Weekend Writing Warriors: Sunday 24 April 2016 (character interview)

Each Sunday, Weekend Writing Warriors offers a selection of eight-sentence excerpts from writers in multiple genres and forms. Check out the full roster here.

***

Naime is not taking this duel seriously; she thinks I’m going to step back from it, even as her own blood runs down her face and neck, staining the funeral garment with its stiff brocade and high collar.

She’s calculating the mere scratch she could give me, that would release us both from the circle; that thought’s intolerable–and I catch fire with rage, and charge at her. Let her learn at my hand that I’m in deadly earnest.

The flame catches, and Naime’s silver mask comes alive with intent, with energy–the blade flashes like lightning, throwing back sun, clash and clang, parrying–

And then that mask blazes into the avatar of the god; no longer my cousin but Martis-Mortis herself faces me in the ring, brings her sword down and gathers me into her embrace. No, I will not die in a ditch; no, I will not fear for my posterity. I am safe home, my devotion rewarded. 

I am the worthy sacrifice.

***
Character interview for the Shipwright cycle, which is set about 600 years before the time of Ship’s Heart. The speaker is Phila, cousin to Naime the Shipwright. This interview draws on collaboration with poet-scholar Lev Mirov, who provided questions from sociology of religion to help me understand the cult of Martis-Mortis, the war deity to whose cult Phila belongs.
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6 Responses to Weekend Writing Warriors: Sunday 24 April 2016 (character interview)

  1. Wow, powerful indeed. I loved the transition in the snippet, from the battle to the god intervening, in the character’s perception. Intense!

  2. A surprising twist to this scene! Very effective imagery!

  3. Ed Hoornaert says:

    Thoughts upon dying? Or might he (she?) still survive? And what’s with dueling wearing funeral clothes. Interesting snippet.

    • epbeaumont says:

      The convention is that duelists are civil dead, so their quarrel doesn’t involve the living. The culture to which these characters belong has just emerged from a period of inter-clan war.

      The character interview with Phila is written from the afterlife. Naime’s relationship with Phila affects her political and technical decisions decades after his death.

  4. T. M. Hunter says:

    Love this snippet….lots of great action and imagery.

  5. Wonderful, intense snippet. Very vivid.

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