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The Three Lockets [Chapter 6.1]

by Magestorrow


Author's Note: After waiting for what has to have been a month, I finally got to include Aldonius in the story again! I've been very, very excited to write this scene, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much I as enjoyed writing it.

Words: 2,332

Last Lines: "Thanks," she quietly said. She tried her best to hold back her tears until she had reached the safety of the bathroom, but they began to fall the moment she slipped out into the hallway.

Chapter 6

Cass was good at hiding her tears.

As the conversations with Lira had reminded her, she wasn't good enough to entirely hide them. She couldn't stop their flow once they had gotten started, but she was good at finding a small, safe place to let out her tears before hiding that they had even existed in the first place. She knew slipping away and hiding her sadness wasn't the healthy response to grief, but she never wanted to cry in public. It was the sort of thing that made her even more odd in the eyes of her classmates, and the type of thing that left her feeling embarrassed no matter when she recalled the memory.

She had already cried too much during their time here. Even as her lip quivered at the thought, she knew she would have to hold back her tears until she was alone again. She stood in front of the ornate mirror hanging on the back of the door in the spacious bathroom and studied her reflection. Her eyes were still a little red, but not too much. Her cheeks were still flushed, but there was nothing she could do about that – though splashing water from the sink onto her face was a good way to both hide the lingering teardrops and make her feel slightly less horrible.

She slipped back out into the hallway.

Lira and Aspen were talking a little further down, their voices too far away for her to clearly make out the details of the conversation. But just as she was about to arrive at the room, she noticed movement outside of the window she was passing. A cloaked man was walking by the mayor's residence in the streets below. Several other people were doing the same, but the familiar color of his cloak caught her eye. She spun around and faced the window. Just as she started to stare at him, he raised his head up ever so slightly.

It was Aldonius.

They held each other's gaze for a moment that seemed to last an eternity. The hallway that she was standing in faded away, and the voices coming from Lira's room become little more than background noise. There was that curious fear written across his face again; a fear that he shouldn't have had from looking at her of all people, though she wasn't quite sure why she knew that. It wasn't like with the feelings of déjà vu; those made her feel like something was missing. The feeling she had now as she tried to understand why Aldonius thought of her the way he did felt perfectly right, like it was simply the way that the world was supposed to work. It made her heart feel content.

And then he turned with a dramatic swish of his cloak, hurrying down the street and as far away from Cass as he possibly get. She lingered by the window until he was no longer visible, and it was then that the spell was broken. She took several steps away from the windowsill, her mind racing as she tried – and failed – to comprehend the rush of feelings for a second time.

She leaned up against the wall across from the window. She couldn't go back to the room now; the memory of seeing Aldonius once again was still too fresh in her mind. She would be distracted, and Aspen would easily surmise that something was wrong. She nervously fiddled with her locket. She needed to think. If she had just a handful of minutes, she could put together some sort of explanation for the feelings.

She ran through the list of things that had felt familiar: the song on the radio, the locket, Rey, Aldonius, Mr. Ream, and the symbol of Telorum. Out of all of them, it was Aldonius that she had felt the strongest about. Mr. Ream had been close, but she hadn't felt the same comfort she had felt when gazing at Aldonius' face. The feelings must have meant something. She wasn't sure what that something was – and that made a chill run up and down her spine – but she was sure that talking with Aldonius was going to give her more answers than talking with Lira would.

She took a deep breath.

Tucking her locket back underneath her shirt, she walked down the hallway. She gave Lira and Aspen a small smile as she entered the room, her palms sweating profusely as she wrung them together. Part of her wanted to ignore the plan she had just created and remain here instead, but she knew she couldn't do that. She needed answers.

Aspen sprung to her feet, her brows furrowed in concern. “What's wrong, Cassie?” she asked.

“I want to go back into the town,” Cass replied after an awkward moment of silence passed. She could feel Aspen and Lira's stares boring into her; Aspen's kind and supportive, and Lira's unreadable.

Aspen grinned and gestured at the basket that was still on the edge of the bed. “Then let's get some of these clothes on-”

“I...I wanted to go alone,” Cass said.

