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Worldsmyths Million Excerpts Thread

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This thread will be used for sharing excerpts of what we write during the Worldsmyths Million challenge. Please keep it to 300-500 words.

Only share an excerpt that was written for the challenge, starting in your time zone on March 1st.

We will have a separate thread dedicated to giving/receiving feedback on excerpts that are written during the challenge. This one is just to share for fun.

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I guess I'll be the first one to share!  I am working on my remaining revisions for book one, so this is a passage I had to completely rewrite yesterday:

 

Singing used to be fun, but there was a difference between singing for crows and wishes and then singing for gods to bring bounty and glory, and rehashing their greatest triumphs and failures.  I did not care for god-songs.

 

“Is that blasphemous?” I asked Fred.

 

“Probably, but it’s not like we worship any of them.  Mama says a blanket prayer so no gods are left out, but she’d never put much stock in them or temple scripts.  I don’t either.”

 

“Why not?”

 

“Never seen a god do much about prayers.  You can do more yourself by casting spells and hexes than you can by praying.  I think I’d rather believe in me than some god who probably isn’t listening anyway.”

 

I agreed.  So I sang the god-songs in a low key during Madame’s lessons, but when Fred and I practiced we sang songs about coyotes and crows, about stars hiding from giants under the ground, and about two girls who came from the Beginning of Everything.  Sometimes, when we stomped and spun and sang the last words I felt a strange sort of observance upon us.  Not from anyone in camp, and not from any animals outside.  I felt crazy to say it aloud, even to Fred, so I only thought it:

 

I could almost swear it was the land watching us with curiosity.

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Oh yeah, I forgot about this thread :P

 

So, um, here's my wonderful start to chapter 1. There was a prologue, but unfortunately you'll have to suffer cause I like these two more than Dmitri :D

 

--

 

The sun streamed through the canopies as it lowered to the horizon, it was nearly the end of my shift and I could finally relax. As much as I loved stomping around the forest, my skin protested against the heat and I was in desperate need of a shower. The loving summer heat had baked us for the past week and it could fuck off now. I was already wandering around in shorts and a loose strappy shirt, and yet still my body protested. I sighed and focussed back on the voice yabbering on in my ear.

 

“—I figured you’d be fine with me going on ahead so I’m just sat at the side of the pool right now, drying off from the refreshing water...”

 

“How kind,” I muttered dryly.

 

I adjusted the phone in my hand as a chuckle came through.

 

“How much do you have left to do now?”

 

“Enough for you to sit there splashing around teasing me more. I don’t know why I put up with you sometimes, you pain in the ass.”

 

“I’m the pain in the ass?” Jascha scoffed. “You’re the one who bit mine—“

 

“You liked it,” I jumped in and grinned.

 

“Well what’s not to like when you’re kneeling down—“

 

“Oh crap,” I said breathing in deeply. “I smell something.”

 

I set the phone to speakerphone and attached it to the strap across my arm. It was a good idea, and one which came in handy a few times.

 

“You alright there?” Jascha asked, all playfulness gone from his voice.

 

“For now,” I added scanning the ground and trees for anything out of the ordinary.

 

It was only the faintest smell that lingered in the dead air, no wind to stir it further. One I knew all too well. I hurried onwards, hoping my suspicions weren’t true. Blood splashed in the dirt, the first signs of the kill. Leaves and bark painted red. I skidded down a dirt bank and there it was. What was left of it anyway. Already flies had been attracted to the oh-so-lovely smell of decay. An arm swung on a low hanging branch, rope barely holding it up, the fingers dragged along the ground. Everything else had been obliterated, fleshy chunks dotted the dirt along with shards of bone. This was not a feast of the hungry, but a display of savagery.

 

“Fucking demons.”

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Sure, why not? Just for funsies, though it needs work.  ::)

 

  • It was the waking dream she saw in his eyes.
     
