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Amanda Jean Timmerman

"The Edge" by Amanda Jean Timmerman

SciFi/Fantasy text 4 out of 4 by Amanda Jean Timmerman.      ←Previous - Next→
 
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My entry for the "Echoes of Elfwood" contest, this is the story of a young elf princess who has been forced to the edge by a series of events.  As she steels herself to jump off a cliff and end it all, she flashes back on what brought her there and tries to fingure out who to blame.  The inspiration for this story is the picture "Suicide" by Kaegan N. Cusenbary.  I went looking for a picture to write about and stumbled upon this, and I loved it!  I only hope I can do it justice with this story.  Enjoy!


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Kahlia stood, poised, on the edge of the cliff, tears streaming from her eyes.  The treacherous wind snatched at her hair and dress, pulling her toward the rocky surf below—toward oblivion.  But now that she was here, she clung tenaciously to the slippery rocks, unwilling to give up her life as she had planned.

            “What brought me to this point?” she whispered to the howling wind.  “What could bring the proud daughter of kings so low?”  Shutting her eyes, the elfin princess had her answer.  It was there, etched on the inside of her eyelids—a face.

 

***

 

“Slow down, Kahlia!”  The mousy-haired handmaiden called.  “I cannot keep pace with you!”

The princess only laughed.  Playful mountain breezes blew her long, dark red hair across her face, and she reveled in the spontaneity that washed over her.  She laughed again.

“Really, Kahlia, my dress was not made for hiking,” her companion complained.  “And neither was yours, for that matter!  If you tear this one, Mistress Ankry will not be pleased.”

“Oh, come, Riyette!” Kahlia retorted.  “After all these years, you ought to know better than to make me wear an expensive dress on a beautiful summer day.  Besides,” she added with a grin, “Mistress Ankry has a stick up her royal-seamstress bum.”  Riyette giggled in spite of herself; she had no argument for that!

A few minutes later, the two of them stood side by side atop the mountain, gazing out at the vast ocean before them.  “It’s so beautiful,” breathed Kahlia.

Riyette rolled her eyes.  “I know, I know.  You say so every time we come up here:  ‘It’s so beautiful.  I wish Father would let me go out on one of the ships.’  Honestly, you do drone on sometimes.”

Kahlia, was not listening.  A distant ship had caught her attention.  Squinting, she could just make out the tiny green and gold banner whipping in the wind.  “Matrius!” she shouted.  “Look there, Riyette—my brother is almost home!  I wish Father would let me go out on a ship like that!” 

Riyette sighed.  “Of course you do.”

“Come on,” Kahlia cried.  “We must go and meet him!”  And with that, she rushed off, Riyette trailing along behind, shouting various protests and threats.

 

Down on the rocky shore of the bay, both Kahlia and Riyette held their breaths as the first of the Rhiati—the small boats of Kahlia’s people—touched ground.  Their anticipation was disappointed; the prince was not aboard.  Instead, a short, stout man named Orach headed it up.

Kahlia stepped forward.  “What is the meaning of this?” she demanded.  “As captain, my brother, not the first mate, ought to lead the first Rhiat!”

“My lady,” Orach greeted her, dropping to his knee.  “I am afraid I must inform you that I am the captain of this ship.” 

Kahlia drew back her hand to slap the idiot across the face, but froze.  Her hand dropped.  The world spun.  She swallowed hard.  “Matrius is…”  She cleared her throat.  “Matrius is dead.”  Although there was no question in what she said, Orach nodded solemnly.  In Kahlia’s periphery, Riyette gasped and put a delicate hand to her mouth.  Kahlia, on the other hand, remained unnaturally calm.  “How?” she asked coolly.

“Pirates, my lady,” the first-mate answered, his head still down.  “They attacked our ship in the dead of night.  We were not prepared—Prince Matrius and I were the only two on deck.  He saved my life and took three of those blaggards with him to the afterlife.  I managed to raise the alarm, and once we were up and armed the scum had no chance.  We kept but one prisoner—the man who killed your brother.”

“Where is he?”

“My lady, do you think it wise to—”

This time she did slap him.  “I asked you a question, Orach.  Where.  Is.  He.”

“I beg your pardon, my lady,” he humbly apologized.  “I will show you to him as soon as he is brought ashore.”

