Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Fantasy


Children with Stars in their Veins (Chapter 41.1)

by mellifera


a/n: hey, thanks for checking out Starry Veins! This is the novel I wrote for Round V of LMS, and it's still a first draft! While I don't discourage any feedback, I prefer not to receive feedback on grammar! I'm not polishing this draft up yet, so I'm not as concerned about editing. I am, of course, open to all feedback, but I ask that you keep this in consideration! Thanks <3

*

[Cassius]



While the others had been invited to a dinner and dessert around their gracious hosts’ hearth, Cassius was nested in the barn with Artemesa.

He’d been invited with the others, but he was plagued by an ailment he didn’t fully understand. Warm and merry as it sounded, he didn’t want to see everyone in high spirits or celebrating when tomorrow loomed on the horizon like a distant and black storm front.

“Am I being too dramatic?” he asked Artemesa, who was carefully preening her feathers beside him. She paused as he spoke, then lifted her head.

You like the boy a great deal,” she offered, though it was a largely unhelpful statement.

Cassius knew he liked Hypatis a great deal—that was exactly the problem.

Artemesa snorted at him and resumed preening. “In my experience, you are frequently dramatic. It’s in your nature. Though you believe this to be a bad thing, which is what I don’t understand.

He rolled onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. “But I shouldn’t feel this much, right? I don’t even know if he likes me back. Cadelia certainly doesn’t. Hypatis would have kissed me by now if he did, wouldn’t he have?” Cassius kicked at the nearest haybale. “It doesn’t matter anyway, since they’re leaving.”

Rain hummed out a din on the roof, echoing through the barn. The dreary sound filled his ears. The rain had started earlier in the day and had not relented, turning the outside to brown sludge and all the snow left to mush.

Artemesa was staring at him. He didn’t have to turn to see, he could feel it. She was curious about something, trying to work something out. He didn’t like it.

What are you scared of?” she asked, cocking her head to the side.

Cassius shut his eyes. “I’m not sacred. Just put out that they’re leaving.”

She reached over and nipped him. He squawked and leapt to his feet, away from her. She glared. “I know what it is you are feeling, and I know you’re upset about more than that. You can’t li—

The barn’s side door slid open. Artemesa scrambled towards the stacked bales to hide and Cassius moved to stand in front of the place she hid.

But when he peered around the stacks of bales to see who it was, he found Alanna. She was damp from the rain and looked more sullen than he felt.

Ever since they had seen Jax, Alanna had returned to her previous state of melancholy, as though Isadora and Mishal had left anew all over again.

We’re not finished with this,” Artemesa hissed, re-emerging from the hay once he relaxed at the sight of Alanna. She began preening again.

They were finished with it, but there was no use in telling her that.

He stood and stepped towards Alanna. “I thought you were inside with the others.”

No longer obscured, he spotted she was holding two tin dishes with a shallow groove in the centre. The smell of cinnamon and cherry wafted through the air. He’d already eaten, but found his hunger refreshed at the sweet aroma.

Alanna held one of the dishes out to him. “I wanted to bring you some,” she said. She offered him a dim, but honest smile. “Tell Artemesa I’m sorry I couldn’t sneak her a slice.”

“She can hear you well enough,” he reminded her. He took the dish and settled back on the wooden, dusty floor, crossing his legs. “Thanks for this.”

“You’re welcome. Ember was going to bring some out, I think, but she was playing a game with Cadelia by the fire.” Alanna sat down in front of him and began poking at her slice of pie with her fork.

The rain grew softer, but no less constant. Cassius nibbled at his pie contentedly. Alanna hardly even picked at hers.

“Alanna?” he tried.

Alanna’s brow furrowed. She didn’t look up at him.

He set his down his dish and fork. “Little Pika?”

She mumbled something too quiet for him to hear. His gut wrenched into knots. Please don’t have more bad news.

“Come again?” He was practically whispering himself now. Like if he kept quiet, maybe, he couldn’t hear something he didn’t want to.

Alanna looked up and met his gaze, pale eyes glistening. “I want to go to Isa. I don’t want to go to Chromium.”

