Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Beginning 798

Rosaluna Lauritchild scanned the vampire's eyes. When she finished she rose to look out a window, ran a finger across the spines of some books; a satisfying feeling of magic emanated from them.

"You show all the signs of feeding on animals, not people: the bruising on your eyes is the worst I've ever seen. Your gums are cracked and blistered. You show all the signs."

She mentally scanned the incense-hung room: bells, jars, candles, and magical paraphernalia were scattered about in their proper places. In one corner there was a large table at which her bodyguard sat. Another, smaller table sat near the window, and it was at one the vampire sat.

Bookshelves lined the free space of the walls. Leather bound tomes filled them to overflowing. The floor was stone. Dampness still showed where the last magical circle had been washed off.

Dominating the room was Rosaluna's chair. From it she could gaze into any one of a half dozen magic mirrors. To its right was a brass tripod on which rested a bronze head which spoke prophetically when the proper spell was cast.

"But you couldn't be as old as you claim to be without having fed on humans at some point. I suggest you explain when you did."

The vampire looked from the magician to Erikka. She was a barbarian, clad in shapely furs, seated at the larger table. Like Rosaluna, she had long reddish hair, though with less copper to it. Surprisingly small-framed, she still wielded a large double-blade axe with ease.

The vampire tried to smile at the barbarian, which is a useless gesture for a vampire at the best of times. Naturally, he received no grin in return.

"I...I've only killed those who tried to kill me. Them and cutpurses or assassins. I do the city a service, really."

"Cutpurses and assassins..." Rosaluna repeated.

"And beggars," the vampire said. "The guy outside the bank who always hustled for change. And the guy
inside the bank who gave me shit for filling out the form wrong. And that bitch with the attitude at the DMV. Oh, and there was that suit who thought he could push in front of me at the bus queue. And those two punks who made fun of my clothes and the clerk at Burger King who said I couldn't get breakfast one minute after eleven. Not that I was really that hungry. In fact--"

"Enough," Rosaluna said. "I've heard enough. You're hired!"

Opening: D Jason Cooper.....Continuation: Anon.


stacy said...

I'm not seeing any blue text where the continuation starts.

Evil Editor said...

Oops, I'm trying out Chrome as my browser, and it seems my text doesn't change color. In Firefox I can't see my clipart, and in Safari there's some problem with cutting and pasting. Perhaps I'll try Opera next.

Dave F. said...

I'd junk that first paragraph. It moves too fast from eyes to window to bookcase and all that stuff is repeated below. Whiplash time. Linda Blair time.

Why does "She" scan her own room. Why doesn't the vampire scan the room, sit down and get his eyes scanned.

If some place after the second paragraph and the beginning of the sixth paragraph the vampire answered her saying sumthin' like "It's a burden." the dialog might come together a bit better.

To get back to that second paragraph and how it jars with the rest of the text... This all has to be from the vampires POV. It's only logical that he surveys the room and gives all that description. If he looks at things twice, it's because he is in an unfamiliar location. Rosaluna and Erikka are comfortable in their office.

Evil Editor said...

p3: If a bunch of things are scattered about, I wouldn't describe them as being in their proper places. Too many uses of "sat." Perhaps the smaller table "stood." And the word "this" seems to be missing in the last line.

p7: We already know the bodyguard is seated at the large table. The only reason to repeat it is because we don't know that Erikka is the bodyguard. But if you name her in p3, we will know it.

I'd get rid of p4 & 5 or put them later. I don't like the character's speech being interrupted by three paragraphs of description. I'd also prefer that the vampire try to smile at Rosa and then respond about killing humans, rather than look to the barbarian.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen continuations:

Erikka cocked a perfect eyebrow.

"No one else. I swear!"

Rosaluna ran her hand over the table. "The truth. Now."

"Okay!" shouted the vampire. "Some hipster at the theater. I got tired of him calling me names, so I bit him."

"Good boy." Rosaluna kissed his cheek.

"Now can I join your circle?" asked the vampire.

Erikka nodded at Rosaluna. "Yes, you can. And tonight we will strike. We must make sure that Centennial beats North Hills for Homecoming. Think you can bite the Queen?" 


He kept his eyes on Erikka. The furs that she wore were a mixture of greys, that he was certain had to have come from some mystical being like a werewolf. This he found to be surprising. How could she, a barbarian, clothed in the skins of a monster sit there with him and demand to know why he had chosen to eat animals?

