Author Topic: The Legend of Brave Sir Lumos (YA Fantasy) Chapter One  (Read 374 times)

Offline Cobalt_Caster

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Karma: 3
The Legend of Brave Sir Lumos (YA Fantasy) Chapter One
« on: November 05, 2019, 08:51:45 AM »
I have been cutting down the word count in the manuscript and am comfortable with it (104,350 as of this post). Although I am still making cuts, chapter one is the most important chapter and I've finished cutting it. Now I would like some thoughts on it to make sure it's a good first chapter.

Quote
The young squire struggled to hitch the shoulder strap. The belt was unwieldy at this angle, and it barely fit through the hoop. Sir Stathis paced in front of the tent flap, watching the tournament outside. Although the air in the tent was sweltering, heat alone couldn’t explain all the sweat on the knight’s brow. “You’re up against Nikos,” said Stathis. He peeked outside and wiped his forehead with the back of his leather glove. “I know he’s crushed you every time you’ve fought, but turn that against him, Lumos! Remember all those times he stomped you into the mud and use your anger to beat him bloody right now! D’you understand me?”

“Yes, sir.” Lumos still strained to tighten the leather belt. Why wouldn’t it go in?

Stathis glanced at his squire. “Maybe I’m sunbaked, but this year might finally—” The knight’s grizzly features fell into a mixture of anger and despair at the sight of Lumos’ trouble. He stomped up to Lumos and pushed his hands away from his shoulder. “Can’t you even put on your armor?”

“It’s borrowed, sir, I—”

“Listen, boy!” Stathis effortlessly pushed the belt through the hoop, binding the dented training armor to Lumos’ shoulder. “You’re not making another fiasco out of this! You’re going to beat someone for once! You hear me?”

“Yes, sir!”

The knight shoved a rusty greathelm down over the squire’s blond hair. He rapped his knuckles on the helmet, rattling Lumos’ ears. “Pay attention! This is how you win. He’s bigger than you, but he’s wielding a warhammer. So you don’t strike first, boy, you don’t strike and you wait for him to make his move. You’ve got two chances with a hammer: when he’s winding up to swing, and when he’s committed to his blow. Get in there fast and slash him before he nails you. Hear me?”

Lumos nodded and the greathelm bobbed slightly. “Yes, sir!”

“Then get out there and win!”

The squire dashed for the tent flap, but Stathis stopped him. “Your tabard, Lumos, your tabard!”

Fortunately, Stathis couldn’t see Lumos blush beneath the helmet. Lumos slipped the rough cloth tabard over the armor, hoping he’d put it on the right way. Evidently he had, because Stathis didn’t correct him. “When you wear my sigil you wear my honor, Lumos. I swear, if you make another farce of my honor in front of the king, I’ll flog you! At least show you have some skill before Nikos caves your head in!”

“Yes, sir.”

Stathis pushed the tent flap open and Lumos stepped into the public eye. His heavy helmet deflected the cool sea breeze and caught the noise of the crowd like a conch echoed waves. He perspired as if he hadn’t left the tent’s stifling heat.
The Squire’s Arena awaited him, little more than a wooden platform surrounded by hay and sand. The blue-moon flag of Escavé flew above all four corners, deeming the platform fit for combat. Despite his nerves, Lumos marched so confidently the crowd whispered that this just might be Lumos’ day after all. Stathis followed, repeating Lumos’ strategy under his breath.

Nikos and Sir Demetrios arrived on the far side of the arena—son and father, squire and knight. Both men were wide with muscle and shared a sigil of crossed warhammers. Lumos liked to remind himself Nikos would soon share his father’s baldness too—anything to compare favorably to his indomitable rival.

“I like your helmet.” Nikos hefted the warhammer onto his shoulder. “Looks like a nail.”

Stathis often called Lumos a poor student, but Lumos had learned his chivalry and didn’t rise to the taunt. The two squires removed their helmets and bowed before the royal family. The king of Escavé—the eastern Arclands—glowered down at him. To the king’s left sat the gentle queen and her ladies in all their finery. To the king’s right, the Prince, grim as his father. Other nobles sat in places of less distinction, and among them Princess Filomena chatted with a young lord. Her golden hair fluttered gracefully in the breeze like the banners atop the spires of Castle Sellunar. Lumos struggled not to stare.