 

“Here he is,” Orach told Kahlia a few minutes later.  “And never a filthier, more murderous-looking villain have I seen.”  Before them stood a tall, broad-shouldered man with a bruised and blood-encrusted face shrouded by a shaggy overhang of grimy, white-blond hair.  “This is the sister of the man you killed,” Orach growled, grabbing the pirate’s neck roughly.  “Look well, while you still can.”  Shaking the hair from his face, the prisoner looked boldly into Kahlia’s face, his sharp green eyes meeting her narrowed brown ones.  For a split second that connection held them together, took them outside the realm of space and time.  Then Kahlia looked away.

“I quite agree with you,” she told Orach.  “I have never in all my days seen a more wretched-looking piece of scum.”  With that, she turned on her heel and fled.

 

***

 

She saw him now just as she had seen him then:  green eyes piercing her soul, cutting sharply through her frayed emotions.  His look in that instant had been one of stubborn, resilient defiance—a look that Kahlia knew she herself often bore.  Perhaps that kindred attitude was what had touched her in that first gaze.  Perhaps it was something more.

“Why did you have to die, Matrius?” she cried aloud.  “And Goddamn it all, why did he have to be the one to kill you?”  The wind shrieked louder in response, and thunder pealed from somewhere nearby.  “And why did I have to fall for him?” she asked more quietly.  That was the part of this whole ordeal that made the least sense.  But then, when does love ever make sense?

 

***

 

“Father!”  Kahlia half-shouted, half-sobbed as she ran to King Rillehann.  Rising from his ornately carved throne, he met her rush and pulled her to him.

“It is good to hold you close this day, my daughter,” he said, loud enough for the nearby courtiers to hear.  “The weight of you in my arms gives me some comfort in the face of the knowledge that I will never again hold my son.”  Quietly, just for her ears, he whispered, “I am sorry, Kahlia; I know you loved him as much as I.  But now I must ask you to be strong, for my sake and for our people’s.”  She nodded silently, blinking back the tears that wanted to slide down her cheeks.  In an act of sheer willpower, Kahlia released her father and stepped back, her head held high and proud, her eyes clear and free of tears.  Her father sat regally down once more.  “Now,” he said to the room at large, “where is my son’s murderer?  I ask that he be brought before me, that he may face justice.”  Right on cue, four burly guards pushed open the wide oak doors at the end of the hall opposite the king’s throne.  Held between them by four ropes about his neck was the murdering sea dog himself.  In further precaution, his wrists had been bound behind his back and his ankles had been tied together, leaving him only able to take small, stumbling steps.  Kahlia waited for him to trip as the guards dragged him forward, but he did not.  At last, the party halted, and one of the guards shoved his prisoner forward.

“Here, your majesty.  This is the murderous villain himself.”  He struck the pirate in the side of the head.  “Kneel before the king, you insolent dog!”

Still standing, the young man turned sharp eyes upon the king and asked calmly, “Does it make your men feel powerful, majesty, to hit a defenseless man because he does not understand the protocol of the strange land in which he finds himself a prisoner?”

The guard was furious.  “Why, I’ll make you kneel, you stupid, scummy son of a—”

“Enough!” Rillehann commanded coldly.  “Please restrain yourself, Straen.  The time for blows will come.”  He returned his attention to the prisoner and continued, “I am Rillehann A’Kareniin, king of the Aerkhan.  Who are you, and why do you not kneel?”

“I am called Dirk—no title—and I kneel to no man, be he king, emperor, or self-proclaimed god.  You, your majesty, are the last man on this earth I would kneel to—save perhaps this guard behind me—for you are the one whom they say will put me to death.”

King Rillehann sneered.  “I am the one who shall put you to death.  But perhaps it would be best for us all if I first removed your tongue.  You might get into less trouble that way.”

“Again, please forgive my poor grasp on your people’s customs, but where I come from a man is given the chance to defend himself in the face of accusations.  Am I to be given such a chance?”

“You killed my son!” the king bellowed.  “You are lucky that you still draw breath!”  Dirk just raised a prompting eyebrow and waited.  After a few deep, calming breaths, Rillehann regained his composure.  “According to our custom, there are several options for how to decide what is just:  a single person can be appointed judge and be charged with hearing out both sides; a group of people can be given the same task; a champion of the victim’s family can challenge the accused to a fight; a coin can be flipped; priests can be consulted to channel the will of the great God…  There are many more, but those are the most popular.”

At last Dirk seemed to be out of flippant remarks.  “So…  How do you decide which one?”

“It is the choice of the victim’s next of kin.”  The king grinned malevolently.  “In this case, me.”  He seemed to ponder his choices for a few moments, searching for the most cruel, sure method.  “I choose… the rite of K’Raeen.”  Nods and murmurs of approval rippled round the gathered elves.

