Sunday, 6 September 2009


I've written a book.
It's called Windmaster.


I'm not sure if it's any good or not, but I like it! XD"
You can buy it from Lulu.

Here's an extract from it:

As the time of the duel approached the plaza became packed with people, it seemed like the whole city had come to witness it. Buntaro was surprised that the city even had this many people living in it. He looked around for Kerwen but he couldn’t pick her out in the heaving crowds. He hoped she had found a good spot to watch from.
Ayr stood silent and motionless by the poolside, apparently lost in thought again. He’d better start focusing if he doesn’t want to lose his head, Buntaro mused to himself as he wandered along the edge of the crowd looking for potential escape routes should the need arise. It didn’t look promising; the crowds were packed together so tightly they were trapped within a writhing noose of human bodies.
Then the hour of the duel struck on the old clock tower away across the city, the sound carrying easily in the cold thin air of the mountains, the crowd flowed apart like water and through it strode Haito, the young Samurai from the day before, behind him followed around thirty other young men all dressed similarly in antiquated Samurai dress, their heads held high, katanas through their belts. Buntaro thought they looked ridiculous, who did they think they were? No one wore clothes like that anymore; even in his time serving his Lord such dress had been pretentious and unpractical. Haito at least had chosen to wear more practical pants for the occasion, though he still wore the padded robe.
Buntaro returned to Ayr’s side, Ayr stood facing away from Haito, the smug smile on Haito’s face faded into an angry jeer at this apparent slight as he stopped before Buntaro and Ayr.

“Well it seems you didn’t have the good sense to run away,” he jeered. “I suppose you lose less honour by losing your head than you would from fleeing,” he sneered.

“What do you know of honour?” Buntaro returned. “You young whelp, I don’t suppose you’ve ever seen the horror of battle, or honoured your enemy as you struck him down?” Buntaro said, his ire rising once again, he spat at the man’s feet. Haito turned red with fury at this insult, but before anything more could come of it Ayr turned and once again diffused the situation.

“I am ready now, if you wish to continue on this path?” he said levelly as if unaware of the tense moment that had just occurred.

“I am, I’m more than ready to deal with you,” Haito spat “And then I will deal with your friend!”

“Maybe you’d better exchange that toy of yours for a real man’s sword.” Haito said indicating the wooden bokken tucked in Ayr’s belt, Haito’s band of Samurai laughed and jeered at Ayr. Buntaro standing close and leaning in to Ayr whispered, “Aye lad, take my sword, she’ll see you right.” Ayr shook his head; he thought again of the past, already too much blood had been spilled in this place.

“I’ll not take another’s life over a petty disagreement like this,” he said. “I’m fine as I am.” Haito laughed harshly.

“Well don’t blame me when your head is rolling on the floor, I did offer you the chance. Don’t think I’ll go easy on you!” he said, his eyes narrowing.
Ayr just calmly nodded his head and stepped away to take up position. Buntaro followed him closely looking worried, but he knew better than to question his friend’s choice. They exchanged a few last words.

“Don’t lose your head!” Buntaro told him with concern.

“Don’t worry, I won’t,” Ayr replied, calm as ever, his calmness soothing Buntaro’s fraying nerves. Then Buntaro went to join the crowd, there was nothing more he could do but watch.

Haito addressed the crowd.

“The terms of the duel are, when I win, we’ll be rid of this pretender, and then I’ll rid us of his portly friend too!” the Samurai he’d brought with him cheered and encouraged the crowd to do so with angry threats.

“And if I should win?” Ayr enquired smoothly. Haito turned a cruel smile on Ayr.

“I admire your optimism, but that’s not going to happen!” he assured him.
The Samurai lackeys who had come with Haito spread out and positioned themselves around the front of the crowd forming a semicircle around the two duellers, now enclosed on one side by the semicircle of the crowd, and on the other by the semicircle of the pool edge, forming a crescent moon shape space in which to duel.
One of the Samurai presented Haito with his swords and relieved him of his padded robe before returning to his position in the crowd. The swords were elaborate and expensive looking, the scabbards highly decorated with engravings. Haito secured the swords to his belt, then spent a few moments warming his muscles and showing off his sword skill to the waiting crowd. Ayr watched closely, the old lady had been right, anyone could see this man was all show. His skills may look pretty when on show, but against an unpredictable opponent, such fancy skills were not much use. Maybe he could scare the peasants but any real swordsman need have no fear of him.
Haito stopped his display and looked at Ayr.

“Aren’t you going to warm up?” he asked with a sneer, “We wouldn’t want you pulling a muscle during the duel.” the other Samurai laughed and hurled insults.

“I’m warm enough thank you,” Ayr replied. Once Haito had finished his posturing a large Samurai stepped forward from the crowd, Ayr and Haito took positions opposite each other, the large Samurai between them, he raised his arm.

