Peer Review by Ash (United States)

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By: Bicksby

This is how their city is founded:

"I quit," a woman said, one day, quite done with the whole war buisiness, and threw down her sword.

"What?" cried her second-in-command. "You-we're surrendering?" The words sound strange on his lips, because he has not said it in so long. He has not even thought of it, instead focusing on fighting, fighting, fighting, even though he sees their screams every time he closes his eyes.

"It's been three hundred years," she said, because her bones weep in exhaustion. "I'm sure the enemy are tired, too."

The enemy are tired. They're all tired. War is a tiring buisiness, and three hundred years of war is ridiculous.

Both are tired armies whose masters order them to fight, who do not want to fight, any more.

"What do we do?" one general asked the other. "Our kings want us to fight, our armies don't want to--"

"I suggest we all quit," she replied.

They do.

They walk away.


This is how their city is built:

The two armies find a river, and make camp there. They plan to stay a week and then head to the nearest city.

A week becomes a month, then a year. Then more years.

They throw down their swords and build homes out of mud. They build a village out of bloodied metal and broken, weeping bones. They rid themselves of their armor and their weapons. They are still tired.

Then, a wandering band of nomads, robbed recently by bandits, ask them for shelter. They oblige, because these people look tired too, tired in a way that dulls their eyes.

They come upon two lost chilrden, and take them in, too.

More and more people band together, and they build more homes, buildings of metal and stone coming to life. Their fields grow and a small village blooms into a city.

Every house is linked with one another, an interconnected spider's web of homes in a city that soon grows the whole length of the river. The leader (they tried calling him the mayor, once, but no one could say it with a straight face) makes jokes about feeling like a spider, sitting in the centre of its web. 

The inner ring is comprised of the Elders, the decision-makers and the Parliament members ("Is this a democracy?" "What's a democracy?"), and the lower rings to the workers. Interspersed are the buisinesses, of which there is an adequate amaount. That will, of course, change, soon.

They have homes all connected, and walls are not solid so much as an abstract concept. So is privacy. Privacy is a myth.

They all learn to accept anyone who wants to stay, to help build homes and to live with the concept of everyone living in one big house. The streets are rarely used, and even then, they're mostly by the children who like to play and run in the many narrow passages and winding, cobbled pathways and many, many dead ends. Whoever designed this city was crazy, they mutter, but they say it lovingly.

Once, someone tried to make a map of the place. It didn't end well.

Theirs is not a large city, or an impressive city. It isn't like that one city built of nothing but wood ("Isn't that a fire hazard?" "Shh, keep smiling.") or that other one that hangs upside-down on a cliff where everyone swings on vines to get around.

Theirs is a city that means home, that runs interconnected and safe, where people can run away and hide.

People hear of an old city filled with runaways, where people can go hide and begin anew, and they flock there. Criminals, frightened children, poor families--there is nothing sweeter than the promise of a fresh start. They come here and they build homes out of stone and mud, and the folk in the outermost ring knock down their outer wall and build an passage into their new neighbor's house.

"So," says one, a man who moved here anew with his daughter. "What do you call this place."

"Uh," says his neighbor, flailing around a bit because oh wow this place doesn't have a name how have they nevcer noticed, "We call it home, mostly."

"Home," the man says, and smiles.

Nice save, thinks his neighbor.

I have no idea what I just did. Also I think my imagination died, and I think I strayed from the promt a bit. Just a tiny bit.

Peer Review

Every house is linked with one another, an interconnected spider's web of homes in a city that soon grows the whole length of the river.
Not only is it very vivid, but it is very telling about the created culture. There's a strong sense of kinship among what we would consider total strangers

It's close-knitted, cozy, safe.

You say the "mayor" (lol) is a he, but the person who got everyone to quit was a she. Why didn't the woman take over? Who is this man?

Reviewer Comments

If it helps, I normally only know the ending and the beginning of my story when I decide to write. Sometimes I just know the protagonist's personality and the beginning line. And throughout my interactions with fellow writers, I can tell you there are very few authors who actually know what they're doing when they write a piece. So do yourself a favor and change your message to the readers from a disclaimer. Disclaimers discourage people from reading your work. If you don't think it's great, why will others?
Overall, I really liked the story you were telling. Yes, there were some spelling and grammar errors but those can easily be fixed. Nice job!