Friday, August 11, 2006

New Beginning 64

It was supposed to be his last year leading the procession and now this. Fifty-seven years as High Rook and not once had such a debacle occurred. Fifty-seven years! What would the Old Rook say if he knew about this?

High Rook Nesume scurried down the long spiraling staircase from the highest tower on legs grown knobby with age and rheumatism. He held his robes up high on his thighs as he rushed down the unending spiral; he'd tripped over his hems once as a young Pawn and still had the marks of the long, long fall to the bottom. He'd thanked the Nexus for his survival and had been cautious about the stairs ever since.

Now there was no time to be cautious, he must hurry - there wasn't a moment to spare! Nesume pushed past two young acolytes somewhere near the thirtieth floor, he almost ran over Pawn Serine and Rook Sibyl around the fifteenth floor, and by time he reached the third floor, he was panting and gasping so that Rook Jeffries tried to make him stop and drink a glass of wine.

Lost in his private concern, Nesume bulled past the young Rook without so much as a second glance.

A mistake. There, on the Throne of Basalt, sat the lecher King Sebastiano, nary a Bishop or Knight in sight!

Too late, Nesume recalled himself. The robes in hand, so immodestly high. The sultry breathlessness, so easily misconstrued.

The King leered, beckoning lewdly with his rod.

Nesume sighed in resignation. He was practically begging for it. Black squares! He was about to be . . . castled.

Opening: K.D. McEntire.....Continuation: Fischer


none said...

Cut the first paragraph and you'll have a great opening.

Anonymous said...

I liked the designations and imagine this is a fantasy. First, I imagined the Rook was like a Mummer, or Shriner, leading a parade.

Then I imagined him some kind of animal (rodent-like) as he scurried down the stairs. If he's old and suffers rheumatism, then he wouldn't scurry. Not in my mind's eye. Can he totter down the stairs?

Anonymous said...

Before I even got to the continuation, all I could think of was chess. I don't know if this is good or bad. If nothing else I guess it means the writing is good enough to take me somewhere. -JTC

magz said...

Clever and intriquing opening, of course it's about chess! Good!

And a true 'I concede' to the checkmating continuer, the followup was BRILLIANT! WTG!

Bernita said...

Clever and cute.
Liked it.

Anonymous said...

I think this is awesome. I'm too dumb to understand where it's going yet but I would definitely stick with it...

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of Sheri S. Tepper's trilogy The True Game (King's Blood Four, Necromancer Nine, Wizard's Eleven), where the characters talents and way of life are something like the lives of chess pieces come alive, with roles to play similar to pieces in chess. Neato!
Link to the book on Amazon

Jane said...

I'm very interested in this opening. I wouldn't consider cutting the first graf for a minute. It captures the protagonist's feelings, shows us a bit of his voice, and gives us some interesting information that wouldn't easily be worked into the following paragraphs.

One thing did throw me. The last sentence of the first paragraph was "What would the Old Rook say if he knew about this?", and the first sentence of the next graf names the protagonist as "High Rook Nesume." For a moment, I thought the two rooks were one and the same.

I'm impressed by how much info you managed to get into opening this without making it obvious. The chess thing makes me curious to read more. And while we don't yet know what Nesume's problem is, you've captured his emotions well enough that this is also a good hook into the story.

Good luck with this, writer!

Anonymous said...

I think it reads like a laundry list. And while I like the flow without the first paragraph, without it you just have an old guy running, passing a lot of stationary people.

Cute is my best offer but if I ask the crucial question "Why do I care" I get nothing...

Anonymous said...

This seems well-written and intriguing, and there's something going on right away. Good work! I'd keep reading.

Two things did bother me about the original, however. The first was that I originally thought "Rook" meant bird, and was picturing a large intelligent bird running around. Then the image became a large intelligent bird in robes who was running around a castle. Then, when the mention of "Pawn" occurred, the character finally became human (in my imagination).

You might want to clarify things a bit, because that switch to human from big-black-bird-in-boots really pulled me out of the story. "Rook" is a word with more than one meaning. If you mention a Pawn or a Bishop sooner, it will help the reader not make the mistake I did.

The second thing that bothered me was simply that Nesume is taking his own sweet time in telling us why he's in such a panicked state. I felt like I was being strung along unnecessarily; I'd suggest you drop hints as to what is going on into the story at a faster rate.

Is the remembrance about falling down the stairs important? It could be cut to speed up the pace; I assume you only have it there so Nesume can thank the "Nexus" (of time travel itself!). Could this not be done later? I also assume that the people Nesume meets on his way down the stairs will be important, but again, mentioning them in the first 150 words slows things down a lot. Jeffries and the wine, in particular, seemed unnecessary.

Kathleen said...

the "ending" is awesome.

I think the very first sentence would be stronger as "His last year leading the procession, and now this!"

Extra words like "it was supposed to be" dilutes the writing, in my opinion.


Mazement said...

Wait, a rook running downstairs? And not even straight downstairs, but around a spiral staircase? This must be that weird 3-dimensional chess they play on Star Trek.

This sounds like it might be a fun story...but now I really want to see the query letter; I've got no idea where things are going from here.

I liked the Sherri Tepper books, too! The series actually wound up being nine volumes. After the "True Game" books, there were three "Mavin Manyshaped" prequels, and then the "End of the Game" trilogy that ties up all the loose ends. (I think the last three are actually the best in the series.)

Beth said...

Other than the part about an elderly person with rheumatism "scurrying" anywhere, lease of all down stairs, I liked it. It moves and has an interesting voice.

Anonymous said...

I understood right away that "Rook" was some sort of title or rank and wondered whether it was going refer to chess or something else. I did have a small boggle over who the Old Rook was--maybe the previous High Rook?

I strongly agree with kathleen's suggestion for the first sentence.

I think the second paragraph could be tightened up a lot. However, in the third paragraph, I thought the mention of the various people he "pushed past" and "almost ran into" was a nice way of showing how many flights of stairs he was descending.

What bothered me the most was the math. He's been High Rook for 57 years. Unless he became High Rook as a very young child, he must be well upward of 70. And he's running down a spiral staircase for more than 30 stories? Not enough to stop reading, but definitely makes me want an explanation Real Soon Now.

Anonymous said...

Continuation Author, take a bow. That was brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Made a mistake. Rushing. Must keep reading.

I liked it a lot!

We tend to expect the young to make mistakes. But when an experienced older person screws up, are we as tolerant? Interesting start.

I'd definitely keep reading.