Strassur the Red Panther

Toughts of a Reader and a Writer

Category: Writing

Invader, a Medieval / Fantasy Short Script

Invader

Written by

A.T. Morales

Tagline:

Elkar begins his shift as a castle town guard, and quickly finds himself face to face with a dragon which brings both death and possibly, love.

FADE IN:

EXT. NEAR MAIN GATE OF THYLARK CASTLE – NIGHT

ELKAR steps out of the barracks, a cup of tea in his hands.  He shivers slightly from the fierce cold.

ELKAR is a late twenties soldier who was just promoted from the infantry to a Sergeant in the city guard of the fortified town of Thylark.  All soldiers under Thylark are called Panthers.  He has his standard baggy black uniform with leather chest armor bearing the emblem of a brick wall and a blue sash tied around his waist that all guards wear to identify themselves.  The tip of the sash is black to represent a supervisor.  He carries a one handed sword, which hangs from the left side of his belt and a one handed axe that is strapped to his back. On his left forearm is a small buckler shield. This is the standard uniform for guard Panthers, aside from the axe, which Elkar brought over from his position as an infantryman.

Elkar walks up to a group of night watch guards who are huddled near a brazier, trying to fight off the cold and sleep of a long night.

The guards turn towards Elkar and place their right fist against their heart.

GUARD 1

G’morning sir. Ready for another cold day?

Guard 1 is wearing a black baggy uniform with leather chest armor identical to that of Elkar’s.  He wears a blue sash around his waist and has a small buckler strapped to his arm and a sword hanging from the left side of his belt.  He is in his late twenties and has a beard and mustache.

ELKAR

Ah, it shouldn’t be as bad as you guys had to fare. Did the fire help some?

Guard 2

It was a battle, and the cold won. But it could have been worse.

Guard 2 is dresses identical to Guard 1. He is in his early twenties and clean shaven.  He has a young look to him and appears to be very muscular.

The two guards nodded and smiled at each other as they continued to rub their hands above the warm flame.  Elkar smiled at their comment.

ELKAR

I bet. I am glad you lads made it out alive.  Say, have you seen Dorian around yet?

Guard 1

Ah, your know him, sir. He is probably already with the smith, having his sword polished.

Elkar laughs, and is joined by the two guards.

ELKAR

I’m sure you are right. He is a bit vain, I gotta admit.

Elkar turns and begins walking away from the western gate of the fortified city, towards the blacksmith building.  As he walks he drinks out of a cup with steam flowing out.

(Off screen) Crack!

ELKAR

Ah, I love watching the engineers fire those ballista.

Elkar changes his direction towards the south western tower.  Rounding a corner of the “Pigs Hide” tannery, Elkar stops.

He stares up at the sleeping ballista tower, which lay stagnant, vacant.

ELKAR

I must be losing my mind.  Could have sworn I heard the giant bows.

(Off screen) Crack!

Elkar whips his body around, staring towards the southern wall, just east of the tower.  Pausing for a moment and squinting through the rising sun, Elkar begins to slowly walk towards the wall below the parapet.

As Elkar nears the wall, he gives a big look of shock and surprise. The wall looks as though it is moving.

Elkar looks down, suspiciously into his cup.  He quickly pours the liquid onto the ground.

Just as Elkar looks up, a portion of the moving wall flies towards Elkar’s head.  He barely dodges the attack as he falls to the ground, quickly moving into a squatting defensive posture.  Elkar draws his sword.

His sword is a double edged sword, three feet in length and three inches wide, with a shiny black hilt that looks as it were made of stone.

Another large piece of the wall suddenly flies towards Elkar’s chest. Too fast to dodge, Elkar takes a desperate swing at the piece of stone with his sword. As the sword makes contact with the stone, instead of chipping away stone as expected, the blade slices through the familiar substance of flesh.

Elkar is covered in blood from the attack and sees the stone is actually a large piece of tail.

The wall that was moving begins to change, changing from the color of stone to that of dark green scales.

Elkar looks with wide eyes as the form slowly takes shape.  The shape on the wall eventually reveals itself as a large LIZARD like creature.