Someone stared back at him, however. Lazy old Eleusine in her robes and wide-brimmed sleeping cap watched him, and only him. What made him so interesting to the Royal Mystic, who spent only twenty minutes a day awake?

The king nodded his approval, and the two squires took positions on opposite ends of the platform. Nikos gave his hammer a few practice swings. Sir Stathis tapped Lumos on the shoulder. “See the openings? That’s how you win.” The fat herald announced the match had begun, and Lumos drew his blunted sword.

Both combatants circled each other, working themselves up to make the first move. Only three points, Lumos reminded himself. Just hit him in three exchanges. Escavé took a liberal view of what constituted a point, which to the Escavian knights was just another reason to feel superior to the Vexromedans in the western Arclands.

Two steps to the right, shift weight to left leg, invite attack... now! Lumos feinted to draw Nikos inward, and it would’ve been a fine technique if he hadn’t loosened his grip on his sword. Nikos swung his hammer, knocking Lumos’ weapon off the platform and into the sand.

The crowd laughed. Even the princess chuckled. Lumos’ cheeks burned as he bent to retrieve his sword. He wished he could wipe his face under the greathelm so his eyes could stop stinging. His only consolation was that it hadn’t been a hit to his body and thus not worth a point.

The squires returned to their positions, and the herald announced the match could resume. Now it was Nikos who feinted. It was a difficult thing to feint with a hammer, however, and he didn’t manage it. Lumos was giving himself a pat on the back for not falling for the obvious trick when the hammer slammed into his arm. He found himself staring at straw as he tried to stand back up.

Sir Stathis yanked him upright. “Dodge the hammer! Dodge the hammer!”

The match resumed. Lumos couldn’t afford not to attack after the last exchange and launched himself straight at Nikos, his sword raised for a long slash. His foe stepped backwards and slammed the hammer into his shoulder, denting the rusted armor further. Lumos fell to one knee, rising just in time to catch a blow to the side of his helmet. The poorly fitted greathelm flew off his head, grazing his cheeks. The crowd jeered.

“Don’t lose your head, commonborn!”

“He’s funnier than a jester!”

“Knock some sense into him!”

The next exchange would be the last, should Nikos strike the winning point, declared the herald. Lumos wiped a mix of blood and sweat from his face. He had to score at least once!

Lumos bent forward in a crouch, ready to react; Nikos stood without a stance, ignoring Sir Demetrios’ growls about maintaining discipline. Nearly a minute passed before the larger squire raised his hammer above his head in a theatrical display of overconfidence.

This was the moment Lumos had waited for. Nikos couldn’t bring the hammer down fast enough to dodge Lumos’ strike, not mid-movement. Lumos lunged forward, swinging his sword with perfect accuracy… and tripped on a stray mess of straw. The hammer crashed into his back.

He lay there for an eternity, listening to the crowd’s endless laughter. When at last he rose, he saw the princess applauding Nikos’ victory as she whispered something into Lord Vasili’s ear. Lumos bowed to the king, whose stern gaze fell instead on Sir Stathis. Lumos knew he hadn’t just humiliated himself—yet again—but Stathis as well. Nonetheless, he sheathed his sword and walked away, acknowledging neither the crowd booing him nor the Royal Mystic watching him. A true knight held his head high even in defeat.

Stathis said nothing. They returned to the austere chambers they shared in the castle. Even there they couldn’t escape the heat. The knight sat at his table while Lumos fetched him the strongest wine in the cupboard. “The king will have words with me, Lumos.”

“Yes, si—”

“Shut up.” The knight refused to face his squire as Lumos poured his wine. “Is this a jest?”

“No, s—”

“I said shut up!” Stathis slammed his pewter goblet on the table, sloshing wine across the rough wood. “You’ve dishonored me yet again. You’ve also dishonored the king, whom I’ve sworn a vow to honor in all I do. What is wrong with you, boy? Can’t you hold your own sword?”

He splashed the wine in Lumos’ face. It stung as it seeped into the cuts on his cheek, but Lumos stood still and silent. To show pain or sadness would only further shame him.

“I wish the spear had run me through instead of your father. Then I wouldn’t be stuck with you.”

Wine dripped down Lumos’ nose. He dared not respond. Stathis rested his chin on a fist. “I swore to your dying father I would, and a knight upholds his oaths,” Stathis said bitterly. “I’ll keep training you, and you’ll keep failing and dishonoring me in front of the court. Then, on your twenty-first year, I will place you before the throne and tell the whole kingdom that you are the unworthiest squire in Escavé, lower than the foulest Vexromedan knave. The king will hold my obligations fulfilled and banish you from my presence. And it’ll be the best day of my life.”

