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18+ Language Violence

The Daughter of War - Chapter 11: The Girl Who Breathed Fire

by Ley


Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.

Chapter 11: The Girl Who Breathed Fire

Being one of Hermes’ playthings wasn’t at all what Josephine imagined. He showered them with countless gifts, from rubies to emeralds to the most magnificent tasting food. He didn’t touch them, not once, as they provided him company. For most of the afternoon they sat in his quarters, playing cards and looking pretty. Josephine wasn’t at all sure if he’d recognized them, but so far it seemed he hadn’t.

Hermes was a young god. His eyes were a deep chocolate brown, with hints of gold. His skin was dark bronze, and when the sunlight hit him, it looked as if he was glowing. He wasn’t an ugly god at all—in fact, Josephine viewed him as one of the most attractive she’d encountered. Josephine had nothing against the Messenger God, but she trusted Persephone enough to continue silent in her question asking. She also wasn’t hating the experience she was receiving while in Troy—it was out of her comfort zone, and she was actually having fun for once. Not once in their company did he mention the Trials, either, so that eased Josephine’s anxiety.

Joy and Ophelia eyed Josephine and Persephone constantly. They didn’t speak to the duo once. They decided to keep it that way, as it was a risk and could blow their cover entirely. Josephine also couldn’t help but wonder when and how Persephone was going to make her attack on the god, so she stayed ready at every moment if Persephone decided to strike.

It was getting close to dawn, and Josephine was starting to get nervous. Not once did Persephone even hint to her she was going to make a move anytime soon, so Josephine felt like maybe they came here for no reason. Maybe, Persephone was having just as good as a time as she was and forgave him for whatever he did to her. But Josephine knew Persephone enough, and she wouldn’t trek over the Forbidden Slopes and almost die in the Valencia Desert for a good time.

Josephine elbowed her friend in the gut as they sat in a circle on Hermes’ spacious bed. They’d been playing poker for almost three hours now, and she was getting impatient. Persephone let out a feminine cough and turned to the god, “Lord Hermes, would you mind if Ana joined me in the powder room?”

“Help yourselves to the luxury I have to offer,” he gestured to the cracked door in the corner of the room, “There are hand towels on top of the toilet, as well as hand soap under the cabinet. I rarely use that washroom.”

Joy and Ophelia’s eyes pierced into the backs of Josephine and Persephone’s skulls. Persephone winked at Joy before sliding off the bed, brushing Hermes’ shoulders with the tips of her fingers seductively, and waltzing towards the washroom. Josephine followed quickly, but not with as much flair as her counterpart. She already stood out enough in the courtyard, she didn’t need Hermes to start giving her special treatment. Or… did she?

When they closed the door behind them Persephone brought a finger to her lips to insinuate to keep silent. She assertively turned to the sink and turned it on so that it muffled their words, “I know you’re impatient, Princess, but I can’t make any move on him until those two leave. We need to convince him to keep us overnight. We’ll have to be late for the next Trial. We should be fine, though, because since we went in the beginning of the last Trial, we won’t be starting the next one.”

“We haven’t even trained for the second Trial, Persephone! I agreed to this with your promise that we’d be back in time for it. Theseus is going to worry.”

“Theseus is already aware that you’re feeling unwell, and you will be in bed the remainder of our resting period. That includes the time before the Trial. Do you understand? We’ll be fine,” Persephone placed two hands on Josephine’s shoulders.

Josephine groaned and leaned against the wall. She just wanted to go to sleep.

“Once the two she-devils from Tartarus leave, we’ll have Hermes all to ourselves. That’s when we’ll make our move. Okay?” Persephone repeated.

Josephine nodded and turned the water off. She took a deep breath and composed herself, put on the fake face she’d been wearing all night, and exited the washroom as if nothing ever happened. Hermes was laid down on his bed, alone. A smirk crept across his face as he sat up, “Hello, girls. I know you thought I didn’t recognize you, my love, but it was hard not to remember that backside. Welcome, Persephone.”

Josephine froze and Persephone’s face went pale. Of course, he would remember her. How could Josephine be so stupid? Whatever he did to Persephone was obviously noteworthy and memorable or else she wouldn’t want him dead. They should’ve known. At this point, Josephine highly regretted not asking Persephone about her motives.

Dumb, dumb girl.

Persephone broke character and strode towards the god, “And I thought you were slow. I’m surprised you waited this long.”

