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May 6th - akoebel - Shrouds Chapter 4


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This is chapter 4 from Shrouds, a fantasy mystery.


Mahau, god of Vengeance, has been asked to investigate three gods disappearances.


In this chapter, Mahau and his priestess Neda go to the first crime scene.


I hope you'll enjoy it.

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Pg 2-4: I didn't get the impression Mahau was that upset with Neda's impertinence before.  Now it seems like he's going to call her out for doing the same things she did before.  I got the feeling this sort of attitude toward Neda matched Arlon's personality more than Mahau's.


Pg 6: Hmm...then a few pages later he's much more lenient with her again. No punishment for her speaking out of turn.  This matches Mahau a lot more.


Pg 3: Interesting "inside" comments on the gods' approach to worship.  I like Mahau's thoughts about gathering followers and his comments on the "barbaric" regional gods.  You may want to provide a little more explanation for how they are categorized.  You've mentioned regional gods several times.  How are they different from Mahau and others?


Pg 4: There's a very easy changeover between Mahau and Mandos.  Mahau also seems pretty unconcerned that Mandos might lose him some followers.  I'm wondering what the penalty is when Mahau loses people.  Do his powers weaken?  You might answer this later, but the thought popped into my head as I was reading.


Pg 9: There's still some flip-flopping with both Neda's and Mahau's actions toward each other.  One moment they seem like an old married couple, the next a very formal priestess and god.  Seems inconsistent.

--Ok...I got to this point before I realized you had switched POVs between Mahau and Neda.  Maybe I just overlooked it, but you might want to take a look at pgs 6-9.  There may be some confused POV in those pages.


Pg 13: "I especially liked the bodies of murdered people with all those clues lying around their bodies.’"
-That comes across kind of creepy.  Also odd that they are so familiar and Mahau doesn't know a lot about her?


Pg 17: The shell/shroud conversation is unclear.  I'm not sure you've explained the magic system well enough to get this meaning across yet.


You're starting to get into the story here, and it's intriguing, but I think you're also starting to get ahead of yourself with the magic system. You may need to add some more description for how it works and how gods work before you jump fully into the culture.


Looking forward to next time!

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Why did you decide to set the story with gods? 


I ask because so far, I don't understand why have a gods story since everything thats going on is very human. 

Since you're creating your own magic/ mythos system, You haven't established what uniquely makes this story better told with gods who can kill each other, as main characters. 


Because of this, I'm not invested in finding out what happens next. Not that I would stop reading, more like if you decided to just stop, I won't think over it much. 


Also, if you were to try to summarize what this story is about to a passer by, what would you say? This might help me to know where you're coming from since I don't read much about magic systems. I might be bias and don't know it. 


As for Neda's background, it makes sense she's the priestess of the god of vengeance  What doesn't make sense is why she and head priestess, left her temple to a foreign god and doesn't over see that the followers aren't neglected. 

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Thanks to you both.


I tried to have Mahau and Neda behave a bit differently when there are other people around and when they're alone. For Mahau's part, he's used to her behavior and accepts it, but he's bothered by what he believes should be proper etiquette when they're not alone. He doesn't want to antagonize her too much, but at times, he wishes she would be more conventional.


That was the idea. I might have mixed things up a bit, so I'll have to check if each reaction is the right one for the context.


For the magic system, I worried a bit about that part.

If you read the previous chapters, you know pretty much everything you need to know (they create pockets where the laws of the universe inside differ from those outside by changing distances - having created a Shroud leaves a mark proportional to the change that can be detected).

The point here is that someone very skilled can add effects from more than one Shroud. In this case, the two were exact opposites so they would cancel one another from the outside, but not exactly in a very small area (I based this behavior on Gauss' Theorem). As I was trained as a physicist, this is very natural to me, and my alpha readers (physicists too) didn't notice this would be hard to understand for someone else.

I'll have to think a bit about explaining it better. Thanks for pointing it out.


@cetriya : Since this story is a mystery, describing it would spoil things. What I wanted to do was a God-Detective story, which I found a funny juxtaposition. For the overall mechanics of godhood, it works pretty much as the Returned in Warbreaker - humans do become gods sometimes and stop ageing. Their status is very dependent on them maintaining a solid worshiping base.


For Neda, let's just say that she has her own reasons to come and that Mahau is in no position to refuse her.

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