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16+ Violence Mature Content

Before the Dragon - 1.1

by Shady


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

T/W: non-graphic SA mentioned

Jerica’s entire body burned with exertion, from her arm down to her abdomen. Her chest screamed for air, too focused on her task to remember to breathe. She glanced down at her hand as she felt her arm trembling, not sure if it was her or the man that she was arm wrestling that was the one shaking. She glanced across the table at him.

He was at least three times her size. His pale face was flushed red and beaded with sweat, coarse brown mustache crinkling with effort. His bushy eyebrows were furrowed and drawn over dark eyes that glowered at her now. He grunted with effort, baring his teeth at her.

Jerica grunted, too; lungs burning. She’d already beaten a dozen or so men who now stood in a ring around them jeering. Perhaps she shouldn’t have decided to end with the biggest brute in this tavern. She was already tired. And his arms were the size of her legs.

“Ainsley!” a voice rose above the ruckus. Jerica didn’t have to look to know who it was. Akeno Haider, General of the Archers. He was nearby on her right side and started the chant in her favor. It caught on within moments. “Ains-ley! Ains-ley! Ains-ley!”

Jerica took a deep breath, tapping into the last of her strength reserves. Then, with a loud grunt, forced her opponent’s hand to the table with a loud thwack that echoed over the chanting. A roar rose from around them and multiple hands slapped her back in congratulations.

She laughed in relief and sat back onto her bench heavily, pulling her hand away. The man across from her buried his face in his hands. Jerica panted for breath, chest heaving from exertion, and dragged the back of her forearm across her forehead to clear the sweat.

“Woo!” Akeno’s hand landed on her back in a congratulatory pat, and he slid a mug of ale towards her.

She glanced over at him with a grin, taking the mug. His dark monolid eyes were warm as he looked at her with a proud smirk. Jerica took a drink, standing up and pushing the bench backward in the same motion as she looked back at her opponent. “Woo! Who’s your papa?”

The man dragged his hands down his face and cast her an irritable look.

“Pay up.” She crooked her finger at him.

He muttered something under his breath that she couldn’t catch over the noise around them but shoved a coin across the table towards her. She grabbed it and flipped it in the air, then opened the pouch tied to her belt and held it open, letting the coin fall in with a dramatic flourish. Then she weighed the pouch in her hand. That felt like enough for –

She looked around until she caught the bartender’s eye, then gestured in a circular motion. “A round!”

Another cheer went up. More pats on the back. Jerica grinned, taking a long draught of her own mug. Her head was buzzing pleasantly and there was a nice warmth spread throughout her whole body. It’d been a good night.

“For she’s a jolly good fellow!” The tune caught around behind her and soon the chorus rang across the whole room. By the second line, the twang of a lute carried the tune. Jerica glanced up and quickly spotted her cousin, Rek, in the corner strumming the instrument. He met her eye with a grin. She grinned, too, glancing around as the men continued singing. “For she’s a jolly good fellowwwwww – which nobody can deny!”

Jerica chuckled and took a bow, even though that wasn’t true at all. She was the fearsome King’s Assassin – loads of people could and did deny that there was even a single redeemable quality in her. But this bar was filled mostly with fellow soldiers and familiar drinking buddies, and she’d just bought everyone – even the strangers – a round. So, she supposed it was fair she was in relatively good graces for now. Especially since they were all drunk, which no doubt made it easier to forget who she was. What she was.

Three notes from the lute rang out, sharp and clear.

Jerica gasped, grinning and perking up as she recognized the intro of her favorite song. She happened to catch Akeno’s eye. “I like this song!”

“I know.” He smirked. “…and so does he.”

“…True.” Jerica smiled sheepishly, taking another drink of her ale. She started swaying along to the music, humming the tune to herself. It was hard to resist singing along when she was buzzed, especially when Rek played her favorite song.

