This is number thirty 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 18th
Progress: Day 27 complete. Following is the day's writing...
TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY!!
“Remember, take your time and plan your attacks. Let him come to you. Let him tire himself out first.” The old man shouted instruction to Ryann as they exchanged lunges in the crisp morning air.
“I will,” said Ryann. She pushed a little of her long hair back from her eyes and turned to face the old man again. “And you think I will beat him?”
The old man smiled. “Trust to destiny, Ryann. That is all you can do. But one thing is for certain, you are fitter than he and you must use that to your advantage. Let him tire. Take your time.”
Ryann easily parried the old man’s attack and she turned to face another. She stopped when she saw he was walking away from her. “We are finished?” she asked.
The old man lifted a hand and beckoned to her. “Come.” Ryann followed the old man through the courtyard and into an area she had never been to before. “Captain?” the old man called out.
Ryann looked across to where the old man was shouting and watched as a middle-aged man appeared; one of the Lord’s guards. Ryann stopped and stood watching him.
“Come, come,” the old man repeated.
Ryann crossed over to the man and waited while the captain of the guard walked toward them. As he approached her he drew his sword. Ryann took a step back.
The captain turned the sword in his hand and offered it to her. “Try this, little one.”
Ryann hesitantly took the sword, nearly dropping it as she bore the full weight in her hands. “It’s so heavy.”
The old man smiled. “Yes, I wanted you to know just what a real sword feels like. I don’t want you to make the same mistake that Kieran made.”
Ryann took a few steps to one side and swung the sword through the air. Kieran. Yes, she had to beat Bramwel for Kieran’s sake. She had to take her revenge for him. “But it has balance,” she said, smiling at the captain. “Great balance.”
The old man extended his hands to Ryann. “Remember all I have taught you, Ryann. You will only ever get this one chance.”
Ryann laid the sword across the old man’s palms. “I will,” she whispered.
* * *
“Is that all you have to say?” Lord Cala asked, standing in front of the man.
“It was an honest mistake, sire. I meant no harm in it.”
“Indeed? You want me to believe that you told my son stories of his mother, thinking that he would say nothing about it? I cannot believe that of you, Grubb.”
Grubb turned away from Lord Cala and muttered something under his breath.
“What did you say?”
“Nothing, sire. It was he that sought me out. He came to see if I could help him with potions and the like. I was only trying to raise his spirits about his mother.”
Lord Cala reached into his pocket and pulled out a small vial. “And this?”
“Just something for the boy to use.”
“What is it, Grubb?”
“Nothing of importance, sire. I promise. I just wanted to gain favor with the boy.”
Lord Cala walked across the room and poured some water into a cup. Then he emptied half of the vial into the water and stirred it with a stick. He picked up the cup and offered it to the old man. “Drink this.”
Grubb took a step back. “Thank you Lord Cala, but I am not in need of a drink.”
“Drink it,” Lord Cala repeated, taking a step closer to Grubb.
“It is a poison, a sleeping potion, sire” Grubb stammered.
Lord Cala smiled. “Drink it.” He placed the cup into Grubb’s hand and watched as the old man lifted it to his mouth. “Swallow.” Grubb swallowed the water down and dropped the cup to the floor. Lord Cala didn’t move his eyes from Grubb as the cup smashed into several pieces at his feet. “No one crosses me in my own castle, Grubb.”
Grubb’s hands went to his throat and he made a gurgling sound just before he dropped, lifeless, to the ground.
“No one,” Lord Cala repeated, walking toward the door, leaving the man where he had fallen.
* * *
“Let’s get started,” Bramwel said, pacing up and down the courtyard. “What are we waiting for, anyway?” He looked across at Ryann, who was standing about ten paces from him. She was dressed in a dark red tunic and wore black pants underneath. Her hair was tied back behind her neck and a black belt hung at her waist. He had never seen her looking like this before. Still it didn’t matter; at least she would look pretty when she died. He smiled.
“I’ll let you win,” Ryann whispered to him as she crossed near. “If you tell me about my brother.”
Bramwel spat on the ground next to Ryann’s feet. “You? Let me win? Don’t be so stupid, girl. You will never beat me.”
“I’m giving you a chance,” she whispered again.
Bramwel leaned in close to her face. “Your brother can burn in hell for all I care, Ryann. And that’s exactly where you’re going too.” He took a step back and turned to walk back to the table where the swords were laid out. “Father, can we begin yet?”
Lord Cala looked around the courtyard at the gathered crowd and nodded to his son. “Take your weapons.” He waited while Bramwel and Ryann picked up their swords and had moved away from each other. “And remember, no stabbing to the body.” He turned toward Bramwel. “I want a clean fight.” He waited for a nod of assent from his son before turning back to face the crowd. “Let the duel begin.”
Bramwel raised his sword and turned to face Ryann. He let a smile wash over his face. This was going to be so easy. Just one cut. That was all he needed. One cut and the girl would lose all sense. Then one wrong move and she would be another dead sclava. “Prepare to fight!” he shouted, running full-speed at Ryann, with his outstretched sword in front of him.