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16+ Language

The Many Gifts of Malia--Part 29: "The History"

by dragonfphoenix


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

Ah, the enticing smells of a bountiful feast. We sat at the long table in the Hall of Maas Bierg, anticipating the dryads’ announcement that the meal was ready. Seppo occupied his traditional place at the head of the table, the empty seat on his left and Hasda, his right. Jade had displaced Malia and I, so we sat across from her on Seppo’s left. With the empty seat on my right and the stupid table leg pressing against the inside of my left knee, I had a prime view of the minor goddess and my boy.

Malia sat on my left, watching them with a brooding look. Tarrha and Synnefo had moved up the table, with Tarrha in Malia’s former seat. The beauty goddess kept trying to catch Malia’s eye, but she ignored her and maintained her study of Jade and Hasda.

Azoria was strangely absent, as was Thane. Kydon sat next to Malia, eyeing the food on the table with an abnormally impatient look. Not that he never looked impatient, but for once I thought his mind was on the food and not the proceedings.

Resef, the water god, and Vrixia, the harvest goddess, had paired off on our side of the table. With the coming planting season, they’d be busy showering the earth with their respective blessings, so their reunion wasn’t surprising. What was remarkable was Ulti’s absence. They never missed a chance to flaunt their dress, and with the evening sunset fast approaching it was time for them to make an appearance. Not only that, they loved gushing over new and revived relationships, so to miss Resef and Vrixia getting back together made no sense whatsoever.

Seppo was also behaving strangely this evening. Rather than trying to impress Hasda with his wealth of stories or grilling the lad for every detail of the Trial, he sat staring at his plate, drumming his fingers with the most moody expression on his face that I’d seen in centuries. I could smell a battle brewing underneath the currents of tension eddying across the room, but I didn’t like that I couldn’t feel the lines of battle. And Malia was being no help, muddying my senses with her extreme concentration on Jade and Hasda.

Honestly, with the way they were chatting away, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tarrha paid them a visit later and blessed them with, if not a union, then at least a fling. I had no idea how the dynamics of a relationship between an immigrated minor deity and a barely demigod undergoing Trials would play out, but frankly, Hasda deserved his chance at love. I’d have to talk with him later to make sure they didn’t base their whole relationship around his having saved her village during his Trial, but beyond that, they could do as they pleased.

That is, if Malia would stop glaring daggers long enough for them to have any privacy.

I nudged her elbow. “Lay off them, would you?” I whispered out the side of my mouth.

“She’s as star-struck as he is,” she hissed back, barely covering her mouth to be discrete. As if hiding our whispers would make her ire or the object of its attention any less apparent. “They’re both inexperienced and liable to get burned confusing infatuation for love.”

“They have to learn some way,” I countered. “It’s not as if we knew what we were doing our first time, and you certainly can’t say you’ve become an expert in normal relationships since then.”

She smiled and blinked once, a slow, deliberate movement that made my skin crawl. “Have you noticed Hasda’s dress?”

“What? Yes, of course.” The lad had his scarred armor on over a light brown tunic, which complimented the red markings quite nicely. He’d bathed and paid some attention to his hair, which was more than could be said about its arrangement for the preceding decades of his life. Overall, he’d cleaned up quite nicely and, given his newfound motivation, added more depth to its significance than just celebrating his first major accomplishment.

Malia frowned. “That possessed chestplate is the only piece of armor he wore tonight. No bracers, no greaves, no hip guards. He didn’t even bring his helmet for the ceremony.”

I waved a hand. “That can be retrieved when it’s needed. No sense clogging up the table, above or below, with it before then.”

“Further,” Malia said, raising a finger, “half their conversation has been in whatever arcane language they used to bind the djinn during the Trial, and the other half has been in Paeden.”

“So?” My brows scrunched down as I frowned. “Everyone can understand Paeden, so it’s not like they’re keeping secrets, and Jade did say he needed to develop his connection with the djinn. Learning the language to control it sounds like a logical follow-up.”

