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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Suspense Technique #5

You ever play the Hot & Cold game? A friend hides something in the room/house while you aren't watching. Then, you begin the hunt. As you travel, your friend calls out warm, warmer, hot, hotter, hottest, red hot as you draw near to the hidden object or cool, cooler, cold, colder, coldest as you travel father away. There's a ton of suspense and anticipation in this game. You follow your friend's prompts like a trail of breadcrumbs, all the while trying to guess where the object is hidden. If that could be done in your writing, imagine the suspense you could build. You place a winding path before the readers and leave a trail of breadcrumbs for them to follow. Suspense Technique #5 is:


The Trail of Breadcrumbs

The technical/literary term for this technique is foreshadowing, literally meaning to cast a shadow of something yet to come. You want to make the shadow indistinct, so that the reader won't know for sure what it is, but…they can and will guess. And whenever you can get your reader making inferences and predictions, you will draw them in. Think about it this way: your reader wants to be clever, wants to figure things out, and wants the payoff to a) discover they were right or b) have the author fool them in a really surprising (OH, I didn't see that coming) kind of way. You, the author, drop a trail of breadcrumbs for the reader to follow.

There are many ways to pull off this technique. You can have a detail, a character's softly spoken words, a prologue, etc. stand out like a sore thumb from the story at large. The Movie War of the Worlds (Tom Cruise version) begins with this very odd microscopic view of water droplets (voiced over by Morgan Freeman, I believe). And at the beginning of the movie, you find yourself wondering, "what was that all about?" Then, at the end, you discover that water (or was it germs in the water) kills the alien invaders.

Another way is much more subtle…a hint dropped early in the story that comes to fruition. I loved Gandalf in the Mines of Moria telling Frodo, "For good or ill, Gollum may still have a part to play in this tale." Boy did he.

I am a big fan of this technique and attempted to use it heavily in The Door Within books. In Book 1, the reader discovers that Falon (and all mortiwraiths) must remain underground because exposure to sun or moon will kill all of her race. But…if something could cloak the sun and moon, then lookout! And in book 3 we see Falon unleashed. The who first chapter of The Door Within is massive foreshadowing for the climax of the series.

Because you use this strategy a little at a time, spread out over the course of your story, it's a little more difficult to pull off in a short text example.

"We're all friends here," said Kellen the Storm Leader. "Most of us have fought and bled together. I do not believe the traitor is among us."

Nods were exchanged throughout the circle of warriors assembled in Gale Keep. But so too were uncertain glances. Suspicion still lingered and, like a slow acting poison, it threatened to weaken the group. If not for Kellen's unassailable will, they would have foundered long ago.


As they funneled out of the keep, every knight met Kellen's gaze and returned his grim smile. But Vesyr kept his interaction with the Storm Leader short, hoping Kellen would not notice the slight twitch that had developed under Vesyr's right eye.


YOUR TURN: Create a story excerpt where you drop a trail of breadcrumbs for readers to follow. Two entries per person. The author with the best use of Suspense Technique #5 will receive a signed copy of either Isle of Swords OR The Door Within, The Author's Cut!

82 comments:

Aravis said...

“We were going to kill you because we thought you were one of his scientists. You looked too meek to be a soldier,” answered Kaori. She glanced down at her feet as she talked, still ashamed.

“A scientist? But, they just test the soil to see how well crops would grow, and they predict when it’s going to rain. Why would a servant of Verstoss need to be a scientist?” asked Akari, thoroughly confused.

Mamouri took over, “He deals in science of a different kind. He develops technology.” His eyes were such that once he made contact, you had to listen.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand…”

“How much do you know about Verstoss’s experiments?” Creuntus interrupted rather suddenly.

“Very little,” Mamouri gave Creuntus a calculating look, “only that he’s developing horrific things. Which is why, we didn’t want a potentially vital scientist to pass through our forest alive.”

Josh said...

nicely done aravis ^_^

everlastingscribe said...

very nice indeed!

amy said...

Great Job Aravis!

It gives me a clue as to what may be the next scene in the story I read before...

I hope so.

amy said...
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Josh said...

ooo wow amy very good. Im starting to like kalon vary nifty character. This technique in short range is giving me a lot of trouble, im not really sure how do do it. ^_^

WayneThomasBatson said...

Nice work, Aravis, Amy!

And Josh, this is a tough one b/c you have to look down the road at events you haven't written yet.

Begin with something you know about:
a. future events
b. character traits
c. plot twist, etc.

These are things you know, but the reader doesn't yet. These are things you will leave intriguing clues about and want the reader to guess at.

Example for character:
You've got this character, Bob. And he's going to kill Zelda. How could you hint at his murderous nature without giving it all away?

Example for plot:
You have a beastie living in a cave up ahead. The characters don't know it. The readers don't know it. But how can you hint that something vicious is in there? Growls? Pawprints? Bones? etc.

Does that help?

everlastingscribe said...

Yeah you can do this no problem Josh!

And nicely nicely done, amy!

Brett said...

Hmm.
This one is tricky :-(

everlastingscribe said...

It's not as hard as it seems, really it isn't. Just like Lord Batson said, we know more than the reader does at any given point in the story, and you just drop hits, like when you know what someone's getting for their birthday "It's red and you use your feet when you use it" makes them go nuts more than saying "It's the crimson scooter you wanted at the bike shop"

Brett said...

I was gonna say red slippers???
You got me there.....

Josh said...

yes this helps a lot thanks guys ^_^

amy said...

Thanks Scribe, Josh and Mr. B!

I look forward to three new entries soon (*ehem* Josh, Brett & Scribe).

Hopefully in a day or two, I'll be putting up my #2 entry. I just haven't gotten the chance yet.

I'm getting a little sad because we only have two more techniques left. I'm am confident though that Mr. B will continue to find opportunities to stimulate our creative minds. He's a teacher - it's in his blood.

Thanks again Mr. B! This really has been a joy.

Brett said...

We don't have to enter ALL the techniques, do we? I'm stumped...
Hmm.

everlastingscribe said...

Well no Brett, but like Amy told me, it's good to stretch and atleast try. I'm going to do ''frustration'' just, not this week. Well maybe this week, depends on what happens. :-D

But I don't think Lord Batson is in any hurry to close any of the techniques, so take your time and think about things, and go and read some favorites and see how the writer left hints there. That's what I do when I'm stumped.

WayneThomasBatson said...

No, no rush to close any of the competitions. Again, I'd like to lure some more folks here to compete with you all, lest you win so often that I don't have any prizes to give that you have not already won! LOL

everlastingscribe said...
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everlastingscribe said...

Hey, a chance at winning a book is the icing on the cake! These techniques, the meeting of like minded writers, and getting to encourage others and be encouraged is the real prize.

Josh said...

so its like a 2 for 1 special hehehehehe hey you got the title for your next blog Mr. B lol ^_^ and as for my piece i know what im writing and i hope its right.

everlastingscribe said...

Ha! I knew you'd come up with something grand Josh. I look foreword to reading it!

amy said...

I can't wait to read both of your entries. Way to go Scribe! I'm glad to hear that I'll still get to read a "frustration" entry from you.

For this one, I have to admit, though the concept seems relatively basic, it's a toughy. I'm having some trouble coming up with a second entry.

I keep trying to imagine the fact that I know all the details and the big things to happen, I just have to lead the reader there little by little. Hopefully, I'll be struck with some ideas soon.

Oh - and even though it was my toughest one, I'm still planning on putting up a second entry for "Peril" - just to make sure I'm stretching enough by example.

everlastingscribe said...

:-D I'm not done yet, but this is turning into one of my favorites. I'm not having trouble foreshadowing, I'm having some doing it ''tight'' like Lord Batson did, but I'm whittling down, whittling down, and it's getting stronger I think. You'll see soon for yourselves. ;)

WayneThomasBatson said...

Lookin' forward to it, Scribe. Yours too, Josh. Of course, you know what you're doing, don't you?

SUSPENSE!!1 Arrgghh.

Brett said...

