z
  • Home

Young Writers Society


E - Everyone

The Witch of the Rotten Borough, Chapter One

by Horisun


The train comes to a sudden stop, jolting Jo awake. The gas lamps lighting the cabin flicker, casting the engine in a brief darkness, before recoiling with twice the ferocity. Jo blinks the remaining tiredness from her eyes. Her suitcase has slid from beneath her seat and across the aisle, and her hat’s been knocked askew. She does her best to adjust it before rising to her feet.

Jo is a short woman, but she carries herself in a terrifying manner. Her owllike features are emphasized by the harsh red-light filtering through the train’s window. She scan’s the cabin. It’s as if they had been taken between the fists of giants, and then shaken about like a small child’s toy. Gentlemen in worn suits scurry after their bags, and affronted ladies fix their bonnets.

Oscar, Jo’s travel companion, looks like he’s about to be sick. His pale face is green around the edges, and his lips are pressed into a fine line, and his watery blue eyes are close to tears. He sits in the bench opposite Jo, half slumped over.

“How do you handle a job with so much travel,” Jo says dryly, retrieving her bag from the aisleway, “and still be this horribly motion sick?”

Oscar takes a deep breath and stands up to stretch. The train has still not resumed it’s movement. “This has been a worse ride than most. I’m getting too old for this nonsense.”

Jo snorts, affronted, “I'm older than you are.”

He tips his hat, “And you look great for your age. Age being a hundred and two,”

“Stuff it,” Jo says, though they both laugh.

They return to their seats. Jo glances out the window into the scenery. The sky is a flaming inferno of color, but the land itself is gray and hilly. In the far distance, the horizon is staggered by a fierce mountain range. The jaw of a monster due to snap shut. It’s where the train is meant to be taking them.

“Why do you suppose we stopped?” Jo asks.

“No idea,” says Oscar, “Hopefully we’ll get going again soon.” He checks his watch, “We’re going to be late.”

A woman across the aisleway from them leans over. She’s got pretty amber eyes that consume her whole face. She boarded on the last stop and spent the majority of her ride completing a knitting project, which was now gingerly folded atop her luggage. She says, “I think something might be wrong. Did you feel how suddenly the train lurched?

Oscar scratches the side of his head ruefully, “I sure did.”

“It could be anything,” Jo says calmly, “trains stop for a variety of reasons, and not all indicate mechanical issues. There could be something blocking the path ahead, or they’re doing a routine check on the engine. Don’t worry.”

The woman scans Jo up and down, from her flamboyant hat to her practical dress. By virtue of her job, her clothes were both comfortable and finely made. “You’re not from around here,” she says, with slight wariness, “where are the two of you from?”

“Sol,” Oscar replies with no hesitation. If he were sitting next to Jo, she would have kicked him. “And you? Did you grow up around here?”

“Yes. I catch a train home each year from where I live now.” Her eyes shift between them, “We don’t get many visitors from the capital.”

“Most disembark several stations South,” Jo agrees. The softer, more palatable mountain range is the summer home of many wealthy landowners. This railway was built during the war, meant to transport materials north. Thus, the only Sol denizens this side of The Kingdom sees are federal, like Jo and Oscar.

“You’re visiting family, then?” Oscar asks, looking a little bit healthier now that the train’s been stopped.

“I am,” the woman warms somewhat. She reaches for her knitting project, and unfolds it for the two of them to see. “It’s my favorite nieces birthday, I make one for her every year.”

“It’s a lovely blanket,” Jo says. It’s a brighter shade of green than Jo has seen in several days. “Where does your niece live?”

The woman smiles, “My family runs an apple farm in Monsbury.” Says the woman.

“That’s lovely,” Oscar smiles, pleased, “That town is our stop, as well.”

The women clams up as quickly as a book slamming shut. She drops the blanket onto her lap, her hands tightening into small fists. “Why?” she asks, “What purpose do you have there?”

In the last ten years of work, Jo has encountered all sorts of hostility from locals. Especially those in the far reaches of Solace, like this woman. Normally, she tries to stay discreet- but since Oscar makes such a thing impossible- answering their questions with blunt honesty is the next best thing.

“A dragon has roosted in a mountain near Monsbury. I’ve been sent by the queen to handle the issue. Mr. Williams is like my secretary. He keeps records of our assignment and sends them back to court for review.” Oscar coughs, disgruntled at being called secretary. His real job as a scribe is considered much more prestigious. In fact, if he wasn’t so affable to a fault, Jo might have even called him her boss.

