The Official Writing Challenge
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I was ready to jump all over the writer after the first paragraph. "There were only THREE Wise men, not four!" Then I was upset that a sword but would be given to the Prince of Peace! Then when it was inscribed "King of the Jews" I wanted to shout, "No, He is the King of all people!" Thank goodness for explaining this is only "part" of a future story. I shall await my critique until then...but seems engaging, and great Title.
Awesome entry, Josh. Love the imagination that you're showing in this work...I can't wait to see where you're going with this adventure story! Way to go in thinking "outside the box"! That is the way to create great FICTION.
Interesting take on a Christmas story. A side note...if my memory serves me correct, the scripture does not say there were only three wise men. It does indicate only three gifts, hence we presume only three wise men. I am anxious to see where the author is taking us in this journey with "artistic liberty."
Very interesting! There isn't too much known about the magi from the East, except the gifts that they brought. We don't even know how many there were. I think they came from Babylon and read the writings of Danieil, but that's only my thoughts. I can't wait to read your whole book.
I didn't want it to end!

One word: Maverick. :)
Good imagination here, I would caution you however to be careful when fictionalizing scripture because over time people tend to believe what is written. Just like your first commenter believes there were three wise men when the scripture does not say that all. Keep up the good work and remember God's work does not need any help to be interesting.
Creative with a capital C! This is very well done, you managed to give personality to four characters within a word count, excellent! You cannot possibly end it here, because I want to know what happens next. You did good with weaving a careful line between fiction and truth, I liked how you separated the four, to be the one and three and then started on this whole other story that is the end with his being attacked. Definitely an interesting snippet of a longer work-thanks for sharing! ^_^
Chilling, I wanted to read more.
Truly interesting story line. :) Sections relating to scripture (gifts of the Magi) are true to The Word. Wish I knew who else was looking for the sword AND how that character even knew about it - hmmmmm...
This story got better and better the more I read. I love the intrigue, the mystery of the 4th wise man and the sword, the man in black. I know it's part of a longer piece, but I can't help but feel left hanging. The ending doesn't let this story stand alone in my opinion. I don't have a problem with your character; the Bible never says how many wise men there were. For all we know there were 2 dozen. ;)
Well Josh, even though I know this is only part of a larger work, I want it all right now! Great sense of time and place in this piece. This is very well done.
I hope you'll post a notice when we can read the rest of the story. The suspense is killing me.
The only reason I don't care for it as a challenge entry is the utter lack of closure. Otherwise, I am completely intrigued by the creativity.
I say, you have generated a great deal of debate! Excellent- I love to see comments that really scrutinise what's been written.
I don't have a problem at all with the sword. It fits the tone of the closing days of the Old Testament (see Mal 4:1 or Zech 14:3 for examples.) And the legend of the fourth Magi is a great literary device to explore the ever so familiar Christmas story.
My problem with your piece is that I don't honestly think it fits within the short-story format of the Challenge. Better to submit it as a complete article in another section of FaithWriters.
Well done Josh, you certainly have us all waiting with bated breath for more. I enjoyed this read and can't wait to read the end.
I too am left wanting to hear more.
As far as the gift. . . I think it is fitting. Aren't all of the gifts full of meaning or prophecy?

Your writing style is certainly captivating. At least, you caught me. I wrote a story years ago about a fourth king. In my story he was a bumbling clutz that couldn't even bring a proper gift because he lost it on the way to visit the baby.

Your tale is far superior to mine and I look forward to reading more when you share it.
Will try to avoid repeating what others (especially my adorable husband!) have already said...
I enjoyed your powerful descriptions, especially your opening paragraph about the star, and your description of the sword which I almost felt across my finger. I was thinking it would be an ancient sword, maybe captured by the Babylonians; even the one used by David to cut off Goliath's head??
Like others I felt disappointed to be left on a cliff hanger.
Now, tell me more!

Surely a sword is not a gift for the, "Prince Of Peace"!

Let me know when you finish your excellent work of words.

ABSOLUTELY intrigued and anxious to read the rest! I agree that the "hanging" thing is problematic for the challenge, but if this was your chance to test it out, that's the way it goes. Sure looks like a "Page-Turner" (next year is fiction, yanno!) :D
Yep, it grabbed me right in and was the shortest Challenge entry I have ever read (seemed that way because I did so want to read MORE) Holler when more is ready!
Engaging in theme and presentation. Characters and their plight seems real by your dialogue and narrative. Yes, I would want to keep reading to see what they and you as the writer have in store.
Very creative and intriguing. Great beginning for your extended story!
I'm on board for wanting more!! Loved the line about the star ready to "jump off its black canvas..." - so good. Really, really good. Just my two cents, but I LOVE Biblical fiction (assuming it stays true to the heart of God's Word - which yours most certainly does), I find it draws me into the Word and helps me chew on it. Bravo Josh.
I loved this, but I'm going to have to smack you around a bit because you left me hanging. I want to read the rest of the story.

Three gifts do NOT necessarily mean three givers. I mean, how often do we give a gift to someone as a whole family. A sword is a very appropriate gift for a king or even the Prince of Peace, Jesus Himself said in Matthew 10:34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

Let us know Josh, when and where we can read the rest of this.
You got me caught up in the story! Bravo! I definitely want to know how this turns out! Please let us know when we can read more.
I wanted to scream, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO, You can't end it like that!"

I am glad this is ONLY a snippet, because i love the imagery, the suspense and the wonderment of it all.

My favorite bestselling author writes historical fiction. She and her husband have done something like this in a series and I love it.
Personally, I often catch my brain wandering into times of the Bible and imagining the events or people surrounding the story.