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Before The Dragon (Revamp) - Chapter 3

by ShadowVyper

Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language.

Rage seethed through Jerica, numbing the pain in her arm. Lord Biryn stood close in front of her, hand still clamped around her breastplate with his fingernails digging into her chest. He towered over her, breath reeking as he breathed into her face. Her right hand shot up, grabbing his wrist and twisting his grasp free.

She kept twisting his arm, stepping forward onto the offensive as she forced him backward. She made sure to dig her fingers into his arm, hoping that some of her nails were clawing him through his thick cloaks. “I’ll break your fucking arm.”


Jerica heard Kieran’s panicked voice, but didn’t look towards him. She kept her venomous glare focused on Lord Biryn’s gaze. His eyes were dark and harsh, sharply contrasted against his sallow flesh. His dark mop of hair was spilling into his face.

“Try it,” he hissed. “I dare you.”

His flesh instantly grew hot beneath her grasp, breath getting even stuffier as he breathed down on her. She kept her grasp just as tight, refusing to back down, even as his arm began burning her palm. He had another thing coming if he thought that he could intimidate her with his magic. She’d just killed Valeren mid-explosion – she wasn’t going to back down from Biryn’s parlor tricks.

“You think I won’t?” She twisted his arm further.

“Stop it!” Derik’s hand landed on their arms as he stepped in the middle of them. “Both of you, stop it now! How do you think this looks to the soldiers, having the two of you acting like children?”

“He started it,” Jerica snarled, jerking her arm away from Derik’s grasp and off of Biryn’s arm. She looked around and realized the nearby soldiers were all gawking; Kieran was staring with wide eyes, heaving to catch his breath.

“I don’t care who started it.” Derik put his hand on her shoulder, his other hand on Biryn’s, and pushed them further apart at the same time. “I’m ending it.”

Jerica stepped back resentfully, fixing Biryn in a venomous glare once again.

“You.” Derik’s finger was in her face, drawing her attention. He glowered at her. “To the Palace, like I ordered.”

“That’s where I was heading.” She glared at Biryn again, mockingly bowing to him. “Hopefully you understand, now that Lord Ainsley said it.”

“Go,” Derik said crisply.

She turned on her heel, starting back the way she’d been heading before she got accosted by Lord Biryn in the first place.

“Yes, run back to the Palace, Princess,” Lord Biryn’s taunting followed her.

Jerica threw her right hand up, flipping her middle finger up in response as she continued walking, never looking back. Kieran was trotting close to her heels, not daring to speak. She stormed along the wall, down the stairs, and stomped along the cobblestone path that curved up to the palace.

Who did he think he was? Accosting her in front of her own men? The nerve! The absolute gall! How dare he – how dare he undermine her like that? And in public no less! In the middle of a battle! She kicked a rock angrily out of the road in front of her. She could hear Kieran panting next to her, struggling to keep up.

“If you ever do something like that,” she snapped, turning her attention on him, but forcing herself to slow her pace. “I swear on the gods above and any down below, I will stab you on the spot.”

“I would never!” Kieran’s eyes were wide, earnest.

“No?” Jerica looked at the path in front of them. “You mean that you, a child of thirteen, are smarter than that sorry excuse of a man is, fully grown?”


Jerica forced herself to take a deep breath. She started to rub her face with her right hand, but stopped short as she realized Biryn had burned her hand with his little stunt. She slowly curled it into a loose fist, stopping so quickly it took Kieran a step and a half to realize. He turned back towards her; eyes still wide.

He was scared.

Of course, he was. This was the first battle he’d been in, after all. And she was angry on top of that. Her anger could make grown men retreat – never mind a young boy who was obligated to follow her each moment. She took another deep breath, decidedly unclenching her jaw, and then met his gaze. “Are you alright?”


“Are you alright?” she repeated, forcing her voice to be soft. “I wasn’t supervising you for quite a while. Did anything happen?”

“No ma’am,” he answered. “Lieutenant Haider watched over me. I’m not hurt.”


“… Ma’am?”


Kieran took a deep breath, looking at the ground in front of his feet. “Permission to speak freely, ma’am?”

“Eyes up here.” She gestured at her own eyes. He nodded, lifting his gaze to meet her own. “You’re not a servant to cower, to anyone. You look people in the eye when you speak.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good. And yes, speak your mind.”

Kieran took a deep breath, then slowly let it out. She lifted an eyebrow. He took another deep breath then blurted out. “Are you okay, ma’am? General?”


“Never mind.” He spun on his heel and started up the path once more.


He stopped in his tracks, but it took him a long moment to turn back around. He looked up at her guiltily.

“You don’t run away, either,” she scolded, but her voice lacked any sense of disapproval. “I’m fine. Why do you ask?”

“Well… you’re just… very bloody, ma’am.” He gestured at her.

“Yeah, well… you’ll have that sometimes.” She shrugged, resuming her trek up the hill with Kieran at her side. “The physicians are going to take a look at this cut on my arm… and maybe my hand as well… but otherwise, I’m fine. I’ll be back in the battle by tomorrow, no doubt.” 

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Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:24 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...

Ok, chapter 3 let's go!

Lord Biryn stood close in front of her, hand still clamped around her breastplate with his fingernails digging into her chest.

