I’ve been working hard on cleaning up the storyline for Viridian Sky, my NaNoWriMo novel. Mostly I’ve placed structure and decided on an ending. I still have a good twenty thousand words left to write but I’m getting there slowly. For those of you who have been waiting a long time to read it I’ve included the first chapter after the cut.
Chapter One – In which we meet Cassandra Davanne and wonder why she’s so angry.
No one ever took her seriously. She liked it that way. She loved walking into a tavern and having every eye in the place looks her up and down, trying to understand why she was there. Taverns were no place for women her mother had told her when she was younger. She didn’t listen to her mother then and now at twenty one she wasn’t going to start.
She paused, took a deep breath, composed herself, and did her best to mimic the innocence she had lost a long time ago. She walked into the tavern and everyman turned their eyes towards her. Most probably never made it up to her innocent expression before starting to catcall, they would see her knee high leather boots, her long blue dress with a slit on either side of her body stopping midway between her hip and knee, not to mention that the dress emphasised her ample breasts. What they didn’t see are the daggers in each boot, the sport shirt made of mithril weave, the shorts that ended a few inches above the slit, or the elemental hilt strapped to her inner thigh.
She walked towards the bar swaying her hips and sat down on a stool slowly crossing her long legs. There was a unified intake of breath as she turned to the bartender and said, “Flavour enhanced Keiths please.” Batting her eyes at the barkeep she looked around, no one she knew was in this tavern. “Good,” she thought.
When the beer came she batted her eyes at the bartender, “I’m looking for Arthur Jackson, do you know where he is?”
Looking cautious he stared at her breasts and said, “Sorry Miss, I don’t know that name.”
She looked downtrodden and even managed to a tear as she replied, “Really, that’s terrible. I’ve been looking for him all day and my feet hurt. He told me to meet him at the Prancing Pony and you know how many of those there are? So now I won’t be able to show him this new dress I bought and he won’t be able to feel a smooth it is.” She pouted and turned to the man on the stool next to her, a large ogre looking man who was thumbing a hidden dagger, “See feel how smooth it is!” she grabbed his hand and rubbed it against her side, giving him a coy smile as she let go.
The man looked at the bartender and said, “She’s just looking for Sir Jackson for a little fun.”
The bartender looked at him, smiled awkwardly happy he was standing behind the bar, and asked, “I’m really sorry, I can’t tell you that. What’s your name darling?” He wasn’t going to tell her anything, and she could see him reaching for something under the bar. She smiled and her expression changed completely, from lamb to wolf, innocence to experience. Her eyes sparkled with anticipation, “I was hoping you’d say that!”
The ogre looking man barely had time to register the difference in her stance before her glass of beer shattered in his face, his dagger falling out of his hand. He fell from his seat and didn’t get up. He was the lucky one. She grabbed the bartender by his shirt collar and said, “Are you going to tell me where to find Jackson or do we need to do this the hard way?” His only reply was to look over her shoulder. She glanced over his shoulder at the bar mirror and saw twelve men, some holding weapons forming a semi circle around her and the bar. She looked at the bartender and said, “Don’t call me Darling!” His eyes widened as she grabbed his head banging it into the bar. The mob was slowly closing the circle around her; they were going to enjoy this and her.
She stood to up to her full five and a half feet, her long blond hair swaying gently over her back. She gracefully shifted into a defensive stance, leaving her left side exposed. Everyone breathed in union, tension building, she counted them and smiled. Twelve should be a worthy challenge.
The tension broke and one man moved forward lunging at her with a steak knife and fork.
“I knew you only saw me as a piece of meat but this is ridiculous.” She continued to keep her left side open. No one laughed but he took the bait and went for her trap, diving with the knife at her left side. Putting her weight on the right foot she kicked low with her left. Connecting with his left leg she let him fall, midway to the ground she grabbed his head with both hands and twisted sharply. She was rewarded with a satisfying snap.
She looked around and wondered if they’d give her the satisfaction of showing fear. One man started backing away but the other ten continued to close the circle. Finally they all charged. The first man to reach her received a punch to the throat. She kicked backwards colliding with another man. She quickly ducked as someone sliced at her with a knife. Moving forward she grabbed the knife man’s arm and slashed at one of his friends, cutting his throat before either man reacted. Letting go of the arm she grabbed by the chest and spun him around, blocking the two bullets aimed at her head. She knelt, grabbed a dagger and threw it at the gunman, catching him in the chest.
A man grabbed her by the shoulder and yanked her up. Pushing off the ground with the yank, she used the momentum to kick another man in the groin and spin over the first man’s shoulders; placing two good punches into his kidneys.
She assessed those left standing. There were six left, two were hanging back and the other four were coming at her, the figurative gloves were off. The first man came at her, his fists crackling with electricity. He was an Elemental. She threw here second dagger and caught him in the throat.
The other three moved in as they moved, there muscles enlarged and they turned a strange purple colour. Strength coursed through there veins, they were Roids. She wasn’t worried, concentrating she closed her eyes. Slowly her hair changed colours from platinum blond to bright red, her fists felt warm, and she knew they were flaming. She was a fire elemental, one of the rarest gifts.
The three charged her one landing a hit to her chest knocking the air from her lungs. She moved back with the punch doing a cartwheel backwards, kicking him with a flaming boot under his chin. He went flying. She landed on her feet and started to run at the other two men. She ran towards them jumping into the air she flew ten feet into the air, flames following her. She landed on one man’s shoulders and he started to fall, she then propelled herself off him and spun in mid air to kick the other man on the side of the head.
Both men left smouldering, she looked towards the two that had been hanging back and watching.
They both smiled, and moved in unison. One pulled out an elemental hilt from his belt. He crackled with electricity, the most common form of Elemental power. He concentrated his power into the hilt and it expanded outwards to form the shape of a longsword.
The second called to the debris around him, random pieces of glass, mettle and wood started to circle his whole body. “Shit!” She thought, “Not a Shaper.” While Elementals could control one of the four elements, Shapers could control any solid mater around them.
The elemental Lunged towards her, she barely avoided the blow before she got out her hilt. Red fire flowed through her hilt forming a longsword. She could have formed any sort of weapon but she proffered the longsword. He beat at her sword testing her strength. He stepped back then forward quickly thrusting at her. They circled quickly; he continued to test her guard for a few more jabs. He thought he was being clever, distracting her from his friend but she hadn’t forgotten about the Shaper behind her, she waited for the right body signal from the man before her. She moved back quickly and he prepared to lunge, he became stiff and stopped the lunge before he started.
She knew she only had seconds as she ducked. A large piece of glass grazed her shoulder and continued into her opponent’s chest. Twirling quickly she saw the Shaper look shocked, giving him no time to react she lunged at him extending the length of her sword and piercing him through his shield of debris and his heart. All the debris fell to the ground.
Looking around she saw several men getting up and running for the door. She walked, swaying her hips, towards the bar and lightly tapped the bartender on the face.
“Arthur Jackson?” The bartender looked up at the sound of her voice and looked around the room. She gave him a piece of paper and a pen and he wrote an address down for her. She patted him on the head.
She collected her daggers and as she was walking out she looked back at the bartender and said, “My name’s Cassandra Davanne” and winked.
“I love this town” she thought as she walked out.