“Sloths!” The cry was heard from the east of town, followed shortly by the sound of horse hooves reaching the cobblestone. “The sloths are coming!” Heads poked out of windows. Those walking along the street turned their heads. “Sloths?” came the murmur. Excited whispers quickly spread from one end of town to the other. The sloths were here.

The lookout slipped off his horse and ran to the town hall, jumping carefully over the trails of giant leaves scattered across the road. “Sloths!” he yelled through the open door. “Ring the bell!"

“It’s time?” said the mayor. He gestured to a runner boy. “Hurry!” The boy turned and ran, heading up the stairs to the bell tower. Somewhat clumsily, he rang the bells.

Three short clangs rang out, and what were whispers before became laughter and singing. Those on the east end peered out, squinting, as it was still well before noon. Atop the large grass-covered hill just outside of town, they could see them. The sloths. Immense beasts walking slowly along, carefully stepping with their knuckles, so as not to damage their long, curved claws. Their thick, brown fur was matted from travel, but still retained something of a natural beauty. Their tails were long, and easily held the strength of ten men.

They were about a half hour from truly entering the town, but that would not stop the people from beginning the celebration. It was time once again for the Migration Festival. Leaves were hung out of windows and along clothes lines. Large troughs of water were moved into place, lining the intended path for the sloths to take. Market stalls began to open near, but not quite at, the center of town. They sold candies and pies, hats and cloaks. Some sold more dubiously gathered leaves, as the greater supply had already been used. But even as the song and dancing began, the entire town seemed to be holding its breath in collective anticipation.

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All of it, at least, save one boy.


While I don't think I'll use this exactly, I'd like to start a fantasy novel I've been working on with something like this. I'm curious whether its any good, or whether it works as an initial hook. I'm especially curious to know what kind of story you would expect from a beginning like this. I know its not much to go on, but if possible, I'd like to get to the point where the opening few paragraphs give a decent impression of what the whole story will try to do.

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