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The Fallen King: Chapter Seven

by MaybeAndrew

The Fallen King

Liam is called to learn the old tongue but denies the call, wanting to leave his small village instead. After denying the call, monsters lay siege upon Lownire, and he fends them off. 

Chapter Seven


(art by Dall-e 2)

Arwen smiled, looking out at the tossing waves below that crashed and churned against the cliffs. It was early fall but still quite warm and bright, so she and Liam were still allowed to play among the cliffs unattended. As long as they did not enter the trees, and leave sight of the lighthouse, the sunlight and sweeping beam of Astrum should protect them.

“You’re not even looking!” Liam shouted. They were playing along the path to the Keepers ship, winding down the stone cliffs, skirting the shelves of rock and platforms covered in moss and boulders.

Grandpa had just started to teach her to use the ship, to play out in the waves as well as the rocks.

“Come oooon!” Liam hissed. He was impatient, understandably so. She was normally impossibly good at this part of the game. It was an invention of the two siblings. They had originally just played hide and seek like the children in the village, but it had been too easy for both of them. Maybe it was that the cliffs were too small, or maybe because the siblings were too good at hearing each other. Regardless, they added a second element to make it a bit more challenging.

Before the game started, the hider would pick a stone. Any old stone would do as long as it could be moved. The seeker would get to hold the stone, look at it, and then they’d give it back to the hider and count to a minute. In that time, the hider would hide themself and the stone. In separate places usually, each tucked somewhere among the nooks and crannies of the cliffs. The seeker would first have to find the stone, and then once found, would find the hider and tag them with it.

When dad had heard of the game, he’d laughed. He said that they could never find one stone among the rocky cliffs. How would they even know if they’d gotten the right one? This was hilarious to the siblings. They always knew. How could you not?

Arwen walked among the rocks, listening for the voice of the stone. Since beginning training with Grandpa, Arwen realized dad was right. No one could find a stone hidden in the rocks. No one except them. They were probably the only two children in Lownire who could play this game. That didn’t matter, though, since they were the only two who needed to.

She stopped. It was close. She felt it. She scanned the small rocks at her feet and along the walls. None were it. None were the one Liam had placed in her hand.

She slowly began to walk again but stopped when she caught a hint of its voice, whispering through the stones into her bare feet. It was behind her.

She had to admit, Grandpa’s training had given her an unfair advantage.

She whirled around, staring at where she’d heard the voice. All she found were a few large rocks covered in moss.

“You sly raven,” Arwen insulted, smiling. Liam giggled. She ripped the moss up, revealing the stone which had been tucked beneath.

As soon as she had it, Liam was running. She heard his feet slapping on the stones above as he climbed and scrambled up to the lighthouse. He always started running as soon as she had the stone. She found him too easily for him to risk staying hidden once the rock was found.

She gave chase, scrambling up the cliffside after him. To an outside observer, the chase might have looked dangerous and haphazard, the two ripping along the path, sometimes running right past large drop-offs. But once again, two never slipped. Their feet knew these stones top well, and their ears heard the voice of the path. Liam climbed and scrambled, already near the end of the path. If he broke out onto the grass, she’d stand no chance.

Her feet, more expert than his, climbed and jumped, even taking shortcuts where the paths switchbacks weren’t effective enough.

Liam burst out the top of the cliff, using the lip of a rock to pull himself over onto the grass. At that exact moment, Arwen caught onto his leg and pulled herself up onto him, the two siblings crashing together. They fell and rolled in the green grass, coming to a stop laughing.

“Got you!” Arwen said.

Liam sat up, shaking grass out of his hair. “You peeked, didn’t you.”

“Nope, I just knew where the stone was. I could hear it.”

Liam rolled his eyes and stood up. He took the stone and walked to a part of the cliffs where it was nearly a direct fall into the sea. He tossed it as hard as he could and watched as the stone arked and disappeared somewhere into the churning below. He always did that if he lost, like it had been the stone’s fault.

“Good throw,” Arwen said.

Liam plopped down, suddenly angry, his feet dangling off the edge.

Arwen slipped down next to him, studying his face.

That was all over now - the training with Grandpa to hear the voice of the land - the Keepers ship - everything. Soon after Arwen had been chosen, Grandpa put himself into a slumber. He said he had to wait now.

“You promise you’ll be a good Keeper when I’m gone?” Arwen asked.

“Why do you have to go?” Liam asked, trying to keep the anger out of his voice. Liam was like his Grandpa. He would suddenly go from a delight to rageful or brooding.

