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Journal Entry: Sat Mar 7, 2015, 4:04 PM
WARNING: This story contains explicit themes of violence and sexual assault.

Eastern Thrace, 377 A.D. 

Zura was a beautiful girl.

Our Lord gifted her with golden blonde hair, bright amber eyes, and flawless skin. Her face seemed crafted by God Himself, in the visage of his loyal angels. Her figure was fit and nubile, the epitome of health and youth. Her bosom and hips were ample and curvaceous, the very picture of fertility. In the countryside village of Silistra, no woman or girl could rival Zura’s beauty, not even her sisters.

When Zura walked through the market, men and women alike would pause their business to bask in the radiance she exuded. Men wanted to marry her, women wanted to be her.

On a near daily basis, Zura’s father was approached by men asking if they could have her hand in marriage. They would trade anything, do anything, pay any dowry, just to have the Jewel of Silistra as their wife.

But Zura’s father was a difficult man to bargain with, for he owned the largest vineyard in all of the Thracian countryside. People came from near and far to trade for his wine, the quality of which was rivaled by few in all the Roman Empire... as was his youngest daughter’s beauty. Few could afford his wine, and even fewer could afford the price he levied for his daughter’s hand.

Yes, Zura was a very beautiful girl...

... until the Goths attacked.

They came under the cover of night, when the moon was absent and stars were obscured by heralding storm clouds. The darkness cloaked their approach, the thunder masked their marching feet.

The barbarian tribe razed the village; destroying homes, setting fire to the streets, and plundering the market and farms. Few villagers could stand against their brutality, the likes of which did not seem human. Despite the swords and spears they wielded, the Goths seemed more akin to animals. They wore no armor and bore no shields—only loincloths, boots, and cloaks made from wolfskin protected their hairy tanned skin. At times, the line between man and wolf seem blurred, such was their ferocity.

They ran through the streets, through the countryside, laying waste to everything in their path. Blood, fear, anguish, and death was the turbulence of their wake. Young and old, sick and healthy alike; men, woman, and even children fell to their wrath.

Few were spared.

Among them was Zura.

Being on a large hill that overlooked the village, her father’s villa was among the first to be attacked. She had to watch the Goths invade and take her home—she had to watch her mother and father, her sisters and brothers, and even her nieces and nephews fall to the claws and blades of the relentless Gothic horde...

One of Zura's suitors—a guest at the villa, a decorated soldier from Rome—could do nothing to protect her. He fell immediately to the savagery of the Goths, his skull cleaved in two, his limbs torn from his body, and his heart ripped out of his chest.

Zura screamed in grief and fear as the Goths dragged her through the burning streets of her once proud village, asking God why she was spared to witness the destruction of her home and her people. Why hadn’t they killed her like the rest?

When the village was taken and its last pitiful defender had fallen... Zura got her answer. In the smoldering, smoking ruins of Silistra, the Gothic savages took her.

They took her.

/ / / / / / / / / 

Zura tried to will away the throbbing around her bruised black eye, the stinging in her split lip, and the pain between her thighs... but it was difficult, seeing that she was laying wet and shivering under a leafless tree, bound to it by shackles, as were the few other girls the Goths saw fit to “spare.”

The cloudy night sky continued to drizzle—the rain had not stopped since the morning after the attack—turning the ground to muck, and chilling the girls to the bone. Their only defense against the cold were thin linen tunics that covered nothing and red mud that caked their skin. The once fertile soil of Silistra was stained by the spilt blood of its fallen villagers.

Zura heard the sound of footsteps and the fearful whimpers of the other girls.

“That one,” said a low raspy voice.

Zura felt the chains of her shackles being pulled at as the other girls moved away from the speaker, but she did not move. There was no use trying to escape and the other girls needn’t worry. Zura knew who the warrior wanted.

Rough hands grabbed her hair and pulled her to her feet. She stood there, trembling, trying to keep balance as they unbound her. It was amazing she still could stand after the countless assaults her womanhood had suffered over the past few days.

“Come with me,” the warrior said.

Zura recognized him; not just because he was one of few that spoke her language, but also because she had memorized his beady eyes, crooked nose, and yellow teeth. He was the savage that made use of her most frequently. And it wasn’t only her, the animal’s libido seemed insatiable; he had taken pleasure from each of the five captured girls at least once.

