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AuthorityHellas16 - When Good Angels Do Nothing - Chapters 7 & 8 - 4691 words [V,D]


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Hi all,

Hope everyone has had a great holiday season and an even better new year! 
Here are the final two chapters of Part 1 of When Good Angels Do Nothing. This will be my last submission for a couple of weeks, as I’ve just moved cities and am starting my first job tomorrow. I’ll still comment on other people’s stuff, of course, and I’ll be back on the 25th January. Thanks to everyone who commented on my work so far; you’ve all been incredibly helpful!
The usual comments on these chapters would be great; plot, characters (especially Hellas, Robinski!), world building issues etc. etc. 
Last Time:
Hellas returned to Heaven after his battle and was grudgingly welcomed back into the Council. After three hours of ineffective debate, he worked on improving his White Faces and travelled into the Void, where he met the spirit of the legendary Forger Raziel. Upon hearing that Heaven was at war with Lucifer and his renegades, Raziel agreed to return to real space from the Void and help Hellas defend his people. The next day, Hellas took a class of students onto Caelus Island to instruct them in combat theory. Despite being assured by the Inquisition that there would be no hellspawn activity, a small force of berserkers ambushed his students. Hellas was able to fight them off, but he fell unconscious due to the strain and his students suffered heavy casualties…
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Happy New Year to you, Hellas - hope it's a good one. Straight to business...


Detailed comments below, but I'm coming back to my previous concern about the way that the Trinity are portrayed. I still struggle to believe them to be so naive and unworldly, inexperienced in governance but, even more heinously, in ‘human’ nature - details below.


[Edit: Err, just spotted that I only read Chapter 7 before I posted! Clearly it's getting too late for me, off to bed, post the rest tomorrow.]




My perfect memory captured every inch of her slim figure perfectly: her golden hair, crystal-blue eyes, wispy wings of silver light.” – Does he have a perfect memory? Is that because it’s eidetic, or do you men perfect in the sense that it’s an ideal memory, i.e. not necessarily perfect recall?


If he thought she was safe, then he wasn’t making a choice between others or her dying.


tall, slim silhouette of Zhènyì, one of the most experienced healers in the city” – is this a female character? Beware of giving all the females in your story idealised (so called) body forms – mainly because it’s not realistic, but also because it reinforces a pernicious social stereotype – it also makes your story read like Baywatch. You don’t have to make her (is it a ‘her’?) Size 18, just don’t mention her measurements at all, unless they are relevant to character or plot.


Hellas, we…we were off duty. It took me ages to get the unit together and we had to get our equipment and organise ourselves and” – Something I meant to say last week in response to your response to my response to your Chapters 5 and 6 was in relation to the incompetency of the Council that you are aiming for. I think you need to emphasise that more – that it’s the Council’s fault. Even with that, I fear that it still makes people like Hellas, Catherine and Michael look incompetent – like here.


Looking at the text that follows, about the Trinity standing the host down, it sounds like it’s something that they did on the spur of the moment, not something endemic in the procedures that are followed on a regular basis. If procedures are lax, why would they have to order the Host down, would it not happen automatically? What’s the threat level today, ‘Low’? Stand down the host then. It would be a decision made based on a procedure rather than the Trinity intervening in day-to-day military matters.


Having said that, I find it hard to go along with. What is the cost to the Trinity in keeping the Host on constant readiness, even if just a skeleton or reduced force? They can’t be concerned about wages, presumably there is no economy.


If it was idiocy, and Hellas knew this, why did he take the kids out on a training mission? It’s like he believed one thing, but acted according to the opposite. It seems inconsistent.


No, hang on – I’ve dropped through a rabbit-hole somewhere. This is heaven. Isn’t everyone here dead already, or has never been alive at all? When you talk about people being dead – do you mean dead? Where have they gone?


