First up: The Fight Scene.
It's a good thing it doesn't have to be a physical fight. Which is what I sort of suck at (they tend to be way too short). It's an area I'm endeavouring to improve.
I stared at my stories for ages. Flicking between this one and that. You know what I noticed? My characters bicker amongst themselves like crazy. I'm not meaning full-on rows, though there are some of those too, just bickering. Especially in my first story. ^_^
Anyhow, here's a fight, of sorts, from my current WiP: Dark One's Mistress. Here, Clara has been escorted to the training grounds after being previously kidnapped, chosen and imprisoned in the Lord's citadel.
Sorry about it being so darn long. It's not the whole chapter, really. Well ... about half. I don't like cutting things off.
Something flickered across those dark brown eyes. Bittersweet. Haunted. “You tried to escape again last night. Four times in the last five days. Does it not tire you to always fail?”
She smiled to herself. Barely a week had passed since her kidnapping, yet each attempt had gotten her out of every room they’d locked her in. “I warned you I wouldn’t stay here willingly.” Though he kept the gate to freedom closed, he could not stop her seeking another way out. She would find it.
“It surprised me to hear how easy it has been to catch you. As it did learning that your technique, weak at best, has not shown any sign of progressing.” He strode towards the waiting men, seizing the bucket one of them held. Water sloped over the edge to hit the ground with a dull hiss. A hand dipped, drawing the liquid to his face.
Clara waited for him to finish, her mouth suddenly dry. It was the heat. Had to be. The sun sat directly above them and walls cut off all wind. When had she last drunk anyway? Must have been an hour or two now. She would not ask for a drink. I’m weak? She’d fought full-grown men. Easy? Her struggling against their hold had continued until they’d been left with little choice but to release her. One had even been brought to his knees by a calculated blow.
“My men were given strict orders not to hurt you.” Flicking water from his fingers, he faced her once again. “Yet you still could not best them.”
“Then I shall endeavour to improve my efforts.” She hadn’t been trying to make it easy for them.
“Indeed. Your fighting can only be described as amateurish and pathetic. If these walls are ever breeched, I’ve little doubt that those who seek to kill me will have no qualms in also harming you. I mean to make certain that you can defend yourself should the need arise.”
“Defend,” she echoed. “Like with a knife?” Escape would be far easier if she were allowed access to some weaponry. Given a blade, she could be free within the hour.
Lucias shook his head. “Unarmed combat only.” One corner of his mouth lifted for a brief moment. “Even if I trusted you with something as simple as a dagger, you’d need more training than I’ve time to give.” Waving the men back, he beckoned her forward.
“Surely you do not expect me to fight in this.” Her dress barely let her walk freely.
A black brow rose. His lips twitched with the shadow of a smirk. “You’re wearing undergarments, are you not?”
She folded her arms over her breasts, steadfastly attempting to ignore the panels of her gown digging into her flesh. “What lies under my skirts is none of your concern.”
“I wouldn’t say that.” He chuckled, the sound heating her cheeks. “In fact, I am very interested in what’s under your skirts.” Eyes, bright with amusement, ran over her, fanning the warmth across her face. “Perhaps it is for the better if you learn within the strictures you shall be living with. Now come at me. I promise I won’t hurt you.”
He wouldn’t hurt her, would he? Well, I’m making no such promise. If she couldn’t do permanent damage here, then she could at least deter him. Do it well enough, then perhaps he’d amend his decision to keep her. She swung, fist aiming for his face.
Jerking out of the way, Lucias caught her arm. “No, no, no. You don’t want your thumb there.” Cupping her hand, he prised open her fist, unfurling the thumb from underneath the protective cocoon of her fingers. “Not unless you’re looking to break it.” He manipulated her digits, tucking the thumb against the bottom curl of her fingers. “There.” Stepping back, he spread his arms wide. “Care to try again?”
She frowned down at her hand, clenching until the ragged, bitten ends of her fingernails dug into her palm. Maybe knocking him unconscious would allow her access to the gates ... and freedom. Her gaze lifted to take in the handful of men quietly flanking their lord. What steps would they take if she did knock him out? She swung up, aiming slightly lower in imitation of the fighting on the streets. Hit his chin and he’d go down. She’d seen so many successful attempts done. It had to work.
Once again, he dodged her blow. “Better.” Grabbing her by the shoulders, he swung them round. “Now put a little more force behind it.” Grinning, he stepped back. “Also ... try not to overreach so much.”
Clara rushed at him, thumping at his chest and stomach with equal force.
He took most of her punches, grunting as they landed, only moving to deflect whatever blows she aimed higher or lower than his torso. “So easy.” Arms wrapped around her, drawing them closer together. The musky scent of drying sweat clogged her nose. “One could well believe you want to be caught.”
She pushed against him, wriggling to get free of his grip. Nothing gave. She might as well have been trying to shove a wall down.
“I wonder ...” He pulled her closer, crushing her to his chest. Cupping her chin, he tilted her head back. “Want else will you allow?” His eyes, dark enough in the noon light to be called black, lightened a shade towards brown as his head shadowed her face. “A kiss?” His lips neared hers, parting to let his hot breath caress her skin.
Shivering, she stopped trying to fight him. If he wanted to take her now, she’d no say in the matter. Nothing she did would be enough to keep him away. Her fingers brushed the hilt of his sword. Given a blade ... Her knee came up. The sword came free.
She scurried back from him, gripping the weapon tightly in both hands. The blade glittered in the light. It was heavier than she’d imagined. She could lift it. Barely.
“And what shall you do now?” Lucias asked, all trace of humour evaporating. He straightened, a hand pressed to his lower gut. “Run me through if you think it wise, I’ll still heal.” Behind him, the men drew their weapons. “By then, they will have subdued you.”
“You won’t always be in the training grounds.” She’d entered his chambers before, unwittingly yes, but she could do it again. While he slept. “And I’ll never stop trying to escape this place.” Given a blade ... “I could kill you. Anytime.” She could. As easy as any other man. Easier even. No one would know she’d done it until the next morning. She could be far from here by then.
His eyes narrowed. The sword wobbled in her hands, slipping from her grip to float across the space. “No, you won’t.” He returned the weapon to its sheath. The hiss of its passage loud.
Teeth grinding, Clara resisted the urge to scream as it came bubbling from deep inside. “You don’t think I’ve the stomach for it?” The air around her hardened, pinning her arms to her sides. Goddess. More magic. Why did he bother with this pretence of courteousness when he’d such power at hand?
Lucias stood before her, left hand holding tightly onto his sword hilt. “Oh, you’ve the stomach alright.” The unseen restraints released an arm. He took up her hand before she’d a chance to move, gently kissing the back of it. “Just not the heart.”