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The Last Words of Rory the Fourth

by Vil

The old man looked out into the streets from his tower, the walled city sprawled before him. Here in Laenalaen, the Great Citadel, home of the White Tower, was he to die. He knew it. He'd known it for some time. And there was nowhere else he would rather be than here.

The drought had begun earlier that year, in late April. The other nations-- Logicia in particular-- had donated various amounts of water, but it wasn't enough. So, anything meant for him had been donated or given to the rest of his family. His wife had started to ration hers to the limits, thinking he might drink again... but it was not to be.

All the while, there was his health to worry about. Secretly, for centuries, many of the men and women of the Dragonheart line had fallen ill with so many lung diseases at a time that it seemed to become a new disease altogether. It was how his father, King Gerontius, had died. Whether it or the drought would take him first, he did not know.

"Rory," her soft voice said. "Come away from the window."

Rorimac sighed and licked his dry lips. "Do you think Michael will do well?" he rasped, turning around slowly.

"I do," she answered honestly. "As long as he remembers to do what he thinks is right, not what others think he should do."

The King nodded. "Esme?"

"Yes?" Esmeralda answered quietly.

"I'll have one last drink. And then the drought and the disease can take me.

The Allegorian sighed. "Ismelda said--"

"Your sister's done enough," Rorimac said, cutting her off. "Allegoria and Logicia have done enough. And all the while... I worry. You're right, Michael will be fine. But there's Misericord to worry about. Thira. Nesrin, Campaignia. All the rest. You know how the wars went."

Esmeralda sighed, closing here eyes and letting the memories overtake her for a moment. "Yes... I do. And I didn't like you fighting in the trenches. You nearly died twice."

"You get my point," he said. "Our nation is the oldest on this planet. More than three thousand years of history lay inside the Sacred Dome, Esme. Almost four thousand in Misty Halls. And through all of it, more than two-thirds of the wars fought were with ourselves. Three in the last century and a half. When I'm gone, I fear there will be another... but Michael will be bold enough to call on alliances, old and new alike. As trouble stirs in Misericord and the Nesrin prepare for a war with their neighbors, I can't help but--"

"Hush, love," Esmeralda said softly, soothingly. "You think too much. Just like Sinestra. Give it a rest."

"I'm nothing like that dingy old bat," Rorimac replied defiantly. "Let me finish."

Esmeralda reluctantly nodded.

"Nesrin is going to war. If they win, they'll control half of their continent. Thira and Campaignia and Allegoria will be next-- which means our cousin will be fighting Loni, Calcitrop, and your sister... Those three cannot rally together. No matter what."

"What would you have me do?' the Queen asked. "Tell me sister to go soft?"

"Don't phrase it that way." A pause.  "Remind her what Thira's done to Allegoria, to Belecthoria, to this world. She'll come around. I'll tell Loni to start back on his experiments. With luck, he will."


Rorimac sighed. "Whitestar has it under control-- for now. But I think she and Michael are going to be very good neighbors to one another, whether they like it or not."

Esmeralda nodded slowly. "Which means you think Thira's going to be the one to stir up trouble."

"Yes... and no," the King said quietly. "Go call your sister, Esme. The fate of Belecthoria is in her hands."

Sighing Esmeralda nodded and left the room.

Mere hours later, Rorimac was lying on his bed, his final moments upon him. He wheezed as Esmeralda held a bloodstained handkerchief to his mouth.

"It'll be okay, Rory," she said softly. "Ismelda's going to help us, it'll be okay..."

Over t next hour, the King squeezed his wife's other hand until at last his entire body became limp and started to pale. Esme cried out in anguish, throwing herself over his chest.

"Rory," she breathed mournfully. "Rory."

Phineas, one of their most faithful servants, stood by the door. "So passes Rorimac son of Gerontius. May he rest in peace all of his afterdays, and rest and become weary no more."

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494 Reviews

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Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:08 am
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Holysocks wrote a review...

Hey there!

I decided to stop by and give your work a review!

