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Young Writers Society


E - Everyone

Love

by humblebard1


As promised, a new character's appearance :) she's one of my favourites, and this passage is when she's a very young child, discovering what will be a life long passion. please enjoy!

The streets erupted in joy as the bards' music rose in a crescendo of spilling ale and clumsy dancing. Gheythas found himself dreading inevitably being dragged out to join them, despite his love for such beautiful music and the community that was joining together, but the small girl next to him was his complete opposite. Her pale eyes were alight, her little feet already tapping along to the distant ballad; as she laughed, he felt his heart suddenly melt inside his chest. Xirmia was still so small, hardly at his waist, but the amount of happiness and love inside her was more than he could even feel himself.

“Look out there! Look!” She grinned ear to ear, stepping on a rickety chair to reach the height of the window. A small finger pressed to the window, smudging all over the steamy glass. “Can we go?”

“Of course, honey. Let’s go.” Her hand slipped easily into his steady grip, and they slipped past the half open door with ease; he almost left until he heard the thudding footsteps coming swiftly down the stairs. “You coming, Tyr?”

“If you give me the time, slow down!”

Smiling, he locked eyes with the paladin for a moment, noticing that time had started to present itself on the light creases of his face. They were still young enough, but something about him had changed, and he held an air of wiseness about him; he was no longer the reckless boy he had met. This was the man he loved. The ring on his finger twinkled with the evening light, reminding him of promises made, ones they would never break.

Happy faces surrounded them in a crowd more akin to a sea, and the occasional hand reached out in a drunken attempt to greet the three. He spotted a few familiar faces as they passed nearer to the loud ballad, mingling within the mass of dancing bodies. His mother was among them, and blew him a small kiss when their gazes met; Xirmia pulled him along, suddenly bolting towards the group of bards, who strummed at their lutes and plucked at the violins with glee written all over their torchlit faces.

Her mouth dropped in awe at the woman before her, who sang with a voice like silk, and her slender form was dressed in lush fabrics not too dissimilar. A quick wink came from her striking eyes, and as the song came to a close, she knelt down to the small girl. Her fingers brushed on Xirmia's palm, passing her a pendant centred with an amethyst, and her face lit up. She embraced the elven woman from where she crouched, wrapping her arms tight around her as the girl's black curly hair danced about like wildfire. 

"Never lose hope." She didn't understand the words, but she nodded kindly anyway, and ran back over to her parents with a smile brighter than the sun and an accompanying chuckle, waving the gem to Tyr and him. The paladin brought his daughter close, tracing his fingers gently across her rosy cheeks; his eyes lingered on the woman with the piercing eyes until she took a deep bow, and when she noticed his attention calmly boring into him, she nodded back, understanding in her face.

"She's so beautiful, daddy. I want to be like her when I'm older. I want to sing like her, dance like a nymph of the forest." She chimed, looking up at them both.

"You, my dear, can do anything you set your mind to. And I know that for a fact." Xirmia returned the embrace, shrouding herself in his safe arms while giggling softly to herself. 

"Anything?"

The paladin and the warlock's eyes met, irises rimmed by the dim light of torches and lanterns around them. Gheythas' eyes creased in a deep smile, and he took Tyr's free hand in his own.

"Anything."


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Sun Feb 04, 2024 8:44 am
Liminality wrote a review...



Hi there! Lim here to review your story.

General Impressions

The setting sounds lively and colourful based on the descriptions here. This work almost feels like it might be the beginning to a longer story, or perhaps a backstory interlude. Xirmia certainly seems enthusiastic about the performing arts, but her parents and the elf dancer seem to be reading some deeper meaning into this enthusiasm that perhaps is linked to the context of the story. I liked the description of the bards having “torchlit faces”. I thought that was a good way to describe both the lighting, the festival atmosphere and the characters.

Mood and Tone

Something I liked was how the descriptions conveyed characters’ emotions. For example in:

Her pale eyes were alight, her little feet already tapping along to the distant ballad; as she laughed

The word choices like “alight”, “tapping” and “laughed” convey her excitement and joy.

The scene as a whole has a consistent tone of fondness through the eyes of Gheythas.
She chimed, looking up at them both.

