Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A very busy month

It has been quite some time since last I updated the blog, but then, it has been a very busy month (the title kind of gives that away).

I have been doing nothing but writing and proof reading over the last while, re-reading chapters, tidying up the writing and basically working things through with novel number two.  I’ve had no time to really do anything else due to working on the novel and real life; so no further progress on publishing or on other stories.

The good news is progress has been made and the novel is really taking shape.  The first half of the book is basically done and I think properly carries forward the characters, both old and new.  However, it’s the second half of the book that is proving a little difficult.

I have been coming up with very good scenes, but a lot of them just don’t fit with the story so I’ve had to cut them out and save them for future books.  Several perfectly good chats between characters have had to go purely because they just didn’t suit the situation or didn’t advance the plot.  It was a shame and it’s slowed things down but maybe, just maybe, they will get worked into future stories.  We’ll see.

I am keeping at it.  I’ve had a lot of encouragement from friends and family and everyone is very keen to see the next book.  I don’t want to disappoint them!  I am making progress on the last six chapters and plot elements are falling into place, just slower than I intended.  One big piece of work that was holding things up was the identification of the final bad guy.  Fortunately, that has now been sorted.  I’m most pleased with the result and I hope people will be suitably impressed once they…well, I don’t want to spoil the plot now do I?

That’s progress for now.  Meanwhile, hope you all like the little short story I’ve done below.  This is another old one.  Nothing big, just a simple dual between medieval warriors.  Enjoy!

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The North Mans Blood

The fool’s body offered no resistance to Vadra’s blade.  It cut cleanly, slicing the soft skinned southerners head clean from his shoulders.  Vadra had thought the mans neck too long anyway; it was fitting that this weaklings end would come because of it.  Too long; like a chickens.

Yes, that was fitting too; slicing the head off a chicken.  Not that the man, in life at least, had been want for courage.  Oh he’d had courage indeed to face a veteran Warchief such as Vadra in single combat.  But he had fought like a chicken; prodding and pecking worthlessly with his thin sword blade, expecting Vadra to fight the same way.  Vadra had let the man try and land a clean blow to draw blood but the heavy northern armour he was clad in was proof against the southerner’s blows.  Then, when the southerner had at last changed tactics and gone for a stronger blow, Vadra had contemptuously swept the mans’ sword aside, sending it to the muddy ground.  Vadra’s backswing with his long sword had been the beheading blow.  The southerner hadn’t even had time to scream.  Or beg for that matter.  Vadra, in his vast experience, had seen many a southerner beg before the end.  It was very annoying.

“He was a good man north lord.  He was a friend.”

Vadra turned at the sound of the voice.  Around him single combats where taking place up and down the muddy battlefield.  North men fighting in a mass melee with southern warriors, the bright colours of the southern lands in stark contrast to the dark grey’s and blacks of the northern host.

The voice had come from another Southerner.  This one was different.

Unlike the headless corpse now lying at Vadra’s feet, a short, thin thing that hardly deserved the name ‘warrior’, this man was bigger.  Broad shouldered, clad in chain mail with only a small sash tied at his belt to mark him as a southern mercenary.  He had a thick shaggy beard, much like the one Vadra sported, black and braided.  He held a long sword, again like Vadra’s, at the ready.

Yes, maybe this Southerner was a proper warrior.  Indeed he had the look of a north man about him.  Prehapes he was of northern blood?

“I will have to kill you now north lord.”
Vadra smirked at the threat.
“You will try.” Vadra replied in his best broken Southern dialect, his skill at languages not as great as his skill with his sword.

He took a ready stance.  The Southerner nodded, slipping into a low guard.  Already, Vadra was impressed.  The Southerner indeed seemed to know what he was doing; it would be interesting to see how long that lasted.

Vadra attacked, blade sweeping high then down at an angle.  The attack usually caught off guard inexperienced foes with its speed and controlled power.  The Southerner countered well, batting the blade away and thrusting.  The long swords met in a clash of steel on steel, slipping past each other in a shower of sparks.

Yes, this one was a good warrior.

Vadra did not let up, striking again.  Again, the Southerner blocked then counter attacked with skill.  Blade met blade in ear splitting clangs of steel on steel, each warrior striking again and again to weaken the other.

Vadra did not let up.  He never did.  His strength, his years of experience, his skill with the blade; all these combined, would see him victorious.  Of this he was sure.  No southerner, no matter how skilled, would ever best him.

He blocked one of the Southerners blows.  He let go of his sword with one hand, and brought a mailed fist up, slamming it into the Southerners stomach.  The man staggered back, winded.  Vadra allowed himself a smile.

A soft skinned underbelly then.  How disappointing.

The man had his sword out in a wandering gesture but with a thunderous blow Vadra knocked the sword from the mans hands.

Time to die.

He swung his sword up, ready to...

The man leap forward and to Vadra's astonishment, grabbed the Long Swords elaborate pommel, denying the killing blow for but an instant.

Fool, he could not delay the envit...

Vadra gasped, a sharp searing pain in his neck.  He gurgled as blood bubbled up from the gaping wound now in his throat.  The Southerners face was inches from his own, a cold hard anger behind the mans eyes.

“I told you I'd kill you.” said the Southerner, as the life of Warchief Vadra ebbed away, the dagger in his throat putting pay to his murderous ways.

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