Malia scowled as the satyrs behind us trumpeted to announce that the final roast had finished. A silvery-green dryad hovered up next to Seppo and ran through the list of prepared dishes: glazed ham, seared steak, roasted and bronzed vegetables of all kinds, even more varieties of meats, salads, and produce I couldn’t pay attention to because of Malia.

“He already knows the language,” she said. “Or did you forget the part where he bound the djinn, on his own, with no coaching through the incantations?”

I sighed. “While I know that this spirit is an unknown variable you have to adjust for, I’d have thought you could put scheming aside long enough to celebrate Hasda’s victory.”

“Of course.” She flashed a smile. “Because them conversing with the djinn in a language only they can understand is definitely a problem worth ignoring and saving for later.”

“You know what I meant.” I leaned back as a satyr set a plate with gravy-bathed lamb chops in front of me. “Time and place.”

“Right.” She flashed me an angry smile as a satyr set a bowl of soup with unidentifiable chunks of meat floating in it in front of her. When the satyr was gone, she muttered something else under her breath, but I didn’t catch it.

When all the food had been set, Seppo grunted and clanked to his feet. He scowled down the length of the table, frowning especially at Azoria’s empty seat, but brightened when his gaze reached Hasda.

“Well, my boy, you certainly did well your first Trial.” He clasped his hands together and beamed. “I’ve heard great things about your exploits, and you’ve certainly done us all proud.” Glancing down at Kydon, he arched a brow. “I trust you have no objections to his successful completion of the Trial?”

The big man rose to his feet, his thick hands making the table groan as he put his weight on it. Though his protruding jaw made it look like he was scowling, he wore what was his closest approximation to a satisfied expression. Never a smile (I wasn’t sure he was capable), but about as happy as he got. “None, my lord. He concluded his Trial within the confines of the stipulations set forth.”

“Excellent.” Seppo grinned and clapped his hands.

“My lord, if I may,” Kydon continued.

Seppo frowned. “You may not.” After Kydon sat back down, Seppo scanned the seated gods, drawing out the silence. His hissing pistons almost hid his sigh. “It is unfortunate that this celebration should be marred by a serious calamity befalling our people. You may have noticed certain gods absent among us, who would not normally be so remiss.” His eyes found Malia and me. “I doubt you’ve felt anything yet, since as of yet there’s no war to speak of, but soon there will be. Azoria and others have gone ahead to gather information. I felt it best to hear her wisdom on the matter before sending our War Gods after them.”

I folded my hands in my lap and frowned as I sat back. The fact that Seppo had waited until now to make a public statement, instead of saying something privately before the feast, meant that this threat, whatever it was, was serious. I hadn’t felt any itches in any of the old places, so no major battles had flared up yet, and I doubted Malia had either, else she would have said something or I might have sensed it through our bond.

Seppo nodded. “I say this now, so that we may dispel the somber atmosphere and properly enjoy the festivities. But I will need to consult with both of you tomorrow, when we’ve recovered from the feast. With that out of the way, let’s move on to the fun parts, shall we?” And just like that, he plunged headfirst into an hour-long victory monologue that was half verbal pats on the back for Hasda, half recounting similar feats other heroes had accomplished.

From the way he detailed their exploits, I could sense his fishing for inspiration for the second Trial. Gimish, who wrestled the father of all sea serpents to win the rights to dry land for humans to live on. Nosa, who crossdressed with the help of an enchantress to steal the headdress of the Nazaroni chieftess. Acal, who stole the divine sword from the ancestors of the Ghorins. And a host of others, who accomplished such wonders as riding the great island turtle, snuffing the eight extra suns to keep the world from burning, and moving mountains to free the four hundred sons trapped beneath them.

When he started into Zagut’s story, a clang and splatter interrupted him. Jade reached across the table, her face beet-red, as she failed to catch her wine glass. Scarlet juice splashed across the platters, adding a fruity glaze to the ham between us. Fruitlessly trying to claw the drink back into her glass, she slipped into a torrent of muttered apologies until Seppo gave her a look. Hasda, to his credit, tried to help mop up the wine, but the dryads fluttered over and soaked the liquid into their leaves before he could find a cloth.