My entry :)
...................................
The journey to Peerdom was long and excruciating. Micalem, Luke, Ethan and Elizabeth were exhausted from their long trek through the grasslands of Idrealis. Anorien's powerful forces had held them at bay in Valdor, and now the foursome were fleeing the wrecked, demonic city to safety.
"The bridge across the ravine is right ahead." Micalem said softly as he walked onward.
Finally. The last bridge that led to the city. Ethan dragged his feet forward. So much had happened. His father was still under the control of the rebel sorceror...anything could happen. He had witnessed the spawning of terrible creatures and survived a near fatal fall from his griffin-steed. What new magic could the enemey dish out next??
"Odd." Micalem stated blatantly. "There's no bridge here. Only a dried ravine."
"You don't think one of the Unnamed destroyed it?" Ethan replied, shivering a little.
"I don't know, but we must cross. Follow me." the elder commanded.
Slowly and carefully the four adventurers wound their way to bottom of the canyon. There were about to cross over to the opposite side when Ethan felt the rock he was clutching tremble violently.
The teenager struggled to maintain his balance and wheeled around.
"What's happening?!" he shouted.
The rumble of the earth dronwed out Micalem's reply, but the boy noticed that he started to quickly scale the rocky precipice.
Ethan turned to run. What was it? An earthquake? But how?
An earthquake couldn't just happen inside a ravine alone. But maybe it wasn't the earth shaking. Maybe it was something else.
...................................
Ugghhhh.....
I don't know, guys. This one hurt lol. More like suspense or something....."Frustration"!!!
:-)

Brett said...

Whoops. I didn't mean ravine the first time Micalem said it. I meant river. :)

WayneThomasBatson said...

Brett, interesting entry. I love the fact that whatever's in the bottom of the ravine is moving--and it's probably not an earthquake. Good place to end a chapter. The reader screams and tears his robes wondering what it could be.

I like the hint: What kind of magic could the sorceror throw at them next?

One thing I was trying to discern: is Micalem sinister here? His comments seem insincere. "Oh, look, the bridge is gone." And then at the bottom, he's the first to bolt, leaving young Ethan in the ravine?

Was it a set up? If so, I love the idea. But how could you hint at Micalem's treachery earlier?

Maybe something like:

Micalem looked to the cliffs ahead. Still to far away to be seen, but that mattered very little to Micalem. He knew what they'd find there. He glanced back at Ethan, but could not meet his eyes.

everlastingscribe said...

Oh Brett, what a line "An earthquake couldn't just happen inside a ravine alone. But maybe it wasn't the earth shaking. Maybe it was something else." :-D I would be so hooked there. And I agree with Lord Batson,
Micalem is up to something, whether good or ill remains to be seen.

Quick question and then I'm back to working on my piece, anything wrong with foreshadowing (hinting) that someone you thought was bad might turn out to really be the good guy instead?

WayneThomasBatson said...

Something like an undercover goodguy in the enemy's forces? Or someone who you as the author lead the readers to believe is sinister, but that's really a red herring?

Either way...would work. Always good to mislead the reader. So long as you intended to. LOL

everlastingscribe said...

Well, that would be telling now wouldn't it? :-D

No no, I think the idea is ''slight of hand'' not ''lose the reader'' here. We want happy readers that are delighted with the hint/misdirection. Not ones that come after us with pitch forks and torches. ;)

Brett said...

Oh my word!!!
That's so odd...Micalem is actually a traitor in my books, and you guys got it! (Though it doesn't happen like that in the story...I had to condense it a little, hence: "oh, the bridge is gone".)
Glad you liked it ya'll. Whew!

amy said...
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Cecilia said...

"I'll be ok," Samuel had said that night as he left Alex at the mouth of the cave. He seemed confident and full of hope.
Now Alex still stood there, waiting for his return. She couldn't shake off the nagging dread, as much as she tried.
"He was supposed to be back two hours ago!" she said to herself. He had told her not to enter the cave, no matter what happened, but she had made up her mind.
Alex stepped into the dark, and imediately felt a damp chill crawl up her skin. There was nothing but dark and silence, except for the drip-drop sound coming from somewhere deeper. As she ventured further, she realized that her lantern was growing dimmer. If she got stuck in the cave without light...Then she thought about Samuel-had his lamp been running out too? Could he be trapped down here? She tried to focus on her search. Then, her foot kicked something that clanged as it hit a stone. She gasped.
It was a broken lantern. Fuel dripped out of the shattered glass, and ran over the rocky ground. It trickled down into a dark hole. Alex felt dizzy. Could Samuel have fallen down there and survived? It appeared to be a steep drop, and she felt cold air wafting out of the depths.
"SAM!" she called. There was no answer. She tried again, and again. Only the dripping stalactites answered. Feeling hopeless, she stood up, but her feet slid out from under her and she slid forward, dissapearing into the hole.
She fell most of the way down, but the hole became less steep and she bagan to slid. She noticed something red on the wall as she neared the end of the tunnel, and she felt faint. Before she had time to worry, she felt herself flying through the air. As she opened her mouth to scream, she landed on something soft. It was pitch dark, but she could feel that it was a person.
"Oh, no...Sam!" she whimpered.
"Next time, warn me before you come flying out of tunnels!" Sam groaned.
"SAM!" Alex screamed. She embraced him tightly, but then she heard a rumble.
"What's that?" she asked fearfully.
"Stalactites!" Sam yelled. "We need to find cover!"

Brett said...

Oooooh!!! Great job you guys!!! I think I'll go dodge a few stalactites now :) Sounds fun.

Cecilia said...

Thanks:-) I know mine's not the most original, but I hope I made it exciting still! This one was hard because I had absolutely no ideas, I just started writing. Anyone else have this problem? I'm having trouble with frustration too...Ugh, writer's block! Hehe.

everlastingscribe said...

Cecilia! I love the broken lantern, the dripping fuel, the red on the wall. Excellent! Really really excellent!

WayneThomasBatson said...

And the whole being stuck in caves and underground tunnels---mannn, that just weirds me out. Nice work.

amy said...

Okay - I'm starting over with my second entry. I know I can make one that's much better than the original second...

amy said...
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Cecilia said...

I thought I'de try another entry for this one, so here goes:

Nora looked up at the sky from where she knelt in her garden. The evening clouds were forming over the mountains, and a misty fog began to roll in. Nora sighed and reached for her cane.
Lifting herself to a standing position, she took one last look at her garden before hobbling up the steps of her porch.
"I guess I won't get those poppies planted until tomorrow," she lamented. Once inside her house, she closed the door, not bothering to lock it, and reclined on a chair in front of the fire. A high sound startled her, and she looked to the front door.
"Oh Parsely!" the old woman said to her black cat. "You know you can't go out at this hour. If you got lost, no one would find you!" The cat blinked sadly, and bounded lightly over to her chair, where it sat down at the woman's feet.
"I know it's lonely here, but it's safe," Nora said smiling serenly.
She had dozed off for a while, when something awoke her. She sat forward ubruptly and turned to see something hit the window. She walked ovee to the door, and peered outside. One her porch was a multi-colored rubber ball. Nora stared at it in confusion and looked to the forest. Then she heard a noise like a giggle, and it echoed through the trees.
It was completely dark, but Nora had her lantern and the light of the full moon, and that was enough.
"We have to find the source of that sound," she said to the cat. Parsley, who had been walking by her side, suddenly turned right and bounded off the path. Nora pleaded for her cat to return, but she too strayed into the trees.
She began to feel uneasy. Her feline friend was no where to be seen, and shadows danced behind every tree. Or so she thought they were just shadows. Then she heard the whispering. It was cold, like a hiss, and it didn't sound human. She quickened her pace, and her heart beat rapidly as she stumbled back toward the path. To her horror, the strange giggling she had heard back home was coming from the path ahead. Taking a deep breath, she emerged from the trees, brandishing her cane in front of her. To her amazement, two young girls were standing there. She let her cane drop and it landed in the dirt.
"Who...how did you girls get here?"
"We just went for a walk," said the taller girl, "This is my sister." The smaller girl waved. Nora sighed with relief.
"Why were you giggling, and what are you doing out here alone?" The children exchanged odd glances.
"We weren't giggling, my sister is mute," said the tall one. Nora raised an eyebrow.
"O-Oh, must have been my imagination getting to me again...Umm, have you by any chance seen a cat?" The girls nodded, and Nora's face lit up.
"This way, he ran that way up the path!" said the girl pointing. The two children began to sprint, leaving the old woman hobbling behind them. Although she had relaxed a little, she hadn't forgotten the strange sounds, or the shadows. And now she smelled smoke.
It seemed like a long walk, much farther than Parsley would have gone without her, but still Nora followed the girls. To her puzzlement, she saw light up ahead. And then she saw Parsley dissapear into the clearing. Ignoring the nagging voice in her head telling her to turn back, she stepped forward, and screamed.
She stood in a ring of stones, surrounded by blazing torches, and the two children from the forest stood on a pedestal in the center. Parsley sat between them, but the cat was locked inside a wooden cage.
"What is this?" Nora croaked. "What is this evil place?"
The mute girl opened her mouth, and an un-naturally low voice hissed,
"Silence!" Then both girls raised their hands, and dark hooded figures emerged from the shadows. Having seen enough, Nora turned to run, but her feet wouldn't move.
"Behold!" boomed the voice of the older girl, "You cannot move, for you are frozen by your own fear! We feed off of it, and it gives us power!" Nora sunk to the ground and covered her head. The hooded figures formed a circle around her, and the tall girl stepped forward.
"Looks like you won't be getting those poppies planted at all," she hissed, "But we have better plans for you!"

