25 Days of Writing – Day 9

Day 9: How was your character’s first kiss? Who with? Where was it? How old were they? Write the scene.

———-

“Shh.”

“What is it?” Rosaline whispered as she squatted in the bushes, trying to see through the leaves past Trey, and into the pasture beyond.

“Quiet. Come on.” He waved her forward. She crawled through the undergrowth, catching her skirts on twigs and branches as she passed.

“Bother!” she groaned.

“Shhh!! Come on!”

Rosaline finally pulled herself alongside Trey, fully enclosed by the bushes. Trey reached forward and drew down a branch, clearing their view of the pasture.

On the far side of the pasture strode an enormous grey stallion. The horse tossed its head and galloped out of sight. Trey and Rosaline could hear the hoofbeats of the stallion, despite being unable to see it. The drumming of hooves got louder. And louder.

Suddenly the great beast crossed in front of them, thundering by. The stallion stopped abruptly, circling back toward them. The horse approached the bushes where Trey and Rosaline cowered, its nose reaching into the bushes. They held their breath. Suddenly, the horse lurched back snorting. Rosaline screamed and tried to jump back, herself, but was caught by the branches of the bushes and then by Trey’s strong arms. The stallion reared up, and roared, then careened off again, out of sight.

“Let us leave this place!” cried Rosaline, desperate to escape.

Trey smiled a toothy grin. “No, wait. Let’s watch some more.”

“No, that beast means to kill us!” She watched the horse galloping again on the far side of the pasture. “Please, Trey, let’s go!”

Trey smiled and gazed back at the awesome beast. “Alright. I’ll visit him again soon. Let us go back how we came.”

Rosaline looked relieved as Trey helped her out from the bushes, carefully unhooking branches and thorns from her long gown. She looked at him, smiling. His gaze met hers, and he stopped fussing with her gown. “He’s a beautiful horse, Trey,” she smiled.

“Aye, and he’ll be mine when I have my Mark,” he boasted.

“You’ll kill yourself,” she chided.

“No, I’ll fight gallantly in many battles! You’ll see!”

Rosaline looked away, laughing. “Boys..”

“You’ll see Rose,” said Trey, stepping closer to her. He put his hand on her shoulder. Another step forward. “You’ll see.” He touched her face with is other hand. Though still hardly more than a boy, Trey’s hand was rough and calloused from months of training with the sword and on horseback.

In contrast to his own, her skin was pale and smooth, like silk. His rough palm caught on her skin as he stroked her face. He leaned close to her, a faint smile on his lips. “When I am champion, I will fight for you,” he said softly. “I will always stand for you.”

Rosaline blushed and tried to pull away. He stepped toward her, keeping her in his touch. She glanced back at his face. His eyes were warm and his mouth was smiling. “In three years, I will be your champion, always and forever,” he said softly.

He pulled her toward him and gently pressed his lips over hers. He shut his eyes and savored the sensation.

Rosaline lightly placed her hands on his chest, then suddenly shoved with all her might. “Oof!” he uttered as he stumbled backward. “Silly boy!” she laughed. “Eww!” She ran away, leaving him standing alone among the brambles. He stood, mouth agape, watching her run away. He couldn’t understand what had just happened, but he had enjoyed it. Finally, with a shrug, he took off after her, laughing as he ran.

“Stop you! Get back here!” he shouted as she disappeared over a hill.

He sprinted up the hill at stopped abruptly when he saw the scene on the other side. Rion was there, striding furiously in Trey’s direction.

Rosaline was being restrained by her scolding father, Lord Donnal, whilst her equally scolding mother examined the condition of Rosaline’s dress. “What means this, running off with that boy?” demanded her father. “Where were you? So unbecoming of a Lady!” screeched her mother. “But Father – ,” Rosaline plead, only to be silenced by a slap to the face.

“Oh no,” muttered Trey. He began to back away from the scene.

