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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vignettes

Ok, so, I've decided to focus this blog on subjects related to writing. It's what I do. It's what I would like to get paid for doing. And it's something I feel I'm good at.

So, on the subject of writing, it should be obvious to anyone who knows me (or even reads this blog) that I have a very short attention span. In fact, I believe I mention it in every entry related to writing. Ok, yeah, I tend to repeat myself. Sue me. Anyways, one thing I like to do is vignettes. Although that term is usually associated with scripts and poetry, I like the term for what is more commonly refered to as flash fiction, sudden fiction, microfiction, micro-story, postcard fiction, prosetry and short short story. Basically, it's just a small peep into a larger story. I usually do these for my RPG characters, just to help me get a feel for the setting and story, and how my character fits in. I find them great fun, and good warm up exercises to keep my writing muscles loose. I'm curious if anyone else ever does these?

Below is one of my favorites that I did a few years back for a World of Warcraft character. I had created him on a PvP server, and this little snippet was a fictionalized narrative of his first (and my first) PvP experience. Enjoy. And comment and/or critique if you like.

***

Uthorius had been tracking the elusive orc for hours. It was a hunter, just as he was, and a crafty one. It always amazed the night elf how such foul and savage creatures as orcs could master the subtler arts of woodsmanship. And yet here was proof of just that.

The elf had run across the tracks while hunting bear here in Ashenvale. It had only been three footprints, and not very deep. But they were broad and long, and turned slightly inward, indicating an orc, rather then say a dwarf or human. Nearby, Uthorius had also found a paw print of some large cat.

So, it has a pet as well. He had thought. His hand strayed to his own pet wolf, Fleabag. So named for his annoying habit of stopping to scratch himself at the most awkward times, including combat on occasion. A hunter’s bond with his pet was supernatural, and thoughts and feelings were shared at an instinctive level, making the pair a powerful team.

“Worry not,” he whispered to Fleabag, “your teeth will soon be at the throat of this one’s pet kitten.”

Uthorius was not entirely familiar with these woods, having only recently come to them. But he was fast learning their layout. So he knew that just over the next rise was Raynewood Retreat, an outpost of druids and centaurs. He was on friendly terms with them, and he knew that if the orc had passed nearby, they would probably know of it.

As he crested the ridge, the site that assailed him made the night elf’s blood boil.

In front of the elven structure was a scene of unprecedented carnage. Several elven druids, some still in bear-form lay dead or dying. And in the middle of it all, crouching on the ramp into the retreat stood the orc. He was a muscular brute, with black oily hair. Uthorius could almost smell the filth that surely wafted from the crude leather armor it wore. Beside it was a large cat, it’s tawny hide and short mane indicating it to be one of those native to the Barrens.

Presently, the orc hadn’t noticed the approach of the elf, so Uthorius took cover behind a tree and unslung his bow and drew an arrow, all in one fluid movement. The creature was raising its own bow, and taking a bead on something inside the building. The elf raised his and in turn took a bead on the orc, instinctively keeping Fleabag near his side. He knew that as soon as he let the shaft go, the cat would react by rushing him.

Although he wanted to shoot the orc before it could do more harm, he knew that, tactically, it would be better to catch the creature in a crossfire of sorts. So, he waited until the orc fired, trusting in the toughness and healing abilities of its target to withstand the first arrow. As it did so, Uthorius let his own shaft fly, imbuing it with magic force that would stun the creature upon impact.

The shot was straight and true, and impacted with an audible crack. The orc grunted and reeled, but was unable to react, as a giant bear charged out of the building and attacked. As he knew it would, the orc’s pet reacted by running towards the elf. But it never got close, as the white form of Fleabag bolted from cover and met the cat’s charge with snarling fury.

The elf let shaft after shaft fly, some imbued with more magical energy, causing greater harm. Between the expertly shot arrows and the druid’s bear-form attacks, the orc stood no chance. Before it could even register that it was being attacked from two sides, it was down. And as it fell, it’s cat disappeared in a puff, it’s supernatural link temporarily broken.

Uthorius took a moment to revel in the victory. But he knew it was only a small one. For death was anything but permanent in Azeroth. And he knew that the orc would probably be back.

Perhaps it will have learned a lesson, though, and decide to steer clear of elven lands. Not likely, as orcs are notoriously stubborn and thick-headed. So, Uthorius and those like him would always be here to defend the realms from such savage stupidity.

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