Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
The priests had said prayer would save his mother, so Osar prayed for a year and a day. Dawn til dusk, beseeching shadow and sunlight. Oft late past the darkening hour he’d bowed his head and grovelled, bargained, begged. He had devoted himself to Dionas the Golden God. But Dionas hadn’t heard the prayers, or worse, refused to answer them. Even the gods couldn’t cure cancer.

Osar wrenched another weed from the overturned earth.

And for all of his devotion what did he have to show for it? A grave dug by his own hands and a dead woman to fill it. The Golden God might have been the city’s patron and its father, but Osar didn’t want to trade his mother for a surrogate deity.

Osar gained his feet, brushing dirt from his vestments. His knees were muddied and earth was jammed between his toes thanks to the open-end sandals. His hands, soft and delicate from months of prayer, were bloodied and engrained with dirt from tending to the grave.

A voice from behind Osar made him turn around.

“A soiled priest? Don’t let the Archsaji catch you looking like that.”

Quilon hobbled and wheezed his way through the temple gardens. The ancient saji laid one hand on Osar’ shoulder, the other on the grave marker. The golden star gleamed in the sunlight, its polished surface glinting through the gaps between Quilon’s gnarled fingers.

“A golden star? My boy, this grave must have cost you a year’s allowance.” Quilon’s hand fell from the marker.

“It did.” Osar scowled at Quilon. The old man had left smudged fingerprints on his mother’s grave. Osar used his sleeve to clean it.

They stood in silence, heads bowed over the grave. Osar picked at a loose thread on his yellow vestment. He wanted to be alone, to think of his mother. Quilon’s presence was distracting. He was always sticking his nose in Osar’s business, but Quilon maintained it was part of his tutor duties.

Quilon cleared his throat. He pulled at his five-point wispy beard, crumbs of whatever he’d eaten for breakfast and dried skin falling to dust the grave. “The gods have their ways.” He shook his head, bald pate catching the sun. “We all live and die to serve their higher purpose. Come now, we have morning prayers to attend.”

Osar pushed Quilon’s hand from his shoulder, a little more roughly than he meant to. “I’m not going.”

“You’re not going?” Though it was a question, Quilon didn’t sound surprised.

“No,” Osar said.

Quilon wrung his baggy sleeves over his hands, clasping them before him. “But every priest must attend morning prayers.”

“I don’t want to be a priest any more.”

“But you’re my novi.”

“I don’t want to be your novi any more.”

“I see,” Quilon said. His watery eyes stared into Osar’ own. One lid drooped over the rheumy white, but Quilon kept staring. “Four more years and you won’t have to be a priest or a novi anymore.”

Osar matched the gaze as long as he could before blinking. He dropped his eyes to Quilon’s chest in defeat, only to find the gold star medallion Quilon wore staring back at him. Wherever Osar looked or went since joining the temple, the temple seemed to be watching him.

“What do you want, Osar?” Quilon asked.

“Not even the gods can give me what I want.” His right hand wormed its way into the pouch on the front of his vestments, fingering his mother’s charm. The gold was warm to his touch.

“The gods give and take for reasons beyond us mortals.” Quilon sighed and turned away. “If you want to know why they took your mother ask them. But there’s no better way to ask them than through prayer, and there’s no better time than now. Morning prayers it is.”

Osar fell into step behind Quilon, almost tripping over the old saji’s shuffle of a walk. Other priests appeared from the gardens. Shaven headed and yellow robed, the bearded men all made for the temple, sparing neither Osar nor Quilon any notice.
Osar looked back over his shoulder, past his mother’s grave, through the palms, over the flowerbeds, spotting the gilded gates in the distance. Even from where he stood he could just make out the gleaming figures standing guard in their golden armour. Though the Paladins were there to keep the public out during the closing hours, Osar didn’t think they’d let him past either. His fingers searched the collar about his neck, tracing the outline of the star-shaped lock at its front. Four more years until it was meant to come off.

