Appearances Can Be Deceptive Second Draft


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  1. #1

    Appearances Can Be Deceptive Second Draft

    Just a quick reminder of the terminology in my fantasy world;

    Lycan Imperium: British Empire
    Parohuman: Humanoid descended from parrots
    Empyrean: Heaven



    9. Appearances Can Be Deceptive


    Jamara and Braebar were two of the Amaretutteaeque Islands, located between the Cliocea Sea and the Aziu Ocean. Braebar was approximately triangular in shape, with sedimentary rocks underlying it. Above the shales and sands rested chalky deposits, which were covered with coral before the island rose to the water’s surface. In some regions of the island, erosion had removed the coral cover, while other terrains were covered in dense layers of coral. Braebar had no significant lakes or rivers, and any ponds or streams were few in number. Instead, rainwater saturated swiftly through the underlying coralline limestone covering, draining into underground streams. The soils of Braebar were rich in lime and phosphates. Generally pleasant in climate, Braebar had two seasons; the dry season from early December to May and the wet season for the remainder of the year. The original vegetation of the island had long gone instead being replaced with the pale green of cultivated sugarcane. Tropical trees such as the mahogany and the cabbage palm were widespread. Braebar’s birds included; doves, sparrows, and hummingbirds, while the hares, mongooses and monkeys rather than being revered by the island’s inhabitants were in a lack of judgement considered pests.


    Jamara was considered by travellers and inhabitants alike to be one of the most beautiful islands that formed part of the Amaretutteaeque. The island consisted of interior mountains and plateaus, with the most rugged topography being in the east. Towards the south of Jamara were large alluvial plains, indeed the whole island was known to be encircled by coastal plains. Copious streams circulated from the central highlands, although a variety of these rivers simply disappeared intermittently into caves. However, hardly any were accessible for any great distance due in part to how rapidly these springs descended from the mountains.


    Jamara was just like Braebar in some respects, most notably the fact that white limestone covered most of the island’s surface. Unlike Braebar though, igneous rocks from the cooling of molten material and metamorphic rocks were what was underlying the limestone. Jamara’s shallow, alluvial soils were particularly susceptible to erosion. One difference between the two islands was the tropical climate in Jamara. Coastal breezes wafted onshore by day and offshore by night, and moreover both the sea and the mountains naturally caused temperature variation. Despite this, between seasons there didn’t seem to be much change. Rains on the island were seasonal, falling chiefly in May and October, although thunderstorms could cause heavy rainfall in the summer months between June and September. Jamara was renowned for its diverse ecosystems, which included elfin forests on the highest peaks and rainforests in the valleys. Similarly to Braebar, Jamara which used to be completely forested, had its great timbers cut down with wide expanses and mountain slopes cleared for cultivation. In addition to sugarcane, banana and citrus trees were introduced by new settlers. Mongooses and hummingbirds were among the bird species recorded in Jamara.


    In many ways both Jamara and Braebar resembled a glittering paradise. However, behind this blissful fašade an infernum was hidden with serpentine cunning. The people of both Breabar and Jamara, having been raised in former colonies of Oswana, despite the two islands gaining independence in 1962 and 1966 respectively, had been brainwashed by the Lycan Imperium into rejecting same sex love and the pervasive influence of the Oswana Lycans remained. Moreover, the fact that the vast majority of Jamara’s citizens were the descendants of slaves, gave an insight into the history of an island that only appeared radiant.


    A tropical storm with torrential rain heralded the birth of Amelena Crafir, in the town of Rizameita in Jamara at 1am on June 5th 1972. Amelena Crafir was the only daughter of Almar Miazana, an elf and Jumana Crafir, an Amazon parohuman. She had the same light green skin as her maternal family, though she had also inherited her father’s long straight hair and pointed ears. Amelena’s status as a half elf and a woman naturally led to her facing major discrimination, particularly in Jamara. The reason for the discrimination aside from misogyny was probably the feeling of the aristocratic elves that they were superior to humanoids, thus viewing relationships between elves and parohumans with disdain and suspicion. Yet unlike same sex love, these relationships had always been legal and not even the Lycan Imperium had altered its legality.