The hairless LIZARD is approximately 10 feet in length (body) with dark green scales and a very long tail, minus the last two feet, which lay on the ground at Elkar’s feet. It’s sharp claws attached to short legs are dug into the wall, allowing it to cling with its belly again the stone in a low profile.

ELKAR

By the Gods. What sort of beast is this?

Elkar pulls out his small horn and gives three quick bursts as the Lizard begins to climb down from the wall and walk towards Elkar.

ELKAR

React! Tower 21!

Elkar drops his horn and maintains his defensive posture, holding his sword at the ready and the small buckler that is strapped to his left forearm at the ready.  Elkar quickly glances at the small shield and shakes his head.

ELKAR

Damn this dinner plate of a shield.  Wish I had my kite.

The Lizard nears Elkar and with surprising speed lunged towards his head.  Caught off guard, Elkar thrust the shield into the beast’s mouth, wedging its large maw open. Elkar squints and forces his mouth shut as a steam like cloud is breathed into Elkar’s face.

Elkar forces his left arm out of the straps, catching his clothing on the thin stiletto shaped Lizard teeth.  The sharp teeth rip easily through the clothing and rake a gash in his skin as he pulls his arm back.

Elkar grunts in pain as he fades back, swinging his sword in a downward arc, catching the Lizard on the nose.  The left outer nostril is split in two and black blood instantly begins to ooze out.

The Lizard dislodges the shield from its mouth and spits it onto the ground, refocusing on Elkar.

The Lizard opens its mouth again, preparing to strike.  Elkar continues to move slowly backwards, focusing on the large beast.

As the Lizard looks as though it is about to strike, an arrow suddenly whips past Elkar’s head, embedding deep in the base of the Lizards tongue.

The Lizard lets out a cruel shriek as it rears in apparent pain.  Suddenly, dozens of arrows fly through the air, striking the Lizard along the entire body.

Elkar continues to stumble back and dares a quick glance behind him and sees the familiar green sash archers, raining accurate and deadly arrows at the beast.  Six Green Panthers stand along the tops of battlements and parapets, firing arrows.

(Off-screen) Boots can be heard running closer.  Elkar again looks.

Blue Panthers arrive on foot.  THOMAS GREENER runs up to Elkar and helps him to his feet.

THOMAS GREENER is a short man in this late thirties.  He has a slight belly and stocky build, wearing the same black baggy outfit as Elkar, with a blue sash around his waist with a black tip.

The Lizard, who is being bombarded with arrows, turns towards the wall and runs towards it. Digging its large claws into the stone, the Lizard begins to scale the sheer face up towards the battlements.

Green Panthers man the large ballistae at the nearby tower.  The engineers swivel the weapon towards the Lizard and begin loading the long bolts.

As the Lizard reaches the top of the wall, its bleeding should slams into an archer that was a little too close and a little too slow, knocking him off the outside of the stone wall.

As the archer falls, he slings his standard issue yew bow into the air as he falls out of view.

Out of view from beyond the wall, yelling could be heard before it stops, suddenly.

The Lizard runs off.

All the Panthers stand still, only their heavy breathing moves their bodies.

Snapping too from the shock, Elkar begins to take command.

ELKAR

Healer! Get a healer over that wall quick.

EXT. BASE OF WALL NEAR TOWER 21 – DAY

Green Panthers on the walls begin looping ropes around the battlements as two healers run up to the base and begin scaling a wooden ladder towards the top.

A MALE HEALER is first up the ladder and turns towards the female healer who is on his heels.

The MALE HEALER has short hair that is beginning to turn grey. He has a muscular build and is tall.  He wears baggy black uniform and a white sash with a black tip around his waist.

MALE HEALER

Hurry, Dannika. We can’t let him die alone.

DANNIKA is in her mid twenties, with long dark hair tied back in a pony tail.  She has a tall and slender athletic frame and wears a baggy black uniform with four stars in a diamond shape in the upper left portion of her chest.  She is wearing a white sash around her waist.

Dannika quickly reaches the top and ties a rope around her waist and lowers herself over the far side of the wall, repelling out of sight.

EXT. OUTSIDE OF PIG’S HIDE TANNERY – DAY

Elkar leans against the wall, sitting down. He holds his wounded left arm in his lap.

