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Mage

by khushi17bansal


Introduction:

Ancient India is a magical place, rich, opulent and brutal. The high class of people, the nobles, are rich, powerful, power hungry, cutthroat, for nobody survives by being content or satisfied. They vey for power and plot to overthrow each other and the king. They plan and scheme to earn money, closely guard their secrets. They are selfish, unscrupulous and ethicless. They will do anything to get their bloodline and house to the top. A select few have a secret weapon, a wild card. Some say an equalizer and some say a monopoly giver.

Some are magical, some are mages practiced in the ancient art of sorcery. It is one’s greatest weapon, one closely held, fanatically guarded, obsessively practised and honed.

All are out for blood and all are out for power. All are waiting to wrest the throne and the power from each other’s desperate hands. 

There has been no war for years and the royals and nobles are getting restless, the game has begun, the move has been made. The rule book is but one word, win.

There are only five monopolistic high houses, they manipulate each other and lower houses to gain favour, popularity, money and most importantly, power. 

It is power that is coveted, it is knowledge that is hoarded, it is weapons that are honed and it is people that must be beaten. 

Some uncommon terms explained - 

loo - The wind flowing in the northern plains in summers is known as 'loo'. Loo is a strong hot and dry winds that blows over the western Indo-Gangetic plain of north India and Pakistan.

lehenga - a full ankle-length skirt worn by Indian women, usually on formal or ceremonial occasions. 

Zari embroidery - Zari is an even thread traditionally made of fine gold or silver used in traditional Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani garments, especially as brocade in saris etc. This thread is woven into fabrics, primarily silk, to make intricate patterns and elaborate designs of embroidery called zardozi.

jhumkas - Jhumka, originally Jimmikkis, are a style of earring worn by women of the Indian subcontinent.

Kajal - a type of black make-up used in South Asia that is put around the edge of the eyes.

 

Chapter 1

The hot, heavy, oppressive air bore down on the earth as the loo blew over the land rustling the verdant greenery and ripening the mangoes. In a beautiful dark mansion stood a young lady, around nineteen years of age. She stood in a spacious room filled with rich, plush, opulent finery, in front of a full-length mirror. Lady Aadrika of High House Vishyah studied her reflection, she adjusted the skirt of her lehenga, made of the finest purple silk, covered in Zari embroidery, she shifted her lace dupatta in place and realigned her jhumkas and delicate, tasteful choker. The kajal in her eyes was perfect, and her heels were specially fitted to make no noise on the dark wooden floor.

Aadrika smiled, she turned and exited the room, walking down the golden lit corridor with calm measured steps, her head held high and her back straight. People believe only what they see. Appearance is reality. She demanded perfection in her House, and accepted no infractions, the world did not allow mistakes.

Aadrika reached the end of the corridor, it was long, built to intimidate all those unfortunate enough to be summoned to her personal quarters. It was filled with booby traps and fake rooms to perplex assassins. She exited the corridor onto a glorious descension of stairs, made with the finest of dark ebony, carved and inlaid exquisitely.

Her mansion was like all other High House mansions, Dark, beautiful, carved wood, ivory and gold. Lit with candles, it was bathed in golden light that glinted of the beautiful ivory and gemstone inlay. These mansions were opulent, fine, rich and darkly beautiful. They symbolised all that the High Houses stood for, beauty, finery, opulence and power.

Aadrika stepped off the last stair to stand in a central hall with a high dome, built to mould the contours of the enormous chandelier that hung from the ceiling. The hall branched into various corridors, each with their own purpose. Aadrika knew the lay of the building by heart, she glided forward on her silent heels, and two soldiers took their place beside her, a few steps behind, as she moved towards her House court, where she met all those she had business with.

She had a lot of business of late, now, that a war was imminent. Wars always meant changes, changes in taxes, changes in politics…... changes in the behaviour of lower houses. Distaste filled Aadrika, lower houses were a nuisance, at times they were worse than commoners, always bowing and scraping, wiggling around like little worms, smiling ingratiatingly at her like she was a little girl who could be bribed with sweets.