Lumos didn’t know how to respond. It was true. All of it was true. And that was what hurt the most.

“Clean up this mess,” Stathis said. “I’m going back to see the prince smash Nikos’ face in. You will stay here; you will not watch the tourney, even from the window; you will not attend the feast; and when I return, you won’t say a word. Not one word.”

Stathis slammed the door behind him.

The squire listened to the sounds of the fighting as he scrubbed the table and floor. He could serve Stathis’ meals, maintain his armor, and recite every chivalrous virtue any knight must embody. But he couldn’t hold a sword.

When he’d finished cleaning he lay down on his itchy straw mattress. His body ached and he was tired from his brain to his bones. There was too much to think about, too much to dread...

#

The squire strode proudly to the throne. Banners of the crescent moon hung from the rafters, and the royal family awaited him atop the dais. Courtiers watched him approach with bated breath, the boldest among them daring to gossip about his triumphs. Lumos the Dragonslayer! Lumos the Swordmaster! Many were his titles, more were the tales.

Sir Stathis stepped forward. “This is Lumos, son of the conscript Lumic. He was a page for seven years, and my squire for seven more.” Suddenly his rough features soured the torches snuffed out and the knight’s eyes glowed orange in the darkness. “And yet I shall declare him unfit for the honors and obligations of a knight. He is unworthy of the Code of Chivalry, unworthy even to hold a spear.”

Princess Filomena sniggered to the prince, whose handsome form expanded into Nikos. “Behold a true knight,” announced Stathis. “Nikos the Mighty!”

Lumos watched the King touch his sword upon Nikos’ shoulder. “I dub thee Sir Nikos of Escavé, royal knight, bound by the Majorian Legacy of the Chivalric Code. Rise and claim your honor.”

Filomena approached the new Sir Nikos. They kissed passionately, and the princess pointed at Lumos. “My love, destroy that insect. Its existence offends me.”

“It would be my honor.” Sir Nikos drew his hammer, a murderous sheen in his eye. Lumos tried to draw his sword but bent it to uselessness out of sheer ineptitude. The air turned wet and cold as dreadful mist flowed out of Nikos’ mouth. Lumos backed away as the enormous knight approached. He reached for a dagger and found a ladle, felt for a spear and clutched a broken heart. Nikos loomed large in silhouette as the fog enveloped the world.

And then the sky above was blue as blue could be, the ground consumed by cloud. Nikos’ frame disappeared into the mists swirling. Lumos reached blindly for where he’d seen his enemy vanish and touched a peculiar stone. It felt like a brick wrought from cold water, yet looked for all the world like rock.

The clouds parted for Eleusine, the Royal Mystic. She walked with a confident swagger unbefitting her advanced age. “Welcome to Cloud Tower. I’ve been waiting for you.”

Lumos stood there dumbly, not sure what to say. “I... was being executed.”

“Were you?”

Her voice was grandmotherly but authoritative. Lumos realized he’d never heard her speak before. She slept at all hours of the day, and most people wondered what her purpose at court even was. Her sleeping cap and robes billowed in the wind as the truth dawned on Lumos. “Wait, this… this is a dream?”

“Why do you think that?”

“You’re the Royal Mystic. Aren’t mystics all about sleeping and dreams?” Lumos supposed there must be more to mysticism than lazy naps and inflicting nightmares. He’d never thought about it before. But he wasn’t fool enough to repeat any unsavory rumors back to a mystic.

Eleusine wore the sort of disappointed smile Lumos knew all too well. “I’d hoped you’d identify the strangeness of the environment and implausible narrative. But yes, you’re dreaming, and yes, mysticism does concern dreams and their manifestations.”

Hope swelled in the squire. “Was the tourney a dream? It felt like a nightmare.”

“Sadly not.” The old woman raised a hand, and the clouds swirled upward. To Lumos’ amazement, he was on an island thousands of feet in the air. The ground beneath them was rocky stratus and the tower built from fluffy cumulus bricks. “Shall we go inside? We have a lot to talk about, and it’s much less distracting in the tower than out here, where a stray gust might toss you off.”

