Middle grade/ Young Adult fiction is something that I’ve enjoyed writing for quite a while now. For my latest assignment, I wrote the opening chapter to a new concept of mine; an Adventure/ Fantasy book or story. This is only the first chapter, and already I’m quite excited to continue it!
Enjoy Part 1 of Chapter 1, and let me know what you think!
“Advena, I asked for my hunting gear to be cleaned for the mid-morning hunt!” A heavily booted foot came down on the stump I had been using as a rest to scrub this man’s leather armour.
I winced. I couldn’t help it; loud noises and a boot out of nowhere could do that to a person.
“Sorry, sorry, I’m working as fast as I can.” I apologised through gritted teeth, ignoring the blood on my fingertips while I worked.
My name is not Advena.
“Give me that!” The tower of a man barked and snatched his leathers away from me. He sneered while he scrutinised my handiwork. “It’ll have to do. I expect it to be done on time in future.”
He stomped off to join his hunter friends, gathered by the village gates. They were laughing; I could see them. The man whose armour I had cleaned, Mountain, they called him, said something to the hunting party. All but immediately they turned and looked at me.
Even from this distance, I could see it.
The way their gazes were fixed, their faces all contorted into foul smirks, and their mouths formed a muttered word: the self-same word I had been hearing ever since I could remember.
I lowered my head and stared at my hands, the way they tightened when I clasped them, the colour they turned as I kept them grasped tightly. I kept staring until I heard them boisterously exit the village, singing songs of the bounteous plunder they would bring upon their return.
They had never taught me how to hunt. Every other youth in the village had the lessons, but I hadn’t. I doubt I would know which way to hold a sword, let alone how to aim an archer’s bow.
I sighed and lifted my head, wiping my bloodied fingers on the grimy apron that all but remained part of my attire permanently. Once upon a time, the apron had been a sort of pale leather sewn from various rabbit skins. Now, it was much closer to the hue of scorched embers; black as pitch, with the odd fleck of red.
It isn’t difficult to guess what the flecks of red are.
To one side of me, a huge wooden pail swirled with deep sludge. It smelt almost as bad as it looked. Various articles of leather garb were strung out to dry on a line which overhung this pail, and flapped with a resounding crack whenever the bitter air whistled past.
And to the other side, a heap of untreated leather garments threatened to tumble over at every opportunity. The wind certainly wasn’t helping it stay standing.
Well. I had better get back to work.
As somebody not permitted to hunt and provide for the village, I was set about a task which was typically reserved for the elderly and frail folk; treating and cleaning the clan’s hunting leathers.
Frankly, it was embarrassing whenever I reached a pile of leathers made to fit children, because it made me realise that those younger than me were more competent.
Lost inside the labyrinth called my head, I was unaware of someone calling my name until I next looked up from my work to start scrubbing at the newly treated leather.
“You’d not notice the ground givin’ way beneath yer feet, Jedrek.”
Oh yeah, that was me!