The grin immediately faded. “Oh.”

Noting the tone of disappointment in her voice, Cass dropped her gaze down to the wooden boards underneath her feet. She had to do this alone. She knew Aspen was trying her best to understand the strange series of emotions Cass had been feeling, but trying to understand was different than actually understanding. “I-I just need to see the town for myself,” she said. “I won't go far.”

Her mind was already calculating the route to the tavern she needed to go to, even though she was nearly entirely certain that they hadn't passed it on their way to the mayoral palace. As she tried her best to envision the tavern, she took a small step towards the basket of clothes. She knew that they would have to let her go. She was nearly eighteen years old. And even if she was terrified by the thought of embarking on a trek through a place that wasn't even from her world, she was perfectly capable of handling herself.

Lira got to her feet. The moment she opened her mouth, Cass braced herself for a verbal attack – her knowledge on Telorum and the fallen's symbol must have strengthened the suspicion that was already present. But Lira didn't shout at her. She didn't insult her, either. She just quietly said, “I'll help you pick your clothes,” and just as quietly made her way over to the basket. Cass guessed that should have been considered a victory, but she wasn't feeling all that victorious.

When she glanced over at Aspen, Cass saw her best friend standing silently to the side, trying and failing to hide her worry behind the mask of a smile.

-x-

Now dressed in a loose-fitting tunic, trousers and sturdy leather boots, Cass traveled down the nearly empty street leading away from the palace. The flames in lanterns hovering alongside the cobblestone pathway flickered and then sprung to life with her every hesitant step. It was like the automatic lights back on Earth, but she still let herself stop and watch the sight unfold before her. Standing there in the middle of the street, surrounded by silence and cooling air, she began to smile. 

This moment was special. She might have recognized the floating lanterns, but seeing them come alive and marveling at their magic was a completely new experience. She took a deep breath in – not because she needed the comfort, but because she wanted to appreciate every minute detail of what was happening. The lights continued to spring to life all the way down the street. Soon the stone road was illuminated by a steady stream of lanterns, and the now dark skies showed a scattering of stars in familiar constellations.

She reached into her pocket for her phone, only to realize that she had left it back with her clothing in Lira's room. She absentmindedly pulled out her locket from underneath her shirt. It was sad to think that such a beautiful moment would only be in her memories, but at least she had those very same memories to look back on years from now-

Someone collided with her.

The world suddenly shot back into focus. She was standing the middle of a street after night had fallen, clasping a golden locket close to her chest. Fear overcame her euphoria. She looked up to see who had bumped up against her shoulder, and she felt an even stronger jolt of terror – it was Rodet. Prince Rodet, she reminded herself, even though he still didn't look particularly prince-like. His face automatically sneered into a look of disgust when he realized who the person standing in the street was.

“Why aren't you with Lira?” he asked, folding his arms and looking down at her. She hadn't realized it earlier, but he easily towered over her. She anxiously fidgeted with her locket. She should have asked Aspen to come. Aspen was good at dealing with people like Prince Rodet; Cass wasn't. All that Cass could do was stand there, petrified with fear, as she hurried to come up with an answer.

“I-I wanted to go out,” she told him.

It was alright for her to leave. She wasn't required to stay by any sort of rules, but seeing Prince Rodet made her lose all of the courage she had managed to muster before leaving the palace. She felt like she had to explain herself. She foolishly believed that doing so would absolve all conflict, when Cass knew very well that it was the locket currently in her hand that was the true reason for his hatred of her.

“You should have gone out with her,” he said.

Aspen would have come up with some witty retort. Cass couldn't do witty, and she couldn't do retorts. She did what she did best: she ducked her head and try to make herself appear as small as physically possible. Prince Rodet could easily raise a hand and strike her across the face. She knew princes weren't supposed to do things like that, but men driven by hatred were prone to lash out. That was she had seen day after day when reading the news. A reaction as primal as that wasn't going to change just because she was on a different planet. She was scared. This was a different sort of fear than what she had felt during the thunderstorm; thunderstorms were more predictable than wild human emotions.

Every muscle in her body screamed at her to run as far away as she possibly could, but she couldn't move a single one of them.