His heart plummeted. Artemesa cooed behind him, pained, but he ignored her and the jolt to his own system. To be honest, he hadn’t even thought of that.

Getting to see Isadora again… He would do just about anything to see her again. He missed her like crazy. Getting to have her nearby again, having everyone back together again…

“But Ember wants to go to Chromium,” he said, heart fluttering like a frantic butterfly. “It’s safer for us there, even Jax said so. The Grey Masks can’t get us there.”

“It’s what Ember wants,” Alanna said. “But I want Isa and Mishal back. We know where they are, and I’d feel safe with them.” She set aside her pie and leaned forward until her face with an inch or so from his. “You miss her too?”

His throat felt dry. “Why would you even question that? I’d train with Enoch every day for a month to see her again.” He winced. “I’d train with Mishal for a month to see her again.”

“Then let’s go to the City of Bells instead. Let’s see her and Stormy again. Margaretta can’t turn us away because home isn’t safe anymore.” Her nose wrinkled. “Ori will agree with me too, you know how much they want to go.”

He pulled away from her. The rain had begun to hammer on the roof again, so loud now it was near deafening. With it, his pulse roared in his ears.

“But Ember wants to go to Chromium,” he repeated numbly. His own voice was faraway and distorted.

Alanna drew away as though he’d shoved her. Her pale eyes reflected the lantern light like mirrors as tears glimmered unshed in them like a glass covering. “I thought you’d do anything to see her again. I thought you’d want to.”

“I did!” he said. “I do!” His cheeks flushed hot, so much so it was almost feverish. “Have you talked to the others?”

But her brows and face set like stone, her expression closing off, as his panic drummed louder in his ears. “No, because I thought you’d be on my side.”

“I am on your side. What am I even saying?” He laughed very nervously. “There are no sides! We have to decide, all of us, on where we’re going! Maybe they hadn’t even thought of them, of Isadora and Mishal, and they’ll realise once you tell them.”

Alanna stared at him fervently for a moment. Then, in a great sigh, whatever fight and anger had overcome her dissipated. The tears she had held slipped from her eyes and fell like the rain outside. Sobs began to wrack her body.

Cassius’ chest ached fiercely. He opened his arms and Alanna crawled towards him. Once close enough, she collapsed into his open arm. He held her and blinked rapidly to stave away the sobs rising in his own throat.

“I miss them, Raz, I miss them so much. I—I’m so scared. I mi—miss them.” Alanna buried her face in his chest. If she said anything more, he did not hear it.

I miss them too.

word count:

1,253




Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
1428 Reviews


Points: 80007
Reviews: 1428

Donate
Thu Sep 24, 2020 2:19 am
View Likes
JabberHut wrote a review...



Hahahaahaha so that moment where Alanna sets aside her pie to lean in closer to Cassius' face, I totally picture her staring very hard into his eyes just to see if she could detect his true feelings and I just got such a great kick out of it because she's young and he's goofy and they're adorable.

I'm super pleased we're getting into Cassius' brain now 'cause he's been awfully quiet. I like to think he's been talking to Artemesa this whole time, but it still had felt like Cassius was being put aside while we juggled these other characters. On a similar note, though, he's clearly formed a huge fondness for Hypatis, and I'm kind of just going with it because I only got to know Hypatis for a couple chapters iirc, and I only really started shipping them the last time I saw these two talk with each other. I remember them being really cute and liking the idea, but I'm not 100% bought into it yet, like I don't recognize that their relationship has really evolved since. So seeing Cassius in this sort of daze over the idea of Hypatis leaving made me kinda roll my eyes, not really believing he's formed that kind of bond with Hypatis already.

BUT on the flip side, I'm glad the chapter is dominated by a conversation about Isadora and Mishal and even ends with Cassius admitting how much he missed them. I think that at least redirects Cassius' thinking and admitting what's truly in his heart. I think, I anyway. It seems pretty clear to me as the reader that he misses Isadora and Mishal and everyone being together FAR more than he'd miss Hypatis right now, and from my perspective, that would be accurate reputation standings.

oh omg I need to know who their host family is! Are they safe?? Did Enoch leave them then?! I feel like I missed a whole chapter. ...Did I miss a whole chapter? I checked, it's fine. It definitely was quite the time jump. I dont' think our POVs have had that kind of jump before that I recall, so we must be trying to just stay on track. XD

SO I'M NOT GONNA LIE I totally thought about Cassius and Alanna leaving with Artemesa, like riding a dragon and flying away to find Alanna's sister and omg how cute would that be ??? I dunno if Artemesa is big enough for that kind of idea yet, but omg I got excited at the thought like omg.




