Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Prompt: Keeping watch

Daggin perched on a bare tree limb, sheltered from the downpour but still soaked to the skin after all this time, Looking out over the pass, he shifted his weight forward, easing the ache in his calves as he crouched. He saw no torches or campfires, heard no movement in the pitch black of this starlit night. He drained the last of his water and thought about tossing the empty skin. He could retrieve it when he climbed down, but if Rorrit saw it, he’d shoot arrows up at Daggin to teach him a lesson. He sighed and tucked the skin on a branch instead. At least in this rain, he didn’t have to climb down to relieve himself. He chuckled silently to himself, thinking of Rorrit below then.

An owl hooted to his right. He listened closely for its repeat, and when it came, it carried the tones that reassured him it was only an owl. People couldn’t imitate that mournful tone perfectly. He hooted back anyway, and was gratified when the owl moved closer to talk with him. He didn’t dare hoot again, but he appreciated the company. It was lonely on watch up here, two days at a time, with nothing to see but the mountain pass, the stars, and the occasional owl or zorbuck running through the trees below.

His ear caught the whisper of the arrow’s flight just before it plowed through his chest, locking him against the tree trunk. He stared at it stupidly, blinking and trying to understand how it had appeared sticking out of him. The impact of the blow gave his body the protective shock it needed to shut down his pain sensors, and his chest felt numb as blue blood quickly soaked his tunic. Fadamt. It had pierced his first heart. Rorrit was never going to let him live this down.

TBC (perhaps)

Hampton Carmine, “Earth Rising”
Time writing:
~15 minutes
May word count:


  1. Prompt: Keeping watch

    Vara balanced herself on the steep spiral stair, pressing a hand to the central stone pillar. The rest of the stairs in the temple had rope railings threaded along the outside wall. But the one to this basement room was bare. Why had Father Raynon asked her to come down here?

    As she descended, the light from the hallway above faded, and soon she was carefully feeling for the next step down before resting her weight. The hem of her slightly-too-long novice robes made the process difficult. Just when she thought she would have to stop if it got any darker, she reached the bottom.

    Soft blue magelight shone through cracks around a wooden door. The door had no handle. Vara placed a hand on the door, and it swung open to her touch. Father Raynon stood inside, cupping magelight in his left palm. He raised his right index finger to his lips.

    Vara entered cautiously. Father Raynon gestered toward behind him, then turned and walked to a large, dark obelisk embedded in the back wall. He placed his free hand on the stone. Watching his face to make sure she had understood, Vara slowly copied him.

    The obelisk was smooth, far smoother than the rough stone walls of the staircase or even the altar upstairs. They stood together, still, until Vara's arm began to ache. Then the surface under her hand shifted, pulsing, like a beating heart. She snapped her hand away. She looked guiltily at Father Raynon, afraid she had ruined whatever it was he had wanted, but he was stepping away from the obelisk and smiling.

    He lit a candelabra and extinguished the magelight. "I thought you might be a watcher."

    "What was that?" Vara asked.

    "Heartbeat of the god," he said.

    Time writing: 23 minutes

  2. Oo, yours has all sorts of goodness in it! I laughed in the first paragraph. I loved the detail of the owl as it was occurring, and also as it suggested later it probably *wasn't* just an owl. And then the blue blood and how this obviously wasn't terminal made a great hook at the end.

    1. Thanks, I appreciate that. This is one I might continue. I have a sneaking suspicion, I think I've said, that many of these are on the same world. I'm hoping eventually there'll be enough to bring together!