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Empires

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Empires

Postby Veltah01 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:44 pm

The warm morning air was filled with the sounds of birds fluttering singing in the trees. The castle sitting on the top of the hill seemed quite peaceful to those down in the village. Few had ever been inside since the gates were closed most of the time but all in the village knew the king and his benevolent family by sight. The family had ruled for more than a hundred years and each member of the Tiger clan was considered to be a godsend. The large family had made life much better for the people of the land.
The sound of steel ringing against steel could be heard all across the castle grounds. The guards manning the walls watched the spectacle below with great enthusiasm. It happened every morning the prince would train with the mysterious swordsman Jou Tai hoping to beat him each time it was close but the slightly older Jou Tai always managed to defeat the young prince.
The guards bet their pay amongst each other on who would win. The money was placed in a huge bowl as they watched the two enter the arena. They were both stripped bare to the waist. Jou Tai’s tall scarred body standing straight and true as he held his sheathed katana in his left hand. His eyes focusing on the young prince
Prince Feng Chin’s tall heavily muscled body was lightly tanned and completely unscarred. His short spiky dark hair contrasting the smooth features of his face. His own weapon, a long scimitar was clutched tightly in both his hands. His cool blue eyes studied the impassive face of Jou Tai.
They stood there completely motionless. Their eyes locked in a mental combat. Each waiting for the other to move. Testing each other’s patience. Trying to see who would give in first. Unfortunately for the prince his patience was not that great.
With a defiant roar he charged forward his blade thrusting with incredible speed. The blade would have pierced the heart of even the most hardened soldier but against Jou Tai the tip met nothing but air. Jou Tai spun away his blade seeming to leap from his sheath slashing in a deadly horizontal arc. Feng barely escaped the blow as he sucked in his gut and set himself back on his heels. Spinning around he sent a sideways chop at the scarred swordsman’s neck, but to no avail.
The older fighter had anticipated such a move. Flipping away he landed cat like on his feet then lunged forward his blade held at shoulder height pulled back to the limit of his tendons and muscles. Feng Chin’s face broke into a picture of distress as he recognized the famed Fang Strike. Spinning around he was just fast enough to deflect the blow it clanged against his blade. Sending him skidding backwards on the balls of his feet.
Leaping high into the air the young prince spun his blade in a tremendous arc to add centrifuge to his downward momentum. The blade missed the lean form of Jou Tai though, as it sank deeply into the stone ground. Grabbing the now stuck sword he spun around his foot flying out catching the surprised swordsman on the calf sending him to the ground. Jerking free his blade the prince turned to face his already standing opponent.
Jou Tai’s blade moved forward. The tip brushing against the prince’s cheek and if the blade had not been magically dulled he knew that he would be sporting his first scar. Anger flooded through the prince clouding his judgment. In a flurry of movement he attacked his blade thrusting and slashing in a dozen different areas at seemingly the same time.
Jou Tai barely dodged most of the blows. Two of them unfortunately connected with enough force to knock him backward. His blade darted forth using his deadliest Fang thrust. The attack held no room for error. It slipped past the Prince’s defenses and slammed into his chest with unheard of force. Sending the dazed young man sailing across the courtyard. Where he was brought up short by a group of guards who were standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Getting unsteadily to his feet the prince staggered back into the arena. His body was covered in a sheen of salty sweat as was his sparring companions. Coming to the center of the ring they clasped hands and broke into a fit of hysterical laughter. They turned around at the sound of clapping coming from the side of the ring. Their stood Zhen Li another of the King’s most trusted bodyguards, and Ying Chin the king’s only daughter.
“That was pretty good my Prince. I was surprised to see that you actually struck our fine friend here.” Boomed Zhen as he patted Feng on the back.
“I did?”
“Yeah and they really hurt why’d you swing so hard you oaf?” complained Jou as he rubbed his bruised ribs.
“Sorry but I was kind of angry that you always win we fight just like you one again today.”
“I’m afraid I did not win. For you see if you had been wielding a real sword these two strikes would have most assuredly lead to my demise. Besides I was forced to use one of my deadliest attacks on you my friend. You should be honored by that alone.”
“Your not just saying that to make me feel better are you?”
“Have I ever lied to you my Prince?” countered Jou.
“Well… no I guess not.”
“Bravo my son. Never have I seen such a display of incredible swordsmanship.” Cried King Meng Chin as he approached carrying one of the magically dulled longswords from the training room.
“Hello father. Why are you carry one of the practice swords?”
“Oh I figured I might as well as come down and see if I could defeat this upstart of a swordsman.” Replied King Meng Chin jokingly, winking at Jou as he entered the ring.
“Are you saying that you wish to fight me, your majesty?” queried a rather nervous Jou Tai.
“Yes if you feel up to the task?”
“Certainly if you truly wish to spar than I shall accommodate you.”
“Very well then I place down a thousand gold coins saying that I will defeat Jou Tai.” Shouted the king as he tossed a hefty sack to one of the soldiers.
Jou Tai smiled as he placed an equal bet upon himself for the upcoming duel. Sheathing his sword he walked to the north end of the ring while the king positioned himself on the south end.
“Do not hold back against me young man or else you shall surely meet defeat.”
“Very well old man.” Called Jou Tai coercing the King into attacking him.
Unfortunately the King was much harder to anger than his son. They stood at the opposite ends of the arena for what seemed like hours to the spectators. Their eyes locked in a battle of wills just as they had been between Jou Tai and the prince. Unfortunately it was Jou Tai whose patience ran out this time.
To those watching from the sidelines the swordsman’s image seemed to blur and then disappear altogether. A second later they heard the sound of steel on steel as the king parried the deadly attack from behind. That was when the battle started. Moving like a pair of graceful dancers they began the deadliest sword dance that any of the soldiers had ever seen.
Jou Tai was more than a little surprised to discover that the King fought with incredible skill for a man of his age and station. He tried many of his lesser tricks doing his best to feel out the older man’s limitations but the more he tested the old man the more he discovered that the king didn’t have many. His blade thrust forward three times in rapid succession. Each strike attempting to reach a different vital organ, the left lung then the heart, and finally the right lung. But the King easily deflected each thrust.
Spinning around Jou sent a low thrust for the King’s legs but the king surprisingly back flipped away his own sword leaping forward with incredible speed. Jou Tai was hard pressed to dodge the deadly blade. Spinning away from the attacks of the King, Jou Tai sheathed his sword and ran forward his blade leaping forth from the scabbard at the last possible moment in hopes of striking the older man down. But to no avail the King easily dodged the slash and countered with another deadly thrust this one aimed at the young man’s exposed armpit.
The tip grazed Jou Tai’s skin showing the young man that he would have to quit holding back. His body exploded into movement his blade slashing and thrusting faster than the eye could follow. The King blocked the first three attacks each one knocking him back a foot or so. He was glad when he was finally out of range from the young man’s deadly blade. For he like his counterpart was beginning to realize his opponent’s skill.
Back peddling away from the swordsman he allowed Jou’s sword to cease moving before he leapt forward his blade striking a dozen places simultaneously. He smiled for this was the pinnacle of his technique. But as he sword moved forward to initiate the attack Jou Tai’s blade also moved initiating his deadliest attack. The blades slammed into each other with tremendous force the sound of steel creaking was loud in the morning air as the two blades gave way beneath the deadly collision. For a few seconds the two blades held up to the onslaught of power behind the strikes before they eventually snapped in half.
They stared at each other for a moment before dropping their useless shattered weapons to the ground. The King smiled disarmingly at Jou Tai, causing the young man to burst into laughter. The King followed suit shortly after his own deep hearty laugh booming across the courtyard, washing over the stunned onlookers. Meng Chin slapped Jou Tai on the back with a hearty clap.
“Your skill is incredible my lord where did you learn to fight?” asked Jou Tai breathlessly.
“I picked up a few tricks here and there, my young friend. Your own fighting style is quite impressive.”
“Thank you, my lord.”
“Where did you learn yours?”
“Oh I picked up a few tricks here and there.” Replied Jou with a smile.
“I see.” Laughed King Chin. “Well I guess I’ll let you return to your duties Jou Tai.”
“Sir.”
The King strode away his personal guard falling into step beside him. They were six of his elite soldiers. Jou Tai smiled wonderingly.
“What so funny?” asked Ying as she and her brother, followed closely by Zhen Li.
“I was just thinking that if anybody attacked your father they should fear him over his guards.”
“Is he truly that strong Jou?” asked Fang
“I fought him with all of my skill and you saw how easily he defeated me.”
“Well I don’t know about easily defeated it looked more like a draw to me.” Piped in Ying.
“She’s right Jou but then again in all of the years you and I have traveled together I have never seen you fight to a draw before.”
“humph.” Jou Tai turned and walked away.
“What’s up with him?” asked Fang as his eyes followed Jou across the courtyard.
“Once I saw him use that move before. Maybe he was tired this time or maybe your strikes hurt more than he thought.”
“What are you talking about?” asked a confused young prince.”
“You remember the Jiao twins? Remember how they had made a reputation for themselves for slaying highly reputed swordsman?”
“Yeah they were the best up until a young swordsman slew them in the street of some small village.”
“Exactly that boy was Jou Tai that was when I first saw him. He had a reputation as a strong swordsman in the town but unlike most his age he didn’t flaunt his skill. I remember it as if it were yesterday.”
******************
A Young Jou Tai walked down the street his katana sheathed and clutched tightly in his left hand. A cold winter wind blew across the village’s empty streets. His eyes narrowed as he spotted the two warriors standing beside the tavern door. He could see the blood still on their weapons. Their eyes gleamed as they spotted Jou’s lithe form. He yelled out to them his young sixteen winter body outlined in the rising sun’s rays.
“Well if it isn’t the whelp’s son.” Cried the tall grizzled warrior as he shifted his longsword, the one named Zhyun Jiao
“I’m surprised to see you here little boy.” Cried the younger brother his tall wolfish features breaking into a sharp-toothed grin, his name was Gar Jiao
“You killed my father.”
“So, what are you going to do about little one, hmm? Are you going to fight us with that pig sticker on your hip?”
“You should just run home little boy.”
“You are the ones who don’t understand. I have no home now you took it away from me. Now I’m going to make you pay for taking my father away from me.”
“Oh really.” Yelled Zhyun as he lunged forward his sword darting forward with incredible speed.
The tip ripped across Jou’s chest leaving a thin line across his lean muscled chest. His sword leaped from his sheath with incredible speed slicing a thin cut across Zhyun’s forearm. The grizzled swordsman howled in pain and rage as he spun around backhanding Jou across the face. The little swordsman stumbled backward blood gushing from his broken nose. His eyes flared dangerously as he move in his sword moving with deadly efficiency. Gar leapt into the fray his twin sabers moving in deceptive circles as he deflected Jou’s attacks. But the young man was much more skilled than they had anticipated. His blades darted in and out of the circles and if it were not for the intervention of Gar’s older brother the wolfish man would have certainly been slain in that same instance.
Spinning away Jou sent a low swipe at Gar’s leg, hoping to cripple him. But it was to no avail. The more seasoned veteran deflected the blow and spun around kicking Jou in the stomach sending his small form slamming into the wall of the tavern. Rising shakily to his feet Jou charged, his blade slashing in a deadly barrage. The two swordsmen were caught off guard momentarily as the little swordsman plowed into them his blade attacking them in a dozen different places all at once. They were extremely hard pressed for several seconds.
Then they realized how to stop the attack, they both pressed forward suddenly. They were much stronger than the young boy and their pressed powerful swings caused the younger man to fall back. Gar stepped away to catch his breath, while Zhyun stepped in his two sabers erupting into motion. His blades cut and stabbed at a dozen different vital organs at seemingly the same time. Jou dodged the blows enough to keep from being seriously wounded but still the blade nicked him in more than a half dozen areas.
Blood soaked through his shirt in a matter of seconds. He stumbled backwards his face and clothes covered in blood. His back was brought up hard against the wall of a building. The Jiao brothers smiled maliciously as they advanced upon the young swordsman. Jou stepped forward his sword thrusting forward, the blade was easily parried. Zhyun’s hand shot forward slamming into Jou’s chest sending the air rushing from his lungs in a great whoosh.
He slumped to the ground. Gasping for breath. Gar’s armored leg shot forward, kicking Jou Tai in the ribs. He rolled away into the middle of the street pain arcing through his side. His ribs were broken he knew. He stumbled up to a kneeling position his eyes lifted just enough to see the two brothers approaching him lifting their swords. So they were going to finish it then. Anger flared through him like a red-hot iron laid across his mind. They had killed his father, he couldn’t let them win.
“You proved more of a challenge than your old man. Do you have any last words be fore we kill you?”
“Yes I do.”
“Well what do you have to say?”
“Goodbye.”
Jou’s image shimmered slightly, a moment before his body disappeared altogether. His image reappeared right between the two brothers they tried to move but they were simply too slow for the incredible speed of the younger swordsman. His blade was sheathed but suddenly he exploded into motion. His blade slashed and sliced at the two brothers crushing their meager attempts to defend themselves in seconds.
The blade was soaked in blood by the time the young Jou stopped moving. The two Jiao brothers stood perfectly still for several long seconds, before collapsing to the ground in a bloody heap. Jou Tai sheathed his blade and walked away. His footsteps carried him from the town and high up into the mountains.

