Friday, April 29, 2011

Workbook - Story Excerpt

I've been having rather a whale of a time lately working on a story that I am affectionately (and temporarily) calling "The Vault", and I'm really getting some satisfaction from watching it come to life and guiding it along.

Here's a short excerpt from an early chapter I quite enjoy. The scene sees one of the main characters, Merius, making his way to a rather secluded nighttime gathering. We come in just after he sneaks through a door into a rather perilous locale:

The door was closed as quietly as it had been opened, and Merius at once noted that the wind had picked up, heavy clouds having appeared in greater abundance in the dark sky above. Between them he could see a few stars struggling to twinkle, dull glints flickering for a second before being obscured again as the silver-backed mass drifted across the great dome, lit from behind by a hidden moon.

There was an eerie feel to the night, not helped by the fact that every few moments the fluttering of his cloak and the gusts that were coming from all directions broke the stillness and brief, powerful squalls buffeted the stonework causing the pointed lips of the bulwark to moan and howl.

Between these flurries of wind there was also the quiet, disjointed rhythm of drums echoing out across the land as always, it seemed not to count as noise to Merius however. They were always present, and they seemed not to belong to the other noises around him.

To his left, the bridge that led to the North East tower had been blocked off by a rather hastily built barrier, brickwork signalling that the maintenance - or rebuilding - would most likely not be completed anytime soon. Merius gripped the top of it and took a moment to peer over, noticing that the bridge appeared in fact to have collapsed, the span reaching barely a few paces before plunging from a rough edge to small rooftops far below.

Swinging back to the right, and to his goal, the bridge that spanned the distance between this North tower and the North West tower stretched out into the dark. At least, it had been dark for a moment. Now as Merius watched, it looked as if there were guards up here as well, and they were turning the corner between the two bridges, patrolling the great lofty spans with their lantern in hand. Merius could see lamplight bobbing towards him slowly, a pinpoint spilling orange light out a short distance around the bearers.

Two, he logged unconsciously.

Shrouded in the murk he wouldn’t be seen, especially now that the moon had been obscured by the clouds, but he darted to the low-wall opposite him regardless and ducked down beside it, making his way toward the guards approaching him but staying hidden.

This bridge, like all of them, and like the one he was making his way toward and which he had previously visited with Allion, featured the same little balconies upon which large statues rested on sizeable stone plinths. These, Merius found, provided excellent cover when the guards eventually wandered past. When that happened Merius waited patiently, and soon enough lamplight hit thick stone, and the boy weaved behind the protective sentinels while staying in the shadows, continuing onward once the patrol reached a safe enough distance away.

One by one the faces of old Preservers and Keepers gazed past him and out into Ciltari as he slipped by at their feet, edging along a pathway a hundred feet over rooftops that hid a maze of hallways and chambers below where his fellow Adherents would be fast asleep.

It was half way along the bridge, and coincidentally while he was in a particularly exposed stretch between two statues, when the moon suddenly broke through the clouds and the area was bathed in white light from above.

In a flash, Merius dropped to the ground and froze...

The story is very much told in this style, and in fact one of the things I battled inwardly with for a while was whether or not to give him some kind of companion so that the descriptive parts can be broken up with some dialogue. I decided against this in the end, it was too Disney and I think a challenge is what I need with this project!

In any case, let me know what you think.


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