Before long, she was singing the lyrics, first to herself – then to everyone else as well, her boldness growing with each line and each draught she took from her mug. She got an overwhelming impulse to dance and pushed away from the table before she remembered that this room was entirely too crowded to make for a good dancefloor.

Jerica looked around with a discontented sigh.

Then a thought struck her.

Well, part of a thought. The part of the thought that realized that the table in front of her was long and flat and dance-on-able. Her brain decided to ignore all the logistical issues, such as the various plates and cups on the table. Those would get taken care of, she was sure. Probably. Maybe.

She planted a foot on her chair and hefted herself onto it, wobbling precariously. Maybe I’m drunker than I thought… She put her other foot on the chair to steady herself, took a deep breath, then stepped onto the table. Another cheer went up and the sea of men shifted around her, both giving her more space as well as clearing their dishes from the table.

Jerica started singing and dancing on the table as the people on the ground around her stomped and clapped to the tune, joining in the chorus. Her singing was off-key and her dancing was even worse, but she was having a wonderful time and if anyone took issue with her behavior, she didn’t notice it.

She threw her head back and gulped down the last of her ale, then turned her heavy wooden mug upside-down to demonstrate its emptiness. A chuckle went up around her. She swallowed hard and staggered to the side, off-balance from how far back she’d tipped her head to finish off her drink. She hesitated, squinting towards the corner as she tried to focus her eyes. Something was happening, and she wasn’t sure what.

She saw the big man she’d beat arm wrestling in the corner, behind a stack of crates. What was he doing back there? He was facing the wall… and there was someone else with him… she thought. She wasn’t sure. She blinked hard, trying to clear her vision, and took a few hesitant steps down the table in his direction, trying to see what was going on.

Jerica caught a glimpse of long, blonde hair in front of him. A woman? Were they just--? She hesitated. It felt weird that they’d be doing that in a public space like this – the least they could do was get a room or something – but, then, she supposed they were in the corner out of the way not hurting anyone. She started to turn away –

The woman – girl, really, she looked like she couldn’t be much older than sixteen – tried to sprint past the man. The man grabbed her by the hair and threw her back into the wall, his meaty hand snaking under her blouse.

Rage flooded through Jerica, burning hot and sheer ice at the same time. She stormed down the length of the table without a second thought and leaped towards the man. She plowed into him unceremoniously, losing her balance, but recovering before he did. He staggered to the side, then turned back towards her, expression contorting into a scowl. “You—”

She didn’t give him a chance to finish; there wasn’t anything he could possibly have to say that she wanted to hear in that moment. Instead, she swung her fist, hard, aiming for an imaginary point behind his head as she did her best to swung her punch straight through his skull.

He collapsed immediately.


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IcyFlame wrote a review...



I am behind already and we're only at chapter one... xD

You have a bajillion reviews on this one already so I'm probably going to keep this one shorter in the interest of getting to the other parts of the chapter. I'm desperately going to try and forget everything I read the last time (and the time before) but I am easily confused and will definitely probably reference things that don't actually happen this time around, so I'm sorry for that in advance!

Now my rambling is done, I'll actually read the thing.

I like how you've subverted expectations right off the bat with this chapter. We're introduced to Jerica as a strong fighter, but where we assume she's in the heat of a battle she's actually in an arm wrestle. It's a cool way of introducing a bit of humour whilst still establishing her in her role. I think we also have a stronger sense of kinship here, whereas before I got the impression that almost everyone resented her title.

One nitpick for you

“…True.” Jerica smiled sheepishly, taking another drink of her ale.

Why is she sheepish? I couldn't align her reaction with what Akeno said.

I like the introduction to her need to save people and how we already know it's going to get her into trouble. It also hints at the idea she has some complicated relationships with the males in her life, but I'm not sure if I'm superimposing that on because I've read a previous draft and know at least something of what's to come...

Anyway, that's part one. I'm trying to review these in breaks between writing my own novel so hopefully it won't take me too long to get to the next part because as we both know I'm an absolute queen of procrastination!

