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Adonia, Beloved / Chapter 3

by LittleFox


Adonia woke with a start, her hands clutching at her neck as she sat upright in her bed. Her eyes darted about the room or a moment before her heart settled. Another nightmare. She sighed as she let herself fall back onto the silk cushions. No matter how many nights pass, he is still there when I fall asleep. She let her fingers trace a section of the scar that reached from her waist all the way up to the bottom of her ribcage.

"Oh Rahim, you wretched creature." She frowned up at the ceiling, covered in finely woven tapestries depicting wild birds and horses. Pity and anger were woven together in her voice. "You've damned us both."

She tried to imagine where he was now. Perhaps forced to beg for food in some far away city- no doubt miserable with guilt- or even lying dead; murdered by thieves. Adonia winced and took her hand away from the scar. I can't let myself think of him anymore.

She rose from her bed and stood on weak legs. Yawning, she pulled on a silk robe as she crossed the room and settled before her long mirror with a frown. She had paled and lost weight. Dark circles framed her green eyes and her dark hair hung in long messy tangles. Three weeks had passed and her wound had healed, but she felt like a bird with broken wings.

She had began pulling a brush through the neglected strands of her hair as there was a knock at her bedroom door.

"Come in," she called.

Rhea entered, balancing a tray holding bread, cheese, and a cup of steaming red tea. "I saw the servant carrying this to your room and I said I would bring it to you." Her voice was level and impassive, but Adonia knew Rhea was more than happy for the excuse to come and check on her. "Has your appetite returned?" she asked as she placed the tray onto a short hexagonal table carved from dark wood with its edges gilded with gold.

Adonia shrugged. Truly, the food did not appeal to her, but she took a bite of bread to please Rhea, who gave a satisfied nod.

"Good," Rhea said. "You need to gain your strength back. The court grows restless," she said. "I've already heard a rumor that the Sovereign is dead."

Adonia stifled a grim laugh. "I might as well be." She ignored the sharp look Rhea gave her. "I've done nothing but brood for the past few weeks."

"Brooding does not suit you, Adonia." Rhea rested her fists on he hips, looking as if ready to lecture Adonia like a child, but Adonia raised a hand to silence her before she could go on.

"Tomorrow, I return to the council." She paused and brought the cup of tea to her lips. Its rich fragrance spoke of pomegranate juice mixed in, and the taste sang of it. "Even if I must be carried in."

Rhea let a small smile flash across her face. "Very well, but it is better if you can walk on your own. Today, maybe fresh air would do you well." She tilted her head slightly and a small section of her black hair fell into her face. "Do you think you may be well enough to fly Kiraga?"

Adonia bit her lip thoughtfully. "Maybe, but I will fly her either way. No doubt she has grown restless."

"Then we should go." Rhea crossed her arms over her chest and lifted her chin slightly. "After you eat."

Adonia smiled with a small shake of her head. "You should be the one who is obedient to me, not I to you," she said, but she took another piece of bread from the tray anyway.

"I'm not your servant, I'm your body guard," Rhea said. Her tall stance and dangerous grace made the thought of her as a servant laughable. "My duty is not to grovel."

----

Adonia stepped through the gilded gates that led into the palace gardens, Rhea trailing behind her. She was dressed in riding pants, and her hair was captured in a long braid that nearly reached her waist. She paused briefly in the gateway, letting the breeze bring the scent of flowers to her before moving on.

The sound of songbirds and the splash of fountains stirred the air. In the center of the carefully tended flowers and winding stone paths stood what had once been a gazebo. Adjustable panels had been built onto it so that it could serve as a mew for Kiraga. She sat inside, perched on her stand as she preened her caramel feathers.

A man leaned against the mew, peering in at the large eagle. His hair was long and dark and his eyes had the same look to them as a wolf's.

"Good morning, General Haemon," Rhea called to him as she and Adonia approached.

He gave a start at the sound of Rhea's voice, and quickly folded himself into respectful bow when his eyes met Adonia's. "Good morning," he replied in a low voice.

"How is she?" Adonia asked as she pulled on a thick leather gauntlet.

"Bored. And I don't think she likes me well." He spoke gingerly, as if calculating whether or not the Sovereign was well enough to hunt with the massive bird. After a pause, he said "It's good to see you again, Your Majesty. For too long we feared you wouldn't return."