THOMAS GREENER

Elkar. Where in the abyss did that beast come from?

Thomas Greener runs gracelessly up to Elkar and kneels next to him.

ELKAR

I don’t know. The serpent was blended into the wall when it first attacked. Caught me off guard.

THOMAS GREENER

That’s hard to do with you.  Here, let me take a look at that arm. Gotcha pretty good, it did. Bleeding like a fountain. We might need a healer.

Thomas Greener grabbed some bandages from a pouch on Elkar’s belt and crumbled one up. He pushed it deep into the wound on Elkar’s forearm, causing him to flinch.  He then placed a few more on top of the wound before wrapping it tightly to apply pressure.

THOMAS GREENER

Let’s see if that works, eh Elkar? You gonna make it or can I have your sword?

ELKAR

(Laughing) Takes more than a small dragon to keep me from giving you my sword, man.

Elkar’s right hand slides slowly to the hilt of his sword, in a mocking grasp of defense.

Seeing the painful look and sweat on Elkar’s face, Thomas Greener yelled at a nearby archer.

THOMAS GREENER

You lad. Fetch Sergeant Elkar a healer for his arm.

Moments later, the same two healers from the wall walk up. The Male Healer begins to talk with Thomas Greener and Dannika approaches Elkar.

DANNIKA

Can I have a look at your arm, sir?

Elkar looks up and finds his words stumbling as he stares into Dannika’s dark eyes.

ELKAR

It’s, uh, yea sure. Not really that bad…but, uh, you can, um, yea, take a look.

Dannika looks up at Elkar through her bangs that have fallen out of her ponytail and smiles warmly.

Dannika begins to remove the bandages slowly so she can examine the wound.  Elkar notices the four stars on Dannika’s upper left chest.

ELKAR

You’re a Druid?  But…

DANNIKA

Yes sir, but because I am a scout Druid I am receiving some cross training in the healing arts.

Elkar begins to look around curiously.

ELKAR

Where is your, um…?

DANNIKA

Spirit animal, sir?  Right above you.

Elkar looks up and sees a large hawk circling high in the sky.  Dannika nods at Elkar.

DANNIKA

That’s her. That is Shae.

ELKAR

Oh. I’m sorry, I didn’t expect that you were a Druid.

DANNIKA

Why didn’t you expect that?

ELKAR

Well, you don’t seem to, …you don’t like a fighter.

Dannika stops and looks right into Elkar’s eyes.

ELKAR

You are way too beautiful.  Never have I seen an equal. Why have I never seen you here?

Dannika looks away, her face begins to blush.

DANNIKA

Thank you, sir. It’s just, that well I am a scout. I am mostly in the surrounding forest and report directly to Captain Malicos.  Unfortunate at times, because, I do not often get to meet people.

ELKAR

People?

Now Dannika begins to stumble over her words, her face still flush.

DANNIKA

I mean, um, people that I want to meet. Or, rather, would like to meet. You know, people such as yourself.

ELKAR

Oh. (Smiling largely) It is a pleasure. May I have the honor of your name.

Elkar rubs the sweat forming on his right hand against his pants, his breathing beginning to increase

DANNIKA

Dannika. And if it would please you, you might see me in town more often. I have been reassigned.

ELKAR

Yes yes, very. And where are you reassigned to?

DANNIKA

To security and enforcement. I don’t know anyone, but my new supervisor is Sergeant Elkar. You know him?

Sighing greatly, Elkar looks up towards the Gods and rest his head against wall.

ELKAR

Yes. I know him, for he is me.

FADE OUT.

THE END

Poison, a short medieval / fantasy movie script

Here is a script I had to write for my MFA program.  Our guidance was a 5 minute script that require a character to make a difficult decision.  Enjoy and let me know what you think, as I am fairly new to script writing.

The formatting is off due to copying it from a word doc.

Tagline:

James’ arch enemy shows up unexpectedly at the tavern where he works, when the bar owner distracts the villain while a poisonous drink is prepared.

FADE IN:

INT. LOCAL TAVERN KITCHEN – NIGHT

JAMES is a tavern barhop that assists in stocking and serving food and drinks at the PIG’S HIDE, a local tavern most popular amongst locals.  He is in his mid twenties with a short beard and a tall and awkwardly skinny frame. 