amy said...

Okay - it's a little long, but I think I've gotten the concept.

--------------------------------

The ground gently rumbled beneath their feet. Earthquakes plagued this mountainous land, so the rumbling was initially dismissed. The rocky terrain was difficult to traverse, some areas crumbled beneath their feet, while others, looking quite unsafe, were actually solid unmoving slabs of stone. As soon as one stone hill had been conquered, another lay waiting in silent defiance. With caution, Balian turned back to the rest of the party, signaling that it was time to rest for a moment or two.

Exhausted, the men along with Princess Alanna carefully placed themselves amongst the many shifting boulders. Another rumble shook the travelers, this one stronger than the previous. Pebbles and sand were sifted through the cracks and crevices surrounding them. This land was said to be cursed; every quake mocked their attempts to continue. All eyes turned to Balian. He alone had journeyed through these lands before.

“The only assurance I can offer you, is that when I traveled through here last, I was met with far more violent quakes and still made it safely home,” said Balian with a rather unsteady voice.

“That’s the best you can do?!” Will called from amongst the group. “Are we to travel further into this cursed land with only a vague assurance that you’ve made it through once before without incident?”

“Will, please, calm yourself and listen to sense,” Balian replied. “You knew we would face danger on our journey; you knew to join us was to risk never returning. Many of the elders tried to warn you of the dangers for a boy your age. At your insistence, we allowed you to join us. You once trusted my judgment and guidance. Please find that trust in your heart at this moment.”

The entire group silently and collectively pondered the very real dangers that lay ahead. The earth began to shake violently, causing many to lose balance and tumble a few feet down the jagged slope.

“Fear is the enemy’s tool! Do not fear what we do not understand!” Princess Alanna shouted over the deafening roar of the quake.

Balian had never felt this land tremble quite so much and the increasing severity suddenly struck him as ominous. He was leading a group to an unknown fate and yet, he needed to lead them nonetheless. Just as the group had returned to their feet and prepared to continue, a deep throaty roar met their ears. It sounded again, but louder. The sound seemed to be coming from just over the next ridge. The roar cracked through the air like a whip. Once again all eyes turned to Balian. He hadn’t the heart to return their gaze; his deepening fear could not be hidden from his face any longer.

amy said...

Okay - so not to sound too pathetic, but did I get this one right, as far as my "trail of breadcrumbs?" I've had kind of a difficult time condensing foreshadowing into a short entry. I think my breadcrumbs are used to being spread further apart.

:P

Aravis said...

Your entry is fine: definitely interesting. You like the perilous journey, eh? I wonder, is that a technique in itself?

Sometimes a trail of breadcrumbs shouldn't be obvious on the first read, it's what you realize after you've already read the story.
From what I gathered, you have a strong breadcrumb, the earthquakes being worse than ever, and a faint crumb, the boy being doubtful. As I'm reading, I can tell something's up with the earthquakes immediately. But for the boy, for all I know, it won't mature into anything significant, it's just a boy being insecure. But, if the boy backstabs them all out of fear later, I'll think back to this passage.

amy said...

So good Aravis! The boy will botch the journey later, by his immaturity and reckless fear. His lack of faith in his leaders and elders will ultimately be to the detriment of the entire group. I'm impressed that you caught that so early.

BTW - "Peril" was actually one of the techniques. I believe it was #3 - I may be wrong.

I do enjoy the desperate quest in stories. I actually need to practice writing some down time for these poor characters - it's just too much fun for them to constantly be in danger. :P

everlastingscribe said...

Okay, here it is at long last. I had far too much fun with this entry, and though I'm still picking at it, I decided that enough is enough and it's time it was here. Also I'm half afraid it's not as strong as it was because I've been playing with it this long. Oddly enough, I'm not tired of it. And it's long enough to be two entries and not just one but this is as short as I could get it. Enjoy!

“Lie down ole bones, lie down”
“Lie down old bones, lie down,
Don’t you know that you are dead?
You are, dead and buried dead and buried,
And so you can not dance, no, you can not dance”

The words piped out, tangling the brightness with mischief, and seemed to scuttle along the before Mynasthoa. He frowned slightly, and left the shade where he’d been playing hide and find with the nooning brightness of Aledal’s suns. The intensity of the light rolled over him like honey filling up all of his senses and threatening to overload them. Mynasthoa took several deep breaths, blinking in the brightness, and the light finally gave up the disorientation slid away.

“Lie down ole bones, lie down”
“Lie down old bones, lie down,”

The rhyme he’d known in his childhood repeated itself in a breathy taunt, though it sounded as if it were coming from behind rather than in front as it had when it started. The singer had to be very near him.

Mynasthoa turned slightly as several people pressed pass him; there were two venders trotting behind their push carts of wares, headed to the scarlet awnings on the other side of the avenue to show their goods to those trapped there by the brilliance of the nooning hour, a man and two small girls that held hands tightly and ran along the near side of the street, perhaps looking for the other half of their family, and a pair of street artists running for cover their caps jingling with coins they’d earned from telling stories to the stranded shoppers.

No Aledalian child would be familiar with the chant, he ran a hand through his hair smearing his fingertips with grit and sweat, before giving his locks a gentle tug as if that would release the answer from where it was hiding in his mind. It wasn’t something that a merchant would sing; it was too provoking and rude to be found in a salesman’s mouth. No Talebearer would start off their roll of stories with something so archaic, stories of heroes and daring escapes and kings and princesses running afoul of luck and then having everything turn out well, were what people wanted to hear.

“Don’t you know that you are dead?
You are, dead and buried dead and buried”


Mynasthoa scowled and turned on his heel moving back under the protective awning but as he did so, his long coat brushed up against his back and then whispered out again as someone insinuated an arm between his ribs and inside coat pocket

“Stars take it” he swore and spun with the motion of the intruder, catching a wrist and yanking the thief hard against himself. Dust scuffled up from the cracked stone road, and he felt the gazes of the clustered citizens snap to him as his prisoner writhed and twisted.

“Ah, there will be no biting, for I will bite you back and you’ll go home with half a hand” he warned as the pick pocket lowed their head and he felt teeth set against his knuckles. There was a hoarse word and he laughed. “Manners now, manners. And I caught you out, so by law you owe me seven times what you took” There was a hard inhale from the small frame and then Mynasthoa’s leather courier roll dropped onto the ground. So that’s what they’d been after. Odd.

“Now that’s a start, much better one than trying to rob this old man” Mynasthoa smiled grimly “Tell you what, I’ll take what is mine and you keep what is yours and we’ll be friends. What do you say to that?”

