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Adonia, Beloved / Chapter 4

by LittleFox


Altan shifted uneasily under the eyes of his fellow councilmen, but this was no time to back down. He set his jaw and planted his palms onto the cool, glossy surface of the long marble table. Before him sat nine men and women dressed in silk robes. Each watching him with studying eyes.

"We take Daskus." Now that he had said it, it was impossible to turn back. He kept himself from wincing at the scowls that some of the councilmen aimed at him. "More importantly, we take the Daskun Strait."

"You want to invade Daskus?" one man said in a heavy voice soaked in disapproval.

"Yes." Altan kept his back stiff. "The Daskun Strait is one of the busiest trade routes. We control the Strait and we can tax the ships that pass through."

"You want to wage war on an ally for a small trickle of coin?" a woman said from the far end of the table. She tilted her head to the side, regarding him as if he were a small child suggesting that they pull the moon down to the ground with a thread. Her thin lips hinted at an amused smile.

"More than a trickle," the woman sitting directly before Altan said. "A river. I've already worked it out." She gave the thin-lipped woman a wry smile with her own plump lips. She turned the smile to Altan as she spoke. "The profits of invading Daskus outweigh the costs. Their army is smaller than ours, so it will be a quick win. And the merchants who pass through the strait are wealthy."

Altan returned her smile and nodded. "Exactly."

"I cannot believe that you are in on this as well, Tamara." The white haired councilmen who spoke stared at her incredulously and she gave a small shrug. The man turned back on Altan. "And do you think the Sovereign will approve such a proposal?"

"Adonia lies on her death bed," Altan said flatly. "Unless she somehow recovers soon, we make the decisions in her place."

"Your impiety shames you!" the thin-lipped woman hissed. The other council men began muttering anxiously.

"Quiet!" A younger man slapped his hand onto the marble table and silenced the others. "The Sovereign as been absent long enough. We do what is best for Nivahl now."

Altan nodded to the man. "Thank you, Aron." He stared grimly at the others for a moment. Damn stubborn fools, just listen to me. "Were the Sovereign here now, she would know that this is what is best for this country."

"Is that so?"

Altan felt his skin grow cold as his gaze shifted to the door way. She stood there, dressed in a flowing red robe and peering at him with feigned kindness. "I think you take liberties, Altan." Adonia strode into the room with the deadly grace of a she-wolf.

"Heavanlight, your health is a blessing from the Gods!" He said, bowing deeply.

Her eyes narrowed slightly. "Your tongue turns to honey too quickly. Few call my Heavanlight who do not seek my mercy."

Altan back away as she approached, realizing he was standing in her place at the head of the table. "I don't seek mercy, Your majesty."

"So, you are the one who makes plans behind me back." She said as she came to rest where Altan had stood. Altan looked to Tamara and Aron, but their eyes remained downcast. Several of the others tried to hide triumphant grins.

"We did not know when you would return," he muttered weakly.

"And these plans were to invade Daskus, who has been an ally to Nivahl for nearly one hundred years. You fail to remember that it has been a valued alliance" She glanced at one of the men sitting to her right. "In fact, while I am thinking of it, we should be strengthening our ties with Daskus. Have a letter sent to Lord Aiseljah. I would like to meet with him again." She sighed heavily and turned back to Altan. "I do not wish to see you here any longer. Nor the capital for that matter. I will allow you ten days to leave Kei'vesh."

Altan felt his face pale. If only your husband had slit your throat. He gave her a deep bow. "As you wish." He strode toward the doorway with his eyes on the ground. He wanted to curse every pair of eyes that he could feel on his back, each reveling in his humiliation.

"Gods curse her!" He muttered. He was so focused on his contempt for Adonia and the council that he nearly ran into Adonia's bodyguard who had been standing guard just outside the doorway.

"Watch yourself. And your tongue for that matter." She seemed to glower down at him despite the fact that he was a good hand taller than she was. She wore two short blades at her hips as well as steel backed gloves, but to his relief she did not show signs of using them. "Call yourself blessed that I do not strike you down for such words."

