Well, it looks like I’m playing this game mostly by myself, but that’s okay. By forcing myself to slow down and look at some of these openings–slowing down enough to type them out–I’ve gotten a few ideas. I don’t know if I’m successfully emulating the techniques or not, but my contest entry is about as done as it’s going to get and will be on its way within the hour.
Here’s one last opening from a novel that’s a little bit older than the others I’ve posted: In Legend Born, the first fantasy novel by Laura Resnick (Tor 1998). (She’d written romance under a different name.) Anyone wanting to watch complex and compelling worldbuilding in action can find it in In Legend Born and the novels following it. Superb.
The Outlookers arrested him less than an hour after his boat docked in Casavar, the westernmost port of Sileria. It was a poor welcome home after nine years in exile, but Tansen supposed he should have counted on it. Despite his Moorlander clothes and his Kintish swords, he still bore the unmistakable signs of a shallah–and bore them proudly: the long mane of dark hair, the cross-cut scars on his palms, and a jashar, the intricately woven and knotted belt which declared his name and history.
Under Valdani law, which had ruled Sileria for more than two centuries, shallaheen were forbidden to bear weapons. And so the two slender Kintish swords Tansen wore aroused considerable interest; indeed, judging by the spee with which the Outlookers had singled him out, alarm would not be too strong a word. Realizing the Outlookers were after him, Tansen ruthlessly suppressed the fear which pricked him at the sight of those fair-skinned Valdani in their anonymously gray tunics following him through the crwded, narrow streets of Casavar. He was no longer a helpless, ignorant boy, and he would not act like one by racing through back alleys and over rooftops with a pack of clumsy Outlookers in hot pursuit, destroying the fragile peace and abusing innocent city-dwellers.
Perhaps he should have hidden his swords, but he really couldn’t afford to have them out of reach. There was no telling when the attack he expected would actually occur; he only knew that he must be prepared for his enemies at all times now that he was on Silerian soil if a Society assassin came for him, he wouldn’t have time to fumble through concealing folds of cloth for his swords. He needed to be as ready as he had ever been in his life.
Now however, he’d have to do something about these Outlookers. The long years of his exile, the skills he had acquired, and the battles he had won now stiffened his spine and gave weight to his voice as he halted on the rough cobblestones and turned to confront one of the men he’d spotted out of the corner of his eye.
“Did you want something?” he asked blandly. Valdan, the official language of Sileria for over two hundred years, rolled smoothly off his tongue.
Momentarily caught off guard, the Outlooker now swaggered forward. “Hand over your weapons,” he ordered.
Tansen arched one brow. “No,” he said simply.
Anyone besides me want to offer any opinions on this opening? 😛