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A Battle of Brethren

by AfterTheStorm


The vicious, metallic clashes of blade against blade rang throughout the Great Hall, filling the expansive room with the harsh cry of swords striking their opponent. Two figures seemed to move together in a deadly dance across the marble floor of the Hall as their blades encountered and drew away, every movement calculated and carefully planned. One false step or weak slash would certainly mean defeat.

“Aleol, I swear this is the last day you shall ever defy me!” the taller of the two shouted as he pulled his jagged weapon upwards to meet the descent of his foe. His words dripped with malice, his voice deadly steady and sharp.

The other man smirked broadly as he twisted his sword away, gracefully stepping backwards. “Eldest brother, you truly are a fool if you believe that this is my final day!” Never missing a single beat, Aleol stooped low to avoid a reckless blow from his brother, then quickly aimed a solid kick to his enemy’s boots, buying him time to rise. “I do not intend on dying on this glorious afternoon, Kavuto.”

Kavuto’s dark eyes flashed with a fiery hatred as he calmly replied, “No one intends on it, little Aleol.” With renewed fervor, the older of the two swordsmen stabbed an accurate jab towards Aleol, but the smaller man spun swiftly out of harm’s way. The only damage that Kavuto’s blade inflicted was a long slit down Aleol’s navy cloak. The elder brother released a loud shout of frustration, which echoed throughout the Great Hall.

“Look what you have caused, Kav. Mother will be most upset when she finds out that you have ruined my royal cloak!” With a deep, entertained laugh, Aleol turned from his brother before sprinting towards the massive throne ruling the end of the room.

He faced Kavuto once more, brandishing his thin sword as he spoke. “Dear brother,” Aleol began mockingly, “I stand before Father’s throne. However, how long will it remain his seat of power? And when our king has passed on to the Isles to welcome death, who shall claim this great throne as his own?”

Growling, Kavuto watched as his younger brother cockily reclined into the king’s rich throne, crossing his legs casually. “Aleol, how dare you taint that symbol of strength with your foolishness? When I am king and have claimed the throne, I do not want to remember that your royal as-“

“Now, now, Kav. There is no need to use such crude language,” Aleol interrupted, running his free hand through his flaxen curls. He smirked at his obviously angered brother as he leaned back in the large seat.

Kavuto gripped the hilt of his jagged sword, scowling at Aleol’s words. “A thousand apologies, little prince.” He bowed scathingly to the young man. “I meant, as I sit upon my throne as ruler I do not want to remind myself that your royal…” He searched for the right words. “rear,” the elder prince decided, “has blemished this perfect kingly symbol.”

Aleol cracked a smile, then uncrossed his legs. Leaning forward, he responded, “You never change, brother.”

In a few long strides, Kavuto reached his brother with no hint of amusement evident in his features. Instead, a very unamused glower was painted on his face as the oldest prince pointed the tip of his blade menacingly at Aleol’s exposed throat. “What is that even supposed to mean?” Kavuto rumbled.

Hiding his smile, Aleol said, “I do not know; I thought it dramatic.” With a quick flick of his sword, he removed his brother’s threatening weapon from his throat, then hopped up to a standing position on the seat of the throne. Aleol looked down at Kavuto, readying his long blade. “Let us return to our duel.”

“Yes, let’s.” Kavuto tauntingly slashed upwards at his opponent’s torso, missing Aleol’s chest by a mere hair width. “To the death, my brother? The winner claims Father’s throne!”

“Aye!” Aleol hurdled over the throne’s armrest to avoid his rival, and as soon as his boots touched the dark marble floor of the Great Hall, he turned to confront his sibling once more. He placed his sword in a defensive position, preparing for Kavuto’s strike.

The oldest prince lunged to his foe, stabbing frontwards fiercely. Aleol attempted to parry the assault but Kavuto, although more reckless, was much stronger and quicker, so was able to catch the younger man’s blade and wrench it out of his enemy’s hand. Aleol’s sword clattered to the ground with a final metallic ring of defeat, sliding out of its owner’s grasp across the smooth ground.

Kavuto advanced leisurely towards his prey, smirking in victory, his eyes gleaming with an almost evil satisfaction. “Al, I have bested you once more,” he stated, stalking around Aleol, examining the fair-haired prince. “Defeat is so sweet when I force it upon my foe.”

Aleol sighed. “It is such a shame that you haven’t truly won this clash yet, and you are already boasting.”

Immediately after replying, Aleol unsheathed a knife from his gem encrusted belt, and struck a very surprised Kavuto in the right shoulder, embedding the small blade there. The eldest prince howled in agony and dropped his sword, shock filling his features. Aleol took this chance to release his grip on the knife before scooping up his brother’s sword, scrutinizing his opponent as he switched weapons. Kavuto fell to his knees, before pulling the bloodstained knife from his shoulder in a grimace of pain.

Breathing heavily, Kavuto gazed angrily up to his sibling, astonishment and embarrassment plaguing the older swordsman’s eyes as Aleol aimed Kavuto’s own crooked weapon at his throat. “Ah, brother. You surprised me,” Kavuto croaked as his Adam’s apple scraped against the sword tip.

Aleol stood tall, becoming the victor of the duel. He continued to point his enemy’s sword to Kavuto’s throat. Pressing harder into Kavuto’s skin, the younger brother said menacingly, “Defeat is so sweet when I force it upon my foe. Now, prepare for death, Kav!” Aleol glowered at the kneeling form of Kavuto, adrenaline once more swelling up inside of him.

Kavuto returned the deadly, heated glare, matching his brother’s sadistic stare as if daring the younger man to make a move.

Suddenly, Aleol broke into a broad grin, and released the laughter he had been storing throughout the duration of the duel. He pulled the sword back from Kavuto’s throat then offered his dear brother a hand, helping the other man up. Kavuto began smiling too, momentarily ignoring the pain pulsing through his shoulder as he clapped his brother on the back.

“Well done today, Al,” he said between chuckles. “You really got me with that knife.”

Aleol laughed some more, eyeing his sibling fondly. “Indeed I did. But I will bandage your wound for you once we speak with Mother, if you would like.”

“Al, I might bleed to death before then!” Kavuto chortled playfully, nudging the other man in the ribs.

Once they had gathered their weapons, the two princes strode through the Great Hall, preparing to leave after their good-humored battle. Aleol cast a brief backward glance towards the king’s massive throne dominating the opposite side of the long room. He released an inaudible sigh.

“That was quite enjoyable, beloved brother. Same time tomorrow?”

“Aye, dear Kav.”


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Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:59 pm
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DreamWork wrote a review...



Hi strom'!Dark here with review.
I totally like this story.You make it special with making the plot a bit twist.I like to be twisted,of course.This is the part that is really breathtaking!

The oldest prince lunged to his foe, stabbing frontwards fiercely. Aleol attempted to parry the assault but Kavuto, although more reckless, was much stronger and quicker, so was able to catch the younger man’s blade and wrench it out of his enemy’s hand.


well-written and dramatic actions.I can feel the sense on it.Good job.

Some part need improvement in term of language and grammar.Not so bad.

Kavuto gripped the hilt of his jagged sword, scowling at Aleol’s words. “A thousand apologies, little prince.” He bowed scathingly to the young man. “I meant, as I sit upon my throne as ruler I do not want to remind myself that your royal…” He searched for the right words.


_I like the details here.I can pictures the actions in my head!
keep it up!Kudos,very impressing.




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Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:20 pm
JackJackson says...



Cool twist ending. :)




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Sun Sep 08, 2013 5:29 pm
barefootrunner wrote a review...



Hi there! I'll just do a quick grammar shred to help with editing :)

“No one intends on it, little Aleol.”

Delete the on.

The elder brother released a loud shout of frustration, which echoed throughout the Great Hall.

This is too long and wordy for a sentence in an action sequence. You have many sentences that can be cut shorter and made more punchy for the sake of the action :)

“Look what you have caused, Kav. Mother will be most upset when she finds out that you have ruined my royal cloak!” With a deep, entertained laugh, Aleol turned from his brother before sprinting towards the massive throne ruling the end of the room.

have caused ==> have done. The last sentence here can also be cut down slightly.

“I meant, as I sit upon my throne as ruler I do not want to remind myself that your royal…” He searched for the right words. “rear,” the elder prince decided, “has blemished this perfect kingly symbol.”

Great dialogue, here! Just watch it: ...royal..." He searched for the right words, "rear," the elder prince decided, "has blemished this perfect kingly symbol."

Aleol stood tall, becoming the victor of the duel. He continued to point his enemy’s sword to Kavuto’s throat.

Delete becoming. Point at, not to.

Other than that, I found it most entertaining and original. However, the end was slightly confusing and I wasn't sure what the reality of the fight was. Try to clarify. Were they fighting for purposes of entertainment? Were they really fighting but not entirely serious about killing? What was going on?

Good job! Keep writing :)

barefootrunner






Thanks, Barefoot! Your input really helps. I'm terrible at writing action scenes, as you've probably already concluded. xD It's definitely not my strongsuit because I always want to embellish my sentences with pretty words. O.O Hahaha I'll certainly be practicing more of the action genre!!!





You're not terrible! You just need to figure out how you're going to adjust your writing style for action scenes. It's a long process :)



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Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:13 pm
EloquentDragon wrote a review...



ED here to review!

First off, you've got a great idea here. It works well as a short, and you keep things at a fast pace. Hard to do, since %99 of all of this is action.

That being said, here are a couple of things you could do to improve this:

1. Try to be more direct with the actions. You tend to use more words than necessary to get to the point. For example:

"The elder brother released a loud shout of frustration, which echoed throughout the Great Hall."


Could be made more precise with:

"He shouted in frustration, his voice echoing in the Great Hall."


or even

"His shout of frustration echoed in the great hall."


(Although personally, I think your piece would do better with more verbs as opposed to nouns or adjectives.)

2. Pick one viewpoint and stick with it. I know you've opted for omniscient POV here, but I don't think it works well with this particular piece, and here's why:

a) It makes things more confusing than they need to be. Who should we be rooting for, Kavuto or Aleol? Using them both as "equal protagonists" also bogs down the action. For example, instead of:

"Growling, Kavuto watched as his younger brother cockily reclined into the king’s rich throne, crossing his legs casually...

Aleol interrupted, running his free hand through his flaxen curls. He smirked at his obviously angered brother as he leaned back in the large seat.


Could be revised to:

"Growling, Kavuto watched as Aleol cockily reclined in the king's rich throne. He crossed his legs casually...

His brother interrupted. He ran his free hand through his flaxen curls, and smirked down at Kavuto as he leaned back in the huge seat."


So in other words, stick to what the one can immediately observe, and not infer. ("watched Kavuto smirk" as opposed to "smirked at his obviously angered brother") Also, only refer to the brother who is not the viewpoint character as "the brother." This will help clean things up a bit. You can do some internalizing as well. Show a bit of the viewpoint character's thoughts. For example:

"Aleol watched his older brother carefully. He'll lunge and feint to the left. he thought to himself."

This could keep things a bit more interesting action-wise as well.

b) This brings me to the second reason why you should limit the POV to third-close, and that is that, in this particular case, omniscient kills the suspense.

Since both of these guys are "good," and since they're not really trying to kill each other, you can't do much in the way of going inside their heads and showing their emotions and such. These leads a bit of a dry, "play-acting" tone to the prose. And just so you know, it was predictable this way. For some reason I knew how it would end just from the first paragraph. I knew this wasn't your intention. Making it so that we only see through the eyes of one character will help avoid this.

3. Try to avoid repeating words in the same paragraph. For example:

In a few long strides, Kavuto reached his brother with no hint of amusement evident in his features. Instead, a very unamused glower was painted on his face as the oldest prince pointed the tip of his blade menacingly at Aleol’s exposed throat. “What is that even supposed to mean?” Kavuto rumbled.

Hiding his smile, Aleol said, “I do not know; I thought it dramatic.” With a quick flick of his sword, he removed his brother’s threatening weapon from his throat, then hopped up to a standing position on the seat of the throne. Aleol looked down at Kavuto, readying his long blade. “Let us return to our duel.”


"Amused"-2
"blade"-2
"throat"-2

This section here isn't too bad, there are others, and I know this seems harsh, but it is repetitive. I know it's hard to come up with creative, clear action. Try to picture this in your head, like you're watching a movie, and just describe what you see happening on the screen. The great part about writing is that you can add in sensory details other than sight as well. Reach for those.

More advice about action scenes can be found here.

4. Try to keep your dialogue more realistic. I know these two are royalty, but they should still sound natural when they talk. Don't use dialogue to "tell" the readers things. It's bad form, and was overused a lot in 20th century literature. Don't overuse a character's name when they speak to one another, especially considering there are only two of them in the room. It's redundant and the reader senses that it is "fake." Vary the structure and phrasing of the dialogue, try to keep things interesting for the reader. E.g., "She is dead." he said." Could be. "She is..." he paused, "dead." he said at last. Cadence and rhythm go a long ways in making dialogue "sound" real, even if what the characters are saying is complete hogwash.

Anyways, overall I though that this was a clever idea. It wasn't executed as well as it could have been though, I hope you polish this up.

Keep writing,
~ED




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Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:27 am
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Liaya says...



I loved this! The way you begin it, with these two brothers seemingly fighting as enemies to the death, is very effective. It invests the reader. Then, little by little, you realize they really love each other and are just two brothers having a good time training together. It's humorous and well-written and intense. I liked both of the characters quite a bit and got a feel for their cocky play. I would love to read a book about these two princes! I did notice one spot; you wrote "deadly steady and sharp" but you really ought to separate those with commas! It will make more sense then. However that was about the only bad thing I could say about your whole story! Thank you for the good fun!




Malachi says...


This was quick entertaining read. The pace was quick the characters were quite realistic in their speech and attitudes towards each other. I wasn't sure if the brothers were merely playing or in a serious battle, but either way it was fun to read. However, I have to say that i think the dagger stab may have been a little too much. The characters seemed to almost shrug it off as if it wasn't a big deal that one of them had just been stabbed.

Nonetheless great writing, I liked both characters.




Why should Caesar just get to stomp around like a giant while the rest of us try not to get smushed under his big feet? Brutus is just as cute as Caesar, right? Brutus is just as smart as Caesar, people totally like Brutus just as much as they like Caesar, and when did it become okay for one person to be the boss of everybody because that's not what Rome is about! We should totally just stab Caesar!
— Gretchen Wieners