“Oh no you don’t!” shouted Rion, as he broke into a run toward Trey. Trey wheeled and attempted to run, but Rion was already upon him. Rion gripped Trey’s arm and spun him back around. Trey writhed to get away. “Who do you think you are, boy?” demanded Rion. Trey fought to escape, but his older brother’s grip as too strong.

Trey swung his free arm at Rion, trying to escape. Rion dodged the blow, then tackled his brother, forcing him to the ground.

“Let me up!” shouted Trey. “Let go!”

“You are a fool, boy! How dare you steal away with Lord Donnal’s daughter!”

“Not a boy!” grunted Trey. “Let me up!”

Trey struggled under the weight of his brother. He would not escape without intervention, or a lucky hit. He freed an arm and swung again at his brother. Trey’s fist thumped weakly on Rion’s back. Rion retaliated with a sharp slap to Trey’s face. Trey tried to swing his arm again, but stopped when he felt an enormous hand take a grip of his hair.

Lord Donnal dragged Trey out from under Rion and to his feet by the hair. Trey screamed in pain as he was lifted.

Rion rose and gripped Trey’s arms behind him. Trey was forced to turn and face Lord Donnal, the irate father of the girl he hoped to champion one day.

“My daughter is not for you – or any other man – to court without my consent.” Lord Donnal wagged his finger in Trey’s face. “And you aren’t even a man! You are a child! You have no business stealing her from my sight.”

“I would only honor her – ” muttered Trey, breathless.

He was cut off by Lord Donnal’s sharp blow to his face. The back-handed slap to the face was made worse by the enormous rings worn by Donnal, which dug deeply into Trey’s flesh. Trey’s head snapped viciously to the side.

“Father!” Trey heard Rosaline’s voice carry across the hill slope.

Trey centered his head again, his eyes closed. That had hurt.

“I’ll not catch you with her again, boy,” scolded Lord Donnal.

“Aye, my Lord,” whispered Trey. He tasted blood in his mouth. He thought he noticed a loose tooth. Then he fell, and thought nothing more of it.

25 Days of Writing – Day 8

Day 8: What about their earlier school days? Write a scene of your character in grade school or middle school.

(This will be a little challenging, as my character did not attend school in the sense described above, but we’ll make do.)

————

Trey hefted the sword and glanced up at Sir Gilbert. Gilbert was poised with his own sword held in front of his body, ready for whatever Trey could hurl at him.

“Come on then, boy. Take this sword from my hand,” Gilbert commanded.

Trey glanced around him. The other boys, ages six through fifteen, watched him intently. Rion stood among the other boys, the eldest among them, smugly waiting to see how his younger brother would fare against their instructor. In a couple of weeks, Rion would undergo the trials and would become a full Mark-bearer.

Trey looked back at Gilbert and swallowed hard. He wondered if he could succeed.

Gilbert grinned, passing his weight from foot to foot, waiting. “Come on, boy.”

Trey glanced around again. On the hill beyond the practice yard he saw the young ladies gathering to watch. Rosaline would be there. He squinted to see her against the harsh backlight of the sky.

Smack!

Gilbert slapped Trey’s sword to the side, snapping the twelve-year-old boy back to reality, and nearly causing Trey to drop the sword. “I’m waiting, boy,” growled Gilbert with a smile.

Trey leapt into action, thinking himself capable of quickly disarming Sir Gilbert, and imagining the glory of having done so. Rosaline would be so very impressed.

Gilbert easily stepped aside and dodged and blocked every attempt Trey made. Gilbert laughed harder with each failed attempt. Trey’s frustration mounted and his technique became sloppy. Anger flushed through the boy, and he found himself fighting not to disarm, but to injure Sir Gilbert.

Gilbert, recognizing this, quickly put an end to the duel. With a few swipes of his sword and one well-placed boot, Gilbert disarmed the boy and left him sprawled on the ground.

“Control, boy. You need control. Strength and skill are nothing without control,” admonished Gilbert. Rion snorted. Obviously he felt that Trey had a stronger sense of self-worth than was deserved.

Gilbert stepped back and addressed the crowd of boys gathered there. “Enough for this day. Go to your chores and duties and remember: it is important to know your limitations and work within them, rather than to think yourself something that you are not.” Gilbert clapped his hands and strode away. The boys scattered.