“Because the Keepers picked me,” Arwen said.

“Why couldn’t they pick somebody else?” Liam asked, angrily ripping up blades of grass.

“Because Astrum told them I’d make the best Offering,” Arwen said. Uncle had been like that, too, before he’d left. She’d heard him and dad arguing a lot. But when Uncle and Grandpa had argued, it had been like two meeting storm fronts. Even dad would flee the room. Uncle had left, and since then, Liam had wanted to follow him.

He took the grass he’d torn and threw it, letting the sea wind catch it and carry it behind them. “But I don’t like the stuffy lighthouse. You were supposed to be the Keeper,” He whined, “I wanted to go be a hero.”

“If I had been supposed to be the Keeper, then I wouldn’t have been selected to be an Offering. Astrum doesn’t make mistakes,” She smiled, trying to keep the pain out of her own voice. She trusted that she was supposed to be the Offering, but it leaving Liam strained that trust nearly as far as it could go. “Liam, you will be a hero. That’s what Keepers are.”

“Maybe the Keepers of the Wall. They get swords and fight monsters, but we have to take care of a silly fire.”

Arwen smiled, “You can get a sword too. Dad has a sword. Isn’t dad a hero?”

“He’s the best warrior in Lownire!” Liam said, momentarily excited by the idea.

Arwen smiled. “Yes, he is.”

“But heroes leave and go on great adventures. Dad never leaves. Keepers can never leave,” Liam said, balling his hands into fists. “and I’m no good with a sword or doing any of my chores. Dad’s better at all of those things.”

Arwen studied the clouds marching on in the September sky. “Liam, can you keep a secret?”

Liam looked confused but nodded.

She scooted closer and put her arm around him, looking down into his boyish but still defiant face.

“Well, I know that you’ll make a better Keeper than dad. With the help of that ‘silly fire,’ you will make a fine hero someday. You will be the most heroic Keeper Lownire ever had, better with your sword than even Cormac and better on the Keepers ship than uncle Hadrian.”

Liam looked up at her hopefully. Arwen didn’t lie. “How do you know that?”

The wind told me while I slept last night, and the forest as the sun rose, and the ocean tells me now. Even the birds sing it.”

Liam turned to look out at the sea. There was a long pause as he looked out at that faraway horizon.

Without turning, he finally spoke, “If they did, I do promise. I’ll be a good Keeper. I’ll be the best Keeper.”


Liam liked babies, and the monsters were behind him, so all in all, he was having a good morning. From what he’d heard, Maria’s labor was going well, and pretty soon, he’d be helping in the birth ritual. He was looking forward to it. That was one of the rituals he’d never much despised.

He was tired, though, tired all the way to his bone, tired to his stomach too. The watch had brought them some food during the night, but he’d never eaten enough. It was hard to focus on your meal when death could be hiding out in the shadows. Liam’s mouth watered at the thought of the fish Grandpa had cooked up in the lighthouse.

That had only been the day before, but it felt like weeks.

Grandpa - still up there in the lighthouse.

Before the birth ritual or breakfast, he had one other responsibility to deal with. Checking on Matt.

Though Matt had been cleansed, he still needed a Keeper to confirm that he was uncorrupted.

Darkness was a sly force. Even once a Keeper cleansed a subject, the taint might still remain. The cleansing was not complete if the subject was not entirely willing or if the amount of Astrum or Lastrios was insufficient. If the mortal didn’t fight the Shadow, it could hide beneath the surface for days, slowly taking control of their mind and body, giving them strange strength and intelligence.

Liam didn’t doubt Matt was untainted. The torch had taken all of the Darkness. He knew that in the same unexplainable way, he had known when to use the torch. He had heard it in the roaring of the torch when it had gone out and the whispers of Matt’s sleeping breath. Regardless, the tradition was strict, not just requiring them to wait until sunrise to declare Matt clean, but even then, Matt wouldn’t be allowed back inside the city walls for nine days.

The only safe place outside the walls was the lighthouse, so Matt would be taking the guest bedroom (which was designed for that very purpose) for the next nine days. Liam smiled. Arwen would have been jealous. She’d always had a fondness for Matt. Liam wouldn’t mind the company much, either. The lighthouse was a lonely place. It would be nice to have someone as lighthearted as the red-haired young man.

But the lighthouse wasn’t empty anymore. Grandpa was back as well… Liam pushed the idea out of his mind. He was much too tired to deal with more than one thing at once.

He focused his eyes on the door in front of him. It was made of old dark wood, with the grain lines interrupted by large knots.

