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Gone Astray

by humblebard1


"Us paladins... we are slaves to our oaths. We may never stray from them, from our god, because we're too afraid of the consequences. So they beat us back in to line, every single time, until we are bruised and bloody, and can only obey to their will. What if we broke our golden chains? Would we feel any different? Tell me. I know you will, one day; your faith dwindles."

Gheythas quickly glanced up from his work, placing down his carving tools neatly down on the tabletop. He smiled up at Tyr as he entered, but the gesture was only met with a small nod of indifference, rousing his concerns. His face fading, the warlock rose from the bench and strode over to him, catching him by the shoulder before he made to the stairs. The paladin slightly winced under his hold, and he followed his gaze suspiciously, looking about at anything that could point him towards the answer. Gheythas moved himself to a better light, noticing the bright red gashes present across his forearms and the small stains on of his tunic where he had braced his hand.

“What did they do to you?” He muttered, giving him a suspicious eye.

“What are you saying? They?”

The warlock sighed, pausing for a moment before lifting up his shirt to reveal a numerous mess of fresh wounds, sliced into his skin like a cursed pattern, “You’re not hiding anything very well. You set out for the church earlier this afternoon, you didn’t come back until the very latest you could, and you’re a bloody mess. Someone in there took it out on you. You paid a debt today, and a heavy one.”

“And now it is paid. Don’t worry yourself over it, you have enough problems to deal with, and I don’t want to off load them onto you. Get some rest and I’ll be up there soon.” He brushed him away, but Gheythas only came in closer, his grip over his wrist becoming tighter, straining his painful wounds.

“I don’t want to see you hurt. Especially when the both of us know all too well you can’t look after yourself, yeah? What in the name of the hells happened to you?”

“Atonement. It was simple; I sinned, and I had to pay for those sins, a toll was taken on my body. Don’t worry about me, please.”

“I think you’ll find my job is to worry. Because if I didn’t, no-one here would be sane. Or alive. You understand? Get upstairs, and let me get you fixed up if only to grant me an actual night’s sleep without paranoia.”

“What’d you do to deserve this?” He mumbled, finishing off yet another loop of bandages to cover the plethora of wounds. With a grimace, the warlock noticed he still had a number of wounds to bandage, and as much as he wanted to assure his safety, he also wanted to sleep at such a late hour.

“Terrible things. Terrible, horrific things that no man in his right mind should ever do. A whole settlement, a village of real people each with their own lives, and they were all slaughtered. If one got away… I didn’t see. So caught up in the bloodshed, in the weight lifted through such abysmal vengeance, I lost all track of self.” Tyr scowled, suddenly finding his finger incredibly interesting, tracing the knuckles lightly to distract his mind as his eyes started to burn. Gheythas’ hands fell slightly down his back, and he could swear he saw him shake his head slightly from behind. “But that wasn’t me. I swear, I regret it with every breath, something overtook me in those horrid few moments. If I could stop myself, if I knew the horrors and nightmares it would lead to, I would end myself if just to save all of them. Please, just don’t forsake me for one action, as horrific as it was. don’t change who you see me as because of these flaws.”

Gheythas smiled, though his eyes betrayed him a slight, horrendous sights crossing his mind as he realised what a righteous man had done to deserve such punishment. He moved his hand towards Tyr’s, holding it tight.

“I will never. Just don’t let the pain change you into one you aren’t, for that would be the only tragedy in my eyes,” he fell back into the monotonous task of dressing his wounds, though this time around he felt even more distracted by the sheer amount of them, “but, may I ask; of all methods of atonement, why did they disfigure you skin?”

“Every cut is for a life. They made me recite every name, remember every face as the lines were sliced across my body, and that hurt more than the blazing pain. The large gash,” he felt over his own back, finding the bloody line that ran down his spine,” that was to show the greater cost. And the smaller crosses… they stand for the children. I can’t remember now if I killed them, perhaps not directly, but I paid the price anyway, and the two marks represent both their current life and the one they can now never lead. Now that I think of it, I truly am a monster. It’s a pity they let me live, I don’t deserve one more moment here.”

The warlock struggled to keep himself from lashing back defensively at his words, and to keep the tears from falling from his eyes. He wrapped his arms fully around the paladin, ignoring the open wounds still uncovered, though he seemed not to notice, taking his silence as both a blessing and a curse. The warlock leant himself against the headboard, bringing his legs onto the bed, allowing Tyr to rest against his body, safely comforted in his arms. Gheythas found the pendant hanging from his neck, and danced it through his fingers for a moment before resting his hands against his chest.

“You deserve everything. And I’ll give it to you, at any cost.”


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Tue Feb 13, 2024 9:09 pm
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Horisun wrote a review...



Hello, and belated welcome to the site! I hope you're having a good day or night thus far!

I loved how you executed this chapter. Though it was heavy on worldbuilding, you conveyed the information through this emotion laden conversation between Tyr and Gheythas. I think you struck just the right amount of exposition to fill the reader in on all the context they need to appreciate the characterization found here.

I also liked the dynamic between Tyr and Gheythas. Though the former has committed atrocious acts, the reader still finds a way to sympathize with him. We also relate to the latter, who is forced to reconcile this person he cares about, with the wicked things said person has done. It's a very compelling start to a narrative!

At the start, I did have some difficultly catching on to a sense of place. For example, in the fourth paragraph,

The warlock sighed, pausing for a moment before lifting up his shirt to reveal a numerous mess of fresh wounds, sliced into his skin like a cursed pattern, “You’re not hiding anything very well. You set out for the church earlier this afternoon, you didn’t come back until the very latest you could, and you’re a bloody mess. Someone in there took it out on you. You paid a debt today, and a heavy one.”