It seems like this is part of a bigger project/story, which is awesome! I could tell you have a lot of thought put into your world. I love seeing novels/stories/projects where the author is just so invested into the story and characters that they can't help but write off-shoot stories and sequels and prequels and poetry and what not all about their world! It's really inspiring to see that level of passion and work!! This story definitely gave off that kind of vibe to me! c:

The biggest thing for me in this piece was that I feel like it needs a bit more direction. We have a bit of a scene, with a fair bit of dialogue, but not a lot of events/action to really tell a compelling story. I'm not really sure what is the take-away from this story, other than it's about a kingdom on the brink of war(?) and the king dies. I'm not sure how you could go about telling this story in a more event-led way, but I'm sure there's lots of ways that could be really quite creative and captivating that would make the reader go "Omg, this Kingdom is about to go to war!! What will happen??" and "Oh no!! The king is dead!! What will they do??" Because right now from this story alone, we don't know enough about the world and character's to really develop any sort of feelings about what's being said in this piece. I hope that makes sense!! So my advice is ask yourself: "what do I want to happen in this story?" and then show us the events that make up that "happening". :)

This kinda goes hand-in-hand with the other bit, but I felt like I didn't know much about the characters, and again, that made it so I didn't care much about what they were saying and what happened. Part of this, again, is because we don't really see them in action/etc. But I think there's other ways that you could give us a little more insight into the characters and what they're like. For instance, there seems to be a lovely connection between the king and his wife (? I think she's his wife but maybe not). I'm not saying make it all gushy or anything, but you could maybe show a little more side to that affection- where they're (this doesn't seem quite right for a king and queen but..) snuggling or resinising or or bantering/joking/bugging each other. Little things like this make characters feel more real, more "human" and then we are a lot sadder when something bad happens. ;-;

I also feel like maybe there would have been more of an impact if we'd seen the King dying, rather than just reading about it in the note. It's kind of disorienting to read a story and then instead of reading what happens to the character, we get told... after the story? I don't know, I guess they do that in movies/TV shows-- but I feel like that is only really because they don't have enough time to tie up all the loose ends of those forms of media. Where as in writing, there's not really much of a limit (I mean there is, but this story is fairly short and wouldn't hurt to have a tiny bit more length, you know?). But, those are just my thoughts! :D

In any case, I thought your writing was really good in general- like it had a good flow to it and I understood what was being conveyed and what not- which is awesome because I feel like that's not always an easy thing to pull off!!

Keep it up!!! C:


Vil says...

Well, first of all, thank you for the review!

Second off, the main reason I didn't include Rorimac's death is that... well, simply put, it's rather gruesome and unsettling.

As for the rest, I go into way more detail (with my friend Stringbean) in various stories, notes, poems, etc that we've written since... November 2018, I think? It includes more of the nitty gritty details and actions that I didn't include here-- multiple deaths, faked deaths every other paragraph, battles, debates, romance, etc.

Again, thanks for the review!

Vil says...


I did a bunch of revisions today, and it'd be great if you'd tell me if it's improved!

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26 Reviews

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Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:28 pm
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Stringbean says...

This is interesting! And sad. But Esme's in it!
Nicely done, once again XD

Vil says...

Thank you XDD

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113 Reviews

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Reviews: 113

Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:24 pm
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Stormblessed242 wrote a review...

Hello, Stormblessed here!

This was a nice little story! Very exotic names, which I love. There were only a few mistakes that I could find.

Disease an take me- you missed the c in can
And I didn;t- should be didn't

Besides spelling mistakes, there weren't many grammar issues.
One thing I did notice is that you put two much information in your dialogue. All the characters already know what's going on, so them talking about like that is a little unrealistic. Try balancing it a little more by putting the information in Rorimacs thoughts.

Other than this, I enjoyed this!
Hope this helped!

Vil says...

*sigh* It's always the little stuff.

Thank you! The details were for the readers' benefit.

It always seems impossible until it's done.
— Nelson Mandela