Sticks and Swords (Excerpt) - First Battle

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


Sticks and Swords is a fantasy world that I am working on- my first. It is violent, it is vulgar, it's of the "not holding anything back" style. It has its quirks, as does my writing style. New to
this, I'm happy to hear opinions on how it all works. This is one of the first excerpts I wrote, the action scenes always coming easiest. In this case, the two 'heroes' are seen facing an enemy
ambush on a battlefield, and one particularly tricky enemy. Putting it out there to see what people think of the characters! (So as to help me write the full story.) Hope you'll give it a glance!

Submitted: May 22, 2018

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Submitted: May 22, 2018

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Chapter One: Gods Fucking Damnit
 
He picked the spear up out of his partner’s hands and jammed it into the other man’s throat. It lodged against bone, the dying man’s hands scrabbling at it, as if removing it would do any good. As blood trickled down the stave, making his hands slick, he wedged the butt of the spear against the side of his boot, and heaved. The other man gurgled in weak protest, the scrabbling getting weaker and weaker… then the drag of mother earth did her work and forced the spear tip to slide off the bone it had been struggling with and into the poor sod’s brain. The twisted hands clawing at the shaft spasmed pathetically before falling limp to the man’s side. He then promptly dropped the spear. The body crumpled. Retaking hold of the spear, unceremoniously, he stamped on the corpse's face, wrenching it free. He held the tip in front of his face and scowled. Then he turned to the spear’s owner and scowled. “What in the name of a crispy fried bollock- which doesn’t even HAVE a name unless it’s partner is the sentimental type- is the point of being able to make anything as sharp as you want or as hard as you want, if you can’t fucking wield the thing!?”
“I can’t help it if some prick from the other side of the field decides to shoot me, in the dark, when my back is turned, can I?”
Apparently oblivious, he continued: “And while we’re at the subject as to your churned-up, sour milk for something resembling brains, why in the seven bare arsed plains would you make it so I can’t fucking wield the thing either? Did I look like I wanted to stick a pig with it?”
The man on the ground looked up with a melancholic expression. “Because the only thing hard enough to poke my armour is my spear. So it makes sense it only ever works when I’m touching the thing.” 
“Except for that crack-arsed arrow, apparently.” 
The other man looked sheepish at this and rubbed at his dirty blonde locks with a calloused and weathered hand. “I didn’t have time to put it all on.”
“You fucking WHAT!? What in the mother’s droopy tits did you think would happen when you walked out without your gods damned armour on!?” 
“That I was skilled enough to avoid whatever came at me.”
“Except that mut-fucking arrow! In all of the hair brained, clotted and rotten, pus infested, don’t-touch-me-I’m-fucking-disgusting ideas you had to pick up and think was a good thing to take home- because you thought it was cute and everyone would warm up to it eventually- it was THAT one!?”
“Well it does seem a bit stupid now, but we were in a bit of a rush.”
“A bit of a rush? A bit of a lion’s piss rush!? You’re stepping into a fucking battlefield, and you say you’re in a bit of rush!? How many rat-dropping times have you stepped onto a battlefield? Hm? And out of those many, many times, how many did you think “oh, oopsie-fucking-daisy, I don’t have time to put my invulnerable armour on”!?” 
“Well this time I had less time than all those other times.”
“Except for that one time I walked around with a broken bone sword tip up my arse, defending against a squadron of very angry, very crippled-looking but deceivingly fast and cat-toothed crazy, swamp people, because you were ‘fiddling with a buckle’!?”
“Well that time I thought I had time. And this time, I remembered that time, so I decided to come out faster.”
“Loose armour is better than no gods-fucking-under-the-great-eaves armour!”
“Actually, da said-” A crash beside the two men turned their attention away from eachother and back to the fighting that was spread across the small field. They looked down at the dead body at their feet and then back up to the bare-and-barrel-chested man who had dumped him there. They looked down again at the dead man, his chest collapsed in and his tongue lolling out, and then back up at the soldier grinning down at them. “This ain’t over,” snarled the first to the one sitting with an arrow sticking out his side. Picking up a discarded sword he so happened to find next to him, the first man crouched down into a low stance, edging his front foot out from him and maneuvering his shoulders, and the sword, back to cover his torso. His greasy dark locks fell over his scowling face, his mahogany eyes already murdering the large man in front of him. 
