humor, Uncategorized, writing

Action on the Training Field

Who’s having a good week? I am, and I hope that you are, too! I’ve been making my way through Rayne Hall’s Twitter for Writers and really enjoying myself as I dip my toes back into those fast-moving social media waters. I actually have a strategy this time around which is good because Twitter is all too easy to spend hours and hours on each day.

Today I am posting from my YA epic fantasy novel The King’s Champion. Here, bumbling young Lance, newly arrived in the city from the countryside, tries out his grandfather’s sword. In true WIPpet (work in progress snippet) fashion I have added up a bunch of numbers related to the date to figure out how many paragraphs to post: 9+3 (month and day) +1 + 4 (last two digits of the year) = 17. Don’t worry, though, most of the paragraphs are not very long at all.

As always, I am embarrassingly grateful for constructive criticism and comments.

The sounds of sword fighting wakened me early the next morning. Staggering upright, I dressed, splashed water on my face, and went outside the barrack, yawning.

Carter and the others from yesterday stood on the training field in front of the barrack, fighting each other in groups of two. Carter shouted a suggestion here, an encouragement there, in a loud voice. He glanced over and saw me.

“Boy!” he boomed. “Do you want to try out that half-wrecked twig of a sword I saw you with yesterday?”

“Yes, sir!” I cried, my heart leaping in anticipation.

I ran inside, threw on my boots, and grabbed my sword. Outside, Carter broke up the duo fighting nearest him.

“Kenton, go a round with young Lance, here,” he told one a squat, dark-skinned man nearby.

Kenton looked at me and grinned, revealing a broken front tooth filed to a point like a spike.

I took up a stance in front of Kenton. He scarcely gave me a moment to center myself before he rushed at me, howling. I let out a surprised cry as he launched a stroke designed to chop off my head. Survival instincts flaring, I ducked and elbowed him in the gut. Skittering backwards, I let fly with a wild chop that sliced clean through a hank of Kenton’s thick dark hair. The men standing around us fell abruptly silent.

Kenton froze, then put a hand to his hair in dull surprise. He turned to me with a snarl of rage.

“I will chop you up into little pieces for that, boy.”

A wild exhilaration filled me. “Try and I’ll trim your whole head!”

Kenton gave another roar and unleashed a vicious round of blows at me. I fended them off with limited success, catching a jab in the ribs, a slap on the arm and a ringing swipe to the head. I managed to get in a good swat to his right side, unbalancing him. Backing up quickly, I found myself near the barrack wall. Shaddai! I took a few steps forward, trying to reposition myself.

Kenton snorted like a mad bull and pawed the earth. Lowering his head, he ran at me, powerful legs pumping his body forward with tremendous speed. I believe he intended to hit me in the stomach and knock the wind out of me. That might have worked if I hadn’t twisted aside at the last instant. Kenton hit the barrack wall head on. He sprawled on the ground, semi-conscious.

The others surrounded me, laughing and patting me on the back. Carter came up also, grinning.

“Good job, lad.”

I looked worriedly at Kenton’s inert figure. “Is he–?”

“Oh, don’t worry about him. Marl, Uffen, haul Kenton over to the doctor. He’ll be all right. He’s strange about his hair, that’s all.”

Come join the fun, started by K.L. Schwengel, by clicking below to read more excerpts from works in progress, or if you’re feeling REALLY daring, post your own:


13 thoughts on “Action on the Training Field”

  1. “He’s strange about his hair, that’s all.” Ha! I love that. I think I might have been upset too if someone hacked off my hair with a sword. I like their interactions here.

  2. I liked the end of this too. 🙂

    OTOH, I had a bit of a problem with willing suspension of disbelief at how murderously Kenton goes after the narrator during a practice session, ya know? Even before the hair, the description makes it seem like he’s out to kill him.

    Typo: … he told one a squat, dark-skinned man nearby. Cut either “one” or “a”

  3. I liked the interplay here, though I agree with Ruth. I would say that you either need to temper Kenton’s response, or set it up so that there is an issue between the narrator and Kenton prior to the practice session to make it seem more realistic.

  4. Nice action! How intriguing that the “half-wrecked twig of a sword” managed to shave a few hairs. I wonder if there is more to the sword than meets the eye. Obviously the kid wielding it has some moves, too. 🙂

  5. I see Ruth already mentioned the typo I saw, so I won’t hit you over the head with it. 🙂 I loved the last line! Strange about his hair. *snork* I don’t have a problem with Kenton’s response. Could be that there is something between them we don’t know about. Could be Kenton’s a brute looking to make an example out of the new kid. Put a sword in someone’s hand and they could get all sorts of bully.

    1. Yeah, that’s kind of what I was thinking, but I could see where it’s a bit jarring and I’ll definitely add a bit that makes it clearer. And thanks for the typo catch as well. I sure love WIPpet and I’m so grateful that you’ve organized it. I’m a bit of a sprinter – participating sometimes but not others but I think you’re all so great!

  6. I love the humor, and that no one warned Lance ahead of time. I would like to see Lance struggle a little more, maybe fall or drop his sword, before he manages to come out ahead. Maybe Kenton’s sudden impact is a result of a misstep on Lance’s part?

    I’m liking Lance, and would love to learn a little more about his inner life.

  7. I love the description “half-wrecked twig of a sword”, though it sounds like it’s in not too bad shape! Or does Carter just have really high standards? Even without knowing too much about Lance, I was already imagining him as a bit awkward or clumsy; the “Try that and I’ll trim your whole head!” feels like something a young guy would say on an adrenaline rush.

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