Anger flared in her, hot and pure like a furnace from hell. All the houses had resented her taking over the High House after her parents had passed, yes, the war meant changes, but it also meant that she had chance to show those worms who was in charge. Her anger cooled to smouldering embers, her distaste did not recede.

Her face was calm and composed, emotionless. Adrika entered her House court and took her place on the raised carved ebony platform, guards lined the walls, and clerks sat in the galleries, hidden from sight, prescribing every word that was spoken in the court. At the end of the long stretch of floor in front of her were the massive, gorgeous doors of one of the three entrances to her mansion.

Aadrika made a subtle motion and the gates were opened, and in came the first wave of the Heads of the low houses, they were announced as they jostled for space for themselves and their entourage, gilded and ugly in their cheap opulence, carrying unnecessary banners and house emblems. The lower houses had an irrepressible need to announce their moderate excess by transforming it into fancy, showy banners and several richly gilded and ugly attendants.

They were no chairs for anyone, those Aadrika reserved for the truly important. These lowers houses would come in waves like insects, with the excuse of a war, they would jostle and plead to be ones to accompany the great High House Vishyah when it went to accompany the king with the war.

The low houses had finally settled themselves; the heads had pushed their entourages to the back, and stood in a semi-circle, facing Aadrika. They all bowed together and Aadrika inclined her head in acknowledgment. As much as she hated the low houses, they were important, one who underestimated the pawns and their need of them, always lost. She looked at the seven on them standing there. The first of the low houses and most important. She knew everything about them. The most important low houses she knew by heart, regardless of which High Houses domain they were in, the rest she knew as an overview, and recognised them by sight, details she kept in a large book.

They had come to discuss their fate with her, their leader, the High House they had owed allegiance to. Aadrika’s eyes moved over each and every one of them, watching all the signs, they squirmed under her silent gaze, they had come to see the child who had taken over one of the strongest Houses in the land. They had come to manipulate her like putty in their hands, for she was young and female and therefore, weak.

This was not what they had expected.

Aadrika finished her inspection, she knew exactly what to do with each and every low house in her domain, and she had an idea of what might happen in the other High Houses domains. She had decided long back when she had realised that war was eminent, she could have just issued an order if she liked, but they underestimated her, which meant they did not fear her. It would be foolish to miss the opportunity to instil fear in them, they had to be her pawns for the imminent game, the war coming.

Aadrika smiled softly, a predatory curve of her lightly painted lips, “you all seem to have come prepared for war.” The massive gates shut with a soft thud, her dark brown eyes glinted with a golden luminescence, “I assume that is what is so urgent.”

The house head in the centre, puffed up his chest full of his own pride, not seeing what some of his colleagues could see, no, he saw only an little girl, calm and composed, so different from her fearsome father with his thunderous rage and sharp sword, “Lady Aadrika, I, Asvaghosa of House Moodh, am here to say that the orders you released in the near past relating to the increase of taxes and such, is a little of a drastic measure, the war has not even started! may I request that you repeal it, or at least reduce it, my lady?” the man had a pompous air.

White hot rage coursed in Aadrika’s veins, no low house had the right to call her Lady Aadrika, that fool was suggesting that they were of equal station. Aadrika’s furnace of rage billowed; her face shuttered into a total frozen calm. She had let this go away for too long, it was high time the low houses relearned the meaning of fear.

