Hi everybody! It’s been a hot minute, I’ve been working my tail off on book two (and working my tail off in general) and I thought I’d share one of my favorite scenes from TS:Laevatein’s Choice.
“What do you say to playing around with these?” Geoffrey offered candidly.
Mark’s heart pattered excitedly. “You said you weren’t going to teach me!” he gasped, the words falling out faster than he could stop them.
Geoffrey smirked. “This is just for fun, come on, let’s give it a try!” Abruptly he tossed one of the wooden staves across the blacktop at Mark.
He barely caught it, fumbling with weight and grasping it just before it hit the ground. “First rule,” Geoffrey stated loudly and Mark looked up to see him rolling his wrist with the other sword flying about him effortlessly, “this is my way, don’t question me, don’t seek out fencing terminology and doubt me, I know what I’m doing and I’m better than you, got that straight?”
“Um… what?” Mark flustered.
Geoffrey didn’t hesitate, taking one certain step forward and leaving the other foot behind, “Second rule,” he pointed the end of his sword skyward, and tucked his left hand behind him, “don’t whine like a baby when you get hit in the arms, because it’s gonna happen.”
He motioned for Mark to emulate the stance and Mark did his best to mimic him. “Third,” Geoffrey reached into his collar and pulled out a small shiny blue object, a metallic tube with a single hole cut into it. He took it off from around his neck where it was attached to a lanyard and he proceeded to take off his coat, chuck it on the ground and stuff the lanyard into his pocket so that the object dangled out. With a smirk he met eyes with Mark once more. “Get the whistle.”
The ominous words hung over Mark like a curse, his eyes locked on the blue whistle and he gulped. What was he getting himself into? His cold fingers clung to the polished wood, unsure, trembling, and causing him to doubt himself. He gripped the sword with both hands, his feet spread apart and glued to the ground, and he kept his eyes locked into Geoffrey’s. He was as prepared as he could be.
Geoffrey didn’t rush at him, he raised his sword and Mark adjusted preparing to receive the blow but Geoffrey stopped. A twinkle appeared in the man’s eye and he stepped back. No words, not even a hint of his intentions. Geoffrey swung again, this time from below and Mark adjusted once more his arms twisting and fumbling awkwardly to bat the wooden sword away.
He hit the other blade, and Geoffrey parried him off, driving the tip of Mark’s sword into the ground. “Easy!” Geoffrey warned as Mark tripped and he grabbed his arm to steady him.
Geoffrey stepped away, and without waiting for Mark to acquire his stance, he swung at Mark from the opposite side, at his left and this time Mark firmly swat Geoffrey’s sword and pinned it there lightly. Mark tensed but Geoffrey relaxed and smiled. “Are you left-handed?” he wondered.
Mark shot a quick glance down at his hands, the left above the right, “No…” he switched quickly.
Geoffrey hummed, eyeing up his stance but rather than testing him, he swung at Mark in exactly the same way, at his left. The tip of the sword jabbed Mark in the elbow, not very hard but Mark still jumped back nervously. “Keep your feet planted, I’m not gonna hurt you.”
“What was that then?” Mark demanded a little too nervously. “If that were a real sword—”
“Go back to left-handed, you’re obviously ambidextrous,” Geoffrey interrupted him with a flat voice.
“What?” Mark gasped, switching but his gaze lingered on his hands. How could Geoffrey learn that about him after just a few seconds? How come he hadn’t even known himself. “If I’m… ambidextrous… shouldn’t I be training with my stronger arm?”
Geoffrey smirked and relaxed his stance, flippant and a bit irreverent. “Your left is your stronger arm.”
“Really?” Mark beamed a little, slightly proud of that fact. But as he thought about it, he remembered he had beaten Sil with a fist from his left arm. Maybe Geoffrey was on to something.
“Okay…” Geoffrey breathed, taking one step closer and raising his sword. “Hit me as hard as you can, I want to see how strong you really are.”