The woman’s eyes widen, then glance nervously behind her, as though she’s thinking about smashing the window and making a bolt for it. She dismisses the possibility after only a second and looks back at Jo.

“I know something about it,” she says slowly, her mountaineer accent drawing out each syllable, “the dragon. My sister’s been writing me letters.” She hugs the knitted blanket to her chest, her hands trembling slightly, “Some of their orchard’s been scorched. No one’s been hurt, but last I heard from them, they’ve been struggling to meet the duke’s rent. We don’t own the land, see. We pay to operate it. I’m worried about them, though. I don’t know how they’ll make ends meet this year.” A knit forms between her brow, and she shakes her head, “But I’m yapping all for nothing; you don’t give a cent about that, do you?”

She doesn’t mean it as a jab, only an observation. But there’s still a fierce bitterness behind her words. Oscar watches her with growing sympathy.

“I’m really sorry to hear that,” he says.

“Do you know anything else about the dragon?” Jo asks.

She shakes her head, but then says, “It has been taking cattle. And Julianne, my sister, says that that it’s made its home on Fotia.” Jo and Oscar exchange a glance. The woman sighs, “King Mountain.”

“That’s what we read in the report,” says Jo to Oscar. She offers a smile at the woman, “Thank you for your help.”

“My name is Miriam. My family is the Peterson’s.” She weighs her next words carefully, “If you need any help once you arrive, I’d be happy to oblige you. I know the area well.”

“We’ll keep that in mind,” Jo says, pleased. She tosses a look out the window and sees the same stubborn scenery as before. She sighs through gritted teeth. Just as she’s about to complain loudly- or worse, begin to consider that something might actually be wrong- the compartment door slides open, revealing a frazzled conductor. At once, all eyes in the cabin swivel to look at him. He freezes like a deer at the end of a crosshair, before gingerly clearing his throat. From the front row, Jo can see the glint of sweat gleaming from his brow.

“We’re deeply sorry for the delay,” he says hoarsely, “There is an obstruction to our path forward, and it will be awhile before it can clear.”

“How long?” Someone yells from the back.

The conductor adjusts his perfectly aligned hat, “Anywhere from an hour to,” he blushes, “much, much longer.”

Immediately, he is met with a barrage of furious voices. He doesn’t bother to reply to any of them, only shrinking further, like a turtle into his shell.

“What could delay the train for so long?” Jo wonders.

The conductor glances up at her, then at Oscar, then at the passengers, (soon to be mob). He sighs and beckons the two of them forward out of the cabin.

The sliding door slams shut behind them, cutting off the angry rumblings of peeved-off passengers. They’re now in a small, empty cabin that’s being used to store luggage. It smells vaguely of dust, and through the dim light of the windows, Jo can see it’s in desperate need of some spring cleaning.

The conductor is smiling sheepishly at them, inclining his head into almost a half-bow. “Ms. Gundry, I understand that you’re a Licensed Practitioner?”

“I received my degree from the Lewes Institute of Magic,” says Jo. She frowns, “will you tell us what’s the matter with the train?”

The conductor fidgets with his uniform. He’s young, his face round and blue eyes wide. “Yes,” he says, clearing his throat, “yes, we thought you and your associate might be able to help. We don’t normally ask passengers to handle such matters, but you’re professionals, so I thought-“

“Get on with it,” Jo snaps.

“A wyrm!” cries the boy, his face splitting in sheer panic, “A wyrm is pacing along the tracks! We can’t move forward until it’s gone, but the crew is concerned,” he gulps, and proceeds in a whisper, “that it’s going to attack the train.”

Brief silence passes as Jo processes this.

“Unbelievable,” Oscar says.

“What’s a wyrm doing so far across the border?” Jo asks. Plethora of magical creatures cross into Solace every year- Jo’s job wouldn’t exist, otherwise- but it’s strange for a wyrm specifically to be around this time of year. Stranger still for it to be alone.

Under his breath, Oscar whispers to her, “Maybe this is the “dragon” we’ve been called to wrangle.”

“Then the townspeople have confused their geckos for crocodiles,” drawls Jo. She thinks on this for a moment, “It’s plausible, but unlikely. It wouldn’t explain the burnt orchards. Wyrms don’t breathe fire.”