See you in the next part!

Icy




Shady says...


ICY! I am SO sorry I forgot to reply to these xD I kept meaning to and then... yeah, anyway lol I did read these and appreciate them greatly <33

I think we also have a stronger sense of kinship here, whereas before I got the impression that almost everyone resented her title.


Ayyy yes, I was going for that. I am trying to give her something to actually have motivation to come back for, since that was a weakness of the last being like a "well why doesn't she just stay with Aerik if she's miserable at home?" that I couldn't fully answer haha



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Otterpop wrote a review...



Heya Shady! It's been a while but I'm here and looking forward to reviewing Before the Dragon! Mostly I'm excited to know the original story and get some more backstory information shown in After the Dragon.

Anyways! You immediately start off with some really good expectation subversion. The first couple of sentences make it seem that Jerica is in the heat of battle and perhaps suffered some kind of fatigue caused by battle and/or injury. But that expectation is quickly dissipated once it's revealed that she is just arm wrestling someone.

I also love how it's immediately apparent based on actions as well as inner dialogue just how strong and determined Jerica is, even in comparison with a man three times her size, as you put it. Certainly to a female audience like myself that immediately makes me interested in her character and the journey ahead of her, even knowing there are many darker elements to this story and world.

I also find this side of her interesting. I only know her personality from AtD, but the start of this story is showing a side of her that rather surprises me (so my observations here can be somewhat ignored because of that). She's certainly more...open isn't the word I'm quite looking for but I'm sure you have a good idea of what I mean. That said her sense of righteousness is as strong as ever given how this little section ended and I'm glad that side of her came out, though I have a feeling there could be some unsavory consequences later, but I'll just have to read on to find out.

Either way her personality is well-demonstrated here from the get-go, through actions and dialogue, and I like the personality that you've put together for her character. It's rather pleasant seeing a female lead who is essentially a soldier at the core of the character (even if that's not entirely accurate and there's more to it than that). It makes me look forward to the rest of the story. And other characters have been mentioned by name, but Jerica's personality is the real focus and so you've made it feel natural to really only mention other characters by name and not give them a solid story or personality just yet.

I also love the descriptions and actions you've described throughout this section, I have a really good idea/picture in my head about what's going on the entire time this bar and drunken dancing scene plays out. Plenty of funny moments too, especially once she started dancing on the table!

Now for just a couple of nitpicks and quoted examples of more specific things:

She looked around until she caught the bartender’s eye, then gestured in a circular motion. “A round!”


I think it makes more sense for her to say "Another round." in this instance.

Well, part of a thought. The part of the thought that realized that the table in front of her was long and flat and dance-on-able...


I'm finally a bit of difficulty while reading the second sentence (mostly the beginning of it). The flow feels a little off and doesn't 100% make sense, so I would think about rewording it a little.

She stormed down the length of the table without a second thought and leaped towards the man. She plowed into him unceremoniously, losing her balance, but recovering before he did. He staggered to the side, then turned back towards her, expression contorting into a scowl. “You—”


There might be a slight implication that he lost his balance as well and/or fell? But this should be clarified, even if just briefly. It would help understand this moment a bit better.

A random question also, but have you ever been drunk or tipsy before? I only ask because I have been in both circumstances, and some of the descriptions don't feel super accurate to what Jerica would be seeing/feeling as she consumes more and more alcohol. Something I thought I'd mention.

Aaaaaand I think that's it! Good luck with the rest of your story, can't wait to read more soon!




Shady says...


Thanks so much for the review! I appreciate you <3

I also find this side of her interesting. I only know her personality from AtD, but the start of this story is showing a side of her that rather surprises me (so my observations here can be somewhat ignored because of that).


