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Conquest of Shadows Chapter 13

by FlamingPhoenix


The air was thick with tension as everyone held their breath, waiting for a name to be called out. Everyone hoping it wouldn’t be them, or they're loved once. The midday sun beating down on them as they stood in the large clearing, waiting.

Richard could feel Ryan’s worry coming off of him in waves as he knew he two had seen Damien’s gaze stop on him. It was only for a moment, but that was enough to get them apprehensive about it.

“Ethan Vanshook!” Damien called, his voice rolling over the crowd like thunder. His eyes never left a tall man as he walked through the crowd up to the platform, a sorrowful expression covering his aged features as he knelt before King Damien, his head hanging low.

Letting out a low sigh of relief Richard allowed his muscles to relax, when he saw King Damien approach the clearing he hadn’t realized how stressed he had become. It wasn’t like he was happy someone else had been chosen, it was just he was glad it wasn’t him. Returning his gaze to Damien he waited for the next part to take place.

Seeming to be pleased with his choice King Damien pinpointed the next person he wanted. Richard had to stop a shiver running over his spine when Damien’s pupils took on a dark hue, and evil glint embedded in his narrow eyes.

“Daniel Vanshook!” The name of Damien’s next choice was called as the people standing before him remained quiet, but the expressions on their faces turned to a look of horror as a few looked towards the sixteen-year-old walking slowly up to the platform towards the King, his footsteps slow.

The teen kept his head down as he stopped before Damien, the King’s gaze never leaving the boy. Richard could see the way the kid’s hands trembled as he clenched his fists but tried to not let it show. As Daniel was about to kneel Ethan, whom Damien had called before stood enraged, hulling the boy to his feet forcing him behind his back.

“Please, You’re Majesty, not my son his not old enough to join your army.” The man begged, a look of distress coming over him as his anger from a second ago seemed to wash away.

Damien seemed to think about what the man said but quickly brushed it off with a dismissive wave of his hand, “You know the law. He will train to become one of my soldiers, and one of these days sometime in the near future he will go out to fight battles for me.”

Ethan’s face drained of all color as he disparity tried to keep his son out of King Damien’s army and away from any battle that could potentially take his life. “But he-”

Not seeming to hear the man’s please Damien continued, “Yes, yes, he may die, but it’s not like I’m losing anything.” Dismounting his horse Damien moved to stand in front of Ethan who averted his eyes under his King’s cold gaze. “He may have been one of my soldiers, but I can always replace him.” Damien paused as he waited for Ethan’s response.

“Please I'll do anything, just allow my son to go free and live a normal life!” Ethan begged, tears cascading down his face.

Untouched by the display of emotions in front of him, Damien shook his head, “I have made my choice…Unless…” An evil smirk spread across Damien’s face as he folded his arms behind his back and waited for his cue to continue.

“What? Unless what?” Ethan asked, a glimpse of hope evident in his gaze. “Please tell me, I’ll do anything.”

Chuckling Damien looked from Ethan to the rest of the crowd than to Daniel. “Unless you can tell me who is responsible for disrupting the order lately?” His gaze swept over the people before him who began to shuffle on their feet as they murmured to one another. “There’s an item that was stolen from me, and I want it back.” As the last words were spoken Damien’s voice became low and slow as he studied the reactions through the crowd.

Richard felt an uneasy feeling prickle along his skin, he wanted the Gem that badly he was asking the Villagers about him. He cast a quick look towards Ryan who only looked on his eyes remaining on Damien. Looking over the people standing in front of him Richard could see they seemed to be just as confused as the rest. Though how much did they know?

“We, we don’t know who it is. I don’t think they live in the Village, maybe a rogue.” Ethan quickly said, worried for the safety of his son. “They come at night, and it seems they work alone, we don’t know more than that.”

“A rogue, working alone.” Damien drawled, seeming to be very unamused, “Oh I doubt that.” Casting one last look at the people before him Damien waved his hand at Ethan and Daniel. “Fine, being you all are as useless as I thought, you may go back to the burrows you crawled out of.”

