Story A: I thought this was written pretty well. I enjoyed the dialogue and thought it fit well within the story, and the action sequences were not too overdone.
Story B: Also well written, and I enjoyed the bit of mystery in figuring out what was going on.
Story C: Meh. Did not like the poetry start and the whole Romeo and Juliet type of murder/suicide so we can be together was just lame.
Vote is for STORY B
This was really tough. I think I have to give the nod to C, because, even though the story itself was not super strong, I thought it made the most successful attempt to capture the theme of that last stanza, sort of. I'm not happy about it, though, because I was itching to take my blue pencil to C's prose. But there we are.
Well, good job Lux, and Suranna, and the AI.
The prose is pretty good, but I noticed that the author underutilized commas. For example: "In between the howling of the wind the same voice that woke her up shouted trying to defeat the weather in volume, albeit unsuccessfully" is such a chore of sentence and totally ruins the flow. Just a couple of commas are needed to make this read properly! Unfortunately, this isn't the only sentence that suffers from this issue. Alternatively, some of these sentences could definitely be shortened, made a little more concise, and there wouldn't be a need for as many commas. This sentence: "Dougherty glanced up at the immense cables tethering the space station to the surface of Armstrong 13, which doubled as massive elevators that could carry an entire company each" could be shortened to "Dougherty glanced up at the immense cables, doubling as massive elevators, which tethered the space station to Armstrong 13". This story had some intriguing worldbuilding, and had me wondering about the relationship between the humans and the natives. Unfortunately, this worldbuilding is cut short by a very hectic fight scene that was a little confusing, mainly because the setting isn't really discussed other than "it's a mountain pass with cliffs". I also didn't really get the impression of the darkling plain from this setting. Another thing that I felt was slightly lacking was more atmospheric descriptions of this planet. The fearsome wind is discussed, but there's no actual description of the wind clawing at their uniforms or battering their helmets.
I did like the ending. It's simple, and continues to hint at more going on behind the scenes.
The relationship between Lucian and the two goddesses really confused me at the beginning. It didn't help that there were some awkwardly phrased sentences as well, but I actually enjoyed the prose in this one a lot. It's very ethereal, and I enjoyed the description of the Aether (at least that's what I'm calling it). I also thought it was really cool how Inanis and Lucian are lovers, even though she's made out of a substance that's harmful to the touch. I enjoyed the chaotic fight scene in this story, because it fit the dreamy tone well, but still had some concrete moments that I could visualize comfortably. The characterization of the gods gave me Ancient Greek vibes, with lots of interpersonal drama, bickering, and the manipulation of mortals for their own gain.
The one thing I didn't like was the motive of Aether. From what I gathered, she heals people through the souls of followers who abandon her (or otherwise disappoint her, I suppose), but why are so many of the soldiers just accepting death? There's a lot of other questions I have, and the story doesn't even give any concrete answers. I enjoy mystery, but only to a certain point. If I only have more questions about the world by the end of the story, I don't feel very satisfied. I can't stop wondering: what is Inanis the god of? It seems like she knows a lot about Aether, and their domains clearly have some overlap, and they're sisters, but there's still nothing definitive, and her only power is... sending Lucian to heaven?
Meta shenanigans automatically gives this story some bonus points. I also feel like the prose was the most polished. However, the central conflict is just a Romeo and Juliet clone, and not a particularly fleshed out one either. We spend most of the story in Pierre's mind, and he seems to have a very sharp mental decline that I didn't really see coming (well, I imagined that he would kill the baby, but I didn't think he'd turn it into a murder suicide, especially with how in love he seemed). This story reminded me of story A from the other duel, and left me similarly unsatisfied with its ending.
Overall, this was a close one, but I'll go with story A because it left me the least confused.
It's really between A or C. I read these stories a week ago and I could only remember plot beats from story A and C.
Hmmm, I think I'll go with C. I like less literal interpretations of the prompt. Having a battlefield in a darkling plain, it seems very obvious. Prose of A is better though.
The ending of C, I don't think the idea is very bad or irredeemable. It just needs a better execution. Familicide often is paired with a suicide of the perpetrator, so it makes sense for the man to kill himself at the end. I would find it even crueler if the police/someone else prevented him to take the easy way out, but this is fine too.
I'm from Buenos Aires, and I say kill 'em all.
Congrats Darkspawn and others for voting!
And why do you want such a fight to happen. Since Dark is on a winning streak, shouldn't you put him against Enter, Petros or Tcat?
This was a good round. My reviews come off as more negative than I really think, so congrats to everyone for submitting and voting, and to Dark for winning!
Achoo! I mean... yahoo! I mean... curse you DarkSpawn!