Asvaghosa took her silence for submission, and puffed up in pride. The shock on the faces of the other heads was too close to awe, Aadrika released an invisible breath of calming air, she looked at Asvaghosa, “do you know that the ‘order’ was not official, but a necessity for wartime, a protocol you are all supposed to follow, without question

Asvaghosa smiled ingratiatingly, he missed the veiled threat, “yes, my Lady, and I'm sure we important houses can help –

“The taxes are raised to sixty percent with no commission going to any of the low houses, paid in entirety to the High House Vishyah. The low houses will have no income for the length of the war, and are required to rely upon their savings. You seven houses will not accompany the High House Vishyah, for the war. You are all required to handle the people of the Houses who will accompany me. Their names shall be released.” Aadrika paused, resting her piercing glance on Asvaghosa, her hard, cold voice froze over, “All insubordinate low house heads will be stripped of their powers and replaced. Starting with, Asvaghosa Moodh. Spread the word.” Aadrika’s firm, strong and commanding voice rang through the hall, she stood, radiating power.

The seven head of houses staggered, staring at her, Asvaghosa’s knees buckled under him and he collapsed, nothing was worse than being stripped of all powers and hanged, his mind could not process what had happened, how, suddenly, this little girl had decided she had the power to rule them. The other houses stared at Lady Aadrika, who had just stripped all houses of all their money, and their seven houses of their prestige and glory, by denying them their right to aid in the war.

They saw her now, they saw that was not a little girl. She was the Head of the High House of Vishyah, she had the power to rule them, to push them the way she liked. Aadrika turned to move away, but they tried to follow her, pleading now as the real plight of their situation hit them, their power, prestige, wealth and respect was all gone, “Lady Vishyah please –

The guards pushed them away, and banged their spears with a resounding thrum, “Lady Aadrika of High House Vishyah has made her decision and declaration. Leave, and do as her Lady Vishyah commands.” The voices echoed in the heads of the house heads as they watched the retreating figure of Aadrika leave.

The silence of the corridor was only interrupted by the soft rustle of Aadrika’s lehenga as she moved toward the main hall in the beginning of the corridor. She was in the corridor on the far right of the staircase, this was the corridor that led to the dining hall, complete with the long table and large enough to host a hundred guests. From the two far ends of the hall, started two trickling passageways which led to the kitchen and servants’ quarters. It was time for her breakfast.

Aadrika took her place at the table, she had set the low houses right, killing Asvaghosa would ensure that none of the pompous houses would ever make the mistake of taking her as a child ever again, the war was coming and she did not have time to put everyone in their place. Nobody knew how long this war was going to last or how she long would have to be away. Yet, Aadrika was taking no chances, she never was going to take any low houses based on their wealth or prestige, or even their bloodline. She would be taking them based of their intelligence, only those who were smart enough to cause trouble in her absence would accompany her.

The havoc this would play on the low houses’ social hierarchy coupled with their financial crisis she had put them in would keep the rest busy, they will act like they always have, petty and insignificant, unable to compete or think beyond their neighbours. Each low house did not have any savings, they all had one consolidated treasury that they were all supposed to regularly deposit in, but they never did. Most sent petty tokens just to make sure that there was some paperwork, and the majority of them simply ignored it. even after years of depositing, it would barely have enough money to run one low House household. But they all relied on that now. They would all be reduced to living frugally, like peasants, they would all become nothing, some might even starve to death.

Aadrika smiled. 


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Mon Jun 03, 2024 4:45 pm
RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello, My Friend!

It's me, Raven, and I’d like to review this brilliant opening chapter using my Familiar method today! It’s pretty much just the YWS’more method with the touch of a fantasy-horror writer, lol. Let’s dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh…

What The Black Eyes See...

Oh wow, this was a fascinating introduction to your story! I enjoyed everything here; the beautiful descriptions, the tense staging, the many rich details about a powerful yet seemingly quite cold MC, and the gritty inner-politics of this caste. All of it comes together to introduce a big problem in the world, and I can already see all the incredible potential for character development and further world building! Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

This is where I put recommendations, but for this piece, I don't have much! The way you narrated how Aadrika goes about her business, and her dialogue -internal and external- was incredible. You really captured the sense of power and callousness in her words and body language. Your descriptions, likewise, were incredibly vivid and beautiful, and as someone who loves learning words and terminology, I really appreciated the glossary you included at the beginning! A very minor tip that may help your descriptions pop even more would be to hype up the sensory details, maybe describing a fragrance for those gorgeous halls, or providing some onomatopoeic terms, like an italicized 'woosh' from the wind outside, or the soft 'tmp-tmp-tmp' of Aadrika's heels through the halls. These are great and powerful tools for writers that I'm still learning myself, so I like to share them ~