If I’d had my way they wouldn’t have been anywhere near that beach.” – Whhaaaaaaat?! I know he tried to send them away, but he did take them to the beach in the first place. He took them out of the classroom, where they were intended to be, and took them to the beach – even though he disagreed with the policy of the Host being stood down, and therefore presumably disagree with prediction of threat levels, and yet he acted on the basis of those predictions. This is what I'm talking about in relation to inconsistency.


I don’t think there’s anyone here who holds you responsible for what happened to our children” – Maybe they should, or would if they knew what had happened.


All the parents being so calm a forgiving seemed a bit too convenient to me.


Elohim being open-mouthed with shock and gasping just feels wrong to me. I still struggle with how one so obviously fragile and inexperienced in statesmanship could be the king of heaven, but also could have created the world in seven days. There’s basically no nuance or subtlety to the Trinity, and they act so stupidly, so naively, that it makes them unconvincing, I believe.


He pushed past Rakha” – is the sprite not like 6 inches long or something?


It is because we have mollycoddled him that he has become this arrogant” – sounds about right.


The end of this chapter certainly is interesting. I'm happy to believe the conflict between Hellas and the Trinity, but it’s their passivity and stupidity that bothers me. I'm just not convinced by it, and that prospect of them leaving heaven undefended when there have been attacks is relatively recent memory, certainly in their terms, and they know that Lucifer is still around.

Edited by Robinski
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Pretty much the same reaction as Robinksi to this one.  What the heck is the Trinity doing?  More expounded on that in notes below.


No, hang on – I’ve dropped through a rabbit-hole somewhere. This is heaven. Isn’t everyone here dead already, or has never been alive at all? When you talk about people being dead – do you mean dead? Where have they gone?

Yep.  I get this same reaction every once in a while as well.



Good sequel to the attack, starting out. Good to focus on how the deaths affect the people in the city.

pg 6: Hellas is really worn out here. It would be be good to put some of this into the last submission when he's casting spells, to show what the effect will be.

pg 7: I have no idea how the Trinity stays in power. They seem to be completely incompetent, lazy, and unintelligent. If they don't even bother to look for Hellspawn outside their gate, that's pretty bad. The closest I can think of is the French royalty, and we know what happened to them.


pg 8: "Paracleatus demanded, his skin finally erupting in orange fire."
--The trinity all seems so apathetic, I'm wondering why Paracleatus is angry?

pg 8: "We are doing all we can."
--obviously not, if they could have seen or done something about the hellspawn.

pg 9: Strange switch to outside Hellas' POV (Elohim's POV?). Also, I don't understand why Elohim is so sad. If he admits something is wrong, why doesn't he just fix it? He is literally God.

pg 9: "Hellas intended to find out why the Devil wanted to meet him."
--So does Lucifer now equate with the Devil? I'm not sure you've used that name before.

pg 10, top paragraph: I did not catch that this was Catherine's POV until right before it switched back to Hellas.

pg 11: "Elohim’s ancient fortress, built centuries before Heaven was created"
--There are a lot of worldbuilding questions packed into this line...

pg 12: "The hologram pointed at the stone wall to his right."
--The what now? There was no indication previous that Lucifer was a hologram.

pg 13: Lucifer's giving him armor? Interesting.

pg 14: "there was only one response to Lucifer’s gift."
--Really? I would have refused a gift with so many possible traps from my sworn enemy...

pg 15: I like the cliffhanger at the end. Nice to see Elohim actually doing something.  Still concerned about his incompetence...


I really like the story overall, just have some doubts here and there.  Looking forward to next week.

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- Really not a fan of the "Only a dream" opening.


- I also don't like the haunted by a lost loved one. It feels very trite and overused. You might look at real-world cases of PTSD to come up with something more interesting and original.


- Like the detail that Temujin was the last to die. It really twists the knife in Hellas.


- And the reaction of Temujin's father makes it even worse.


- I like the introduction of the Trinity as well.  


- It's a little awkward that the POV shifts to the Trinity after Hellas leaves. Seems inconsistent with the rest of the chapters. It might be better if we saw the Trinity's POV beforehand.


