View Full Version : Chapter 32 (excerpt)- Still the Blade [tarik]

January 31st, 2013, 06:00 AM
I was so excited to write this chapter. It is a pretty importanrt event that will ultimately lead to thethe resolution of the plot's main conflict. There area some flow issues, however, especially within the asterisks. I wouldhave love advice, scathing critiques, anything you got. I changedhave it ato little sopush it could stand alone as a short story but therethe is littlethe difference.

Chapter 32- Still the Warring Blade

The clash of blades deafened Narim as he ducked knifeside. His own sword glittered with the red fires of Hilsindry but the blade had been dull to the touch. The brittle nature of the polished stone blade worked in tandem with his lack of desire to continue the battle. Narim knew that if he struck too hard the blade would shatter, rendering him defenseless. This battle required delicacy and skill instead of brute strength.

His opponent whirled out of reach, a smile creeping across a face that held neither the features of a man or a woman. Androgens were truly frightening in battle, Narim noted as he stepped forward a little more clumsily than he had intended. The Androgen beckoned him closer, It's own blade forged of shining steel taking Narim's misstep as an opportunity to strike again.

“Zchi take me!” Narim swore as he narrowly missed the lethal edge of the Androgen's blade. His opponent used far more force in Its swings than Narim could block with his own fragile sword. His only choice was to dance away from the attack and hope the exchange would afford him an opportunity to hit his target. This Androgen was stronger and more skilled with a blade than he, and with each near miss he was reminded of his own inefficacy in battle.

“If you do not end this soon, I will take you!” The Androgen shouted. Narim's gaze locked onto the Androgen, searching it's deep red-amber eyes for a solution. Effortlessly his mind worked at the barrier the Androgen held to keep him out of Its thoughts as he parried. No amount of probing, however, could lend him entrance.

“In a fight with an Androgen you cannot rely on your ability to persuade It to yield.” The Androgen leapt over the boy, landing silently as It switched the blade to the other hand. Narim's mind lost focus for a moment and lingered over the open thoughts of the spectators their battle had drawn. Children cheered, their minds ablaze with images of valiant soldiers fighting on the battle field. At once a searing pain tore across his swordside shoulder and he drew his mind away from the crowd. The gash bled freely, making his now feeble grasp on his sword even more difficult to maintain.

I have to switch hands. Narim thought as he persuaded himself to wield the sword knifeside. Unlike his swordside, his knifeside arm was untrained to the weight of a blade and his muscles lacked the control required to work the Hilsindry blade with delicacy. I have nothing to fear, he told himself as he watched the Androgen preparing for another strike, but no amount of coaxing would release him from the uneasiness this battle brought.

The Androgen deftly drove the point of Its sword toward Narim's body, making for his heart, but fell just short, nicking the heavy iron chain he wore around his neck. Narim had to think. There was some way to win this battle, he knew this, but answers eluded him. The Androgen suddenly brought It's blade down again and in reflex Narim brought his own sword to block. The Hillsindry blade shattered into a rain of black iridescent shards, leaving nothing but a barren leather hilt in his grasp. The Androgen smiled again and forced Narim to the ground, blade held against his neck.

The kiss of cold steel was deadly and Narim could feel a faint trickle of blood pooling in the hollow of his throat. Suddenly Narim felt the fear fade from his mind, replaced by a sense of satisfied peace. The children gathered to see the fight wailed in terror, shouting for the Androgen to release him but neither the boy nor the Androgen heard their pleas. Instead, Narim caught the Androgen's gaze again, taking in the warm scent of their closeness, and laughed.

The Androgen furrowed Its brow. “You are about to die! Is finding your path to Auraach so amusing to you?”

Narim raised his knifeside hand, clumsily placing it on the Androgen's cool, alabaster cheek.

“You are perhaps most beautiful when you are engaged in battle.”

The Androgen, suddenly flustered, dropped the blade at Narim's throat. The boy took the opportunity to writhe out of the Androgen's grasp and pinned It beneath him. Narim dared a light kiss on the Androgen's blushing cheek before dancing away in laughter.

****“Jawn, you androgynous bastard, you cut me!” Narim laughed as their audience clustered around them. He extended his hand and helped the Androgen to Its feet before taking a closer look at his wound. Jawn dusted off Its robes, moved the strands of copper hair that had fallen into its face, and placed a hand on Narim's shoulder. The Androgen's long claws gently grazed the wound, Its touch sealing his flesh.****

“Now I have made amends. What has this battle taught you?”

Narim's mind raced. This lesson was supposed to teach him something but his mind struggled to come up with the right answer. Was it the damnable fragile blade? He had been warned before their spar began that any force would shatter the blade and the battle had taught him that swordplay required a level of delicacy he still lacked. Narim looked at the discarded hilt at his feet and shook his head.
“It is far more difficult to fight a friend.” Narim said uncertainly,remembering his reluctance to strike at his beloved Jawn. The Androgen nodded slowly, tight-lipped and Narim feared that he had given the wrong answer.
“That is your lesson. Love will still the warring blade.” Jawn said softly, looking up at the faded evening sky. “May this lesson be with you always on your journey."

January 31st, 2013, 08:10 AM
I found the androgen idea a little odd but in a good way in that I wanted to know more. I could tell that this was part of a longer work. There are several times when you're using the pronoun "it" and it is capitalized--it should'nt be. I found the sword fight a little hard to follow because it didn't move quickly and a lot of that was with the description in between each action. I want to read more.

January 31st, 2013, 08:59 AM
Androgens are neat things but being genderless I found it difficult to assign an appropriate pronoun for them. I utilized capitalization just as is done in biblical text (the pronoun associated with God is capitalized as He) in part to make a clearer reference to a particular Androgen. "It" is also used to drive home the idea that the Androgens are a direct creation (often referred to as the children) of one of the warring gods, Maes.
Should i omit some of the descriptives within the fight to make this a little more reader friendly?

January 31st, 2013, 03:18 PM
Well, these creatures are not gods, nor is "it" his name. The capitalization of "it" was jarring. I had to go back and re-read to make sure I hadn't missed a period.

As far as the descriptives go I think some could be pared down or worked into the sentences better.