Friday, July 28, 2006

New Beginning 13

His eyes fluttered, muscles attempting to revive; his flesh was cold, his bones weary. It seemed dark outside, but it had been dark for so long. Was he waking from a dream? Demons had troubled him in poisoned nightmare.

Timid, a voice: the harsh whisper of familiarity on the edge of remembrance. "My liege?"

Air exhumed itself from his chest in a whoosh; he tried to open his eyes but they were long crusted shut. But the voice--he recognized the voice, twisting and trailing through passages of thought, memories long not dwelled in. How long had he slept in fear? Stale, his breath; it felt of the dead. "Genvieve?"

"Bless the Sun, for all his warmth; we've needed you, my liege."

"My eyes, sore to move, Genvieve. My body aches. What witchery-?" He felt soft leather against his brow--felt, like he'd been starved of feeling for aeons.

Tense, the moment. A knife, the proper instrument for cutting it.

"How long?" he groaned. "How long have I been thus?"

"Since yesternight, my liege." Cool, her hand on his cheek. "'Twas not long after Pelleas challenged you," her timorous voice tiptoed through the alleyways of his brain, "to that drinking contest."

Aching, his head, as he recalled the whole sordid business. Never again, he vowed silently, would he mix dandelion wine with his mead. And most especially not after four helpings of Genvieve's venison stew.

Opening Kaolin Fire.....Continuation: Nancy Conner


Anonymous said...

On the floor, the place for rolling around laughing. Bowing reverently, the proper acknowledgement for the genius who wrote that continuation. Crwlft, both my word verification and the sound I made while reading that.

Melodramatic, the original 150 words. Tone it down a bit, my best advice. Speed the pace a little too, another thought. Yoda, being channeled here.

cindy said...

haha! okay, you had me laughing aloud at that one. thanks EE.

Anonymous said...

I wrote the add-on, and the reason I picked up on that sentence structure is that you can get away with it once (maybe), but not more than once, in a passage of this length. You do a good job of showing both the POV character's confusion and the sense of a crisis surrounding him, a crisis in which he hasn't been able to help his people. I do feel the passage is overwritten. To some extent, you can use more formalized diction in historical writing (I don't know whether this is historical or fantasy), but you want to focus your readers' attention on the urgency of the situation at hand, not on the language you choose. Consider toning it down a bit.

For some reason, I really like this exclamation: "Bless the Sun, for all his warmth." That gave me more of a sense of this world than anything else in the opening.

Anonymous said...

Drinking contest! Now that surprised me. That was genius. That is quite possibly, the only time I have ever literaly rolled on the floor, lauging out loud.

Good job!

Anonymous said...


Excellent comments (and hilarious add-on). As one of my writing friends once said, "good writing should disappear."

kaolin fire said...

Thank you for this. :)

none said...

*waves to kaolin*

Recognised it instantly! lol

Anonymous said...

it felt of the dead

Felt of the dead? Smelled, maybe...

Anonymous said...

Funny, too damn so.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap, I think I just peed myself.

I agree, wacky syntax just bugs me. I'm probably the only person in the known universe who'd rather strangle Yoda than Jar-Jar Binks, but that little green bastard makes me wanna...

Um, I think I forgot to take my Zoloft.

Anyhoo, I did like a lot of the imagery. The eyes long crusted shut, the breath that felt of the dead--I was picturing dry and musty, with the tongue cleaving to the roof of the mouth. If you just switch around the sentence structure a bit, I think this could really work.

udjahq: the middle name of all first-born sons of the Ungalak family of goblins.

Anonymous said...

I liked it, even though I agree the strange wording needs to be toned down a bit.


Anonymous said...

His eyes fluttered, muscles attempting to revive.

(1) The sentence is confusing because the second phrase could be a modifier to the first. We know it's not, but the confusion annoys. Not good in your first sentence to annoy.

(2) Mind-body confusion is a good return-to-consciousness idea. Still, although may confuse your character all you like, you may not confuse your reader. How about:

His eyes fluttered. Or he felt them flutter. Were they doing that by themselves? He didn't know.

Anonymous said...

That extension made it all worthwhile!

"Air exhumed itself from his chest in a whoosh"

Exhumations tend to happen slowly, and be caused by other agents than the 'self' (here Air), which is at odds with the speed-implying 'whoosh'.

My nit.

My wv: bniwetlt... Be Nitwitly?

Bernita said...

Made me think: Merlin.

Dave Fragments said...

I don't think that "exhume" works at all.

The unusual usage with "Timid" works but the same contstruction around "tense" is a cliche'...

"Stale" works but only barely. You should make the constructions as nearly identical as possible. That will take lots of time because the "timid" construction is nicely multilayered and the others are not.