 Zura allowed herself a small smirk. At least he would be quick.

“What are you laughing at, slave?!” the warrior spat.


The man had brought his fist to her face. “Do not speak!” He smacked her twice more for good measure.

Zura spat blood into the mud, along with a tooth that had been loosened by previous beatings.

The man held her tightly by the neck and spat his words directly to her face, “The only reason I do not slash the tongue from your mouth is so that it can still wrap itself around my cock.”

Zura reeled back at his putrid breath but said nothing.

The warrior grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled her alongside as he walked. Zura struggled to keep up; walking was now a laborious chore. Her once graceful gait was now a shambling limp. Cramps and soreness between her thighs were her constant companions now.

She was led away from the Goth camp and up a beaten path, one she recognized despite the blood that still stained it. She looked ahead. She was being led to her father’s villa, her home.

As she walked through the courtyard, Zura noticed her favorite olive tree, the one her nieces and nephews loved to climb and play under. There was a smoldering black pit underneath it... a pyre housing the charred bones of her family... with those of their servants.

Zura lamented at such disrespect, to think that the Goths had her family—the richest and proudest in the region—share an equal grave with filthy wretched slaves?

But wasn’t that all she was now, too? A slave, chattel—mere property of the barbarian Goths that violated her, every other hour of the day?

She was escorted through the bloodstained halls of her former home. Where was she being taken? The warriors usually had no care or preference where they had their way with her, be it in their tents or open view of others by the campfire.

Finally, she was shoved through a curtain and into a room.

“Ritheus, your whore,” the warrior said, kicking Zura’s shin, forcing her to her knees.

Zura kneeled in her father’s chamber, the biggest room of the villa. The flat stone walls were bathed in soft light from the oil-lamps and candles that decorated the room. A large wooden tub in the corner was being filled with warm water by another warrior, whilst a table in the opposite corner was being served with food. The fine linen cloths on the bed were replaced by animal skins and furs. Her father’s blood had been washed from the floor, but the stain was still plainly there.

A giant man stood in the center of the room, facing the window, a coarse fur cloak draping his back. With a deep and gravelly voice, he told the other Goths, “Leave us.”

The warriors quit the room, leaving Zura alone with the man they called Ritheus.

He stood tall, well over six and a half feet. He had a protruding belly, and his frame was bulky and wide, but despite that, his broad chest and thick arms were rippling with sculpted muscle.

On his head was a mantle skinned from a bear, the beast’s snout and ears still attached.

Zura knew this man. She recalled his name, in the past having heard it spoken by Roman soldiers that visited her father. Ritheus Ursus, a fierce Gothic tribal chief, known for having the aspect, strength, and brutality of the terrible brown bears that dominated the forests and mountains north of the Danube River.

She also knew him as the man that had choked her youngest niece to death, decapitated her father, and cleaved her suitor’s skull in two. The very axe that had done those terrible deeds leaned against the corner of the room, blade still glistening with viscera.

Ritheus took off his mantle and loincloth and turned to Zura, revealing a bald head and a shaggy black beard, so long it was braided into a plait that extended to his navel. Extraordinary endowment dangled between his thighs.

For the first time in days, fear struck Zura’s heart, and the urge to flee was rekindled. Surely this beast of a man would make the most brutal use of her yet, making her previous tortures seem like the caresses of a tender lover...

“Girl. Come to me,” he commanded.

Zura did not rise from her knees, fear holding her fast to the floor. She stole a glance over her shoulder, towards the entrance to the room. She knew the corridors of her father’s villa better than these savages, she could possibly...

... but she didn’t get a chance. Ritheus walked over to her, his heavy footsteps reverberating through the floor. He grabbed her by the arm and brought her to her feet.

“Do not think to run,” Ritheus said. “Other girls like you have tried, and my men have killed them in pursuit. They do not know how to restrain themselves.”

Zura trembled in fright, flashes of memory coming to her eyes... her mother and sisters fleeing the Gothic warriors, only to be stricken down and ravaged on the spot.

To her surprise, instead of leading her to the bed, Ritheus led her to the bathtub and placed a strigil into her trembling hands.

He sank into the bathtub slowly, the girth of his massive body causing water to spill onto the floor. A low growl rumbled out of his lips.