With the mess cleaned up, Seppo finished with the tale of Yote, who bred hydras until he was forced to cull them or risk flooding the world, and looked none too pleased to have concluded his speech still at a loss for what to do next. He put on a brave face, however, spread his arms, and blessed the food, which most of us had halved during his long-winded oration.

Though the meat sizzled and the gravy tingled my taste buds, I couldn’t help but notice how often Hasda ducked his head and whispered down at his chestplate. It reminded me of an interrogation, but not one Hasda was directing. That djinn had a nosy streak to rival Malia, and who knew what his intentions were. Not being from our pantheon and recently re-imprisoned, it was unlikely they were anything but pure.

Hasda was a good lad, and I trusted him not to reveal anything too damaging, but I didn’t trust that he had the experience to discern between harmless and Trojan questions.

Malia noticed the conversation as well and gave me a loaded look. Thankfully, though, she held her peace and silently committed to waiting out the feast before unleashing her own torrent of questions on the djinn. The air hanging over the meal was subdued, even with Seppo’s prodding for joviality, and without Ulti’s spectacular dance to usher in the night, the revelers departed for their nocturnal roosts in unnerving silence.


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Wed Jun 02, 2021 5:35 pm
Spearmint wrote a review...



Hiya, mint back after a break from reviewing! ^-^ It seems like you've already gotten two great reviews, so I'm not sure how helpful this will be, but hopefully I'll be able to provide a different perspective or something! C:

So first off, one awesome thing is how you added all these little actions with the sections of dialogue. The hand gestures and different words for "said" really helped me visualize how the characters looked when they were speaking.
Honestly, I'm having trouble finding anything to critique, but I guess I can move on to my reactions to specific sections of the chapter? :P

That is, if Malia would stop glaring daggers long enough for them to have any privacy.

I nudged her elbow. “Lay off them, would you?” I whispered out the side of my mouth.

Okay, so I'm definitely getting some bickering-parents vibes here... xD I think Charax and Malia really complement each other, with Malia being suspicious nearly all of the time and Charax being a bit more laid back (although just as powerful as Malia in a fight). You've really brought both of them to life with distinct personalities, and it's super fun to read about how they interact with each other!

“My lord, if I may,” Kydon continued.

Seppo frowned. “You may not.”

XDD Completely unexpected answer there. Although, I do wonder what Kydon was going to say. :p

When he started into Zagut’s story, a clang and splatter interrupted him. Jade reached across the table, her face beet-red, as she failed to catch her wine glass.

Ooh interesting. Is it something specific about Zagut's story that caused Jade to drop her wine glass, or was it just an ill-timed accident? Hmm. >.>

Oh and I've got a question for you-- is there a specific area you'd like reviews to focus on, such as characters/description/typos? Or a style, like overall feedback or comments on specific quotes? Feel free not to answer, though, just wondering! ^-^

As always, this chapter was an absolute pleasure to read, and I'm super excited to find out what happens next!! =DD




dragonfphoenix says...


Thanks! Yeah, Malia and Charax continue to be one of my favorite dynamics to write. They're just so perfect for each other. XD

Honestly, I've forgotten what he was going to say. I think he was going to rules lawyer about closing the loophole Charax found (negative interference) so we'll see if that comes up in future chapters.

You can focus on whatever you want in the reviews. :) If you find any glaring plotholes, though, please point them out >.<



Spearmint says...


Ah okay! Thanks for the reply!! ^-^



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Wed Jun 02, 2021 2:01 pm
Plume wrote a review...



Hey there! Plume here, with a review!

Oooh, what a nice chapter! I always love your descriptions of the feasts and the gods' world. I think you always do such a nice job with your scene setting, and the beginning of this chapter is no exception. Also, I just want to say how much I love the Jade and Hasda pairing. I think they'd be super cute together.