A door appeared in the tower next to Lumos. Or had it always been there? Lumos decided it hadn’t. He wasn’t that unobservant. “After you, my lady.” Eleusine may have been a mystic, but Lumos was a squire, and squires respected their elders.

Inside the tower was a cozy room, little more than a table and hearth. It felt as if they were in a normal towerhouse and not thousands of feet in the air in a tower made of clouds. Lumos pulled a chair out for Eleusine and sat down across the table, regarding her uncertainly.
   
“It’s my job as the Royal Mystic to observe people’s dreams. I don’t wander into people’s dreams because it’s fun. Well, not just because it’s fun...” Eleusine handed him a goblet of wine from nowhere. “I’ve watched you for some time, and I think I can help you.”

Lumos took a sip. It was his favorite—a red he’d tasted only when he’d been raised from page to squire. He’d never forgotten the taste and judged all wines against it. How’d she know to serve it? ““How? Mysticism has nothing to do with knights. We’re forbidden to use it.”

Eleusine’s grin grew. “Is the Gray Kingdom forgotten? The first knights were mystics, Lumos.”

“I don’t believe you,” Lumos said. “Knights fight and protect the innocent and slay evil and, and, and they’re awake more than an hour a day...”

“By that measure I’m a knight,” chuckled Eleusine.

“You’re a woman,” said Lumos. “Mysticism is a womanly thing.”

“To the people of these Arclands, yes. But it wasn’t so in the Gray Kingdom and Ur-Prymor of old, and is not in Oneiro today.”

Lumos didn’t know what to think. All his life he’d heard stories of mystics diving headfirst into madness and the brave knights who slew them. Yet if she were so dangerous, why had the king appointed her Royal Mystic? He wondered why that hadn’t occurred to him before. Perhaps because nobody paid attention to Eleusine—certainly the knights did not.

“You will never become a knight as you are now,” said Eleusine. “You have failed, are failing, and will continue to fail. But there is a way, the Mystic Way, that can help you achieve your dreams even in the waking world. If you wish to become a knight, if you wish to make your dreams come true, you must become my mystic ‘squire.’”

Lumos had never known her to take apprentices, but then, he’d never known her to do anything. Perhaps she’d had many apprentices, and nobody cared? But even if mysticism could somehow help him, even if it wasn’t just an excuse to sleep all the time, it was forbidden. “I can’t. It’s—it’s not honorable. Cheating and shortcuts go against everything about being a knight.”

“Cheating and shortcuts! Do you think I’m offering you an easy way to knighthood? Mysticism is a never-ending struggle, and there’s no guarantee it’ll be worth it in the end. You could lose the distinction between dreams and reality and walk off a cliff thinking you can fly. You could change your own memories by accident and live with the cancerous doubt that the past you lived never happened.” She spread her face across the air like butter across bread. “You could smear your personality into nonsense, or twist yourself into something dark and deadly. Mysticism is not easy, Lumos, nor is it safe. Its power is great, and its dangers are subtle and insidious beyond all reckoning. But you have a choice. You can risk all of that to become Sir Lumos, brave Sir Lumos, or you can resign yourself to certain failure.”

Lumos wanted to say yes. He thought back to the disdain and disappointment all his many failures had etched on Sir Stathis’ face, to Nikos’ hammer and the insults from the crowd. He set the cup down. “I’m sorry. But it matters to me if I don’t become a knight the proper way. Call it pride, I guess, but I can’t use mysticism to solve my problems.”

“You absolutely can,” she said. “But so be it. If you do change your mind, leave two pewter goblets and a spoon on the balcony overlooking the gatehouse. That will be a sign to me.”

“Two goblets and spoon?”

“Best for your sake that nobody should know of this meeting, or that we know each other. Mysticism is viewed with a wary eye, and rightly so.” Eleusine winked. “Two goblets and a spoon are unlikely to be left out on that balcony—which, by the by, is a great place for naps in the spring. Now then! Time to end this dream. We can do that the normal way or the fun way.”

Lumos shrugged. “I could use some fun.”

The walls darkened and rolled like clouds in a storm. Everything had seemed so normal inside the tower that Lumos had forgotten the bricks were made of clouds. The floor shook as the tower rumbled, and in a flash of lightning Lumos found himself back on his straw mattress. Sir Stathis snored in the featherbed across the room.

“Fun for her, she meant.” The squire lay back on the pillow, wondering how wise it was to try to sleep after that dream. “Mystics are as mad as they say.”


