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Mage Chapter 6

by khushi17bansal


[Warning - Mentions of alcohol.]

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.

Uncommon terms :

Rummy - an Indian card game, sometimes played with two packs, in which the players try to form sets and sequences of cards.

Feni - an alcoholic liquor made from coconut or from the juice of the cashew apple, originating in Goa, India.

Mahua - an Indian alcoholic drink produced from the nectar-rich flowers of the mahua.

Kesar katsura - an Indian alcohol originating in Rajasthan. It is made from exotic ingredients like high quality saffron, dry fruits, herbs, nuts, seeds, roots and spices with fine blending of desi ghee (butter oil), milk, crystal sugar etc 

Chandrahaas -  an Indian alcohol. 

Chapter 6

The heavy amber-gold candlelight lit up the hall, intoxicating as whiskey. The lavish opulence of the banquet hall glistened; the gold, silver, ivory and jewel inlay glimmered like stars among the carved ebony. The dark scent of alcohol floated in the air. Around the large round table sat all the low house heads, each one dressed in gaudy extravagance, playing Rummy.

The centre of the table was heaped with sparkling gold, silver coins, jewels, pearls and diamonds. All twenty low houses played with coy slyness, playing pretence, as if they wanted to win. Things far more valuable than money were being exchanged.

Many of the low houses were feeling the effect of the strong spirits they were all partaking in, sweet bitter poison, feni, mahua, kesar katsura and Chandrahaas. The High Houses had confined themselves to their own company and had chosen to stay away from the low houses.

Lady Lina of House Yaja sworn to High House Nishthavan tossed down another card, “Quite the situation we have all found ourselves in.” Her voice was heavy gilded honey.

Away in the corner, Lord Shakra twitched in violent irritation, he hated these frivolous games. His eyes darkened in anger, wasting all that money, all that money just frittered away like nothing. He took a large fortifying gulp from his goblet.

Lord Yohula threw down his card, “Indeed, there hasn’t been such friction between the High Houses since centuries, the King has always kept them apart.” He sounded like a scholar speaking of things most uninteresting.

Beside him, Lady Magha nodded distractedly, more focused on the plate of the finest, most exquisite delicacies that lay half empty in front on her.

“Then the King got all the High House Heads killed.” Lady Vagala spoke with relish, she eyed her cards.

Lady Nirukti of House Mira sworn to High House Sathyarath hummed softly, “That was quite frightful business indeed.” Her voice held a barely noticeable tenor of underlying self-importance.

Lord Patira’s eyes darted around wildly; paranoia etched on his face. The candles flickered, slowly burning down, the scent of incense hung in the air.

Lord Tosa glanced at Nirukti, a faint smile creasing his lips, “It must have looked frightful indeed - from afar. Your High House was unaffected, was it not?”

Nirukti simply smiled. Lady Prtha of House Dhena sworn to High House Sathyarath called for more alcohol. Goblets were refilled, the amber-gold light of the hall darkened, the low houses played. Tossing down cards, the pile grew larger, grew smaller and grew larger again.

Lord Marala tossed down a card, “Death is our way of life, after all, even Lady Nishath was killed.” His voice was cold, his eyes gleamed in pleasure.

Lady Katha of House Vamsi sworn to High House Nishath gave a delighted laugh, “Oh that was bound to happen sooner or later. No High House Head could bear her, I am not surprised that one of them had her killed.”

Tosa’s eyes glinted darkly, “That is High House business, we should not concern ourselves with it.”

Vagala smiled, she threw down her card, “It is quite interesting nonetheless.”

Lina reclined in her chair with an air of luxuriousness, “What is more important are our actions.” She smiled with an air of magnanimity, her eyes glinted, “after all, there is not enough room for all twenty of us.”

The heady intoxicating air seemed to weigh down on every low house head, the dark gold light swathed the room like darkened honey.

Lord Yohula’s voice was mild, “That may be an overstatement, the High Houses shall sort this out amongst themselves, we hardly need do anything.” His eyes were sharp.

Lord Siraka lay slumped on the edge of the table; his cards lay scattered on the table. Six bottles of liquor lay around him – all empty.

Nirukti almost sneered, sipping from her goblet, “You really believe that, do you not?”

Yohula smiled coldly.

Lady Dhiti threw down a card, “I seem to be winning, how delightful.” Her voice was obnoxious.

                                                                    ****************

Alone in her opulent chambers sat Aadrika, cradling a simple piece of glass. It was not bigger than her hand. Aadrika looked at the glass, shimmering in moonlight, her heart quivered in anticipation, a feeling akin to joy seemed to creep on her. She closed her eyes and whispered softly, tenderly.

