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Slayers of Legends

by Sam Hackel-Butt (Age: 28)
copyright 12-20-2007

Age Rating: 13 +

Author's Note: November was a hectic month for me; school, theater group, AND NaNoWriMo, or NaNo for short. NaNo [National Novel Writing Month] is when you challenge yourself to write 50,000 words in ONLY 30 days. My "novel" isn't complete, and most of it is just attempts to boost word count. The first 5 pages or so it what I enjoyed the most to write, amongst other scenes. The genre is fantasy. So, without further ado, I present to you the opening bit of my NaNo! It is unpolished and rough, and needs editing and fixing, but enjoy it nonetheless. {By the way, I won the challenge)

Robin woke up sore, and with grass in her long, red hair. Scrunching her freckled face against the harsh sunlight that was now streaming in through the foliage that created a canopy over her makeshift bed, she groaned, and sat up.

She opened her eyes to a magnificent scene: she was under a lush, old oak tree with branches that seemed to spiral to the sky, daring to go further than any other tree. The oak was located on top of a slight hill that overlooked a dazzling, crystal clear river that cut the green field smoothly as it rushed and danced past her. Wild flowers of orange and red grew in scattered clumps, giving variation to the green that was spread out before her.

“Clark?” she called out groggily, scratching her chest through the thin fabric of her torn shirt, glancing about the field, looking for any hint of his presence.

Clumsily, she got to her feet, and inhaled sharply as her body refused to move the way she wanted it to. Easing herself into a standing position, she arched her back and stretched, feeling tight muscles slowly unwinding, and hearing a few joints popping. She was only eighteen, and yet she sounded like her father when he got up from his favorite chair.

“Clark?” she repeated, cupping her hands to her mouth.

When she didn’t receive a reply, she turned her attention to the piece of ground the man had slept on the night previous. He had chosen a place closer to the fire, as he wanted to clean his weapons; they were dirtied with blood, tissue, and mud.

She tried calling him a few more times before giving up, and painfully descending the hill, leaving behind her cloak and her own weapons to wash the stale taste of sleep from her mouth.

With a slight limp, she reached the water’s rocky edge. She grunted as she lowered herself to her knees, peering into the water. She was greeted by her reflection in the slow moving blue, observing the dark circles under her green eyes, and how the dirt and grime that had build up on her face over the past few days hid any sign of the light coating of freckles that covered her visage.

With a sigh, she dipped her hands into the chilly water, and quickly jerked them back up, covering her face in a wet smacking sound. She rubbed fiercely, almost as if she were trying to remove not only the dirt, but her freckles, too. She never liked her freckles, being envious of her siblings. She was the only one in the family with them. Her father told her they made her unique, but she never thought so. Unique was having a talent no one else had, which was something she strived for since childhood, taking on any hobby that she found interesting, or no one thought was special. She wanted to make it special to her, and be recognized for it.

She was lost amongst three other children in the family, being the second youngest. She needed to standout against her brothers and sister, but not appearance-wise. She wasn’t vain, and didn’t need to have men stare at her, or her mother fret over her chipped fingernails, or her dirty clothing. She got into fights; trying to prove to her peers she was strong. She broke bones trying to outrun here older brothers. She got ill from trying to out-eat a neighbor in an all-you-can-eat buffet-style lunch. They got her moments of glory, but the stories ended once some other person accomplished another act and once again she was in the shadows.

But now she found something special, she thought removing her hands from her face, and smiling sheepishly.

“There you are,” came a man’s voice from behind her.

She turned her head to find a tall man in impeccable shape approaching her, a dead rabbit hung over one of his shoulders, and his bow hanging on the other, flirting with the tips of his shoulder length black hair. His boots made virtually no sound against the grass, and then the rocks and pebbles of the river’s shore.

“I was surprised when I got back to find you weren’t on the hill, sleeping still. Usually you sleep till noon.”

He dropped the carcass on the ground by Robin and gazed down at her with unblinking gray eyes.

She frowned at him, and then turned back to gazing at her reflection, watching her mouth move as she spoke. “How can anyone sleep without a bed?” she complained, feeling her shoulders and neck tense up at the memory of waking up. “I think I slept on a few rocks.”

Clark smiled, exposing slightly crooked teeth. “I take it, then, I’m preparing breakfast.”

“Smart ass,” she retorted, wetting her face again while he laughed. “Why do you always think I’m the only one who can make meals? You’re perfectly able to. You know your way around knives and fire.”

“Cooking has never been my forte you know that, Robin.”

“Of course I know!” she replied, looking up at him again, feeling the water run down her nose and collect at the tip before falling. “I’ve eaten your ‘food.’ Tasted more like something you’d give to a dog.”

