September 1, 2007

Suspense Technique #4: Frustration

Wayne Thomas Batson has posted the winner for the fourth of his Suspense Techniques Contest: Frustration. While I didn't win the prize, I'm honored to have received an Honorable Mention. Here's what he had to say about mine:

Amy: Brilliant stuff. He was trying so hard to get out of the kingdom and then to run into the boy with the mysterious past...awesome

Check it all out at Wayne's site: Enter the Door Within.

Here are my entries for Suspense Technique #4 - Frustration:


“Are you aware, Master Kalon, that you will need far more supplies than this house contains during such a long journey?”

“Yes, Bastion, I’m aware. I don’t have the option of waiting for the market to open. I must leave now. They are coming for me,” Kalon replied urgently.

Kalon quickly gathered the rest of the dried meat, a loaf of bread and filled his wineskin. Panic began to grip his insides; he knew he had very little time to spend on preparations, a fact that would make his difficult journey nearly impossible. There was no choice; he had to leave before the soldiers discovered what he’d done.

As he reached to grab his long bow, he realized that he’d used most of his arrows hunting the day before and hadn’t had time to make more. He’d have to rely on his broadsword for protection. As he strapped the sword to his waist, he simultaneously slung the bow and quiver across his back, and hastily snatched his full pack from Bastion. Rushing out the door, Kalon caught his arm on the iron hinge, a gash several inches long began to bleed freely. If he didn’t stem the flow, the soldiers’ predatory beasts would surely catch his scent far sooner than Kalon could afford. He tore a strip of cloth from his own shirt and carelessly bandaged his aching arm.

With a brief nod of his head, he bid Bastion farewell and rounded the house to the stable. His steed had been saddled and readied for the flight from danger. Finally, a bit of hope crept into Kalon’s heart. He knew once he passed the main watch tower at the end of town, he would gain distance between himself and the pursuing soldiers. He drove the horse hard and was passing the watch tower, just as a familiar form stepped into his path. Not that boy, not now! I cannot stay idle for long; his interference could cost me my lead, but I cannot leave him without a proper explanation. The boy deserves at least that much.


Selinium knew that the secrets to her parentage lay inside the sage sitting before her. The ancient man sat gazing into her pleading eyes, while his remained inscrutable. She searched his face for some sign of an impending response or greeting. It never came.

“Sir Ezreal, do you know who I am?” asked Selinium.

Ezreal silently nodded his head. She’d been searching for someone who could tell her who her parents were and the man who could tell her refused to speak. Maintaining her patient tone she spoke again.

“Sir Ezreal, do you know who my parents were?”

Yet again, her inquiry was met with nothing but a nod. The days of traveling began to weigh on Selinium; her body ached, her feet were blistered, and her head felt dizzy with hunger. Yet, she could not leave the company of the only one with the knowledge she sought. Her tactic changed in hopes of eliciting an explanatory response.

“Sir Ezreal, I beg you. I have traveled far and survived many dangers to come to you. Please, tell me of my parents, of the land they came from, or any way I can find the answers I seek. I beg you.”

The aged wise man tilted his head and looked puzzled, as though he were examining a rare species of insect. Selinium felt as though the man knew much more than she had even expected. She saw a glimmer of familiarity in his gaze. Yet the man continued to sit and stare.

Tears began to form in the corners of her eyes; her throat felt constricted. Why was he just sitting there? Why didn’t he answer? Was her entire quest for naught? Was her only hope of knowing the truth lost?

Ezreal straightened his back in a bird-like posture. “You are not ready,” he said in a tone of finality. He closed his eyes and began to meditate, clearly the conversation was over.

Well - there they are. I'll be putting up my entries for #5 soon. I welcome any feedback. Thanks.

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