z
  • Home

Young Writers Society


18+ Language Violence

The Last Spell 27.1

by SilverNight


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

Even minutes later, Cyrin’s ears were still ringing from the static, and his head with it. He’d climbed to the roof to sit down, with his legs stretched out in front of him and his back against the railing. It was all there was to do to recover, at times like that. He’d tried counting breaths while staying still and calm, but his chest felt tight and he could feel his hands shaking, even with his palms pressed against the concrete. His thoughts were wandering in all directions.

He could only hope Shane wasn’t worried, or wondering if something was wrong. There wasn’t a way to tell him. Well, there was, but it meant being honest, and he wasn’t about to fully open up about it. Shane might keep his name and identity secret for him, but that was another thing entirely.

When their head felt clearer and their shakiness subsided, Cyrin let out a deep breath they’d been holding, allowing their head to fall back against the railing. Above, the two moons were half-full and close together, barely visible behind a mountain peak. Cyrin followed the motion of a blinking satellite as it crossed the dark, starless sky. Their thoughts were still wandering, unable to focus on what they should be doing right now, but at least there were some more useful thoughts in the mix.

What about the spacewreck and the astronaut? They were still baffled at their possible involvement in this. Cyrin found it plausible enough that the battery in the Fall had come from the fallen satellite— or as plausible as it could be, at least— but how was an astronaut linked to the First Spell? He couldn’t possibly have come from the twenty-year-old spacewreck. About to embark on the newest one, maybe, but then why was he out running errands in his spacesuit?

That’s right. There’s a new satellite spacecraft.

Cyrin furrowed their brow. They hadn’t heard about the satellite for the first time from Mireya— they’d already heard of it, they were sure, but they couldn’t remember the context. Had it been Clarity? She might’ve mentioned it along with…

That thought went spiraling into the lingering buzzing in the back of their mind, and Cyrin closed their eyes for a moment. Saints, they really needed to remember their meds.

With a sigh, he opened Shane’s location on his communicator. He hadn’t moved much since he had started his climb, and he wondered what meant. Perhaps this stage was taking a while longer than he’d first anticipated.

There. Shane’s location in the Arcade started moving towards Cyrin’s position. He and Kasumi were on their way to Sparrow.

Cyrin got to his feet again, using the railing for support as he glanced at the skybridge below. They would cross it, he knew, and then move to the opposite side of the building and take the elevator up. He would meet them there just as they would meet Sparrow. His part of the plan was so astonishingly simple that he almost wished he had more to do out of boredom.

He’d been planning on taking his time crossing the roof and dropping down to the right level, but he heard a strange hissing sound behind him. It might have been gas escaping from a pipe, but it sounded more familiar than that, and the noise had a different, lower pitch. He glanced over his shoulder to check it out.

A large viper had appeared on the roof behind him, watching him with yellow eyes and flicking the air with its tongue.

Cyrin bumped into the railing as they backed up, the air rushing from their lungs. They could hardly take their eyes off the viper, even when Pia materialized behind it. Through their panic, they had to search for the reasons they wouldn’t have noticed a Concealment spell until they decided that it must have been an artifact.

“Is this snake scarier?” Pia asked mockingly, flashing them a fake smile.

Cyrin tore their gaze away from the viper and to her face. “You’ve gotten better at making them look that way, I suppose. I would have gone for a new illusion, though, and I’m kind of offended you think I’d fall for the same trick twice. Can’t you think of anything better?”

“Funny.” Pia’s grin widened. “I’m kind of offended that you think I’d try the same thing again.”

The snake’s tail coiled as it stared at Cyrin, rising from the roof. The city light made its body cast a faint shadow on the ground.

Not a Projection.

Cyrin threw themself to the side just as the viper lunged for them. Its fangs sank into the empty air as they crashed on the ground a few feet away. They used their momentum to leap to their feet rapidly and then backed up as it swiveled its head towards them again, seeming to completely ignore Pia even though she was the closer one to it.

“Fine, clever,” they said, hating that they had to say it. “How the fuck did you willingly get a venomous snake onto a city roof?”