Dirk glanced around sardonically.  “Uh-huh.  Right.  Of course.  What in the third ring of Hell is that supposed to mean?”

“The rite of K’Raeen calls for two things:  first, you must convince a third party, appointed by me, of your side; then, that person must convince me of it, all before three suns have set.  Then, I declare my verdict.”

“Fine,” Dirk answered calmly.  “Just tell me who I must prove myself to.” 

Rillehann smiled and swept his arm back in a grand gesture to where Kahlia still stood beside the throne.  “My daughter.”

Shocked, Kahlia tried to protest, “Father, I…”  She looked around at the expectant elves around her—thought of her brother, dead and cold.  “I would be honored,” she finished.

 

 

***

 

“Father,” Kahlia lamented.  “You were a part of it, too.  A discerning ruler you may be, but always blind as a father.  I was lost from the moment you tasked me to listen to him.”  With another booming note of thunder, the dark clouds broke forth in drizzling rain.  “How could you not see?” she demanded, cleaving more tightly to the rocks to keep from being washed away into oblivion.  “How could you not know?”

 

***

 

“So how does this work?” Dirk asked about an hour later.  Kahlia had entered his cell a few minutes earlier, looked at him scornfully, and then—quite to his shock—seated herself on the grimy floor opposite him.  Either highborn elfin ladies did not behave as Dirk had always been told, or the princess had a rebellious streak.  He hoped it was the latter.  “Do you ask me questions or something?”

Kahlia glared viciously at him.  “You are the one with something to prove.  Make up your own questions!”

“Alright,” he consented placatingly.  “Are all elf women so quick to sit on the floor?”

“Questions for yourself, blaggard, not for me!” she shouted furiously.

“What is that supposed to mean, anyway—‘blaggard’—it sounds like a messy sneeze.”  Kahlia arched one brow dangerously.  “Alright, alright!  Just trying to lighten the moment.”  Pausing, he sized his companion up more carefully.  She was not as easily won as most women he met.  Then again, he had not killed the brothers of most women he met.  “I’m sorry,” he said earnestly.  “That was in poor taste.”  Drawing a deep breath, he tried to think how best to present his case.  After a long and gripping internal debate, he decided to begin with the beginning.  “Were you close to your brother, my lady?”  Before she could shout at him again, he raised a silencing hand.  “I understand that you have no reason to trust me, or even to listen to a word I say, but for my sake and the truth’s, I hope you will believe me when I say that this question is important.”

Caught off guard by the sudden onset of gravity in his voice, Kahlia relaxed.  “We have not had much in common these last few years, but there exists…existed…a bond between us that no one could break.”  She sighed gently.  “Yes, we were very close.”

Dirk nodded.  “I was close to my brother, too.”  Kahlia blinked in surprise.  “Yes, that’s right, even ‘blaggards’ like me have families.”  The corners of his mouth slid up in a dashing grin that dazzled Kahlia for a moment before fading back into his more common amused-half-smile.  “We grew up in a little town on the coast.  Our father was a fisherman, and he used to take us out on his boat when the sea was mild enough.  Mother always complained it was too dangerous.  Turned out she was the one in danger.  One beautiful day, much like this one, my brother and I went out fishing with my father, and when we returned, she was gone—killed—along with more than half our village.  Foreigners had come in fancy ships, the survivors said, and demanded to trade.  Our villagers were suspicious, fearing the sailors because of their numbers and because of the prowess of their vessels.  They knew that if they permitted the foreigners to land, they would not be able to withhold anything from them that they wanted to take.  So, my people told them to look for trade elsewhere.  Furious at having been denied, these foreigners forced their way ashore, killed anyone they could get their hands on—women and children, mostly, and whatever men tried to fight them—and torched the village.  They were gone before we returned.

“After that, my father withdrew into himself.  He stopped fishing, stopped talking, and finally stopped eating.  My brother and I tried to take care of him, but he fought us when we tried to help him.  Nothing we could say or do got through to him, and we had to watch as he slowly and needlessly starved to death.  I took it pretty hard, but my brother took it harder.  He was never the same after that; his life became consumed with thoughts of revenge.  As soon as he was old enough, he signed on with the crew of a pirate vessel.”

“He left you?” Kahlia could not help but ask.

