|Reviews for To Walk in the Wind|
| Adrenalin 3/17/13 . chapter 2
I was sort of amused by the setting in the tower, it reminded me of all those fairytales where the princess is locked away in one. With the description of Daja's hair I thought of Rapunzel.
I liked your characterization of Daja's throughout this chapter. You do a good job at describing his past life and current predicament without it sounding overbearing or whiny. We can feel that he is resigned to his fate, though still regretting it. Given the environment he was raised in, his thoughts and actions make a lot of sense, and the fact that he's curious about the world shows that his personnality survived the endoctrinement of the priests. At first I thought he had too many doubts for someone whose only truth had been the one the priests told him, but the way you treated the matter at the end of the chapter reassured me that, even if Daja was questionning it a bit (by the way, the fact he has access to so many books also helped me believe that he could be of a different mindset than the priests), he was not to the point where he would try to escape it.
I also liked the way you described his relationship with each instructor through the "sex education" lessons they gave him. I felt sorry for him that he had to go through this, especially with Kaffir, but it was believable in this context. You also gave a perfectly logical explanation for the homosexual relationships (past and to come) and I appreciated that, since I often find that fantasy slash stories lack that realistic aspect (sometimes the male lead has numerous homosexual encounters that are not logical in the social background provided by the story). Anyway, here it made sense that as a servant intended for a male god, Daja would be instructed in the way to please a male.
If I have one drawback, it's that the two first chapters lack some action and are too focused on characters' presentation and introspection (but that's a personal preference).
| Adrenalin 3/17/13 . chapter 1
My turn to try and give you reviews as good as yours. (They probably won't be as long though... but like you said in your A/N, hey, I'ma try).
First of all, I liked the desert setting. It's not one you often meet with in fantasy stories, and I think it's a shame, since I really like the cultures that go with it. You made a good job at describing yours, too. Your worldbuilding skills are pretty impressive, and you exploit it well. I liked the way you made your plot consistent with it, making water the centerpoint of conflict here and tying it with the fantasy element of the God-controlled cycle of rains.
Your dialog also reads smoothly and very natural, but I have a few problems with its overall contents. While I understand that you need to give the reader all those information, I feel Balasar plays too much the role of the vacant interlocutor. Most of the things Abdhi tells him, he already knows, which makes it look like he says it only for the reader's sake. Like the part about Vhaki's Gift, which you sort of made sound like every one in Surrhi knew about it. I understand that Balasar is not from this country? If that's indeed the case, I think you should make it more obvious, and maybe insist on why he hasn't heard about it before. I think people would talk about a legend so pivotal to their lifestyle.
Another thing: it seems to me that Abdhi seriously lack shrewdness. From how you describe him at the beginning, I know he's extremely proficient at getting what he wants, but then he goes and tells Balasar outright that he's the only man in Surrhi that would dare lay a hand on Vhaki's Gift, and that's why he seeks to employ him. It doesn't leave much room for bargaining though, and it felt out of character for such a man not to take this into account. Balasar could come to that conclusion himself, considering Abdhi came to a stranger with his proposal. In my opinion, Abdhi is also providing too much information about his plans, telling Balasar it is all for the sake of reuniting the Akan's empire under Bhepal's rule... It seems strange that he shares so much with someone who, in the end, is simply a hired thug.
I can't wait to see where you go with the rest of this story. I would especially enjoy it if there was actual interventions from the gods... I love 'real' gods impacting on the plot in stories.
| Chiisutofupuru 3/16/13 . chapter 6
That was pretty exiting for a chapter from this book. Everything felt like it moved in slow-motion with all of the flowing descriptions. I just couldn't really tell when the carriage stopped moving. I thought they were all riding on horseback while fighting off the bandits for a little bit.
Don't worry about Daja crying too much. He seems to fit the part... I thought he would've been taught a little combat with all of his lessons.
NOOO! Isoba! I was beginning to like him!
"""Did you know many women strive bear children on the year of reaping?""" - quote from story
This and the part for the 'reaping day' explained a bit. I don't remember there being an actual 'day of reaping' explained in the previous chapters.
