The ground was hard and dry, so digging the grave took longer than Galen had assumed. When you’re digging a grave for a friend, might as well make it half-way decent, drillmaster Pavos used to say. He wiped the sweat off his brow. Shoveling dirt in ring mail was a devilish task. Galen laid Lyon’s body into the hole and stood over him, admiring the clean hole his spear left when he impaled his friend’s throat. Dying by spear was a good death as any--certainly better than turning into a rabid Demon. “Are you done?” Harvin asked. Galen nodded and watched in silence as the stocky priest proceeded to spill the remains of his wineskin into the pit. “Dead men need no wine.” “All men need wine.” Harvin replied with an edge to his
Posts: 628 | Registered: Nov 2009
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Nice hook--he killed his friend, but we're not entirely sure why. Maybe to prevent him from becoming a demon somehow?
The priest has a nice line: "all men need wine"
My only problem is that the main character doesn't really seem emotionally attached to the friend. He buries him in a good grave because a former mentor had advised that you "might as well." He talks about a spear being as good a way to die as any, but he doesn't say it in a Klingon-death-in-battle-is-glorious way. He complains about sweat with his friend dead at his feet. So, if you're going for a cold main character, you nailed it. Otherwise, reconsider some of your phrasing.
A good beginning. I agree about melindabrasher about Galen's remoteness. Unless it's your intention that Galen come across cold, I think it can be remedied by emphasizing Galen's need to dig a good grave because it's for his friend - drop the bit about drillmaster Pavos. Something like:
quote: Shoveling dirt in ring mail was a devilish task, but Lyon was his friend, dammit! He deserved the best.
Also, I think you meant "Dying by spear was aS good a death as any."
Posts: 406 | Registered: Mar 2007
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I like it. There's a wealth of information about Galen's world/culture in there, all artfully delivered. No infodumping here! This is writing the way I like to read it.
Some of my takeaways/assumptions based on this passage:
- priests don't usually spill wine into men's graves (otherwise, why would Galen protest?). - Lyon has been attacked and all but killed by some force that means he will rise again as a demon. By spearing his unconscious friend through the throat and thereby completing his death, Galen ensures that Lyon will not become one. There isn't anything special about death-by-spear-sized-hole-in-the-neck ("as good a death as any"). - There is some kind of chronic war situation, perhaps a humans-vs-demons war. ("When you're digging a grave for a friend" + drillmaster used to say = people dig lots of graves for friends in this world; also, wearing ring mail.) - Galen is in an area that is not familiar to him. (ground hard and dry + expected digging to go more quickly + buries friends often = in a new area where he's not yet buried anyone.)