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16+ Violence

Before The Dragon - Chapter 6.2.1

by ShadowVyper


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.

Jerica felt like she had a rug ripped out from under her. Warmth crept up her neck as the gaze of every man in the tent landed on her. So much for Derik being on her side. She scowled at Lord Femola, waiting to see if he was going to take Derik’s offer of demanding an apology from her.

What am I even going to say if he can actually bring himself to call me ‘General’? ‘Hey, sorry about killing your physicians. I know I just did it like two hours ago but my uncle says I have to say sorry.’ She hoped he would be too proud to ask for an apology on Derik’s terms. She certainly didn’t want to give him one.

It was stuffy. Jerica noticed that her breath felt hot now, thick, like she was fighting for each one that she drew. How she wished for an escape from that tent – or at the very least a breeze to ease the tension. The silence was stifling. Lord Femola’s gaze flicked across her like he was assessing a cow in the butcher’s field before paying for its slaughter.

“Did you even get hurt at all?” He finally broke the heavy silence.

Jerica leaned forward, pressing her knuckles into the table in front of her as she rose from her chair and stared into his eyes. The stitches tugged on the edges of her injured skin, flexed shoulder muscles straining against the thread. Pain radiated down her side like someone was in the process of dumping a kettle of boiling water over her. “Do I look injured to you?”

“I thought I saw blood on you as you ran away.” His gaze flicked away.

She threw herself back into her seat. Her shoulder tingled. She did her best to look condescending as she planted her hands on the arm rests of her seat. “That belonged to your physician, not me.”

His eyes snapped back towards her, full of rage once again. “We’re done here.”

“Great!” Jerica pushed away from the table and popped to her feet.

A shout broke out on both sides of the tent and the clanging of steel on steel rang in her ears. Jerica yanked her sword from her scabbard, eyes flicking towards the Nykerian closest to her – Josef. He looked at her for the briefest of moments, then turned and bolted towards the door behind them.

“No!” Lord Femola was out of the tent in an instant. “Stand down! She’s not hurt!”

An arrow tore through the edge of the tent and lodged in the back of the chair she’d been in moments before. Rage stabbed through her confusion. An ambush. Her eyes flicked towards the Nykerian General of the Archers, who had been to Josef’s right, across from Rekard. He was still seated, eyes wide as he looked between Jerica and the exit.

Jerica lunged forward. She planted her right foot on the edge of the table and hauled herself onto the table with her thigh muscles alone. She brought her left foot down on the table just in front of the General. He yanked his sword half-way from its scabbard as he tried to stand. Jerica’s right foot landed on his shoulder, driving him backwards into his seat, then toppling the chair over with him in it.

He flailed.

Jerica landed on top of him. She drove her right foot into his shoulder and kicked his other arm with her left foot. His hand was nowhere close to his still-sheathed sword. He was a good archer – she’d seen his targets before. His hand-to-hand skills were lacking.

He grabbed her ankle and yanked. She twisted her leg to grind her heel against his palm as she drove her left knee into his chest. She stabbed her sword through his throat. Blood sprayed into her face. She yanked the blade free, a fresh cascade of blood following the steel from the wound and splattering against her tunic.

Jerica stood, breaking the mesmerized silence that filled the tent in the mere seconds it took her to get over the table. The two Nykerian Generals were on their feet, swords in hand, but still standing in the corner of the tent rather than retreating. Jerica started towards them.

“Jerica, no!” Derik’s shout filled the tent.

She kept her gaze fixed on the Nykerian nearest her as she stormed towards him. It was just the head of the Calvary – General Rileng. General Vanir, Head of the Swordsmen, was behind him. But with any luck she could sink her sword through Rileng then toss him into his compatriot. Kill them and the war is over. Now wasn’t the time to be timid.

