When the World Falls to Darkness

A kingdom at war, a web of truth and lies, a vicious game of friendship and betrayal, and a world that will kill you, whatever path you take.
When the World Falls to Darkness, nobody is safe.
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Beautiful cover by River_Summers.

(I also promise much more frequent updates starting July, when exams are over. :D)

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26. Editing Changes

So, I've had loads of amazing feedback, which I keep thanking you all for and will probably never stop doing so because it's been so helpful. 

 

Alongside the tweaks to the writing, I'm going to post all of the major changes below. I'd recommend reading through them, since continuing past this point without doing do will probably confuse you, as many of these changes will have a big effect on characters (especially how Ryuu behaves around Lukas).

 

If you've stumbled upon this note, and have started reading When the World Falls to Darkness during or after August 2015, the first part of this note will not be important, as you'll have read everything as it is in its newer and edited self, except the last note about Quartz, underlined as Change Six, which you'll need to check out.

If, however, you have started reading When the World Falls to Darkness during or after July 2016, none of this applies as I've already edited everything. Enjoy! :)

I'm going to leave this note here for ages in case people stopped reading ages ago and them come back. :)

 

 

 

Change Number One:

My first major change was to Chapter Four, Sorcery. I added in something that explains why Guardians are used as slaves. This will be emphasised upon later, and I will add any major mentions of this here as well, although leave smaller mentions of it as they probably aren't important.

The text that has been added/altered:

Avalon could only be glad that this particular fight was going so well. She'd been anxious that the dwarves had been hiding a Guardian. And that would have been disaster in its purest form.

Guardians... Avalon found them intriguing. Sometimes, when people talked about them, she could only wish to speak to one. Creatures - intelligent creatures - who had two forms, one a breathtaking creature, the other a humanoid being with pointed ears and tainted skin.

They had never fought a Guardian before, but Avalon had seen them in chains. Any Guardians were locked up and used as mere weapons. So below the 'Alpha races' that to torture a Guardian was seen as acceptable.

Maybe that was why Avalon wanted to speak with them. Maybe it was because of the look in their eyes when the other elves took them away, for slavery or worse.

Because despite everything she had ever been told, Avalon could not help but pity them. She knew she shouldn't. To allow them freedom would naturally mean the downfall of the Alpha races. It had been hundreds of years since Guardians had been treated almost as though they were gods. The only way to stop it had been to reduce them to lesser beings - and since the war had started, reducing them to weapons had only been natural.

Anything but that would allow them to surge up again. To reclaim their position as the superior race. And Avalon valued her freedom too greatly to allow such a thing.

 

 

 

 

Change Number Two:

This smaller change occurred throughout the entire story. I discovered this text:

"Surprised? They call me the Wraith," the assassin laughed, unfurling his wings and blocking out the moonlight.

It refers to Quartz, and since I thought that 'the Wraith' was a cool title, I've added parts as I went along in which people he doesn't know personally (e.g. his primary employer, Jarl) refer to him as 'Wraith'. Below are a few instances of text I have added in which he is called 'the Wraith':

"We have a meeting," Quartz said, stopping before the throne. He didn't bother to bow to Jarl. Quartz bowed to none.

"Indeed we do, Wraith," the earl agreed. "A new target from the dwarven realm."

"Another enemy you failed to defeat? The champion of an enemy you hope to triumph against?" Quartz asked. With Jarl, military targets were the only ones that mattered, considering his position in the angel army. An assassin was a useful tool for such a man. Quartz did not mind being a tool, so long as he was a tool that could do as he pleased.

"The latter. A dwarven army poses a threat, and one particular warrior by the name of Amaguk could be a problem for us. Your task, Wraith, is to kill Amaguk Saan. Is that clear?" Jarl asked, as his fingers, clad with golden rings, drummed against the throne impatiently.

"Of course," Quartz replied, a dangerous glint in his eyes. "Where might I find this Amaguk Saan?"

