My second revision of the Patchwork World novella Dusk and Dawn is progressing nicely thanks to my buddies in the Mellonath Hirgon writers’ group. Their input is improving my text week by week. However, I make no prediction about when the story will be complete. Anyhow, here is a teaser: the first page. In medias res — that’s my preferred way of starting a tale.
At the first glimmer of dawn, thunderclaps shattered Fennec’s sleep – the customary reveille by the enemy’s siege guns since nineteen days. The androgyne rolled out of bed and grabbed xer trousers and pistol belt. Moments later xe dashed through the citadel corridors towards the observatory staircase while servants backed into nooks and crannies to protect their breakfast trays.
When Fennec reached the top of the spiral stair, xer legs ached from exertion. The circular observatory topped by a copper hemisphere was warm and soon the rising sun would make it baking hot. There six soldiers monitored the siege with tripod-mounted telescopes that peeked through slits in the cupola. The men’s black torsos already glistened with sweat.
Towering above Fennec, the soldiers saluted perfunctorily with right fist on left collarbone: “Good morning, my domi!”
“Good morning, troopers. Any signs of a relief force?”
“No, my domi,” said the corporal in charge.
Crap, yet another lost day, Fennec thought while exhaling sharply between tense lips. Vanzan Shor’s allies apparently kept on dawdling, thereby forcing the city state to stand alone against the Commonwealth’s armed might. “As you were, men,” xe ordered.
The soldiers bent over their tubes and resumed spying at the enemies. Fennec approached the man who gazed along the outward canal going to the invaders’ realm. Nervous tingles flittered along xer spine. Have they set up any new heavy guns?