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Corps of Recovery: Part 10

by Ventomology


Rudi waited anxiously for Lady Tamara’s response. Her face was twisted into determined rage, eyes blazing with ire. Then, she suddenly closed her them and composed herself. Returning to her original, cold expression, Lady Tamara replied that one or two Altens was better than being completely surrounded by them. Silently, she spun around and strode out of the room.

“Um, Count?” Rudi asked tentatively, “do I still need to carry her things?”

Count Stephan sighed. “No, Rudi, you don’t have to. I only wish there was a better option for foreign weapons training. I wanted to have Ritterlich teach you all, but his hands are full enough at Reysa, and Sir Thorsten is planning on taking a squire this year.”

The only thing Rudi could think to say was an “oh.”

After another sigh, the count offered Rudi a second piece of candied fruit and sent him back to the entry hall. There, with the number of incoming knights dwindling, he found Vinnia loitering about with a few other pages. She seemed to notice him as soon as he entered the room.

“Rudi!” she called, waving a hand to get his attention, “Rudi, I found a knight to judge Axel and Elizabeth’s competition!”

Intrigued, Rudi jogged towards her to listen.

“So you know that lady knight I was helping earlier?” Vinnia asked excitedly. She didn’t wait for a nod. “Well, I told her that Axel and Elizabeth were looking for a knight to propose and judge a competition between them, and she told me she would be very interested in that sort of thing. I think she might be looking to take a squire next year, though she didn’t say it, and I think she’ll be quite fair.”

Unsure of what to say, Rudi nodded.

“And she’s so nice, too!” Vinnia continued, “I wish I could have her as my knight-teacher someday, though I doubt anyone will actually take me willingly. Oh, and she told me all sorts of things about Selim and even places further east than that! Like a humid place with lots of spices, and the place where they first made china.”

As he listened to Vinnia’s rambling, Rudi couldn’t help but wonder what she would think of their new foreign weaponry teacher. He only hoped there wouldn’t be too much tension between them.

Suddenly, a delicate hand swooshed across Rudi’s vision. “Hello?” Vinnia asked, “Are you even listening to me?”

“Oh, sorry Vinnia. What did you say?”

“I said that we should introduce her to Axel and Elizabeth today, since she told me the knights would be joining us in the mess hall. That way she can tell them the challenge and they can have time to prepare for it. I mean, from the looks of it, she was already plotting something evil for them to do.” Vinnia’s eyes gleamed with mischief, and Rudi got the idea that she had picked this lady knight simply because there was a possibility of trouble.

Straining his voice like Axel did whenever he tried to imply his disapproval, Rudi told Vinnia that hers was a lovely idea.

Later that night, however, Rudi found himself sincerely believing in Vinnia’s plan. Lady Naomi, as she was called, had joined Axel’s group of pages for dinner. Gesturing excitedly, she told fabulous stories of all the places she’d traveled to.

“And that,” she said, finishing a tale about the Nordrusk tundra, “is how I slew the largest spirit bear known to man.” With a swig of water—which she for some reason kept in a wine flask—Lady Naomi turned to Axel, a grin decorating her face. “Now then, you’re the fifth year page Vinny told me about, right? The one whose challenge I’m judging?”

Axel nodded, though his unease was clear as day.

“Well, why don’t we get your friend over here so I can explain how everything will work? I’ve got it all worked out with Count Stephan already, so you two are bound to have a good fight. In fact—actually, hold that thought. Got to wait for your friend before I spill the beans.”

Someone, though who it was Rudi didn’t know, fetched Elizabeth from her group. Her blonde head poked out among the many younger pages, but even from Rudi’s low viewpoint, it was clear that Bridget nearly matched her mentor in stature. As she came to a stop in front of Lady Naomi, she straightened and gave Axel a hard, haughty look.

“You’re Axel’s friend, I presume?” the lady knight said, smiling ear to ear. How a person could be so happy without their cheeks hurting was beyond Rudi. “It’s very nice to meet you. Now then, about that challenge. I’ve cleared it all over with Count Stephan. This will be an official, three-part contest between two fifth year pages. Each of you will declare one challenge, and then a neutral party, that being me, will decide the last, correct?”

Axel gulped. “We weren’t aware that this would be official.”

“Well, it is now. You’ll live. From what I’ve heard, it’ll be a fairly even match. Now then, have you two thought over your challenges yet?”

Both fifth years nodded, their faces stone as they tried to suppress anxiety.

“Good. So, ladies first. You’re Elizabeth, right? What’s your challenge?”

“Double-grip swordfight, Lady Naomi,” Elizabeth said seriously. Her lips were tight with worry, and Rudi could see sweat shining under her bangs.

With a sip from her flask, the lady knight turned to Axel. “And you?”

“A mage-duel with even-contest rules.” Rudi didn’t know what that was, but the surrounding pages immediately turned to whispering. Even Lady Naomi raised her eyebrows in surprise.

Vinnia’s hair brushed against Rudi’s cheek as she leaned towards him. “Even-contest is when the duelists have an averaging transmutation painted on both of them. It’s supposed to even out contestant power, but I’m not totally sure how it works.”

“Well then,” the lady knight suddenly declared, wrenching everyone from their conversations, “Here’s my challenge for the two of you. I’ve arranged for Count Stephan to remove both of you from the dance card lists.”

As other pages called out ‘no fair’s, and groaned, Elizabeth’s mouth curled into a smirk. Excitement danced in her blue eyes, but Axel’s face reflected pure dread. He knew nothing good could come of this.

“Of course, this doesn’t excuse you from dancing. In fact, that’s the challenge. The two of you are going to dance as many consecutive dances together as possible—don’t worry, I’ll make sure you get refreshments at allotted intervals. You’ll tally the number of times your partner suggests quitting, and whoever has more points at the end will lose the round.”

Elizabeth was aghast. Her gaze darted towards Axel just as his nervous one searched for hers. They locked eyes for one tense moment before the crowd of pages dispersed to finish the meal.

The next morning, Rudi found himself seated in the front row of the jousting field bleachers. Colorful fabrics billowed in the morning breeze, and fellow pages whooped and hollered in favor of either Elizabeth or Axel. Rudi yawned, his stomach grumbling as Vinnia flounced into the seat next to him.

“Simon decided to sleep in,” she said haughtily, “I hope he realizes he’s going to miss this. Idiot never understood that a challenge between pages will always be before breakfast so we can still get all our work done for the day.”

Still drowsy, Rudi nodded in response. He watched as another fifth year page walked onto the jousting field, closely followed by the two duelists. New, louder cheers erupted from the stands, blasting Rudi’s eardrums. He was starting to wish he’d slept in too, like Simon.

The neutral page held up the hands of both Axel and Elizabeth, showing off the blurry, black lines etched onto their palms.

“Let this duel be fair, and let it end in good sport!” the page announced, before clasping the contestants’ hands together. Switching to his magic sight, Rudi watched as streams of Axel and Elizabeth’s magics entwined around each other, combining until all Rudi could see in either of them was a convulsing, marbled mixture of lilac and brass. It looked a little gross, to be honest.

The audience quieted as the neutral page returned to the sidelines, and Axel and Elizabeth walked to their respective ends of the field.

Several moments of silence passed before Count Stephan’s voice echoed through the stadium. “Begin!”

The reaction was immediate. Elizabeth threw her hands forward, magic streaming ahead in a wave so hot it distorted Rudi’s view of the ground. It raced across the field, nearly hitting Axel. But it didn’t. With one arm, he split the wave in two, hot air rushing on either side of him.

His opponent wouldn’t just sit there while he countered though. Elizabeth reached upwards, snapping her fingers as she did it. Suddenly, roots sprang up by Axel’s feet, wrapping themselves around him. He struggled for a moment to pull them off, to no avail. The roots began lifting him off the ground, carrying him to Elizabeth’s side. The crowd held its breath and waited to see what Axel would do.

“Why is he smiling?” Vinnia asked. Rudi shook himself from the duel to look at her.

“Axel is smiling?” Rudi repeated.

Vinnia nodded. Then, without notice, her eyes widened. Rudi whipped his gaze back to the field just in time to see Axel slip from the roots’ hold. He dusted himself off and cocked his head, looking at Elizabeth expectantly.

Screwing her face into a rage, Elizabeth shouted that she hated Axel. She flew towards him, fire curling around her fists. Her first punch came fast, though Axel caught it. He hadn’t prepared correctly though, and he winced at a newly burned hand. She threw a second. This time, Axel caught her arm. He pulled her closer, holding her arm up so she couldn’t move.

Silence was the only sound the crowd made as Axel whispered into the struggling Elizabeth’s ear. She inhaled sharply.

It was as though time slowed. Rudi watched through his magic sight as Axel brought his burned hand to Elizabeth’s stomach. Magic surged through both of them, bursting from Elizabeth’s back in streaks of jagged lighting. She collapsed onto him the next moment, and suddenly, the count’s voice rose about the cheering.

“Axel of Baden has won the first match!”


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Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:20 pm
Noelle wrote a review...



Hi there! Noelle here for another Review Day review!

Like I said in an earlier review, I'm starting to see a big change in Vinnia's personality. She's become the girl that I had imagined her to be in the first place. I really like this side of her. There's not just the stubborn, sarcastic, annoyed side of here. There's also the "I'm just a little girl experiencing things really awesome" side. And it's really starting to show out.

Oh my, the challenge that Lady Naomi came up with is perfect. I can't wait to see how Axel and Elizabeth get through this one. The ones they came up with are good as well, but Lady Naomi's is going to be the most fun to watch.

Elizabeth was aghast. Her gaze darted towards Axel just as his nervous one searched for hers. They locked eyes for one tense moment before the crowd of pages dispersed to finish the meal.

The next morning, Rudi found himself seated in the front row of the jousting field bleachers.

You should put three asterisks between these two paragraphs and scratch the part that says "the next morning". I feel like this is a good time for a time jump. Otherwise it'll all just flow together, which really isn't a good thing in this situation.

You did a good job describing the match. The action was very realistic. I also liked the way you added in Rudi's thoughts and reactions during the match. It made the match that much more intense and real. Good job with that.

Just a few more chapters and I'm almost all caught up! :)

Keep writing!
**Noelle**




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Sun Jun 29, 2014 4:04 am
JayeCShore wrote a review...



Hi, J.C. here for a review!

Rudi waited anxiously for Lady Tamara’s response. Her face was twisted into determined rage, eyes blazing with ire. Then, she suddenly closed her eyes and composed herself.


So first thing I noticed is your use of the word "eyes." Or rather, the use of the second sentence. After the first, I, the reader, understand what the subject is-the eyes-so I don't need to be told once again what they are. You can simply say, "She suddenly closed them and composed herself."

A small nitpick compared to most, but it's this sort of little thing that elevates writing to the next level.

The only thing Rudi could think to say was an “oh.”


This may just be me, buy you don't "say and oh," you either "say oh" or "give out an oh."

Someone, though who it was, Rudi didn’t know, fetched Elizabeth from her group.


There shouldn't be a comma between "who it was" and "Rudi didn't know," because it's all one thought.

I usually don't point out simple grammatical mistakes like that, but they just caught my eye for some reason. But I leave them only for the rest of the review :D

“Of course, this doesn’t excuse you from dancing. In fact, that’s the challenge. The two of you are going to dance as many consecutive dances together as possible—don’t worry, I’ll make sure you get refreshments at allotted intervals. You’ll tally the number of times your partner suggests quitting, and whoever has more points at the end will lose the round.”


This threw me for a huge loop :P I was like, "What the heck? Dancing? Seriously?" I was expecting a Wizard's Duel or sword fight, as the previous discussion was heading towards, but not dancing. Very clever, though, and it's this sort of thing that grips a reader because, even though they're confused or weirded out, they keep reading because they're intrigued.

Elizabeth was aghast. Her gaze darted towards Axel just as his nervous one searched for hers. They locked eyes for one tense moment before the crowd of pages dispersed to finish the meal.

The next morning, Rudi found himself seated in the front row of the jousting field bleachers.


Just another note. Sometimes it can be heard when you're reading to really differentiate between time frames, even if the writing tells you that there was a jump in time. It's always a good idea to put something in to make sure they understand, like a double space or a little

- -


Something of that sort.

The reaction was immediate. Elizabeth threw her hands forward, magic streaming ahead in a wave so hot it distorted Rudi’s view of the ground.


Now I actually am confused. I thought the challenge was dancing. But now it is a Wizard's Duel. Some enlightenment on this part would be helpful.

In the end, I enjoyed reading this. It was fun, classic, and not badly written. Though at times I was confused, or a bit bored perhaps, it flowed well.

The unfortunate part, though, is that I do not like this sort of teen academy sort of thing. I know it's a common theme, but, if your story follows suit with the world, it's unrealistic, and sending a lot of wrong messages to kids these days, in my opinion. But I haven't read any of the other chapters, so I'm probably wrong about that anyways :P

Thank you BuggieDude2340!

#D65F54 ">- JC -


#TheFaultInOurReviews




Ventomology says...


Whoa... Great review. I'll see to those nitpicks right away! Thanks a ton!



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Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:57 am
Annaclare wrote a review...






Ventomology says...


Ah... I've posted all of the chapters I've written so far. They might be hard to find though. As for the pages, they are like knights in training, not as advanced as squires, but still in training.
Oh, and thanks for the review! I'll see what I can do about those things you pointed out.



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Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:48 am
TheCrimsonLady wrote a review...



Hello, love.
Aurora here for a review day review.

Alright, so let's start before my coffee wears off and I get snappy. Because really, who does that help? Don't answer that.

Alright, so I have one concern that I couldn't stop thinking about. You call someone Bridget in your third or fourth paragraph. I think you meant Elizabeth. If not, who is this Bridget?!

Also... You say that she drinks water from a wine flask. I'd like to point out two things.
First, they don't make wine flasks. They make flasks for spirits. Like whiskey. Or bourbon. Or Kahlua. Or, hell, Jack Daniels. But people don't drink wine from a flask.
Second, how do people know it's water? Even if they saw clear liquid inside, couldn't it be vodka? Plot hole. A big one.

Also, you might have explained this in a previous chapter, which, sorry, I haven't read any, but I was a little confused about the way people go about challenging each other. It cleared up soon enough, but if you haven't explained this before, you may want to consider adding a bit of explanation so your readers aren't confused. :). Also, I got no description, or at the very most, very, very little description from you. I'd like some character description (what do they look like) and some description of the hall. Obviously, this may have taken place in one of the earlier chapters. Sorry if you've already done this part.

Can I just say, I love the knights challenge? Dancing?! Mwahahahaha. The squires expect something fighting related and they get.... Dancing. Of all things.

I also like your style in this piece. It's very balanced with a mix of old timey ness and yet it has a touch of your own world in it. It's modern enough that we understand and I just really like the way you write.

Keep persisting, love!
Aurora




Ventomology says...


Yeah... I probably need some more character description reminders scattered around. Thanks a lot for the review!




The worst bullies you will ever encounter in your life are your own thoughts.
— Bryant McGill