Six Sentence Sunday, 12 February 2012 (The Necromancer and the Barbarian: a Love Story)

From the west came word of shape-shifters and forest witches, who changed shape and sex and even species, turning into rock or wind at will. In North America, the resurgent timberwolf population had to contend with competition from werewolves, and the social order was threatened, it was said, by a fashion for vampirism among the young. Whether those were fanciful tales or not, the response of the Anglo-American world was ferocious. The United Kingdom had a Witch-Finder General for the first time in three centuries, and burning at the stake, officially sanctioned in the U.K. and extrajudicially in the U.S.A., became so common that the news outlets ceased to report it. 

The first echo-shock of the Great Change struck in Elsa’s immediate vicinity with the news that a young American forensic pathologist, with whom her mentor had been working on the mass graves of the Balkan Wars, had been lynched by witch-hunters. 

“The threat of witches is convenient; it gives the authorities an opportunity to root out other threats as well,” he said.

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18 Responses to Six Sentence Sunday, 12 February 2012 (The Necromancer and the Barbarian: a Love Story)

  1. Alix Cameron says:

    I *swoon* to your descriptive prowess each week. Fantastic six!

  2. I love the world building in this. great six!

  3. Sue says:

    The society you are showing us is so fantastic, weaving the past, and present with future possibilities solidly grounded in history ; believable predictions with a dash of the extraordinary. And then, just for good measure, you make it flow like poetry

  4. Gayle Ramage says:

    Wow, this is a fantastic snippet! I’m going to have to keep my eye on this one. 😀

  5. Great cadence and world-building! Just one nitpick: traditionally in the Anglo-American world back in the day, witches were hung not burned. I think it was the continental Europeans that burned witches…

    • epbeaumont says:

      Absolutely correct on seventeenth-century witch-hunt executions in the UK and the North American colonies. Burning-alive, however, was practiced in other connections in the colonies (and then the USA): slave revolts, both north and south. (Harriet Tubman, if captured, might well have suffered the same fate as Joan of Arc, to whom contemporaries frequently compared her.)

      Burning-alive continued into modern times in extrajudicial practice (see ‘lynching’). The cultural feedback loop (not detailed here) is US-to-UK.

  6. Monica Enderle Pierce says:

    Oh, some very disturbing implications in that piece of dialogue, and we’re seeing just how delicate the weave of society really is. Disturbing, indeed.

  7. Vivien Dean says:

    The worlds you come up with always astound me. Well done!

  8. Beautiful piece of world-building, and a universal truth about those in power. But that “he” is ambiguous.

  9. I really love the way you build it up. Another fantastic six!

  10. Lilian Darcy says:

    Agree with others, very interesting world-building.

  11. A.K. Morgen says:

    I just love the rich detail in these six. Very captivating.

  12. Gemma Parkes says:

    Beautifully written, l love your imagery!

  13. Becca says:

    I love your ability to string such complex thoughts and sentences together into a coherent and vivid work of art.

  14. Ohhh, this is good stuff! You build a world that is fantastic and horrifying. The real monsters here are not the werewolves and their kin, but the witch hunters who are all too (in)human.

  15. J.A. Beard says:

    Ah, some great world building here.

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