This is another short excerpt, this time showing the beginning of the story of the Archer POV, Rees. This is taken from chapter 7 of book one, and it is in first draft form (i.e. limited figurative language and only basic descriptions). It is far from great but I just want to show a little more of the story. Rees and her good friend Resana (Rez) are in the military of the Talonian nation, part of a troop of archers and rangers. It is peacetime, and neither suspects (just like everyone else) that their duties will ever consist of anything more than hunting, sending messages, guard duty, etc. Rees is vital to the story, however she is nearer the bottom of the list in terms of importance, relative to other POV characters, with the least amount of chapters in book one (6 out of 79). Enjoy!
CHAPTER 7 – Archer
She had lost the animal in the bushes, and her hunting partner. Where has she gone to now?
Rees almost had the deer in range of her hunting bow, but the thickness of the woods did not help her cause. The Arborwood with its deciduous trees was much different than Rees was used to. No wonder they said it was best to hunt here in twos. I can’t see shit in here.
The deer had gone from her sight, but Rees still had to be quiet in case the animal had not run away. She had not heard it bolt yet. She was more concerned about her partner and was becoming growingly paranoid as to where the damned girl was. I don’t even know what direction she was taking. Damn, damn, damn! That bitch. I’m going to get an arrow in the side by accident, I just know it.
A twig on the forest floor snapped. It could have been anything. The Arborwood was crawling with life. Deer, rabbits, squirrels, badgers, and the occasional bear if one was truly unlucky, to name a few. At least there were no mountain lions like in the highlands, thought Rees. They were lethal and were known to attack anything, man or beast.
Another snap of a branch. It had to be a person’s foot. Rez, you idiot girl. You’ll scare the thing for sure. The snapping wood had sounded to her distant right. Taking a few small steps around the thick tree she was taking cover behind, Rees spotted her partner through the bush. Ah, there you are. Lucky I found you first. I’m not the jumpy one.
Rees made a subtle owl call with her own voice. The other girl turned quickly in her direction, taking a moment to find Rees beside the tree. Their leaf green cloaks trimmed with yellow were meant for stealth, and had obviously done the job, for it took Rez more than a short moment to see her clearly. When Rez did find her, she motioned slowly, toward somewhere far off in front of her. Rees understood.
Their prey had not ran, after all. With her long hunting bow held parallel to her own body, she slowly turned the corner of another large tree trunk, flicking her eyes forward and down, both to spot the deer and to ensure her own feet did not make any unnatural sounds to scare the animal. When the line of site her friend had shown was no longer obstructed by the large trunk, Rees saw the deer. It was within range, but just barely. For the first time during that hunt she was able to see the entire animal. The deer was a buck, with an impressive set of antlers. It would make a fine meal – or meals, she thought – to her troop back in the city. She backed away a little to make sure only her peering eye was showing in the deer’s direction. Damn it! I wish I had my own bow for this. The bow she now held was just an old, second-hand hunting bow she had picked up in the Arbor barracks.
She motioned to her right, to her partner, asking her to stay put. This one’s mine, Rez, the hand signal said without a spoken word. Then, with her left hand she held the crude bow upright against the side of the tree’s trunk, her left arm the only thing between the tree and the weapon. Using the cover of the trunk, Rees nocked an arrow. Slowly, she turned until she had a straight path to the hunting duo’s unsuspecting prey, the tree allowing her to keep perfectly still. Luckily, the deer’s entire left side was facing her direction. Right for the heart.
In an instant, Rees drew the arrow back, then released, letting it fly toward the buck, hardly making a sound as she did so. The arrow went straight through the deer’s flesh, and it fell without a chance to struggle. Just like back home. Too easy. Well, that wasn’t entirely true, she corrected herself. In the highlands around Conifer there were more dangerous predators that hunters had to worry about while on the hunt, not just the target itself.
The Arborwood filled with the loud sounds of fleeing birds above from the arrow’s thumping impact, and soon after the hooting cheers of Rez, off to the right, moving toward the fallen prey. Rees swung her hunting bow over her shoulder, then proceeded to the kill.
(end of excerpt)
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- Pentia A-Z: D is for Daren (fotsfantasy.wordpress.com)