Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Fantasy

16+ Violence Mature Content

Children with Stars in their Veins (Chapter 45)

by mellifera


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence and mature content.

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

*

[Mishal]

warning for: excessive descriptions of blood/gore/mutilation

Fighting wolves was much easier than fighting other people, but on the other hand, Mishal didn’t know how to handle them. What they would do. There was no predictability to the wolves’ movements, but there was a cunning and finesse that made him uneasy.

He pushed himself into it. All that mattered was the rhythm of his sword swings and when they connected and where the wolf was. He just needed to shut out all the rest, the yelping and the cries and the pain surrounding him. The smell of dirt and fur and blood.

It worked. Or it was working. Up until he heard the roar from the forest nearby. The wolf by his sword lunged forward as he turned, and he barely dodged out of his claws and fangs snapping for him.

But still, he turned towards the forest, because it was a sound he had never heard before and yet, sounded vaguely humanoid. He was right in time to see Isadora flying, crash against a tree with a crunch, and crumple to the ground.

His breath left him all in one whoosh. He forgot all about the wolves and ran through the glade towards her.

Her hair was pooled around her head where she lay on her side, face twisted into a sharp grimace that did not relent. Her shoulder looked out of place, bent at an angle it was not meant to be bent at. Her breathing came in staggered, shallow gasps.

He set aside his sword and pulled her onto his lap. She whimpered as he moved her, and her eyes opened. Tears rolled down her face. He repositioned one of his hands to try to support her head, and as he put it against her cheek and her pale hair, they were all darkened with the thick scarlet of blood.

And now he could feel it. His legs and his other arm, soaked. He ran his hand down her shoulder to her back and found, between her spine and her ribs, a huge gash that squelched under his fingers. He shuddered, bile rising at the back of his throat.

“Oh no. Oh, no, Isa, no, wait, there’s— This isn’t—” He found he struggled to find his own breath. “There’s so much blood.”

She lifted a hand to grab a tense fistful of his shirt. “I saw someone— something—” She coughed, trembling under in his arm. “In the trees. I saw— in the trees—”

The crunching of leaves drew his attention upward, towards the source of the bestial scream and Isadora’s injury and—

His breath caught.

The thing was about twenty yards away from them, stalking ever close. It was huge, and the grisliest thing Mishal had ever seen. A mane fell around its head in an enormous golden and black wreath, and from that extending down were its massive paws, bigger than Mishal’s head. Its tail flicked and brushed against the treetops, and if everything about this thing had not already winded him, the bulbous tail coming to a sharp, bloodied point did.

Worst of all was its face.

Once upon a time, ignoring everything else, this thing could have once been human. It had the face of a man, with lion’s fur splitting from the long-since twisted and ruined skin. Its mouth was stretched apart, fangs grown to such a point they easily surpassed the things lips and dug grooves into its chin, terrible reddened scars enflamed beneath the glinting white teeth. Saliva dripped from its mouth, from its fangs, like mucus. And its eyes— They were undeniably human as they stared back at him, but a squalid grey film covered them so entirely that, if they had a former colour, it was lost. And they were not unfocused, but empty. And if there was ever a time they held emotion, it was utterly gone now.

Its head lowered the closest it came, legs folding up into its patchwork body. Mishal had seen Lore kill mice enough to know this thing was about to pounce.

They were going to die. He stared at this thing in its miserable eyes and knew, with a sickening jolt spreading slowly through his body, that they were going to die.

Forestter stepped from the glade, flanked by another expedition member, Remington, swords drawn and dipped in red. Forestter glanced over his shoulder. “Get everyone out of here,” he said, face drawn and shadowed. “Run.”

He looked back to Isadora in his arms as Forestter and Remington shouted at the amalgamated beast. Her eyes were shut now, her breathing shallow and stuttered, and her head lolled back. And there was so, so much blood. There definitely should not be this much blood, ever, anywhere.

Someone touched his shoulder. He looked up into the distressed face of Gracia, who tugged on his arm. She was looking up at the beast, screaming again. “We need to go.”

“There’s so much blood,” he said, dazedly. Everything felt fuzzy around him.

Gracia looked down at him and jostled his shoulder much harder. Hard enough to hurt. “Mishal, we’re going.

