Wow, am I tired.
But it's true! It's time again for snippets, and yes, although I realize that I must be the last person to post snippets in November (the month is up in 2 days!), better late than never. Besides, I know you were all just dying to read some of what I wrote on Children of a Legend during NaNoWriMo, and I couldn't post snippets until I had actually finished writing my 50K.
Okay, maybe not dying, but I hope you were excited to read these. And don't forget to check out Katie's blog for more snippets from great writers!
Directly behind Lord Vernd entered a man that Gimnder unfortunately knew all too well. He was dressed in black from head to toe, his black boots smeared with the dust of heavy traveling, his black cloak torn plentifully from use and battles, his black tunic laced tightly against his chest, his black gloves covering his powerful hands, and his black scabbard hanging grandly and hiding the sharp blade to a majestic double edged sword. The only other color he presented on himself, other than the pale skin of his face, came in two, bold accents of sharp contrast: a jagged scar that ran horizontally across his face beneath his eyes and over his nose, dark from age and pain, and a thick sash tied about his waist the exact color of blood.
Jimena, the older of the two, looked up shyly at the visitors through her thick hair with a small hello, but Lyndee watched the group unabashedly. Her little, freckled nose wrinkled as she studied them, and her dark, quick eyes, Davin promptly noted, didn't miss a thing.
“Why are you so dirty?” She asked, looking at Grant skeptically.
Rodnal spoke up quickly before Grant could say anything. “We've been on the road fer a long time, little one, and we haven't got the chance yet ta take a bath.”
“Then you should get washed up.” The little girl replied seriously. “Lettie never lets me go to bed with that much dirt on my face.”
Recognition struck Davin instantly. “You're the man I saw last night at the inn! You sat at the table in the corner, in the shadows. You were watching us, weren't you?”
“You are most observant.” The man congratulated him with an air of mockery.
Davin wasn't certain whether or not to describe him as a man, for the stranger looked no older than Davin himself. His brown hair was slicked down neatly, and his chin held the faintest signs of scattered stubble. His clothing resembled the garb of a simple hunter, mostly greens and browns, but made to withstand the taxing use of the outdoors and the biting colds of winter. Leather gauntlets laced about his wrists, and across his chest lay a thick belt to which on his back was strapped a quiver full of arrows. His bow lay with the quiver, but the curved wood was, at the moment, unstrung. It was still too dark in the alley to clearly see his eyes, but Davin felt as if they were dark and accusing, focusing on his every move.
He kept his eyes on Davin as he spoke. “But yes, I was watching you.”
The statement wasn't said in shame nor in a threatening manner. It was simply stated, without any comprehensive feeling, and heard.
But Davin didn't like the way it was stated or heard.
By the time they had gained the end of the alley, Davin noted with relief that the violent shouts and lethal clashes of the fight no longer permeated the air. Instead, angry voices were thrown against the close walls of the alley. Davin recognized them instantly as two distinct voices, those of Olette and his brother, Grant.
“That was dumb! Completely and entirely foolish! Stupid and senseless! What in all of Dron were you thinking?”
“That wasn't dumb! How can ya call it dumb? I probably saved yer life!”
“Saved my life? Ha!”
“By almost getting yourself killed? Oh, sure, that was really smart!”
“I'm not killed! And it was a smart move!”
“Smart by whose standards? Girls don't belong in battle anyway!”
“I have jest as much right ta a fight as you! They wanted my head jest as much as they wanted yours!”
“I haven't the least idea why they would want your head when it has nothing in it that they would find useful!”
“If it wasn't fer me, yer head might be rolling around on the ground right now!”
“So you expect me to be grateful for what you did?”
“I would expect some thanks, but since it's from the likes of ya, I don't!”
“That soldier could have killed you.”
“But he didn't!”
“You had no business stepping in here! We were handling well enough on our own!”
“I could tell! You handled that man going for yer back with a sword very well!”
“I was going to stop him.”
“When? When it was too late?”
Davin raised his voice before his brother could fire another retort back at Olette. “Grant!”
Every head in the alley whipped towards Davin.
He kept his words even. “Let's go.”
Brice's speech broke through the despair on Davin's face, and he looked up at the sandy haired boy, his lips twitching with the beginnings of a smile. “When did you become so smart?”
Brice pretended to take offense to his words, crossing his arms defiantly against the accusation, but he couldn't keep the chuckle out of his voice as he responded. “Why, I've been smart for years! It just took your little brain this long to recognize that fact.”
When the man had fallen, Brice turned back to Davin. “I think we could stand with a new plan. It's time to play a new card from your hand. What do you say, General?”
“I'm not...” Davin protested, but Brice wasn't listening. He was rushing back to assist Grant.
“A general.” Davin finished lamely. But he knew Brice was right. They were holding for now, but for how long? Sooner or later the soldiers would overwhelm them with the sheer number of the force they had on their side. The strength of Davin's friends was waning fast, and he knew that they counted fight forever.
But he had no plan. No card that he knew of that he could play. What more could they do?
His mind flitted to the skirmish they had fought in West Delt, after Essore had taken Niana on her first flight, carrying her out of town and later decimating the soldiers following him with a fiery blast. Davin could still see the charred remains of the men in his mind, and he shuddered. It was horrible, the destruction a dragon's fire could do.
A dragon's fire...
All at once, Davin lit on a plan. It wasn't anything great, not a sound plan with clever strategy. It was more of a thought, a ray of an idea that was a simple help. It was a card he could play.
“Essore!” He shouted as loudly as he could, disregarding the threat of avalanche. If the dragon could do what he did before and distract the soldiers long enough for the four friends to get away, they might make it to the stronghold and bar themselves inside before Vernd's troops had a chance to rally.
Davin hated to pull Essore into the fight, especially since the bitter cold affected his wings so, but there was nothing left for him to do. Essore was the last and only card Davin could play for their side. And he was playing it.
He waited a full five minutes, eyes probing the sky, voice and heart calling out to the black dragon, listening to the sounds of battle further down in the pass. He waited for the roar of the approaching dragon, waited for the deadly stream of heat to come flying forth from the deep pits of the dragon's insides. He waited for the black form of the dragon flying toward them in the sky.
But Essore never came.
Davin had played his card, but the card had proved empty and useless.