Young Writers Society


16+ Language Violence

Heresy and Greed Chapter One - Fate Gives Second Chances

by regularpaperclip768


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

Román Roldán sat at a table in a cellar under The Fox Cave Bar, deep in discussion with three men. Two of them were tall, stocky, blond, and had knives in their hands, bodyguards for the other, who was short, lanky, with dark hair and a mischievous gleam in his green eyes, or rather, eye. Due to an accident as a child, he was missing his right. His ears had a very slight impish point to the tips, hinting at his elvish ancestry. If his ears were pointed any more than they were, he could be executed on the street for the possible connection to the Elven Revolution.

This man was Bitor Martell, the leader of the Gold Foxes, one of the most notorious gangs on this side of the Skyelandes, possibly all of the realm of Naeral. He knew this and used his influence to his advantage. Most people in Aurora Enclave crossed to the other side of the street of Bitor or one of his men passed.

Of course, he was connected to the Revolution, that’s the reason he was sitting here across from Román Roldan. Román was the Heretic. The face of the Elven Revolution. With his dark hair, flat, almost soulless black eyes, and toned arms, he was an intimidating figure. If not for his cane and his limp, he could easily take down any person who attacked him or his followers. Presently, Román looked agitated.

The cellar the group sat in was small and dim, lit only by a few candles placed around the room. The only furniture was the circular table the four sat at and the empty beer kegs that they used as chairs. The room had a damp, musty, underground basement-type smell. The men could hear the sound of people walking and music from the floor above them.

Román brushed dark hair back from his face. “Please Bitor, I know that I’ve been behind on my payments, but I need a little more time,” he pleaded with Bitor. Román took a deep breath, “I need to feed the children in my care and I can’t do that if I don’t have money. These children are my top priority, I can’t let anything happen to them.”

Bitor smirked and Román fidgeted, uncomfortable with the look that Bitor was giving. Bitor spoke after a moment, “Do you know what my name means?”

Román blinked, “It means fate, right? In the old language? But what does that have to do with anything?”

Bitor nodded slowly, “Yes, my friend, good job! Allow me to explain what it has to do with anything. Do you remember the proverb? The one from The Word?” Bitor didn’t wait for Román to answer, “‘Fate gives second chances.’ As we know, I’ve given you a second chance, I’ve given you a third, and this would have been your fourth. Now is when I take the collateral.”

Román stared at Bitor, dumbfounded, “Bitor, you cannot be serious!”

“Oh, but I am. Consider her a down payment, or a second down payment. Don’t worry Cordia will be taken care of. But she will have to stay here for a while until you have the money,” Bitor said. Román stood up from the table and paced for a few moments before he sat back down. Bitor shrugged, “Take the deal or don’t. If you don’t, I get to kill you. You have a lovely price on your head.”

“One condition,” Román said with narrowed eyes.

Bitor chuckled, “My friend, you are in no place to add conditions.”Bitor took one of his bodyguard’s knives and laid it on the table with the point facing Román. Román registered the threat. and Bitor stood up and stuck his hand out toward Román, “Now, do we have a deal?”

Román hesitated before he shook Bitor’s hand, “Yes, we do.”

“Wonderful! Let us celebrate this business endeavor.” Bitor snapped his fingers and a servant came through the door carrying a tray of champagne. The boy gave Román and Bitor each a glass. Bitor took the bottle and poured champagne into the glasses. He sent the servant away and lifted his glass, “To our fine business transaction. Cheers!”

Román followed suit, but with far less enthusiasm, “Cheers.”

After both men drank, Bitor sent his guards out of the room. He looked at Román and sighed, “I am sorry for how I had to handle this tonight, but I’m sure you understand.” He shrugged, “Appearances must be kept.”

“Yes, appearances,” Román replied with a slight raise of his eyebrows. “I understand.”

“I find it odd that you have chosen to be a cult leader. You’re so talented, why not become a painter?”

“First, smartass, it’s not a cult. Second, I haven’t painted since I was little, you know this.” Román drained his glass and placed it on the table before he stood up. “I should go. I need to get Cordia ready.” He grabbed his cane and started limping towards the door. When he grabbed the handle, he turned back to Bitor, “Just… keep her safe, okay?”

Bitor chuckled, “Of course, she will be well taken care of. She will have all the candy she desires.”

“Bitor,” Román gave him a warning look.

“Yes, yes, I’m simply joking. Lighten up.”

“‘Lighten up... you always say that,” Román said as he opened the door. “At some point, we need to grow up. You can’t keep playing prince.”

Bitor laughs, “Yes, of course, we both know that my empire isn’t that big yet.”


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
436 Reviews


Points: 20490
Reviews: 436

Donate
Sun Dec 11, 2022 12:15 pm
Liminality wrote a review...



Hi regularpaperclip! Welcome to the site! Lim here with a review.