I'm very curious where you're going to take the story from here. We've kind of closed on one section, I guess, with Hasda's first trial completed. Now we have this other conflict between the people who worship these gods, I think (right?) Since Charax and Malia are the war gods, I'm wondering if they're going to get called away and aren't going to be there to witness Hasda's second trial, or if his second trial will have something to do with the brewing tensions. There are a lot of directions you could take this story in, and I have faith that you'll execute it really well.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel like you might be using some bits of misdirection. That might not be the correct term for it, but I feel like you're pretending the story is about one thing when later, you're going to pull what it was really about into the light and everything will click. At the beginning, I thought it was about Hasda's trials, but it definitely seems like a sort of literary cover for a much older and bigger conflict that's going to emerge as the climax/final battle type thing. Maybe something to have to do with the djinn? This might be a way-out-of-the-park guess, but that's how I'm reading it now. Hopefully you find that interpretation interesting, if not correct.

One thing I did wonder about was the transition from the previous chapter. I feel like where you left it off last time didn't naturally lend itself to the beginning of this one. In fact, I even had to look back just to make sure I didn't miss a part in between. This could also be a product of me having a period of time in between reading these, but even if it wasn't there, it's still a little abrupt. Even just a few lines at the beginning showing a little transition/a preface from the last chapter would be fine.

Specifics

Seppo occupied his traditional place at the head of the table, the empty seat on his left and Hasda, his right.


To me, I felt like this sentence didn't flow quite right. It's technically correct, but I feel like in this case, you might benefit from some extra words in there. Personally, I'd put "with" after the comma after table, and instead of the comma after Hasda, I'd put the word "at." This is just a stylistic suggestion to make the flow of the sentence a little bit clearer to readers, but by all means, you don't have to take it.

Overall: really great job! I'm looking forward to the next part a lot!! Until next time!




dragonfphoenix says...


Thanks! I'll take a look at the transition during revisions. It might be a case of "this is the expected start of the next 'book' chapter" but I'll check narrative flow as well.

Ooh, I see what you mean about the 'misdirection' thing. I don't know what the term is either (maybe a red herring plotline?), but it's not something I'm necessarily trying to do intentionally. I think it comes back to needing to emphasize more what the point of the Trials are: to make Hasda eligible to lead Malia's army. Because I'm writing this in serial form and the story started out as an accident the 'end goal' didn't get highlighted or given as much significance early on, so I'll look at spotlighting that a bit more during revisions if I don't think it's established well enough.



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Wed Jun 02, 2021 4:55 am
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KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm back again for another review!! :D

First Impression: Hmmm....very, very interesting chapter this one...not quite the relaxed filler chapter I was expecting to see after all the battling of the previous one, looks like this book isn't going to get that pacing a rest stop, its only going up at this rate, cause it looks more problems, and bigger ones at that are headed our way.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Ah, the enticing smells of a bountiful feast. We sat at the long table in the Hall of Maas Bierg, anticipating the dryads’ announcement that the meal was ready. Seppo occupied his traditional place at the head of the table, the empty seat on his left and Hasda, his right. Jade had displaced Malia and I, so we sat across from her on Seppo’s left. With the empty seat on my right and the stupid table leg pressing against the inside of my left knee, I had a prime view of the minor goddess and my boy.


Okay...good opening there, helps out with quickly establishing the position of everybody relative to each other and that's always a necessity when it comes to scenes with so many characters being present in it that we have to keep track of.

Malia sat on my left, watching them with a brooding look. Tarrha and Synnefo had moved up the table, with Tarrha in Malia’s former seat. The beauty goddess kept trying to catch Malia’s eye, but she ignored her and maintained her study of Jade and Hasda.

Azoria was strangely absent, as was Thane. Kydon sat next to Malia, eyeing the food on the table with an abnormally impatient look. Not that he never looked impatient, but for once I thought his mind was on the food and not the proceedings.


Well you can't blame someone for being more interested in food that potentially proceedings but for that to be a first for someone, well that's what I call an interesting detail which I'm going to note down here...xD

Resef, the water god, and Vrixia, the harvest goddess, had paired off on our side of the table. With the coming planting season, they’d be busy showering the earth with their respective blessings, so their reunion wasn’t surprising. What was remarkable was Ulti’s absence. They never missed a chance to flaunt their dress, and with the evening sunset fast approaching it was time for them to make an appearance. Not only that, they loved gushing over new and revived relationships, so to miss Resef and Vrixia getting back together made no sense whatsoever.