    Almar believed a strong educational foundation was the best way to combat this discrimination, taking a particular interest in his daughter’s education, and guiding her through history, philosophy and literature. Amelena’s parohuman traits of curiosity and ambition certainly came in useful. She excelled in Mathematics and languages, learning to read and write; Ospin, Italica, Elvish, Greek, Latin, and Frecano at a young age. Although Amelena was expected to fulfil the traditional female skills of home management, she much preferred to read philosophy and elven literature. It was towards the end of her years of education that Amelena came into conflict with her parents. Almar and Jumana though they supported her education, opposed her aspirations to take up a career in nursing, fearing it was far too ambitious and dangerous to do this in Jamara.


    In desperation, Amelena made her way to the temple of Elena, Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom. Elena’s temple was constructed from plain white marble, with the statue of a barn owl on each side of the entrance. She removed her shoes leaving them outside according to custom, before entering under the watchful eye of the priestesses, who were dressed in cream dresses with matching headbands. Kneeling before the altar, she gave her prayers to Elena. In answer to her prayer, the goddess intervened on Amelena’s behalf, and despite her family’s reservations, she was able to enrol at Kalamit Institution. Here, she learned basic nursing skills, the importance of patient observation, and the value of good hospital organization. Through social connections, Amelena became the superintendent for an institution of women in distressed circumstances, in the capital city of Marea. Here, she successfully displayed her skills as an administrator by improving nursing care, working conditions, and the efficiency of the hospital. Within a few years, Amelena became renowned for creating social reform in nursing and healthcare. By her own merit, the discrimination against her began to lessen, and as a token of gratitude for her hard work, the Crafir Fund was established through generous donations. With part of these donations, Amelena set up a school of nursing, making nursing a viable and respectable option for women in addition to staying at home or becoming governesses. Additional reforms were financed through the Crafir Fund, focussing on the education of midwives, as well as improving the health of the poor and vulnerable.


    Despite Amelena’s professional success, the colonial era law established by the lycans in Jamara made her personal life a nightmare. She expressed a disinterest in marriage, covering her romantic love for women by giving her immersion in her work as a half-truth. Vasanta Mahesh, a parohuman of Rose-Parakeet ethnicity, was one of Amelena’s cousins. She had pale blue skin with long, straight, rose red hair and matching eyes. It was difficult for Amelena to hold back as she fell passionately in love with her cousin. Though understandably nervous that her passion would be obvious, the family connection ensured others did not scrutinize their interaction too closely. In one of her letters, Amelena spoke of Vasanta; "I have never loved but one person with passion in my life, and that was her."


    Still, it was well known that the penalty for same sex relationships in Jamara was ten years imprisonment and hard labour, so when Amelena realised that Vasanta’s brother Mitesh held a torch for her, she did not spurn his attention. Instead she feigned romantic interest in him. While Amelena felt guilty about leading Mitesh on, she was unwilling to sacrifice her hard work as a nurse or to risk arrest, though when Mitesh proposed marriage, Amelena’s conscience forced her to refuse him, leading to Vasanta refusing to speak to her. A devastated Amelena immersed herself in her nursing career, fighting with her family on account of her refusal to meet their expectations. She revolutionized the field of nursing, and moved in with another cousin, Deepa Gajendra, who adored Amelena, staying with her until her family made her return to them. As a result of these brief relationships and Jamara’s unrelenting homophobia, Amelena remained single until the day she died, when Kades sent her straight to Empyrean.


    Following Amelena’s demise, the High Council of the Gods held a conference to discuss the homophobia prevalent in Jamara and Braebar. The High Council comprised only seven seats so Zudon had chosen the most important out of the deities to be the members. In addition to Zudon himself, the members included; Kades, Ajun, Marianne, Aphrodeena, Kemera, and Elena. Since Braebar was not as aggressive as Jamara in homophobic attitudes, the High Council decided to tackle that island first. Marianne, goddess of Liberty, Equality and Freedom, descended to Braebar in the form of a Parrotlet parohuman. In her divine form, Marianne looked absolutely gorgeous, dark skinned with long, straight black hair and black eyes, and always dressed in blue, red and white. As a Parrotlet Parohuman however, she had handsome features; light blue skin, black eyes and long, luxuriant, blue hair tied back in a ponytail. Impressively dressed in a suit and a top hat, not unlike Marius Pontmercy in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, she posed as a law student, Raylon Weaver. In this guise, Marianne led demonstrations and submitted petitions in an attempt to challenge the discrimination against same sex love in Braebar, arguing that the lycans had been overthrown two hundred years ago and keeping their cruel law would be like allowing them to triumph.