Moving on, there were just a couple of other more specific things I thought I would include here in good faith, free to take or leave. The first being here:

Aadrika knew they lay of the building by heart, she glided forward on her silent heels, and two soldiers took their place beside her,


I think here, "they" was a bit of an odd word. Perhaps "the lay of the building" or in referencing the specific hallways, she knew "their layout" by heart? Very minor thing either way, and...

She had a lot of business of late, now, that a war was imminent.


There is nothing technically wrong with this sentence, so this is again very minor. I just thought this sentence could be simplified a bit, either saying "she had a lot of business now that war was imminent," or even less, just removing the second period so the "now" fits in more.

That's all! Now of course, this is all just my opinion, and I am not a professional, so please always take my advice with a grain of salt. This chapter was incredible regardless ~

Why The Grin Widened...

Ah, highlights and favorite lines. I don't even know where to begin with this piece!

As I mentioned, I loved the descriptions and staging. The prelude reflects a world that may be war-torn, but also magical with hidden beauties and treasures, and the chapter didn't disappoint. The beautiful descriptions of both Aadrika and her manor immediately charm the reader and capture their attention, and not only that, but there's even context for it:

People believe only what they see. Appearance is reality. She demanded perfection in her House, and accepted no infractions, the world did not allow mistakes.


Right off the bat, we get an idea of the type of character Aadrika will begin this journey as. This perfectionist sort of idea makes her seem like a woman of class for sure, strict in nature but very professional, composed, and elegant. And where it went from here did catch me by surprise:

Distaste filled Aadrika, lower houses were a nuisance, at times they were worse than commoners, always bowing and scraping, wiggling around like little worms, smiling ingratiatingly at her like she was a little girl who could be bribed with sweets.


As much as she hated the low houses, they were important, one who underestimated the pawns and their need of them, always lost.


Oooou, fascinating. Such a strong distaste for those beneath her, comparing them to vermin. This definitely introduces the idea of a rivalry as well as an allegiance between Aadrika's house and these lower houses, and with that clue, about them treating her like a little girl, you can't help wondering what happened to give her such a perception -and if it's true. I also love the phrasing of that second line. "One who underestimated the pawns and their need of them always lost." Wow, chills!

The following conversation between Aadrika and the lower house representatives was so tense. Just like real politics, it felt like each chunk of dialogue was part of one elaborate chess match. I was eager to learn about the war and where they stand in it, and how Aadrika would command the lower houses. Needless to say, her decision -even accounting for her hatred of this class- was a true shock:

The other houses stared at Lady Aadrika, who had just stripped all houses of all their money, and their seven houses of their prestige and glory, by denying them their right to aid in the war.


Wow! This really showed how fed up she is with the lower houses. Likewise, their desperation in trying to address her after the matter makes you wonder how they will take this. How, when, and even if this will come with repercussions has me dying to know!

And finally, the way you ended it all...

They would all be reduced to living frugally, like peasants, they would all become nothing, some might even starve to death.

Aadrika smiled.


Oh, what a chilling way to wrap this up! Such callousness, even enjoyment in the idea of more people struggling, even to the point of starving. If I wasn't already, this has me hooked, hoping to see this character grow.

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, this was a great opening chapter, nicely done! :D

Image




khushi17bansal says...


Thanks for the review Raven!

I think here, "they" was a bit of an odd word.


This was a typo, such little things always get messed up during copy-pasting and apparently I missed this one, thanks for pointing it out. I'm definitely going to go and fix that! :D



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Sun May 12, 2024 1:10 am
KateHardy wrote a review...



