Peer Review by loveletterstosappho (United States)

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Beyond the Veil of Silence - Prologue

By: Kahasai


    Prologue - Six months ago
    The Underground wore a constant quiet.  The quiet was its cloak, its mask to hide the secrets it held. Catt Zim's steps were soft on the cool ground, not daring to interrupt the silence. A rip in the quiet would awake the people who lived here, if she were unlucky enough to be close to another person.
    Obsidian stone shone all around her, their reflective, multi-colored surface adding light to the otherwise dark tunnel. No one knew how the Underground was created. Miles of tunnels, paved with obsidian and smoothed to a shine; it had been there for longer than the wildren had been tracking its history.
    Though the Underground was the headquarters of the wildren clan, it was almost always empty. This often benefited Catt's careful trespassing into her uncle's study.
    Dust swirled around her feet and hands. Firelight danced across her vision and marked the stones with flame.
    She paused by a wooden door. It was rather plain, for being the door that led to the wildren's leader's study.
    After some slow, careful work with her lock-picks, she was able to turn the knob and slide inside, gently closing the door behind her.
    The study was circular, with shelves covered in books and random items. The desk was neatly stacked with papers. Behind the desk was another door.
    Catt crossed the study and went to the door. She quickly picked the lock and entered the room behind the door.
This room was dark. Unlit torches sat in conclaves in the walls, which stretched out a long ways in front of her. Shelves tightly packed with books and papers lined the walls. Every few feet, line of paper was broken by a marker with a date.
Catt squeezed a hand into a fist, feeling her muscles, her blood, and her energy. Her wild energy that flowed through her being and made her one of the wildren. She awoke the energy.
    The world sharpened with detail. The dust filled her nose. Her tunic and pants rubbed her skin, her belt with her daggers squeezing into her waist. She could see farther, see the cracks in the shelves, the yellowed pages of paper.
    Only the silence remained.
    She lit a torch with a matchstick, and set off down the passage. The farther into the room she went, the older the dates became.
    Occasionally, she would come across another hall that held more books and papers. She turned down one and continued, and at last slowed when she reached the date from twelve years ago; the year she was three years old.
    Dust layered the paper--the files. She pulled out one sheet of paper and read it. It was a report on the humans' queen. Several things were noted, including that the queen had given birth to a healthy baby boy named Soraj.
    She glanced around.
    Her uncle wouldn't magically appear. He was busy trying to settle if the rumors about a skin-thief in the country was true.
    Each paper or book had a little tag, marking who had written the report. She traced the tags with a finger, and stopped when she reached a tag marked with the name Zim, Unais.
        She pulled the file out and began to read. She paused for a moment. It wasn't an official report; it was a letter, directed to her uncle.

I'm in Guander right now. Sometime last night, the journal was stolen. I don't know how and I don't know why. More bad news: Hagen was spotted in the area. I'll try to catch her.
I can't tell you what it is through a letter, but know I found something. Something to do with the Borlædesan's son. Spirits aren't all they seem to be. There is so much more to them than we know. So much they don't want us to know. I'm sorry--I can't tell you through a letter. If they realize I know this, they'll kill me.
Tell Catt and Nyra I love them.
- Unais

    The paper fell from Catt's fingers. It drifted to the ground, gentle in the dust. She just stared as it fell, the world suddenly feeling fuzzy.
    After a long moment, she picked up the paper and held it up, checking the date. It was from the summer, twelve years ago; just before Unais and his wife--her parents--had been killed. It had been at the hands of Hagen, or so Catt had been told. That was what Kiore had said. That was what she remembered.
    This was the first time she'd ever heard mention of it being because of the spirits.

    One death slid by, then another. As a tick and a tock, without so much as a slice of a knife, lives disappeared.
When the deaths turned into slavery, people finally took note. But did nothing. They continued on with their lives, as people do. They ignored the specters in the sky, creatures that appeared so benign in the human memory, but were anything but benign. They were dangerous, sometimes violent creatures. What was worse, was that they were cunning. They lived far longer than the mere mortals below them and held a power unlike any other, a power that seemed worthless until the day one realized that even to themselves, they were far different than anything anyone had ever assumed.


That is the newest (and at last, not too shabby) beginning of my pain-in-the-arse WIP, which you read why it's such a pain here, why those interludes are problems here (skip to the footnotes, or to the newest version), and the blurb here.

Message to Readers

I didn't think I'd be excited to share this, since I'm mostly publishing this to demonstrate my use of interludes, but here I am, feeling excited.

Peer Review

It's a suspenseful prologue, which I think is very delightful!

Obviously, I'd love to know who the characters are, what's happening, etc, but that's the beauty of the prologue and what it's supposed to do.

Reviewer Comments