Year 62, Kali yuga Present day Malasāra stood at the edge of the crevice, his burning torch held high. The eerie darkness of Pātalalokā’s desolate plains clawed at the light, trying to smother the unwelcome intrusion. He leaned over the edge, looking for the bottom, but the flame failed to penetrate the murky void. He scoured the bleak landscape behind him once, and dropped the torch into the chasm. It fell for endless moments before it hit the crevice floor far below. A small plume of dust obscured the flame for an instant, but settled quickly.
Another story with upside-down oceans! Awesome haha
As requested, doing a beta read for you. I'm going to treat each episode as a stand-alone episode, as if i was watching a tv series. Each segment of a story ought to stand for itself, yet connect to the broader arc of the narrative. I don't have any expertise in this but I do enjoy it so I appreciate that you have offered me the opportunity!
First impressions--WOW. Imaginative, deep, approachable. You don't over-explain, neither am I left wondering. You are clearly setting the stage, laying the groundwork for your whole epic. It was exciting and fun. But also--nothing happened. In it's briefest, a demon came and retrieved the nameless one and they flew off and away.
That's perfectly fine, as I know this is a foundation-step for the rest of the story. This feels like it would connect best with whatever comes next. There's a lot of questions--which is good for this point in the story--but I don't know what the story is yet. I can't tell if the main character is Malasara or Anamaka. I can't tell why I should care about either of them. Malasara seems cool, I appreciated how he was introduced--leaping down a ravine and landing gently, that's a great way to intro a character and reveal that something is different. But at this stage--I don't know who anamaka is and I don't care about him. There's no hints as to why I should.
None of this should be construed as a criticism though, because it's hard to review a part without the context of the whole. But this was my first taste and I think it's worth it to know that some suggestion of story ought to be made at least this early.
I am really excited to read the next episode! Very well done, Sujan!
The opening two paragraphs are so solid, they absolutely hooked me, and the imagery in the rest of the piece is sparking my imagination. I can't stop thinking about how much I love this description: "Instead, they dove in, and a brilliant white light shone everywhere, blinding him. The Yamadūta too shielded his eyes with his forearm and continued ahead. The diaphanous light was everywhere, as if they had plunged into an ocean of milk. Small firefly-like insects seemed to be fluttering all around them, tiny flickers of pale yellow amidst the white. Anāmaka held out his hand, hoping to catch one, but grasped nothing."
I am excited to read further!
This is a great start to an epic