I won a book!

My book club held a writing contest, and for some reason they picked me as the winner! After I was picked as the winner, I was told I could have my prize – but only if I agreed to give another tale of the heroics of Ardan – so, having a few of them already scattered around my hard drive, I did just that. The prize was a book, so I chose the very excellent Kings of the Wyld by NIcholas Eames. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you give it a go, and don’t forget to look up the fantastic classic rock soundtrack for the book.
Here are the two pieces of writing that got me such a prestigious award.

Piece 1

Ardan The Ardourous left Koth groaning in bed and staggered from The Stoat and Badger to find some supplies. He stopped at a barrow and bought a meat pie from a suspiciously grinning dwarf, and while he was picking a lump of gristle from his teeth with the point of the dwarf’s helmet he noticed a sign across the street. “Ye Heroe Shoppe And Armoury” Ardan read, and then looked at his old man clothes, “About bloody time too!”
The shop was empty, save for the shopkeeper who was snoring loudly on a chair behind the counter. The walls were lined with weapons and armour; there were shields in dusty display cabinets and what looked like an apothecary shop crammed into the back left corner. In the dimness, with shafts of light falling through the grimy windows making dust motes dance and the odd bit of chainmail glitter like cold fire, Ardan tried to be strong and not weep. It was all so…so very perfect. Ardan’s sandal scuffed a floorboard and the thin shopkeeper awoke with a start, then spying Ardan tried not to smirk.
“Don’t spoil it,” Ardan said in hushed tones, “Don’t laugh”
“I wouldn’t laugh at you, sir” The shopkeeper said, what can I do for you?”
“Can you…sell me a leather hooded cape?”
“Why yes sir, in many different colours and sizes to meet your needs and-“
“Can you sell me a barbarian-style loin cloth and leather kilt?”
The shop keeper seemed disturbed by Ardan’s hushed and reverent tones, “Yes, I believe so-“
“And some leather bracers for my forearms?”
“Erm, yes?”
Ardan’s voice was almost a whisper, hoarse and painfully close to tears, “And…and can you sell me a broadsword?”.
“Yes, sir, I-argh!” The shopkeeper yelled in panic as Ardan reached him in two long strides and plucked him out of his chair, hauling him over the counter and hugging him, weeping piteously.

Piece 2

With a terrible roar, the lion burst from the undergrowth, its mane matted and muddy, with dead leaves stuck to it in places. It reached Ardan first and as it passed, tore the throat from the old man’s horse with one swipe of its claws, and bore down on Koth. Ardan crashed to the ground with his horse and lay unmoving in the rain as blood gushed from the horse’s throat to mingle with the shallow puddle in which he lay. Koth screamed like a eunuch and somehow managed to leap from his donkey without tripping over his plain black robes as the lion disembowelled the poor beast. The mage shot up a slimy wet tree trunk as though it were a ladder, and plopped himself, grey-faced, on one of the lower branches to quietly expire from heart failure.
Seeing that Koth was temporarily out of reach, the lion turned to attack the prone Ardan – but Ardan was no longer lying near the dead horse on the other side of the clearing, he was right behind the lion as it turned. With an almost human yelp it leapt back a short distance in shock, and Ardan, with a muttered “Kill my horse will you, you son of a -” stepped in and with a sickening crunch punched the lion square in the middle of the shocked expression on its face. The lion dropped as if struck by lightning.
Ardan cracked his knuckles smugly as Koth fell out of the tree in a heap. “Yep,” he said in his best hero voice, striking a grim pose as the rain washed the horse-blood from his blonde hair and down his rugged, youthful face, “I’m back!”

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