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

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Well this was quite a start here to this piece. A lovely little setting. I think there's been a lovely bit of worldbuilding in there to really set things up and Aadrika is really quite a intriguing character. All set up really quite neatly I think. Its a wonderful first chapter.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Ancient India is a magical place, rich, opulent and brutal. The high class of people, the nobles, are rich, powerful, power hungry, cutthroat, for nobody survives by being content or satisfied. They vey for power and plot to overthrow each other and the king. They plan and scheme to earn money, closely guard their secrets. They are selfish, unscrupulous and ethicless. They will do anything to get their bloodline and house to the top. A select few have a secret weapon, a wild card. Some say an equalizer and some say a monopoly giver.

Some are magical, some are mages practiced in the ancient art of sorcery. It is one’s greatest weapon, one closely held, fanatically guarded, obsessively practised and honed.


Well this seems to be quite the setup here from the looks of things. Its all been setup quite powerfully there with quite the combo of potential scenarios there with that particular vein of worldbuilding that's been set down. Let's see where we're headed here.

All are out for blood and all are out for power. All are waiting to wrest the throne and the power from each other’s desperate hands.

There has been no war for years and the royals and nobles are getting restless, the game has begun, the move has been made. The rule book is but one word, win.

There are only five monopolistic high houses, they manipulate each other and lower houses to gain favour, popularity, money and most importantly, power.

It is power that is coveted, it is knowledge that is hoarded, it is weapons that are honed and it is people that must be beaten.


Well looks like a classic setup to a great little bloodbath there with the way that's all come together. I can't wait to see how we dive into the action proper here and what exactly we're going to end up witnessing here and from what angle within this massive war.

The hot, heavy, oppressive air bore down on the earth as the loo blew over the land rustling the verdant greenery and ripening the mangoes. In a beautiful dark mansion stood a young lady, around nineteen years of age. She stood in a spacious room filled with rich, plush, opulent finery, in front of a full-length mirror. Lady Aadrika of High House Vishyah studied her reflection, she adjusted the skirt of her lehenga, made of the finest purple silk, covered in Zari embroidery, she shifted her lace dupatta in place and realigned her jhumkas and delicate, tasteful choker. The kajal in her eyes was perfect, and her heels were specially fitted to make no noise on the dark wooden floor.

Aadrika smiled, she turned and exited the room, walking down the golden lit corridor with calm measured steps, her head held high and her back straight. People believe only what they see. Appearance is reality. She demanded perfection in her House, and accepted no infractions, the world did not allow mistakes.

Aadrika reached the end of the corridor, it was long, built to intimidate all those unfortunate enough to be summoned to her personal quarters. It was filled with booby traps and fake rooms to perplex assassins. She exited the corridor onto a glorious descension of stairs, made with the finest of dark ebony, carved and inlaid exquisitely.


Well that is quite the entrance there. Loving the vibes you establish immediately about exactly where she comes from, what kind of standards she possesses and what kind of life she tends to lead. I love how much you mange to tell us about her just through all of that detail and description. Quite a neat start here.

Her mansion was like all other High House mansions, Dark, beautiful, carved wood, ivory and gold. Lit with candles, it was bathed in golden light that glinted of the beautiful ivory and gemstone inlay. These mansions were opulent, fine, rich and darkly beautiful. They symbolised all that the High Houses stood for, beauty, finery, opulence and power.

Aadrika stepped off the last stair to stand in a central hall with a high dome, built to mould the contours of the enormous chandelier that hung from the ceiling. The hall branched into various corridors, each with their own purpose. Aadrika knew they lay of the building by heart, she glided forward on her silent heels, and two soldiers took their place beside her, a few steps behind, as she moved towards her House court, where she met all those she had business with.

She had a lot of business of late, now, that a war was imminent. Wars always meant changes, changes in taxes, changes in politics…... changes in the behaviour of lower houses. Distaste filled Aadrika, lower houses were a nuisance, at times they were worse than commoners, always bowing and scraping, wiggling around like little worms, smiling ingratiatingly at her like she was a little girl who could be bribed with sweets.


