Hey, everyone! Like I said, I’d be posting the rough draft of the opening scene of “Warrior, Wizard” when I finished it. Keep in mind that this is still the rough draft of the scene, may end up only being part of the full scene, and probably has a lot of work that needs to be done yet. This is solely for preview purposes.
So with no further ado, I present:
That's all it was. One more dead body. One more outlander defeated. One out of dozens.
But that one kill was enough to make Jaren Manse sit down. To actually stop and think. Not to contemplate who the man was or where he came from or why he had come. No, he had stopped asking those questions hundreds of deaths ago. This man was important because he was not his kill, but Alera's. Jaren had held nothing back on this mission, but for the first time ever, Alera Quill had outperformed him.
Forty-seven. Forty-seven to his forty-six. It was one kill. Just one kill, Jaren told himself. It didn't matter. And besides, this is what he had wanted. The two of them stood on equal ground now. Alera could keep up with him.
He just hadn't expected to be so shaken by it.
He sat on a log on the beach and watched his partner lobbing fireballs at the outlanders' ships in the fog covering Lesaria's shores. Few discovered the land. Even fewer returned to tell the tale. It was, in large part, thanks to the League, a collection of guilds and adventurers acting as everything from mercenaries to postal service to military. All able-bodied peoples were welcome, and there were plenty of well-paying jobs, but there were few who truly gained glory and notoriety. Jaren realized that he and Alera now stood a very good chance of becoming a part of those few.
As the ships started to catch, Alera walked over and sat on the sand beside him. She was a pale-skinned lithe girl that Jaren thought of as short, though that was admittedly because most people were short relative to him. She exhaled deeply and brushed her long black hair out of her face. “That was a good day,” she said, looking up at him. The bleak mist really drew the color out of her violet-grey eyes. Jaren just nodded in response. “The mission went well, don't you think?” she prompted.
He nodded again. “Yeah,” he said distantly. “Yeah.” He managed to find himself again and turned to his partner. “You outperformed me today, you know. Good job.”
“What? Is that why you—you meathead!” She punched his shoulder, though he barely even felt it under his armor. “That's what's got you like this?” She gave a small chuckle and shook her head. “So how badly did I beat you?”
“Just one,” he said.
“One? Just one?” She laughed. “That's what has you like this? Please, Jaren, that's more of a tie than anything. Luck of the draw. Besides, we're being ranked together. It's not like the count even matters.”
He removed his helmet and let the cool ocean breeze dry the sweat against his face. “...Yeah. It's just...weird.” He looked over at her and saw that she was staring out at the burning ship, a distant look in her eyes as well.
“Yeah,” she echoed. “Weird. I'm as strong as you are now.”
“Yeah, it only took you eighteen years, too.”
She flicked a small ball of flame at him with a grin. “Oh shut up, Manse. Still,” she added as he swatted at the flame, “I'm really glad you stuck with me all these years.”
“I'm glad too. You know, I think we stand a chance of making the lists this year.”
“What, us? There's only two of us.”
“And Ezeo Nohr was only one man, but look at what he accomplished.”
Alera laughed and stood, taking Jaren's hand and pulling him to his feet. “Ah, yes, Master Ezeo. Remind me again, is he on par with the gods, or greater than them?”
He gave her a playful shove. “Shut up! He's an impressive man, you runt.”
“This runt beat you today, meathead.”
“Yeah, well, enjoy it while you can. You know that there's no way I'm letting that happen again.”
“As if!” She grinned. “I've tasted victory now. I won't let it slip past me so easily anymore.”
They joked and talked like that on their way back to the League. The organization had started as just a single, simple guild hall, but had grown larger as dormitories were added for adventurers. Additions to the hall were needed to accommodate the League's growth. Blacksmiths and enchanters flocked in to sell their wares. The League expanded as its fame and popularity increased. In the three years that Jaren and Alera had been members, it had finally overtaken the city. What had once been known as Amnestia City was now simply the League. Many of the same shops remained, but vendors knew their sales base consisted of two groups: adventurers and tourists.
“So the Winter's Requiem have invited us and Deadeye out tonight,” Jaren said as they entered the city gates. “Celebrating the outlander defeat today.”
“Really? Is Ashna coming this time?”
Jaren thought. The reptilos man wasn't exactly shy, but.... “I'm not sure. I wouldn't expect him. He's not fond of being around so many humans.”
Alera rolled her eyes. “Why doesn't he just invite some more repitolos? Does he not get any say? Anyway, I assume you're planning on going?”
“Of course. They're footing the bill. I'm not going to pass on a free meal.”
“And Deadeye will be there.”
He hesitated. “Okay, yes, and Deadeye will be there, but come on, Alera. Free food. You're going, aren't you?”
“Of course,” she said, doing her best imitation of his voice. “They're footing the bill. I'm not going to pass on a free meal.”
“Hey, Quill, remind me again why I didn't dump you with the first guild I could to go solo?”
“Because you know I'd make you look bad in the lists.”
He shook his head. “Don't get cocky, yet, Quill.”
“Don't get cocky yourself, Jaren. We did good today, but we've got a long way to go before we make the lists. Think we can do it within the year?”
He put on a great show of thinking hard about it before answering in his best imitation of her. “What do you think, meathead?” It was, admittedly, not a very good imitation. Water splashed out of a nearby trough as they passed to splash him as the mage took her revenge.
“Come on, Jaren,” she told him. “Let's pick up the pace. We've got dinner to catch, and I'm famished.”
He grinned. “Agreed. C'mon, I bet we can rack the bill up enough to make Drolm actually faint this time!”
Well, that’s how the story opens. There’s a lot I’d like to change yet. The whole scene feels a bit too dialogue-heavy, several of the names of things may change (though the names of the protagonists and Meela “Deadeye” Ran, Ashna Szil, and Arten Drolm will probably remain mostly the same), and I can probably write it much better once I’ve got the full story laid out in front of me instead of just half of it.
Thoughts, though? How did you like it? Any suggestions that I’ll want to keep in mind when rewriting? Let me know!