“So, will you help us?” the conductor asks, desperately trying to get their conversation back on track.

“Of course.” Jo says. “Oscar, dear, go fetch our luggage.”

-

Oscar steps off the train first, aiming his gun at eye level, but all the while watching the sky. Jo would’ve preferred he had a stronger weapon when facing off a wyrm, but the revolver would have to do.

Jo offers the conductor a smile as she steps off the train. His pale face hangs ghostlike in the darkness of the cabin. He barely manages a small, guilty one in return.

Oh no, Jo thinks, bemused, as he latches the door shut behind her, he believes he’s sent us to die!

Poor kid. They’d do well to prove him wrong. That sort of regret is a heavy burden to carry. She takes careful steps down the metal rungs.

Jo doesn’t have a gun, but she does have something better. In one hand, she holds a wax tablet, and in the other, a stylus poised at the ready.

Magic really wasn’t as mystical as most made it out to be. Once you knew how to read, write, and speak the runes, understanding and implementing them was second nature.

The thing about spells was that once they were cast, they had a small tendency to catch fire. This wasn’t ideal if you were writing the runes on paper, as you tended to burn through stacks of it quickly. Wax tablets, on the other hand, melted and were easier to carry, allowing practitioners who were on the field (like Jo) to cast many spells in quick succession.

She hitches up the skirt as her feet touch the frozen ground. The sun has set behind the mountains, the sky no longer red, and instead a dimming pink. Stars constellate the sky like flurries of snow, more than there were in the city. They don’t do much to light the ground, however, so Jo traces a simple rune into the wax.

“Lumos,”

The melted wax floods the small channels carved with the stylus, and a small bulb of light blooms from the palm of Jo’s hand, and ascends to rest a breath above their heads. It illuminates the path ahead like a bigger, brighter star, or a streetlight in the city.

The train blocks their view of the tracks, as well as the alleged wyrm. Oscar twiddles his finger over the guns trigger, and glances at Jo, “Well?”

She sighs. “Let’s just get this over with.”

“I suppose I’m glad to stretch my legs.” He says.

They proceed slowly, pressed close to the side of the trains compartments, eyes firmly ahead and mouths pressed closed. Jo has only faced one other wyrm in her career, at the start of her internship. She was with a whole crew of young practitioners then.

This was better, of course. Minimal collateral damage, and Oscar could handle himself. This would be a snap.

One last compartment, and then the locomotive. Jo hears the soft scrapes of talons against metal. Like steel striking flint.

Jo gives Oscar a slight nod, urging him forward. He takes a few wary steps, and the light above them goes out, snuffed by an invisible hand. The talons fall silent as Oscar peers around the edge of the train. He’s completely steady, except for the slight wobble in his chin.

His mouth falls agape as his eyes fix on whatever lies ahead.

“I’ll be hanged,” he says.

“What is it?” Jo whispers, “Can you take the shot?”

He eases back around the train, pressing his back to the engine, shaking his head. “Not from here. We would need to get closer.”

She curses, though that was to be expected. She untucks the stylus from behind her ear, a dark curl falling loose, “Very well then,” she starts to trace a looping series of runes into the wax, “let’s do this the hard way.”

Oscar chances another look around the train. His throat bobs, and his brow pinches together. “It’s been years since I’ve seen a wyrm in person,” he says, “I don’t remember them being so big.”

Jo scratches in the final letter with an inch of wax to spare. She sighs, and returns the stylus to her pocket. “It won’t matter a bit. I just need a good look at the wyrm, and some time to spare. Will you keep the thing distracted for me?”

Oscar glances at the tablet, a small frown forming his face, “That looks like a hefty spell,” he says, “if it doesn’t kill the beast, you’re out.”

“Oh, please,” Jo says, squashing the squirming in her stomach, “It’s complex, but not taxing. I know what I’m doing.”

There’s a thunderous shriek, the fierce sound of a furious wyrm, and then the hissing of metal once more. Oscar dares another look around the corner. In the dark light, his face pales.

“It’s getting closer to the train,” he glances back at her, grim. He says, “very well, Jo. Just don’t get me killed out there.”

“I won’t.” She promises. He smiles, and blasts into the clearing.

She’s going to try her darned best, anyway.

