Ember. A non LOTR offering

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Eric C
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Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Eric C »

Here are the opening lines from the first chapter of the new novel I started while in college. I will try to give some commentary on its creation and the process after the story:

Martel seethed as he looked down at the few gold coins in his palm. He stood outside the Captain’s tent counting the coins several times in disbelief. Not again. Every month the pay is less than the agreed upon rate. He would not allow Captain Pennyworth to slight him on his pay this time. Turning on his heels, he shoved through the line of mercenaries all awaiting their own payment. There were many loud complaints, but none tried to stop him. The Captain saw him coming and looked to his guards. Two armored men stepped before the table with axes across their chests, blocking Martel’s path. Martel stopped, planting himself firmly before the men but out of striking range of their weapons. He lowered his head, his blue eyes not looking at the guards, but between them.
“Move.” Martel said in a low, menacing voice. The men stood still. Martel bent his anger toward them. Projecting his malice, all could feel the change in the room. Several of the mercenaries in the line shifted nervously, but the guards were the target. Martel’s skill at targeting certain individuals was improving. The overwhelming force of his malice rushed over the guards. The air in the pavilion was suddenly stifling. Terror began to seep into the guards’ hearts. First the one on the left moved back to his position beside the table, then the one on the right followed, silently begging Martel’s pardon with a hand gesture.
Martel stomped to the table, loudly slamming the coins down before the Captain.
“Count ‘em.” Martel said. His eyes bored through the Captain.
“If it’s unsatisfactory, you can just leave it here and go your way.” Pennyworth was calm. He spoke in a dismissive way that caused Martel’s seething anger to grow.
“This is not the agreed upon thirty gold coins and you know it! I’m done being robbed by you.” Martel’s voice grew in volume.
“So, you think you’ve done something special?” the Captain mocked. “All of these men have fought hard. Some of them died. Some have injuries that will never heal. What makes you special Martel Ironforger?”
Martel drew in a noisy breath through his nose, holding it in for a moment to burn adrenaline before speaking.
“All of these men have fought long and hard for this day, the day of our release. The day we could collect what we have earned, and you sit on your backside behind that table and rob us of what we agreed upon. Maybe they will take it, but I won’t. Not again.” Martel’s only thought since he entered the battle that morning was returning home, returning to her. He was supposed to have enough money by now to settle down and ask for Clairanna’s hand in marriage. It had been four long years and they were only sixteen when he departed. But he knew she was the woman he wanted to call his wife.
Captain Pennyworth noticed that several of the mercenaries behind Martel were beginning to agree with him. He had to get a handle on this. He did not know how Martel did that little trick of scaring his guards into moving, but he hoped they were regaining their nerve. He would fire them in the morning.
“I’m a businessman! I have expenses. Those expenses have to come from somewhere. I can’t just magically create it. It comes from your pay,” the Captain explained. His smug expression suggested that he did not have to explain himself to this hireling.
Indeed, the guards were overcoming their fear and stepped to a position behind Martel, one at each of his broad shoulders. He was a stout man of average height, and the guards knew he was much stronger than he first appeared. His name suggested that he was a blacksmith before becoming a mercenary. Seeing his perilous situation, Martel relaxed, straightening with a harumph. A smile stretched across Pennyworth’s chiseled face, seeing that he now had the upper hand over this minion.
With blinding speed, Martel shot an elbow into the nose of the guard on his left. The bone gave way with a snap and the guard reeled, dropping his weapon, and covering his face with his hands. Several of the mercenaries let out an exclamation at the sudden blow. The one directly behind the guard moved out of the way as the man fell to the expensive rug that served as a ground cloth for the pavilion. Immediately, blood seeped between his fingers and down his face, onto the rug. Before the other guard could react, Martel shoved a knife-hand into his windpipe. The guard gagged, staggered, and fell, trying desperately to get air. The Captain was on his feet, but he was not fast enough and had nowhere to run. Martel flipped the table completely over onto its top and charged Pennyworth. Out of nowhere, there was a dagger in Martel’s hand, which he was flashing before the captain’s eyes and placed the point under the man’s chin.
“We gettin’ paid tonight I’ll wager,” Martel heard one of the mercenaries remark.
“N-now Martel! Let’s be reasonable!” Pennyworth pled.
“That’s all I’m askin’, Captain.” Martel’s voice was frighteningly calm. “Let’s be reasonable. You are going to call every single person back into this tent and you are going to pay every one of us what you owe us. That’s reasonable enough, don’t you think… Captain? I’m a businessman as well. If you did not properly account for expenses on this venture, then you don’t know business and you won’t be in it long. It’s not our loss, it’s yours.”
The Captain’s dark eyes caught movement behind Martel. His strange senses still on high alert, Martel felt the new presence in the tent, but he did not turn to greet it.
“This… this thief is trying to rob me!” Pennyworth shouted. “You’re with the King. Do something!”
Martel cut his eyes to the right where he saw a shadow move up. It was just out of his peripheral vision, but he sensed it was female.
“Are you being robbed, Capitan? Or are all of your underhanded dealings with your troops catching up to you?” It was indeed a woman, or female with an exotic voice. Martel noticed how she rolled her ‘R’s’ and pronounced her words.
“Ya see Capitan, your reputation precedes you.” Martel said, using the woman’s pronunciation. The presence of one of the king’s servants made him uneasy and this was a bad time to be uneasy.
“I demand you do something about this, or I will take it up with the King!” Pennyworth threatened.
“This is of no concern to me or to His Highness the King. But then again, I am not the one with a dagger to my throat, and neither is His Highness. Capitan, you seem to have a choice: pay your men what they are owed or die, and they get everything you own. The choice is yours.”
Martel ventured a look at the woman, for so it was a human woman. Her red hair was braided tightly behind her head. Her skin was pail and even in the dim torchlight, he could see the brown of her eyes. Her clothing was that of one in service to King Gendric. Her eyes met his.
“When you are done here, Master Ironforger, you will meet me outside.” With that, she turned and walked from the tent with a gait so light she seemed to glide. Martel could not help but smile at the fact that she did not ask. She told. He would have liked her assertiveness if she did not serve this king.
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Elleth
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Elleth »

Oh very fun!

... will you be submitting it? indy-releasing it on amazon? or do you know yet?
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Eric C
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Eric C »

It needs work. but I intend to submit it for publication. I think in trilogies now, so this is the first of a trilogy featuring Martel.

A comical note about when I wrote the part where Martel broke the guard's nose: My professor for the class in which I submitted this story was a young lady - probably young enough to be my daughter if truth be told. She is a great teacher who enthusiastically helps other budding writers along their journey. Well, when I wrote the part where Martel broke the guard's nose, I left it kind of matter-of-fact. I told, but didn't show. A big part of the reason was that I didn't know how sensitive the professor would be to violence. Another part was that I had not yet started developing the art of show-don't-tell. My stories to date are full of telling, not showing. So, anyway, I left it in a rather matter-of-fact format when I submitted the rough draft. Her reply? Something to the effect of, "Hmmm, I wonder how that sounds." :shock: :lol: She then went on to tell me that I needed to put the audience in the room, or in Martel's head really since he is the main character. That particular professor and workshop brought out a better writer in me, I think. My first draft will still be telling, not showing because it is simply getting things on paper. But that's the building blocks to story writing. I may post more later. One day, I will be looking for someone to workshop it for me and then it will be off to beta readers.
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Iodo »

This is awesome so far Eric, well done :P
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Elleth »

Best of luck to you! I'm excited to see how it turns out! :mrgreen:
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Jack »

Nice!
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Eofor »

If thats the start then I look forward to seeing how you go on. Very well done.
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Eric C »

Thanks everyone. There is still some refinement to do. It's a long way from being sent to an agent. Ember is a part of a much greater world where my writing will be set. If you remember Thorbed from a previous story or two, I gave him his own story, which is a part of the same world, but a different location. It is severely broken and needs to have lots of "fat" cut away before I can proceed with it.
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Peter Remling »

Drawn in very quickly! When you're looking for a Beta audience, look no further. I'm volunteering.
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Eric C »

Peter Remling wrote: Sat May 07, 2022 1:07 pm Drawn in very quickly! When you're looking for a Beta audience, look no further. I'm volunteering.
I will be hitting you up when the time comes.
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Tom_Ranger »

Looks good, I can't wait for it to come out.
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Taylor Steiner »

Wow very good!
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Cimrandir »

Finally got a chance to sit down and give it a read. I like it very much Eric! Looking forward to the next installment and the book! It reminds me somewhat of the Black Company novels by Glen Cook if you have read them.
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Eric C »

Well, I was about to post the next part of this chapter, but I realized I still need to do some editing. Shoot. :oops: It's a little late tonight for me to get onto it. tomorrow, after I work on my resume for a while, I'll try to get it edited.
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Re: Ember. A non LOTR offering

Post by Jack »

Can't wait!
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