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Chronicles of Valarian 2: A Fate Worse Than Death

by Lezuli


I met Fen for the first time sixteen years ago when I went to visit his father. Fen’s adopted father was a noble war hero who I had fought with against the armies of some warlord. The warlord had commanded massive armies and large territory, but I slaughtered him and his armies easily. Back then, Tyr had commanded an entire brigade that I saved from getting wiped out. I really hadn’t even meant to save them, I just wanted to kill that warlord. So much death and fighting. That war had definitely been amusing.

Tyr ended up thanking me for saving his troops’ lives by granting me free reign of the island he protected from that day onward. So, whenever I got bored and there was nothing fun anywhere else, I dropped by to annoy some villagers and see Tyr.

On that particular stormy day, I was bored out of my fur and paid my friend a visit.

When I arrived on the island, the wind roaring off of the frothing waters of the ocean was so fierce it almost snapped my scarf away from me. I staggered, trying to catch my balance in the tearing winds and pounding rain. The lashing rain stung and blinded my eyes and muffled the noise reaching my ears. Lightning crackled above me and thunder boomed in the sky, so loud I felt the rumble in my bones. Instantly, the freezing water soaked me to the bone and froze me to the core. It shocked me that this rain hadn’t frozen to sleet yet. It certainly felt cold enough for that.

I cursed in shock and annoyance and transformed into my fox form. While I would still be wet, my snow-white pelt would do the trick of keeping me at least a little bit warmer. I fluffed up my tails to shake the water out of them and then wrapped them together so they looked like they were only one. My tails got too much in my way when they were all out. It was much easier to act like I only had one.

I squinted into the blue grey around me. The howling wind, dousing water, and rumbling thunder all created an environment where my senses were muffled and dull, more like a human's than a fox. I hated that. I felt weak and pathetic and despised it.

How did humans stand this all the time? I would die before I fell to the level of a human.

I was tempted to turn tail and go somewhere warmer and significantly less miserable, but a voice stopped me before I could.

“Valarian? Is that you?” a voice struggled to reach me over the raging storm. My ears perked up and I turned, flicking water out of my eyes to see a vague figure on the very edge of my obscured vision. I could only make out their outline, made blurry by this ghastly rain. But even though I couldn’t see them well, I knew their voice. Tyr.

I scampered forward, eager to get to Tyr and out of this storm. “Yes, it’s me, Tyr.”

“Thank the Dues,” he said, relief flooding his voice. The fur on my spine rose immediately and I halted in my tracks. Why did Tyr sound so happy to see me? I was under the impression he saw me as partly a friend and mostly a nuisance. He had never sounded that happy to see me before, ever.

“Come with me,” Tyr said to me, turning away from me. I was still on guard, but my desire to stop being so wet outweighed those suspicions. Hoping he was taking me somewhere to get dry, I followed behind the intimidating man’s long strides.

Following a mud-slick trail cut in the fields, we traveled inward from the outer edge of the island and towards the stone-and-mortar house on the outskirts of the town that Tyr and his seven month-old daughter called home. While usually stable, the building looked like the storm was wrecking as much damage on the house as it was on my hearing. Even so, the warm orange glow from cracks in the shutters and door frame promised a warm, crackling fire inside.

The thought of that warmth practically had me drooling. I quickly shut it off. I was a fox. Foxes did not drool.

With determined strides, Tyr opened the door of his house and held it open just long enough for me to get my tail inside before the storm wrenched it from his grip and slammed it shut with a bang loud enough to make me jump.

Inside, the fire crackling in the hearth cast a pleasant light over the rough wooden furniture, a lone chair, table, and bed. A small cradle lay near the fire, its delicate white bars a stark contrast to the masculine edges to the rest of the room. I knew, if I desired to look in that cradle, that I would see the small form of Emily, Tyr’s daughter and the person who murdered his wife when giving birth to her.

Why human mothers died upon childbirth confused me. The other species in the Great Worlds didn’t. So why did humans let their females die? Did they not want their mates to survive? It made no sense, even for one who never desired a mate such as myself.