I couldn't find it a second time but I had a favorite description that had to do with clouds and colours 'bleeding across the sky'. Just awesome.
| Sombrette 3/15/13 . chapter 2
I found this chapter to be kind of sad. I think Daja's characterization is very good. This chapter was informative enough that I felt like I could understand his personality. His personality being, one who serves faithfully. That's the sad part I took from this. To be born into something with no choice in the matter, to know you don't like something, but know that you were essentially made for it. I felt really bad for him.
His desire to know more than what's in front of him, such an innocent almost childlike desire, but I think people who are sheltered like that are naive (in an endearing way) that they are unaware of the harsh realities outside their sheltered lives. Though, I guess that's not very true with him when it comes to being forced to please when he obviously doesn't want to. I also thought it was sad when he was paranoid about loosing his shoes that was such a simple little mistake and he was just so afraid of the consequences. To have to walk on eggshells like the your whole life...and he's supposed to be some revered gift to a god. At least that's how I see it. Though... I guess since he's apparently going to be some sort of slave to the god he has to be taught that way. Bleh... I don't like his situation at all.
I did think though that the differences in the teachers was interesting and his opinions of each. Asseo particularly. To have to answer to someone younger than you (and shorter ;p) has to suck. Asseo's comment about the wind doing strange things around Daja had me curious. I wonder if that's just a side effect from him being meant for the god or if it's implying something more, as in, is Daja more peculiar than just simply being this gift? It seemed to be hinting at something.
The ending to this chapter really gave off the air of Daja's disappointment, it supposed to being his days for himself. I don't get why Asseo would ask, knowing this. Perhaps he hoped Daja would willing go to him, with desire in mind. Hmm... anyways, again the description was great, the tower top especially. Reminded me of those Greek structures with circle of columns.
The only thing I have to point out is [ Only a guilty, shameful dread. And endless uncertainty where there ought to have been unconditional faith.] - This to me looks like it could have all been one sentence, with a comma for the pause the period it giving. But, other than that I really admire your writing style ;)
| Chiisutofupuru 3/15/13 . chapter 5
They really go all-out when dolling up the gift. Surprised Daja could still stand.
What I should have mentioned in the first review... your description is quite amazing. Definitely got a desert feel to begin with. So far never got any other, no hint to any other terrain.
I did find the first two chapters kind of dull. Maybe it was because I was kind of distracted while reading them but I found them to be a little description-heavy. Nothing really happened either than the bandit making a deal and the 'gift' feeling things... thinking about stuff. It felt as if I was reading forever.
Their views are totally different. You displayed that really well.
Balasar is interesting but nothing really draws me to him. Nothing there to want me to keep reading about him either than wanting to know how he performs this job. He's just a bandit in my eyes, nothing special about him. If that's what you were going for, you did a great job.
The 'gift' was portrayed well. He is just a vessel and that is all he really wants to be in his position. That is what he tries really hard to be. Nothing else.
There was a lot more talking in the third chapter then there was in the first two. Introducing a few more characters I guess can do that to a chapter. No idea why they were all introduced in the first place. Like the bandit, didn't feel anything for any of the new characters. I was just reading about them for some strange reason unknown to me.
Isoba is interesting as a character. He's feeling mixed thoughts about what exactly he had done to this child. Making us all feel sorry for the gift. Making us all feel sorry for him. I wonder what his reaction will be when the gift is stolen.
Ismene and Balasar... I just read the last part here. She brings out the best of him, made him seem more like a main character. I got a feel for him through her. They make a great couple I think.
They also made Oz sound like an annoying someone, giving him a potentially important role in the story.
Balasar should find something to care about either than destroying things that are built for the gods.
(I would repeat what you said to me about trying not to be a critic in a harmful way.
I'm really beginning to like how this is turning out. The first few chapters are 'just' the first few chapters.)
| Infected Beliefs 3/15/13 . chapter 6
Ah, I did so enjoy this chapter. As a male reader, I don't mind reading the love scenes, or the tender moments, but I need me some good 'ol blood and gore to be truly happy xD. And a named character's death? Even better. I have always been partial to the idea that any person can die at any time. No character is safe. It does a good job of keeping your readers on their toes and guessing, never quite sure of who will live and who will die. Makes for good suspense.
