Monday, May 7, 2012

First Half of The New Opening

Well, today I created a new opening for my book! That makes version number three! But don't worry, the old content some of you have known is still there for the most part, just a few pages further in. This new opening grabs readers somewhere around 85 bajillion times better (by my calculations), and also conveys a tighter back story while intensifying the characterization of the villain, Nastar. Who'd have thought you could do all that in under 2,000 words? Ooh... and it also does some great plot foreshadowing... but that part comes in tomorrow's post. For now, be content with this one (or be discontent, but it is my experience that being content is generally the better idea).

The hulking body of Nastar loomed over the half-dead captive, who only wished that he was dead entirely. Then that hideous voice, that sounded like a million souls screaming as they were siphoned into an eternal flame, growled out again, “Where did the rebellion come from? Who instigated that foolery?”
The burnt, humanoid, chunk of flesh that still shook with its own heartbeats and breaths could not find strength to answer. Then Nastar seized the victim’s shoulders with obsidian black hands, which began to glow as they turned molten, but there were no screams, only unutterable gasps from a man whose pain senses had been so fried of late that they no longer sent any orderly message to his mind, instead randomly firing in frightening intensity and duration.
Nastar hoisted the man up above the glowing black lump that was the demon’s head. Sensing that the human could no longer feel the pain he was inflicting, Nastar turned for a new angle, “Look into my eyes. What do you see there?”
The eyes of the tortured man fluttered barely open, as much as they could any more. He answered, “The body of a mother, contorting as you slew her. The voice of a thousand daughters screaming as their bodies were burned to satisfy your hate for all mankind. The silence of a million gravestones, marking shallow graves with no names inscribed on them. Ten thousand fathers who have children no more, and will live only as long as they clear slag from your furnaces.”
Nastar smiled a hideous grin, which was distorted to any man’s vision by the heat that radiated from his body when he was angry, or when he was glad.  Then Nastar went on, “Now answer me, lest your fate be like theirs. From whence came the rebellion that shook my whole empire?”
The man could no longer resist the terror that filled him, “The South,” he dribbled out. His mouth had become so dry it was nearly unintelligible.
Nastar smiled again, and spoke to the man in his attendance, “Ratachar, give him a drink.”
Ratachar picked up a bucket of water and walked toward the tortured victim to refresh him to answer questions. Before he reached him, though, Nastar placed his hands in the water, and instantly it was boiling. Ratachar could scarcely hold to the bucket as his hands were burned, but he dared not drop it in the presence of his master. Nastar then took the bucket of boiling water and splashed in the bleeding face of his victim, who with open mouth received the little mouthful of water that was not steam.
Nastar continued questioning, “The South? Of which of my worlds?”
The man began a lengthy answer, knowing which questions would come, “The South of the Red World. A man named Reiyen, a wizard by trade, a rebel by will. He organized them all, he gave the word.”
Nastar bent down closer to his informer, and so that the informant might not die Nastar allowed his body to cool somewhat, “Them all? Tell me who they all are.”
The victim spewed out as many names as he knew, the list coming so rapidly that it was nearly unintelligible, as he slurred names together and lost syllables, “Kar… aven… trenit, Muichthil, Raeward… thugn.” By nature, Nastar could recall all he ever saw or heard, so he was not afraid of the garbled information.
Content with this draw of information, and seeing that his victim had told all he knew, he turned from intelligence gathering to play. Seizing his victim by the throat with his right hand, which coiled all the way around the victim, he spoke, the heat of his breath burning away the few hairs that remained on the man’s head, “Do you wish you were dead?”
Without awaiting response Nastar clenched his hand so tightly the bones of the man’s neck could be heard breaking, the whole of his neck turning to a bruise. Then he threw the human across the room, breaking his bones against the thick pillar that acted as the wall between the throne room and the desolate landscape of Nastar’s abode, the Shadow Realm, a sub-sea level island rimmed with mountains beyond which flames towered into the sky, holding back the sea.
Nastar strode over to the helpless victim and placed his foot on the limp body. Even through his metal boot there was enough heat to melt the victim’s flesh. Seeing the mess that would make Nastar withdrew his foot, instead grasping the man about his waist with hands he allowed to cool a little. The body bent over backwards lamely, having not even bones enough for support. Nastar drew the body close and bent over it his face inches from that of his victim. “Look into my eyes again, and tell me what will be your last sight.” He anticipated no response, expecting that the sight of his eyes would end the man’s pitiful life.
But to his surprise, the man struggled on, “I see three men, one with a sword, one with a staff, and one with a spear. I see the White Cross shining, and I in its blessed realm. I see your body lying hewn into pieces on the balcony of your tower. I see our last best hope, standing over you with a sword as your body freezes. Our king is come.”

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