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Conquer Rising: Chapter 2.6

by Snoink


Archondid finished and looked up. Alainna and Solea frowned at him. “This is the first time that I have heard of this story,” Archondid said quietly. “When Uclepidies served the Conqueror, he was away from the other Black Swans most of the time. The other Black Swans have stories that parallel each other, as you will find out when you read the stories that they have given you. But Uclepidies’s story is still very much unknown, as he hasn’t been able to tell his story until recently, and he is still very much reticent to do so.”

“Why?” Solea asked.

“Because he helped the Conqueror get to power,” Archondid said simply. “If it weren’t for him, there would be no Conqueror. He was the only Black Swan who was stupid enough to give his blood willingly to his niece and allow her to possess him. And she used him to possess the other Black Swans. After that, she was basically untouchable, until she was stupid enough to try to possess Diamea, and then the whole thing backfired on her.”

“But why did Uclepidies try to help her?”

Archondid shrugged his wings. “Who knows? He’s never told me. I was tied up to a pole in the desert when the Conqueror stuff happened, so I never even knew my niece existed until it was already too late. I helped create the acid that destroyed her, once Eurodities loosened my bonds, since none of the other White Swans wanted to help her destroy the Conqueror, but that was all.”

“That was when Sergius attacked you?” Solea said quietly.

Archondid nodded, grimacing. “It’s Eurodities who knows most of Uclepidies’s story,” he added. “Once she heard the rumors about the rise of the Conqueror, she transformed into a human, disguised herself, and worked as a servant to the queen until she figured out a way to destroy the Conqueror from the inside. She saw some of what Uclepidies did while the Conqueror was in power. And perhaps he was possessed when he did some of the things that he did. Who knows? But I can tell you that the things she saw him do were not good.”

Archondid gestured to the letter grimly. “This letter doesn’t do him any favors either. If the Conqueror made a necklace special for the queen for her to tell whether Uclepidies was being possessed or not, that indicates that he still had quite a bit of free will and probably supported the Conqueror in her efforts freely. I can tell you that his brothers and sisters were not given the luxury of such freedom. When the Conqueror was not possessing them, they were very much imprisoned and sometimes even tortured when they refused to comply with the Conqueror. So why was he allowed to go free when they weren’t, and what did he do in his spare time while his siblings were being tortured as they tried to resist?”

Solea listened quietly, her face growing pale. “But he was there when the Conqueror was destroyed, wasn’t he? So at least he helped with that, right? He’s not happy about the Conquerors now, is he?”

“I don’t know. And honestly, I am not even sure whether I want to know.”

Solea looked at the necklace and felt her stomach drop. “So he is bad then?” she said in a strange voice.

“Never mind that,” Alainna said suddenly. “The other Black Swans seem to like him well enough now, so I suppose they have forgiven him and it doesn’t matter now. We should forgive him too.” She held up the necklace. “Should I wear this gift or not?”

“It is a cursed necklace and should be destroyed.”

“I am not going to do that,” Alainna said firmly. “Should I wear it or not?”

Archondid glanced at the necklace and hesitated. “If it does exactly what Uclepidies said it would do, then it might be useful. For example, if you had recognized that Uclepidies had suddenly and forcefully possessed Theron at the birthday ball, which he did, you would have had a second to run away from Theron, instead of getting attacked. Or you could have called out and startled him. Or you could have done something else to alert people that Theron had been violently possessed by Uclepidies. Having an extra second can be very useful at times.”

Alainna considered this and slipped on the necklace, carefully hiding it under her clothes. “There,” she said. “Though it seems a bit silly to hide such a pretty necklace.” Then she looked at Archondid. “Does Uclepidies think that someone is going to get possessed soon?”

