This is number eighteen in a series of posts where I document the complete process of writing a novella - Day By Day!
I am documenting (via my blog) the complete start to finish experience of writing a novella that I will be releasing for FREE once it is written.
I will be writing approximately 900 words per day and I will post each day's writing the following morning, unedited, on my blog. This means you get to see my draft with all its original spelling mistakes, bad grammar, and clumsy sentences
The timeline for the experiment is as follows:
- Plotting, Characters and Scene Outlines - April 1to April 20 - COMPLETE
- First Draft Manuscript - April 21 to May 18 - IN PROGRESS
- First Manuscript Edits - July 1to July 5
- Reader Proofs - July 6 to July 25
- Final Manuscript Edits - July 26to July 31
Today's Date: May 6th
Progress: Day 15 complete. Following is the day's writing...
Bramwel walked across the courtyard that led from the east to the west wing of the castle. There was a drizzle of rain in the air and the wind swirled it around him as he walked. The last few days that Bramwel had spent with his father had been almost enjoyable. At last he had learned a lot about the history and why Walthern castle was in so much disrepair. He brushed a few drops of rain from his face and hurried to the doorway that led inside the west wing. He had decided it was time to arm himself with a few more weapons to control the sclavas that would one day be in his employ.
As he climbed the long winding staircase that led to the mostly forgotten rooms atop the west wing, Bramwel thought more of what he needed to do. Control. That was the one constant that had eluded his father for all these years. If he was to be successful, he needed to have control over all his dominion.
Bramwel pushed open a large oak door and stepped inside the sickly sweet-smelling room. “Grubb?” he called out. “Are you here?”
A small door opened up in the far wall and a short wizened old man stepped into the room. “Master Bramwel, my you have grown some. What brings you up here to see me?”
Bramwel crossed over toward the old man and invited him to sit down at a table. “I have come to ask your advice, Grubb.”
The old man chuckled. “Indeed. Indeed. Perhaps you will be the salvation of this household after all.” He cleared a space in front of him at the table and pulled a large book from inside his robe. He placed the book next to him on the table. “Come, join me. Is this what you were looking for?”
Bramwel smiled and took a seat next to the old man. “I remember when I was younger the magics you performed at some of our celebration feasts, but lately I have seen so little of you. My father has been in a doleful mood of late and yesterday I suddenly thought to come see you. I was wondering how you might be able to help us to become a strong family once again.”
Grubb turned to face Bramwel and reached out a hand to touch his shoulder. “I knew this day would come, young master. What specifically did you have in mind for me?”
“My father told me that from time to time you provided potions for him; for when he went to battle.”
Grubb chuckled. “Many times. I am sure they each did their job.”
“What sort of potions did you make, Grubb?”
Grubb opened the book that was in front of him and flicked through it. “Sleeping sickness; boils and welts; scurvy; black spot; and dippermouth. Those were the most popular.” He smiled and turned once more to face Bramwel. “And what use would you be having for these?”
“I am not sure. But I thought it was important to know what I had in my armory. I am sure the need for something will catch me unprepared.”
“Indeed,” Grubb chuckled once more. “I can see I had better pay you more attention.” He got to his feet, crossed over to the far side of the room and started digging through several drawers attached to a large cupboard. “Ah, here we are,” he said after a little while.” He held up a small vial to the light, as if to examine it, and then nodded his head. “This will do.” Walking back over to Bramwel, he held out the vial.
“What is it for?” asked Bramwel, taking it from him.
“There will come a time very soon when you will need this. Do not drink of it, nor smell it close, but instead pour a drop or two on your sword. It will aid in the dispatch of an enemy.”
“But I have no enemies and am not in my father’s army, Grubb.”
Grubb put his arms around Bramwel’s shoulders and ushered him to the door of his room. “Shhh. No more. Take this and go. I will see you again when it is done.”
Bramwel stood alone in the empty corridor with the small vial in his hand after Grubb had shut the door. He put the vial into a pocket and started walking back downstairs. What had the old man meant? It was certainly a mystery to him. A vial of poison that he should use on his sword. What use would he have for that?
At the bottom of the staircase he pushed open the door that led back into the courtyard and braced himself against the strong cold wind. Instead of heading back to the east wing of the castle, he walked southward toward the guards’ quarters.
“Captain,” Bramwel greeted the captain, who was standing outside the guard-house, smoking some kind of leaf in a clay pipe. Bramwel breathed in the musty scent and coughed. “Captain. Do you have time for a question?”
The captain breathed out a tendril of smoke and watched as the wind took it and pulled it apart in front of him. “Young Master Bramwel. What brings you here?”
Bramwel waved away the smoke that was threatening to engulf his face. “I was speaking to my father these past few days and we were discussing some of the battles that he fought. There was one that he did not tell me about; one that he lost. I found a tapestry of it hidden away in the castle and was wondering if you could tell me more about it?”
The captain removed the pipe from his mouth and let it rest in his hand. “Yes, I remember that battle. It was the first time he had fought without Kenrik at his side.”
“Who was Kenrik?”
“Kenrik was the Lord’s most trusted sclava. He was a brilliant tactician and the reason for your father’s, and his father’s, success. The first time he fought a battle without him, he lost. He hasn’t fought another battle since.”
So what happened to Kenrik? Did he die?”
The captain laughed. “No. He won his freedom. By all accounts he had saved nearly enough money to pay his sclava debt and he approached your father to inquire as to his freedom. Your father was annoyed with Kenrik and challenged him to a duel. In the old days, this was another way a sclava could gain their freedom. They could challenge their master to a duel. Win and they would be free; lose and their debt would be doubled. Of course, very few ever won their freedom that way, their swordsmanship skills were always too poor.”
“And Kenrik won?”
The captain nodded. “Yes. It broke your father’s heart. He has never fought since.” He put his pipe back into his mouth and sucked on it until a little smoke escaped from it.
“Thank you, captain,” Bramwel said, turning away. “I think I need to go and find someone now.”