The tolling of the gong seemed to shake the very earth itself. Osar looked ahead to the temple and his eyes roamed up its central tower. He blinked as the gong flashed brightly from the penultimate level. At five storeys tall the tower was the tallest structure in the Golden City. The temple itself circled the tower, stooped like a gathering of priests knelt before a great idol. Made of sandstone walls and an arched roof of greened copper, the temple was a testament to the Golden God’s provision. It boasted stained-glass windows bevelled with gold, and statues of pudgy-faced cherubs. Osar hated the cherubs – he’d grown up on the streets of the Golden City, and despite Dionas’ title as the god of provision, Osar had never been provided with enough to stave off hunger, let alone grow pudgy.

Scowling to himself, Osar stooped like a good novi should and followed Quilon into the temple through the grand double-doors, wide enough to allow a horse and carriage. A pair of novi heaved the doors inward behind them, careful to leave a definitive crack. The temple doors were never closed. As the priests would say ‘the door to the Golden God’s house is always open.’

They were late judging by the number already gathered. Osar followed Quilon’s instruction and together they took their place at the rear of the congregation. The inner wall of the temple was a succession of five golden pillars supporting wide stone archways. It bordered the circular cloister that in turn surrounded the tower. Priests stood in concentric lines, all looking inward, all as bald as Quilon. Not for the first time Osar was struck by how odd the priests looked, almost alien with their beards combed and oiled into five-points. Younger members of the temple, those not yet old enough to grow facial hair, wore gold rings on their collars, one for each term served up to five. There was something disturbing about the way the priests all spoke and moved in the same way. Even if they weren’t dressed in matching yellowed vestments it would be hard to tell them apart. Osar ran a hand over his own head feeling the coarse bristles of hair starting to grow through. He’d need a cut soon, or it’d mean extra chores and a scolding. Doubly so if anyone other than Quilon realised Osar should be growing the next of his five beard points now that he was into his second novi year.

Archsaji Ponti descended from the spiral staircase leading up into the tower. The tower’s base mirrored the temple’s interior wall, five pillars between archways, allowing everyone to see the Archsaji. The base was home to a dais, and upon the dais squatted an unrecognisable shape cloaked in a green shroud. Ponti took up his place on the dais next to the shroud, turning on the spot, hands raised, welcoming the priests. The Archsaji was as powerful in office as he was in frame, broad shouldered and barrel chested. His sleeves were rolled back over bulging forearms, thick with hair and muscle, and even though the top two buttons of his robe were left undone, the fabric was noticeably straining. Ponti looked more the warrior than a man or worship.

“Before we begin this morning’s prayers…” Ponti’s voice rumbled like thunder through the cloister. “…The city is rife with rumour of the Opel invasion. Some say the horde has laid siege to Taasur. Others say they have made it as far south as the Iaria Bridge.”

As Ponti continued with his speech, Osar found his attention wandering. Beyond the temple he could hear the city stirring. The low buzz of gossip, the pitch of gull cries, and the distant drone of the grand waterfall north of the city. Above it all Osar picked out the grind of the temple’s gates. They shouldn’t be opening yet. The public weren’t permitted into the grounds until after morning prayer.

Osar listened to sound of booted feet on the temple’s cobbled path beyond the doors. He glanced around the congregation. The other priests were listening raptly to Ponti and none seemed to have heard the approaching strangers.

The temple door’s creaked on their hinges. Osar stole a look in their direction. Sunlight spilled through the crack. No-one peered back at him, no-one knocked. He returned his attention to Ponti, attributing his suspicion on another sleepless night of mourning.

Ponti raised his hands and the priests lowered their heads. “And now we pray.” He turned to the shape on the dais and swept the shroud from it. Light caught on the crystal’s clear surface, sending fractured beams skittering across the congregation.

One of the beams pointed at Osar’ chest. He stepped to the side, jostling Quilon to get out of the way of the crystal’s radiance. A sudden chill crept up his spine. The light from between the doors behind him dimmed and a shadow fell over Osar.
Ponti continued. “Whatever truth lies in the rumours of the Opel invasion, we shall pray for those outside the Golden City.”