“Well, Joy and Ophelia are my regulars. I knew when I saw two goddesses stride into my brothel, that they were here for a reason. I realized it was you as soon as I looked into your eyes, my dear. As for your friend… I could sense some curiosity about her, longing for power… intrigue.” He winked at Josephine, “the traits of an offspring of Ares. Josephine, is it?”

Josephine gulped. Hard.

“Ah, you were just laughing a few minutes ago. Why don’t you paint that pretty smile back on your face, darling?”

Persephone stepped in front of Josephine as Hermes rose to his feet, “Leave her out of this.”

“Oh, but I was just getting started,” the god’s smile grew as a beam of light crashed through the ceiling and into the room, causing the girls to stumble back. All Josephine saw was white, and next thing she knew the Messenger God was standing behind them.

“Have you come to kill me?”

“What a lucky guess,” Persephone spun around, pushing Josephine further back into the room. The lighting shifted once she spoke those words, and Hermes’ face transformed from the smirk into a look of anger. Persephone made the first move; vines emerged from the floor and wrapped around Hermes’ wrists and ankles—suspending him in the air. He snapped out of them with ease, dropping to the floor with a loud thump.

The Goddess of Spring ran for him, and Josephine didn’t know what to do. Should she help? She would be no good against a god without any magic, and she didn’t want to die today. She stayed in the shadows, watching as Persephone battled the god with grace. She dodged every move, the vines acting as her backup. Hermes continued to fight and shred through the flora—his glamour glowing through his now sweaty exterior.

“You are a coward!” Persephone screamed through the madness, dodging a hit to her thigh. The god grabbed her by the neck and threw her to the floor. The whole ground shook, causing the few glasses of wine they’d previously been drinking to tip over and shatter on the floor. He dragged Persephone’s body across it, and she screamed in agony as the glass painted a crimson mess along her spine.

He kicked Persephone to the side, and she rolled away in pain, gripping her neck and trying to stand. To no avail, she dropped back down onto the glass invaded foundation. His gaze shifted to Josephine.

“Why are you not helping your friend, hm?” He walked over to her, Persephone’s blood splattered across his tailored suit. He walked circles around her. Josephine could feel his breath on her neck. She didn’t dare respond. She was frozen; a statue stuck in time, unable to move, purely made of stone. She had the mindset of a cat: if I stay still, maybe he can’t see me. But she was not a cat, or a statue. She was a goddess, a person who really was a coward.

“I see,” Hermes said, his whisper loud in Josephine’s ear, “You don’t have any magic yet. Ah, what a shame. I thought you actually had a chance to win the Trials. Unfortunately, I’ll have to change my wager after tonight. There may be nothing left of you to compete with.”

Josephine felt her blood boiling and her mind raced as she thought of a solution, any solution, to get her out of there. She prayed to her mother, she prayed to her father, she prayed for anybody to come and save her. But seconds past and her mother’s red aura didn’t pass through the door, and her father’s large shadow didn’t show through the blinds. Hermes held a shard of broken glass up to Josephine’s neck and she gasped, every inch of oxygen leaving her body.

Her fingertips started to tingle, her heartbeat grew faster, and her skin began to sweat immensely. She’d never felt this way before. She gripped her skirt with her left hand and screamed as a burst of energy emerged from her core.

Hermes flew back and into the wall, the foundation shattering. The room was caught in flames, and Hermes screamed in terror as he tried to put out the fire on his suit. Josephine started running straight for him, adrenaline driving her every move. She thought back to Theseus.

It’s like a dance. One step at a time.

She swayed and moved and danced around Hermes’ attacks, and so did her flames. With every hit she landed the God grew weaker, fighting fire itself. She just barely noticed Persephone watching them from the ground, a smile plastered across her face. She groaned every once and a while at the pain but was more astonished by Josephine’s gift. The rare gift of fire. She’d never met a god or goddess with that peculiar gift besides Hades, and even he wasn’t fluent in his castings. Josephine seemed like she’d been practicing how to wield her magic since she was born.

Hermes fell, his eyes lowering to the ground beneath Josephine’s feet. She felt empowered, strong, and divine. She no longer felt fear or anguish.

She was the Daughter of War.

She was victorious, once again. The Messenger of all gods, the cunning and swoon bachelor, laid at her feet. She rushed over her friend and kneeled at her side, studying Persephone’s wounds.

