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Mandamon

20200518 - Fall of the Imperium Ch 18 - 4689 words - Sub 29

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Seven more chapters after this, and an epilogue! Running right at 10k words total this week, and thanks to all of you again for putting up with all of this.

SUB 27
Chapter 18, checking in on the LC and R and how everything is going perfectly fine with no problems at all. Tear it up!

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.
S/E/I learn more about the Ari and find there's only one hammock in the bedroom. They all attempt to pass through the wall, but are stopped by the Elg. S devises a new plan and they try again, with disastrous results.
M leads his posse on a hunt, without success, and meets up with R and her posse. Many connections are made.
E lives as an Elg for a few days and learns how they work. She also wins over the voices inside. I, meanwhile, dons the diadem and learns the history of the Eff.
E/I appear in front of the rest of the cast and fill them in on everything. O gets some long overdue recognition and the whole crew starts planning to fight back.

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You know, it's really nice to be able to read two chapters back to back for crit, especially for a third book where the worldbuilding has become deep and complex.

Overall

Another strong, tense chapter, with a lot going on. I had some blocking issues at the end and am not quite sure how it ended, but I sure did enjoy the ride! R is always just fun to read, and it's nice to see some of our 'villains' get eaten!

 

As I go

- pg 2: R's voice is always so distinct. I love it

- pg 4: nope. nopenopenope creepy Ari mouth. Hard pass. Run, R!

- pg 12: Her eyes marked... I assume this means R is to come but it doesn't have quite the right impact, since R wasn't fearful of going or anything. I think for this line to land we need more R emotions leading up to it, either how much he wants to go, or doesn't want to go.

- pg 17: like toothpicks through a particularly recalcitrant sausage.  I LOLed!

- pg 22: maybe some blocking issues in here. The snakeys opened a portal. The el couldn't pass through? Or did? I'm unclear, I feel like the text said both. And then some of the Ari broke character and attacked the snakeys? Why? Or the El attacked everyone and the Ari fought back in their base form?

- pg 25: okay, so the Ari got eaten? They thought the El were also worth worshipping? And now only a few snakies are alive and R has joined up with them? Yes?

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Thanks @kais!

13 hours ago, kais said:

especially for a third book where the worldbuilding has become deep and complex.

Translated to: "you have so much stuff in here I can't keep track anymore!" ;-)

13 hours ago, kais said:

I had some blocking issues at the end and am not quite sure how it ended, but I sure did enjoy the ride! R is always just fun to read, and it's nice to see some of our 'villains' get eaten!

Great! I had a lot of fun writing this one, too.

13 hours ago, kais said:

- pg 4: nope. nopenopenope creepy Ari mouth. Hard pass. Run, R!

Ha! Glad I got this reaction.

13 hours ago, kais said:

- pg 12: Her eyes marked... I assume this means R is to come but it doesn't have quite the right impact, since R wasn't fearful of going or anything. I think for this line to land we need more R emotions leading up to it, either how much he wants to go, or doesn't want to go.

Good catch. Will adjust.

13 hours ago, kais said:

- pg 22: maybe some blocking issues in here. The snakeys opened a portal. The el couldn't pass through? Or did? I'm unclear, I feel like the text said both. And then some of the Ari broke character and attacked the snakeys? Why? Or the El attacked everyone and the Ari fought back in their base form?

I'll take another look at this part. the Ari finally broke because they found something scarier than themselves! I'll see if I can make it clearer.

13 hours ago, kais said:

- pg 25: okay, so the Ari got eaten? They thought the El were also worth worshipping? And now only a few snakies are alive and R has joined up with them? Yes?

They were play acting on the worship to drag the Sath into the fight. I think this is something I need to make clearer in the first Re chapter.

 

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2 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Translated to: "you have so much stuff in here I can't keep track anymore!" ;-)

I can't keep track of Ard's worldbuilding, and I wrote it!

 

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I've got nothing for this chapter, looks perfect :-)

I have a harder time with the R chapters in general. It's probably New-Reader-Syndrome again but I don't feel very invested in R or what's happening around him. It seems like R was important in previous books, so not having read those is probably my problem.

Looking forward to seeing where your going as the end draws nearer!

Thanks for sharing 

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Thanks @Sarah B! I hope to clear up R's earlier chapter so this one makes more sense. Glad you're enjoying it though!

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Comments, with a rather large gap from the previous chapter, for some unknown reason.

(page 1)

- "ones who interface with members of other species who have the power to shape perception" - Who has the power to share perception, the ones or the members?

- I get that the epigraph is conveying information that, no doubt, will be useful in the course of this chapter, and there's no doubt that it is interesting, but it's not especially compelling this late in the story.