Oblivious to the killing intent, and the stupid macho-grin still plastered on his face, the aggressor took no stance or posture, but simply rolled his shoulders and started coming forward. In a sing-song accent, belied thickly with mockery, the giant taunted “come at me little man.” A vein popped in the defenders forehead, barely visible underneath dirt and bangs. Hey, he thought, I got two good ears- don’t have to tell me twice. His jaw locked, he released the pent up pressure on his back foot, and shot forward. He immediately curved his lunge to his left side- the human boulder infront of him still smiling like a moron- sword hilt held at his right shoulder. As soon as he came into range, the big brute lashed out. The punch was fast, his giant, plate-like chest contorting as if releasing a spring. The smile slipped as concentration reigned. Shit too fast! the smaller man thought, can’t- His attempted dodge sped up as, concentration switching from terrain to impending doom, his front foot slipped. Wah! The punch slipped above his head, and he spied the many unadorned rings on the mans meaty fingers and the plain, charcoal-blackened metal bracers on his wrists. 
The maneuver pulled on his muscles, but after getting warm from running from one end of the field and back again, he avoided doing any damage to himself. An ability to recover quickly, built from experience in both organised battles and unorganised brawls (mostly from the brawls...mostly involving bars...and quite often involving women), brought him back on track, and his wrists and shoulder rotated smoothly to flick his blade down in a slash meant to stop the victim’s leg. The blade bit into steel like muscular cords, and the swordsman bared his teeth. Then, stepping his back foot forward to sharply twist his hips, he threw his full body weight into the blow. The sword didn’t go as deeply as he wanted, but slid through flesh all the same. Swift footwork brought the man facing his opponent and out of range of a counter attack, sword held up once again, hilt now to his left shoulder and in the mirror stance of how he started. 
He was a man who spent his life on the road. Fighting, running, using his body as much as his mind- that was his everyday. He wasn’t unfit. But faced with a strong opponent, his body was up in arms (if you excuse the pun), adrenaline was coursing and all his muscles screamed for maximum oxygen. His chest rose and fell as he breathed hard, sweat trailing down his features. It was fucking annoying! 
The giant had turned to face this mosquito in his path. The grin was still there though (tch) but it at least it wasn’t as big. And then, with a thwack, the grin was replaced with a wide eyed expression of shock. An arrow quivered in the man’s skull, and his opponent shared his disbelieving expression. But instead of his knees crumpling as the brain lost control of the outer limbs, the giant’s eyes just narrowed. However, before he could reach a thick hand to pluck the thorn out from him, suddenly Jonah was there, face white as a sheet and a concentrated grimace on his face. In his hands were a fallen branch, and he swung it with all the might he could muster. The branch was moss covered and looked like it would shatter on impact, but it didn’t. Instead, the arrow broke to pieces as the blonde haired spearman delivered the blow. 
Now the giant looked REALLY annoyed. Jonah, having prioritised speed over full armour coverage, had managed to protect his essentials. Heart...and groin. And for some strange reason, he had one badly strapped greave on his left shin- but either which way! The now snarling bald mountain turned and slammed a meaty fist into Jonah’s unprotected stomach, spreading the blood already seeping from the arrow still embedded in his side. The stick flew from his grasp and spittle, blood, and possibly vomit sneaked from his mouth, and then he flew back into the dark with a barely audible, strained “oof!”. Wild anger in his eyes, the too-big-to-really-be-a-man then subjected the swordsman to his snarl, and with an enraged yell, burst forward. With all that top weight, his legs weren’t as fast as his punches, but he came forward with speed all the same, and with incredible momentum. And then, refuting that previous statement just a little, he whipped his wounded right leg- blood having coated the outside of his thigh- straight into the surprised man’s guard. He, too, flew off into the night, with a more creative “Riffer’s balls!”. 
He hit the ground rolling and let himself bounce a few times. His whole body thrummed from the impact of the strike and the fall, but he still climbed back awkwardly onto his feet. Then, out of the gloom in the outskirts of the camp, a heavily muscled knee appeared. This time, no curse could escape his lips. His eyes widened and he could only grunt as he desperately tried to fend off the attack. Placing his palms into the incoming missile, he attempted to push off from the blow, succeeding only enough that he didn’t break his ribs. Once again, he flew back into the night, but this time he was prepared for it, crashing to the ground and into a backwards roll that left him scrabbling with his feet to stay upright. Sight wasn’t needed to know that the giant was charging at him like a raging bull ever still. As he corrected his stance, his foot knocked something which gave off a soft clink. Without taking his eyes from the roiling gloom he stuck his hand down and grabbed the sword hilt lying by his foot. By the time it was raised, the monster of a man was already bearing over him, nostrils flaring and veins pumping in his forehead.
 
An overly large fist pulled back for a bar-brawl hook, left leg forward, hips twisting- the swordsman darted in, sword pulled up to and braced against his shoulder, teeth gritted in grueling determination. They met in the middle. The world shook for the smaller man as the punch swished past his ear, but the jolt and taste of warm blood against his lips kept him grounded to the situation. The blade slid inbetween the muscle and join of the shoulder, severing the connector to the chest plate and coming smoothly, if not at an angle, out from the other side. Not stopping there, he twisted his grip on the handle, turning his back to his opponent. Bending his knees, and rotating his shoulders and through that his wrists and the blade, he twisted sharply. The enormous brute flipped over his shoulder and crashed into the ground. Possibly still disorientated, the swordsman could swear the earth beneath him shook. 
The fighter beneath did not stop for pain though, and tried to kick sharply over his shoulder. The swordsman sidestepped and batted the strike away- more out of instinct than anything. The larger man used the momentum to whip the other leg around, but all it did was catch greasy hair as the smaller man ducked. But then he followed that leg round. The larger man tried to swing his hips and roll over, but the swordsman had caught up, grasping hands finding knee and ankle, cancelling out his opponents hips with his own. Taking no time to ponder whether this would actually work or not, he slammed his ankle into the giant’s groin, grinding his heel in and pushing his leg to full extension. And then he dropped his weight. Sitting down hard, pushing one hand against the knee, twisting the ankle away from the groin line as far as he could get it, every muscle in his body straining as he pulled- and then, the knee popped. Well, it less popped, than gave off a sickening “snick-snick-snack” noise.
Air exploded from both of them, one is exhalation, the other in a gasp. Then it was a scramble as the giant, now grounded and hobbled, tried to twist away, and his attacker climbed his way over the legs, striking haphazard as he went, trying to land any blow that might do something to the human meat-sack. Finally, some sense reached into the battle frenzy, and the giant grabbed the swordsman by the tunic with his one good limb, and threw him away. Noticing something to his side, he saw the glint of a discarded dagger in the grass and grasped at it. His strength though was failing, and his fingers only just brushed the hilt when a boot crunched into the appendages with savage force. When the bulk of muscle looked up, he met the eyes of his opponent. The swordsman wheezed out flecks of bloody spittle and his gaze wasn’t entirely straight, but they shared the look and the disheveled man bent and picked up the knife. 
 
Placing his full body weight into the strike, he plunged the blade into the man’s scrabbling hand and deep into the earth, until the hilt was pressed and distorting the man’s skin. The swordsman felt the blade grind against rocks and he grinned savagely. With only one leg left, the giant tried to push himself up. But despite his considerable strength, and the first wound he’d sustained in the battle weakening that still working limb, combined with the awkwardness of his other disabilities, he couldn’t quite muster the power to wrench the blade free. The swordsman had no doubt he’d manage it eventually. But for now, he was prone there. Hmm, no weapon.  He took a few seconds and looked around him to see if there was something he could use. His posture was strangely relaxed, his expression contemplative. Ahh, and there it was! The Stick. Yup. Capital S. Jonah’s stick. He wiped that thought from his mind as he picked it up. Hmph, worth a try. And with that thought, he twisted and, as if playing a game of clubs, smashed the stick into the side of the giant’s head. The big oaf grunted, and the swordsman let a big, stupid smile slide onto his face. Jonah’s sharpening magic might wear off, but his hardening magic still lingered in what should be useless firewood. Treading into the big man’s view, he crouched down and said “you might think me small but uhh, you seen my stick?” With one hand he held up the improv-weapon and with the other, he grabbed his own crotch. His smile now wicked and twisted, he stood up- circling the deadwood into both hands and above his head- and then, as if swinging an axe onto logging, he bent his knees slightly and brought the branch down. Thwack. 
 
When Jonah finally stumbled back onto the scene, limping slightly, and with a light wheeze to his breath, he found an unpleasant sight. His companion was breathing in ragged breaths, sweat rolling off his skin, and leaning on a strangely familiar branch. The lump of meat beneath him was something Jonah would rather not pay attention to. “Caw, am I glad I do those sit ups every morning,” he commented, rubbing his midriff. 
“If you did those this morning, I’ll give you something to sit up about,” his companion panted. Jonah just shook his head. 
The battle, having come to its end, was switching into the clean up phase. The wounded were being treated, equipment cared for; friendly dead being collected, enemy dead being looted and, at least in one poor instance, pissed upon. The leaders of the warband were coming together to share information and to discuss the raid in the large, imperious looking centre tent, and the two mercenaries would be expected to join them shortly enough. Jonah, knowing that the wicked never get to rest, sighed and turned to go see to his own administration- knowing his companion well enough to not need to keep an eye on him as he did the same. If anything started off again, they would find each other as usual- they always did. But before he could take a step, he heard an unusual bubbling sound and then a splutter. Turning back to the unsightly scene, he found his partner with an acutely irritated expression. The once-man beneath him was attempting to breath despite the blood and mess of his face, bubbles forming over where his mouth should be. Hefting the stick back into both blistered palms, his partner part snarled, part grimaced. “Gods fucking damnit,” he sighed. “Die already!” Thwack. 


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