No, you're totally right here! I uncovered this side of her in a roleplay I wrote her in -- and also some of my beta readers last time pointed out that we only saw her at her prickliest/rudest in the battle to start with and it didn't make her super likable as a protagonist. So I'm trying to loosen her up a bit to start. But in Chapter 2 she interacts with her antagonists and will be much more similar to how you've read her so far haha

I fully agree with all your critiques, though! Thanks for pointing them out, that's helpful! In particular, I do have a question if you don't mind. Based on this comment:

and some of the descriptions don't feel super accurate to what Jerica would be seeing/feeling as she consumes more and more alcohol.


Do you have specific parts you think should be addressed? Asking in good faith.

I have indeed drank my fair share, buuuut I have a ridiculously high alcohol tolerance, and I'm fully aware that distorts my perception. Like, on multiple occasions I've drank over a liter of wine by myself on a single evening and had a fairly long convo with someone then either apologize for being so drunk or be like "I need to go to bed I'm too drunk to be awake" and they're like "wait, you're drunk??" xD Like, it usually takes 4/5 drinks before I even feel it and 17/18 drinks/shots before I properly black out (and then keep drinking, I'm told).

I'm aware this is significantly higher than average lol and ig my point in that narrative is that I am a functional drunk and don't fully know how to write the average experience. But I want this to be relatable to a wide audience so if there are specific things that seem unrealistic, I'm happy to address them c:

Thanks again! Gonna post the rest of chapter 1 in just a few minutes!



Otterpop says...


Fair enough, I suppose I didn't consider the high tolerance perspective of it! If she has a higher tolerance similar to you than it's possible that your descriptions and examples could be more accurate to what she thinks/experiences while intoxicated, therefore there wouldn't be too many changes. Though if she has a lower tolerance some of the descriptions could be altered just a TINY bit, but overall it's more of a minor thing!



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Tue Feb 28, 2023 4:07 pm
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Carina says...



the first chapter opens up with Jerica beating an arm wrestling match, buying everyone rounds, drunkenly singing, and then tackling someone with rage. I think you've captured her vibe well hehe




Shady says...


haha tank u

she b a stereotype of herself



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dragonight9 wrote a review...



Oof! Straight through his skull? Dang, she's even stronger than I initially thought. Killing the guy wasn't that surprising I guess. He did kind of deserve it after all. (unless she only tried to and didn't actually punch through him)

The first paragraph had me thinking Jerica was under water until you pointed out that it was from concentration. Good job with that.

The fact that you used such a common song "a jolly good fellow" really helped me immerse myself in the story.

I also like how, when talking about her assassin side, you changed the focus of others seeing her badly to her judging herself for being what she was. (at least is seemed like it)
That really helped me realise she may not like who she is and may not be killing because she wants to. Perhaps it's all she knows or she had to for some reason.

I like how it went from her talking about how she is escaping from her life as an assassin by getting drunk, only to kill someone as her first option to stop the big man. (unless she just knocked him out, in which case she simply resorted to violence first)

I did take a bit of martial arts so I like how you described her punch. Really shows she has training in fighting.

As for the overall formatting I found it easy to read but I myself don't know how creative writing is supposed to be formatted so I can't say any more than that.

I like how you kept your chapter short so it wasn't overwhelming and ended it in a way that both concluded the first part and set up the next.

Overall I'm excited to read the next part. I was curious though, since I haven't visited your profile much before. Is this the first part of your series about dragons? I saw some other tabs in your portfolio about dragon stuff but couldn't see anything.

If this isn't your first story, where should I start to get the full picture of the world you're building?




Shady says...


(unless she only tried to and didn't actually punch through him)


Aha yeahhh that was a bit of hyperbole, just to demonstrate her training to "follow through" with blows rather than pulling them short. So she hit him quite hard but didn't actually kill him lol

I also like how, when talking about her assassin side, you changed the focus of others seeing her badly to her judging herself for being what she was. (at least is seemed like it)
That really helped me realise she may not like who she is and may not be killing because she wants to. Perhaps it's all she knows or she had to for some reason.