“Rate the pain on a scale of one to ten,” Josephine murmured as she surveyed the damage. Persephone had suffered major blood loss and needed to get to Asclepius as soon as possible. Now that Hermes wasn’t a problem, they could teleport with no issues. The real question was if Persephone was strong enough to conjure her magic—or Josephine would have to try to teleport. Now that she discovered her gift, there was a good chance that she could possibly be successful.

“Nine and a half,” Persephone groaned, still smiling, “The Girl Who Breathed Fire. I can’t believe it.”

“Shhh,” Josephine concentrated on moving locations as she closed her eyes. She pictured herself in Asclepius’ keep, with Persephone bedridden and healed. She pictured the wind taking them beyond dimensions and into another room, where they’d be safe.

They disappeared just as Hermes finally raised to his feet.


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Mon May 06, 2024 5:23 pm
goodolnoah wrote a review...



Hello again! ~ Writing Commentary

This is probably one of my favorite chapters so far! It had me hooked from beginning to end! From the anticipation up to the fight with Hermes to Josephine’s final fight and retreat against Hermes.

Being one of Hermes’ playthings wasn’t at all what Josephine imagined. He showered them with countless gifts, from rubies to emeralds to the most magnificent tasting food. He didn’t touch them, not once, as they provided him company. For most of the afternoon they sat in his quarters, playing cards and looking pretty. Josephine wasn’t at all sure if he’d recognized them, but so far it seemed he hadn’t.


Perhaps my thoughts about Hermes from last chapter were…wrong? It adds to his character that he simply seems to enjoy the lavish things in life, without regards for his godly duties.

The god grabbed her by the neck and threw her to the floor. The whole ground shook, causing the few glasses of wine they’d previously been drinking to tip over and shatter on the floor. He dragged Persephone’s body across it, and she screamed in agony as the glass painted a crimson mess along her spine.


The description of the fighting in this chapter here is gnarly! Bone-shaking carnage and flames of fury! I had myself verbally going “Ooooo!” as I saw Hermes smash Persephone into the ground. It showcased both his strength and speed. To the point that I was unsure if Josephine would’ve actually been able to beat him if she stayed.

Love and…War ~ Story Commentary

“Well, Joy and Ophelia are my regulars. I knew when I saw two goddesses stride into my brothel, that they were here for a reason. I realized it was you as soon as I looked into your eyes, my dear. As for your friend… I could sense some curiosity about her, longing for power… intrigue.” He winked at Josephine, “the traits of an offspring of Ares. Josephine, is it?”


One thing I do think is common with characters like Hermes is intelligence. It’s super cool to see that he is always one step ahead here! As I had said before, he comes off as one of the most evil gods here, all while having his own character traits and eccentricity. I must be a fool to expect a one-note character from you, Ley!

The following fight between Hermes and Josephine is electrifying. The action was quick while being descriptive enough.

She was victorious, once again. The Messenger of all gods, the cunning and swoon bachelor, laid at her feet. She rushed over her friend and kneeled at her side, studying Persephone’s wounds.


I especially like how it feels like Hermes greatly underestimated them both, until Josephine caught him off-guard. The description on how rare fire is was also a nice touch!

Dance of Fire ~ Closer

Bravo! Very nice chapter!




Ley says...


Ahh thank you! :D



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Mon Apr 22, 2024 5:02 am
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avianwings47 wrote a review...



LEY! THIS CHAPTER GAVE ME GOOSEBUMPS!
So, I originally wasn't planning on leaving a review, but this chapter is too good for me NOT to leave a review. I went ahead and skimmed over what the other reviewers said to make sure I don't repeat anything. Let's get right into it, shall we? :D

First off, your description of Hermes was absolutely gorgeous. I also liked that you included some of Josephine's own thoughts in his description. It gave some nice variety to the paragraph, as opposed to just listing off his traits. You caught my attention with the first paragraph. It was as if I was thinking the same thing as Josephine: "huh. This wasn't what I was expecting... but I'm glad it didn't turn out the way I was expecting."
One line especially caught my attention in the first few paragraphs.

She already stood out enough in the courtyard, she didn’t need Hermes to start giving her special treatment. Or… did she?

That last statement felt like it was foreshadowing something, or maybe a lead into a deeper thought process, and I never quite caught what that last little line was referring to. However, it could be referenced in later chapters. (Or maybe I just didn't catch it, idk.)

I could sense some curiosity about her, longing for power… intrigue.” He winked at Josephine, “the traits of an offspring of Ares.