I thought the bit about Asseo and his being born was good. It explains much of his obsession (that seems a bit more intense of a word than I am looking for but I can't come up with anything better right now) with Daja but also makes his romantic interests somewhat...disturbing? I know they are not siblings but somehow, to me, it just seems, eh, borderline wrong. Same village, same day, same purpose. Some people might sigh and say, "Destiny," but I cringe and say, "Not quite incest." Meh, maybe I'm just cynical and sick in the head.
["What. He die?" No remorse, simply casual interest.] - Kaffir seems a cold bastard. I like him.
I am a little confused as to this wagon they are riding in. Is it like a giant wooden box with wheels? It reminded me of an armored car but I didn't think the image fit int he world you have so carefully created for us. Maybe more will be explained in the next chapter when Daja comes out of this blur of confusion. Speaking of those blurred senses I thought you wrote that very well. Daja seemed very disoriented and his confusion leant itself to the narration, though not in a bad way.
I liked his description of the mercenaries. So alien to him.
Maybe I missed it but where did all of these guards for the caravan come from? I guess it could be explained that they came after Daja was inside the carriage, so he never would have seen them, but I was slightly confused. I thought it was just him and the priests? It makes sense that there would be guards, I just missed their introduction.
Good fight sequence, not too much, not too little.
Really enjoyed this chapter. I am interested to see the interactions between Balasar and Daja and what judgments and prejudices the make against each other.
| Nesasio 3/15/13 . chapter 4
...to tug a the single looped gold earring...
...finalized its decent with a silent billow to the floor...
Never show shame…
-If this is a lesson the priests taught him, I'd rephrase to more the effect of 'there is nothing to be ashamed of'. Keeping in mind he was raised by these priests, he wouldn't know to feel ashamed unless someone said it's shameful. That feels counter-productive to their purpose. I suppose he could have gained the concept of sex as shameful act from one of the books he's read, but if he was worried, I still think he would've been taught more like I rephrased.
Addition: "...and Daja felt a blush of shame rise up his neck." I can't tell if this is the same shame as the above. I guess I assumed it was in the act itself, but here it's that Asseo thinks so much of him. Regardless of which it is, this comes back to what I said on ch.2 about his thoughts and training not matching up. It seems like somewhere along the way the training to excel backfired in his perspective of things. Whether it's because the priests always made him feel inadequate or just the doubt inherent in it being his last days, I was surprised he wasn't even a little pleased to be doing the right thing according to how he was raised.
...where the small of his back ended and his arse began.
-I laughed a little at the use of arse here. It took me out of the scene because I didn't expect such a common term in a sensual scene like this. It's like seeing 'pussy' in an otherwise poetic love scene. Very jarring.
He held his mouth to Asseo's as he rocked his hips in...
-I'm by no means an expert on anal or having a penis, but I was under the impression the first time tends to be difficult if you don't know what you're doing. I mean, obviously Daja has some experience at receiving, but it's stated he's never done it himself and he's taking his time and all but it seems like he knows enough to multitask. I guess I'm just saying I was surprised with all his other doubts that this came to him so naturally.
I sort of said in the ch.1 review that I like action and lose interest easily and this is true. The story has held me to this point and I will certainly check out the rest at some point, but I do want to mention that the pace never really picked up for me. I mean, 4 chapters in and this is the same day and basically the first 3 chapters were exposition. It's well-written exposition, but it hasn't built up yet. I'm not saying I need action by ch.4 or I hate every story regardless, haha, but I haven't gotten the sense of movement that something will happen soon. At this point the two main characters are far from each other and neither one has started toward the other so the story feels like it's idling, waiting to begin. I'm impatient, man. Could just be me, though.
I liked the section at the end, though. It's a good hook to lead into the next chapter. I don't know if the ominous hint will be immediately addressed or not (are you alternating POV or just playing by ear?) but it made me want to read on to find out more.
