Monday, March 4, 2013

Excerpt from Chapter 6 of Dragon Blade

Notice: Before you read this, please note that this is rough, unedited and hasn't even been gazed over for structure. Please be forgiving for this, but I just wanted to share with you a part of chapter 6.

Okay....I guess you can read now.

“Should we resume our duties at the prince’s door?” A young soldier asked.

“Aye, it’s been long enough. He only requested we be gone for a few hours,” a deeper voice replied, the senior officer between the two most likely. “Maybe you can finally get a glimpse of the lass. What are the men calling her now? The—“

“The dragon whisperer,” the young soldier replied. “I heard it from one of the men that were in the main battle. They said she’d been able to control the silver-winged beast. Are there any truths to this gossip? Is she really strong enough to tame these monsters?”

The older man snorted. “I don’t doubt it. You’re new Jerd. You’ve only transferred, what, a few days before we departed the kingdom?”

There was no answer, the young soldier probably nodding.

“Then you haven’t seen the young lady fight. She uses daggers, lad. Those small knives she carries are more dangerous than a top-ranked knight with two swords. Three even!”

The older soldier’s voice returned to its regular tone. “Good man.” He patted the boy on the back, the metal armor rattling. “Now, let us get out of this cold and back to our station.

Leiv could feel her heart beating faster. If the two soldiers went to check on Talen they would find his unconscious body and immediately alert the rest of the others of her disappearance. She needed to stop them before they reached their post.

Another whisper reached her from the dark depths of the abandoned house; the same one that directed her to hide there. “Use the vial sticking out of your pocket,” it said in hushed whisper.

Looking out into the shadows, she spotted no one. “Who’s there?”

No answer.

Had her mind been playing tricks on her? Remembering the task at hand, she watched as the men walked back to her prison. There was no time to waste. Leiv left the safety of her hiding place and came out into the open.

“Hey!” She yelled towards the men.

Both turned swiftly at the sound of her voice and unsheathed their swords. The two soldiers eyed her with curiosity and caution. Scrutinizing every inch of her from afar, the men dared to close the space between them. She didn’t move, allowing them the courtesy to see whom they were truly dealing with.

Leiv recognized the senior officer from her time at the castle. Bramor they called him, for he was always picking fruits from the bramored tree in the gardens. His head held a bed of white hair with streaks of black peppering the edges. His height didn’t rival her father’s, but came awfully close. What he seemed to lack with bulk he made up with intelligence, automatically deciphering who she was.

“Apprentice,” he said, slowly, unsure of what her reaction might be at the name she’d been so often called within the king’s city.

She narrowed her eyes. “Am I still an apprentice to you, Bramor?” Her hands rested on her dagger, allowing the cool metal sheathe to calm her nerves. “I heard from the guards I’ve been branded a traitor.”

Jerd fumbled with his words. “You’re—the warrior all the men have spoken about.”

Her attention left Bramor’s and flitted to the younger soldier. “Well now, I do hope my abilities are still being spoken about with great revere.” She crossed her arms. The young man squirmed under the scrutiny, unable to stop shuffling his feet. “Do I make you nervous, Jerd.” Leiv allowed each letter of his name to slide languidly off her tongue, as if there was all the time in the world. She watched his features change from nervous to astonished at the sound of his name passing through her lips.

It wasn’t an uncommon sight for Leiv to see a man quiver when coming face to face with her, but this one was so terribly young. Since when did they allow such younglings into the king’s army?  He looked to be 15 at most. His medium-length blonde hair barely reached his shoulders. The boy had a small build, his armor looking far heavier than his entire frame. He was shorter than she, reaching to about her shoulders. The lad should have been at home, tending his family’s farm or working as an apprentice to one of the shopkeepers. Instead, he was out in the battlefield fighting for the mad king.

The king’s army was made of several factions of society, making it the most diverse group in the kingdom. Most times guards at the castle would enlist for a larger stipend, but usually their soldiers were peasants who trained for a year in the kingdom of Lyria, which specialized in battle training.

How could the king be so blinded by his ambition that he would put the needs of his greed over the welfare of his people? That question always plagued her, the answering never fully emerging. Farmlands were being destroyed, people were dying and children were being sent into war callously with blatant disregard for their inexperience.

Bramor broke the silence between them. “You know we can’t allow you to leave, apprentice.” He tightened his grip on the sword, taking one step after another.

“I don’t want to hurt you, Bramor,” she said, taking a small step back, “but I will do what I must to ensure the safety of my companions.”

“Then arm yourself, my lady, for I will not hold back.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less.” 

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