“Do not pray for them.” A voice boomed. The temple doors slammed open on their hinges, wafting sand and grit over those priests at the back of the congregation. “Do not pray for those that are already doomed, Archsaji Ponti. Pray for those you can still save, including yourselves.”

“Ah, Goldlord Paladin! What a pleasant surprise.” Ponti looked surprised, but he didn’t look too pleased at being interrupted. “I believe the gate guards have let you in early. The temple isn’t open until after the morning prayers. If you’d be so kind to wait-”

The Goldlord led four other Paladins through the temple doors, two abreast. The Paladins marched to a halt in perfect order, golden armour ringing through the stunned silence. They stood statue still. The Goldlord raised a hand and in perfect symmetry the Paladins parted to form a line before the doors, blocking the only exit. They cracked the butts of their morningstaffs on the sandstone tiles and let their tower shields rest.

“This cannot wait.” The Goldlord’s face was hidden behind a full-face helm, muffling the voice. The helmet – expertly forged to the likeness of a phoenix in flight – and the rest of the Goldlord’s armour spoke of power. A golden breastplate sculpted to portray the perfect physique, a leather belt adorned with gems and jewels, and a cloak and ankle-length skirt of the finest white silk. “The rumours you speak of are true. The Opel have laid siege to Taasur.”

The priests erupted. Tears, wails, cries and screams; if the news hadn’t been so grim Osar would’ve laughed at fat Horker for fainting. The Paladins stood in silence at the temple doors, making no signs of moving as the priests sought to push past.

“Silence!” The Goldlord’s voice echoed like thunder within the temple.
Osar clutched to Quilon’s arm. The old saji gave Osar’s hand a reassuring squeeze.

“Archsaji, convene your saji.” The Goldlord commanded. “The King has invoked the Call.”

The Paladins snapped to attention, hefting their shields and readying their morningstaffs. Without as much as a by-your-leave the Goldlord swept from the temple, the Paladins in step at his heels. The priests returned to their uproar. Ponti lowered his arms, but despite the grim news of Taasur’s fall a wide smile spread across his face.
Osar felt a small hand tugging on his own.

Litys, an orphan novi barely seven years old, looked up at Osar through teary eyes. “Dionas save us.” Litys’ bottom lip trembled.

Quilon whispered, “Dionas will save us, do not fret child.” He bent down before Litys, knees and back clicking. “That is why King Midysius has invoked the Call.”
Osar bit down on his lip. He’d prayed for over a year, begging the for deliverance of only one life. But if Dionas couldn’t save one life, how could he save a city?

Ponti’s voice cut through the priests’ clamour. “Calm down everyone! Please calm down.” His tone swept over the congregation like a wave, washing away their panic, whispers and tears ebbing away. “Return to your duties, pray in your own time. We will open the gates early to give council to the people. They are just afraid as you are. Comfort them. Comfort yourselves.”

A ripple passed through the crowd. Some nodded, other gave voice to fears or faith. Fat Horker groaned where he lay.

Ponti spoke over the rising volume, “Saji, we have work to do. Bring your novi.” Ponti swept from the cloister, disappearing in a flutter of vestments as he mounted the steps leading into the tower. The crystal shimmered in his wake, the shroud forgotten on the dais.

Quilon creaked upright, sending Litys to help those struggling with Horker. “Osar, come with me.”

“But-”

“No buts.” Quilon shook his head. “Four more years, remember? If you’re lucky I’ll be dead before then and you’ll return to normal novi duties rather than serving a saji.” Quilon’s laugh choked off on the sand and dust in the air, and he hobbled toward the tower.

