I wrote the first paragraph of this not too long ago, then wrote a bunch of paragraphs after it that weren’t really going anywhere and seemed destined for a way longer story than I wanted to mess with. So I went back to the first paragraph and took it in a slightly different direction that may be more focused. I don’t know. We’ll see if anything comes of this. I think it is a crackerjack of an opening, if nothing else. Here’s the first 300 words or so, let me know if this is actually an interesting beginning.


The first volley went wide and we let them know, screaming our disdain over the walls and pitching to them the head of the spy we’d captured. They replied with a nanobot assault that ate several hundred of the night watch before the cybermancers shut it down. When I took my post at dawn, the battlements were flecked with blood and circuitry. It would be a long day.

Jovan leaned a few feet to my left, chewing on a breakfast of jerky and scratching absently at the grey stone blocks that protected us from the siege. His spear propped him up, humming with the energies that would cut a swath of death through the enemy ranks if they had the misfortune of reaching the top of the wall.

“Neven died last night,” Jovan told me. I grunted and bit from my own breakfast, a bit of bread stuffed with bacon. “I hear we might get hit with aero today.” He gestured at the clouds.

I shrugged. Aero assault was flak team’s job. Nanobots were cybermancer’s job. Supplies. Morale. Latrines. Gates. All someone else’s job. Just let me know when someone climbed the walls.

I stepped up to the edge of the wall and peered out. Beyond was the vast stretch of mud, dirt, and rubble that had once been the magnificent city of Drago. There, amongst the shattered homes and cracked skyscrapers, their enemy lurked, huddled around thousands of campfires that were little more than wispy columns of smoke in the dead morning air. Massive siege engines sat at the edges of the suburbs, just out of artillery range; the trails from their yards-wide tread tracked across the barren wasteland toward the walls, but always turned away before reaching their target. Wreckage and bodies in varying states of decay littered the no man’s land. I imagined the dirty buzz of aeroship engines echoing among the blasted, windowless canyons of downtown Drago.