“I’d say that you never were one for knowing what was yours and what wasn’t” the thief murmured. Mynasthoa’s eyes widened and the tension in his arms slacked on the other frame, just enough. The thief broke his hold and spun away from him, dipping down between his feet a moment to snatch the dropped papers and then she straightened, black hair fierce in the brightness and eyes that were too blue to be purple and too purple to blue looked straight into his own. She slipped the paper down inside her jerkin and straightened her arm. A cylinder twanged into her hand and she squeezed it, out shot two lengths of pole and she stepped to the side, twirling the staff through her long fingers. “I wonder though, dear Rulebook, if in our time apart perhaps finally you’ve learned how to dance.” He backed away, giving ground and fumbled for his own calibone as her collapsible one struck at his boot tips.

WayneThomasBatson said...

Triple COOL with an ice cream sundae on top, Scribe! I already like the characters and want to know how this is going to turn out.

You've got some nice foreshadowing with the Old Bones ditty. Hmmm.... wondering if something dead will become death-challenged.

Nice character development without boring us. Too cool.

everlastingscribe said...

Thanks for the encouragement m'lord, I must be the most doubly minded scribe in exsistance; not but an hour after I posted this I went from "It is utter brillance" to "Eh, not so sure, I mean it is really forshadowing and what if no one likes the whole ''ole bones'' thing?"

Prolifikshadow said...

The gait of the three adventurers was slow as they traversed the small oak bridge. This bridge was the only thing seperating them from their prey. Their souls rent with pain because of the heinous act they must now carry out.
"Why must we follow the king?" Pronious asked, anger and a toch of fear in his voice.
"You know not what you say boy!" Gildarin exclaimed "your words reek of treason."
"I'm tired of hiding the truth" Pronious replied "the king is a traitor, and a despot, all of us see it yet none rise up against him!"
"Only foolhardy and selfish men would rise up" Torjin said, as he pulled his deep blue cloak over his face "All that would do would be to strengthen the king's resolve to make pariahs of his own people."
"Who are you to talk?" Pronious said "you're the reason we are here, if you didn't-quiet Pronious!" Gildarin interrupted "your going to alert the enemy."
The warriors silently lurked toward the small farming village that rested on the border of Courisia. The villages were going about their daily chores, unaware of the danger that breathed upon their neck.
One of the many villages sauntered up the hill, looking for berries to pick. He stood in front of a large, very prolific berry bush. Gildarin pressed the tip of his sword against the nap of his neck.
"Please don't harm these people" He said "we are humble and have naught to give, but we have done you no wrong."
"You would save the people before yourself?" Torjin asked "You are a man of nobility, come, let me see your face."
Gildarin sheathed his sword and turned the man toward Torjin.
"You!" Torjin cried "but how, I thought you were dead?"
"You...you're king Loor!" Pronious said, his face fraught with astonishment "Torjin was told to kill you!"
"He could not go through with it" Loor said "I told him that I was not the one behind the dark acts being performed by the war council."
"I was told that another had found, and destroyed you" Torjin said.
"Well it will all be over soon" said a sadistic voice from the forest...

See what you guys think, this is not my best work considering I sat down and wrote it in around 20 minutes.

Josh Connelly said...

“Go check the mainsail, make sure it’s furled tightly. There’s a storm in the air.” Kale said to the first mate. Then he turned to the hold, thinking he would try the windows to see if they were closed securely. They were, for the most part. However, one wasn’t even closed. The wind had come in and strewn several papers onto the floor. Picking them up, Kale said to himself, “That’s odd, no-one’s been down here in a while. Must be a faulty lock.” But when he checked, he startled to find the lock lying shattered on the floor. “Now what could have done this?” He remarked. The storm had been building in this time and the wind had caught the windowpanes, making them swing to and fro. He grasped them and put on a new bolt, and was about to leave when he heard a slight scuffling from behind one of the barrels. Turning, he began to walk towards the point where he had heard the noise. Just then, a shout came from the deck, “Captain Kale? Captain Kale!” He turned away once more and, deciding to disregard the noise as a rat, ascended the stairs to the deck..

Josh Connelly said...

The group of penguins moved slowly. To young Kevlar the journey seemed to stretch on for all eternity. He dashed right and left, investigating every mound of snow, overturning every pebble. His parents simply let him be, knowing him to be responsible enough to mind his manners and not stray too far. Blissfully sliding down hills of ice and snow, Kevlar kept careful watch on his parents, always staying close enough to get help in an emergency. As he climbed one of the small summits of slush, ice, and snow, he saw something that would affect his life and the lives of his herd. It was a great hole in the protective ice layer, surrounded by ice thin enough to see through. The ice layer. The only layer keeping the penguins and all they had from dropping, plummeting, to the watery blue depths of the ocean. The ice layer had a hole. Worse, he saw the fins. Leathery, gray fins. Sleek, oily fins. Fins that could change his life. Fins of leopard seals. Sadly, he was too young to comprehend the meaning of the gaping hole and to understand what was attached to the fins. If he had only been a year older, if he had only been more a little more suspicious, it would have changed everything. Perhaps there would not have been so much pain, so much suffering. Perhaps Antarctica would have kept on thriving. Perhaps none of what was about to unfold would have happened. Perhaps.

WayneThomasBatson said...

Shadow-dude, cool entry. I like the twist at the end with the king in the village--nice. Could lead to some fun backstory.

And welcome to The Door Within site!

Welcome also to Sir Josh. And I am totally digging the sea tale you've begun to weave here. Very mysterious. Hmmm...what could have smashed the lock? What could be making all those strange sounds?
Hmmm...

everlastingscribe said...

Josh Connelly nicely done! Lovely use of the interupted action, and also I really like the way you've built the suspense by dividing the readers attention between what the Captain was going to investigate in the cabin and what is happening on deck. Well done all the way around.

everlastingscribe said...

Prolifikshadow - Good job! I like the way that the adventurers are having a rather heated debate about the king that has sent them to do harm, and how they really don't have the heart to do what they were sent to do to the villagers. And then-the twist! Excellent.

Prehaps they might switch their service from the "traitor" king to this one?

jc. (josh connelly) said...

Hey, thanks Mr. B! And thanks also, scribe. Very powerful writing, Prolificshadow.

prolifikshadow said...

Sorry it took so long to get back. I had to make a new account. Thanks for the comments, and all of you did a great job. I have no idea why a put villages instead of villagers. I really didn't put much thought into the story but the next part will be more suspenseful.

Eve said...

Here is my lengthy entry-a bit late. I'd love to have some feedback-thanks.

"What was Matron Penelope thinking? When will we ever use the Draught of Hair Silk or the Rose Colored Eye Potion?" complained Dari to Jem one evening, as she lay sprawled on the floor of their bedroom. She was writing down the list of ingredients for each for her assignment. Jem sorted through the basket of herbs she had picked that afternoon.

"What do we need for the Hair Silk Draught?" asked Jem quietly.

"Oh, Chamomile, Thyme, essence of Mirmud and the Lampeer's Oil...." said Dari, her voice trailing off as she stared at Jem.

"Well, something needs to be done to this frizzy mop that I have for hair! Besides, it can't look any worse than it does now!" said Jem. She yanked off the kerchief she had been wearing to reveal her bushy nest of hair.

"Are you sure you want to try it?" asked Dari. She was not too sure about this idea. They had never actually made a potion on their own before, yet their Herbal Lore book did claim this potion would "leave one's hair silky soft and manageable".

"Yup. Let's do it right now," said Jem decisively.

The two girls ran around Faultgriff to find the items they needed to conduct their experiment and then met back in their room.
"I got the water and the essence of Lampeer's Oil that we were missing," said Jem as she entered the room, "Oh, and here's a cauldron to mix and heat it and wood."

"Good," said Dari, "I'm just about done grinding these herbs." She had found some rocks outside that worked as a mortar and pestle.
"I'll get a fire going," said Jem. She got out her flintstones out of her pocket.

"Wait! Where are you going to start a fire? Not in our room!" said Dari, stopping her work to look at Jem.