Richard let lose the breath he had been holding, he had been worried about how much the villagers knew, he was glad he had managed to keep his escapades secret enough that not everyone knew of them. Though it was scary that Damien was threatening the safety of a boy to get to the Gem he held. Richard’s mind wondered to Grace, he knew the King would be after her, but wouldn’t tell the villagers about her, he could only guess his plan is to find who took the Gem and hopefully Grace too.

Everyone was turning to head back to their houses when two lowed thuds disrupted the silence as everyone quickly turned to find two bodies half hanging over the platform, the dust still settling around their lifeless bodies, blood dripping out of the deep gashes in their stomachs. Wiping his blade clean of the crimson liquid Damien spat, “I’ve always hated the Vanshook family.” Moving away from the bodies he mounted his horse after sheathing his blade. Taking hold of the reins he forced his horse into a slow walk, “May this be a lesson to you all.” With those last words said, he and his men rode back to the palace.

A loud cry of anguish ripped through the air, as the wife to the now fallen man and mother to the lifeless boy fell to her knees, dust covering her clothes as she covered her mouth, muffle her cries, her face tear-stricken.

Dipping his head Richard couldn’t help the intense amount of guilt lay heavy on his shoulders. It was his fault all this was happening, if he hadn’t taken the Gem, then Grace, no one would have had to die.

“We should go.” Ryan’s voice broke through Richard’s thoughts, a sorrowful expression covering his face as his eyes seemed to be glued to the two fallen bodies. Dipping his head Ryan turned his horse around following the few people heading back to their homes down the path away from the King.

Richard seemed to find himself glued to the spot where he stood, should he have spoken up, demanded Damien take his life instead of two people who did nothing but follow his rules. Slowly he found himself dismounting Thunder, patting the black horse’s side he began to walk through the crowd towards the platform. He kept his face down to keep others from seeing the guilt-ridden look in his eyes.

He came to a stop next to the woman who held the body of her son in her arms, his blood coating her hands and clothes as she mourned his death rocking back and forth.

Removing the hood of his cloak Richard had to stop the sick feeling in his stomach from rising. Releasing a shaky breath, he looked towards the woman. “I’m terribly sorry.”

“Huh?” Looking up her eyes still shedding tears the lady looked up to meet Richard’s saddened cobalt eyes.

Quickly ducking his head avoiding her eyes Richard continued. “They didn’t deserve to die like that, they were good people and will be missed.”

Shaking her head, the woman looked down at her son's pale face, stifling a cry she nodded, “Thank you,”

Feeling there was nothing more he could say Richard turned and headed back to his horse. How many more will have to die because of his mistakes, who else would have to pay for the crimes he committed. Once back on Thunder’s back Richard looked up towards the palace, eyes narrowing he could feel something inside him crack, it was time they took action and removed the vires that ruled their lives.

Flicking Thunder’s reins Richard made his way back to the mountain, though keeping an eye out for onlookers that could be watching. He wasn’t going to let another die at the hand of Damien, not if he could help it. Turning down a dark alley Richard ran home.


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Sun May 16, 2021 2:31 pm
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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 baaaaack...finally...gonna try and catch right up to the last bit now...hopefully that won't take more than a few days. Sorry for making you wait soo long. :D

First Impression: Well...this was nice to get back too...I've been waiting so long to find out who gets chosen here...and oh wow...this chapter definitely did not disappoint that long wait.

Anyway let's get right to it,

The air was thick with tension as everyone held their breath, waiting for a name to be called out, everyone hoping it wouldn’t be them, or they're loved once. The midday sun beating down on them as they stood in the large clearing, waiting.

Richard could feel Ryan’s worry coming off of him in waves as he knew he two had seen Damien’s gaze stop on him. It was only for a moment, but that was enough to get them apprehensive about it.


Well...that is a lovely little buildup of tension there right at the start. Definitely showcasing how stressful this situation must be for everyone here.

“Ethan Vanshook!” Damien called, his voice rolling over the crowd like thunder. His eyes never left a tall man as he walked through the crowd up to the platform, a sorrowful expression covering his aged features as he knelt before King Damien, his head hanging low.

