Path of the Whisper Woman

Path of the Whisper Woman

by K. Kirpes

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Traumatising content

For as long as she can remember Gimlea's mother has trained her to become a whisper woman--to do what she never could. When her mother takes her to see the goddess's procession Gimlea makes a vow to see that path through. But not for her mother's reasons of vicarious power and accomplishment. Gimlea will become one of the goddess's chosen so that she no longer has to be under anyone's thumb.

And she will do whatever it takes to make that happen.


I will do my best to post another chapter every Wednesday by 8:00 PM CST!

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K. Kirpes

K. Kirpes

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Table of Contents
174 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
Ch. 1: On the Calling Road ago
Ch. 2: Sickness ago
Ch. 3: Helping Hand ago
Ch. 4: A Huntress's Lessons ago
Ch. 5: The Seasonal Run ago
Ch. 6: Traveler's Offering ago
Ch. 7: Crossing River ago
Ch. 8: Picking a Fight ago
Ch. 9: Lost Legacy ago
Ch. 10: Storm ago
Ch. 11: The Search ago
Ch. 12: Mourning Ritual ago
Ch. 13: Funeral Pyres ago
Ch. 14: Honesty ago
Ch. 15: Entering Flickermark ago
Ch. 16: Rivalry ago
Ch. 17: Uncharted Way ago
Ch. 18: Discussions ago
Interlude - Confrontation ago
Ch. 19: The Distance in Between ago
Ch. 20: Questions ago
Ch. 21: Small Trials ago
Ch. 22: A Flashback and a Prayer ago
Ch. 23: A Worthy Rival ago
Ch. 24: Bane Pack ago
Ch. 25: Underground ago
Ch. 26: Pathways of Thought ago
Ch. 27: Following the Winds ago
Ch. 28: Statue Garden ago
Ch. 29: Marked ago
Ch. 30: Cold Season Begins ago
Ch. 31: Recovery ago
Ch. 32: Grislander's Maw ago
Ch. 33: Reunions ago
Ch. 34: Inside Grandmother's Tent ago
Ch. 35: Mentor and Apprentice ago
Ch. 36: Storyteller's Prerogative ago
Ch. 37: Burr of Friendship ago
Ch. 38: Murmurs ago
Ch. 39: Mental Trap ago
Ch. 40: Snared ago
Ch. 41: Boar Hunt ago
Ch. 42: Picker Band ago
Ch. 43: Grandmother's Inspection ago
Ch. 44: Mountain Hike ago
Ch. 45: Blooding ago
Ch. 46: Gathering Trip ago
Ch. 47: Preparations ago
Ch. 48: Heartsong Festival ago
Ch. 49: Myths Sung and Told ago
Ch. 50: Awkward Encounters ago
Ch. 51: Unexpected Gifts ago
Ch. 52: Moonlit Lake ago
Ch. 53: The Rules of Poison Craft ago
Ch. 54: Storm's Beginning ago
Ch. 55: Distractions and Details ago
Ch. 56: Final Lesson ago
Ch. 57: Myriad of Myths ago
Ch. 58: Severance ago
Ch. 59: Into the Dark ago
Book 2 - Ch. 1: Seedling Palace ago
Book 2 - Ch. 2: Exploration ago
Book 2 - Ch. 3: First Lesson ago
Book 2 - Ch. 4: Show and Tell ago
Book 2 - Ch. 5: Unbalanced Beginnings ago
Book 2 - Ch. 6: From the Ground Up ago
Book 2 - Ch. 7: Line of Sight ago
Book 2 - Ch. 8: Tree of Amber ago
Book 2 - Ch. 9: The Beloved ago
Book 2 - Ch. 10: Unconventional Training ago
Book 2 - Ch. 11: Revengeful Gardening ago
Book 2 - Ch. 12: Nested Library ago
Book 2 - Ch. 13: New Knowledge ago
Book 2 - Ch. 14: Slow Growth ago
Book 2 - Ch. 15: Misfit's Gambit ago
Book 2 - Ch. 16: Hunter's Quarry ago
Book 2 - Ch. 17: Promises ago
Book 2 - Ch. 18: Old Acquaintance, New Insight ago
Book 2 - Ch. 19: Dichotomy of Choice ago
Book 2 - Ch. 20: Allies in Name Only ago
Book 2 - Ch. 21: Unexpected Absence ago