This time Dirk’s smile was a sad one.  “No.  I went with him.  The captain did not want to take on someone as young as I was, but I was determined to change his mind.  After I spoke my piece with him, he told me he would take me on because he figured if a gale came up, I could probably talk it out of wrecking the ship.  I stepped onto that ship and never looked back; I cannot see myself as anything but the pirate I am.  But, as able as I consider myself to be, my brother was better.  He made second-mate by the time he was fifteen, and at seventeen, he had his own ship.  Oh, to see him build his crew up out of nothing!  It started out just him and me, but it grew, fast and strong, until the Burning Seahawk, his ship—our ship (I was first-mate)—had become one of the most feared and respected on the water.  Still, all my brother could think about was destroying the people who had broken our family.”

“Nothing else would appease him?” the princess again broke in.  “Surely with his own ship, and the riches and respect he won with it, he could have been content.”

“Revenge,” he answered, penetrating green eyes locked on her face, “can be a powerful motivator.”

Catching his drift, Kahlia raised her chin stubbornly.  “There is a difference between revenge and justice.”

“Ah, but the line is blurred,” he retorted, “and it is easy to slip from one to the other.”

“Get back to your story,” Kahlia ordered, her anger aroused.

Dirk sighed.  “I begin to think that my story will hold no meaning for you.  How could it?  You have clearly lived all your days in the lap of luxury, with anything you want only a beckoning away.  What are the tales of a lowly vagabond pirate to you?”

The princess leapt to her feet.  “How dare you!  You presume to tell me what my life has been like when you know nothing of either it or me!”  She made as if to leave, but turned sharply at the door.  “Perhaps I would care for the tales of a ‘vagabond pirate’, but I most certainly do not care for the lies of a filthy murderer!”  For the second time that day, she fled the prisoner’s presence.

 

***

 

Bitter tears mingled with the raindrops coursing down her cheeks.  “It was not fair of you,” she shouted, not even knowing the name of the man she now accused.  “You had no right to drag your brother with you into hate!”  She stopped, her breath coming raggedly in the heat of her fury, then added, “It was your quest for vengeance that brought me here!”  Lightning flashed in sharp disagreement, but she reiterated the thought defiantly.  “It is your fault!”  Thunder grumbled quietly.  “It is your fault,” she said again, without conviction, before closing her eyes once more.

 

***

 

A quiet knock on the cell door woke Dirk from his troubled sleep.  “Who’s there?” he called, as if he had some control over who entered and who stayed out.  His question was answered a moment later when a pair of big brown eyes—the princess’s eyes—appeared in the barred window set in the door.

“May I come in?” asked a gentler voice than could possibly belong to the hard woman he had spoken to the previous day.

“Of course, my lady,” he answered courteously.  The woman entered.  It was indeed the princess, and she carried with her a plate of bread and fruit.  Shaking his head to dispel what was clearly the last remnant of a strange and vivid dream, Dirk only managed to make himself dizzy; Kahlia and her tray remained.  “After last night…” he began.  “After what was said…  I did not think you would return.”

 “I am bound by the custom of my people to hear you out.”  She looked away.  “Also, I am sorry for how I spoke to you.”  The glint returned to her eyes as she turned back to Dirk.  “But that does not mean I take back what I said.  You do not understand who I am.”

“So tell me,” he suggested.  “Make me understand.”

For a long moment, Kahlia just looked at the man before her—her brother’s murderer—and said nothing.  “Very well,” she said at last; “I will tell you.  What do I care?  You will die soon anyway.”  Dirk scowled but did not argue the point.  Instead, he reached for a piece of bread and settled in to listen.  “From the day I was born, my father, mother, and every nurse, servant, or tutor I have ever had has tried to engrain upon me the importance of honor.  We elves prize that trait above all others; it is the basis of our traditions, of our government, of our every battle.  They taught me that, far from being above honor, elfin royalty is bound even more tightly by it than the common folk.  By the time I could walk, I was dreaming of noble duels and valiant quests.  Never did treachery or betrayal enter my daydreams—except, perhaps, on the part of some heinous demon.  Then, when I was ten years old, I caught my mother having an affair with one of the guards.  When I confronted her, she laughed and told me he was not her only lover.  She said it was only fair, since Father had never wanted her anyway, but only took her as a wife out of guilt after he killed her first husband, the previous king, to get the crown.  I did not want to believe her, and I refused to for some time, but eventually I decided that I had to know the truth, so I went to Father.  He put his hands on my shoulders, sat me down, and explained to me how everything I had been taught to believe was a carefully guarded lie.  I ran from him and hid in my room for a long time, refusing both food and company.  On the fourth day, my mother knocked at the door, as she had every other day, and asked if she could come in.  I decided I had sulked long enough, so I opened the door.”

