J.F. Posthumus

J.F. Posthumus

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Virginia, United States
A computer tech and artist that thrives on writing fantasy to escape the harshness of reality.
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - A snippet from "Death's Heiress"

Right! So I decided to post a snippet from "Death's Heiress" which will need a rewrite before we begin querying it again. Which, isn't too big a deal to us. It'll give me something to do while trying to query "Prize of the Providers". Anywhos, here's the snippet that I love that I think I wrote out really well. It probably needs better editing, but... oh well. :-) The setup: This is pretty much when everything starts falling into place for the premise of the story. Things have been going fairly smoothly, except for the teacher at Xandra's guild being tortured by Xantos. Enjoy!!! ***** This place is alive; in more ways than one. The thoughts came unbidden to the blond-haired, blue-eyed ruler of Faedale, Tolrien Galvryl Runestar. It was also, undoubtedly, very unnerving; Tolrien had ridden, trekked, and hiked practically every forest and mountain in Faedale and this forest was alive in ways they were not. Senses that had not been used were brought to life and used; smells were inhaled and sounds were heard that would not have normally been noticed. The Great Forest brought to life the senses that would have otherwise remained dormant. The ruler of Faedale was not alone; he was accompanied by a full contingent of well-armed guards. However, all were aware of being watched. Their keen elfin sight helped only so much in the ever-darkening forest. Tolrien raised his eyes to the completely-covered canopy; not a trickle of sunlight slipped through the dark leaves above their heads. His horse side-stepped skittishly; Tolrien pulled back on his reigns. The horse’s head dropped further. “It appears even our mounts are fearful of this place,” a guard commented off-handedly. Crystal blue eyes glared down at the guard. Of course he wouldn’t be perturbed by the strangeness of this place; if rumors were to be believed, he had been raised in Drakeshire, the sister forest to this place. “Indeed,” Tolrien replied coldly. “Do you have a suggestion or are you simply attempting levity?” The guard raised a brow, not the least concerned by his king’s dark mood. Drakeshire had the same effect on any who dared to enter. “Actually, there is no way to calm them save a rather speedy exit.” Tolrien’s expression only grew darker and more sullen. The singular amusement and easiness found in his guard’s every move only added to his ire. Why did my sister have to return here? How is it she can traverse this strange, foreign place without fear when I, her eldest sibling, cannot fathom what the darkness holds? His thoughts were cut short as the same guard murmured, “Fog ahead, milord.” “I see no—” he broke off sharply. Fog swirled before them, hanging in the air and seeming to slither up their bodies, animal and elf alike, until it completely surrounded them. They were rendered blind; even with their keen inherent sight, they were only able to see a few inches beyond their noses. This is bad, Tolrien thought, this is very, very bad. His thoughts were proven correct when the fog parted to elves with skin the color of milk and hair a glistening holding the reins of their horses. The fog receded until it curled around them at the same height as the knees of Tolrien’s walking sentries. The suddenly ability to see immediately caused Tolrien and his guards to wish for the mystery of the fog; for each rider there were no less than four sentries. The ability to not see was, he thought, rarely a gift. He would have given anything for the lack of sight. Each sentry, save the ones holding the horses, held a sword or spear in their hands. Their features were covered by black cloaks. Their faces were covered by macabre masks; only their orange eyes seen, like burning coals. A strange blue light, as though it were reflected through ice, glimmered in the darkness. “Speak fair or pay the consequences of trespassing.” The words came from a solitary elf who stepped forward. A mask of grotesque proportions covered his face, hiding any feature. As the sentry stepped forward, Tolrien could see red strands mingling with white and he had the unfortunate impression of white hair that bled. Drawing a breath, he kept his voice steady, though more than anything he wanted to turn and ride fast and hard from this forest of death. “I am Tolrien Runestar, ruler of Faedale. I have come to seek an audience with my sister, the granddaughter of Lord Xantos Zaurahel.” Orange eyes flickered; Tolrien could not decipher what message lurked in their fiery depths. “The king of another land dares the dangers of the Great Forest and its denizens?” Cruel humor filled each word spoken. Tolrien frowned. He’d never had to deal with the docelfar before and he envied Aly her knowledge. “It is important that I speak to the favorite child of our grandfather.” He paused, choosing his words carefully. “He would, I believe, be greatly disappointed and angry were he not able to receive the information I carry.” “A message has been sent to the lord you speak of. If it pleases him, you will speak to the Lady you desire.” The reply was curt. Tolrien heard the unspoken words that hung in the air between the sentry and himself; if it did not please Xantos, he doubted he would be leaving this place in one piece; if at all.


  1. Cool scene and great imagery! The mood is aptly set leading up to what is sure to follow.

  2. Some nice description of the forest here. It will be interesting to see what happens next, as Steve said, it's a good built up.

    One niggle - the second paragraph is too passive, if you can dump the passive verbs..e.g. smells were inhaled, you can really tighten it up. I suffer from passive-verbitis and I've found, where I can get rid, it really brings writing to life.

    Keep at it, you're definitely getting there!


  3. Yay! Glad ya'll like it!

    Thanks for catching that, Sue. I'll go through and edit out the passive stuff... which I'm actually getting better at. :D

    thanks again!!!

  4. Very vivid imagery here, and good tension. Nicely done.

    One thing --in paragraph 15 you've got "the suddenly ability to see"; should be "sudden".

  5. Ooh, I like the suddenness of the fog on top of all the ambience you've already set up. :)

    Suggestion: you're probably going to edit this out, but I found these two sentences so close together essentially repetetive:

    "The ability to not see was, he thought, rarely a gift.

    He would have given anything for the lack of sight."