I feel like I've been mostly critical in these past reviews but I really am interested in this story. You've developed a rich, full world and you obviously have a firm grasp of the direction you want to take it. Dialogue and description are done well and set the mood of the piece.
| Nesasio 3/14/13 . chapter 3
He even wore toe rings, currently hidden under his boots.
-OW. NO. DON'T DO THAT, IT'S SO PAINFUL. D:
Word choice nitpick: Balasar purses his lips like every 4-5 paragraphs, it seems. Repeated actions are all part of characterization, admittedly, but it's an unusual phrase that keeps popping up. I'm adding this note as of the third usage in this chapter and the find feature informs me there's a fourth as well and I have an irrational desire to slap him, haha. I probably wouldn't have picked up on it if the same action hadn't been previously applied to Daja as well and I thought 'wow, I haven't seen someone use that phrase in a while'. And then I kept seeing it.
...her dirty blonde hair...
-There have been a few places before now where I thought hyphenates might be appropriate but I left that up to personal preference. Here, though, I can't tell if you mean she has a specific hair color or if she's not particularly hygienic.
Jaleah's description stood out to me as it was the first aha moment I had appearance-wise. "...her dirty blonde hair currently wrestled into a tight braid out of her face, sat with her back to Ortega, Jamiss's large and famously skittish spotted stallion. Arms folded, jaw set, and grey-green eyes..." Up to this point, I'm pretty sure this is the most specific physical description of any character, including the two mains. I'm still having trouble visualizing even a general picture of them and that's making it hard for me to stay in the story. So many things about the setting are described in detail and yet the characters are mysteries to me. I understand how hard it can be in limited POV to naturally work in a description of the focal character, but even offhanded comments about their clothes, hair color/style, current physical health...etc., will add up to a good description in the end.
I really liked the dialogue in this chapter. The banter between Balasar's people felt really natural and I thought it showed their familiarity well. In this case, the exposition dialogue stood out to me but even that was reasonable given the situation.
| Sombrette 3/14/13 . chapter 1
Hmm... geez your description is pretty amazing. During the beginning when the sun was having a moment of its own ;) I really got a nice visual from that. It's quite a way to describe it - [orb of melting gold awash with a backdrop of blood.] That just screams heat. The beginning paragraph was very sensory directed. The sounds and smells... It sets up a very interesting vibe to the scene. I think it does its job with putting the reader right there with the characters.
I like the setting, the desert type of feel. Which, is obviously playing a huge role for the plot. I think the idea of the 'Great Rebirth' is a curious happening. The way these people's lives revolve around it as well... nice culture building. Since Balasar is skeptical about it, I wonder if it truly does happen. Since he's a foreigner he wouldn't know (Duh, that's why he's skeptical lol) but Abdhi seems pretty sure about it. His reasoning for doing what he's doing is quite understandable. Though, very corrupt. I guess what I don't understand is —and this is just based of this chapter and from I took from it — these people seem like the type to take their gods/godess' pretty serious, especially when they have this proof that the gods have shown themselves (The Great Rebirth) wouldn't Abdhi be worried about denying the storm god his gift? That's really taking things kinda far.
But, from his personality he's clearly a power hungry fatty. Actually... I don't know if he is fat. This line gave me the image that he is [When he went on to pluck a treat from the platter and pop it between his lips, a smear of excess stained his mouth in the aftermath.] But, I pictured him as one of those leaders wearing loads of silks, oodles of gold, and always holding his dainty hands above his pits. ;)
["We're not so different after all, you and I…"] In my mind I finished this sentence with 'Mister Powers' but I guess here it would be 'Mister Pandrigon' XD
This was a great introduction to this world, culture, and the workings of their politics. The writing is very solid and easy to follow along with. I like it so far :)
| Nesasio 3/14/13 . chapter 2
...since one could only guess what desires he would have to meet in the next realm.
...when he choked back prayers for Vhaki to take him that instant and wrench him away from the world of the living...
-These two lines stood out to me as strange logic since the implication is that they don't know what sort of sex Vhaki's into and for all Daja knows (and presumably has been told) this could be all he expects in the next realm. The fact this never crossed his mind seemed odd to me.
