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marrow
January 3rd, 2012, 11:50 PM
(In this chapter there is a lot more interaction between Marrow and Cogar and i feel that dialogue is my weak point so i decided to put half my chapter up to see what kind of feedback can be offered i'm also not quit sure if the training is too rough)


The clearing was strewn with granite boulders. Giant cracks veined the frozen surface of the stones. Shards of crumbling rock littered the snow covered ground. Wearing his grey wolf furs, Cogar stood in the middle of the clearing, tall and imposing as if he too was part of the scenery. In his hands he held a great claymore. Hundreds of rough gouges scarred the surface of the great blade. Each scar told a story of battle.

Marrow gripped the fighting spears tightly. His boots crunching loudly on the icy snow as he made his way to the center of the clearing.

The old warrior raised an eyebrow, “Bukak fighting spears?” He spat on the ground. “Drop those damn spears. You haven’t earned the right to hold them,” he finished with a growl.

Dropping the spears, Marrow watched nervously as Cogar walked across the clearing.
The old warrior found two sticks roughly the size of the spears.“These'll do for now.” He rumbled, tossing the sticks towards Marrow.

Catching the sticks, he looked at Cogar in confusion.

“That boulder is your enemy. Destroy it.” Cogar spat on the ground. “You better not hold back or ill make you regret coming here,” he sneered savagely. “Now!”

Marrow roared as he struck the boulder fiercely again and again, each blow sending a jolt of numbness through his arms.

“Harder!”Cogar howled with wild intensity.

Sweat dripped down Marrow's brow as his arms grew ever harder to lift. Searing pain burned his palms as blisters began to form.

“Enough,”Cogar growled. “Boy, get over here.” He planted his heavy boot on top of a large stone. “Carry this stone to the far end of the clearing and back,” he demanded.

Picking up the icy stone, Marrow ran, growling as his arms and legs protested. Back and forth he went, his blisters now torn and bleeding. Slowly his legs started to shudder as he tried to make yet another lap. Is this dying Marrow thought to himself. He was in a trance like state as he put one foot in front of the other. The distance seemed impossibly far as his vision began to tunnel. His breathing roared in his head and his scalp began to burn from overheating. Dropping the rock Marrow collapsed. His arms were tootired to catch himself as his face hit the frozen ground hard.

Cogar walked up and gave Marrow a vicious kick to the ribs. “Get up!”

Gasping for air, Marrow crawled to his feet.

“Show me your hands,” the old warrior growled.
Lifting his palms to the sky, Marrow revealed the torn, bleeding mess.
Cogar roughly placed the spears into Marrow's hands. Gripping his hands over Marrow's, he squeezed hard. His grip was like iron. “Let the blood flow.”

Marrow winced as his blood fell to the snow, staining its white frozen surface.

“Now you’ve earned the right to hold your weapons. You’ll have to earn that right every day,” Cogar growled.
Despite his pain, Marrow felt a surge of pride. It was fast lived.
Taking a stance, Cogar screamed with intensity. “Face me!”

Marrow took a stance. A numbing pain erupted in his shin. Cogar had struck him hard with the flat of his great sword.

“Too wide, you’d only serve as a defensive fighter. That's no good when you're using fighting spears.”

Marrow got up. Taking another stance, he shifted his feet closer.

Again Cogar slammed his blade into Marrows shin. “Do it right, or next time you'll feel the edge of my sword.”
Working back to his feet, Marrow stifled the pain as he rearranged his stance. Feeling the natural balance, he stood and waited.

“Finally we can begin.” Cogar spat on the ground. “Strike like this.” He swung his great sword in a looping overhand arc. Stopping the blade a hair's width from Marrow's neck.

Without flinching, he brought his spear up in the same arcing motion. His arm felt sluggish from fatigue.
Cogar deflected the strike effortlessly. “That's not good enough. Your angle is too high and you’ll get no power from the down stroke.”Spitting at Marrows feet, he growled, “Again.”

Again Marrow tried, this time bringing his angle a little lower.

Once again, Cogar deflected the stroke, this time slamming his fist hard into Marrow's nose.
Marrow felt the crunch as hot blood ran freely down his lips.

“Again,”Cogar yelled, “or go back to your woods!”

Wiping his bloody lip, Marrow took his stance. Striking again, he made sure to lower his angle, pulling hard on the down stroke, giving the blow double the force. The clearing rang with a resounding clash as there weapons met.

“AGAIN,”Cogar yelled. There weapons met sending another ring of steal through the air. “AGAIN!”
By the end of their training session Marrow couldn't move. His body too exhausted to even sit up. Huge bruises and cuts riddled his body. The results of his mistakes. His breathing was labored and his vision blurred. The skin around his eyes felt raw and feverish from dehydration as he wiped the sweat from his face.

