YAPC woud like to welcome Alan Stroe to the blog today. He is here to share some info and an excerpt from his book Against Her Gentle Sword. If this looks like a book you would like to read, please go pick up a copy!
Dario, a boy yearning for freedom and equality, is selected to duel in front of the girl he loves. He has no desire to fight his friends, and little chance of winning. Will he refuse to duel, suffering punishment and humiliation? Or will he ruin his chances of winning her heart through an embarrassing defeat?
His problems get more complicated when a former ally hijacks his revolutionary plans, turning them into an evil power grab. Real, deadly fighting breaks out on the island for the first time.
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As they approached Maureen, the competition’s referee, Dario looked in Murray’s eyes and he realized without a doubt that his former friend would fight him. But he had given his word, so he still had to ask again. That was very hard for him to do presently, since he was in apparent disadvantage, and he didn’t want it to be mistaken for cowardice.
“Take guard!” the referee ordered. They both took a fighting stance.
“Ready?” she asked. “Fight!”
Just as she shouted ‘fight!’ Dario shouted to Murray in order to be heard over the crowd:
“My offer still stands, Murray! Will you take it?”
Murray hesitated a moment then said:
“That’s how you want this to go down, old sport? Okay, but you tell them.” He lowered his guard.
It was Dario’s turn to hesitate. He hadn’t expected this. As if against his will, he lowered his guard too, and realized he had to switch his mindset to a whole different situation, a whole different battle maybe. He turned towards the referee to explain:
“Miss Maureen…” with the corner of his eye he saw sudden movement—Murray had rushed at him with his sword raised to deliver a downward slash. Out of sheer instinct he moved his upper body backwards and his right hand slashed diagonally to parry Murray’s descending blade. The blades met violently, unleashing a disconcerting shower of sparks until the electrodes disengaged, immediately after. Murray’s sword became a lever with the fulcrum on the edge of Murray’s palm and so it was sent flying spectacularly. Murray’s momentum took him crashing into Dario’s already precariously balanced body, sending the latter into the sand, sprawling.
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