I shrugged, bored already with that line of thinking. Who cared about dead females, there was a fire! I fluffed up my fur and shook vigorously. Water spread everywhere, flung from my fur like shots from a bow. When I was dry to my satisfaction I turned back to a human and got to work wringing out my clothes. When my scarf wasn’t dripping ice water down my back, I let out a sigh and flung myself in front of the fire.

The warmth instantly infused the cold clothes on my back and heated up my skin with its delicious warmth. My eyes fluttered shut in bliss, and I let out a sigh of contentment as all my muscles relaxed.

“I’m glad you’re here, Valarian.” I cracked open one eye. Tyr’s tone made me think that my relaxation wasn’t going to last long. That did not amuse me.

True to my impression, Tyr didn’t look like a man who was thinking of my comfort. He had a hectic expression on his face and was pacing back and forth the small interior of his hut with increasing speed each time. His dark brown hair was plastered to the sides of his face, his tunic and breeches had turned skintight and water was dripping down every inch of exposed skin but he looked like he couldn’t care less. It was making me feel wet just looking at him.

I sighed deeply. I was not getting out of this easily. What a pain, but I might as well get it over with. “Spit it out, Tyr,” I waved a hand in the air, “I’m about to depart for a warmer climate as soon as I’m dry unless you find a good enough reason to keep me here.”

“No!” Tyr whirled on me. In a flash, he had crossed the room and gripped both of my shoulders in his iron grip. His hands tightened like chains and he lifted me off my feet and to his face. “You can’t leave!” He sounded desperate. More than desperate, like I was his only salvation.

I grimaced, his hands were so tight. It felt like he was trying to break my bones. Anger roared to life within me. No one handled me like this, much less a pathetic mortal human. “Let. Me. GO!” I roared, my foxfire bursting to life around me with my wrath.

Tyr jerked back as the blue blazes rushed to envelope him. I dropped to the ground and crouched, my nails turned into claws and dug into the stone. “Never do that again,” I snarled, my mouth filling up with my fangs. “I don’t care who you are, I’ll kill you!”

Tyr winced, but he still moved like the trained warrior he was. In a move as fast and deadly as the lightning outside, he unsheathed the sword on his back and sliced through my fire. A normal sword wouldn’t have been able to make a dent in my foxfire. Unfortunately, the sword he was using was made of superior. Superior was, without a doubt, the strongest metal on the face of any Great World. Made from combining each of the Deadly Metals with enchantments, there were only a handful of Supernatural craftspeople who could make it. Swords made of this metal were powerful, able to cut through anything, and cursed as heck.

Those swords, while granting the user power beyond imagination, also granted untold suffering and pain to those same users. I had always admired Tyr for having the guts to wield a superior sword, even if it wasn’t one of the Holy Swords.

Still didn’t mean I wouldn’t kill him.

He had hurt me, he had to pay.

I twitched one of my fingers and the fire curved around his blade and behind him. Tyr’s eyes flickered to the side and he leaped out of the path of fire. The blue flames arced through the air and back to me, hovering in orbs around me as I glared at him. Suddenly, the heat at my back felt more like hands urging me forward to the kill than a sweetly enveloping warmth.

“Val, stop,” Tyr said, holding out a hand to me. I paused, retracting some of my fangs and leaving only my canines elongated. What did he want? It had better be good to stop me from retaliating and burning down his entire village. “I’m sorry for grabbing you, I overreacted. But I do really need you to stay here and hear me out.” He sheathed his sword and held up his hands in surrender. “Please. Stay here and I’ll owe you a favor.”

A favor, huh? That had the potential to be amusing. Favors curried with an Otherworlder like me were impossible to break and incredibly useful. Having a favor owed from one such as Tyr would be more useful to me than killing him.

My eyes stayed narrowed, but I got up out of my crouch and extinguished my foxfire. I would take the deal, but Tyr still had better have a good reason for keeping me here or this storm wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to this island today. “Fine I accept your deal. What is it you want me here for?”

“Look.” Tyr walked over to the crib and waved me over. I grimaced, I was not in the mood to look at some kid. But I did want this to be over with. With great reluctance, I made my way over to the crib, and glanced in.

Inside were two bundles of fur and cloth instead of one.

“Did you get another spawn?” I asked Tyr. I did not understand humans. Tyr was having enough trouble with one. Why would he want another?

