Saturday, May 26, 2007


From the Minor Annals - VIII.

That year the old city slowly crumbled and the people fled.

That year dark things crept over the western wall and through the twisting alleys of that quarter to live and feed.

From our enclave we watched the first panic and made our quiet preparations.

When we glimpsed strange lights at nightfall from the central towers - lights that were not the true green of leaf and vine - we knew the final wards were failing and it was time to go.

We would have stayed and fought but for the children.

Even so, once past our barriers, we battled to reach the last gate and the eastern road and the temporary safety of a distant tor.

The final cross-street spewed forth a howling, clawing mob - most human, some not - against our cavalcade.

The early dawn saw our sabres fall silver and rise red.

I was with the rear guard to ward our going.

They nearly broke us.

I remember I rode into the day with a screaming, sobbing child - snatched from an over-turned cart - on my saddle bow and a dripping sword in an aching fist.

Sometimes, cold steel is better than magic.

That year the city fell. They say it is a ruin now.

And those who enter to seek abandoned treasure do not return.


takoda said...

Hi, This is really nice. I enjoy the mood of this piece very much. I have a suggestion, and it's only a nitpick. The last sentence feels bumpy because it has 'enter,' 'out,' and 'return.' Just those three words so close together sounds a bit off.

But overall, this is really nice. Where can I read this story from the beginning?


Bernita said...

Thank you, Takoda.
That's a good "nit" and I'll edit immediately.
"From the Minor Annals" are self-contained pieces I've been re-posting each Saturday.

Charles Gramlich said...

Beautiful. You sure do make me want to know the before and after pictures to these scenes. I like how you even had character development in such a short piece.

raine said...

Okay, I'm warped, because you make me want to go into the city now, and see what's going on there!

Verra good.

Bernita said...

What a wonderful compliment, Charles. Thank you.

Not warped, Raine. Just an urge for adventure and challenge.

Scott from Oregon said...

You keep posting these and I am gonna start getting that sort of angry a nicotine addict gets or one with low blood sugar.

What about Paul Harvey? What about "The rest of the story"????

You could bump Tolkien off the list if you wrote 350 pages of this kind of beauty.

"our sabres fall silver and rise red."

Oh My! is that ever so "nice"...

Bernita said...

A remarkable exaggeration, Scott, but "nice."
Thank you.

kmfrontain said...

I'm with Scott from Oregon. I read these and want an epic.

Bhaswati said...

The early dawn saw our sabres fall silver and rise red.

When will I be able to write a line like that? Just one such line.

Beautiful, Bernita.

Sam said...

I enjoy these vignettes so much!

Bernita said...

Thank you, Karen, Bhaswati, Sam!
Si far they are simply "plot bunnies."

ORION said...

"sometimes cold steel is better than magic."
That is GREAT prose.
Your Norway correspondent.

Bernita said...

"Your Norway correspondent"
I like that.
Thank you, Pat. Tomorrow's post will thank you again. You've provided inspiration with your Norway photos.

Sid Leavitt said...

'Those who enter to seek abandoned treasure do not return.' A great line, and this passage is full of them. Very, very nice writing. It makes me feel better about the blogosphere.

Bernita said...

Sid, thank you very much.