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Mandamon

20200413 - Fall of the Imperium Ch 9 - 5918 words - Sub 20

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Once again subbing two chapters this week to get feedback for book 3 as quickly as possible. Same situation as last week: the first chapter is shorter and the second is longer, but together they're less than 10k.

SUB 20
Chapter 9, which is back to S/E/I. Hopefully this fleshes out their side a little more. I'm giving this one an (S) for sex, though there's nothing overt. Let me know what you think!

Previously:
S/E/I arrive in the other facet with their news of the Elg. The Eff and court are there, E has problems with trust, and E/I learn about their folks. The Eff faints shortly thereafter. E battles the voices inside her as they travel to the Ari, and attacks S. In the Ari enclave, I struggles with his image, we learn of the Ari, and E and I use each other's houses for the first time.
M arrives with the society to the Imp and is attacked by Elg. People die and M finds himself with more and more responsibility as they attempt to figure out what's going on. They learn the Eff is also killed, and M makes clever use of a portal to save his life.
Ri and co arrive on HD's homeworld, gather themselves, then engage the Elg in the Imp. They barely escape, and find out where other refugees have gone.

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I kind of enjoy getting two at a time!

Overall

Enjoyed this a lot! It was nice to get a chance to relax with the trio and get some kissing action!

I'm not certain the part after that is needed. It doesn't really give us new information and could be consolidated into a 'we tried to open a portal together and it didn't work,' in a section where it does work after some new discovery. It also makes the chapter a bit too long for no resolution.

Otherwise, this worked for me. I love the trio and getting to spend some down time with them was much needed.

As I go

- pg 1: That morning, the Elgy had come through <-- this is a big statement. I think it should be chased with some emotion!

- pg 3: relaxing? LIKE IN A HAMMOCK???

- pg 4: yes, go a little lower. LOWER!

- pg 5: 'tangy lactose sauce' just sounds...really unappetizing 

- pg 8: he lost his memories but still remembers his pocket watch? I feel like this is a missed opportunity to mourn the life he had before that he can't remember while he strokes the inlay on the watch or something 

- pg 8: think of it as meeting our family for the first time.... emotions from S, please! Meeting the family is a BIG deal!

- pg 10: Few of the Ari wore shoes. <-- because there are no shoes in space!

redundancy on 'sea' there on pg 10

- pg 13: and no one said anything about changing shape, or absorbing instances, or taking over the universe. It was nice. LOL! I loved this line!

- pg 15: awwwwwww Sa.

- pg 16: only one free room? TAKE A DRINK i am so here for this

- pg 20: Several parts of him did, in fact. <-- ORLY

- pg 20: You know there’s only one hammock in this room, don’t you <-- TAKE A DRINK

- pg 21: mahogany chest <-- hitting the 'mahogany' and dark coloring words a little hard in this chapter

- pg 22: GAH come on now. At least a little necking before this fades to black?

- pg 26: I think it would be logical to end the chapter after the sex scene

- pg 30: It was like trying to feed a string into a keyhole. <-- isn't that pretty easy though? Strings are little and keyholes are pretty big, at least in older doors

 

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I enjoyed the relationship between the three characters as well, I do feel that we get a lot of S and I and S and E but not I and E. I am also disappointed that you SKIPPED I's and S's reaction to S saying "I love you"!!! What??! Whyyyyyyyy?? Like saying I love you is always a big deal the first time. Also was it his first time saying to I but not to E? Because E doesn't really react the same as I when S says it later.

 

I loved the S wanted to stay there for E's mental problems instead of going back and doing their job. However, besides S getting a little spacey, I don't feel the sudden need to try and go back for their mission/group if he wants E to get better. So, I agree with Kai that it doesn't feel needed until we get new information. Also, I found it weird that they would try and leave without their other two companions (X and W) who came there WITH them. Why wouldn't they try to find them first and then leave?

 

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I was not as into this chapter as I thought I would be. However, I liked it much better than the previous version. As a whole, The S/I/E narrative feels more streamlined and decisive.

I liked watching S fight and control the anxiety. That I could relate to. 

Most of the food descriptions were great, except for maybe the one about the lactose sauce that @kais mentioned. That one did not sound appealing. 

The little touchy and flirty moments were great, and I want more of them. I had a hard time focusing on the chapter because I was getting swallowed up in the scale of the party, but those little moments grounded me and reengaged me when my mind started to wander. 

