This 8 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Shield of Namarr is a sword-and-sorcerer type fantasy WIP, set in a kingdom that suffers from magically-created, vicious creatures. Three friends bought a finding-things-lost potion, and set out to track down a stolen magical stone–they have found a river they must cross, planning to go one at a time, with the first crosser bring a rope that can be tied around the others’ waists so they can be pulled to safety during a daggerfish attack.


Reagan forded the river, hands tight on the reins, eyes scanning the waters, which grew opaque with silt churned up by the horse’s hooves. Once safely across, on solid ground, the healer uncoiled the rope from a saddlebag, affixed a stone to one end, and with a few swings in the air to build up speed, threw the weighted end across the river.

The rock splashed in the shallows of the other side, but Shan scooped the rope up, and wrapped it around, tying a secure knot under the ribs as Reagan affixed the other end to the horse’s saddle.

Shan’s heart raced while riding into the muddy current, since anything could be hiding in that water, and  Shan worried with each spray of water the horse’s hooves cast.

Step, thunk!

Step, thunk!

Near the end, the horse nickered and began swimming, the water grown too deep for the animal to find footing. Shan’s heart leapt, lodging painfully in the throat, until the horse’s hooves dug into the far bank, and the mare scrambled to dry land.

*   *   *

NOTE: There’s a lot of “the horse” in here, because I’m having a hard time deciding on horse names.

Originally, Shield of Namarr was intended to be a very short snippet, but some things I wrote at the end raised some questions–which led to more story. I’m currently working on some world-building and character development so I can figure out where the story goes next.

Shan, Auber, and Reagan visit a Stonespeller, a mage who works mostly in animated stone, to buy a potion that will help them recover a lost stone, the Shield of Namarr, which powers a shield that keeps magically-created, dangerous creatures from entering the city they live in. Failure to return the Shield quickly will have deadly consequences for their friend,  Jamie, whose life-force is currently powering the shield-spell.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

35 responses »

  1. Frank Fisher says:

    Very nice pacing and descriptions. I saw Shan’s anxiety in the end.

  2. Juneta says:

    Very visual, enjoyed your 8.
    Juneta at Writer’s Gambit

  3. Super terrific description. I was right there in the scene holding my breath afraid of whay lay under the murky water. Caitlin, I do enjoy your writing style.

  4. Sorry-‘what’ . writing too fast.

  5. burnsmillie says:

    Oh boy, you have me at the edge of my seat…one more to cross!

  6. Woah! Great tension. You did a fabulous job.

    • caitlinstern says:

      Thank you! I think the worst thing is the possibility–you’re not sure when or even *if* it will go wrong. Part of your brain is saying there’s no danger… and the rest is screaming at you.

  7. Carrie-Anne says:

    Very nice descriptions of the river-crossing scene.

    I have the exact same issue with one of my horse characters. I created my poor Kabardin horse in September ’93, and he’s been nameless all that time, in spite of how much his master and mistress love him, and after all the loyalty he’s shown them. I really need to find a name for him soon, since my first Russian historical is slated for release in November!

    • caitlinstern says:

      I need two different types of names–one horse belongs to a character, and is an expensive battle-trained animals. The other two were rented from a stable, and so would have less personal names, I think.

      What about a Russian word for strength, endurance, or some trait the horse has they’re proud of? And they could use a cute, nickname form sometimes?

  8. Tense and very easy to visualize from your description. Great snippet!

    • caitlinstern says:

      I definitely need to work in some of the other senses, I get so focused on how things look, I forget the rest. (Other than the splashing noises the horse is making… which sounds like a dinner bell to Shan!)

  9. Try referring to the horses by color. They aren’t all the same, are they?

    • caitlinstern says:

      Auber’s horse is different–and a gelding to the two mares, which are both liver chestnut colored. I think the mares ought to have short, serviceable names, I just haven’t decided what, yet.

  10. Sarah W says:

    I agree with you about the water—in the ocean, the only thing separating swimmers from all sorts of death is space, and not enough of it, thanks. 🙂

    Did the characters have the horses before the quest? If so, maybe the names could correspond with their specialty? If not, flower names are always nice. 🙂

  11. Botanist says:

    Good build-up of tension. With two across safely I’m thinking something has got to happen to the third 🙂

  12. Joyce says:

    I bet anything goes with naming horses. I could feel myself on that horse.

  13. Alexis Duran says:

    Very nice descriptions and tension building. I agree with the Botanist- this can’t go off without a hitch. Another great eight, Caitlin.

  14. Evelyn Jules says:

    Phew. So glad they’re across safe and sound. I have to admit my heart was pounding the whole way. I thought one of those daggerfish would leap from the water and have a nice meal. Awesome description throughout!

  15. Anne says:

    To your credit, I didn’t even notice there were many “the horse” in that snippet. Coming up with a cool horse name is tough!

  16. I like how you built this piece around the character feelings following the action. Well done!

  17. Great description! Hope you come up with some horse names soon, it seems like they’ve worked for it 😉

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