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This is why you never split the party. Daughter of Lillies chapters 1 & 2. Patreon Reward for Nova Quill/Firimil · 11:13pm Oct 9th, 2018

Welcome back, readers!

I’m taking a deeper dive into Daughter of the Lilies after I pretty much emptied my Patreon reward clip doing character studies mostly. Nova Quill/Firimil was gracious enough to let me continue exploring this piece for a few more installments, so I intend to do just that. The idea is that I’ll tackle a chapter or two at a time and get into the nitty-gritty of the story. I would recommend you give it a read as I had a pretty positive experience going through it the first time, or, if you want to follow along with my commentary here, I’m doing the first two chapters and will be spoiling things as I go along.

The first chapter is actually easy enough to sum up. Our adventuring troop goes into a dark cave with a killer man/woman/whatever eating elf, finds out there are two elves and we almost lose a character before both elves are fatally put down.

As a beginning to our story, this chapter serves to introduce everyone, and the writer should be commended on the magic conference-call aspect as it forces everyone to use names in a fairly natural manner. Having read ahead, I can see we also start with this job to quickly introduce everyone which isn’t totally uncommon if, say, the author is a bit hesitant to have us slowly introduced to the main characters. Personally, I don’t think if that was strictly necessary here. More on that next chapter.

It was nice to give this chapter a break before getting back to it. Maybe that’ll be a recurring theme, who knows… The main thing I liked about coming back to this after having read the story is I could better track who was speaking through Thistle’s little mage group-chat thing, so as a whole it was easier to follow.

One moment I particularly liked (Warning: not for those sensitive to violence and blood was the following:

Pretty much everyone on this page is having just the worst day.

Specifically, here, it was the bite that got me. It just seemed so much more real and impactful than the normal damage heroes suffer in a fantasy setting like this, this combined with the page that preceded this one is what really got me to take notice of the story. The proceeding page is pretty great too as we get to see the surviving cave elf shed tears for their fallen comrade. A nice change of pace to show that these are thinking beings and not mostly-mindless mooks for our heroes to cleave through without any thought to the morality of what they’re doing.

One not-so-semi-nit-pick is I’m surprised Orrig split the party like this to search the cave. Sure, it might have been the most efficient way to flush out their prey, but it also was the way that maximizes risk to the group. I’ll grant that they all thought there was only one cave elf, but it’s clearly stated that the cave elf knows the area and can see in the dark, so has many natural advantages. It’s likely Orrig, Brent, and Lyra can handle themselves in close quarters, but it’s immediately apparent that Thistle is in big trouble when one of the cave elves rushes her. Also, even ignoring the elf, they’re all in a cave lit only by Thistle’s floating, glowing magic walkie-talkies. What if someone takes a bad step and just hits their head? I mean, it’s possible Orrig didn’t think this through and somehow no one protested, but we later learn Orrig is a seasoned merc vet. Not only that, he basically states ‘taking care of his employees’ is something he’s all about… so… wouldn’t it make more sense to go as a group, or split into two groups? Maybe one to watch the entrance and another to search? The first chapter certainly serves its purpose, but at the cost of not making a ton of sense. Even if the idea was to introduce the characters and get some excitement in there, the whole thing could have worked if Brent and Thistle were in one group and Lyra and Orrig in the other.

Also, one more issue while I’m at it.

Lyra, we find out that you’re literally a martial artist later. Just take your screaming fire-fly with you and go over there to kick the thing’s ass!

So, yeah… There’s a lot here that feels like it was planned out to maximize tension and maybe written up before later aspects in the story come up, but that’s just my armchair critic take.

On to chapter 2!

It starts with a flashback that immediately makes me question why they story starts where it does. This is something of a complement, truth be told. While starting here means we don’t meet all our characters right away, page one has tension, page two underlines a misunderstanding that immediately garners sympathy for our main character, page three basically doubles down on THAT, and then page four triples down before we start to kick off the main plot. A few pages later, and I now I’m a bit more emotionally invested in these characters than I would be if this was a first time read, but there’s a page here that just warms my black heart.

I mean, those first four panels really get me.

Maybe the idea was people would be less sympathetic to Thistle without getting to know her first? Still, those first four pages in this chapter wobbieze the heck out of her and that might be the best way to garner sympathy in a character, anyhow…

After that, we’re back to the present where everyone is angrily yelling at each other.

This is something of a recurring theme concerning Brent and Lyra, though Thistle is getting in on it, too.

Oh, there’s also some maybe-not-as-subtle-as-the-author-thinks-they-are hints to what’s under the black hood.

Brent says something that ‘mysteriously’ set Thistle off and she storms off. Eventually, they have a quieter talk and we are a bit more clued in to the fact that Thistle is suffering from depression. Transitioning to our heroes trying to get paid we learn that Lyra continues to be a jerk whenever possible! Also, Orrig continues to make up for whatever was going on in chapter one and establish himself as just the best. And we’re done with the “ESTABLISHMENT STUFF”, as the author puts it.

Yeeeahhh… these first two chapters felt a bit weak to me, to be honest. I’m guessing they were mostly written with the intent to get people hooked early, but the even the glimpse of the main story has me interested more than really anything else I saw. I also feel that some of the scenes, especially with Orrig and Thistle, would have more impact later in the narrative instead of right at the beginning. It is somewhat useful in establishing a ‘mystery’ that would be hinted at than solved in short order if this was introduced chronologically, but other than that the beginning felt like it was written to correct a bunch of problems that the main story actually doesn’t suffer from.

I wouldn’t say they’re completely bad or anything as there where a few aspects that stood out to me that let me know this was something beyond the average story that gets made up into comic book form, just that, the parts that are tied to the main story excluded, it felt a bit like a rough ‘pilot episode’ compared to what’s to come.

Having refreshed my memory, I can say I’m already excited to talk about what’s to come! Let’s wrap things up with another Thistle and Origg feel-good moment.

Yeeeeaaaah… That’s the stuff.

Again, thanks to Nova Quill/Firimil for this blog topic. If I can keep this pace up, more to come this month!

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Comments ( 6 )

To be fair, the first two chapters in any series are 'get to know you' and as such are usually a little weak.

Definitely, and I'd probably be a bit more sympathetic to the opening if it wasn't for the rather risky way everyone is tracking down their quarry. This is also probably the only time in the story I feel we're experiencing a sort of story-telling through a checklist where the author has a list they're making sure they cover rather than telling the story they really want.

This is a fair critique, honestly. And it is probable that they hadn't yet gotten a full 'feel' of the characters - which is very common in the early stages of a story.

That seems likely, especially since there's a scene in the next chapter I discuss that seemingly does so much more with each character with substantially fewer pages.

That could just as easily be chalked up to finding one's rhythm and the optimal economy for "getting the point across without needing to draw seventeen freakin panels!"

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