Or perhaps that was a sigh of relief, Zura thought. The man’s voice was so deep it was hard to tell.

“I would have you clean me,” he said.

Is that all? Zura questioned silently, not daring to speak out loud. She surely doubted it, but she would comply, if only to delay the pummeling that was to come.

“The oil is there,” Ritheus said, pointing at a clay bottle placed nearby.

As Zura took the bottle, Ritheus turned his back to her, indicating that was where she should start. She poured the oil onto his back, spread it across his skin. She marveled at the rough and bumpy texture, the other Goths did not have skin so coarse. Zura shifted her body to allow the candle light to fall upon Ritheus’ back.

His dark tan skin was covered in a network of terrible scars. They extended from his shoulders and neck, all the way down to his buttocks. Not an inch of skin lay unblemished by jagged bumpy tissue. Afraid that she may cause him discomfort by taking the strigil to his marred skin, Zura hesitated.

“Proceed, you will not harm me,” Ritheus said.

Zura did as she was told and began to scrape away the dirt and grime from his back. Ritheus did not seem to be in any pain or discomfort, he only moved to give her more access.

Finally, when she was done with his back, he said, “Strip.”

Zura hesitated. If he was going to take her, why not tear away her pathetic excuse for clothes himself? What was stopping him? A small girl like her had no hope of resisting a giant man like him.

With a growl of annoyance, Ritheus said, “Strip, girl, so that you may enter the tub and continue.”

Zura took off her sole piece of clothing and entered the tub. Ritheus threw his plaited beard over his shoulder so that she had access to his chest. His back was not the only part of his body that held scars. His sinuous arms, thick legs, and broad chest all held hefty wounds that had long since healed, testaments to the life a tenacious warrior.

Zura continued cleaning him, taking her time and sparring no inch of skin, knowing that the longer she took to perform her task, the longer her body remained uninvaded.

When she was done Ritheus surprised her yet again by leaving the tub, not once a laying a hand on her. He stomped to the bed and redressed.

Zura sat in the tub, at a loss for what to do.

Ritheus sat himself at a table, grabbed a chunk of horsemeat and took a generous bite. “You may clean yourself, if you wish,” he said, mouth full.

Zura did so, thanking God for yet another delay. She took the oil and strigil to her skin and happily scraped away the mud and blood that had caked itself onto her body. She paid particular attention to her thighs, where putrid seed that had long since dried itself.

Once clean, Zura still remained a far cry from her former glory. Her once flawless skin was still marred by bruises, scratches, and bite marks inflicted by the men that made cruel and rough use of her. Her once golden and flowing hair was tattered and in clumps, red scrabs peppered her scalp where locks had been torn out. Yet the damage was not only external... nothing could wash away the darkness smeared open her soul by the unwelcome touch of these barbarians.

She stepped out of the tub, once again uncertain about what to do.

“Come to the bed,” Ritheus said, gesturing that she come over.

She did not refuse him, knowing it would be foolish to do so. She sat at the edge of bed, still naked and wet from the bath. Was he going to take her now?

“Here,” Ritheus said, grabbing a chunk of bread and tossing it to her. “Feed yourself, lest you wither away into nothing.”

Zura caught the loaf and stared at it. Does he jest?

Ritheus looked at her with hard eyes.

Zura bowed her head slightly and said, “Gratitude.” She took a bite.

It was stale old bread, but how savory did it taste as it entered her mouth and filled her aching stomach. Cramps in her harrowed womb had masked a hunger that was now brought to the surface. The warriors of the camp hardly fed her and the other girls. Either from intentional cruelty or neglect, she wasn’t sure.

Finishing the loaf, Zura eyed a hunk of horsemeat. She glanced at Ritheus. A small nod of his head indicated his approval. Driven by terrible hunter, Zura tore into it savagely, in a manner unfit a girl of delicate upbringing.

Ritheus handed her a cup of wine and Zura gulped it down quickly. “Such a gluttonous appetite for so small a girl,” Ritheus said.

Daring once again to speak, Zura said, “Your men seldom feed me and the others... if we occupy their attention, it is for other means than nourishing us.”

Ritheus said nothing, he only nodded in understanding. Finishing the last of his meal, he cleared the table and placed a map upon it. He sat there, studying it intently and stroking his beard.

