New Project & Bonus Excerpt!
In my first post this year I mentioned that Fabian and I are working on a new project, as we feel our first manuscript may not be the best story to lead with. Creating a series for our fantasy world is our ultimate goal, but we’re also aware that a series isn’t the easiest thing to get out there for first time authors.
So, we’re going back a little further in our world’s history, to the previous generation and the first age of heroes. I’m using The First Age of Heroes as a working title, since I kinda like it and, well, that’s what the story covers. Now, this is turning out to be so much fun for me. The story follows two friends, Castor and Diedrich, as they strive to make a name for themselves among the world’s best warriors.
Writing this story has already given me some happy moments. Anyone who’s read my blog has no doubt come across mention of my character, Catori, one of the main characters in the novels Fabian and I are working on. Well, Castor is her teacher and they’re both from the same town, and Diedrich turns up in the first war she fights in and recommends her for the position of captain. As I wrote the first chapter, I had an oh-my-god moment where I realized Diedrich, because of his friendship with Castor when they were young, would’ve known Catori’s mother, at least in passing.
I adore making little connections like that in writing, you guys have no idea. It just makes me so happy.
An A+ villain provides the best squee gif.
Anyway, I’ve gotten a good start on their story and I’m feeling like sharing, so I’m including a little excerpt for reader enjoyment. Disclaimer: Diedrich gets schooled by Rohanna and it’s gonna be great. She’ll be his rival in this story, a little bit, but she’s also part of the reason he later recommends Catori for captain.
“Who’s that?” A neighboring knight turned from his table to face them, incredulous. “You’ve never heard of Rohanna the Raven Maid?” Castor exchanged a glance with Diedrich and shook his head, and the man gaped at them. “She’s only the finest known swordsman!”
Diedrich scoffed. “She can’t very well be the finest swordsman if she’s not even a man.”
“Doesn’t need to be.” The knight grinned at them. “She’s still the best.”
“But women lack the strength.” Diedrich’s brow furrowed and he leaned towards the knight. “She’d have a distinct disadvantage in a fair fight, there’s no way.”
“There’s always a way.”
They turned and Diedrich found himself staring up into the face of a pretty young woman. Her sun-kissed skin seemed to glow in the light of the tavern, and long, ebony hair fell over her shoulder in a simple plait. She arched one delicate brow, gazing down at him with a set of molten gold eyes. A small, pouty mouth curled into an amused smile.
“Rohanna!” The knight laughed, gleeful Diedrich’s words were caught. “We have a disbeliever in our midst.”
“So it seems.” Her eyes darted to Castor. “And you? Do you share your friend’s thoughts?”
Castor shrugged, his gaze on hers. “I’m skeptical of anyone claiming to be the best.”
She placed her hands on her hips, rather narrow for a woman, and lifted her chin, appraising him. “And you don’t claim to be the best?”
A wide grin split Castor’s face. “Not in swordplay.”
Rohanna’s smile widened and she turned back to Diedrich with a tilt of her head. “Go ahead and doubt me, ser. I’ll prove you wrong soon enough. Or would you like a lesson in strength right now?”
Was she joking? His frown deepened and he shook his head. “I don’t make a habit of fighting women.”
“Ooh.” The knight grimaced and shook his head. “Shouldn’t have said that.”
Rohanna’s smile widened and she leaned over, bringing her face within inches of Diedrich’s. He stiffened at her proximity, eyeing her warily, but Rohanna only patted his cheek with her fingertips.
“A knight who thinks he’s stronger than any woman, that we’re to be protected and defended because we cannot do so ourselves.” She clucked her tongue and sighed. “When I’m through with you, you’ll be the one needing aid.” Rohanna straightened, her smile still in place, and joined the other knights. “Laius! Gimme those dice, ser, and make your bets.”
Castor chuckled as the knights turned from them and gave Diedrich a look of utter amusement. “Got your hands full with that one.” He clapped Diedrich on the shoulder and reached for his ale. “You know, you’re right Diedrich. This tournament has already lifted my spirits.”
Diedrich rolled his eyes. “My point still stands.” He huffed and reached for his own ale. “A puffed chest won’t win her any battles. I’ll let her sword speak for itself.”
Castor laughed and leaned towards Diedrich, lowering his voice to a whisper. “Careful about mentioning her chest. She might castrate you.”
“Honestly, have you ever heard of a woman wielding a sword better than a man?” Diedrich gave Castor a hard look and scrutinized him. “A warrior’s strength will always be greater than a woman’s. We’re built for fighting, women are built for raising children.” He shook his head, baffled that anyone might think a woman could match a man in strength.
Castor raised a brow, a wary look on his face, and inclined his head towards Rohanna. “I don’t think she likes that talk.”
Diedrich sighed. “Look, I’m sure she’s a fine swordsman and better than many, but she wouldn’t stand a chance against a warrior worth his salt.”
“Keep talking about it and I’ll make you eat your sword, ser.” Rohanna shot him a pointed look and a sly smile as her dice danced across the table.