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Below is an example of an introduction for the Living Book Project. Children can come up with their own beginning, in any theme such as drama, fantasy, or fiction. They can submit the information on firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post the growing submissions on the Living Book Project in Section I. The sample is provided to encourage the young author to come up with an introduction of his/her creation. The estimated amount of time to participate in this section is approximately 1-2 hours, though a child is encouraged to spend as long as s/he wishes to refine the story, providing that the word count is between 250 and 750 words.
Sample I: Fantasy Theme
After the knight lifted the sword from the hilt, he sharply drove the blade downward toward the goblin. Even though a small buckler met the sword on its decline, the goblin was shifted off balance, dropping his short sword. He managed to bring his left arm out to the ground to catch his fall, though still found himself lying flat on the floor – and off guard.
The knight stood in front of the goblin and quickly scanned him. The goblin had a fearful look on his face and lifted his arms in front of his head as if to attempt to protect himself from the knight’s longsword. The goblin wore a leather suit, which looked worn from many years of use. There was a stench which smelled of waste and spoiled food.
In a rapid movement, the goblin shrieked, startling the knight, and reached for a small dagger from the side of his waist. The knight thrusted out his foot and kicked the dagger out of the goblin’s hand and pinned him down with his shield.
The knight yelled out, “Go from here!” “Tell the others that we will come as a large group of knights and wizards to infiltrate your den, if any goblin is caught in the outskirts of this village again. I swear it!”
The goblin relieved that his life was to be spared, rolled from under the knight’s shield, stood on his legs and ran away from the knight, his eyes remaining on the knight for several seconds as he scurried away. After a brief moment, the goblin disappeared in the vegetation of the forest ahead, leaving only the quiet sounds of the birds and insects.
The knight took a deep breath of relief. He spoke to himself in thought, “Now Derrien, I wonder if I should have let him go!” Having been a warrior for all of his life, he knew well that a goblin couldn’t be completely trusted. Derrien had a feeling that whatever equilibrium was left between the village and the surrounding forest somehow was forever changed.
Derrien was on duty that evening, charged to guard the eastern side of the village boundary. A watchman from the tower on the western barrier noted some movement. Because of the great expanse of forest on that side, it was the highest section of the wall that completely enclosed the village of Dartmoor.
In truth, the village was experiencing growing pains. As part of the southern region and with access to the ocean, it was quickly becoming a more visited place for trade and market activity. Founded during the Roman empire, Dartmoor was used as a convenient halfway point from the ocean ports and the larger cities in the interior of the empire, where soldiers and merchants would rest during their travels. It was never able to be expanded further, because of the harsh environment, the cold and wet winters. Until the last few years, when Lord Geoffrey, Lord of Dartmoor and heir presumptive to the throne of King Justus, decreed that a greater amount of the resources of the forest were to be used for building settlements and for tin production, a metal that was found abundantly in the area.
In the last few months, more goblin sitings had been reported by the guards who protected the perimeter of the village, as well as by travelers. It wasn’t clear why small bands of 2-4 goblins were increasingly being seen. Some speculated that recent tin mining expeditions into caves in the forest may have stirred small groups from out of their deeper dwellings. Others theorized that there may be some conflict developing; that the goblin bands were scouts searching for weaknesses in the village entry points along the perimeter.
A traveler to modern-day southern England may come across the ruins of the village of Dartmoor. They may walk around the old, abandoned buildings, searching for clues as to why this once thriving medieval village was unable to survive through the vicissitudes of time and left to oblivion. He or she may surmise that the village’s resources became scarce or perhaps a great disease inflicted its inhabitants. What an intrepid traveler may not realize is that what befell this village is far more sinister. The mystery of what has been lost in the passage of time unravels in the telling of this tale.
Derrien returned to his post, lugging his long sword over his shoulder armor. He was ready to return to the dwelling in the vicinity. As a vassal with sworn allegiance to Lord Geoffrey, he was granted a plot of land where he had built a house.