Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beginning of a Rivalry

Today I'm going to share with you one of my favorite scenes from episode 1 of Quests which won the 2008 National Writers Association scholarship contest. In this scene the elvin princess, Beritta is asked by her teachers, the elders, to practice her fighting skills with a lower ranking elf named Oakley. Beritta is none to pleased thinking she will easily beat him. This is scene is the resulting skirmish.

Don't forget the Name That Creature Contest! is still going on. Also please check out Fedrick & Felnar's Interview so that we can do a question and answer session with them in the following weeks.

Now the story:

Beritta made a disgusted face as Oakley moved to stand beside her. As one of the highest of High Elves, she was expected to be an expert warrior, since she would some day lead other elves in battle. Turning her back on Oakley, Beritta followed one of the elders until they were out of Oakley’s earshot.

“Excuse me,” she said tugging on the elder’s robe. When he turned to face her she continued, “I think there’s been a mistake. You see the elf you partnered me with is a Wood Elf.”

“It’s not a mistake,” the elder replied. “I’d like you to work with Oakley.”

“But you know I’m one of the best fighters in the city,” Beritta argued. “I’ll beat him in no time and it won’t even be a challenge! You should find me a different partner, one who will put up a good fight.”

“I will not cater to your pride, princess,” said the elder. “If he is below your level you can help him improve.”

So Beritta grudgingly returned to Oakley, secretly vowing to go easy on him. She sized up his skinny body with an inward sigh. This would be far too easy.

“We’ll start with swords,” Beritta announced with a toss of her long hair.

Oakley nodded and picked a thin curved sword from the pile of weapons the elders provided. Beritta rummaged through this pile for a minute until she found her favorite practice sword. It was curved, like Oakley’s but with a small blade a few inches longer than her forearm. She swung it through the air experimentally, enjoying the whistling sound this made. Oakley stretched and sliced the air in front of him before moving into a ready position with his blade pointed straight in front of him. Beritta also took a ready stance.

Once all the pairs stood ready, an elder signaled them to begin. Beritta swung her sword forward but Oakley moved at the same moment, blocking her attack. The blades met with a metallic ring, sending up a shower of silver sparks like pixie dust. They pulled back and circled each other until Oakley jumped forward, forcing Beritta to block his blow. Beritta retaliated with a series of stabbing motions which Oakley parried, swinging his sword from side to side in a quick motion and starting the fight in earnest.

They wove in to deal blows and out to avoid the other’s weapon. Their movements were quick and graceful like a dance. Beritta loved the feel of the smooth motions and the fire in her blood which made her powerful. Usually she was faster and stronger than any elf she skirmished, but that day she found her opponent’s skill greater than she expected. Oakley was just as good as she was, moving his sword smoothly through the air in time with her.

As Oakley forced her to yield ground through a fierce attack, Beritta took back on her promise to go easy on him. With a two handed sweep of her sword, Beritta chopped at Oakley’s legs. He jumped back, giving her the space she needed to push herself into an offensive leap. Yelling, Beritta extended her sword, intending to smash the flat down on Oakley’s head, ending the fight. Positioning himself in a crouch, Oakley sliced upward using the force of Beritta’s leap to send her flying backward. Beritta felt the wind knocked out of her as she hit the ground and slid, raising a cloud of dust and pine needles.

By this time most of the other pairs stopped sparing and gathered to watch Beritta and Oakley. Beritta got to her feet and rubbed her sore scratched back. She glared at Oakley who held his sword in front of him with a calm air. With a shout Beritta charged. As she neared him, Oakley swung out his sword, slapping Beritta’s hand with the flat of the blade then swinging it beneath her weapon, disarming her. It was a complicated move only the best swordsmen knew. Beritta stared at Oakley, red faced and humiliated. She, Beritta, princess of elves had been beaten by a Wood Elf.

An elder standing nearby raised an eyebrow then clapped. Beritta and Oakley both turned in surprise. A mighty cheer went up from the watching elf children.

Exasperated, Beritta faced Oakley again and yelled, “All right, I admit it, you’re better than I am! I QUIT!”

She stormed off leaving Oakley confused and partnerless.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Name That Creature Contest!

I'm pleased to present the blog's first contest! This contest is called 'name that creature'. The object is to see how many of the mythical creatures listed below you can name correctly. There's just one little detail you should note before you play. These are unusual mythical creatures, not the ones you always hear about like dragons, unicorns and fairies.

Here are the rules: read my descriptions then copy and paste the ones you know to an e-mail and fill in the answers. Once you have as many answers as you know, send the e-mail to The person who fills in the most answers correctly wins. I will also give second and third place prizes to people who have the second and third amount of correct answers. Winners will recieve an e-mail asking for a mailing address so I can send them the prizes.

Prizes: That's what really gets your attention right? 1st place winner will get to sample the first 4 episodes of my Middle Grade fantasy novel, Quests, (I will attact the episodes to an e-mail) in addition to receiving a 'trading card' of Princess Beritta, (see the Meet Beritta and Beritta Answers Your Questions posts for more information about this character) a Quests 'logo' t-shirt and a $15 gift card to Barnes and Noble . 2nd place winner will receive a Quests logo t-shirt, a trading card, and a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card. 3rd place will receive a Quests logo tee-shirt and a trading card. Anyone who can answer the bonus questions will win a free t-shirt. The contest will run through August. Winners will be announced here on the blog. Prizes will come by mail after this period. Be sure to invite your friends to join the fun. The more competition the better! ;) Also you might want to study up on mythical creatures. Some of these are pretty hard.
Name That Creature!

1. I live in mines. When danger is near I'll tap on the wall to warn you. What am I?

2. I'm a small elvin creature that likes to tinker with technology. I was first discovered by the British Royal Air Force in the 1920s. What am I? 3. I’m a shape-shifter who loves to cause terror and trouble. I change into things you fear. What am I?

4. I appear in the shape of a horse, but my hooves are backwards from those of an ordinary horse. If you get on my back I will carry you to the nearest sorce of water and attempt to drown you. What am I?

5. I live in marshes. You can only see me as a mysterious floating light. If you follow me I will lead you far into the marsh and leave you stranded there. What am I?

6. I can breathe fire I have the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a serpent. I brought death and destruction for years before battling a Greek hero. What am I? 7. I'm a man-like creature made out of mud or clay. I can only be brought to life by spells. I work as a servant, always doing as I am told and never moving unless I am given instructions. I usually work for sorcerers. What am I?

Bonus questions:

1. I live in the Alps. Icicles hang from my hair and beard. I prefer cold weather and hibernate in the summer. My favorite form of entertainment is surfing on avalanches, though I will whistle to warn you of their danger. What am I?

2. I have wild green hair and blue skin. I hibernate in the winter and am at my most mischievous in the spring. I let out whistles to confuse humans. To escape me you must put your clothes on backwards. What am I?