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The Sorcerers of Hisderat, Chapter 7.2

by KateHardy


She paused to give Rajsina the most withering glare that she could muster and stalked over to the area where they were poring over a map that presumably led to the door. There were three people sitting around the table that the map was on. They were on folding plastic chairs. She went over and tapped the man in the middle.

“What does that thing say?” she asked casually and the three of them whipped around.

“It is a riddle of some kind Evelyn,” replied the man. He looked somewhat shaken although he did manage to keep his voice level.

“May I?” she asked. Let’s see if this damn door is any easier to find.

They looked confused for a second before realization dawned at the same moment. The thoroughly embarrassed looking man stepped aside and gestured for Evelyn to take a look at the things. She didn’t bother with a thank you and sat down heavily in the chair, the flimsy plastic groaning in protest.

She focused on the map in front of her. It seemed fairly standard and if her memory was functioning properly those were the woods just around Hisderat. The Casry Woods. Not a place for a picnic but would make sense to hide something like this. This is going to be fun. Written in a few spots on the map were several sentences in a very fine cursive. The ink was a very light greyish color, barely legible with how faint it was. Either that’s faded or whoever wrote this liked light grey far too much. The biggest feature of the map however, was the most puzzling. A large watermark in what appeared to be dark cyan was emblazoned across the whole map. It was some sort of poem or riddle, written in simple English for some reason. Maps like this usually used far more complicated languages. Well she wasn't going to complain.

Evelyn smiled to herself as she read the first line. This is going to get interesting.

She read it aloud:

That which you seek

shall be found,

in a place most bleak,

and eternally bound.

To find the door, you must seek,

a place meant not for the meek,

west of the trees that speak,

and south of the stained creek,

If you, traveler has the gall,

and are the one among all,

then you must heed the call,

and be ready for the pall.

Evelyn frowned. Whatever this place is, it sure doesn’t sound like a place for a picnic. The map is certainly of the Casry woods. And that certainly fits the bill for a place not meant for the meek.

She looked up at the others.

“I suppose the instructions are pretty clear,” she said.

“Are you trying to crack a joke?” asked one of them tentatively.

“Am I not allowed to do so?” said Evelyn.

“But…”

“As surprising as it may be to you, I do happen to have a sense of humor.” That managed to summon the most awkward forced laugh that Evelyn had ever heard.

“Um...okay. So we can at least conclude this is the Casry woods, judging from the map,” said one of the others.

“Yes we can confirm that. Do you know of any other place where the “trees may speak” as this puts it?”

“Not that I know of.".

“And so we must head out there and try to decipher the rest?” asked Evelyn.

“That seems to be the best course of action.”

“So do we leave today,” said the one on Evelyn’s right.

“As soon as we have the keys,” said Evelyn.

“But that will take far too long."

“No. We can wait,” she said, shaking her head.

“Can we though?” asked the woman on her left. “The boss man wants things to be done as fast as possible.”

“I will give Rajsina one day. If he fails to deliver, then we’ll head for the door. No compromises,” said Evelyn, an air of finality in her voice.

“We can work with that,” said the man.

“Then I don’t think I’m needed here. I have other matters to tend to,” she said and got up to leave. Rajsina better be giving it 200%. I am NOT wasting time looking for that bloody door without the keys.


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Sat Sep 18, 2021 5:36 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi Harry,

Mailice back with another review! :D

Wow, now we have reached a bit of a smaller part, but at least it continues where it left off in the first part. :D

I didn't expect us to jump right into a puzzle that turns out to be a short poem. Before I sit down and try to solve it for myself, is it possible to read out the "meaning" for the reader? So, as written, this part was a bit shorter than the previous ones and therefore felt that we moved a bit faster here. I mean, six hours have passed since part one and now we have this riddle poem in front of us and I don't think Rajsina will come back with a result right now. I'm very curious to see what Evelyn will do if that's the case, because she doesn't really look like she has much patience left. That also shows me that this is something that has definitely been going on for a while and didn't just start yesterday.

This part was more like a middle ground to the next bigger point and think it would have been good too if it had maybe merged with the first part or the last. You're jumping from one cliffhanger to the next and it's more like a filler episode of a series. Nevertheless, I liked the chapter, especially because of the insight of Evelyn and the fact that you could see more of her.

Other points I noticed while reading:

She paused to give Rajsina the most withering glare that she could muster and stalked over to the area where they were poring over a map that presumably led to the door.

I'm pretty sure everyone reading this part has also read the previous one, so this isn't directly a criticism, but more a comment that with "she" you create a new kind of mystery for those who don't know it's Evelyn. I would try to start with the name rather than the pronoun.

“It is a riddle of some kind Evelyn,” replied the man.

Here comes a comma after the Evelyn.

The Casry Woods. Not a place for a picnic but would make sense to hide something like this. This is going to be fun. Written in a few spots on the map were several sentences in a very fine cursive. The ink was a very light greyish color, barely legible with how faint it was. Either that’s faded or whoever wrote this liked light grey far too much. The biggest feature of the map however, was the most puzzling.

I think I mentioned it more at the beginning, but this alternation between the thoughts and the narration, despite the italics for the thoughts, sometimes makes it seem more halting than making it into a new paragraph. But that's also a matter of taste. :D But still, I really enjoyed your description here of the map.