LEON is the owner of the PIG’S HIDE and looks after the weak framed JAMES.  He is a retired soldier who still bears a large, muscular frame, although he has packed on some weight with all the food and ale at his disposal.  He is balding with a bushy mustache and sharp squinting eyes.

LEON stands in front of the large stove, prepping food as JAMES peers out of the cracked door into the common room while wiping out a earthenware pitcher with a cloth.

JAMES

By the gods, that bastard found me.

LEON

Whatchu talking about boy. You look as though you spotted a apparition.

JAMES

I may have, Leon. You remember about the boy I told you about that always used to throw dung at me and whip my arse with sticks.

LEON

Aye.

JAMES

He just walked in and is at the bar.  That bastard even broke my hunting sling while we were in the middle of the Asperian Forest. Left me to die.

LEON

(Throwing down the large cooking fork) That’s the bastard? I’m gonna go squeeze his throat.

JAMES

No, my friend. I have a better idea.

James walks across the room and reaches into a high mounted cupboard, removing a small leather bag.

LEON

What in the kings name is that?

JAMES

Something I picked up from the apothecary months ago.  Some blessed thistle and mandrake root.

LEON

(Staring at James) You gonna poison him, ain’t ya boy?

JAMES

Yes. (Smiling) But nothing too quick.

From the same cupboard, James brings down a mortar and pestle and sets it heavily on the counter.

JAMES

(Almost in a whisper) Slow and painful.

INT. LOCAL TAVERN COMMON AREA – NIGHT

LEON stands at the bar directly in front of KILLION and for a moment stares at him through the slits in his eyes.

KILLION is a average height man with a stocky build.  He is clean shaven and wears a dark green hunting cloak with the hood still up.  

KILLION

Uh, hello good barkeep. (Shifting in his chair) My name is Kil…

LEON slams his fist onto the counter.

LEON

I know who you are. You’re the piece of dire wolf shit that harassed James for all them years.

KILLION

(Mumbling) I guess I have found the right place.

LEON

What are you mumblin’? Speak the hell up!

KILLION

I, I know many of my past actions were less than…chivalrous, but that is why I am here. (Pausing, Killion looks up at Leon)

LEON

I’m listening. (Crossing his arms)

KILLION

I was a horrible, nasty person, a dragons ass back in those times.  The things I said, my actions…I hurt many people. (Playing nervously with the clasp of his cloak) I came to make things right.

LEON

And how you plan to do that?

KILLION

Well, to start, by saying sorry.  Look. (Staring back at Leon now) It’s no excuse, but I watched my father beat my mother every day during that dark time of my life. I thought treating those weaker like that was life.  But, (looking down again and lowering his voice) after my father beat my mother to death, I knew. I knew it was wrong and I knew he was the problem, not the weak people.

Leon uncrossed his arms and sat down. The tight look on his face loosening.

KILLION

I grabbed my little brother and we fled to the Keep, reporting the matter to the first guard we could find.  I knew it would not bring my mother back, but I vowed to make a change and help those who cannot help themselves.

LEON

(softening his voice) What did you do after that?

Leon poured a mug of brown ale an slid it in front of Killion.

KILLION

I grew and studied, and when I was of age, I joined the infantry.  (Looking up and straightening his back) I am being sent off to fight in the border wars. Since I have no family, I have used my leave to correct my past and tracked down James to here.

LEON

I may know where he is. Wait here.

INT. LOCAL TAVERN KITCHEN – NIGHT

LEON sat in the kitchen, peering out to the bar area quietly.  He told James everything that Killion had told him and watched as James walked slowly towards the bar.  James had spoken outwardly for months about a time when he could inflict revenge on Killion.  The decision was for James and James alone.

LEON

Well my boy, (whispering to himself) what’s it gonna be?

Through the door Leon could see Killion pulling from a bag a brand new hunting sling.  He conversed with James for several moments before Leon turned and walked back towards the stove.

LEON

(Seeing the full cup of brown liquid still sitting next to the mortar, Leon smiled and again whisper to himself) That’s my boy.

