Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Piece of the Action

Here's a little sample from something that I hope will be out soon.

The Vhichang sighed, reached up to rub at his slashed cheek. I glanced at him. His yellow eyes were hard. He hitched up his sword belt and drew a dagger into his left hand to give himself two blades to match mine. He started walking toward me.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” I told him.

“I took the gold,” he replied.

“A hard way to make a living,” I said.

“Aren’t they all.”

He lunged for me then, blades winking with light, his movements smooth and fluid, his technique nearly flawless. Nearly.

My rune-blade licked out, met his dagger, hacked it free of his hand. My rapier hooked up and inside his sword, driving it out of line with his body as his thrust brought him a little too close to me. I stepped into him, looping my arm around his, locking my elbow to catch his wrist and sword against my side where they were useless to him. I wrenched upward on the Vhichang’s arm, heard him grunt as his shoulder came out of its socket.

I lifted my other sword, the runes glimmering along its length as I brought it high. The Vhichang snarled, spat at my feet. I didn’t hold it against him, but I killed him anyway, hacking the blade down into the soft juncture where the shoulder met the neck. He sagged, collapsed against me with what sounded almost like a sigh, and I released my grip on him so that he fell at my boots.

The Ss’Korra had not moved. I saw him shiver, and tossed him the rapier I’d taken from him only moments before. He caught it reflexively, breathing hard, his green eyes skittering from side to side like minnows fleeing the approach of a shark.

“Tell me who hired you and I’ll let you live,” I said.

He groaned, and if it were possible his pupils dilated even more widely. “No!” he screamed, and threw himself toward me.

Our blades linked, slid together in a rasping burst of sparks. I stepped back and away. The Ss’Korra stood for a moment, then collapsed to his knees, dropping his sword in a clatter on the ground as his hands came up to try and stuff the pouring blood back into his chest. I turned away, heard the thud of his body on the stones as he fell the final distance onto his face and died.


Michelle's Spell said...

Great dialogue, Charles! Can't wait to see the finished product!

Dave Hardy said...

Cool! I'd very much like to see the whole thing when it's published.

I have a technical question. I noticed the tags on the dialog. Do you feel those are neccessary? I am never very sure, sometimes I try to do without them. But sometimes I think it gets too confusing w/out the 'I said'/'he replied' parts. I'd be interested in your opinion.

Steve Malley said...

imho, I'd lose the third attribution (I said), but keep the first two. They give a little space to let those opening lines breathe.

But who cares what I think? That was cool!

Great stuff!

Charles Gramlich said...

Thanks, Michelle.

Dave, if there's a chance for any confusion I put the dialog tags in, because I think most readers essentially treat them as invisible. They are certainly less of an annoyance then not being able to figure out who is talking. Steve's right, there's no absolute need here for the third tag, since we know we have two characters going back and forth. But the larger scene has more people in it so I thought it best to be on the safe side. Also, to me, dialogue tags can sometimes help slow the pace of a scene a bit. This dialogue sequence is between two "hopefully" blistering action scenes, so a slower pace seems appropriate to me. Ultimately, the major guideline I use is whether I think the reader will be confused if I leave them out.

Lucas Pederson said...

That was great! You say that the entiriy will be published? Wow. I can see why. This just goes to show who's got talent and who trys, but doesn't pull it off very well, like myself.
Again, this was great!

Charles Gramlich said...

Thanks, Lucas, I appreciate it, but your stuff is quite good.

Lucas Pederson said...

Charles, your nose is growing...

Drizel said...

Very good, just one question does these two ppl die so close to each other or was it like one battle?
Great to read that is foresure!

Erik Donald France said...

"I didn’t hold it against him, but I killed him anyway -- love it! Great scene, wish I could enact this at work (evil!).