He stared down at Isadora, and nodded, but didn’t move. How could he move? He had to— But if he moved Isadora, it would hurt her—

Someone rushed to his other side and, without the caution truly needed, picked up Isadora. He didn’t even see who it was before they were running. Gracia slipped a hand under his arm and bodily dragged him.

He scrambled to get his legs underneath him, trying to breathe again because his vision was starting to go dark. She didn’t let him go as they ran, blindly, into the trees. He saw Isadora, thrown over someone’s shoulder. With her back now exposed, he could see the tear that ran up her back. It wept freely, matting into her golden hair, and staining it startlingly red, darker and brighter than Ember’s.

And he knew he was covered in it, could feel the cool morning air biting at his dampened skin. The viscera covered him, his legs where he had cradled her and his arms where he had lifted her.

Where the wolves had gone, he didn’t know. He could still hear their howls and wasn’t sure how many of them were real and how many were echoing still in his ears. The scream of the beast grew fainter and fainter, and one of the last he heard was the kind of thunderous roar one would emit in a rush of victory.

He ran, Gracia beside him and Isadora ahead of him, and could hardly focus on more than the smell of blood and how it coated him. He could barely see as black spots danced through his vision and he felt faint, light-headed, but still he ran. Trees and shadows whipped by him, roots clamouring to grab at his ankles and branches dipping as if in a breeze to stop him. Gracia guided him, and Wren must be close too or they’d all be dead.

Through the canopy, light split like butter soaking into bread through the leaves, until eventually, they came under the light itself when they burst through the trees.

And still, they ran, and Mishal could still hear the howling and the screaming thundering in his ears.

word count:

1,216


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
240 Reviews


Points: 20670
Reviews: 240

Donate
Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:04 pm
View Likes
starlitmind wrote a review...



I'm scared for this chapter

Spoiler! :
Image


He just needed to shut out all the rest, the yelping and the cries and the pain surrounding him. The smell of dirt and fur and blood.


How many people have died, I need to know

Also, I remember last chapter that he got injured in his leg, so props to him for still being able to fight! I don't remember if it was bad or not, since we weren't reading from his perspective, but I hope it was nothing more than a scratch <3

He was right in time to see Isadora flying, crash against a tree with a crunch, and crumple to the ground.


I like how we got to see what exactly happened to Isadora from an outside eye, because it's easier to visualize it that way since there's no emotions, just a description of what is happening
I didn't realize that's exactly what happened to Isadora!! Ahh, that must've been terrifying for Mishal to see

Her hair was pooled around her head where she lay on her side, face twisted into a sharp grimace that did not relent. Her shoulder looked out of place, bent at an angle it was not meant to be bent at. Her breathing came in staggered, shallow gasps.


...at least she's breathing?

I noticed you started these sentences all with "her," so I thought I'd point that out as a place that you could change up your sentence structure! c:

“Oh no. Oh, no, Isa, no, wait, there’s— This isn’t—” He found he struggled to find his own breath. “There’s so much blood.”


Is she seriously going to die soon or something? Omg how am I going to live without Isadora

She lifted a hand to grab a tense fistful of his shirt. “I saw someone— something—” She coughed, trembling under in his arm. “In the trees. I saw— in the trees—”


This is exactly what happens before someone dies. They want to say something but they die before they can get it out. Ahh

Once upon a time, ignoring everything else, this thing could have once been human.


Personally, I wouldn't out "once" twice in a sentence :p but I loved the way you introduced this. Once upon a time brings a light, fairy tale mood, and it felt so weird to read that in a battle scene (in a good way, of course).

Forestter stepped from the glade, flanked by another expedition member, Remington, swords drawn and dipped in red. Forestter glanced over his shoulder. “Get everyone out of here,” he said, face drawn and shadowed. “Run.”


Dude I'm sitting on the edge of my seat. This is so intense. Are these two going to die???

Someone touched his shoulder. He looked up into the distressed face of Gracia, who tugged on his arm. She was looking up at the beast, screaming again. “We need to go.”


I feel like "touched" gives such a gentle feel in an intense situation, so maybe you could replace it with a stronger word? Especially since you used screaming later. Just a thought!

