More action! Johanan’s story is definitely an out-of-the-frying-pan-and-into-the-fire one. But first, a quick shout-out to Weekend Writing Warriors, who you all know by now makes these writing events possible- check them out! If you missed last week’s snippet, you can read it here: “High Spirits”. Also, if you forgot about Johanan and his series of unfortunate events, you can catch up on the last Vengeance in Valor snippet here: “Sparks of Determination”. OK, I think I covered it all.
Before we begin, a quick plot skip: since setting off towards Valdenwell Castle, Johanan has stumbled upon a horrifying scene. The barbarous intruders are locked in a dance of deadly combat with any able-bodied citizen in the kingdom- from knights to common village dwellers to peasants. It’s a desperate attempt at defense against the attack, and after Johanan retrieves a sword and shield from a corpse on the ground, he realizes that he has to help as well, so he charges into the frenzy.
(Of course, a little creative editing used to comply with the ten-sentence-maximum rule, but who doesn’t love a little creative editing?)
Swordplay was an art Johanan was familiar with. Time and time again he’d proven his worth with a blade on the training field, facing opponents much larger and stronger than he, yet relying on his agility and ability to think on his feet to lead him to victory.
This was not training.
It wasn’t wooden practice swords that crashed against his shield, no blunt tip arrows sunk into the muddy earth by his feet. He stopped and ducked as an axe grazed his head, and readied himself for a second swing. When he rose, however, his attacker was already on the ground, a soldier standing above him prying a longsword from his back.
A lone knight whom Johanan had seen before stood some feet away and battled two brutes at once. The young man couldn’t have been much older than Johanan, yet appeared exceptionally skilled with a blade. He parried, sidestepped, reeled backwards, then snuck a jab into the gut of the one closest, who faltered, yet his companion advanced still, bringing his war hammer down to crash into the knight’s metal shield, denting the Valdenwel insignia emblazoned on its face and sending it flying out of the young man’s grip. The assailant’s next blow was aimed for the knight’s hand, which shattered under the cold steel, the young man’s face twisting in anguish as he cried out and fell to the ground clutching his right hand.