गूढशक्तिबलानिस्वगुणात्आज्ञापयामि।

समुद्रान्पारंसंयोजयन्तु, भूमिंपारंसंयोजयन्तु।

ममनेत्रैःसहसंयोजयन्तु, .

चावमांयत्पश्यसि।

The surface of the glass swirled, connecting with the magical eyes she had hidden far, far away. In High House Vishyah’s territorial domain.

It swirled and stilled, showing an image of a young girl, close to ten years of age, dressed in simple clothing sleeping peacefully in a cot, smiling softly. There was a fire burning gently nearby. The simple furnishing of the girl’s surrounding reminded one of rustic origins, but the everything was too perfect, too fine. The clothes though simple, were made of fine muslin and silk. The cot was carved ebony.

Aadrika looked at the sleeping form of her baby sister and a soft relieved laugh left her; tears blurred the edge of her vision. Her heart twisted with fierce longing, love and bittersweet melancholy.

She wished so desperately to be there with her sister.

Asani was such a sweet little girl, gentle and kind and delicate, filled with such innocence and goodness. Such boundless trust and generosity. She was an angel. Always so happy and sweet and innocent.

When she had been born Aadrika had spent so many sleepless nights helplessly and desperately wishing that they were somebody else. Some poor innocent farmers or merchants that lived in some obscure corner of the Kingdom. She had wished they were somebody who could continue believing in illusions of people’s goodness, somebody who had people to trust and reasons to be happy.

She had wished they were not High House Heirs, who were always alone and in constant danger. Who knew that things like trust, loyalty, love and goodness did not exist.

Asani was too sweet, too good and too trusting to be a High House Heir. To ensure that she would survive, they would have to strip her of all those qualities. They would have to make sweet little Asani like Aadrika, ruthless, ethicless, unscrupulous, cruel, cunning, cutthroat. They would have to make her a High House Head.

Aadrika tenderly traced the image on the glass with a trembling finger, she looked at Asani’s relaxed form.

She had been unable to bear that thought.

She had decided then, that she would protect Asani, she would protect Asani from her world. She had begged her parents, promised them, worked herself raw, she would be enough. She would do everything in her power to ensure that Asani could have the life she deserved.

Aadrika had convinced her parents, and they had hidden Asani, sheltered her from the world. She was hidden and protected by an elite force that Aadrika had magically compelled and bound.

To the world, Aadrika was the only child of Lord and Lady Vishyah.

Aadrika drew a deep fortifying breath, she blinked away her tears. She was here for Asani.

The King had killed her parents, proving that Asani would only ever be truly safe when Aadrika was Queen and had the Royal Mage Army under her command.

She would be Queen.

The longing receded; the feeling of bittersweet melancholia was replaced with an unshakeable, deadly feeling of absolute determination.

She was here for Asani.

Aadrika‘s face cleared, her back straightened. She was a High House Head. She would do whatever it took to become Queen. She was powerful, deadly and dangerous.

She was here for Anasi.

The moon shimmered against the inky sky, Aadrika’s eyes gleamed sharply, dangerously. Her face was hard and cold.

There was nothing that could stop her.

                                                                 ******************

The day was cloudy, the sky slate grey and cold. The breeze blew whispering along the land, the dark verdant greenery rustled contentedly. The air was heavy with promise, the dawn was young.

Inside the Royal palace, surrounded by carved ebony wreathed in gold, diamond and ivory finery, sat four figures. All of them had relaxed postures, swathed in an air of assurance uncommon for low houses.

Lady Gira of House Jiti sworn to High House Karmisht, sitting at the head of the table, watched her companions with beady eyes. Her ashy black hair was twisted into an intricate braid, her face was expressionless. “It is imperative that we work carefully. Defeating the High Houses and taking their places will not be easy.”

Lady Nirukti smiled, eyes shining with pleasure. “It may not be easy, but it will be so satisfying. Those worthless fools have been prancing around calling themselves High House Heads for far too long. It is time we showed them their place.” Her tone was imperial.

Lord Cana of House Ujval sworn to High House Vishyah was reclined in his chair, he looked almost disinterested, as if all this was only entertainment for him. “We will have to kill quite a few Houses too, to get the remaining on our side.”

Lady Katha gave a thrilled laugh, her eyes seemed to glow with a fevered light. “Oh! That will be fun. Those little worms, wiggling around without any self- respect, bowing and scraping to the High House Heads. It will be better off without them” She bared her teeth in a feral smile.

Gira nodded at Katha, “The deaths will have to be strategic; we cannot randomly kill any of the Houses.” Her voice was severe, “They too have started forming alliances and giving allegiances, we will have to be careful, each death will have great significance.”

The clouds darkened, the wind picked up speed, hissing as it raced along. The golden light of the candles flickered.