    I hope the second draft is better than the first.

    I'm still not sure how to insert dialogue into this but I have attempted to add more detail to make it seem more like a short story.

    Last edited by Lizzie Brookes; June 26th, 2020 at 08:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Lizzie, I'm really enjoying this piece and your edits really enhance the story. What is this piece a part of? What is in 1-8?

    If you want to add dialogue remove part of the story and replace it with a conversation that portrays the same facts. Here are a few suggestions:



    Quote Originally Posted by Lizzie Brookes View Post
    Amelena’s status as a half elf and a woman naturally led to her facing major discrimination, particularly in Jamara. The reason for the discrimination aside from misogyny was probably the feeling of the aristocratic elves that they were superior to humanoids, thus viewing relationships between elves and parohumans with disdain and suspicion. Yet unlike same sex love, these relationships had always been legal and not even the Lycan Imperium had altered its legality

    (Create a character who taunted her at school. Try to have a conversation between her and this character and include all of the above in the dialogue.)

    Almar believed a strong educational foundation was the best way to combat this discrimination, taking a particular interest in his daughter’s education, and guiding her through history, philosophy and literature. Amelena’s parohuman traits of curiosity and ambition certainly came in useful. She excelled in Mathematics and languages, learning to read and write; Ospin, Italica, Elvish, Greek, Latin, and Frecano at a young age. Although Amelena was expected to fulfil the traditional female skills of home management, she much preferred to read philosophy and elven literature. It was towards the end of her years of education that Amelena came into conflict with her parents. Almar and Jumana though they supported her education, opposed her aspirations to take up a career in nursing, fearing it was far too ambitious and dangerous to do this in Jamara.

    (Replace this with a conversation she has with her parents.)

    Kneeling before the altar, she gave her prayers to Elena.

    (Have her ask someone at the temple if she can pray. And then write the prayer as dialogue.)

    Here, she successfully displayed her skills as an administrator by improving nursing care, working conditions, and the efficiency of the hospital. Within a few years, Amelena became renowned for creating social reform in nursing and healthcare. By her own merit, the discrimination against her began to lessen, and as a token of gratitude for her hard work, the Crafir Fund was established through generous donations.

    (A conversation between Amalena and her superior.)

    She expressed a disinterest in marriage, covering her romantic love for women by giving her immersion in her work as a half-truth.

    (A conversation with her parents.)


    Though understandably nervous that her passion would be obvious, the family connection ensured others did not scrutinize their interaction too closely. In one of her letters, Amelena spoke of Vasanta; "I have never loved but one person with passion in my life, and that was her."

    (A conversation between Vasanta and Amelena.)

    though when Mitesh proposed marriage, Amelena’s conscience forced her to refuse him, leading to Vasanta refusing to speak to her.

    (The proposal of Mitesh and rejection by Amelena.)

    fighting with her family on account of her refusal to meet their expectations.


    (An argument with her parents.)


    Kades sent her straight to Empyrean.

    (A conversation between Kades and Amalena.)

    Just an idea...but love your story!
    Last edited by Taylor; June 27th, 2020 at 09:35 AM.
    Sometimes in the waves of change we find our new direction...
    - unkown

  3. #3
    Thanks.

    Since I don't want a conversation overload i'll just pick a few of the ideas. Empyrean is Heaven so Kades can't talk to it.

    The first eight are my other stories but I wanted to keep track of how many there were hence why i numbered them but i can PM you some of the others if you would like.

    I'm so glad you liked this one.
    Last edited by Lizzie Brookes; June 27th, 2020 at 10:59 AM.