I initially assumed that Gheythas had revealed his wounds. I had to go back and reread the line to understand what had actually happened.

With the introduction as well, the characters were doing a lot of different actions, but aside from the allusion to a tabletop, I had no idea where they were. Even by the end of the chapter, I'm still not entirely sure. There are stairs, a bed, and a counter, which just felt like a strange configuration of furniture to me.

You write some really fantastic prose, and I love, love the dialogue. However, I did have one small nitpick with a very specific line,

Gheythas’ hands fell slightly down his back, and he could swear he saw him shake his head slightly from behind.


I noticed you occasionally "over-clarify," specifically when a character takes an action. (This is something I'm very guilty of, and have probably done in this very review.) The above quote might flow better if it was instead written as "Gheythas' hands fell down his back. Tyr shook his head from behind."

This comes down to your discretion, as it may be a me thing.

One last suggestion- and this really is just a suggestion, one that comes down to personal preference- but consider when revising to play more with sentence structure. A lot of these lines fall at similar lengths, with a similar frequency of commas. For example, this paragraph,

The warlock struggled to keep himself from lashing back defensively at his words, and to keep the tears from falling from his eyes. He wrapped his arms fully around the paladin, ignoring the open wounds still uncovered, though he seemed not to notice, taking his silence as both a blessing and a curse. The warlock leant himself against the headboard, bringing his legs onto the bed, allowing Tyr to rest against his body, safely comforted in his arms. Gheythas found the pendant hanging from his neck, and danced it through his fingers for a moment before resting his hands against his chest.


could be broken down into a series of very long sentences. Adding some variety helps minimize confusion, increase readability, and overall create more interesting prose.

I hope this all proves helpful! I really enjoyed reading this, and I love the characters you've introduced. They have a very sweet dynamic that is well exemplified throughout this chapter. The opening quote, too, (which I somehow haven't mentioned yet?) is super intriguing to me. The concept of a disillusioned paladin rebelling against the status quo is a fascinating one, and I look forward to seeing where you take it!

Even then, if I were only to look at this chapter as a standalone, it already conveys many powerful themes of guilt, forgiveness, and love. You are a very talented writer, and I look forward to reading what else you have in store! So with all that said, keep at it, and have a great remainder of your day! :D




humblebard1 says...


Hello, Horisun, thanks so much for the review! Amazing feedback, too- I've been struggling with sentence length etc. for a while, and I've felt like I have been writing the same sentence with different pronouns and words over and over again- do you have any more tips for variety? I'd love to hear if you do :D
Cheers!



Horisun says...


Of course! It's something that I still struggle with, but I've learned a lot of great pointers!

1. Occasionally cut out conjunctions. (words like but, though, also, etc.) in the quote provided above, you use three of these. Consider switching it up and creating two simple sentences from a compound one.

2. Use a variety of punctuation. i.e, semicolons, dashes, even parentheses, while not punctuation, can add some visual interest.

3. All the time, I'll have a very specific image in my head about what my characters are doing that I want to convey perfectly to the reader. It's very hard to remind myself that this is rarely possible. No matter how high the word count, one person will never imagine the same thing as the other. Therefore, in general, I think it's more important that writer's focus on communicating the experience of the characters instead. (I hope this makes sense, from my brain to yours, I'm afraid it might sound a little abstract and not super applicable, haha)

Hope this is helpful! If you'd like me to elaborate more, I'd be happy to do so. This is actually what I'm working on with my own writing right now, so I've enjoyed typing out my thoughts on the matter. Hope you have a great night!



humblebard1 says...


This is absolutely amazing advice, thank you so much :D
Going to go put it to good practice



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Sun Feb 04, 2024 3:49 pm
vampricone6783 wrote a review...



Hello there, human! I'm reviewing using the YWS S'more Method today!

Shalt we commence with the spooky S’more?

Top Graham Cracker - Tyr comes back home after he gets slashed by the others at the Church for killing a civilization in war, but Gheythas is home to bandage his wounds.

Slightly Burnt Marshmallow -I think that you meant to say “our” for the oath, but that’s just one little thing! I’ve made that mistake sometimes too, it’s fine. :>

Chocolate Bar - I love that Gheythas still loves Tyr even when Tyr doesn’t love himself. That’s how love should be: lifting each other up. I find it so wholesome that Gheythas is tending to his wound…one of my favorite chapters so far. (The other is with their daughter).

Closing Graham Cracker - Another lovely chapter to add to the story, where the true goodness is in those that love each other. Tyr’s mistakes will haunt his mind, but he never meant to cause harm. He still has what it takes to be a Paladin. :]

I wish you a wonderful day/night!




humblebard1 says...


Hi, Vampricone!
Thanks for the review :D fixed the typo, whoops.
Do you have any ideas on what else do you think i can include in future writing to explore the dynamic between these two, and maybe with Xirmia? I'm trying to think on the positive side of relationships between characters before I throw my plots at them :D
Cheers!



vampricone6783 says...


Hmmm...perhaps you can do a moment when Tyr and Gheythas were children? Or when they first met?

As for Xirmia, you could write about her growing passion for singing and wanting to bring joy to others by practicing her singing skills?

If none of these fit what you have in mind, then ignore these.



humblebard1 says...


Those are great, thank you so much!



vampricone6783 says...


You%u2019re welcome. :>




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