* * * * *

Osar had never been inside the tower before. He wasn’t allowed. Not many of the priests were. Strictly Ponti and the saji – though Osar had a hard time imagining Quilon and the other old men frequenting the steep spiral staircase without help. Though the four other saji had their novi with them now, the younger priests kept their thoughts, tongues and hands to themselves. Aware that he shouldn’t be there, Osar kept close to Quilon’s side, though his attention ran away from him.

Whatever was going on, whatever the Goldlord had meant by ‘the Call’, it was important enough to assemble all of the saji. Osar had never heard of such a thing.

The tower was much wider on the inside than it appeared from the out. Below, daylight spilled between the five pillars holding up the tower. The light refracted through the crystal on the dais, sending glimmers dancing up the entire length of the tower interior. Osar followed the lights all the way to the top, where they shone all the brighter upon the star-shaped gong suspended from the floor of the uppermost level.

The saji and their novi filed one-by-one into the chamber at the top of the tower. Osar inched around the purpose-built holes in the floor – risking a dizzying glance down to the crystal. Like the tower base, the chamber was ringed with golden pillars and arches, and the vaulted ceiling was mantled with green shrouds like the one for the crystal. The wide arches gave way to vista views of the Blasted Lands beyond the city, stretching to the horizon and back. Sun, sand and scorched earth, a far cry from the bounty of the Golden City’s paved streets, fresh water fountains, and exotic flora. To the north the Prospect Falls were wreathed in as much dust as they were mist, veiling the orange ridgeline. The Founding Flow river wormed its way free of the mist and made its way to the Golden City, parting through manmade channels to supply each of the five points with water, before going on to join the sea hundreds of leagues south.

Leaning toward the closest window and craning his neck to look down over the temple grounds, Osar wrestled vertigo from pulling him closer to the edge. Even his sleeping quarters, set in the third and highest floor of the outer temple wall, were lower than the tower. Squinting, he spotted the two Paladins on guard at the gate. As he watched, they heaved open the gates to let the public in. Men, women and children, flooded in. The priests met them in the gardens with open arms. Word had spread quickly of the Opel’s invasion.

Booted feet on stone and the clank and jingle of armour echoed up from the tower below. The priests fell silent as the Goldlord marched into the chamber as unannounced as he had interrupted their earlier prayers, the same four Paladin’s in tow. When King Midysius’s appeared at the top of the stairs the priests dropped to their knees, palms and foreheads pressed to the dusty sandstone.

“Up,” Midysius commanded.

Osar helped Quilon to his feet, other saji groaning for their old bones. The four other novi stood shaking behind their mentors.

Ponti stepped forward. “My king, the saji are assembled as you requested.”

Midysius’ hawkish glare passed over all of the saji and novi in turn. Osar flinched beneath the King’s appraisal, brown-gold eyes gauging the sum of his worth like a fickle merchant. Midysius’ face was as weathered as the sand-stormed reaches of the Blasted Lands, lines on his brow, creases at the corners of his eyes. Yet his expression gave nothing away. He held his head high, his golden crown sat atop a mane of fading blonde streaked with silver. Back straight, broad chest puffed out soldier-like, he white-knuckled his sceptre as if holding a sword.

“Taasur has fallen.” Midysius’ voice fell with the finality of an executioner’s axe. “The Opel are coming.”

“Forgive my ignorance.” Ponti held up his hands. “But Prince Herak has defended the Black Border for seven years – how is it that the Opel have passed him?”

The temperature in the room seemed to plummet. Sticky sheen from the morn’s heat turned to cold sweat on Osar’s back. Even the Goldlord shifted wordlessly, though the phoenix-helm betrayed nothing.

Midysius fixed Ponti with an even stare and something seemed to pass unsaid between them.

Osar clenched his teeth to stop them from chattering. ‘Prince Herak is dead.’ The thought sank a cold dagger of dread into his gut.

“The Opel must be destroyed.” Midysius strode towards Ponti, raising his sceptre as if he was going to strike the Archsaji down. “Destroyed. Man, woman and child. Warrior, worker and priest.” The sceptre swept down.