Thanks for reading!

Offline rivergirl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1072
  • Karma: 227
Re: The Legend of Brave Sir Lumos (YA Fantasy) Chapter One
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2019, 04:24:32 PM »
The young squire struggled to hitch the shoulder strap. The belt was unwieldy at this angle, and it barely fit through the hoop. Sir Stathis paced in front of the tent flap, watching the tournament outside. Although the air in the tent was sweltering, heat alone couldn’t explain all the sweat on the knight’s brow. “You’re up against Nikos,” said Stathis. He peeked outside and wiped his forehead with the back of his leather glove. “I know he’s crushed you every time you’ve fought, but turn that against him, Lumos! Remember all those times he stomped you into the mud and use your anger to beat him bloody right now! D’you understand me?” Consider losing some of these exclamation points. Agents hate them and too many can look amateurish. (not that your writing seems so as of the first para.)The urgency in the voice of Stathis is already there imo. The break in para is wrong here but I know that it doesn't always translate over when you copy from the original document

“Yes, sir.” Lumos still strained to tighten the leather belt. Why wouldn’t it go in? (had to read a couple of times to figure out what he was talking about something going in. I'd spell this out. (Lumos continued to struggle to get his belt into blah blah blah)

Stathis glanced at his squire. “Maybe I’m sunbaked, but this year might finally—” The knight’s grizzly features fell into a mixture of anger and despair at the sight of Lumos’ trouble. He stomped up to Lumos and pushed his hands away from his shoulder. “Can’t you even put on your armor?”

“It’s borrowed, sir, I—”

“Listen, boy!” Stathis effortlessly pushed the belt through the hoop, binding the dented training armor to Lumos’ shoulder. “You’re not making another fiasco out of this! You’re going to beat someone for once! You hear me?”

“Yes, sir!”

The knight shoved a rusty greathelm down over the squire’s blond hair. He rapped his knuckles on the helmet, rattling Lumos’ ears. “Pay attention! This is how you win. He’s bigger than you, but he’s wielding a warhammer. So you don’t strike first, boy, you don’t strike and you wait for him to make his move. You’ve got two chances with a hammer: when he’s winding up to swing, and when he’s committed to his blow. Get in there fast and slash him before he nails you. Hear me?”

Lumos nodded and the greathelm bobbed slightly. “Yes, sir!” would love some emotion from Lumos here. Maybe his ears burn with embarrassment, his throat tightens, whatever...

“Then get out there and win!”

The squire dashed for the tent flap, but Stathis stopped him. “Your tabard, Lumos, your tabard!”

Fortunately, Stathis couldn’t see Lumos blush beneath the helmet. Lumos slipped the rough cloth tabard over the armor, hoping he’d put it on the right way. Evidently he had, because Stathis didn’t correct him. “When you wear my sigil you wear my honor, Lumos. I swear, if you make another farce of my honor in front of the king, I’ll flog you! At least show you have some skill before Nikos caves your head in!”

“Yes, sir.”

Stathis pushed the tent flap open and Lumos stepped into the public eye. His heavy helmet deflected the cool sea breeze and caught the noise of the crowd like a conch echoed waves. He perspired as if he hadn’t left the tent’s stifling heat.
The Squire’s Arena awaited him, little more than a wooden platform surrounded by hay and sand. The blue-moon flag of Escavé flew above all four corners, deeming the platform fit for combat. Despite his nerves, Lumos marched so confidently the crowd whispered that this just might be Lumos’ day after all. Stathis followed, repeating Lumos’ strategy under his breath. I can see this scene. well done

Nikos and Sir Demetrios arrived on the far side of the arena—son and father, squire and knight. Both men were wide with muscle and shared a sigil of crossed warhammers. Lumos liked to remind himself Nikos would soon share his father’s baldness too—anything to compare favorably to his indomitable rival. isn't baldness unfavorable? didn't understand this last part. maybe: anything to knock his rival down a notch

“I like your helmet.” Nikos hefted the warhammer onto his shoulder. “Looks like a nail.”

Stathis often called Lumos a poor student, but Lumos had learned his chivalry and didn’t rise to the taunt. The two squires removed their helmets and bowed before the royal family. The king of Escavé—the eastern Arclands—glowered down at him (commas required here, not em-dash). To the king’s left sat the gentle queen and her ladies in all their finery. To the king’s right, the Prince, grim as his father. Other nobles sat in places of less distinction, and among them Princess Filomena chatted with a young lord. Her golden hair fluttered gracefully in the breeze like the banners atop the spires of Castle Sellunar. Lumos struggled not to stare.