At the sound of the first gunshot, she launches after him, ice crunching beneath her feet. Jo can barely see the steps ahead of her, so instead she focuses on where she’s going- a small outcropping of rocks piled beside the cliff face. An echoing bellow nearly knocks Jo off her feet, and five resounding bullets pelt her ears. But she grimaces and ploughs forward.

She feels the chill of the rocks through her gloves as she scales up them, her tablet held between her teeth like bark to dull the pain. Inelegantly, Jo slides belly first onto the flat rock before throwing her feet beneath her.

“Jove,” she hisses when she’s good and steady. Jo is directly across the clearing from Oscar’s cover behind a small patch of trees, as thin and compact as rows of stakes. He flits among them like a small doe, reloading and firing at random intervals.

Luring the wyrm closer.

It’s a gnarled mass of shadow, taller than a house. Leathery gray skin is stretched over a skeletal frame like a blanket drawn over a corpse. It pulls back it’s lips to shriek once more, revealing rows and rows of wicked yellow fangs. Saliva rains from the heavens in an acidic stench.

It’s absolutely bigger than the one from her internship.

She scrambles for her wax tablet, her heart spasming in her chest as words flail from her mouth in an incomprehensible waterfall of fear.

It doesn’t matter, because the intent is there, and Jo knows the spell she’s constructed is a good one. No more than a heartbeat passes. The wyrm raises it’s wings, massive, stained windows glittering in the starlight.

And then, they catch fire.

The wyrm, at first, doesn’t know what has happened. It whips it’s head from side to side before the agony registers. It throws back it’s head and screams, beating both of it’s wings, battling gravity to force itself off the ground.

But instead, both it’s legs give way. It falls forward off the tracks, still wailing, as the fire burns away the membrane between it’s bones. Jo is almost sorry as the blaze creeps along towards it’s body. But before she can feel too bad, a silhouette places a revolver to the wyrm’s writhing underbelly, and a shot resounds around the clearing.

Jo snaps her fingers, and the flames recede, putting a swift end to the impromptu bonfire. All that’s left behind is charred remains, and a rancid stench.

A slight burning sensation lodges in the back of Jo’s throat, as if she swallowed a hot coal with her dinner. She is used to the feeling, and quickly enough it subsides. She smooths the folds of her skirt.

There, now, she thinks, wasn’t that easy enough? 


Is this a review?


  

Comments



Random avatar

Points: 34
Reviews: 7

Donate
Tue Mar 26, 2024 11:53 pm
View Likes
SimonBolivia says...



I enjoyed the story. I found it to be well written, but also has good dialogue between Jo and Oscar. I noticed a few grammatical errors with past tense, but overall it was a good work. The story would be better with a little bit more context, and perhaps you can give us a better introduction into the kind of world that it is.

I like how you emphasize the relationships between the people that Jo meets, and show what here intentions are. That shows good character development. The story is quite long but never gets boring. Overall I suggest that you keep writing, and I would like to see more about what you can make. Be sure to keep us updated!




Random avatar

Points: 34
Reviews: 7

Donate
Tue Mar 26, 2024 11:53 pm
SimonBolivia wrote a review...



I enjoyed the story. I found it to be well written, but also has good dialogue between Jo and Oscar. I noticed a few grammatical errors with past tense, but overall it was a good work. The story would be better with a little bit more context, and perhaps you can give us a better introduction into the kind of world that it is.

I like how you emphasize the relationships between the people that Jo meets, and show what here intentions are. That shows good character development. The story is quite long but never gets boring. Overall I suggest that you keep writing, and I would like to see more about what you can make. Be sure to keep us updated!




User avatar
26 Reviews

Points: 2684
Reviews: 26

Donate
Tue Mar 26, 2024 11:25 pm
View Likes
goodolnoah wrote a review...



Hello stranger!

I saw that you were up to chapter 6 in the green room on this story. I wanted to check Witch of Rotten Borough out because it seems interesting and fun. I also see that most of your content falls into the humor category. I find it hard translating humor onto the page, so I figured it would be my chance to look for good examples. Anyway, on with my review!

Writing Commentary

Your writing is descriptive, electric, and gripping.

Not only when events are happening, but also when you need to “zoom in” on the smaller things. One of my favorite moments is when Jo beings to cast a spell for the first time.

“The sun has set behind the mountains, the sky no longer red, and instead a dimming pink. Stars constellate the sky like flurries of snow”

This moment serves as an exciting lead-in to Jo calling out her first spell!

