Peer Review by Norah (United States)

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Before the Battle Music Started There Was This

By: PouringOutTheSun


Okay, so you’re in the monastery and the ghosts are visiting too much again.

He, the godling, is immortalised in the stained glass and the curve of his cheek lets you think of a million and one different things. He looks up at his sister, a sharp smile melding his features into colour. The clouds around him are grey, but is that streaks of green in his hair?

It’s been five years. It’s been five years and you’ve gone half mad; how are you meant to know? Maybe you should remember his face, the plain of his shoulders and the lilt of his hips but the dead scream at you. O’ Goddess (stained glass beauty) how wretched are they? To subject you to this? How wretched are you? 

When it rains, the glass cries for you.  His face screws up and his eyes spill, all pretty and undamaged and he may have been the god of this land but he still fled, without a whisper left for your hands. It’s a thought in your head that you deserve it, it’s a thought in your head that this is fate. 

Next time, you leave the monastery at the whim of an extended hand. An older god has come back with sadness dripping and the next thing you know the blood of bandits is splashing hot against your face until he (your boy, the pretty crying one,) barrels into the battlefield from above. He bursts and he bursts and he bursts but he’s so scarred. When did he get all those scars? 

He is changed. So are you. 

The reunion should feel like pain relief, like the day has finally broken and lended itself to you, but he’s angry. He says you’re arrogant to think the dead would come back and talk to you. How could they possibly do that; when the dead have never once, not even for a second, come back to to talk to him?

He curls himself over you (anger is not a new emotion but it should not be paired with those eyes,) and has to be dragged away. You watch with a slack mouth and feel a residual shiver work its way up your spine. The boy god is back and he rather looks like glass that a hammer has been taken to.  

You take a breath and breathe in the space where he just stood. It tastes like lightning.

And that’s the chase of daybreak; dawn is here. Let not the new light show your bloodied teeth.

Message to Readers

So, anybody who has played Fire Emblem: Three Houses may notice some similarities but this work isn’t like,,,, *that* character. You know, your one. Three Houses is just a fantastically pretty game which became my favourite incessantly quickly so now I’m being a tad bit inspired by it, okey-dokey. I’m sorry if this is jerky, it feels like it is, but I tried to fix it up as best I could. Also, the version change because I didn’t like the last title.

Peer Review

So, the writing is beautiful. Like genuinely, a very visually appealing and moving piece.

I kinda, didn't understand anything that was happening in this piece? That, of course, didn't matter, I got all the emotional beats, if that's what you were going for. However, the monastery, green hair, the sister, those didn't really carry through, and I imagine it's purposeful but the reader does not know why. Just some thoughts.

Reviewer Comments

Thank you for this piece and good luck with the writing!