"Oh, no," said Jem, "on the balcony."

"Uh, Jem. Everyone will see it there," said Dari with a frown.

"No, no. We'll put a blanket up to screen what we're doing," she said confidently.

"And just where is the smoke going to go?" asked Dari. The warning bells were starting to go off in her head.

"Trust me, Darissa," Jem said with a secretive smile.

"Ok, Jemerik," said Dari, "Knock yourself out!" She bowed with a sweeping gesture towards the balcony door. Jem gathered a blanket off her own bed, wrapped it around her, and paraded to the balcony like a queen in full regalia, her wooly hair bobbing with every step. Dari giggled and then roared in laughter when Jem tripped over the blanket to fall harmlessly in a heap.

Jem managed to get the blanket up and into an effective screen with little trouble or smoke, and soon the ingredients were bubbling happily away in the cauldron.

"How long is it supposed to boil?" asked Jem, stirring the pot with one hand.

"Um...it says to bring it to a rolling boil, whatever that is," replied Dari. She sat cross-legged on the balcony with her Herbal Lore book in hand.
"I think it's at a rolling now," said Jem.

"Let me see," said Dari, getting up to peer in the pot. "I don't think it rolling though, do you?"

"Yup. It's definitely rolling," said Jem, tapping the stick she had been stirring with against the side of the cauldron.

"How do you know? We have to make sure or it may not turn out," said Dari. "Your hair might fall out or something." She took the stick from Jem and gave the contents another stir.

"Fall out?" said Jem, looking slightly horrified.

"You don't have to do it. The potion, I mean," said Dari, reassuringly. Jem just stared at her. "Well, you don't have to," said Dari again, half-hoping Jem would agree. She was having a bad feeling about all of this.

"Are you nuts?" asked Jem, "Of course we have to! We haven't done all this work for nothing!" She poured a bit of water on the fire to douse the flames and lowered the blanket. The cool, night breeze blew away the smoke and steam that rose into the air.

"Are we supposed to drink this or dip my head into this," asked Jem when the potion had cooled.

There was silence as Dari flipped the pages. She flipped another page.

"Well?" asked Jem.

"I don't know," said Dari, "I can't find where it says!" She looked up at Jem with a bit of panic in her eyes.

"Relax," said Jem, "I'll just do both, to be on the safe side."

"Jem, I don't think..." started Dari, but it was too late. Jem had just downed a good mouthful and then stuck her head in the remaining contents in the cauldron.

"How did it taste?" asked Dari.

"Vile," came the response from inside the cauldron. Jem withdrew her drenched head and allowed it to drip over the railing. Dari grabbed a rag, out of their room, for Jem to dry her hair with.

"Do you feel any change yet?" asked Dari.

"Nope," answered Jem. "Does anything look abnormal?"

"No," said Dari, "Try brushing it." She handed Jem her hairbrush.

"It seems to brush a bit better, but I suppose I can't expect miracles from Matron Penelope," Jem said with a sigh. "Let's go back in. I'm getting cold."

The two girls headed back inside and started preparing for bed.

***********************
"Aahh!"

Dari bolted out of bed, trying to identify what had startled her awake. She nearly jumped to see a stranger with gray hair standing in her room with a mirror in hand.

"Look at my hair!" said the gray headed girl, turning to Dari.

"Jem!" exclaimed Dari, "What happened? Why is your hair gray?" Her head still felt a little stuffy from being aroused from sleep so abruptly.

"The potion," whispered the distraught Jem. She groaned and threw herself down on her bed. "I look like some sort of crazed witch."

Dari tried hard to be sober, but Jem really did look like a crazed witch, with her stiff, frizzy hair, colored to a fine shade of mousy gray....

WayneThomasBatson said...

Eve,

Again, the language is dynamite here. Love the potion ingredients--they just sound so otherworldly. I want to explore.

Decent trail of breadcrumbs. You do a nice job with hints that these girls are going to screw something up. lol

Eve said...

Thanks, Wayne! It was a looonng trail, but they got there eventually.

amy said...

I've erased my first entry and am now replacing it with this. I'd love some feedback. Thanks.

---------------------------------

Melissa looked out her living room window at the raging thunderstorm and decided it wasn’t bad enough to keep her from her Friday night movie tradition with her best friend. A nagging sensation tugged at the back of her mind that perhaps she should skip it tonight though. Brushing the thought aside and realizing she was running late, Melissa grabbed her jacket and headed for the garage.

She flicked on the switch for the light inside the garage, but it flickered and went out with a tiny pop. Irritated and mumbling to herself about cheap light bulbs, she blindly felt her way to the driver’s side of the car. Melissa carelessly slumped into her seat and turned the key to start the engine.

She had only just driven out of her neighborhood, when she realized that the same white sedan had been behind her for the last four blocks. Of course, it was a Friday night and plenty of people were probably headed for an evening out.

Pulling up to the theater, Melissa thought it odd that Rachel, her ever-punctual friend, was not standing in her usual spot just inside the giant glass doors.

Everyone is bound to be late one time or another, she convinced herself. I’ll just get the popcorn and sodas. It’s my turn to buy anyway.

A quick 10 minutes later, with a giant bucket of popcorn and two huge sodas in her hands, Melissa stood waiting in the dimly lit lobby. The theater was surprisingly empty for a Friday night and where was Rachel? Just as she was pulling out her cell phone to call Rachel, a strangely familiar man dressed in a tidy black suit approached her.

Eve said...

Oooo! Chills! Good job, Amy

amy said...

Thanks Eve!

This technique was tough for me. Especially trying to condense foreshadowing into a relatively short passage.

Eve said...

Amy,
You can see how "short" mine was-lol!

Pais Charos said...

Very nice Amy... spooky :P

I think I'm going to have trouble with this one... I've thought about using a scene from a story I'm working on, however, some of the "questions" in that scene are answered in the prologue and the first half of the 1st chapter... so I might just write something else.

I'm also thinking of doing a second entry for "frustration" but haven't a clue what... hehe

Pais Charos said...

Okie dokie, here it is. I decided to write something new, and what I had written for "Peril" gave me an idea. This scene will take place a good number of years (I haven't decided yet) after my "Peril" scene.

Anor

Anor pulled on her horse's reins, slowing the the mare. The soft thud of hooves on dirt stopped, and the mare stood still. Anor listened again.

Anor

“Wh-who's there?” Her voice trembled as she spoke, and her hands shook.

Do not be afraid. I am a Visitor, a messenger sent by Malor.

“Malor? That name is only in fairy tales, and children's books. Malor isn't real. And where are you, why can't I see you?”

A glowing figure appeared before her, filling the night with his radiance. The horse startled and reared, and Anor clung to the saddle. The radiant being walked forward, laying his hand on the horse's face. To Anor's surprise, her mare calmed down. She laid a hand on the mare's neck, and began stroking the dark mane. She looked closer at the Visitor, but was unable to make out any facial features amidst the glow.

He turned his attention back to her, his hand still on her mare's muzzle.

I assure you, child, Malor is very real. He has been watching you for some time, and has chosen you.

“Chosen me? For what?”

You state that his name only lives now in books and stories. He wants to change that.

“Why now?”

A dark time is coming, Anor. Malor wants to bring his creations back to him, and he wants to start with you. He will teach you all you need to know, and you in turn will teach others. Then together, as his servants, you will defeat his enemy.

“His servants? Like slaves?”

Anor thought she could detect a smile on the Visitor's bright face, and it confused her.

To be a slave of Malor, is to be free.

“Free from what? From whom?”

You will learn, my child, you will learn.

Anor grew silent as she pondered what the Visitor had said. Was Malor real? If so, why had he chosen her? Who was his enemy, and why didn't Malor just destroy him himself? So many questions, and yet somehow she felt like she wanted to know the answers...

She nodded. “What do I have to do?”

Three days hence meet me back at this spot, and we will begin your journey.

“Journey?! Leave my home, and my family? But what if...” her voice trailed off, for the Visitor disappeared, just as suddenly as he had appeared.