It seems I made a pretty close guess about Josephine's heritage. Hermes points out that Josephine carries a lot of her father's traits, despite inheriting Aphrodite's beauty. This idea is further reinforced when you do an amazingly placed title drop at the end of the chapter. (I loved that part) I really wonder where this will take Josephine on her journey.
Josephine having a fire power really surprised me, actually. I assumed that the gods inherited their powers from their parents, but it seems like that's not always the case. (Maybe I'm thinking too much about the Percy Jackson series...ahem)

Persephone stepped in front of Josephine as Hermes rose to his feet, “Leave her out of this.”

hehe I love Persephone so much. This was such a nice detail that really added to the scene. We also get more about Persephone and Josephine's dynamic with this. AND, it is such a contrast to the end of the scene, where Josephine is the one to end up protecting Persephone. Such a clever little detail that I absolutely adored.

“Why are you not helping your friend, hm?” He walked over to her, Persephone’s blood splattered across his tailored suit.

This imagery was sooooo good! AHHH it gave me the chills! (I'll be talking about the two paragraphs after this line here>>) This part felt... seductive, in a way. Hermes has the flair that only a god could have, and I feel that you portrayed that really well. And, if I'm being honest, I wish I could have seen more of that! Josephine felt frozen, and when you feel frozen, it seems like time slows. Drawing out that scene and filling it with sensory details can make all the difference.

And, oh my goodness, the entire fight scene between Josephine and Ares was beautifully written! Everything from Josephine finally discovering her powers to Persephone getting teleported away by Josephine. It's interesting that Josephine already knows how to teleport. I'm curious to know if she had any pre-power training or anything like that. Maybe it was just an instinct thing, especially since she is in a dangerous situation. I'm expecting a lot of confusion and surprise once Josephine's adrenaline dies down. I'm super excited to check out the next chapter! (But alas, sleep calls to me. I'll read it soon, I promise XD)

Overall, I think this may have been the best chapter I've read so far. I absolutely loved ittttt! This chapter truly put me through an emotional roller coaster. I'm thoroughly hooked on this novel!

KEEP WRITING, PLEASE! -Avian




Ley says...


Ah! Thank you so much! This is definitely a turning point in the novel, and Im so happy you enjoyed it <33



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Sat Mar 02, 2024 1:19 am
Spearmint wrote a review...



Hello, friend!!
This review is brought to you by review team Potato! (Credit for the review template to PKMichelle)

Get ready... Get set...
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Keep Your Eyes Peeled - My Interpretation
Sooo I've binge-read until chapter 11, and the action has only kept intensifying. :D There was that relatively quick conflict with the Cyclops, and now there's this first clash with Hermes! (Somehow, I sense it won't be the last... I bet Josephine has just made an enemy of Hermes. Whoops.) Something that's great about your writing in this series is that you always keep things interesting. In this case, it was fun to read about how each deity used their powers to fight, and of course, Josephine's fire-breathing.
I love that Josephine has gained her magic and gained confidence. Character growth !! And it's a classic to have the protagonist gain their powers right when they're in the most need, as Josephine was here. I'm excited to find out how she trains with her newfound powers! :]

It's The Tot That Counts - Some Advice
While it's awesome that you keep things action-packed, I feel like things have also happened really quickly. This could just be me, but some sections might benefit from being slowed down and explored in more detail, especially the ones with more emotion. For example, I'd love to know more about Josephine's reaction to finally gaining her powers. I get that she needs to focus on getting Persephone to safety, but even just a line or two about what she thinks about suddenly turning the tables and defeating Hermes could be cool (is she surprised? is she like, "finally!"?). Or possibly that information will come in the next chapter, in which case, disregard this! xD
One other thing I wondered was about Hermes's powers. I noticed Persephone using vines and Josephine using fire, but I didn't see much about Hermes's powers, other than maybe the light and fast movement (?). Shouldn't he have been able to use his powers while fighting Josephine? What kind of attacks did he use?
I uhhh am also not so certain about Persephone's motivations to take revenge on Hermes. xD I get that him being a spy for her mother was awful, but enough to want to kill him? Even if she has more reasons for doing so, why now? And why did she bring a (then) powerless goddess along with her? I strongly encourage Josephine to question this more. >.>

That's Absolutely Mashing - My Favorites
Your location and character descriptions are awesome. They're colorful and poetic!
Also, for most of the questions I had while reading, you soon gave answers! For example, with the two of them sneaking out and then spending so much time with Hermes, I was worried that they'd overshoot their estimate and miss the Trial. But I'm glad to see them discussing it now, and hopefully they'll make it back in time. >.>
I'm also very glad your characters aren't stupid. xD Like, Ophelia and Joy knew that Persephone and Josephine were impostors, and Hermes recognized Persephone. It makes things more realistic! :]
Finally:

She was the Daughter of War.