He scrambled to get his legs underneath him, trying to breathe again because his vision was starting to go dark. She didn’t let him go as they ran, blindly, into the trees. He saw Isadora, thrown over someone’s shoulder. With her back now exposed, he could see the tear that ran up her back. It wept freely, matting into her golden hair, and staining it startlingly red, darker and brighter than Ember’s.


Can I just say how much I love this chapter? I mean obviously not what's happening, but the way it's written. SO much intensity and tension; it's so good.

Through the canopy, light split like butter soaking into bread through the leaves, until eventually, they came under the light itself when they burst through the trees.


What the heck that's such a cool simile

And still, they ran, and Mishal could still hear the howling and the screaming thundering in his ears.


What a chilling way to end this

I don't like youuu how dare you do this :(




User avatar
1464 Reviews


Points: 83957
Reviews: 1464

Donate
Tue Sep 29, 2020 2:00 am
View Likes
JabberHut wrote a review...



So this chapter may be short, but it was amazing. It was dramatic, it was action-packed, it was emotional, it was magical, and I hope I covered enough characters so that my next line isn't a spoiler on the home page for the next few hours because ahahahahahaha

don't. you. dare.

I SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING, MELL. I see what you're doing. And I'm hoping you pull a fast one on me and make everything okay becausE EVERYTHING IS OKAY, ALRIGHT? She iS FINE. She's fine. She will be fine.

don't you dare do this to me omg.

I CAN'T. i can't. hnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng

Personal interests aside (for as long as I am able), you truly did a great job with pacing in this chapter. It was quick and actiony right from the get-go, and then you did such a great job with slowing things down while keeping the tension high. We really got into Mishal's head and felt his shock to our very core. It's that feeling where he isn't noticing what's going on around him very well because his mind is 150% distracted by the shock of reality and is unable to comprehend all the information and emotions its trying to process at one time. You REALLY just did a great job with this.

I did wonder where the wolves went when Mishal ran to Isadora. It was unclear to me that the wolves were dead or frozen in fear or what, so I was partially worried that the wolves were also going to be a pending threat for them until the narration finally told us near the end that Mishal wasn't sure where the wolves went. So some more info to clarify (however vague) earlier on about the wolves' reaction would be a nice clue. It actually really worried/confused me when Mishal took the time to sit down and lift Isadora onto his lap in the middle of a fight with the wolves because I was really worried the wolves were just going to freaking tear them to shreds because why wouldn't they?!

It is extremely sad to think that their group is going to lose even more members and their party is going to shrink even further after everything going on. They haven't even reached the ruins and, therefore, haven't even faced the curse (as far as I know). We're still just fighting the Wilderlands, right? Though now we're discovering there are normal beasts like wolves and giant beasts like this amalgamation sphinx gryphon chimera thing here -- also might I add that your descriptions are so vivid. I totally got goosebumps reading that and felt Mishal's shock/fear at the sight.

But yeah, so far this group has yet to really see much victory now that I think about it, and I think that's a bit worrisome at this point. We are discovering bits and pieces as we move along, but they've had to lose a lot every single time for just a little nugget or two. Why are they (or mainly Margaretta) so convinced that after everything they've gone through, their path is still worth traveling? They haven't exactly made a profit. They've lost waaaay more than they've gained, and everything they've gained can be analyzed at home (assuming it was still there //sob).

oH MY GOD WHAT ABOUT ISADORA'S BOYFRIEND WHAT IF HE'S ALIVE AND ono

nonono it's fine. She's going to be fine.

I will be so sad and depressed if I find I don't get resolution for this cliffhanger soon 'cause this is rREALLY MEAN, MELL.




User avatar
964 Reviews


Points: 108750
Reviews: 964

Donate
Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:19 am
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 for more!!

First Impression: Well this was a pretty intense little chapter that you've got here. The aftermath of sorts of this battle and chase sequence is going to be sad amazing. I love the reaction that Mishal has here. Its so true to what would happen in a real scenario like this and I love that he's having trouble running even after all that's chasing after him. I'm not even going to acknowledge you-know-who because it is too sad.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Fighting wolves was much easier than fighting other people, but on the other hand, Mishal didn’t know how to handle them. What they would do. There was no predictability to the wolves’ movements, but there was a cunning and finesse that made him uneasy.