- While I'm interested about Lucifer's intentions for giving him this gift, it's hard to see Hellas taking such a gift under any condition, especially with what just happened.


- The plot is moving though and I'm curious what Elohim has in mind. Curious what happens next. 

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Sorry I've been a bit behind on replying (and on commenting on other submissions). As always, thanks for the feedback.


I'm coming back to my previous concern about the way that the Trinity are portrayed



Since you and Mandamon have been raising this for a little while now I had to take a step back and think about it. Originally, the Trinity were designed to appear apathetic, incompetent and kinda useless. This was meant to spur Hellas' desire for change and advance the plot. However, you guys raised the obvious question: how would they have stayed in power so long. 


The solution I came up with requires a major rewrite of many of the scenes involving the Trinity, but I think it's a more satisfying plot twist. Rather than them being merely apathetic, I have it that Elohim is so weakened by centuries of strain that He is basically on life support, sealed inside a Vault at the centre of the Temple and tended to by Logos and Paracleatus. This leaves the day-to-day running of the city to the Council (who are the main source of Hellas' ire anyway). Elohim is worshipped as a God by the people for His past deeds (creating the angels, leading the archangels out of slavery etc.) but He has not been seen in the flesh for hundreds of years. This fixes a number of issues:


- When Lucifer breaks into the Temple, he is stopped by the Vault. This fixes the issue where the Trinity just stared at him and waited for him to kill them

- Explains how they stay "in command" for so long; Elohim is more a symbol than an actual king. He's the centre of a cult, a great man that has descended into myth (much like some people view Jesus)

- Allows Hellas to focus on the Council as the source of incompetence in Heaven, giving him (and by proxy the reader) one group to hate

- Makes scenes where He actually leaves the Temple and skulks around doing His own thing more impactful.


I think this is a better fix than simply handwaving it away, but it will require quite a bit of reworking. 


Having said that, I find it hard to go along with. What is the cost to the Trinity in keeping the Host on constant readiness, even if just a skeleton or reduced force? They can’t be concerned about wages, presumably there is no economy.



Funny you should say that; Heaven does have an economy and there are wages. But your reasoning is sound, as usual. I've amended it so the Steel Hawks are on standby and come to help Hellas. Temujin and the students return to assist (out of exuberance more than anything) and that's what gets them all killed. I feel this makes a little more sense.


No, hang on – I’ve dropped through a rabbit-hole somewhere. This is heaven. Isn’t everyone here dead already, or has never been alive at all? When you talk about people being dead – do you mean dead? Where have they gone?



The angels, like humans and Sokham and all other intelligent beings, rest in the Void when they die. I thought I explained this with Hellas' trip into the Void in Chapter 5. Was it confusing?


"there was only one response to Lucifer’s gift."

--Really? I would have refused a gift with so many possible traps from my sworn enemy...



This is actually brought up in the next chapter. Hellas shows the armour to Scrios, because he's unsure of what to do with it. Scrios calls him out on being stupid enough to accept a gift from Lucifer. Hopefully that explains away the confusion a little.


I also don't like the haunted by a lost loved one. It feels very trite and overused. You might look at real-world cases of PTSD to come up with something more interesting and original.



During my psychiatry rotations, I have had the opportunity to interview patients with PTSD, so I have a fair idea of what it can be like. Hellas' battle fatigue and flashbacks with regards to his Fourth Company are as realistic for PTSD as I could make them. The Jessica angle is a little more Hollywood-y. I do agree it's an overused trope, but I wanted to make the arc for Hellas more about the healing and recovery than the pain; most times I've seen it it's all about the character being dark and brooding because of his dark and troubled past; I wanted to show a character that is able to move past the pain. That's an angle that I don't think is actually explored much in popular media, so that was my rationale for creating the Jessica arc. What do you think?