First Impressions

I find myself very drawn in by this story. I like that the conflict is introduced very early on, with the dialogue about Román’s apparent debt. I also like the idea of the plot twist, where the two are actually putting on an act, though it seems some kind of trouble still remains, since the child has to stay with Bitor anyway. It leaves me with a feeling of curiosity. I thought the atmosphere of the story was very immersive as well – it definitely feels like a tense, dramatic tale in a fantasy setting.

Plot and Characters

The idea of an Elven Revolution sounds super interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that has connected elves to revolution before, so I’m excited to read about this. I like that Bitor and Román both are established as being linked to the revolution early on in this chapter, so the mention feels more intentional and purposeful. My thought is that perhaps the little farce they had in front of the guards will benefit the revolution somehow?

Román and Bitor come across as being smart and crafty. Bitor is clearly a good actor – I was very convinced the threats and all were genuine until the guards left the room. He seems to be the more playful/ jokey one between the two of them, whereas Román seems more serious, with the comment about Bitor needing to grow up at the end. At this point some of the things they say to each other still leave me with questions. Is the prince/ empire thing just an inside joke between friends, or is Bitor really connected to royalty? It also seems like they’ve known each other since childhood. What was their background like then? It will be interesting to see what else is revealed in the chapters that follow.

Things I would have liked to see

I felt like the switch from the act to a genuine conversation happened a bit quickly, and I found myself re-reading, thinking “oh wait, that just happened?”. Since Román and Bitor seem to have been trying to fool the guards and perhaps the servant, it would have been nice to see how those observers reacted to the display. Maybe by facial expressions? Some subtle reactions, since I’m guessing the guards are trying to stay stoic? Bitor seems to have put quite a bit of thought into his acting in front of the guards, so it would have been nice to see that his efforts worked. c:

I would have also liked to see a bit more of a resolution to the conversation there at the end. As it is, the ending felt a bit abrupt to me.

Comments on Introduction

I just have one nitpick about the introduction, which is this sentence:

Two of them were tall, stocky, blond, and had knives in their hands, bodyguards for the other, who was short, lanky, with dark hair and a mischievous gleam in his green eyes, or rather, eye.

It was a bit difficult to make sense of. Having three individuals introduced in one sentence was kind of overwhelming for me, especially starting from “who . . . eye”.
Otherwise, I thought the introductory paragraphs were pretty solid. They attracted my attention right away, since the situation and the characters were quickly introduced. The image of the cellar and introducing names like “The Fox Cave Bar” and “the Elven Revolution” also helped create a sense of place.

Overall

This is a fast-paced and intriguing start to a story. If you plan to revise this, my main suggestions as I said would be to take note of tone shifts or endings that happen very quickly or could use more of a resolution before moving on. The world sounds super interesting and I’m interested to see how the story unfolds from here.

Hope this helps and let me know if you’d like more feedback!
-Lim




User avatar
3850 Reviews


Points: 210016
Reviews: 3850

Donate
Thu Dec 08, 2022 2:21 pm
View Likes
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!! I see you joined recently so welcome to YWS!! Hope you enjoy your time here!!

First Impression: This is a solid little chapter here. Certainly a lot of intriguing little things going on around here, enough hints have been dropped within this that I think you give us quite a lot to think about as readers.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Román Roldán sat at a table in a cellar under The Fox Cave Bar, deep in discussion with three men. Two of them were tall, stocky, blond, and had knives in their hands, bodyguards for the other, who was short, lanky, with dark hair and a mischievous gleam in his green eyes, or rather, eye. Due to an accident as a child, he was missing his right. His ears had a very slight impish point to the tips, hinting at his elvish ancestry. If his ears were pointed any more than they were, he could be executed on the street for the possible connection to the Elven Revolution.

This man was Bitor Martell, the leader of the Gold Foxes, one of the most notorious gangs on this side of the Skyelandes, possibly all of the realm of Naeral. He knew this and used his influence to his advantage. Most people in Aurora Enclave crossed to the other side of the street of Bitor or one of his men passed.


ALright this is an interesting choice of a start. Not too often you see the whole surrounding being all but ignore of favor of introducing the characters in the scene here, but its an interesting difference especially because these characters themselves seem pretty intriguing. I also assume these people have to be quite important in some fashion for them to get this sort of priority.

Of course, he was connected to the Revolution, that’s the reason he was sitting here across from Román Roldan. Román was the Heretic. The face of the Elven Revolution. With his dark hair, flat, almost soulless black eyes, and toned arms, he was an intimidating figure. If not for his cane and his limp, he could easily take down any person who attacked him or his followers. Presently, Román looked agitated.

The cellar the group sat in was small and dim, lit only by a few candles placed around the room. The only furniture was the circular table the four sat at and the empty beer kegs that they used as chairs. The room had a damp, musty, underground basement-type smell. The men could hear the sound of people walking and music from the floor above them.


Okayy well you can certainly tell these two are some pretty important people judging from all of that and it looks like they're conducting some pretty secretive and important business here. Love the description of the place to follow too, its all coming together nicely to show us the image of one of those dark hidden rooms where the entire civilizations get decided.