There was a burst of familiar warmth from around her feet.

Prince Rodet took a large step back away from her and let out a steady of stream of swears. “I should have known that you were one of them,” he said, spitting out the word. He raised his hand out in front of him. Something green began to spring from the very center of his palm. It took her a moment to realize that the green thing was the very beginnings of a thorny vine.

Her fear skyrocketed at the sight.

And, with it, the circle of wild darkness at her feet did as well.

The vine shot towards her. The darkness shot up even more, going as high up as her chest in her terror. Adrenaline kicked in, but her body didn't know what to do with it – it was torn between flight and fight. She didn't even know how she'd begin to fight, but she was too petrified to even try running.

A hand grabbed onto her wrist.

She was suddenly jerked to the side, landing in the arms of the person who had pulled her out of Prince Rodet's grasp just as the vine brushed up against her right cheek. Blood began to well up along the thin cut the thorns had left – she could feel it when she raised a shaking hand up to touch her cheek. 

“Calm down,” her savior said. The darkness still frantically shooting up around her feet began to grow calm. She knew that voice. As she looked up at the man still holding her very, very close, the darkness completely submerged itself back into the cobblestone path.

She had been saved by Aldonius.

Prince Rodet said nothing for a moment after Aldonius had spoken, seeming to remember that he was a prince and had a certain type of public appearance to maintain. “Don't you see what she is?” he asked. The hatred was still evident in his voice, but he hid it behind a calm tone. “She was going to attack me."

“You were threatening her,” Aldonius quietly said.

“I did not-”

“You were threatening her,” Aldonius repeated. He glanced down at Cass, his face suddenly impossible to interpret. They briefly held each others gazes for the third time since their first meeting, but he soon looked back at Prince Rodet. “Even a child knows that magic is tied to emotions, and that 'attack' couldn't have possibly been calculated.”

Prince Rodet crossed his arms once more. “Are you a supporter, then?” he questioned. The threat of him lashing out at Aldonius lingered in the air. 

Cass wanted to say something – anything – to stop him from hurting Aldonius, but there was apparently no need. “I'm not,” Aldonius said, his eyes blank and his mouth set into a thin line. “I just don't like condoning murder, especially when it's clearly not justified.”

Prince Rodet looked the two of them over.

“Then you should get away from her as soon a possible,” he said, “because nothing good can come of being around someone like her.”

He turned and stormed off into the distance, leaving Cass and Aldonius alone in the street.


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Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:10 am
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Carlito wrote a review...



Hello again!!

I stand by my previous point, I don't think you need 5.4. I don't even think Lira has to come back before Cass makes her escape. That could bring an even more dramatic moment, like Cass wants to go out on her own (without Lira even knowing!) and Aspen would be like :o :o

I'm glad that we got to see Aldonius again before he came in to save the day. When someone came to save the day, my first thought was it was Lira. I didn't expect him because he was keeping his distance from her earlier, and I'm glad I didn't expect him.

The transition from moment to moment could be a little smoother (from when she tells the others she wants to go out on her own to her confrontation with Rodent). It feels like a transition from one moment to the next rather than feeling seamless. This will be easier to do when it's not a first draft :)

For the interaction with Rodent, did he not sort of threaten her first? Well, not outright threaten her, but he definitely escalated the situation first. For someone new to the world and new to her magic, how did he expect her to respond? I think he knew what he was doing and he's threatened by her so he was looking for pretty much any reason to attack.

I liked that Aldonius was the one to step in. I feel like he knows things ;) I hope he doesn't run off after this and that he gives Cass some info because I'm sure she's going to be all kinds of shook after this encounter.

See you in the next segment! Let me know if you have any questions or if you'd like feedback about something I didn't mention :D




Magestorrow says...


Thank you for your review!

After reading through Aldonius's explanation of what Cass has been going through, do you think that the chapter still isn't needed? I was worried his explanation would seem like it was coming out of nowhere if it wasn't mentioned then.

I'm glad Aldonius took you by surprise!

I think he knew what he was doing and he's threatened by her so he was looking for pretty much any reason to attack.