Truth be told, he hated animals. Hated how they walked, how they smelled. A dog had torn a chunk out of his leg when he was but a young child, and cats never had come within three feet of him. They deserved it, to be taken out by his superiority. After all, animals were created to be served?

And that barbarian, with her aluring hair... Was she a killer barbarian?

"Doing a service?" The magician sneered.

He hoped she was a magician, and that she didn't just surround herself with magical objects for the fun of it.


"Service, you say?" The barbarian hissed, caressing her ax.

"The rumors are accurate," Rosaluna said. "I find this most troubling."

The vampire stood and glared at the magician. "What is this? Of what am I accused?"

Like a gust of wind, Rosaluna was instantly before him, her face just inches from his, her eyes narrow with anger. "Tell me. Do you sparkle, Edward? Do you sparkle." 


Rosaluna moved to the window and stared at the traffic below. "You understand," she said, "the quest will be hard. The journey long. You must be prepared to kill."

Erikka stood and growled, "And you must be prepared to die."

The vampire grinned again, but this time there was no humor. Light glinted off the points of his teeth. "I am ready to meet my destiny," he said.

Rosaluna placed a hand on his shoulder. "Then it is decided. You will join us. At first light we leave. But first, we celebrate."

* * *

A magician, a barbarian and a vampire walk into a bar...


150 said...



Liz said...

All description of the room feels forced, as Dave F. says, why would she scan her own room? I get confused as to who is who. You refer to Rosaluna and then a bodyguard, Erikka, and magician, plus the vampire. Who is who? The part I like the best about the mirrors and the brass head, probably because it isn't a repeated image. It just feels clunky.

Phoenix said...

Hi D. Jason: I know you're trying to paint a descriptive picture that gives us a solid sense of place. But it's a bit drawn out and, honestly, a lot redundant.

scan - P1 and P3

eyes - P1 and P2

books - P1 and P4 (twice)

magic - P1, P3, P4, P5, P6 (we get it: magical)

"you show all the signs" - P2 (twice)

bells, jars, candles and magical paraphernalia - if bells, books, candles and jars aren't of themselves considered magical paraphernalia, what is? - P3

large table/bodyguard - P3 and P7

barbarian - P7 and P8

And a logistical question: Why is Erikka sitting at a table wielding her axe?

Also, If you want thick atmosphere, may I suggest adding some stage business to incorporate the scenery into the action rather than stopping to describe it.

I still wouldn't at all suggest including everything you've got in your opening right up front, but here (in the next comment) is an example of what I mean where everything but the head's ability to speak is incorporated in fewer words. Oh, I do have sigils on the table rather than the circle on the floor, but this exercise is just meant to serve as a broad guideline for having your characters interact with the scenery not just observe it.

stacy said...

Ah, I see it now. Thanks, EE!

I think all of the comments are worth considering, author. I actually like slow beginnings, but this moves at a glacial pace, even for me.

Phoenix said...

Rosaluna Lauritchild scanned the vampire's face. Her right hand absently caressed the bronzed head resting on the tripod at her side as sandalwood incense billowed through the air. "You do show all the signs of feeding on animals, not people: your blood circles are the worst I've ever seen, and your gums are cracked and blistered." But there was something else, too.

She rose from the massive chair that dominated the room and crossed to stand at the window, near the small table where the vampire sat.

He watched her through bruised eyes, feeling uncomfortable in the magician's lair where hundreds of books smelling of oiled leather and vellum overflowed their shelves onto the obsidian floor.

Leaning across the table with her long, copper-colored hair brushing the sigils engraved along its top, Rosaluna fingered the candle that lit the vampire's features. "You can't be as old as you claim without having fed on humans at some point. I suggest you explain when you did."

He shifted in his chair, momentarily startled by the movement being reflected in a half dozen mirrors placed about the room. Spelled mirrors, he reminded himself, like everything else here. Everything save for Rosaluna's bodyguard, Erikka, who sat at the corner desk with a chunk of lamb's wool, polishing the head of her double-bladed ax while she stared at him from underneath her russet bangs. Hoping to sway an ally, he grinned at her, a twisted, useless expression for a vampire at the best of times.

The small-framed barbarian, clad in shapely furs, did not grin back.

"I...I've only killed those who tried to kill me. Them and cutpurses or assassins. I do the city a service, really."