"Deepest of apologies." He did not try to hide the irritation in his voice. She kept her blue-eyed glare locked onto him until he was out of sight.

He moved through the palace mechanically, barely noticing through which halls and corridors he passed. They won't have me beaten so soon or so easily. I will be sure that she learns her mistake and learns it so that she won't forget.

When he came to his home, he found his wife napping in their bed. Altan stood at the bedside for a moment, regarding her. Simply being near he was enough to make the anger ebb away. Her curly hair formed a honey-colored cloud around her face and soft shoulders. He leaned over her and pressed his lips to her neck. She murmured something sleepily, but he had already turned away from her..

He could have woken her and told her to begin packing her things, but he decided to let her sleep. He could not bring himself to ask her to come with him. It would be easier without her, anyway. He gathered his things quietly and pressed another kiss to her forehead before donning a thick wool cloak. "I'm sorry," he whispered regretfully as he left.


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Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:15 am
TriSARAHtops wrote a review...



Hello again!

I'm not sure if I'm going to have all that much to say about this chapter. It was nice to read something new, and there does seem to be some world building going on, which is as good a place to start as any.

You mentioned a number of place names in this chapter. This shows that you're thinking of the world just beyond the palace, which is great, however, what you haven't done is give all that much context when you have mentioned these places. The only one I feel like I really understood how it fitted in was Daskus. After that, you name a number of places, but it kind of felt as though naming them was all you did. I didn't know whether they were other countries or cities, and I had no clue how they fitted into the world. I just felt like there were a bunch of places, and if you were to bring one of them up again, I probably wouldn't remember its significance. Long story short, I think you should cut down on the number of names mentioned in this chapter as much as possible, then try to make sure that the reader understands what the deal is with all the ones you have mentioned. A possible way of deciding is working out which places will be significant later on, and use the mention of them to act as a bit of foreshadowing and development, rather than the info-overload it is now.

and planted his palms onto the cool, glossy surface of the long marble table.

Pulling this up because you've used a stack-load of adjectives really close together in this sentence, which really impacted the flow of it. Description is fabulous, and something that's necessary, but maybe try to make it a little less concentrated, and more woven throughout the story as a whole.

I think that the moment when Adonia enters needed some clarity. I had to go back and reread it, in order to get why Adonia was suddenly in the scene.

I think this chapter needs more development. It's not so much about length, but I just feel like everything is progressed through very quickly, and there hasn't been enough time taken to really delve into the ideas and the world you're presenting.

That's about all I have to say. Looking forward to the next chapter! :)




LittleFox says...


Whoa, I never saw this review for some reason. When I saw you're review on chapter 5, I thought you skipped this one xD
It was a pleasant surprise to look back and see that you had in fact done a review here, thank you! :D



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Sat Mar 07, 2015 1:05 pm
SpiritedWolfe wrote a review...



Hey there, LittleFox!

To start things off, I'm not all to sure about this Altan guy. He seems to devious and cold hearted for nothing. We don't really see a lot about him, and we know now that he has varying views from Adonia, but his thoughts are so evil and mischievous he seems like an obvious villian and I wonder why? What makes him act like this? As it sits now, it just appears that he is the run of the mill villian irrationally set out if destroy everything. And when he got home, his heart melted for his wife. Now that's not the actions of someone set out to basically throw away the prosperity of an empire. (Or country.)

Something much smaller that I also noticed was that there come times when there are little phrases or words repeated a few times throughout the chapter. I recall in the first chapter it was 'a flash of (insert emotion here)'. It's really minor actually, but here is was just cursing Adonia, or cursing in general. Watch out for little things like that.

I see that that we have another character who's perspective is added to the mix, which isn't bad, just a little strange. I've rarely seen books with more than three characters whose perspectives swap around, but it can be done. I am curious as to what good it will do and how you'll use it to further advance the story. Besides, who doesn't love the perspective of the villian.

Pretzelsing brings up a good point when saying that he has ten full days to leave and that he suddenly decides to pack up anyway. Is that including the journey? Is the country really that large? Will he have to leave this kingdom (its name slips my mind) and their ally? Is this assumed? Lots of little questions pop into my head.

The pacing about this chapter as a whole also feels a bit fast. So, I'm assuming everyone lives in this one palace or very close? And maybe you could go further into why Altan despises Adonia so much while he's wandering the halls. It would be good to see his character like that and understand him much more.

Another interesting chapter and I can't wait until you post more! Keep on Writing,
~Wolfare~




LittleFox says...


Thank you :) I will be sure to add more to it!



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Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:45 pm
Pretzelstick wrote a review...



Heya, Little Fox!
Pretzelsing here for a review as promised. So first of all, I have to say that this was an interesting chapter, in the way that I like how Atlan plotted behind Adonia's back, which was risky, even if he thought that she was on her death bed. You wanted to me to focus on the characters and pace so I will do that.

When you introduce Atlan, I get an impression that he is very determined and almost hard and angry. You develop him through his action, first he plans to make a deal without permission, then he curses the Sovereign, and then leaves the palace without telling his wife. I am personally disliking this character and so is Rhea.

Adonia seems decisive and in this chapter you really developed her power over people and her kingdom. In the first couple of chapters you showed her sick and in bed, and then doing various activities.Here you really expanded her great power that and I approve of that.
Now let's get to the nitpicks:

"You want to wage war on an ally for a small trickle of coin?"


It is coinS and I was wondering, what does trickle mean? Is that a certain amount or just an expression used in those times?

"You want to invade Daskus?" one man said in a heavy voice soaked in disapproval.


I just wanted to point your attention to the question mark. A question mark and a period makes a big difference in this sentence.Do you want the man to question Atlan or make a statement? Imagine how he would say it and then put the punctuation that matches more.

She gave the thin-lipped woman a wry smile with her own plump lips.


Why did you mention lips two times? Does it really matter that much to us as a reader , what kind of lips a stranger has? I would personally vut that out, although I know that you are just trying to distinguish between the characters, I would find maybe another way like where they are sitting in the table, their hair color, the clothes that they are wearing, etc.

Their army is smaller than ours, so it will be a quick win. And the merchants who pass through the strait are wealthy.


You shouldn't really start a sentence with And, because it just isn't correct. I would just cross that out and start with "the".

Altan back away as she approached, realizing he was standing in her place at the head of the table.


Did he really just realize this?? Or did Adonia realize this and point it out?

Before him sat nine men and women dressed in silk robes. Each watching him with studying eyes.


Before I always think of before as time reference, so in this sentence I think that you should use: "In front of him..."

I will be sure that she learns her mistake and learns it so that she won't forget.


Why did you use learn two times? I know and understand that you might want to emphasize it but really the second learns is unecessary.

He did not try to hide the irritation in his voice.


I really actually liked this that he was being honest, but why would he fuel and add to Rhea's anger/disapproval?

She seemed to glower down at him despite the fact that he was a good hand taller than she was.


I don't know, this is my personal preference but I probably used a "head" instead or a "hand" to visualize it more. Also it was kind of ironic that she seemed to glower down on a taller person. That doesn't really just happen, I would rephrase that and say that "she seemed to glower up".It still conveys the same meaning.

She murmured something sleepily, but he had already turned away from her..


Why are these dots trailing at the end of this quote. An ellipsis has three dots, but in this sentence I don't think that you need a ellipsis. Or maybe this was just a typo.Either way I would suggest cutting this out.

Okay so those are all of my nitpicks, you also wanted some feedback on pacing. Well, I personally didn't understand why Atlan already planned to leave. Adonia had given him 10 days so why was he in a rush? Overall the pacing here was steady and I honestly I liked it, it wasn't too slow or too quick. I would only consider my comment above.

I hope that this review helps you improve your writing and as always I truly encourage you to keep on writing!
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LittleFox says...


Thank you so much :)



pretzelsing says...


No problem, Fox I really am here to help and support you and your awesome novel!




You can't blame the writer for what the characters say.
— Truman Capote