Someone stared back at him, however. Lazy old Eleusine in her robes and wide-brimmed sleeping cap watched him,no comma and only him. What made him so interesting to the Royal Mystic, who spent only twenty minutes a day awake?

The king nodded his approval, and the two squires took positions on opposite ends of the platform. Nikos gave his hammer a few practice swings. Sir Stathis tapped Lumos on the shoulder. “See the openings? That’s how you win.” The fat herald announced the match had begun, and Lumos drew his blunted sword. More para. issues. new speaker gets a new para.

Both combatants circled each other, working themselves up to make the first move. Only three points, Lumos reminded himself. Just hit him in three exchanges. Escavé took a liberal view of what constituted a point, which to the Escavian knights was just another reason to feel superior to the Vexromedans in the western Arclands.

Two steps to the right, shift weight to left leg, invite attack... now! Lumos feinted to draw Nikos inward, and it would’ve been a fine technique if he hadn’t loosened his grip on his sword. Nikos swung his hammer, knocking Lumos’ weapon off the platform and into the sand.

The crowd laughed. Even the princess chuckled. Lumos’ cheeks burned as he bent to retrieve his sword. He wished he could wipe his face under the greathelm so his eyes could stop stinging. His only consolation was that it hadn’t been a hit to his body and thus not worth a point.

The squires returned to their positions, and the herald announced the match could resume. Now it was Nikos who feinted. It was a difficult thing to feint with a hammer, however, and he didn’t manage it. Lumos was giving himself a pat on the back for not falling for the obvious trick when the hammer slammed into his arm. He found himself staring at straw as he tried to stand back up.

Sir Stathis yanked him upright. “Dodge the hammer! Dodge the hammer!”

The match resumed. Lumos couldn’t afford not to attack after the last exchange and launched himself straight at Nikos, his sword raised for a long slash. His foe stepped backwards and slammed the hammer into his shoulder, denting the rusted armor further. Lumos fell to one knee, rising just in time to catch a blow to the side of his helmet. The poorly fitted greathelm flew off his head, grazing his cheeks. The crowd jeered.

“Don’t lose your head, commonborn!”

“He’s funnier than a jester!”

“Knock some sense into him!”

The next exchange would be the last, should Nikos strike the winning point, declared the herald. Lumos wiped a mix of blood and sweat from his face. He had to score at least once!

Lumos bent forward in a crouch, ready to react; Nikos stood without a stance, ignoring Sir Demetrios’ growls about maintaining discipline. Nearly a minute passed before the larger squire raised his hammer above his head in a theatrical display of overconfidence.

This was the moment Lumos had waited for. Nikos couldn’t bring the hammer down fast enough to dodge Lumos’ strike, not mid-movement. Lumos lunged forward, swinging his sword with perfect accuracy… and tripped on a stray mess of straw. The hammer crashed into his back.

He lay there for an eternity, listening to the crowd’s endless laughter. When at last he rose, he saw the princess applauding Nikos’ victory as she whispered something into Lord Vasili’s ear. Lumos bowed to the king, whose stern gaze fell instead on Sir Stathis. Lumos knew he hadn’t just humiliated himself—yet again—but Stathis as well. Nonetheless, he sheathed his sword and walked away, acknowledging neither the crowd booing him nor the Royal Mystic watching him. A true knight held his head high even in defeat. Great voice. Action scenes are very difficult to write and you nailed this.

Stathis said nothing. They returned to the austere chambers they shared in the castle. Even there they couldn’t escape the heat. Good opportunity here to show us this room. it's not enough to tell us its austere. you must show us The knight sat at his table while Lumos fetched him the strongest wine in the cupboard. “The king will have words with me, Lumos.”

“Yes, si—”

“Shut up.” The knight refused to face his squire as Lumos poured his wine. “Is this a jest?”

“No, s—”

“I said shut up!” Stathis slammed his pewter goblet on the table, sloshing wine across the rough wood. “You’ve dishonored me yet again. You’ve also dishonored the king, whom I’ve sworn a vow to honor in all I do. What is wrong with you, boy? Can’t you hold your own sword?”

