Monday, 25 October 2010


The sound of hoofbeats clattered on the cobbled path. The nights silence was shattered as the horse drew closer and closer, untill it stopped in front of the looming tower. "Sorcerer Tharnon" the man cried, "a message from King Stratholme". Tharnon looked out of his tower and sighed. This was the third messenger the King had sent him, requesting his services for the recapture of Hemlock , the most deadly assassin in the Kingdom. With a wave of his hand, the door opened. The startled messenger jumped back in shock. "What is it this time? I have told the King countless of times, I will not use my powers for the sake of the kingdom, I am strictly neutral" said Tharnon. The messenger recovered some of his composure, and then took out a folded envelope from his saddlebag. Tharnon's hand shot out and the messenger fell to the floor, his body doubled in pain. "Ambush" he muttered. Tharnon's face screwed up in concentration and the two knights concealed in the forest disappeared into the ground. The two heavily armored men behind the cliff promptly turned into ravens and they flew off, squawking in confusion. Tharnon sat down heavily and sunk his head into his hands. He was shocked that it had come down to this... His whole life had been free from violence but now, he had taken the lives of four men. His eyes then tightened as he recalled the promise the King had made ensuring his protection. His fingers flexed as he thought of all the different ways he could bring his enemy down to justice. With that in mind, he set to work.


  1. I believe that the title of this story has a deeper meaning than the reader may think, since it implies that such is the case for all kings which is not necessarily true, though it has been proven at times. The story is slightly short for which I apologize but I just wrote what came to me through my mind and this is how it turned out. The music from Track 5 inspired me as the hoofbeats gave a sense of mystery and possible dread as the outcome of the story is revealed. All in all, I am satisfied with the outcome.

  2. Firstly, thanks for adding a comment showing your own self-evaluation first. That's a really good habit, and one which others would do well to follow. :)

    As for the piece itself, I don't think it is harmed by its brevity. There is something uniquely satisfying in something concise and concentrated, and I think you pull this off with style and flair.

    You are working in a very specific genre here, as you know, and, within the confines of that genre, you are very successful indeed. I wonder if you are used to reading prose like this too? How much do you think you have been influenced by what you have read? The battle for any writer is to walk that fine line between healthy influence and disproportionate derivation. Do you know what I mean? Only you know which side of that line you tread here; for me, unfamiliar with the genre, it works very well indeed. The narrative thread is compelling too, and the ending wonderfully tense and satisfying: "...he set to work" ... BRILLIANT! I also love the way you manage to 'show' rather than 'tell', leaving just the right amount to our imagination. Well done!

    I'm a little concerned about the lack of paragraphing though. Paragraphs are not just cosmetic; they are an essential part of any writing, both in terms of framing meaning and narrative structure, and also as a means to create particular stylistic effects. So be careful with that?

    Also, can you think of a few points where you miss out on the potential for metaphor or other ways to attain originality or freshness: for example, "The nights silence was shattered" or "his body doubled in pain". There's nothing inherently wrong with these, but they have also been said before. Do you see what I mean?

    Finally, beware of the errant comma in the sentence beginning "His whole life": what is that doing there?

    That I am able to be this picky is testament to the strength of your prose. Maybe next time take some risks with genre too, and try out your skills outside your comfort zone a little too?

    Let's see what the others think...


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