“The melted wax floods the small channels carved with the stylus, and a small bulb of light blooms from the palm of Jo’s hand, and ascends to rest a breath above their heads. It illuminates the path ahead like a bigger, brighter star, or a streetlight in the city.”

After she has called her spell out, it shows how her Lumos spell has almost taken a life of it’s own as it rises above with it’s own “breath”.

Another great part of this chapter is the lead-up to the description of the Wyrm. You let time lead up to it’s reveal.

“It’s a gnarled mass of shadow, taller than a house. Leathery gray skin is stretched over a skeletal frame like a blanket drawn over a corpse. It pulls back it’s lips to shriek once more, revealing rows and rows of wicked yellow fangs. Saliva rains from the heavens in an acidic stench."

It’s absolutely bigger than the one from her internship.”

Saliva raining from the heavens and the line confirming it is bigger than the one from her internship creates a feeling of urgency to the plot, and only adds to this great introduction! It turns the statement that Jo has faced a Wyrm before into a strength for the story.

Story Commentary

This is a great intro to your story, and I can’t wait to read more!

The fantasy world here has some mysticism behind it. While there are some familiar tropes, it serves to make the reader comfortable for a creative world! The dislike for those who are from Sol is interesting, as well. The part of the story where the two characters talk with the woman on the train serves to characterize them while adding in a bit of exposition.

The old woman is also characterized a bit herself, this is a nice touch, as I it is always important to characterize everyone, no matter how small.

Characters

Jo - She’s a fun protagonist to lead this story forward. Her dynamic with Oscar is what adds to most of the humor of the story. She has a bit of a stoic personality, but her comfort as a person comes out around him, even if it is at his expense. Her power as a spellcaster cannot be understated, but she has a good heart, even for those who may have negative intentions towards her.

Oscar - He is a great second lead along with Jo! He is a bit more bumbling and fragile compared to Jo. Shown at first by his motion sickness on the train. However, they clearly have a deep bond, and he follows her for a reason.

Closer

Great opening to your story! I look forward to reading more!




User avatar
215 Reviews

Points: 37003
Reviews: 215

Donate
Fri Feb 16, 2024 5:19 pm
View Likes
RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello, My Friend!

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Raven, and I'd like to review this opening chapter using my Familiar method today! It's inspired by the YWS'mores method, but with the touch of a fantasy-horror writer. Let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh…

What The Black Eyes See...

So, I saw Chapter 3 of this book in the Green Room and became interested, but obviously I need to catch up a bit. And boy, so far, I am not disappointed! This opening was brilliant; the conversations on the train gave us an introduction to the main characters and some of the world they're living in, before a taste of action hooks the reader and draws them further into the story! Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

As far as corrections and recommendations, I have very few, free for you take or leave. First off, there were a couple of minor grammatical errors during the wyrm fight:

The wyrm raises it’s wings, massive, stained windows glittering in the starlight.


But instead, both it’s legs give way.


In both instances, I don't think "its" needs an apostrophe, as that just turns it into a shortened form of "it is" rather than a possessive term. It should be "its legs" or "its wings."

The second is just a recommendation for you to add to the story. I feel like, for all the great descriptions we got of the characters, the world, and even the landscape, the descriptions of the train were a bit lacking. We know it has gas lamps, cool, but maybe just a quick note about the hue of the walls, the layout of the car, or the material of the benches. Some sensory descriptions to draw us in, like the smell of old wood in the cabin, or burning coal outside. On that note, even the outside of the train could use a bit of attention as they walk alongside it. Is this an elaborate train that could fit into a steampunk or fantasy story, a humble one reminiscent of our own world, or something else? That could also add to the worldbuilding, as vehicles can be reminiscent of how advanced the people in a fantasy world are. Now granted, I don't think you need a big ol' paragraph dedicated to a train that may or may not be used again in the story, but just a couple of notes could help your readers picture more.

Of course, I am not a professional, so please always take my advice with a grain of salt.

Why The Grin Widened...

Ah, so many great moments to take from this, they're hard to single out!