    Lalina sat, huddled against the wall, wings pulled tightly around her as she watched the stranger watch her, his eyes black in the dim light, a living darkness that pinned her with its intensity. He turned, calling out to someone unseen in a language she still did not understand, and she drew even further into herself as footsteps started down the long hall. The torch played across ebony skin, highlighting the fine bones and pointed ears of a people she’d but rarely seen, never spoken to, and who were all but legend in most of the world. Shadow elves—poets, artists, traders, loners—as rare as a double moon and twice as elusive.
     
    She’d never seen one that looked so cruel.
     
    The torches brought no warmth to his skin, instead giving it the illusion of cool ebony stone, a statue come to life. He was as beautiful as any of his fellows, but there was a harshness to his face that was brought out by the cut of his cheekbones, the fine, slashing lines of his delicate-seeming bones, the haughtiness in his eyes. Black hair shot through with starlit stands was pulled back cruelly into a thick braid, the hair long as seemed to be the style here, and though his clothes were simple there was no doubt as to their quality, nor the quality of the sword he wore on one side or the whip on the other.
     
    Lalina shuddered and looked away, wondering how tightly she could pull her wings before she disappeared. She couldn’t imagine what about her had caught his eye; she was filthy and bruised, skin dry and wings molting unhealthily. Even her hair had lost its golden shine and was now simply as matted and dirty as the rest of her. She felt even her eyes must be dull, their natural gold faded to a sallow yellow perhaps. It seemed more fitting certainly.
     
    She was startled by the clank of the cell door, looked up, wide-eyed, to see a guard pulling it back. He said something to the Shadow elf, then strode into the cell, grabbing her arm and yanking her to her feet. She tottered, wings spreading, as the heavy chains locked around her wrists and ankles unbalanced her and threatened to send her sprawling. The Shadow elf said something in a tone as deadly as his blade, shoving the guard against the wall with one hand while steadying her with the other. She looked from the now cowering guard to him uncertainly.
     
    The elf barked something at the guard, dark eyes promising murder, and the guard gave a quick bow before all but fleeing the cell. She heard his feet clattering down the hall, not quite a run, but as close as dignity would allow.

 

TricksterShi[/member]: I swear, I love everything you've posted so far. I especially love the idea and the word play of god-songs.

 

Sheepy-Pie[/member]: Mercy, girl! Formatting! Spaces between paragraphs, something! You have a terribly hard to read wall-o-text there. ;) That said, I do like the new opening, especially the exchange between the two mains. You ever need a draft reader later, let me know!

 

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katfireblade[/member] I've edited it :P it's properly formatted in my document (for a change) so I don't get yelled at there :P And yes I will happily throw my draft in your direction when I am ready :D

 

It's the beginning of chapter 1, and I've added a prologue this time, so I'll share some of that so I don't end up just chatting in this post :P

 

 

I inhaled the scent of blood. Or at least I thought I did. It might be real this time, but even if it was I wouldn’t get any. My stomach would always hope, but my mind had given up years ago. I’d almost forgotten what the taste was like, a chunk of bloodied flesh raw and still warm from the body it’d been pulled from.

 

“Do they always have to cut the body so close to here?” Alenda sighed.

 

“Probably on purpose,” I mumbled back.

 

I didn’t open my eyes, I just lay there wishing I was tired enough to sleep again. Another night. Anything to pass the time.

 

“Inconsiderate bastards, especially when you are healing. How quicker would those wounds heal if they let you have just one slice.”

 

“I’ll live.”

 

“Dmitri?”

 

“Yes, my love?”

 

“He’s coming back.”

 

I opened my eyes. Sure enough Sevastyan sauntered towards my home. Four walls of wood and metal, the ground covered with blankets. And a lock.

Alenda rested her forehead against the bars, her copper curls burned bright in the sunlight.

 

“Good luck.” She smiled. “You are stronger than him, never forget that.”

 

“But you weren’t...”

 

Alenda vanished and Sevastyan kicked the door.

 

“Muttering to yourself again?” He taunted.

 

I tried to harden myself from the wave of pain which crashed into my heart, but every time it washed over me leaving me empty. Sevastyan clicked the lock and yanked open the door, all I could do was huddle back into the corner in fear. What was he going to do today? He’d already beaten me bloody. I stared at the floor, hoping he’d just get it over with.

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