On 4/13/2020 at 10:57 PM, CherishLarain said:

Also, I found it weird that they would try and leave without their other two companions (X and W) who came there WITH them. Why wouldn't they try to find them first and then leave?

I had the same reaction. If they had just portaled out without telling anyone, it would've seemed like they just disappeared, and even if WW or the others figured it out, it would still be kind of rude to just disappear without saying bye to the host. 

On 4/13/2020 at 10:24 PM, kais said:

I'm not certain the part after that is needed. It doesn't really give us new information and could be consolidated into a 'we tried to open a portal together and it didn't work,' in a section where it does work after some new discovery. It also makes the chapter a bit too long for no resolution.

Agree.

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Thanks @kais, @CherishLarain, and @shatteredsmooth!

On 4/13/2020 at 10:24 PM, kais said:

Enjoyed this a lot! It was nice to get a chance to relax with the trio and get some kissing action!

 

On 4/13/2020 at 10:57 PM, CherishLarain said:

I enjoyed the relationship between the three characters as well,

 

23 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

However, I liked it much better than the previous version. As a whole, The S/I/E narrative feels more streamlined and decisive.

Glad this is working better. Seems to be getting closer. As usual, seems like I need more emotion!

On 4/13/2020 at 10:24 PM, kais said:

I'm not certain the part after that is needed. It doesn't really give us new information and could be consolidated into a 'we tried to open a portal together and it didn't work,' in a section where it does work after some new discovery. It also makes the chapter a bit too long for no resolution.

 

On 4/13/2020 at 10:57 PM, CherishLarain said:

Also, I found it weird that they would try and leave without their other two companions

 

23 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I had the same reaction. If they had just portaled out without telling anyone, it would've seemed like they just disappeared, and even if WW or the others figured it out, it would still be kind of rude to just disappear without saying bye to the host. 

Hmm. I can definitely add in that they warned the others before they tried the portal, but if I cut this last section, I still need to have the drive for them to find out the portals don't work. I could add it to the next chapter, but that one's already long. I'll ponder.

On 4/13/2020 at 10:24 PM, kais said:

- pg 16: only one free room? TAKE A DRINK i am so here for this

- pg 20: Several parts of him did, in fact. <-- ORLY

- pg 20: You know there’s only one hammock in this room, don’t you <-- TAKE A DRINK

- pg 21: mahogany chest <-- hitting the 'mahogany' and dark coloring words a little hard in this chapter

- pg 22: GAH come on now. At least a little necking before this fades to black?

This is all for you, @kais ;-)

23 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

The little touchy and flirty moments were great, and I want more of them.

 

On 4/13/2020 at 10:57 PM, CherishLarain said:

I am also disappointed that you SKIPPED I's and S's reaction to S saying "I love you"!!! What??! Whyyyyyyyy??

Will definitely add in more emotion/touching/reaction next time around. I was trying to keep my PG-13 rating, but I'm sure I can go a little further before the fade to black.

 

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2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I was trying to keep my PG-13 rating

PG-13 lets you have a breast or two and some wandering hands, I believe...

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19 minutes ago, kais said:

PG-13 lets you have a breast or two and some wandering hands, I believe...

Duly noted!

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Thoughts as I go:

Introduction, "All of their predictions and foretellings had to be completely reworked": Not very good at predictions and foretellings, are they then?

Pg 1, "It was sort of a hostel...all rolled into one.": Thanks for the clarification, because I remember getting confused last time.

Pg 2, "The court will argue, and no new legislation will pass, and everything will be the same" Ah, yes, a perfectly realistic government.

Pg 5, " a tangy lactose sauce" The lactose is throwing me off. I'm imagining orange-flavored milk as a sauce. 

Pg 7, "He’d have to live up to whoever that person was." Knowing WW's ego, xyr probably did a lot of bragging.

Pg 7, "Rumors from the court have passed through the city" Uh oh.

Pg 8, "he’d avoided a panic attack" Look at S, growing up!

Pg 12, " trying to make his insides match his outside" Fake it till you make it!

Pg 13, " she pulled flatbread"  

Pg 15, "We’ve always looked like this": Trying to built a perfect body, I?

Pg 16, " I’ll…I’ll always love you." Awwww!!!

Pg 17, "There were things that needed to be said."

Pg 19, "It is not weakness" I love how Enos' struggle is obvious even when we are not in her POV. 

Pg 21, "The maji can handle it." I sincerely doubt that, but I also understand S's thought process. What can he do? As a reader, I could make a list, but S might not have the same thoughts. If I were in his shoes, though, I would at least want to check up on my master friends.

