My first book
Here is the first part of my first chapter of my first book. So tell me what you think, and if you would like to see the rest of the chapter. It's a superlong post, so sorry for that, but anyway, enjoy.
It all happened so quickly that the guard didn’t even have time to scream. With a sharp twist of his wrist, the man’s neck let out a sharp crack. Jarrek held on long enough to commandeer the ring of keys from the guard’s belt before letting go and allowing him to slip lifelessly to the ground. He held still for another moment, checking for any sign of alarm before moving to the back of the sell. He twirled the keys around his index finger. “Not bad, eh Gavin?” he said with a confident smirk.
The older man raised his eyebrows questioningly. “Ah yes, Jarrek that was very original: kill the guard and steal his keys. I wonder if anyone else ever thought of that, or if you’re the first.”
“Well, what it lacked it originality, it made up for in efficiency. The guard is indeed dead, and we do now hold the keys to our freedom,” Jarrek replied trying to hold back a laugh at Gavin‘s remark.
“Point taken,” Gavin conceded.
Jarrek sighed wearily. After being captured behind enemy lines, thrown into this dungeon with the only company being Colonel Gavin Hudson for five months, he was more than ready to be on his way. After all, being a captain in Traltoria’s army and having to spend the entire war in an enemy dungeon was maddening at best, but to spend it with a colonel, who acted like an enlisted man, didn’t help things at all. It wasn’t that Gavin was not intelligent, he had demonstrated a very impressive ability to talk his way out of or into most anything. Which was why they had their own cell instead of sharing it with a dozen other people, but nonetheless, his sarcastic personality got a bit wearing after a time even though Jarrek saw how it could be considered charming.
Gavin had bright eyes that that seemed to change color with his emotions, and a smile that could capture any woman’s heart. That along with his hair, which was cool silver - odd for someone only ten years Jarrek’s senior - that fell down his back and was tied in place with a simple leather strap, gave him the appearance of both a Nobleman and a bandit.
Jarrek, however was a different story. After completing training in a very severe martial school, he ran away rather than staying with the group that had trained him, and joined the Traltorian army. He quickly climbed the ranks because of his formidable fighting skills, and a personality that made him somewhat of a natural leader. He had been part of several decisive victories against the nation of Tanis, before he was sent on an espionage assignment behind enemy lines. While he was scouting a hidden Tanisian base, his group was ambushed, killing everyone save Jarrek, since he was of the highest rank. After several weeks of interrogation, they took him to their capitol and threw him in the dungeon, where he stayed waiting for a chance to escape.
Finally, the opportunity had presented itself. Through gossip from the guards, he heard that a sea born invasion party estimated seven thousand men strong had left the Traltorian Empire heading for Tanis, two weeks ago. Tanis spotters had sighted the armada earlier that morning, which would have them arriving that night. Since Tanis would be mustering quite a defense outside the walls, most of the soldiers in the city would be outside as well, leaving the inner city and the dungeon lightly guarded. Both Gavin and Jarrek had agreed that that was the time to escape, since once they were outside the dungeon, all they would have to do was to get out of the city, join up with the Traltorian ships and go home. The most difficult part of the plan would be getting through the dungeon guards, which they were already well on their way to doing.
Jarrek put the key in the lock and twisted. With a slight rasp, and a satisfactory click, the door noisily swung open, creaking on its rusty hinges. He swept his arm to the side and glanced back at Gavin. “Shall we?”
“Yes, let’s,” Gavin replied, “I believe that we have had just about as much fun as is possible here.”
When they stepped out of the cell, Jarrek immediately began looting the dead guard. The only things of use to them were the sword and dagger, which Jarrek held up for inspection. He frowned slightly. The blades were very poorly made and were full of nicks and notches, but they had fine points and sharp edges that would break through flesh and bone easily enough. “Gavin,” he said, “do you want his sword or dagger?”
Gavin rubbed his chin as if he were surveying goods to purchase in a market. “You could survive longer with the dagger than I could, so, I’ll take the sword.”
Jarrek nodded. “I couldn’t agree more.” Throughout their time imprisoned, they would sometimes spar hand-to-hand in an attempt to pass the time. If the guards didn’t come in and break it up, the fights usually ended with Gavin pinned to the wall or floor. It wasn’t that Gavin was a bad fighter, but Jarrek, with his superior training knew far more moves than most any other man, and could execute them with lightning fast precision. Some people had even gone as far as to compare him to a Shalorain Blood Warrior in terms of skill, but that had yet t be proven against one of the legendary Warriors.
