Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April Indy 500 #7

Title: Aral-Kahn
Genre: Fantasy

Benson  Wood was still wreathed in its summer finery, even though the year was lurching ever closer to the fall transition and the cold deadness of winter.  The morning was warm and clear - the sun only shared the sky with a few wispy clouds and the ghostly half disk of the moon.

It was a morning much like any other, Zyn Emerling knew, but she couldn't shake the expectant feeling that had been with her since she woke early that morning.  The fact that she woke early was odd enough - the rare occasion that it happened her father always told her, only half jokingly, that the Devil must be shivering his hooves off in Hell. 

As if the signs and portents of her sleep cycle weren't bad enough,  another strange happening  that morning lead Zyn to believe that the day was cursed from its beginning, and that maybe she should have heeded her lazier instincts and simply stayed in bed for the day.    Once she had dragged herself out of bed and dressed, she opened the drawer of her nightstand, looking for her locket.  It had been a gift from her father, after her mother's passing thirteen years previous, and Zyn wore it every day without fail. 

Today she went to put it on as she had every day for more than a decade, when the clasp snapped.  Zyn was so surprised that when the locket fell, she wasn't quick enough to catch it.  The locket flipped open, revealing her mother's portrait, which her father had paid a local artist a fortune to render in such minute detail.

Her father had offered to take it to a friend of his, the jeweler who had made it and carved the intricate floral designs on the outside, but Zyn declined.  She didn't want to be parted from it, and she didn't have enough time before she was supposed to meet Laurie on the trail to take it to the jeweler herself.  She'd planned on taking it herself once she and Laurie got back to town.  In the mean time, Zyn found herself constantly patting the pocket of her dress where she'd put it for safe keeping, just to make sure it was still there.

If Laurie noticed her friend's new tic, she didn't say anything.  But then for Zyn, and anyone else who knew her for that matter, that wasn't much of a surprise.  Laurie's powers of observation weren't exactly legendary, after all.

Even so, it baffled Zyn that the woman couldn't feel the oddness hovering in the air.  Maybe it's just me? Zyn wondered.  Yet the forest was silent, save for the rustling of leaves and pine needles in the spare breeze, Laurie's voice, and the soft shuffle of the pair's footsteps on the dirt footpath worn by centuries of feet.  No birds sang, and there were no small things scuttling among the tree branches or through the brush.  It was as if the small things of the forest knew something was coming, and they were hiding until it passed.


  1. Intrigued by this beginning. Very descriptive setting and build-up to "whatever was coming." I'd like to know more about the "signs and portents" you mention, which I assume will be detailed later or earlier in your story.

  2. I think this is a great beginning. As I said in another post, fantasy isn't really my forte, but your world-building was very effective, and I followed the MC and her bizarre morning the entire time. I especially liked how you showed her patting her pocket to make sure the locket was still there. Whenever I break a necklace, which oddly enough is a lot, I always make sure it's safe inside my pocket until I get home. This was a great example of showing instead of telling. As Beth said, I too am very curious as to what is coming her way. I'd love to read on. Sorry I don't have too much critique for you.:)

  3. I read over your opening paragraph first thinking it was a guy's name and wondered why it abruptly shifted over to a girl, then looking at it for a while I guess that is the name of the woods where she lives nearby. Of course re-reading the 'its' should have given it away.

    I felt disconnection between your fourth and fifth paragraphs. As it sounds like the morning, just after she wakes up, her locket breaks, but then you mention her father offering to get it fixed for her? Was he watching her sleep? Standing in her room? Maybe you need to make this part clearer?

    Also is the 'that the woman' referring to Laurie? If Laurie is her friend I find it odd Zyn is suddenly thinking of her as 'that woman'.

    You've done a good job of setting up an impending doom type feel.

  4. I agree with the other reviewers, your setting and build up is great. I too followed her every move, feeling the doom, wondering what was to come.

    Although your first paragraph paints a lovely scene, I to thought that Benson Wood was a guy. It might be a good idea to clarify that since it is the first sentence of the book.

    Your wordage is very lovely, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your opening. I would love to read more:)

  5. You have a lot of lovely phrases in there (the line about sharing the sky was beautifully vivid), I would just work on clearing up some of the repetition and passive voice e.g It was a MORNING much like any other, Zyn Emerling knew, but she couldn't shake the expectant feeling that had been with her since she woke early that MORNING. - Why not just say 'since she woke', and then show us that it was unnaturally early with the line from the father, which is a lovely demonstration of the character's voice.

    The tension builds nicely in the last paragraph. I'd try and tighten everything up before that, so we get to that dramatic build up sooner without losing any of your world building.

    And yes, I also thought Benson Wood was a guy.

  6. I really liked reading this. I think my favorite line was The devil must be shivering his hooves off in Hell. you done a wonderful job the only thing I would have liked to see was more interaction between Zyn and her father.
    Good job keep it up I'd like to see where this all leads.