Pg 21, "Several parts of him did, in fact." Heh heh heh.

Pg 22, " then pulled off his shirt." It's gettin' hot in here...

Pg 22, "individual scales. They were even smoother" Storytime: I own a ball python and I have had debunked so many people's misconceptions that snakes are slimy. Scales can be so smooth and soft. 

Pg 23, "The L.C. didn’t give clothes to any of us," I love her boldness and self-confidence.

Pg 24, "snuggle with E and I in their one hammock at night." Yes, just snuggle. Nothing else <_<

Pg 24, "WW disappeared after the first evening," Not shocking. WW strikes me as the sort of fellow who finds gatherings pointless when xyr could be studying. Ugh, socializing? No way. 

Pg 25, "spreading them until they covered from his neck"

Pg 25, "They’re probably worried sick about us."  I'd also be wondering if, you know, the Elg took over the city...?

Pg 34, "We’ll have to travel back" They are not going to like what they find!

Looking forward to Monday for more!

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Much improved! I love the clear direction your characters are moving now and also enjoyed the details of the city and architecture worked in at the dinner.

Oddly enough, tangy lactose sauce made me think tzatziki sauce or plain yogurt in vegetable curry and I was good with it. :-) 

A few notes:

Two places where there are doubled up words or phrases. Paragraph one has 2 'sort of' and paragraph 8 has 'ready' twice one line apart. 

The sentence starting "His back rubs were stronger" this sentence wanders around. Might be clearer as two or three shorter sentences. 

Just an asside; did you intentionally remind readers that I and E refer to each other as siblings right before they get into a hammock with S? Seems like odd timing. This was probably all worked out and discussed in previous books but to a newby it stands out.

As a new reader, I'm still not 100% what I and E are to eachother. They refer to each other as both siblings and instances. It seems like instances are either parallel world versions of the same person or some sort of diad / two halves of a coin relationship. Sorry if this is obvious and I missed it.

It feels like you've covered a lot more ground in this chapter than in the previous version, and the length of it flies by because it reads easily.

Thanks for sharing

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Thanks @Snakenaps and @Sarah B!

11 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 2, "The court will argue, and no new legislation will pass, and everything will be the same" Ah, yes, a perfectly realistic government.

I've had a lot of examples to draw from in the last several years...

11 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 5, " a tangy lactose sauce" The lactose is throwing me off. I'm imagining orange-flavored milk as a sauce. 

 

6 hours ago, Sarah B said:

Oddly enough, tangy lactose sauce made me think tzatziki sauce or plain yogurt in vegetable curry and I was good with it. :-)

Lol, well, one out of about four! I was actually going for tzatziki or yogurt curry. Maybe trading out "lactose" for another word will work,

11 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

"We’ve always looked like this": Trying to built a perfect body, I?

I mean, if you've got the choice ;-)

11 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 21, "The maji can handle it." I sincerely doubt that, but I also understand S's thought process. What can he do? As a reader, I could make a list, but S might not have the same thoughts. If I were in his shoes, though, I would at least want to check up on my master friends.

Cool. Glad this seems to be coming across.

11 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 22, "individual scales. They were even smoother" Storytime: I own a ball python and I have had debunked so many people's misconceptions that snakes are slimy. Scales can be so smooth and soft. 

Yep! I really like the smoothness of reptile scales. Never owned one, but had the change to pet snakes and lizards several times.

11 hours ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 24, "WW disappeared after the first evening," Not shocking. WW strikes me as the sort of fellow who finds gatherings pointless when xyr could be studying. Ugh, socializing? No way. 

Lol

7 hours ago, Sarah B said:

Just an asside; did you intentionally remind readers that I and E refer to each other as siblings right before they get into a hammock with S? Seems like odd timing. This was probably all worked out and discussed in previous books but to a newby it stands out.

As a new reader, I'm still not 100% what I and E are to eachother. They refer to each other as both siblings and instances. It seems like instances are either parallel world versions of the same person or some sort of diad / two halves of a coin relationship. Sorry if this is obvious and I missed it.

Yeah, all this is sort of intentional. E/I are siblings and twins, but are also two ways one person could have gone in life. I leave it a little vague in the text. As to their relationship with S, I try to make it clear that they are interacting with him, but not each other. Let me know if it doesn't work.

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Comments. (At which point, I do believe I am caught up, for like a day and half :rolleyes: ).