  4. #4
    Yes please send me another story.

    I edited my response. I had meant to say a conversation between Kades and Amalena.
    Sometimes in the waves of change we find our new direction...
    - unkown

  5. #5
    I found this hard to read, I will try to show you why,[QUOTE]

    Jamara and Braebar were two of the Amaretutteaeque Islands, located between the Cliocea Sea and the Aziu Ocean. Braebar was approximately triangular in shape, with sedimentary rocks underlying it.

    I get that it has sedimentary rock, then you tell me they are underlying, I have to re-think. '...in shape, with underlying sedimentary rocks.'

    Above the shales and sands rested chalky deposits, which were covered with coral before the island rose to the water’s surface.

    It would be difficult for them to be covered with coral after it was above water, or when it was deep in the water, it would happen in the surface waters, before it rose above the water's surface. Why not just keep it simple? "Above shales and sands was chalk, covered with coral". 'Deposits' is unnecessary, you already told me it is sedimentary. Keep the flowery language for the bits that deserve it rather than the geology.

    In some regions of the island, erosion had removed the coral cover, while other terrains were covered in dense layers of coral.

    So the sedimentaries are not so much underlying as basic, because in some parts they are on the surface. I don't think of coral as 'dense', do you mean 'thick'?

    Braebar had no significant lakes or rivers, and any ponds or streams were few in number. Instead, rainwater saturated swiftly through the underlying coralline limestone covering, draining into underground streams.

    Why 'Any' ponds and streams, '...and few ponds or streams', 'few' implies 'number', it is all so wordy and you are only telling me what is not there! First you tell me the coral was on top of sedimentary rock, now it is underlying. Does the water saturate it, or soak through it, they are different things, either way my earlier suspicions are confirmed, it is not dense.

    The soils of Braebar were rich in lime and phosphates. Generally pleasant in climate, Braebar had two seasons; the dry season from early December to May and the wet season for the remainder of the year. The original vegetation of the island had long gone instead being replaced with the pale green of cultivated sugarcane. Tropical trees such as the mahogany and the cabbage palm were widespread.

    So are the cabbage palms and mahogany introduced? They are not 'Long gone'

    Braebar’s birds included; doves, sparrows, and hummingbirds, while the hares, mongooses and monkeys rather than being revered by the island’s inhabitants were in a lack of judgement considered pests.

    A 'subordinate phrase' is one that can be taken out of a sentence and still leave a sentence that makes sense, it should be surrounded by commas.
    '... the hares, mongooses and monkeys were considered pests.
    so
    the hares, mongooses and monkeys, rather than being revered by the island’s inhabitants, were, in a lack of judgement, considered pests.

    All those commas are a bit awkward, it might be worth rephrasing.

    Jamara was considered by travellers and inhabitants alike to be one of the most beautiful islands that formed part of the Amaretutteaeque.
    Travelers has one 'l', but why not simply say 'Jamara was beautiful' ? Very often the simple phrase has far more impact. All those extra words inviting me to think about travelers, inhabitants and the rest of the archipelago are a distraction

    The island consisted of interior mountains and plateaus, with the most rugged topography being in the east. Towards the south of Jamara were large alluvial plains, indeed the whole island was known to be encircled by coastal plains.

    So, a Rugged mountainous interior surrounded by a costal plain, that's all I need, the rest is guff.

    Copious streams circulated from the central highlands, although a variety of these rivers simply disappeared intermittently into caves. However, hardly any were accessible for any great distance due in part to how rapidly these springs descended from the mountains.

    Which variety of rivers disappeared? What was simple about it? That they did sometimes and not others, 'Intermittently', does not sound simple, and what was the other part that made most inaccessible?

    Round about ways of talking can do several thing, make it hard to follow, confuse the writer, and may appeal to some readers who are not too worried about accuracy but like lots of lovely words. I am afraid I don't fall into that category. I also find the actual meaning of a word more important than the resonance it may give to the sentence, quite often you are 'Close, but no banana.'

    Reading on, one last thing. "Mongooses and hummingbirds were among the bird species recorded in Jamara." The mongoose bird?
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