This is number nineteen 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 7th
Progress: Day 16 complete. Following is the day's writing (Chapter Eight continued)...
Bramwel wandered back toward his room, kicking up some dirt in the courtyard as he walked. It had been a most productive day and now it was time to move forward with a newly-hatched plan. He opened the side-door of the west wing and stepped into the dimly lit hallway. Probably the sitting room, he thought to himself. With an absentminded nod of his head he set out toward it.
“Are you nearly done?” Bramwel asked, walking into the sitting room and crossing over toward the window.
“Almost, master,” Kieran replied. He bowed slightly and carried on sweeping the floor.
“Tell me Kieran, how did you come to be here in the castle?”
Kieran stopped sweeping and looked up at Bramwel. “You know that already, master.”
“Well I know when you came here and that we bought you at the marketplace, but what about your family? I don’t know about them.”
Kieran looked down at the floor. “I’m sure you don’t want to know about that, sir.”
Kieran carried on sweeping and didn’t look up at Bramwel as he spoke. “I was an orphan, sir. Always was. My aunt raised me until I was twelve, but then they needed the money that a sclava sale could bring. That’s when they sold me, master.”
Bramwel smiled. “So no family, eh? That must have been tough. So really, you have no need to leave my service, do you?”
“Buying off your debt. I mean, you’re not like that girl, Ryann, are you? She has a brother out there somewhere so I’ve heard, but you have no one.”
“Ryann is an orphan too, sir.”
“Ryann has a brother she has not ever seen. When she was bought in the market, her papers told us so.” He crossed over to stand next to Kieran. “But that does not matter. It is you I am more concerned about.” He reached out and took Kieran’s broom from him. “So, tell me Kieran, do you still dream of paying off your debt and leaving?”
“No sir,” Kieran replied, still trying not to look at Bramwel.
“Not at all? You would rather stay here and try to make me look foolish in front of my father would you?”
Bramwel placed a hand under Kieran’s chin and lifted his head so that they were looking at each other, eye to eye. “Did you enjoy making me look foolish?”
Kieran swallowed hard, waiting for the slap or punch that would inevitably come from Bramwel.
“You have nothing else to say?”
Kieran shook his head and waited.
Bramwel smiled and let his hand drop back to his side. He took a couple of steps backward and threw Kieran’s broom to the floor. “I am disappointed in you, Kieran. When you first arrived here I thought you would be a good addition to the castle staff. But now I see you for what you are; another lazy, undermining, good for nothing sclava.”
“Yes sir,” Kieran muttered.
“Well, I have a proposition for you, Kieran,” Bramwel said, allowing a smile to creep onto his face. “I hear that you practice swordplay daily with one of the old sclavas?”
“Yes sir,” Kieran replied, trying not to look surprised at what he had just heard.
“And how are your skills?”
“Adequate? I heard you were well above adequate. I heard you had quite a natural gift for it.”
“Thank you, sir,” Kieran mumbled.
“So I was thinking.” Bramwel turned around and walked over to a large chair and sat down in it. “I was thinking that maybe I would give you an opportunity to win your freedom. What do you say to that?”
Bramwel laughed. “Of course, you do not know. It is a custom from many years past. A sclava may challenge his master to a duel, by sword, to win his freedom. If he beats his master he goes free.”
“And if he loses?”
“Then his debt is doubled.” Bramwel smiled. “So what do you have to say to that?”
“I don’t know if I am good enough, sir.”
Bramwel got to his feet once more and crossed over to Kieran. He took a hold of his right arm and squeezed it tightly. “This is not a choice I am giving you, Kieran,” he hissed. “I advise you to make that challenge to me. Do I make myself clear?”
Bramwel dropped his grip on Kieran’s arm. “Good. Then we are agreed. I will go and tell my father of your challenge.” He turned to go. “And you have another two or three days to practice, boy. Try and make it a challenge for me.” He laughed out loud and left Kieran to his sweeping.
“Father,” said Bramwel, a little later that day, as he entered the large living room where his father was sat with his head over a book. “I am glad to have found you.”
Lord Cala looked up and smiled. “And what do I owe this pleasure to, Bram?”
“I needed to ask your advice, father.” Bramwel crossed over to his father and took a seat next to him. “I was walking in the sitting room today and came across the sclava Kieran there. He still appeared smug about the incident the other day and spoke up to me, quite out of turn.”
“And you want me to do something to punish him?”
“No father. I do believe he will get punishment enough. He challenged me to a duel for his freedom, as is his right as a sclava.”
Lord Cala laughed. “Surely that cannot be true. No one even remembers this sclava’s right.”
“Apparently he is quite learned, father. And I cannot refuse him. I told him that I agreed and he had two or three days to get himself ready.”
“I cannot agree to this, Bram. I cannot have you fighting sclavas for their freedom. No, I will tell him it cannot be so.”
Bramwel put an arm on his father’s. “But father, do you not think it would be good for our household? Firstly it would show the sclavas how strong we are. Like you said before, if you need to lower their pay then my defeating this boy will lower any objections some may have. No one would dare disagree. And secondly, this would show you that I am now a man, all grown up. That is important to me, father. I want you to accept me into your army one day. Please?”
Lord Cala put his other hand on Bramwel’s and nodded his head. “Well my son, it looks like you have got yourself your first duel. You had better go and prepare yourself.”