Book 2 - Ch. 22: Respite ago
Book 2 - Ch. 23: Trials and Tribulations ago
Book 2 - Ch. 24: Fall ago
Book 2 - Ch. 25: Consequences ago
Book 2 - Ch. 26: Breaking New Ground ago
Book 2 - Ch. 27: New Hurts ago
Book 2 - Ch. 28: Water Fight ago
Book 2 - Ch. 29: Clean Up ago
Book 2 - Ch. 30: Watching the Waves ago
Book 2 - Ch. 31: Small Conversations ago
Book 2 - Ch. 32: Lookout ago
Book 2 - Ch. 33: Caught in the Undertow ago
Book 2 - Ch. 34: New Orders ago
Book 2 - Ch. 35: The Seedlings ago
Book 2 - Ch. 36: Ambush ago
Book 2 - Ch. 37: The Best Laid Plans ago
Book 2 - Ch. 38: Convalescence ago
Book 2 - Ch. 39: Push and Pull ago
Book 2 - Ch. 40: Crawler ago
Book 2 - Ch. 41: Vested Interests ago
Book 2 - Ch. 42: Blood Gifter's Gate ago
Book 2 - Ch. 43: Links ago
Book 2 - Ch. 44: Foggy Plans ago
Book 2 - Ch. 45: New Path ago
Book 2 - Ch. 46: Water Hammer ago
Book 2 - Ch. 47: Running Low on Options ago
Book 2 - Ch. 48: Snake Eyes ago
Book 2 - Ch. 49: Rescue Attempts ago
Book 2 - Ch. 50: Splitting Hairs ago
Book 2 - Ch. 51: Aftermath ago
Book 2 - Ch. 52: Ice Cold ago
Book 2 - Ch. 53: Pieces ago
Book 2 - Ch. 54: Warming Winds ago
Book 2 - Ch. 55: Gathering ago
Book 2 - Ch. 56: A Bit of Advice ago
Book 2 - Ch. 57: Of Tears and Stones ago
Book 2 - Ch. 58: Quiet Time ago
Book 2 - Ch. 59: Preliminaries ago
Notice about Book 2 - Ch. 60 ago
Book 2 - Ch. 60: The Second Matter ago
Book 2 - Ch. 61: Good Deeds Pay ago
Book 2 - Ch. 62: Limitations ago
Book 2 - Ch. 63: Planted Panic ago
Book 2 - Ch. 64: Stones and Connections ago
Book 2 - Ch. 65: Little by Little ago
Book 2 - Ch. 66: Library Search ago
Book 2 - Ch. 67: Final Piece ago
Book 2 - Ch. 68: Martial Diplomacy ago
Book 2 - Ch. 69: Gathering Black ago
Book 3 - Ch. 1: Shadow Practice ago
Book 3 - Ch. 2: Step by Step ago
Book 3 - Ch. 3: Preparations ago
Book 3 - Ch. 4: First Circuit ago
Book 3 - Ch. 5: Harsh Words ago
Book 3 - Ch. 6: Closing the Gap ago
Book 3 - Ch. 7: Fight Night ago
Map of Helindra ago
Book 3 - Ch. 8: Reunion ago
Book 3 - Ch. 9: Festerlings ago
Book 3 - Ch. 10: Traps and Tribulations ago
Book 3 - Ch. 11: Price of Determination ago
Book 3 - Ch. 12: Emotional Intelligence ago
Book 3 - Ch. 13: At the Hollow ago
Book 3 - Ch. 14: Hunter Squad ago
Book 3 - Ch. 15: Gains and Losses ago
Book 3 - Ch. 16: Quiet Night ago
Book 3 - Ch. 17: Cracks ago
Book 3 - Ch. 18: Arguments in the Dark ago
Book 3 - Ch. 19: Ruins ago
Book 3 - Ch. 20: Paths of Shadow ago
Book 3 - Ch. 21: Old Practice, New Insight ago
Book 3 - Ch. 22: Success and Failure ago
Book 3 - Ch. 23: Partial Rescue ago
Book 3 - Ch. 24: Splinters ago
Book 3 - Ch. 25: Dare Devils ago
Book 3 - Ch. 26: Descent ago
Book 3 - Ch. 27: Spite ago
Book 3 - Ch. 28: The Rookery ago
Book 3 - Ch. 29: Hearing Before Seeing ago
Book 3 - Ch. 30: Eavesdropper ago
Book 3 - Ch. 31: Expectations ago
Book 3 - Ch. 32: For Wing, For Wind, For Glory ago
Book 3 - Ch. 33: Ice Fliers ago
Book 3 - Ch. 34: Checking In ago
Book 3 - Ch. 35: Building Character ago
Book 3 - Ch. 36: Juniper's Plight ago
Book 3 - Ch. 37: Transitions ago
Book 3 - Ch. 38: Flight ago
Book 3 - Ch. 39: The Tamer's Lecture ago
Book 3 - Ch. 40: A Different Kind of Strength ago
Book 3 - Ch. 41: Training Essentials ago
Book 3 - Ch. 42: Wind Blown ago
Book 3 - Ch. 43: Song and Dance ago

