Yep, this is an excerpt from one of my novels. I figured I'd actually give you some prose of mine to read instead of a bunch of poems, ramblings, and book reviews.
So, this is the first chapter of Evrain, a comedy/drama I was working on a few months ago.
It basically came from me wanting to have an obsessive, insane character that acted like a little kid, a sarcastic grave-robber dude, and an absentminded archer in a novel. I highly doubt I'll ever finish this (hence the reason it isn't mentioned on my Novels page), because it's just for the fun of it.
Plus, I don't think this is really something that would sell very well; it's not the kind of book people want to read, I don't think. I mean, I'd like to see a book like this in my library, but that's just my weird sense of humor.
So. Without further ado, I bring to you the first chapter of Evrain...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Evrain jolted out of his daydream and looked over at the Captain of the Guard. "Uh…yes, sir?"
"You’re supposed to let the arrow loose now, and see if you can hit the target," growled the Captain.
Evrain then remembered that he was in the middle of a tournament, and that it was his turn to shoot.
"Oh." Evrain blushed at the sound of the laughter from the crowds watching. He let loose the arrow he was still holding nocked to the bowstring.
It shot forward and buried itself dead-center of the target. Evrain grinned. "I did it!"
"Now let’s see if you can do it twice more," said the Captain in acid tones.
"Oh, yeah." Evrain nocked another arrow, aimed, and let it go. It struck the target a few inches below his first arrow, but still within the bull’s-eye.
As Evrain got another arrow ready, he began to think about the trophy at the end of the arching tournament. He would win; at least, he would have to get second place…
He fired the arrow, and it missed the target entirely. It had been a spur-of-the-moment idea, and he had been too far into his daydream to aim properly.
Evrain heard the Captain curse behind him, then say, "All right, Evrain, you can leave the field now."
Evrain hesitated, and then trudged off in the direction of the river, which was rather close to the playing field.
As he walked, Evrain scolded himself. "Evrain, you fool. You had the competition in the bag, but then you had to go off and start daydreaming. What happens if you do that in a battle? This land is cursed, what with all of the monsters roaming around. So, when you’re in the middle of a fight, you’ll just start daydreaming, and then within seconds you’ll be pulverized, or devoured, or mutilated, or—"
He was cut off by the sound of rushing water. He had reached the river.
Evrain sighed and plunked himself down on a boulder beside the water. He picked up a few pebbles and started to throw them into the water.
Suddenly, a loud rustling from Evrain’s right side made him spin around.
A cluster of bushes were thrashing around, as though someone—or something—was hiding among them.
Evrain sprang to his feet, about to call out. But then the mysterious thing emerged.
It was a man. He appeared to be in his middle forties, with long, ratty brown hair and wild eyes. He carried a fishing rod.
"Help! Help, help, help!" the man said rapidly, his words running together.
"What is it?" asked Evrain.
"The mean Longshanks stole my fish!" the man said, skittering back and forth in obvious agitation.
"Longshanks?" Evrain repeated, wrinkling his brow. "Who or what is Longshanks?"
"HE STOLE MY FISH!" the man screamed.
Evrain winced. "All right, all right. I’ll see what I can do. Show me where this Longshanks is."
The man turned and scurried away with an odd, loping gait.
Evrain sighed and hurried after the odd man. Perhaps if the man got his fish back, he would stop screaming…
At length, the man led Evrain through a small grove of trees and then to the bank of the river. There, Evrain could see a tent, a campfire, and various cooking and fishing utensils.
And he could also see another man standing by the fire.
"Him, him, him," the strange man said, pointing at the fire.
Evrain winced again. The stranger by the campfire was six or more feet of solid muscle, and he looked dangerous.
The man by the fire looked up with narrowed eyes. "And who might you be?" he called, making no move to leave.
"I’m Evrain Blackarrow," Evrain replied. "Because my hair is black and my destiny was always to be an archer." At least, that was what his parents had always told him.
The man by the fire nodded slowly. "What are you doing here?"
"Er…this fellow here says you stole his—" Evrain started.
"Yes, his fish," Evrain agreed, glancing at the scruffy-looking fisherman who had led him here.
"He’s got more than his share," grumbled the fish-thief.
"I know, Mr…" Evrain stopped, realizing he had no idea what the man’s name was.
"You can call me Cafall," the thief replied, his face expressionless underneath reddish-brown hair.
"Mr. Cafall," Evrain continued. "But it was his fish."
"Just Cafall, no ‘Mr.’ involved," Cafall said. "Also, he has plenty of fish, he doesn’t need these. Besides, I’m bigger than he is." As though that ended the discussion, Cafall crouched down and started eating one of the half-cooked salmon he had stolen.
