So, I'm nearly done with this pass of edits/revisions, and my critique partners should note that they will receive it by SATURDAY (Hear that, guys? Saturday. Make note.)
But I was going through a section tonight that I LOOOVE and I wanted SO BAD to share it. BUT it's kind of a big *thing* in the book, so I don't want to give it away. Instead, I've chosen a different part that I ALSO love, which you can read below.
Lex took a deep breath and made a snap decision.
“Might I join you?”
“Beg your pardon?” the man asked.
“Well, that bounty hunter took my horse and supplies. I can’t hunt too well, and I won’t survive without food, but I am willing to pull my own weight if I could have safety in numbers.”
The man crossed his arms. “Pull your own weight? If you can’t hunt, what good are you?”
“I can…” he paused. What good was he? “I… I can start a fire, find water and firewood,” he wasn’t good at much besides reading, now he thought of it.
“How are you in a fight?”
Lex shrugged. “Decent, I suppose.”
“That’s a fine sword for someone who’s just decent.”
Lex lifted the sword and took in the pale blue sapphires embedded in the handle. His mother had insisted upon them because they “matched his eyes.” His jaw tightened. “Yes, well… I did train at the palace.”
The man raised his brows. “A knight on the run, eh? What’re you running from, then?”
“Nothing,” Lex answered. “Just following orders in my own way.”
The man grunted. “I don’t think I believe you, but we all have our secrets. All right. We could use an extra guard, I suppose. You best me at the sword, and you can stay. Deal?”
Lex tilted his head, taking in the man’s appearance. He looked to be in his fortieth years, weighed more, and was taller. Lex had always heard that outlaws were ruffians who drank and had their ways with women without conscience. This man walked with a limp, no doubt a souvenir from some bar fight. Still, Lex would have to hope speed was on his side. He nodded. “Deal.”
The big man drew his sword, and crouched. Lex mirrored him. They circled each other clockwise for a full minute. Then the man struck.
Lex just had time to block, and when he did his arm shook from the impact. This was not an amateur sword fighter from a random pub town. This man had trained, and was more muscle than Lex had estimated. There was no way he’d win. He had to think of something.
Blow after blow the man came at him. Lex blocked, ducked, and twisted to avoid being struck. He felt his arms weaken, his jaw ached from clenching his teeth. One thought ran through his mind: he had to win to survive, and he had to think to win.
He let the man back him into the trees. Blocking a strike to the left, he spun the man’s sword around, using the momentum to turn himself. He ran a few feet before he found what he was looking for. Turning back, he met the man’s sword again, their blades crossed, pressing against each other with their might. The man shoved, and Lex flew backward into the branch of a tree. The man came at him again, and Lex began to back away, drawing the branch with him, then he took his chance.
He ducked, and the low, thin branch swung over his head to hit the man’s face hard. When he blinked a few times and shook his head, Lex landed a blow to his jaw. He reeled backward, dazed, and Lex yanked the sword from his grip. By the time he’d gained his balance, Lex’s sword tip was at his throat.
They stood in silence, their chests heaving for breath under the darkening sky.
“Yield,” Lex said.
“You cheated,” the man said.
“Who is closer to dying right now?”
The man made a thoughtful face. “Fair point.”
“Do you yield?”
“What if I don’t?”
“You said I had to best you, and I have.”
“I used my knowledge and environment to my advantage, that’s not cheating.”
After another long minute, the man said, “I yield.”
Lex lowered his arm, letting his sword hang at his side. The man approached and said, “You’re a clever one. What’s your name?”
He thought for a moment about lying, but decided he’d never respond to a false name. He answered, “Lex.”
“I’m Jeffrey. Welcome aboard.”
WOOHOO! Lex meets Jeffrey.
Hope you liked it ;)