I've been muttering for years about writing a sword-swangin' fantasy/alternate history novel. I've been thinking about it a lot the last couple of weeks. Lots of fantasies (historical novels, too) start with rambling prologues, usually from some minor character--minor in the sense of history, but the not the tale at hand--and in first person. So I sat down and wrote a short prologue. Then I wrote a slightly different one. Both are first drafts (and very rough). The voice of both is that of a very old man.
The first, the shorter, is more a how-to-read-this-book prologue. The second is the what-this-book-is-about version. I have no notion which works best. (It's the first time I've written a prologue.)
So I decided to read both. The readings aren't stellar--it's surprisingly difficult to read aloud something so unpolished--but they should give you an idea of their tone and direction.
The first is about 2:15:
The second is closer to 5 minutes:
Let me know which you like best. Or if you hate both of them. Or, well, anything really. Though if enough people like one or both of them enough perhaps next week I'll read the first scene of the opening chapter.