Zura watched him in anxious expectation, slowly chewing her food. Was he waiting for her to finish her meal? Why had he not taken her yet? No other Goth warrior had expressed such patience, such restraint, especially when she sat naked and bare in front of him.

Finally, Zura could not hold her nervous anticipation any longer. Better to have it over with quickly than be in this state of torturous uncertainty. She asked him, “W-will... will you take me now?”

Ritheus did not look up from the map. However, he said, “No.”

Zura could not believe her ears. He must be joking, playing at a cruel jest. She was certain nearly half his army had known the flesh of either her or one of the other girls of her village, during and after the attack. They were savage barbarians, it was in their very nature to rape and pillage, plunder and kill—to take what was not theirs. At her own self-disgust, Zura felt almost insulted. Had the Jewel of Silistra been so badly tarnished that even this base animal did not want her?

She dared to ask, “Why?”

Ritheus removed his eyes from the map and steeled them on her. "I too have known the lash of slavery."

Zura readily believed him, recalling the scars on his back—clearly lashes from a whip. "Who was your master?"

"My masters were the Huns and I lived under their whip for many years. They killed and enslaved many of my people, and pillaged and took our villages. I saw my own sister forced upon by their soldiers."

Zura scowled. Was he serious?

Ritheus scoffed. "Yes, I understand the irony, but such is war. I will not fault my men for reaping the spoils of battle, but I myself will not partake. My wife and others follow our army only half a day away. My men have stained you with filth and disease and I will not spread it to her."

Bearing the insult, Zura asked, "Why not lead your men by example? Show them the path of mercy."

"They would never take it."


"Because every last one of them would gladly see you Romans suffer at the end of their blades and their cocks rather than allow a single one of you to walk free."

"Why did you attack my village then? We are not Roman, we are Thracian!"

"The shadow of Rome casts itself over your village and you gladly suckle at her breast!" Ritheus roared angrily. "You are Roman and we will see every village and city fall in our wake!"

"Why do you hate us so? We have done you no wrong!"

"You stupid, spoiled little girl," Ritheus growled. "Standing high atop your pedestal, ignorant to what goes on in the muck beneath you."

"What do you mean?"

"As every one of my men has fucked you, the Roman Empire have fucked us in kind!" Ritheus yelled, leaping to his feet. He towered over Zura menacingly. "Beaten and broken, we Goths were driven from our lands in the north by the Hunnic horde. We asked you Romans simply for humble refuge, to hide and lick our wounds, yet the second we crossed the Danube we were yet again enslaved, then left to starve! What do you think happens when you beat, cage, and starve a dog? It lashes back with the intensity of a wolf!"

Zura reeled back, fearing Ritheus would strike her in his rage. He may not want to take pleasure from her flesh, but nothing stopped him from beating her to balm the sore wounds inflicted by her people.

But he didn't do anything. With a low growling breath, he calmed himself and turned away. He sat back down at the table and put his attention back to the map.

Zura watched him again for a long while, eventually gathering the courage to say, "If you will not take me, what is to become of me this night?"

"I must keep appearances for the sake of my men," Ritheus said. "Take the bed and rest."


"As a merciless warrior that shows the enemy no quarter; whether man, woman, or child."

Looking at his arms, sculpted with muscle and adorned with scars, and vividly recalling how he snapped her nephew’s neck, Zura said, "That hardly needs to be proven."

 "Do not speak to me again, or I may change my mind," Ritheus growled, turning back to the map.

Zura did as she was told and crawled up into the bed. The furs and skins were nothing compared to the linens she was used to, but after days of trauma, mental and physical, the softness of the bed was a welcome sensation against her bruised and cold skin. Having had no proper rest in days and now confident that she would not be taken for the sick desires of the warriors of the camp, Zura quickly fell into much needed sleep.

/ / / / / / / / /

“Ritheus, you are called to the camp!”

Zura bolted awake, finding herself in familiar chambers. For a moment, she hoped it had all been a dream... but as Ritheus stirred beside her, reality descended heavily.

Ritheus stood and donned his bear mantle. He tossed Zura her scant tunic. “Get dressed and come with me.”