 

 

 

 

Change Number Three:

It was pointed out to me that having Ryuu and Avalon change their minds about Guardians so quickly is pretty unlikely. I completely agree with this, and so I've made some changes to how Ryuu views Lukas. He's a little more cautious and slow to trust - he isn't the sort of person who just casts away something he's known his entire life. The chances of him trusting Lukas straight away are very slim, so below I shall post some instances of his mistrust and dislike towards Lukas. Avalon is unlike Ryuu - she had a strange captivation with Guardians before (as highlighted in the text to explain Change One), and she is quick to adapt to change. Also, she's a little impulsive, instinctive, and let's face it, although she's pretty awesome, she's kind of an idiot. XD 

The first instance of Ryuu showing dislike towards Lukas is in Chapter Nine, Guilt, after he wakes up for the first time since Lukas turned into a dragon to save him:

His brown, green-flecked eyes flickered open and his fingers twitched weakly, brushing her wrist as she tightened her grip on his.

"Still breathing," her elven companion managed, and Avalon grinned, her eyes sparkling with relief.

"What of Louki?" Ryuu added, a hint of confusion touching his expression with an almost unrecognisable glint. "What happened to him?"

Avalon opened her lips to speak, and yet not a single word emerged. I did nothing as they took him away. I watched as they dragged him away, he who saved you and he who helped us. I offered no help as they chained him and spoke of torture. Louki is either dead or dying as we speak.

"He..." Avalon trailed off, unable to finish. The sharp flash of concern in Ryuu's eyes was equally unbearable. She didn't need Ryuu's concern. Louki did.

"I couldn't do anything... They'd have hunted us, and you'd die trying to escape like you are now," she said quietly. For a long few seconds, a silence, both miserable and frustrated, crossed over her, a looming cloud of despair. She screwed her eyes shut, the anger threatening to emerge. She'd failed them both. Louki - tortured, likely driven to insanity. Ryuu - anaemic, wounded and mourning.

"You're going to save him, aren't you?"

Ryuu's words were almost too strong to seem so dreading. His voice was steely with hostility, and yet it was so brimming with concern that it almost didn't seem possible.

"You're injured. I can't leave you here."

"That isn't the issue with you going," Ryuu growled. "Avalon, you're talking about risking your life for a Guardian."

For a moment, she couldn't speak. When she found her voice, it was prickled with anger. "He just saved your life! That was why he did it - to save your life, to save us all!" she hissed. "He's in danger right now because he just saved us all! He'll be dead if I don't help!"

Ryuu raised a debilitated hand to take her own, shakily interlocking their fingers and begging her to agree with supplicating eyes. "Please. He's just as dangerous as the people who are holding him prisoner. Avalon, I don't want to loose you."

"You won't, because Louki isn't dangerous to us. Don't you get it? We let ourselves think Guardians are simple weapons, because we're scared! Not because they actually pose a threat, but because we think they might! Does Louki look like somebody who'd turn against us all?" Avalon realised that she'd snatched her hand away from Ryuu's, but at that moment she didn't care - because he was being blind and stupid.

"You're an idiot, Avalon!" Ryuu hissed, every word making his lip curl in pain. "You're impulsive. You're quick to jump to conclusions, you're quick to abandon everything you know because you're fearless." He took a deep breath, and Avalon held her tongue. Was he insulting her, or complimenting her? "You're not afraid of leaving all you know behind. You're not afraid of anything." He practically hissed the last word, but still he wasn't finished. "Look, I'm saying this because I care. You matter to me, Avalon, and I don't want you getting yourself killed because of some stupid idea in your head." 

"You won't loose me, but we'll loose him if I don't go."

"Then why haven't you gone already?" Ryuu's words dripped with venom, and yet he looked so weak; he shouldn't look this desperate, this completely helpless and afraid!

"Because I..." she stumbled. Had it been fear? "I don't know. But now I know you're okay, I want to save him."

Ryuu drew a deep, shaky breath. "And nothing I say will be able to stop you?"

"No," she said firmly.

"I should've guessed as much," he muttered, letting out a deep sigh before meeting her eyes. "In which case, I wish you only the best of luck."

A grin leapt into life across her lips, and she drew him into a hug. "Thank you," she breathed, before pulling away. "You're sure you'll be okay?"

"I'll still be alive when you come back, Avalon," he coughed. "Promise."

Sighing, Avalon clenched her jaw. "You'd better be," she said finally.

"Good luck," Ryuu said softly. "I know you can do it."

Avalon gave his hand one last squeeze, then stood and took her weapons from the corner of the room.

"Just shut up and get better," Avalon murmured fondly as she opened the door. Ryuu's lips twitched in a weak smile as she walked out, closing the door softly behind her. Opening up her wings, the angel prepared to take off.

She had a favour to repay.

And then if you want to read through the other examples of this change, it's in pretty much the whole of Chapter Fifteen, Return, and then every chapter with Lukas and Ryuu in after that. 

 

 

 

 

Change Number Four:

Lukas had originally started the novel as a pacifist, against the idea of being used like a living weapon. It was pointed out to me that in later chapters, Lukas had started fighting more heartlessly - and this was out of character. I have amended the later chapters in which Quartz and Ghost join the fight to help Lukas to include details of how the fighting sickens him. He doesn't want to kill. This is evident throughout the first half of Chapter Twenty-Two, Healing, and through this text in Chapter Twenty-Three, Alliance:

"Avalon," the shapeshifter cut in. All eyes were drawn to him. This had been the first time he'd actively contributed; Quartz listened to him with curiosity. "She's right," he said, taking a deep breath. Quartz noted with irritation the smug look on Ghost's face. "We'd die, if we tried to take on that many. You don't have to do this. In fact, please don't. I don't want any of you to die. Not for me, not for anyone. Please."

The emotion flowing through his voice was blindingly obvious; that within Avalon's eyes was equally so. She stood, fists clenched, and grasped his shoulder.

"I am willing to die for this," she growled. "We're strong."

"Avalon, just because you're willing to die, it doesn't mean you should. I... I don't even want to fight. I've spent so long evading becoming a living weapon. Hurting other people would make me little better than that. I don't want to kill. And I don't want you to die."

 

 

 

 

Change Five:

I already mentioned this, but so I can delete the previous note, I decided (thanks to a certain fangirl) not to kill off Frostblade, the angel who Vixen captured and interrogated, at the end of Chapter Twenty-Five, Interrogation. Instead of killing him, Vixen left him there, which I figured actually fits in with her character a little more.

 

 

 

 

Change Six - Quartz:

Quartz used to be a relatively nice guy. Admittedly, he does kill people for a living - but he used to care about Ghost. But upon rereading, I realised that Quartz's character would work so much better if he were a manipulative ass who views Ghost as a weapon, and who is just making her believe that he sees her as an equal so he can use her to fight for him in the future. Oops. There are later subtle hints that he does actually wish that they could be friends, but he doesn't trust people enough to make any friends. Sooo, due to his trust issues, he keeps pushing Ghost away and manipulating her instead. And I guess... Sorry to any Ghost x Quartz shippers???

He liked Ghost's company. It felt somehow secure - as though she was the only one who would ever keep his secrets safe. Not that he'd give them to her, of course, because Quartz had killed for secrets, and his were worth his weight in gold. Secrets could be used as puppet strings - and Quartz had utilised Ghost's as just that, tempting them from her with promises of friendship and slowly coiling his influence around her power - but more importantly, her mind. If he ever needed the help of a Guardian, he had a weapon fuelled with a fierce loyalty, built upon solid foundations of secrets and lies. The other Guardian masters had empty slaves, worn down by terror - Ghost was a far more valuable asset.

 

Quartz also previously killed primarily for a high-ranked angel called Jarl. This is still the case, though now I've added a lot more between the two: Jarl was the one who trained Quartz to be an assassin, and he also holds some very important information over him.

"We have a meeting," Quartz said, stopping before the throne. He didn't bother to bow to Jarl. Quartz bowed to none.

"Indeed we do, assassin," the earl agreed. "I presume you've killed your last target?"

"Of course. I take it you're not about to give me the information I need?"

Jarl's lips twisted into a serpent's grin. "Of course not, Quartz. I will supply it to you in due time." Quartz scowled, but said no more. Another secret - one that danced just out of reach within the folds of the unknown. Jarl had tempted him with it since the day he'd found Quartz, binding him with it from the safety of the shadows.

"Your money," Jarl said, tossing him a small pouch of gold coins, as per their agreement: Jarl could shape Quartz into his perfect dagger to use as he saw fit, and in return he would pay Quartz in gold and in secrets. Of course, Quartz's services were open to all those who offered a high enough reward - but none were so well-informed as Jarl.