                                                                *****************

Anala sat in his private chambers, staring out at the grey horizonless sky, brooding. He had to defeat all the other High House Heads and reign supreme. Anala thought about Ida and Aadrika and sneered, they were little children, inexperienced and ignorant, almost like Kamana had been. It would not be hard to defeat them, they were foolish. Neither of the two were paying particular attention to the low houses, they were not laying down plots and plans, they seemed to be busy, lost in some other world.

Anala scoffed, smirking, they were as good as dead. His thoughts then turned to Rukira and Catura, his expression darkened. They had already started laying down their webs, using the low houses that had pledged them allegiance. They were the main players of this game; they were the only ones who posed a danger to him.

He had to kill them.

Anala looked out his window. The dark clouds churned angrily, the wind blew strong and hard, screaming. The greenery rustled violently. The air was heavy with promise.

It was time to give Niska his orders.

                                                                   ********************

“I think we should kill the High House Heads right away.” Cana was still leaning back in his chair, his posture nonchalant. He gave Gira an insincere smile.

Gira looked at him, her eyes dark. “It would be folly; you know better Lord Cana. We must focus on the Houses, Magha, Shakra and Gandini have formed an alliance. Vagala, Balhaka, Tosa and Yohula have also formed an alliance. We must keep an eye on them.

Tushta, Dhiti, Marala and Niska have given their allegiance to Lord Catura. Moreover, Patira, Siraka and Bharu have given their allegiance to Lady Rukira. These are our main contenders; these are the Houses we might have to kill.” The tone of her voice was laced with authority.

Cana cut his eyes at Gira, “Who, may I ask, shall spend their precious time watching over all these Houses?” his voice was expressionless.

Nirukti frowned thoughtfully, “Lina and Prtha are still unallied and have not given their allegiance to any High House yet, we could invite them to our alliance - while concealing our purpose – and make them do such work.”

Cana raised an eyebrow at her, “You truly believe they are that foolish?”

Nirukti glowered at Cana, “they have not allied themselves with anyone, how smart can they be?”

Katha smiled in amusement, she seemed to be enjoying herself immensely, “So, who are we killing first?”

Gira sat there at the head of the table, her eyes had darkened, her façade was slipping, the first meagre sparks of anger had begun overtaking her face.

The thunder cracked loudly, the clouds had darkened to an ashy black, echoing the imminent thunderstorm. The wind continued to pick up speed. The air was heavy with promise.

                                                                  ******************

The rain pounded the ground brutally, the wind screeched, blowing sharp and fast like an arrow. The sky was charcoal smoke, the rain was thick and grey, each droplet piercing cold. The greenery was a lush emerald, the air was filled with the scent of earth.

Rukira paced in her private chambers, frantic. She moved quickly, hysterical, panicked. Angry.

Hot searing rage coursed in her veins. Her eyes were blown wide. Her breath came in quick panted gasps. She trembled with fury.

She needed to kill them.

She needed to hear them die.

To hear their screams. To see their hope perish.

She needed to kill them.

Rukira trembled, gripped by a violent destructive need. Her head was spinning wildly. Anger coursed in her veins, strong and controlling. Burning her, filling her. Her hands shook.

She needed to hurt them.

She needed to destroy. Shatter. Kill.

She needed to see what she felt. She needed to kill them.

Rukira gasped as if in pain. She moved around the room with frantic, violent energy, as if a cornered animal. Furious desperation clawed at her. An angry shriek lay locked in her throat. Destructive desperation raged in her, threatening to explode.

She needed to do it. She needed to do what she was here for.

She needed to have her revenge.

This world had killed her husband. This world had destroyed him.

This world had to burn.

The rain pounded the earth, shattering like glass needles. The dark grey of the sky flashed with lightening. Thunder filled the air, deafening and demanding. 


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Sun Jun 30, 2024 2:32 pm
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goodolnoah wrote a review...



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Hello there, one of King Koopa’s loyal henchmen, here!

Hello again! ~ Writing Commentary

Lord Marala tossed down a card, “Death is our way of life, after all, even Lady Nishath was killed.” His voice was cold, his eyes gleamed in pleasure.


Haha, I like this first scene for the philosophical rambling of war and struggle. Random nerd vent here, I am a big fan of the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, which features a fair bit of secret societies/ people in high power speaking in dark rooms. The aura of this scene is really nice too, the card game being played in the background adds A LOT to the scene. The low houses playing cards absentmindedly while those higher up plan to use them.

When she had been born Aadrika had spent so many sleepless nights helplessly and desperately wishing that they were somebody else. Some poor innocent farmers or merchants that lived in some obscure corner of the Kingdom. She had wished they were somebody who could continue believing in illusions of people’s goodness, somebody who had people to trust and reasons to be happy.


