I'm sort of bringing back an old feature of my blog, although with a twist. Here is a side-by-side of the rough and clean versions of a fantasy flash fiction piece I wrote a little under two weeks ago. (I would have released it last week, but it was too rough, as you'll see.)
The moon poked out from behind cirro-stratus clouds. It shone, entirely full. Angoroth chortled.
“Who is my target, commander?” asked Angoroth. His voice was stone scraped on stone.
A dignified man turned to him. “General Crewhaw. He’s in the command tent.”
Angoroth nodded all too zealously. An ancient gesture formed in his left hand. He muttered what could have been a demon’s growl.
Faint shouts were heard in the distance.
“Dead,” Angoroth declared.
The commander smiled half-way. “Now, summon something at the narrowest part of the river. They have a watchtower there.”
Hand moving and vocal cords vibrating, Angoroth conjured. Without his right arm, severed by a rogue warg, he could not call upon a fire djinn, the best option. With a final jerk of his wrist and a shouted syllable, an imp appeared at the target site. The only indication of its existence was a faint glow from its flaming skin. Angoroth could sustain that much of his preferred spell.
Breathing took great effort for Angoroth. A fire blazed in the distance. “One last task,” said the commander. "Get some rest.”
Angoroth spit bile. He strode down the pathway to his small tent. Inside, he slept.
The moon poked out from behind cirro-stratus clouds. It glowed, casting a perfect circle of light upon the ground. A man chortled. His cloak quivered in the breeze.
“Who is my target, commander?” he asked. His tone was like stone scraped on stone.
A man wearing a tight, brass-buttoned blazer turned to him. “Angoroth, finally awake I see. Good. Your target is their general, in the command tent.”
Angoroth nodded all too zealously. His hand contorted into an ancient gesture. He muttered what could have been a demon’s growl.
Faint shouts rang in the distance.
“Dead,” Angoroth declared.
The commander’s lips curled slightly. “The enemy has a watchtower at the river ford. I need it to be removed.”
He spouted a curse, looking at the jagged stump beneath his right shoulder. Only a moment passed before he picked up a chant, swooping from bass to tenor in short, guttural syllables. His hand fluttered through several positions untraceable by the untrained eye. With a final jerk of his wrist, his motion ended. Angoroth stepped out of the tent and peered toward the river, shimmering in the moonlight. The only indication of change was a faint glow. It sputtered and seemed to die, yet before his next shaky breath it expanded greatly.
The world grew fuzzy in Angoroth’s eyes. His legs buckled.
“One last task,” said the commander.
Angoroth grimaced, his eyes red and glassy.
The commander smiled. "Get some rest, Shaman.”