Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Drop the Needle: Death #22

TITLE: The Buried Realm
GENRE: Fantasy

While following Venture on a quest, Yonder has resisted premonitions from a goddess calling him to be her champion.

Yonder didn't pause to think. He leaped between the Soldier and Astak, and felt the freezing bite of the green metal smash his left collarbone into splinters. Through the blur of the pain, he watched as the Soldier tried to free his weapon. Yonder smiled and reached up to touch the black armor. It was instantly flooded with light and spasmed as though it had been struck by lightning, then collapsed to the grey sand.

Yonder lay on his back, feeling the terrible pain in his neck, head and chest and grinned openly.
“Just hold on, Yonder!” a far away voice was calling. He opened his eyes and saw Venture's pale green face hovering above him. Tears streaked his cheeks. Spelldor and Astak hovered not far behind, looking equally stricken. “He's near cut in half, lad,” Astak's voice echoed. “Let him have his glory.”

Yonder didn't know what he meant by that, and was rapidly losing interest anyway. It was with Venture that he most wanted to connect. Just once, before it was over. He tried to say something to comfort him, to thank him, but the words wouldn't come any longer. The faces became indistinct, and then faded away. The voices around him merged into one steady hum. And then sank. Quieted. Ended.

Far off in the distance, a grey and silent road met a crossroads. And there, at the horizon of perception, a tall figure of surpassing beauty and loveliness. And laughter like the tinkling of bells.


  1. The action in the first para got a little confusing when talking about the black armor collapsing. Did you mean the soldier wearing the armor collapsed?

    Other than that, I thought this was well written. I liked that there seemed to be so little time for the MC to think much less say goodbye before he died. Leaves you feeling quite sad; sometimes death is like that, swift and unceremonious.

  2. The writing is lovely, the thoughts vivid. One nitpick: "A grey and silent road met a crossroads" seems awkward--might something like 'two grey and silent roads crossed" work better?

  3. I really like the POV of the dying man. Great phrase: "[he] was rapidly losing interest anyway." You can feel his life slipping away.

    I am confused - is Venture a male or female? Lead-in seemed to indicate a female, but excerpt refers to a him.

    Tweak that first paragraph to be clearer on action, then you have it! Very intriguing!

  4. Very good stuff, although I agree that the both the destruction of armor and Venture's gender are a bit confusing.

    I would also have ended the piece with:

    And then sank.



    A perfect way to end a chapter with the action picking up in the next paragraph. It allows the death to sink in for the reader.

  5. I was confused by the black armor also. And "a grey and silent road met a crossroads" is awkward phrasing.

    "was rapidly losing interest anyway" is perfect. Don't change that line.

    This is probably something that might be easier to understand if we read it in the larger piece, but why does he grin after feeling "terrible pain"?

    So sad that he couldn't say anything before he died. But it works because if he did say something emotional, it would be so cliche!

    overall, good job.

  6. I like fantasy. I like quests. I like sad farewells. So it's a given that I like this. Now to details...

    In your 250 word selection, this would have been so much stronger if you'd pulled out, "didn't pause to think. He" reading instead, "Yonder leaped..."

    Adored the sword cleaving his shoulder bone, that it splintered. I knew he was done for! :-) Unusual to be in the dying's shoes, but liked it.

    I had a physicality problem in the first paragraph. Need to remove the Soldier as the threat after striking Yonder. I didn't understand why the shield would be dropped while the battle is still going on. Or was this a practice session gone bad session? I took it for battle.

    250 words again, but in your piece you presented, we need to know if this was a POV shift to what the living others saw in the distance, or, as I surmise, this is Yonder in the after life seeing a spiritual guide perhaps? It was confusing.

    I'd read more!

  7. This is not my favortie genre, but i LOVED the "Yonder didn't know what he meant..." paragraph so much I just had to comment. I also like the "Let him have his glory" line. Nice job!