Leaving the guard behind, the two jogged down a long twisting corridor that ended at a very thick ironbound oak door. Jarrek quickly swept his gaze over it and realized with some horror that there was neither handle nor keyhole to provide an exit. “Any ideas?” he sighed.
Gavin nodded. “They have a special sequence that they nock to be let out. It keeps prisoners in even if they steal the keys from one of the guards.”
“A sequence? Why didn’t you tell me this before?”
Gavin shrugged. “I thought you knew.”
“You thought I knew?” Jarrek growled in frustration. “How could I know, I have never seen or heard them do it,” he shook his head. “This is bad. Soon, they will come in, find the dead guard, then it’s all over for us.
“Will you relax,” Gavin said. “Sometimes, you fret like a woman, you know that? Just take a deep breath, and listen closely,” he lowered his voice and spoke very slowly. “I... know... the... pattern... that they use.”
Jarrek brightened then glared at Gavin. “Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“Well,” Gavin said indignantly, “I would have if it weren’t for your panic attack. When you have been here as long as I have, you can’t help but know their routines, which is the only reason that I agreed to this plan of yours.”
“Meaning, that there are usually six guards total here, but tonight with the invasion, there will only be three. It is just standard protocol. You killed one already, leaving two outside and two of us which is an even match. So, if you will give me some room, I will get this door open,” he paused. “One more thing though, how do you think we should deal with the guards. I mean, they will have been trained to deal with people like us, so I was hoping that you with all of your martial knowledge might have a better idea than just charging out and hoping that the other one isn’t far enough away to feather us with his arrows.
Jarrek searched his surroundings, then glanced up at one of the rafters in the ceiling. “Give me a boost,” he said.
Jarrek perched on a rafter like some over large bird of prey, firmly holding a rope that was tied to the beam. “Go ahead Gavin,” he whispered down.
Gavin stepped up to the door, pounded a series of thumps, then ran down the corridor. For an agonizing moment, nothing happened, and Jarrek feared that the guards were on to them. Just before he called back to Gavin, he heard a key turn in the lock and saw the door swing open. A guard stepped through and looked around curiously, obviously searching for whoever had knocked. “What’s going on here?” he called. “Kenner, you better show yourself, or I’ll lock you in for good. I am in no mood for your jokes.”
Jarrek took a deep breath, and dropped down off the rafter. Swinging on the rope, he flew through the doorway, slamming his feet into the guard’s chest. Jarrek followed him down as he fell back, a look of sheer surprise on his face when Jarrek landed on him. The air whooshed out of the guard accompanied by the sound of his ribs breaking. He coughed, sending blood flecks on his lips from his punctured lung, before closing his eyes and laying unmoving.
Barely dodging the other guard’s sword as it whistled over his head, Jarrek sprinted past, before turning to face his foe. The man lunged in an attempt to skewer Jarrek, but a quick sidestep proved too much for the guard to follow. Now inside the man’s defenses, Jarrek slammed his elbows down on the man‘s hands and backhanded him across the face. The guard dropped the sword as Jarrek rushed forward and thrust his dagger into the guard’s neck, opening a ragged wound that, even if the guard had lived another few moments, would be impossible to heal.
Slowly, Jarrek turned, checking the area for any reinforcements drawn by the commotion, as he wiped the bloody dagger on his pant leg. “Gavin?” he called. “Where are you?”
Just then, he heard footfalls running down the corridor. Gavin emerged at a run and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw what Jarrek had done. He nodded his approval. “Good work.”
“Where were you?” Jarrek demanded. “The plan was for you to follow me out and help me kill these guys. I could have used your help.”
“Sorry Jarrek, I would have come, but I remembered that we would need these to get on Traltoria’s ships,” he tossed a chain to Jarrek.
Jarrek snatched it out of the air, and saw that it was his military identification tag. “Thank you, but we need to stick to our plans and stay together. All right?”
“Sure,” Gavin replied casually. “But anyway, I knew that you could handle them, otherwise I wouldn’t have left you.”
“Well, thanks for the vote of confidence, but next time let’s discuss alterations to the plan before it is set in motion. Agreed?”
“Good,” Jarrek slipped his tag over his head, and grabbed one of the fallen guards’ swords, sliding it home in his belt. “Now, which way?”
Gavin shrugged and pointed at the palace. “The gate is that way, on the other side of the palace. That is probably our best bet.”
Jarrek smiled. “So, we’re just going to walk through the gates? Just like that?”
“I am open to better ideas if you have one,” Gavin replied.
Jarrek searched his surroundings, trying to think of anything that would be less suicidal than their current plan. He glanced at the palace that dominated the center of the city and was guarded by twenty-foot high stone walls. “Actually, I think I do.”
Gavin raised his eyebrows. “Really, would you care to share your thoughts, or should I just guess?”
“All right,” Jarrek said, ignoring Gavin’s comment, “we joined the Traltorian army to defend our empire. Correct?”
“Yes, your point being?”
“Quickly, let’s put these Tanisian guards’ uniforms on.”
“Are you feeling all right, Jarrek? To me it would seem much easier to get on our ships if we didn’t look like the enemy.”
“ Just do it, Gavin. Please.”
“What do you have in mind?”
Jarrek began unbuttoning the dead guards uniform, and smiled back at Gavin. “We are going to capture their king.”
Walking through the city, side-by-side with rhythmic footsteps and upright postures, they were the exact image of two Tanisian guards. Gavin sighed nervously. “Jarrek, I understand why you want to do this, but there are easier ways to get us killed. I still think that we should go with our original plan.”
“Hey, you’re right,” Jarrek said. “There are easier ways to get us killed and you just named one of them. You should really stop worrying. While your plan would certainly get us killed, this one is only highly possible that it will happen. Besides, if this works, we will have Tanis’ king with us, and we will definitely get out of the city.”
“In one piece hopefully.” Gavin grumbled as he smoothed the front of his jerkin. “And why do I get the uniform with blood covering it, and you get the clean one?”
“If you consider that guard clean, then a little blood shouldn’t bother you at all,” Jarrek replied wryly. “And, you know as well as I that that one fit you better than me. We are trying to fit in here, so just keep your vest buttoned, and nobody will see the blood.”
“All right,” he muttered. “So, how do you plan on capturing the king?”
Jarrek cringed. “Just follow my lead.”
Gavin’s jaw fell open. “You don’t have a plan, do you? You’re just making this up as we go along aren’t you?”
Jarrek nodded to a couple of passing guards. “Yes,” he said to Gavin.
“You, know Jarrek, if I was of a mind to, I could pull rank on you and order you to go with my plan.”
“The first time I saw you, you told me not to address your rank, because you wouldn’t address mine. Following that rule, and the fact that we are technically prisoners of war, your rank means nothing right now, does it,” Jarrek remarked confidently.
Gavin growled in frustration. “Dammit Jarrek, you can let the Traltoria invasion party conquer Tanis, you don’t have to.”
Jarrek whirled on Gavin, and shoved him against the wall of an alley. “Yes I do have to do this,” he whispered harshly. “I owe these bastards for locking me up for so long. I owe it to myself and I owe it to Traltoria to do everything in my power to ensure a victory. We are still soldiers in the army, and we are one of Traltoria’s best chances. Look at these walls, these defenses, the protection. Even if Traltoria does win, they will lose more than half their troops. And if they lose, the losses will rip a hole in their defenses; our defenses. If that happens, then every unhappy province, or more likely the Shalorain Empire, will rise up to challenge for supremacy. The rest of this war and Traltoria’s future is riding on this one battle, so if I can affect the outcome, then I most certainly will, no matter what the personal consequences. So, if you don’t want to chance it, then don’t. Just run away and hide until this blows over, and let me be on my way. This is your last chance to choose between the smart thing, or the right thing. Which will it be? Are you with me or not?”
Gavin stood, stunned silent by Jarrek’s outburst, pondering what to do, his face unnaturally serious. He glanced up at the palace, then back at Jarrek. He smiled sincerely. “What, leave now and miss the chance to be heroes? To be legends? I think not. I am with you until the end, Jarrek, no matter what the personal cost.”
Jarrek nodded and lowered Gavin back down from the wall. “That’s good to know. Now, all we have to do is topple a country by ourselves, then get out with the king before anyone figures out what has happened.”
Gavin snorted a short laugh. “Shouldn‘t be too difficult, eh Jarrek?”
Jarrek nodded. “After rotting in that dungeon for five months, it will be very rewarding to have some words with their king.”
Let me know if you want the rest of the chapter.
[ August 22, 2001: Message edited by: JediKnight_114 ]
[ August 23, 2001: Message edited by: JediKnight_114 ]