She waved her hand dismissively. "I am not broken so easily." She slid one of the panels open and stepped inside. Kiraga screeched excitedly as she stepped up onto Adonia's gloved arm and let her slip a hood over her head. "Thank you for taking care of her for me. There are few others I could trust her with." She told Haemon as she stepped back out.

She smiled fondly as Kiraga stretched out her wings to their full seven-foot span. The eagle had been a gift sent from her father, an acclaimed falconer, when he received the news that his daughter had been raised as Sovereign. Adonia barely remembered her father now- she had been taken to study at the palace when she was six, and had never returned to her childhood home- but she remembered the birds he had raised and trained.

"It was my honor," Haemon said with a slight bow.

"Why don't you join us, Haemon?" Rhea suggested. "I can have a servant sent to ready your horse."

He shrugged. "If Her Majesty does not mind."

"You are welcome to come along," Adonia said as she gently stroked Kiraga's feathers with the knuckles of her free hand.

Their horses stood saddled and bridled at the East Gate, each attended by a patient stable-hand. Adonia used her free hand to pull herself into the saddle of her tall black stallion. He pranced anxiously as Kiraga opened her wings to hold her balance on Adonia's arm.

When Adonia straightened in her seat and took the riens from the stable-hand, Rhea already sat oh her honey-colored horse and Haemon was just mounting his own. With a grin Adonia touched her heels to Xerxes flanks and trotted through the wide gates.

The three rode together to a small open field that laid to the east of the palace walls. A gentle breeze lifted the loose ends of Adonia's hair as she undid the leash that kept Kiraga attached to the gauntlet. Haemon and Rhea both rode in opposite directions, attempting to flush out game from the dry grass. When Adonia lifted the hood from the eagle's head, they both watched impatiently for movement.

"Ho!" Haemon called as a large hare sprang away from his horse's feet. Adonia stood in her stirrups and lifted her arm up and Kiraga was up in the air in an instant, her sharp eyes locked on her quarry. The wind carried her to it, and at the last moment she swooped down and pinned the hare to the ground. Adonia felt an wave of excitement as she urged her horse forward at a canter, ignoring the pain that came from her side with every lurch. She swung down from the saddle as soon as they reached Kiraga, and seconds later Haemon and Rhea were there as well.

Kiraga hunched over her kill, wings spread over it like a feathery dome. She had already torn a large chunk of meat from the hare, but she gladly took the small piece of meat Adonia offered her as a reward. While Kiraga swallowed it down, Adonia took away the dead hare. "Let the cook have Kiraga's catch prepared." She held the inert mass of bloodied fur to Haemon, who took it with some hesitation.

The Sovereign rose with the eagle once again perched on her arm and the hood replaced over her head. She was more aware of the pain in her side, but she did not let it show as she climbed back onto her horse. "I would hunt longer, my friend, but I am not in the best of shape," she muttered to Kiraga as she turned Xerxes back toward the palace.

When they returned to the East Gate, the three dismounted and gave their horses to the servants to be unsaddled and groomed.

"Thank you again, Haemon, for taking care of Kiraga while I was recovering," Adonia said gratefully. She felt a tinge of pain as her mind drifted toward the reason she had to recover in the first place.

"It was my honor. She will be glad though, to be in your care again." He stretched his fingers toward the eagle, but she bit at his fingers when they neared her. " I fear Kiraga is not very fond of me," he chuckled quietly.

Adonia's mind moved to different troubles. "Do you have any word from the council, Haemon? They have sent very little word to me since my absence."

"What I've heard is troublesome," he said as they began to walk back toward the garden.

"How so?"

"I have only heard rumor of what has been spoken within the council, but it seems like there are secrets growing within their meetings."

Adonia bristled. "What kind of secrets." When Haemon shrugged and shook his head, she glanced at Rhea. "It is well then, that I already decided to join them tomorrow."

Rhea gave no reaction aside from a hardening in her jaw, but her eyes seemed eager.


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Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:46 pm
SpiritedWolfe wrote a review...



Hey again!

