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The Fallen King: Chapter Six

by MaybeAndrew


The Fallen King

Liam is refusing to take the duty his Grandpa is offering him as permanent Keeper of the Light. Liam returns to the village of Lownire, which is under siege from the Creatures of Darkness, and he is one of the only two who can cure Its terrible disease. 

Chapter Six

Seige

(art made by Dall-e 2)

James’ footsteps in front of him echoed throughout town, past the shut buildings, and down the misty allies. The metal boots clinked with each quick strike on the cobblestones. In one ear, Liam could hear Hough’s heavy breathing and the sloshing of his pitcher of Lastrios. On the other, he heard the slight mutterings of his crackling torch. But louder than all, drowning out every other sound until it was nearly distant, was the deep throbbing of his own heart. In his ears, it played like a mighty drum, carrying with it the drowning thoughts.

The drowning thought that he was running towards a man who was dying, and if the man died, it would be his fault.

Another sound was there, more distant than all others but growing. It was the sound of battle. It was a mix of shouting, of clinking of boots against stone, of metal against metal, of creature against man.

Splitting the mix sounded three quick chirps of a horn.

“That’s the call of the corrupted. He should be down here then,” James said, his voice shaking. Through the pounding in Liam’s ears, James’ voice sounded like it was coming from the bottom of a well.

James led them down a smaller alleyway and out from between two buildings. The wall loomed ahead, five men high, its stony peak blurry up in the mist. The sounds were coming from up there.

Descending from the mist was a wooden ladder. “Up here,” James said breathlessly, starting to climb. Soon, he disappeared over the side of the wall and into the mist.

As soon as James was out of his way, Liam stepped onto the first rung. He swallowed and looked up the ladder. It now seemed to telescope into infinity but also seemed terribly short. Only a few more rungs and he’d be there. Only the rest of his life he’d have to spend waiting for the moment to come.

He’d be entering a battlefield, where he would be expected to save a man currently Corrupted by the Darkness.

“I could go first, Liam,” Hough offered gently.

Liam shook his head and started to climb. With one hand, he clutched the torch, and with the other, he went rung over rung. With each step, the pounding in his ears got louder, and the chattering panic of his mind swirled faster and faster.

Suddenly, his head came over the top. In one deafening boom of his drum of a heart, his head was cleared. The panic and fear shattered in one instant.

In front of him was the battle in its full gruesome glory. Ten paces down from him, every battling figure was silhouetted against the mist, making everything hazy and blurry. In a way, the blurring of details made it simpler to observe the battle itself as merely a contest between Man and Creature.

Somehow though, like bright light can pierce a haze, the purest shadow of the creature pierced the fog.

It glowed with perfect black clarity, dripping with terror and corruption. It stood on the wall, the terrible bannerman of the King of Darkness Itself. Every part of the hound breathed of Its king’s infinite superiority. The hound was stronger and larger than any animal of the farms of man. Every part of it seemed made to kill, its black mat of fur thick enough to stop a blade, its teeth protruding from its mouth like tusks, and its claws as long and sharp as daggers.

From deep within the hound’s throat came a growl which spoke fear. He felt it more than he heard it, in his chest, in his heart, in his very animal instincts. It reminded him he was mortal. It told him he was temporary, fragile, and ultimately doomed. Light would someday go out, and Darkness would reign.

But, this hound of the Darkness had been weakened. The humble steel of man had made its mark on the immortal beast of mortality. Its jet-black fur was covered in its own rancid blood, dripping from the arrows that were buried in its back, shoulders, and even face. Blood trickled from swords slashes and spear wounds, spattering the stones beneath with putrid black gore.

On the other hand, the men were hazy, undefined shapes; many were in messy lines, holding spears and shields, and others were frantically knocking arrows to bows. Sitric was one of the many hazy figures but stood out because of the clear Lownire blade in his hand. He shouted orders, his voice holding and maintaining the only level of order in the bloody melee.

There were shapes on the ground, Liam realized. He didn’t know if they were dead or merely pushed off their feet, but not all were moving.

The clear hound clashed against the misty shapes, who attempted to hold it back with their thin spears. Some managed to catch it and pierce their points deep into its hide, but others were knocked off their feet. The hound pounced on the fallen and snapped at them, only to be driven back by the points of more spears.

Liam realized that if the members of the watch did not fall if they did not allow themselves to be snapped at and harmed, the hound would turn on the city. They needed to keep its focus on them, keep it distracted by their lives, for if it jumped down from the wall into Lownire, countless lives could be lost.

Liam tore his eyes from the battle and clambered over the side of the wall. It was not his job to fight the hound but to cure the corrupted.

Lying on the wall, about fifteen paces away from the hound, was a member of the watch.

Holding him to the ground was a man Liam knew, Charles Fisk. Fisk was a sailor by trade, so

Liam was surprised to see him there. He was short but nearly as wide as he was tall, with a barrel chest and bulging arms. His large brown beard made him look older than his twenty years. With his strong arms, he held down the injured man.

Liam, ignoring the battle, rushed over to Fisk and the man.

“Liam, thank the Stars, you’re here,” Fisk gasped as the man rolled his head on the stone, tongue moving around his open mouth wildly.

Liam dropped to his knees next to the man. This was one of the rituals he’d never seen his father do, only read about and been taught. Cleansing was a difficult art, even at the best of times, but now he had to do it on a battlefield. Liam wished he still had the burned piece of parchment.

