Skip to main content

A snippet - Chapter three

Over two thousand participants awaited their turn to best their opponent before king and countrymen. They huddled as those at attention, known and unknown, of varied ages and backgrounds – journeymen, foreign born, and common brawlers. Within their ranks stood men of notoriety who gained fame in battle or past tournaments, and these too arrived from across the northern realm.
The warriors stood fast at the blowing of a single horn upon the dais. Armond took a proud stance among the combatants, raising his right hand in the air in unison with the others, repeating the words of oath called out by the judges present: “For honor and service! To King and Country!”
The tournament was set – elimination down to the last man. Blunted weapons were doled out: swords, axes, spears, and wooden shields. The judges kept order and awarded victory at their determination of any blow of certainty to the head, neck, or heart. Eleven rounds separated the beginning rabble down to the one champion. The first two rounds, called ‘the weeding out,’ cut the number down to five hundred, eliminating the less deserving. Armond had no desire to join in their number.
In the end came the Champion’s reward: two thousand forty-eight silver krones gathered from the fighters prior to the festival as presented by the king.
Sharp-edged spears pushed the participants to the edge of the circle. Armond took a seat upon the grass to watch as a spectator until called. Pairs were singled out, dozens at a time, and after hasty instructions, judges dropped their hands and the melee began. Armond witnessed a clash of arms: the fray appeared a clumsy orchestration as fighters stumbled and rushed, slashed and conquered. Some lay bleeding, bruised, moaning in pain, or red-faced and angered over a sudden loss. The melee continued. As one pair finished, another fight began. The arena was now awash with dueling combatants; the dust roiled and the crowd kept up its loud chorus. The winners of the first round received a white feather – the losers, jeers and a quick exit.
Armond glanced over his shoulder searching for his friends in the assembly, but the faces were many and noise drowned out their voices. After some time, an eternity in waiting it seemed, a large man in a traditional white tabard approached.
“You there – here!” he commanded, pointing Armond to a position upon the grass.
“And you, hurry it up,” he called to another in wait.

An odd fellow lined up opposite Armond. Rangy arms tensed with hands folded at his waist and sweat beaded upon a cleaned-shaven head – the man looked strange even in Nordhiem.
“Choose!” bellowed the judge. Two young retainers stood near holding two swords, an axe, a spear, and two shields. Armond took a firm handled sword, its edge smoothed away, and a wooden shield. His opponent chose the second shield and a spear.
“Line up,” called the judge once again. “The fight ends when I say, or my spearmen will end it for you. My judgment is final – now fight!”
With a drop of his hand, the contest began. Armond felt a flame surge in his heart, but it was met by the distraction of a roaring crowd and forty other fights going on simultaneously in the forum.
“Come boy, see what I have waiting,” challenged the adversary, his accent thick and clever.
“Odd again,” thought Armond, his mind drifting. “Is he Noldarin? Perhaps from the western flanks…”
A sudden attack ended the curiosity as Armond blocked a spear thrust with his shield. The man returned with slashes and drives, keeping him on the defensive. He came quickly on the attack, skilled with his weapon. Crouched low with spear in left hand and shield upon his right, he squatted ready to strike. Armond lunged forward hacking with the sword, but his blows were blocked and countered. The exchange continued until the man found an opportunity and swept low as if to strike a leg; then with a sudden dip and a deft twisting maneuver, he managed to get behind Armond’s shield from below, blocking with his own shield and stabbing upward towards the heart. Armond reacted instinctively. He spun away from the near victorious strike, and with both shields knocked aside, struck a sword blow to the neck of his opponent. So sudden it came and it was done. Armond looked on as the strange man writhed in pain upon the ground, hand clutched upon a throbbing neck.
“The Victor!” called the judge. He raised Armond’s hand above his head. He was given a white feather and walked back to where the victorious sat, waiting for round two. His opponent sent away cursing.


James said…
this is from Book one.

Popular posts from this blog

hopeful quote

Pope John Paul II, in his Letter to Artists, quotes the following verse from a Polish poet, Cyprian Norwid: “Beauty is to enthuse us for work, and work is to raise us up”. And later he adds: “In so far as it seeks the beautiful, fruit of an imagination which rises above the everyday, art is by its nature a kind of appeal to the mystery. Even when they explore the darkest depths of the soul or the most unsettling aspects of evil, the artist gives voice in a way to the universal desire for redemption”

A long awaited...snippet?

As the Lords of Nordhiem takes shape, currently at 75k words, I realized it's time for a snippet. An older chapter, here we revisit Andro and his infatuation with a certain Randa (not to worry, folks -- it's still a fantasy). Enjoy:

Frost hung thick and the night deepened. Those about the fire had no complaints, tossing logs into the heady blaze. Ashes soared into the sky swiftly snuffed out by an autumn wind. Folks came and went – the heartiest not ready to call it a night. But Randa had enough and stood to depart some time before midnight. Andro was quick to offer escort. She shrugged her shoulders in her usual impassive manner. He took it as ‘yes’. “Randa, where are you headed?” hollered Rogan. He could not resist but laugh at the poor display of Andro chasing at her heel. “The road is the other direction!” “I know my way, Rogan. I wasn’t drinking tonight…not as much as you, at least!” “Then where are you going?” wondered Andro at her back as they left the others behind. “O…

the Final Approach

Nothing harder than writing fiction when real life presses upon you. It's not always bad stuff -- sometimes it's good. In this case, a much needed vacation. Before this the pages were flying along; at least for me. I am quickly nearing the 300 page mark and the end book four. So there it is: the Lords of Nordhiem update!

Now some perspective. My current dilema this time is something I call, the soft ending. You know; the Han Solo being carried off frozen in carbonite type thing. The build-up comes, but not the final part (of many final parts). The Lords of Nordhiem is a bridge book, linking a major transition to the final stroke of war and the enemy, and their opposition. but the break is necessary to carry us into the next phase. Things are getting deep.

I hope to resume the writing after my trip and have it finished in a few months. Then comes the final edit; but some of that is already done. I may actually have someone else look at it this time for a better edit. We shall …