Below is a rough draft of the opening of a short story I intend to publish with Pat. I was hoping to share it here so I might receive feedback. I’m not looking for edits, as I know it’s rough. But does it grab your attention? Would you want to read more? Any feedback you have would be amazing as I hope to go somewhere with this. Please? Even if you’ve never commented before, now is your chance!
The Mountain Uzun was nondescript to the unknowing eye. Centuries ago it was a hub of Dwarfish activity. It was rare to see the Dwarves themselves, as deep below tunnels took them to and fro from the kingdom of Zarakzig, but mining and trading activity was evident to those they shared the land with above ground, and hunting parties could been seen coming and going when the stores of food became low.
The Dwarves were a private race. Greed and a sense of superiority kept them from associating with those who lived outside the mountain. Even when need was dire, the Dwarves were too proud to call to the elves or, Rielel forbid, the common man. So it is of little surprise that when the great fever came, it wiped out all traces of the race, before the great kingdom of Zarakzig had a chance to lower their pride and call for help.
The mountain now sits barren above and below. No life has been seen to come or go for quite some time now. The young children of man hear stories of how their great-great-grand pappies use to see the occasional dwarf in town, trading for the few things the dwarves could acquire no other way. These days the dwarves are nothing but a legend of old.
The existence of Nalri Deepwise is unknown to all but him. No one expected a single Dwarf to survive the great fever that came and took out all of his people in the span of a week. Nalri himself was only spared because he was out gathering raw mithril when the fever swept through Zarakzig. Mithril was becoming a rare commodity, so his search for it had him gone for a good portion of the year, traveling far and wide, so he was long gone when the fever hit, and the dwarves of Zarakzig were long gone, when he returned.
If not for the notes of the Clerics attempting to heal and prevent the extermination of their race, Nalri would not know of his people being fine one day, and waking to fevers that boiled their insides, and left mass dehydration and death in its wake as the fever swept through. The Clerics never had the chance to know where the fever came from. The mighty warriors showed the first signs, but it spread so fast from there, that the entire kingdom was dead, before the first few infected warriors could have funeral rights performed.
It took days for Nalri, the last of his kind, to gather all the bodies into funeral pyres, and dispose of the dead. He remained stoic through it all, in shock that it could happen so fast. About the time he got to the special pyre for his wife, and wee lad of a son, he was set in his decision that this had to have been some disease brought in from the elves or the dirty and lesser man. He decided then and there he would never again make contact with the outside world and as far as they were concerned, he had died with the rest of his kind.
That was nearly 400 years ago and he had not changed his mind since he lit the pyre and watched the family he had just started building, burn.
It will be a young adult fantasy short story.
So… Did it pull you in? Are you wanting to read more?
I’m hoping to be done by the end of April for a May release on Kindle and maybe print, though I need to look into that more.