When Kahlia did not continue, Dirk prompted, “What happened?”

Turning her back to him, the young woman lifted her long hair and pushed down the neck of her dress.  There, by her left shoulder blade, was an ugly, twisted scar.  “This,” she answered.  “My mother stabbed me in the back—literally.  Afraid I would make public her sordid love-life, she sought to kill me.  But failed.  Matrius heard me scream and came running.  He dragged her off me before she could finish the job.  He pulled her knife from my back and used it to cut her throat.  It was not an easy thing for a little girl to see.  I did not know who to blame—who to hate.  So, for a while, I hated everyone.  It took me years to forgive them all for not being perfect.

“So you see, I know as much about hatred and heartache as you do—maybe a little more.  At least you knew who your enemy was—the sea-faring foreigners who burned your village.”

Dirk, with a sadder smile than ever, asked, “Would you like me to finish my story, now?”  Kahlia nodded.  “It took us years to track down the ship that had led the attack on our home, but at last we found it.  For two-and-a-half days we stalked her, weighing their numbers against ours.  The odds were not good, but try as I might I could not persuade my brother to get help from another ship.  He said he could wait no longer for vengeance.  So, on his command, we attacked.  Once the battle was joined, five of us swam over to spread pitch on the enemy ship so that we could set it afire with flaming arrows, but we met resistance.  The captain, first-mate, and two others were waiting for us.   We had little choice but to jump into battle with them.  My brother and one of the others both went for the first-mate, the rest of us were fighting one-on-one.  I dispatched my man as quickly as I could, but the enemy captain was quicker to finish his opponent, and he moved in help the mate.  By the time I was free of my man, the captain had my brother pinned against a wall, fighting for his life.  He knocked the dagger from my brother’s hand and drew back to run him through.  I didn’t think then.  There was no time.  I hurled myself at the captain and managed to barrel him to the deck.  I expected to feel his blade in my gut any moment, but the blow never came.  Looking down, I saw that he had landed on his own sword and was dead.  Then, someone hit me on the head.  The last thing I saw as I blacked out was my brother, leaping over the side of the ship.”

Silence reigned.  “But…” Kahlia queried.  “When did you come upon my brother’s ship?  Was it later that night?”

Dirk looked pointedly at her.  “That was your brother’s ship.”  Shock, horror, and ugly realization played over her face in waves.

“But you… you didn’t… they said…” she stammered.  “I don’t understand!”

“I think you do understand,” he told her, looking grim.  “There are two sides to every story, Kahlia, and two sides to every fight.”  She wanted to turn and run, to flee as she had before.  But there was a deeper urge within her now too; she fought it, but to no avail.  Suddenly, she flung herself at Dirk, collapsing onto his shoulder in tears.  For a moment, the pirate looked quite baffled.  Then, he draped his arms around the shuddering girl and comforted her quietly, “There now; it’s going to be alright.”

 

***

 

Her tears all spent, Kahlia fell back against the rocks, breathing deeply.  “Don’t think you can escape without blame, Orach,” she chided softly.  “You should never have brought him home; you should have killed him right there on the ship!”  The thunder rolled now more gently, and the rain slacked off.  Her time was almost up.

 

***

 

Kahlia walked slowly into the great hall the next morning, to the meeting she had called.  After she had left Dirk the previous night, she had stayed up until dawn, pacing the floor of her room and wondering what she was to do.  As the sun had appeared over the mountains, she had come up with a plan.  It was this plan she was now attempting to enact.

“Good morning, my daughter,” Rillehann greeted her.  “For what purpose have you called us here?”

Kahlia took a deep breath.  “There has been an error in the pirate’s trial.”  Whispers.  “You had not the right to choose the method of K’Raeen.”  Murmurs.  “I was the closest bound to Matrius.”  Silence.  “He once saved my life.  By our traditions, that connected the two of us on a spiritual level.  Since I was already connected to him by blood, I claim that the additional tie gives me the right of choice.”  Around the room, heads nodded in agreement.  They all understood the bond created by a life saved.

“You speak wisely, Kahlia.”  Clapping his hands, he addressed the guards standing by the door.  “Bring the prisoner here.  My daughter shall have her choice.”

Soon enough, the guards returned with Dirk in tow.  The king explained the situation to him in lofty tones, then gave the floor to his daughter.

Kahlia looked Dirk in the eyes for a long moment, then turned to the rest of the room.  “I invoke the right of LaRin,” she proclaimed, then added, for Dirk’s benefit, “I forgive him.”  The crowd roared with shocked outrage.