- "who called themselves Z and P" - Good, I'm glad this is right up front.

- "roasted desert jumper" - For me here in the UK, this reads like 'sweater'.

(page 2)

- "N and the faux J, played by Z and P, and backed up by the ancient Z" - Phrasing a bit confusing, IMO. So, does Z play N and P play J? They can't both play J, can they? There are just so many names here, and some are posing as others. I'm afraid I feel, and have never felt, any real affinity or identification with any of these characters, apart from N. I think it's because they just do not appear often enough or consistently enough in the story for their names or characters to stick. Add into the mix that one, two(?) are disguised as one (two?) of the other names, and it's just too much to try and track. My brain shuts down, and I don't really care.

Another obstacle to me embracing this POV--and R's voice remains excellent--is that I don't know what's going on, and no body else seems to know what's going on. I don't know what it's got to do with the Diss, and I do not feel any urgency around these events, no focus.

- "Which one are yer today?" - QED.

- "What’s going on with S" - Who? 

(page 3)

- "P has their own role now. No more sharing for us." - So, P is playing N, as noted above? No, P is playing S?

- And another name beginning with 'Z' that I don't remember. LC, I suppose, I do vaguely recall that.

(page 4)

- "the h/ws are divided" - Are they? Don't remember that.

- "it was part of the A" - neat!

- Awesome description of the smile / teeth. Very nicely done. This is the sort of stuff we need to make us fear the Ar.

(page 5)

- "though they once hunted us like prey animals" - This is the main motivation of the Ar, it seems to me, in being here. To take revenge on the Sa, who hunted them to near extinction (in this facet). I think it would help my buy-in to this POV if that point was played up much more, assuming it is their motivation in coming here. Also, prey animals seems like tautology to me, OR it reads like the Sa were hunting the Ar for food, which was not the case...........I assume?! :unsure: 

(page 6)

- "two steps to one side, two steps to the other" - This sounds weird to me, more like dancing.

- "the misguided A, to show them the error of their ways" - This implies that the Ar had some choice in their form, which even the Sa must have known was not the case. The phrasing, therefore, sounds off to me. 'Error', again, implies that the Ar chose their nature.

- "the family of your friends was the sole remainder of the P" - Ooh, now you have my attention. This seems like new information.

(page 8)

- I'm a little surprised R is allowed to pick his own accommodation, rather than being put under watch by the Ar. Also, surprised that he gets an invitation to the meeting, rather than a summons.

(page 10)

- "pounded a gloved fist into his other hand" - I feel this is really melodramatic.

(page 11)

- "and negotiate with the prophesied ones" - LOL, excellent. That's called their bluff.

- "Her eyes marked R" - Uh, oh.

(page 15)

- "the guard leapt in front of her leader" - This is a great moment, but, does the guard not lead with their spear? And if not, why not?

(page 16)

- "at some unknown trigger" - I didn't, nor have I ever, noticed a particular trigger. As far as I can see the El attack at the first opportunity.

- "leapt after several minutes" - I feel like this is new behaviour.

(page 19)

- "circling the portal" - blocking: I pictured them standing between the El and the portal, and yet there is no suggestion that it comes past them, so, my mental picture must be off.

- This is a completely chilling moment, the El going through the portal. Although, it begs the question whether that is sufficient to allow the voids to start forming on Sa Home. And, this would be the first h/world infested, I think :o  And, therefore a test of whether it is only the Ne that the El are interested in.

- "and out the other side" - Whoaaaaaaa!

(page 25)

- "They turned into the next alley, the guards following" - This is a weak last line.

OVERALL 

Good chapter, I was not immediately engaged by it, but as the stakes grew, and in particular when they came to the Imp., things god really interesting. A nice switcher to put R and Na together. We've always know that R's moral compass was a bit...off true north, I feel. For him to be working with the Eff's murderer is particularly challenging, but I can see the thought process given what they are fighting against. I'm very much anticipating the reuniting of R with his gooey-eyed friends. That is going to be interesting.

Nice work.

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Thanks @Robinski!

18 hours ago, Robinski said:

- I get that the epigraph is conveying information that, no doubt, will be useful in the course of this chapter, and there's no doubt that it is interesting, but it's not especially compelling this late in the story.

I just combined all the relevant information from this epigraph, the first part of the letter you read, and the third part into a single epigraph. This one will be replaces with something more interesting, likely some old text about how the Sath kept the Ari.

18 hours ago, Robinski said:

- "roasted desert jumper" - For me here in the UK, this reads like 'sweater'.

Lol - roasted sweaters.