Trey remained on the ground, thoroughly embarrassed and shamed. This day had been a disaster. He looked to the hill again, the girls were still there, gossiping among themselves. Rosaline had seen and heard everything. Yes, disaster indeed.

 

25 Days of Writing – Day 7

Day 7: FREE DAY! Write any scene you want!

————

Trey sat alone among the undergrowth, contemplating his life. He glared into the pond, the shore of which was only a few steps from his feet. Tiny fish swirled near the shore, snapping up insects that lit on the surface. A light breeze shifted the leaves in the trees, causing the dappled sunlight to twinkle in the water. A lovely, peaceful scene it was. It enraged him.

Trey found a stone near his hand and hurled it into the water. Ker-PLOP! He found and threw another, and another. And when there were no longer stones within reach, he tore up grass and flung it. And gobs of dirt and mud. He hated this place. He hated this day. He hated everything and everyone.

“Aaaaugh!” he hollered, clinching his fists and alternately waving them in the air and pounding them into the ground. He pounded the ground until the pain in his hands made him stop. He felt tears coming on, so he hastily rose and stalked off to find a less-beautiful setting.

Rion was dead. Rion was dead and now Trey was heir to the throne. He didn’t want the throne. He better served his kingdom as Mark-bearer and defender. The throne would mean stifling meetings, and courtly behavior. No more days and days afield, removed from all the bitterness of Herongarde. Now he would have to face everyone every single day. Rion was trained and groomed for the throne. This was never part of Trey’s destiny.

There would be a forced marriage, most likely. No proper king was unmarried. This enraged him the most. He did not want a wife. To have a wife can only bring pain. This marriage would be arranged for diplomatic reasons, no doubt, so at least he wouldn’t be forced to love her. But he’d have duties to her, duties that he did not want.

Trey broke from the woods near into a small open glade. A few people were gathered there, discussing the days burial. They noticed Trey and tried to wave him over, but he marched in the opposite direction. People! People everywhere!

He found a crumbling stone wall a short distance away beyond another stand of trees and sat. How could this have happened? What had he done so wrong? He gazed at the open field in front of him. He had played here with Rosaline as a child, and as they grew. He remembered her laugh, and how well she could kick the old puffball, when they could find them. She seemed to always hit him in the head with it, covering him with fungus spores, which would always result in a fit of sneezing from him and a solid scolding from his mother. He missed those days.

He had loved her, with every ember of his being. They grew up together. They were best friends. After he earned his Mark, he married her, and felt that no man could be as happy as he. But it was not to last. He had lost her two years ago. Lost her and their son as she tried to give birth. He had wanted a son desperately. She was not as eager, but she loved him so. The effort had killed her. Trey had killed her with his wish for a son.

Despite assurances from all that this was a matter beyond the control of any mortal man, and that surely Rosaline did not blame him, Trey could not forgive himself. His mother’s constant assurances that the pain would heal over time never came to pass.

Over time, he found himself withdrawing from all those formerly close to him. He committed himself to being the finest defender of Herongarde that lived. He would proudly serve the King, whether it be his father or his brother. He would lead men into battle and risk his life – daily if necessary – for the protection of his King’s lands. He would busy himself with this, and remove himself from the possibility of suffering that pain only women can cause ever again. It was the perfect outcome, he had thought. His life may be shortened, but it would be worthy.

But now Rion was dead. His plan was meaningless. His future destroyed. What now? he thought.

Tears welled in his eyes again and a sob built in his chest. He fought them back. Leaping off the wall, he began to walk back toward the castle. The emotional wave loomed over him. He walked faster, as if to escape. Before long he was running, but no longer toward the castle but toward the stables. A ride. A ride would do him good. And he would ride until this pain was gone.

25 Days of Writing – Day 6

Day 6: How was your character’s childhood? Write a scene about them as a child. How was their home life? Their family? Their upbringing? Where did they grow up? What friends did they have?