Anor blinked away the light spots in her eyes, then looked up and down the trail. She peered through the trees, hoping to catch a glimpse of him, but he had gone. She sighed. Three days from now... my parents are going to think I'm crazy.

She turned her mare, applying pressure with her legs, and the horse began to jog at a slow pace towards home.

Pais Charos said...

Meh... I'm not really please with how that came out.

Justin B. said...
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Justin B. said...
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Justin B. said...
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Pais Charos said...

I want to do a second entry for this one, but I can't come up with anything ... Ah, well, I still have some time.

Roheryn said...

the fun thing ish, these techniques keep giving me ideas for what will happen later in my story...
so, this one takes place, not all that long after my story for Peril...

~~~~~
The short red head fiddled nervously with the crystal cross hanging around her neck. She knew she was close. For some reason, she just knew it, although she didn’t know how she knew. Stopping, she rested a hand against a nearby white birch. Lucy could almost feel the life tingling beneath the skin of the birch. The bright lights that were its life energy dancing their slow, majestic dance of old age. They danced visible to her minds eye, just like the birch was visible to her bright, green eyes.

Lucy’s ears picked up a sound behind her. She turned, before thinking, Wait. If my mother ish as good of a woodswoman as I’ve been told, why would she be snapping twigs as she walks through the forest. No sooner had the thought crossed her mind, then movement in front of her caught her eye.

She turned, and a gasp escaped her lips. A majestic white unicorn, stood not five feet from her, watching her out of eyes the same brilliant color as her own.

Are you looking for something, child?” the voice echoed in her head and her ears.

“Uh… more of a person,” Lucy replied, her cross clutched tightly in her hands.

You are Lucy.” came the voice again. “An amazing child. You search for your mother. Nianin. Cryws Nianin.

“H-how do you know that? And how do you know my mother’s name? More importantly, how do you know my name?” Lucy looked wide-eyed, gaze locked with the unicorn.

I just do. It is in the blood of all unicorns.

“Do you know how to find my mother?”

You have already found her. I am she.

Pais Charos said...

All right. Entry number 2 :D I was working on my story "Amari's Love" and realized I could use an excerpt from it for this technique! :D Enjoy!
--------

The unicorn's gaze scanned the forest glade, and she narrowed her eyes, trying to see between tree trunks and bushes. She moved slowly as she searched for her friend, her hooves soundless on the forest floor. She pushed branches aside with her horn, blinking as leaves fell from the trees.

A twig snapped. The unicorn pivoted, turning in the direction of the sound. She shook her head, tossing her mane. Where is she?

Soft laughter floated down from above and the unicorn looked up into the the tree to her right. There sat Karel, the object of her search. The girl in the tree held a hand to her mouth as if trying to hold back an eruption of giggles. Her other hand held a broken twig.

The unicorn stretched her neck forward as far as it would reach and touched the tip of her crimson horn to the bottom sole of Karel's sandal.

“Gotcha!”

Karel lost control and giggles poured out of her, tears streaming down her face. “Amari ... that was priceless!”

Amari turned and Karel dropped onto her back. She snorted as she began walking. “I don't find anything funny about that.”

Karel leaned forward. “Did you really think that it was I who snapped the twig?”

Amari looked back and huffed. “Well ... no. But I--” she nodded and her tone softened. “I guess it was kinda funny!”

The two friends laughed for a bit, and the sounds of their mirth eventually trailed off into peaceful silence. Karel slid off Amari's back and walked beside her. Amari caught a glimpse of the setting sun and inclined her head slightly to look at her human friend. Usually about this time the two of them would race back to Farron, Karel's home town.

Karel looked up and met Amari's gaze. There was a hint of mischief in the girl's eyes, and a smile played at her lips.

Without hesitating Amari quickened her gate and soon began cantering and weaving around the trees. She broke through the edge of the forest into the clearing with a triumphant shout, and slowed her pace. Amari turned around to see how close behind Karel was, but the girl wasn't there.

“Karel?” No reply.

Amari walked back into the forest, and soon found Karel leaning against a tree, taking deep breaths as though she were having trouble breathing. The unicorn frowned. Karel had been slightly out of breath most of the day, and whenever Amari asked, Karel just said she didn't get enough sleep that night and was just more tired than usual. But now Amari was worried.

“Karel ... are you sure you're all right?”

Karel looked up, her hand pressed against her chest. She took another deep breath and straightened. She gave Amari a small smile. “I guess you won this time, my friend.” She swallowed and took another deep breath, then walked forward to lean against Amari's flank. “Congratulations.”

Amari reached her neck around and nuzzled Karel's cheek. The girl giggled at the touch. Then the unicorn lowered herself to let Karel mount her easier. Karel grabbed a chunk of her mane, and pulled herself up. Amari gave her a little nudge, and once Karel was safely up Amari began walking slowly towards Karel's home.

Amari turned her head and glanced at Karel. “Do you need any more unicorn medicines? I'm sure we can go see Nerem--”

Karel waved a hand, dismissing the offer. “I'm sure it's just a bug. It'll be gone in a couple days.”


A couple days later saw less and less of Karel. She began asking Amari to take her home earlier than usual. Each time Amari asked Karel if she was all right, but Karel just shrugged it off and said she'd be fine, and she refused any offer of healing from either of the unicorns.

Then one day, Karel never showed up. Amari arrived at their usual meeting spot at the edge of the forest at noon, and she stood there, waiting. Hours went by and Amari continued to watch the town gate, expecting to see Karel's small, 13-year-old form walk through any second.

But her friend never arrived. Amari laid down on the ground as the sun disappeared behind the horizon and prayed silently for Karel.


Early the next morning Amari arrived at the small grove of trees that her father, Nerem, called home. Nerem was the leader of the unicorn herd, and as such the wisest of all the unicorns. He was also the one who provided the humans with their unicorn medicines, medicines made from unicorn horns, called alicorns. Each unicorn in the herd had offered shavings from their alicorns at least once, in order to make the medicines. However, Nerem had never allowed Amari to use hers, and she didn't know why.

Nerem lay still on his bed of moss. His eyes were closed, and his mother-of-pearl horn stretched up out of his forehead, as though it were reaching for the Heavens. The blue star beneath the base of his horn glowed as he breathed, marking him as the herd leader. Amari watched with reverence as he seemed to be praying silently. Soon his eyelids began to flutter some, and the beard that grew from his elegent, equine chin twitched. She walked in further and as she approached, Nerem looked up and rose to greet her. He walked over to her, and they intertwined their necks affectionately.

“Good morning, my daughter. What brings you here this early?”

Amari broke their embrace and looked into her father's eyes. “I am worried about Karel. About five days ago she seemed to have some trouble breathing. She said she'd be fine, that she just needed to rest. But....” She paused.

“But what, Amari?”

“Yesterday she didn't come.”

“Does she have enough unicorn medicines? Did you offer her more?” Nerem asked, concerned.

“Many times, Father. But she refused every time.”

Nerem frowned, and his eyes began to sadden as he looked away. “This is highly unusual. There isn't--” he paused, and his voice grew quieter. “There shouldn't be anything that the unicorn medicines can't heal.”

Amari wondered at his change of wording, but pushed the thought aside. For a moment both of them were silent, then Nerem cleared his throat and spoke up again.

“I will go and visit Farron, and I will speak with Karel's father about this. Hopefully he will be able to tell me what is going on.” He looked at Amari, and she couldn't mistake the tears pooling in his eyes. “I want you to gather together with Ephe and a few other unicrons and pray for Karel, and pray for Farron. I hope and pray with all my heart that this isn't what I fear it is.”

everlastingscribe said...

Nicely done Roheryn! I love the fact that you realize Lucy is gifted beyond what humans can see with her interaction with the tree. Also, I'm delighted to see that she's not a willowy blond with ethereal bearing. I'm not over keen on unicorns *ducks* But a short red head with attitude? That's a unicorn I could really like.

everlastingscribe said...