“No,” Tyr shook his head. He reached in and gently picked up one of the bundles, the one wrapped in grey fur. A musty scent tickled my nose and I inhaled automatically. That child was wrapped in the fur of a wolf. Odd, but so were humans. “I found him,” Tyr told me. “Today. Out in that storm, laughing.”

Well, I didn’t know a lot about human spawn, but I was almost certain they didn’t do that. “So why are you showing me this particular human spawn?” I asked.

“Because he isn’t human.”

I stared at Tyr with no emotion. “And you know that, how? Humans aren’t exactly the most magic sensitive of all species.” Diresion dripped from my voice, spurred on by my annoyed state of mind. I had come here to annoy the villagers and ended up soaked and injured. I was not having a good time.

“Look,” Tyr knelt by me, and moved around the fur covering the child’s face. I flicked my gaze down, expecting to dismiss the child as human immediately. I sucked in a breath as my gaze caught and held on the child’s features. Piercing yellow eyes, pointed ears, and skin unlike any in this region of the world.

More than definitely not a human. Tyr was right.

“He may not be human, but I still don’t see why you need me,” I told Tyr with a sneer. Now I was more annoyed than before. I did not like being wrong.

Tyr looked up at me, his eyes shining with worry. “I said I found him, but that’s not totally right. The village elder actually found him first. Lying in the middle of the village totally at the mercy of the storm. The elder was so shocked he summoned the Norns.” If I was in fox form, my ears would be pricked. Now that was intriguing. The Norns were fae who lived in the Middleworld and gave prophecies for any who summoned them. They were not creatures to be summoned lightly. Perhaps this child could be good for my amusement after all.

“And?” I asked, looking back to the child and his eyes. They reminded me of something, but I wasn’t sure what. They weren’t fox eyes, they were something else.

“They gave a prophecy,” Tyr’s voice grew soft. I looked back to his face and almost jumped back from the anguish in his eyes. It was all-consuming, spilling forth from his soul and into his eyes. I had never seen a human look so utterly, heart-breakingly defeated.

“A prophecy?” I quickly looked away from him. His expression was scaring me. I had never seen emotion that deep, it made my chest ache. I didn’t like it. I met the child’s eyes again and jerked back again.

I knew where I had seen eyes like those before.

Tyr told me the prophecy and my brain shut down. All I could hear were those horrible words spelling out a cruel and merciless fate and all I could see were the child’s bright yellow eyes.

The eyes of a wolf.    


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Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:25 pm
Andrewknorpp wrote a review...



Dang, this was good. Really mysterious, the storm is great, our characters are great, and the end is absolutely fantastic. I'm not entirely sure why this wasn't the first chapter.
If I were you I would actually make this the prologue, it's a cool way to set everything up, and gives us a nice insight into the characters. But you do you.
But that's all just my two cents! Hope it helped.
As far as specifics all the other reviewers covered most of everything, but I'm excited to see where this goes!
Thanks, and keep writing!




Lezuli says...


Thank you for reviewing! I'm glad you enjoyed this! I'm not totally sure what you mean regarding the perspective, as all chapters besides the prologue are in first-person. Think you could clarify that a bit?



Andrewknorpp says...


You see, that is an example of my brain melting from me trying to do too much at once. Your first chapter was in the first person. I'm terribly sorry.



Lezuli says...


Oh, no, that's totally okay! I was just confused about what you meant. I thought my chapters might have been miss-labelled or something.



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Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:10 pm
HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm Knight Hardy here on a mission to ensure that all works on YWS has at least two reviews. You will probably never see this but....Imma do this anyway.

First Impression: So this was a pretty cool little development here. It felt a little disconnected from where the first chapter ended off because we are cutting to a totally different scene here with Val coming into meet this Tyr dude. I can see how it is connected with this being like Fen's origin story of sorts but it just is a little awkward at least to me. Other than that it was a lovely addition and I sense that this is perhaps that point where the plot actually gets going.

Anyway let's get right to it,

I met Fen for the first time sixteen years ago when I went to visit his father. Fen’s adopted father was a noble war hero who I had fought with against the armies of some warlord. The warlord had commanded massive armies and large territory, but I slaughtered him and his armies easily. Back then, Tyr had commanded an entire brigade that I saved from getting wiped out. I really hadn’t even meant to save them, I just wanted to kill that warlord. So much death and fighting. That war had definitely been amusing.


