and then

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A breeze tugged at the hem of his robes.  He was aware of the slight play in his attire, as he was aware of everything around him, but it held no true interest or concern.  He simply catalogued the wind speed, should he have need to factor it into a spell later, and moved on.  There were miles yet to cover before the sun set on the day and the miles already covered had not been kind.

Puffs of dust lifted away from each footfall and then settled before the next step was taken.  It wasn’t the only sign of his passing, but these marks in the trail were the most obvious.  Not that he expected to be followed, or cared if he was, but he was still mindful of the evidence he left behind.  There were tricks and spells he could use to hide his back trail, but he was in too much of a hurry to bother.

The sun lowered itself upon the horizon, spreading the last of its warmth and glow in shrinking patterns and shapes.  He marked the stretching shadows.  He marked the settling chill.  He marked the changing colors in the sky above.  Each of these could be a factor if his magic was called upon.  Still, he progressed steadily forward.

When the moon decided to slip free from hiding, he would stop for the night and use its muted glow to make a hasty camp and eat.  He would trust his wards, woven into the fabric of the clothes he wore, to protect his short sleep and then in the morning, before the sun had begun to climb free of the opposite horizon, in its chase after the moon, he would journey on.

His destination waited two days ahead of him.  There would be a fight.  Blood would be spilled.  Hopefully not his own, but one could never be certain of these things before they had actually happened.  Still, even uncertain of the outcome, he must go.  He owed it to those who had gone before him.  He owed it to himself.

Thinking of the looming battle stirred emotions best left in check until his journey was over.  Electricity crackled from his clenched hands and fire roared briefly in his eyes.  Closing their lids, but not stopping his forward steps, he took a deep soothing breath and when he opened his eyes again the fire had gone.  He tucked his rage away, saving it to unleash when he arrived and faced his tormentors.  The fire rightfully belonged to them and they would see it in due time.

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10 thoughts on “and then

  1. Matticus – there is a good story here, and anticipation, but my sense to be honest is that you have shaded it a bit in a lot of description. I want action. Move this thing along so that we know what’s happening. One other suggestion, “blood will be spilled” is a bit of a cliché, is there another way to say this?

    • Heads will roll? Also a cliche.
      I know cliches are frowned upon (also a cliche) but I’ve never worried too much about using them sparingly. They became cliches for a reason. I do appreciate your honesty, though, and the feedback, always. I’m happy to be writing again… the good stuff will come later.
      As to the abundance of description… I’m trying to find some balance. I’ve been told by some readers that my strength as a writer is in my descriptions and that I should focus on those. But, there needs to be action as well. Finding the right mix is eluding me at the moment, but it will come.
      How about…
      Their blood will boil in the flames of his sorcery and stain the ground where their bodies fall.

      • So Matticus, I think it’s important to take feedback but please be careful. If you’re writing stories, I think you want to focus on being a story-teller. Descriptions are wonderful but they can at times obscure the story that you want to tell, until the story’s gone. I think you are a story-teller at heart, and I would like to hear your stories. Descriptions are wonderful, but sometimes an economy in their use can be helpful to the story.

        I like your revised line better. Maybe ‘where their bodies fall’ to be something more specific to who they are? Like some reference to what they’ve done to evoke this man’s ire?

  2. I am wondering about the MC’s careful nature … noticing so much, measuring so much, yet rushing … he seems more calculating than rushing … just a thought.

    Oh, and more please 😀

    • The calculations are meant to be second nature, something he does as part of his training, as part of what has made him who he is. Perhaps, I drew too much attention to it?
      Then again, rushing isn’t quite right either. He’s traveling for days… Can it still be a rush when it takes that long?

  3. I like the small details, though – the dust settling in his footfalls before he’d taken the next step, and the wards sewn into his cloak. Those things make it 🙂

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