And Now, We Write! — Our Story Begins

Well, it seems this little adventure we have gone on together is now drawing to a close, though for me, it feels like just the beginning. I have shown you how the tiniest spark of an idea can turn into the outline for an entire novel in my mind. The last steps would include writing the first draft, rewriting it who knows how many times, and editing. Since that is a bit too much to take on in a blog post, and since I have other projects that demand more of my attention, I will just finish off this little series with the first scene of the first chapter in the book. Keep in mind, this is the first draft. It is not perfect. It is not polished. Someday, when I actually finish the book, it may get rewritten. But, this is a glimpse at the first step.

Chapter 1

It only took about half a second for Markin to wipe the sweat away from his eyes with the back of his left hand, but half a second was all his opponent needed. The other man thrust his sword forward directly toward the spot on Markin’s left side that had just been left unguarded. That was alright. Markin had been expecting it.

Faster than a person could blink his left hand flashed downward, and the blade of the dagger he was clutching smashed against the sword, forcing its point downward where he could easily guide it past his leg. At almost the same instant his right hand lifted his own sword and shoved his opponent’s dagger out to the side. One step forward and Markin’s dagger was at his opponent’s throat. A simple thrust would end the battle, and the other man’s life, only that wasn’t Markin’s goal.

“Yield?” Markin forced himself to remain aware of where the other man’s sword and dagger were. One never knew when an opponent would take advantage of such hesitation.

“Yield.” The other man gasped, breathing heavily.

Markin stepped back, dropping his hands to rest at his sides. He was breathing rather hard as well. It had been a good practice.

“I can’t believe you beat me this time.” The other man set his wooden practice weapons on the soft grass as he fumbled to open a water pouch. “I thought for sure I had you when you left your side exposed.”

“I know you did.” Markin hid his grin by turning to reach for his own water pouch. “I was counting on it.”

The other man shook his head. “Has anybody ever managed to beat you?”

“Of course they have.” Markin arranged his face to appear serious. “But it has been a while.”

“How comforting.” Markin’s friend took a large drink of water, then replaced the cap on his water pouch. “The unconquerable Markin was once human like the rest of us.”

“That’s not true, Linan, and you know it.” Markin shook the practice dagger at the other man. “I’ve never been human.”

“Fine, Elven then.” Linan rolled his eyes and sat down on one of the spectator benches lining the practice fields. “You know what I mean.”

“Yes, I do.” Markin sat down next to Linan and started examining his wooden weapons for cracks. “But I’m certainly not unconquerable. If we wouldn’t have been using the daggers along with the swords, I’m not sure I would have won at all.”

“Maybe not,” The side of Linan’s mouth twisted a bit as if he weren’t quite convinced. “but I’m not sure I’d like to bet my life on it.”

“You don’t give yourself enough credit.” Markin stood and clapped his friend on the back. “Your swordsmanship is incredible. I’ve seldom seen better. You were recommended for the Ghost Division, after all. You wouldn’t have had a chance if you weren’t one of the best.”

“The same goes for you.” Linan bent down to pick up his wooden weapons once again. “The same goes for everybody in the Ghost Division. But that doesn’t change the fact. I owe you a meal at the Dancing Turtle. Enjoy it this time, because I’ve learned better not to make any more wagers against you.”

“I do have to admit, a meal that isn’t from the mess hall is very good motivation. I wonder if I will do as well when I don’t have something like that to look forward to.” Markin scowled slightly.

“Well, let’s get this over with.” Linan sighed. “Shall we head to the Dancing Turtle?”

“Sounds like the best plan I’ve heard all day.” Markin stood and threw the wooden practice sword over his shoulder.

They were half way across the practice field when Markin spotted a figure coming toward them. Markin’s brow lowered a bit as he recognized Captain Almer’s personal aid. It didn’t take long before Markin determined the aid was making his way directly toward them. A slight frown joined the wrinkles on Markin’s forehead. Why would the aid be seeking them out right now? Was there some sort of an emergency?

“Lieutenant Markin,” the aid spoke as soon as he was in a reasonable hearing distance. “I have a request from Captain Almer. He wishes to see you as soon as possible.”

“Very well. I’ll be there right away.” Markin gave the correct response. Regardless of the wording, he knew this was more of a command than a request. He turned to Linan. “I’m sorry, but it looks like I may have to postpone the dinner. Don’t think you’ll get out of it though. I’m holding you to it.”

“Right.” Linan gave a small wave as Markin turned to follow the Captain’s aid. “Good luck.”

“Thanks,” Marken murmured. He wasn’t sure what the captain wanted, but whatever it was, it was almost certain, luck would be very much appreciated.

To be continued… (Hopefully someday)

Like I said, not perfect, but fairly standard for a first draft. One of the hardest things about writing this was coming up with the name for the special operations team. It seems pretty much everything with the general idea and feel of what I wanted has already been taken by something or another. Originally, I called them the Ghost Team. However I discovered that there was a movie that came out last year by that name, so I decided I should probably try something different. I thought of things like the phantom guard (too close to a video game thing), phantom fighters (too Air Force), shadow guard (too Star Wars-y) and I finally settled on Ghost Division, even though it was the nickname of a German tank division in World War II. I figure it’s the least likely to get me into trouble. So, that is what I have decided on for now. If anybody has any better ideas, please let me know. I’m open to suggestions.

Did this scene catch your attention well enough? What parts were too confusing? What are your ideas for the name of the spec. Ops. Team?

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