Interesting backstory additions there...definitely adding to our protagonists relationship with this person.

Tyr ended up thanking me for saving his troops’ lives by granting me free reign of the island he protected from that day onward. So, whenever I got bored and there was nothing fun anywhere else, I dropped by to annoy some villagers and see Tyr.


That sounds like she's misusing her privileges there and I love it.

When I arrived on the island, the wind roaring off of the frothing waters of the ocean was so fierce it almost snapped my scarf away from me. I staggered, trying to catch my balance in the tearing winds and pounding rain. The lashing rain stung and blinded my eyes and muffled the noise reaching my ears. Lightning crackled above me and thunder boomed in the sky, so loud I felt the rumble in my bones. Instantly, the freezing water soaked me to the bone and froze me to the core. It shocked me that this rain hadn’t frozen to sleet yet. It certainly felt cold enough for that.


Lovely description there with that little storm situation. You definitely get a really good sense of what she's experiencing there.

I squinted into the blue grey around me. The howling wind, dousing water, and rumbling thunder all created an environment where my senses were muffled and dull, more like a human's than a fox. I hated that. I felt weak and pathetic and despised it.


I love how we keep having references to how she's not a human and how she thinks of herself as far superior. It really adds to her character a lot more than if she was being all sympathetic and trying to blend in.

“Thank the Dues,” he said, relief flooding his voice. The fur on my spine rose immediately and I halted in my tracks. Why did Tyr sound so happy to see me? I was under the impression he saw me as partly a friend and mostly a nuisance. He had never sounded that happy to see me before, ever.


Interesting...well someone is being pretty jumpy.

Following a mud-slick trail cut in the fields, we traveled inward from the outer edge of the island and towards the stone-and-mortar house on the outskirts of the town that Tyr and his seven month-old daughter called home. While usually stable, the building looked like the storm was wrecking as much damage on the house as it was on my hearing. Even so, the warm orange glow from cracks in the shutters and door frame promised a warm, crackling fire inside.


Another lovely description.

Inside, the fire crackling in the hearth cast a pleasant light over the rough wooden furniture, a lone chair, table, and bed. A small cradle lay near the fire, its delicate white bars a stark contrast to the masculine edges to the rest of the room. I knew, if I desired to look in that cradle, that I would see the small form of Emily, Tyr’s daughter and the person who murdered his wife when giving birth to her.


That's kind of strong wording there saying murdered. It could be just me but it sounds weird to use such a strong word there.

“No!” Tyr whirled on me. In a flash, he had crossed the room and gripped both of my shoulders in his iron grip. His hands tightened like chains and he lifted me off my feet and to his face. “You can’t leave!” He sounded desperate. More than desperate, like I was his only salvation.


Oooh some lovely tension there being built up...

Tyr winced, but he still moved like the trained warrior he was. In a move as fast and deadly as the lightning outside, he unsheathed the sword on his back and sliced through my fire. A normal sword wouldn’t have been able to make a dent in my foxfire. Unfortunately, the sword he was using was made of superior. Superior was, without a doubt, the strongest metal on the face of any Great World. Made from combining each of the Deadly Metals with enchantments, there were only a handful of Supernatural craftspeople who could make it. Swords made of this metal were powerful, able to cut through anything, and cursed as heck.


Not going to comment on that name there...but that's a pretty cool invention.

“Val, stop,” Tyr said, holding out a hand to me. I paused, retracting some of my fangs and leaving only my canines elongated. What did he want? It had better be good to stop me from retaliating and burning down his entire village. “I’m sorry for grabbing you, I overreacted. But I do really need you to stay here and hear me out.” He sheathed his sword and held up his hands in surrender. “Please. Stay here and I’ll owe you a favor.”


Well I was going to say that escalated far too quickly but okayy...at least we can kinda tell where that chapter title comes from.

I stared at Tyr with no emotion. “And you know that, how? Humans aren’t exactly the most magic sensitive of all species.” Diresion dripped from my voice, spurred on by my annoyed state of mind. I had come here to annoy the villagers and ended up soaked and injured. I was not having a good time.