In his haste, his knees hit the stone hard, and Daja bit back a yelp...
-Smooth, Daja. Obviously they didn't teach you gracefulness.
Daja nearly fell off the tower.
-I'm confused on how this works, since he's kneeling and apparently not that close to the edge. He'd have to jump pretty far to be off balance like that.
...and cast a final longing glance over tower's countless singing chimes...
-Missing a word. There were a couple other times this happened but I didn't think to make note of them. :/
Daja's description interested me. It was neat how you started to go into a physical description of him and then used it as an intro to his backstory. On the one hand, I wanted a better understanding of his appearance, particularly since you say "His appearance became a matter of great importance." but the only description we get is what he doesn't look like anymore (his childhood appearance). On the other hand, the transition was pretty smooth, diving in from the obvious character intro to the more telling history. I have to read things very closely to comprehend them so it might just be a nitpick on my part (I fixate on things that don't mesh with my understanding) but maybe a line or two of description there would be nice, to fulfill the implications of the narration.
Characterization-wise I wanted to see a little more of Daja's training peeking through in the narration. The part about his shoes was a nice touch because it shows what he is used to and he knows what is expected of him. Aside from that, though, the expectations seemed more hearsay than reality. It's like the old adage show don't tell because I was told all these things Daja knows and apparently excels at but his entire narration spent the time debunking all those things. It threw me off a bit because I didn't get enough of a chance to gauge his abilities before he tore himself down. It's understandable that he's having doubts at this stage, of course. But the bit with Asseo in particular showed a lack of understanding on Daja's part for all the things he's been raised to do. He's spent years learning how to care for a master's needs and yet when presented with that exact situation he's oblivious. Since there're no direct statements that Daja is an incompetent student it makes me wonder if the implication is supposed to be there or not. While he is, of course, only human, I think a lot of this stuff is supposed to be ingrained but I never got that feeling.
| professional griefer 3/14/13 . chapter 9
Okay, first thing I noticed that I didn't like was that you used a lot of metaphors in the opening. Which isn't really a bad thing, I guess, but I dunno-it kinda perturbed me, it didn't really seem like your style.
On one hand, I like that you're doing Asseo's POV, it's definitely interesting that you're including someone who's not Bala or Daja, but on the other hand I feel like keeping it at two is good.
And gah now I ship Asseo and Daja why are you doing this? If you didn't write frickin' relationships so well I wouldn't have feels like this.
Okay-back to the review.
So, I really loved when Asseo said he loved Daja. It kind of hit me hard, I think that's what you were intending, but I really did think it was cool. You're adding another aspect, and I'm trying to make sense, but I'm not sure I am.
Anyway, I thought it was an awesome chapter. Asseo and Daja is definitely a cool (probably onesided) relationship, all Ass's (I probably shouldn't call him that) thoughts towards the end of the chapter were really tender and like, sad...anyway, it worked well.
Great chapter (sorry about the rambliness of this review).
| Nesasio 3/14/13 . chapter 1
I read this some time ago and I don't remember why I didn't review it. I think I might've been considering reviewing it for one of the games and then lost the desire to review stuff (not at all related to the story quality, haha) but I distinctly remember this first chapter from however long ago.
I'm impressed with your attention to detail. While I'm not much of one for long descriptions, I think you seeded in enough details to establish the setting and mood in a solid way. There were a few places it felt a bit synonym-heavy but I think that's just personal preference. Overall, I think you really set this universe up as a unique but also realistic place.
I'm torn on the narration here. I didn't notice it until the end but some of the observations in narration didn't work with the characterization, at least how I perceived it. I got the impression this was third limited, arguably focused on Balasar's impressions of things. Balasar so far has been portrayed as cool, realistic, maybe a bit jaded with life, and overall competent. Toward the end, there were bits like ' with the disconcerting immediacy of sliding on a mask' that made me wonder: is this really disconcerting to Balasar? I get the impression that he doesn't like or really agree with Abdhi, yeah, but this seemed to shake Balasar on a deeper level than just moral differences. Maybe I've put too much thought on this and I'm completely wrong on the POV, haha, but this just struck me as odd for what was established to that point.
