NaNoWriMo: Day 20 & 21 (featuring excerpt from Warrior Tithe)

Yesterday, I made progress in Eastside Faerie. Today I’m rewarding myself with working on Warrior Tithe. I thought starting with Fagan’s (Fergus from Tam Lin: A Modern, Queer Retelling) side of the story was too bleak, so I’m starting with Aoife’s side of the story.

Here’s an excerpt from the rough draft, that will likely change a lot in revisions post NaNoWriMo:

The clang of metal meeting metal sang in Aoife’s ears as Roi’s sword clashed with hers. The shock of his brute strength reverberating up her arm. She spun away and took a running leap onto higher ground–crates piled in the arena for such purpose. 

Roi bombarded her with images of him mounting her every way possible in this arena in front of the entire court of her father Mannan Mac Lir. The sea fairfolk cheering him on as he drove himself in her. What’s worse was that the pervert imagined her enjoying such a degrading act. The sorcerer king was so sure he’d win. 

He grinned wickedly at her sound of disgust. “Ye do possess the sight!” he bellowed. In a lower, guttural tone, he vowed,  “I must have ye. I’ll rule all of Ireland and beyond with ye at my side.”

Aoife cursed herself for ever desiring the man. She was the one that challenged him. She wanted to prove to her da, the god of the sea, that Roi was worthy of her, but alas, he was not. Roi saw her as a prize–a warm body to give him pleasure and secure his rule, not a person with a heart and love to give. 

 If she’d wanted an alliance match, she would have settled on a fae like herself.

Roi leapt onto the crates. They groaned and shook with the weight of him. Her erstwhile intended was a beast of a man, muscled, fey, and filled with magic, sword at the ready.

 Aoife squatted and pushed with her feet, arching her back as she flipped backwards off the mound.  The whine of his blade slicing the air sang above–just missing her. On the ground again, their bodies thrust back and forth, and circled round–the deadly dance of swordplay. 

Fae and faster than the mortal sorcerer king, she put distance between them, using evasive maneuvers to tire him out. He may have magic, but Roi was human. All Aoife had to do was outlast him and make her move when he was too exhausted to fight back. 

Roi charged. Aoife spun out of the way–except she didn’t. She’d meant to, but her boots would not move. The soles were magically sealed to the ground. Using magic was against the rules of the match. Roi had to best her physically. His hefty body hurtling at her, she had no time to cry foul. 

Aoife did have time to shift into her kelpie form. If Roi was going to use magic, so was she. Smoke curled around her. A storm of power rippled through her body as ever bone, sinew, and tendon remade itself. She was small in her fae form, easily crushed by a man as big as Roi. However as a black mare, a kelpie, she outmatched the brute in weight and height. 

The sorcerer king ricocheted backwards, plopping on his arse. His sword flew out of his hand and skittered across the compact dirt floor of the arena. 

She nickered in her kelpie form, laughing at the fool. The seafolk fae laughed, too, mocking the human king who dared to believe he was a match for one of Mannan’s daughters.

“Forfeit! Use of magic is a voluntary forfeit!” Roi cried, silencing them all.

Aoife turned her gaze to her father and tried shifting back to her mortal form so she could speak and acquit herself , but couldn’t any more than she could get her boots free from the ground. She nickered and whinnied, backing away to demonstrate her boots were fixed to the ground. To her horror, one of the boots unsettled with the movement–her proof gone. 

Roi rose to his feet. A sly grin crept up the corner of his mouth as he sheathed his sword. He squinted his dark eyes at her in challenge. “Make yerself a woman again, or not, I’ll ride ye one way or another, my bride.”

©TJ Deschamps

Hope you’re all doing well.

Photo by Khadeeja Yasser on Unsplash

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