That's really helpful feedback! This is absolutely spot on and it's encouraging to know that you were able to draw that even from this first chapter part.

this isn't your first story, where should I start to get the full picture of the world you're building?


This is the right place to start! The other folders on my profile were older drafts of this story same story. I intentionally unpublished them so people wouldn't get lost in older drafts when this is the draft that I could use the most feedback on.

Thanks so much for the review! It was super helpful to see your reactions and get the useful feedback as I am crafting this revision of the story <3



dragonight9 says...


Sounds good. Can't wait to read the whole thing ;)



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yoshi wrote a review...



Hey Shady! So I've always wanted to review BtD but when I came across it, it was always already reviewed completely and I didn't know where to start. So . . . no better time than now?

“Pay up.” She crooked her finger at him.


So I'm sure most of your readers will be old reviewers, but I'm gonna be honest-- the only thing I knew already is that the protagonist's name is Jerica.

Anyways, Jerica is already a very likeable character. The story takes off with her arm wrestling some macho man in a tavern, obviously to demonstrate her strength to the reader. I love that she was brave enough to even put money on it as well. Now at this point, the reader could assume that Jerica is probably pretty strong. She did kind of defeat the strongest guy while she was tired. And apparently his arms were the size of her legs. Sheeeeesh.

She was the fearsome King’s Assassin – loads of people could and did deny that there was even a single redeemable quality in her.


Okay, sooo

This was a bit unexpected to say the least . . . usually I'd assume that assassins are like . . . dark and brooding types? Like sneaky types? Not wrestle the strongest guy in the tavern types?

But anyways, I guess Jerica drinks her problems away. It seems like while she's pretty strong, she might have a few insecurities about how people view her and the obvious unethical nature of her occupation.

Especially since they were all drunk, which no doubt made it easier to forget who she was. What she was.


Just gonna add that this line really hits. I really like it.

Well, part of a thought. The part of the thought that realized that the table in front of her was long and flat and dance-on-able.


. . . she's not going to do what I think she's about to do right? Right?

The woman – The man grabbed her by the hair and threw her back into the wall, his meaty hand snaking under her blouse.


Um so initially I was not exactly sure what SA stood for but um yeah

On a lighter note, the scene where Jerica danced on the table was hilarious. I actually love how you write the narration while she's drunk, like the paragraph where she was contemplating if she should get on the table or not.

The only thing I noticed was that you used the word 'logistical', but I'm not really sure if that's the word you were looking for. (relating to or involving organization and planning.) Probably should have been 'logical'. But that's just a little thing.

Also thank GOD she saved that girl-- my heart was pounding.

And also there's no way that guy would have stood a chance against Jerica so PHEW.

He collapsed immediately.


Best three words of the entire chapter.

Anyways, I'm glad I had the opportunity to review this gem! And I'm glad I could get to reading it from the start, and earning some points along the way. :)

-yosh

eggo isn't actually eggs




Shady says...


yosh! <3

So I'm sure most of your readers will be old reviewers, but I'm gonna be honest-- the only thing I knew already is that the protagonist's name is Jerica.


Honestly, it's super helpful getting fresh eyes on this! Like I'm looking forward to my old reviewers getting to this draft because they're awesome and have good insight and I'm eager to see if this is a better version than my previous draft (I hope it is lol) but they all have a vague idea of where this is going so it's nice to have some people jumping in who are experiencing this as a new reader :')

This was a bit unexpected to say the least . . . usually I'd assume that assassins are like . . . dark and brooding types? Like sneaky types? Not wrestle the strongest guy in the tavern types?


haha I will let this simmer a bit until you see more of her role xD but this was helpful insight! One of the major critiques of the previous drafts was she was too prickly and unlikable and she's still gonna be a bit... harsh when she's in assassin mode, obviously lol but I'm trying to make her more relatable and give her in different contexts.

I yeeted her into an RP last year that was a modern AU on a college campus and decided that her goal was to out-frat-boy the frat boys xD and it worked surprisingly well for her character, so I'm trying to balance life of the party with prickly brooding assassin.