Thanks again for all the feedback. This is actually the first time I've showed this to anyone else, so plot problems like this are to be expected. You're all helping me iron out the problems, both major and minor :)

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I really like the changes to Elohim.  I've seen "God as prisoner" used before (in stories that escape my memory at the moment) and that works very well to explain both the "why is there evil" question and to help the story when it has an omnipotent/omniscient character.


On dead people going to the void, I don't think I caught that, so you might need to make it clearer.  

The other issue, of course, is that traditionally humans go to heaven when they die, so having humans and angels all go to the same place is  a little confusing to the reader and might need clarity.

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I'm usually not a fan of the dream opening (especially when it's VERY DRAMATIC until the moment where HA, IT WAS A DREAM ALL ALONG), but having Hellas state that it was a dream while it was happening made it better. Also, it revealed a bit of his backstory, though I would have liked a bit more in the way of specifics. 


The parade of dead students' parents was odd. Especially given that Hellas summoned them. There must be some of them who are bitter, did none of them refuse the invite?


On page five. Hellas couldn't move anything more than his neck, but later the same day he'd out the door? Even with the assistance of the glaive - no.


Elohim... I like that he's flawed, but he seems very deeply flawed here and I'm not sure how things keep running smoothly. I know there are places in the world where MASSIVE propaganda machines make people think their leaders are infallible, but those leaders keep that veil of infallibility by making sure nobody questions them the way Hellas does here. It feels like everything should have fallen completely apart long ago.

ADDENDUM: Reading others comments and your response above, I think the new way you plan to address Elohim is pretty good. Definitely better than the complete failure of a person method.


The armour: It's an interesting premise, the mask for Hellas to use when he and Lucifer are working to the same end, but I cannot accept Hellas going along with it unless I know what it is he and Lucifer will be doing together. I think this has to be absolutely clear going in, especially when entering into a bargain with the Devil himself. I'd need to at least have an idea here of what their approach is going to be to replacing Elohim (and with whom, because Hellas' main concern is going to be the people currently under Elohim's protection).


Leaving aside the issues above, I found this to be a much stronger submission than the previous one. In general, I know why Hellas is doing what he's doing, and I can buy into most of it. Proof of point, I was engrossed enough that I didn't notice any grammatical errors, so well done :)

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Hey Shrike. As always thanks for taking it apart. I think the last few chapters have needed you to eviscerate them, so I really appreciate it!


I'm taking a slow and steady approach to revealing Hellas' backstory, mainly because there's little reason to in the context of the plot. If I were to reveal big chunks of it, I'd probably stray into long "as you know" soliloquies. It could end up resembling M. Night Shamylan's abysmal "the Last Airbender" adaptation, which was 90% characters waxing lyrical about past events that everyone they're talking to already knew. Whenever I have the chance throughout the book to reveal a bit of Hellas' backstory, I take it, but I desperately want to avoid those three horrible words, as you know :P.


I kept the parents scene in for its emotional impact, but you and others here have pointed out it's a little strange. Instead, I changed it to have an Inquisitor come and blackmail Hellas into silence regarding the massacre. This not only tips Hellas over the edge and gets him out of the Infirmary and into a shouting match with Gabriel (changed from the Trinity in the original), but also reinforces the city's undercurrent of 1984-esque censorship. I feel it's much better. 


I'm glad you like the changes to the Trinity. I've implemented them fully, but this scene was the biggest change to make, so there won't be much more of it in the rest of the book. 


As for the armour, I've made it much more explicit that Hellas and Lucifer are two enemies working towards the same goal. They don't cooperate or do anything together, but are instead approaching it from different angles. I even have Lucifer say that once the Council and the Trinity are gone, he and Hellas will decide "who is fit to rule" Heaven. This hopefully makes it clear that Hellas is not going to ally with the hellspawn in any way, and Lucifer does not expect him to. The question remains, then: what does Lucifer gain out of helping Hellas? That is a question that won't be answered for quite a while, unfortunately ;)


Thanks again for your feedback. It's such a help :)

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