“Let the duel begin!” he shouted his arm dropped and he quickly retreated back to his place in the crowd.
Haito circled Ayr, Ayr drew his bokken and held his position and waited patiently. Then the young Samurai attacked with a flurry of strikes, Ayr danced lightly backwards on the balls of his feet dodging each strike with ease, predicting each thrust and swipe, occasionally deflecting a blow with lazy sweeps of his bokken.
Haito chased the dancing Ayr around the plaza, following every sequence of strikes by more and more sequences, but never even coming close to actually striking Ayr himself. Ayr made no attempts to strike his opponent, and he had no need to use any of his extra speed or agility to avoid the man, he just let the man tire himself out with the constant effort of attacking.
Finally seeing he was being made a fool of Haito stopped to draw breath, white clouds of vapour filled the cold air with every gasp.

“I see,” he said between long draws of air, “That you do intend to run away after all!” Again the Samurai lackeys in the crowd jeered, calls of cowardice reached Ayr’s ears.

“Fight me!” the young Samurai demanded, “If you’ve any honour at all then fight me!”
Ayr said nothing he did not rise to the taunts but remained focused and calm and ready, he circled slowly around until his back was to the pool, his eyes on Haito the whole time. The man may not be skilled, but you should never underestimate even a fool if he holds a blade.
Finally Haito caught his breath and took up a ready position, for a long time they stood, still, watching, waiting for the other to make the first move. Ayr could have waited all day, but he knew he wouldn’t need to, Haito was impatient for his glory and eventually anger, that Ayr would not attack him, overcame him and he sprang forward with a roar to try and strike him.
Ayr had seen the anger building and saw the moment the man had snapped and moved to strike, the man’s anger made him clumsy and foolish in his attack and Ayr easily side stepped him. Seeing his mistake Haito turned his katana to protect himself, expecting to be struck, but Ayr had other plans for him instead of raising his bokken and striking a blow, he lowered it parallel to the ground and swept the young man’s legs out from under him. Haito stumbled forwards and straight over the raised edge of the pool, the momentum of his own initial attack sending him irresistibly forwards over the edge with an almighty crash and a splash through the icy surface into the filthy water of the pool’s shallows.
Buntaro burst out laughing, and the crowd followed, the Samurai in the crowd were perplexed and confused, not sure if they should help their Master or subdue the crowd, they stood in disarray. Haito rose, spluttering from the stinking water, shivering and gasping against the cold, green slime hung in his hair and his fine clothes were thick with stinking mud stirred up from the bottom of the pool.
He almost slipped and fell back as he stepped over the marble wall due to the slippery gunk that coated his boots. Shaking with rage he picked off the worst bits of weed, some of his Samurai thugs finally ran forward and fussed over him, but he shook them off and shoved and struck at them in his rage.

“What honour is there in tripping a man?” railed the filth covered Haito, appealing to the newly subdued crowd for sympathy, but finding none.

“In battle, honour remains with he who keeps his head on his shoulders,” Buntaro shouted from the crowd. The crowd cheered him until Haito’s goons turned to threaten them again and they fell silent.

“To strike a single clean blow is how to win with honour,” Haito said officiously, the dank water dripping from his long hair and uncontrolled shivering which made his teeth chatter spoilt the effect of his attempted authority.

“If that is how you want it, then so shall it be,” Ayr replied calm and focused.
Ayr waited patiently while Haito removed his heavy soaking short coat and used it to wipe the slippery slime from his boots. He wrung out his long black hair and tied it up out of his eyes before standing ready once more.

“This time I will finish it!” he proclaimed through blue lips.

Once again they began the deadly dance. Steam rose from the soaked Haito as the sun’s heat touched his sopping clothes. After once again sparring and parrying and circling for some time Haito began to tire and despair, why could he not hit him, he thought angrily as Ayr once again danced out of range of his strike, why will he not attack, he thought, anger flaring through him with ever increasing intensity.
As if reading his thoughts at that moment Ayr moved towards him.
To the crowd it happened in an instant, like a lightning strike, but to Haito it was as if time stood still, and although he could see the blow coming, he knew he was powerless to change his fate. Time resumed its normal pace and the last the young Samurai heard was the hollow sound of the wooden bokken striking his head, and in his ears the hollow sound of defeat as he fell unconscious to the floor.
The crowd roared their approval, Buntaro ran forward to embrace his friend.

“HA HAH!” he cried in delight, “You sure taught him a thing or two!” Some of the Samurai had run to their Master’s aid, and were trying to rouse the unconscious man; a growing lump was visible on his forehead. Others surrounded Ayr and Buntaro threatening them, swords drawn. The rest were trying to subdue the crowd, but with Haito unconscious on the floor and with spirits freed by Ayr’s show of defiance their threats no longer carried any weight, spurred on by Ayr’s show of strength against these bullies, the crowd pushed past them and swept up Buntaro and Ayr, surrounding them with a safe barrier of cheering bodies as they carried them off down the street away from the plaza.

Did you enjoy that?
*cough buy it here cough*


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