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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

For Want of a Piglet

Hard fantasy (what does that mean? Hard fantasy?)

Snow still fell when Ilya shook me awake in the middle of the night. The patter of flakes on the overhead tarp blended with anxious whispers and sharp coughs. A pony puffed nearby and hooves shifted on the tarp.

“Ulf says stay close,” Ilya whispered in my ear. “Get the bedroll off and flat so nobody trips. Careful of Acorn, he’s right here.”

I blinked and rubbed at my eyes and a whiskery horse nose nudged my cheek. Acorn shifted away as I struggled out of my bedroll and to my feet. I put my arm over his neck for balance as I kicked the heavy blanket further off and tried to spread it flat. Puck snorted, close by too.

The fire was just outside our tarp lean-to, low and largely glowing coals. Ulf and Sir Kiefan stood on the far side with their backs to it, one with bow and nocked arrow, the other with sword in hand. Kiefan asked something of the woodsman and he muttered a reply. (is this necessary? If it is, maybe tell us what's being said, if not, I might cut it.) Beyond them, the black forest waited, crusted with a layer of snow glowing blue in the trace moonlight. Tumbling flakes kept up a quiet patter as we all fell silent, even the ponies. Really like the imagery.

Adrenaline was fast driving off any lethargy of being woken, but there was nothing to see in the clusters of squat pine trees and thickets. Ulf and Kiefan moved a few steps apart, tense and alert. I wanted to ask what was wrong.

Lantern eyes lit up beyond the fire, tracking by, and vanished. A shape moved past a snow-laden pine branch. That coughing sound again, from the shape, and it was answered from behind me.

Ilya, holding Acorn’s bridle beside me, whispered, “Mother Love, we’re surrounded.” Loved that!


Like this!

3 comments:

Brooke R. Busse said...

Hard fantasy is like Lord of the Rings and Terry Brooks type books. Just thought I would throw that in. :)

Huntress said...

I freakin’ love this.
My notes:

Hard fantasy is another sub-genre of fantasy. Example: The Magic of Recluse by LE Modesitt.
First paragraph: Excellent scene descriptions.

Fourth paragraph: I must respectfully disagree with my compatriot. This IS needed. I ‘hear’ the scene as well as ‘see’ it.

Fifth: “being woken” is a passive phrase and feels clumsy. Can you edit please?

Summary: Excellent scene setups. Excellent tension. Excellent world building. And, Wow. Nuff said.

Charity Bradford said...

I've read this several times this week and don't have anything to add. I enjoy the way it all flows. I have a good sense of what the scene is and how things "feel".

Nice job!