How is he digging his nails into her chest if she's wearing a breastplate? Wouldn't it be in the way?

“You think I won’t?” She twisted his arm further.

At this point, it's hard to remember her own arm is injured! Does she even have the strength to be doing this right now?

“No?” Jerica looked at the path in front of them. “You mean that you, a child of thirteen, are smarter than that sorry excuse of a man is, fully grown?”

hmm, I guess I get her venting her anger on Kieran however unwarranted it was but this seemed like a weird way to do it? Couldn't she get irrationally angry at him for something else? This didn't fully work for me and seemed a bit forced.

“Permission to speak freely, ma’am?”

This is an exact repeat of the line Zaire said to her in the previous chapter. Maybe change it up a bit?

So I think you could probably tack this onto the end of chapter two as it has a more rounded off ending! (unless you're planning on having a second part to this?). I also would like to hear more about the fact that she's killed a powerful wizard as everyone seems to have breezed past that! I do think we need a bit of a break in the violence, so I'm hoping that comes soon xD

Looking forward to reading the next chapter <3


ShadowVyper says...

Thanks for the review! I... yeah I have no excuse for the fingernail thing. That's not how hands work, is it? xD I'll definitely think on how to revise this! One thing is that I am currently in the process of re-writing chapter 2 based on some feedback I got ideas for foreshadowing for another important plot point, but past this I had some more world-building and character-fleshing-out in the upcoming chapter(s) for sure to get a break from the violence (after the blood bath that is chapter two re-write xD) Thanks again!

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Mon Sep 21, 2020 6:30 am
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Vincian wrote a review...

HELLO SHADY ohohohoho I see this only has one review GREEN REVIEW TIME let's hope you get to that sweet sweet maroon color too :D

Lord Biryn stood close in front of her, hand still clamped around her breastplate with his fingernails digging into her chest.

I would hope that Lord Biryn stood close in front of Jerica instead of far in front of her. Also, if he is grabbing onto her breastplate then how would his fingernails be digging into her chest? Wouldn't it be digging into the breastplate itself?

Ahhh, and we see the childlike aspect of Jerica here! Although I like this more than how she acted in the last draft, because she stands up for herself more here with actions rather than just words. If only she actually broke his arm XD BUUUUT I definitely think that would have a lot more consequences if she broke his arm than if she just threatened him. Also, throwing a middle finger is a thing in this universe? Innnnnteresting. It's quite convenient that Derik was there to stop that from escalating any further, although I guess I can explain it away as Derik just wanting to talk to Lord Biryn. BUT STILL.

“No?” Jerica looked at the path in front of them. “You mean that you, a child of thirteen, are smarter than that sorry excuse of a man is, fully grown?”

Why did Jerica turn on Kieran like that? That's a no-win situation for him, and I bet she knew that. That's very a-hole-y of Jerica to do that, not gonna lie. This just knocked her down a peg of respect for me >:c don't be mean to Kieran like that.

I gotta be honest, I'm not a fan of this chapter. I like the encounter between Jerica and Biryn but I don't like that it happened here of all places, or that Biryn likes to accost Jerica any moment that he can, and I definitely don't like that Jerica attacked Kieran like that, even if she did try to make up for it after. I guess it's just her way of venting her anger, but it still just rubs me the wrong way. How long will she stay injured here? For basically the entirety of the last draft, she was injured or in the process of getting injured, so I basically don't want to see the same thing here. Let's get back to the action, and progress the story along, even if we need to do a small timeskip. What are your plans for the next part? Also, there was only the briefest of mentions about her killing Valeran in either of these last chapters. I'd like to see a bit more about that in the next chapter. Looking forward to it though :D

ShadowVyper says...

Whoop whoop two reviews in one day it's a RevMo miracle ;)

So I apparently need to make this clearer, but Kieran ran to get Derik when he saw Biryn and Jerica going at it because he knew that Derik is the only person who has the guts to step between them xD Do you have a suggestion for how I can make Jerica be able to know that without having to take her gaze off Biryn?

I was thinking Kieran screamed "LORD AINSLEY" as he took off running -- and then after Derik comes in Jerica sees Kieran heaving to catch his breath. But I wasn't sure how else to depict that? I'm not so lazy as to casually have Derik there as a plot device, there was an explanation ;)

Vincian says...

Maybe that his voice fades? But, right now I see nothing regarding Kieran running away to get Derik haha and the breath could have been him like just out of breath from the encounter. Honestly, I'm not sure at the moment. I will think about it more

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Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:47 pm
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Vil wrote a review...

Hello there, Shadow! It's Gandalf the Blue-- er, Vil here with a review.

What I Like
Jerica angry, and I really, really, really like that XD
The interaction that she has with her Squire is absolutely adorable.

What I Dislike

Grammatical Errors

cower, to anyone

No comma needed here.

Jerica gets to kill some of there a**holes, right? Please tell me that she gets to kill Biryn in cold blood, because that guy makes me fume. I wish she had broken his arm... and maybe every bone in his body... Needless to say, you are whetting my appetite for blood, gore, and violence XD

In Summary
Another excellent chapter! Anyone that hurts Jerica in any way, shape, or form needs to die! :D

Have a nice [*insert time of day here*]!!!

I would rather die of passion than of boredom.
— Émile Zola