YES!!! I am happy to see some development on Aadrika’s motivations be built upon here! This is actually a nice reprieve from the lies and deception, the image we know of her is stripped back and we see the real Aadrika here. I will say that this helps me empathize with her more now, and probably the most since I know nothing of the other character’s motivations. Very strong scene here!

Gira looked at him, her eyes dark. “It would be folly; you know better Lord Cana. We must focus on the Houses, Magha, Shakra and Gandini have formed an alliance. Vagala, Balhaka, Tosa and Yohula have also formed an alliance. We must keep an eye on them.


Interesting that the lower house heads are having a conversation about how to overthrow the high house heads. This scene cuts to Anala thinking about the same thing, but he doesn’t have a single thought in his head relating to the lower houses and their plans. Quite arrogant of him, eh?

Rukira gasped as if in pain. She moved around the room with frantic, violent energy, as if a cornered animal. Furious desperation clawed at her. An angry shriek lay locked in her throat. Destructive desperation raged in her, threatening to explode.


Wow, I feel like if the last chapter was buildup, this chapter was like shaking bees in a glass jar. Tensions are rising after Kamana’s death, looks like anyone could make the next move!

Love and…Screams ~ Story Commentary

Usually I leave a big section of my thoughts thus far when I catch up to your most recent part, so I will be doing that here!

I think everything is pretty solid thus far, your writing fits the style of this tale very well! It has a sense of royalty with an underlying sense of darkness! It really fits the tone of this story very well!

I like how every character is essentially out for themselves, and there is a lot of thematic elements that I could sense. Even if characters seem to lack depth, thematic elements and quirks help add depth. I can also tell that all of your characters seem to have a lot to them, even if the scheming and backstabbing is much of what we see. I personally enjoyed when we got to learn more about Aadrika’s motives for what she is doing. It helps her seem deeper and relatable.

I will also place some of my critiques here:

The amount of characters is a blessing and a curse, in my opinion. It helps immensely with worldbuilding, but I feel a little lost at times with the amount of names being thrown around. There are new characters interwoven with already introduced characters. I began to have troubles with the amount of names, houses, and et cetera that were introduced. However, this does help with worldbuilding, it shows that there are MANY houses occupying this space, and it adds to how many people are vying for power.

To fix problems with character confusion, perhaps adding a little character encyclopedia (names, short descriptions) to the beginning of chapters so we know who is important.

My next critique is in terms of the pacing. Your pacing starts out great! The first and second chapters give us a good intro to the world with a consistent increase of steaks until Kamana’s death in chapter 3. After her deathI feel like the story began to slow down a bit. This is more of a minor critique, since it seems like we are coming up on something big anyway.

I also really enjoyed the piece in this chapter that told us more about Aadrika’s character! My only nitpick is with the placement, I would’ve liked something like this to be brought up a little earlier. Perhaps chapter 4 or so, because Aadrika’s actions in 4-5 don’t particularly stand out to me. If we saw this part earlier, it would strengthen her role as the main(?) character.

Who holds the cards? ~ Closer

Please don’t take any of my recommendations too seriously! I am pretty biased in what I consider a good story, so what I like may differ from what you like/how you like to write. Your style is very strong, and I had an easy time reading this! I had a good idea of the setting, characters, and the actions of said characters. Usually political thrillers can get complicated, but I didn’t ever feel lost! (aside from my slight gripe with character names)




khushi17bansal says...


Thanks for the review! It's very helpful.



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Hello Again, My Friend!

It's me, Raven, and I'd like to review the next chapter in this great story using my Familiar method! Let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh...

What The Black Eyes See...

Ah, everyone has gone from scheming, forming alliances, and picking out clues to bracing for another killing! Everyone is after somebody, and who will be left standing, I just don't know! Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

Yet again, not recommendations! Good writing job ~

Why The Grin Widened...

Loved the setting in the beginning; you just have such a knack for describing beautiful places and bringing them to life! And in the card game, I love the mood you set here:

All twenty low houses played with coy slyness, playing pretence, as if they wanted to win. Things far more valuable than money were being exchanged.


Sure enough, while hard to tell who's lying and who's genuine, I felt like the discussion that took place really spoke to the different views that these low house heads have. Not only showing the conflict of opinions, reinforcing the idea of an underlying conflict since everyone has been pledging themselves to different houses, but also dropping great bits of information to tell us more about the history of this land. For example...

Lord Yohula threw down his card, “Indeed, there hasn’t been such friction between the High Houses since centuries, the King has always kept them apart.”


So it was once the King's duty to maintain order between the houses, and now between his absence (possible plot) and the lurking power-hungry forces at play, things do seem much different. And of course, by extension...

