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16+ Language Violence Mature Content

Breaker of Chains - Chapter Eighteen

by ScarlettFire

Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language, violence, and mature content.

For Tenyo's LMS contest. Enjoy. Word Count: 1,161, approx.

Chapter Eighteen

The courtyard was deserted when Arjana and Rindal entered it. Sunlight turned the baked earth and stone into a furnace, and the few sections of grass and trees did little to relieve visitors to the courtyard of the heat. He caught a glimpse of Rindal wiping sweat off his brow, and had to smile. Which probably wasn't an appropriate expression for someone who had just lost his father--and his Emperor. Arjana was going to enjoy dismantling his father's legacy of terror.

"Hot today, isn't it?" he said, drawing Rindal's attention back to him. The man had been scanning the courtyard--which was quite obviously empty. Rindal nodded. "We'll have to ease the restriction from my father's water regulations. That was simply ridiculous."

Rindal grunted, and it was hardly a reply. Arjana sighed and went quite. He was also glad Kaisar was awake now. He'd thought the man would be unconscious for much longer. It was remarkable timing that Kaisar would awaken the morning after his mother had smothered his father--and that was an odd thing to be thinking. He was shocked, yes, but the old man had deserved it. He'd been a downright bastard to not just Arjana or his mother, but to everything. Arjana didn't blame his mother for smothered the old bastard in his sleep. Given half the chance, he probably would have done the same thing.


He blinked, glancing up from where he'd been staring at the ground. "Yes?"

The guard gestured in front of him. A small, oval rock sat in the middle of the heat-baked courtyard. They both halted. Arjana frowned at it, taking a moment to study it closer. It was simple, dull grey river stone. He crouched to take a much closer look.

"What is that?" he asked, reaching out to touch it. Just as he was about to make contact with the stone, there was a flare of bright white light. Arjana raised his arm to shield his eyes just as he felt Rindal grab his collar, and then jerk him backwards. He tumbled to the ground, the guard stepping in front of him.

Something roared, and Arjana blinked furiously to clear his vision, suddenly fearful. It cleared remarkably quickly, and he found Rindal standing between him and what appeared to be a furious beast. He watched in awe as large leathery wings spread wide on either side of the guard. They were a slate blue and rather dull. It roared again, shaking Arjana right down to his core. The beast had an elegant head, and the dull slate blue continued everywhere. It shook its head, and Arjana saw a few head-sized scales fall to the ground. It couldn't be....but it was.

"Is that...what I think it is?" Arjana shouted to Rindal. The guard didn't take his eyes off the clearly angry beast.

"If you mean is it a dragon?" Rindal called back, "then yes."

"Holy shit," he muttered and scrambled backwards, but the dragon only had eyes for the guard. Angry, red eyes.

Arjana swore and scrambled faster while Rindal stepped to the side, circling around it and yelling to try and keep the beast's attention. He stopped shorted when he saw its eyes drifted his way. Rindal yelled again and waved his arms so it wouldn't look towards Arjana. The noise and movement worked; the dragon's eyes darted back to Rinal. Arjana saw the beast breath in, and then it breathed out. A plume of fire gushed out its mouth. It hit Rindal full in the face. Arjana cringed back when the man screamed. It was a dreadful, piercing scream full of pain. Rindal hadn't even drawn his sword.

The dragon lunged forward and took a large bite out of the burning man's torso. Rindal fell, suddenly silenced and eerily still. Arjana saw it swallow--and then it turned towards him. He watched with huge eyes as those angry red eyes narrowed, and then it breathed in. Arjana was sure he was facing his death. Suddenly, Kaisar was there, between him and the beast. He was holding out one hand, the other clutching his side. Arjana could see fresh, bright blood dripping onto the dark grey stone of the courtyard.

"Stop," Kaisar said, his voice loud and clear. The dragon paused, eyes still narrowed in his direction, but now it was focused more on Kaisar, on his beloved. It seemed to consider him for the longest moment, and then it turned its head to the side and breathed out. The plume of fire hit a nearby tree and it burst into flame, spitting sparks and sending smoke pouring up into the sky. The dragon's head swung back to them, and Kaisar went down on one knee. "Thank you."

"Kaisar?" Arjana queried, concern flooding his voice. He didn't move, just in case the dragon attacked again, but Kaisar was bleeding and obviously in pain. Arjana could hear guards yelling for healers and more men somewhere behind them. "Kaisar?"

"I'm alright, Arjana," his beloved said, quieter than before. He glanced back at him and offered him a tight smile. Arjana inclined his head and then peered up at the dragon warily. Its eyes were slowly bleeding back to something that was more purple than red. He wondered if that was the dragon's true eye colour. "So is he."

Arjana's gaze darted back to Kaiar. "Who?"

"The dragon," Kaisar explained, swaying a little. Arjana grabbed the other man before he could fall over. "He was angry. Someone sent him into a magic-fuelled rage and then locked him into a very small space."

He suddenly remembered the river stone and looked for it. "The stone," Arjana murmured, running his fingers through Kaisar's hair. "It was just sitting there. Rindal seemed to think it was odd, which is why we stopped." He sighed and leaned in to rest his forehead against the side of Kaisar's head. "I think someone was trying to kill me."

"No shit," Kaisar said, laughing. The dragon let out a roar, startling them both. Arjana lifted his head and glanced back to see Hassun and about three dozen guards warily lingering some ten feet behind them. "It's safe... I think."

Arjana nodded and Hassun approached without fear. Behind him, they dragon snorted and then was a loud thud. He figured the beast had laid down. "It's safe," he called loudly, and turned back to Kaisar. "Are you safe?"

Kaisar offered him a suddenly tired smile. "Think I moved too fast."

