J.F. Posthumus

J.F. Posthumus

About Me

My photo
Virginia, United States
A computer tech and artist that thrives on writing fantasy to escape the harshness of reality.
Powered by Blogger.



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In the Lion's Den

Well, here's a bit more of the scene from last week. I'm rather happy with how this played out.... it shows another side of Xantos, but only because Xantos is attracted to power. And if the power happens to be in the form of a pretty female, well....

anywhos, enjoy!


“Perhaps you will tell me why you have been brought here,” the docelfar declared. His voice was melodic, deep, and silken; she could understand how that voice would be feared and still urge the mind to crave the sound of it.

“My guess would be I have something you want. A small spellbook, perhaps?” So it probably wasn’t the most proper answer, but it wasn’t as though she were an invited guest.

“Ah...” the warlord smiled thinly, “Someone who dispenses sarcasm in an attempt to save herself. Even while showing a sense of humor. There may be hope for the humans of your ‘place’ and time.”

Iliana hid the snicker that bubbled up. The man had a sense of humor. Dark and twisted, yes, but it was still a sense of humor. “You’re far too generous. After all, I’m not entirely human, but I’m certain you already knew that.”

“Yes, yes... such interesting blood and magic on your mother’s side of the family.” Xantos observed ryly. “Your inherited abilities are the source of your confidence. Perhaps you even believe you could leave here without my consent.”

A smile slid across Iliana’s lips and, out of pure impudence, she strode to one of the incredibly plush chairs in front of his desk and dropped down into the one to her right. She asked innocently, “Why would I want to do that, when I was extended such a delightful invitation?”

“Do your lovely manners come from your mother or father?” Xantos retorted in a pleasant, casual manner.
“A lady, good sir, does not conduct business while standing,” Iliana retorted with a thick Southern accent. She winked, dropping the false accent. “Besides, if you’re going to kill me, I might as well be comfortable when you do.”

“A well thought observation.” Xantos might have had approval in his voice, but she was a banshee, not a psychic. After sitting back, he surprised with his next statement. “We shall get upon the business, then. I shall pay you double what you were offered to retrieve the book. Also, I shall extend my protection over you for a period of no less than two months.”

Iliana shrugged. In this realm, it wasn’t unusual to have someone ‘outbid’ another on a job by way of force or cajoling. Darkflower might have hired her, but she had to admit, she much preferred the man before her. There was only one other renowned docelfar and this elf met every rumor and tale spoken, sung, and written.

“An extremely generous offer, Lord Xantos,” she replied easily, leaning back against the soft cushion. “I don’t doubt Darkflower will be very... upset... that you waylaid me and outbid him yet again. You have not, however, asked what I was offered. Forgive me for finding it odd that you are willing to pay twice an unknown amount.” She tilted her head to the side and gave a sly grin. “Or has Darkflower been bragging again?”

By way of answer, the elf leaned forward, steepled his fingers and declared, “The one-hundred-thousand gold pieces will be given to you in whatever denominations you desire.”

A soft laugh finally escaped Iliana’s lips. Not resisting the urge, she twisted her wrist before holding her hand out, palm up. The book sat in her palm and she handed it to Xantos. “I will trust your judgment in what you deem an easy and appropriate mode of transportation between the realms.” She paused and gave him another easy grin. “The book has a rather interesting teleportation spell.”

“Indeed? I may have to skip some pages in the book to get to that spell more quickly,” he answered. “I had intended to go through the book systematically.”

She studied Xantos for several moments before speaking again, choosing her words carefully. “I found it rather useful, though I believe one has to be more specific about what their desired destination would be.” She paused, biting her upper lip before mentally shrugging and forging ahead. “How many are aware of that books existence? Other than you and Darkflower, that is.”

“The few that have mentioned their knowledge near my influence are dead.” He might have been speaking about his latest meal, for all the emotion Xantos was exuding about his declaration. “You need not worry.”

“I was more concerned about the reception I’d receive upon my return home.” Though’ she had to admit, she was definitely going to need a good strong drink from the Bartered Soul before departing Fellhaven. “I’ll presume that your comment means I won’t need to worry about unexpected nighttime visitors.”

“Unwelcome visitors, no. Unexpected...” -the warlord smiled- “... if one of my minions must make themselves known, I do not expect them to have been noticed by you before.”

Batting her lashes, Iliana retorted with a playful smile, "If you desire for me to return, all you would have to do is call, Xantos. I do have a mirror you could use. I'd hate for anything to happen to any of your... minions if they surprised me in an poor fashion." She paused before adding, "It's such bad manners to return the bodies when host is so gracious... and handsome."

Unexpectedly, Xantos chuckled. Iliana tried to control her features, but she knew the skin on her face was blushing. The warlord did not seem to heed her reaction, but continued on in the same silken, even tone.
"I am sure many of my minions would, if given a choice, die with you as the last vision in their lives." He waved his right hand dismissively. "If you wish to be summoned by my family's methods; so be it. I shall grant your request, as long as you do not keep me waiting when summoned."

Iliana bowed her head, even as her cheeks grew warmer. Eventually, her mother's warnings would come true and her tongue would be the death of her.


  1. I like some of the levels of interaction, but I have to say: I'm dying for movement and sensory detail. I don't know if it's just that you primarily post dialogue excerpts.

  2. The dynamic between these two is definitely interesting, but I'm with Bryn: it feels a little like this conversation is taking place in a dark room. Scene setting would add a nice layer to this.

  3. This is good. I really see the dynamic between them and I'm curious as to what will happen next. I do agree with the others though that I would like to see a bit more about what's happening around them, but maybe this is just the short piece you posted and that's included elsewhere.

  4. Nice dialog. You build a very interesting tension between them. I think Bryn's suggestion is a good one, too. Some more sensory info could really make this shine and add another layer to their what they're really thinking.

  5. Really nice dialouge. The only thing that hung me up was the repetitave use of 'retort(ed)' A few instances are enough to convey the mood of their conversation IMO. Otherwise it was very vivid.

  6. This is a nice scene - I do enjoy the tension and each character has a unique voice in the dialogue.

    I was also going to comment on setting this in a place - use that good descriptive voice to give us a sense of place.