Feel free to totally ignore this section... Again I have an unhelpful personal preference to present: this chapter is a decent intro to the story premise without sounding like an info-dump but it doesn't really hook me. I'm a sucker for action intros and cold opens, admittedly, but I haven't gotten a sense yet of what sort of adventure story I might expect here. There could be duels, army-size battles, archery and swordplay, magic, alchemy, zombies for all I know, or maybe guys just sit in rooms talking menacingly at each other. I can't tell for sure. Don't get me wrong, the premise is enough to keep me reviewing in the games, but if I read this as a driveby reviewer, I don't know if I would have been motivated to read on because nothing grabbed me or told me I had to read on to know more.
But anyway, kudos to Balasar for pointing out the whole 'this might backfire horribly' thing, haha. Granted it's your story and you control the gods but if it was me ruling that world I'd so make things turn to shit just because he was such an arrogant douche. You think you know how to work nature better than me, huh? Ha. Haha. NOPE. *turns Bhepal into desert* *empowers other provinces* *strikes Abdhi with lightning*
Basically I'm a horrible authoress but Balasar at least has a brain and that is promising. ;)
| lookingwest 3/14/13 . chapter 9
Opening - I really liked the opening of this chapter. I think it parallels with Daja's well, actually, in the las chapter. Because it's showing that the two of them have undergone this terrible traumatic stresses in the past few days and both of them have a "waking" period into the nightmare that is now their lives. It paralleled really well - I can see Asseo acting as Daja's foil in more ways than one, even how he interacts with Balasar. But yeah, the poetic-esque language you use at the beginning of this chapter was well done. I think it tastefully describes something very horrific. Good writing for the opener!
Dialogue - So Asseo can understand Ira? I know Ira can speak his language, but I think maybe he was supposed to not speak it very well, or have a very thick accent, right? You might want to mention that, or at least make some mention of Asseo's inability to completely understand him. Or even mention Balasar's accent, if any (I remember you mentioned it while in Daja's POV though, so it's of less importance I think). But some of those queues might be nice to add into your speaker tags. But anyway, besides that, I really liked the dialogue between Balasar and Asseo. Their exchange was quick and witty, I think, and I liked Asseo's attitude and his comebacks. They were refreshing.
Character - I feel like in this chapter, I get the sense of Asseo's strength as a preist/leader more than I have from Daja's point of view. I think this becomes most apparent when he mentions how he knows that he used Daja in the way that Bal's men are using him now - and that he acknowledges his wrongdoing. That creates a really cool dynamic in him, and it's also startling that he considers the conditions of his and Daja's relationship on similar sexual terms on what's happening to him with Ira. I also saw him taking on more of that leader role when he saw Daja and hid himself and didn't go out to make his presence known due to the state of himself. Like I mentioned in an earlier chapter - I was super curious to see how the dynamic between Asseo and Daja would unfold, since it seems Daja's importance has given him more of that dominant role. Obviously, Asseo is feeling that pressure - because he knows that Daja might still see him as a "master" figure and he's in no professional state to see him now. That worked really well, and was glad to see that mentioned/incorporated.
Lets see...what's something I don't normally comment on? (I always find myself leaning towards Character for this story)...hmm...
I think I might just want to take a moment here to talk about your world-building (which I guess works into setting, but I'd like to emphasize the religion specifically). Religions are hard to create for stories, I think, but yet in every chapter you have within this story, I think it's so well done. I like that you dont' forget about their religion and you keep coming back to it. And not only have you created this religion, it's something that hinges on the actual plot of the story and also is embedded with ritual that your characters must perform each day. I liked the way you incorporated the religion into this chapter and how you had Asseo frequently praying to his god and also seeing Daja begin the morning prayer, etc. It also shows something. That Asseo and Daja, despite their trauma, still carry their beliefs. And that's something that I don't think Balasar has to keep him afloat in worser times. It's a nice touch. I enjoyed your attention to it.