“No one forced you to eat it,” he stated, lifting the brown rabbit up by the hind legs. “And besides, I don’t mind my own cooking.”

“That’s because you’re used to it by now. You’re like my father; he can’t eat anything unless it’s slightly burned. You’ve been deprived of good food for so long, you prefer the crap you make.”

“So I take it you’re not hungry, then.”


“But I thought you didn’t like my ‘dog food.’”

“It’s better than nothing,” she said getting to her feet, her knees and back screaming in agony.

She groaned again.

“Just hurry up, or I might see what grass tastes like.”

Clark walked off back to the hill where the remnants of a fire waited for him within a shallow hole in the ground. Robin watched from a distance as he sat with his back to her, and from his boot removed a thin knife. He worked with quick hands to skin the rabbit, and soon had it spitted and prepared to go over a fire.

Clark stood and made his way to a clump of trees that stood on the other side of the hill to fetch twigs and other larger branches and sticks that had fallen from the trees. While he was gathering Robin decided to go back to her sleeping place.

Once they were done eating, they would return to their village, Robin decided. Their trek to a nearby village to rid them of a particularly vicious monster was a success, and they had a nice sum of coin jingling in a burlap pouch stuffed into Robin’s rucksack.

Robin and Clark were what the ordinary man called slayers. To the rich and influential, they were powerful allies who took care of the monster problem quickly, efficiently, and for a reasonable price. They kept close to home, ridding the area of the fiends that tormented traveling merchants who were en route to their village, as well as those who stalked the village boundaries keeping people from leaving. It was a fairly profitable career, and it was one she was able to excel at.

She sat down on her cloak, feeling a sharp object poke her through the dark red fabric of her cloak. Pulling back the side, she fished out a couple of pointy rocks and tossed them away. She sighed. She was not made for traveling. Even sitting there on the hard ground sent a dull achy pain to shoot through her bottom, up her spine, and to her shoulders.

“I hate traveling without a bed to sleep in,” she grumbled quietly, crossing her arms over her chest, and moped about until Clark returned with an armful of branches of different thickness and lengths.

He dropped the branches next to the heap of ash within a circle of stones leftover from last night’s fire, and caught sight of Robin sulking on the hill. He watched the wind play with her hair, and then turned back to the fire, creating a criss-crossing pattern with the branches. He sat weaving first the smaller branches first to create the bottom layer before placing a generous amount of grass amongst the pattern. Satisfied, he began a new layer with slightly larger branches until he had the branches stacked to a height he deemed fit.

Nodding with approval, he searched the ground around the perimeter, and after moving aside various spare branches not used in the fire, he found two smooth stones that fit nicely into both his palms. Settling himself on his knees and hunching over the fire, he began striking the stones together near the base where some shreds of grass crept out; creating a loud cracking sound each time the stones were scraped together. He struck them over and over again until a wisp of smoke appeared. Breathing gently on the grass, he coaxed a small flame to consume the branches.

Robin clapped her hands slowly a few times in a sarcastic manner.

Clark gave her a dirty look.

“He slices, he dices and he can make a fire! You too can own your very own slayer for the small price of three-hundred!”

“Only three-hundred? Surely I’m worth more than that. We get at least a thousand per kill.”

“Who do you think is worth seven-hundred, you?” Robin yawned, stretching her arms above her head, lifting her shirt slightly to expose her stomach.

Clark eyed it.

“If you don’t get back to actually killing those fiends, you’ll be worth nothing soon,” Clark snickered and was rewarded with a pebble tossed at his head.

Laughing, he managed to avoid it and smiled broadly in the scowling face of his partner.

“I’m the brains of the operation here, bucko. I can afford to get fat, but you, on the other hand, can’t. We have people to save, villages to protect, yadda, yadda.”

“Yadda, yadda? You forgot the most important part: I make you look good and save your butt every time your method fails.”

“Keep quiet, peon.”

Clark laughed again, and placed the spitted rabbit over the fire. He scooted back from the fire a few feet, and reclined on his side, facing the blaze, watching tendrils of scorching fire lick the skinned rabbit.

They sat quietly, listening to the crackling of the fire.

“We should leave before it gets too hot out here, or we won’t make it back without sun burns.”

Clark tilted his head back slightly to look at Robin, squinting in the sunlight.

“You’re right.”

“Of course I am. I’m always right.”

They didn’t speak for a few more minutes, until Robin broke the silence again with a frustrated grumble.

“I can’t wait to get back to my own bed.”

Clark smiled.

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Total Reads: 525

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