So you've got a longer chapter here, which is really nice. The more the better, I say. My only really drastic issue here is there seems to be a lot of dense storytelling, which isn't that bad, since you have a lot of description intertwined to give us a sense of what's happening. But my point here is maybe you should have more of Adonia's actual thoughts, about maybe how her bird looks, what she thinks if the council. Little things like that to help give more if her input.

The very last sentence seems sort of out of place. Perhaps I'm missing something, but there doesn't seem to be a reason that Rhea would give a reaction. We've already heard Rhea's input about the ongoings of the council and how they feared she would not return, so when these secrets come up, this is more directed towards Adonia rather than Rhea. (And forgive me, but I don't see why she would be eager...? Eager for Adonia to return?)

So, the progression of the chapter is interesting, the beginning two lining up very well with each other, going about Adonia's morning and Rhea convincing her to go outside and exercise some, but then when Adonia asks about the council straight after the hunt, it seems a little strange. Even the conversation takes a wild turn. Up until this point, it didn't seem to me that the council bothered Adonia at all. She didn't think about it once. So, perhaps include some things about that.

Your descriptions have greatly improved! Final, I had a firm picture of Adonia in my mind, and I will warn you what one of my friends has told me before. Be sure to describe characters just enough. Since to the character, it's normal to see them everyday, it may slip past, but lots of authors have trouble with this, even just describing what they are wearing some days that may stand out. Just for future reference.

I really love how Adonia still tries her best to keep Rahim off her mind, and it still always creeps back in. The injury she suffered always being a constant reminder. And now I'm wondering when Rahim will come back so we can see more on his side of the story ^^ Can't wait!

Keep on Writing,
~Wolfare~




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Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:06 am
TriSARAHtops wrote a review...



Hello! Finally made it to review!
I have to say, it's really awesome to see how these chapters are improving in this rewrite. I remember the previous version of this chapter quite well, so I can quite confidently say that there's been a dramatic improvement. Which is exactly what you want to happen with each draft! Great to see!

That said, I think I'll try to review this on its own merit, rather than just comparing.

I'll start with the dialogue, I think. Some of it was excellent, and showed a lot about the characters (some of Rhea's stood out in this regard), however, there were other bits that sounded a bit stiff. Usually, I'd suggest throwing in some contractions to male it more natural, but I think it's a little trickier in your case xp. The dialogue has a formality that works well and makes sense, and that's something you'd want to retain. So I think what might be worthwile doing is some reading aloud, as daggy as it sounds, of some of the dialogue, just to get the feel of whether it's natural to say.

You had some really nice descriptions in here, which was good to see. Maybe try to add some atmosphere-y ones as well, but there was some good imagery present.

The only issue I really had with the pacing was that the hunt went by a little quickly, but in general this chapter was much better paced than in the previous draft (I know I said I was going to avoid comparisons, but I'll temporarily break that). It also felt considerably more consistent in terms of Adonia's injury's severity, ie she didn't go from weak to fine in a heatbeat. Good progress there, but I think you could allow her injury to make things a liitle more difficult for her. It is a lot more credible now, I have to say.

I'm really
impressed by the development of the relationship between Rhea and Adonia. The bond's very clear, and you're doing an excellent job of showing how much they care for each other.

That's all from me! Although I will say, I hope that you don't get too bogged down in revising the start - I want to know what happens next!




LittleFox says...


Thank you so much for the review :)



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Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:10 pm
Pretzelstick wrote a review...



Heya LittleFox,
Pretzelsing here for a review as I promised you(BTW thanks for tagging me)
I noticed that you changed this chapter a lot from the unedited version and I have to say that I really like your style of writing.It's great. Now let's get down to business.

At the beginning Rhea was bossing Adonia around, and I was wondering, is Rhea acting more like a mother or sister or bodyguard to her :?: I liked how she took care of her, insisted that she eat, and it really seemed like Rhea was the only one with access to the Sovereign.

Her eyes darted about the room for a moment before her heart settled.


It's "for" a moment, and I like how you used the phrase: heart settled :!:

She let her fingers trace a section of the scar that reached from her waist all the way up to the bottom of her ribcage.


Okay so I didn't think that the phrase: "all the way up" was really necessary because for me personally that's like a long distance, when what you described was clearly not a long distance. So I would just cut that out. Also you should spell rib-cage with a hyphen, because it's two separate words!

but Adonia knew Rhea was more than happy for the excuse to come and check on her.


