I haven’t posted anything of the book in a while and that’s mostly because I’m constantly fiddling with, but I actually like this section quite a bit. I’ll revisit it later, change a few things, but it’s a part of the chapter I’m confident won’t be killed off in one of my ‘everything sucks’ rage fits. Therefore it’s safe to post as a preview.
I’m not entirely sure if this is the best introduction for Eric. He’s the least violent character in this story and this, as you’ll see, is sort of the opposite of that. ^^”
We were fourteen boys sweating under layers of heavy iron and soft leather – scalps itching inside their helms, undershirts drenched and sticky – forms still like statues; lifeless until commanded. I wasn’t the tallest or strongest recruit of the bunch, but I still towered over the boy I was to fight that afternoon.
Our Commander had called him Justin. He looked small inside his helm, slouched under the weight of his shield, and he looked at me sure of himself, excited; a telltale sign that it was his first time even setting foot in the military district. City boys always came to training with a gleam of excitement in their eyes, the look of children who heard legend upon legend, but had no understanding of what combat looked like. I hated that look. Another recruit in my place would have taken easier on him for it. Not me. I considered it my responsibility to beat those naïve notions out of him as quickly as possible.
At the commander’s word, swords were drawn and metal slashed the air in unison. I felt the pressure of a blow against my shield, using it to push the training blade aside and strike with a blow of my own. My sword struck Justin’s shield with such force that it knocked the boy off his footing, but he recovered quick enough to avoid the next strike. He still had that cheerful grin plastered on his face and it became very clear to me he knew I hadn’t been expecting a challenge. I was wrong; dead wrong. His blows weren’t the most powerful, but he was fast and precise. Before long I was struggling to keep up with his attacks. Every strike from me was expertly dodged or barred by blade and shield.
Out of the corner of my eye I could still see that grin on Justin’s face. It widened just a bit the moment he managed to slip past my guard, his blade almost slashing my torso. He thought he had me, he knew I was struggling, and my pride wouldn’t allow that. I was determined to beat him. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else existed.
The sound of blades clashing, colliding with wooden shields, parting the very air around us… All was drowned by the rush of blood in my ears. I felt my heart become furious as though trying to pound its way out of my chest. Sweat cascaded down my forehead, burning my eyes and forcing them shut. The world felt slower; clearer and, at the same time, a blur. It lasted for a blink of an eye; that blurred and confused state, but during it I felt my body move faster than my thoughts could even process, the blade in my hand singing as it sliced open the air, driven purely by raw instinct and unyielding fury.
I opened my eyes when I felt my left arm collide with something. The force of impact crawled its way up my arm and shook me down to my core. Underneath the familiar sound of a wooden shield bashing an iron helmet I heard a loud ‘crack’. Justin’s voice failed in the midst of a whimper. The impact knocked the boy backwards and off his feet, his back hitting the earth with a heavy, echoing, thud.
And after this Eric was banned from military training for being a danger to other recruits; quite the accomplishment for a thirteen year old squirt.
As I said, not sure if it’s the best way to introduce him, but I do like it. 😛