Okay, first thing I'm going to talk about is my favorite thing to read about in fantasy stories; the magic system! Seems there's still a bit to learn about it, but from the glimpse we got in this chapter, I am intrigued. Jo's light spell was fun in the sense that you described it like a star, the use of the wax tablet for runes and spellcasting was a very interesting system, and finally, this:

A slight burning sensation lodges in the back of Jo’s throat, as if she swallowed a hot coal with her dinner. She is used to the feeling, and quickly enough it subsides.


Perhaps to show a case of magic fatigue, this feeling of "swallowing coal" after a fire spell makes me wonder what the cost of some of these spells may be, if they get much worse than a feeling of discomfort. That would also give credence to the idea that there can't be any negligent spellcasting, so Jo must be more thoughtful and strategic with her power. I mean, maybe I'm reading too far into this already, but all these elements just made the magic feel really cool and unique, and has me curious!

The second thing I would love to give you credit for is the descriptions in this piece. Though I did mention something about descriptions of the train lacking a bit, you still did a great job portraying the characters and their personalities, and I still got a great mental picture from descriptions like this:

They return to their seats. Jo glances out the window into the scenery. The sky is a flaming inferno of color, but the land itself is gray and hilly. In the far distance, the horizon is staggered by a fierce mountain range. The jaw of a monster due to snap shut. It’s where the train is meant to be taking them.


Ah, the analogies like an inferno in the sky and staggered mountains like a beast's maw really gave a bit of life to the imagery. Very well done, there!

And finally, the fight scene was very well done and kept me invested at every moment. The dynamic between Jo and Oscar really came through, and it was a great way to showcase their skill. They must be able to handle a lot, given they treated such a nasty creature like a mere inconvenience. It leaves us eager to see more.

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, this was a brilliant opening chapter and I look forward to reading more soon! Nicely done! :)

Image




Horisun says...


Thanks for the review! :D



User avatar
17 Reviews

Points: 1058
Reviews: 17

Donate
Fri Feb 02, 2024 9:35 pm
View Likes
humblebard1 wrote a review...



Hey, Horisun! This piece is awesome, great to see some proper fantasy with DRAGONS (wyrms) on YWS! For the first time ever, i will try and write a review in my own template somewhat inspired by the YWS S'more method :)


As the Ballad Begins (first impressions)

Jo, a small but owllike, intimidating woman travels with her companion, the scribe Oscar, when they are stopped all of a sudden, with delays that could hold them back hours. She's has a degree in magic (i love this. a very original idea i haven't seen before) and is called to action when a wyrm crawls across the tracks. They battle against the wyrm, Oscar using his trusty revolver, and Jo unleashing some absolutely killer spells from her wax tablet. They kill it, leaving behind a dead carcass of ash larger than a house.



Little Ale Spills (what you could improve on)

Hard to say for this- your imagery is beautiful, i love the banter going between the two and i'm intrigued to know their history. One improvement i could suggest is maybe describing how characters talk in more depth? Do they stutter slightly, or do they speak loudly to assert their strength over others? Then again, it's also all up to you! Might help add even more depth to your characters.


Enthralling Performance (best bits and lines!)

"Immediately, he is met with a barrage of furious voices. He doesn’t bother to reply to any of them, only shrinking further, like a turtle into his shell."
This is an image that sticks with you; it's funny, but also perfectly highlights the confused and anxious conductor.

" “It’s getting closer to the train,” he glances back at her, grim. He says, “very well, Jo. Just don’t get me killed out there.”
“I won’t.” She promises. He smiles, and blasts into the clearing.
She’s going to try her darned best, anyway.
These two! Their banter is great, and holds out even though they're in a life-threatening situation, they're still at it."

"It’s a gnarled mass of shadow, taller than a house. Leathery gray skin is stretched over a skeletal frame like a blanket drawn over a corpse. It pulls back it’s lips to shriek once more, revealing rows and rows of wicked yellow fangs. Saliva rains from the heavens in an acidic stench."
This is an incredibly strong depiction of the hulking, great beast; a great mass, but likened to a corpse, skeletal and leathery, with some weakness in its strength.


Bardic Inspiration (a few parting notes)

I loved your world, the characters you've crafted, and your writing style! Also like the fact this is written in present tense from the third person- haven't seen many stories like this in a while :D keep it up! Looking forward to seeing the next chapters, too, and seeing how this story unfolds.


-humblebard




Horisun says...


Thanks for the review! The third person/present tense took me awhile to settle on, but I found I really enjoyed writing in this particular style, and that it suited the story well, so I%u2019m glad it stood out to you!