Its point stopped a hair’s width from Ponti’s nose. To his credit Ponti didn’t even flinch, shovel-like hands clasped at his back. The air between them seemed to throb with power. Each man was as big as the other, with enough power in the point of a little finger to condemn or save the city and its people.

“The Opus Stone.” Midysius gestured with the crystal mounted onto the end of his sceptre. It looked like a shard broken off of the crystal at the tower’s base. “With this you can complete the Call?”

Ponti’s eyes were locked onto the crystal hovering before him. “Yes.” His voice came out breathy, little more than a whisper.

Midysius took the crystal in one paw-like hand and snapped it clean off the sceptre. The Goldlord made to protest but a hand from the King bade silence. Midysius offered the crystal to Ponti.

“Do it.” Midysius’ whole body was shaking, outstretched hand the worst of it. “The Opel are a godless nation. Bring down the wrath of the gods on them. Petition Dionas and see them destroyed.”

Ponti’s gaze never left the crystal as he spoke, “it will take twenty-five days.”

“Just see it done,” Midysius said. “What more do you need?”

“Only the Opus stone.” Ponti accepted the offered crystal in both hands with ceremonial care. “One saji each day will help with the spell. I have five, they can decide between them who will begin.”

Quilon hobbled forward. “I will, if you allow it, Archsaji.”

“Very well.” Ponti didn’t look up from the crystal in his grasp. “Dismiss your novi. You other saji, I will require a replacement for Quilon tomorrow, he will need to rest. As will each of you in the days to come.”

Midysius dropped his voice to barely a whisper, but it was no less commanding. “Tell no-one of this. What happens within this tower, stays in this tower. That goes for all of you.”

Ponti crooked a bushy brow. “You would deny the people hope?”

Pausing halfway to the stairs, Midysius cracked his sceptre on the stone underfoot, making Osar jump.

“No I would deny them disappointment if this doesn’t work.” With that he swept from the tower, the Goldlord and other Paladins in escort.

The other saji and their novi followed thereafter, and Osar went to Quilon’s side.
“What’s going on?” he asked.

Quilon smiled. “We are going to summon a god.”
A new story concept that I'm working on. Follows two separate Point of View (PoV) characters in a fantasy realm where the gods return to the mortal world, for the better - or worse.
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2013-10-13
Godsfall Chapter 1: Call to the Gods. by ~D-E-M-Emrys ends with a brilliant hookójust the way to open a fantasy adventure. ( Featured by neurotype )
:icondelta-13:
Delta-13 Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Hi, I am critiquing this piece on the behalf of :iconpowerfulwriting: First I really liked this piece. i think the concept is interesting and and I like the pacing. It is slow enough to give the reader a chance to get a sense of what is going on, but quick enough to be urgent. Obviously something very bad is going to happen and our main character doesn't know it. Also I love the idea of a helmet carved in the shape of a rising phoenix. Very bad ass.

That being said, there are only two areas that have room for improvement. Of course these suggestions are just my opinion. Feel free to ignore me.

First, I think here are parts that are very detailed-Quilon's beard and the phoenix helmet, but overall I don't get a sense of the place. I struggle with this, so I'm kind of like the pot calling the kettle black right now, but the action doesn't seem very well grounded. I don't have a good sense of the nature of the temple or the place Osar buried his mother. I have a good idea what Quilon looks like, but that's it. It would be nice to get a better sense if these priests are rich, well to do priests, simple peasant priests, etc. Also I was kind of confused the king could show up so quickly. It might just be me (it is kind of late over here), but I didn't realize that the church was close to where the castle was. So just more environment building would be nice.

Second, I find Osar's plot with his mother dying and now he can't trust the gods and then the priests are going to summon a god kind of jarring. I know you're trying to make the point that summoning a god isn't necessary a good thing, but I felt it was kind of smacking the reader in the face with your message. I also felt that the cancer plot didn't quick belong within the same chapter we learn that the city is in jeopardy. I don't really know why, but they seem like parts of two different chapters. They just don't mend well to me. I'm not really sure why. Sorry. Sweating a little... This is probably a useful observation. Haha

Anyway, overall I really like it. Well done!
Reply
:icondiphylla:
diphylla Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Congrats on the Daily Deviation! :pumpkin:
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2013   Writer

Great story (at least this part) and a wonderful last line, one designed to keep readers' interest.