———–

Trey dashed out from the bushes toward his older brother, Rion. “Ha-HA!” he hollered, waving his hands in Rion’s face. “It’s my birthday and you have to be nice to me! Ha-ha!” Trey turned and ran away from his brother, who gazed at him unimpressed. Almost immediately, Trey tripped over his own feet and fell headlong onto the path. Rion chuckled. “Trey, you’ll be your own undoing this day.”

Rion went to help his little brother. Trey stood up and looked at Rion with tears welling in his eyes. Skinned knees and raw palms were little Trey’s most common injuries, and today would be no exception. Before Trey began to wail, Rion spoke. “Now Trey, you know today is a big day! Boys beginning their training toward the Mark don’t bawl over skinned knees.”

Trey stifled a sob. He nodded and wandered off to find his mother. His mother had been looking for him. “Time to get dressed for the ceremony, little one,” she said. “Oh, goodness. Did we take a fall?” Trey bit his lip and nodded.

“Well, we’ll have you in good order in no time at all,” she assured.

By the time he was dressed for the ceremony, Trey was in excellent spirits. He walked into the great hall where the King sat, chatting with his two closest friends, Trey’s Uncle Markus, and Sir Gilbert. The King looked up at Trey as he entered. “Trey! My son!”

Trey ran to the King. “Father, Father!” he shouted.

The King scooped up the boy and swung him around. “Ah, my boy. Today is your sixth birthday! Today you can begin along your path to being a man and Mark-bearer!”

“Yes, YES!” cried Trey. “And there will be gifts! Lots of gifts!” The King lowered the delighted boy to the ground.

Trey turned to his uncle and gave him a great hug. “Huzzah, Uncle Markus! I’m so glad you’re here. Will you take me riding today?”

“Perhaps, perhaps, young one. You’ve got a busy day ahead.”

“Yeah,” agreed Trey.

Trey turned to Gilbert and bowed his most practiced bow. “Sir Gilbert, my Lord. Thank you for coming to my celebration.”

Gilbert chuckled and gave the boy a light slap on the cheek. “Oh, I’m here with good cause, young one, as you well know. I look forward to seeing how you fare at your initiation.”

Trey grinned.

“Trey,” spoke the King. “Go and play with your friends for a time. Sirs Gilbert and Markus and I have matters to discuss, then we’ll start the ceremony.”

Trey bowed at the King. “Certainly, Father. I heard Rosaline found a puffball we can make sport of.”

Trey ran off as his father bellowed from behind, “Don’t soil your clothes, boy. Don’t get dirty!” The King slumped his shoulders, and leaned toward his friends. “He’s going to make a mess of his fine clothes, and I’ll catch the blame for it.” The men laughed for a moment, then returned to their discussion.

 

 

25 Days of Writing – Day 5

Day 5: Your character is getting ready in the morning. Write a scene of their morning (or even mid day) routine.

—————-

Rain.

Was that rain? No. Trey heard the morning calls of birds. He could tell, though his eyes remained closed, that the sun was shining through the window.

That sound again. Rustling. Scraping.

He placed the sound and turned his head toward the fireplace. He opened his eyes slightly to observe. Who would be tending to his fireplace this morning? Through his slitted eyelids he saw Aneé brushing ash back into the fireplace, then fitting a pot of water over the freshly re-tendered flames.

He turned his head away and commenced to stretch with a mighty groan. He relaxed onto his back and opened his eyes to stare at the ceiling. “Good morning, Aneé,” he said with a grumble. She had disturbed a rare nightmare-free rest. No one knew of his troubles sleeping, of course, but all knew that to interrupt Trey’s sleep could result in an angry man and ultimately extra chores for the day – or worse. Aneé had the unpleasant task of preparing Trey’s chamber for his waking, which was arguably the most dangerous thing any of the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting ever had to do.

The woman gasped. “Please forgive me, my Lord. This fire -. ”

“Aneé! Just finish!” Trey considered whether he should scold her further. A dark spot burned within him. But more so today than other days, he just felt overwhelmingly sad. He sighed deeply. “Just finish,” he repeated, more softly.

“Yes my Lord,” Aneé said, and turned back to the fireplace.

Trey sighed again. Why do these women annoy me so? he wondered, but he knew the answer. “Bah!” he said aloud. He flung the sheets and blankets aside and stood up. He picked a strawberry off of the platter that had been set on the table beside his bed, and ate it as he strode toward the chamber pot.

He was naked. He always slept naked. It was far more comfortable to sleep without the confines of clothing. The chill of the room touched him as he walked across the open space. His mother had admonished him to cover himself when her ladies were preparing his chamber, but he didn’t care. Nature’s call, he thought. They can deal with it.

He imagined that Aneé was watching him. All the ladies did. But he didn’t care. There was no space in his life for women. He wanted nothing to do with them. All they caused was pain. Murderous pain. Never again.

After relieving himself into the chamber pot, he walked back across the room, grabbing and putting on his breeches before stretching out on the bed again.

“Aneé,” he said. “Has my violet doublet been repaired? I would wear it today.” He knew it was an impossible request. He had only given it to her to fix the prior evening.

“No, my Lord. I – um – It – ,” She stumbled. He turned and scowled at her. She had the look of a cornered hare.

Trey laughed, and laughed harder when he saw Aneé flinch at his laughter. His expression lightened. “Find me something suitable to wear woman! I will ride a wide patrol today.”

“Yes, my Lord. Will my Lord be bearing armor this day,” Aneé asked softly.

“Yes, Aneé. Agents of Falgarth are afoot, and I do not wish to be unprotected should I encounter them.” He looked away. “Silly girl,” he muttered.

Aneé rose and curtsied. She quickly sorted through his multitudes of clothes to find matching hose and a doublet. She laid these on his dressing table. Beside these, she laid his gambeson, arming cap, gauntlets, and his favorite leather vambraces which boldly bore the mark of Herongarde. His favored dusty boots sat on the floor below the table.

She returned the the fireplace and poured the warmed water into a deep bowl. She bore the bowl and a towel toward Trey, who sat expectantly at the table, chewing idly on the fruit that had been set there. Aneé knelt before Trey with the bowl of warm water. He splashed the water onto his face and chest, to rinse away the last remnants of sleep. He took the towel and dried off, replacing it over Aneé’s arm when he was finished. He turned his attention back to the fruit and Aneé rose and quietly walked away, returning the bowl to its place near the fireplace.

She turned back to him, head bowed, waiting for Trey’s next instruction. He gazed at her and frowned. “What?” he grumbled.

“Will my Lord need my assistance in dressing?” Aneé asked meekly.

Trey frowned deeper. He just wanted her gone from his room. “No,” he said, with a wave of his hand. “No. Leave me be.”

“Yes, my Lord.” Aneé curtsied and left the chamber. Trey watched her leave then slumped as soon as she was out of sight. He finished eating the fruit that was on the platter then proceeded to dress himself. It would be easier with one of the ladies helping him, but he so disliked their company it was not worth the help.

Once dressed, he gazed out the window at the scene before him. Herongarde in all its glory. And some day it would be his place to rule. That is unless the lords of Falgarth had their way. He turned smartly and strode to the door. He had a long day ahead of him.

 

25 Days of Writing – Day 4

Day 4: What world does your character exist in? Real or imagined? Scientific? Fantastical? Write a scene where your character is shown in their world.

—————

Aian cried out as he attempted to dodge another brutal blow from Balayn’s sword. The blow met Aian’s shoulder and knocked him to the side and off balance.

A noble man, is Aian, thought Trey, but not nearly skilled nor aggressive enough.

Aian regained his footing and ducked below another of Balayn’s mighty swings. A quick twist, and Aian’s own sword smacked Balayn in the side. The sword met mail with a clatter and Balayn grunted.

Still, Balayn is sloppy, so there’s hope for Aian.

Another swing from Balayn caught Aian on the wrist and off balance. Aian’s sword flew from his hand. Aian and Balayn watched the sword fall. “Hah!” shouted Balayn, as Aian plopped to the ground.

The tournament crowd squealed and shouted at the sight before them. Balayn! Balayn! Balayn! they chanted.

“Hah!” cried Balayn, and he turned his back to the junior Mark-bearer. Balayn looked smugly at Trey and the King, who sat side by side under a canvas awning. Balayn bowed to the King, then turned his eyes to Trey with a glare. He turned with a snap and marched off the field, as Aian rose gathering his dropped sword. Aian turned to his King and bowed deeply, before walking off the field himself.

Gilbert leaned to speak into Trey’s ear. “So sloppy. Shameful.”

“And yet. And yet,” said Trey with a grin, indicating toward the screaming crowd.

“Aye. Perhaps one day he’ll become the grand man he thinks he is!”

“Maybe,” replied Trey, with a chuckle. “Probably not. Bother.”

Gilbert leaned back into his seat. Trey looked past him toward the crowd of women below. The Queen’s ladies-in-waiting all tittered and giggled about the show of masculine prowess that tournaments always were. All except one. His Lady – his love – Hanna, sat among the gossiping girls in silence, her eyes following Balayn’s every move, her countenance making plain her disdain for the man.

The weight of Trey’s gaze must have been heavy upon her, because she suddenly turned and looked up toward him. A faint smile crossed his lips as their eyes met. As suddenly, she lowered her eyes to avoid his stare. Pain was evident upon her face. Trey frowned. He had missed her company this past few days.

“Pine not for that woman,” the King said to Trey, breaking into his thoughts. “Foolishness,” the King continued as he turned his attention to the next pair of Mark-bearers walking onto the field. Trey turned to look at His Majesty, who said, “Now this should be a good match!”

Travis and Markus stood on the field and bowed to the King, the Queen, and then to Trey. Trey nodded his approval, trying to appear interested, but frowned and sank back into his thoughts when the duelers turned away. He stole another sideways glance at his love. If he were King, things would be different. He sighed. Or would they? he thought bleakly.

 

 

25 Days of Writing – Day 2

Day 2: Create a character. Write a brief scene of them in a setting. Also use this paragraph to introduce the character to the reader by how they react to their setting.

—————-

Trey strode through the stone hallways toward the Great Hall. His sword slapped against his leg. His mail rattled as he reached up to push the coif off of his head. Dust leapt from his clothing as he marched briskly. Clumps of mud and horsehair clung to his legs.

Members of the court stepped aside and bowed as the bedraggled, saddle-weary, yet hurried young man moved past. “My Lord,” they greeted him. “Sir Trey.” He grunted and nodded in their direction but scarcely slowed. He must speak with the King.

“I would have an audience with His Majesty,” Trey demanded of the doorman as he approached the Great Hall.

“Yes, my Lord,” spoke the doorman, who bowed then opened the door. The doorman entered in front of Trey, who had slowed only slightly. “Your Highness. Sir Trey requests an audience.”

“Of course,” replied the King, “Send him in.” Before the King finished his statement, Trey had already brushed past the doorman and approached aggressively. The gay music of the court stopped, and dancing entertainers jumped aside as Trey came in. He stopped abruptly in front of the seats occupied by the King and Queen and bowed deeply.

“Your Highness,” Trey said to the King. Trey turned to Queen. “Mother,” Trey said softly.

Trey regarded his father for a moment. The elder Lord of Herongarde reclined with his feet upon a padded stool. A table with a dish of fruits sat to his right, and to his left sat the Queen. It was clear that the King and Queen were enjoying a moment of leisure in each other’s company.They held hands and leaned toward each other, smiling broadly. Juice of strawberries dripped down the Queen’s chin, from the King’s failed attempts at feeding them to her. The King and Queen deeply loved each other, even after so many years of marriage and hardship.

This however annoyed Trey. There were dire plots afoot. There was no place in this world for love and frivolity when the future of Herongarde was uncertain. The King was aged, and needed to step aside for younger, more powerful, blood. Perhaps the news that Trey brought would cause His Majesty to act in a properly kingly way.