**********************************
“Now do you see why he was wandering how the King blocked his move?”
“I didn’t know that Jou Tai was the one who slew the Jiao brothers.”
“Few do, only me and the people who lived in that village. I was sent there to take care of them myself. But when I arrived I heard the story about how Jou Tai had slain them both in revenge of his father.”
“So that’s where he got those scars all over his body?” asked Ying as she studied Jou across the courtyard.”
“Yep.”
“But what about the one on his cheek?” she asked.
“I don’t know all I know is that when he came back down out of the mountains I was waiting for him. And he had that scar then. He was gone for almost a year.”
“Interesting I wonder what he was doing in those mountains?”
“I asked him but he never said anything he just said that he would join me when I told that I was an Imperial guard.”
“He’s so mysterious.”
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Re: Empires

Postby Bmat » Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:46 pm

Welcome to Speculative Vision!

Is this a novel excerpt?

Your story moves well. It is heavy on fighting, which isn't my interest but which may well be of great interest to others. You have a sincere way of expressing yourself that encourages the reader to be interested in your story.

You should work on punctuation a bit. You have at least one word used incorrectly ("one" instead of "won".) I think that in your first paragraph that I'd say the sound of fluttering birds singing... if you want to use both fluttering and singing. Is "centrifuge" the word you want to use? perhaps "momentum"?

Keep up the good work!
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Re: Empires

Postby Veltah01 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:08 pm

Thanks been awhile since I posted here, over five years. My writing has gotten a bit rusty. But it's about time I polished it up. Thanks for the advice and the critique. I am BAANJU reborn.
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