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Friday, April 29, 2011

Ashrinn and Mal visit the astral plane

Mal looked down at the sword at his hip and Ashrinn only just managed to avoid laughing at his put out expression, despite the envy squirming in his guts. Mal hadn’t struggled at all. His identity and spirit blade had resolved themselves without Mal even having to try.

“What the hell?”

Ashrinn extended his magical feelers and scanned for threats as Mal spoke, unable to shake the caution that had been drilled in to him for most of his life. He didn’t detect anything in the immediate vicinity beyond Raietha and Khiriana. Raietha’s alien aura pulsed with quicksilver light, while Khiriana’s was that flickering fire he was becoming so used to living beside. He withdrew his psychic hand as though he had burned its physical counterpart.

“Swords and paladins just go together,” he answered, trying to keep his voice free of resentment, “and your blade is an expression of yourself.”

“An expression of myself?”

Malkai drew the blade, though he sounded scornful. Ashrinn whistled. A shining weapon, the silver-blue light it emitted not unlike the color of Malkai’s eyes. Sigils squirmed along the length, but Ashrinn couldn’t make sense of them. The blood channels burned electric blue.

“Ha, I always knew you were a little ray of light.” Ashrinn snorted, grinning.

“Shut up,” Malkai grumbled, sheathing it again. He folded his arms and in a rare moment of ribald humor, raised his eyebrows and said, “I showed you mine. Show me yours.”

Ashrinn pulled the sword from the decorated scabbard on his back, the jewel-hoofed doe depicted there forever frozen mid-leap. The snake familiar appeared now as an etching on the curved length of the blade itself, entangled with a rose. The design shimmered, outlined in fire.

“You’re making fun of me for having a fruity sword?” Malkai said. “A rose, Ashrinn?”

“I like flowers, you rube,” Ashrinn grumbled, “now shut your hole and pay attention.”


  1. The first paragraph is telling me a lot but not showing me. When I read my stuff, I look for the word "at" and then try to find a way to show what I am telling by removing "at".
    I see a some passive action. Lines such as "was becoming", "had resolved". Try flipping the subject and object and see if you can give it more punch.
    Also, a lot of dialog attribution going on. "Grumbled", "snorted". In the words of Stephen King, "Writes usually punch up the dialog attribution because he or she feels they have failed to communicate clearly." Try showing the scene in such a manner that "he said", she said" is all you need. If the scene and prose before and after are solid, then I don't need the writer to tell me how a thing was said.

  2. Interesting! I'd read more.

    In the spirit of the above feedback, the paragraph where Ashrinn extended his magical feelers was confusing. Allowing for all the names I've never seen before, I still wasn't sure what made him yank his hand back like he'd been burned.