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Lizzie Brookes
August 3rd, 2019, 05:30 PM
Afer being advised to show not tell I redrafted this story. I hope you will like the new version. Any critque is welcome. Thanks. :)


Ajun and Mendes

“All beings are born equal” was an indisputable truth among the twelve deities of the planet Utania, although ironically it was a statement subject to debate amongst the beings themselves.

Kameko Katsumi, the museum guide of Immersion Gallery directed the attention of the tourists towards these words, emblazoned in golden writing.

“Beings are any form of sentient life which is not an animal, plant or deity. Beings can comprise elves, nekos, nymphs, parohumans, and many others” he began with a strong Ospin accent. “As you know all beings are subject to the eternal laws of the universe. One of these laws is that all beings have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Another is that no being is permitted to discriminate against any other being for any reason whatsoever. Any being who breaks these eternal laws suffer the wrath of the Gods.”

The guide hesitated, not wanting to come across as a preacher. He drew the attention of the tourists to the words once more.

“This phrase has been coined by none other than Thomasina Kirk, President of Aiwren and is indeed part of the Aiwren Constitution of Rights”.

Some of the tourists nodded in response. Kameko continued, “Something the President believes most strongly is that combining personal convictions with political decisions and forming groups which are overly rigid in their customs generally leads to division, conflict, and all manner of other problems.”

Kameko walked on. He stopped by a tapestry. “Ah yes, Delves…they used to be elves but they became corrupted through their constant disregard of the universal laws of liberty and equality, as you can see”. He gestured towards the tapestry. The eyes of the tourists widened.

“As you can see their corruption has manifested outwardly, not only in their words and actions but also in their appearance.” He sighed. “They are well known as having an insatiable thirst for power and control but they are also delusional. They project their own desires onto the Gods and claim that whatever they say is the will of the deities when in reality it is their will. They revel in their own corruption and in reality are abhorrent to the deities”.

After a pause he continued “Of course, they do govern some parts of the world but…”he shrugged “Evil will never be eradicated completely. Still, I’m a museum guide not a philosopher.”

Kameko walked on and stopped by a painting. “Caliadne, the mother of Mendes”.

An elf in the tourist group stared in awe at the beautiful water nymph.

“And with her is Mendes’ father, Sesupti Gyasi, a parohuman.”

The elf smiled at the portrait. Mendes Gyasi was a famous ballet composer, and recognised classicist, as well as being one of her favourite composers. She knew from her history that he had been obliged to seek a career in the civil service, due to the deficiency in opportunity for a musical career in Serlacca, Asmor where he was born and raised. She had read his biography with admiration.

She moved on with the rest of the tour group and finally saw a portrait of Mendes. He was intelligent and musically inclined. She was grateful that Kemera, the goddess of Art, Music and Culture, aware of his talent and destiny had descended to Utania in the form of a Conure parohuman.

The elf gazed at two more paintings; Kemera in her divine form and Kemera tutoring Mendes under the alias of Essena Petrovna.

The guide’s words broke into the elf’s drifting thoughts.

“As many of us now know Mendes only had romantic relationships with men but he lived in a country governed by Delves so he was compelled for his own safety to conceal his sexuality.”

The guide led the group to a painting of Ajun, the God of Life, Healing and Medicine, who had his arm round a man the elf recognised as Mendes.

“Both deities and mortals have always been aware that Ajun falls in love with both men and women. Even the Delves do not dare to openly criticise the deities though I am surprised the numerous floods, droughts, and earthquakes in the countries they govern hasn’t made them reconsider their harsh regimes.”

“The legend goes that Ajun descended to Utania, taking the form of a Pionus parohuman”. Kameko gestured towards Ajun’s bronze skin, brilliant blue eyes, and long, straight, blue and white hair. “We now know that Mendes was immediately struck by his outward appearance the moment he laid eyes on him. He wrote to his brother describing him and I quote, as a “youth of stunning beauty”. Ajun posed as a servant named Pushkin Kaphiri but Gods possess supernatural powers and immortality where the parohumans do not hence why Ajun could never offer Mendes a long term relationship or marriage.”

“Did the Gods know?” asked a Neko.

“Yes” confirmed Kameko. “They were aware of the relationship but deities and mortals…” he laughed. “That happens almost all the time. Look at all the paintings that have accumulated in the museums. The Gods unlike the Delves value the happiness of one of their own over social conventions so even if a long term relationship happened, they would turn a blind eye”.

The Neko smiled. The elf then spoke up. “Serlacca being a homophobic city must have given Ajun and Mendes difficulty”. Kameko nodded.

“Yes. Ajun concealed his divine identity from the other beings, as well as taking care to conceal his relationship with Mendes from the Delves to ensure the safety of his lover. Still, they did not succeed in permanent concealment. That would have been impossible. Rumours spread through Serlacca that the famous composer was in a relationship with a God. The Gods can’t interfere with free will or change anything that is fated to happen so…”

Kameko moved on to a painting which depicted Ajun in his parohuman form watching a black swan fly away above him.

“Ajun couldn’t combat the homophobia prevalent in Serlacca so he transformed Mendes into a beautiful black swan”.

“Wow”.

Some of the tourists gazed enraptured at the painting.

“Mendes also described Ajun as an “angelic creature, with whom (he) was more in love than ever”.

The elf nodded remembering from the biography she had read.

“Well, if you will follow me we will now proceed to the tapestries and paintings depicting the Lupians, Lycans and Werewolves”.

Ralph Rotten
August 4th, 2019, 04:01 AM
Looks like you got some great practice on the mechanics of writing. Your text was fairly clear, and you covered a lot of ground.
The first sentence needs to be shortened or split in half...kind of klunky.

But the real problem, the thing that made the rest of it difficult, was the second line:
"Kameko Katsumi, the museum guide of Immersion Gallery directed the attention of the tourists towards these words, emblazoned in golden writing."

What happened was that your character intro was so brief that I had trouble keeping track of Kameko (I didn't realize that Kameko and the museum guide were the same.) Is Kameko also an elf?

You may consider doing a little more with the intro for that character. Enough to establish the character in the reader's mind. Otherwise it's just names on a page.
Always remember: the characters are more important than the story itself.

Lizzie Brookes
August 4th, 2019, 08:48 AM
Thanks for the feedback, glad you enjoyed the story. I'll see what I can do.

Bard_Daniel
August 5th, 2019, 03:39 AM
I didn't really get into this. The dialogue felt so stilted and the progression forced that it was hard for me to enjoy it. I know that this is meant to be a fantasy story, but I wasn't able to appreciate what it was that you were trying to do.

Just my amateur 0.02c.

Lizzie Brookes
August 5th, 2019, 05:07 PM
Dialogue's one of the areas in which I'm weak. What I was trying to do was - well most of the objecton to same sex love comes from people who claim to be religious which is meaningless and illogical because believing in God, life after death, fate or whatever has nothing to do with falling in love with someone of the same sex - okay you can't have children but given the overpopulation problem in some countries that is a blessing - I also put a spin on Thomas Jefferson's words which I thought would attract people but I can understand if not everyone likes the story - when I read short stories I like some and not others.

LaMDoH123
September 8th, 2019, 11:43 PM
Like the sense of a lived-in world you give, with all sorts of little details like names and places just thrown out there. Maybe it's just me, but I think one of the best ways to world-build is to just throw it out there. Your writing is good, too. However, I did find the sudden switch in character jarring. At first I thought the tour guide was the character, and then suddenly it was the elf. I'm also not entirely sure who "Kameko" is. The tour guide? The elf? Shouldn't be too hard to clear up.