Here is another excerpt of my novel. This is the unedited version so mistakes and polishing is needed (Any you can see please feel free to point out to me :-D)
This portion of my second chapter is based around 2 of my supporting characters, Kelken and his daughter Breena.
Kelken slammed onto the ground with a disconcerting thump as the blonde man dropped him, the weight finally being too much for his narrow shoulders. He panted heavily as he arched his back and cracked his spine back into place.
‘You heavy fucker,’ he mumbled dryly.
Kelken snorted from the cobbles, old rainwater sucking itself up into his nose. He choked before clearing his throat from the gritty taste.
‘I’m no heavy bugger… you’re just a weak little shit,’ he retorted as his freshly dirtied face lifted up to assess the person standing in front of him. ‘You still gonna pour coffee down my gullet?’
‘That’ll be the day old timer… the shop is gone.’ The blonde man palmed his face. ‘It was open yesterday… what the hell?’
‘Oh you know how it goes in low-town – people either get chucked out or killed for being in the way of the gangs and their reign of damn terror.’ Kelken trailed off and grumbled a little before resting his head on the floor again.
The blonde man gently kicked him.
Kelken grunted disapprovingly.
He kicked him again, this time with more force.
Kelken flailed his arm feebly as if batting away an annoying moth.
‘For the love of the gods get the hell up you stupid old git,’ the blonde man urged.
Kelken leaned his head to one side and watched the blonde man shuffling back slowly from the store front. He lifted himself up partially and spat into a small puddle.
‘Who the fuck are them geezers?’
‘I assume they’re the ones who closed the store,’ the blonde man said hazarding a guess. He bent down and wrapped a hand around Kelken’s arm to lift him up.
He batted it away. ‘I’m quite capable of… lifting myself up y’know? What do you think I am? Drunk or summat?’
‘Get up old man… quickly.’
‘Stop calling me old you little sod… I’m only 52 y’know?’ he scorned, the slurring becoming less frequent. He dusted his outfit off and swayed as he stood, noting the three men slowly lumbering their way towards him. He assumed they were part of the local Vildilim gang, who were something to be feared as they counted high in numbers, always fought dirty and never took on anything or anyone alone.
The thugs stopped a few feet away from the two intoxicated men and, in unison, produced long knives from each of their sleeves. The all wore black hooded tops with no sleeves, whilst underneath there were simple baggy-armed brown tops and shabby leather belts.
He looked them up and down, his eyes fixing on their lack of footwear and ripped knee-length trousers. He inspected their faces; if there was one thing he still knew in his hazardous state of mind was that making eye contact with an opposition was to know who they were.
Bollocks – their faces were hidden from him.
Kelken grinded his alcohol-bleached teeth together, the frictional sound vibrating through his head.
‘Careful you freaking nut jobs; I was once a knight of the old Traseken Order – I know my stuff.’
The blonde man rolled his eyes and backed away, his black uniform now splattered with the essences of muddy waters. ‘Smooth old man, very smooth indeed. They’re gonna fucking kill us.’
‘Oh come off it. These whelps wouldn’t know what the hell to do if the answer was right in front of ‘em.’ He put one hand on his belt.
‘Yeah,’ the blonde man began as he clapped his hands sarcastically. ‘Way to calm them down eh?’
Kelken motioned for him to remain still and quiet. ‘I’m the experienced one here… not you.’ He turned back to the three gang members who were now encroaching upon him in an ever-widening semi-circle.
‘Smart move, boys. This means you’ll have to make me work for my…’
One of the hooded men fell onto his side, blood spurting out like a fountain from a gaping arrow wound in his neck. The other two jumped from the sudden attack and whipped their heads around, searching for the assailant.
Another arrow shot through the stale air, slicing it open with a graceful force before jamming its tip into one of the remaining men’s forehead.
Kelken turned his head around and scanned for the archer that was taking these men out for him. ‘Saves me the trouble I suppose.’ He turned to the blonde man expectantly only to find him cowering on the floor with his arms wrapped over the back of his head emitting odd-sounding whimpers.
Kelken swivelled around slowly and eyed the last thug who was now crouching low with his blades held up in front of him with the low hopes of deflecting the next missile.
A muffled crash echoed around the deserted street as he barrelled into the man with un-nerving speed for someone who had been drinking all night and morning. The old man’s shoulder connected with the hood’s side in a flash move, his entire weight shifting as he took the attacker down.
He felt the thumping blow of a fist against his jaw and he reeled off, the pain slightly numbed by the mental film of intoxication. He groaned as he received another punch, this time to the chest.
‘Get the fuck off me you little shit,’ he scathed as he struggled against the man’s unyielding swiftness. ‘Oi blondey… give me a goddamn hand please?’
The blonde man looked up then stared with acknowledging blue eyes at the corpses of the two hoods. His legs found footing and he stood up shaking before stepping forward to pick up one of the blades from the dead bodies. ‘I rarely use these things.’
Kelken fought back with a head butt while his hands locked with the thug’s wrists to keep the steel of a newly unsheathed blade away from his chest. ‘It’s easy… pointy end goes into the flesh… man dies. Now, hurry the heck up.’
The man fell to one side, blood seeping from his neck.
The blonde man stared, the blade lodged firmly in his grip.
Kelken clumsily got up to his feet and kicked the dead body sharply with his boot. ‘Thank you for that. Good place to kill a man is in the neck.’
‘But I didn’t do anything.’
‘I wasn’t talking to you blondey,’ Kelken replied before pointing behind the man. ‘I was talking to her.’
The blonde man turned around and stared in awe.
A slender female emerged from the shadows, a winged recurve bow held dominantly in her right hand and a quiver of foreign arrows on her back. As she moved into the dim light of the emptiness, her mane of long red hair became apparent to them both.
‘And so the cavalry has arrived,’ Kelken chuckled before stifling a burp.
Without a word, the woman walked up to him and slammed her palm into his face, a look of pure anger and disdain on her well-formed face.
He recoiled, one of his battle-worn hands trying to sooth his cheek. ‘Ow. What the fuck was that for?’
‘That was for keeping me waiting out in the bloody freezing night air for, oh let me see… 10 fucking hours. You careless bastard.’
Her voice was scornful yet sweet sounding, the blonde man noticed, with an ever so slight lisp to it. He raised a hand and then stepped forward only to be pushed back by Kelken.
‘Well I’m sorry ok?’ he snapped back, determined not to be hit again.
The woman clenched her fist and slung the bow onto her back. ‘This isn’t the first time, you sod. Remember back in Port Pillin? That time when you told me to wait in that crate so I could jump out and get the man we were hired to kill? Remember that one eh?’
Kelken’s bark-brown eyes darted from side to side, looking at the cobbles. ‘I… erm… I apologised for that one, if you’ve forgotten?’
The red-head weighted herself onto her left leg and winced a little while she adjusted her long black battle skirt. ‘Oh yes and so sincere it was too,’ she snorted before spitting at Kelken’s boots.
The blonde man sighed loudly.
The woman turned to him with a fiery look in her face, causing him to step back. The look in her eyes was not the thing that startled him… it was the presence of two vertical pupils tinged with green and yellow.
‘What the hell are you?’ he stammered as he stumbled back a few steps.
She turned to Kelken. ‘Is this him?’
‘Yeah this is him… this is blondey.’
The man grunted and glared at Kelken. ‘I have a name you know?’
The woman turned and stepped towards him. Even though she was slender and athletic in demeanour, she was still an intimidating force even for a female. ‘Yes, I know – Morjat Villes; black market trader, womaniser, supplier of illegal substances including drugs, alcohol, weapons and magical devices. Am I right?’
It was then that the light revealed the clusters of small grey scales running up both sides of her neck and around the back.
Morjat tilted his head. ‘You a half-breed?’ he whispered in astonishment.
Without a word, the woman grabbed her bow and nocked a feathered arrow, aiming the projectile point-blank at the now frightened Morjat.
‘What the fuck are you doing?’ he exclaimed, his hands palming the air above his head.
She remained silent, her secondary eyelids blinking slowly as she pulled back the string.
‘Oi, old man tell her to stop,’ he said imploringly.
Kelken massaged his forehead before looking up at him. ‘Why should I?’
Morjat looked to the woman then back to Kelken. ‘What about that contract you mentioned? I’m sure we can cut a deal.’ He laughed hesitantly.
‘Oh yes… the contract. I forgot to tell you what that was all about.’ Kelken’s body language suddenly changed; it was as if he had not been drunk at all. He walked up to Morjat, flexing his arms. ‘The contract was for your life – I neglected to tell you.’ He smirked and waved his hand.
The tainted water on the cobbles stained Morjat’s hair and clothing as his now lifeless body toppled backwards like a falling statue; the sheer force of the antiquated-style arrow cracking open his skull and spilling the contents onto the floor.
Kelken breathed a sigh of relief and fought back another resounding burp, but to no avail. ‘’Scuse me.’
The woman swung her bow around and caught the thickened length of it on his belly.
Kelken leaned forward, wheezing heavily. ‘For the love of the gods will you stop hitting me?’
‘And what are you going to say? Same as last time? “Have some respect for your father”? Stop pissing me about when we do these contracts then.’
He stood up, still rubbing his tummy, and swallowed hard. ‘OK… I am sorry Breena, and I mean it this time.’
There was an eerie sincerity in his tone that Breena had rarely heard in her 22 years of being alive. ‘That’ll do… I suppose,’ she sighed.
He placed a hand on her shoulder and then held her apologetically. ‘Let’s go back to the tavern and freshen up,’ he said softly.
Breena stared at the body then nodded.
As they left the bloody scene, the street fell back into its silent decay. The scuttle of hungry rats could be heard in the stillness of the bloodied air as they homed in on the fresh meat.
This had been the most activity to happen on this street for days. The rodent population was the only non-gang presence in the low-town area; searching for scraps of food whenever the contraband goods of the hooded thugs passed through and was carelessly handled.
Morjat’s soul was bound to the hellish middle realms – the gangs would just toss his body in a gutter and leave it to rot in the infected slush of old body flesh, rotten food and stagnant waters.
The innocents longed for a reprise, but it never came along. They had been left to suffer in forced silence.
Hope you enjoyed the read. Criticisms are welcome 🙂