(page 2)

- "None have as yet" - This feels really important, but I never really got the sense in reading through these chapters first time around that there was a ticking bomb in relation to the El gaining access to this facet. Something like that would add to the urgency of this POV, and I think would counter (some of) the issues I had with the repetition of going to the wall and back, going to the wall, and back, etc.

- "He still wasn’t comfortable wearing it" - maybe WRS on my part, but I don't remember what this does. Has it been mention in this book? I feel like it was last mentioned in Book 2. Might need more of a reminder as to what it does.

(page 4)

- "In scooted beside him" - This is a fast motion. Can he not sidle, or step, or amble; something more casual? Even scooched(?) is a more relaxed, amiable sounding motion. 'scooted' to me sounds like In is agitated, alarmed or something.

(page 6)

- The background about the food is all very nice, but it feels like filler to me. It's two pages that could be summed up in a paragraph.

(page 8)

- "but why hadn’t the prophet told him others wanted to meet him" - Because they did. This seems really obvious.

- "stay out of" vs. 'avoid' - This is a style thing, so I apologise for raising it, as it's not really my place, maybe. But, I am noticing a lot in this book instances of three of four short words being used when a perfectly well known, but only slightly more 'complex' word exists that is designed to perform the function, like here. Surely, a massively complex 'entity' like the N, which has a bespoke translation function within it, would translate to the most appropriate word to ensure the greatest directness of communication?

(page 9)

- "I thought it would be easier..." - But these Ar are in their own forms, so it's pretty obvious why it's not easier, surely?

(page 10)

- "They were darkening" - We've had this image already a few pages back. This feels like repetition.

- "The buildings in this city were shorter" - More background detail. I'm struggling with the lack of pace in this chapter, and the lack of character motivation / agency.

- "earthy smell of roasted root vegetables" - more food talk.

- "were beginning to spiral" - This happened two or three pages back too.

(page 12)

- "nestled on a bench between..." - doesn't sound very special.

- "Soon S found a profusion of food before him" - The food was loaded on the tables when they arrived. This seems inconsistent within the character perspective.

(page 14)

- "like sweet rice buns" - more food.

(page 15)

- I feel like this is the first physical description of In I've had in three books. I suppose that can't be right, but this is by far the most vivid and specific that I can remember. I guess it just feels a little odd to be coming so late, but it may be forgetfulness on my part.

(page 16)

- They start walking towards the meal on Page 2, and the meal finished on Page 15. Fourteen pages of walking to and eating a meal. I know there is some material in there that leads to character growth, but it just really kills the pace of the story. I know that characters have to eat, but we don't need 2,500 words to see that.

- "They waddled back to the medical center without speaking" - I didn't get this at all. I don't think I can recall another instance of the narrative aiming for humour, so this popped me right out of this new section straight away. I can hear a character saying it, or thinking it, but in the narrative it completely threw me.

- Annnd... we're still talking about food.

- "In and S hustled En to the last doorway by mutual consent." - ooh, this feel wrong. The fact that it needs to be said that it involves her consent, I think, is a flag that this perhaps is not working. I DO NOT mean in a sexual harassment kind of way, NOT AT ALL, but the section is using that kind of imagery, which makes me uncomfortable. Why are they not all hustling? Why is it not a male and a female hustling the other male instead fo two makes hustling the female?

Follow up: Given what is inside In, is there not a fair chance that she would just rip the two of them to shreds?

I don't see any need for anyone to be hustling at all, let alone two people hustling the third. Why is En not just as eager as the other two? Why--given that they are stuffed with food--can't they just walk down a corridor at a normal pace? As a reader, I do not want to be distract by unnecessary details that confuse me when the important thing is the 'conversation' that is about to take place. That is what I want to be concentrated on.

(page 17)

- "placed on the upper half of the walls" - feels incomplete as an image. In my mind they are hanging in space. Are they on brackets, glued to the wall, in recesses?

(page 18)

- "En swung to him" - I feel like so often, movements and actions that could, and should, be full of emotion, of weight, of carefully considered purpose, are reduced to quick, urgent motions. To me, it renders the wrong emotional tone. 

(page 19)

- "one of the Pillars instead of the Blessed" - I cannot keep straight in my head which one of these is the good one, and which is the bad. I think the problem (for me) is that blessed sound like the good ones, but in fact are the bad, and pillars is a kind of neutral word that does not create a strong feeling one way or another. I guess it sounds noble. So, they are both positive to a degree, one more than the other.

