Prologue (Part 1 of 2)

Here is my prologue, part 1. It is mostly finished. I think I might leave it out of the final manuscript that I’ll send to publishers, but there’s plenty of time to figure that out down the road. Either way, this is definitely a part of my personal definitive version, because my VERY last chapter is my absolute favourite and what I started with, and this prologue is the perfect and appropriate beginning to that ending. This is called Good Bye, and the end is titled Welcome. Both are similar in some ways and opposite in many others. Enjoy the first look at my main character (part 2)!

BOOK 1 (Pending Title)

PROLOGUE (1 of 2)

“GOODBYE”

In the darkness of a calm and dry spring night, a city burned. Open flames danced on the tops and sides of buildings, lighting everything within its low surrounding walls. Much of the architecture in the western districts had collapsed, adding dust to the rising smoke. Those structures quietly glowed with embers like those of a soon dead camp-fire. Having already blackened, they were covered in soot and ash in the aftermath of the first torches to enter the gates. The rest of the fires grew eastward, from torches being held, even abandoned, against flammable fabrics and dry wooden supports until igniting. The large braziers made of iron and stone, located throughout the city, had been forcibly knocked over, pouring their contents onto cloths and window coverings.

Nothing escaped the flares; they had licked both the high old palace and the smallest, most lowly hut without prejudice. The public bath houses hissed with steam from insulated heat and fires timidly touching the surfaces of bloodied water. Columns supporting great entryways had fallen and the market streets, once lined end to end with wooden stands where merchants gathered just the day before to shout and sell their goods, blazed especially bright in an inferno of red and orange light.

* * *

It was past midnight, the sky above was dark, but it was not quiet. Screams filled the air. Soldiers battled somewhere near the northern walls, though their loud shouts were nothing in comparison to women’s dying shrieks and the wails of children. The northern battle was all but meaningless; a last stand for those who called the city home. Bands of neighbours in their night clothes stood hopelessly yet valiantly against fully armed, organized men, all means of escape cut off.

For the invaders had surprise and were far too many. They had entered through the west gate, – the open west gate, for there was never a need to defend it – then quickly poured into the western square. Once filled with sufficient forces, they spread out, expecting no resistance at such a late hour of the night. Their expectations proved true when they were confronted with obstacles deemed insignificant, until a time where some of the lighter sleeping citizens began to wake from the growing sounds of panic. It was then much too late, as some of the armed attackers could reach out and touch the eastern walls if they wanted.

Bodies littered the stone-cobbled avenues in awkward poses, the victims of atrocity and massacre. Everywhere the air was thick with the stink of smoke and burning flesh. Dueling iron rang everywhere – and not just in the north – as rivals came face to face in the firelight. Their struggles were still active in every corner of the city. Such a night had never before been experienced by anyone involved, invader and defender both. Chaos enjoyed its first hours in a changing of the guard, where discipline had ruled, unchallenged, for more than one and a half thousand years.

Those who entered the city with murderous intentions had waited long enough it seemed. Enough to forsake the sacred customs of their eternal rivalry and kill the innocent. The fire, smoke, and death sent a message outwards in all directions to the vast lands surrounding the city.

Where are you!?, it pleaded with a thunderous anger. See what you have done? Come out of this wilderness!

(to be continued…)

Part 2 coming up next. Warning: you may want to grab some tissues.

© 2013 FOTS Fantasy

9 comments

  1. You have a good idea of how to set things up, but the present tense will likely throw a lot of people.

    1. Yea, I’m getting a lot of that. I’m converting it to what I’m using with everything else. I wrote this version a while ago, and I’m just not all that happy with it.

    2. Eureka! All better. Now it flows with the first chapter and the rest of the book, no longer a misfit. 🙂

  2. A hellish nightmare indeed. Very evocative. I had some trouble keeping up wtih the timeflow of events, or is it happening all at once?

    1. Thanks for reading! It is all happening at once in this scene.

  3. I think this is good for a first draft, but I was immediately bothered by the present tense. I know that other people really like present tense, but I don’t. However, I do like the description and the mood. One thing that I would suggest is, in the fifth paragraph, cut “Few alleyways lacked at least one corpse.” It’s pretty clear by the preceding sentence what the city looks like.
    I look forward to reading more!
    -Emily

    1. I deleted that sentence immediately, you were right that the sentence before it was pretty much the same. I think that I will wait until the end of the first drafts to come back to this prologue. In the main character’s early chapters you learn he has traumatic dreams, and I wanted it to feel like a nightmare. I chose the present tense because dreams kind of happen right in front of you. He knows every detail of the dream when awake, but while he dreams it, it is always new again and unfolding, if you know the feeling. It is hard to explain, but yeah, that’s why I’ll leave it alone for now until the end. Too confusing.
      I’m glad you liked the mood and descriptions, that’s the part I had difficulty with. Part 2 was a lot easier. And don’t worry, no more present tense after this, haha!

      1. I understand the usefulness of present tense – it just isn’t my favorite thing to read. I look forward to learning about your characters!

        1. I changed it to past tense. Too many people telling me online and off that it just didn’t flow with the following chapters. Part 2 is also changed. 😀

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