This is the first chapter of a book that I'm trying to write. I hope that you like it, and I would love to hear any advice that you may have.
The village was exactly how I remembered.
Small, with a dusty road down the center. Wooden houses lined the street, until they gave way to the temple. By city standards it would be considered small, but here in this village it was extravagant. With it’s stone walls towering above the rest of the buildings.
“This is unnerving,” Logan muttered, staring around at the silent village. While the village looked the same, the people had changed. They were more subdued. Their faces drawn from hunger, but their sharp eyes tracked our every movement.
“I thought that Kortena was better off than the other provinces,” Maxillium muttered, looking over at his twin. Logan, and Maxillium were mirror images of each, tall, and lean, with blond hair, and blue eyes. They look so much like their sister did.
“It is better,” Evan whispered, “They may be hungry, but no one is starving to death.”
“It's a problem if that's our definition of better,” I grumbled. I pulled my hood up, hiding my face within the shadows. I don't want to take the chance of anyone recognizing me, not when they live here. “Evan, go find us an Inn.”
“Yes, Sir,” Evan said, breaking away from the rest of us.
“What do you want us to do?” One of the blond haired twins asked eagerly.
“You are staying right here where I can keep an eye on you, Maxillium,” I said.
“I'm Logan,” he grumbled.
“Eldur,” I swore. Why did they have to put identical twins under my command? “I don't care which twin you are. You're staying with me so I can make sure you don't start any fights.”
“Great,” Maxillium muttered. “I get roped in with you now.” Playfully he shoved Logan.
“Stop drawing attention to yourselves,” I hissed, eyeing the group of red coated soldiers. If they realized who we were…
“Come back here,” A boy called out, running through the streets. He was chasing after a smaller boy who clutched a glass jar to his chest. Smiles broke out throughout the street as they watched the two boys. A wicked grin spread across the younger boy’s face as he ducked behind me.
“Eldur,” I moaned as he latched himself onto my leg. Why does this happen to me?
“Emile, let him go,” the other boy panted, pushing his brown hair out of his face.
“No,” Emile declared. Behind me the twin snickered with laughter. I’ll deal with them later.
“Emile,” the boy groaned, “I'll forget about the jar if you let him go.”
Emile paused, “Alright.” He let go of my leg, still clutching onto his jar.
“I'm sorry about my brother,” The older boy said, playfully rubbing Emile’s head. The boy couldn’t have been any older than fifteen, and his brother ten. There was something familiar about them, as if I had seen them before.
“It’s fine,” I shrugged.
“I’m Isaac,” he said, holding out his hand. I stared down at him, making no effort to shake his hand.
“I’m Logan, and this is Max,” Logan grinned, butting forward and profusely shaking Isaac’s hand. “And the grumpy one over here is Ryder.”
“You’re new here, right?” Isaac grinned.
“Are we that obvious?” Maxillium laughed.
“This village has a population of seventy five people… while seventy six now if you count Hale’s new baby. Visitors tend to stand out,” Isaac said, folding his arms.
“We just go here,” I grumbled.
“Then you probably don’t have a place to stay?”
“Our friend just set out to find us an Inn,” Maxillium said.
“Well, we only have one Inn in town, so why don’t we take you there,” Issac volunteered. Emile nodded his head, his eyes lighting up.
“We should stay here, and wait for Evan,” I said, my mouth going dry. Of course, there’s only one Inn, nothing changes in this village.
“Your friend is probably already there. Might as well save him the walk.”
“Come on Ryder,” Max said.
“I can probably get you some free drinks as well,” Isaac smiled. “One of the benefits of being the Innkeeper's son.”
“You’re the Innkeeper’s sons,” I choked out. Eldur, no wonder I thought that they looked familiar. They’re her brothers.
“Yes…” Isaac said, staring at me. A frown form at the corners of his mouth.
“I don’t care who they are. If says that he can get us free drinks then I have a new best friend. Let’s go kiddos,” Logan grinned, starting to walk off.
“Other way,” Isaac snorted. Emile giggled, as Logan’s ears flushed scarlet.
“I knew that,” he mumbled.
“Let’s just go,” I grumbled. There’s no getting out of this is there?
“How long will you be here for?” Emile asked.
“Will you go spider hunting with me?” Emile asked, brandishing his jar, which held a large black spider.
“Wow,” Isaac said, leading us towards a larger house. “He must really like you. The only other person that he allows to go hunting with him is Laina.”
“This is a normal thing,” Maxillium squeaked.
“Yep,” Isaac shrugged.
“Spiders are the best,” Emile chimed in. “Will you go hunting with me Ryder? Please.”
“No,” I said. I don’t have time for that.
“Okay,” He muttered, taking interest in the ground.
“Do you think you can find some seats?” Isaac asked. I looked around the room. It was decent size, with wooden tables scattered throughout. A few of the tables held some local farmers, and in one hidden deep in the corner a group of three soldiers. A small fire blazed in the corner, it’s heat washing over the room.
“I think we’re do just fine,” Maxillium said, pulling Logan, and I to the nearest table. Unfortunately, it was near the soldiers. Isaac leaned against the bar, and started chatting with the man there.
“We beat Evan here,” Logan smirked.
“He’s probably chatting with all the locals,” Maxillium laughed. “And most likely getting nowhere.”
“He’ll show up soon,” I grumbled, removing my hood. It would only gather more attention in here.
“Are ales, okay?” Isaac asked, plopping a tray on the table.
“That’s perfect,” Logan grinned, taking a large sip.
“I also asked about rooms for you,” Isaac said, “I managed to get my dad to agree to two rooms for two silvers a night.”
“That’s fine,” I said, handing over fourteen silvers.
“Great,” Isaac said. “I’ll leave you to your drinks then.” I quietly drank my ale, while the twins chattered on.
“One Inn,” Evan grumbled when he wandered in half an hour later.
“Evan,” Logan cheered, waving his arms. Evan froze.
“When did you get here?”
“Before you obviously,” Logan beamed.
“Less than an hour ago,” Maxillium said, elbowing Logan.
“How did you find the Inn so fast?” Evan grumbled, collapsing into a chair.
“We made friends with the Innkeeper’s sons. They even got the rooms for us.”
“Well that’s one problem out of the way,” Evan sighed.
“What did you make of the village?” I whispered. Evan’s face darkened.
"They don’t trust outsiders here. It took me forever to even get someone to talk to me. But from what I could gather there is anger about all the soldiers that have been stationed here,” Evan said, his eyes darting around the room.
“That sounds promising. They might be open to recruitment after all then,” I said.
“The General should be pleased,” Maxillium said.
“Cause that’s our greatest concern,” I grumbled. “Anyway, we need to get more information before we make anymore decisions.”
“And how would you suggest we do that, Oh great Captain of ours,” Logan muttered, rolling his eyes.
“Logan,” Evan snapped.
“He’s right though,” Maxillium said. “Evan just told us that the people wouldn’t talk to him. They’re not going to give us the information that we need.”
“Then we make them trust us,” I declared, slamming my mug against the table. “We’re go down to the market, and we spend our silver.”
“Seems like a reasonable plan,” Evan shrugged. “We can pick up any supplies that we need this way.”
“So essentially we’re bribing them.”
“Pretty much,” Evan said. I leaned back letting Evan, and the twins plan what supplies we needed. It’s so much easier not having to talk; not having to make decisions. I would only make the wrong ones if I did. Just like back then.
My eyes flickered to the door as it squeaked open. Out slipped a young woman. She appeared to be about average height, with ash brown hair pulled up into a very messy bun. Her face was slightly flushed.
“There you are, Laina,” one soldiers in the corner called out. A smirk splayed across his face. Elaina winced, her head tilting the ceiling. The man at the bar frowned, muttering something to her. She shook her head, and whispered to him.
Elaina wove her way through the tables. “Do you need anything, Ted?”
“More whiskies,” Ted grinned. “And why don’t you get one for yourself?”
I wanted to punch that cocky little grin off his face.
“Three whiskies it is then,” Elaina smiled, moving back to the bar.
“Ryder,” Evan interrupted.
“I asked you if thought we should try to get a count of how many soldiers are here,” Evan grumbled.
“If possible,” I said, tracking Elaina as she made her way back with a tray.
“Something caught your attention Ryder?” Logan smirked.
“Be quiet. I’m trying to listen,” I snarled at them. Thankfully, they listened, and fell silent.
“Three whiskies,” Elaina smiled, placing them down.
“I’m working. I can’t drink with you,” She said, struggling against Ted.
“It’s dead in here. They don’t need you,” Ted said, his hand starting to drift lower.
“That doesn’t change anything, so can you please let go,” Elaina said, pulling against him.
“But I rather like having you here,” Ted pouted. That’s enough.
“Don’t get involved,” I hissed at Evan and the others. I moved quickly, yanking Elaina from his arms, and pushing her behind me.
“What was that for!” Ted thundered, jumping from his seat.
“She wanted you to let go, and you weren’t. I was just helping her out,” I said, allowing a grin to raise to my lips. Eldur, does it feel strange to smile.
“You’re new here, so you probably don’t know how things work. I’ll make it clear though for you, we’re with the Royal Army, our word is law in this village,” Ted snarled.
“I figured that was what you thought,” I shrugged. “But I don’t follow those laws.” Ted growled, his face rapidly turning red.
“Ted,” Elaina said, stepping out from behind me. “Please let this go.”
I might be inclined to do that if you have a drink with me.”
“One drink,” Elaina sighed.
"No,” I said, grabbing her wrist.
“You don’t have a say in this,” Elaina said, her grey eyes staring through me. A frown played at the corner of her mouth. Her eyes narrowing.
“See, Laina doesn’t want your help,” Ted smirked. That’s it.
I swung my fist. Hitting Teds chin.
“Eldur,” Ted swore, clutching his face. “You’re going to regret that.”
He charged towards me. I moved to the side, and watched as Ted ran right into a table.
He swore filthily, glaring at his friends. “What are you sitting around for?” They sprung up, quickly surrounding me. Elaina backed up towards their table. Good, at least she’s out of the way now.
“Wow you must be awful at fighting if you need three men to take me on,” I said, shaking my head.
Ted growled, racing towards me. I grabbed his arm, twisting it behind his back. Ted yelped. I released him, and ducked as his friend swung at me
I swept a leg out, knocking one of them to the ground. His head hitting the table on his way down. While that’s one down.
The final soldier roared, seeing his friends unconscious body. He stayed back though, eyeing me nervously. Smart man.
He took a step in, moving quicker than he should have. I dove to ground, barely missing being hit. A faint glow came from his skin. Eldur! What is an Alensi doing here?
The man smirked, swinging at me. He thinks he’s going to win.
I hate fighting Alensi. I grabbed his hand, inches from my face.
And I pulled.
The glow faded from his skin, energy surged into my body. Rushing through me. In those seconds I came alive.
“W-what?” The man stuttered.
“Maybe next time your do better,” I grinned, punching his chin. The man collapsed to the ground. I grabbed the table everything growing dull, as the energy faded.
This is why I hate fighting Alensi, they force me to use that.
A flash of metal caught my eye, as Ted thrust a knife towards me.
Eldur, I forgot about him. There's no way I can dodge that. Not in the state I’m in now.
“Gah,” was all Ted could say, as a wooden tray hit his head with a solid thunk. He fell to the ground.
“Your welcome,” Elaina smiled, putting her tray back on the table.
“I was doing perfectly fine,” I grumbled, pushing off the table. I wobbled a little. I’ll probably be fine in a few minutes.
“Says the guy who was about to get stabbed,” Elaina snorted.
“I did start that fight for you.”
“And I didn’t ask you to. I could have dealt with them myself.”
“I saw your way of dealing with them, and it wasn’t working."
“Because fighting is so much better.”
“It does produce better results, and may I remind you that you were the one that knocked Ted there out.”
“I only did that because he was going to stab you,” Elaina frowned, her eyes searching my face. Her head tilted to the side.
“Sorry for helping,” I grumbled.
"It’s you,” Elaina breathed, her face lighting up.