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If you're looking for a good old hard fantasy novel that explores a very different culture to your own, one with myths and magic, goddesses and believers. If you want to lose yourself in another fleshed out well developed world with believable and human characters. If you want all of that and more this is the book for you!

The story follows our life ridden healer Gimley as she fights to prove herself a strong and worthy member of her tribe. It's very well plotted out and clearly the author has a detailed outline for where the story is going. I'm writing this review after the completion of book one and the pacing throughout was though tight, clear, and still managed to surprise me in the best way possible.

The characters are a shining point in the story! Gimley our mc is complex and driven, her history of abuse teaching her to fear connections and seek perfection at every opportunity. Her mentor is kind and strong, with enough patience and determination to reach through Gimleys armor and begin to help her heal. Every character is believable and flawed in their own unique way and each has a clear and distinct voice.

The grammar is quite good, certainly in the high end for this sight with few mistakes in any given chapter. The formatting is industry standard and extremely easy to follow. You'll never be left wondering who said what. 

It's absolutely worth a look and I'm honestly ashamed I haven't reviewed it earlier as it diserves far more attention than it's gotten. I highly recommend you check it out! 

Alexander Bivens

I went into this not expecting much considering i found this by chance browsing 8 pages into latest, but  boy was i pleasantly surprised. I didn't spot any glaring issues with grammar, so no issues there. The style with which the story is told seems strange at first considering we go in knowing nothing and it seems to to be written kind of cryptically and mysteriously, but it's easy to get used to. We learn about the world and how it works rather organically, in how it relates to what the protagonist is doing or what she is worrying about. The atmosphere is really grey, and the story is really riddled with tension, especially when concerning the unsettling and very death-focused religious practices. The protagonist is a young girl who is somehow both mature and immature, and frequently ends up on the side of the fence where the grass isn't exactly green. The other characters feel real in respect to the fact that everyone is just doing their best to survive while staying on the good side of their obscure yet very real dark godess. All in all, a good read that i will come back to months later after more chapters are out and will probably have to reread it, because i have the memory of a goldfish. Keep up the good work, author-san!




Lurker coming out to support a new story. Whisper Woman is engaging in its mysterious world building that feels distinctly different from pretty much anything else I have read on this site. The charcters are interesting and understandable with alot of room for development. Overall a good start with the potential to become a great story.