Well she's definitely not amused...that much I can say.

Tyr looked up at me, his eyes shining with worry. “I said I found him, but that’s not totally right. The village elder actually found him first. Lying in the middle of the village totally at the mercy of the storm. The elder was so shocked he summoned the Norns.” If I was in fox form, my ears would be pricked. Now that was intriguing. The Norns were fae who lived in the Middleworld and gave prophecies for any who summoned them. They were not creatures to be summoned lightly. Perhaps this child could be good for my amusement after all.


Well that second to last line there seemed a little unnecessary and a bit like just extra information simply for the audience but overall that's a nice bit of information to have. I sense some pretty extensive worldbuilding having gone into this.

Tyr told me the prophecy and my brain shut down. All I could hear were those horrible words spelling out a cruel and merciless fate and all I could see were the child’s bright yellow eyes.

The eyes of a wolf.


Awesome little cliffhanger there. That chapter title makes a lot of sense now.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall its a really well done piece just like the ones before it. I've definitely enjoyed reading it so far and I will continue to read more from it. So far Val is a really interesting character and now Tyr also seems like he's got a fairly distinguishable personality which is nice to see. Loved the cliffhanger there...like I mentioned earlier it looks like the plot is getting underway and that's nice to see. Looking forward to reading more of this!!

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

Stay Safe
Harry




Lezuli says...


Thanks a lot for taking the time to review this! I'm happy you enjoyed it!



HarryHardy says...


You're Welcome!!!



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Sat Sep 05, 2020 4:11 pm
RadDog13579 wrote a review...



Hi Lezuli, here to review chapter 2! This is a really good 2nd chapter that provides insight and world building. I don't have a lot of critiques on this but here it goes. Firstly, the transitioning from thought to 1st person is a little bit weird. It sort of fades into the moment. I would recommend having an abrupt transition into the 1st person segment. Secondly, a little bit more description when describing the baby would be nice. Remember, show not tell. The ending was really good and left some open ends. I assume that Valarian learns about the fate worse than death from the prophecy but I don't know if that's the appropriate title for the chapter since the reader learns nothing of it. Anyways that's all from me. Happy writing!

-RadDog




Lezuli says...


Thanks again for taking the time to review this whole thing! I'll definitely take all of your thoughts into consideration. As for the title thing, I really liked how it sounds so I went with it(heh).



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Thu Sep 03, 2020 9:22 pm
EditorAndPerks wrote a review...



Hello there! I thought I would head down here to give you a review!

I went through and read the first two chapters to better know what was going on, but fair warning because I might forget some plot details.

First-person is always an interesting adventure, mostly because I think it's tough to get the information to the reader in a way that doesn't seem just like "telling" the narrative. The beginning of this chapter seems a bit too direct when it comes to explaining how Fen and Valarian met. I would keep the very first line, keeping "I met Fen ..." but the growing paragraph seemed a bit too in-depth I think, not all at once in barely the second chapter of this book, unless this is part of Valarian's overall personality.

I kind of realized that he was in a fox-like form a few sentences in, once I caught onto the "fur" mention, but I would suggest just a bit of caution here -- the dialogue can get weird when reading from a non-human's view (at least in some capacity) when it comes to how the character thinks of the world. I thought the bit of women dying from childbirth read as pretty heartless and harsh, as even if Valarian came from a people that no one died from giving birth (which I find kind of weird as that still happens to regular animals but eh), it seems that he could have some kind of natural sympathy to death from being around so long and apparently seeing so many people die? But, that can be up to his personality as well, I suppose.

I think the ending was interesting, as it seems like non-humans are quite common, or at least, are known to regular humans (like Tyr), and to then introduce a new child that-is-decidely-not-human, even if the baby may appear so. Alright. I'm actually kind of curious that we don't hear what the prophecy was in this chapter, as Valarian seems to like going over any kind of detail that he sees, but that is a nice set-up for the next chapter.

There are some great descriptions in this, and I think the character contrast between Tyr and Valarian is good -- I'm going to guess that the prophecy will lead to the reveal of a greater plot, as I'm not sure what kind of conflict was happening before this chapter. Interesting! Nicely done, and I hope this helped.




Lezuli says...


