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God's Assassin ★ 3

by Lightsong


Rila finally met Ilami, dagger in her hand as it clashed with Ilami’s sword. ‘Firenzi multiplis,’ she whispered. Fire covered the dagger, hot enough that its encounter with Ilami’s blade produced steam. A sign the blade was melting.

Noticing this, Ilami broke their clash and threw her head back as the dagger moved swiftly across it. She kicked Rila’s feet in the process, causing the latter to fall only for her to stand a second later. Ilami touched the ground. ‘Valkana explisis.’ From her hand, a line started to form and go after Rila.

Rila retreated, knowing full well in instinct she couldn’t let it reach her. But then, the line branched out and moved faster. She activated the fire wheels behind her back to propel her into the air just as the line arrived at the spot she previously stood and exploded. While she wasn’t hit by the explosion, the impact still carried through. It severed her balance as she rolled to the ground.

For Ilami to do all of these in quick succession, the girl must have trained herself for a quite a long time. Realization dawned on Rila that she might not be able to kill Gael. Ilami would kill her first. Their sparring was short, but from it she could deduce how Ilami’s skills compared to her. She didn’t manage to put a scratch on Ilami; the latter did to her.

Rila bit her lip. If only Ilami didn’t swap with Gael, her mission would be a success. She could handle Gael, she was sure of it. He didn’t have the same agility and destructiveness Ilami possessed. She could kill him. And go back to her family as she usually did. If she failed - if Ilami and Gael escaped her alive, then she knew the punishment the Church would give to her. Knew the extent of it the Church could go for. To remind her she couldn’t fail again.

This was her most important mission. Previously, she assassinated important figures in Estagra, all of whom objected to the ways of the Church. This time, she was to kill a figure who Kestari had said would doom the country. There would be no second chance if she failed this one. Gael would live his life guarded as soon as he got out of this mess. He had already nullified her first attempt to kill. Rila closed her hands into fists. The more important the mission, the greater the appreciation if it was a success. As such, the punishment should it fail, would be severe.

Rila brought herself to her feet. She didn’t have the same hard conviction to kill Ilami as she did before. She didn’t believe the words Ilami said, but Ilami had planted a seed of doubt in the expanse of her mind. What she said was ridiculous, but it could be true. And that possibility - if it was true, then Rila had surrendered herself to a liar. Trust her family to someone who could use them to press her, to influence.

And that was what Kestari Fexar would do should she fail. Her family would be the best target of torture.

One last try. If she failed this, then - she would not stop. She would try over and over again. Even if she had to die. Perhaps death would be the alternative if she didn’t succeed. Because of if she died, the Church would see no reason to torment her family.

Yes. Kill or be killed.

She launched at Ilami, murmuring spells. She duplicated into a dozen, each of them having enlarged fire wheels in their hands. She threw a smoke bomb at Ilami and when smoke surrounded the area, she moved around as she watched Ilami trying to figure out her location. It would be impossible. She took out her dagger and launched to the back of Ilami. She raised it, ready to strike Ilami’s head and -

Ilami’s elbow shot to the air and collided with Rila’s hand, throwing the dagger away from it. She punched Rila straight in the stomach, the power behind it sending Ilami a few feet away. Rila felt as if someone had rip her stomach away from her, leaving her breathless and empty. She struggled for breath, lying on the ground in a fetal position, her hands clutching her stomach.

‘The smoke ruins my sight,’ Ilami said as she approached her, ‘but I sense my enemy when she’s close enough.’ A sword appeared on her hand. ‘I told you about Kestari and Lio, but you didn’t listen. Didn’t want to believe. I wish you could switch side, but for some reason, that is not an option to you. And so, it leaves me with no option either.’ She knelt beside Rila, the tip of her sword at Rila’s neck. She leaned closer and whispered to Rila, ‘Bare your soul to me. Lumino selpasito.’

Rila gasped as the world in front of her blurred, as the pain her stomach faded. She found herself standing and next to her was Ilami. She turned her attention to her surrounding. Her eyes went wide.

