Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Drop The Needle 39

Title: The Mercenary Prince
Genre: Fantasy

Grunting, Serobin settled crossed-legged in the grass. "I'm getting too old."

"At least you're alive. We lost eighty men." Darion sighed.

"It's war," Serobin sat up, scowling. "There's always a price to pay. These men knew the risks. But I wonder what have they died for?"

Darion raised his head at Serobin's fierce tone.

"While you hesitate, we're losing comrades. What are you afraid of?"

Darion shifted against the tree trunk, searching for words. "I want to help my people. But how? My father was a great man. He held Kheld together. What if I fail?"

Serobin patted the earth. "Here below are the roots of this tree. They go deep, and spread far. Tell me, does the tree hold the earth together, or does the soil keep the tree upright?"

"The ground holds the tree."

"True. And it's not the king who holds the kingdom together, but the people. You are but one man, Darion. You can only do so much."

"But my father-"

"Your father was strong, like this chestnut. His roots went deep, but he was still one man. You're a different man. You can't be your father."

Darion swallowed. A lump formed in his throat. "I can try to measure up to him."

Serobin swung his arm wide. "Do you see another chestnut close by? Step away from your father's shadow, and grow your own roots. Try to measure up to yourself. You have much to offer. But make a choice, and soon!"


  1. I love his wisdom It shines through as the old sage helping the hero. I think he was well rounded and alive.

  2. I really like this piece. Serobin seems wise, decisive, and very forward.

  3. I loved the metaphor in this! I wanted to read more, about both characters :-)

  4. I liked it - particularly Serobin's metaphor with the trees. It is a wonderful archetype with the son learning his own way vs. living in the shadow of his father, and the mixed metaphor use of the tree.

  5. I like this scene and Serobin (who I'm guessing is the minor character). Good advice and polished writing. Let us know when this hits the shelves. :o)

  6. Serobin is the SC, right? I love him. His voice and wisdom shine. Excellent job making him a rounded character.

  7. Serobin is a great character. Both his wisdom and his dry wit come through loud and clear. I really liked him, and that was an amazing peice of writing re: the tree metaphor. Well done!

  8. Great excerpt here! Serobin comes across nicely, and the metaphor was perfect. Your characters are all well rounded, even your minor ones. ;-) But I might be biased!

  9. I really enjoyed Serobin. He's the archetypal sage/mentor, and you pull that off well here.

  10. I'm thinking Serobin is the SC.

    Here he's a great foil for Darion. This scene tells me he's down-to-earth, practical, and loyal.

    I like.

  11. Wonderful distinction between the main and secondary characters. Loved it!

  12. Serobin is your SC. I like mentor types. I think you portray him nicely.

  13. Very good scene!

    Absolutely NO telling going on here. The dialogue showed us how wise your SC is, and also how "human" the MC is.

    If the rest of the MS is this good, you have a real winner!

    :) Terri

  14. Serobin is the sc.

    I find his voice a bit awkward - These men knew the risks. But I wonder what have they died for?"

    Seems odd to me.

    Otherwise, I think he's the archetypal tutor/sage type. I don't find him significantly developed yet - the unique voices I'd want to hear isn't there yet.

    250 words wasn't enough for me to judge. I want to read the rest of their conversation.


  15. Serobin's the SC, and he has so much knowledge!

  16. Thanks for all the kind comments. This is one of the better scenes from a tangled mess that won't hit the shelves anytime soon. It's shelved, until I find the courage to rewrite.

    Good catch on the awkward voice, Anonymous. I trimmed a bit to stay under 250, and I screwed up there.

  17. I'm guessing Serobin is the SC. The first part of the scene made him sound like a pragmatic soldier, the second like an armchair philosopher. I guess they're not mutually exclusive, especially as there will presumably be more scenes to get a fix on him and see how these aspects knit together.

  18. I do not like war/fighting books, and tend to avoid them at all costs (hence my reasoning for not reading Tolkien's epic battle books). But this exchange is awesome.

    Either well-developed character could be a main character, in my opinion.

    I'm taking a wild guess that Darion (the younger fellow being prodded to get over his insecurities) is your main character.

    Serobin sounds like an older soldier who likely fought with Darion's father and knows what he's talking about... and pardon me, but I'm picturing Sam Neil and hearing Sam's voice as I read.

    Nice job.

  19. I think Serobin is the SC. I liked how he reassured his friend that he doesn't have to hold the kingdom together single-handedly. Good job.

  20. Oh I LIKE Serobin! %-) The classic old soldier-mentor type (I have a fondness for them) but he jumps out as me as being wise, blunt, and not about to put up with crap from a whiny prince for long. Good on him!

    I love your title, too. :D


    P.S. Serobin is the kind of character, I think, I would read a book just to find out more about him, SC or not.