Román brushed dark hair back from his face. “Please Bitor, I know that I’ve been behind on my payments, but I need a little more time,” he pleaded with Bitor. Román took a deep breath, “I need to feed the children in my care and I can’t do that if I don’t have money. These children are my top priority, I can’t let anything happen to them.”

Bitor smirked and Román fidgeted, uncomfortable with the look that Bitor was giving. Bitor spoke after a moment, “Do you know what my name means?”

Román blinked, “It means fate, right? In the old language? But what does that have to do with anything?”


OKay well this definitely is quite the conversation here right as we get into it. You get a feeling there is a bit of a clear power dynamic in this , or at least that's the sort of idea we get with that particular opening line. Let's see where it takes us.

Bitor nodded slowly, “Yes, my friend, good job! Allow me to explain what it has to do with anything. Do you remember the proverb? The one from The Word?” Bitor didn’t wait for Román to answer, “‘Fate gives second chances.’ As we know, I’ve given you a second chance, I’ve given you a third, and this would have been your fourth. Now is when I take the collateral.”

Román stared at Bitor, dumbfounded, “Bitor, you cannot be serious!”

“Oh, but I am. Consider her a down payment, or a second down payment. Don’t worry Cordia will be taken care of. But she will have to stay here for a while until you have the money,” Bitor said. Román stood up from the table and paced for a few moments before he sat back down. Bitor shrugged, “Take the deal or don’t. If you don’t, I get to kill you. You have a lovely price on your head.”


Well that definitely seals that power dynamic I was seeing, so I probably wasn't just seeing things there. Oh well, it looks like we've got Román here having to take a deal that he definitely does not seem to be the biggest fan of. Giving up any human much less from the looks of things one that Román cares for certainly doesn't seem like the kind of price you want to pay.

“One condition,” Román said with narrowed eyes.

Bitor chuckled, “My friend, you are in no place to add conditions.”Bitor took one of his bodyguard’s knives and laid it on the table with the point facing Román. Román registered the threat. and Bitor stood up and stuck his hand out toward Román, “Now, do we have a deal?”

Román hesitated before he shook Bitor’s hand, “Yes, we do.”

“Wonderful! Let us celebrate this business endeavor.” Bitor snapped his fingers and a servant came through the door carrying a tray of champagne. The boy gave Román and Bitor each a glass. Bitor took the bottle and poured champagne into the glasses. He sent the servant away and lifted his glass, “To our fine business transaction. Cheers!”


Well I can already quite comfortably say I don't like Bitor very much. Of course we really have no information to go off on so they very well might be just as bad as each other but judging from this Román is being thrown into a pretty terrible situation pretty much against his will although it does also seem like this situation has been manufactured by something Román himself set in motion.

Román followed suit, but with far less enthusiasm, “Cheers.”

After both men drank, Bitor sent his guards out of the room. He looked at Román and sighed, “I am sorry for how I had to handle this tonight, but I’m sure you understand.” He shrugged, “Appearances must be kept.”

“Yes, appearances,” Román replied with a slight raise of his eyebrows. “I understand.”

“I find it odd that you have chosen to be a cult leader. You’re so talented, why not become a painter?”


Right well that's quite the move there. The way Román replied to that suggestion that this whole thing was simply for appearances makes me thing it definitely wasn't just for appearances. I suppose we shall eventually find out because if it really was just for appearances there'd be a bit more evidence than just what Bitor says.

“First, smartass, it’s not a cult. Second, I haven’t painted since I was little, you know this.” Román drained his glass and placed it on the table before he stood up. “I should go. I need to get Cordia ready.” He grabbed his cane and started limping towards the door. When he grabbed the handle, he turned back to Bitor, “Just… keep her safe, okay?”

Bitor chuckled, “Of course, she will be well taken care of. She will have all the candy she desires.”

“Bitor,” Román gave him a warning look.


Well that doesn't exactly instill too much confidence I definitely don't believe the appearances things just quite yet because there is an underlying tension here that I can't quite place. There are plenty of relationships in fiction where we've got insults being how people show their affection for one another, this one doesn't quite seem to be that type, not really.

“Yes, yes, I’m simply joking. Lighten up.”

“‘Lighten up... you always say that,” Román said as he opened the door. “At some point, we need to grow up. You can’t keep playing prince.”

Bitor laughs, “Yes, of course, we both know that my empire isn’t that big yet.”


Well...that's an interesting line to end on...given the kind of title we've got on this piece, well it does leave you with more than a couple of things to think about, that much is pretty clear.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall I'd say this one's a pretty strong start here. Definitely a lot of questionable deals going down there along with a very questionable relationship between the two main characters at least from the initial look we get. I think you have certainly done enough to get us to want to read on and find out more here.

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

Stay Safe
Harry






Thank you so much for reading! Your review was so, so helpful! I will definitely take a lot of this into consideration.



KateHardy says...


You're Welcome!!




"Yesterday you said tomorrow, so JUST DO IT."
— Shia Labeouf