“Kahlia!” the king cried.  “You cannot do that!”

“Oh yes I can, Father.  The prisoner Dirk is free to go, and shall be given my own Rhiat and a purse of my gold, to speed him on his way home.  Guards, release him.”  The guards stared, dumbfounded, at each other and at her.  “I said release him!” she ordered.  They did as she said.  Pulling the leather coin-pouch from her belt, Kahlia handed it to Dirk, a solemn look upon her face.  “You will find my Rhiat beached in the bay, under the sapling mangrove tree.  I wish you a safe voyage and a long life.  Godspeed!”

Hesitantly, Dirk turned and made his way toward the doors, looking back over his shoulder time and again at the proud young princess.

When he had gone, Kahlia faced her father, bracing herself to withstand the fury she knew was coming.  Rillehann did not speak for a long time, but when he did, he did not shout, as Kahlia had expected, but spoke quietly.  “Get out.”  Kahlia didn’t move.  “Get out,” he said again, his voice rising.  “Leave this hall, this city, this kingdom—leave and do not look back.  There is no room for you here.” 

Kahlia looked around at everyone else; they all bore the same look of mingled rage and disgust.  Her father, Orach, the guards—all of them wanted her to leave.  Her gaze settled last onto the face of her closest friend.  “You too, Riyette?”  The girl’s expression was answer enough.  Slowly, back straight and head erect, Kahlia, daughter of kings, exited the hall.  She did not look back.

 

***

 

“And now I am here,” she said, to no one in particular, “without a home, a family, or even a Rhiat.”  A hysteric laugh escaped her.  At last she addressed the man most directly responsible.  “You will never know, will you, what pain you have brought me.  You took my brother, my father, my peace of mind.  I stand here, on the edge of a cliff, while you sail off in my Rhiat.  A life for a life, I suppose.”  The sky was clear, now, and a crescent moon shone down brightly as a final, stray tear managed to wind its way down her cheek.  “I hate you!” she screamed hoarsely.  “I hate you!”  In a second, her anger melted, and she murmured, “I love you.”

What could bring the ‘proud daughter of kings’ so low? she thought.  Only herself.  Shutting her eyes, Kahlia leaned out over nothing, ready to vanish into oblivion.  She let go.

But she did not fall.  Looking back and opening her eyes, she found a pair of bright green orbs staring back at her.  Dirk grasped her wrist tightly, holding her back from death.

“Don’t jump,” he begged.  “Don’t leave me.”  Tears again streaming down her face, Kahlia threw herself into his arms, and they kissed, passionately, on the narrow, rocky ledge.

←- Outcast Savior | Eon--On the Run -→

DateNameComment 
15 Jul 201045 Anon.
Not the usual fantasy story, I like that. The dialogue and plot development get a little simple at times, but I like the complexity of Kahlia’s character and of elfin customs & tradition. Nice job with the retrospective narration

:-) Amanda Jean Timmerman replies: "Thanks for the compliment and the constructive criticism. Yes, I often struggle finding the balance between too simple and too complex--I tend to go one way or the other. I’m glad you read the story and commented! 2"
10 Aug 2010:-) AJ Gray
Your elf society has interesting ideas about delivering justice. Dirk seems undeveloped compared to the princess. I couldn’t help wondering if he was telling her the whole truth or just enough to manipulate her feelings.
I’m not experienced at literary criticism but I’m trying to comment on all the entries for the Echoes of Elfwood contest. I don’t think this is a particularly useful comment, but I wanted you to at least know I read and enjoyed your work.

:-) Amanda Jean Timmerman replies: "Yes, the elf society is very messed up and more concerned with tradition than with practicality, so their system of justice is extremely complicated and not very efficient. I tried to develop Dirk through his life story, but it didn’t work as well as I had hoped because of the word limit and how much time I spent on developing Kahlia. I am undecided myself as to whether he was just manipulating her; I kept going back and forth between him showing up to catch her or just flashing to him in a tavern somewhere boasting about his successful manipulation."
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'The Edge':
 • Created by: :-) Amanda Jean Timmerman
 • Copyright: ©Amanda Jean Timmerman. All rights reserved!

 • Keywords: Blame, Cliff, Despair, Edge, Suicide
 • Categories: Elf / Elves, Romance, Emotion, Love, Royalty, Kings, Princes, Princesses, etc
 • Submitted: 2010-07-07 00:36:12
 • Views: 350

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