Collaborative Cliché — Epic Fantasy Edition!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsEvery once in a while we invite all of you to join us in the cliché-fest we call Collaborative Cliché, invented by retired reviewer Ruth Arnell. Last year we rocked the urban fantasy world. This year, we return to an old favorite: Epic Fantasy. Ah, yes, those familiar tales of derring-do on a large canvas that are just a little too familiar. Help us embrace the cliché!

I’ll start us off. Then you continue the story by adding your cliché-ridden passage in the Comments Section. You can come back and add as many passages as you like.

Durok dos Marksalot hauled back on the reins, drawing his near-horse to a halt. From his vantage point on the ridge he looked down at the great city of Ka’Chingsdoron. The river that flowed out of the Curving Mountains mysteriously made a nearly perfect circle around the thousand-year-old city, providing a natural moat. Within its watery embrace the Circles of the city formed, leading inward to the vast, elaborate, complicated, nearly impregnable Castle Rillyhard.

He ran a hand through his golden hair. Although he had grown up in a distant humble village, raised by an acerbic tavern-keeper and a woman who made a mean stew, Durok had the coloring of the Ka’Chingcash royal family. And then there was that strange birthmark on his shoulder. Admittedly, the tavern-keeper and stew-maker weren’t his blood parents, having found him in the latrine one night when he was but an infant, but he couldn’t be related to the royals. That was just crazy

Now it’s your turn! Add to the story in the Comments. You can come back and add as many passages as you like. One commenter with a USA mailing address will get to choose a book from our Stacks.

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Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town. You can read her blog at, and follow her on Twitter: @mariond_d.

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  1. Arcanist Lupus /

    As he rounded the corner, he collided with a young girl. Her clothing was tattered, and she was covered in filth but the filth did little to disguise her brilliant red hair or bright green eyes. Durok stared at her. She looked exactly like the girl who had been appearing in his dreams the past few nights, amidst scenes of fire, war, and devastation.

    “Stop! Thief!” At the sound of the angry shouts, the girl jumped up and darted off again. Only later would he discover that she had stolen his purse, and with it the little gemstone he’d had ever since he was a child…

  2. Durok made his way further into the city, he’d been given directions to a particular tavern, The Thorny Branch to meet the stranger who said he had information on his birth parents. Why he was trusting this stranger to give him the truth, he didn’t know, but he would do anything to find out more about his birth parents. He especially wanted to know about this new strange power he’d just discovered he had.

  3. Unfortunately, this new strange power seemed tied directly to his gemstone, which, though little, had tremendous vitality since, in the realm of magic, size did not always matter as much as the manner in which one wielded one’s magical gemstone. He would retrieve his gemstone; he felt less the man without it. Already, sans gemstone, he felt half-defeated on his quest. The key was the girl, he knew, and if he must pass through countless Thorny Branches, he was determined to confront this thief of men’s stones, this stealer of purses and coinage. He would meet her soon, he knew, and they would see who would come out on top in their sporting, which she, after all, had initiated. Determined, he marched off in the direction he last saw her, and as he moved, he passed by the township’s flag which, very symbolically, was at half-mast. He wondered what other symbolic landscape he must make his way through given this particular pulp author’s disturbing preoccupations . . .

  4. Couldn’t resist.

  5. Arcantist Lupus, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading, and thanks for playing!

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