|Si got a wee bit distracted by The Traitor Baru Cormorant. V good book.|
Ronel Janse van Vuuren's Blood Dawn
I loved the twist in this story! I liked the way you showed Yuki's confusion at the whiplash from being ready to die at one moment, and the next listening to the casual praise of her would-be killer! Great imagery in the last line: "the sun momentarily shining like blood on the blade." I would suggest to give us some description of her opponent earlier--perhaps make her appear menacing, to drive home the real danger Yuki feels herself in? Additionally I would weave the information in the second paragraph throughout the story--it reduces the impact of the moment at that time. I liked how we are firmly in Yuki's perspective during the entire story. We can really feel her resignation, shock, and confusion. I'm curious what she'll get up to next! Well done.
First Runner Up
Sara Codair's At Last
This was a creepy and very imaginative tale! My favorite part was how you transition from the medieval battlescene to a modern setting--rather matrix-like and very creepy! I like especially how the reader has to figure it out along with the main character that the first world isn't the real one. I like how as the real world trickles back into being, so do Lenora's memories. One suggestion I would make would be to make the ex-husband come up a bit earlier in the story, and cut off the last line at "[...]finally free." to make it more powerful. Great imagery showing us how scents play into Lenora's transition back into the real world. Excellent tale!
with Love Letters
I LOVED this story so much! I really enjoyed the three different perspectives we see on the grandmother--her youth, her memories, and her grandson's perspective. I thought it was wonderfully sweet how the great treasure he steals turns out to be his grandmother's love letters. This story does a great job of showing the connection between characters, as well as telling the story of the grandmother's escape from death. There are some great lines here I really liked, you end each little vignette with a sense of closure and a little bit of wisdom or knowledge for the reader. Great visuals and good job slipping bits of information to the reader in an interesting way. Excellent job connecting each vignette to the next. Great story!
The sword fell from her hand.
“It’s over.” The gardes surrounded her with weapons. She sighed and raised her arms into the air. Surrender was better than death, after all.
“How did you escape, grand-mère?” The child’s voice was full of anxious concern as he peered up into the faded blue eyes of his beloved old grandmother.
“I didn’t, François. They threw me into a cell; a stinking, damp and cold cell.” The woman shivered and drew her shawl closer round her shoulders. François waited eagerly. He’d heard the story many times, but he never tired of it. “I was supposed to hang for my crimes, a thick noose around my neck.” Her spotted hands clutched at her throat.
“But you didn’t, did you?”
“Non, but it was the closest call I’ve ever had. Hundreds of people, mostly the nobles and marchands I had thieved from, came to see my death. I stood, on the scaffolding, and waited to die. I could see no escape.”
François spoke in a whisper. “Were you afraid, grand-mère?”
“Terribly, darling. But fear is not something you show your enemies. No matter how close to dying. Remember that mon petit.”
His grandmother’s words echoed in his head as François lifted the tools of his trade and began to pick the lock guarding the greatest treasure he’d ever coveted. Thieving ran in his blood, of course, but he wasn’t sure anyone else would appreciate what he was risking life and limb for.
He left the home of the man who had saved his grand-mère via the rooftops, his hand reaching into his pocket regularly for reassurance of his success. The king had been her devoted illicit lover, but the letters they had written to each other had never left his possession.
Thank you all SO MUCH for participating! Many excellent stories this round! We'll see you again on Saturday with Mars' round of judging. Until then, KEEP THOSE PENS--AND SWORDS--SHARP!