Saturday Snippet – Introducing a Powerful Knight

On Saturdays, you can check out a snippet from my latest writing efforts.  All snippets are copyrighted.  These excerpts from my writing are first draft, unedited words, and may not appear in the final work.

Balex’s corded arms strained against the tight shackles as he snarled his fury at his captor. The sheer strength of his bulging muscles could easily have crushed the man or torn him apart, limb by limb. Most men, seasoned warriors all, quelled in the face of Balex’s battle-rage. Fury ignited in Del as she watched the Imperial soldier laugh at Balex. Were Balex unbound, none would dare laugh at him — they’d be too busy fleeing his wrath and the impending death that awaited them at the raw end of his blade. She’d love to teach the Imperial soldier that lesson and see the expression on his gloating face as he realized there was no way for him to escape his fate.

When the soldier pulled a scroll from his cloak and unfurled it, pointing accusingly at Balex, Del’s stomach lurched. Though the Imperial soldier had not yet spoken, she knew her friend had finally been found out. The long years avoiding the border and waiting for the false accusations to fade away were all for naught.

The Imperial Army places you under arrest by accusation of His most excellent Grace, the Duke of Hovar…” the soldier began. Del didn’t need the soldier to recite all the allegations leveled by the Worvani duke, whom Balex sneeringly called “his most excellent excellency.”

Hovar had done naught to deserve his title but had done a great deal to shame it. Del knew the story well, since Balex had gradually shared it with her over many flagons of ale in many taverns across Parrel. In the years before their fateful meeting in the Royal Militia training field in front of the palace at Jida, Balex had traveled far and wide, the length and breadth of Parrel and Worvanz, as far as the Isles of Krotth and even to Viropa, seeking fame and finding fortune in knights’ tournaments. And indeed, he had found both. His personal shield, signified by the five-pointed star marked on the family’s coat of arms, the drum and falcon’s bell splashed across a red background, was known across Andoth as the shield of a champion. People compared every knight to the one they called the Phalanx. Del had even seen children playing with shields decorated like Balex’s.

Beyond the sheer strength his size gave him, Balex had honed skills with the best masters of their crafts, brought to Hansver by his father, a man determined to see his third son amount to more than a privileged, irresponsible fop. And Balex had certainly lived up to his father’s expectations, demonstrating unmatched accuracy as a marksman and using his mass to good effect in tilting competitions. It was as a swordsman, though, that Balex truly excelled. Light on his feet, equally skilled with both hands, and quick to read and counter an opponent, Balex was a wonder to watch and a nightmare to fight.

What do you think of Balex so far?

Saturday Snippet: A Peek into Del’s Chambers

On Saturdays, you can check out a snippet from my latest writing efforts.  All snippets are copyrighted.  These excerpts from my writing are first draft, unedited words, and may not appear in the final work.

This is the first snippet where I mention King Tolemius, to whom Del is betrothed.  Here’s a peek at what he finds in her room when he’s looking for her:

Tolemius glanced around the chamber, feeling an unwelcome chill before realizing the reasons for it.  He had visited noblewomen’s chambers before (and not just his mother’s), and each chamber bore the stamp of its occupant, whether filled with perfumes and lace draperies or yellowing scrolls and exotic silk wall hangings.  His mother always had a large embroidery frame holding her latest work beside the window, and Tolemius’s last paramour had a large looking glass over the table where she kept all her beauty spikenards.  The memory of the cloying scent that had always permeated her chamber reminded him that he was well-quitted of that particular mistress.  Whatever Tolemius had expected to find in a noblewoman’s chambers, however, he did not see it here.  Like the rest of the palace, the white marble floors and walls gleamed in the soft light filtering through the mullioned windows.  The resemblance of this chamber to the rest of the palace ended there.

I couldn’t resist using “spikenards” for his old mistress’s scented cosmetics.  It’s just a cool-sounding word, and I couldn’t find one I liked better for the beauty creams and ointments on her vanity table.  What one item in your room gives others the biggest clues about your personality?