"Give me my fish!" screeched the fisherman with a voice that was much more high-pitched than it should have been for an adult man.
Evrain turned. "Look, could you please stop yelling? Then perhaps we could come to a conclusion."
The fisherman wandered off to the banks of the river—giving Cafall a wide berth—to sulk.
Cafall laughed derisively. "What a sorry excuse for a man." He turned his eyes on Evrain. "And you, lad. What made you follow that crazy fisherman?"
Evrain shrugged, tentatively walking forward and kneeling down across from Cafall.
Cafall watched Evrain carefully, all the while eating ‘his’ fish.
Cafall’s bright and piercing gaze unnerved Evrain, and he said, "Would you please stop staring at me?"
"Sorry," Cafall said, not sounding sorry at all.
Before Evrain could answer, there was a shout, and something slammed into the back of Cafall’s head. He pitched forward, nearly landing in the fire, and then spun around and leapt to his feet.
The fisherman had picked up the oar to a boat and hit Cafall with it.
Cafall, who was much bigger than the fisherman was, lunged forward, a knife in hand, and tackled the other man to the ground.
Without thinking, Evrain nocked an arrow to his bow and aimed at the two. "Stop fighting, or you’ll get an arrow through your head!"
To his shock, Cafall slowly glanced over, the dagger still pressed to the fisherman’s throat. Then, he abruptly re-sheathed it and stood up.
"You’ve got heart, lad," he said. "But that idiot tried to kill me."
"You stole my fish…" whined the fisherman, who was still on the ground.
Evrain sighed, unable to believe how absurd the situation was. "All right, let’s talk this over like gentlemen. Cafall, go back to the fire, and don’t touch any fish. You—what’s your name?"
"Fred." The fisherman slowly got to his feet.
"Fred?" repeated Cafall, laughing.
"Be quiet," Evrain said to Cafall. To Fred, he added, "Okay…Fred. Go sit on the other side of the fire, and don’t go anywhere near Cafall."
Fred the fisherman obeyed.
Evrain went and sat down near the fire as well. "All right, gentlemen. I—"
"I’m no gentleman," Cafall said, smirking and leaning back against a boulder.
Evrain studied Cafall’s long, windblown hair, his unkempt beard, and the scars on his face. "Yes, I can see that."
Cafall laughed again.
Evrain sighed. "Be that as it may, I’m going to continue calling you that. Anyway. Fred, I have a question to ask you."
"What?" Fred asked sullenly.
"Why can’t Cafall have a few fish to take with him?"
"They’re mine!" yelped Fred.
"Yes, I know, but…" Evrain gestured towards the baskets full of trout and salmon on the banks of the river. "You have plenty."
"They’re mine! All mine!"
"Can’t you share?" Evrain felt like he was talking to a young child.
Cafall was having a major laughing fit. Evrain wearily ran a hand through his hair.
"I know they’re yours," he told Fred. "But Cafall only wants a few. Can’t he have that many?"
"They’re—" Fred started.
"If you say ‘mine’ again, I really will drive an arrow through your skull," Evrain warned, losing his temper.
"They’re not his," Fred answered instead.
"All right, all right, we get your point," Cafall said, finally able to stop laughing. "Look, friend, I’ll take a dozen fish and be on my way. You won’t ever have to see me again, although the stars know I’d rather stay here and harass you. It’s much more amusing than my current occupation."
Fred got up and trudged away to sulk.
"I’ve never seen a grown man act that way," Evrain remarked, watching the fisherman leave.
Cafall gave him a strange look. "You’ve never heard of this man before?"
"Fred? No, I haven’t."
"Everyone within a hundred miles of here knows about ‘Fred’," Cafall said. "He travels up and down the river on his fishing boat. Everybody knows that he’s quite mad."
"Really?" Evrain said curiously, casting another glance at Fred, who was muttering to himself and gutting a fish down at the river’s edge.
"Really," Cafall answered. "Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have things I need to do." He stood up, and picked up his pack.
A shovel fell out of it.
"Why do you have a shovel in your pack?" inquired Evrain.
Cafall chuckled. "You’ve never heard of me either, eh? Well, good, I’d rather keep it that way. I suppose I’ll tell you; I’ll be long gone by the time you get back to your city."
Evrain waited expectantly.
"I’m a grave-robber, lad. A common thief and con-man. Nothing like the fancy archers and warriors in the city where you live." Cafall smirked. "Good day." He turned to leave.
But then there was a shrill cry from Fred. "Monster cows!"
Cafall, who was already halfway out of camp, snickered.
Evrain rolled his eyes, and turned to leave as well.
And then the Minotaurs swarmed out of the grove of trees, their eyes flaming and swords held high.