Well...that's an interesting relationship, at least the puny humans get themselves some food as a result of that...that's a good thing.

Seppo was also behaving strangely this evening. Rather than trying to impress Hasda with his wealth of stories or grilling the lad for every detail of the Trial, he sat staring at his plate, drumming his fingers with the most moody expression on his face that I’d seen in centuries. I could smell a battle brewing underneath the currents of tension eddying across the room, but I didn’t like that I couldn’t feel the lines of battle. And Malia was being no help, muddying my senses with her extreme concentration on Jade and Hasda.


Okay....well undercurrents of tension are never going to be a good sign and to see it on Seppo who has so far not being showing any of that is definitely really interesting...the results of this trial are going to end up being quite interesting at this rate...hmm..hmm.

Honestly, with the way they were chatting away, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tarrha paid them a visit later and blessed them with, if not a union, then at least a fling. I had no idea how the dynamics of a relationship between an immigrated minor deity and a barely demigod undergoing Trials would play out, but frankly, Hasda deserved his chance at love. I’d have to talk with him later to make sure they didn’t base their whole relationship around his having saved her village during his Trial, but beyond that, they could do as they pleased.


Ohh...kay...well..the hints were there, that much is certain but I didn't expect there to be a formal acknowledgment of any of that until much later, so that's a very interesting detail to see pop out of nowhere...well not nowhere...it did come out of somewhere, and its honestly a point that makes sense for a relationship to start...but I just didn't expect it to actually happen...well let's see.

That is, if Malia would stop glaring daggers long enough for them to have any privacy.

I nudged her elbow. “Lay off them, would you?” I whispered out the side of my mouth.

“She’s as star-struck as he is,” she hissed back, barely covering her mouth to be discrete. As if hiding our whispers would make her ire or the object of its attention any less apparent. “They’re both inexperienced and liable to get burned confusing infatuation for love.”


Well...she's got a right to be concerned there...although this one might be going a touch towards the extreme, but then its Malia, what else would you expect from here?

“They have to learn some way,” I countered. “It’s not as if we knew what we were doing our first time, and you certainly can’t say you’ve become an expert in normal relationships since then.”

She smiled and blinked once, a slow, deliberate movement that made my skin crawl. “Have you noticed Hasda’s dress?”


Okay...well skin crawling smiles are not generally a good sign.

“What? Yes, of course.” The lad had his scarred armor on over a light brown tunic, which complimented the red markings quite nicely. He’d bathed and paid some attention to his hair, which was more than could be said about its arrangement for the preceding decades of his life. Overall, he’d cleaned up quite nicely and, given his newfound motivation, added more depth to its significance than just celebrating his first major accomplishment.


Well, nothing wrong with him cleaning up a little, although well...you can very clearly see what the reason is...cause oh wow...fixing your hair properly for the first time in 30 years...that's a pretty special move if Charax is right with his assessment here.

Malia frowned. “That possessed chestplate is the only piece of armor he wore tonight. No bracers, no greaves, no hip guards. He didn’t even bring his helmet for the ceremony.”

I waved a hand. “That can be retrieved when it’s needed. No sense clogging up the table, above or below, with it before then.”


Hmm...as a demigod at a feast of gods though...wearing your armor full time is kind of a necessity.

“Further,” Malia said, raising a finger, “half their conversation has been in whatever arcane language they used to bind the djinn during the Trial, and the other half has been in Paeden.”

“So?” My brows scrunched down as I frowned. “Everyone can understand Paeden, so it’s not like they’re keeping secrets, and Jade did say he needed to develop his connection with the djinn. Learning the language to control it sounds like a logical follow-up.”


Hmm..well it is a logical follow up....although shouldn't they be able to learn that language relatively quickly too, so...I don't know how that's supposed to be a secret language...but I guess whispering in secret is another matter entirely...and maybe Malia just doesn't like that its a language from a different pantheon or something...hmm...well...let's see.

Malia scowled as the satyrs behind us trumpeted to announce that the final roast had finished. A silvery-green dryad hovered up next to Seppo and ran through the list of prepared dishes: glazed ham, seared steak, roasted and bronzed vegetables of all kinds, even more varieties of meats, salads, and produce I couldn’t pay attention to because of Malia.


Ahh...food...not now...not now...not this delicious description...

“He already knows the language,” she said. “Or did you forget the part where he bound the djinn, on his own, with no coaching through the incantations?”

I sighed. “While I know that this spirit is an unknown variable you have to adjust for, I’d have thought you could put scheming aside long enough to celebrate Hasda’s victory.”


Oh once you scheme things as a profession, you never really stop scheming about things...not even in moments like this.

“Of course.” She flashed a smile. “Because them conversing with the djinn in a language only they can understand is definitely a problem worth ignoring and saving for later.”

“You know what I meant.” I leaned back as a satyr set a plate with gravy-bathed lamb chops in front of me. “Time and place.”


Hmm...so they can't understand that language...I'm guessing its a matter of them not understanding it now...it can't possibly be that its a language they could never learn. Hasda picked that up pretty quickly. Oh well, I guess we'll find out these secrets soon enough.

“Right.” She flashed me an angry smile as a satyr set a bowl of soup with unidentifiable chunks of meat floating in it in front of her. When the satyr was gone, she muttered something else under her breath, but I didn’t catch it.

When all the food had been set, Seppo grunted and clanked to his feet. He scowled down the length of the table, frowning especially at Azoria’s empty seat, but brightened when his gaze reached Hasda.


Okay...Seppo frowning can't mean something good has happened here...but ehh..at least he's still happy for Hasda, I'm gonna just take that as a good sign here.

“Well, my boy, you certainly did well your first Trial.” He clasped his hands together and beamed. “I’ve heard great things about your exploits, and you’ve certainly done us all proud.” Glancing down at Kydon, he arched a brow. “I trust you have no objections to his successful completion of the Trial?”


Ahh...well finally I get to see if this trial was actually completed or not, cause it definitely got pretty ambiguous to me at the end there...or maybe I just forget all the rules like I usually do.

The big man rose to his feet, his thick hands making the table groan as he put his weight on it. Though his protruding jaw made it look like he was scowling, he wore what was his closest approximation to a satisfied expression. Never a smile (I wasn’t sure he was capable), but about as happy as he got. “None, my lord. He concluded his Trial within the confines of the stipulations set forth.”

“Excellent.” Seppo grinned and clapped his hands.


Woohoo...three cheers for ol' Hasda....he's got himself one trial completed, I'm sure I don't remember how many more he has to do, but I suppose this is the start of hopefully a good journey, he's already gone ahead and done several trials within just this one challenge so you know he's a survivor that one.

“My lord, if I may,” Kydon continued.

Seppo frowned. “You may not.” After Kydon sat back down, Seppo scanned the seated gods, drawing out the silence. His hissing pistons almost hid his sigh. “It is unfortunate that this celebration should be marred by a serious calamity befalling our people. You may have noticed certain gods absent among us, who would not normally be so remiss.” His eyes found Malia and me. “I doubt you’ve felt anything yet, since as of yet there’s no war to speak of, but soon there will be. Azoria and others have gone ahead to gather information. I felt it best to hear her wisdom on the matter before sending our War Gods after them.”


That has to be the first time in a story that I've seen someone answer and "if I may" with "you may not", it just something that you never ever get to see...but also whoa...war's being mentioned, war gods being mentioned, information gathering, uh oh, things about to take a turn here judging by how this is going.

I folded my hands in my lap and frowned as I sat back. The fact that Seppo had waited until now to make a public statement, instead of saying something privately before the feast, meant that this threat, whatever it was, was serious. I hadn’t felt any itches in any of the old places, so no major battles had flared up yet, and I doubted Malia had either, else she would have said something or I might have sensed it through our bond.


