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This is the opening sequence for my novel, which is introducing characters playing in virtual reality. I tried to go with a fantasy scenario that used a lot of common fantasy elements and plot components - how did I do? Thoughts? Comments definitely welcome.

"That's it! That's the tree, I'm sure of it!" The healer, normally quiet and unassuming, was excited now, spurring her horse towards the gnarled oak.

"So your vision was true," growled the ranger flatly, and she, too, followed. Her gruff exterior was hard to maintain, but she did. It had been a long journey for all four of their party, and by now the others probably knew it was a facade, but she kept it up anyway. It was a comfort thing. "And now I suppose you'll have another vision, to direct us further?"

The healer reached out a hand, as if touching the weathered bark would ignite another Sighting. Finally, she shook her head. "I'm afraid not."

"Thought so. Anybody got any more bright ideas?"

"Sorry, fresh out," the mercenary sang cheerfully. "I didn't join this quest because I was a thinker. I'm just the weapon."

"Are you sure that was all you remember of the vision?" The last member of the group, obviously a noblewoman by her features and garments, dismounted, circling the tree. "Nothing else? No people, no paths, no movement? Just the tree?"

The healer nodded silently, shamefaced, and reached for the tree again, this time to seek comfort in the leaves. An arrow split the bark between her fingers.

"Get down!" the mercenary barked, all business now. Her hair swung loose over her shoulder as she hit the ground and rolled, freeing the bow on her back to string it as she rose. 

The noblewoman blinked as she witnessed this astonishing feat, but her attention was quickly diverted by another arrow, which missed her torso, but tore a fine gash in her richly brocaded sleeve. Drawing her hand-and-a-half broadsword, she took cover behind the broad tree trunk and waited for the enemy. 

There they were, charging over the crest of the hill. Two score orcs and their ghoulish companions, armed and armored with chains and maces, sending a swarm of black darts through the sky. The mercenary and ranger were firing back now, on their bellies in the grass, their accurate shots taking a devastating toll on the enemy. But it wasn't enough. The orcs were simply too many, and they were approaching fast. Very fast. 

Unexpectedly, the healer stepped forward, pale and quivering. She was obviously uncertain of her abilities, but the time for doubt was long gone. Rallying her strength, she drew herself together and Shouted. 

It was almost a silent Shout, too powerful for sound, and the effect was astounding. It flattened the horde like a tornado ripping through a grain-field, toppling them in waves. But as they fell, she crumpled also, drained of power. The noblewoman began to bend over her, concerned, when she heard a step behind her and whirled. 

It was a guild-mage, and she knew him. He was her uncle. Her traitorous, murdering uncle. 

"The Sea take you!" she gasped, and engaged him. Blue steel clashed on crystal blade, whirling together in a blinding fury. Dress and robe spun in their battle-dance, accentuating the sheer skill that drove the two combatants to near madness in this climactic meeting. It was a gruelling fight. First one and then the other had the upper hand, parrying, lunging, deflecting the other's blows. Finally she side-stepped, ducking inside his guard, and - 

"Mummy?" 

Hang. 

"Mummy?" Jeri Von Grath pulled the headset off, shaking her blond ponytail free. "Yes, dear?" She couldn't keep a little hint of impatience out of her voice; she was so close! 

"Celia took my blanket, and she's not giving it back!" 

"Celia took your blanket?" 

"Yes! She took it and said she wanted to use it to make her blanket tent and she took it, and she won't give it to me and I want it because I want to make a tent for myself!" 

"Whoa, buddy, don't hyperventilate there." Max's voice had risen to a strident pitch that, coupled with his wounded tone and four-year-old indignation, made Jeri think he might do himself a serious injury. 

Sighing, she pushed herself out of the chair and peeled off the virtual reality gloves. "Guess I'm gonna have to check it out, huh?" 

"Make her give it back!" 

"We'll see, okay? Maybe you could play tent with her." 

"But I want to make my own tent!" 

"Mmm hmm. Come on, bud." 

Together, mother and son trundled off to resolve the great blanket dispute. A far cry from vengeful mages, to be sure, but no less volatile.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
mightykeyboard
Nov. 12th, 2007 01:29 am (UTC)
I love it. It's like what would happen if Dungeons and Dragons went virtual. In the event that it happens I know I'll be glued to the game and wouldn't be able to keep a potted plant alive much less children. Good job! Keep writing.
mightykeyboard
Nov. 12th, 2007 01:31 am (UTC)
Also! I love your icons. Star Trek Voyager is amazing. I'm a trekkie at heart. I love TNG, DS9, and Voyager. And who couldn't love the original? Kirk got all the space booty though. Now it's Paris' turn. They must be related.
raederle_fic
Nov. 12th, 2007 10:16 pm (UTC)
lol. I would totally have an I <3 Tom Paris icon except I'm usually not that demonstrative :D
out_totheblack
Nov. 12th, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC)
I like, this it is really good. Totally wasn't expecting the Mummy interuption. I was expecting a mummy.

As an adult gamer with children, yeah.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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