FADE OUT.

THE END

Watch “Audio Short Story, The First Draw” on YouTube

Here is an original short story I wrote about an archer going into battle for the first time. Let me know what you think.

Audio Short Story, The First Draw: http://youtu.be/zMLBCVmHxRo

Watch “Audio Short Story, Added Scene to the Patriot” on YouTube

I narrated one of my short stories that I had to write for my graduate program. I added a scene into the movie the Patriot with Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger. My scene shows the love of Benjamin and the aunt, Charlotte, starting to blossom after the death of one of his sons. Enjoy and let me know what you think. Cheers

Audio Short Story, Added Scene to the Patriot: http://youtu.be/VqDMSBFv5fI

Character or Plot? Who will be the victor?

When it comes to importance, Character is the key. A plot is needed to begin your process, but a character is what drives the plot. We have all most likely watched a movie because one of our favorite actors or actresses are in it, or because it is a sequel with a character we loved. I loved the old Conan movies starring Arnold, so of course I had to watch Red Sonia because it had basically the same character in it. The traits of a well written character are what makes us as the reader or viewer relate or feel emotion towards them. If aliens are attacking a city, it’s exciting to watch, but without someone there we care about then it is just destruction, not drama.

I like a quote in Seymour Chatman’s book, Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film, “The character plays a role of connecting thread helping us to orient ourselves amid the piling-up of details.” (Page 111) By being in the mind of the character, or seeing events through their eyes, we as readers are able to understand what is going on, or to only see what the author wants us to see until the right time. The character is the perfect tool to keep us on track and in the desired direction. Now, there has to be a reason why we are reading the book, so plot is important, but characters are the ones we remembers and love.

Final score:
Character 1
Plot 0

What’s your opinion?

Poetic Themes of the Romantic Period

I was reading some poetry from the early Romantic Period when I began to think about the difference in poetic theory amongst some of the more famous writers.  William Wordsworth’s theory of poetry was to display actual events through poems in a language that we actually use.  “Tis true had gone before this hour, the work of massacre in which the senseless sword was pray’d to as a judge” (The Prelude, Book 10)  He speaks of the Revolution in simple terms and in the above passage, talks about the violence where the sword is the ultimate judge of man.  I feel like he believes in a time of war and revolution, mob rule and violence takes priority over God and politics.  The time for speeches and prayer to induce change is over, now man is judged by way of sword.

Samuel Coleridge mirrors the theory, but added more emphasis on imagination.  Imagination with a little symbolism, such as the albatross in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which is bad luck to kill.  The story as a whole is based around the result of the mariner killing the symbolic bird.  As such, the mariner must travel the earth and retell his tale.  Both Coleridge and Wordsworth write in ways that are easy to read and rely more on painting a great scene then displaying fancy words.

Percy Shelley seemed to be on the more extreme side in his poetry.  He was expelled from Oxford after writing a short piece on atheism.  I found a poem that he wrote titled The Masque of Anarchy which is considered the first modern statement of nonviolent resistance.  He would be a protestor of violence in any civil war or revolution.  Perhaps this style of writing would be the most effective in the revolutionary sense because it can be more controversial.  Good or bad, publicity gives the piece more exposure which spreads quickly.  Should Shelley’s life had been longer, he could have continued to write on matters that sparked his passion under his extreme craft and continued to make waves against his opposition.  Wordsworth and Coleridge may have been read and understood by more people, including those on a lower literacy level, but may not have had the same powerful impact.

The Journey (Short Story)

Elkar stood near the makeshift wooden table holding a blazing torch.  He was in his polished and most ceremonious armor, shinning dully under the full moon.  The flames of the torch danced on the gold emblem portrayed in the center of his breastplate and reflected the tears that slowly rolled down his cheeks, stopping only to be absorbed within the dense whiskers of his well groomed mustache.  The symbol on the warriors chest of the panther’s head seemed to breath with every flicker of the torches flame.

On the wooden table lying amongst the small branches and decorative flowers was the lifeless body of Dorian.  His gloved hands were folded across his chest and covered with a silver and gold buckler that housed the same emblem depicted on Elkar’s armor.  Tied neatly around his waist was the familiar brown sash that represented all infantryman.

Elkar could remember when Dorian was selected to train the new Panthers.  He was so excited because Kyle, their mutual childhood friend, had also been selected.  The three had made a name for producing quality soldiers that could effectively wield deadly weapons, and had the heart to continue fighting beyond the point of exhaustion.

They had built so much together over the years, all to be destroyed by a nightmare of a patrol only two days prior.  Kyle and Dorian had been winding through the Skytop Pass when they were ambushed by a large group of the Bultov Riders, an organized and intimidating group of thieves that were terrorizing the outer trade routes.  The two warriors fought back to back as their fellow Panthers dropped around them, unable to defend against the endless stream of attackers.  Elkar remembers responding from the walls of Thylark to the sound of the trumpet that all patrols carried, followed by a platoon of infantry.  Horses were driven hard to the area where the last sound had faded, over a mile up the steep grade.

As Elkar rounded the first turn his nostrils began to burn with the recognizable smell of death as the wind poured like a funnel through the pass.  The warrior slowed to a steady gallop, careful not to fall into the same fate as his comrades, as he could only imagine the worst.  He had crested the first peak when his stomach dropped, nearly knocking the breath from his lunges.  In front of him was nearly two score of the hated Riders, victims of the well trained Panthers.  Humans had been flayed open and extremities were detached from the furious strikes of sword and axe.  Well placed arrows protruded from the gaps in armor of the helpless Rider who found themselves in the sites of the deadly green Panther archers.  Among the dead, Elkar also saw the familiar brown and green sashes of his own people.  Anger flushed over him as he stared at the end result of an ambush, with neither side being the victor.

Elkar quickly snapped too, realizing where he was.  “Jarel,” ordered the commander, “take your team and push forward a ways.  See what you got then set up security.”

“Copy,” replied Jarel, as he came back to reality.  The weather beaten team leader began barking orders to his men as they cautiously rode up the pass, looking for signs of the Riders.

“I’ll take flank security,” stated Morgan, reading his commanders mind.  Elkar simply nodded at the second class infantryman as his men already began to move.  Elkar turned to discuss with his third team leader how to transport all the dead men back to the city.  Frustration still clouded his mind as he stood, saddened by the death of so many great warriors.  He watched as the two healers attached to the platoon began searching the slain Panthers in some great hope that there may be life.

“Jarel!” a shout came from a distance.  “Come quick.”

Elkar heard the excited shouts and the thunderous sound of horses running.  Quickly, the warrior drew his sword and started up the path in a full sprint.  ‘Not again, not while I’m here.’ he whispered to himself.  Now, it was Elkar’s turn to taste blood.

     Back at the northern gate, Panthers waited impatiently, as another group of reinforcements were about to deploy up the pass to aid their comrades.

“As soon as that last team of archers gets here, we will ride,” yelled Sergeant Pravius, commander of a heavy cavalry company.  Approaching the end of his days as a Panther, the silver haired veteran was already holding his long handled axe in his powerful hands.  The worn blades still shinned even after years of abuse by the experienced fighter.  His aged face continued to peer out to his destination, as if he was looking for a sign, or signal.

     Reaching where the commotion has been, Elkar immediately saw what the yelling was about.  Lying on the ground was Dorian.  The warrior labored his breathing, struggling to force every inhale of life into his body.  Elkar ran over to his friend and discovered his neck had been lacerated and was bleeding badly.

“Healer!” he yelled.  “Someone get me a damn healer.”

Elkar sat in the dirt cradling Dorian’s head.  The soaked ground was replaced with Elkar’s thigh, quickly absorbing what remaining blood drained from Dorian’s body.

“Hold on there, Dor,” he choked out, holding on to what little control he had.  “The healers are coming.  Gonna fix you right up.”

Dorian tried to respond, but only formed sounds of struggle within his throat.  His breathing continued to slow and fade to an unrecognizable level.

A healer arrived fast, her long legs covered the ground quickly.  She skillfully grabbed a wad of rolled cloth and pressed it firmly onto Dorian’s throat.

“You have to help him, please.” plead Elkar, his voice barely above a whisper.

“I will, sir. I will do everything I can.” the healer responded, her face shadowed by sadness and the recognition of Dorian’s status.  Grateful for the cover of her long brown hair, the healer tired, but could not stop Dorian from slipping away.

Elkar sat quietly as the shadow of guilt and pain loomed over.  His friend Dorian took his last breath.  It was not the healers fault, it was not the leadership and protection that failed.  It was just the business of freedom.  Freedom for a land Dorian had always said he was willing to die for.

 

Back at the ceremony, Elkar touched the torch to the sticks and hay below the table that served as a hasty cremation station.

Holding in his tears, Elkar turned and addressed the remaining members of their small party, the flames behind him jumped to life, popping and cracking as the accelerants began to roar.

“Cremation is the quickest way for Dorian to meet his maker.” Elkar began, his voice deep but soft.  “This is the fate he wanted, the dream he spoke of for years.  Dying for a realm that always gave back to its people.  The people he vowed to protect.  Unfortunately,  there are those who do not share our values.” Elkars voice began to rise.

“The values of our land, and the values of the Panthers.  You will be missed, Dorian.” The warriors head raised, he looked towards the sky.  “I will miss you.  I only wish you did not have to make this journey alone.”

Response to Writing Prompt

Here is the paragraph I wrote in response to my prompt given on the AFK podcast:

Enok arrived at his destination and began to find his way from the crowded taxi drop-off to the shop entrance.  Having only been in the United States for a night, he already missed the slower pace and snow covered hills of his homeland.  An easy read from one of his favorite American comic book heroes always eased the nerve of intense interviews and his struggle with the English language, and promised for a calm evening.  The bright sun and intense heat would eventually become a welcoming feeling, but the absence of dry air already caused his aging joints to be noticed.  Walking slowly as he searched his small translator for the word Entrance, the Greenlander made his way across the parking lot, occasionally stepping over discarded cans, flyers and other rubbish.  He assumed the comic book store he had been dropped off at would be in this large building.  As he rounded the corner of the multistory structure, he first noticed the rounded glass and open front of the creatively crafted waterside mall.  His attention was suddenly pulled away by the hundreds of people lined up in the front. Bright costumes, oversized swords, and creative ways to barely cover the unmentionables of those in line filled the patio of the great center.  Stunned, Enok looked up at the sign above the large glass doors and read, “San Diego Comic-Con 2013”. 

New podcast episode on the Noob

Come on over and check out our latest episode where we define a Noob, covering its origin and history.  Also included is a writing prompt and response paragraph. Dont forget to tell us what you would like to see defined next.

http://afkpodcast.podomatic.com/entry/2013-08-09T03_11_38-07_00

The First Draw (Short Story)

 

               The rain had stopped and the early morning sun was beginning to pierce the dreary gray cloud cover. Wet clothing and hunger provided a restless night as the long line or archers battled not only fatigue from a poor night’s sleep, but fear. Fear of dying and fear of failing the man next to them.  On the brink of combat, the two large armies stared each other down like crouched tigers waiting to pounce.  Colorful banners and flags flapped quietly in the wind, the silence only broken by the occasion commanding shout amongst the ranks or the weary soldier losing control and emptying the contents of his stomach on the battlefield.

               Jerl stood quietly on the line, peering across the field at the heavily armored infantry preparing for their assault. Large war horses danced anxiously as they moved into their ranks, nearly touching the haunches of the mount next to them. Their skilled riders controlling the beast with one hand on the reins while their other grasped a sharp lance.  Long shafts of wood with barbed metal tips that when wielded skillfully could skewer three armed men. 

               Thinking of the lances, Jerl removed an arrow from his heavy leather quiver. The tip of the bodkin looked like a lance, as sharp and pointy as a stiletto, able to penetrate the highest quality armor.  A broad sword or a broad head arrow created a much larger wound channel, but could not penetrate the modern metal armor crafted by the finest of smiths. 

               Perhaps, thought Jerl, a creative smith of neutral party invented the theory of the bodkin and the lance.  One destructive device for each side of the war.  It gives both sides an advantage and keeps the blacksmith in business.  A quality craftsman could greatly benefit from a war, one they wouldn’t even have to wield a sword in.  Crafting quality weapons and repairing damaged armor during a campaign could bring steady work for decades. 

