In the war-torn land of Cyraveil, four heroes strove to overthrow an empire. By cold steel and elemental sorcery, they brought peace to a warring land on the brink of destruction. As the flames died, the realm needed strong leadership, and who better than the champions who had saved the kingdom? But when the people sought out their saviors... they vanished.
Matt, Blake, Jen, and Carl: the four mysterious companions, who together had deposed an insane ruler and saved countless lives, were gone—spirited back in a whirlwind of magic to a sleepy suburb in Mellbridge, Oregon, never to return. The friends found themselves home in the real world, exactly as they'd been the night they were taken, as if no time had passed... except only three came back.
Hi there! This was my entry for National Novel Writing Month, because why only write one series at a time? The more the merrier! (meanwhile, my keyboard bursts into flames...)
I'm also the writer of The Last Science, an ongoing low-fantasy/speculative sci-fi series. If you're familiar with that, you know what to expect here: lots of character-focused drama and dialogue, not a whole lot of traditional action. However, I'm writing a bit differently than usual here, and in a very different structure, so there should be some surprises for returning readers. I hope you enjoy it!
[Discord] — for those of you who want to hang out and chat.
Cover art (fullsize): Path of Revelation, by taenaron (Tobias Roetsch), modified by Etzoli. Normally I like to do my own cover art from scratch, but I was in a rush for the contest. Might be replaced down the line if I get time.
[winner of the NaNoWriMo Royal Road 2018 challenge—Most Favorites]
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I swear I hate the psychological tag, but...
This story has an amazing depth, well beyond just about any other story I've read on the internet, not just RRL. This demands publishing in calligraphied hardback and paperback, not just the typical amazon or otherwise digital release.
I haven't said it for any other story on this site but this qualifies for a movie script or maybe even a TV or Netflix miniseries.
We don't have enough stars for this, I'm gonna have to go back to most of my other reviews and reduce their scores so I can normalize the values.
What a beautiful read this was from beginning to end. One of the best, if not the best short story i have read on royalroad, and fully deserves being so high on best rated. I felt so much different emotions throughout reading this tragedy in the making.
Totally flawless grammar, the author is just skilled at words.
The prose is of high quality, the perspectives are well written, this story is worthy of being published, thats how high quality it is.
I felt i just had to give this one a review, despite reading it months ago.
Wholeheartly recommended, this story doenst take much time to read. I also recommend the other stories by the same author.
This story was a real binge in all meanings of that word. It sucks you in and doesn't spit you out until your on the other side with a headache, feeling haggard, and bleary trying to figure out what just happened!
I saw a lot of conflict in the comments over who was the villain in this story with ample blame blown everywhere. That is a fallacy, the story is a tragedy and as such there is no true villian, only broken people making beautiful, heart wrenching and broken choices.
The number of times I thought, if only they had communicated! But that is not how things work in reality and this story based on isekia and fantasy is incredibly faithful to reality. It portrays the shocking truth of what would happen when four teenagers are sent to another world and back. It's a tragedy, it was hard to read at times and I disagreed or couldn't understand the choices some characters made. But that is so true to people and so true to life and at no point did I not care.
Etzoli, thank you for sharing.
Style: Absolutely wonderful. The story takes a worn genre and addresses in from a new perspective in a way that evokes dark slice-of-life mixed with a little bit of drama for flavor.
Grammar: The grammar was at the only level that matters, good enough that I didn't notice it while reading.
Story: So non-spoilers first, the story is very much a mystery/ slice of life where we follow the days after a return to Earth from the viewpoints of each of the Isekai Protagonists with plenty of snippets of memory and dialogue that slowly flesh out what life was like in the other world and what their story over there was. Some of the characters know more than others so the delivery reads as part mystery, part drama.
The mystery of Blake's death keeps the readers invested while the major events surrounding the big moral dilemma of whether or not returning was a good idea, and whether or not to leave Earth unfold.
As the entire story is so heavily character-focused, there isn't really a story so much as a series of events that affect a moral dilemma. I wish to stress this as there isn't really a story. This is closer to a theatre production with intense monologues and introspection surrounding events we have no real knowledge of.
That said, the story is a page turner. The interpersonal realtions, deep history, and wildly differing viewpoints of the main characters on their situation drive the story forward with repeated and rapidly escalating interpersonal conflicts.
I removed a star because of Jen.
The driving force behind the tension in the beginning of the story is the fact that there is no return to fantasy-land. The main characters have to figure out how to live normal lives with all their PTSD and trauma. They have to decide whether to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them. OR! I just found a get-out-of-jail-free rock in the woods by pure chance! Wow! Jen finding that return stone with no effort is a lost opportunity for development, and tilts the hand of the story's end chapters in advance. It kills both tension and mystery in a single chapter and swings the focus of the story into whether or not to ditch Carl. Story wise...not great.
