|I have nothing witty or particularly inspiring|
to say this week, so have a picture of my darling Xena!
Enjoy the results :)
First Runner Up
Quentin Christensen's The Refugees
I have to admit that I'm a sucker for worldbuilding and fantastical races, so this piece caught my attention right away. It's K'Tal's characterization that carries the piece, though; we get a pretty good sense for the kind of person he is by the time the story's out. The thing that bothered me the most about this piece was that there wasn't much in the way of a climax--the fourth paragraph was a prime time to zoom in on the struggle (and perhaps make us empathize with K'Tal if, in the moment of truth, he had protected the humans), but it was very condensed and sped past. It would have been cool to hear more about the war(? invasion?) that prompted the last line and the humans' relocation to the S'Leth's planet. It's a nice piece of flash.
with The Reluctant Dragon-keeper of Drabenvord
What strikes me as interesting about this piece is the duality of plot here. In some ways, this seems more like the beginning of a longer story with Glathenor as the main character--but at the same time, it's a flash story arc for Llandryff as the main character. That was gracefully pulled off, though I did find the ending a little abrupt (though likely due to running out of words; c'est la vie).
"Carpe diem" jars me out of the story every time I read the piece. I love the world building and the fantasy of the piece, the dreamcatcher's role, the kinds of names they have, but then there's this random Latin phrase in the middle of it all. Some stories reconcile this with the narrator explaining the story's been "translated" to the closest aproximation in our language, and others establish a history of the Roman empire, but there's no explanation here. (It's a little picky of me, I suppose, but I'm picky about my fantasy.)
I do love the intrigue of the piece and the quick fashion we got context/exposition for the piece (or how Glathenor's piece relates to this one). This is a very well-done piece of flash fiction.
The Reluctant Dragon-keeper of Drabenvord
The captain of the guard, Zaphim Klyndwr, watched silently as two figures moved through the shadows, one guiding the other by the arm. Glathenor the street shoemaker seemed to be in deep intrigue with Llandryff, the purblind dreamcatcher. The captain followed stealthily, determined to discover the content of their discourse.
“These troublesome visions have plagued me for several nights,” said Glathenor. “Consequently, I have sought your interpretation, Master Llandryff.”
The venerable dreamcatcher let out a murmur of contemplation. “Our primitive progenitors considered the spheres that were revealed to you in your vision to be thaumatoliths, magic stones, appearing mysteriously each Walden-tide under the waning gibbous moons in the sheltered cove east of Jelador, only to vanish a sennight later.
“It was Olbanir the Bowman that you envisaged as he spied the pelagic dragon Aesaphyl rise from her saltwater realm and deposit her precious eggs in the silvered sands. He drew a diamond-tipped arrow from his leathern quiver and fired it, piercing the creature’s heart.” A long, crackly sigh escaped the oneiromancer’s chest.
“King Staurbyx VI has decreed that what he calls 'the scourge of dragons' shall be cleared from the land. Aesaphyl’s brood will perish without intervention.”
On hearing these words, the eavesdropper stepped from his concealment and cried, “I, Zaphim Klyndwr, Captain of the Royal Guard, command you to halt!”
Llandryff seized the shoemaker by the elbow and whispered, “Carpe diem, Glathenor, eldest son of Ezzredir! You must journey to Jelador to recover these fosterlings and nurture them! I will delay the captain.”
Glathenor ducked into the darkness, while Llandryff confronted the captain.
“Stand aside, old man!”
“I cannot do that if you mean harm to Aesaphyl’s offspring.” The dreamcatcher grasped the captain’s tunic, but received Klyndwr’s sword into his side.
Thank you all for your participation! Hope to see you next week!