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Artificers Prologue: Silent Gods

by Skeptykal


The realm of Oridus is known for its great kingdoms. From Irongate, the center of innovation and Spelltech, to Thetia, land of frost, many powerful warriors roam the lands, seeking riches and acclaim. Blessed with the power of the Aspects, these legendary figures, known as the Artificers, are the champions of the Gods.

When a threat approaches, the Artificers are summoned to defeat it and cast it back. But lately, the Gods have become silent. No longer do they communicate with the humans below. Because of this, a threat looms overhead, and the Artificers are said to have retreated into hiding.

No one knows what the future holds for Oridus, but as long as there are heroes out there, hope still stands.

***

"Just what do you think you're doing here, punk!?" 

"Relax, I've just come for a round of drinks," Illas shot back at the rude bar patron. 

Illas is an infamous assassin plaguing the Skull Isles. Rumors had spread so wide of his flawless executions and grand heists, that merely his name being uttered would scare most into hiding. It was even said that he held the power of the Flame God Neir's Cataclysm aspect.

"You know you're not welcome here, Illas Ren," the patron barked at him.

Illas ignored him and sat at the bar and ordered up some ale. The bartender immediately got to work. Illas wasn't fond of everyone fearing him, besides, he only killed those who deserved it.

"You got three seconds to scram, or else-!"

"Or else what? You're going to kill me?" Illas peered at the patron, "I was considering adding you to my list of targets, Treason Thatch."

The patron stepped back, "Treason Thatch? W-w-who's that?"

"Don't play dumb with the good people of this town, you've been backstabbing every captain this side of Skull Isles' Crossing, and you've earned yourself a special place on my kill list."

"Aye! Lackeys, dispose of him!" Thatch bellowed. Suddenly, four other men get up from their seats and brandish their blades.

"A set-up, huh Thatch?" Illas chuckled, "The manslaughter about to grace this pub is going to sound nice to hear around town."

As the men approached, Illas grasped his twin cutlasses and sliced straight through two of the lackeys' chests, leaving grievous wounds.

"Let me cauterize that for you."

Illas held out his palm, and out came a burst of flames, engulfing the two men, as well as their fellow minions.

"You in for one hell of a ride," Illas said, eyeing the lowlife pirate escaping through the door. Illas followed him out of the bar and watched as he tried running away down the street.

"No need to waste energy," Illas murmured to himself, "I've made enough of an impression on him."

He concealed his blades and disappeared into the crowd.


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25 Reviews


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Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:06 am
IsProcrastinator wrote a review...



Well, this was an interesting prologue. I think you did a good job creating a solid idea of what the assassin, Illas is like and I hope to see more of his character afterwards.

But I believe you could have created a stronger opening line if you jumped right onto the conflict between Illas and Thatch, rather than the detailed information about how the fantasy world works.

Another thing that seemed off here is the bar patron's reactions to Illas.

"Just what do you think you're doing here, punk!?"


Here, he is openly rude to Illas, despite knowing he's a notorious assassin. It seems like an unnatural reaction. It'd have made sense if Thatch was superior, or stronger than Illas, so he'd have enough courage to be nasty towards him.

The patron stepped back, "Treason Thatch? W-w-who's that?"


But here, his attitude is entirely different. He's nothing like the previous Thatch who was addressing Illas as ‘punk’ or even asked him to get out. I wish you'd fix it. Maybe he'd act confident and straight up deny the accusations Illas brought against him? It'd make his characteristics more consistent.

I found this one slightly odd :

"A set-up, huh Thatch?" Illas chuckled


That means Thatch already had lackeys ready to kill Illas. But it didn't quite fit with his attitude in the beginning. Why would the patron want to drive Illas out of the bar if he had originally planned to kill him? It'd have made more sense if the bar patron had tried to keep Illas at the bar, so that he gets the chance to attack him when he's off guard.