“What is more important are our actions.” She smiled with an air of magnanimity, her eyes glinted, “after all, there is not enough room for all twenty of us.”


Lord Yohula’s voice was mild, “That may be an overstatement, the High Houses shall sort this out amongst themselves, we hardly need do anything.” His eyes were sharp.


Oh snap, she actually said it! Such a chilling line ~ And contrasting with Yohula's opinion, it leaves things so uncertain in this sphere. What will become of these houses as the tensions continue to rise?

The surface of the glass swirled, connecting with the magical eyes she had hidden far, far away. In High House Vishyah’s territorial domain.


This was such a cool spell from Aadrika! I wasn't sure what to expect from it, but...

Aadrika looked at the sleeping form of her baby sister and a soft relieved laugh left her; tears blurred the edge of her vision. Her heart twisted with fierce longing, love and bittersweet melancholy.


This was such a sweet moment! It was great to see Aadrika, too, show off a soft side to her character, and it told us more about her family. I loved reading her motive to be such a strong leader; to prove herself and be the strong player, stripped of almost all love and compassion, so Asani doesn't have to lose herself like she did. It shows how despite the power and the luxuries that come with this position, it's actually quite sad and lonely. But entwining the motive of sisterly love and protection with this hard duty and determination to become Queen, man, did it all come together amazingly! It all gave a sense of depth to Aadrika's character and the perception of High House Heads overall that I really enjoyed thinking about. Great character work there!

Gira nodded at Katha, “The deaths will have to be strategic; we cannot randomly kill any of the Houses.” Her voice was severe, “They too have started forming alliances and giving allegiances, we will have to be careful, each death will have great significance.”


Ooo, more staging for another murder to take place. On top of that, Anala has his eyes fixed on Rukira and Catara, with a mage at his disposal! Indeed, who will be the next to fall? Love how the discussion between Katha, Gira, and company ended on that question. Interesting yet very ominous...

Aaaand Rukira is now showing her angry side, ready to kill someone herself. Ah! Everyone is out for blood! I don't know what to predict and I love it!

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, that was an awesome chapter, nicely done! :D

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khushi17bansal says...


Thank you so much for the review!! It's so helpful and encouraging, I was having doubts about Mage and haven't been able to write the next chapter so far but hopefully I'll make the time and get the next chapter out soon!



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ToastK says...



Hey, it’s been quite a while since I’ve checked up on this series, but I wanted to drop by and say that you’re doing great so far!
Also, I see that you’ve been now adding uncommon terms at the start of the story for better understanding. I’m not sure if you added it because I suggested it but if you did, I’m flattered, if not, thank you for adding clarifications for an easier and more enjoyable reading experience!




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Mon Jun 03, 2024 11:52 pm
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 has certainly devolved into a rather large clashing of various egos here by this point and I'm almost certain there's something underlying here that's pushing everyone to this extreme here, this can't just be everyone getting murderous on the same day.

Anyway let's get right to it,

The heavy amber-gold candlelight lit up the hall, intoxicating as whiskey. The lavish opulence of the banquet hall glistened; the gold, silver, ivory and jewel inlay glimmered like stars among the carved ebony. The dark scent of alcohol floated in the air. Around the large round table sat all the low house heads, each one dressed in gaudy extravagance, playing Rummy.

The centre of the table was heaped with sparkling gold, silver coins, jewels, pearls and diamonds. All twenty low houses played with coy slyness, playing pretence, as if they wanted to win. Things far more valuable than money were being exchanged.

Many of the low houses were feeling the effect of the strong spirits they were all partaking in, sweet bitter poison, feni, mahua, kesar katsura and Chandrahaas. The High Houses had confined themselves to their own company and had chosen to stay away from the low houses.


Oooh well this is quite the place to start here, getting a glimpse into a full social event for all of the lower houses. It looks like just maybe a few plans are going to emerge from this particular lot.

Lady Lina of House Yaja sworn to High House Nishthavan tossed down another card, “Quite the situation we have all found ourselves in.” Her voice was heavy gilded honey.

Away in the corner, Lord Shakra twitched in violent irritation, he hated these frivolous games. His eyes darkened in anger, wasting all that money, all that money just frittered away like nothing. He took a large fortifying gulp from his goblet.

Lord Yohula threw down his card, “Indeed, there hasn’t been such friction between the High Houses since centuries, the King has always kept them apart.” He sounded like a scholar speaking of things most uninteresting.


Hmm well love that you can immediately get a good feel for how everyone feels about both this current situation they find themselves in and also the way they feel about the current situation of this country as a whole.

Beside him, Lady Magha nodded distractedly, more focused on the plate of the finest, most exquisite delicacies that lay half empty in front on her.

“Then the King got all the High House Heads killed.” Lady Vagala spoke with relish, she eyed her cards.