18 hours ago, Robinski said:

Phrasing a bit confusing, IMO. So, does Z play N and P play J? They can't both play J, can they?

hmm...yes, the intent was that both of them played J, at alternating times. I can take this out, and may anyway, as I'm going to be revamping their characters a bit. It seems like people are confused by them, but I'm not sure why, as they played a largish part with E in book 2. 

18 hours ago, Robinski said:

And another name beginning with 'Z' that I don't remember. LC, I suppose, I do vaguely recall that.

hmm...he's also been mentioned in all three books and has had several speaking parts.

18 hours ago, Robinski said:

I think it would help my buy-in to this POV if that point was played up much more, assuming it is their motivation in coming here. Also, prey animals seems like tautology to me,

I can work on this some more. I intended prey animals in the sense of an animal that serves a purpose in being hunted, like a rabbit or mouse, rather than a sentient species.

18 hours ago, Robinski said:

Ooh, now you have my attention. This seems like new information.

This was mentioned in the memories with the Eff as well.

18 hours ago, Robinski said:

I was not immediately engaged by it, but as the stakes grew, and in particular when they came to the Imp., things god really interesting.

Seems like the first part needs some work, fortunately, I have some ideas!

18 hours ago, Robinski said:

I'm very much anticipating the reuniting of R with his gooey-eyed friends.

Lol. Now I think I may need to play this up some more.

 

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

And another name beginning with 'Z' that I don't remember. LC, I suppose, I do vaguely recall that.

hmm...he's also been mentioned in all three books and has had several speaking parts.

I'm going to retract this comment. I think possibly I was being a bit lazy there, and if I'd been reading rather than critiquing, I'm not sure if I would have had this concern.

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

I'm very much anticipating the reuniting of R with his gooey-eyed friends.

Lol. Now I think I may need to play this up some more.

It's just soooooo, R. These are the little details that do the work of half a page of description, IMO.

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It was refreshing to get back to Re and see what he was up to. I liked the pacing and the tension throughout. 

In some parts of the middle, I kept questioning which people were Ari and which weren't. Later, you had name / name, which made it much clearer. I think if it were consistently written like that, at least when Re know who he was talking to, it would tighten things up a bit. 

The magi in this scene seemed to have easier time killing the Elg than other magi had. That was interesting.

Seeing the Ari break cover was a great way to up the tension and danger.

One of the things that surprised me about this chapter was that none of the Ari assassins shifted to look like the Elg as E had. It seemed to be the first thing all her voices thought of.

I agree with Re that this won't be the end of those Ari. The Bl... actually seem to the most well equipped at fighting the Elg, aside from a group of Magi working together. 

I'm looking forward to reading more next week!

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11 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

n some parts of the middle, I kept questioning which people were Ari and which weren't. Later, you had name / name, which made it much clearer. I think if it were consistently written like that, at least when Re know who he was talking to, it would tighten things up a bit. 

Good idea. I can put this into the other chapter too.

11 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

The magi in this scene seemed to have easier time killing the Elg than other magi had. That was interesting.

I don't really say it, but that's because the non-Neth maji are more used to using it as a weapon!

11 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

One of the things that surprised me about this chapter was that none of the Ari assassins shifted to look like the Elg as E had. It seemed to be the first thing all her voices thought of.

Interesting. I didn't even think of that. I guess I was thinking that if they were going to reveal themselves, they'd go for a form that killed the Elg directly, rather than trying to blend in.

11 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I agree with Re that this won't be the end of those Ari. The Bl... actually seem to the most well equipped at fighting the Elg, aside from a group of Magi working together. 

Definitely!

Thanks @shatteredsmooth!

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5 hours ago, Mandamon said:

I don't really say it, but that's because the non-Neth maji are more used to using it as a weapon!

17 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

I was thinking that might be the case. 

5 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Interesting. I didn't even think of that. I guess I was thinking that if they were going to reveal themselves, they'd go for a form that killed the Elg directly, rather than trying to blend in.

17 hours ago, shatteredsmooth said:

That makes sense too. 

Not having the same set of voices, they might have stronger fight instincts too as opposed to blend in and get away. 

 

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Usual disclaimer, didn't read other comments.

Thoughts as I go:

Pg 1: My boy Re is back! It's been a while, bud.

Pg 2, "except serve a as a snack" 

Pg 2, "little more than a plaything," Oh, absolutely. Something amusing to watch. A pet maybe. Or maybe like a cow. You pet the cow and think the cow is all cool and stuff, until you want a hamburger. Then, bye cow. 

Pg 4, "play with these Snakeys?” Revenge? Or because it is fun? 