               Jerl could not seem himself as a craftsman.  He possessed the large frame to swing a hammer, but preferred to use his size to draw the full weight of a longbow.  Having shot for years, he built up the strength to maintain a sustained rate of fire, and the callous tips of his fingers allowed the full weight of the waxed bow string to roll off hundreds of times a day.

               He placed the bodkin arrow across the top of his long bow. The freshly oiled yew wood glisten in the rising sunlight. As he knocked the arrow, he realized how bad his hands were shaking, and so did his mentor. 

               “Jerl,” Marcus said giggling, remembering his first war and how a large portion of the battle was against yourself. “You must calm your nerves, boy. They are just like any other targets ya hit before, except if ya miss too much, these targets will kill us.” 

               “Comforting thoughts, sir,” Jerl replied smartly.

               “I’m just teasin’ ya. Tryin’ to make light.” Marcus stopped laughing and looked Jerl in his eyes, squaring his shoulders with his hands.  Jerl stared back and saw eyes deep and dark, the look that had no doubt stared down many enemy armies in the past.  Their edges were worn with stress that a position of leadership can bring.  Although Marcus never had the desire to promote, he has trained green archers for nearly a score of years.

               “Look boy. There is no doubt the knights and men-at-arms across that field look scary, but I assure you, they are men. Men just like you and I. Aim true, breath and release, and they will drop.”

               Jerl nodded, “I can do this.” 

               “Yes you can,” Marcus replied in a near whisper. “And don’t stop,” his voice elevated. “Drop as many of those bastards as ya can.”

 

               “Ready your arrows” shouted the section leader.

               Jerl reseated his arrow, this time with a steady hand. His callous finger tips slid up and down the waxed string in one final inspection. This arrow would be the first arrow he will have shot in combat. His first attempt to take another human life and he still didn’t know the full reason of the war. Did the enemy really hate him and his countryman, or were they doing their job? Did his prey have a family waiting at home, keeping the fire warm and the children in line until his return? Or maybe a beautiful lady they tried to court into marriage, similar to Lisa that Jerl had left behind.  Oh he missed the smell of gardenia and rose oil she used to spot her neck with.  He could always catch a quick scent before she pushed him away when he tried to kiss her neck.  He remember the soft touch of her hands as they walked through his families wheat fields, never wanting to let go, long past the setting sun.  She used to shout encouragements when Jerl strung his bow and launched arrows the length of the fields.  “Good shot, Jerl. Just a little to the left, Jerl.”

               He could still hear her voice.  She would read her studies out loud when preparing for an exam.  She said it help her remember better, but Jerl always thought it was another attempt to lure him into a passionate frenzy, teasing him before she got called away to help transcribe text in the Keep. 

               Jerl would return from this war, and he would ask Lisa’s father for her hand in marriage.  How could he say no to a war hero?  A soldier returns from combat with the spoils he earned, wealthy and ready to settle down.

               The young archer looked down the line at his fellow soldiers.  He relied on them to take down the enemy.  To shot true and fast, and when the time came, drop their bows and fight up close and personal.  Jerl always heard his own blood pound and stir in his head as excitement and fear rose, but never heard the blood of his enemy splash onto the ground, wetting the soil like rain. 

               His mentor told him to keep firing, and never give up.  The other archers relied on him as well.  And the knights, the fighters, the true heroes, they needed Jerl to thin the lines, cause havoc, and slow the horses change.  Thousand pound beasts did not stop easily.

               Jerl raised his head up from his bow, sweat trickling down his brow as he again gazed across the field at the approach of the enemy.  He picked his target.  A well armored knight atop a gray war horse.  The lance was held high with pride as a bright yellow and blue banner flowed like silk behind him.  It was a beautiful scene. How the banner stayed clean amongst the flying mud kicked up from the trampling hooves surprised Jerl.  But, it did not matter.  That was about to change.  Jerl was going to make it home, and so was his fellow soldiers.

               “I will see you soon, my love,” he whispered.  Pulling back his string, Jerl’s muscles easily fought against the full draw of a six foot long bow.  He again caught sight of his first target, and released.