Lady Nirukti of House Mira sworn to High House Sathyarath hummed softly, “That was quite frightful business indeed.” Her voice held a barely noticeable tenor of underlying self-importance.

Lord Patira’s eyes darted around wildly; paranoia etched on his face. The candles flickered, slowly burning down, the scent of incense hung in the air.


Ooooh well you can see a lot more emotions on display here too, that really showcases the gap in intensity between the higher and lower houses there, this function feeling less strained and slightly more like a few people are being truthful about feelings.

Lord Tosa glanced at Nirukti, a faint smile creasing his lips, “It must have looked frightful indeed - from afar. Your High House was unaffected, was it not?”

Nirukti simply smiled. Lady Prtha of House Dhena sworn to High House Sathyarath called for more alcohol. Goblets were refilled, the amber-gold light of the hall darkened, the low houses played. Tossing down cards, the pile grew larger, grew smaller and grew larger again.

Lord Marala tossed down a card, “Death is our way of life, after all, even Lady Nishath was killed.” His voice was cold, his eyes gleamed in pleasure.

Lady Katha of House Vamsi sworn to High House Nishath gave a delighted laugh, “Oh that was bound to happen sooner or later. No High House Head could bear her, I am not surprised that one of them had her killed.”


Oooh well interesting to see how that conversation filters down to them. Its quite interesting to see how unconcerned they are to just assume one of the others did it instead of being more concerned about what it could all mean. I think that's a lovely showing again of the differences here.

Tosa’s eyes glinted darkly, “That is High House business, we should not concern ourselves with it.”

Vagala smiled, she threw down her card, “It is quite interesting nonetheless.”

Lina reclined in her chair with an air of luxuriousness, “What is more important are our actions.” She smiled with an air of magnanimity, her eyes glinted, “after all, there is not enough room for all twenty of us.”

The heady intoxicating air seemed to weigh down on every low house head, the dark gold light swathed the room like darkened honey.


Ooooh well that's a challenging statement if I ever heard one. Statements are being thrown down there, and challenges being offered. Love the vibes there. I think it makes for a very intriguing bit of new direction to all of this now.

Lord Yohula’s voice was mild, “That may be an overstatement, the High Houses shall sort this out amongst themselves, we hardly need do anything.” His eyes were sharp.

Lord Siraka lay slumped on the edge of the table; his cards lay scattered on the table. Six bottles of liquor lay around him – all empty.

Nirukti almost sneered, sipping from her goblet, “You really believe that, do you not?”

Yohula smiled coldly.

Lady Dhiti threw down a card, “I seem to be winning, how delightful.” Her voice was obnoxious.


Oooh well that's a lovely moment to end that on right there. I am loving the little hint of sass there. The lover houses and their little moments of emotion are really proving to be quite fun honestly.

Alone in her opulent chambers sat Aadrika, cradling a simple piece of glass. It was not bigger than her hand. Aadrika looked at the glass, shimmering in moonlight, her heart quivered in anticipation, a feeling akin to joy seemed to creep on her. She closed her eyes and whispered softly, tenderly.

The surface of the glass swirled, connecting with the magical eyes she had hidden far, far away. In High House Vishyah’s territorial domain.

It swirled and stilled, showing an image of a young girl, close to ten years of age, dressed in simple clothing sleeping peacefully in a cot, smiling softly. There was a fire burning gently nearby. The simple furnishing of the girl’s surrounding reminded one of rustic origins, but the everything was too perfect, too fine. The clothes though simple, were made of fine muslin and silk. The cot was carved ebony.

Aadrika looked at the sleeping form of her baby sister and a soft relieved laugh left her; tears blurred the edge of her vision. Her heart twisted with fierce longing, love and bittersweet melancholy.


Oooh Aadrika showing some actual love for something that's not just power, now that's a rare occurrence right there. Definitely worth noting down. It seems she does care fairly deeply about her family.

She wished so desperately to be there with her sister.

Asani was such a sweet little girl, gentle and kind and delicate, filled with such innocence and goodness. Such boundless trust and generosity. She was an angel. Always so happy and sweet and innocent.

When she had been born Aadrika had spent so many sleepless nights helplessly and desperately wishing that they were somebody else. Some poor innocent farmers or merchants that lived in some obscure corner of the Kingdom. She had wished they were somebody who could continue believing in illusions of people’s goodness, somebody who had people to trust and reasons to be happy.

She had wished they were not High House Heirs, who were always alone and in constant danger. Who knew that things like trust, loyalty, love and goodness did not exist.


Well this is a sad little realization, cause you know everyone, even Aadrika herself was once that innocent before being subjected to the training that it too to get here, the fact Aadrika can still see this and wish elsewhere speaks volumes about her character and motivation here.