First, this story is written extremely well and has fantastic, detailed world building. That being said, I'm not sure I enjoy it for two reasons. First, the world created, while fascinating and very detailed, is very dark. There is very little joy or happiness. The people live under the domain of the Goddess of Darkness & Death. While not evil, the goddess is not kind, gentle, or merciful. Secondly, the MC is broken, even more than other people in this world. Her family is ostracized for being healers ("too much life" in them for a people that worship the goddess of death) and her mother is incredibly verbally and emotionally abusive. This all renders our MC basically incapable of normal social and interpersonal interactions. She actively sabotages and pushes away all possible relationships with people who would care about her. While a believable depiction of what it's like to be that kind of person, it's draining and depressing to read.

So, if you want an excellently written story with tremendous dark world building, this story is for you. If you want something to make you laugh or feel good, move along.


 As of this review the story has just finished its first book, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

I really love the setting of this story. It's fantasy, but a specific type of fantasy setting that we rarely see. I don't want to blurt it out here and bring in your preconcieved notions though, because the author does an excellent job of easing us into the setting and making it feel natural instead of strange. It also prominently features a very creepy death religion, which is a lot of fun.

The story is primarily character-focused, with the protagonist being pulled in two conflicting directions. On the one hand is a story of abuse recovery and healing, which is done with the tact such a story needs. Progress is slow and halting, in a way that feels very true to life. On the other hand, we have a society that encourages the protagonist's aggressive behavior as a path to power and prestige. This brings with it plenty of intrigue and danger, and we can find ourselves cheering the protagonist on despite our better judgement. Overall, I think the author has done a good job so far of balancing these two elements into something that is both emotionally engaging and exciting.

The prose is well written and fluid, and I have no real complaints about grammar or spelling. The weekly chapter release has been consisent since I started following. I'd definitely recommend you check it out, and I'm looking forward to following along with book two.

Lord Turtle

Short: This has both intrigue and world building in spades. It likely isn't for everyone but personally I think this is worth the read and quite interesting.

Longer: This work is extremely well written and despite me not able to follow as well to start with, however, once it got rolling I found this to be a great story and couldn't wait to read more. Furthermore I think this has the potential to both end up being an extremely expansive but contained story. What that means is the world has so much more to show and offer especially in regards to religion and magic, but also that our MC's arc is so far very self contained but still remains gripping. Worth reading for sure.


Intrigue and Wisdom - This book has both!

Reviewed at: Ch. 19: The Distance in Between

I am captivated by the story so far. The book starts out in a world that is painted to be fairly dark, with curiosity of understanding the world and the characters being the main intrigue early on. As the story develops, the darkness of the world makes sense and the reader sees the light that finds a way through the darkness. Actions taken by the characters early on that seem extreme also begin to be better understood by the reader as the story reveals glimpses into what has made each character into who they are. I typically read books as a means to either escape to a different reality or to learn something I can apply to my own reality. This book offers both. The world building truly makes you feel as if you are there in the world with the characters, the lessons the protagonist learns are lessons I find myself thinking about and applying to my own life, and the character dynamics have a depth to them that allows for the reader to discover more each chapter. I have not donated to support any other works on Royal Road, but I plan to for this book. It is that good! I can see a day where we'll have to pay to read books by this author, so I'm glad I discovered this story while it's free to read now! My hope is that this review helps others discover the "Path of the Whisper Woman" and enjoy it as much as I have. 


(Read in Don LaFontaine's voice over epic trailer music)

In a world where primitive, matriarchal tribes strive for survival and a Death goddess rules supreme, a little girl, marked from birth and mistreated by an abusive mother, fights tooth and nail to overcome the odds and raise in the ranks of the powerful warrior-priestesses of the goddess: the fearsome and revered whisper women.

PotWW tells the story of Gimlea, one of those few individuals whose birthmarks are different from the rest and, instead of the usual ability of manifesting fire, confer their bearers one of multiple rare powers and marks her as a candidate to become a whisper woman.

Whisper women are a caste of elite warrior-priestesses with a wide variety of supernatural abilites dedicated to perform certain rites for the community, protect the Goddess' interests and fight in religious wars against other supernatural beings.