Have fun writing!

Mailice




KateHardy says...


Thank youu for the review!!

Hmm...I'm not sure what you mean by the meaning of the poem?



MailicedeNamedy says...


I meant if it is possible for the reader to figure out the solution with the information they have in the poem.



KateHardy says...


Ahhh...hmm, in that case, not right away...no, once this particular forest gets a bit of description though, it should be solvable to those who pay attention to the fine details :D



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Sat Jun 05, 2021 5:30 pm
Spearmint wrote a review...



Ooh okay, so it looks like Evelyn and her coworkers are getting closer to finding the door and key... Makes me wonder what'll happen when the door is finally found and unlocked... but I guess we'll find out! C: Alright, this section seemed a bit shorter to me, so I don't think I have much to say other than that riddle is certainly intriguing. Speaking trees and stained creeks... sounds fun! (For the readers :P)

Just some specifics:

...and stalked over to the area where they were poring over a map...

Here it was a bit confusing, because I wasn't completely sure who "they" were. I feel like you could replace "they" with what you later write as "three people." That'd help readers get a better sense of the scene.

“What does that thing say?” she asked casually and the three of them whipped around.

A very nicely written sentence, in my opinion! It shows how the three people are rather frightened and wary of Evelyn, even when she speaks casually xD I'm also wondering whether Evelyn was always this intimidating, or whether some event in the past caused her to be this way? It'd be interesting to learn about her backstory sometime. :]

and south of the stained creek,

Pretty sure the "," at the end of this line should be a "." (The next line starts with a capital letter, and this seems about the right place to end the sentence.)

...it sure doesn’t sound like a place for a picnic.

Hmm, I think you repeated the part about how the woods aren't a place for a picnic both before and after the poem. Was that intentional?

“As surprising as it may be to you, I do happen to have a sense of humor.” That managed to summon the most awkward forced laugh that Evelyn had ever heard.

XD Oh dear... I feel kinda bad for her coworkers, who're intimidated by Evelyn, and for Evelyn, who's so feared that her jokes only get forced laughs. Definitely not a place I'd like to work. :P

Anyways, that's about it for this review! I'm excited to find out what happens next; keep writing!! =D




KateHardy says...


Thank youu so much for the review!!



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Tue Mar 16, 2021 11:45 pm
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brotherGeo wrote a review...



Hello Comrade!
Long time no review Harry, How are you been. Just finished catching up with this series, and man is it one hell of a rollercoaster. Anyway on with the review!

She didn’t bother with a thank you and sat down heavily in the chair, the flimsy plastic groaning in protest.

The groaning of the chair is a good use of environmental reaction, many writers forget that the environment reacts to things as often as the characters do. In fact i almost treat the environment as its own character in my stories, giving it a dossier and thinking how it can adapt to make the story more descriptive and interesting. Every part of the Story should be succinct with each other after all. Anyway, great stuff.

Written in a few spots on the map were several sentences in a very fine cursive. The ink was a very light greyish color, barely legible with how faint it was. Either that’s faded or whoever wrote this liked light grey far too much.

Yes, every cryptic cartographer loves barely readable light grey and cursive. Nice description here.
“As surprising as it may be to you, I do happen to have a sense of humor.” That managed to summon the most awkward forced laugh that Evelyn had ever heard.

“Um...okay. So we can at least conclude this is the Casry woods, judging from the map,” said one of the others.

“Yes we can confirm that. Do you know of any other place where the “trees may speak” as this puts it?”

“Not that I know of.".

“And so we must head out there and try to decipher the rest?” asked Evelyn.

“That seems to be the best course of action.”

“So do we leave today,” said the one on Evelyn’s right.

Your dialogue was great, but i agree with @IcyFlame here. You should at more physical reactions throughout sections where characters are talking, to make it feel more natural. Someone scratching the back of their head, or just frowning or raising an eyebrow, simple reactions like that can communicate internal emotion and thoughts as much as literally speaking them out loud.

Overall A great chapter that continues the story smoothly. Not much else to say other than to keep it up. I didn't notice any spelling or grammatical errors or anything of the sort. Can’t wait to read the next chapter!

Keep Writing!
-brotherGeo




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Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:17 am
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hey Harry! Thanks for the tag :) Sorry it took me a week to get to but I'm ready to get back into this one!

She paused to give Rajsina the most withering glare that she could muster and stalked over to the area where they were poring over a map that presumably led to the door.

This sentence just encompasses the entirety of Evelyn and I love it xD

He looked somewhat shaken

I think it would be good if you could reflect this in his speech rather than just state it afterwards. He sounds pretty calm and collected and the use of 'he replied' doesn't make it seem like anything is really bothering him. Maybe he could pause, or stutter slightly? Or he could reply quietly? Something that lets us know there is something going on.

They looked confused for a second before realization dawned at the same moment.

I didn't really follow this bit. The man and Evelyn both looked confused? What realisation dawns on them?

“Are you trying to crack a joke?” asked one of them tentatively.

Maybe they could exchange worried glances with each other here?

The end flows pretty well, but I don't really see much of their fear/dislike of her coming through. Perhaps that's because they have a common goal?

I'm looking forward to getting back to seeing what Harry and Rose are up to! Bring on Chapter 8!

Icy





"People should not be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people."
— V for Vendetta