(page 20)

- "It will take time, but we can stay here until you’re better" - This is a real motivation and stakes killer. he's ready to abandon any previously stated intention of fighting back agains the El. Very noble, but these are not the main stakes of the book. 

(page 21)

- "Now he didn’t know which he liked better" - but he's never been intimate or even touched an Ar, has he? How would he know this?

(page 22)

- "She wasn't wearing anything." - There's definitely a very specific and clearer word for this. I feel like this language is putting a barrier between the reader and the intimacy of the moment, which seems to me to defeat the purpose.

- "I had to, er, make all my clothes anyway" - Too much language, too many words deflecting us from the emotion of the moment. I don't care why En doesn't have any clothes at this point. She dropped them on the floor for all it matters. If she's trying to kill the mood, she's succeeding.

(page 23)

- "Good thing we don’t have any plans tomorrow" - Eh, the invasion? Man and Or and Ri could be dead in a ditch?

- "The next few days passed in the same way" - I really have missed something. What happened to contacting the maji?

(page 24)

- "“It’s the maji, isn’t it,” she guessed, and reluctantly, S nodded." - I don't get it. Why haven't thy tried to contact them? Why are En and In so completely unconcerned and oblivious. I must have forgotten something. I must have.

- "They’re probably worried sick" - for or five days, more: ya think? I struggle with how this is in character for these three, who are very analytical and sensitive to the world around them, to just ditch their maji.

(page 25)

- This sudden worry and concern seems hollow after them swanning around enjoying themselves for the last half a ten day.

(page 26)

- "The sooner we open the portal, the sooner we’ll get back to it" - Does it matter now? Why now?

(page 32)

- At the end, the concern for the other maj feels far too late, so it doesn't convince me. Also, I've read the attempts to form portal enough times now that I'm not really seeing them properly, so not sure I have any comment to make.

Overall 

- I struggled with this chapter. it just felt really slow to me. Nothing happened really until the hammock seen, but which time I was not really in the right place for it, I think. It was good, but I felt there was several barriers between me and the intimacy. I get that S is reserved, and the other two also are maybe hesitant, but I don't think that means we need all the intimacy muted in that way. It could have a much bigger impact as a scene.

LBLs sent separately.

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Thanks @Robinski!

41 minutes ago, Robinski said:

Comments. (At which point, I do believe I am caught up, for like a day and half :rolleyes: ).

Yay! Honestly, I wasn't expecting responding to comments on two posts a week would take so much time either...

Great LBLs and they will help me tidy this up.

42 minutes ago, Robinski said:

This feels really important, but I never really got the sense in reading through these chapters first time around that there was a ticking bomb in relation to the El gaining access to this facet. Something like that would add to the urgency of this POV, and I think would counter (some of) the issues I had with the repetition of going to the wall and back, going to the wall, and back, etc.

There was a lot of pushback on going back and forth the last time and suggestions to develop the relationship between S/E/I more, so that's where this chapter came about. E and I need to heal a bit, but it does come at the expense of urgency. I'll try to bring this thread out in the first few chapters.

46 minutes ago, Robinski said:

- "He still wasn’t comfortable wearing it" - maybe WRS on my part, but I don't remember what this does. Has it been mention in this book? I feel like it was last mentioned in Book 2. Might need more of a reminder as to what it does.

It was mentioned a couple times in the first set of chapters, and will come up a lot from now on.

47 minutes ago, Robinski said:

- The background about the food is all very nice, but it feels like filler to me. It's two pages that could be summed up in a paragraph.

Heh. Pretty much everyone last time said there needed to be more description about the evening meal. Could be I went too much the other way.

48 minutes ago, Robinski said:

- "one of the Pillars instead of the Blessed" - I cannot keep straight in my head which one of these is the good one, and which is the bad. I think the problem (for me) is that blessed sound like the good ones, but in fact are the bad, and pillars is a kind of neutral word that does not create a strong feeling one way or another. I guess it sounds noble. So, they are both positive to a degree, one more than the other.

Well, I mean you're not going to pick an evil-sounding name for yourself, are you? I'll look back where I've mentioned them together and see if I can make the distinction bigger.

50 minutes ago, Robinski said:

- "It will take time, but we can stay here until you’re better" - This is a real motivation and stakes killer. he's ready to abandon any previously stated intention of fighting back agains the El. Very noble, but these are not the main stakes of the book. 

