Thursday, March 21, 2013

Prompt: Game of Bones

Thanks to Alexandra Semushina for this gorgeous visual prompt!

Rauljin watched his opponent closely, waiting for his next move. Goblins had a reputation as cheaters, though in all their games, the most he’d ever seen from Dvetch was a tendency to lift his fingers from a moved piece and then call a “grandfather” to move it again.

Dvetch perched on his stump, looming over the board as he stroked his thick beard and glared intently at the remaining bones. Rauljin breathed out a slender stream of smoke and watched it curl up into the branches above them. He rolled an eye back down, but Dvetch hadn’t moved.

Rauljin was starting to feel fidgety, but it would be rude to ruffle his fiery mane or tug on his fast-growing curled horns, which he dearly wanted to do. Perhaps he could at least surreptitiously stretch his claws one by one around the moolchik skull he held for his next move. He drew his dewclaw underneath the skull and flinched when it tumbled out of his grasp and clattered on the pile of skulls at his feet.

Dvetch twitched his long, bushy, white eyebrows together in irritation, but said nothing. Finally, he waved his wand and the crystal tip glowed a bright orange as his last grupun jumped two spaces forward and one across. “Take that!” he crowed, waving his wand at Rauljin. “You’ll never get into potch position now!” He popped his pipe in his mouth and blew out a series of smoke rings.

Rauljin was tempted to show them up, but he held his peace. “We’ll see, old one, we’ll see,” he teased as he touched the tip of his long blue-scaled tail to his last skull. Blue light flared in the eye sockets, and he slid it onto the game board, where it glided on a diagonal four squares, effectively blocking Dvetch’s gambit.

Dvetch glared up at the dragon. “Old one? I’m only 50 years older than you!”

Rauljin chuckled. “Aye. But I’m still a youngster among the dragons, and you’re a respected elder among the goblins.”

Dvetch grumbled as he touched his wand to his skootch. It swished its curved striking tail angrily, then scuttled five diagonal squares, curling up in its spot and tapping its tail in warning on the board. Rauljin would keep his pieces well away from it, lest it strike across squares as it was allowed.

(to be continued, perhaps)

Dogs in house:
Houdini, Brindle

Prokofiev: Peter & The Wolf

Time writing:
~30 minutes

March word count:


  1. Prompt: Game of bones

    The dragon folded his paws over his pile of skull game-pieces. "Your turn."

    The gnome flipped his walking stick out and hovered it over the board. I lifted my tail for balance and leaned farther out over the branch to get a better look at the game far below. The gnome leaned as well, touching the tip of his stick to a skull on the dragon's side. The skull rose atop a newly formed skeleton--a small bird, this time. It hopped two squares forward and resettled, a lone skull again.

    The dragon tapped his claws. "Interesting move. But why a bird?"

    The gnome grinned. "Why, indeed?" He threw his stick into the air. I tilted my head. What move could this be? The stick grew larger in my vision; it was headed for me!

    I took flight with an involuntary squawk. The gnome's walking stick dodged a branch and followed. My heart beat faster. Watch a game of bones; become bones for a game. I had not thought the saying quite so literal.

    1. Clever! I was confused by the POV at the beginning, but caught on quickly. Maybe something earlier to hint at the potential danger? Nice visual of the bones' movements and the overall scene!

    2. Yeah, the POV probably should have been introduced earlier. The third sentence could just have easily been the first. But not much time last night (see below-mentioned sleepless baby), so I just went with whatever came out.

  2. I really like all the details of the game in your piece. I didn't get to read it last night -- was up past midnight with a baby who wouldn't sleep!