Putting in a giant pinch of chew Cogar sneered at Marrow, “Be here tomorrow same time or forget about training.” And with that he left, his footsteps receding quietly into the woods.

It had taken Marrow several attempts before he could rise painfully to his feet. The sun was beginning to set and he still had to make his way back to his secluded camping spot.

Navigating the rough terrain had been hard. His muscles felt shaky as he pushed himself past endurance. Gratefully he finally made it back to camp.

Coaxing the embers to life hadn't taken long. Adding some thick branches soon gave him a crackling fire. Marrow was weak and needed nutrients.Crawling to where he kept his meat buried Marrow Shoveled the snow aside. He removed a deer liver. Not able to wait he began to eat the frozen liver. Crunching down hard with his teeth he tore large chunks off and quickly swallowed the bitter tasting meat. He ate until the whole bloody thing had been devoured. Without bothering to wash the mess from his face Marrow slowly crawled into bed. Well needed rest took hold pulling him deep into its warm embrace.

The next morning Marrow woke to a world of agony. Overnight his entire body became stiff and raw with pain. His muscles groaned in protest with every movement. Wiping his face he looked at the sticky mess that covered his hand, dried blood from the liver.

Gingerly Marrow climbed out of the small skune. The sun sat high in the skyits shafts of light piercing through the forest canopy. “Great,”he exclaimed. The day was half gone and he still had so much to do before his lesson with Cogar.
Pushing past his soreness Marrow rushed to secure his camp. Loading his skune with supplies he pulled it high into the trees. His raw hands had trouble anchoring the rope to a nearby shrub. With his supplies hidden he then added fresh snow over the meat he had buried. Taking a handful of the frozen powder he scrubbed his face as best he could.Quickly dousing the flames of his campfire he double checked that everything had been done before heading out.

His traps sat empty without a single animal track around them. He was thankful to see that his snares had snagged some unlucky snow hares.Untangling the hares he put them into his game pouch. With little time left Marrow began the tedious task of relocating all his snares and traps. He knew that it never helped to keep traps in the same places for too long because the animals begin to become aware of them.

By the time he had finished relocating all the traps the sun had sunk low into the sky. Cogar would be waiting and Marrow could not be late.
Rushing back to camp Marrow quickly he grabbed his Bukak fighting spears.With the spears in hand he sprinted headlong through the forest.

Gasping for air Marrow rounded the corner into the clearing. He was greeted by the grim sight of Cogar sitting atop a boulder.

The old warrior growled “your late!”

Trying to calm his breathing Marrow shook his head. It wouldn't do to make excuses so he said nothing. Making his way to the center of the rock strewn clearing he waited for Cogars instructions.

“Drop em,” the old warrior said from atop the boulder.

Marrow let the spears fall to the ground as he watched Cogar climb down the boulder. Despite the old warrior's age and size he was deceptively agile.

“I want you to run from here to there,” he growled pointing a thick gnarled finger towards a cluster of large boulders at the far end of the clearing.

Without pause Marrow took off, curving around a boulder that was in his path.

“Damn you! I didn't say to run around them did I,” Cogar roared his face a mask of furry.
Frustrated, Marrow ran back to the front of the boulder. Painfully he began to climb the rough frozen surface. The ice left his fingers painfully numb as he crammed them into the little crevices the cracked surface provided. Pulling himself triumphantly to the top Marrows heart sank, there were three more boulders in his path and he had to scale them all. With his hands frozen and still raw he was barely able to grip the rocks. Marrow gritted his teeth and pushed through. After the sixth trip he began to doubt whether he could even grip the rock enough to pull himself up. Sweat stung his eyes and his arms shook uncontrollably. The thought of quitting never crossed Marrows mind. He knew that he couldn't. Everything that had happened in his life he knew lead to this. He didn't want to be at the mercy of anyone and in order for him to do that he needed to learn to fight. With new found determination Marrow put in a burst of speed.

Cogar had him do several exercises after the running course that left his hands even worse and his body drained of energy. Again Marrow stood in front of the old warrior, palms to the sky waiting for inspection.

“Pickup your spears,” is all Cogar said as he spat on the ground.

The spear handles felt unbearably rough as Marrow gripped them in his torn hands. Warily he walked towards where Cogar stood, his massive sword in hand.

They went through the same maneuvers from yesterday. Each time the great sword met with Marrows spears waves of pain would erupt through his palms weakening his grasp. It was like his spears were burning coals.Unable to bear it any longer Marrow let the spears fall clattering to the ground.

“What the hell are you doing, pick em up'” Cogar growled.

Marrow hung his head. “I cant.”

