This is number twenty-seven 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 and edited.
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 - June 19 to June 23
- Reader Proofs - June 24 to July 14
- Final Manuscript Edits - July 15 to July 19
Today's Date: May 15th
Progress: Day 24 complete. Following is the day's writing (Chapter Twelve continued)...
ONLY TWO CHAPTERS TO GO!!
The past couple of weeks had flown by without Ryann really noticing. She had spent every free moment practicing her sword-fighting with the old man. Now she could easily beat him. She knew exactly how he would twist or turn. She knew what moves he would make. She also knew he was going to have to try something different very soon. She smiled as she put on the tunic she now wore when she was fighting, and she made her way out to meet him again.
“Are you ready for your next lesson?” the old man asked, stepping out to greet her.
Ryann smiled. “I am ready.”
The old man pulled a black cloth from his belt and put it around Ryann’s head, covering her eyes. She felt it tighten around the back of her head. “Can you see?” he asked.
Ryann shook her head. “No.” She heard the old man laugh.
“Then we are ready.” Ryann felt the hilt of the wooden sword pressed into her hand and she grabbed it and took her guard. “You have to fight me without your sight today,” he continued. “Use your ears and your instinct.” Ryann screamed out in pain as she felt a painful jab to her right arm. “Concentrate!”
Ryann took her guard once more and tilted her head slightly to try and hear where the old man was standing. She could hear his breathing to her left and she adjusted her stance and listened again. She herd the swish of the blade in the air but it was too late and again she screamed in pain as the sword banged the side of her head. She turned and followed its movement, thrusting at what she hoped was the old man. She heard him laugh once more and she pivoted on her feet. She shut her eyes tight and concentrated on the air around her. She heard the slightest of movements and lunged forward, meeting the old man’s sword with hers. Then her training kicked in. She instinctively knew what he would do and so she bent down and rolled to her left. Then she was back on her feet and moving toward her unseen target. She slashed her sword to her left and then to her right, catching the old man in the stomach. She heard him cry out and adjusted her next lunge slightly so that the sword caught him squarely in the side of his neck.
“Well done,” the old man said. “You can rest now.”
Ryann heard the loud breaths come close to her once more and blinked as her blindfold was removed. “Are you alright?” she asked, noticing the old man holding a bloodied cloth to his neck.
“I’m fine. You attacked me with abandon. It caught me quite by surprise.”
“I just followed my instincts. Like you told me.”
“Yes you did. And when the time comes for you to fight, you must do the same. Do not hesitate, but instead follow your instincts.” The old man held out his hand.
“What do you want?”
“Your sword, Ryann. We are finished. There is nothing more I can teach you.”
Reluctantly she handed over her sword to the old man and watched as he turned to go, still pressing the cloth to his neck. “What do I do now?” she shouted after him.
He turned briefly before continuing. “You know what you need to do, Ryann. You know.”
Ryann returned to her bedroom and sat down on her bed. She knew what to do? That was what the old man had told her. But she didn’t know. She didn’t know at all. She pulled out the band that was tying her hair back and gently tugged at her hair so that it flowed freely once more. And why had the old man made her fight blindfolded today? Trust your instincts, he had said. She smiled. Well that hadn’t been too difficult; she knew exactly what the old man would do.
She stood up and changed out of her tunic and into her cleaning dress. It hung off her and she tied a piece of rope around her stomach to make it more respectable. She smiled and hummed a little tune to herself. At last she was thin again and stronger too. She could easily lift the tables and chairs in Bramwel’s room. And in the sitting room too. Maybe she was even strong enough to fight Bramwel if he tried to hit her. But she daren’t. No, but she would like to. Just once.
“Hurry up,” cook shouted to Ryann, as she walked past her bedroom. “Master Bramwel is waiting for his dinner.”
Ryann looked up and stopped her humming. “Yes cook.”
“And he wants it in his room tonight. So hurry up.” She held out the tray she was carrying for Ryann to take. “And come straight back. There’s some extra kitchen chores this evening.”
Ryann took the tray of food and hurried off toward Bramwel’s room. She pushed open the door and went inside. Bramwel was sitting at his table, reading a book, with his toy horse propped up by the side of it. “Your dinner, master.”
“Over here,” Bramwel replied, clearing a space next to him and shutting his book. “And why are you so late? I asked for dinner at least an hour ago.”
Ryann put the tray down on the table. “I came as quick as I could, master.”
Bramwel reached out a hand and grabbed Ryann’s arm. “Look at me, girl.” He pulled her roughly toward him until her face was almost pressed up against his. “You are never on time for anything. Don’t you get that? You are always late and always rude to me. Don’t you even respect me?” He shook Ryann’s arm and waited for an answer. “Well?”
Ryann pulled her arm back sharply, twisting it, and forcing Bramwel to let go. She could see the look of shock in his eyes and before she could stop herself she slapped him hard across the face. “You are always rude to me. It has to stop. Your father says you are not to beat me too.” Words were gushing out of her. What was she saying? She could see Bramwel’s face getting redder and redder. He looked almost ready to explode.
“How dare you speak to me like that,” he said, getting to his feet and trying to reach out and grab her again.
Ryann took another couple of quick steps backward. This had to end. She couldn’t keep on working for this nasty brat of a boy. She watched as Bramwel’s hand reached out for his whip. She knew she only had a matter of seconds before he would use it on her again. “I’ll fight you,” she said. “I’ll fight you in a duel. Like Kieran. I want to fight you.”
Ryann watched as Bramwel’s hand loosened on the whip and he dropped it back to the table. “Fight me?” He threw his head back in laughter. “You are a girl. You cannot hope to fight me. Now get out before I whip you. Be thankful I am feeling generous this evening.”
“I want to fight you,” Ryann repeated.
“Get out!” Bramwel shrieked. “Get out before I whip you to death right here and now.”
Ryann turned, fighting back a tear from her eyes, and ran as fast as she could away from his room.