Well certainly looks like things are going about as well as you'd expect in a land like that and people seem to be thinking that she's perhaps easier to convince than she really is. That's quite the little setup here and it seem we're on the brink of a bit of a war. Loving this already.

Anger flared in her, hot and pure like a furnace from hell. All the houses had resented her taking over the High House after her parents had passed, yes, the war meant changes, but it also meant that she had chance to show those worms who was in charge. Her anger cooled to smouldering embers, her distaste did not recede.

Her face was calm and composed, emotionless. Adrika entered her House court and took her place on the raised carved ebony platform, guards lined the walls, and clerks sat in the galleries, hidden from sight, prescribing every word that was spoken in the court. At the end of the long stretch of floor in front of her were the massive, gorgeous doors of one of the three entrances to her mansion.

Aadrika made a subtle motion and the gates were opened, and in came the first wave of the Heads of the low houses, they were announced as they jostled for space for themselves and their entourage, gilded and ugly in their cheap opulence, carrying unnecessary banners and house emblems. The lower houses had an irrepressible need to announce their moderate excess by transforming it into fancy, showy banners and several richly gilded and ugly attendants.


Hmm well you can certainly see Aadrika's priorities there and her general outlook on everything and that's balanced in nicely with what we're learning about the circumstances she's found herself in too so we can see a bit more about exactly what's pushed her to this way of thinking and having to make the kind of decisions that she has had to here.

They were no chairs for anyone, those Aadrika reserved for the truly important. These lowers houses would come in waves like insects, with the excuse of a war, they would jostle and plead to be ones to accompany the great High House Vishyah when it went to accompany the king with the war.

The low houses had finally settled themselves; the heads had pushed their entourages to the back, and stood in a semi-circle, facing Aadrika. They all bowed together and Aadrika inclined her head in acknowledgment. As much as she hated the low houses, they were important, one who underestimated the pawns and their need of them, always lost. She looked at the seven on them standing there. The first of the low houses and most important. She knew everything about them. The most important low houses she knew by heart, regardless of which High Houses domain they were in, the rest she knew as an overview, and recognised them by sight, details she kept in a large book.

They had come to discuss their fate with her, their leader, the High House they had owed allegiance to. Aadrika’s eyes moved over each and every one of them, watching all the signs, they squirmed under her silent gaze, they had come to see the child who had taken over one of the strongest Houses in the land. They had come to manipulate her like putty in their hands, for she was young and female and therefore, weak.


Well look like we're right after a bit of a big transfer of power here and it seems everyone is genuinely trying to just swarm into the high house here and see how much they can ply out of Aadrika here in this moment but judging by what we've seen so far that approach has only served to make Aadrika quite mad and she's about to execute some very professional and very powerful moves here.

This was not what they had expected.

Aadrika finished her inspection, she knew exactly what to do with each and every low house in her domain, and she had an idea of what might happen in the other High Houses domains. She had decided long back when she had realised that war was eminent, she could have just issued an order if she liked, but they underestimated her, which meant they did not fear her. It would be foolish to miss the opportunity to instil fear in them, they had to be her pawns for the imminent game, the war coming.

Aadrika smiled softly, a predatory curve of her lightly painted lips, “you all seem to have come prepared for war.” The massive gates shut with a soft thud, her dark brown eyes glinted with a golden luminescence, “I assume that is what is so urgent.”

The house head in the centre, puffed up his chest full of his own pride, not seeing what some of his colleagues could see, no, he saw only an little girl, calm and composed, so different from her fearsome father with his thunderous rage and sharp sword, “Lady Aadrika, I, Asvaghosa of House Moodh, am here to say that the orders you released in the near past relating to the increase of taxes and such, is a little of a drastic measure, the war has not even started! may I request that you repeal it, or at least reduce it, my lady?” the man had a pompous air.


