This is number twenty-one 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 9th
Progress: Day 18 complete. Following is the day's writing (Chapter Nine continued)...
“Where’s Kieran?” she shouted. “Where is he?”
One of the young cooks pointed a finger toward the door. “Outside.”
Ryann rushed through the kitchen and pulled open the door to the outside. She raced through the garden and turned between the hedges. There he was, his wooden sword raised in training with the old man. “Kieran!” she screamed.
Kieran dropped his guard and turned to face her. His face dropped and at once Ryann knew it was true. She ran over to him and flung her arms around him. “What are you doing? Why are you challenging Bramwel?” She hung on to him, afraid to let him go.
Kieran pulled her arms away from him and took a step back. “I had no choice, Ree. Bramwel made it very clear I had to fight him.” He smiled. “But don’t worry, I am strong. I will beat him and then I will win my freedom. Then I will earn enough money to buy your freedom too. You’ll see.” He took another step back. “And now Ree, you must excuse me. I have to finish practicing. There are a few more moves and tricks I need to master and I only have a couple of hours left before the duel.”
Ryann raised her hands up and reached out to Kieran.
“No,” he said, taking another step back. “Please, Ree. Please understand.” Kieran turned away and walked back the few steps toward the old man. “Shall we continue?”
Ryann’s head dropped and a tear ran down her face. What was she going to do? She couldn’t let Kieran fight Bramwel. Bramwel would surely win and then Kieran would be stuck in the castle forever. No. She had to do something. Maybe she could plead with Lord Cala. Perhaps he could stop this duel. She turned away from Kieran and hurriedly made her way back toward the kitchen once more.
* * *
Kieran sat on his bed and pulled on his tunic. He had prepared all he could and now it was time to face Bramwel. He smiled to himself. The old man had said he was good enough. He had told him to stay to Bramwel’s left and not to get too close. Kieran had a longer reach than Bramwel and he was a little lighter too. The old man had said these were both things that would play in his favor. He just had to relax and take his time. There was no hurry. The duel would last until one of them won. Time was his friend, the old man had said.
Kieran pulled on his boots and laced them up as tight as he could. He got to his feet and walked over to the window. There wasn’t much of a view from his room but at least he could see that the sun was shining. Good. “It’s time,” he said to himself. He bent down on one knee, closed his eyes, and put a hand to his chest. “Dear God, please look after me as I do battle with Bramwel. Please guide me in your ways.” He opened his eyes again and got to his feet. “Okay, let’s do this.”
Kieran stepped through the gap between the hedges and smiled to the old man. The old man held out his hand and Kieran took it, following him as he was led toward another part of the castle gardens. As they rounded a corner Kieran could see a small crowd gathered. Ropes had been put up to enclose a large grassy area and Kieran could see Bramwel was jumping up and down, getting himself warmed up.
“Stray calm,” the old man said to Kieran as they reached the site of the duel. “And just remember what I told you. Good luck.” He patted Kieran on the back and pushed him forward through the crowd.
“Welcome,” said Lord Cala, looking about him to make sure the last of the stragglers had arrived. “As it has been a while since the last sclava freedom duel, I just want to go over the rules.” The crowd went silent. “This is not a fight to the death, I want to make that very clear. Grazing cuts are permitted but thrusts to the body or head are not. The first person who is either too weak to continue, is too bloody to continue, or yields, will be the loser.” He turned to face Bramwel and Kieran in turn. “Do you both understand?”
Kieran nodded as he looked across at the smiling Bramwel. “Yes, sir.”
With a look of satisfaction, Lord Cala took a step back and pointed to the two swords that were laid out on a table. “Take your weapons.”
Kieran stepped forward and picked up the sword. It was not what he had expected. It was much heavier than the wooden one he had been practicing with. Why hadn’t the old man said something about that? He swung it loosely in his hands and smiled. But it was balanced. Very balanced. He just had to keep it moving, that was all.
“Take your positions,” Lord Cala shouted out.
The crowd took an intake of breath as Kieran turned to face Bramwel, only five paces away from him. “Here we go,” he muttered to himself as he heard Lord Cala shout for them to begin.