More Progress on the Novella

[Old Post]

Well, it is a slow process, considering that I work full time and dad full time. That said, creative writing is a wonderful form of recreation. I have pretty much gone over the edited version of the second of three parts. Soon I am going to have to look for Beta Readers and assemble a capable launch team.

In this excerpt, I am going to share a battle scene from the perspective of one of the invaders as his company withdraw from the field. I don’t want to mix up a fantasy novella with historical fiction, but the battles of old – those fought with both close combat weaponry, pole-arms, bows and the old torsion based artillery machines were very very brutal.

Some scholars would argue that most casualties in medieval and ancient battles would occur when the loser took flight such as Boudicca’s forces at the Battle of Wattling Street. Other scholars could cite instances when an army in the ancient or medieval world suffered more casualties after being dangerously outmaneuvered such as the numerically superior Roman force being surrounded at Cannae. Even an example of an army suffering heavy casualties after falling victim to a deadly maneuver and losing many men in a related retreat could be cited (Stirling Bridge and the supply train at The Pows…) I would expect fantasy readers to be less picky than Historical Fiction readers in this regard though.

This blog, or more accurately, this story isn’t the platform for an historical debate. Yet although it is a fantasy story, it is still a form of narrative wherein I am still trying to capture the events through (mostly) human perspectives and see how it shapes character development and outlook. Also, one has to try one’s best to put the reader in the position of the point-of-view character, or so I feel. Therefore, I would like any battle scenes to be as practical and ‘realistic’ (the non fantasy elements anyways) as possible so that I can try and immerse the reader into the character’s reality.

Below is an excerpt from one of the battle scenes as seen from the perspective of Éahlred, one of the invaders:

Small fires still burned from the late morning’s deadly advance, spewing their oily, thick black shrouds of smoke into the air. The reek of pitch and charred flesh disturbed the veteran man-at-arms, even after all of these years, after all of the battles and wars he had seen and suffered through. It was the lamb smell mingling with the oil. Charred human flesh always reminded Éahlred of lamb on the spit, which was why he could never partake of a meal with mutton.

“Back up slowly!” Barked a young nobleman–probably Éorbrun. “One rock on your helmet from those damn machines and you die in this field.” Parts of Stiartha’s skull and brain were still on Éahlred’s greaves and on his shield from earlier. The Crimson-Hawk-Upon-Silver was now even more crimson.

Look up, Éahlred, he coaxed himself. Don’t look down. But a groan forced him to look down and watch his footing, nevertheless. “Oh Fuck! Oh Fuck!” the weary warrior had just missed tripping over another man, and he backed over him. The black smoke was getting thicker! He tried his best not to look down for too long, but it was too late. A conical helmet was practically burned into a skull. Half a face had melted away and if on one side there was a beard, muddy pale skin and a half shut blue eye of an Orvinarr man, it was juxtaposed on the other side by exposed teeth, open bone and a bulging eye! ENOUGH ÉAHLRED! LOOKUP! He almost screamed aloud to himself. The sounds from further uphill were not reassuring…

(c) Alexander S. Findlay – Author

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