Writing as Art digs deeply into the literary, structural, and poetic devices that make writing an art form. Well, its supposed to at least. The excerpts and short fiction presented are chosen from a list of submissions sent by authors around the world. But that doesn’t mean the excerpts are artistic or even well-written. You see, when I first started posting these excerpts, I provided running commentary demonstrating the authors artistic choices. I don’t do that anymore because my readers thought it was weird and hard to follow. So instead, I just post the excerpts that are sent to me and let my readers decide. Some are good. Some aren’t. Either way, let me know what you think in the comment section below the excerpt. Don’t feel like you need to hold any punches. Bash it or praise it; either way, I’m not bothered and will keep my responses technical.
For this week, we have an excerpt from Mandy Eve-Barnett’s novel The Rython Kingdom. Check it out and let me know if you see it as cleverly composed art or just a bunch of the same old regurgitated crap. Here it is:
from The Rython Kingdom
A wizened old lady shuffled her way towards them aided by a striking looking woman, who took Guillem’s breath away. Her beauty stunned him into silence.
“Is this he?”
“This indeed is the troubadour I told you about, Elviva.”
“The tale you tell, is it of your own making?”
“I…well it is in some manner…the tale came to me in a dream.”
The old woman grasped Guillem’s hand, her flesh thin, akin to paper.
“As I suspected she has bewitched you storyteller. The tale you tell is of her design for some dark purpose. Tell me are you near story’s end?”
“My narrative will conclude this very evening.”
“Are there incantations within?”
“Yes, words I shall not speak as they burn in my mind. I dare not voice them.”
“I shall need parchment and quill, majesty.”
“Take what you require, Elviva, there is plenty at your disposal here.”
The old woman beckoned her granddaughter closer and whispered into her ear. Guillem watched the young woman divide the parchment into six pieces and dip the quill into ink.
“You will recite the first two lines of the incantation to me while Juliana notes them.”
“But… will we not incur the wrath of Malgraf?”
“It is only when the words are spoken in their rightful order do they release their power. Follow my instructions precisely and the evil shall be contained.”
Guillem relayed the words in the order, Elviva directed while Juliana wrote them on separate pieces of parchment.
“Careful not to let the edges touch or to read the words together, my child.”
“As you say, Eldenma.”
At the strange endearment, Guillem looked up at Juliana. Their eyes locked and he experienced a yearning never before felt. Such dark eyes… seemingly fathomless.
“No time, story teller for other matters, let us continue.”
The old woman’s husky voice broke into his trance. How could this maiden entrance him so – had he not had his fill of willing maidens?
“The last lines will be spoken separately and noted the same.”
Juliana moved the last piece of parchment to the opposite end of the table and then stood at her grandmother’s side.
“Your majesty, there is a part of this ritual that requires you play a part.”
“Elviva, I am willing to assist if it means destroying the sorceress. What will you have me do?”
“Blood must be spilt…”
“Blood, come now, is this necessary?”
“Quite necessary, sire, for without it the papers will assemble releasing the words then no amount of fighting will conquer the pure evil contained therein.”
“We must be guided by Elviva, Guillem; I have every reason to trust her.”
“Your majesty, I shall be guided by your example.”
Elviva unsheathed a small dagger that caught the firelight on its blade. With a deft movement, she pierced her palm and let blood drop onto one part of the transcript. Juliana held out her hand and did not flinch when the blade cut, even though Guillem did. Not wanting to be diminished in the maiden’s eyes Guillem held out his palm. The dagger sliced, beads of blood seeped onto another page. Then Elviva faced the king who nodded his ascent. His hand was steady as the soothsayer punctured it with the blade’s tip. Each of the six sections were smeared with blood and cast into the fire. As the parchment burnt, flames of intense purple flared, all the while Elviva chanted under her breath.
“I shall fashion new words for you to speak, tale teller, which will reveal those shielded by magic. His majesty has made provision for extra guards within the great hall, I do believe.”
“Indeed, Elviva, some disguised as servants and others as courtiers concealing our true number to tackle any opposition.”
“More parchment, Juliana.”
Guillem watched as Juliana gently placed more parchment before her elderly companion and then dipped the quill into the ink. The insertion of the quill had his thoughts on delights he could enjoy with this enticing maid. The quill tip scratched across the dry paper. Elviva’s hand shook making the letters spidery in form.
“Read what I have written, Guillem, but do not voice it. If you are unsure of a word please point it out to me.”
Guillem took the offered paper and read the text. The scribble before him took some time to decipher but he did manage to read every line. He nodded his understanding to Elviva.
“My part is done, your highness. If I may take my leave, this work leaves me undone.”
“You have been of great service this night, Elviva; I have made arrangements for you to stay within the castle tonight.”
And that’s it. If you liked Eve-Barnett’s writing, check out this link to her book on Amazon: LINK TO AMAZON