Pais Charos, I love the way you set up the relationship between Amari and Karel. Nice foreshadowing about Amari and her anicorn and her father not allowing her to share it as he does the others. I would venture to say that this tale has at its' heart the idea that "There is no love without sacrifice". That is, in my opinion, the strongest theme in all of literature.

Pais Charos said...

Thanks Scribe! It's spelled *cough*alicorn*cough*

:D

Yeah, I can't wait till I finish this story. It's coming together really nicely (finally...)

everlastingscribe said...

Sorry! I never claimed the ability to spell anything correctly ;) You know, real words, newly minted words whether they are mine or some one else's .. .*sigh* I fear for my readers.

Roheryn said...

Thankies, Scribe!
You should see the unicorn version of Lucy... *snickers*
she's just as spunky...

Pais Charos said...

Aye, that she is, Roh. *snickers*

That's ok, Scribe. Alicorn, according the unicorn legend, is the correct term for the unicorn's horn. However, not many people know this, so whenever I write about unicorns, I have to create a clever way to explain it without it looking corny.

Roheryn said...

I know the feeling... same problem!

PatShand said...

Winter bared her fangs and growled. Desiree shrank back from her, but then put up her defensive stance. She couldn’t believe this was happening. If she understood what was going on, at least she’d know who to fight.
“If you go against me, we’re both dead,” Winter hissed. “Much as I hate it, until we’re far away from Duke Raven, we’re on the same team.”
“Never,” said Desiree.
“That, or you die,” said Winter. Desiree gulped. She wasn’t lying. Desiree looked to Amon and Xavier. Amon was still working on the Magick incantation he’d been muttering before, and he didn’t seem to be any further into it now. She couldn’t imagine the pain he was in; the blood was still flowing from his side like an overturned bloody-mary.
Winter was right. She’d have to trust her.
Or they were both goners.
Behind Duke Raven, the animalistic monsters were yipping and barking, ready to feed on the remains of whatever their master left behind. Even if Desiree and Winter managed to beat the towering vampire, they’d have to deal with those things. With their watering mouths filled with huge, scythe-like fangs, their bodies that, though covered with flab, looked like they weighed at least two hundred a piece...
Winter saw her looking at the monsters. “Don’t worry about the Jungle Vampires,” she whispered to Desiree. “If any of them is a problem, it’s Raven. He’s a low ranking street rat, but he’s stronger than you and I combined. He’s… kinda old.”
Raven took a thundering step towards them.
“Old?” Desiree whispered back. Raven was getting closer, and there was no where to hide. “Shouldn’t he be all denture-y then?”
“Vampires are immortal,” Winter said. “He’s already five hundred.”
Desiree’s jaw dropped. She’d only been around for fifteen years and she was one of the best martial artists in the country. She couldn’t imagine having five hundred years to practice, plus the full benefit of supernatural strength. Yup, they were goners.
“But you,” Desiree said hopefully. “You’re like, three hundred or something, right?”
Duke Raven was almost upon them.
“I’m seventeen,” Winter said.
He swung the sword at them, but a sudden blast of orange fire that seemed to come from every direction knocked him away. The woods lit up with the huge, burning blaze, trapping Duke Raven and his Jungle Vampires in the heart of the fire. The flames stretched across five trees, totally engulfing Raven. The heat it gave off was terrific in the cold air, but they didn’t have time to warm their frozen bodies.
Desiree looked up and saw Amon, standing at a distance with both of his palms forward, his skin sparkling with Magick residue.
“I didn’t know it’d be that big,” he said, gazing in awe at the fire that had stretched as tall as a few of the trees. “I’m freakin’ good!”
“We have to go!” Xavier yelled. “That vampire will surely recuperate in no time!”
Desiree and Winter stared at each other awkwardly for a moment. Winter nodded to her. “You know I’m gunna try to kill you later, right?”
Desiree shrugged. “Yeah. I guess so.”
The two of them ran in separate directions, Winter deeper into the woods, Desiree and her friends back towards the campsite. As Xavier supported a weak and injured Amon, a man of about seventy years old with faded gold hair watched from behind a tree. His skin glistened with Magick residue.

Sarmjornn said...

Sari shivered, both from fear and cold. The snow on the canyon floor had risen up to her knees and though Asinn was before her cutting a path it did not help. Her feet tingled and her ears burned from the cold and wind. Suddenly a howl cracked through the continuous shrieking wind.

“Asinn,” she screamed into the wind and grabbed at him desperately.

He stopped and looked back at her his face clouded by the thick white flakes. He nodded to the snow-white bank in front of them. “Come on we’re almost there.”

“Didn’t you hear that?”

“I did, but we knew the dangers of entering this cursed place.”

She nodded slowly. “But, no one knows we’re out here. We should have told one of the elders from the academy.”

Asinn shook his head, not daring to look her in the eye. “No, they wouldn’t have allowed us to come to look for your brother here at the Mirror.”

“I don’t know why he would come here.”

“Your not Eson’s only listening ear. He has told me many things about himself.”

She quaked uncontrollably at the mention of her brothers name. “I don’t understand.” She shook violently a sudden amount of fear rising up within her.

He looked at her sharply and grabbed her by the arm roughly. “Come on we have to keep moving.”

Braking free she shook her head. “No!”

“We have to it’s the only way.” Asinn yelled and threw her over his shoulder roughly.

She fought him, but he carried her over the snow like she was nothing more then a small stone. When he deposited her against the snow bank she crawled back into a carved out shelter. She was grasped from behind and she screamed, as suddenly the world grew black. Asinn's face was the last thing she saw before she was sucked into the Mirror.

Patrick said...

Delron dismounted before a small, wood frame tavern in sight of the piers. An inviting glow emanated through the windows’ glass, beckoning him with thoughts of a hot meal, good drink, and a lively tale. The slight hint of a smile crept across his face. “Yet, even cold porridge, water, and a speech by the king’s finance minister would be better than having the watch this night,” he mused while tethering his horse. In the sky above, tendrils of clouds drifted across the moon. Dense sea fog hung over Alrod’s harbor waters. “This is going to be a cold, damp, unpleasant night,” he muttered as he watched the clouds overcast the sky. “Thankfully,” Delron chuckled, “taverns have remedies for such evenings! Perhaps Reerian will even recount that story of his from the Torronian wars!”
He patted his horse’s neck and was about to enter the tavern when he noticed movement across the city square. As he instinctively put his hand to the rapier at his side, he watched intently as a rider galloped through the city’s main gate and across the square, finally reining his mount in hard in front of the tavern. With a whinny, the horse reared on its hind legs, and its rider tumbled to the ground.
Rushing to the fallen man, Delron knelt beside him and gently lifted him to a sitting position. The man’s face was pale; dried blood was caked around a deep gash in his forehead and covered much of the rider’s chest. Fear haunted the man’s eyes as he raised himself up more and grasped Delron’s shoulder.
“Tell me what happened,” encouraged Delron.
“Ships…fell upon Aron…three days ago,” the man rasped out. His chest heaved as he hacked and coughed. Pulling Delron closer, he continued, “…heading up the coast…”
“Who is coming? Where?”
“Next target is…” The rider’s eyes bulged. Then his body went limp against Delron’s chest as the man exhaled his last breath. Protruding from between the rider’s shoulders was a dagger hilt. Delron gently eased the body to the ground and gazed into the shadows by the tavern. A tall man, clad in black clothing stepped into the open. The wide brimmed hat he wore concealed much of his face. A slight breeze fingered his dark-hued cape.
“You know too much,” the stranger spoke, nodding to Delron. With a flash of silver, he held a rapier in his right hand.
“Oh, really?” Delron answered, slowly rising to his feet and likewise drawing his own blade, his eyes twinkling. “My questions are just beginning!”
With a swift thrust, the stranger advanced, and the blades clashed as Delron parried. Onward they slashed and thrust at each other, back and forth in front of the tavern, neither gaining an advantage. Finally, their swords were locked at the hilts, and each man was inches from his opponent’s face.
“You will soon be a shish kabob. I am a captain of the king’s personal guards!” Delron taunted.
Glancing to the body nearby on the ground, his opponent sneered, “So was he!”
The swordsman heaved Delron away and unleashed a series of rapid strokes. Delron blocked each one in succession. On the final blow, he slid his blade along his enemy’s and with a flick of his wrist, flung his opponent’s rapier aside, then promptly skewered him through.