Jerica swung her sword at the man standing nearest her. She was forceful. It would be easy to block, but her swing was powerful enough to drive him to the defensive. And then all she would have to do – he dove to the side, well out of the reach of her blade. The momentum of strike against the empty air carried her forward. Rileng was behind her now; Vanir directly in front.

Rileng’s palm struck between her shoulder blades, hard. She crashed face-first into Vanir’s chest. Vanir threw her to the ground in an instant, lifting his sword over her head with both hands. He brought the sword down. She darted upright – towards him, rather than away. He was already committed to his swing, stabbing the blade deep into the ground where she lay mere moments before.

She drove her right fist between his legs as hard as she could. He crumpled to his knees. Jerica spun away from him, reaching for her sword that had fallen when she did. Rileng’s hands wrapped around her left wrist, yanking her backward, just as her hand found her weapon. She yelped, the stitches in her shoulder snapping open as he yanked her over backwards.

A glint of steel.

She couldn’t move her own sword fast enough.

His dagger came straight for her neck. He held her firmly in place by her left arm, shoulder aching beyond belief, unable to yank away from him to dodge. A force knocked into them. Her shoulder was wrenched even further, yanking her fully onto her back.

She rolled, pushing herself off the ground with her right hand. Her left shoulder was drenched in blood again. She brought her sword up; dizzy. Another man was laying between her and Rileng. The bottom dropped from her stomach as she realized it was Rekard, dagger meant for her still lodged in his abdomen.

Jerica drove her sword through Rileng’s throat.

Blood spurt across her and Rekard. She whirled around to find Vanir. He locked eyes with her for the briefest of moments then sprang towards the door. She couldn’t be bothered to chase him. She turned her attention back on Rek.

He moaned, clutching at the dagger in his abdomen. It was lodged just above his left hipbone, all the way to the handle. He grasped it. Jerica put her hand over his. “Don’t. It’s too deep.”

He groaned again.

“Rek!” Derik was next to them, shouldering Jerica out of the way. “Oh, gods.” 


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Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:51 pm
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JabberHut wrote a review...



THIS IS AWESOME.

I mean, I'm really REALLY upset that you're doing the thing at the end there like YOU BETTER NOT DO THE THING I like him so much and will miss him greatly //sob

But! I'm hoping losing Rekard is going to kickstart some plot progression! The readers understand that Jerica and Rekard were close -- all that banter really paid off, honestly -- so losing Rekard is a blow to the reader and to Derik and Jerica. I may be speaking of this too soon though, I guess I should wait to talk about it until I read the next part ahahahaha.

I can't get enough of Jerica kicking butt, man. What an awesome fight scene to witness. I will admit there were a lot of names being tossed around that I was kind of glossing over. I'd much rather see hints of Derik and Rekard helping, or other Atrayan (sp?) officers helping. They're all soldiers, and I'd like to see that Jerica isn't the only viable soldier in Atraya. Especially Rekard. He had a small show of it with the one traitor guy earlier, but I'd like to see a much more heroic fight scene out of him before sacrificing his life. You know, just a little more build-up.

But I love how the blow Rekard took for Jerica spurred Jerica into a temporary blood frenzy and killed the guy. uh.. Vanir. Yes. I like that she reacted with instinct and avenged Rekard.

I found it a little odd at the start of this segment, Femola asked if Jerica was injured after Derik's previous comment that she'd apologize if he acknowledged her rank as general. It was a weird sequence of commentary to me. I know later, it was revealed that Femola was planning to kill Jerica if she were injured (and unknown to him apparently, she was), but it doesn't seem like a very smart plan. Gassing the tent or a servant boy attempting to stab her would probably be better, or even yet, just let the archer shoot at her anyway. I guess... I mean, maybe Femola knows of a weakness that we don't? Like the goal of the entire battle was to, say, break her arms so that they could complete the kill. I guess I was just a little unimpressed with his tact.

But the exchange about Femola commenting on the blood on her armor earlier was awesome. Jerica's response was clever, true, and perfect. XD Though I'd say it wouldn't be a surprise to find any blood on a war soldier's armor 'cause, er, they were in the midst of a bloody battle. Oooh random question, is everyone in really nice clothes right now, or just Jerica? I can't remember exactly, but I remember her dressing up a little when the meeting changed to the tent here. Just want to verify if they were dressed intelligently here considering their location. Or why the two sides seem to trust each other so much despite being at war with each other.

That's all I could really pick up on, I'm kinda trying not to mourn too early here 'cause theres' EVERY POSSIBILITY Rekard's gonna be okay. Don't kill him off. plz no :(




ShadowVyper says...


Thanks so much for the review :D

Oooh random question, is everyone in really nice clothes right now, or just Jerica? I can't remember exactly, but I remember her dressing up a little when the meeting changed to the tent here.


So, they've been having various War Councils, and general decorum says "don't take cheap shots" during a Council meeting. So they're all dressed in nice clothes, and they each have a small military presence around the tent, but it's generally unthinkable to play dirty during a War Council. And the Nykerians were assuming that Jerica had been hurt in the mission earlier in the day, so they figure that either she will be 1) too hurt to fight if she shows up or 2) too hurt to show up the War Council so they'd been planning to ambush the Atraians during this Council as retaliation for her behavior with their medical tent. But then Jerica shows up, and pretends not to be hurt, so Lord Femola decided against the ambush -- but then outside the tent some of his men start the fighting, and chaos reigns xD

Also, it makes me happy how much you like Rek <3



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Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:10 pm
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ShadowQueen wrote a review...



Hey! I had read this before I reviewed the one after, but I thought I’d come to try reviewing this one too!

“Great!” Jerica pushed away from the table and popped to her feet.

A shout broke out on both sides of the tent and the clanging of steel on steel rang in her ears. Jerica yanked her sword from her scabbard, eyes flicking towards the Nykerian closest to her – Josef. He looked at her for the briefest of moments, then turned and bolted towards the door behind them.


This transition was pretty good, because it doesn’t place them in danger the exact moment it happens: they hear the sounds of battle before they’re locked directly in battle. It lets them (and us!) prepare for the start of a fight without it feeling too sudden.

Jerica landed on top of him. She drove her right foot into his shoulder and kicked his other arm with her left foot. His hand was nowhere close to his still-sheathed sword. He was a good archer – she’d seen his targets before. His hand-to-hand skills were lacking.


Let this serve as a reminder to archers everywhere that you NEED to practice your sword-fighting skills, or Jerica will kill you in mere seconds.

The two Nykerian Generals were on their feet, swords in hand, but still standing in the corner of the tent rather than retreating. Jerica started towards them.

“Jerica, no!” Derik’s shout filled the tent.


This is the first time Derik is mentioned as being here with them in the tent during this chapter, right? A small reminder of his actual presence might be worth it!

She kept her gaze fixed on the Nykerian nearest her as she stormed towards him. It was just the head of the Calvary – General Rileng. General Vanir, Head of the Swordsmen, was behind him.


Well, the fight with the archer was easy. Going up against an actual swordsman? Yeah, this’ll be a little harder.

The battle scene that follows is really well-written, and I’m rather impressed!

The bottom dropped from her stomach as she realized it was Rekard, dagger meant for her still lodged in his abdomen.

Jerica drove her sword through Rileng’s throat.


First of all, poor Rek! :(

Second, it feels like there’s not much of a pause between Rekard getting injured, and the and Jerica stabbing the life out of the General. Would she have frozen up? If she wouldn’t have, then this is all fine!

Thanks for writing such an exciting story! I’ll try to read more of it when it comes out.




ShadowVyper says...


Thanks so much for the reviews! I appreciate them!

This is the first time Derik is mentioned as being here with them in the tent during this chapter, right? A small reminder of his actual presence might be worth it!


Fair point! 6.1 was pretty Derik-heavy and I wrote this right after, but stepping back from it I agree he's kind of a ghost in this part. I'll edit!

The battle scene that follows is really well-written, and I%u2019m rather impressed!


Thank you <33

Second, it feels like there%u2019s not much of a pause between Rekard getting injured, and the and Jerica stabbing the life out of the General. Would she have frozen up? If she wouldn%u2019t have, then this is all fine!


She tends to be stab-first-ask-questions-later so I think this is pretty in character for her but I will definitely keep an eye on the pacing for my other characters :)

Thanks again!



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Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:09 pm
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Vil says...



...

i need to find better ways of getting here first.

What am I even going to say if he can actually bring himself to call me ‘General’? ‘Hey, sorry about killing your physicians. I know I just did it like two hours ago but my uncle says I have to say sorry.’

...you've got me believing that she has nothing to apologize for. How?

“Jerica, no!”

Jerica, yes!

Rekard!!! Nooooooooooooo! Why???? ;-;

You've made me sad.

*rushes to part 2*




ShadowVyper says...


...you've got me believing that she has nothing to apologize for. How?


Ahahaha magic ;)

I love the progression of this review. Exactly the emotions I was hoping for ;)



Vil says...


...I didn;t realize how short this was XD



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Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:58 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



Ok here we go again! I like how you've named it 6.2.1 and not just named them 6.2 and 6.3 ;) haha

So much for Derik being on her side

I think she's taking this a bit too harshly, to me it feels like he knows they're never gonna address her properly so he's giving them the option to make them come off badly when their pride prevents them from calling her by her proper title!

A shout broke out on both sides of the tent and the clanging of steel on steel rang in her ears. Jerica yanked her sword from her scabbard, eyes flicking towards the Nykerian closest to her – Josef. He looked at her for the briefest of moments, then turned and bolted towards the door behind them.

“No!” Lord Femola was out of the tent in an instant. “Stand down! She’s not hurt!”

Ohhhh so this was a trap because they thought she was hurt? Good job she's already been stitched up and looks pretty normal! Sneaky little men!
The bit with Josef running out confused me though, does his appearance signal to the men outside to start attacking?

She kept her gaze fixed on the Nykerian nearest her as she stormed towards him. It was just the head of the Calvary – General Rileng. General Vanir, Head of the Swordsmen, was behind him. But with any luck she could sink her sword through Rileng then toss him into his compatriot. Kill them and the war is over.

Completely ignores Derik then!

She yelped, the stitches in her shoulder snapping open as he yanked her over backwards.

A glint of steel.

Owwwwwwch

The bottom dropped from her stomach as she realized it was Rekard, dagger meant for her still lodged in his abdomen.

No no no no
Quick side note here though, because I'd gotten used to him being called Rek it took away the shock realisation I had at him being stabbed because it took me a moment to remember who he was.


Well that was dramatic! I'm not sure I want to read on if you're going to go stabbing the characters I like :(

Hope this was helpful <3

Icy




ShadowVyper says...


I like how you've named it 6.2.1 and not just named them 6.2 and 6.3 ;) haha


Ahahah I am really just making things up on the fly with these naming schemes xD I try to have the starts and ends of each part be better openings and closings that I am giving you in these last two parts ;)

The bit with Josef running out confused me though, does his appearance signal to the men outside to start attacking?


Nah, the fighting had already started, he's just a coward and wanted to get away from Jerica as fast as possible. I can restructure this a bit so that that is clearer.

Quick side note here though, because I'd gotten used to him being called Rek it took away the shock realisation I had at him being stabbed because it took me a moment to remember who he was.


Good to know! I'll be more consistent just calling him Rek :D

Well that was dramatic! I'm not sure I want to read on if you're going to go stabbing the characters I like :(


ahaha <3

Thanks for the review!!




Don't go around saying the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing; it was here first.
— Mark Twain