More than happy :?: That is just a cliche expression and honestly, I wouldn't put it there just because it disrupts the flow of that sentence.


Very well, but it is better if you can walk on your own.


Umm,of course, it's so obvious that it would be better if Adonia could walk on her own. Why does Rhea even say that, because that is really unnecessary.It's logical and both Adonia and Rhea know that.I would just cut it out.

"Do you think you may be well enough to fly Kiraga?"


Again,here is Rhea asking this question that she knows the answer to because she has been watching and observing Adonia's health,right? :? And wasn't she the one that made the suggestions, anyways?

This paragraph was very confusing to me:

Adonia stepped through the gilded gates that led into the palace gardens, Rhea trailing behind her. She was dressed in riding pants, and her hair was captured in a long braid that nearly reached her waist. She paused briefly in the gateway, letting the breeze bring the scent of flowers to her before moving on.


Who is she ? Rhea of Adonia because right now, I honestly don't know. You mentioned Rhea second but Adonia is the main character so...please explain this to me and make it more clear by maybe just putting the name of the character on the first she

She waved her hand dismissively. "I am not broken so easily."


Umm, she really isn't broken so easily, or is she covering up the truth.I think you should also have Rhea someone react to this news.If it was a glance,eye-contact, reaching out and patting Adonia's hand,etc.I would like you to show me how to react.Before you wrote this sentence:

Three weeks had passed and her wound had healed, but she felt like a bird with broken wings.


BTW I just wanted to comment that I really liked the phrase: like a bird with broken wings But the first quote above, you Adonia was telling the guard that she was not so easily broken. Is that really true?

but she remembered the birds he had raised and trained.


BirdS:?: I thought her father only gave her one bird, so why does she remember him raising many birds?

Their horses stood saddled and bridled at the East Gate, each attended by a patient stable-hand.


How were the stable-hands patient? I know that this is a little thing, but I think that you could totally expand on this. Maybe tell us: how long did they wait? Where they standing not moving and on guard? Why were they patient?

When Adonia straightened in her seat and took the riens from the stable-hand


Just a misspelled typo: the word in bold should be reigns.

ignoring the pain that came from her side with every lurch.


Ignoring :?: Umm, excuse me but you can not ignore pain. I have had experience with this(a possibly cracked femur bone) and there is no way to ignore serious pain. I think that you didn't use correct word choice. Maybe change it to feeling the pain, minding the pain, not thinking about the pain, etc. or whatever else that you creatively come up with.

When they returned to the East Gate, the three dismounted and gave their horses to the servants to be unsaddled and groomed.


Woah, I think that was a very fast transition, between the eagle catching the hare and then they were back at the East Gate.What about if you described the way/trail back?What did Adonia see,smell,feel? Where did they gallop from/to?

" I fear Kiraga is not very fond of me," he chuckled quietly.


Why would he chuckle at this? To me this comes out as annoying because it is not at the right place. This mood doesn't really need chuckling in it. I would just cut that reaction out.

"I have only heard rumor of what has been spoken within the council, but it seems like there are secrets growing within their meetings."


I really liked it, because it caught my attention and made the story have a very mysterious turn. :twist:

So a couple things to sum up:

Introduction: I liked the idea of her waking up from a nightmare but do you know what I think could be even more interesting? If you waked in on the end of her nightmare, describing it to us and then BAN! she woke up! For me personally that would be more interesting.

Adonia's feelings about Rahim: Since this is the next chapter, three weeks in the future I would really like to know how Adonia feels about Rahim. Because here is really the best place to put it. What are her thoughts? You are inside Adonia's head so only you know.

Overall, I think that this chapter has some potential with hard work and editing!

Image




LittleFox says...


Thank you so much! I will be sure to run through it a few more times and try to improve it :)



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Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:33 pm
WeasleyDragonStar wrote a review...



This is very good, lucid writing style. There is a nice balance of simple and purple words (a bit more purple is needed, maybe). I'm just a bit confused (I missed chapters 1 and 2, which I may review later). The descriptions can be easily pictured in my mind. I hope you have good luck with this project. Good writing so far!




LittleFox says...


Thank you :)




How can I be king of the world? Because I am king of rubbish. And rubbish is what the world is made of.
— Kate DiCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane