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Feb 17, 2009

Revised Opening

I revised my opening based on feedback from the Secret Agent contest. Several reviewers felt the 250 word version felt rushed, so here I've re-inserted some lines I had cut to meet the word count cut-off.  ;)  Hopefully, the additions also explain a few of the questions people had about why Kavio was out in the woods himself, why he wasn't immediately suspicious of Dindi, and why the taboo is so important. 

On the other hand, I hope it doesn't *over-explain* or drag on too much.


Kavio glimpsed a solitary dancer, graceful and pale as new maize. She danced in honeyed light filtered though sequoias soaring up from languorous, bear-sized roots. Who was she, and why did she dance secluded and all alone, far from the kiva and tor?

He wove through the wood to spy on her, though he told himself he should not. Perhaps she had come to the woods to practice alone, as he had. The possibility intrigued him – who else besides he had no need of the guidance of the troop? Who else besides he would dare?

Never had he seen a style quite like hers. She must have had magic, for she was human and not fae. Humans without magic danced only to hex, and would be killed in turn, if caught. She wore no ritual costume – neither wooden mask, nor cornhusk cape – only white doeskin hemmed with a maze of rainbow beads. Her hair flew about her, unbraided and wild. Though her aura showed no light, he had the odd sense she sparkled, shimmered, with some power deep, some power bright, which warmed the cool December wood with hint of hidden Mays.

She circled the stump of a fir tree, as if it were her partner in a fertility dance. He knew the dance of course – it was meant for two, not one.

Kavio debated himself briefly. His mischief won.

He crept up behind her. Stealth he had honed in hunting and battle served him well, and the broad trunks of sequoias and pines provided ample cover. The dance soon called for her partner to lift her, and she leaned toward the tree stump, in the best approximation she could. He made his move.

In rhythm with her sways, he placed his hands about her waist and lifted her into the spin, above his head and down again. She responded as if she had expected him, and followed his lead into the next exultant sequence, toss and twirl, shimmy and turn. Fancy foot work followed on, sweetly easy. In this sequence of the fertility dance, both partners faced forward, so he could not see her face. The top of her head just reached his chin. Her hair smelled of flowers.

They flowed together like partners who had practiced days in each other’s arms. She amazed him.

He dipped her back, and only then met her gaze.

“Dindi!” He choked on his dismay.

Dindi had been tested during Initiation, he knew, and proven without magic. For her to dance was taboo – so decreed the ancient ways. The law left him no choice.

He must kill her.

4 comments:

slhastings said...

Hi Tara,

I like it! A few comments:

I don't get this tail end line.

in the best approximation she could.

What is she approximating?

Also this line:

Though her aura showed no light, he had the odd sense she sparkled, shimmered, with some power deep, some power bright, which warmed the cool December wood with hint of hidden Mays.

Would read better (for me) with less words. (i.e.)

Though her aura showed no light, she shimmered with a power which warmed the cool December wood with hint of hidden Mays.

Hope that helps!

samantha

Sara Raasch said...

I like this! I liked what you entered to the SA contest, but you're right, this is much clearer. The only sentence that tripped me up was: "She danced in honeyed light filtered though sequoias soaring up from languorous, bear-sized roots." Too wordy. The less words you can use, the more powerful it is. Try: "She danced in columns of light that shot through the sequoia branches," or something that doesn't mention the giant roots. Since you tell us about them later, now isn't needed. But I am definitely hooked :)

Tara Maya said...

Thanks, guys, (and to all my other Beta readers who emailed me) I've used your edit suggestions.

jacker said...
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