Not sure if but is the right word to be used there. Shouldn't all three of those things make him uneasy and so that be something more like and.

He pushed himself into it. All that mattered was the rhythm of his sword swings and when they connected and where the wolf was. He just needed to shut out all the rest, the yelping and the cries and the pain surrounding him. The smell of dirt and fur and blood.


That's a good plan Mishal.

Her hair was pooled around her head where she lay on her side, face twisted into a sharp grimace that did not relent. Her shoulder looked out of place, bent at an angle it was not meant to be bent at. Her breathing came in staggered, shallow gasps.


OUCH

And now he could feel it. His legs and his other arm, soaked. He ran his hand down her shoulder to her back and found, between her spine and her ribs, a huge gash that squelched under his fingers. He shuddered, bile rising at the back of his throat.

“Oh no. Oh, no, Isa, no, wait, there’s— This isn’t—” He found he struggled to find his own breath. “There’s so much blood.”


*runs off to get tissues* (This is obviously because I spilled some water not any other reason)

The thing was about twenty yards away from them, stalking ever close. It was huge, and the grisliest thing Mishal had ever seen. A mane fell around its head in an enormous golden and black wreath, and from that extending down were its massive paws, bigger than Mishal’s head. Its tail flicked and brushed against the treetops, and if everything about this thing had not already winded him, the bulbous tail coming to a sharp, bloodied point did.


That's a pretty nice description right there.

Once upon a time, ignoring everything else, this thing could have once been human. It had the face of a man, with lion’s fur splitting from the long-since twisted and ruined skin. Its mouth was stretched apart, fangs grown to such a point they easily surpassed the things lips and dug grooves into its chin, terrible reddened scars enflamed beneath the glinting white teeth. Saliva dripped from its mouth, from its fangs, like mucus. And its eyes— They were undeniably human as they stared back at him, but a squalid grey film covered them so entirely that, if they had a former colour, it was lost. And they were not unfocused, but empty. And if there was ever a time they held emotion, it was utterly gone now.


That is simultaneously disgusting and awesome at the same time. I am conflicted...

He looked back to Isadora in his arms as Forestter and Remington shouted at the amalgamated beast. Her eyes were shut now, her breathing shallow and stuttered, and her head lolled back. And there was so, so much blood. There definitely should not be this much blood, ever, anywhere.


*taking deep calming breaths*

Someone rushed to his other side and, without the caution truly needed, picked up Isadora. He didn’t even see who it was before they were running. Gracia slipped a hand under his arm and bodily dragged him.


Definitely a pretty realistic interpretation of the sort of state you would be in if you're friend was hurt that badly.

Where the wolves had gone, he didn’t know. He could still hear their howls and wasn’t sure how many of them were real and how many were echoing still in his ears. The scream of the beast grew fainter and fainter, and one of the last he heard was the kind of thunderous roar one would emit in a rush of victory.


Well it looks like we lost two more people there if that roar of victory was anything unless...it was not the beast doing the roaring.

He ran, Gracia beside him and Isadora ahead of him, and could hardly focus on more than the smell of blood and how it coated him. He could barely see as black spots danced through his vision and he felt faint, light-headed, but still he ran. Trees and shadows whipped by him, roots clamouring to grab at his ankles and branches dipping as if in a breeze to stop him. Gracia guided him, and Wren must be close too or they’d all be dead.


Right...at this point I realize that I've kind of lost track of where his sword is...did her just leave it when he set it aside, or did he pick it up at some point?

And still, they ran, and Mishal could still hear the howling and the screaming thundering in his ears.


*throws away suspiciously wet tissue*....anyway so that was intense and terrifying...and a cliffhanger...*takes a few minutes off to recover*

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall this was a pretty intense chapter. I think its a great length to have just get an idea of Mishal's side of this. And well you did the job perfectly as always (barring maybe one thing I wanted to clarify). And that's all I'm going to do for now...I have gushed about how awesome the characters are like the past 44 times. Now excuse me while I attempt to survive until I can know what happens to poor....MUST. NOT. MENTION. NAME.

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

Stay Safe
Harry





I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters.
— Solomon Short