Thanks, everyone, who responded to my snippet yesterday. (I love that you drew an image, asakiyume, and that you
Ignoring the stitch in her side and the burn in her legs, Sola’li hurried up the outer slope of the caldera. She wanted to slip into Open City before daybreak. The moon had set some hours before, but she did not need to worry about her footing on the jungle trail thanks to the luminescent flowers planted along its length.
Up ahead, two earthstars lit the massive, freestanding gate that stood upon the caldera rim. The sheer cliffs of the sunken crater formed a wall more daunting than anything man could have devised to separate the rest of Paoqei from its capital and the harbor that served it. The gate, wider by several lengths than the road leading up to it, sufficed for keeping offislanders inside the caldera where they belonged. The capital might be open to traders and seafarers from afar but the island was not.
When Sola stepped out of the jungle into the cleared area around the gate, she exaggerated the swing her arms, and the guards, catching sight of her simili bracelets, greeted her deferentially and let her through without chatter. They weren’t posted to keep Liqei out of the city, but to keep foreigners in.
Despite her hurry, she paused at the top of the road. She had been to Open City many times on Srila’s business, but its splendor viewed from above never failed to amaze her. The cliff stretched out on both sides of her, dark arms holding the city and its bay in a loving embrace. That morning, however, mist filled the caldera, hiding the city’s majesty. The earthstars lighting its streets formed moon-bright constellations through the fog, hinting at the structure the Liqei, and the First before them, had imposed on the lushly vegetated crater. But that had been long before the wither. Now that the blight had devastated all but the southernmost tip of the island, it was anathema to needlessly cut trees or uproot plants.
Is the image clearer this time? I realize from the comments to the snippet that the size of Paoqei is not really coming through. Do I need something here, like Sola turning and looking at all the land and volcano peaks behind her? Suggestions? I'm not at all uptight about people rewriting my prose, so feel free to do so if that will get your point across. I love examples.
Thanks again for reading and thanks for the get better wishes. I think I'm on the mend now.