Well here we go. I am loving this approach of letting them make all the mistakes and going in for the kill later, it lets her really get a good idea of exactly what they think of her and then she can of course begin instilling that fear that she seems to want. Let's see where this is gong to take us.

White hot rage coursed in Aadrika’s veins, no low house had the right to call her Lady Aadrika, that fool was suggesting that they were of equal station. Aadrika’s furnace of rage billowed; her face shuttered into a total frozen calm. She had let this go away for too long, it was high time the low houses relearned the meaning of fear.

Asvaghosa took her silence for submission, and puffed up in pride. The shock on the faces of the other heads was too close to awe, Aadrika released an invisible breath of calming air, she looked at Asvaghosa, “do you know that the ‘order’ was not official, but a necessity for wartime, a protocol you are all supposed to follow, without question”

Asvaghosa smiled ingratiatingly, he missed the veiled threat, “yes, my Lady, and I'm sure we important houses can help –


Hmm well it seems she's letting a little bit rope out here just letting Avaghosa there go ahead and fully dig that grave for himself and the other houses at the moment don't seem to be realizing too much either. Makes you wonder how foolish they have to be if her dad was that scary. Surely there's at least one person with enough sense to at least suspect she is capable of the same level of power given she was probably trained by her dad.

“The taxes are raised to sixty percent with no commission going to any of the low houses, paid in entirety to the High House Vishyah. The low houses will have no income for the length of the war, and are required to rely upon their savings. You seven houses will not accompany the High House Vishyah, for the war. You are all required to handle the people of the Houses who will accompany me. Their names shall be released.” Aadrika paused, resting her piercing glance on Asvaghosa, her hard, cold voice froze over, “All insubordinate low house heads will be stripped of their powers and replaced. Starting with, Asvaghosa Moodh. Spread the word.” Aadrika’s firm, strong and commanding voice rang through the hall, she stood, radiating power.

The seven head of houses staggered, staring at her, Asvaghosa’s knees buckled under him and he collapsed, nothing was worse than being stripped of all powers and hanged, his mind could not process what had happened, how, suddenly, this little girl had decided she had the power to rule them. The other houses stared at Lady Aadrika, who had just stripped all houses of all their money, and their seven houses of their prestige and glory, by denying them their right to aid in the war.


Well that seems to be quite a harsh decree there but I suppose in this world that is the minimum that needs to be done in order for people to not just dismiss you. Those scumbags there that seemed to be thinking they could get away with treating her as a little girl at least do deserve what they're about to be receiving here.

They saw her now, they saw that was not a little girl. She was the Head of the High House of Vishyah, she had the power to rule them, to push them the way she liked. Aadrika turned to move away, but they tried to follow her, pleading now as the real plight of their situation hit them, their power, prestige, wealth and respect was all gone, “Lady Vishyah please –

The guards pushed them away, and banged their spears with a resounding thrum, “Lady Aadrika of High House Vishyah has made her decision and declaration. Leave, and do as her Lady Vishyah commands.” The voices echoed in the heads of the house heads as they watched the retreating figure of Aadrika leave.

The silence of the corridor was only interrupted by the soft rustle of Aadrika’s lehenga as she moved toward the main hall in the beginning of the corridor. She was in the corridor on the far right of the staircase, this was the corridor that led to the dining hall, complete with the long table and large enough to host a hundred guests. From the two far ends of the hall, started two trickling passageways which led to the kitchen and servants’ quarters. It was time for her breakfast.


Well it seems the houses now not to cause a ruckus there and the guards are quite feared too. This is certainly causing quite a stir here. I'm sure as fun as a move like this is, Aadrika will have a few problems at her plate as a result of this, its often not as simple as just punishing people.

Aadrika took her place at the table, she had set the low houses right, killing Asvaghosa would ensure that none of the pompous houses would ever make the mistake of taking her as a child ever again, the war was coming and she did not have time to put everyone in their place. Nobody knew how long this war was going to last or how she long would have to be away. Yet, Aadrika was taking no chances, she never was going to take any low houses based on their wealth or prestige, or even their bloodline. She would be taking them based of their intelligence, only those who were smart enough to cause trouble in her absence would accompany her.