Asani was too sweet, too good and too trusting to be a High House Heir. To ensure that she would survive, they would have to strip her of all those qualities. They would have to make sweet little Asani like Aadrika, ruthless, ethicless, unscrupulous, cruel, cunning, cutthroat. They would have to make her a High House Head.

Aadrika tenderly traced the image on the glass with a trembling finger, she looked at Asani’s relaxed form.

She had been unable to bear that thought.

She had decided then, that she would protect Asani, she would protect Asani from her world. She had begged her parents, promised them, worked herself raw, she would be enough. She would do everything in her power to ensure that Asani could have the life she deserved.


Oooh so she did manage to succeed in her dreams well to some extent I suppose. You can never quite have a fully free life if you have to live behind a well protected barrier but it is much better than the alternative.

Aadrika had convinced her parents, and they had hidden Asani, sheltered her from the world. She was hidden and protected by an elite force that Aadrika had magically compelled and bound.

To the world, Aadrika was the only child of Lord and Lady Vishyah.

Aadrika drew a deep fortifying breath, she blinked away her tears. She was here for Asani.

The King had killed her parents, proving that Asani would only ever be truly safe when Aadrika was Queen and had the Royal Mage Army under her command.

She would be Queen.


Well looks like we know Aadrika's eventual goal then, they certainly are ambitious on an entirely different level here. I wonder what the other house heads are personally striving for now.

The longing receded; the feeling of bittersweet melancholia was replaced with an unshakeable, deadly feeling of absolute determination.

She was here for Asani.

Aadrika‘s face cleared, her back straightened. She was a High House Head. She would do whatever it took to become Queen. She was powerful, deadly and dangerous.

She was here for Anasi.

The moon shimmered against the inky sky, Aadrika’s eyes gleamed sharply, dangerously. Her face was hard and cold.

There was nothing that could stop her.


Well I think the moon knew exactly the depth of that promise there, very appropriate little scene to end on here for this little resolution. Loving the way this is coming together so far.

The day was cloudy, the sky slate grey and cold. The breeze blew whispering along the land, the dark verdant greenery rustled contentedly. The air was heavy with promise, the dawn was young.

Inside the Royal palace, surrounded by carved ebony wreathed in gold, diamond and ivory finery, sat four figures. All of them had relaxed postures, swathed in an air of assurance uncommon for low houses.

Lady Gira of House Jiti sworn to High House Karmisht, sitting at the head of the table, watched her companions with beady eyes. Her ashy black hair was twisted into an intricate braid, her face was expressionless. “It is imperative that we work carefully. Defeating the High Houses and taking their places will not be easy.”


Oooh well back to the lower houses it would seem and their ambitions are just as lofty there, perhaps a little bit loftier considering the magnitude of things that would have to go down in order to cause that.

Lady Nirukti smiled, eyes shining with pleasure. “It may not be easy, but it will be so satisfying. Those worthless fools have been prancing around calling themselves High House Heads for far too long. It is time we showed them their place.” Her tone was imperial.

Lord Cana of House Ujval sworn to High House Vishyah was reclined in his chair, he looked almost disinterested, as if all this was only entertainment for him. “We will have to kill quite a few Houses too, to get the remaining on our side.”

Lady Katha gave a thrilled laugh, her eyes seemed to glow with a fevered light. “Oh! That will be fun. Those little worms, wiggling around without any self- respect, bowing and scraping to the High House Heads. It will be better off without them” She bared her teeth in a feral smile

Gira nodded at Katha, “The deaths will have to be strategic; we cannot randomly kill any of the Houses.” Her voice was severe, “They too have started forming alliances and giving allegiances, we will have to be careful, each death will have great significance.”

The clouds darkened, the wind picked up speed, hissing as it raced along. The golden light of the candles flickered.


Well at this point you have to wonder who's actually going to be left alive once the dust settles. It looks like the cutthroat nature of the whole thing just will lead to so much bloodshed here.

Anala sat in his private chambers, staring out at the grey horizonless sky, brooding. He had to defeat all the other High House Heads and reign supreme. Anala thought about Ida and Aadrika and sneered, they were little children, inexperienced and ignorant, almost like Kamana had been. It would not be hard to defeat them, they were foolish. Neither of the two were paying particular attention to the low houses, they were not laying down plots and plans, they seemed to be busy, lost in some other world.

Anala scoffed, smirking, they were as good as dead. His thoughts then turned to Rukira and Catura, his expression darkened. They had already started laying down their webs, using the low houses that had pledged them allegiance. They were the main players of this game; they were the only ones who posed a danger to him.

He had to kill them.

Anala looked out his window. The dark clouds churned angrily, the wind blew strong and hard, screaming. The greenery rustled violently. The air was heavy with promise.

