| I like this piece - here are just some of the reasons why.
When he felt more confusion than clarity, when the magic seemed to dissipate, he could come to the woods and revitalize his spirituality. There once had been a spark to his life, a dancing flame, a decree of greater things ahead. But somewhere the zest had been drained until there was nothing left in the cup of inspiration from which he slurped. <<<--------------This was a great couple of sentences! Why? Because you bring us inside your character and make him accessible. I also love your choice of the word 'slurped' rather than the more typical word 'sipped.' Good call!
Another example of fine writing. " He hitched his breath in, his shoulders heaving up and down as he stood, pathetic and helpless. His hair was blowing as if it was prairie grass billowing in the arriving gale." <<<------ The standing pathetic and helpless --another excellent visual! The wind/prairie grass/hair comparison was super!
Another reason I enjoyed this piece was the flashes of humor. For example, when Boh 'buries the lead.' That was funny!
The whole paragraph with the pra(e)ying mantis. Which? Either. Funny. One of the essentials with fantasy is getting your reader to accept the world/realm of the story: its parameters, its physics, its people and critters. More so when the fantasy is plopped down into the 'real world.' This is something you seem to excel at. There is no doubt in the reader's mind, no questioning of what is happening. We believe it. More, you've dragged us in. We are right there. And we accept we are no longer sitting at our desk or sprawled on the couch.
Tortella. Really, really, reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyy liked this character. And, humor again, the bit about and what Tortella said about Boh's lips was giggle inducing and felt spot on. Good job!!
Overall, this was a great piece and IMHO fulfilled the prompt admirably. The forced words were all used well and never felt forced! WTG.
Awesome job overall!