To me, this is sort of, out of sight, out of mind, for these characters. The three have a lot to resolve between them, which is almost as much a plot point to me as the main Elg thread. Also, presumably the maji are fighting them in the other section. I don't know...I'll have to ponder this one.

54 minutes ago, Robinski said:

- At the end, the concern for the other maj feels far too late, so it doesn't convince me. Also, I've read the attempts to form portal enough times now that I'm not really seeing them properly, so not sure I have any comment to make.

I can put some more urgency near the beginning of their time here...

 

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54 minutes ago, Mandamon said:

E and I need to heal a bit, but it does come at the expense of urgency.

Good point, and I was not really thinking in those terms. It was lines like 'no plans for tomorrow' that threw me off. I think if S was more antsy about not contacting the maj because En and In weren't ready that might help remind me in reading why we weren't getting on with making progress.

57 minutes ago, Mandamon said:
1 hour ago, Robinski said:

- "one of the Pillars instead of the Blessed" - I cannot keep straight in my head which one of these is the good one, and which is the bad. I think the problem (for me) is that blessed sound like the good ones, but in fact are the bad, and pillars is a kind of neutral word that does not create a strong feeling one way or another. I guess it sounds noble. So, they are both positive to a degree, one more than the other.

Well, I mean you're not going to pick an evil-sounding name for yourself, are you? I'll look back where I've mentioned them together and see if I can make the distinction bigger.

I think if they were the other way around blessed sounds pretty unequivocally good, whereas pillars could be seen as rigid and intransigent. Oh, wait. The pillars are bad? Maybe it's just WRS on my part. If I had thought about this when reading them the first time I might not have had this problem. Did the two names appear at the same time, in a way that would encourage me to establish a protocol for telling them apart, or do they come into the story at different times? It's okay: it's me.

1 hour ago, Mandamon said:
1 hour ago, Robinski said:

- "It will take time, but we can stay here until you’re better" - This is a real motivation and stakes killer. he's ready to abandon any previously stated intention of fighting back agains the El. Very noble, but these are not the main stakes of the book. 

To me, this is sort of, out of sight, out of mind, for these characters. The three have a lot to resolve between them, which is almost as much a plot point to me as the main Elg thread. Also, presumably the maji are fighting them in the other section. I don't know...I'll have to ponder this one.

I think if S had some thoughts (maybe repeated a couple of times per chapter) along the lines of being confident that the maj were taking the fight to the El, then I'd be less concerned that they did not seem all that fussed about what is going on elsewhere. Or, if the stakes were higher in this fact with El, someone was monitoring them trying (but failing) to make an incursion through some barrier or channel or something, then the three could be conflicted between staying to protect this facet and going back to the other one. Dunno. Tricky balance. I think the key is stakes. The reader knows how huge the stakes are in the Imp. What are the stakes here? It's less clear, and they don't seem as significant. What is the Eff here was touch and go to survive (which I don't get any sense of), and the citizens are restless, and maybe there is some dissension against the Ar here, and the danger of someone trying to foment a pogrom. Maybe then I'd feel the stakes here were on a par with the other facet.

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5 hours ago, Robinski said:

It was lines like 'no plans for tomorrow' that threw me off. I think if S was more antsy about not contacting the maj because En and In weren't ready that might help remind me in reading why we weren't getting on with making progress.

Good points. I'l see if I can add some of this urgency in earlier chapters.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

I think if they were the other way around blessed sounds pretty unequivocally good, whereas pillars could be seen as rigid and intransigent. Oh, wait. The pillars are bad? Maybe it's just WRS on my part.

Lol. I can hear the gears overheating from here!

the blessed are supposed to be the "bad" ones (they consider themselves blessed in what they can do) and the pillars are 'good' (they keep to the pillars of their beliefs and don't stray and change shape). Of course the current characters don't know where the names come from...

I don't think anyone else has had too much problem with them, but I'll keep an eye on it.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

I think if S had some thoughts (maybe repeated a couple of times per chapter) along the lines of being confident that the maj were taking the fight to the El, then I'd be less concerned that they did not seem all that fussed about what is going on elsewhere.

Very good idea. I can put this in.

5 hours ago, Robinski said:

What are the stakes here? It's less clear, and they don't seem as significant. What is the Eff here was touch and go to survive (which I don't get any sense of)

This may also be something I can do. There's a couple more scenes with her later, so I can see if that works. I want to avoid the interspecies tensions if I can. In the past when I've touched on it, I seem to run into a lot of problems.

Thanks again @Robinski!

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