“You’ve heard of snake charmers from the South, right? Ever wonder how they do it?” They couldn’t spare Pia a glance, now that they had to keep their eyes on the viper, but they heard the wicked glee in her voice.

“Can’t say I have.”

“Well, I’ll enlighten you. The truth is, they don’t actually have any talent to do it. They’re just mages.” Pia walked slowly behind the viper again, her black braid of hair sweeping over her shoulder. “They use Rationale. It’s so much easier on animals than humans that it’s almost surprising no one’s thought more of it.”

If Rationale wasn’t Clarity’s Hollow, he was sure she’d be interested in hearing this. She had a tendency to dabble in areas of magical science that she thought were being overlooked.

“Great, so you hypnotized a snake to do your bidding,” Cyrin said. “It does sound easy. Even a bit lazy and cheap, maybe?”

Pia scowled, and the viper rose up again, its tongue flicking the air menacingly. “I’ll be proud of anything that gets you to shut up and die.”

He had trouble thinking of any snake bite with more unfiltered venom in it than those words. Hopefully, he wouldn’t be finding it out tonight.

The snake was fast, but its reaction wasn’t immediate. It gave a signal that it was planning to strike, with its tail coiling and uncoiling. Cyrin saw it then, just a moment before it lunged again.

That one moment was enough. His Concealment blade was hardly in his hand before it was flying through the air, meeting the snake’s neck at the halfway point to him. The viper spasmed for a few moments, soon flopping limply on the ground and going still. With a flick of his hand, Cyrin summoned the blade back to his hand with its Force magic, and looked back up at Pia.

Pia clicked her tongue with irritation. “I keep forgetting you have that thing.”

“That is kind of its point.”

She shrugged, rolling up her sleeves. “Well, I did think it would be a little boring, honestly. At least now, I get to have some fun with this.”


Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
557 Reviews

Points: 33593
Reviews: 557

Donate
Sat Sep 30, 2023 4:52 am
View Likes
Ventomology wrote a review...



Okay finally back. I had to stew for a while on this one.

As always, I love the strategy and creativity that characters get to express in this magic system. It's orderly, but also has a million different uses and combinations that always keep me guessing. Also what is Pia's deal with snakes?

Now, I know I've given you a setting talk before (and I am also behind lol), but I'm going to bring it up again. This world is incredibly rich in history and in current events. The collision of science and magic and history is a delicate balance that I commend you for tackling--I probably would never. I think, to match your setting descriptions to the incredible amount of lore behind all this, it might be worth examining where and how often and for how long you describe the physical surroundings. I find, if I don't do something every few paragraphs to remind people it's there and that it looks a certain way or has a certain feeling, it gets lost. One or two words slipped into a sentence can be all you need.

Honestly, I think you've thought of what every setting in this story looks and feels like. There is enough going on that it would be hard not to have an idea. But you need to give yourself the occasional moment to put the words in so that we can all see it too.

Uhhh... this chapter is mostly action, and you do a consistently good job so I like didn't even think about it haha. You always have good variance in the sentence lengths and structure and pick the right moments to go short and punchy.. Keep it up!

Best regards,
-Vento




SilverNight says...


Thanks so much Vento! As always I super appreciate the feedback on physical setting description!



User avatar
690 Reviews

Points: 85524
Reviews: 690

Donate
Fri Sep 22, 2023 1:58 am
View Likes
Plume wrote a review...



Hey there! Plume here, with a review! Hopefully I'm not becoming a nuisance yet!

I loved the action in this chapter; Pia's ambush with the snake was definitely a surprise, but still didn't feel like it came out of nowhere. I found myself literally holding my breath, mostly because they're up so high. Somehow, you've managed to tap into my fear of heights with your words. Definitely very anxious for Cyrin, and thank goodness there's a railing, because things could go down very quickly from here (literally and figuratively). I'm hoping they accounted for Pia's appearance in the plan, because it seems like she's not going to go down easy.