Zura did as told and followed. As Ritheus led her down the path towards the camp, she noted it was a little easier to walk. A bath, a good night's sleep, and respite from forceful entry had rejuvenated her body. She also noted how the other Goths shied away and parted as Ritheus approached. They averted their eyes and bowed their heads in respect, not even glancing twice at her, despite her near nudity. Zura entertained the idea that if perhaps if she could gain Ritheus’ favor, he would continue to protect her from his subordinates.

At the center of the camp, by the bonfire, Ritheus spoke to another Goth. “Why have I been summoned?”

A scrawny Goth approached and beat his chest with his fist, the Goths’ crude salute. “Ritheus, Chief Fritigern sends message that we pack camp and meet him at the next village.”

“Did he say why?”

“We prepare to march upon Marcianople.”

Marciana? Zura thought. That was the largest city in the region, located south of her village. It was heavily fortified, surrounded by walls, and it garrisoned a Roman legion. Did the Goths have the numbers to make an attempt on such a place?

She scoffed internally. She had witnessed firsthand that one Goth was more than equal to three Roman men.

“Very well,” Ritheus said. “Spread message to the rest of the camp. We will leave this village immediately and move on.”

With a salute, the warrior and a few of his fellows ran off. Ritheus turned to walk back to the villa, but nearly bumped into Zura who was standing behind him. It looked like he had forgotten she was even there.

With a quick glance around at the other Goths and then at her fellow captive girls, Zura asked Ritheus, “And what is to become of me and your other prisoners? Will you release us when you move on?”

A warrior herded the other girls to bonfire, pulling tightly at their shackles. Ritheus suddenly clamped an iron band on Zura's wrist. “No, you will be taken to the followers’ camp.”

Zura looked down at her bound wrist desperately. “The followers’ camp?”

“Our elderly, our women, and what remains of our children,” Ritheus answered.

“What will happen to us there?”

"You will live out the rest your lives as our slaves," Ritheus said coldly, absent emotion.

"No..." Zura shook her head, praying to God it wasn't true. "Will..."

Ritheus nodded grimly. "My men will come to you when they please."

"No!" Zura screamed suddenly, tears coming to their eyes. "Don't let them take me again! Please!"

Ritheus was steadfast, he only looked at her with a furrowed brow.

"Please! Spare me!" Zura begged as flashes came to her mind, of the Goths forcing themselves on her, beating her senseless. She could not, would not, suffer a lifetime of being handled by rough unforgiving hands and being invaded by unwelcome barbarian flesh, especially knowing that one of among them had shown himself above such base behavior. She grabbed Ritheus' cloak, pleading. "Spare me! Don't let them take me! I cannot endure another day!"

Zura had drawn a crowd with her desperate pleas. Goth warriors and even the other whore-slaves watched her and Ritheus with attentive interest.

"Please, show me the compassion you displayed last night! Do not damn me to a cursed fate at the hands of your men. Please, have mercy!"

Ritheus looked down at the trembling, weeping, broken girl in front of him. "You wish for mercy?" he said, void of emotion.

"Yes, please!" Zura cried desperately.

Ritheus nodded, and Zura finally saw sympathy cast itself upon his features. A glimmer of hope upturned her cracked lips.

Ritheus then drew a dagger from his belt and slit her throat.

About 4,350 words.

So this is one of my first (public) attempts at a short story. My friends and watchers know that shorts and one-shots are not my forte... but I still wanted to give it a try. Sorry that it was so... dark. Gothic literature is my specialization in college, and I wanted to write a Gothic short story that actually had Goths! Also, along with Convalescent, I wanted to build up some writing samples so I can get accepted into my college's Master's Degree program for Creative Writing.

Anyway, this story was inspired both by binging on the Spartacus TV show on Netflix (obviously), and a project I had to do for my Medieval Literature class. I had to study up on some historical context and present it to the class, and of course I choose Gothic Art. Everyone knows that Gothic architecture refers to dark imposing buildings with large pointy spires, wide arches, and gargoyles. They also know that it refers to morbid, depressing, grotesque, macabre, and horrific literature and paintings.