The old warrior walked over, leaning his face just inches from Marrow.The sickly sweet smell of chew filled Marrow's nostrils. “Pick them up now,” Cogar said his voice becoming dangerously low.
His palms shook uncontrollably as he held them out for Cogar to see.Blood ran freely from his ravaged palms. “i cant,” Marrow said through clenched jaws. He squeezed his eyes shut unable to bear the pain of failure.
Cogar's dark eyes held no remorse. He grabbed Marrows hands into his squeezing them with an iron grip. “Teach you to fight you asked.”he laughed into the sky “hell you cant even hold a weapon. How can I begin to teach you to fight?” releasing his powerful grip, he held his palms up. His thick calloused hands were both heavily scarred and disfigured. “What do you think it'll be like when your weapons clash against sword and shield over and over. Even after blisters and fatigue when the enemy you face seems to never end. How then will you be able to hold on when you cant even hold your weapon here in a secluded spot in the woods against an old man.” He laughed mockingly, “Ah im done with you boy.” with a look of disgust he turned and stalked across the clearing towards the woods.

Marrow looked at his ravaged hands in shame. Cogar was right if he couldn't handle this than he shouldn't be here. Clenching his fists tightly Marrow ignored the burning pain of his fingernails digging into his raw palms as his rage took over. “No” he growled as he picked up his spears. With a roar he ran at Cogar from across the clearing.

Turning with a quick sword swipe Cogar deflected Marrows attack. He smashed a heavy boot into Marrows gut sending him sprawling to the ground. “Now you want to learn,” he said with a snarl. He swung his sword in slow deliberate arcs as he stalked in a circle around Marrow who struggled to regain his footing.

Gasping for air, Marrow worked to his feet. A wolfish grin spread on his determined face. Again Marrow attacked but with more caution.

As they sparred Cogar showed Marrow several new strokes that he could do with his spears. Some using just one spear and some using both spears working simultaneously.

Marrow flowed through each one taking care to follow through on every stroke.

“It comes from the core,” the old warrior growled as he watched Marrow go through the motions.

As much as he tried using his core Marrow still ended up using mostly his arms.

Walking over Cogar unsheathed his sword. “Your power comes from your core he repeated. You gotta let your body flow with the movement. Twist on the balls of your feet as you rotate your hips. Let your core guide your strikes.” His sword whistled through the air powerfully as he rotated effortlessly.

Taking a deep breath Marrow concentrated. Stepping on the balls of his feet he rotated twisting his hips as he let them carry his shoulder forward. Like a whip his loose arm snapped forward sending his spear to puncture through the air with great force.

Marrow was beginning to understand why Cogar worked him so hard before allowing him to train with weapons. Had he not been so tired he would have relied on other things such as muscle strength instead of form. If he could do it right in this state then he would definitely have the forms down.

Cogar headed into the woods without a word.

“Where are you going. Marrow asked.

“Camp,”was all the grizzled warrior replied.

Marrow watched as Cogar's form vanished into the woods. Even though he was tired he still wanted to train. Something had changed inside. He wanted to get better to become stronger. Determined he went through the motions again.

Several hours later, night had settled and the moon cast a pale light. Marrow sat in the clearing, his lungs heaving for air. Despite the cold he sat shirtless his bare chest glistened as steam rose from his body.
He noticed the arrow wound had turned into a pale scar puckering from his stomach. He had numerous scars now all fresh and all from Cogar.Training was rough but despite it all he realized that he was beginning to enjoy himself.

Picking up his discarded jacket he brushed off the snow and put it on. His mind was on fire with all the forms he was trying to remember.Walking through the woods he found himself back at camp. He had been so preoccupied he almost didn't notice it.
Quickly he stoked the fire and prepared his campsite. After eating he washed the blood and sweat from his face and arms then crawled gratefully into his skune and retired for the night. From now on until his training was over this would be his routine hunt by day fight by night, Marrow smiled if this is to be his fate then he will have to become like the wolf, kill or be killed.

A couple weeks had past since his first lesson. Marrow breathed evenly as his spears stabbed in and out, darting through the air with deadly force. His feet followed gracefully keeping him in perfect balance as his spears danced sometimes in arcing sweeps others in brutal thrusts. Both his arms moved in deceptive patterns as he whirled about the clearing in a chaotic dance that was impossible to predict. With Cogar's brutal yet effective training Marrow had progressed with blinding speed and to anyone watching it showed.

Cogar as ever remained unimpressed even gruffly pointing out several mistakes Marrow had made while going through the routines. Marrow finished his routine with an over head arc that allowed him the perfect angle for a powerful rear hand thrust.

“took you long enough to get it,” Cogar said spitting on the ground. “Now I guess you need to learn how to throw the damned things.”

SeaBee1
January 5th, 2012, 03:32 AM
Hello, Marrow!