One thing I did wonder is if Cyrin has a thing with snakes; that was the one part that felt a little random. I liked the tension it created, but I felt like he was almost too scared of it. I couldn't remember if it was established that they're really not a fan of snakes à la Indiana Jones. He seems to be genuinely bothered by it, and I couldn't tell if that was because of the snake or because of the surprise of Pia, or a combo of the two. It just seems like up to this point, Cyrin's been a pretty cool and unflappable character, and we've never seen him be truly scared, but here, he reads that way to me, at least.

Specifics

He could only hope Shane wasn’t worried, or wondering if something was wrong. There wasn’t a way to tell him.


This definitely seems like more is up that just his identity as a Bridger (and I feel like someone in the group already knows that—was it Shane? Cannot recall) and I like how you're keeping the audience in suspense; you've got a great mix of mysteries that are only mysteries to some people for that taste of dramatic irony, and then mysteries more like this one where everyone, including the audience, is kept in the dark.

She shrugged, rolling up her sleeves. “Well, I did think it would be a little boring, honestly. At least now, I get to have some fun with this.”


Oh, we are revving up to an epic stories-high fight, aren't we. I look forward to it immensely in the next part.

Overall: great job, as always. Excited to finish the chapter!




SilverNight says...


Hopefully I'm not becoming a nuisance yet!


Never!!! Your reviews are so lovely and I always enjoy them greatly :)



User avatar
1506 Reviews

Points: 157040
Reviews: 1506

Donate
Sun Aug 20, 2023 8:30 pm
View Likes
IcyFlame wrote a review...



Yayayayayay! perfect Sunday evening reading for me <3

Even minutes later, Cyrin’s ears were still ringing from the static, and his head with it. He’d climbed to the roof to sit down, with his legs stretched out in front of him and his back against the railing.

definitely think this flows well with the previous chapter - this is exactly where I thought we'd jump to so this makes sense to me.

t was all there was to do to recover, at times like that.

I found this sentence kind of clunky - maybe that should be this? I'm not too sure, but it took me a couple of rereads.

His thoughts were wandering in all directions.

Wandering seems quite passive and chilled. Maybe something like scattering instead?

There wasn’t a way to tell him. Well, there was, but it meant being honest, and he wasn’t about to fully open up about it. Shane might keep his name and identity secret for him, but that was another thing entirely.

I like this as a reminder that we don't know everything about our characters yet. There's still some things they're hiding from each other - it feels like we've had a lot of information recently so this is good to remember!

They were still baffled at their possible involvement in this. Cyrin found it plausible enough that the battery in the Fall had come from the fallen satellite— or as plausible as it could be, at least— but how was an astronaut linked to the First Spell?

I find it interesting that they all assume this person is actually an astronaut, rather than someone simply using the outfit as a disguise. I would have thought the latter was less of a leap than an actual astronaut running around (in uniform)?

“Well, I’ll enlighten you. The truth is, they don’t actually have any talent to do it. They’re just mages.” Pia walked slowly behind the viper again, her black braid of hair sweeping over her shoulder. “They use Rationale. It’s so much easier on animals than humans that it’s almost surprising no one’s thought more of it.”

Ahh I love this lore!!

Ooh a fight! This definitely goes a long way to heightening (hah, a pun) the tension for Cyrin! The only thing I'm having trouble with at the moment is placing the whole plan together, but I'm thinking that should come clearer as I keep reading.

I'd also forgotten Cyrin had the blade, so I think that was a timely mention! Personally, I'm hoping Pia falls off the edge...

See you for part two!

Icy




SilverNight says...


Hey Icy!!! Welcome back and thanks as always for reviewing :)

I find it interesting that they all assume this person is actually an astronaut, rather than someone simply using the outfit as a disguise. I would have thought the latter was less of a leap than an actual astronaut running around (in uniform)?


I agree I probably need to make this thought process clearer! An astronaut isn't as surprising as a job in this world, and the spacesuit wouldn't look costume-like, which are details I think I just need to add in earlier.

Personally, I'm hoping Pia falls off the edge...


Don't we all XD




Remember: the plot is nothing more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.
— Ray Bradbury