A Taste of the Future   2 comments

This is what I wrote this afternoon for Murklin Wood —



Ryanna gathered her sword and long knife and strode toward danger. Sabre ghosted from the wood on silent paws.

Four men surrounded an ox-driven cart loaded with wheels of cheese. Two of the men had possessed themselves of struggling women while a bairn squalled in the cart the other two men were ransacking.

Ryanna tested the weight of her long knife and decided the odds were at least fair with Sabre’s aid. The dog thought bloody thoughts.

Ryanna reached for the Source, felt it flow up into her body and flung herself in the fray. The first man crumpled as she struck him across the back of the head with the pommel of her long knife. He promptly released the woman he was holding. Ryanna swept sideways to smack the flat of her sword across the forehead of the second man, who fell backwards with blood spurting from his nose. That woman wrenched free and ran for the cart.

Sabre had already closed on the arm of a third man, leaving Ryanna to deal with the fourth, who drew his sword as she whirled to face him.

Now, lad, you shouldn’t have interfered here,” he said, thinking himself facing a boy in his teens and not a woman with 20 years of sword training and some scraps under her belt.

That cart is not yours to interfere with either,” Ryanna informed him, forcing her dark-woman’s voice deeper. “If you take your fellows and run that way, I’ll let you live.”

He laughed and swung on her. Ryanna parried with the long knife and brought her sword round toward his guts. It turned on the jerkin he wore under his siarc. He pushed her back and quickly turned his sword upon her. He had a hands-length on her and at least five stone on her. She knew she was fighting for her life.

They circled one another. Her Sensing said Sabre had crushed the windpipe of the man he’d engaged and was now growling in the face of the one with the broken nose, who was trying to crawl off into the woods. That brief report was all she could spare as she parried the brigand’s sword and swept upward with her own. Jerkins left the underarm exposed. If she could catch the soft flesh there, the fight would be won.

His sword turned on her jerkin and drove the air out of her. But for the Source empowering her limbs, she might have been done for. She slewed sideways, caught his counter-thrust on her sword and brought the long knife down, then up into his underarm. For a moment, she panicked as the blade caught halfway in the boiled-leather of the jerkin, but then she was able to wrench it free so that blood flowed down his siarc. He fell against her and she lowered him to the ground.

You should have listened,” she told him as his eyes began to glaze over. And, then one of the woman screamed. Ryanna immediately dropped the brigand, moving to face the danger behind her. She saw the sword and thought I’m dead, but then the brigand wielding it stiffened, swatted at the back of his own neck and fell to his knees. An arrow sprouted from his back. Ryanna looked around for this new danger, only to see Sarala holding a hunting bow, a second arrow around nocked and aimed toward where Sabre had the remaining brigand backed against a tree.

Ryanna checked the three to assure they were dead and then faced the fourth.

Briganding will get you killed, lad,” she informed him. “Do you lasses have some rope?”


Now that you’ve had a little taste treat of the Daermad Cycle, why not buy Book 1 – The Willow Branch?


#amwriting, #lelamarkham, #willowbranch

2 responses to “A Taste of the Future

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  1. I’m in the middle of reading it, Lela! After getting used to the unfamiliar names and turns of phrase, I’m warming to your tale immensely!


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