Soo I'm officially all caught up now ;D Hurrah! Now I get to officially tell you to WRITE MORE SOON and can now harp on you in the OT. How wonderful :3
| Chiisutofupuru 3/14/13 . chapter 3
Confused with the all of the new characters. I will have to just keep reading and learn more I guess.
This story could have a very interesting prologue. Perhaps a glimpse of the last time Balasar was in that specific city. It would be awesome to see him in action early.
| lookingwest 3/14/13 . chapter 8
Opening - I liked that you open with Daja assuming that he has died. I think you do a good job explaining why he feels like he's dead and how it compares with what he thought death would be like. I especially liked the mention of those that came to give him water. You transition from that opening scene to the scene with Balasar well. The poetic language of the opening was well done and you pulled out of it smoothly into Daja's ordinary narrative. I liked that you took the time to describe his sickness and dehydration. Kept things realistic, too.
Scene - The scene between Daja and Balasar was good to see unfold. Daja was less angry and panicked than I thought he would be, though. I don't know if that's good or bad. I think it could have to do with just PTSD kind of behavior since he's just been traumatized and just is kind of going along with the flow at the moment. It's brave of him to try to bargin with Balasar. I didn't get the sense during that scene that he feared Balasar at all. He seemed more curious about him than anything. In fact - his lack of fear is something I also didn't expect but I think it could make sense because he's faced death his entire life. But there's so much now that is unknown to him...I feel like he should fear the unknown more - the fact that his entire life has changed and everything he's ever known as far as structure and belief has been ripped out from under him. Plus everyone he liked is dead. I say like because he never gave feelings of love much before (I think that's one of his inner character conflicts I enjoy). But anyway, the scene was a lot more civil than what I expected. I almost was waiting for Daja to try to run away even though he's in a sorry state, or try to at least shout and yell about the mass murder of all his fellow priests X_X But PTSD does weird things to a person. And I think you did a good job showing us how exhausted he is.
Character - It might be awhile until I forgive Balasar or I'm at least able to understand his perspective a little more. I know his decision about Asseo already transpired in the prior chapter, but the fact that there are those in his group, such as Jaleah, that are not okay with this - and the fact that we find out he's never done this before, make me question his motivations a little more than I thought I might. I think we see that conflict happen when Oz says the line about how he understands that Balasar can't go back on his word now...but eh, I don't see what's stopping Balasar exactly from going in and being like, "Okay dudes, enough raping Asseo for today. Don't want to kill him right off, let's save it for tomorrow." He really doesn't give an inch when it comes to mercy. I kind of wanted to see at least a little of that to display that he mentally might be having some conflict concerning his decision. I think you show that he does though, just by the way he second-guesses and asks Oz. Overall - it's going to create a weird dynamic with Daja I think, since once Daja finds out that Balasar let Asseo get raped, he might not like him so much anymore and his fascination will turn into wariness and perhaps hate. It will be a unique hurdle their relationship will have to overcome. Unless Daja doesn't care that much - but I think he might. Really interested to see what will happen!
Pacing - This chapter was well done pacing-wise, I think. All of the stuff that transpired in it was necessary for plot progression and lent itself well for the story overall. The pacing of the plot is good. I don't mind plots that take their time because (if you couldn't already tell) I'm way big into characters. I can see the trajectory of the story leading to the slave market. I'm wondering how many chapters we'll have before we get to that point, and if Daja will even have a change to see Asseo before he gets sold as a slave. Since Balasar has already told Daja that Asseo is alive though - I don't see the story taking that direction. But it would be an interesting thing for Balasar to lie about (the rape thing) and then later for Daja to find out once he's in a more loving relationship with Balasar. I could see the two of them having a row about that. But eh, I project too much, don't I? XD Your story makes me think, ha! I love predicting. I need to stop though. But eh, like I was saying, the pacing was good for this chapter because I think you did a good job pacing things character-wise and showing some in depth developments for both Daja (in the beginning) and Balasar (in the end with his conversation with Oz).
A good chapter! As always, looking forward to more. And wowza, I'm almost caught up ;D! You better be writing more as I type, hahaha!