Letting out a low sigh of relief Richard allowed his muscles to relax, when he saw King Damien approach the clearing he hadn’t realized how stressed he had become. It wasn’t like he was happy someone else had been chosen, it was just he was glad it wasn’t him. Returning his gaze to Damien he waited for the next part to take place.


Oh well..very hunger gamesy vibes here in this chapter there....that relief and then a tiny bit of guilt at being relieved there...definitely creating quite the situation here right at the start of the story.

Seeming to be pleased with his choice King Damien pinpointed the next person he wanted. Richard had to stop a shiver running over his spine when Damien’s pupils took on a dark hue, and evil glint embedded in his narrow eyes.

“Daniel Vanshook!” The name of Damien’s next choice was called as the people standing before him remained quiet, but the expressions on their faces turned to a look of horror as a few looked towards the sixteen-year-old walking slowly up to the platform towards the King, his footsteps slow.


Uh oh...that's definitely taking quite a terrible turn there...I don't think that boy could be old enough to be a part of the army...oh dear.

The teen kept his head down as he stopped before Damien, the King’s gaze never leaving the boy. Richard could see the way the kid’s hands trembled as he clenched his fists but tried to not let it show. As Daniel was about to kneel the man whom Damien had called before stood enraged hulling the boy to his feet, forcing him behind his back.

“Please, You’re Majesty, not my son his not old enough to join your army.” The man begged, a look of distress coming over him as his anger from a second ago seemed to wash away.


See....well...the King is definitely doing his best here to reinforce to everyone just how cruel he can be...

Damien seemed to think about what the man said but quickly brushed it off with a dismissive wave of his hand, “You know the law. He will train to become one of my soldiers, and one of these days sometime in the near future he will go out to fight battles for me.”

Ethan’s face drained of all color as he disparity tried to keep his son out of King Damien’s army and away from any battle that could potentially take his life. “But he-”


Yup...this is definitely doing a great job of showcasing just how horrible this king is and I am loving it. You get a real sense of exactly what kind of person the villain of this story is.

Not seeming to hear the man’s please Damien continued, “Yes, yes, he may die, but it’s not like I’m losing anything.” Dismounting his horse Damien moved to stand in front of Ethan who averted his eyes under his King’s cold gaze. “He may have been one of my soldiers, but I can always replace him.” Damien paused as he waited for Ethan’s response.


Ooof...the dismissal there...the king clearly does not care at all about the lives of his subjects.

“Please I'll do anything, just allow my son to go free and live a normal life!” Ethan begged, tears cascading down his face.

Untouched by the display of emotions in front of him, Damien shook his head, “I have made my choice…Unless…” An evil smirk spread across Damien’s face as he folded his arms behind his back and waited for his cue to continue.


Oooh...well this is going to be really interesting...{also I love how you specify he's untouched by emotions....that's a really nice touch there)

“What? Unless what?” Ethan asked, a glimpse of hope evident in his gaze. “Please tell me, I’ll do anything.”

Chuckling Damien looked from Ethan to the rest of the crowd than to Daniel. “Unless you can tell me who is responsible for disrupting the order lately?” His gaze swept over the people before him who began to shuffle on their feet as they murmured to one another. “There’s an item that was stolen from me, and I want it back.” As the last words were spoken Damien’s voice became low and slow as he studied the reactions through the crowd.


Oh no...oh dear...here comes those alarm bells...let's hope Richard is going to be stupid and sacrifice himself here to save this boy...as heroic as that would be...its definite suicide for him, wheras he might be able to save this kid later.

Richard felt an uneasy feeling prickle along his skin, he wanted the Gem that badly he was asking the Villagers about him. He cast a quick look towards Ryan who only looked on his eyes remaining on Damien. Looking over the people standing in front of him Richard could see they seemed to be just as confused as the rest. Though how much did they know?


Hmm...on the bright side, these two aren't doing anything that might get unnecessary attention on them so that's great.

“We, we don’t know who it is. I don’t think they live in the Village, maybe a rogue.” Ethan quickly said, worried for the safety of his son. “They come at night, and it seems they work alone, we don’t know more than that.”