Pg 4, " splitting it into a gaping maw" This is going to end up as an awkwardly short chapter with a happy, full Ari.

Pg 6, "to show them the error of their ways." I'm thinking motivations lean much stronger towards "vengeance for genocide" than simply "revenge is a dish best served by playing with your food." 

Pg 7, "Yer could lead them head-on into a fight with them aliens, eyah." That's one way to kill off all your enemies. Send them to be slaughtered.

Pg 7, "I refer not only to his flesh, but to our desire for revenge." he he he

Pg 8, "he was of no more use"

Pg 8, "Here he was alone most of the time" This contradicts that he was watched 24/7 to prevent portal making.

Pg 10, " they are looking for something," My guess is S? Or maybe S is just a very annoying hindrance that they wish to remove while they search for something else...

Pg 12, "her face contorting in rage" Uh oh.

Pg 16, "We/I am must have/want/find the energy/power offered/taken." This is going to get much worse, isn't it...

Pg 16, "two granddames arguing in different languages about whose kids were prettier." This is why I like Re's POV.

Pg 16, “This, it was merely a misunderstanding." Or you are a crazy, fanatic fool.

Pg 17, “Us, we try again,” Unwise.

Pg 17, " the guards had not interfered" I have a lot of respect for the guards. They're crazy continually saving this old bat, but it takes a lot of guts to stand up to an Elg once you know that, hey man, negotiations are working.

Pg 18, "It struggled and reached toward them," Effective for the moment, but I doubt this is a solution.

Pg 18, "exploded like a squished hopper" Huh. Maybe it is a kind of solution. I admit I am very surprised. I want to know exactly what they did with the Symphony.

Pg 18, “Me, I must have the answer,” Let's just kill everyone until you are satisfied, Z. Thrilling idea.

Pg 20, "Us, we invite you to our homes.” This is arguably the most terrible and stupidest idea I have ever heard of, and yet, I can think that an old loonie fanatic would actually do this. 

Pg 20, " It walked through as if the circle of blackness was a mere shadow." Oh, thank heavens. They're trapped. That at least means the worlds are safe, for now. 

Pg 22, "Where had P gone?" RIP

Pg 23, "bits of it disappearing" Not the best weight loss strategy. 

Pg 23, " No time to check." I'm finding this chapter quite tense. I'm getting all jittery. I'm not sure if Re will make it, and I am very fond of him.

Pg 27, "They turned into the next alley, the guards following." Out of danger, for now. I'm relieved. I didn't think Re was going to make it for a hot sec. 

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Thanks @Snakenaps!

1 hour ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 2, "little more than a plaything," Oh, absolutely. Something amusing to watch. A pet maybe. Or maybe like a cow. You pet the cow and think the cow is all cool and stuff, until you want a hamburger. Then, bye cow. 

Ooo. That's disturbing. And probably accurate.

1 hour ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 8, "Here he was alone most of the time" This contradicts that he was watched 24/7 to prevent portal making.

Thanks for the catch! I'll actually be adding a character in this section from the Kickstarter, so I can have them keep an eye on Re.

1 hour ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 10, " they are looking for something," My guess is S? Or maybe S is just a very annoying hindrance that they wish to remove while they search for something else...

*waggles eyebrows*

1 hour ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 16, "two granddames arguing in different languages about whose kids were prettier." This is why I like Re's POV.

Yeah, I was pretty proud of that one.

1 hour ago, Snakenaps said:

Or you are a crazy, fanatic fool.

Check.

1 hour ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 20, "Us, we invite you to our homes.” This is arguably the most terrible and stupidest idea I have ever heard of, and yet, I can think that an old loonie fanatic would actually do this. 

I am finding a surprising amount of inspiration in the last few years.

1 hour ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 23, " No time to check." I'm finding this chapter quite tense. I'm getting all jittery. I'm not sure if Re will make it, and I am very fond of him.

Pg 27, "They turned into the next alley, the guards following." Out of danger, for now. I'm relieved. I didn't think Re was going to make it for a hot sec. 

Glad it's tense!

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26 minutes ago, Mandamon said:
1 hour ago, Snakenaps said:

Pg 16, "two granddames arguing in different languages about whose kids were prettier." This is why I like Re's POV.

Yeah, I was pretty proud of that one.

Occurs to me on reading this that most likely it would be grandkids. That is my experience of grandparents. Because, but the time they are grandparents, their kids have lost the newborn shine...somewhat :lol: 

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6 minutes ago, Robinski said:

Occurs to me on reading this that most likely it would be grandkids. That is my experience of grandparents. Because, but the time they are grandparents, their kids have lost the newborn shine...somewhat :lol: 

Quite right!

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