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Fantasy > The Sorceress Book 1 Time of the Sorceress

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message 1: by Dionne (new)

Dionne | 46 comments Just so you know this is merely a prologue. It's mainly in third person. The rest of the story is first person.


The night made its appearance, a dark blue light streaming across a starry sky. Tree leaves of a shiny emerald blew across the dirt and cobblestone shrouded ground. It was a peaceful night filled with the bright chirping sounds of the forest animals and something else.
A menacing even sinister rustling emerged from the trees as if watching, and waiting. An eerie wind blew laying a stifling cold about the ancient, tall statuesque trees that grew about the temple of Rvashina deep in the heart of the We-Willwa forest.
The temple’s walls, where they hadn’t fallen in, covered in moss, and strewn about like weeds while looking like no one had set foot in centuries. The trees gave the appearance of spires that punctured the darkness. Parts of the outer wall already fell in places left many holes where vines thickly grew.
A group of six life-like hooded robes moved toward a temple. Their voices sounding like the soft murmurs of the Wil-we-willows reaching into the dark shrouds of the night with their wild cries permeating everywhere. The six figures entered the temple - their steps taking on a staccato sound – upon the cobblestones. Their pace measured, heads bowed, and hands clasped before their hearts; they said nothing only moved to stand before one of the statues in the temple.
The inside of the temple contained many statues of the same ‘being’ – that of a female looking upwards. She held a flower in one hand and the World in her other. The roof of the temple, though falling into disrepair remained white, weather beaten from time. Pieces were gone leaving large gaps in places for the elements to enter, the moon shone on the centermost statue of the Goddess. The temple of Rvashina stood as a testament to all that remained good during a time of chaos to come.
The figures stood in front of the statue whose face looked to the sky and with a peaceful cast to her features. The figures’ lowered their hoods to their shoulders revealing their long hair and feminine contours - the priestesses of Rvashina; Goddess of Life and Protection. One of the women, her hair as black as the darkest cave, and skin like chocolate stepped forward closer to the large green statue of the Goddess herself. She reached out palms toward the statue, her head down, and her eyes looking at the cracked marble of the floor. The other priestesses stood around her, their hands crossed at their breasts, heads bent as if in worship.
“Your humble supplicant Brulia beseeches you.” She glanced up at the statue and spoke again, “Great Goddess Rvashina, evil tidings have come upon us. Please, we implore you to save us,” she said, her voice rich and soft like the drifting clouds in the sky.
“Save us, Oh Rvashina, save us.” The other women intoned, palms now raised toward the statue.
“We must have a sign that you have not forsaken your people.” Bruilia continued. “What would you have us do? Please, we need your guidance.”
The priestesses waited, the echo of Bruilia’s voice reverberating about the temple, and ended in a long sigh. They stood before the statue, their eyes gazing deep with confusion and longing. One of the priestesses’ Cadarellan, her lustrous blond hair falling forward thus was obscuring her eyes, and her chin drooping to rest on her chest. A groaning came from her full lips.
Bruilia turned.
“Cadarellan, are you all right?”
The priestess raised her head as the others stared – her eyes remained blank, as if she saw nothing of the world. Bruilia’s eyes widened as she saw the blankness and knew.
“Oh, Rvashina, what would you have us do?”
Cadarellan spoke but the voice was not hers. The voice was dull, soft and it made Bruilia think of waterfalls and wildflowers, a sound no human voice could ever surpass or copy, “My people, the evil will indeed come and you must be ready.”
Bruilia nodded; her black hair and dark skin shone in the moonlight, and felt despair mount within her breast. The other priestesses stared at Cadarellan who spoke, their eyes widening as they shifted from one foot to the other; they knew the voice – the very same voice that spoke to them many times at the temple in Eurekna – the Goddess herself. Bruilia gazed at the others and nodded.
“What must we do, Oh, Great Goddess Rvashina?”
The voice came again from the unaware priestess – it was filled with the Knowledge of the Ages.
“Only a warrior of power and strength will be able to defeat the evil of my brother, Ilninan. The birth of this warrior will come soon, but the seeds of evil have already been planted.”
The trance-filled priestess stared at one of their number and a smile of such radiance poured from her filling all of the priestesses with an awe-inspiring love in their souls. Bruilia spoke up.
“Then we must wait and hope it is not too late, Oh Goddess.”
“Yes, my child. Hold fast the warmth of faith to your heart. Even my brother’s darkness cannot cast a shadow on the purity of faith,” the Goddess spoke again. Then, like the parting of the tides, the Goddess left Cadarellan’s body, and she crumpled to the floor.
Cadarellan opened her eyes revealing the true blueness of those orbs and regained her footing, stood among her sister Priestesses. She had no idea of what happened only felt the pureness of radiance filling her body and soul.
Bruilia gazed at her sister Priestesses, her eyes filled with stars.
“My sisters, we must wait. The time of Purification will come and the God Ilninan will be defeated. We must keep faith and hope alive in the hearts of the people of Shlashia. To keep our people from sinking into the depths of despair that leads to evil.”
“Faith and hope,” the priestesses prayed. As one, they left the temple. But as the last one left, a dark and forbidding festered in the darkest corner. It watched as the last priestess stepped from the temple. It followed after them, but stopped as the light of the moon fell on the entrance way. It scuttled back into the shadows.