“As I said, shish kabob,” Delron said grimly, using the toe of his boot to roll his seemingly lifeless adversary onto his back. He inhaled sharply. On the upper left part of the black doublet was the emblem of a red dragon. “A Torronian!”
After wiping his bloodied blade, Delron sheathed it and mounted his horse. "The king must know of what befell Aron. And, that the Torronian fleet sails northward. So much for my hot meal!”
He kicked his heals into the horse’s flanks and rode swiftly through the city and up the hill to the fortress that overlooked the city and harbor. Dismounting quickly at the massive gates, Delron ran to the sentry pacing back and forth in front of the gates.
“Open the gates! I have an urgent message for the king!”
The guard signaled another soldier above on the wall, and the doors momentarily opened inward slightly.
“You will find the king in his study.”
After nodding his thanks to the sentry, Delron raced across the fortress courtyard and into the large stone structure. A labyrinth of passageways and corridors followed until, at last, he reached the king’s doorway and knocked.
“Come in.”
Opening the door, Delron stepped into a richly furnished room. The stone walls were adorned with waist high, intricately carved wood paneling. Bookcases filled with ancient tomes and volumes reached to the ceiling and hugged almost every wall. Occupying the central wall was a large map that was detailed with a multitude of boundaries, territories, and bodies of water. Facing this massive chart, a man stood with his back to the door.
“My king, a messenger from Aron has brought disturbing news. A Torronian fleet laid waste to the city and moves northwards up the coast. I’m afraid the messenger was assassinated before I learned the destination of the Torronian ships.” Delron paused, “should I alert our garrison and dispatch messengers to Elrovard and Nirel to warn them?”
“It is too late,” the king replied, his gaze riveted upon the wall map.
“What do you mean, my king?”
The king faced Delron. His face was crinkled with a multitude of wrinkles, and a steel-gray beard hung to his waist. Tears welled up in his despair-filled eyes. “It is already too late, Delron. Look out in the harbor.”
Delron went to a nearby window and looked. The fog had lifted, and the moon’s bright rays illuminated seven tall, 5-masted warships anchored there. Each flew a black flag with the emblem of a dragon.
“They slipped into the harbor under the fog’s protection.” The king was beside him now. He and Delron could see numerous longboats rowing toward the shore.
“Ah, Captain Delron, I’m so glad you could come! You are just in time to witness the transfer of power! And, afterward, a delightfully dark, dank, damp, and dingy prison cell!” came a voice from behind them. Delron whirled around, his blade drawn and his eyes smoldering. “You?!”

maskedknight said...

There was a tradition among the Nacharaget people, that when boys were twelve, they would search the woods where the Hagar was thought to be hidden. The Hagar was spoken of in the Writings. The Writings were documents written by ancient Nacharaget people, and described a mysterious object hidden so that eventually one special boy would find it. The boy would somehow be different than any other person. It was supposed to be something about the eyes. The boy would also know where the Hagar was hidden. The twins Raff and Kaden were out in the woods today, looking for the Hagar. Raff hurried ahead of his slightly older brother, wishing to be back home to eat the feast his mother had prepared for their return. Raff came to a clearing that was blocked off all around, except for the way he had just come from. He called over his shoulder, “Kaden, come on! I found a place I can’t get through. Come see.” Kaden was startled by his brother’s voice. He had been looking at the path and thinking. Something seemed right about the way they were going. He couldn’t tell what though. He trotted to catch up to where Raff was waiting. He slowed as he reached the clearing. Raff watched his brother’s eyes probe the bushes. Kaden’s eyes roamed about the clearing, then noticed that once place in the clearing seemed right, like the path they had been traveling on. The rest of the clearing seemed different. Almost out of place. Kaden saw no difference, only knew that there was one. Now, he rushed ahead of Raff. He charged through the brush and branches blocking the way. He ducked under a long, gnarled branch, and was out of the brush. He knew this was the right way! It had to be! He was breathless with excitement. He sprinted down the wide, but slightly overgrown path. Raff’s longer legs carried him to Kaden’s side. “Kaden! Where are you going?!” Raff asked. “Where I’m supposed to be going!” Kaden replied, ignoring the pain in his side when he tried to speak while running. He thought about how much the Hagar meant to his people, and put on an extra burst of speed, bringing him in front of Raff. He tore down the winding path, then skidded to halt when he came to a place where the path split. Raff was so close behind that he crashed into Kaden. They sprawled onto the ground, and dust covered their clothes. After standing, but leaving the dust on their fronts, Raff and Kaden charged off on different paths, then both ran back to look for the other. Both thought he knew which path to take. “Raff, come with me to the left path ,” Kaden pleaded. “No, you come to the right path! I want to go this way!” “Raff, you don’t understand!” Kaden was annoyed with Raff. “We have to go this way! I just know this is the right way!” “Fine. You go the ‘right way’. I’m going my way.” And with that, Raff strode off, down the right path. Kaden was furious with his brother. “Let him go his own way. I hope he steps in a hole and breaks his ankle.” He stormed down the left path. Then, his steps lightened as he thought of what might lie at the end of his trail. He quickened his pace. Soon, he was at the end of the path. His spirits soared as he saw that the path led straight to a large, gnarled oak tree. In the center, placed like it was meant for someone to look into, was a hole. Kaden peered in, and could see nothing. He felt around with his hands, and discovered that the hole was quite small. He felt nothing other than bark. He groped through the darkness, searching for something of worth. He must find something! He must! He knew this was the right way. He clawed at the tree, despite the splinters sticking into his fingers. He took his fingers out, and they were bleeding. When he saw them, it sank in. There was nothing. He leaned against the tree, and sobbed into his good hand. He was crushed. He had wanted so badly to please his parents! He was good at many things, and was told so many times. But, unlike his younger brother, he was never great. Raff had longer legs, was taller, was smarter, etc.. Kaden wanted to be great! Then he remembered that Raff would probably be waiting for him back at the place where the trail split. He looked around, and the woods looked the same all around. The path looked no different. Was the difference simply a figment of his imagination? He began to trudge down the path, watching his feet. Left, Right, Left, Right. As he expected, Raff was waiting for him. Still looking at the ground, Kaden simply told him, “Nothing”. Expecting an answer, Kaden looked up, just before Raff silently turned, and walked down the path he had explored. Kaden started after him, then stopped, stock still, shocked. His brother’s eyes had glowed softly. The irises were light purple.

Anonymous said...

"Silence!" Tener banged his fist on the wood table. The muttering stopped. His glare swept the group of men surrounding the long table. "I realize that there must be a spy amongst us. How could Gorak know about our supply of weapons in the Gomer bogs. But I will make no accusations until proof can be brought forth, and neither shall any of my men!" His young eyes held a firmness his men respected, despite his young age. He scanned the men once again before sitting down.
"What shall we do m'lord?" Deran, a dvergr asked. His strong voice rang through the room, bringing with it more murmurs from the men.
"I don't know." Tener ran his hand through his long brown hair. He shook his head. "Aaric help me, I don't know."
"My king, if you will permit me to speak." Asgrim looked expectantly at Tener, who nodded. He continued. "With your permission, I will gather a group of men whom I would trust with my life, and we shall keep an eye on all the other men to make sure they do not make contact with anyone but those in those sworn into the Konungr Ma∂r."
"I don't really think that's necessary, m'lord!" Retardan, an Álfr spoke up quickly.
Asgrim narrowed his eyes at him. "I'd especially like to keep my eyes on you."
The crowd roared with rage at that comment. Tener stood and raised his hands for silence.
"Please! Please!" He begged. "We're brothers! No accusations shall be made until we have proof!" The room quitted again. "Now, Asgrim, do as you have said. And let us all pray to High King Aaric for wisdom in this time." He nodded, and the group began to disperse.
Kol, however, stayed in his seat while the others around him left. His brow wrinkled in deep thought. When the room was emptied he rose, a sneer marked his lip. His boots echoed off the stone floor as he left the room.

~ElizabethOfMena~