Thank you for all of this! I quite appreciate it. As for the second part, part of Val's personality is that he doesn't really understand human emotions. So he doesn't understand compassion very well. He's not actually a very nice person\fox. Thank you for your review and I'm glad you enjoyed it!





Ah that makes a lot of sense! Thanks for the explanation C:



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Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:02 pm
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WaterSpout says...



Nice job with chapter 2! I really liked it and wanted to review, but StarlitMind already said what I wanted to. Nevertheless, this is a nice little prologue to tell the reader the origins of Fen and his adopted dad.
Keep up the work!




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Sun Aug 09, 2020 3:19 pm
starlitmind wrote a review...



Hey there! This chapter seemed quite interesting, so I decided to check it out :D
This is pretty well written! I can tell you put time in planning out your work. Your descriptions are vivid and detailed, and your dialogue feels very natural and flows smoothly. You are also pretty good at sticking to one tense throughout the story. This is a great chapter! I'm just going to point out some grammar and nitpicky things if you don't mind.

On that particular stormy day, I was bored out of my fur and paying my friend a visit.


This would be more grammatically correct if you said "...I was bored out of my fur and paid my friend a visit."

When I arrived on the island, the wind roaring off of the frothing waters of the ocean was so fierce it almost snapped my scarf away from me. I staggered, trying to catch my balance in the tearing winds and pounding rain. The lashing rain stung and blinded my eyes and muffled the noise reaching my ears. Lightning crackled above me and thunder boomed in the sky, so loud I felt the rumble in my bones. Instantly, the freezing water soaked me to the bone and froze me to the core. It shocked me that this rain hadn’t frozen to sleet yet, it certainly felt cold enough for that.


Ooh, nice descriptions! The last sentence is a run-on though. You can replace the comma after "yet" with a period or a semicolon to fix that.

I hated that, I felt weak and pathetic and despised it.


This is a run-on sentence. You can replace the comma with a period or a semicolon or add a conjunction after the comma to fix that.

Even so, the warm orange glow from cracks in the shutters and door frame promised a warm, crackling fire inside.


You're really good at imagery and writing descriptive passages. I especially like this sentence.

I quickly shut it off, I was a fox.


This is a run-on sentence. You can replace the comma with a period or a semicolon or add a conjunction after the comma to fix that.

I dropped to the ground and crouched, my nails and turned into claws and dug into the stone.


I don't think you meant to put an "and" before "turned." This would be a run-on sentence, so I'm going to rewrite it in a way to fix that: "I dropped to the ground and crouched, my nails turning into claws and digging into the stone."

A normal sword wouldn’t have been able to make a dent in my foxfire, unfortunately, the sword he was using was made of superior.


This is also a run-on, which you can fix by replacing the comma after "foxfire" with a semicolon or a period, o adding a conjunction after it.

The blue flames arked through the air and back to me, hovering in orbs around me as I glared at him.


I believe you meant "arced" instead of "arked"

Favors curried with an Otherworlder like me were impossible to break and incredibly useful.


I don't think you meant "curried."

I grimaced, I was not in the mood to look at some kid, but I wanted this to be over with.


This is also a run-on. You can replace the first comma with a period.

I did not understand humans, Tyr was having enough trouble with one.


This is also a run-on.

Diresion dripped from my voice


I believe you meant "derision" and not "diresion" I like this description though!

Tyr told me the prophecy and my brain shut down. All I could hear were those horrible words spelling out a cruel and merciless fate and all I could see were the child’s bright yellow eyes.

The eyes of a wolf.


Ooh, suspenseful ending! I like how you didn't reveal the prophecy to make the reader come back for the next chapter.

Overall, this is a really well written story! I look forward to reading more to find out what happens. I hope this helped! :D




Lezuli says...


Thanks for all of that, I didn't even notice half of that stuff! I'll get right to work fixing it.



Lezuli says...


Thanks for all of that, I didn't even notice half of that stuff! I'll get right to work fixing it.




Remember when dad's shoulders were the highest place on earth and your mom was your hero? Race issues were about who ran the fastest, war was only a car game. The most pain you felt was when you skinned your knees, and good byes only meant tomorrow? And we couldn't wait to grow up.
— Unknown