You did a grand job here, all the way around.

A late congrats on the DD. Thanks. :+fav:

Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
Reply
:iconidjpanda:
iDJPanda Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2013  Student General Artist

Congrats on the DD!


Have a great day! :heart:

Reply
:iconlostgryphin:
LostGryphin Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Congrats on the DD
Reply
:iconzidaria:
zidaria Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Congratulations on the Daily Deviation! :love:
Reply
:iconmizzmint:
mizzmint Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on having your piece featured as today's Daily Deviation!! :glomp:
Reply
:icondailybreadcafe:
DailyBreadCafe Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2013   Writer
Hi there. This is a critique on behalf of :icongrammarnazicritiques:.

I've got to say, i was a little excited when i fished this out of my critique list and saw that it has a DD. After reading, i think it's well earned. I'm not much of a fantasy reader because it's prone to information dumps and long, tedious description. I think you do it just right, without too much lengthy description and giving us just enough information to be able to understand what's going on without boring us to death. So well done for that.

That said, there are a few places that I think you could sharpen up on, or tidy up. (Sorry about the wall of text)

"earth was jammed between his toes thanks to the open-end sandals." - i think that this sentence is actually in the wrong order. It would read better for me if it ended with the earth jammed between his toes because i think that's the strong imagery in this sentence. However, i'm left instead with the image of the open-end sandals because that's what you end the sentence with.

"A voice from behind Osar made him turn around." - For some reason, "made soandso do suchandsuch" sentences don't sit well with me. Perhaps because "made him" could mean physically or mentally, so to decide which in my mind sort of breaks the flow a little. Perhaps "He turned at the sound of a voice" or something like that would be better.

"Though it was a question," - I'd cut this, because we can see that it's a question, just leave it at "Quilon didn’t sound surprised."

“No,” Osar said. - We already know from the flow of the dialogue that Osar is the person who says this, so you don't need the tag line.

"Four more years until it was meant to come off." - I can't tell if you're trying to foreshadow the potential destruction of the city and subsequently, of the character here, or if it's just accidental use of the passive. I think "until it would come off" readers clearer, but obviously if you're trying to add a sentiment of doubt, keep it as it is.

"Osar stooped like a good novi should" - I would remove the word "should". We get the implication that he's going through the motions and has feels negatively about it by the use of him "scowling" and by the use of the word "like". "Should" just feels a little awkward at the end.

"into the temple through the grand double-doors, wide enough to allow a horse and carriage" - i think the order of this sentence should be changed so that the detail about the doors comes before he's entered the temple. As it reads at the moment, i feel like i'm having to look backwards at the door because the detail comes after "into the temple." I think it'd work better as "followed Quilon through the grand double-doors, wide enough to allow a horse and carriage, and into the temple."

"than a man or worship." - i think this is just a small typo, or should be of

"morning prayer" - Sometimes you capitalise the M and P and sometimes you don't. I can't tell if it's just a noun or if the special prayer has an official name, meaning it should be capitalised.

"but he didn’t look too pleased at being interrupted" - This sentence doesn't really match the tone of the rest of the narration. It seemed to break the flow a little for me, just because in comparison to the rest, it reads a little... teenager-y. 

"begging the for deliverance" - i think this is a typo, i think you've either missed out the word gods, or you missed off the letter m in them.

"Some nodded, other gave voice" - another typo i think. "Some nodded; others gave voice"

"Word had spread quickly of the Opel’s invasion." - I think that this sentence should either be cut, or it should be moved before you describe the people coming in. This is just because at the end it sort of feels like an unnecessary explanation but closer to the beginning it could be an observation(that word has spread) followed by the consequence (the people coming to the temple).  



Apart from those small things, i thought it was a great read. It kept me interested the whole way though and gives a great hook at the end. Well done! 

Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
    Congrats on the DD! :dalove: Have a nice day! :heart:
Reply
:icons-y-c:
S-y-c Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013

Hi, I'm founder of The Writing Workshop - I'm sorry your submission expired before it could be voted into the group - you are welcome to try again!

 

In the meantime, I thought I would critique this piece anyway.

 

This flows very nicely! You obviously write well, which is awesome. Your first line is snappy, instantly hooks the reader. However, I think it could be snappier still. My main suggestion for improvement, though, are your descriptions. Try to avoid blocks of descriptions as these can often be quite boring to read through.

 

Great work all the same. :) Good luck with future chapters!

Reply
:icontariencole:
TarienCole Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
An interesting beginning. the switch of PoV could probably be a tad sharper. And you've already taken a look at addressing the disease. ("Consumption" is a good choice there. Diseases tended to be defined by visible symptoms rather than over-arching labels.) 

I would say that one thing I would focus on here is a clear statement of what kind of society you're creating. Other than the generic polytheistic setting common to fantasy, I don't know if this is Classic or Renaissance, or anywhere in between. Paladins isn't a nail-down term. Especially with its overuse from D&D. Persian era priests could still be anywhere in the range above. Clothing, artwork, types of architecture or age in the world. Any of these would help nail down the setting in a sentence or two. 

I'd also be careful with the 'jaded toward the gods hero' thing. It's been done to death, and frankly, it's anachronistic to the point of silliness in the 1st place. Everyone wants to recreate Thomas Covenant. But he wasn't born in the magical setting. And even then, he is increasingly found trite. Modern sensibilities in an ancient setting don't ennoble the hero. They jar the reader. 

Otherwise, this is quite good. 
Reply
:iconcrematedman:
CrematedMan Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2013  Student Writer
The linking prose is a lot more evocative and eloquent - safe to say you're maturing. i.e. "They stood in silence, heads bowed over the grave."  Quite powerful.

Ambitious to adopt two viewpoints - I look forward to the next installment. 

Critique: Your exposition felt natural. It reads like edited prose. As far as critical feedback I would suggest, as in the opening of the second part, a more diverse exposition. It takes 16 lines for the first piece of action to arrive. 
A good example is Chapter 8 (Bran) (docs.google.com/viewer?url=htt…, where we launch straight into internal dialogue, backstory and descriptive prose, but the acceleration of plot isn't slowed too much by sensory detail. 

Where you've got some great exposition, maybe then you could reorganise the order of the paragraph, increasing the reader's anticipation: "Aware that he shouldn’t be there, Osar kept close to Quilon’s side. Strictly Ponti and the saji were allowed inside the tower – though Osar had a hard time imagining Quilon and the other old men frequenting the steep spiral staircase without help. Though the four other saji had their novi with them now, the younger priests kept their thoughts, tongues and hands to themselves."
Reply
:iconcrematedman:
CrematedMan Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2013  Student Writer
Having said that - if you're headed for a novel structure, the pacing might be more appropriate.

Also, you've portrayed Quilon as aged, but sometimes the dialogue doesn't reflect that. The wise mentor character tends to have more economy in the way he expresses himself, as well as choosing different patterns of speech. You've hit it on the head here - "But there’s no better way to ask them than through prayer, and there’s no better time than now.", but  here, it comes across as too modern and colloquial - "We are going to summon a god".
Reply
:icontoska9:
toska9 Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2013
Hiya! :wave: Great to see some new writing from you.
I will keep this in my Inbox so that I can read it properly when I have some spare time, hopefully soon.
Bit under the pump professionally at the mo, sigh!
Reply
:iconautumnshade94:
AutumnShade94 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I'm really liking this story.
You're imagery, overall, is excellent. Your details really brought this world to life and applied significance to certain structures and systems. The plot is really interesting too. It's a dire situation and you carried the story on with excellent pacing. I really want to see where this story goes and how well summoning a god turns out for them. In most cases, this usually isn't good. 
Reply
:iconxwickedxrosex:
xWickedxRosex Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Student Writer
I really like where this piece is going. It seems like it has a great potential to become a great novel. I am excited to read more.

In terms of critique, there isn't much to go by. You have good description throughout the piece. The one thing that I can't really get passed is that his mother died of Cancer. That one line, to me, throws off the fantasy realm feeling of the story. In my opinion, using modern illness' tends to take from fantasy stories. I would make up a terminal illness that only exists in that realm, or at least use one from history.
Reply
:icond-e-m-emrys:
D-E-M-Emrys Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hey there! Thanks for reading, and HUGE thanks for commenting.

This is a step towards the more 'fantastical'/epic fantasy than I am used to writing, and I'm keen to get as much feedback as I can on it. I'm really glad that you enjoyed it, and I've taken your Cancer suggestion into great consideration. You'll be happy to hear that I'm currently researching/making-up an illness to replace it. I thought that originally it might help the reader 'connect' with Osar's loss, but you're 100% right, it does detract from the setting.

Thank you so much! I hope you'll be interested in reading more :D
Reply
:iconxwickedxrosex:
xWickedxRosex Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Student Writer
No problem <3 I enjoy helping when I can, especially with pieces that go out of the norm, which yours does.

I am glad that you took the Cancer suggestion into consideration, that was the only really thing I was off about in terms of the piece.

When you post more I will be sure to read and provide feedback again.
Reply
:icontatterdema1ion:
tatterdema1ion Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Student General Artist
Hmm... this temple and its God are very interesting. The Saji have a bit of a monk-like, Asian flavor to them, while many of the details of uniforms and the Paladins are more reminiscent the western middle ages. I'm curious as to what more will be revealed of these people's god and beliefs. The characterization of the protagonist is good thus far-- I like the uncertainty in him-- he neither forgets his mother nor does he grow utterly blinded by her death-- a balance which makes him feel more real. Thus far, however, his master and the other members of the cast introduced are more defined by their rank than anything else. It is possible that's because their rank is all they are to our protagonist thus far, but its something to bear in mind working on the following segments.

Seeing as this is an introduction, that's all i can say for now. I look forward to reading more.
Reply
:icond-e-m-emrys:
D-E-M-Emrys Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Perfect! Thank you so much, I was really umm'ing and ahh'ing over this one, and really needed some constructive feedback. 

I worried Osar would come across too whiny in regards to his mother (for some readers' tastes anyway) but it's the main reason why he seeks to distance himself from the temple. I'll work on his 'immersion' in the next pieces, thank you for helping point that out.

Good spot on the cultural flavours! I'm glad they come across like that. My intention with the paladins was quasi-Roman-Imperium/Knights-Templar, so that fits the bill perfectly, and although the priests were originally moulded to a similar cast, I decided to change them to a more Persian-esque feel to fit with the desert setting of the Blasted Lands.

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading!
Reply
:icontatterdema1ion:
tatterdema1ion Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Student General Artist
My pleasure, and you may expect more feedback if you treat us with more of the tale.
Reply
:iconkittywolfinc:
KittyWolfInc Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love this, the story flows very nicely. I can't wait to read more ~
Reply
:icond-e-m-emrys:
D-E-M-Emrys Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks for stopping by!

Would you have anything to point out in terms of critique? I'm looking to get this near-on publishable in terms of quality.

I'm glad you enjoyed!
Reply
:iconkittywolfinc:
KittyWolfInc Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah no sorry ^^ I really did enjoy it though. I'm not very good on critique..>~<
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

:icond-e-m-emrys: More from D-E-M-Emrys


Featured in Collections

Words by edibility

DDs by neurotype

Literature by Vixan1187746


More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
August 11, 2013
File Size
22.1 KB
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
2,376
Favourites
66 (who?)
Comments
25
×