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The Betrayal of Rael

by Messenger


The Story of Fallen Houses 

In the time before kingdoms, there were houses of men.

They lived separate but equal, from forest to glen.

But then Harold rose up and said that was too little

Should other nations attack, these houses were too brittle

He devised a plan, a pact of sorts,

a gathering of houses, not a royal court.

Free they would remain unless danger arose.

Then unified they would rise to dispatch their foes.

As Gormica grew stronger this was deemed wise.

Fear grew that this wild land they would despise.

And a force too great for one house to resist

would sweep over the hillocks, and its fealty insist

Harold, a man with eyes in the not yet seen,

said that the houses would on each other need lean.

And invaders would move with armor swift,

from hillocks, the houses would be pushed to the cliffs.

But in secret meetings, away from prying eyes,

Harold was hatching his plan in full disguise.

When Gormica attacked, as he knew they would,

He would offer services as general, as a Noble should.

He would sabotage his kin and families in Rael,

selling them to his enemies like a trader making a sale.

In return, he would be king of this subjugated land.

He would be a sword in the service of Gormica's hand.

On the Feast of Trees, as houses met army,

Harold led his troops forward saying no one will harm me.

He advanced past the lines, feigning capture or death,

and slipped into red folds, his wish being blest.

The forces too many, the houses did fall.

And from a rock by King Oregon Harold watched it all.

But when the battle was won for the royal red,

Harold was betrayed and from slashed throat, he bled.

In the years that followed, Rael bonded in strife,

They fought for new freedom, for a new, kingless life.

The toll was too great for the Gormican crown,

and the troops were withdrawn from blood-soaked ground.

Rael is a land of beauty, wonder, and sprites

but the houses will forever be bogged by in-house fights.

When the houses of Uestef and Heul tried to start afresh

the other houses of Rael fought for each pound of flesh.

For all talks of freedom and solitude aside,

Rael is a land of immense communal pride.

To leave the pact is as to leave a wolf pack.

There's no forgiveness once gone, no coming back.

When the War of Families assuaged after years,

the land of Huestland arose from the ashes and tears,

its own sea-kissed kingdom with a royal family and court.

A small, defensive country, ready to attackers thwart.

So lies the place where one land became two.

A place that is hurting for someone like you.

Be noble and kind and speak the truth.

Do not be vile or rancid, lewd or uncouth.

The world needs the message of the Lily Queen

In a world stained red, be a pasture green.

Be a peace to the people and help heal their hearts.

Darkness abounds in this world, so in Rael start.


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Wed Nov 08, 2023 4:09 am
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hi Messenger! Thought I’d drop by and leave a review! I know this is a tie-in with your novel which I haven't read, but I've mainly reviewed this 'as a poem' since that's how it's been presented.

General Impressions

I liked the plot twist with Harold’s betrayal. He comes across as cunning, but in the end, he himself is betrayed, which is a good bit of situational irony. I’m left wondering who exactly betrayed Harold. In the space of the poem, it also seems like the houses went from unified against Gormica to fighting each other really fast (in the very next stanza). I’m guessing the two kingdoms left at the end are Rael and Huestland? I think that’s what happened but I wasn’t sure since the term Rael was used throughout the poem, even in the parts that are “in the time before kingdoms”, so I initially assumed Rael was the name of a continent or something.
There seems to be a theme of violence and power in the poem, and towards the end the speaker entreats the addressee to embody “peace” instead.

Voice

The poetic voice of the speaker starts out distant from the reader and draws closer. At the end it seems to invite the reader or addressee of the poem into the story with the use of “you”. The speaker also seems to be someone who lives in the world of the story rather than a removed observer, since they use phrases like “In the time before kingdoms” rather than “There once was a land where blah blah”. The phrases used here make it like they are recounting the history of a place they exist in.

I like how the “you” address appears towards the end because it brings the seemingly far-off story closer. I thought this voice reminded me of how prequels to stories are written.

Structure

I thought some lines conveyed the story in an elegant way. For example:

Free they would remain unless danger arose.
Then unified they would rise to dispatch their foes.

I thought this sounded cool and also explained the concept of their pact in very few words (plus with rhyme).
In a couple of places, the structure of the line made it a bit hard to understand or pronounce.
As Gormica grew stronger this was deemed wise.
Fear grew that this wild land they would despise.

I’m not sure if the ‘they’ is the houses of Rael or Gormica, or which is “the wild land”.

Harold, a man with eyes in the not yet seen,
said that the houses would on each other need lean.

While I like the idea of the phrase “eyes in the not yet seen” to express that Harold was perceived as a kind of visionary, it might be hard to tell what the expression means at first glance. I wonder if formatting it like “the not-yet-seen” or “the Not-yet-seen” might help with that?

Imagery

There were a couple of groups of images and descriptions I liked and wanted to see more of. For instance: “a force too great for one house to resist / would sweep over the hillocks”. I thought this was a powerful image since it was specific and the fear it conjures explains why Harold’s argument would have been convincing to the houses.

There also seemed to be the use of red to represent Gormica with “red folds” and “the royal red”, but also perhaps violence and death, with “a world stained red” being left at the end of the poem. I thought that was interesting, since the final stanza also contrasts the red of the past with the “pasture green” that the addressee should become, and I wanted to see more of that use of colour.

Overall

I thought the narrative of the poem was interesting, and I enjoyed the way the poem developed into a direct address in the present (from being initially a narration of past events). It seemed mainly focused on the large macro-scale of events with the main figures except for Harold being houses and kingdoms rather than individuals, though I liked where you dipped into more small-scale concrete imagery, which made the poem feel more immersive.

Let me know if you’d like more feedback on something specific! (Or if you'd prefer feedback focused on the worldbuilding elements!)
-Lim




Messenger says...


All of that was great haha. In my LTotW I have a few poems set in this universe if you'd like to see more of this style. In short: Rael and Gormica formed 1 Continent. After the war between them some families fought and succeeded in breaking off and becoming a monarchy in. Heustland, making the Continent now have 3 countries. To the west across the Aetal Ocean there is Velhurland which is divided into Astoria and Sadoria. You also have more countries in desert even farther west across the Divergent Sea xD



Liminality says...


Glad to hear! And ooh sounds like some detailed worldbuilding - neat :D



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Tue Oct 24, 2023 3:09 pm
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Kelisot wrote a review...



Hello. It's been a long time, but the person speaking is Kelisot here for another review.

Looking at this narrative poetry, the first thing I noticed was that all stanzas have an AABB rhyme scheme, which I find interesting! I also found it pleasant that most lines are in the same range of syllables (approx. 10-12 syllables), which gives a similar vibe to sonnets.

Also, the poem seems to have a story. I am new to your universe, so the terms were a little confusing, but that could simply be my fault, haha.

I can't make much of a long review today, but I will say that your poetry made me immerse in your world-building! I am unsure who the House of "Uestef" or the House of "Heul" is, but if you are coming up with fictional names, I suggest you also look into creating your language for this world!

Otherwise, I hope you have a great day!

~ Kelisot




Messenger says...


Hey! This is set in the world of Wilkieaw which is a no el I'm working in. If you check out my Local Tales of the World folder everything in there is also from this universe. Feel free to roam it




The bigger the issue, the smaller you write. Remember that. You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying on the road. You pick the smallest manageable part of the big thing, and you work off the resonance.
— Richard Price