It was time to give Niska his orders.


Well yet another murder being planned here. At this point its going to turn into the spider man meme with all the mages just like hold on I should kill you no I should kill you no I should be killing you. I think that will be a hilarious moment as well as quite a sad one.

“I think we should kill the High House Heads right away.” Cana was still leaning back in his chair, his posture nonchalant. He gave Gira an insincere smile.

Gira looked at him, her eyes dark. “It would be folly; you know better Lord Cana. We must focus on the Houses, Magha, Shakra and Gandini have formed an alliance. Vagala, Balhaka, Tosa and Yohula have also formed an alliance. We must keep an eye on them.

Tushta, Dhiti, Marala and Niska have given their allegiance to Lord Catura. Moreover, Patira, Siraka and Bharu have given their allegiance to Lady Rukira. These are our main contenders; these are the Houses we might have to kill.” The tone of her voice was laced with authority.


Well and yet more murders there. I did not think it was possible for there to be this many murder plots by this many different people targeting this many different people in a single story. But it really sells the kind of political landscape this is taking place in.

Cana cut his eyes at Gira, “Who, may I ask, shall spend their precious time watching over all these Houses?” his voice was expressionless.

Nirukti frowned thoughtfully, “Lina and Prtha are still unallied and have not given their allegiance to any High House yet, we could invite them to our alliance - while concealing our purpose – and make them do such work.”

Cana raised an eyebrow at her, “You truly believe they are that foolish?”

Nirukti glowered at Cana, “they have not allied themselves with anyone, how smart can they be?”

Katha smiled in amusement, she seemed to be enjoying herself immensely, “So, who are we killing first?”

Gira sat there at the head of the table, her eyes had darkened, her façade was slipping, the first meagre sparks of anger had begun overtaking her face.

The thunder cracked loudly, the clouds had darkened to an ashy black, echoing the imminent thunderstorm. The wind continued to pick up speed. The air was heavy with promise.


Well this thunderstorm is starting to sound like the only person not plotting murder at the moment or at the very least its a paid actor here to hype up every single murder plot going down today or maybe those mysterious figures have something to do with this.

The rain pounded the ground brutally, the wind screeched, blowing sharp and fast like an arrow. The sky was charcoal smoke, the rain was thick and grey, each droplet piercing cold. The greenery was a lush emerald, the air was filled with the scent of earth.

Rukira paced in her private chambers, frantic. She moved quickly, hysterical, panicked. Angry.

Hot searing rage coursed in her veins. Her eyes were blown wide. Her breath came in quick panted gasps. She trembled with fury.

She needed to kill them.

She needed to hear them die.


Welp and here I thought maybe there'd be one where murder wasn't the main focus except it looks like this one here is maybe the biggest culprit of the lot here in terms of wanting to cause a bit of good ol' fashioned revenge.

To hear their screams. To see their hope perish.

She needed to kill them.

Rukira trembled, gripped by a violent destructive need. Her head was spinning wildly. Anger coursed in her veins, strong and controlling. Burning her, filling her. Her hands shook.

She needed to hurt them.

She needed to destroy. Shatter. Kill.

She needed to see what she felt. She needed to kill them.


Well given how Rukira has been going up to now, I can only think this is the king's plan at this point. Use the mages to drive everyone's emotions up to eleven and hope they all make the rash decision of attacking and then it's just going to be a bloodbath as they destroy each other.

Rukira gasped as if in pain. She moved around the room with frantic, violent energy, as if a cornered animal. Furious desperation clawed at her. An angry shriek lay locked in her throat. Destructive desperation raged in her, threatening to explode.

She needed to do it. She needed to do what she was here for.

She needed to have her revenge.

This world had killed her husband. This world had destroyed him.

This world had to burn.

The rain pounded the earth, shattering like glass needles. The dark grey of the sky flashed with lightening. Thunder filled the air, deafening and demanding.


Hmm that last bit here really feels like its confirming my idea here, I can't really think of how else something could escalate so quickly in so many places with this thunderstorm getting mentioned so very prominently at every possible turn.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall I think this is another powerful addition to this little series, really coming together there, I don't know if I've understood the significance of this correctly but either way it is shaping up very nicely here, this chapter just ramping all the tension right up to eleven right about to blow.

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

Stay Safe
Kate

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khushi17bansal says...


Thank you so much for the review!

Your reviews are always so informative and helpful. I wish I could confirm whether your speculations are accurate or not, but that would be giving spoilers so.... I guess you'll have to wait and find out! :D




Don't sit down and write because you're a writer; sit down and write because you have something to say. And if the sea of ideas isn't flowing, well, just tell me about your day.
— OrabellaAvenue