There was a huge gash out of the man’s left shoulder where the creature’s teeth had sunk and rent flesh from bone. He was taking gasping breaths as he writhed about on the ground, his veins bulging black.

It’s Matt, Liam realized, his stomach dropping out. 

*

Questions:

1. What do you think of the way Liam feels in dangerous situations?  Is it believable?

2. Is the description Hound effectively terrifying... or a waste of space?

3. If you've read the story up until this point, has the style of writing been consistent to you?

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


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Sun May 01, 2022 8:58 am
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi MaybeAndrew,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

I try to frame the review in such a way that I share the questions you asked at the end, because I think that should be an important part of the review.

In terms of writing style, I found this beginning of the chapter well narrated and also presented in a distinctly interesting tone so that the reader could empathise a little with the situation. Especially the beginning is convincing, and I think that this is a good level that maybe doesn't always come across completely in the rest of the chapter, but can be found:

But louder than all, drowning out every other sound until it was nearly distant, was the deep throbbing of his own heart.


After the whole section you come to this point, and I like how the transition changes so that we recognise Liam and clearly see how he feels. It's an important part of this part for a lot of the chapter, and I was also surprised that his emotions changed a bit in some parts, and yet was still understandable to a certain extent. I think you could certainly go into more detail about how you manage to get from point A to point C, but I also think this can be obvious to more experienced readers if they've been in your story for a while.

The second half of the chapter felt a bit stagnant to me, think because you focused too much on describing the Hound. On the one hand, that stuck in my mind, and at the same time, though, I didn't think she quite came across as being scared by it. I think you've shown good detail, but I also think you could be a bit more veiled in the details. For example, you could focus on describing only certain features that immediately catch Liam's eye and then go deeper into other descriptions once a potential fight begins.

Together, it's a good start with a bumpy point in the second half, but I continue to think that you've definitely taken a right and good path for the story.

Have fun writing!

Mailice




MaybeAndrew says...


Thank you so much for the review! I agree that the hound bit needs editing!
And thanks for answering the questions, feel free not to, I just thought it would make reviewing easier.



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Sun Mar 27, 2022 8:23 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hey Andrew,

I've been dipping in and out of this one (I don't think I'm completely up to date so I apologise if anything I mention has been covered in a previous chapter). I love that you've put questions at the end of the piece as it really helps me know what to focus on when I'm writing the review.

I like that you've kicked off the chapter with description and focused on what Liam can hear rather than see - it makes it interesting to read. It also does a really good job of building suspense and tension for the scene. I think you touch well on his feelings, whilst still using the pace to further the story.

It now seemed to telescope into infinity but also seemed terribly short. Only a few more rungs and he’d be there, only the rest of his life he’d have to spend waiting for the moment to come.

This particular part seems a little off, only because the description of the ladder seems contradicting - a few more rungs implies maybe 3 or 4, yet the telescope into infinity makes me think it's much longer. I understand that he feels it is taller than it is but this seems too opposing for me.

I think the description of the hound was good, if a little long. The thing with descriptions in books rather than films is we're never going to see how scary it is, so the tension must be built through other things, like the pounding of Liam's heart. I think you could play on it a little more - it's a good technique.

It’s Matt, Liam realized, his stomach dropping out.

The tense here feels a little weird, even though it's in his thoughts. I would change to 'It was'.

This was a good read, and I'm going to head over to part 2 now!

Hope this was helpful

Icy




MaybeAndrew says...


Thank you so much for the review icy! I'll be sure to edit those points!



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Thu Mar 24, 2022 9:03 am
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VengefulReaper wrote a review...



Hey, just here to leave a quick review!

Firstly, yes, the questions at the end of the chapter help a lot as I do look at what you want me to look at with a closer eye. If you don't mind, I'll steal this idea of yours xD.

Now to the chapter itself. Though this is just part 1, I feel you could have combined this with part 2 as it is relatively short. I'll drop a review for part 2 shortly.

To address your first question, Liam's reaction to danger is believable and I like how he's naturally willing to risk his life to save someone/cleanse them. Describing in detail what he hears in each ear before leading to the battle and the anxiety it develops in him really makes you feel for Liam as a main character. After all, he never asked for any of this to be dropped on him.

I think it was a good idea to keep the man who he needed to cleanse unknown to Ethan. A person willing to sacrifice their safety for a random person they don't know is far more telling of their character compared to if it were their best friend. It showed Liam was willing to do it no matter who it was. A good character moment for him.

To answer your second question. The Hound is indeed depicted as terrifying but I didn't feel it to be terrifying until I saw how terrified Liam was. Terror is an emotion that can be difficult to evoke in readers but the best way to do it is to do it through the inner thoughts of your main character. I think you could shave off some physical description of the Hound and keep your focus on how the hound made Liam feel. That hits harder than any physical description. If you don't scare your readers, at the bare minimum, they know your MC is scared.

Having the person be Matt and knowing that Liam had never performed a cleansing before adds some stakes to what he's about to do and I'm looking forward to see what comes next. I'm really loving the characters here, especially Liam in recent chapters.

As always, thanks for the chapter and hope this helped. Keep Writing!
The Reaper sends his regards




MaybeAndrew says...


Thank you so much for your review! I will be sure to focus more on how Liam feels than physical descriptions




Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.
— Søren Kierkegaard