This is the first time I've sent a piece of fiction out into the wild... But, like ripping off a bandaid, it has to be done sometime, right? So, with no further foot-dragging, here is Chapter 2 of The Dictator's Daughter.
The Brotherhood monastery was an ideal place for Liri and her guards to learn and train. Both scholars and soldiers, the monks stressed education of the body as well as the mind. The monks’ trademark walking staff was actually a weapon. All students learned how to use the long, wrist-thick pole, starting each day with basic defensive exercises developed by the monks over the centuries.
Every evening Liri met with her bodyguards in an inner courtyard for training exercises that went beyond the walking stick to include archery, sword fighting and close quarters combat.
The monks were under no illusion as to who Liridona was and why the three men with her were allowed access to her private quarters and the monastery’s inner grounds. President General Valon himself toured the monastery and paid twice the usual tuition to insure his daughter had the very best education and the most defensible rooms. He also paid full tuition for each of the three bodyguards and agreed to the stipulation that they would also genuinely study while there – or face expulsion like any other student, in addition to whatever punishment Valon found suitable for a guard who failed his duty.
That particular evening was sword practice. Liri was not surprised, given Max’s revelation, when Adrian launched immediately into an interrogation concerning her lunch partner.
“Who is he,” Adrian demanded, bouncing on his toes to get as close to her face as possible, not even bothering to greet her first.
Although Liri had never fully trusted him, she could see the rage in his startling green eyes behind the thick fringe of heavy black hair. It caused an uneasy quiver in her chest.
“Why, hello, Adrian!” Liri said with false brightness to the shorter man, stepping way from him toward the rack of practice swords. “How was your day? What did you think of Brother Bora’s analysis of the Battle of the Shore?”
“I thought it was very interesting,” Olek volunteered when Adrian growled under his breath and turned away. Liri thought about Max’s evaluation of the broad-faced blond, and wondered what exactly went on behind that thick forehead. “Especially the counter attack the by the combined forces of monks and soldiers that eventually pushed the enemy into the sea. Although it did surprise me that the military would submit to the leadership of the monastery.”
“I found it interesting, too,” Engel said. “Although I’m somewhat surprised you heard a word of it – with the randomly grinning and doodling the whole hour and a half.”
“Engel, of all people, you should know how well I already know that story,” Liri said as she selected a dummy sword from the rack. “It’s been my favorite since childhood. I used to make you play the invaders to my defending forces on the shore of the palace pond!”
“Yes,” Engel answered with a laugh. “And you still ended up in the water at least half the time!”
Liri grinned at him. “Brother Bora should be grateful I was in such a good mood this afternoon,” she said. “He barely touched on the role of the Sisterhood. You can be sure he’ll get his education in my term paper next week!”
“I’m sure,” said Adrian, still nursing a growl in his voice, while selecting his practice sword from the rack and swinging it over his head in a mock parry.
“To answer your curiosity, I had a very interesting conversation at lunch, not that it’s any business of yours.” Liri said. “However, since you’ve probably already sent an update to my father, you might as well do your background research on Max – but if I don’t get the exact same report you send home, I will make sure you don’t return here with me in the fall.”
Olek nodded, understanding a direct order when he heard it. Adrian’s nostrils flared a little wider letting Liri know her assumption was correct. Engel just grinned, like someone who was going to get a lot of mileage out of an inside joke.
“Now,” she said, swinging the sword into first pose, “Let’s get to work.”
So? What do you think? Would you read more? Or should I spare the world further anguish and bury it in the back yard?
Jane Wells has always gravitated toward reading material that pushed other people’s buttons. In 2nd grade it was a dinosaur book that upset her teacher at a Baptist school. Now it’s vampires and dystopias that catch her imagination. In them she finds parables and allegories illustrating God’s ancient plan in a language that is uniquely modern – and easily understood by people who may have never set foot inside a church. Glitter in the Sun and Bird on Fireare the results.
Always a writer, Jane’s “real jobs” have included newspaper journalism, youth ministry, sewing machine sales and marketing for a publishing house. Currently she is back to “just a writer” again, while juggling all the typical domestic duties of wife and mother, homeschooling two boys, managing two needy Golden Retrievers and answering to one very demanding cat.