This story shines brightly at creative, sophisticated world building. The author has taken the premise, a primitive theocracy of small hunter-gatherer tribes, and has painstakingly constructed a rich culture and folklore around it. That alone makes it well worth the read, even if other story elements might not be at the same level.

One of the main sources of conflict that drive the story is the role of healing and healers within a community of zealous devotees to a Goddess of Death, who worship Her with frequent offerings of not negligible amounts of their own blood.

The concept of "too much life" is anathema, so healing is a strictly controlled and barely tolerated heresy, and life-ending activities like hunting or killing are heavily regulated. The balance between cultivating a healthy, thriving population and keeping it not overly attached to their lives is a delicate one. People have the natural fear for death, but also the fear of living beyond the goddess' designs, least they're punished in the afterlife by becoming zombies. Healers carry the life stigma and have to be regularly purified from it. It's a bit like the taboo some cultures in real life associate to death-related professions, but many times over and with a real, certifiable goddess looking over your shoulder and ready to punish any transgressions.

This is a very intriguing conundrum, one that makes this story stand out. Gimlea is the daughter of a healer and her designated apprentice, and cares for life more than perhaps she should. To be honest, the problems this creates feel at some points too lightly handwaved. I have the feeling that perhaps with more careful planning and forethought the author could craft around it something more philosophical and deeply moving.

Regarding style, the story is mostly fine: first-person narrative with serviceable, if sometimes a bit succint, description and dialogue. The main grip, to my taste, is that it suffers from a typical condition in serials: inconsistent pacing, tending too slow too much in places.

I have never authored a story, so I don't know of the intricacies of the art, but I have the feeling that pressure to deliver consistent updates sometimes leads authors to decisions like dragging subplots or having their characters angsting over and over about their inner hangups. It comes with the stream-of-chapterness territory, I guess. Nevertheless, if the author is up for some heavy editorial labor in the distant future, they may have a great series of books in their hands. Time will tell.

About grammar, it's fine as well, although it could certainly use some proofreading before publishing. Occasional typos, repeated or missing words or weird sentence structure are not exactly uncommon, but not so frequent as to impact the reading experience.

Being a first-person POV, the story revolves mostly about the MC. She's traumatized by an abusive parent, she's headstrong, she's resilient... So she's fairly standard, as far as MCs go. Personally I'm not overly fond of characters so mulish as to be harmful to themselves and their loved ones, especially if they don't grow out of it over the course of more than 1,000 pages. That means I find myself not rooting too hard for Gimlea, sorry, but that's me: I know for a fact these kind of protagonists are loved by many.

The rest of the cast consists of side-characters, some of them very coulourful and distinctive, like Grandmother. In that respect the second book, being set up in whisper women bootcamp, has taken a probably unavoidable downturn compared to the first one.

All in all, I find this story rather enjoyable and await eagerly each new installment. My heartfelt compliments to the author for their creativity, dedication and courage, thanks for sharing.


Definitely one of the most unique stories I read, I really loved binging it. There are minor grammar errors here and there but definitely still able to enjoy the story. The MC of the story is not the most likeable of the story which makes it more realistic for me.I would for sure recommend if you like semi-dark stories.


Wow, I can’t believe I managed to stumble upon this little piece of gem by accident. I love this story so much because of how the author managed the characterization. Every character has their own distinct personality with flaws and all. Not only this but also the worldbuilding is amazing and the way the author submerge the readers into the story is done very naturally (no annoying info dumping here). All new information about the world is introduced in such a way that almost leaves you begging for more. 

Some people didn't really like the main character because of her personality but that was the beauty of it. MC's reaction to situations is so viscerally real that it can make some readers uncomfortable. I didn't like how she is self destructive sometimes (with good reason) but more than anything it made me emphasize with her. If you like happy go lucky characters, for whom almost everything goes right, then this story is not for you. But if you like stories with real struggle and no plot armor (seriously, in this instance, I want mc to have Some good luck), well here you have it.

There are very few grammar mistakes, which makes for an enjoyable read.

Just give story a chance, you won't regret taking some time to read it.