message 2: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez I like it :) a lil rough here and there but it really is good and engaging keep it up :)

message 3: by Dionne (new)

Dionne | 46 comments Well it's merely a prologue. The main character doesn't come in until chapter 1. here, she hasn't been born yet, conceived yes born not yet.

One merely gets a basic intro into the ]world and partly to what will happen.

Though I still don't like it and this is like the, what third read through. I'm going to make another revision though in some places.

message 4: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez A person does as they will until they feel its perfect :) as a whole I think it's a pretty good intro to the world. A lil rough but still damn good

message 5: by Dionne (new)

Dionne | 46 comments Maybe I should put up chapter one. What do you all think?

message 6: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez I say go with your gut :)

message 7: by Dana (new)

Dana Smythe | 273 comments Mod
Okay, forewarning: I am not an easy critic. I'm also an editor, so I tend to focus on ways to improve work rather than on compliments. Just keep in mind that anything I say is meant to be helpful, not hurtful. : )

The two main problems that I see with this prologue are description and tension.
Description: to start off with, don't get me wrong - I love description, and I tend to err on the wordy, "flowery" side of things in my own writing. However, when that description becomes so top-heavy that it starts to muddle the meaning of your sentences, then it's time to rein it in. A guideline: three adjectives in a row are too many. Keep it to two at the most, and honestly one per noun would be better. Edit if you can, or split your sentences if you feel the need to fit it all in.
Example: "An eerie wind blew laying a stifling cold about the ancient, tall statuesque trees that grew about the temple of Rvashina deep in the heart of the We-Willwa forest."
*could be changed to*
"An eerie wind blew, spreading a stifling cold about the ancient roots of the statuesque trees surrounding the temple of Rvashina, deep in the heart of the We-Willwa forest." (This is still overly wordy, but breaks the adjectives up a bit)
"A chill wind crept eerily through the heart of the We-Willwa forest, spreading its stifling cold past the statuesque trees to the crumbling walls of the temple of Rvashina." (This one cuts some of the excess description, and adds a greater sense of physical direction)

The other issue is the relative lack of tension. It's pretty clear that this prologue is supposed to be setting up a certain mood for the reader, and for the most part it succeeds. Unfortunately, a lot of this good is undone by the lack of fear or urgency or even foreboding. It's stated that evil is coming, sure, but that's about all. The time of chaos is still to come, and even the shadow thing at the end isn't able to step out into the moonlight and follow the priestesses - so where's the threat? Try giving the reader some hint of what the coming evil will actually mean for these people, or for the world. What is at risk, and what kind of danger are they in? Also, I would strongly recommend changing the ending so that whatever-it-is can slink after the priestesses, even if it sticks to the shadows and edges around the moonlight to do so. Or at the very least let it creep to the edge and watch them as they leave. Just don't end with it retreating.

Those are the two main issues that I saw. Most other things are relatively minor, and would ideally be caught during a final proof-reading, such as grammar, punctuation, etc. Be careful not to change tenses, and stick to your chosen perspective at any given time.

message 8: by Dionne (new)

Dionne | 46 comments Well I guess I'll post up chapter 1 of this. Just to let you know, I'm still unsure about the beginning. So any suggestions is good, if needed.

Chapter 1

CHAPTER ONE--“The wheel of life turns with the coming of the spring.

Excerpt from the Book of the Priestess”

Oh why did I ever come to this town, this very job? I weaved in and out of the crowded tavern carrying a tray balancing two tankards. The very thought of leaving my village of Eurekna filled me with trepidation but I had no choice. I needed this job where no work could be found back home. And so, here I was at this very tavern.
I moved toward a table far in the back where two men sat. Merchants from the look of them, with their dark brown tunics under bright green flowing cloaks closed in the front. I knew they watched me with eyes that followed my every movement as if I were a particular rich prize. I didn’t like their gazes, but smiled as I set their drinks before them.
I felt a warm clammy hand of one of the men, as he pulled me into his lap. The smell of his sour breath made me want to gag and my flesh crawled. His other hand found my breast squashed in the confines of the dress two sizes too small in the bust the tavern allotted to me when I first started working here. It warmed men’s desires, and they usually couldn’t control their hands. A flash of disgust consumed me. He had no respect for me and I slapped his hand away, getting to my feet.
“Now, now, no needs to be so mean. We’s just having a bit o’ sport with ya,” the man who fondled me spoke. His accent told me he came from Bushante especially with the way the Bushantians tend to overuse their s’ when they spoke. I wrinkled my nose and turned away from them returning to the bar where I knew I’d be safe.
The day became muddled as I moved about the customers of the tavern – a place filled to capacity with customers. The sounds of loud laughter coming from every table made me want to cover my ears from the volume. I let out a little sigh, my gaze moving about the tavern, with its circular interior, and a fireplace at the far right of the bar. My eyes fell on the entrance of the kitchen. I now knew what made Haiama’s tavern so popular; she cared for the customers and would do everything in her power to see to it they experienced a truly awe inspiring stay – more so than with many other taverns I knew of.
The interior gave off a peaceful feeling. I smelled the roasting meat wafting from the kitchen. The human scent of sweat and body odor swam about my nostrils like so much fog. The peace of a bright day surrounded my mind filling with pleasant thoughts of home, like the Wenaw bird, a bird from my homeland of Eurekna and one that granted good luck whenever it flew across one’s path. Above my head were golden beams, behind the walls gleaming silvery white. It made me shiver, these colors didn’t work for me. In my village, gold stood for the Nobles, of Royalty even, and white of the Priestesses of Rvashina.
Another tray of drinks were thrust into my hands and a voice spoke,
“Take that to the group in the rear of the room.”
I moved slowly toward the table, the tray of drinks balanced between my hand while I dodged the hands reaching, clawing in an effort to stop me and deposited the drinks to the customers. Then I returned to the bar.
“Niema, oh where is that girl?”
I turned at that voice. The dark red hair was like a beacon to my eyes – only Haiama, the owner of the tavern, had that hair color. Her voice came to my ears like the scratching of the Catca. With a sigh I moved away from the bar and began walking slowly towards her. Haiama came from this village of Hogomik. Only two days from my small village of Eurekna, high in the mountains of Miramorst where few travel for fear of predatory animals, cold and steep cliffs. As a child, I foraged and hunted in those mountains for my family and the village, before I left.
“Niema!” Haiama’s voice came again.
Her red hair was like a rag dog, all frilly, standing up on her head from the heat of the oven. I knew she had just been in the kitchen making her fershiva. Fershiva became a delicacy, a kind of sweet bread. Among those in the tavern and for miles around, the people of Shlashia came to this establishment just to get a taste. I’d tasted it before as a child and even as an adult, and I remembered it with fondness - it tasted so sweet.
Fershiva were small pastries, succulent some filled with meat, crème or even ale, though usually served during holidays. It was also a delicacy and a tasty treat to children. I saw her glancing around before settling on me.
“There you are. I have an errand for you dearie,” she said. I didn’t let her see me as I sighed at the word dearie. Haiama always called us that. She said it showed us she loved us. Whatever, me, I would just grin and bear it no matter what.
“Yes Mistress Haiama,” I said. “What is the errand?” I said as I approached. I felt my lips stretching into a smile.
“I need you to go to Galoeb, he has an order that he want filled,” she said. “You are to go and take the order.”
I nodded and walked to the kitchen where I grabbed my hooded cloak and left the tavern.
Outside, the air had the taste of snow to it but a coolness I wondered about. The wind blew, tossing my hair in to my face. My confusion made me wonder why the village experienced such . . . coldness – never before except during the freezing temperatures of Winterbluf. I shivered and brushed my arms, where goosebumps formed. Something was about to happen, I knew as coolness settled deep in the pit of my stomach. My eyes moved in search of the source of this feeling, but found nothing.
I walked along the left side of the tavern with the wind trying to remove my hood while it blew the cloak hem against my legs. My steps, to my ears were loud on the hard ground but I ignored them. More goosebumps appeared on the back of my hands when I rubbed at them and a kind of presence fell on me.
The sky lit up casting bright gold fire everywhere, flaring with its radiance and lit up the dark areas of the village. I gazed up at the sky, squinting from the light and wondered what could be going on. The light flared again and my vision started to blur. My head became light as if filled with air. I clutched at the wall trying to keep my balance. Shortly, my eyesight faded and darkness overcame me.

message 9: by Dionne (new)

Dionne | 46 comments There is some thoughts but doesn't come through here so...

message 10: by Dionne (new)

Dionne | 46 comments CHAPTER TWO--“Destiny moves in strange ways follow it and you shall prevail against the darkness.”

I am walking in the darkness, voices coming to my ears - teaching, protecting, and giving me hope and faith. Hope? Faith? But why? I didn't understand any of this. The darkness covered me and I thrashed about, fearfully. My eyes searching for a way out of the darkness while I continued to walk and the darkness lifted, my eyes blinking as they got used to the light. I felt comfort, but I also felt . . . different. Now at all like myself. Almost as if I’d been awakened. Awakened, but by what? I didn’t know.
I looked up and saw the woman. She was dressed in white and gold and was coming closer to where I stood. She was smiling. Who are you? I wondered.
“Hello Niema, your destiny comes upon you now,” the woman’s voice was soft, much like my mother’s when she used to sing to me as a child.
“My destiny . . .? What are you talking about?” I asked.
“There is a power within you Niema, a power only beginning to awaken. You are the hope of the world,” the woman said.
My eyes went wide. I was startled at what this woman was saying. Me? Have a power within? How can I have that? I’m nobody! A woman who must work just to survive! The woman smiled again.
“No Niema, you are special. There have been many times when your power had begun to awaken. The power fluctuates and lessens unsure whether to completely awaken or remain dormant. Remember those times when you have used it.”
My mind went back to my childhood, running barefoot along the mountains of Miramorst. I was playing with the animals there – I had no idea I did that or was it just a dream.
“No Niema, that was no dream, it was a memory. Your power manifested to those animals,” the woman answered. “Do you not know why you are the best at hunting and gathering in your village?”
I shook my head no, thinking perhaps it just meant I knew where to find the best fruit and nuts or where to aim.
But the woman shook her head, her silvery blond hair shaking with the movement, a soft bell-like sound ringing about her head. I knew it came from the silvery bells from within her hair. “The power revealed itself at those times.”
“But what is it?” I asked.
“You have the power of the Sorceress, the power to defeat evil, but now you must learn to use it or it will consume you,” she said.
“Consume me, how?” But the woman shook her head once again making her silvery blond hair fly. That hair so fine, so. . .so silvery filled my mind with its sparkling light and I seemed to hear a voice from faraway. Not the woman’s but another – one I should recognize.
“Niema, Niema awaken. By the Goddess Rvashina, awake from your slumber.”
I opened my eyes slowly to darkness, then that faded, disappearing forming into light. I squinted and I saw a face surrounded in darkness, with silvery grey hair and the face filled with worry.
“Ah Niema, you are awake. Thank the Gods,” a voice said. I couldn’t remember whose voice it belonged to, my memory was a jumble. I tried to sit up but hands gripped my shoulders in a strong clasp preventing me from doing so.
“No, you are not well,” the voice said. “You must rest.”
“How long have I been out?” I managed to say. The hands released my shoulders.
“Four days.”
FOUR DAYS! My eyes widened, how was that possible? My errand, what happened? My job, I have to get back to my job. How was it that I was unconscious four days? My mind tried to remember what could have caused it, but nothing.
The hands were back pushing me down on a soft feather bed.
“No Niema, you must rest. The errand has been done and Galoeb has his order.” The voice spoke soothingly. I relaxed, closing my eyes as sleep crept upon me.
Night came and ended, and still I slept though I sensed the figures that entered the room where I lay, stayed a while, and then left again. During many of those days, I remained in a half-awake state where I saw Haiama, along with my fellow serving girls from the tavern, but the look on Haiama’s face would have made me cry – the worry and guilt lay naked there. I would feel a hand on my forehead for a minute before I sensed the movement telling me she turned to look toward my healer.
“Will Niema ever regain consciousness?” I recognized Haiama on that day. I could feel her gaze on my face, and I remained, for fear of giving myself away.
“Do not worry Haiama, she only rests. Her body heals her wounds. I have done my best to instill that through the healing technique I possess. It is up to her and the Goddess Rvashina now,” the voice spoke. I sensed Haiama’s head moving and wondering, if perhaps she nodded.
“Take care of her then, Yilirith. She is important to me.”
The woman, Yilirith nodded. “Yes Mistress Haiama, she is important to this world,” she replied as I heard Haiama’s steps, thus telling me she’d left the cottage.
With the coming of the festival, Fardiven, I finally completely awaken. Strange dreams came to the forefront of my mind – dreams of Haiama and the other girls from the tavern. Could they have come visiting when I was unaware, or was it all a dream? My eyelids fluttered slowly open, while the room came into focus gradually. I felt revitalized for some reason. What was this feeling of power within? And my dreams about that silver haired woman, what were they? Sitting up in the bed I looked around to discover myself alone and in an unfamiliar place. The room I was in was beautiful. The walls painted in a soft pastel blue. A bureau stood across from the bed I lay in and even the ceiling had a look of being new, though I knew it wasn’t. I took in everything, my mind still confused.
Footsteps came to my ears and the door to the room opened revealing a woman. I looked up to see Yilirith. She wore a long white robe with pink interwoven along the waist and neckline, her gray hair shining as if she’d just washed it.
“Ah welcome back to the land of the living, once again, Lady Niema,” Yilirith said. I frowned not understanding why Yilirith would call me that. She smiled, filled with wisdom and something else.
“I am no Lady. Why did you call me that?” I said. That something once again appeared at Yilirith’s lips at my question.
“Ah but you are, you just don’t know it yet,” she said. The look of mischievousness appeared again. Yes, that was what I remembered. “Yes you will know it, soon.” Yilirith finished.
I was confused about this again. Me, a Lady, how can that be? I am nothing more than who I am. I don’t see myself as a lady, only a simple mountain girl. I didn’t know what Yilirith was talking about and nearly jumped in startlement when something draped itself in my lap. I looked down noticing it was some kind of fabric. I touched it, felt the richness and realized it was silk of some kind. I looked at Yilirith. I felt she’d seen the question and answered, “That is the Raiment of the Sorceress.”
I stared at her, eyes wide. I knew the Sorceresses didn’t exist. They’d been dead for years, so why?
“What were these Sorceresses like?” I asked, my fingers gently brushing the fabric.
“The Sorceresses were great in power and in negotiation. They drew forth the truth from a lie and were highly respected but they were also betrayed.” Yilirith said.
“Betrayed? I don’t understand.”
“By the very King they protected.” Yilirith turned around so that I could not see her face.
The King betrayed the Sorceresses? I had to know. “Was it King Prelic?” I asked.
Yilirith didn’t turn but she answered in a low voice.
“No, it was before Prelic came to the throne.”
“But was it his father or any other relative?”
Yilirith shook her head. I saw the movement. “Then who?”
Yilirith turned, looking at me and there was sadness in her eyes.
“Shlashia’s king had once been as evil as they come. He laid the world to waste. Cruelty was everywhere, banditry, lust, until the Sorceresses came to be. When King Prelic’s father came to the throne, he led an army against the evil of King Freystan.”
I knew about King Freystan. It was a part of the historical scrolls I read about back in my home as a child. King Freystan was dedicated to evil and to bringing about evil in this world. He attacked this world of Shlashia but was defeated by the armies of Good. Among that army were the Sorceresses. I remained silent looking at Yilirith. She’d turned away again.
The fabric lying on my lap was still as rich, as I discovered earlier. I held it up and saw the strange stitching though I don’t know what it could be, but I felt as if I should. Yilirith turned around again and I saw the tears at the corners of her eyes. “What’s wrong?” I asked her.
“The evil has been with us all and I am just too weak to fight it.”
I wondered what Yilirith meant by that before the mood was wiped from her face like a bottle of slickdon molasses of Kikamauru – a kind of a thick sweet used on bread, originated and made on the island of Kikamauru. “What is wrong, too weak to fight what?”
But Yilirith shook her head smiling brightly. “Do not worry Lady Niema, you just rest.”
“What about this?” I asked and held up the fabric. Yilirith stared at it. Her eyes took on some kind of look I don’t recognize. She laid her hands on mine where the fabric touched.
“It is yours, Lady Niema.”
“But . . .”
She stopped me from speaking with a single shake of the head. My mouth closed in silence, the only sound coming from outside was the soft trill-coo-boo of the CooBoo bird. My eyelids began drooping heavily and I leaned back against the pillows. Yilirith placed the fabric close to me as I fell asleep.

message 11: by Sofia (last edited Feb 12, 2014 08:38AM) (new)

Sofia | 135 comments Mod
Forewarning: I'm a difficult critic
Your novel has some really interesting concepts, but it has some problems.
First off, you have a tendency to tell rather than to show: we are outright told Niema's backstory, instead of it being shown to us. For example, you could show people make fun of her because she as an accent, or something like that, instead of saying she comes from a village.
You also have clearly done a lot of work on the world-building, which is great, but you have to select thing that are actually relevant to the plot. The paragraph on Fershiva could be cut, or you could use it to show something interesting in regards of Niema's childhood.
Also, at first I was under the impression that Niema's village had a different culture than the town she lives in at the time of the story (her commenting on the fact that in Eurekna, white and gold have a very specific meaning), but Eurekna and the town the story is set in have at least the same religion, and gold should be the color of the goddess there, too, and it would be strange for Haiama to use it in the decor of her inn, wouldn't it?
Also, Niema describes herself as "a simple mountain girl", but not only is she capable of reading in a middle ages inspired society, she has studied history and actually owned history scrolls. Books should have been by all accounts very expensive, not something a poor family in a small village would own. Why is that?

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