;)

I feel like he knows things


;) ;)



Carlito says...


It all kind of builds on itself, but I'm also not convinced Aldonius's explanation is needed this early ;) (but I'm keeping notes for each chapter about what happens and when it's all done I can give you some better all around notes about pacing and things)



Magestorrow says...


Thank you!



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Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:41 am
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Panikos wrote a review...



Hiya, Saen! Sorry it's been so long! RevMo burned me out and university is still pretty hectic, but I'm excited to get back on track with this.

Small Comments

She stood in front of the ornate mirror hanging on the back of the door in the spacious bathroom and studied her reflection.


This is a pretty heavy phrase - it feels like you're cramming too much description into a small space. I'd scrap some of the non-essential bits or maybe just shunt some of the description to a different sentence.

Lira and Aspen were talking a little further down, their voices too far away for her to clearly make out the details of the conversation


This is just a suggestion, but I think you could shed some words here.

She spun around and faced the window. Just as she started to stare at him, he raised his head up ever so slightly.

It was Aldonius.


OooooooooHHHHHHHHHH now things are getting interesting.

They held each other's gaze for a moment that seemed to last an eternity.


Eeeghh, this line is a cliché. I must have read so many similar variants of it.

The feeling she had now as she tried to understand why Aldonius thought of her the way he did felt perfectly right


This is a real mouthful, so try to condense it a bit. You might even be able to scrap the whole 'as she tried to understand why Aldonius' part, actually, seeing as it's pretty much telling us what we can already infer.

I also want to talk about integrating more specificity into your description, but that's a more general issue, so I'll leave it until the end of the review.

She nervously fiddled with her locket.


Given the context, it's already easy to tell that this is a nervous gesture.

Soon the stone road was illuminated by a steady stream of lanterns, and the now dark skies showed a scattering of stars in familiar constellations.


This really intrigued me. Are they familiar because she's seen them on Earth, meaning that this world has a parallel sky? Or are they familiar because she's stargazed in this world before, yet doesn't remember it...?

She anxiously fidgeted with her locket.


Same deal with the earlier nitpick. It's already been established that Cass has a habit of fiddling with her locket when she's stressed, so you don't need to state every time that it's because she's anxious or nervous.

Overall Thoughts

This chapter is a definite step in the right direction and I like Aldonius already. It was good to see Cass strike out on her own for a change (even if she did end up having to be rescued), and I like that you brought her darkness magic back into it - I was right to predict that her lack of control over it would get her into trouble! The moment where Aldonius intervenes was definitely my favourite part of the chapter. Who is Aldonius? I'm guessing he must have significant social standing of his own if he's able to contradict and talk back to a prince in the way he does.

I still think Rodet is too much of a straw character. He's too easy to hate, has no redeeming qualities at all, and only seems to exist to threaten or intimidate Cass. I also don't think his actions make that much sense here. Was he really intending to murder Cass in the street? He's a prince. He's surely got a reputation to uphold. Even if she's a darkness magic user and there's a strong prejudice against them, it's still an extreme thing to do. I just want to feel that Rodet's actions stem from his values rather than just the need for some drama. He can still be horrible, but he should at least believe what he's doing is for the best. At the moment, he feels far too 2D.

Returning to something I mentioned in the small comments, I also want to talk about your description, particularly regarding internal emotions. Let's take this bit as an example:

There was that curious fear written across his face again; a fear that he shouldn't have had from looking at her of all people, though she wasn't quite sure why she knew that. It wasn't like with the feelings of déjà vu; those made her feel like something was missing. The feeling she had now as she tried to understand why Aldonius thought of her the way he did felt perfectly right, like it was simply the way that the world was supposed to work. It made her heart feel content.


My issue is that you lack specificity. Sometimes, it's just a problem with telling over showing - when you say 'that curious fear', you don't actually describe Aldonius's expression or how the fear manifests, so it feels rather like you're making claims with no evidence. Other times, it's more of a problem with just...being too abstract. What does feeling 'perfectly right' actually feel like? What's it like for your heart to feel content? Obviously emotions are very abstract, which makes them difficult to describe, but that's why it's important to make use of metaphors and similes. It's a way to give specificity to something that's very difficult to characterise. Here's an example of one of my favourite metaphors from a writer called Natasha Pulley:

It had happened gradually: someone had put a penny on his chest every hour since November, and now the weight of thousands of pennies had lifted at once.

