But first, Vivien Dean has given the Next Big Thing meme a go with some info on her exciting sounding steampunk story “Iron Eyes”. Check it out here!
Oh, but I managed to write something last night! You have NO idea what a relief it was to be able to sit in the quiet for a bit and bash out about 1000 words of medieval fantasy historical mayhem.
Just for fun, here’s a snippet:
The workmen had run to the sides and now the long space was lined with men on foot and the heralds were riding forward in a glittering square. A trumpet sounded. Archambault made an announcement, the words streaming away with his breath, unheard at this distance though Olivier could imagine what they were.
There would be the usual admonitions to fight well, keep it clean, and avoid striking an opponent’s horse but probably not the bit about treating the vanquished with mercy.
Ira knew what was happening and was already dancing, ears pricked and tail high. Maheris vaulted into the saddle, raising a cheer from the audience closest to him, and put out a hand for his lance.
“Who’s first?” he asked, settling the long pole on his foot. “Can you see?”
“Bay horse with blue bardings. I think that’s a lion. Maybe a leopard. I see spots.” Olivier shrugged. “Until he gets closer…”
“They’ll be letting me blunt my steel on youngsters,” Maheris said. “Look, here comes that herald again. The one who said he’d take you in.”
“Archambault,” Olivier said. “He’s a kind man much troubled by the cold.”
“Good morning.” The kind man’s nose was red and running. He blew it into a kerchief, cleared his throat and smiled at them both. “My master asks that you allow some of our noble youths the privilege of tilting with you just to get the blood flowing on this chilly day.”
“It would be my pleasure,” Maheris said. “Should I assume that he wants none of them maimed.”
“Exactly so,” Archambault cleared his throat again. “It does them good to see a master in action. Not all have had the advantages of your squire, Olivier. I have arranged for a supply of lances to be delivered – all good quality. If you are ready, we will begin.”
Maheris nodded and soon the bay horse was entering the lists, bounding high with excitement. Ira pranced on the spot, letting out a challenging squeal, until Maheris hand on the rein stilled him.
“I see the crest now sir,” Olivier said. “It’s not a leopard – it’s a spotted hound. That’s the Aylmer crest. There’s a son about my age.”
“Well I hope he’s as prepared to be laid on his back,” Maheris said, with a grin and snapped down his visor.
Black leaped to meet bay and it seemed to Olivier that the whole world held its breath. All he could hear was the beat of hooves, the creak of harness then the raucous whoop of a thousand voices as the rider of the bay, as Maheris promised, tumbled into the muddy grass.
Olivier ran to catch the fleeing bay horse, saw its owner helped to his feet, saw Maheris approach and exchange a word or two. Then his master returned to him, Ira totting proudly and barely breathing hard.
“Sir Ivo Aylmer,” Maheris said when he reached Olivier. “And he will live to fight another day but he needs to improve his seat. One good fart would have blown him out of the saddle.”