Archondid shook his feathers. “It’s always a possibility.” When the girls looked at him strangely, he said to Alainna, “You are the Lady. You will meet Diamea. You will also meet the Conqueror. Those are both certainties. And, if everything goes well, you will lead Diamea to the Conqueror so that he can kill the Conqueror and destroy the Conqueror line forever. That’s what the prophecies seem to agree on. But, unless the Conqueror is willing to die — and who knows, that is always a possibility — the Conqueror may make some sort of last stand. So yes, it’s very possible that someone will get possessed soon.”

Solea suddenly froze. “A horrible thought just occurred to me,” she said very slowly. She looked up at Archondid strangely. “Why was Sergius the one who ordered my execution? Back when everyone thought that I was a Conqueror?”

“Because Sergius is the one who deals with serious Indeterminate cases that look like potential Conquerors,” Archondid responded blandly.

“And why is he so involved in this particular selection of teacher?”

Archondid bowed.

Alainna’s face suddenly turned white. “And why is Uclepidies suddenly giving me a magical necklace that can detect possession — even though I humiliated him and rejected his last gift — and requesting that I wear it since it might be useful?”

Archondid didn’t respond.

In a tiny voice, Solea asked, “Archondid, is our new teacher a Conqueror?”

Archondid bowed once more. “Again, I am forbidden to say anything about the matter.”

Alainna groaned and sunk into a chair. “Oh no,” she moaned. “This is a terrible idea. How is this a good idea? This is a terrible idea. Why is this idea even under consideration?”

“Remember, you are going to meet the Conqueror one way or another,” Archondid reminded her gently. “That is guaranteed. You might as well be among friends when you do.”


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Mon Jun 26, 2023 10:21 am
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MerleBlackbird wrote a review...



So, to start off-- I love the characters you have here! They're intriguing, lifelike, and convincing. My favorite might be Alainna, just because she has such a steadfast, opinionated, and sometimes contrary personality. I also should mention: I love the name Solea. It's so pretty, and it really fits the character. Not sure how you came up with it, but it's practically genius.

The dialogue and tone of the story are also nicely written, I must particularly compliment the way you describe the characters' small behavior in place of dialogue tags. Excellent mechanism.

Now here's my one pointer: I think you're cramming a little too much information into short spans of your work. I understand that you need to establish your setting and backstory, but you also probably don't want to info dump on your readers. It can be overwhelming, and sometimes, kinda boring if we're not already deeply invested in what's going on. Instead of laying everything out in packed segments, maybe consider using stages of hints and revelations. Make the characters wonder, suspect, and guess - and the readers will be much more interested when the facts and explanations come. Weave a few mysteries. Create a minimal backstory and gradually fill in the blank spaces.

It's also usually a good idea to try to avoid large segments of highly informative dialogue. Though this can be used when absolutely necessary, it can definitely weaken the flow of your story. Long portions of dialogue with no action can be a little dry, even when you have an incredible set of characters to execute them with.

Those are my thoughts, please take them or leave them! Keep up the hard work, you're doing a great job!!




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Sat Jun 17, 2023 7:36 pm
IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hello, Snoink! Happy Saturday!

I've noticed this has been in the Green Room for a while and I've always had the intent to read this novel so I'm killing two birds with one stone today and swinging by with a review. I've just finished reading all the parts up until this one so I'm fully caught up, although I must admit I found the explanation of the necklace in the last part to be a little overwhelming, so I'm hoping I understood it all.

Random side note before we get into the main review, but have you purposely called chapter two 'Conquer Rising' instead of 'Conqueror'? You switch back at chapter three so I'm wondering if you're trying out two different titles, or just forgot what you called the book part way through xD

I'm enjoying the pacing of the novel overall, but I think my feeling of being overwhelmed by a lot of information is quite a consistent theme. I can't think of a section I've read up until this point which wasn't filled with lots of either Alainna or Solea being given a whole load of backstory on Conquerors and Swans and it's resulting in me not being able to quite keep track of it all, despite having read all the parts in one go up until this point.

This bit in particular was harder for me to follow and took a few rereads:

Archondid gestured to the letter grimly. “This letter doesn’t do him any favors either. If the Conqueror made a necklace special for the queen for her to tell whether Uclepidies was being possessed or not, that indicates that he still had quite a bit of free will and probably supported the Conqueror in her efforts freely. I can tell you that his brothers and sisters were not given the luxury of such freedom. When the Conqueror was not possessing them, they were very much imprisoned and sometimes even tortured when they refused to comply with the Conqueror. So why was he allowed to go free when they weren’t, and what did he do in his spare time while his siblings were being tortured as they tried to resist?”


I think I'm confused because I don't really get how a queen fits into all of this - and how it means Uclepidies had free will. He didn't make the necklace? If anything doesn't it implicate the queen more than it does him?

I like all the elements of this so far and I appreciate how tricky it is to do the whole worldbuilding and lore telling without info dumping, but it's feeling a bit heavy right now!

See you for chapter three!

Icy




Snoink says...


Yay! Thanks for taking a look. :)

Random side note before we get into the main review, but have you purposely called chapter two 'Conquer Rising' instead of 'Conqueror'? You switch back at chapter three so I'm wondering if you're trying out two different titles, or just forgot what you called the book part way through xD


OMG. I literally didn't notice this at all and let autocorrect fill in everything. XD This is a mistake, lol.

I've just finished reading all the parts up until this one so I'm fully caught up, although I must admit I found the explanation of the necklace in the last part to be a little overwhelming, so I'm hoping I understood it all.


Yay!

I think the important thing(s) about the necklace are.

1) It's pretty.
2) The stone originally belonged to the Conqueror, but she magicked it and gave it to a queen that Uclepidies served.
3) Uclepidies hid it away.
4) It's probably cursed.
5) It turns hot when someone possessed is nearby.

...hopefully those five things are somewhat apparent by the letter? (If not, let me know, because I need to revise it!)

I'm enjoying the pacing of the novel overall, but I think my feeling of being overwhelmed by a lot of information is quite a consistent theme. I can't think of a section I've read up until this point which wasn't filled with lots of either Alainna or Solea being given a whole load of backstory on Conquerors and Swans and it's resulting in me not being able to quite keep track of it all, despite having read all the parts in one go up until this point.


This... kind of terrifies me, ngl. XD I don't like info dumps. I tried to sneak in the information with the narrative as much as possible. But like... now that I think of some of the other in-person reviews, I remember that the first couple of chapters were met by comments such as, "LOL, hopefully you don't expect me to remember all of this, right?" So like... it's probably a lot to handle at first. (Oops!)

I think the most important thing is that there should be a sense that Swans and the Conquerors have a blood feud going on and it's a complicated mess.

Anyway, some questions for you!

- Do you think that the narrative is being hidden by the sheer amount of information that is being thrown out there?

- Is there a part in the story that you've read so far that weaved in an appropriate information into the narrative so you felt like you understood everything after you read it? (That way, I can look at that part and see what I did and maybe revise the rest to look like that, haha.)

I think I'm confused because I don't really get how a queen fits into all of this - and how it means Uclepidies had free will. He didn't make the necklace? If anything doesn't it implicate the queen more than it does him?


Hmmm... I think that in the later books, I learned how to have the characters ask questions and interrupt so that there isn't such a huge wall of text. I should go back to the first chapters and do that, probably... I think that will make things a lot easier if you read it as a dialogue and not just an info dump.

As to the queen... I should probably explain that better. I can see how it isn't clear... *sigh* At the time when I was writing this, I wasn't sure how much information to put in. But now that I am almost done writing it, it occurs to me that I could talk more about who she was and how Uclepidies got her into this whole mess with the first Conqueror, lol.

Though like... that would be more information and I'm not sure how much my poor readers can stand. XD

I'll have to play around with it a bit! ^^

Anyway, thanks for the review! :D



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Sun Feb 26, 2023 10:49 am
yamatri says...



I want to read more .......next chapter plz





grammar is hard and i dislike it immensely
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