This one:

Illas held out his palm, and out came a burst of flames, engulfing the two men, as well as their fellow minions.


Don't get me wrong, but I think he really should have used a magic staff, or a magical object, or an enchanted weapon to shoot the flames at his enemies, rather than throwing flames right through his palms. I know this is a fantasy world where magic exists, and people can use it. But shooting flames from palms? That sounded slightly childish to me. I get the feeling that Illas is gonna be my favorite in this story, with his reputation as an infamous assassin and his awesome combat skills (I especially liked the way he pulled out the twin cutlasses, and I made myself ready for an epic fight was about to start!). And so I wish he'd use his fire powers in a cooler way.

Well, overall I think it's a start of an really interesting story. I'd like to read more of it. I strongly believe you'd easily overcome those kinds of mistakes as you write more. You did a pretty good job establishing the setting, and i really like Illas's coolness as he literally fries his enemies XD

Keep writing, friend! Looking forward to the next chapter. Could ya possibly tag me when you publish it? :)




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Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:17 am
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TheMulticoloredCyr wrote a review...



Hey! I'm currently on vacation (kinda. It's a working vacation. I'm in a nice cabin, and I have work to do, to summerize), so I've only got a few minutes before I have to get ready for bed so I can sleep off the ungodly amount of pasta I just consumed. Either way, I'll try to be as thorough as possible in this review. It's been a little while since I've reviewed anything, to be entirely honest, due to the fact that I've been out of state and getting used to having a job and stuff, but I'll be returning to my usual style. Basically, I'll be going through paragraph by paragraph and being super nitpicky about what I believe could be improved or where I think there's a problem, then I'll give my general thoughts at the end.

With all that out of the way and no further ado, let's get into the review! (Haha, that rhymed)

"The realm of Oridus is known for its great kingdoms."

Here's your opening line. Now, I always pick apart the opening line, but I think I actually have an idea for a change you could make here so hear me out. You use this line as a sort of hook, which is great, you should do that, but maybe it would be better if you used a different hook. Later I'm going to talk more about your introduction to your protagonist, but for now, I'll just say that it would work better here. Maybe add a line about the feats of assassination Illas is known for, about how in all the great kingdoms of the realm of Oridus, people have learned to fear his name. Just blend your points together to give the readers more information right away so when he shows up, the readers know who he is and how the barkeep should be reacting.

But I've lingered a little too long on that one sentence, so I'll move on.

"When a threat approaches, the Artificers are summoned to defeat it and cast it back. But lately, the Gods have become silent. No longer do they communicate with the humans below. Because of this, a threat looms overhead, and the Artificers are said to have retreated into hiding."

So your first few paragraphs are dedicated to these guys, the Artificers, which may have been a mistake. Let me explain. Yes, since your whole project is named after them the readers are going to want to know who and what they are and why they should care, but this is a very classic case of 'show don't tell'. Here, you tell. Right off the bat, the readers aren't interested. I found myself skimming this part upon my first read-through (I read every work I review a minimum of two times to make sure I didn't miss anything obvious). It wasn't until I read it the second time that I forced myself to slow down and actually take in the information. Now, I realize that's partly a me thing. My reading comprehension has been going down lately for reasons I'm trying to figure out. But that doesn't mean it isn't a problem.

Now that I'm done probably making you feel bad (sorry about that), I'm going to tell you how I think you could fix it. In a word, show.

In a few words, start out with a jump right into the action and find a way to weave this information into the narrative. Think about the scene itself and how you could adjust it to convey this information. Maybe Illas is talking to someone about the Artificers, if he has a friend or something whom you wanted to add as a side character, this could be a good time to introduce them. Or, if this is information he doesn't know but has to learn about later, perhaps he overhears a conversation about them (which could serve as foreshadowing). Or maybe he is one, which seems likely from my perspective, and he has an inner monologue about his 'greater purpose', possibly triggered by something the barkeep says or something. Or maybe the readers don't need to know this yet at all and it would be better to convey it to them gradually.

My point is, please don't start with an exposition dump like this. It is much more interesting if you start directly with an interesting scene telling the readers who your characters are and what their deal is.

Anyway, moving on.

""Just what do you think you're doing here, punk!?""

You later establish that Illas is a well-known assassin and that the barkeep knows this. That brings into question, why would he address Illas like this? It's difficult to get a feel for their relationship in context, but I don't see any reason to believe that the barkeep thinks he's somehow above being targeted by Illas or anything of the sort. His rudeness feels out of place, is what I'm saying.

I think you could improve this area by explaining what would make him think he could talk to an assassin like that and get out alive, or by having Illas and the barkeep not have really met before. In the latter situation, you would also have to explain why the barkeep would think his presence was a nuisance (like, he looked disheveled or suspicious in some way, should only take a sentence or two).

Onward we plunge!

"The patron stepped back, "Treason Thatch? W-w-who's that?""

This one's a bit of a pet-peeve of mine, so excuse me if I start getting a little sarcastic, I promise I don't mean to offend you, I just really don't like this. People. Don't. Stutter. Like. That. Again, sorry, but they really, really don't. Maybe if they had a genuine requires-speech-therapy stutter or their teeth were chattering from the cold or something, but otherwise, nope.

In real life, stuttering is more like, more like repeating words out of nerves or, or something. Or even....or even more slowly....if they're lost in thought....or...or they're talking about something....something they don't really want to be....to be talking about......

Hope that helped. I know that no one ever teachers anyone how to write realistic stuttering or anything of the sort, so I get how you made this mistake, it just bugs me.

Also, I feel like a guilty criminal might not have such a....well, immature reaction to being caught, but then, it is your character, so you can do what you want.

""Aye! Lackeys, dispose of him!" Thatch bellowed. Suddenly, four other men get up from their seats and brandish their blades."

Having him refer to his lackeys as, literally, 'lackeys', is a little on the nose. You could just have him make a hand signal or something to make it appear more organized. Or, perhaps, in his panic, he just yelled out "Get him!" while gesturing for his men to do just that. That way it looks more like he actually planned for them to do something beforehand and that this wasn't just a spur of the moment thing.

Also, wasn't he trying to kick Illas out a minute ago? Wouldn't it make more sense for him to be more inviting so his men could better get the drop on the assassin?

In that case, you could showcase some perceptive skills in Illas by having him note that the man was being friendlier than usual, maybe a little too friendly. Then Illas puts up his guard, the patron makes a rude comment, Illas mentions that he knows who he is (basically the same exchange you have written), and the rest goes pretty much exactly how it does already.


Okay, nitpicks aside, it really was a good read. I enjoyed it both the first and second time through (which is something that doesn't happen very often) and I'm starting to enjoy the character of Illas.

Seeing as this is a prologue, I don't know if he's going to be the main character, or even really all that present, for the rest of the story, but he has shown me that you have the ability to write intriguing characters, so I can still look forward to that.

In general, your dialogue could use some work. I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't bring that up. The things your characters say and the general flow of conversation was a little clunky and unnatural, so that's something you'll have to work on. But, seeing as there's no fix-all tip for that area of writing, it's just something that will improve over time. No rush.

If you would tag me every time a new chapter comes out that would be greatly appreciated. How I go about tagging people for that kind of thing, in case you don't know how or you just want to know a way to do it easily, is by making a wall post announcing the chapter (which everyone can see in the 'people' tab)(that's how I found your wall in the first place) with a link to the chapter. Then, usually in a spoiler, I tag everyone who asked to be tagged.

(You tag people by saying @(insert their username here). I'm only telling you because it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure it out on my own)

Anyway, that's all I have for you for now. Goodbye and happy writing!





"He looks like a turtle who's been through the Vietnam war."
— SirenCymbaline the Kiwi