wrote a review...



Hey there Feltrix,

MJ here for a brief review for Review Day! I hope to provide you with a to-the-point but helpful review to get some more points on the board. Again, I'm hoping to review a lot of your works/chapters here. With that said, here is my review:

I really enjoyed the vivid descriptions of how dreadful and doomful the world is. Your descriptions of the inferno and how bright the sky was moments before the world ended really was helpful to understanding the impending doom. You organized the story well and gave the reader enough information to be able to understand what was going on but not an overwhelming amount. So great job!

Now for some specific improvements:

I find the last section interesting. Instead of having the MC ask Phryzza, I think that the MC should make some sort of statement about that. Also, are there two characters present there? We hear the, referred to as 'either' and 'neither', which seems to imply that there were two, but three names were mentioned. The character POV was also a little confusing and hard to follow, so it might take the reader a reread or two for the reader to understand.

Also, be sure that you show rather than tell. Although some passages of eloquent description, it is much more convincing to show the reader what you want to express. You did a good job overall, but it is a good idea to just make sure you're always aware of that.

I also feel that there would be a bit more emotion in all the characters. Even though they are more stoic and impassive, there should be some reaction. Since they've been around, i feel like there could be a few brief memories mentioned. There are some hints of emotion, but it's not really enough to be fully convincing.

Overall, your strongest points here were the plot setup and the description of the incineration. You had a lot of creative words for fire :). That was varied and expressed your idea well. But you could improve the character's interaction and make them a little more concrete. Once the characters introduced here are cemented in the reader's mind, it will open up more possibilities for the upcoming chapter.

Best wishes,
MJ




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Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:05 am
Tuckster wrote a review...



Also just a question, what order should I read your chapters?




Feltrix says...


By number. The bottom one is always the one that is edited last, so when I revise things, the order gets weird.



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Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:33 pm
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Rydia wrote a review...



Hi! I thought I'd drop by and do my first review as promised :)

Specifics

1.

The setting sun shot a blazing path through the barren plains, bathing it in a bloody light.


2.
Once this had been an ocean.
This flows a little awkwardly so I'd actually suggest flipping it around to 'This had been an ocean once.' Try reading them both out loud but I think this sounds better.

3. Lovely description and world building at the start here - it makes for a very strong introduction.

4.
“And so it ends,” I said, a hint of cold amusement touching my voice. I watched a touch of ash float gently through the air before landing on my alabaster robes.
Rather than telling us a touch of cold amusement entered their voice, I think you should show us instead. So it could be 'I said, my lips twitching into a smile.' Instead of telling us this character is cold, we'll reach that realisation for ourselves because smiling at destruction is never good.

Overall

I didn't find the two characters particularly engaging in this since both seem very similar and I'm not sure I want to back either in the upcoming games. But the premise of the story and the descriptions were enough to carry me through so far and as long as we meet some more interesting/ varied characters soon then it shouldn't matter that I'm not hooked on these two.

There's a firm set up and some strong imagery and while I didn't like either of the characters, some of the dialogue was fun/ interesting so I think you've got a good start here! I'll try to give more detailed comments once I've read a few more parts and have a better feel for where you're going.

~Heather




Feltrix says...


I haven't actually done any of the reviews yet, I'm going to try to finish reviewing The Huntress today for Featherstone, but I'll try and get there.

These are the two villains, and, yes, they are quite similar, but they aren't supposed to be likable (unless you generally like cruel, evil, and manipulative characters.) Just in case you got confused.



Rydia says...


I thought they might be! Just thought I'd let you know I didn't like them in case I'd missed some subtle/ redeeming factor. It's interesting to see two villains on opposing sides and I like that it's not your typical good versus evil opening.



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Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:12 pm
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Megrim wrote a review...



I love this prologue! It's beautiful, especially the imagery at the beginning, and the characters are fascinating and enigmatic. I love the descriptions, and the character's reflecting on the ages that have passed as they watched.

Probably my biggest complaint is some POV confusion early on. Particularly here:

Two hooded figures, one in bone white, the other bloodred, stood silhouetted on a rocky cliff the flames hadn’t reached yet and watching the scene unfold.


Because we are in first person POV, I automatically assumed these are two characters that our MC is seeing/watching. To then zoom into the white robed's head was very disconcerting, because I assumed we were watching the two talk from afar, but then the MC is talking, and it was just kind of a mess in my head haha. The paragraph I quoted is a definite POV violation, so I'd suggest removing it and replacing with something inside the MC's head, such as that they stood next to their red-robed friend (as opposed to describing it like a distant camera looking down on the scene; the camera IS the MC in first person).

Otherwise, great writing!




Feltrix says...


Thanks for the review! I'll fix the point of view; there have been multiple complaints about that.



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Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:32 am
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jimss23 wrote a review...



Jimss here

First off, welcome to YWS. I'm new here as well so I hope that my comments can be of some help.

Small disclaimer. I'm not good at gauging how my comments will irritate, annoy, or even hurt the people they are intended for. But I always try to be honest with my reviews, no matter what. So let's do this.

1) "Once this had been an ocean, we would have been buried under over one thousand feet of water." Cut everything after "once this had been an ocean." It flows better with the flow of the paragraph and this sentence confused me anyway.

2) What happened to the bone white character? He's not mentioned again. If you don't intend to have him say or do anything in this scene, cut him. He just adds stuff to confuse the reader.

3) Name dropping. Never drop a name in narration during a prologue. Always find a way to introduce tastefully, preferably through dialogue. A random name added out of the blue is horribly confusing.

4)"but his words carried across worlds."
What worlds. Where. It seems to me this is just one world. Just saying. Make sure it fits the context.

5) "It isn’t beginning. It’s changing" Don't use contractions here. For some reason, they make the meaning harder to understand. "Is is not beginning" and "It is changing" just seem to work better. Just a personal preference.

6) Be careful about word pairings that don't fit together.
"An icy smile brushed his face" "cold amusement touching my voice."
Ice and cold can have a connotation of lack of emotions. Cold amusement is hard to picture. I can't imagine an icy smile "brushing" across a face. I would advise something like "his face cracked an icy smile." cracked goes much better with icy than brushed. In my opinion.

Now that I've tried to pull apart your work like a Turkey on Thanksgiving, some Final thoughts.

Good start. Absorbing stuff. I need a little more before if it is a strong story overall, but the set up here is excellent, and you have a good starting point. Prologues are hard. How much to give away, how much to leave a mystery. It's something all us authors struggle with, and I think you do a good job regarding balance.

Keep up the good work and keep me updated if you want any more of my reviews (I wouldn't blame you if you didn't). :)

Best wishes from the neighborhood jacka**,

Jimss 8)




Feltrix says...


Okay, first of all, thank you for the review. None of your comments irritated, annoyed, or hurt me. I want to address 2 in particular, though. The white character is Phyrza, the narrator. I don't really know how to describe him (which I want to do) without him having an out of body narration.



Feltrix says...


And in 4, the 'carrying across worlds' is foreshadowing.



Feltrix says...


When I say 'cold' or 'icy', I mean evil, but I have a problem with labeling any villains as evil or villainous in-text. Any alternative adjectives are appreciated. I'm bound to run out of cold synonyms eventually.



jimss23 says...


For 2,
I see what you mean now, but I think it read like it is Phyrza is looking at two people because that paragraph is written in third person in a first person setting



jimss23 says...


In regards to 4
Foreshadowing is good, but using "worlds" in that setting is something that the reader will likely just skip over as a modifier and pay no real attention to its significance. If you want that meaning to be profound, I would recommend sliding it in there somewhere a little different.



jimss23 says...


And GOD, I know what you mean about villains. It's like we can "see" exactly what they are doing, but can't describe it.
My advice; don't try to make their emotions seem evil. Context can take care of a lot of stuff for ya.
Another tip, don't make them so emotionless. That just makes it harder to find adjectives. Don't shoot yourself in the foot. I get they're are gods or something, but, especially in first person, your reader needs some emotions to relate to. Even if it's just a few.



Feltrix says...


Thanks! I really appreciate advice.




Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
— George Santayana