It was her, a thirteen years-old crying in her mother’s arm as they watched their house burned. The thieves had robbed them of everything they got. Beside them was her father and brother, both of whom dead from the slice on their throat. Their eyes and mouth stayed open. The air smelled of smoke and blood. Mother took the scarf covering her head and wrapped it around Rila.

‘Everything will be fine, dearest,’ she whispered to her. ‘Everything will be fine.’ Rila sensed she was convincing herself as much as she was Rila.

Then, she heard the sound of hooves. Her mother’s embrace loosened as Mother turned around to see who it was. A dozen of men riding horses approached them. The one leading them looked at Rila and Mother, his dull orange eyes betraying nothing. There was a pattern on his fair forehead, three horizontal lines cut by a straight one. The symbol of Lio. Rila gasped.

Stood in front of them was Kestari Fexar, Priest of Lio, Head of Brother Gods Church.

He went down from his white horse and knelt before Rila and Mother. ‘Young one,’ he spoke to her. ‘Look at the fire.’

Rila obeyed him and watched at it. As tears rolled down her cheek, she wished it to cease from existing. Hated it.

‘Will it to disappear, young one,’ Kestari said. ‘Xesar has blessed you.’

Rila shut her eyes, imagining in her mind the fire shrinking, getting smaller as if it didn’t want to exist. She could feel the swoosh of flame, the hissing, and when she opened her eyes, the fire was gone. It was replaced by her ruined house, its roof gone, its wall charred and broken. An uglier sight than the fire. She turned her focus on Kestari instead.

The man smiled. ‘I see it now. Lio has made me pass this edge to find you.’ He turned to Mother. ‘I will help you, minama. You should stay with me, with the Church.’ His eyes caught the sight of Father and Brother. ‘I will take care of them too and give them a proper burial.’ He turned to Rila and grabbed her hands. ‘And you, young one, will be under my protection and guide. You are destined to serve Xesar and Lio, the Brothers of Justice and Wrath.’

He gave her that smile again, she she found herself assured by it. She nodded.

A/N: Well, the third part is finished! It doesn’t go as similar as I thought it would be (some parts have to be changed since, while they seem perfect in my mind, don’t seem as realistic when put on paper) but it goes well! We know Rila’s past here, though originally, I planned to make it so that we could also see Ilami’s past, but alas! Rila can’t do anything to Ilami, so Ilami’s the one who peers into her past instead. Enjoy!


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Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:25 pm
Lavvie wrote a review...



Hi Lightsong! I'm back for this third installment.

You never fail to deliver on the exciting action scenes. Like I've mentioned before, these can be so difficult to write while keeping it realistic. Also, it demands knowledge on the writer's part about fighting and the physics of it. I'm pretty impressed!

For me, though, I find that you're now struggling to balance action scenes with furthering the plot. You're attempting to progress in the storyline with a lot of internal dialogue on Rila's part, which is okay sometimes, but it's getting heavy and clunky. It slows the flows of the story. Now, this is difficult when you have pretty much established the entire short story as a fight scene. The characters are not moving - they are stagnant in one scene - which makes it a challenge for yourself as the author to reveal more about this complex world, dive deeper into characterization, and so on. That being said, it's a unique take on a story, by keeping everyone in the same place and the same time. I think you just need to really think about how you are going to execute this so that your readers can be perpetually intrigued.

There is so much information. There is too much, in fact. This fantasy world is complicated, no doubt, and I understand that you're keen to reveal everything to us, but you must remember that this is a short story and you don't have all the time in the world, like you might with a novel. I know I brought this up in my last review, but I see ever more the need here, as well. I highly recommend that you tone down on the information, or at least provide some moments where the information is not handed to us through some internal dialogue or rehearsed dialogue between the characters. In fact, flashbacks would be really useful for this. (I liked the flashback used at the end of this installment because it provided information, but in a more natural way.) Furthermore, because your characters aren't moving scenes, all this information seems somewhat gratuitous and out of place. In reality, in an actual action scene, there's not much dialogue aside from sassy comments trying to psych out the opponent.