"Well, that'll serve you as a reminder," Hassun said sternly, kneeling beside them and moving Kaisar's hand out of the way. "I told you to take it easy, and then you just had to rush off out here to save your prince again." He flicked a glance up to Arjana's face. "Nice dragon you discovered, sir."

The dragon chuffed, sounding smug. Arjana chuckled. "It's not my dragon."

Kaisar offered the healer a smug, satisfied look. "It's mine."

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346 Reviews

Points: 37216
Reviews: 346

Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:38 pm
Pretzelstick wrote a review...

Hello Scarlett, I am here to review this chapter of your story. I just wanted to let you know that I am completely in the dark(meaning that I haven't read any previous chapters) so I feel like I'm coming on right into the action here. Anyways, I'll try my best to give you some perspective, because even though I am confused you did give some backstory here.

I personally feel like this whole chapter was rushed, whether that was rushed becase you wrote it in a rushed time squeeze, or maybe rather I think that it might have felt rushed because of the pace of the chapter. Like, I wanted to say to slow down during this whole chapter, because there was just so much stuff happening, that my brain wasn't actually wrapping around all of the information. I think that perhaps you should slow this down a tad bit, by trying the technique of portraying this scene in slow motion, kind of like they do in movies and such.

So apparently, from what I could gather Arjana father, the emperor who was in charge just died and Arjana isn't feeling bad about it at all. But then like, how does Arjana feel about Rindal's death and Kaisar's serious injuries. I guess that because I don't really know this character that well, I would like to have some more emotion shown and drawn out. Maybe like in scripts, just include a couple of emotional beats in between all the chaos that's happening. Here is an article that I would reccomend that you read to enchance that "muscle" Breathing Emotions into scenes in your writing: so you could better improve and such.

Ok, so as another note I wish that you could have given us some more description about the dragon. Like he seems to be such a driving force there. What color is it? How big is it? What type/kind of fire will it breathe out? etc. I guess that I just wanted something more of a mental image than just "the dragon" because there is such a great variety and each and every one is unique.

"Is that...what I think it is?"

"If you mean is it a dragon?" Rindal called back, "then yes."

I don't think that the dialogue really flows here, because it seems so obvious and unnatural. If you think about it, here they are, in an emergency sitatuation. And while I do understand why they might hesistate or be in disbelief/denail, I don't really necessarily thing that this is the way to go about that.

Suddenly, Kaisar was there, between him and the beast.

I guess that I'm still unsure of how this action happened. I wish that you might have clarified this in the dialogue later on, like at the end where Hassun came in and starting scolding Kaisar that he came in between this fight scene. It would have been helpful and probably given us a motive or advanced the plot at least a little bit more.

It seems like the dragon's eyes are a very important symbol, because throughout the chapter you keep on describing the eyes looking at them and switching from person to person in the dragon's perspective. It's just that this part got repetitive and so I think that you can cut some of that out, or use different body language. For example: rotation of the head, flick of fingers/wrists,etc.
"It's safe... I think."

This line kind of struck me as senseless, like I don't really understand why he would include that hesitation. Don't they have like a dozen of guards around them in the background to check/verify? I guess that I don't understand why there isn't a bit more security or loyalty around the guards, but then again maybe that's just some worldbuilding that has been done before.

The dragon chuffed, sounding smug. Arjana chuckled. "It's not my dragon."

Kaisar offered the healer a smug, satisfied look. "It's mine."

Does this mean that the dragon can understand and copy facial expressions? Because this is what you seem to signify when you use that word twice. Great cliffhanger though, really leaves me on the edge of what's going to happen next!

Overall, I tried my best to not make this review of me being clueless, but I do have to admit that I did enjoy myself reading this, even though it was very hard to keep track of the characters and such. I hope that this helps with your writing, and if you have any questions, you know where to find me!


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15 Reviews

Points: 229
Reviews: 15

Sun Nov 29, 2015 11:46 pm
nosirrah123 wrote a review...

Before I start my review, I should say that I haven't read the previous chapters of this book. After reading this, I might though!

I have few significant negative things to say about the overall construction of this chapter. Quite simply, it is very good. Your dialog and imagery stood out in particular. I could almost feel the sweltering heat radiating from the stones of the courtyard, and the way the characters spoke seemed very genuine.

I did say that there are few mistakes made in this chapter, but nothing is perfect. There are a couple problems that I could bring up that I think would help you improve.

First, let me alert you to a grammatical error present in this passage. You forgot to use commas before dialog to help make it clear who was speaking. This is present in almost every instance of dialog. I did not even notice it until my second read, but I still think that this is a bad habit that you should correct. I'll provide an example to help you understand.

Incorrect: "The stone," Arjana murmured, running his fingers through Kaisar's hair. "It was just sitting there. Rindal seemed to think it was odd, which is why we stopped."

The period after "Kaisar's hair" needs to be a comma.

Correct: "The stone," Arjana murmured, running his fingers through Kaisar's hair, "It was just sitting there. Rindal seemed to think it was odd, which is why we stopped."

There are numerous instances of this in the writing. I would suggest that you go through and try to correct as many of them as possible.

My second criticism would be your word choice. I think that while often you choose a the right word or words, you tend to repeat them. Examples would be that you used "dull slate blue" to describe the dragon twice, and "beast" 7 times. Try to vary up the words and descriptions that you use in order to avoid repetition. For example, you could have said "muted gray-blue" instead of "dull slate blue" and "animal" or "colossus" instead of "beast."

I also think that perhaps you could have slowed down a bit and been a bit more detailed, but that's just personal preference.

Honestly, this is a very good read. I'm probably gonna go back and read/review the previous chapters now that you have me hooked. Have a nice day!

Lice on rats on a horse corpse on fire.
— John Oliver