“So, you going in?” Fisk asked. Fisk had come along under the pretense of assisting Liam when needed, but in reality, he was mostly there because Matt was an old friend of his.

“Oh yeah, sorry. Tired. Got lost in my thoughts,” Liam said. Charles Fisk grunted in understanding, and Liam opened the door.

Matt was being kept in one of the many side rooms in the Keep. The space was small. On its wooden walls hung old tapestries that depicted the once-great Kings City. Liam’s eyes followed the many faded strings of the tall buildings, colorful gardens, and great palace. Though the colors were faded, he could fill in the blank spots with the strings of stories that his sister told him when he was small. Those memories colored in the fruit of the gardens, adding a sparkle to the river and finishing out the tips of the banners on the castle wall.

In the center of this musty old room, Matt was lying on a large bed. He was covered in so many thick blankets that only his face was visible. He was pale, but some color was already returning to his skin. He seemed to be sleeping soundly.

A sparkling point of color on the far side of the room drew Liam’s eye. Over a bench, the sun glistened through a stained glass window. It filled the room with blue, green, and yellow light. Liam scanned the image. The bottom was of the sparkling sea, rising out the waves were the ocean cliffs, and crowning the window was the lighthouse itself.

Liam walked up to the window and studied it, glad to see the light after the long night.

The stained glass was expertly crafted, each tiny piece perfectly placed. The cliffs were wholly accurate, not missing the most minuscule details. Whoever had made the window must have known those cliffs at least as well as Liam did. They must have known the dips and curves and little craggy edges where he had thrown stones to watch them splash - the little paths between the moss and boulders that led him and his sister down to the beach - the harsh rocks were none but the birds could perch, and where Arwen had pointed out the little white eggs in spring, - the grassy hills where his father had trained him.

They must have known the place Liam had sat that day four years before and made a promise.

Fisk sat down on the bench, making it creak under his hulking weight. Liam shook the thoughts out of his head and turned from the window. He sat down on the bench and leaned against the wall behind him.

Liam and Fisk stared at the sleeping figure, each a little jealous. Liam, for his part, hadn’t slept for thirty-six hours and was beginning to feel it. He was so bruised and aching all over there was no point trying to pinpoint an exact location. It was a more accurate description to say that he hurt than to say any part of him did.

He wondered distantly if Maria’s baby was a boy or a girl. He had slight anxiety that the baby or the mother wouldn’t make it. Childbirth was nearly as dangerous as being a member of the watch. Even there, the Darkness could get you. But Maria had never had difficulties with any of her children before. She was healthy, and with the help of Elizabeth, her husband, and the midwife, he didn’t think he should worry. Liam knew his mother had died while birthing him, but she had been at the lighthouse with only her husband to help her. Arwen had told Liam a lot about Mom, the way she looked and sounded. Later, Dad told him more, saying that Mom would have never regretted having him, even if it meant…

“Her hair is so pretty, her voice is so witty,” Fisk interrupted his thoughts in a low, sing-songy voice. For someone who was so large and gruff, Fisk’s singing voice was soft on the ears.

“I thought you were a sailor, Fisk,” Liam said quietly. “Why were you out on the walls last night?”

“I am a sailor, but I try to help out with the Watch when it matters,” Fisk grunted.

“Didn’t you hate the Watch, though?” Liam had always felt like he had an ally in Fisk. Fisk’s dad had been a member of the Watch, but Fisk never wanted to. “I thought I’d heard you say that once you earned your ship, you’d leave Lownire.”

“Oh, I might have said that once or twice, but I’ve grown out of it,” Fisk responded.

There was a snorting sound from the bed. “Once or twice?” Matt croaked from behind the pile of blankets. “It was more like once a day. You were always shouting that you would actually take a boat and leave this time.”

Liam laughed. “Glad to see you’re awake. How do you feel?”

Matt sat up, his face was a bit pale, but besides that, he was the same freckled mischief self.

“I feel good… but I do have a slight hunger for human flesh, and I abhor light. Ahhh, my eyes!”

“Your dad wouldn’t like to hear you joking about the Corruption.”

“Nah, he’s joked about worse. I inherited this from him.”

“Your mom, then.”

“It’s her fault she married my dad,” Matt said. “But sorry, I couldn’t stay quiet listening to such lies as Charles’s. Didn’t you and Finn hate each other? I swear I saw you throw your helmet at him once.” Finn trained all of the fifteen to sixteen-year-old members of the watch.

