Welcome back for the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop, where a bunch of writers share 8-10 sentences from a current or recent WIP. I’m continuing to share from book 3.5 of my Heartsbane Saga series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings, which is a retelling of The Ugly Duckling.
There’s just something about kickass heroines that pulls me into a story, and the protagonist of this WIP, a young Viking maiden named Uli, is about as kickass as you can get.
I’m continuing on from last week. Uli’s stepfather told her to make herself scarce the next few days as a nearby noble visits, so she’s headed out to play in the woods. Last week left off with someone shooting an arrow at her.
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Without hesitation, she fitted the rock into the leather sling and shot it off towards where she judged her attacker to be, followed in quick succession by several other stones from the pouch at her waist. Although she listened carefully, no grunts or cries of pain indicated she’d hit her target, and she swore under her breath.
Unsheathing the dagger she kept tucked into her boot, she stood tall and faced her attacker. “Are you a warrior or an old woman?” she bellowed. “Show yourself and fight me honorably like a man!”
She swore again as four boys melted out from the forest. They all lived either in the village or on nearby farms, and they all took pleasure in tormenting her, especially Torleif. Two years older than her own fifteen, he should have been out on his first raid already but his father had refused to let him go, stating he wasn’t ready. Uli couldn’t fault his father; she wouldn’t want to have to rely on him either in battle or at sea. It was well known that Torleif was lazy, always trying to shirk his duties and then blame it on those around him when called out for it.
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And the rest of that scene:
Uli knew she could easily best him in a fair fight, but Torleif didn’t fight fair, especially when he had his friends around as witnesses. She also knew there was no way she would come out of this fight unscathed. She grinned at them, a trick her father had told her Karjalander warriors often used to unnerve their foes. These boys wouldn’t get away unscathed either.
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Other books in the Heartsbane Saga:
Book .5: “The Maiden in the Tower” – Carys has resigned herself to a life of servitude, locked away in a tower, until a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her daring to hope for more.
Book 1: Captive and the Cursed – When Nyah’s sister is kidnapped by barbarians, Nyah offers herself in her place. But she soon learns the barbarians aren’t what she expected, especially their cursed leader.
Book 1.5: “The Brave Little Thrall” – Fahim Al Rasheed has spent his life studying foreign cultures, but he never thought he’d actually have the chance to experience them. When his journey of a lifetime leaves him and a young barbarian king marooned in a hostile country, he’ll have to rely on more than book learning to make it back home alive.
Book 2: Sleeping Shaman – Nyah and her friends travel halfway across the world seeking a cure for a barbarian curse, only to discover that the man they’re seeking has gone missing. Nyah must navigate dangerous rivalries and conflicting cultures before time runs out.
Book 2.5: “Ezichi the Beautiful” – Only Banu Sasan, the fabled witch of the desert, can help a young bride complete a task. But what will she require from Ezichi in return?
Book 3: Little Amethyst Abaya: When Nyah discovers a traitor among her friends and no one believes her, she’ll have to take matters into her own hands to save them all.