But anyways, I guess Jerica drinks her problems away. It seems like while she's pretty strong, she might have a few insecurities about how people view her and the obvious unethical nature of her occupation.


You are 100000% spot on and I am impressed you picked up on it so quickly <3

Um so initially I was not exactly sure what SA stood for but um yeah


Oh nuuu I'm sorry! I thought it was a relatively common abbreviation. Hope you didn't stumble into something you weren't in the right headspace for <3

The only thing I noticed was that you used the word 'logistical', but I'm not really sure if that's the word you were looking for. (relating to or involving organization and planning.) Probably should have been 'logical'. But that's just a little thing.


... you have valid points xD I shall edit

Also thank GOD she saved that girl-- my heart was pounding.

And also there's no way that guy would have stood a chance against Jerica so PHEW.


<3

Jerica is physically incapable of letting herself just stand by if someone is getting attacked like this. Like. She's gotta get in the middle of it. Always haha

Best three words of the entire chapter.


<33

Anyways, I'm glad I had the opportunity to review this gem! And I'm glad I could get to reading it from the start, and earning some points along the way. :)


Thanks so much for the review! It was super helpful and insightful and I'm very excited to hear that you are going to be coming along for this iteration of BtD <333

eggo isn't actually eggs


LIES



yoshi says...


I yeeted her into an RP last year that was a modern AU on a college campus and decided that her goal was to out-frat-boy the frat boys xD and it worked surprisingly well for her character, so I'm trying to balance life of the party with prickly brooding assassin.


You did . . . what? I MUST KNOW MORE!

Oh nuuu I'm sorry! I thought it was a relatively common abbreviation. Hope you didn't stumble into something you weren't in the right headspace for <3


That's mostly my fault for not looking it up honestly, but it wasn't that bad or too graphic so its cool!

Also eggos are waffles! No egg! Blasphemy!



Shady says...


ahaha it was delightful ngl

Basically, we put Jerica and Rek on a college campus along with other characters but made it a modern AU so they didn't have any of their trauma or memories. So Jerica was an ADHD zoology major failing all classes except her major classes and she joined the all-star college football team and got invited to all the frat parties even when other girls weren't invited xD she also got in several fist fights

I realized that minus the trauma and training, she's still absolutely the type to be a major showoff xD so she channeled all her energy into becoming an athlete rather than an assassin like in canon and did kegstands at frat parties on the regular xD she's not nearly so gregarious in canon but it was a fun side of her to explore that worked surprisingly well haha



yoshi says...


What sport did she play? also I can totally see Jerica getting in fistfights at frat parties and winning them



Shady says...


Oh she absolutely won them xD

And she played basically every sport ever haha she was one of those kids who changed up what she played by the season so that she was constantly playing something. In the RP she was on the football team so mostly did that and weight lifting but also made references to fencing growing up and playing basketball, soccer, tennis, baseball, horseback riding, etc.

She%u2019s the type of person who%u2019s strong and quick so she tends to excel no matter what the physical feat is.



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soundofmind wrote a review...



Hey, Shady! I feel lucky that I caught your story as you're starting anew again >:) Because now I can hop right in easy peasy.

Jerica took a deep breath, tapping into the last of her strength reserves. Then, with a loud grunt, forced her opponent’s hand to the table with a loud thwack that echoed over the chanting. A roar rose from around them and multiple hands slapped her back in congratulations.

Hehe. We love a strong woman main character. MUSCLES.

I will admit that having already seen Jerica as a character in a different context, I'm already a little familiar with her personality but it's really nice to see her in her original context! I feel like this first chapter half has given us a good, solid depiction of her personality. I already feel like I understand some major things about her: she likes to win, she's stubborn and persistent, and she can be impulsive. You show this both in the arm-wrestling and in the confrontation at the end with the Tavern's Biggest Loser.