Fisk grinned. “I don’t know if the old man hated me, but I sure got on his nerves, and oh dear Solus, did I try.” He glanced at Liam, “Oh, sorry for the language, sir.”

Matt laughed, and Liam stuttered out. “No, no, it’s fine. I’m not ‘sir.’” Liam cleared his throat, “But why didn’t you leave like you said you would?”

“Oh, I wanted to, I was working to earn a boat, and then, she came along….” Fisk said dreamily, beginning to sing again, “Her hair is so pretty….”

“Who?” Liam interrupted.

“Rebecka,” He whispered as if the name tasted like vanilla and sugar.

“Is that one of Martha’s girls?” Liam clarified. Martha, the owner of the bakery, had seven daughters. Liam vaguely remembered one of them being named Rebecka.

“Yes, the one with the beautiful eyes,” Fisk responded. “And the light voice.”

This didn’t particularly help Liam since they all looked about the same to him. “I’ll take your word for it.”

“The middle one?” Matt asked, thinking about it.

“That’s her.”

Matt nodded, pursing his lips as if conceding to the wisdom of the choice. “She’s definitely a looker.”

“But why’d she change whether you wanted to leave? There are plenty of pretty girls out there,” Liam pointed, disappointed. He had always thought that Fisk understood his restless need to do something, to go somewhere.

“Oh, because she’s not just pretty. I want her to be the mother of my children, the wife I see when I come back from the docks, and the woman who sings to me as I grow old.”

“Then why haven’t you married her yet, then?”

Fisk snorted. “You think I’d disrespect her and her family by asking for her hand before having anything of my own? I need to earn a boat first.”

Liam gained another glimmer of hope. “So that’s why you’re on the watch, to earn extra wages?”

“Oh no, I don’t get wages for this. I’m just helping out when I can.” He said, “I do this because I don’t want her, or her sisters, or her mother, to have to worry about anything bursting in on their little bakery and corrupting anything!”

Matt laughed. “Me neither. I’d join the watch just to protect their pastries, and I’m not even in love with any of them.”

Liam chewed his lip. If he remembered correctly, Matt had been an apprentice to be the town’s storyteller. Liam vaguely remembered him playing the lute at a mayday festival a couple of years before. “Wait, Matt, why are you on the Watch?”

“Same reason as Fisk. The ladies.” He winked, “They can’t resist a man with a sword.”

They all chuckled but were interrupted by a knock at the door. As if the knock had merely been a warning, it opened before any of them could react.

Gwen poked her head in. She was wearing a pretty blue dress, and her hair framed her pleasing face in red curls. She looked much more rested than when she had encountered him the day before. Even though they saw each other quite often, and though Liam had dealt with more stressful matters in the past twenty-four hours, the sight of her so pretty still threw him off for a moment.

“Liam, the baby has been born. She’s perfectly healthy. The ritual will be starting soon.”

Liam blinked for a moment, and Matt took over. “You’re not even going to acknowledge your barely living brother?” He asked indignantly.

Liam stood up and recovered himself.

“I already held your hand and cried about it while you were asleep. No point in wasting more tears now that you’re awake,” Gwen responded as Liam stepped to the door.

Liam stopped and looked down at Matt. “Oh, by the way, I declare you clean… or whatever.”

Matt smiled. “Thanks. Also, Liam, I never got around to mentioning it because I was experiencing excessive pain, but thank you for cleansing me. You saved my life.”

Liam awkwardly nodded as he stepped out of the room. “Thanks… I mean, you’re welcome… or whatever.”

He was a natural at this whole Keeper thing.

Gwen waved at her brother and closed the door.

The chapel was now brightly lit by the many stained glass windows. With the siege over, their shutters had been thrown up, filling the room with colorful beams of light.

“I couldn’t find breakfast, but I got you some water,” Gwen said, offering a cup. “Thought that after last night you might be thirsty.”

He took the cup and drank, thankfully.

“Tired?” Gwen asked as she took the cup back from him.

“I’m not entirely sure I’m conscious,” Liam admitted. “But I’ve kinda gotten stuck awake. It’s like I’m all made of hinges that should fall, but they’ve rusted upright… so I’m here.”

Gwen smiled, “You know when I was little, I thought being a queen would be nice. Now sometimes I wonder if it would just be like being a Keeper but three times worse.”

Suddenly, the large door opened, sending rays of the morning sun down the long middle aisle and lighting the previously invisible dust that danced in the quiet halls. Gwen smiled, “Better be going, though. Good luck.”