All she's describing here is the feeling of relief after months of worry, and if she was being non-specific, she could've just said 'his anxiety had been building since November, and now it had vanished'. But she doesn't. The reference to the pennies as a literal weight on the character's chest gives the image both originality and physicality, which is what makes it so effective.

So just try to be more specific. Describing emotions is difficult because they're mental and internal, which makes them harder to pin down and relate to. That's why metaphors are your friend, and why it's good to focus on the physical response to emotions rather than just the presence of them.

With that critique out of the way, I'll just reiterate how pleased I am that Aldonius has come into the story. We seem to be moving into the heart of the plot, especially with how Cass's powers have come to the fore. I agree with Blue that up until now we've seen much more of Cass's emotions - she's definitely been reacting more than acting, but I sense that's about to change. I'm super excited for her to talk to Aldonius. I'm guessing he recognises her as well? Lira's father didn't show any sign of knowing Cass, but Aldonius must be aware of his link to her given how afraid he looked when he saw her. It would be good to get some backstory from him.

I'll end on a small headscratcher: why is it only now that Cass's magic has started acting out to protect her? Why didn't it work on Earth, during the storm? Is it because she didn't realise she had it yet?

That's all for this one! Keep writing! :D

~Pan




Magestorrow says...


Thank you for your review!

This really intrigued me. Are they familiar because she's seen them on Earth, meaning that this world has a parallel sky? Or are they familiar because she's stargazed in this world before, yet doesn't remember it...?


;)

Who is Aldonius? I'm guessing he must have significant social standing of his own if he's able to contradict and talk back to a prince in the way he does.


;)

I just want to feel that Rodet's actions stem from his values rather than just the need for some drama. He can still be horrible, but he should at least believe what he's doing is for the best. At the moment, he feels far too 2D.


That makes sense! I'll try to give him more of a personality in the future chapters (if he shows up then) and in the future drafts.

So just try to be more specific. Describing emotions is difficult because they're mental and internal, which makes them harder to pin down and relate to. That's why metaphors are your friend, and why it's good to focus on the physical response to emotions rather than just the presence of them.


Thank you so, so much for this advice! I've been struggling a lot with writing the feelings in the story because they've felt incredibly repetitive and blah, but I think using metaphors would really help solve that problem!! Thank you again!

I'll end on a small headscratcher: why is it only now that Cass's magic has started acting out to protect her? Why didn't it work on Earth, during the storm? Is it because she didn't realise she had it yet?


I'm still trying to figure out how to work this explanation into the story - maybe a magic-savvy character that shows up in a later chapter will come up with a theory on it - but the reason is kind of what you were thinking! It's also just because Seraphinity is a more magical world than our own - being around all the magic makes her magic more likely to show itself, while back on Earth it would take some very, very strong emotions for that type of thing to manifest without her having any knowledge of its existence.

Thank you again for your review!



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Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:46 pm
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Querencia wrote a review...



Hi Saen!!

I know I haven't reviewed any of your other chapters, but I hope you don't mind me popping in here. :)

She knew slipping away and hiding her sadness wasn't the healthy response to grief, but she never wanted to cry in public.

Ahhh poor Cass! I really hope that she begins to realize that it's okay to let others know when you're sad and that she will finally trust Aspen with her fears. It's so hard to see her trying to cope like this.

There was that curious fear written across his face again; a fear that he shouldn't have had from looking at her of all people, though she wasn't quite sure why she knew that. It wasn't like with the feelings of déjà vu; those made her feel like something was missing. The feeling she had now as she tried to understand why Aldonius thought of her the way he did felt perfectly right, like it was simply the way that the world was supposed to work. It made her heart feel content.

I thought this part was a little bit confusing. It looks as if Aldonius fears her (though he later protects her)--perhaps we'll later find out why this is? And I understand her feeling of rightness when she thinks of Aldonius, but it seems sort of weird to to have her thinking of the way Aldonius is thinking of her. In my mind, it sounds sort of like his fear of her feels right? But I'm not sure that's what you intended, to maybe you could make it a little clearer here.