I think one of your biggest strengths in this exposition is you really establish character and even some important relationships off the bat. You naturally fit Rek in and alluded to Jerica's affection for Rek's musicianship and her familiar/close relationship with him as a cousin. General Akeno seems to be a solid ally and/or friend (I don't know if we'll see much more of him, but he seems chill lol) and Jerica seems comfortable with him in this context even as he cheers her on and eggs others on too.

“For she’s a jolly good fellowwwwww – which nobody can deny!”

Jerica chuckled and took a bow, even though that wasn’t true at all. She was the fearsome King’s Assassin – loads of people could and did deny that there was even a single redeemable quality in her. But this bar was filled mostly with fellow soldiers and familiar drinking buddies, and she’d just bought everyone – even the strangers – a round. So, she supposed it was fair she was in relatively good graces for now. Especially since they were all drunk, which no doubt made it easier to forget who she was. What she was.


I enjoyed the way you fit in this information early on.

Completely unimportant tangential side-note: Worldbuilding is such a funny and weird thing and I encourage people not to overthink it or go painfully deep unless they really enjoy it and it doesn't hinder the story but the moment I saw the familiar "she's a jolly good fellow" I couldn't help but wonder where that little ditty comes from in this fantasy world and if it has the same or similar roots as it does in ours. But that's the thing about fantasy worlds. There's always silly little things like that in fantasy stories and I enjoy it lmao.

One thing I do want to note is that even though I'm vaguely aware of what kind of setting and story I'm getting into, a bit more description at the beginning would've been helpful to set the scene - I think it could fit in right after Jerica wins the arm wrestling fight, maybe?

You wouldn't even have to add a lot, honestly, but even just a few little descriptors of the tavern would help. My brain can conjure up a vague, basic tavern-ish image because I'm familiar with taverns in fantasy literature and stuff, lol. But is there anything notable about the place? How big is it? Is it really crowded? Is it drafty? Smelly? Is it clean? How nice of a place is it? Is it well-lit?

Overall, though, this is a super solid start and I really enjoy it. Great characterization and I already feel really immersed in the moment with Jerica!

Tag me for more chapters and I shall try to keep uppy. :^) <3




Shady says...


Hey, Shady! I feel lucky that I caught your story as you're starting anew again >:) Because now I can hop right in easy peasy.


Aww COINCIDENCE bc *I* feel lucky that you are jumping on the Jer train <3

I think one of your biggest strengths in this exposition is you really establish character and even some important relationships off the bat.


I'm really glad to hear that! I think one of the main weaknesses of my previous draft was I opened it mid-war so we only got to see prickly assassin Jerica, not drunk life of the party Jerica -- and my main goal with this draft is to make her more likable and relatable, so I'm glad to hear it's working :')

General Akeno seems to be a solid ally and/or friend (I don't know if we'll see much more of him, but he seems chill lol) and Jerica seems comfortable with him in this context even as he cheers her on and eggs others on too.


Aha, yes, Akeno is one of the main supporting characters. I'm glad to hear you like him :') <3

I couldn't help but wonder where that little ditty comes from in this fantasy world and if it has the same or similar roots as it does in ours.


Bold of you to assume I know the origins of this ditty in any universe xD

One thing I do want to note is that even though I'm vaguely aware of what kind of setting and story I'm getting into, a bit more description at the beginning would've been helpful to set the scene - I think it could fit in right after Jerica wins the arm wrestling fight, maybe?


Ahh valid! Thank you for pointing that out. I do have a tendency to be oblivious to setting the, well, setting. I'll try to be more mindful of that ^^

Thanks so much for the lovely review!! <3 I shall certainly keep you updated to new installments and count myself blest you are joining my rank of reviewers <33



soundofmind says...


:^)!!! <3 <3




Uh, Lisa, the whole reason we have elected officials is so we don't have to think all the time. Just like that rainforest scare a few years back: our officials saw there was a problem and they fixed it, didn't they?
— Homer Simpson