"Failure is a Hole that Swallows an Entire Family"

Avatar Author: Robert Quick A no-name, aspiring author who can't stop writing. Looking ahead, he strives for perfection. Shackled by various forms of entertainment, he dreams of success. Most stories here are an invitation to YOU, to join me in cre... Read Bio

Riksur hurried down the wide streets, sweat rolling down his face. It was hot but not unusual for the time of year. He sweat for the same reason he ran- he was terrified.

He passed a temple priestess, wrapped in flowing cloth that had started white, standing high atop a Pillar of Supplication who spread her hands to the sky. She sang, “Spirits of the sky, blind the All-Watching Eye-

The sound cut off as Riksur turned the corner and descended the rough stone stairs to the lower markets. There he found his younger brother, Lamsur, waiting outside the entrance to the market proper.

He grabbed his brother and pushed him against the wall. “Is it true?”

Lamsur nodded weakly.

“Tell me what exactly happened.” Riksur demanded, slapping his brother on the top of his bald head. “And do not leave out any detail. I need to know everything if I am to fix what your blundering has caused.”

“It’s too late!” Lamsur moaned. “The High Priestess has already written all of our names in the Book of the Dead- even yours!”

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Comments (5 so far!)

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  1. Avatar Sanglorian

    Classic sword and sorcery. I think the dialogue could be tightened up a bit to add some tension. For example, “It’s too late, brother! The priestess has already written my name in the Book of the Dead- and not just me, my whole family- even you!” is a bit wordy for a punchline.

    Other than that, I really liked it.

  2. Avatar ElshaHawk (LoA)

    Epic start to a possibly epic novel. I find the song interesting, Blind the All Watching Eye.. so they don’t want an omniscient being watching the death sentencing? kinda ignorant of the idea of all knowing, besides you don’t have to see to know what’s going on. I feel like I’m watching a movie about ancient Greece..

  3. Avatar Alexander Mccarthey

    Fantastic. I like how the writing is tight only showing details that are necessary. I also love the priestess, with her garb that was once white. It kinda makes me think of corruption in the matriarchy. I think that you should keep it going. This has the potential to be epic!

  4. Avatar Megan Kennedy

    I love the hints of the world you’ve built here, really fascinating!

    I echo Sanglorian’s sentiments regarding the last line; I think it would be more powerful it if were tightened up. “We are all of us written in the Book of the Dead, brother.” Something like that. The line you have right just doesn’t feel natural as conversation, especially given the tension you’ve built.

    “Riksur hurried down the wide streets, sweat rolling down his face. It was hot but not unusual for the time of year. He was sweating because terror gripped his heart.” Those last two lines, as well, just seem like they’re dragging your tension down. Maybe something like, “The day was hot, but it was terror sending beads of sweat rolling down his face.” Knowing about weather this time of year doesn’t seem necessary to the story.

    I love the priestess’s prayer a lot.

  5. Avatar Robert Quick

    Fixed? (Attempted fix #1)