But Lira didn't shout at her. She didn't insult her, either. She just quietly said, “I'll help you pick your clothes,” and just as quietly made her way over to the basket.

I'm glad that she just lets Cass go when she could have been so much more stern (<3), but I also think that maybe there's a worry that she'll get lost? I don't think that Lira's fear of the dark magic has led her to dislike Cass, so I think she'd still be concerned about her going out alone, and maybe that should be addressed.

Cass couldn't do witty, and she couldn't do retorts.

I love it. :D

The darkness shot up even more, going as high up as her chest in her terror.

That's neat--is it a kind of physical darkness? I was sort of just imagining them as shadows on the ground before now.

“You were threatening her,” Aldonius quietly said.

“I did not-”

“You were threatening her,” Aldonius repeated.

Seconding Blue here--this is literally the best thing ever.

“I just don't like condoning murder, especially when it's clearly not justified.”

So, was Rodet actually planning on killing Cass? Even though she's sort of under Lira's protection? Did Cass realize this, and wouldn't she only feel more scared of Rodet upon hearing this? It didn't really seem like it was going to go that far to me, so maybe it should be more clear that he was going to kill her or else tone this line down to something like attacks or harassment.

Eep! I love this so much, your writing is awesome. :) There are a lot of emotions going on here, and I love getting that insight into the characters, but maybe some of them could be simplified. Cass has a lot of conflicting emotions, I think, but they're changing around so fast that it's hard to get a more general idea of what she's feeling until she's so clearly afraid of Rodet. Does that make sense? I'm just wondering if her emotions could be a little bit cleaner/clearer, not necessarily to her but to the readers.

I also hope we get some more background on Rodet--a prince should definitely not be acting that way! Maybe his behavior will tie into the story behind Cass's locket and both will sort of be justified, or at least understood. He seems to have some pretty violent hatred as well, and though I think it's for the locket and not for Cass, is it possible that he looks at her and has a moment of uncertainty, when he sort of remembers that she's just a girl? I think that would add an interesting layer to his character.

But anyway! I really had fun reading this, and am excited to see Cass's interactions with Aldonius. You're doing a great job with the magic elements of this, I think they're really cool. :)

-Q




Magestorrow says...


Thank you so much for your review! I'm sorry for not replying to it sooner.

I really hope that she begins to realize that it's okay to let others know when you're sad and that she will finally trust Aspen with her fears. It's so hard to see her trying to cope like this.


I can't wait for her to progress to a point where she feels more open with that, but it's definitely something that's going to be a hard struggle for her to overcome - Cass' experiences at the beginning of this chapter are based on some of my own, and it's definitely not an easy thing to do from my own experience.

It looks as if Aldonius fears her (though he later protects her)--perhaps we'll later find out why this is? And I understand her feeling of rightness when she thinks of Aldonius, but it seems sort of weird to to have her thinking of the way Aldonius is thinking of her. In my mind, it sounds sort of like his fear of her feels right? But I'm not sure that's what you intended, to maybe you could make it a little clearer here.


That makes sense! I'm going to make that a lot clearer in the next draft, but you're right on the Aldonius fearing her part. Cass, on the other hand, isn't supposed to like him feeling that way about her - it's a section I really need to reword in the future.

I don't think that Lira's fear of the dark magic has led her to dislike Cass, so I think she'd still be concerned about her going out alone, and maybe that should be addressed.


Thanks for the advice! I didn't think of that when writing the chapter, but Lira really should have said something about her possibly getting lost, even if it's ultimately decided that Cass can handle herself.

That's neat--is it a kind of physical darkness? I was sort of just imagining them as shadows on the ground before now.


Yup! Aspen's magic is like that, too.

So, was Rodet actually planning on killing Cass? Even though she's sort of under Lira's protection? Did Cass realize this, and wouldn't she only feel more scared of Rodet upon hearing this? It didn't really seem like it was going to go that far to me, so maybe it should be more clear that he was going to kill her or else tone this line down to something like attacks or harassment.