Uh oh, public statements and battles that aren't detectable by war gods are not a good combination...well, looks like we might just have a fight ahead of us at some point...hopefully we learn more about that pretty soon.

Seppo nodded. “I say this now, so that we may dispel the somber atmosphere and properly enjoy the festivities. But I will need to consult with both of you tomorrow, when we’ve recovered from the feast. With that out of the way, let’s move on to the fun parts, shall we?” And just like that, he plunged headfirst into an hour-long victory monologue that was half verbal pats on the back for Hasda, half recounting similar feats other heroes had accomplished.


Well dispelling the somber mood before a feast sounds like a good plan...although now that gives them all things to think about, which is not the greatest plan, but I suppose learning about whatever calamity is going to strike after the feast has been enjoyed is also a good plan.

From the way he detailed their exploits, I could sense his fishing for inspiration for the second Trial. Gimish, who wrestled the father of all sea serpents to win the rights to dry land for humans to live on. Nosa, who crossdressed with the help of an enchantress to steal the headdress of the Nazaroni chieftess. Acal, who stole the divine sword from the ancestors of the Ghorins. And a host of others, who accomplished such wonders as riding the great island turtle, snuffing the eight extra suns to keep the world from burning, and moving mountains to free the four hundred sons trapped beneath them.


Okay....at some point...I need to read all of those stories...with all the details...you can't just dangle crazy exploits like that in front of our faces and not elaborate at all...ahhhhh...those all sound like pretty cool legends there.

When he started into Zagut’s story, a clang and splatter interrupted him. Jade reached across the table, her face beet-red, as she failed to catch her wine glass. Scarlet juice splashed across the platters, adding a fruity glaze to the ham between us. Fruitlessly trying to claw the drink back into her glass, she slipped into a torrent of muttered apologies until Seppo gave her a look. Hasda, to his credit, tried to help mop up the wine, but the dryads fluttered over and soaked the liquid into their leaves before he could find a cloth.


Well...interesting way to interrupt that conversation, not entirely sure how it plays into the story...it almost seems like it was a filler there for a bit....I guess maybe its to show Jade's clumsiness a little but genuinely I don't see how that part is too useful here.

With the mess cleaned up, Seppo finished with the tale of Yote, who bred hydras until he was forced to cull them or risk flooding the world, and looked none too pleased to have concluded his speech still at a loss for what to do next. He put on a brave face, however, spread his arms, and blessed the food, which most of us had halved during his long-winded oration.


Well...that does seem like a pretty awkward note to end a speech on.

Though the meat sizzled and the gravy tingled my taste buds, I couldn’t help but notice how often Hasda ducked his head and whispered down at his chestplate. It reminded me of an interrogation, but not one Hasda was directing. That djinn had a nosy streak to rival Malia, and who knew what his intentions were. Not being from our pantheon and recently re-imprisoned, it was unlikely they were anything but pure.

Hasda was a good lad, and I trusted him not to reveal anything too damaging, but I didn’t trust that he had the experience to discern between harmless and Trojan questions.


Hmm...well...he has to learn at some point I suppose, learning to answer tricky disguised questions is a big part of being in a pantheon...

Malia noticed the conversation as well and gave me a loaded look. Thankfully, though, she held her peace and silently committed to waiting out the feast before unleashing her own torrent of questions on the djinn. The air hanging over the meal was subdued, even with Seppo’s prodding for joviality, and without Ulti’s spectacular dance to usher in the night, the revelers departed for their nocturnal roosts in unnerving silence.


Well you've certainly left us readers on an unnerving note....everything sorta just dies down, spoke about a few problems to come and then ended on a pretty haunting note here....now I'm very excited to see what all this might mean for that next chapter...this is certainly quite an interesting tone to end this chapter on.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, another awesome chapter, another chapting that asks far more questions than it answers and another cliffhanger although this one...this one is the eeriest cliffhanger of the bunch...well...I shall wait patiently to see what can possibly come next.

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry





The first thing I do when I have a good quote is always to put a goat in it. uwu
— Liminality