What many people DON'T know, however, is that the term "Gothic" comes from a tribe of nomadic barbarians that actually had almost NOTHING to do with the art form. They frequently attacked Roman citizens and villages, so their name eventually became synonymous with "barbarian," "ugly," and "foreign." At the time when Roman art was at its peak, anything that deviated from what was "in vogue" was considered Gothic, whether or not it was actually made by Goths. The term "Gothic" was insulting and derogatory for nearly a thousand years.

So yeah! The Goths were actually real people. As portrayed in the story, they lived in Northern Europe, but were constantly displaced by war. Eventually, in the 4th century, when the Huns came from Northern Asia (Russia), their kings were killed and their people were enslaved. A few tribes managed to escape south, towards the Roman Empire. At the time, the Empire was split up into two parts, the Western Roman Empire ruled by Emperor Augustulus, and the Eastern Roman Empire ruled by Emperor Valens. Although split up, they were still united, it was just that the Empire was so fucking big, they needed two dudes to rule it.

Anyway, like it was mentioned in my story, the Goths fled from the Huns and asked for refuge on Roman land in Thrace. Emperor Valens said sure, but made the refugee camp more like an internment camp, guarded by Roman soldiers. The Romans starved the Goths, forcing them to sell their wives and children into slavery just to have food. One thing led to another, and the Goths were like "Enough of this shit!" So then they started plundering and pillaging the Thracian countryside. This is when my story takes place. I know my story takes the opposite position, but I'm very much pro-Goth. Viva la revolution! Slave rebellion, woo! Go underdogs!

Eventually, the Goths became so successful with their plundering, they amassed a strong enough army to sack and capture the capital city of the Eastern Roman Empire, Adrianople. They even killed Emperor Valens. This power vacuum led to anarchy in the Eastern Roman Empire which in turn led to the Fall of the Roman Empire as a whole, a hundred years later (at the hands of Attila and the Huns.)

I hoped you enjoyed my Gothic story about Goths! Lol! Please comment, and favorite if you enjoyed the story. Feedback and critiques are much appreciated.

And here are just a few more notes for the sake of understanding the story...
*Eastern Thrace, and the village of Silistra are located in present day Turkey, in a isthmus between the Aegean and Black Seas.
*At this time, the Roman Empire included ALL of Mediterranean Europe, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea. They even had control of France and Britain.
*By the 4th century, because of Emperor Constantine, the Roman Empire had abandoned paganism (multiple gods like Mars, Jupiter and Hercules) in favor of Christianity.
*A strigil is a blunt blade Romans used to clean themselves, much like shaving.
Add a Comment:
Interesting story, I say. I agree with the previous comments that was posted here. Very cold and dark, I loved it. The entire story was well made and very descriptive. I loved the characters' great personality that was used around the plot. You made the characters very descriptive. It was dark beautifully well made setting.

Although the story was great, I do like how you ended it all. I'll admit, I do feel sorry for Zura. What has she done to deserved this? Overall, great story, characters and plot. I would like to see more of your wonderful work.

What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
5 out of 5 deviants thought this was fair.

Reading Mercy was extremely uncomfortable for me. So good job! I definitely empathized with Zura and reading what she went through made me feel miserable. You did a great job capturing her awful situation with just the right amount of description. I appreciate that you didn’t go overboard in describing what happened to her as I feel that would add an unnecessary layer of discomfort for the readers.

I like how you have this theme of mercy. What is mercy and did Zura receive it? You had this idea in mind and you went for it; the ending perfectly encapsulated it and makes the reader question Zura’s mercy killing. But, I’m on the fence of if I would like some other element in it. On one hand, focusing on her torture being rape definitely makes us feel sorry for her and want her to find an escape. But on the other, I feel that the majority of the story focusing on that almost fetishizes it, which isn’t the point of the story. The worst thing to happen to a girl doesn’t have to be rape. Also, writers often take the rape route when one of their female characters goes through some form of torture. Take what you will from this.

You’re a great writer with a fantastic style. You implement many literary devices to keep the story interesting. Honestly, this is a solid story and my only complaint is whether or not rape is being fetishized here seeing as the story is heavily focused on it. But overall, it was a great read!
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
3 out of 3 deviants thought this was fair.

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thwackcrackers Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015
So dark

So gritty

So beautiful! :D 
Rhoder Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2015  Student Writer
Don't know about beautiful... but yeah, thanks man!
MidnightDaybreak Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Reading your work is bad for my inferiority complex, because you are just so amazing. You clearly have a grasp of literary techniques and devices that I could only ever dream of.

