Arabesque,

Arabesque Chapter 7

11/28/2016 Laura Watkins 0 Comments

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I will be sharing parts of my writing every week (alternating between Arabesque and Persephone) as I write them (with the exception of some parts of Arabesque, which were written previously), so please be patient with any errors you may find, as these are a first drafts.

About the book

Tatania is tired of living in her sister's shadow but doesn't know about Princess Anna's dark secret. Bound by a sacred oath, Anna's struggles to live a double life that can never be her own. 
Described as "Sense and Sensibility meets Ever After with ninjas," Arabesque is full of action, romance, intrigue, and betrayal.

Since I've always been super paranoid, Arabesque was officially copyrighted in 2009. Duplication or use of this work in any other form is prohibited by law.


Chapter 7
Anna

However did Isabel persuade me to attend Dorian’s snowball fight?  She had spoken of needing time out of the manor, of fresh air, exercise, and socialization.  She had made it all sound very practical, but in the end, she asked me to come as a favor to her, which I found myself unable to refuse.

When we arrived, I was astonished to discover Sir Henry amongst the gentlemen.  He had been residing at Licht Haven Park, but he usually kept to himself and his duties.

His father, General Ashenhurst, was the leader of the royal guard.  Sir Henry and a modest compliment of soldiers were stationed at the manor for our protection.  He must have been concerned for our safety away from the manor.

Tatania often complained that Sir Henry was over protective of us.  She found his role strange as we had grown up with him.  She hadn’t an inkling of his full purpose at Licht Haven Park.  Henry was not only a soldier, he was most often my sparring partner, and of late, a mentor of sorts.

All in the royal family were expected to learn basic weapons and self-defense.  The king, however, expected me to become a master of combat.  Since childhood, I had been trained in secret by General Ashenhurst to use all manner of weapons.  King Nicholas had often observed as I mastered a new form of combat: bow, stave, sword, mace, etc.  I was also required to learn to fight unarmed; to see my surroundings as potential weapons.  A single silver candlestick could be an effective, although not ideal, defense against a sword, dagger, or several other methods of attack.  Any potential assassin would find me no easy meat.

Henry had trained with me since childhood.  He was a year older than I, and always significantly larger and stronger.  However, being pitted against such opponents was vital to my training as nearly any assassin was likely to surpass me in size.

Unfortunately, I was not able to commit the majority of my time to my training; as a princess, I had other duties.  Although, as a young adult, I had mastered many weapons, and out-stripped Henry in several areas, there was always more to learn. Thus Henry’s life had been filled with the teaching I lacked, and we spent countless hours hidden away, compensating for time lost.

 I should not have been at all surprised to find that Sir Henry had joined our party at the orchard.  My only astonishment should have been that he did not bring any of his soldiers.   I suppose that with so many gentlemen in attendance, we should be very safe indeed.

The match soon began, and Tatania bolted off (I assumed to pummel Sir Alec).  I started in the opposite direction.

I soon spied the main group of gentlemen, but no longer saw Sir Henry among them.  I crept behind their lines, checking by the horses, but still did not see him.

Had he returned to the manor, satisfied with our safety?  No, his horse was still tethered with the others.

I stalked silently, attempting to get into the spirit of the game.  Tatania clearly wanted us to trounce them, and I apparently was intricate her success.

I returned to our half of the field, and began my assault.

I must admit to feeling a great deal of satisfaction as I ambushed my opponents, using every bit of my combat training that would apply.

I began by simply throwing snowballs, but soon my opponents began to avoid areas where I’d attacked from, and stayed out of my throwing radius.  I tried moving closer to them, but spent more time traveling and hiding than attacking, which was very frustrating.  I’d never realized what a violent creature I was.  I was soon addicted to the thrill of battle.

My training seemed to click right into play.  I quickly removed my scarf and converted it into a sling.  Now, scarcely any location was safe from me.

I attacked mercilessly, carefully moving from place to place, from target to target.  I felt so alive!  My blood pumped furiously.  My senses were keenly aware of my surroundings.  Each step seemed to crunch loudly in the snow; each breath a gush of wind.

I was clearly so intoxicated by the adrenaline that I did not hear him approaching.  I might have never known of his presence if not for the furious impact of cold snow to the back of my hood.

I turned quickly, arm raised, snowball in hand, searching for my attacker.  Of course, he was nowhere in sight.  Anyone quiet enough to sneak up on me would be careful enough to remain out of sight.

I crept behind a large snow bank, and took a few shots at the gentlemen to the south, hoping my pursuer would think I’d given up on him and was seeking easier prey.  Instead, I headed north, staying out of sight, and giving my target’s previous location a wide berth.

Circling around, I finally spotted him.  My ruse seemed to have barely sidetracked him, and he was following me once more.

He moved as inaudibly as me, and I was only able to spot him by chance as he ducked behind a shrub that was just barely too small to hide a grown man.

I gathered ammunition as Henry closed in.  We were now extremely far from the others.

I pounced as Henry rounded the tree that I hid behind.  Leaping onto his back, I wrapped on arm around his neck, while my free hand smashed a snowball into his face.  I gripped tightly with both hands as he sought to dislodge me, but I held firm.

Seeing the only way to remove me, he threw himself to the ground, crushing me beneath him.  The soft snow lessened the impact, but air still rushed out of my lungs, and I could not breathe for several seconds.

During this time, he managed to wriggle free, somewhat, and tried to pin me to the ground.  I rolled out of his reach and sprang to my feet.  I was no match for his strength and weight.

He grinned as he threw another snowball at me, but I leapt and rolled to the side, avoiding it.

I grabbed a handful of snow as I finished my roll, and hurled it at him.  He ducked easily, and started towards me, a snowball in each hand.

I ran around the tree, hoping it would block him, if only for a moment.  He ran in the opposite direction to cut me off.

As he came within a few feet of me, I jumped, grabbing the branch above my head.  I swung, kicking him in the chest, and knocked him down.

I landed quickly, and stood over him, poised to pelt him with the two handfuls of snow that I had grabbed as I landed.

He laughed, throwing up his hands and saying, “Well done, my lady!  I yield.”

I grinned, and offered my hand to help him up.

“I was surprised to see you here, my lord.” I said as we dusted the snow off our rumpled clothing.

“Our last conversation reminded me that we need to take life a little less seriously and find much more amusement in it.  I saw this excursion as a perfect distraction, while still able to perform my duties.”

“And did you find this ‘distraction’ significantly diverting?”

“Quite, although I must admit I expected to be less soggy by the end of it.”  He grinned cheerfully and we both laughed.

Piercing screams filled the air.  Henry and I immediately ran back toward the others, where the sound emanated.

We had strayed quite a distance.  We finally arrived to an extremely bizarre scene.  Genevieve, Sylvia, and Olivia were all covered in snow; Sir Alec was scowling and dripping with slush; and my sister….Tatania and Dorian lay together in the snow, kissing while Lady Elena towered above them.  

More coming soon! Read Chapter 8 here or more about my projects here.
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