Thursday, September 11, 2008

Drop The Needle #20

Title: Loyalty or Duty
Genre: Fantasy

Sym sat at the edge of his pallet, wondering why he got up. Everything he had built up in over twenty years lay in ruins. All the usual tasks, the duties and disciplined regimen no longer existed. He did not know what to do without them.

The carefully folded woolen blanket on his lap itched through his sweat-drenched linens. Why make his bed? Why wear the silver and blue uniform, laid out on a wooden chest? His gaze rested on the empty scabbard, propped up against the whitewashed wall. A soldier without a sword is like a carriage without a horse.

Sym took a deep breath. You're still a soldier, and still have your uniform and rank, at least today. This fight isn't over! He stood, and made his bed with practiced efficiency. Then he dressed, giving his boots a quick polish. The simple, mindless task and the smell of leather and grease calmed him a bit.

He frowned at his baldric, wondering if he should wear it. With the lack of a sword, it would only draw attention and be seen as a provocation. He pulled the belt over his shoulder.

The door flew open. A young Guardsman he didn't know by name entered, hand on hilt. He cocked his head towards the door.

Sym swallowed his indignation. No knock on the door, no salute. Some had already condemned him. He squared his shoulders and walked into the corridor at a measured pace, head held high, looking straight ahead.

EMOTIONS: first bewilderment, then defiance


  1. I can feel his desperation, he's sliding into depression, confined, furious with himself.

    But, on an editing stand point, I think this would stronger with some more white space. Hit enter a few more times. Let some of those sentences have space, and you'll have more visual and emotional impact.

  2. At first, he seems upset, hopeless, lost. Then he grits his teeth and comes across as determined.

  3. He sounds desperate and depressed at first and then resolved and more defiant at the end.

  4. He seemed resigned to depression or some sort of loss at the start. Then without a weapon, without the respect of his peers he carried on. I definitely got the defiance at the end. Very nice.

  5. Loss and determination. I really didn't see the defiance.

  6. I definitely felt the despair but it changed really quickly into resignation--where he went on with everything like normal. What made him do that? Just looking at his scabbard?

  7. I like it. The depressive thoughts aren’t too morose or “emo,” and his defiance at the end was told via Showing us his reaction, rather than just Telling us. Good job!

  8. I felt the fear of this character. I think the ending portrayed dignity rather than defiance.

  9. I felt resignation at first with him questioning the reason for doing any of his normal tasks.
    What came next seemed determination to me. He would continue with his daily routine, what took him thru the day. At that point, I wasn't really seeing what he was defying.
    At the end, I do see defiance and pride, I would think, too.
    I like the way you describe him going thru his daily tasks and how it gives him some sense of peace.

  10. I got depression at the beginning and then anger and a little hurt toward the end. Good job getting across what was happening here in a short space.

  11. I felt he was hovering on depression until it firmed into resolve.

  12. Thanks everyone for reading and commenting! I'm glad that you identified the emotions, or at least emotions very close to those I intended for this scene.

    As I wrote at one of the other submission, I find it hard to find the proper English name for emotions, and I think "resigned"for the early part and ""resolve, "determination" and "dignity"would also fit here.

  13. A sense of loss, and at the end a gathering up of pride's frayed edges. I didn't get "bewilderment," though.

    I'm wondering what has happened to him...

  14. Resignation, I think. And then defiance or determination.

    I was thinking about the line: "It's a stupid job, but I'm still going to do it."

    Maybe he doesn't think getting back to work is stupid, but he does have the sense it isn't going to last. But he's not going to quit.