Thursday, November 8, 2007

Friday Snippet, November 9, 2007

I'm sneaking in a short story amongst all the novel writing. This is really first draft. I'm too tired to edit it. Sorry for any errors.

The story opens with a battle scene. Any input on if it sounds realistic****cough* Gabriele *cough*** would be appreciated.

Please do not quote or repost anywhere. Thanks.

[Edited to address the sword-over-the-back issue.]

Shield Warriors have been the guardians of the Godsword for a century or so.

The sound of screaming and the smell of battle rolled over Mueli like a poisonous tide. She moved her back foot just a little to brace for impact, and her foot rolled on something soft. A sword connected with her shield, and Mueli went down. Clanging metal and defiant screams continued over her head as someone filled the gap.

Mueli blinked up at the confusion of motion. Anxiously, she looked through shifting legs at the eye of the storm---Shaelin still stood in the calm center, surrounded by of a ring of yelling, fighting soldiers. The girl shivered and shook, and her hand crept toward the handle of the sword in the scabbard that hung from her shoulder, but she still stood and the Godsword still rested in its sheath.

Someone tripped over Mueli and crashed to the ground. Blood and something Mueli didn’t care to identify splashed her chainmail. She saw one of the attacking Corgans break through the ring. Galvanized by the sight, Mueli rolled through the legs surrounding her, enduring the kicks and curses. She swung her sword from her prone position and sliced through the Corgan’s right calf. He screamed and fell to his knees. Intent on Shaelin, he hadn’t even seen Mueli. She drew the man’s own dagger and stabbed him where his neck met his shoulder. He collapsed.

Mueli stared straight into Shaelin’s eyes for a fleeting second. The girl didn’t look like Godsword material. Her eyes were white-ringed with terror, and her knees barely held her upright. But the Godsword chose its wielder.

Whirling, Mueli threw herself back into battle. As her sword rose and fell, she felt Death’s breath in her face. The Shield Warriors were surrounded, and more fell under Corgan swords with each second that passed.

The Corgan pushed the Shield Warriors into a smaller circle around Shaelin until only a few were left. And, still, they died. Mueli kept stabbing and hacking, her arm like lead, her heart sick within her. Shaelin and the Godsword would fall into Corgan hands, and Mueli’s last hope of justice would be lost.

“Draw the Godsword, girl!” Mueli pitched her voice to be heard over the din of battle. “Let God punish their insolence!”

A sudden space opened before her. Mueli stared before realizing that even the Corgan feared God’s wrath.

“I can’t!” Shaelin wailed like a lost child. “It won’t let me!”

Mueli stood directly in front of Shaelin, her jaw set. She would make the Corgan pay for her disappointment with her last breath.

“Shield Warriors, to me!” she bellowed.

Heads swept up, and dull eyes lighted. The Shield Warriors tightened a thin, ragged circle, matching Mueli’s position. They roared their defiance at the Corgan.

Mueli felt a light touch on her shoulder, and then the world turned inside out. When she caught her breath and her eyes could see again, her bewildered gaze took in the sight of Shaelin, Godsword in hand, standing nearby.

Wildly, Mueli looked around. No battlefield, no Shield Warriors, no Corgan. Not even her original surroundings.

“What did you do!” Mueli yelled.

“I removed the both of us from the battlefield,” Shaelin said, voice calm and face full of purpose.

She’d left the remaining Shield Warriors to die. Not even Mueli’s hope of justice was worth that sacrifice.

With a cry of sheer rage, Mueli swung her sword at Shaelin’s head.


IanT said...

Oh, that's a good start - I particularly like the ending.

The battle looks fine - suitably confused (believe me, whatever the textbooks say, battles are mostly confusion and noise - I've been a fair few simulated ones...)

The only issue I'd point out is the sword scabbarded across the back. It's actually really tricky to draw a sword of any size from a back-scabbard (again, I've tried it) because your arm only stretches so far above your shoulder. So either the godsword has to be fairly short, or it's only held by a part-scabbard and a quick-release loop at the shoulder, or the scabbard its on is slung on a strap across your shoulders and you unsling it before drawing.

But then, that's probably way too nitpicking and detailed. :-)

Crystallyn said...

I thought the battle felt fine to me...I could follow what was happening without problem. A lot of battle scenes seem so hack and slash without a lot of emotion and I think you balanced it well.

WOW...I can't wait to see what happens next!

Great start!

Jess said...

Great ending to this scene, and I like the contrast between Shaelin and Meu... the one who can fight. Meuli? Mueli? Argh. I just read right over it.

Nice work. And I agree the battle works fine except the scabbarding thing. I've never tried pulling one from my back but I did think, "Gosh, she must have a long arm"...

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

Ah, great start and ending, too. The battle seemed fine to me. Definitely would like to see more!

Zoe said...

The battle scene seemed fine to me, but then, battle scenes aren't my strong point. I loved how the scene ended - makes me want to know what happens next.

Tim King said...

Reads nicely, Cheryl. Of course, with a scene like this, it really helps me personally if I have context, if I'm sympathetic with the characters and can feel how the battle matters. In other words, it helps if I'm personally invested in the battle's outcome.


Gabriele C. said...

The battle scene works for me. But I agree on the sword on the back - the fact Conan does it in the comics doesn't make it work for everyone. ;)

Ann said...

Ooh, very nice. Especially the ending. The battle reads fine to me, even the sword across the back (Someone does it in LOTR, and it looked effortless- can't remember which character, sorry).
Mine is up.