I'm honestly not sure what Rodet was planning on doing, so I can't answer that first part. What I was trying to reference there was various hate crimes that have occurred in our world. Even if something's not a logical reaction, people do react in horrible, impulsive ways to things that they don't like. Rodet might have been planning on killing her in that moment, or he might not have been. But in Aldonius' eyes, it was more akin to murder, which is why he said that he doesn't condone it.

Cass has a lot of conflicting emotions, I think, but they're changing around so fast that it's hard to get a more general idea of what she's feeling until she's so clearly afraid of Rodet. Does that make sense? I'm just wondering if her emotions could be a little bit cleaner/clearer, not necessarily to her but to the readers.


I understand! I'll definitely try to clear that up in the next draft.

He seems to have some pretty violent hatred as well, and though I think it's for the locket and not for Cass, is it possible that he looks at her and has a moment of uncertainty, when he sort of remembers that she's just a girl? I think that would add an interesting layer to his character.


Thanks for the suggestion!

But anyway! I really had fun reading this, and am excited to see Cass's interactions with Aldonius. You're doing a great job with the magic elements of this, I think they're really cool. :)


Thank you for your super nice review and advice! I really appreciate it. <3



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The feeling she had now as she tried to understand why Aldonius thought of her the way he did felt perfectly right, like it was simply the way that the world was supposed to work. It made her heart feel content.


I know this is sort of a weird moment, but on the plus side she probably looks less like she's been crying now.

“I...I wanted to go alone,” Cass said.

The grin immediately faded. “Oh.”


don't mind me, I'll just be over here crying

Like, wow. I mean, I know Cass feels like Aspen doesn't understand her right now, and I do think this is in keeping with the way she's been feeling and her character, but...Aspen was clearly kind of blindsided by it, so it's a bit heartbreaking.

“Don't you see what she is?” he asked. The hatred was still evident in his voice, but he hid it behind a calm tone. “She was going to attack me."

“You were threatening her,” Aldonius quietly said.

“I did not-”

“You were threatening her,” Aldonius repeated.


Okay, I officially love him. I know he and Cass have this weird connection, but who cares? The dude saved her from his prince and didn't back down from calling said prince out on inappropriate/violent behavior.

Prince Rodet looked the two of them over.

“Then you should get away from her as soon a possible,” he said, “because nothing good can come of being around someone like her.”


You, sir, are a jerk, and I don't like you.

Overall I think this chapter is good bc it feels like we're really moving forward. Like obviously we've been moving forward, technically, but this is the first place where it really starts to feel like the story's coming together, which I think is because Cass strikes out on her own and then we've got characters we've already at least sort of met and Cass's powers and, like, they can all start interacting in meaningful and interesting ways now, if that makes sense. Prior, we've mostly had a lot of the story sort of happening in Cass's emotions because it's all been based on these weird feelings she's had about people and things, but now that promises to start paying off with information/action.




Magestorrow says...


Thank you so much for your review!

I mean, I know Cass feels like Aspen doesn't understand her right now, and I do think this is in keeping with the way she's been feeling and her character, but...Aspen was clearly kind of blindsided by it, so it's a bit heartbreaking.


It's so frustrating writing this part of their friendship because I need Cass alone for Plot and Character Development, but I hate seeing her struggles when it comes to her friendship with Aspen.

Okay, I officially love him. I know he and Cass have this weird connection, but who cares? The dude saved her from his prince and didn't back down from calling said prince out on inappropriate/violent behavior.


Mission accomplished, then! :) I wanted people to love Aldonius as much as I do, and I'm glad you agree on his behavior being not cool.

You, sir, are a jerk, and I don't like you.


Mission accomplished! again

Your ending paragraph does make sense! I've been getting pretty bored with the exposition, so I'm happy to be moving forward at a faster pace now. I'm going to admit that Rodet wasn't my first choice for the person that Cass interacts with in this scene, but I thought having someone she already knows instead of a random guy on the street threaten her seemed much better.




It's unsettling to know how little separates each of us from another life altogether.
— Wes Moore, The Other Wes Moore