Character: OH BOY LET'S GET TO IT.
This entire story is built on a scaffold of character development. Literally all of the tension and conflict and mystery AND story comes hand in hand with charater development. This story is told first person from the perspective of damaged and confused characters; the story IS character development.
That said this story does character phenomenally. I can probably list thirty other stories I've read that make me hate a character as fast as this one, and less than ten that had me sympathizing as readily. These characters are incredibly human*. *mostly To sum it up without giving you too much to read, nearly every character feels real.
I took off a star because there is one who doesn't.
JENNIFER. GOD**** JENNIFER AGAIN. Honestly she isn't even that bad. The fact I hate her can be a testament to quality writing but my big issue is the fact that she isn't treated fairly by the rest of the world. That is to say, she is the slice of life's equivalent to a Mary Sue. She's strong despite being in a body that barely ate right and spent most of its time shopping. She assaults and threatens multiple people with NO people EVER confronting her about it legally or personally. She spends the entire story being tiptoed around and coddled like an injured duckling rather than arrested like the mildly sociopathic armed crazy person she is. She stabbed someone who KNEW HER and he didn't report to the cops? He was beating his wife for losing face seconds before? The wife is clearly on his side so she'll back his story up?? Why wasn't she reported????
Anyway sorry, off topic.
The characterization is very clean with one minor blip.
The story is good; It's engaging, well written, and exciting. If you like a short, tidy story: read this. If you want to learn how to write well developed characters: read this. If you want to see why this story has so many good reviews: well guess what bud you should probably read it.
I created an account just to write this review. This story is absolutely amazing. I came here from a narration channel on youtube and he hadn't completed the story, but I NEEDED more. I never thought I would say that I needed an epilogue for an epilogue, but I do. Technicly, there was one, but it felt more like simply completing the story. What I need is to now what happened to the characters, and boy am I trying hard not to spoil anything. I would also Like a prequal, although it should be labled as something else so no one trys to sneak in more context then they should have, spoiling it for themselves. I know the sequal and prequal will most likely never be written, and that perhaps they shouldn't. However, I will dream.
This novel is absolutely wonderful. The story is absolutely stunning, realistic and engaging throughout the whole length of the novel. It's an extremely character driven novel, with hints of the characters' past shown and told to us in in a masterful way. It was a great Epilogue.
I loved it.
Epilogue is a story with a unique and thought-provoking premise that should catch the attention of anyone with an interest in dark fantasy and similar stories. More importantly, Epilogue carries through with brisk and engaging style which maintains a steady pace of suspense that keeps you turning pages until it's over. It does a fantastic job of exploring its premise by showing its three characters struggle with the same circumstances in very different ways, and the very distinct points of view of each character help to keep the story varied and fresh from chapter to chapter.
Epilogue feels like a much shorter story than its length suggests; it is definitely not a lengthy drama with a drawn-out plot. The story moves very efficiently from plot point to point and wraps up while still retaining all of the momentum it built up over its chapters. For that reason you shouldn't be fooled by the drama/fantasy tags into expecting an epic fantasy story with long plot arcs and gradual character development. It's decidedly concise packs a serious punch and every page is worth the read.
Warning: Review contains spoilers
Great style. POVs, while written in first person, were each distinctive, though they started to blend together towards the end. No major issues, though.
Story: Great story, pretty good for the most part. Some areas could have been forshadowed better, such as the domestic, but it was really quite good without any overused tropes. I did mention a plot hole in one of the comments, but its nothing too major.
Grammar: A few typos here and there, nothing a proof read wouldn't fix.
Characters: This is where the piece really shines. Each character has their own motivation, their flaws and strengths, their backstories. The backstories were given in bits and pieces and could have been coherent, but nothing that really broke immersion. In the end, there were no protagonists or antagonists, just real life people trying to readjust to the real world.
I don't normally read webnovels, least of all on RRL. But this is really a novel, not a webnovel, and I think its good enough to be seen on the bookshelves. You can count me in for any of your future works, Etzoli
This is a very good and amazingly well written story it deserves the high rating and all but somehow the lack of magic makes it more difficult to read for me. The characters are well displayed and the background story as well but if it had more than 25-30 chapters I would probably have dropped it because of the lack of magic. But it is awesome with it being short enough to want to finish it and not long enough to get bored.
If you compare Epilogue with other fictions in RR, Id say its "short" and sweet.
Excellent story & plot, the author doesnt hold your hand and dumps information on you 2 pages after the beginning.
The characters actually feel like REAL people.
The rest is just wonderful and very enjoyable.
Excellent worldbuilding, that it does feel as if I had read the whole adventures just from the tiny bits of info provided.