Gulping, Mark nodded and raised his wooden blade. He couldn’t hold back, Geoffrey could take it. Mark wanted to hit that other sword so hard it would snap in half. He held his sword like a bat and jumped a little, light-footed and springing closer. The two rods cracked against each other but they didn’t break, they reverberated, rattling into Mark’s bones and the vibrations hurt his hands to hang onto the sword. The wood fell out of his hands and onto the pavement, clattering against the asphalt pathetically.
Geoffrey sighed, unfazed by the impact. “You can do better than that,” he groaned, picking up the wooden sword and handing it back to him. “Again?” he offered as a question.
Mark nodded, determined and level-headed, but he could feel the fire in his eyes. He took a step away from Geoffrey, adjusted his grip, consciously tightening his left hand and loosening his right. Like a baseball bat he swung it, beating against the other sword and letting his hands remain firm in spite of the pain. It was immediately easier.
Geoffrey pushed back the sword, throwing Mark’s balance and forcing him to take several paces away. “Come on, I know you can hit harder than that!” he jeered, a growl in his voice.
Grinning, Mark pulled back even further, giving himself enough space to go at it from a run, and to drown himself in the adrenaline. In the last second, he switched to his right, changed the direction of his swing and tried to blindside Geoffrey.
The man reacted within an eighth of a second, deflecting Mark’s blow behind his right shoulder and sending Mark’s sword flying into the air, but Mark held on. He wouldn’t be disarmed so easily, he wouldn’t let himself. He let go with his left hand, swinging around the sword with his right and guiding it, to strike at Geoffrey again from below.
In the same motion, Geoffrey’s hilt collided with Mark’s and he jammed his shoulder into Mark’s right throwing him back down. “Oh, you think you’re quick, do you?” Geoffrey mocked, only making Mark smile with elation. He wanted more.
He ran again, holding the sword left-hand first again, and swung at Geoffrey’s other side, hopefully his weaker side, assuming he was right-handed. Mark barely took note of it, catching that Geoffrey’s right and was over his left before he put all his muscle behind the blow. Geoffrey parried him off like it was nothing.
“You’re just a child!” he jeered, “drunk on the power of your new Shadow,” he aggressed, this time swinging at Mark and forcing him to raise up and take a defensive position. “Swinging around a toy like it’ll teach you a life lesson!” Geoffrey yelled, driving Mark back towards the car.
Geoffrey’s sword came at Mark’s left side again, where he was certain he was most comfortable and he met the blow perfectly. Feeling the vibrations rattle through his hands filled him up with rage and fire and he loved it. He pushed back, throwing himself into Geoffrey and trying to fight back against someone who was obviously wildly stronger than him.
“Now!” Geoffrey threw him off, his sword between his eyes. “Hit me like you mean it!”
Mark didn’t hesitate, swinging the sword back and forth madly.
“You have no technique!” Geoffrey insulted him. “You don’t have a clue what you’re doing!”
The blades came down on each other again and each time it hurt Mark’s palms more.
“Is this as hard as you can go? Come on!”
Now Mark was aiming for his head, a sweet rage filled his veins just like the fire rushing through them. He wasn’t mad, he wasn’t even frustrated, he was loving this. Geoffrey was letting him take out all his anger without any consequences.
Meet Geoffrey James
Geoffrey is 50% snark and 60% muscle, he’s the first non-Shadow person who fully accepts Mark’s new powers and challenges him physically and intellectually. I like to see Geoffrey as what Mark will become as an adult only turned up to 11 and much more manic XD Geoffrey is a sword-swinging and weapon-collecting badass who has a wealth of knowledge about Shadows and Mark is immediately drawn to him out of a need to deal with his boundless energy, festering anger, and avoidance of drama at home…
I should really sketch Geoffrey because I put a lot of love into his design. Think of a super tan crossfit guy, with sunkissed shoulders, two-foot dreads all tied up, and a scraggly beard. I love him, he’s a great match to Mark’s crazy.
I’ve got an editor for LC! This is actually happening! I got into contact with one of the ladies I hired to proof read Fire’s Hope and we scheduled editing for later in April! Not much longer folks!
If you’d like to beta read LC, I’m still open for a few more readers before editing, just visit my beta-reading tab or shoot me an email.