This. Such a powerful line. :D You can feel the triumph.

Time Fries When You're Having Fun - Final Words
I'm excited to see where they go from here! I am also quite worried for Josephine, and I regret that she said yes so easily to this, since Hermes can control the Trials and give her an opponent who might kill her... >.< But uh, I'm sure she can deal with it. Right? >.>
Also, if I were to describe your writing in one word, it'd be sparkly! It's been a breeze to read through these eleven chapters since they're all interesting and the perfect lengths for YWS chapters. Your descriptions are also vivid and beautiful, and magic is associated with sparkles in my mind. xD Anyways, yeah, great work!

Chip, chip, hooray!! Thank you for taking the time to write and post this, and I hope this review is of some use to you!

I'll see you tater! I hope you have a magnificent day (or night) wherever you are!




Ley says...


I love the review method! XD And thank you for taking the time to binge-read/ review! I'll definitely keep your suggestions in mind while editing <3 thank you love



Spearmint says...


<333



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Tue Feb 06, 2024 2:12 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello again, my friend!

It's me, Raven, and I'm reviewing using my new 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...

Yes, yes, yes! This was an INCREDIBLE chapter, probably my favorite yet! At first, I was relieved by the calm atmosphere and lack of aggression or mistreatment from Hermes, and with the cold glares from Joy and Ophelia, I thought *maybe* for a moment, the conflict would shift onto them, and maybe Hermes would even be one of those misunderstood characters. Boy, was I wrong! The staging as you show him calling out Persephone, then figuring out exactly who Josephine is, was so tense! The fight was gritty and kept me on edge, and Josephine lashing out with her magic was a mental image worth remembering! Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

Structure and content-wise, I could spy no errors! Very well-written, high-quality writing job. If I could make any recommendations, it would be a very minor thing here with this paragraph:

With every hit she landed the God grew weaker, fighting fire itself. She just barely noticed Persephone watching them from the ground, a smile plastered across her face. She groaned every once and a while at the pain but was more astonished by Josephine’s gift. The rare gift of fire. She’d never met...


I feel like swapping point of view mid-paragraph kind of jumbles the picture a bit, and you could probably put more of a switch between Josephine's and Persephone's point of view. Like, maybe break the paragraph after "fighting fire itself," then mention *meanwhile* Persephone admiring her gift.

Of course, this is just a style issue and you should feel no obligation to take that as an actual error or anything. Likewise, I am not a professional, so please always take my advice with a grain of salt.

Why The Grin Widened...

There were so many awesome moments in this chapter, it would be hard to pick just one! The way you describe Joy and Ophelia's scrutiny, and how Hermes is spoiling the girls, were intriguing and well-delivered points toward the beginning, but I put my focus on that incredible fight scene.

Hermes's sudden teleportation and switch in temperament.

Persephone being dragged across broken glass.

Josephine, stuck in the "freeze" response as she is threatened with a (sort of) knife to her neck...

All moments handled very well and described perfectly, but as far as favorites go, I would have to say the moment she manifests that magic.

She swayed and moved and danced around Hermes’ attacks, and so did her flames. With every hit she landed the God grew weaker, fighting fire itself.


Flames following her every move, a god fighting fire itself! What a picture!

Hermes fell, his eyes lowering to the ground beneath Josephine’s feet. She felt empowered, strong, and divine. She no longer felt fear or anguish.

She was the Daughter of War.


And this, here, was a perfect way to conclude the moment! It really feels like Josephine just grew as a character, discovering her own inner power (and outer power, lol). Plus, points for incorporating the book title at just the right moment, really made the moment stick out.

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, this felt like a very special chapter, and I would give it a personal rating of 10/10! Nicely done! :)




Ley says...


I was waiting for you to get to this one! :DDD It just gets crazier from here! <33 thank you for all the suggestions!




“All stories are true," Skarpi said. "But this one really happened, if that's what you mean.”
— Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind