Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Fantasy

16+ Violence

Chapter 4.3

by TheSilverFox


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

Author's Notes: 1,879 words.  Edited on request; still written around November 2016.  I want to invent a time machine and hit my past self in the back of the head for calling a horse a "vehicle" - that's been edited too, fyi.

"Who is he?" questioned the tired man, who was most likely the leader. He gestured towards Aquila, but didn't seem to be addressing the question to anyone in particular.

"He appears to be one of Exedor's messengers, Alarick," the woman replied calmly, looking weaker and paler and struggling to take a few steps. Eremia ran over and tried to help her, but the woman softly pushed her aside. "Perhaps a reconnaissance man? Either way, he looks young and harmless."

Alarick shuffled in his seat. "I'm not willing to take any chances," he concluded. "Tie him up and bring him with you."

Jonah accept the leader's hand and was hoisted onto the horse. Eremia, however, crossed her arms and glared at him. "What do you think you're doing?" she demanded. "If you are allied with the Confederacy, you support Exedor. Why are you tying up its - my - soldiers? Your friend even said he was not a threat, and he only appeared when that damned prince tried to kill us. He saved the life of my servant. Is that not enough for you?"

Alarick sighed as he pulled a long amount of rope from a bag attached to the horse and handed it to the woman. "I'm going to be honest with you. If what I've heard is true, you, and your allies, snuck out from under the King of Exedor's nose, instigated a country-wide manhunt, and fought a brash group of thugs. As I've been informed, you managed to kill the leader of an Eimhin procession of crooks that has made a living antagonizing Exedor and using its position by the border and the Eimhin army to evade arrest. After all that, you somehow managed to hold off the Prince's army long enough for us to arrive, though we had expected you would come here and had moved as quickly as possible."

"Yes, I appreciate the flattery," said an acerbic Eremia, taking a step back as he extended his arm, while she watched the woman tie up the soldier and drag him towards her horse. As much as she wanted to stop the ginger-haired woman, Eremia knew that she was too tired and weak to do so. Eremia had spent herself thoroughly, and now she only wanted rest.

"What I'm saying is that it's a miracle you're still alive," said Alarick forcefully, catching and pulling in Eremia's attention. "You have been reckless beyond belief, but were brilliant about it. That earns my respect. So, if you want to know, we distrust your country, as hard as that is to believe. We feel that they are hiding more than they let on. They did send us to keep an eye on the border before your escape, and we came, but only out of loyalty to the Confederacy. We needed to make sure everything was secure, and that Ailean would not attempt one of his ploys. It was easy enough to find you when Jonathan told us about what had happened, but I do not think we can merely return you to Exedor."

Eremia sighed. By now, the woman had lifted the unconscious Aquila onto the horse, and was now helping Yorew stand up and bringing him to where she'd just left Aquila. They were having a hushed conversation, but the sweat dripping down his face indicated it was some serious matter. "So, after this lengthy and verbose explanation, what makes you think that I'll come with you?"

She already knew the answer. Alarick gestured around him and replied, "Do you have any other choice?"

Eremia looked down at the ground, mumbled, and accepted his hand, he pulling her up and behind Jonah. "I think not."

Alarick laughed, yet it was a light and hollow one. "We never do. Good girl."

And then, Alarick locked eyes with each of his fellow soldiers and nodded. The elaborate gathering then departed, horses running gently across the fields as they began to make their way through the hills and landscape towards their destination, which Eremia guessed she would see quickly enough.

******

Something was wrong.

Alarick restrained his horse suddenly, his followers stopped behind a hill. Eremia, half asleep by then, was suddenly awoken by the sight of Alarick cupping his ear with one hand and gesturing for the others to quiet their horses. After a few seconds, he breathed a few curse words under his ears, and cracked the reins of the horse in one quick motion. Now Eremia found herself suddenly responsible for keeping her sleeping brother from falling off of the horse as they galloped around the hill, grabbing onto him as she tried to listen in between the sounds of horses dashing and spotting briefly the grim faces of their riders.

After a few seconds, it was then that she heard the familiar rumble of cavalry in the distance, and groaned. She had hoped that her troubles had concluded for the day, but such luck was not to come her way.

By now, she could see a series of tents arranged in the distance, next to an expansive farmland. It would've been easier to see if it wasn't being covered in dust.

As they rapidly neared, she could see the silhouettes of men on horseback firing arrows at arrangements of guards and soldiers who tried their best to fight back. Given what she could see, there was the impression of a large number of fighters on both sides, trying their best to strike down or repulse whatever foe was most available. As such, the conflict looked disorganized and maddening, and the clouds of dust and sounds of screaming and warfare didn't help. Then, of course, Eremia remembered that she was being carried right into the midst of the crisis.

"Jonathan! Terasu! To the right! Gather as many fighters as you can and build a line around your tents!" called Alarick, brandishing a sword. The teen with the bow and the blue-haired girl dashed off in that direction. Eremia hastily realized that it would be a bad idea to try and leap off of the horse when they were so close to the battlefield, and so held on to Jonah as hard as he could. "Rowland! Madeleine! Look for Ceinen and defend the general's tent!" The red-haired boy and ginger-haired lady followed his instructions.

With the sounds of war now a massive din, and the other generals lost to the fog and dust, Alarick turned his back to face Jonah and Eremia, his face contorted in silent, seething rage. "I apologize for what might happen next. I had no intention to drag you into battle, but I have no other choice. I must keep us all alive, and if that means invoking war, so be it. Brace yourselves!"

And, with that, they jumped in to the carnage.

It was a bizarre experience for Eremia. She had never seen a battle on this scope before. Everything seemed to move in slow motion as they dashed past tents dotted with arrow holes, some aflame. Soldiers wearing dark gray outfits and chain-mail armor shouted commands and rushed their attackers, who wove those sickeningly orange and brown flags that Eremia had seen earlier. She wasn't surprised, but horrified as individuals dashed to and from the dust and were shot down within it, landing upon the ground. In turn, spooked horses without riders scattered about, people jumping aside as they charged heedlessly. In the distance, blasts of magic cast lights through the landscape, and she could see healing energy beginning to pour its way through the air.

And then came a rider, with his bow stretched taught and prepared to snipe at them. Eremia's eyes widened as Alarick calmly plunged his sword into the man's chest while riding past, and her mouth fell open as Alarick let go of the weapon and the man fell dead onto the ground. He merely sighed and pulled out a second sword from another scabbard.

Now she was rather glad to be with him. In this scene of madness and screaming, she was fairly happy to be close to the one individual who seemed to have some sort of sense.

However, he appeared to be searching for something. Alarick scanned his surroundings while jumping past fireplaces and dodging the arrows that flew all around him, as though a frenzy of bees. It was hard to ignore the blood on the ground, but Eremia squinted and allowed Alarick to do his job. By now, they were close to one particular set of magic attacks, which waved fire into the air. As it dispelled some of the ambient dust particles, Eremia realized that it belonged to a series of mages surrounding a particularly large and fortified tent. At the front was Madeleine and a strange-looking man. In the interplay of light and shadows, he looked like a bipedal deer with large antlers and robes that shook, small glass vials dancing upon them. This man cast beams of ice that stabbed at a parade of archers racing each other in a circle around them.

Alarick sighted something, however, and dashed off, leaving the scene behind. A few seconds passed by before a large blur appeared on the other end of a still blazing campfire a short distance away, and it was then that the girl recognized an eerily familiar impression.

The mysterious rider came to the same conclusion about them, and his horse began to gallop frantically off. This only dogged Alarick on, and so he followed. Now it came down to a race, which might've been exhilarating if they weren't doing it in the midst of a battlefield, and if Eremia had to grip the horses's sides with her legs as powerfully as her weak frame could muster so that she didn't fall off in the process. Jonah, who somehow managed to be a brilliant sleeper, began to shake and yawn. Eremia hoped that he wouldn't have to see this carnage, although a small part of her was more than happy to rub in his face just what his plans had caused.

Whoever Alarick's opponent was, and however skilled they might be on horseback, Alarick was still more capable. He was now almost parallel to the individual in question, and Eremia could see his long, flowing blonde hair dance as the impressions of a proud and handsome looking gentleman appeared. Her heart froze in fear for a second, as she assumed it was the crook that had almost killed Jonah, but she then remembered that he looked like her distant impressions of the cavalry commander. This had to be the prince, Ailean. Were Ailean and crook related? Now that she thought about it - or, what little thought she could devote to it - that made sense. Only, Ailean had a far thinner frame, and his hair was partly tied up in dreadlocks.

"I hope you're good at improvisation," called out Alarick before handing the reins to Eremia with his non-sword hand. She clasped them without a second thought or awareness why, they forming a neck-rest for Jonah. And then she screamed as Alarick stood up and leaped from his horse, falling down upon Ailean. They quickly vanished in a flurry of dust and the faint outlines of fists and swords.


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
573 Reviews


Points: 3096
Reviews: 573

Donate
Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:14 am
View Likes
Magebird wrote a review...



Hello, TheSilverfox! I apologize in advance if my review isn't helpful.

I (unsurprisingly) didn't have any problems with the grammar, but I do have something I'd like to bring up about how you wrote this chapter. You relied on large blocks of text to convey the story. While that's worked well in the some of the previous chapters, it takes away from the action and suspense of this one. My suggestion? Break it up into smaller paragraphs and possibly some shorter sentences. I found this gem of a thread when digging around the Writing Tips section of the site, and I think it should help you with what I'm talking about.

Now onto the rest of this!

I feel like your descriptions were great, just like I've said in previous reviews. I can imagine exactly what's going on and exactly what their opponents look like. I don't have any major comments about your characters, though I am excited because I recognize Terasu from one of the roleplays we've done. (I've been waiting to see someone I already knew!)

Hopefully I'll be able to come up with more helpful comments in my next review.

I really enjoyed reading your work, and I'm sorry if any part of my review seemed harsh. Also, please feel free to PM me if something I said doesn't make sense. I'd be happy to explain it to you. Keep up the great work - which I doubt you'll have trouble with - and good luck on your writing endeavors! I hope you have a wonderful day/night!




User avatar
458 Reviews


Points: 15855
Reviews: 458

Donate
Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:07 pm
Ventomology wrote a review...



...Did you forget to tag? I had to actually search for this. Anyways, sorry for the wait!

Technical Comments:

1. I have a little nitpick, which is that when Alarick adds in that little "and your allies" bit at the beginning, you might want to switch the commas to long/spaced dashes. I know it's dialogue and you can do whatever you want, but the commas are a little confusing when there are so many in such a small space.

2. You do a lot of this thing where you'll put out a non-action statement (like, "Alarick was still more capable) and then back it up with action, and I think it would do more good to switch that order. Then you're shifting your focus from the non-visual to the visual, and it's more of a building-up process than an explaining process. Plus, an observation-conclusion order will give more insight into how your narrating character thinks.

For the Alarick-is-capable example, maybe explain how he approaches Ailean on horseback, and if there's some cool equestrian moves he does, and then have Eremia conclude that this bro is good at the horse thing.

Plot, Characterization, and Misc. Items:

Please get a substantial rest moment in please please please. You had the perfect opportunity with the whole meeting Alarick and his band thing, and I feel like a cooldown + vague world history lesson is in order. Like, we're several thousand words in and I have no idea what the goal is, or what is going on grand scheme, and it feels like chaos because you've just been going from one fight to the next.

Additionally, when all you have is action upon action, you don't leave ample time to build into what comes next. In adventure novels, I should at some level be able to anticipate action scenes, because there is a build-up into each one. Sometimes it's preparations, or sometimes it's suspense and foreshadowing, or sometimes it's because someone said something nasty to someone else at a bar.

And when you drop that build-up, your action suffers. Build-up can introduce clarity in the purpose and procedure of the action, and it helps emphasize the mini-climax that occurs with every action scene. Build-up gives your actions scenes catharsis, which is what makes action most enjoyable.

Like, this chapter is good in its execution of in-action building, but I feel like it could have popped so much more if there had been a break between in and the chapter before.

And uh... that's it I guess? We'll get to character stuff some other time because I need to eat lunch, and I want to know more about Ailean before I make any comments.

Later!
-Buggie




TheSilverFox says...


fffff I dunno what this story even is anymore (probably an okay/bad first try that I'll eventually bury somewhere and forget about). Thanks for pointing out the overemphasis of action scenes and my sentence arrangements. I guess I front-loaded this story, and I'm paying rather nicely for it now. Again, thanks for the review!



TheSilverFox says...


(yes, I'm depressed and burned out, so I dunno how seriously you can take the first sentence. I still want to write this, I just have progressively less confidence that it'll go anywhere past the documents and journals I keep it in).



TheSilverFox says...


also, yeah, I forgot, can you remind me if you don't see anything by monday/tuesday?



Ventomology says...


Sure I'll remind you. I only have one class on Mondays, so it's a good day for me to get YWS things done.



User avatar
1220 Reviews


Points: 72525
Reviews: 1220

Donate
Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:46 am
View Likes
Kale wrote a review...



And with this review, I'm all caught up and in need of one final thing to reach my fiftieth.

Oh, Silver, how could you fail me so? ;.;

(I'm joking, no worries. Except the Green Room is STILL EMPTY *screaming*)

Ahem.

I am inordinately amused by the vehicular horse you allude to in your author's note and only wish that I had witnessed it myself so that I might have something more constructive to say in this review.

"Who is he?" questioned the tired man, who was most likely the leader.

I thought it was established in the previous part that he was definitely the leader? Point being, that part stuck out as really strange to me.

And so it turns out my prediction was not quite correct, which is something I'm not at all unhappy about because it gets to highlight some of the tensions within the Confederacy, so yay worldbuilding!

I do think the conversation between Alarick and Eremia could be handled a bit differently, because it's just a little too blatantly exposition-y to feel like something someone in Alarick's position would say to a member of allied royalty, and I feel like the conversation could be used as a really great way to subtly highlight Eremia's naivety and ignorance via Alarick referring to things and Eremia not understanding those references, so he has to explain them more in-depth.

I'm also quite liking Alarick as a character, especially after that equine-propelled precursor to a princely beatdown.

I do think it rather strange that he hauled the children along for the chase though. They are allied royalty, and unless there was a good reason not to drop them off at the most heavily-fortified location he could get to (namely the General's tent), it doesn't make much sense for him to tote them around the battlefield because he has to devote energy to defending them and himself and fighting anyone who might be trying to kill them.

Just a little note that he tried to drop them off someplace relatively safe, but something interfered with that, would help address this.




TheSilverFox says...


There's no way I have the patience to answer all of these reviews, so I'll a general sense of agreement and wow those suggestions are good and horses die pretty easily here and yes, Jonah is an idiot. :P

Yeah, the vehicle thing was rage-inducing and totally stupid, so I probably did it again later on; if you'd still like to review these, you have that to look forward to (unless I catch it first). I could definitely reword the conversation to point out how out of the game Eremia is, as that could easily set up some of her character traits and the sense of helplessness that she's plagued by (and will keep being plagued by, which I can say because that isn't much of a spoiler). Lastly, I mentioned in Rydia's review that Alarick is completely and irrationally angry, so I'll try to include that better when I edit this. And Eremia's righteous fury at being dragged around a battlefield, of course. All in all, thanks for the review, and congrats on completing RevMo!



User avatar
2631 Reviews


Points: 5735
Reviews: 2631

Donate
Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:27 am
View Likes
Rydia wrote a review...



Hi! So I'm not around much lately and I don't get enough time to just check in with my crew-mates and see how you guys are doing and I wanted to have time for that this month! But then I got behind on RevMo and I haven't posted in any storybooks yet or distributed the badges. So I'm going to write a review for each of you for now to help me catch up on RevMo and then hopefully I'll get to check in properly with you next month instead :)

Specifics

1.

Alarick shuffled in his seat. "I'm not willing to take any chances," he concluded. "Tie him up and bring him with you."
Is this Alarick speaking? Not knowing the characters, it's hard to tell if he's the one talking or the one they're talking about and I'm sure people reading from the beginning wouldn't have that problem but if Alarick is the one they're talking about as I expect, then the dialogue should be on a new line.

2.
Jonah accepted the leader's hand and was hoisted onto the horse.


3. If Eremia has servants, it seems odd that she rushed to help the other woman earlier and that she was pushed away. Unless that woman is also on a high or higher level than her?

4. Is the woman the same one who was struggling to walk earlier? She seems to be managing a lot now so I wonder if it's someone else, especially since we haven't been given her name. This is something I expect I'd know if I'd read it from the beginning so it's more a general musing than a criticism! But if it is the same woman, I think you need to have some kind of thought/ dialogue which suggests Eremia is surprised she can still manage to do all of that.

5.
Alarick restrained his horse suddenly, his followers stopped behind a hill. Eremia, half asleep by then, was suddenly awoken by the sight of Alarick cupping his ear with one hand and gesturing for the others to quiet their horses.
Try to avoid using the word suddenly twice in quick succession as it slows down the flow and has the opposite effect to what you're going for. In fact, I'd mostly advise to not use it at all. Instead, show us the action is sudden by keeping your sentences short and building the tension. Like:

Eremia was half asleep when she was jolted awake by a sharp stop as Alarick pulled his horse up and he and his followers stopped behind a hill. Alarick cupped his ear with one hand and gestured for them to keep their horses quiet.

6. With all the loud sounds, surely the brother has woken up by now? Now being the point before the dialogue '"Jonathan! Terasu!..."' I feel like you need to cover that happening before going deeper into the scene. Or if he's not awake, tell us he's still in a deep, exhausted sleep.

7.
Eremia hastily realized that it would be a bad idea to try and leap off of the horse when they were so close to the battlefield, and so held on to Jonah as hard as she could.


8. You describe Alarick as jumping around firs but you never have him dismount his horse. It's not clear though if they're all still on the horse together or not as the descriptions are more suggestive of him moving than him guiding the horse.

9. Okay so Alarick definitely seems to have dismounted at some point so is Eremia at least still on the horse with her brother or are they leading the horse? Carrying the brother? Or when you describe Alarick as dashing off do you mean to say he is still riding with them? This scene is quite hard to follow and I'm not sure why Alarick rode straight through the battle when it would have been far safer to take them around the outskirts. Still dangerous enough to make the scene tense but more realistic that they did it and didn't get the bystanders killed. It's hard enough for a normal soldier to stay alive in a battle, nevermind a civilian and since there's magic being thrown around as well, they seem particularly fortunate. That said, the descriptions of the battle scenes are very good and you capture that sense of chaos very well.

10. Okay so they are still on the horse. This doesn't make sense. Even if Alarick was desperate to give chase, I'd expect him to tell the girl and her brother to get off first because 1. that leaves them at the tent with these people he clearly knows and he can forget about keeping them safe and 2. it means the horse can go faster. 2. is the really key point here because a horse can't carry three people at a gallop for a long period of time so this one will already be tired and to get the extra burst of speed, he really needs to lighten the load.

11.
She clasped them without a second thought or awareness why, they forming a neck-rest for Jonah.
This is slightly awkwardly phrased. Maybe 'She clasped them without a second's thought or an awareness of how or why, her hands and reigns moving up to form a neck-rest for Jonah.

Overall

This is a tough chapter to come into the middle of so I expect my review isn't as helpful as it could have been but I think you've handled the chaos of the battle scene well. My main complaint is the way you describe Alarick's movements instead of how he's guiding the horse. I'd suggest reading a few older fantasy books where horses are common place, such as David Edding's Elenium series. It's really important to keep those kind of descriptions clear so they don't distract your reader from enjoying the story and slow down the pace while the reader works out where the characters are.

I think the personalities of the main two characters were clear throughout the chapter and you manage to keep the others in sight without losing too much time focusing on them so that works.

That's all I have for now. Speak to you soon!

~Heather




TheSilverFox says...


Yay, thanks! I'm part of the distinguished school of literature that has no idea how horses work, thank you very much. :P

But yeah, on a more serious note, I'll definitely keep in mind your suggestions. Alarick's the one talking at the beginning; the three are riding on a horse the entire time; and I might have Eremia try to ask him to stop so she can get off, only to find that he's so compelled by rage that he's blindly charging on horseback into this battle. I mean, that would justify his brazenness, since he's clearly got his mind on things other than safety and common sense. This is a super helpful review, and I'm quite happy for it - thanks!



Rydia says...


No problem and yep, having Eremia complain or ask to get off would definitely help because she does seem to be quite calm about riding through the battle zone at the moment :)



User avatar
32 Reviews


Points: 3138
Reviews: 32

Donate
Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:55 pm
View Likes
LukeStarkiller wrote a review...



Great chapter! You did a great job of keeping things moving, even throughout the long areas of description, which isn't often easy to do. I think that overall, it would be a good idea to split up a couple of paragraphs since not many of them are broken up by dialog.

On to some nitpicks...

"Now that she thought about it - or, what little thought she could devote to it - that made sense." This sentence was weird for me, for some reason. I would take it out and tack on something to the next sentence, something like: "They looked very similar, except for Ailean's thinner frame and hair partly tied up in dreadlocks." The way you have it, it took me out of the story a bit because you seemed to get hung up on the fact that the main character is thinking these things. The way I see it, it's much better to write it directly into the narrative, if that makes sense.

"Jonah accept the leader's hand..." should be written as "accepted." It's a very small error, and it stands out in a piece that was overall very good with grammar.

"So, after this lengthy and verbose explanation, what makes you think that I'll come with you?" Okay, this one is really your call, but I think it sounds a bit pretentious for a character to say "lengthy and verbose" in conversation. Now, it could be that this is part of this person's personality, but otherwise, I would at least consider finding some other way to say that the explanation was "lengthy and verbose" without having a character use those words.

"However, he appeared to be searching for something." I think this sentence is unnecessary since you talk about him scanning the area, and in the next paragraph he heads off toward something. It's easy to tell that he was searching for something without you having to tell us that, and it would do some good to avoid telegraphing to the reader that he is searching for something.

"...which might've been exhilarating if they weren't doing it in the midst of a battlefield, and if Eremia had to grip the horses's sides with her legs as powerfully as her weak frame could muster so that she didn't fall off in the process." I think you meant to write "hadn't had to grip." Just a minor thing again.

Those are all the errors I could find. I hope this helped at least a little bit (even though half of these were highly specific). Overall, I didn't find much at all to take issue with, and I really enjoyed reading this. I look forward to the next installment!




TheSilverFox says...


My way of writing for Eremia's dialogue is "everything but fancier," but "lengthy and verbose" is ironically lengthy and verbose, so I'm just going to switch it out with the simpler, and still apropos, verbose. And yeah, these are all pretty specific nitpicks, but your rationale is solid, so I'll use most all of these when I edit (especially when it comes to telling vs. showing). Thanks!



User avatar
364 Reviews


Points: 15980
Reviews: 364

Donate
Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:53 pm
View Likes
zaminami wrote a review...



Hello, TheSilverFox! It’s Kara here for a (hopefully) quick review!

Give me your soul.

With that aside...

STOP! Grammar time!



I literally didn't find any grammar issues. This is super impressive: usually, even with the best grammar nazis on here, I find at least one typo. Amazing job.

Suggestions:



I didn't have any suggestions, either. This chapter is VERY good, and I don't feel the need to change it.

Confusing things:



You make your point very clear, so I don't have anything to say here hey, that rhymes!. Even the prince twist was very concise and easy to understand.

Other comments, reactions, and fangirling:



I want to invent a time machine and hit my past self in the back of the head for calling a horse a "vehicle" - that's been edited too, fyi.


I literally burst out laughing when I read this. In class. You called a horse a vehicle, that's amazing. I've done these mistakes once or twice or a million times and yeah, it's embarrassing, but it's hilarious at the same time XD

he looked like a bipedal deer with large antlers and robes that shook


I am making so many Over the Garden Wall references right now.

Overall:



Very nice job. No grammar issues, no suggestions, and no confusing parts of the chapter? Impressive! I'm a very picky reviewer so when I don't find anything, that's amazing. Good job, and keep on writing.

Give me your soul --

Kara

This review courtesy of
Image


Image


Image


Image




TheSilverFox says...


Yay, thanks for your review! I am the grammar nazi to end all grammar nazis. :P



zaminami says...


Why yes you are XD




But like all lower back tattoos, it is deeply flawed.
— Bill Nye