‘chime’ conveys how small and high her voice sounds – and also the gesture of a child “looking up” is clearly from the perspective of a parent, the overall effect being that we can feel Gheythas’ fondness for Xirmia.

The motif of how the light of the torches plays off of the characters was also a neat way to convey the feelings of warmth the family have towards each other (and also within the community).

Point of View

Something I wondered: is the scene mainly about Xirmia’s discovery of music? Or is it about Gheythas’ appreciation of his family? Is it both? I feel like the story as it is now mainly highlights Gheythas’ feelings towards his family, because we only get access to his thoughts, such as in: “the amount of happiness and love inside her was more than he could even feel himself” and “he was no longer the reckless boy he had met.” That works well if this part is supposed to be about Gheythas. If Xirmia’s experience of the music is also narratively important here, it might be good to have more lines of dialogue for her like:
"She's so beautiful, daddy. I want to be like her when I'm older. I want to sing like her, dance like a nymph of the forest."

This gives the reader more insight into Xirmia’s thoughts and her experience from her own perspective. Or you might consider writing the scene from Xirmia’s point of view entirely.

Characters

I liked and felt curious about various hints about the characters you gave throughout the story. For example:
Gheythas found himself dreading inevitably being dragged out to join them, despite his love for such beautiful music and the community that was joining together

Is this meant to characterise Gheythas as an introvert compared to his extrovert daughter? Or does Gheythas have some backstory-related reason to be nervous about being outside? Either way, this line did stand out to me.

he almost left until he heard the thudding footsteps coming swiftly down the stairs.

Somehow the image of a paladin hurrying down the stairs is very funny to me. I guess paladins are usually depicted as being so serious and battle-ready, so it’s nice to see a more domestic image of a paladin.

He spotted a few familiar faces as they passed nearer to the loud ballad, mingling within the mass of dancing bodies. His mother was among them, and blew him a small kiss when their gazes met

I thought it was kind of interesting that Gheythas’ mother makes a small appearance here. It makes the character more three-dimensional to see what his family looks like.

Overall

I think this piece seems to set up a happy beginning to a story, or an ending to one ‘episode’ or book of a story. The main strengths are the use of descriptive language to convey warmth and the feelings of love between the characters as well as the awe evoked by the performances. One suggestion for improvement might be to give more attention to Xirmia’s internal experience of the performance – what was she thinking when she saw the elven woman?

Let me know if anything I said didn’t make sense! And keep writing!
-Lim




humblebard1 says...


Hi Lim! Thanks so much for the review, I'll look through my work and see what i can do to improve it :D I'll definitely try to include more from Xirmia's perspective- like usual, Gheythas takes a centre stage with POVs, and i don't really know why XD
Cheers again!



Liminality says...


Haha I feel you - I tend to have characters whose POV I end up writing more too, though it's a fun challenge to write from another character's perspective. All the best, and I'll get to reviewing another one of your pieces soon!



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Fri Feb 02, 2024 1:15 pm
vampricone6783 wrote a review...



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

Shalt we commence with the review?

Top Graham Cracker - Xirmia discovers that she finds joy in music and dancing. She wishes to grow up and spread the same joy as the woman…

Slightly Burnt Marshmallow - I wasn’t sure where they were until you mentioned a window. I thought that they were outside. But if you wish not to change anything, then I’m fine with that.

Chocolate Bar - I love the ending when her parents tell Xirmia that she can do anything she sets her mind to. :> It’s such a wholesome family moment. I truly hope that Xirmia can grow up to be like the elven woman and not have anything bad happen to her. She’s too precious for this world.

Closing Graham Cracker - This started with a bloody past and came to a promising future. I was able to get an idea of who the characters were from the extract stories and if they become novels, then I will check them out. Please keep writing whenever you feel the need to. :>

I wish you an amazing day/night!




humblebard1 says...


Thanks again, vampricone! Good point on the description; i was focusing quite a lot on characters in this extract, I'll go back over and make it make a bit more sense very soon. I'm very close to finishing a first draft of a novel- perhaps i will post it on here when i'm done.



vampricone6783 says...


Cool! :>




There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
— W. Somerset Maugham