He splashed the wine in Lumos’ face. It stung as it seeped into the cuts on his cheek, but Lumos stood still and silent. To show pain or sadness would only further shame him.

“I wish the spear had run me through instead of your father. Then I wouldn’t be stuck with you.” I might be premature but dont lose opportunities to show us what Lumos looks like (and Stathis) Can't quite see these two yet. one or two words will give your reader an image. Maybe he tosses mousy brown hair out of his eyes

Wine dripped down Lumos’ nose. He dared not respond. Stathis rested his chin on a fist. “I swore to your dying father I would, and a knight upholds his oaths,” Stathis said bitterly. “I’ll keep training you, and you’ll keep failing and dishonoring me in front of the court. Then, in two years (show us his age), on your twenty-first year, I will place you before the throne and tell the whole kingdom that you are the unworthiest squire in Escavé, lower than the foulest Vexromedan knave. The king will hold my obligations fulfilled and banish you from my presence. And it’ll be the best day of my life.”

Lumos didn’t know how to respond. It was true. All of it was true. And that was what hurt the most.

“Clean up this mess,” Stathis said. “I’m going back to see the prince smash Nikos’ face in. You will stay here; you will not watch the tourney, even from the window; you will not attend the feast; and when I return, you won’t say a word. Not one word.”

Stathis slammed the door behind him.

The squire listened to the sounds of the fighting as he scrubbed the table and floor. He could serve Stathis’ meals, maintain his armor, and recite every chivalrous virtue any knight must embody. But he couldn’t hold a sword.

When he’d finished cleaning he lay down on his itchy straw mattress. His body ached and he was tired from his brain to his bones. There was too much to think about, too much to dread...

#

The squire strode proudly to the throne. Banners of the crescent moon hung from the rafters, and the royal family awaited him atop the dais. Courtiers watched him approach with bated breath, the boldest among them daring to gossip about his triumphs. Lumos the Dragonslayer! Lumos the Swordmaster! Many were his titles, more were the tales.

Sir Stathis stepped forward. “This is Lumos, son of the conscript Lumic. He was a page for seven years, and my squire for seven more.” Suddenly his rough features soured the torches snuffed out and the knight’s eyes glowed orange in the darkness. “And yet I shall declare him unfit for the honors and obligations of a knight. He is unworthy of the Code of Chivalry, unworthy even to hold a spear.”

Princess Filomena sniggered to the prince, whose handsome form expanded into Nikos. “Behold a true knight,” announced Stathis. “Nikos the Mighty!”

Lumos watched the King touch his sword upon Nikos’ shoulder. “I dub thee Sir Nikos of Escavé, royal knight, bound by the Majorian Legacy of the Chivalric Code. Rise and claim your honor.”

Filomena approached the new Sir Nikos. They kissed passionately, and the princess pointed at Lumos. “My love, destroy that insect. Its existence offends me.”

“It would be my honor.” Sir Nikos drew his hammer, a murderous sheen in his eye. Lumos tried to draw his sword but bent it to uselessness out of sheer ineptitude. The air turned wet and cold as dreadful mist flowed out of Nikos’ mouth. Lumos backed away as the enormous knight approached. He reached for a dagger and found a ladle, felt for a spear and clutched a broken heart. Nikos loomed large in silhouette as the fog enveloped the world.

And then the sky above was blue as blue could be, the ground consumed by cloud. Nikos’ frame disappeared into the mists swirling. Lumos reached blindly for where he’d seen his enemy vanish and touched a peculiar stone. It felt like a brick wrought from cold water, yet looked for all the world like rock.

The clouds parted for Eleusine, the Royal Mystic. She walked with a confident swagger unbefitting her advanced age. “Welcome to Cloud Tower. I’ve been waiting for you.”

Lumos stood there dumbly, not sure what to say. “I... was being executed.” Sometimes supernatural stuff gets lost on readers. consider spelling this out. Lumos blinked wildly, he--was--no--longer on the dias blah blah

Sorry, got to go. Your writing is great. only minor polishing.

Offline Cobalt_Caster

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Karma: 3
Re: The Legend of Brave Sir Lumos (YA Fantasy) Chapter One
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2019, 12:52:40 AM »
Your comment about reading multiple times to understand something simple is one of the things I dread the most, so it's great to have it pointed out before it reaches an agent. Anything else along those lines would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your comments and critique.