 

The information Quartz wants from Jarl is later revealed, as well. Quartz's family was killed, and Jarl is the one who knows who did this and where Quartz can find them.

Quartz sneered. Family - that insufferably warm haven to which you could crawl. But Quartz's had been torn from him long ago - and he didn't need a haven, not really. Why cower within the folds of comfort when the icy winds of hatred could carry you so far? The desire for revenge had been Quartz's driving force for too long. He simply needed the information from Jarl, and then he could find the miserable cowards who had slaughtered his family, and he could kill them all, one by one.

 

And we later discover that Quartz hates Frostblade because he was betrayed by him. Fun.

Frostblade.

The white-winged rogue approached astride his Guardian - a monstrous black dragon with eyes like polished jet and an ugly coat of scars, layering its body in pain. Years in Frostblade's service had transformed it into this - a bloodthirsty beast of heartless nature.

A riptide of rage swept through him, and from somewhere deep in his gut a dormant power tugged at him because Frostblade had sold out everybody he had ever known and for nothing and now Quartz was lost and empty and broken-

 

In a very hateful conversation between Frostblade and Quartz, we also discover that these are not their real names - they just adopted them when they left their old life behind and became heartless killers.

The moment Frostblade recovered from his shock, his lips curled up in an expression of disgust.

"I hear you've taken to calling yourself Quartz these days, old friend," he snarled, voice dripping with rancid venom.

"You were never my friend," Quartz replied, no longer bothering to keep the hatred from seeping into his words. "You were a traitor. My old name belonged to a naïve fool who trusted you."

"Then I suppose we match," Frostblade sneered. "New names, brutally heartless... Two monsters born from a village of blood and tragedy."

"You say that like it wasn't your fault," Quartz hissed, blood pounding through his ears, and Frostblade smirked.

 

In other news, some of you might remember a chapter in which Quartz freed some slaves (some of them animals/mythical creatures, some of them elves/dwarves/humans). However, with the newer, more heartless Quartz, this scene wouldn't make sense unless he was doing it to manipulate somebody. Seeing as this wouldn't have too much relevance to the plot, it doesn't really work as a chapter, so I removed it. (Sorry. D:) I've saved it somewhere else, so I might try to recycle parts of it. Yay.

 

And finally, Quartz previously allied himself with Lukas, Avalon and Ryuu, telling them that he would help them free the Guardians. He previously did this based on moral beliefs, but the new and more horrible Quartz does not have the same motives. Now, he's helping them out because he's realised how powerful Lukas and Avalon actually are, and he wants to manipulate as many people as he can into acting as his weapons. So he just sort of pretends that he likes them and actually has an interest in helping, when in reality he's just trying to gain their loyalty for the future. Because, as we all now know, new-Quartz is a total douche.

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, so that's it for the changes. Other than that, it's just been little tweaks to the writing itself.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank EVERYBODY who has looked at this, commented, liked or favourited, but especially those who take even more time to leave encouraging comments or feedback. I absolutely love feedback - it helps me to grow as a writer and ultimately brings me just a tiny bit closer to my dream of writing as a published author. Every kind word keeps me going. Every suggestion keeps me climbing - this story wouldn't be anywhere near as good as it is now without you guys. I have to admit I'm proud of this one - and I can honestly say that it's because of all of you that I can feel that way. So please, keep leaving feedback, keep leaving comments, and keep being amazing. <3

And to those of you who don't know, I have a spin-off of this going to thank you all for being amazing. The characters are made up by you! You can put in a Guardian and an Alpha race character, and with them I'll make up a story that fits in with this one. It might take me a while to get all the characters in, but I'll try! :) Frostblade (who will resurface later in this story) also gets a lot more narration in the spin-off, so if you're interested in reading more about him between when Vixen abandons him to die and when he comes back in, you can check that out. His character is involved with the elf character created by the very fangirl who persuaded me to let him live. <3 The name of this spin-off is When the World Falls to Movellians. You can find it on my profile or ask me for a link to it to make life easier. :)

 

 

Thanks again!!!

 

~DSJ

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