User avatar
1246 Reviews


Points: 35749
Reviews: 1246

Donate
Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:52 am
View Likes
niteowl wrote a review...



Hi mellifera! Niteowl here to review. Normally I'm not crazy about reviewing novel chapters in the middle, but this has been in the Green Room for a while and I'm in a reviewing mood, so let's see how this goes. I'm going to go through my thoughts as I read, then circle back with my overall thoughts.

I'm unsure what is happening tomorrow from the first few paragraphs. It seems like everyone else is off eating dinner and not thinking about whatever it is. I'm also unsure of why Cassius and Artemesa are not invited to dinner, but I'm guessing there's backstory that would explain that.

Cassius knew he liked Hypatis a great deal—that was exactly the problem.


I have had this exact thought (with different names obviously) way too many times over the course of my life haha.

I'm not sure why Artemesa's dialogue is in italics. Again, this is probably a convention I've missed from jumping in at this point. Is she speaking a different language? Is this some sort of telepathy? Those are the most common reasons I see dialogue in italics.

"I don’t even know if he likes me back. Cadelia certainly doesn’t. Hypatis would have kissed me by now if he did, wouldn’t he have?"


So...Cassius is "in love" with too many people at once, melodramatic, self-critical and apparently naive about how the world works (eg what reasons Hypatis might have for not kissing him even if they do like him back). So relatable it hurts.

Rain hummed out a din on the roof, echoing through the barn. The dreary sound filled his ears. The rain had started earlier in the day and had not relented, turning the outside to brown sludge and all the snow left to mush.


This seems like a bit much. I would trim it down, especially since the rain doesn't seem terribly significant yet.

Cassius shut his eyes. “I’m not scared. Just put out that they’re leaving.”


Just a typo there.

Starting from when Cassius sees Alanna, I notice that your paragraphs are really short. Usually I complain about paragraphs being too long on YWS, but here they feel too short and oddly fragmented.

Okay, idk why but I'm getting the feeling that the cake Alanna is bringing is not safe to eat. Granted I could be completely wrong since I don't know these characters at all, but I wanted to share my suspicions. It doesn't help that she says she couldn't give any to Artemesa, as if they can't split it (because Alanna doesn't want Artemesa to have the poison cake).

Super weird that Alanna gets within an inch of Cassius, especially since this doesn't seem to be a romantic moment. It just doesn't seem like the right mood for what sounds like a grand runaway plan.

Is Cassius in love with Isadora too? Or is there another reason why his cheeks are flushing at the idea of seeing her again?

I'm curious as to why the others would think that going to wherever Isadora and Michal are would be unsafe, even though both Alanna and Cassius believe it is. Perhaps Ember isn't too fond of them and that's why she'd rather just go to Chromium. I suppose I will have to read on to find out.

Overall, I feel like the character relationships are portrayed well, and most of my questions are related to things I would totally know if I'd read previous chapters (like what species these birdlike people are and what's up with the Grey Masks). I really enjoyed this, so maybe I will go back and read, or at least skim so I can review future chapters properly. Keep writing! :D




mellifera says...


hey!! thanks for your review!!

some clarifications haha:

-artemesa is a dragon actually! and dragons don't normally talk to people because they don't have like,, vocal chords, but when they've bonded with someone (they can bond with one (1) person), they can telepathically communicate with them! also they are hiding artemesa because dragons are pretty rare and usually, when seen, are treated as a threat or, by some, a game animal (and artemesa is Baby right now so she's not super big or anything).

-the pie is not poisoned lol also not good for dragons though she probably would have brought it out anyway because she's 10 and knows nothing about dragons

-Alanna and Cassius are like,, siblings?? they're very close, so I hope there are not romantic undertones here! but they get really close because they've always done that and it's just comfy for them!