I read this part this morning, got busy before I could reply and comment, looked again this afternoon before I went to work, pondered it a bit more and now I am on my break.

First of all, I like this story. It reminds me of my bootcamp days, sort of. This tale of yours is brutal. You have done well with the description of the scenes. One thing I would consider revising is your characterization of Cogar. Old men don't scream and yell. In my opinion, they quietly, coldly, menacingly educate and train the younger warriors. Typically, they are men of few words. Let Cogar's actions provide the menace, not his words. I think if Cogar quietly, efficiently and repeatedly, with but a few words of instuction, beat the snot out of Marrow, with Marrow screaming and whimpering like a little girl, it would have more impact. Then we could see Marrow develop into a deadly warrior, with Cogar giving a single nod of approval and narry a word. Let Marrow do the screaming until he learns this lesson: it's the quiet dogs that get you, not the barking ones.

But that is just me. It is your story and you must tell it your way.

Again, this is a small quibble with me. I do like this story and I am looking forward to more.

Best regards

CB

marrow
January 5th, 2012, 04:00 AM
You know i thought about what you said about Cogar and i agree with you. tonight i will be doing some revising thank you for the help.

SeaBee1
January 5th, 2012, 01:53 PM
You are welcome. I feel like this will be a definite improvement; think of Liam Neeson in 'Batman Begins' as he trains Christian Bale. But I would really like to see some others weigh in with their opinion. I would hate to see you do a lot of revising just because one lone busybody like myself thought you should. Others may think Cogar is just fine the way he is.

At any rate, I am confident you will deliver an excellent story!

Best regards

CB

Jeko
January 5th, 2012, 05:59 PM
Hi Marrow. Once again, you have captivated me with a powerful tale full of struggle and btter emotion. I love your choice of words -


Giant cracks veined the frozen surface of the stones

'Veined' is the perfect verb to describe the scene yet give a variety that blends so well it feels natural.

There are a few mistakes; there instead of their, your instead of you're, but I make them. What's important is that you've got a lovely story with a characgter that in my mind is heroic, even though he hasn't slayed dragons or rescued princessess; he is a hero of his own struggle, battling against a brutal reality that surrounds him every day. Marvelous.

SeaBee1
January 6th, 2012, 01:48 PM
Hi Marrow. Once again, you have captivated me with apowerful tale full of struggle and btter emotion. I love your choice of words -



'Veined' is the perfect verb to describe the scene yet give a variety that blends so well it feels natural.

There are a few mjistakes; there instead of their, your instead of you're, but I make them. What's important is that you've got a lovely story with a characgter that in my mind is heroic, even though he hasn't slayed dragons or rescued princessess; he is a hero of his own struggle, battling against a brutal reality that surrounds him every day. Marvelous.

I agree with Cadence here. Marrow certainly has potential to 'slay dragons'. Or 'Kings', if that can be inferred from your title. Evil kings, I hope, as I am a traditionalist - good vs. evil and good always prevails - kind of guy. But I am intrigued, regardless.

Please show us more.

Best regards

CB

marrow
January 7th, 2012, 04:45 AM
i will have dragons in this story but everybody that reads the parts with the dragons say that i give them a very real feel. And they are more like intelligent animals instead of talking magic wielding beings. He does kill the evil king though :)

SeaBee1
January 7th, 2012, 02:17 PM
Oh yeah, dragons are good! Years ago I read 'Dragon Riders Of Pern' by Anne McCaffery (sp?). Excellent stuff. How have you progressed with the re-characterization of Cogar? I am interested in how that comes out.

Best regards

CB

QDOS
January 8th, 2012, 11:34 AM
Hi marrow
Very enjoyable read, have you done any martial arts training yourself or have you just read about it.
Well written, but as we all do the odd typo plagues us all. I point these out not so much as a personal critique on your text, but as they helped me in the past and might help other aspiring writers.

Para 6 - ill should be i’ll as in I will.
Crawling to where he kept his meat buried Marrow Shoveled the snow aside. (s - lower case?)
Blood ran freely from his ravaged palms. “i cant,” Marrow said through clenched jaws. He squeezed his eyes shut unable to bear the pain of failure. (“I can’t)
He laughed mockingly, “Ah im done with you boy.” with a look of disgust he turned and stalked across the clearing towards the woods. (“Ah! I’m done with you boy,” – Ah! - As such being an exclamation.)
“No” he growled as he picked up his spears. (“No.” He)
“Where are you going. Marrow asked. (” missing quotes)
“took you long enough to get it,” Cogar said spitting on the ground. (T - Upper case)

Note: My landline has been disconnected for the last three and a bit weeks following a power outage (strong winds). More details will be found on my postings Devil Incarnate on the main fiction page.

QDOS ;-)

cactuskitty
January 16th, 2012, 10:56 PM
Amazing!