Sample Sunday – 10 July 2011

It’s been a while since I did a Sample Sunday post.  In honor of Smashwords’ July sale, I offer the following excerpt from How NOT To Rescue A Damsel In Distress, currently on sale in all ebook stores, and for free on Smashwords:

 

Larian awoke to find himself dangling by his wrists from a ring in the ceiling.  He could just barely touch the floor with his tiptoes.  Not quite enough to relieve the pressure on his wrists.  The rope that bound them was rough; already he could tell his wrists were rubbed raw.  Things had most certainly NOT gone according to plan.

Freshly graduated from the Martial Academy in Tel Cerelon, he returned home on leave to see his friends and family…and his girl…one last time before heading off to the front.  There was a war on, sure, but the General Staff was reasonable about those sorts of things.  Some argued it was foolish to allow recruits leave so soon.  The Mar Tabban would never do such a thing.  But then, isn’t that why they were fighting in the first place?  Larian was excited to get out to the war, but he was still glad for the chance to say goodbye.  To say he was disappointed and angered when he arrived home to find his father barely holding on to life from a sword cut and his girl kidnapped by brigands would be a vast understatement.

When he learned the details of what happened, he strapped on his armor, belted on his sword, and set out after the brigands.  Several of his friends tried to talk him out of it.  The brigands were too strong.  He was going to get himself killed.  Rosaline would be dead or sold to flesh peddlers by the time he caught up to them.  But he would hear none of it.  He was a trained soldier, the best swordsman in his recruit class, and these rabble would feel his wrath, by heaven!  He never stopped to think that he was just one man against a dozen.  Or that some of those dozen may have been as well trained as he, that some may have been army deserters.  Or that they had more experience in laying ambushes and tracking than he.

It was with almost laughable ease that he fell into the brigands’ trap as he approached Jergan’s Peak.  One moment he was following the faint trail of their passing, and the next he felt a hard tug on his ankle and found himself hoisted up into the air.  Taken by a simple lasso booby-trap!  He didn’t have time to curse his stupidity, as the brigands emerged from the underbrush and set upon him.  Though upside down, he was far from helpless.  He managed to gut one of them before the others got his sword away and bound him fully.

“Freshly-minted soldier boy trying to play hero, eh?” mocked the brigands’ leader after the dust settled.  “I bet you came for this, didn’t you?”  He tugged on a rope in his hand, and Rosaline came stumbling out from behind a nearby tree.  Her hands were bound behind her back and she wore a collar around her neck, which was attached to the rope in the leader’s hand.

Anger blotted out fear in Larian’s mind when he beheld his girl in that state.  “Let her go, you bastards!” he growled.

The leader laughed in his face.  “Let a choice piece of ass like this go?  Because you say so?  Not a chance.”  Pulling Rosaline closer, he made a point of fondling her and gave Larian a lecherous wink.  “I think I’ll keep you alive so you can watch me show her a good time or two.  Before I do you like you did Rudrick.”  To his henchmen, he ordered “Drug him!”  Larian struggled as best he could, but the brigands had little trouble forcing a potion of some sort down his throat.  Before long, his head started to spin and he dropped into unconsciousness.

So here he was.  Some hero.  The worst part was that he’d be declared a deserter when he didn’t return from leave.  Not only would he be dead, but his family’s name would be tarnished forever.  It just wasn’t fair.  Frustration, fear, and despair all welled up in his mind, and he felt tears begin to form in his eyes.  Blast it!  He was supposed to be a soldier.  A man!  He needed to get ahold of himself.  There were plenty of stories about fellows getting out of worse fixes than this.

He looked around the room, trying to find some way to free himself.  In reality, room was probably a misnomer.  He was in a small hollow of rock, maybe five feet across and five deep, with an opening leading to a larger rock chamber in front of him.  It appeared he was in a cave complex.  He didn’t see any guards, but there was a flickering light to the left, and he heard a couple voices engaged in conversation.  More light came from overhead as well.  Looking up, Larian could see a narrow shaft that allowed sunlight into the chamber.  If he could just get to that shaft somehow, it looked like an easy climb.

The voices became louder, and a moment later two rough-looking men stepped into view.  Both wore thick leather armor and had broad-bladed swords on their hips.  Numerous scars crisscrossed the older man’s face.  The younger was actually fairly well groomed, with strong features that Larian supposed a lady might find appealing.  Seeing him awake, the older man emitted a nasty little giggle and nudged his comrade with his elbow.

“Oh good.  Keep an eye on him, and I’ll let Wellis know he’s ready for the first session.”

 

You can find out what happens next by going to the store.

I would prefer you go to AmazonBarnes and Noble, or the other non-free places like iBooks, Kobo, or Sony.  But if you really must get a free download, swing by Smashwords, where you can take advantage of their site-wide promotion for the month of July and can get it in any file format you want.

And now, back to writing.  Have a nice day!

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