-Isadora is also like,, the five kids' surrogate older sister (she's the oldest of the six of them and they all grew up together). he's definitely not in love with her, he feels like he's being cornered since they had all planned on going to Chromium, and rather than discussing it with the whole group, Alanna is just trying to push him into an answer between just the two of him, so he's like,, skittish, I guess? so he's just getting flustered there

-Ember loves Mishal and Isadora very much! but she's pretty angry about some lies that were told by the Guildmaster of the place they grew up, and she really wants to figure out who she is/stake her independence, so it's not that she isn't fond of them, it's just that she has other goals besides reconciliation (though it's not not on her mind)!


I hope this?? clarifies things?? I'm sorry so much seemed unclear/confusing!! but I do really appreciate the review, thank you so much!! :D



niteowl says...


Okay I legit had no idea how young these characters were. I guess I just kinda assumed they were like teenagers thanks to years of reading YA novels where the average age of our hero%u2019s is like 15-16. And honestly, I think some of my confusion would have been less so if I%u2019d actually read any of the previous chapters.

Okay I think I read the line where Cassius squawked which to me is a bird like noise and that in combination with the dragon girl having feathers somehow made me think Cassius was also not human.



User avatar
889 Reviews


Points: 99074
Reviews: 889

Donate
Tue Aug 11, 2020 7:18 pm
View Likes
HarryHardy wrote a review...



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

Hi! I'm back.

First Impression: This one is turning out to be quite a sad chapter if this beginning is any indicator. This whole leaving scene looks like it will be drawn out and some conflict with Alanna. I have a feeling there's going to be a split happening in the next chapter....hmm....that should get interesting. The plot is taking its time winding towards the end of the first act here.

Anyway let's get right to it,

While the others had been invited to a dinner and dessert around their gracious hosts’ hearth, Cassius was nested in the barn with Artemesa.


Poor Cassius

He rolled onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. “But I shouldn’t feel this much, right? I don’t even know if he likes me back. Cadelia certainly doesn’t. Hypatis would have kissed me by now if he did, wouldn’t he have?” Cassius kicked at the nearest haybale. “It doesn’t matter anyway, since they’re leaving.”


Uh oh. This is why you keep crushes out of adventures Cassius.

Rain hummed out a din on the roof, echoing through the barn. The dreary sound filled his ears. The rain had started earlier in the day and had not relented, turning the outside to brown sludge and all the snow left to mush.


Convenient weather that is appropriate to the protagonist's mental state. I have binge watched CinemaSins

Alanna held one of the dishes out to him. “I wanted to bring you some,” she said. She offered him a dim, but honest smile. “Tell Artemesa I’m sorry I couldn’t sneak her a slice.”


One one hand I want to think that she's being nice but on the other hand I think she's just bribing him.

She mumbled something too quiet for him to hear. His gut wrenched into knots. Please don’t have more bad news.


Drama is headed our way.

"It’s what Ember wants,” Alanna said. “But I want Isa and Mishal back. We know where they are, and I’d feel safe with them.” She set aside her pie and leaned forward until her face with an inch or so from his. “You miss her too?”


Wondering how this was never brought up earlier though. Didn't at least Rowan think of that possibility? They seem like the kind of person that would have thought of this alternative.

“But Ember wants to go to Chromium,” he repeated numbly. His own voice was faraway and distorted.


Worst reply that he could have chosen.

Alanna stared at him fervently for a moment. Then, in a great sigh, whatever fight and anger had overcome her dissipated. The tears she had held slipped from her eyes and fell like the rain outside. Sobs began to wrack her body.


That's some really nice emotion there.

I miss them too.


Yep these two are definitely splitting up in Chapter 42.

Overall: This sounds the like the beginning of quite an emotional chapter. The pacing and flow of this part works well although the overall story pacing has slowed down a little which isn't a bad thing considering we are in a bit of a transition phase but it should speed up a titch soon. And as always this was a lot of fun to read.

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

Stay Safe
Harry





One who sits between two chairs may easily fall down.
— Proverb from Romania and Russia