Liam caught her by the arm before she stepped away, “I meant to ask: how’s that little girl, Emily?” Liam said.

“You can’t remember my name sometimes, but you got hers?”

“Be quiet,” He said, much too tired to try for another comeback

“She’s great, her dad came back at sunrise, but you really have to take that baby,” Gwen said, slipping away and stepping behind the columns.

Liam turned away from Gwen. The chapel was almost entirely empty. The birth ritual was deeply personal and only done with close family members and the Keepers. Sitting on the front bench were the three little children. Bryan, Tommy, and Rose were all squirming in their pew but quiet compared to their normal selves. Past them were Hugh and Sitric, each standing on either side of the Well. The ritual was one of the only three ceremonies that required all three Keepers - the Keeper of the Light to walk the child to the Well - the Keeper of the Well to clean them in the pure water - and the Keeper of the Wall to kiss them on the forehead, thereby finishing the ritual and making it a true citizen of Lownire.

Liam turned and walked down the center aisle towards the large open door. Standing in the sunlight was Cormac, wearing a clean shirt and good trousers. He held in one arm a bundle of blankets.

Behind him was Maria, who looked happy and a bit relieved.

Cormac stepped forward. His face almost seemed to be glowing; his smile was so large. Or it might have been the bright sunlight on Liam’s tired eyes. He couldn’t tell. Normally, the father presented the child to the Keeper of the Light, but Sitric had his job as Keeper of the Walls.

Cormac passed the baby into Liam’s arms and patted him on the back. “Good job last night. Being up on the walls and all,” Cormac said, but Liam barely noticed. He was too preoccupied with the baby.

It was tiny but looked very healthy, even having a full head of curly black hair. Its small form was wrapped tightly in blankets, with only its little face exposed.

Her little face was perfect, with long eyelashes and fully-formed lips. Like all newly born babies, she was a little discolored and looked squashed, but Liam didn’t care. She was life, in contrast to every dark shadow he had seen throughout the night before.

Maria came up beside him and helped readjust his hold, so it was more comfortable. “Her name is Saoirse,” She whispered.

“That’s a lovely name,” Liam heard himself say while he stared at the baby.

“I’m sorry for what you had to go through last night. You must be exhausted,” Aunt Maria said.

“No, I wasn’t the one giving birth,” Liam laughed. “You must have had a hard night,”

“Well, it was all worth it for her,” She whispered. The bell rang once, shaking the entire Keep.

She smiled at him one last time and gave him a little shove.

Liam turned, remembering what he had seen his father do. He began to walk up the aisle slowly, for his legs could carry him at no other speed.

Little Saoirse opened her eyes. They were a deep blue, as full and pure as the well of Lastrios. She stared up past Liam up at the vaulted ceiling. Liam followed her gaze. The ceiling, too, was painted a deep blue but covered with a flowing river of yellow stars. With the morning sun reflecting off their golden paint, they seemed to sparkle.

He looked back down at Saoirse. She turned and looked at him, staring deep into his eyes. There was no reserve or judgment in that gaze. His aunt was right. The dangerous night had been worth it for her.

She looked so much like Arwen, he realized. She had the same eyes and curly black hair.

He bit his lips as tears blurred his vision.

“Promise me you will be a good Keeper,” She had said.

He wouldn’t break his promise with her. He’d be a good Keeper. Even if he hated it. He’d hate losing this new child to the Shadows more. He’d hate knowing that he’d left the village when he could have helped it more. He’d hate being a coward when others were willing to give their life in defense of him.

He wanted to leave more than he wanted to live. There was only one thing he hated more than the thought of being a Keeper, and that was the thought of abandoning her.

He couldn’t break the promise to the one person who’d always listened to him.

He’d accept Grandpa’s offer.

Liam would learn the Old Tongue.

He would do it. For her, if for nothing else. 



1. Does this little flashback help break up all the action packed scenes? 

2. Does it make sense that Arwen would have a large influence over her brother, even four years after her death?

3. Does the game feel unnecessary?

Part two of chapter seven: https://www.youngwriterssociety.com/work/MaybeAnd...

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Sat May 21, 2022 10:16 am
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...

Hi MaybeAndrew,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

Here we have a good and interesting start to the chapter, especially because I liked the whole backstory. I like it when we get more insight into the background of a story, which actively creates and develops the world-building. I also felt it was a good continuation from the last chapter, giving the reader a short break from the activities.