“A rogue, working alone.” Damien drawled, seeming to be very unamused, “Oh I doubt that.” Casting one last look at the people before him Damien waved his hand at Ethan and Daniel. “Fine, being you all are as useless as I thought, you may go back to the burrows you crawled out of.”


Okay....well...well...well...the king is definitely suspecting there's some kind of proper organization behind this...and well I guess he's not wrong....this could be dangerous.

Richard let lose the breath he had been holding, he had been worried about how much the villagers knew, he was glad he had managed to keep his escapades secret enough that not everyone knew of them. Though it was scary that Damien was threatening the safety of a boy to get to the Gem he held. Richard’s mind wondered to Grace, he knew the King would be after her, but wouldn’t tell the villagers about her, he could only guess his plan is to find who took the Gem and hopefully Grace too.


Well...he's definitely going to have to be really careful going forward. Ryan would definitely execute him if he does anymore unauthorized night time wandering.

Everyone was turning to head back to their houses when two lowed thuds disrupted the silence as everyone quickly turned to find two bodies half hanging over the platform, the dust still settling around their lifeless bodies, blood dripping out of the deep gashes in their stomachs. Wiping his blade clean of the crimson liquid Damien spat, “I’ve always hated the Vanshook family.” Moving away from the bodies he mounted his horse after sheathing his blade. Taking hold of the reins he forced his horse into a slow walk, “May this be a lesson to you all.” With those last words said, he and his men rode back to the palace.


Casual murder right in the center of the village...well...just in case we needed another reason to hate King Damien, he's been kind enough to provide us with one. Well...can't wait to see this dude get what's coming for him.

A loud cry of anguish ripped through the air, as the wife to the now fallen man and mother to the lifeless boy fell to her knees, dust covering her clothes as she covered her mouth, muffle her cries, her face tear-stricken.

Dipping his head Richard couldn’t help the intense amount of guilt lay heavy on his shoulders. It was his fault all this was happening, if he hadn’t taken the Gem, then Grace, no one would have had to die.


And there we goo...the guilt is coming...and oh wow...that poor woman just had her entirely life basically destroyed in front of her. Now that's definitely what we call a fate worse than death.

“We should go.” Ryan’s voice broke through Richard’s thoughts, a sorrowful expression covering his face as his eyes seemed to be glued to the two fallen bodies. Dipping his head Ryan turned his horse around following the few people heading back to their homes down the path away from the King.

Richard seemed to find himself glued to the spot where he stood, should he have spoken up, demanded Damien take his life instead of two people who did nothing but follow his rules. Slowly he found himself dismounting Thunder, patting the black horse’s side he began to walk through the crowd towards the platform. He kept his face down to keep others from seeing the guilt-ridden look in his eyes.


Well...he should definitely be getting back and trying to vent all of that guilt somewhere before the people in the village get suspicious. As horrible as the situation is, he has to remain without being caught after all.

He came to a stop next to the woman who held the body of her son in her arms, his blood coating her hands and clothes as she mourned his death rocking back and forth.

Removing the hood of his cloak Richard had to stop the sick feeling in his stomach from rising. Releasing a shaky breath, he looked towards the woman. “I’m terribly sorry.”

“Huh?” Looking up her eyes still shedding tears the lady looked up to meet Richard’s saddened cobalt eyes.


Oh dear.....was that worst decision that he made in his entire life right there in that one moment.

Quickly ducking his head avoiding her eyes Richard continued. “They didn’t deserve to die like that, they were good people and will be missed.”

Shaking her head, the woman looked down at her son's pale face, stifling a cry she nodded, “Thank you,”


Okay...he had this more thought out than I thought he did.

Feeling there was nothing more he could say Richard turned and headed back to his horse. How many more will have to die because of his mistakes, who else would have to pay for the crimes he committed. Once back on Thunder’s back Richard looked up towards the palace, eyes narrowing he could feel something inside him crack, it was time they took action and removed the vires that ruled their lives.

Flicking Thunder’s reins Richard made his way back to the mountain, though keeping an eye out for onlookers that could be watching. He wasn’t going to let another die at the hand of Damien, not if he could help it. Turning down a dark alley Richard ran home.


Well if that wasn't the textbook definition of an inciting incident that should make this story really get a move on, I don't know what is.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, this was another wonderful chapter...there's just so many awesome things going on here...I can't name them all...ahh....very excited to get to that next chapter now...and luckily for me its already out so expect a review hopefully by tomorrow at the latest. :D

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

Stay Safe
Harry






Thank you so much for the review!!!!!!! I have been waiting so long to hear about what you thought of the chapter! Lol I'm really happy you hate Damien even more, that was the plan for this chapter, and so you as the reader can see just what kind of threat he is.

I can't wait for you to read the other chapters! After this chapter the story is moving at a rather nice pace! :D

Can't wait for the next review!!



HarryHardy says...


You're welcome!!

Looking forward to it!!



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Fri May 14, 2021 5:12 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi FlamingPhoenix,


Mailice back with a short review! :D

Already I can say that I liked the two chapters. They have a nice style and generally read well. Let's start with the things I noticed while reading:

The air was thick with tension as everyone held their breath, waiting for a name to be called out, everyone hoping it wouldn't be them, or they're loved once. The midday sun beating down on them as they stood in the large clearing, waiting.


Here we have the same problem as in the last chapter. Some sentences seem so choppy when you put in a comment that could just be another sentence. Your attempt here to combine it makes it feel more awkward than if you split the section up a bit more with sentences.

It wasn't like he was happy someone else had been chosen, it was just he was glad it wasn't him.


I would add a that before he in the second half. I actually like the sentence because it has an interesting depth to it and provides some characterisation for Richard. It seems to me that he always puts himself before everyone else and thinks of himself before he shows compassion.

The teen kept his head down as he stopped before Damien, the King's gaze never leaving the boy.


...the King's gaze never left the boy.

As Daniel was about to kneel the man whom Damien had called before stood enraged hulling the boy to his feet, forcing him behind his back.


The sentence sounds a bit bumpy; I would try to rewrite it and maybe replace the "the man whom Damien had called before" with Ethan. Since they both have the same last name, the reader is probably already aware that Ethan and Daniel are related, so you could also add that into the sentence somehow.

Damien seemed to think about what the man said but quickly brushed it off with a dismissive wave of his hand,


I can picture that and it underlines the rather ruthless treatment the king has for his subjects, especially with his later comment that he loses nothing even if Daniel dies.

Damien makes me angry. He's so conniving, mean and vicious that I want to punch him in the face. But that's actually good, if that was your intention. You portray him very well. He's ruthless and selfish, and the way he treated his subjects in this chapter, I thought he was just a jerk. I like how you portray him, even though I don't like him. :D

In general, you managed to build up some good tension in this chapter. It was easy to see how the crowd felt when they were in the marketplace watching the king randomly picking out new tokens for his collection. The focus was clearly on him.

Also in this chapter I can only repeat myself what I already hinted at in the last one; best to let the text rest for a bit after finishing the writing and then read it again (out loud if possible) and sort out the little mistakes. This helps you realise more quickly what you've written, because after all, sometimes you have different thoughts or ideas while you're writing than what eventually ends up on the paper. You are trying your hand at a new way of writing, which I applaud, but see potential upside here by trying to familiarise yourself with connecting devices, like adverbs. This will allow you to present some of your sentences more cleverly and fluently, and it will also allow you to take another giant step towards writing longer sentences.

In summary, I can say that it was a good chapter. In terms of structure and tension, it was commendable.

Have fun writing it!

Mailice.






Again thank you so much for the review! I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter!
XD Yes you are supposed to hate Damien. Being you haven't read the last few chapters where I let you guys know in small bits that he is the bad guy of the story, I'll just let you know now. ;)

I will say I did write this and the last chapter rather quickly because this was a big part I had been looking forward to, so I don't think I edited it as well as the other chapters.

I'm glad i have you some what hooked! Can't wait to see what you will think of the rest!




If a million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
— Anatole France