User avatar
71 Reviews

Points: 6421
Reviews: 71

Donate
Fri Feb 02, 2024 5:08 pm
View Likes
Youbeaucupid wrote a review...



Hi there Horisun! Cupid here, I thought I'd fly over a review for you, Let's dive in, shall we? using our trusty YWS S'more Method!

🔶 Top Graham Cracker: First Impressions!

Whoa, the opening scene got me hooked! That sudden stop of the train, the flickering lights, and Jo's owllike features – it's like you're there, feeling the jolt. You've got this knack for painting a vivid picture that grabs attention and sparks curiosity.

🔥 Slightly Burned Marshmallow: Room Improvements!

Alright, let's talk atmosphere! You've already painted a vivid picture, but what if we sprinkle in a bit more magic? Describe the frigid yard in a way that sends shivers down the reader's spine – the crunch of frost underfoot, the moonlight dancing on icy blades of grass. Those imposing trees? Imagine them standing like ancient sentinels, their gnarled branches reaching out like spectral arms. And the flickering streetlights? Picture them casting eerie shadows that play tricks on the mind.

Remember, we're not just describing a scene; we're inviting readers to step into this fantastical world and experience it with all their senses. The groundwork is solid, and with a touch more magic in the details, you'll have your readers immersed in this enchanting tale!

(Remember, these are just suggestions, and the beauty of writing often lies in personal expression. Feel free to embrace or disregard them based on your vision! :D)

🍫 Melty Hershey's Chocolate: Highlights of the Piece!

Jo and Oscar are characters with spunk! Their banter is like a cozy chat between old friends, and when Miriam steps in, it's like the story gains a new dimension. The reveal of the wyrm and the magical face-off? Absolutely thrilling! You've got the elements of fantasy, adventure, and mystery blending seamlessly – it's like hanging out with pals on a magical journey.

🔥 Perfectly Toasted Marshmallow: Favorite lines!

"The sky is a flaming inferno of color, a breathtaking canvas where the hues collide. Yet, the land, gray and hilly, stands in stark contrast. In the far distance, the horizon is staggered by a fierce mountain range, resembling the jaw of a monster due to snap shut. It’s where the train is meant to be taking them."

This description is like poetry! The juxtaposition of the fiery sky and the looming mountain range paints an awe-inspiring picture. It's not just a scene; it's an immersive experience that captures the imagination! ( •̀ ω •́ )✧

"The wyrm, at first, doesn’t know what has happened. Its massive head whips from side to side, confusion etched across its leathery features, before the agonizing realization sets in."


This moment is pure magic! The vivid portrayal of the wyrm's initial confusion creates a suspenseful atmosphere. It's like you're witnessing the creature's bewilderment, and when the pain hits, it's a gut-punch that adds layers to the fantastical encounter.
And oh, another line that had me hooked:

"Stars constellate the sky like flurries of snow, more than there were in the city. They don’t do much to light the ground, however, so Jo traces a simple rune into the wax. 'Lumos.' The melted wax floods the small channels, and a small bulb of light blooms from the palm of Jo’s hand, ascending to rest a breath above their heads. It illuminates the path ahead like a bigger, brighter star, or a streetlight in the city."


This moment with Jo casting a spell is pure enchantment! The imagery of stars like flurries of snow, coupled with the magical illumination, is like a scene from a whimsical dream. It adds a touch of wonder and showcases Jo's magical prowess in a captivating way.

Your storytelling is like a masterful symphony, each line a note that resonates with readers. Can't wait to see more of these magical notes in their future stories!

o(〃^▽^〃)o

🔶 Bottom Graham Cracker: Closing Thoughts!

I'm grinning from ear to ear after reading this gem! The characters feel like old pals, the adventure is thrilling, and the magical elements are simply enchanting. A bit more atmospheric detailing could turn this into a cozy chat by the fireside. You've got a knack for storytelling – can't wait for more magical journeys from them!

Fly high, writer! Cupid 💘




Horisun says...


Thank you so much for the review! Reading it made me smile, I'm so glad you liked the atmosphere, and I appreciate your feedback on stronger descriptions! I'll definitely look out for that when I begin revising.




You'd better wise up, Pony... you get tough like me and you don't get hurt. You look out for yourself and nothing can touch you, man.
— Dallas Winston, The Outsiders