I find, through the narrative style Arwen uses, that the story is told in an easy and understandable way, though also a bit "childish". This is also understandable because it is told for a younger Liam, which makes me like this tone a lot, but it can also get a bit tedious for readers in the long run. I think that's where it could help if you tried to show a bit more passion for Arwen, that he goes deeper into the story and you put your old style in there to show that Arwen is fully blossoming in the narrative.

Something that bothered me a bit in the chapter was how we quickly got into the actual story and didn't get some other info. You start well by creating an active beginning, but maybe you could have given some more details than just the "X years before" to show some things that have changed in the meantime that not only describe Liam as a person, but also his life.

Through the backstory I don't find that we have gained or lost magic. On the one hand, because it sounds like a kind of fairy tale, it seems believable to tell something, but there are still some gaps which then decide whether there is more or less magic involved. I felt it was a good summary for what has happened so far and an interesting roundup for the current plot.

For your second question, I'm not so directly sure how to answer it. I think you build up a good phase of bonding here and if you combine that a bit with the details I mentioned earlier, you could emphasise this relationship between the siblings a bit more so that I think it comes across more clearly that Arwen has shaped Liam and he is still influenced by her today.

Have fun writing!


MaybeAndrew says...

Thank's so much for the review!

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Reviews: 65

Tue May 10, 2022 10:38 am
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VengefulReaper wrote a review...

Hey! I'm finally back from the dead (get it because I'm a reaper... yeah... nevermind)

Just here to leave a quick review!

Overall thoughts: It's a great chapter. The story is certainly engaging and it's about time we got some info on what or where the darkness came from.

Grammar: There are just one or two errors. Sometimes when you open speech marks at the beginning of the paragraph, you forget to close them.

“The Old One turned back and called a stone wall out of the ground. One high and strong, within which they would be safe. He chose the noblest of blood to keep the wall and protect the people.

“Then, as he started to go once again, the people wept. How would they drink or eat?

I think you're supposed to either close the speech marks after people or remove them before the next paragraph (or maybe I don't know my English)

But Papa said I can’t go outside, now that’s rainy and dark
change that's to "now that it's rainy and dark"

Now onto your questions...
1) I'm not quite sure what you mean. There is still an element of magic in the backstory. How did the Old One's blood turn into an everlasting flame? Magic. How did The Old One have so much power? Magic. The backstory doesn't reduce how magical the story is. I think, like all backstories, this chapter demystifies WHY things are the way they are (which isn't a bad thing) not necessarily HOW they work. This chapter answered many questions most readers would be wondering. I see this more as an addition to the world's lore which is always welcome.

Also, we learned a lot from the flashback. Prophecies of the Return of the King (reference totally intended), the reason why people need to be sacrificed as a tribute to the darkness and the formation of Lownire. These, I can see are pivotal pieces of information for the story going forward.

2) It does make sense. Arwen, from this chapter alone, had a very unique relationship with Liam which was irreplaceable. As such, her death would have stuck with him for a very long time. He may even be influenced by her for life.

3) It certainly has a dramatic flair to it xD. I think there's a fine line (in terms of style) that separates someone telling a story from an exposition dump in quotation marks. Adding dramatic flair really helps make it feel like a story. She's also telling this story to a kid. Kids love dramatic and exciting stories even if they are exaggerated. Kids won't exactly like enjoy a bedtime story that's straight out of a history textbook lol.

One thing I would suggest is to try to break the story up with Liam's reactions. Liam initially doesn't want to listen to a story right? So let him seem uninterested in the beginning. Then when the king dies and the darkness takes over, have him sit up straighter to show he's a little more engaged. Maybe he jumps a little when the Old One saves the day in his heroic entrance.

Something that I particularly enjoyed was the expression of the father when he entered the house. It's a prime example of effective storytelling. You didn't need to tell me what was going to happen but you gave me enough for me to piece it together which is so much more rewarding as a reader. In film, we generally call it, respecting your audience's intelligence.

That's it from me. As always, take what you find useful and ignore the rest!

The Reaper sends his regards.

MaybeAndrew says...

Thank you so much for the review reaper!
About the quotation marks, if it's the same character talking, you don't use close quotation marks at the end of paragraphs just at the beginning. Its a way to keep the quote open. A lot of all books do this since they often have long-winded stories within stories, something that has gone out of fashion. But regardless, I understand why you'd make that mistake since multiple parapragphs of pure monologue are rare these days.
But thank you again, I'll be sure to edit those other points!

I was weeping as much for him as her; we do sometimes pity creatures that have none of the feeling either for themselves or others.
— Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights