Section From My Novel: Siege of Artin
I love to write, and currently I am writing a novel. The novel is going to be long, and it's historical fiction about two countries at war. Two brothers are the heads of each country. So this becomes a struggle between good an evil, good and bad to see who will become the ultimate victor, and I hope that you can post some comments below giving me some constructive criticism and what you think about the writing style characters etc....Thanks!!
This section of the book is where one of the states of the country are besieged by the enemy so the leaders who are friends, meet each other in the local bar where they discuss the past, present, motives, and what they are up against. Enjoy!
"Wolfe and Bane go into the local pub, unexpectedly finding Zephyr reading a book towards the far end of it. They approach Zephyr and ask him what he was doing there. His eyes still locked on the book, Zephyr answered:
“I thought we made a vow not to involve ourselves in another dispute, despite whatever it might entail. But you chose to stay and fight." Zephyr stated motionlessly. "Why? Why would you defend a country on the verge of destruction? I am quite certain that you know that chances of success are slim, do you not?” He questioned as he turned the page in his blood red colored book. They chuckled and sat down, motioning a surprisingly beautiful young woman towards them.
“Aye Ellie, gimme something hard.” Wolfe said smiling. "Ohh and bring Zeph some water, I still don't think hes become a man yet...or have you?"
"Water is fine for me Ellie." he said smiling at beautiful woman behind the counter. Zephyr looked back down burying himself in his book. "I guard my honor. Anything that makes me lose my sense of self is not for me." he replied.
“Right, right. You know, I don’t understand something…” Bane said, playfully slapping the table. Zephyr finally tore his eyes from his book and closed it, gently placing it atop his table. “…as I recall, didn’t you fight alongside a country doomed for annihilation 15 years ago? And wasn’t it you that convinced us to fight too?”
“Back then it was different. Back then…it was to undo our wrongs, and our mistakes." Zephyr placed his elbows on the table and leaned in closer. "Tell me, what do you fight for today?" Wolfe and Bayne leaned back in their chair calmly without tearing their eyes from Zephyr's. "I will tell you. A crumbling mirage. You are attempting to hold on to sand fleeting from between your fingers and your constructed image will very soon deteriorate...just as it had deteriorated 15 years ago. It's senselsess suicide.” Zephyr replied. The bartender brought the three their drinks. “Enjoy fellas…” she said in her sultry voice, “it may be your last drink here”. They grabbed their mugs and sipped. The disgust on the face of Bayne had become apparant as he drank while glaring at Zephyr.
“Tell me, have you sold your virtues along with your Goddamned merchandise, boy?” Bayne rasped. Zephyr sipped calmly again, and gently set his glass down. He reclined back and brushed his fingers through his long, sleek, dark brown hair. Wolfe reached over to grab Zephyr’s book which he had laid down beside his mug. He smiled and nonchalantly and spoke aloud as though he was speaking to the book itself.
“Hmm…I wonder. Zephyr, the western wind. The son of an international business tycoon. A child military prodigy. The hero of Azaria. How many titles do you go by your highness?” Wolfe asked rhetorically. "And reading a book in a lowly pub on top of that...please get him a throne so he may read his...." Wolfe looked at the front cover, eyebrows arched "...'The History Of War Tactics'. I thought your daddy left you enough for you to make a good living, why are you still thinking about war if you're not gonna fight?"
“Leave him alone…” Bayne growled “…he’s probably trying to find his name in it. Mr. Western Wind. Bah.” Bayne dry spit over his right shoulder to express his disgust towards his old comrade. Zephyr neither flinched nor looked displeased.
Zephyr smiled back and replied “Hm. You wouldn’t expect men bred and raised by the bow and sword to understand aspects of civil living now would you?”
Bayne's pulsating vein on his forehead made its appearance. “I am no hero, and I never plan to be either." He fell quiet for a few seconds. "As far as the book is concerned, my friends, trade is war. To succeed in business, you must think ahead. You must act quickly. You must strike hard. You must withdraw when necessary. I am a tactician and my roots cannot betray me. So thus I use my skills not to take life, but rather to take profit. And war is a very profitable trade. Your situation, however, to me is peculiar."
Bayne and Wolfe exchanged glances. "You take your lives within the palms of your hands; willing to throw it away if the opportunity ever presents itself. Do you even know why this war is being fought? Do you have any idea of the puppeteers behind it? And yet you draw your swords so sure you are fighting for the right cause. Back then, we knew what we fought for, and we knew our purpose."
Zephyr turned his head and faced the window, staring out into the thick fog lazily. "Times have changed. People have changed, and along with them our situation.” Zepher stated with a slight tinge of sorrow in his voice. "After all that we did, whatever we fought to achieve and the sacrifices we made against all that we stood for, look what happened to this country. We fought for them, and they turned on each other. We fought to right our wrongs, but the stench of our sins still resonates from our pores. Now they live for their own self interest. Ultimately thats what happened to us too. Unable to go home, or to see the fruits of our efforts or adopt a new place to call home." He turned to look back at the two. "That, is what you are fighting for."
Wolfe took a sip from his mug stone-faced and looked up at the confident businessman and calmly replied: “You sit back; watch as it all crumbles around you as long as you make money. Watch as everything you’ve fought for reduced to ashes as long as that bulge in your pocket gets bigger...”, his complexion had changed to a bright red color but his voice remained still as a placid pond. “You know we need you right now. Azaria needs help from western wind now more than they ever had. Open your eyes kid." Bayne ruffled his beard and set his mug down spilling its contents over the edges slightly.
"His mind is shut tighter than a virgin's legs for him to see past anything, so leave the asshole alone. " Zephyr broke his glance away from Bayne, placed his thumb on his cheek and started rubbing his lower lip with his index finger. It was An old habit which still had not left him.
"Hm Well then you might as well go and slap hands with Rayne and help him destroy this place and everything in it." Wolfe said in his same calm tone. "It would be no different than the fate you would leave it to with your ignorance. To me, people like you are the definition of filth that society has to offer. Who cares if the world is shot to hell, as long as you benefit, right? So much for guarding your honor. You might as well start drinking my friend. It's not going to put a dent in anything you haven't lost already."
They both stared at each other, their complexions smoother than a mirror. Zephyr finally looked away as he spotted a small child run out from behind the counter, making her way towards the door as fast as her tiny feet could carry her. He watched, smiling at her innocence; fixated on her bliss as she giggled and ran without a care for anything around her. The same woman who had served them earlier ran after her blissful child frantically, making the entire pub break out in a fit of laughter at the charade. As they passed next to his table, Zephyr swept the baby her off her feet and smiled just as her panting mother had caught up to her.
“You might want to watch her Ellie, she's growing up quick” Bayne laughed, as Zephyr started tossing the baby in the air. Everytime he would toss her up and catch her again, she would come down laughing and fling her hands in the sky to motion Zephyr to continue.
“She's growing little too quick if you ask me. I swear she has gunpowder running through her veins or something...” Ellie said. Finally snapping out of his bubble of enjoyment, Zephyr handed the baby over to her mother.
"Hey Zeph, i think she likes you." Ellie said. "If Bayne ever did that, she'd be having nightmares about him for a week" Bayne, in the middle of sipping his drink, laughed with such ferocity he sprayed the frothy honey colored liquid in his mouth all over Wolfe who was sitting accross from him. The baby looked over and waved goodbye to Zephyr and he waved back. He stared as she walked away, mesmerized at the innocence of the child. The woman and her baby reminded him of fifteen years ago. The memories flowing through his mind like a river. The small Azarian town, the orphanage, and of course...her.
“All that we did fifteen years ago…huh…” an awkward silence filled the air between them. “Fine, do as you wish,” Zephyr sighed, “but remember, you’re on your own on this one. To be honest I’m not here for business today. I’m here for the Zora and Saylin. What I mean is, to keep the promise I made to an old friend.”
“Well would you look at that.” Bayne croaked sarcastically "I guess he does have a heart." he said, resting his head on his burly hand.
“It’s actually kind of cute if I do say so myself.” Wolfe said smiling, the rage against his former comrade evaporating slowly. “You can try and get those two you wish. They are not going to leave Lunas' side. Those three. I havent' met young ones like them before. On the forefront of every outbreak. Besides, I doubt they want to come with a stuck up little girl like you anyway.” Zephyr chuckled but as soon as the smile appeared, it vanished.
“What a day we have for hazy skies, huh? No sight of the moon either. Probably wouldn’t be able to find your nose in the mist outside.” He grabbed his book from the table and placed 5 copper coins on it to pay for their drinks. He began to walk out of the room with his robes grazing the floor slightly but suddenly came to a halt halfway out of the room.
“Do you know who you are up against?" Zephyr asked.
"Agh. A little boy pretending to be all grown up." Bane grunted.
"This mere boy…is the son of a military mastermind...the son of the one who taught me, and he is the very one that subdued Zander. Do you really think it was a coincidence that those granaries and supply depots burned down right before he lay siege to the town? Quite frankly, I don’t think so. I'm sure you came to that conclusion just as i did. It has been a long time since I have heard of a strategy plan such as his, so precise, swift, and perfect. No casualties on either side, plus Zander’s peaceful surrender. Who is to say he won’t do worse in this attack.” He made his way towards the exit, but stopped again suddenly before stepping outside. “If I was you, I’d be very careful dealing with him. There is more to him than meets the eye. Do take care now… becau-----”.
Before he had time to finish his sentence, an explosion echoed in the distance, faintly rattling the pub walls. Whispers and murmers filled the pub. Wolfe and Bayne followed Zephyr as they saw him rush out of the brown faintly lit building. As the three of them stepped out, they were welcomed by the sound of screaming coming somewhere from the eastern district of Artin. Immediately they began running towards the sound of the explosion in unison.
"Are there any granaries or supply depots that you know of in east Artin? Zephyr asked, the three of them running as fast as they could. The thick fog made it difficult to maneuver, especially as men and women came out of their homes to investigate.
"No. Do you think that Rayne is trying the same ploy here as he did with Zander?" Bayne panted dodging through the crowds of people as they made their appearance behind the fog.
"I'm not sure, it seems illogical though to use the same ploy twice. Besides from what i can see the security here---" before Zephyr could finish his sentence, they were stopped in their tracks by an undiscerning sight, as though they were bear hugged by the surrounding fog immobilizing them. They looked up into the sky through the thick haze and saw brightly lit objects sailing in what seemed to be in slow motion. Everyone who had come out into street remained rooted in their place staring, their eyes fixed upon the sky at the strange and majestic lights. Wolfe, Bayne, and Zephyr stood fixated just like the others. Th brilliant lights came closer and hovered high above their heads in a feat that seemed to defy gravity.
Then almost simultaneously, it dawned on them.
The explosion was not from a granary...it was catapult fire. The orange-red lights above were catapult fire!
In mere seconds, the balls of flame that looked so beautiful hovering above, decended upon them but their legs lost their ability to move and their tongues, the ability to speak.
"WOLFE, BAYNE, Go!!" Zephyr shouted, mustering the energy to snap out of his stupor.
“Bayne! Its time." Wolfe yelled.
Almost instantaneously, Wolfe took off towards the castle yelling "EVERY WOMAN AND CHILD RUN TO THE CASTLE CELLAR NOW! just as Bayne simultaneously bellowed, "AND EVERY MAN CAPABLE OF WIELDING A SWORD, HEAD TO THE ARMORY!" Ahead of them, a fireball come crashing to the ground, incinerating the men and women unfortunate enough to be underneath it. Around them all of Artin had erupted into a mixture of sounds of people yelling, children crying, explosions, and blazing flame in an un-orchestrated symphony. Before he realized what he was doing, Zephyr broke towards the pub with only one thought rolling through his head: to get the Ellie and her baby to the cellar as soon as possible. He ran at breakneck speeds, dodging the flood of screaming people running in the opposite direction; dodging the flame and debris of the exploding buildings and occasional bodies flung at him from the force of the catapult impacts.
Don't let them die, this is not their war, he thought.
"Zephyr!" He heard Wolfe shouting his name from somewhere behind him. Paying no attention, Zephyr plowed ahead as death itself toyed with the world around him. When he finally made it, a group of panicked, frighteed, as well as intoxicated men barricaded him as they rushed out of the pub in a drunken stupor. However there was no sign of Ellie or her baby. Flaming catapult stones crashing into buildings could be heard around them. Zephyr fought through the torrent of men to get inside.
“Ellie!” he yelled, just as Wolfe bust through the front door.
“She is probably upstairs, Stupid girl this is no time to gather her things.” Wolfe cried with a faint sense of panic in his voice. Hearing this, Zephyr ran as quickly as he could toward the stairs.
“Go gather the men, ill bring them to the castle. This isn’t the time to think, just go!” Zephyr cried sensing Wolfe’s reluctance to leave. Before Wolfe could turn around to bolt out of the deathtrap shack, he heard Zephyr call out to him once again. "Wolfe, Artin has fallen. All you can do now is head to the Grey Fort. It's the only chance we have. Now go!" Explosions of every intensity could be heard all around them shaking the very earth beneath which they stood. One of the stones could come crashing into the pub at any second.
Wolfe clearly knew his comrade was aware of the consequences of his actions. After all, he was not called the hero of Artin for nothing. Wolfe ran out of the pub and saw hordes of yelling men and woman making their way towards the castle. Just as he took a start, a monstrous explosion behind him threw him straight into an abandoned fruit stand. He fought the whistling in his ears and struggled to catch his footing. Wolfe stumbled and crawled out from the wrecked cart, his knees feeling a little like mush. Then fear gripped him by the throat. A blazing ball of flame torn through the pub ceiling, erupting it in a wall of impenetrable flame with Zephyr, Ellie and her baby still inside. The faint crying of a child could be heard amongst the crackling blaze and men and women yelling in horror. And then he heard nothing but destruction’s orchestra booming in a symphony of epic proportions, and saw nothing but agony painting upon her fiery canvas. Rayne had opened the very gates of hell upon Artin."