I feel like you might be hitting a wall right now. It feels dragged out. Maybe some more flashbacks? Regardless, it's still an enjoyable read and the very end, where we get a snapshot into Rila's youth, provided a respite from the infodumping happening during the fighting.

Hope that helped!




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Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:16 pm
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Kaylaa wrote a review...



I'm actually here! Sorry that this is a little late, though Nikayla is finally here dropping in for a review.

I noticed that this is quite fluid when this comes to flow or pacing. This is in the sense that this short story so far hasn't done much else other than what's important to the actual plot. These last three parts have all taken place in the same setting and with the same characters, and I found that to be interesting. Usually there's some form of build-up before a fight scene of this size ends up happening.

This also makes me wonder how long this short story is actually planned to be because while we've gotten to know the characters a bit, the reader hasn't actually had the time to experience character development seeing as we (or at least I) have a hard time caring for the characters. Character development, coincidentally can't happen until the reader actually cares about that character. Until the reader wants to see change.

This was her most important mission. Previously, she assassinated important figures in Estagra, all of whom objected to the ways of the Church. This time, she was to kill a figure who Kestari had said would doom the country. There would be no second chance if she failed this one. Gael would live his life guarded as soon as he got out of this mess. He had already nullified her first attempt to kill. Rila closed her hands into fists. The more important the mission, the greater the appreciation if it was a success. As such, the punishment should it fail, would be severe.


Not a fan of this paragraph. Make this less wordy or include this somewhere else since I found this to be a little...melodramatic? Not impacting to the reader because of the info-dumpy qualities here. That being said, I should mention that I'm not large on quiet characters since that seems to be what you're attempting to go for with Rila here. How the flashback is provoked in her is smart, though a little convenient for the story. That isn't to say that this isn't unbelievable, though.

It was her, a thirteen years-old crying in her mother’s arm as they watched their house burned. The thieves had robbed them of everything they got. Beside them was her father and brother, both of whom dead from the slice on their throat. Their eyes and mouth stayed open. The air smelled of smoke and blood. Mother took the scarf covering her head and wrapped it around Rila.


This paragraph is also worded awkwardly. 'Mother's arm' should be 'arms', first of all. Second of all, words like 'had' and 'was' can be cut down on here or exchanged for stronger verbs. That's a problem that I noticed--diction isn't always the strongest, though I'm sure awkward wordings and weak aspects similar can be fixed in later drafts.

I'm actually glad that we see Rila's past instead of Ilami's. That should've been done earlier, depending on how long this is planned to be. We as the readers can finally connect to her character more than before as we've finally seen more of her backstory though seeing that the church protects her family in a previous part also shows some of her motivations. I suppose there is less characterization since this isn't a novel and shouldn't be treated the exact same.

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! I hope I helped and have a great day.

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Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:59 pm
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TheSilverFox wrote a review...



Hey there, Lightsong!

Personally, I like this chapter. Your action scenes are always vibrant, colorful, and energetic, and I admire the creativity manifested in the various spells that Ilami and Rila use. The pacing is decent at the beginning and during the flashback, and I like the way that Rila realizes how Ilami is a superior opponent. The latter, in particular, is a crisp and clear realization that captures Rila's fear and establishes the nature of the fight in a way that grab's the audience's attention. Beyond that, the stakes of the fight are interesting, and I must now heavily question the ethics of Rila's side if they're willing to go torture her family for any failure of hers, as well as the way the end flashback connects Xesar and Lio. In the end, the story does a nice job of explaining some of her backstory, her own intense stubbornness, and paints a clearer picture of the world at large. So, in those respects, nicely done!

On the other hand, I have to agree with Mea that the part from "Rila bit her lip" to "Yes. Kill or killed" was wordy and jumbled. I disliked it for bogging down the story in details, useful as they are, and interrupting the pacing. Too, it got repetitive after a while, such as the stakes of winning and losing. You might be better off just specifying that a. Rila cannot win against Ilami (I suggest keeping that part mostly intact), b. if Rila loses, her family is going to get tortured, especially since this is a key case (which we could already guess), c. Rila now questions her own church, and d. she has no choice but to continue on, thanks to the second reason.

I also find it a little hard to fathom that Rila didn't already question her church or Kestari before this moment in time. It appears they're torturing her family for huge failures, and Kestari doesn't bother hiding his identity as a priest of Lio when she first meets him, as he even is referred to as a Priest of Lio. The entire church pays respect to both Xesar and Lio, as indicated by the Brother Gods, and Rila is described as fighting for both of them. Unless the church decided to change its stance, considering how Lio has now become the bad guy, and Kestari hid his identity, combined with Rila's forgetting her first memories of Kestari due to the trauma involved, it feels like what Ilami said should already have been obvious. Either Rila isn't that perceptive (which, as an assassin, is unlikely), or the church has made a lot of changes over the years, because it otherwise just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Regardless, it's a decently written chapter with a great amount of action and revelations, and I'm curious to see if Ilami's new tactic will finally persuade Rila to come to her side (or give Rila a chance to put a knife in her chest). Well done!




Lightsong says...


Oops! That's a mistake there. Kestari is Lio's priest, but he disguises as Xesar's priest to gain support from both followers of Lio and Xesar. In truth, Xesar escaped Lio's wrath and made Ilami his priestess. :)

Thanks for the review anyway! I like reading it since it's long. :P



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Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:28 pm
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Mea wrote a review...



Hi Light! I'm back for another review.

I like the insight we get into Rila's motivations here - she's been lied to about what's right, but she can't back out now because of her family. And yet, still she fails. I'm really interested to see the implications this has for her in the future.

Something I find interesting is that she seems to fairly readily doubt what she's been told, even if she still mostly believes. It shows that she's not as brainwashed as they probably want her to be.

I like the way you slid in a flashback about Rila's past, though I can't help but wonder why Ilami needs to know this stuff about Rila.

The biggest thing I wanted to say here is that your action sequences tend to be wordy and it's dragging the pacing down a lot. The entire first half of this, up to "kill or be killed," could be condensed a lot, including Rila's thoughts about what's going to happen if she doesn't succeed.

For example:

For Ilami to do all of these in quick succession, the girl must have trained herself for a quite a long time. Realization dawned on Rila that she might not be able to kill Gael. Ilami would kill her first. Their sparring was short, but from it she could deduce how Ilami’s skills compared to her. She didn’t manage to put a scratch on Ilami; the latter did to her.

Instead of this long, almost expository paragraph, try going directly inside Rila's head to get something like this:
She's so fast! Rila thought as they clashed a third, fourth, fifth time. She'll kill me before I ever get to Gael.

I think you can do the same thing for her decision to try one last time, and you can honestly imply a lot of what you outright said in that paragraph. We know the mission is really important, so it feels logical that she will be punished severely if she fails. I think the only part you really need is that they will go after her family if she does.

She didn’t manage to put a scratch on Ilami; the latter did to her.

This is one detail I think you should expand upon. Getting hurt in a fight is always a moment to milk for intensity. That moment when she gets cut can be when the realization hits her that she probably can't win this fight - showing her pain and fear would really help boost the tension.

If only Ilami didn’t swap with Gael,

Should be "hadn't swapped," and then later in the sentence "would have been a success."

knowing full well in instinct

This is sort of a contradiction - "full well" more implies that she knows it both logically and instinctively, where as "knowing instinctively" (which is what you would say, not "knowing in instinct") means she's not consciously thinking about it.

And that's all I've got for this one! Looking forward to the next.




Lightsong says...


Thanks for the review! I'll be sure to keep these points in mind for further drafts. :D




Perfect kindness acts without thinking of kindness.
— Lao Tse