I really liked this piece; it took my back to the Beatrice Small novels I used to read. Your technique is fantastic, your descriptions eloquent, and you managed to capably create a dark and tragic backdrop for the readers by starting out so bright and cheerful and then ripping it away. I say tragic referring to the situations within the story, rather than the ending. I, for one, do see Zura's death as an act of mercy. She clearly feared what was to become of her and, having been there himself, Ritheus spared her having to suffer through that. He just did it in a way that was convenient for him by not spoiling his image. It was a selfish form of mercy - that's my opinion at least.

I like the amount of detail you give us. It's just enough in the right places and isn't wasted on things not entirely necessary to the story. I can feel the tension and uncertainty in the room when Zura is asked to bathe Ritheus. I get that little glimmer of hope the morning after when she thinks she's found a safe place by his side. And then that hope is replaced by deep dread and foreboding when she's sentenced to slavery and subsequently killed after pleading for mercy.

Sorry this comment wasn't more eloquent. I read the story before bed and wrote it after waking up z..z You did an amazing job!
Rhoder Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2015  Student Writer
Hey man, don't sweat it. I think your work is amazing, too, so... Yeah, lol.

Thanks for reading and commenting!
MidnightDaybreak Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
You're too nice.

You're welcome though. It was phenomenal. 
Rhelna Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I love the overall tone of this piece - the narration is very cold and unattached.. for lack of a better word. I like this, as it doesn't influence me to pick one side over the other. I feel more like an observer rather than being emotionally invested in a particular character. This doesn't mean that the story didn't evoke emotion overall, because it definitely did. It was both gruesomely horrific and harshly realistic.
The very last line in particular was truly chilling - but when I think about it he really he did grant her mercy.

This story had me constantly thinking... I felt sorry for Zura, but at the same time felt sorry for the Goths. It seems everyone's a loser in the long run, and nobody is the good guy. I like pieces that blur those lines, and make you constantly question your own stance on what you're reading -once again aided by your impartial narration.

It was interesting to glimpse into the world of 377 A.D. Plus the information you added in your description was very interesting. I too seem to favour the Goths over Huns. The topic used to create quite the argument between me and my younger brothers back in the day.

Also, I do hope you get into your masters program doing creative writing. That would be a dream come true. With pieces like this and Convalescent I'm sure your folio will make quite an impact.
Rhoder Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2015  Student Writer
YES YES YES. I love that you answered the question I posed with my subtext. Was Zura granted mercy?

Not saying you are correct, not even saying there is a correct answer... but I love that you did think about it and came to a conclusion.

And yeah, the writing program is going to be great. Not only do they teach you to be a better writer, but they also give you a job as an instructor teaching 100 level undergrads, they fund a year abroad, AND AND AND your dissertation is a novel WHICH they actually help you publish.
Rhoder Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2015  Student Writer
See, I love this. Readers interpreting an author's work through their own subjective opinions... ACTIVE READING. Its what I spent the last five years doing in college as an English major, and I feel honored that someone is doing it to my own work. I appreciate that you took the time to ponder the implications, thank you.
Rhelna Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I do like stories that make you think... I should have studied English at university.
Anyway... No worries! Thanks for sharing your work.
BlueNightFire Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Not much to say that the critique hasn't summed up for me already. Love the tone of this a lot, and compared to Convalescent I can see just how varied your writing is in terms of genre.

I started borrowing a boxset of Spartacus from my brother, and this is definitely in the same league. Nice job!
Raqonteur Featured By Owner Edited Mar 7, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It is a dark story.  Initially there is the feeling it may be a morality tale where the once proud and beautiful Zura is reduced to little or nothing.  There is that aspect but I felt it's a little too dark and grim for that. 

I like that the often stereotype of the rebel leader sparing the girl, falling for her and eventually marrying her was also rebutted here.  It's a rather tired old trope :p.

For me, the writing was a little too impersonal.  It felt like something recited from a text possibly even a history text with little or no emotional attachment to the reader or author.
Rhoder Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2015  Student Writer
Yeah, the tone is meant to be cold, distant, and objective.

Thanks for reading, and especially for commenting!
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Submitted on
March 7, 2015
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