The havoc this would play on the low houses’ social hierarchy coupled with their financial crisis she had put them in would keep the rest busy, they will act like they always have, petty and insignificant, unable to compete or think beyond their neighbours. Each low house did not have any savings, they all had one consolidated treasury that they were all supposed to regularly deposit in, but they never did. Most sent petty tokens just to make sure that there was some paperwork, and the majority of them simply ignored it. even after years of depositing, it would barely have enough money to run one low House household. But they all relied on that now. They would all be reduced to living frugally, like peasants, they would all become nothing, some might even starve to death.

Aadrika smiled.


Well that is a decidedly evil moment there but I suppose those petty houses did in fact bring all of that upon themselves. Aadrika just set a couple of things in motion to make thing falls apart just right. I think its a beautiful little notion here to end things on with her contemplating. A good place to end chapter one.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall I think you've done a wonderful job putting this together ehre. It looks very much poised to be a lovely little tale, well full of far and death and political moves but lovely all the same. The lady here is quite an intriguing character too. Looking forward to seeing what happens next.

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

Stay Safe
Kate




khushi17bansal says...


Thank You so much for the review!! I really appreciate it!



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Fri May 10, 2024 5:45 am
ToastK wrote a review...



Hi, Toast here for a quick review of “Mage”, what an interesting title! I can’t wait to see how this story plans out.

Starting off, I really loved the setting of ancient India. The way you describe the luxurious, sometimes unnecessary blemishes and gold of the nobles is amazing. As someone who isn’t too familiar with Indian history or culture, I had to search up a lot of the clothings and terminologies used, but nontheless, once I got familiar with the terms, this was such an interesting, encaptivating read!

First, I would like to point out a couple of grammatical/spelling mistakes here and there.

They are selfish, unscrupulous and ethic less.

ethicless should’ve been used here, but not that big of a problem.

There are only five monopolistic high houses, they manipulate each other and lower houses to gain favour, popularity and money and most importantly, power.

“popularity, money, and most importantly, power.” something like this can seem more natural to the reader, as it’s listing things off and each of these things should be separated by a comma.

Aadrika smiled softly, a predatory curve of her lightly painted lips, “you all seem to have come prepared for war.” The massive gates shut with a soft thud, her dark brown eyes glinted with a golden luminescence, “I assume that is what is so urgent”

This is a really good line. I loved the portrayal of Aadrika here, and her presence beginning to grow within the short-sighted low houses. Would’ve been perfect if you just didn’t forget the period at the end.

Now, all these are minor punctuation and grammar mistakes that can easily be found by spellcheck, so don’t mind too much.

Now, the story itself was really great.

It drew me in from the beginning and the way you painted the story so far has been so colorful that I could practically imagine the scene as if it were a movie.
I do feel like rearranging the sentences here and there can make the flow even more natural, but I had no problem with it.

All in all, I really enjoyed the story and can’t wait for more!
(Also, welcome to YWS!!)




khushi17bansal says...


Wow! thank you so much for the review!! I'll certainly be more careful with the grammar and will try to make the sentence arrangement better.

Would you mind telling me what clothings and terminologies you had to search up? If I know those perhaps I can explain them at the end to make the reading easier.



ToastK says...


words like lehenga and zari embroidery dont come up much when talking about clothing where I live, so it was definitely an eye opener. I did search them up, and I want to say, they look so traditional and beautiful! I always love traditional clothing and lehengas look so comfortable and elegant! Also, great idea on explaining certain not wellknown terminologies, if you do that, it will definitely make the reading experience more immersive.



khushi17bansal says...


Great, thanks!




I love her dearly, but I can’t live with her for a day without feeling my whole life is wasting away.
— Miss Kenton, The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro