Meeting in the West

Written by Jacob Billings
The road, rough, cobbled and worn away in patches, jostled Duke Kkamol's carriage. He ignored the jarring sensation, keeping his attention focused on the city. A towering majesty, rising from the empty and flat countryside, the city made an imposing figure along the nearing horizon. Walls of white stone surrounded the detailed architecture of the city, masking much of the view in from the outside. The peaks of buildings, made from smooth cut grey stone and wide planks of wood, could hardly be seen from below the walls. The city, Halwoth, was as gorgeous as the rumors, the prime of the Maraian Empire.   Coming to the walls of the city, the train of carriages slowed to a halt, waiting for the massive wooden gates to swing open. As they creaked, heaving moans of complaint, an expanding, minuscule window pierced the wall and offered a view into the world of the city. With a roaring thunder, the gates to the inner metro opened, revealing the smooth-worn streets and buildings that grew from the ground. The exterior mystique emanated by Halwoth was multiplied hundreds of times over on the inside.   The glare of the sun was near blinding, reflected in the panes of glass that splattered the buildings. The walls were pure white, supporting the weight of rooves that stretched around the various buildings. Each remained unstained by the taints of dirt and the darkness of the outside world. Pathways, suspended in the air by colorful ropes woven from wool, crossed the buildings. Lanterns, decorated in maroon and emerald scripts, were tied together, strung over the side of the hanging pathways, their lights coating the street in colorful light.   "ϸɤⴉʫϸɑҟᶚſſԏⴉ ⴉⴉɑԏէ," Kkamol murmured, his gaze jumping around the city. His thoughts, once consumed with stress over the meeting, cleared, washed away and replaced by the wondrous city.   "ʆɑɤҟʫʆɑɤჺᶚⴉⴉԏⴉ Ҟҟɑⴉɤʆʫʆɑɤჺϡҟҟԏϸ," a woman called Makai, Kkamol's translator, replied from across from him. Her focus was cast out the side, though not nearly as invested in seeing the wonders of the city.   Kkamol, with a resigned frown, dragged his eyes from the city and turned his attention to the palace. The palace, the star of the shining city, rose far above all other buildings at the center of everything. All roads led to the palace, woven together to fill the city with buildings and paths through them. The streets were smoothed over in perfect, pristine paving made from a beige clay. The people that wandered the streets scattered, watching the traveling carriage with equal interest.   As they rode, shouts of street vendors, carting their goods around, could be heard. Kkamol's eye caught on a single vendor, pulling an oak cart decorated with ruby and maroon hieroglyphs drawing out a story. Small lanterns hung from an emerald umbrella, jingling little bells, inside each little lantern, catching the attention of everyone passing by. Kkamol gawked at perfectly rendered images of foreign landscapes filling the cart.   The vendor fell behind them, the streets continuing to flood with people after the caravan of carriages passed. More vendors, each with unique carts and offers, passed by, their calls each grasping for Kkamol's ignorant attention. Makai, though noticing that Kkamol was immersed in the city again, chose to ignore it, keeping her gaze sullenly locked on the palace.   Buildings, each towering multiple stories high, seemed to only stretch further as the palace neared. The sunlight dimmed, though colors danced along the walls, drawn together by the lanterns. Around the palace itself, an enormous garden sprawled outwards. Their path drew through it, following hedges decorated with vibrantly colored fruits. Roses colored of the rainbow sprouted from the edges of the path, waving in the wind.   The carriages drew to a halt several meters before the grandiose entrance to the palace. Guards, from the palace and Kkamol's own party of carriages, merged, preparing the path as Kkamol stepped from the carriage. Offering his hand to Makai, she followed him down from the carriage.   Ahead of them, the palace was bustling in preparation for the arrival of the commanders of the reigning countries in the West. A servant paused at the doorway upon seeing the arriving carriages, her long, flowing robes denotating her higher rank within the palace hierarchy. Sweeping down the steps, she greeted the newcomers.   "Where are you hailing from?" the servant spoke softly, her words marked by a thick accent. Kkamol's response was a glance at Makai, who quickly translated the sentence into Ahkalba for him.   "ſſԏɑէէϸϸʫʆʆɑԏҟᶚſſԏⴉ ჺჺԏɑჺ," Kkamol replied, offering his words to to Makai, who translated the sentence for the servant.   Miming the action with her hands, the servant called them to come. She spoke gingerly, Makai translating the sentences to Kkamol as they walked. "Come along, as you likely need a moment to clean up before the meeting. I will have a bath set up for you and a room. We expect that the representatives will all be here in a few hours, so please rest up before the meeting."  
  Kkamol and Makai were locked in a conversation of the wonders of the palace in their native language, when a young boy, a servant to the Empire, approached them. "Follow me," the boy said, timidly glancing at the ground. "The conference is about to start."   Makai spoke the sentence to Kkamol, the pair rising to follow the boy. He gave a curious glance at the pair, hesitating at Makai, before turning to the halls of the palace. The boy led them up several flights of stairs and into a large room, hastening his natural pace to keep mere steps ahead of them.   "Here you are." He pointed them into the room before quickly leaving to head his own way.   They entered the room, wafts of cold air flooding over them as the enormous, iron-clad, wooden doors closed with a blast of air. The room itself was bright, though cold despite all the vibrant white. The ceilings were vaulted, arches dozens of meters in the air sustained large white pillars gilded with intricate symbols and marks. The room was near empty, only a long table with a map drawn across it was visible. Several men, one other with a translator, stood at the map, engaged in slow conversation.   Kkamol stepped up to the table, Makai a step behind him. In a loud voice, echoing in the empty room, he introduced himself while Makai translated his words, "ʆʆɑԏҟҟɑɤʆʫʆʆɑԏჺᶚſſԏⴉ ҟҟɑⴉɤʆϡჺჺԏɑჺ."   "Welcome. I believe that we can begin this meeting now that all of us are here." One of the men, lacking a translator, spoke up. His voice was deep, resounding through the room in his layered accent. Makai, standing at Kkamol's shoulder, whispered the Ahkalba translation of the man's words, softly enough that only Kkamol could hear. "I am Garaman Pokoral, the Emperor of the Maraian Empire."   The others followed, introducing themselves as members of different organizations. There were many members present, the most significant of which were those from the Kingdom of Itania, the Kingdom of Kin, and the historically aloof Sorcerer's Federation of Sel.   Garaman was the first to speak up following the introductions, voicing his concern over the East, "The Khiz began small, but they are spreading fast. Word from the Kappag Mediary claims that they have yet to reach their Western Division, but are striking against the lower regions of the North and upper regions of East.   "We, as a united force, need to decide who to aid in this fight. Will the Khiz run their course before falling apart of their own inhibition, shall they rise to reign as a superpower in the East, or should we fight them back in hopes of finding history on our side?"   He paused, looking with worried eyes and a tense face. His gaze looked to each of the members at the table, the soft whisper of translators falling silent. No one wanted to speak up, afraid to make the wrong decision. Kkamol filled the prolonged silence with words of his own, struggling with the foreign names. "ϸϸɑէɤʆʫʆʆɑԏҟᶚⴉⴉԏⴉ Khiz ɑɤϸɑԏʆԏɑէſſ ϡɀɑɤҟɑ."   The silence fell to shambles, collecting on the floor like water from the rain. The room's sounds were amplified, words of discord and disagreement being tossed around. In the noise, Garaman was the only one to hold his silence; rather, he listened to the arguments before interjecting with a loud and sudden, "We are meant to be working together, not biting at each other's necks."   Makai resumed her job, having fallen silent during the shouting match -- managing to equally silence Kkamol. The voices of representatives each fell to nothing more than quiet murmurs, the representatives all ashamedly casting their gaze to the table. Garaman didn't stop speaking, though he directed his attention to Kkamol as he redirected the topic. "Why do you feel we should fight them?"   "ԏⴉɤ ѓѓɑɤſſԏɑҟʫϸɑҟᶚⴉⴉԏⴉ ϡҟҟɑɤҟſ ɑɤϸɑԏʆԏɑէſſ Khiz ɑɤϸɑԏʆԏɑէſſ." Kkamol replied, considering his phrasing carefully. Garaman nodded, acknowledging Makai as she translated.   Akaol, a member from the Kingdom of Itania, spoke up, "The Khiz are powerful. You -" he pointed to Garaman "- even claimed that they began small but have begun to wipe out huge parts of the Eastern Continents. If we aided them, we could even gain their favor in trade."   "To throw the trade between us and the East out the window? The Khiz are already slowing down. A strong pushback could wipe them out," spoke up Oalam, a second representative from the Kingdom of Itania. Akaol gave Oalam a dark look, seeming frustrated by their disagreement. Kkamol, still listening to Makai's hushed translation, was slow to follow the conversation.   "Their government is weak, to Oalam's point," Garaman chimed in.   "ԏⴉɤ ϸϸԏɑſԏɤҟʫϸɑҟᶚſſԏⴉ ϡϸɑҟɑɤʆⴉ ɑɤϸɑԏʆԏɑէſſ?" Kkamol questioned, hastening to keep pace with the conversation, Makai slowly falling behind. The others, especially those who had remained the quietest, seemed to pause.   "What is their political structure, if it's so weak?" Akaol questioned.   "They have a monarchy, though Kappag mentioned that the attacks have slowed due to a rumored struggle in the hierarchy between the Emperor and the Council of Wishes as the current Emperor is trying to rise into power, supposedly nearing tyranny. In the case of which, a strong enough attack could lead to the fall of the Khiz Empire."   The conversation carried on, a dignity upheld following the collapse before. It shifted slowly, gathering steam and strength in a direction opposing the Khiz. The collected representatives spoke their way around the table, offering each a piece of their own mind.   Closing the meeting, Garaman Pokoral, the Emperor of the Maraian Empire, offered the closing remarks. "On behalf of the Maraian Empire and our allies in the East, I want to thank all of you for coming out of your way to visit us here and each offering your army's strength to fight against the Khiz."   So marked the beginning of the end of the Khiz Empire as a planned strike back against them felled their ruler. A period, often called the Reclaiming, following of which in where the Western armies returned allowing the armies of the Kappag Mediary to recollect the land stollen by the Khiz Empire.   Kkamol, leaving the city behind, returned to his own home country of the Daw'lni Collective. Stepping forwards upon his return, he -- following through with his claims at the meeting -- lead forth a strike with his army, acting as a commanding general in the Reclaiming.

For the extended information on the involved langauge, Ahkalba, and to understand the translations, visit my article on the language itself:  

Ahkalba
Language | Jan 9, 2020

The forgotten language of the Daw'lni Collective

 


Articles under Meeting in the West


Comments

Author's Notes

This article was made to be a part of the Words of Worldbuilding community challenge.   This article was fun to write, though a bit of a struggle to come up with and make it fit the word-count limit. I'd love any form of writing advice you may have.


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11 Jan, 2020 19:01

Hey! I had actually read some of this earlier haha. Here's my thoughts;   A few minor typos, "use" instead of "us", "corse" instead of "course", etc.   "...and the, historically aloof, Sorcerer's Federation of Sel." Both of those commas are unnecessary.   "He paused in this lapse in his speech..." Said he paused and also noting a lapse in his speech seems redundant. I think you can just say "He then paused, looking about..." and get it across.   Overall I really like this article! I think with a quick grammar pass and this small edits it'd be really solid! Great job!

12 Jan, 2020 17:45

I like the script - it adds a flavour of the foreign but it leaves a gap for the sound of the language. The presence of unvoiced markers and indicators in the script is a neat feature for the script but, for me, detracts from the impact of the spoken word.   The story has a nice ring to it of the difficulties of diplomacy but with so many people and places mentioned I think it could really use some tool tips or links for the key people, places and so on.   One remaining typo that jumped out is the paragraph beginning "To through the trade" - which I'm pretty sure should begin "To throw". But that's part of the messy joys of English, where one sound gets written in so many ways.   A good one.

12 Jan, 2020 17:51

Ahh. I should add temporary tooltips. I forget which articles I've published and which I haven't.   I could add a phonetic translation as well, though not everyone knows IPA. Would this help you?   I'll fix that right away.

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
12 Jan, 2020 17:52

(I'd also mention that, if one would want to read the script, the dictionary is in the top right)

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
12 Jan, 2020 21:16

Aaaa, shame we're limited by the word count limit for this challenge! I find myself hoping to hear some of the other arguments against fighting the Khiz, more of the debating before we reach the end where everyone is preparing to war against the Khiz. As for writing advice, I'm a bit at a loss of what I could offer other than "and through trade" becoming "and throw trade," but that's the pesky English Language. As a person who loves lore and would sell her soul for the tiniest scraps of it, I do find myself wonder as to how different each of the representatives are from one another, in their dress, their manner of speaking (do they talk with their hands in motion, are their faces highly animated or not), how they refer to one another (respectfully or not to indicate individual or government relationships as subtext).   But mostly, everything I could think of is halted bu the word count limit we have for the challenge. Maybe after the challenge is over, you can fill in more details? You also have a number of unpublished, but linked, articles , and I think having the "tap/hover to read" coding you have for Kkamol's dialogue could be helpful if you don't intend for those articles to be "not a draft" yet.

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
12 Jan, 2020 21:23

Ack, forgot that comments have the bbcode in them. The

 @linked articles

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
12 Jan, 2020 21:37

Similar thoughts to Edra. I'll probably go through and add more tooltips next week. I will have to work a large amount of the lore out, as I mention a whole bunch of things and places that don't exist in my mind yet. Thanks

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
12 Jan, 2020 21:47

Yeah, I'm in the same camp as Ed, for the most part.   Part of me also thinks you could cut right to the meeting and start the prose with that, freeing up some words to be reallocated elsewhere into the scene, but I think the opening scene does allow for some opening of "Our PoV is from someone who doesn't speak the language of this area," so wiffle-waffle on that. I think I'm making sense. XD

Lyraine, Consumer of Lore, She/Her, primary project: Corive
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
13 Jan, 2020 15:39

Hiya, let's do this.   So first off, "The road was rough, cobbled and worn away in patches. Jostling the carriage" is that supposed to be a period? Seems a bit off with the following sentence.     This sentence, "city; the tops of buildings, made from smooth cut stone and wide planks of wood, were visible from below the walls."   I don't think the colon is needed. The following is already a complete sentence, so just a period could work I think.     "of carriages stopped momentarily." I hate making a deal or comment on adverbs. They work on occasion, but sometimes removing it can lead to stronger sentences. If you remove momentarily, the sentence has more force and punch to it. If you agree, id do it! If not forget I said anything cause adverbs just aren't a big deal to me XD         So this one may sound nitpicky, but don't sweat it. I'm hooked into the story at this point from the style of writing alone. just wanna find ways of making it even better.   "The mystique Halwoth from the outside was multiplied on the inside, a small view of the inner metro opened in the gate, offering a glimpse of the smooth-worn streets and buildings that grew from the ground."     I totally understand what your going for here, but up to this point you don't mention any key details of the mystique you reference. You describe it as majestic, but I'm dying to know how. Some key details of what leads to that majesty would be awesome and then going into how its multiplied within the city walls would be even more so!   Apart from that, the quote has some iffy structure to the sentence. It reads a little less smooth the previous paragraphs. Reading it aloud revealed some clunkyness. I think this stems from Halwoth being in the first sentence there or changing mystique to magestic could make it run a bit smoother. No big deal though.     Ok so I just hit the language and I'm intrigued. You use the written language to define the spoken language with no translation thus far. Interesting choice and its cool to see that done. It makes me wonder what their saying and I imagine it's a deliberate choice. Can't wait to find out why, even if it is only to provide the need for a translator which also an excellent touch.   I also like how the translator doesn't seem to feel the same about the city. It almost implies she's seen it a dozen times and he is the one who is awknoledging the majesty.   "The carriages drew to a halt several meters before the city palace."   So there is nothing wrong with this sentence or anything else this is more of me pointing out of a potential missed opportunity though you may not want to use the opportunity or maybe doing so would take away from your overall goal. It's also likely that this could ramp up your word count. If you go about editing either before or after the competition, I would love to know about the sites that occur before this sentence. You mentioned a few things but there are a lot of sites that a city could hold. Do they pass by the markets and make note of things that appear in the market stalls or perhaps they smell the local cuisine in the air. Going into this kind description will definitely ramp up word count but, if it happens to be an opportunity you want to take I'd love to know more! So yeah, non are anything that needs to be changed but definitely something on the tree by which is a good thing because it makes me want to know more!     "You -" he pointed to Garaman "- even claimed that they began small but have"   Got lost in the writing and found nothing that needs to much attention up to this quote. While it's perfectly fine on its own, by inserting the pointing between the you and the rest of the sentence, it felt a bit jarring. Perhaps just ending the previous sentence and connecting you with its own sentence could help this, ie: " he pointed to Garaman, "You even claimed that they..."   This is just me tho.     "... the current Emperor is trying to rise to tyranny" If they are a monarchy, how can they have an emperor? Maybe its a different kind of government? Idk I felt I missed something here, my apologies if I messed up.   So overall I really enjoyed the story and I definitely touches on some really fine points that a lot of people including myself missed out on when it comes to political conversations between nations. The fact that you actually have different cultural groups with their own language is needing translators is just awesome and shows the thought that went into this world and this story. I can definitely see why this relates to the challenge itself and it certainly has everything it needs. The dictionary is nice, the language looks very interesting, can you use it to great effect show the importance of understanding one another. Great work and I hope I was able to provide some kind of help. Thanks again for the crit my friend!

Check out my work | The Web | Expedition Demeter
13 Jan, 2020 19:53

Thanks for all this advice!   I have no idea how I didn't relook at that sentence. I think I was going for "Jostling in the carriage."   The semicolon implies a connection. I don't know how you were taught, but I was taught that semicolons act to essentially draw a connection between two independent clauses. So it would work as a period, but the semicolon was an active choice.   Yeah, I should cut down on that. I'll probably go for "Coming to the walls of the city, the train of carriages slowed to a halt, waiting for the massive wooden gates to swing open." Thanks for pointing it out.   --   As far as the nitpicks, they're great! I want to know what a reader wants more of. I do have a couple of hundred words that I could stretch into the writing. I will definitely take your mentions to the next round of edits; in which, I will try and put more attention on the city and the elements they pass in the city.  

Tooltips

  I hope that you didn't miss it, but all of my languages are translated directly in a tooltip.   These tooltips will later be expanded to include the IPA pronunciation.
  I should probably do that. It does break the sentence up too much, though it also implies a slight pause in his speech. Thanks.   Ahh. The problem there is that none of the mentioned organizations have been fleshed out enough. I'll probably alter it to mention the abolishment of the reigning council in the rise to tyranny. That would fix it while adding a Caeser-type element. That's fully my fault, though I know this sort of little thing and it's easy to forget to include them.   Thank you so much for all of the advice. It will be super helpful and these little nitpicky things are exactly what I was looking for. As far as the critique goes, you're very welcome. It's always a pleasure to be able to read work of yours so the comment is nothing at all. Thanks so much!

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
13 Jan, 2020 21:54

Ohhh sorry that's my bad. I didn't mean to see you used it incorrectly, just that the semicolon wasn't really needed. I was taught the same way, though more on the lines of use instead of conjunctions. It's no biggie one way or the other.     Oooooo I didn't miss that tooltop bit. But then again, I liked not knowing. it added immersion to it if that makes sense, its good that it's there tho.   I'm glad I didn't overstep. Cities can be hard to bring to life. Notify me once you do cause I'm intrigued.     On the pause in speech I totally get that. It works as is too, but by breaking it up you can imply a pause. I mean its such a versatile thing any preference will work. :)   No worries of the government. I figured there was some world focused stuff behind it and techniqually, an empire could be a monarchy in some ways.     Also likewise. You got a cool world here and some great style of writing that's a joy to read! I'm open to trade anytime! Have a good one man.

Check out my work | The Web | Expedition Demeter
14 Jan, 2020 05:27

"Kkamol, with a resigning frown, dragging his eyes from the city, his attention turned forward to the palace. " could probably be rewritten as "Kkamol, with a resigned frown, dragged his eyes from the city and turned his attention towards the palace."   "All roads lead to the palace," I think it's supposed to be 'led' because it's past tense.   "Small lanterns hung from an emerald umbrella, jingling little bells, inside each, catching the attention of everyone passing by." I think the second comma could go away and the sentence could be much better. Also, what are the bells inside? the carts? the lanterns?   I love how Makai just gives up on trying to get Kkamol to behave. It just shows how determined he is to gawk at absolutely everything of interest.   you mispelled 'servant' when they are greeted by them at the gate.   "The room was lofted, arches dozens of meters in the air, sustained large white pillars carved in gold." The second comma should go away here. maybe 'ceilings were vaulted' instead of ' room was lofted', and maybe 'supported' instead of 'sustained', but it works. whatever it is, you should probably have a 'by' after it. also, what do you mean 'carved in gold?' perhaps you mean gilded?   "I am Garaman Pokoral, the reigning Emperor of the Maraian Empire." I don't really think that he needs to say 'reigning' here; it's extremely implied.   "No one want to speak up, " should be 'wanted'.   "The representative each fell silent, ashamedly casting the looking to the table." representative should be 'representatives' and the latter part of the sentence could be a bit clearer; maybe 'ashamedly casting their gaze' would be better.   "as the current Emperor is trying to rise to tyranny. " Someone ends up in tyranny, but it's not really an endgoal. maybe say 'rise into power'.   As for the story as a whole, I'm not sure how the beginning has any relevance to the rest of the story; you could have just started going into the meeting or written a story about this character and who he is, but for now it's a bit stuck between those two main ideas. but hey! it's got potential! I love what I got about the main character and I want to hear more about him! who are the khiz? monsters? wizards? barbarians? Why do all these people want to destroy them? Granted, I haven't read any of your other articles yet, but I want this story to tell me MORE.   I do understand that this was written under a word limit in the first place.

14 Jan, 2020 05:49

I really liked the opening. Lyraine mentioned the questionable location of it. However, I feel that it acts as the foundation of the story as it sets the setting which also working with other elements that I really wanted to include.   Thanks for all the notices on typos. Those are usually painstaking to find.   I will be adding more information about a lot of the places since I have yet to make those articles.   Thanks for all the notes! Do you have an article you would like critiqued?

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
14 Jan, 2020 07:55

Well, I could use some opinions on the book I'm writing. It's not done yet but I'm putting it out in chapters in the Book 1: Paradox category. Any ideas on how I could expand or fix any of my articles would be great if you have the time, though.   on another note, maybe you could merge the two ideas in your article by bringing attention to Kkamol's unique perspective on the issue at hand rather than having him be just one of a few people who all have basically the same ideas on how to deal with it.   I do apologize if my continued advice gets a bit annoying. I'll stop now.

14 Jan, 2020 17:08

I'll read through some of it tonight. Might not do a line-by-line read depending on time though.   Hmm. I'll see if I can come up with anything, otherwise I don't know if I can fix it.

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
15 Jan, 2020 02:34

I wish I could supply some more coherent thoughts and ideas in my comment here, as your comment on my were extremely helpful, but I'm bad at critiques and advice. However, I did really enjoy reading this, the story is great, and the ideas and use of the language is wonderful. I agree with some of the other commenters that it would have been really interesting to see some of the arguments against fighting the empire, but I get why that couldn't quite work out there is a wordcount limit we have to keep in mind, after all. There is one thing I noticed:

had said in Ahkalba.
this part right here, appears like it's supposed to have a tooltip over the language name, because it moves if I hover over it, but nothing shows up when I hover, so it just sort of moves around almost like it's got a glitch in its display. It's amusing to see, but also a little odd. Aside from that I do really like the story and the writing! The script of the language is very pretty too. Good job!

15 Jan, 2020 04:25

Thanks. The other problem was I didn’t know where else to take the story. But I appreciate the comment!   I’ll try and figure out the glitch. Probably a double display error.

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
19 Jan, 2020 01:23

I enjoyed reading this! Your script language is very pretty.   Only thing that stuck out for me that I didn't see anyone mention, this sentence made me reread a few times:   With a roaring thunder, the gates to the inner metro, revealing the smooth-worn streets and buildings that grew from the ground, were opened.   The opened should be before revealing, especially since otherwise revealing is the wrong tense. "opened to reveal" or "opened, revealing" would work, your choice. But they need to open before they can reveal anything and so I got confused.   I love the war council idea here. Word limits stink, I'd love to see more.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
19 Jan, 2020 05:34

Oops. That was something I missed when rewriting that part of the story. I’ll fix it and hen I’m not on mobile. Thanks so much for the advice.

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
19 Jan, 2020 05:34

Oops. That was something I missed when rewriting that part of the story. I’ll fix it and hen I’m not on mobile. Thanks so much for the advice.

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
25 Jan, 2020 03:50

I loved it the flow the story had, an excellent structure that didn't feel broken at any one point!!   Will the Khiz run their course before falling apart, rise to reign as a superpower in the East, or should we fight them back? I felt like this sentence needed more when I read it the first time, then went back to reread it a few times and kept feeling like it could use something after the first comma.   Closing the meeting, Garaman Pokoral, the Emperor of the Maraian Empire, offered the closing remarks. "On behalf of the Maraian Empire and our allies in the East, I want to thank all of you for coming out of your way to visit us here and each offering your army's strength to fight against the Khiz."   At the end of your meeting, I wanted more. If they are meeting to prepare for war, I wanted more dialogue from the one making the final decision.   all in all   Amazing and great work, you should feel proud of this piece of work for sure!

25 Jan, 2020 03:54

Thanks. The Khiz will be defeated, falling without a ruler.   I really ran out of words and ideas there, but that does seem to be the main point of conflict in the authoring panel side.   Many thanks

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
2 Feb, 2020 01:14

Good flow to the story and nice read. Good variation to sentence structures and lengths.   Thoughts: Lots of passive voice in the first 2 paragraphs w/scene setting and in general

  • the word "was" is used a lot. Try mixing it up a little by assigning your setting some verbs and action, such as (ex:) The rough, cobbled road jostled Duke Kkamol's carriage.
  • I also feel that example makes for a better hook, particularly if you have it startle him or pull him away from his worrying thoughts and onto the surroundings.
  • How is Kkamol feeling coming into Halwoth? Is he looking forward to the meeting? Anxious at all? This is his first time; is it his chance to demonstrate his authority? - Some hint here at internal conflict can make this more interesting and make all the scenery setting more important.   -better variation in the third paragraph   "...could be heard..." - passive "His voice was deep, resounding..." - passive. Try "His deep voice resounded through the room..."   In the 2 paragraphs after Kkamol declares they should fight, you use the word silent, and the phrase fell silent many times - very redundant. Perhaps mix up with synonyms like quiet and speechless.   In the end, what happened with Kkamol? Did he send units, lose tons of men, earn favor, gain spoils of war, etc? What about Halwoth and the Maraian Empire? They reclaimed land, but did they lose too much population to make use of it? Or was it pretty much a one-and-done tactical strike against the Khiz ruler and the empire simply quit from there? {you can probably nix some of the scenery description if you're hurting for words}

    2 Feb, 2020 01:54

    Thanks for the comment. I'll go ahead and pop some of those changes into my article.   I'll see if there are a few sly edits I can throw in at the end about Kkamol, but in all honesty, that's not the focus of the story. I get why the reader would want that, so I'll see what all I can work in.

    Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
    2 Feb, 2020 10:19

    I'm going to be straight and blunt as I always am.   I did not enjoy this article personally and it's not because of one single thing. I'll sum up my thoughts in the end of the article. But first, the good stuff:

    You have clearly put a fair bit of time into making this language, and it shows. I briefly skimmed the language article itself and it's unique and very un-westernly, which isn't that common in conlangs today. That's a plus.

    The article is easy on the eyes. You have good paragraph spacing, a good font choice and you write with "air" in your text which helps people with dyslexia or, like me, ADHD.   So why didn't I like it?
    My first annoyance is one of personal taste more than anything. While others might feel that the choice to write your conlang in graphemes helps immersion, it annoys me personally and prefer to use conlangs in their romanized form so you can at least have a chance to understand what it'd sound like. Alternatively, write it entirely in something like IPA to drive home pronounciation. As it is now we have no clue how it's meant to be pronounced. Is it just one huge string of sounds, like for instance Inuktitut?

    Secondly, you chose two write about politics. That's a hard sell to anyone, even the people invested in your world. For an "outsider", it's a pure sleeping pill. I have no relation to any of the people or places mentioned in the article and since everyone in it is trying to remain civil and factual it gets dry to read really quickly.

    Your text has a bit of a "Tolkien-syndrome" on it. Your descriptions are just too long for me. You spend almost 9 paragraphs describing the city as they walk through it. We're not getting any plot progression or agency. It's just an onslaught of words. Now, don't get me wrong, describing a place or location in detail can be very important for a story, but here it felt more like an American "I must fill out the character-count" exercise.

    Now, don't feel bad because I didn't like it. A lot of it, as I said previously, is down to personal preference and taste. You've crafted a, as far as I can tell, great language and the richness of your world is peeking through all of the prose, so there are good things in there. For someone more invested in your world, this is likely a great read!

    Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused Celenia D10 RPG System.
    2 Feb, 2020 18:26

    All of your points are valid. One thing that I would change, specifically within the language, since that’s not something I know a lot about, is the pronunciation.   However, while the rest of your critique brings up several valid points, they are all things I have no desire to change in the context of this challenge.   As far as the political air goes, this is just a part of the story. Due to the the world being fairly new, I didn’t have enough places to go within this challenge. In any other case, I would restrain politics. However, I also had no ideas for the story so this is what landed.   As far as the city goes, part of the description is a major part of how I chose to write the article. It was a lot more description than I had initially written within the article, but as to hold a balance between politics and simply writing something of interest I wound up developing the city. Furthermore, a lot of the choice in word distribution came down to the word limit. Lacking concepts and the words to properly write a good plot, I chose to fall back onto a main purpose of this world: to create short stories that are exercised in parts of writing. This one boils down to description rather than plot.   Thanks for the notes. Everything you said was perfectly valid in most situations, however does fall short In the context of my entry. I already know it is overshadowed by authors older and more experienced than I. In any matter, I apologize I was unable to deliver something that you could at least enjoy reading.

    Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
    2 Feb, 2020 20:32

    Yeah, and I did get that sense that there was a deliberate choice to write as you did, and that's perfect. If that is what you were going for, you really did it. And your article wasn't bad, far from it. The writing is solid, character descriptions are interspaced instead of dumped all at once and there's real thought about everything in it. It's just not to my personal taste. So in no way take my criticism as "you are bad and you should change" because you definitely are not.   Keep writing, because I have no doubts that this will hit solid home with a lot of people.

    Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused Celenia D10 RPG System.