The Voice of the Beast in the Mountains

Guarding the Flock – Vance Kovacs

The vast seas stretched out before us, the promise of empty lands whispered by the crashing waves lured us on. 

The sun rose, and set – a distant orb, like an ember, barely visible through the fog. We pressed on, seeking to win glory.

“Land, ho!” The cry went out, and we bent, praising the gods – we could not have sailed much further.

Rations, patience, morale – all had already worn thin beneath the soft haze of sunlight.

The bards will not sing of our conquest. Not yet, this land is not yet ours.

Still, each day is still; no wind blows here, our ships have foundered, no sunlight shines, the crops will not grow. Scraping seaweed from stones, stealing eggs from the cliff-faces – these are no sustenance for warriors.

Our sheep move up the harsh mountain slopes, sure-footed, searching out splinters and tuft of grey-yellow, sickly grass. Our sheep are disappearing. The men climbed the mountains, each misplaced step left an avalanche of pebbles and scree, falling back into the valley.

They have not returned. Still we wait.

They will not return, we heard the voice of the beast in the mountains, he who eats our sheep.

How long has he been hungry, picking the oily flesh of the sea-birds from their delicate bones?

Can he descend the mountains? Will he come for us?

We will find out, eventually.

Written for the amazing image above, as well as for one of BeKindRewrite’s prompts for this week: On to Glory.

Let me know what you think! 

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10 thoughts on “The Voice of the Beast in the Mountains

  1. I just stumbled upon this blog post, but I must take the time to comment that your perspective is very different (in a VERY good way!) than most other writers of this genre/style. I love the simplicity of the detail, especially in the beginning. As a writer and literary blogger, I find this so inspiring!

  2. Hi Chris,

    That’s a great bit of prose to go with that picture, as the commenter above said, great short descriptions. I get turned off by some fantasy where every line is a marathon of strange names and places. Yours was descriptive and easy to read. Nice job.

    Also, what a cool picture. I love that kind of art.

    • Yeah, the picture’s amazing – and I have to agree with you about ridiculous fantasy names and places. I can’t understand why they do it, other than to reinforce the sense of the ‘otherness’ of their setting – but shouldn’t your prose do that for you? I’m working on a fantasy novel, and I can guarantee that it won’t have any convoluted names in it!

  3. […] The Voice of the Beast in the Mountains by ChrisWhiteWrites ~ @chriswhitewrite ~ Between 100 and 500 words ~ Fantasy […]

  4. Tonya R. Moore says:

    Brilliant!

  5. Stark. Gorgeous. Makes me wonder what dragon meat would taste like. Even though this probably wasn’t about a dragon.

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