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Friday, 28 January 2011

No Fear Blogfest starts today!

At last, the moment you have all been waiting for is here!

The No Fear blogfest is underway!!!
$30 / £20 to be won!

Just post a passage in which your MC (or your favourite fictional character) shows their bravery. It might be in the face of physical danger, or peer pressure or personal sacrifice. It might be epic bravery or bravery that goes unnoticed by anyone but us, your devoted readers.

Your entry can be as long or as short as you want, although spare a thought for those who want to read all the thousands of entries!

These are the contributors who I know have written their pieces ... I will add more as I find them!

WriterzBlockNZ Margo Benson Tony Benson

Summer Ross Michael Di Gesu

There is still time to sign up if you would like to join in ...

I will post about voting later in the weekend.

Here is my story - not to be entered into the voting of course. Although this is a scene in my current WIP, I have written it slightly ahead of time, so will have some fun stitching it in when I get there!

I think you can pick up most things, but I ought to mention that Tomus is a follower of Anwe, and adept at certain forms of magic, like healing and producing light. The prophecy that has so blighted Mikel's life implied, amongst other things which had come true, that Mikel would kill his father.

The Forester, Chapter 4

As Mikel entered the village, he saw a large crowd gathered on the green at the base of Judgement Rock. Most were looking up at the Forester’s court on top of the rock, which was obscured from Mikel’s view by the huge Hanging Tree, but some were looking back at the Forester’s Hall. When they saw Mikel approaching, they nudged one another and stepped aside, opening a way through the crowd. As he reached them, Mikel looked at their faces, these strangers he had known all his life, and saw eyes wide with fear, or urgent with some unspoken warning. Those who had vilified him the most shuffled and looked at their feet. His aunt stepped forward, her eyes red rimmed and cheeks streaked with tears.
“What’s the matter, Aunt Jenna?” Mikel said when it was clear that she could not bring herself to speak.
She raised both hands to her face as fresh tears welled up and she looked up at the huge tree that loomed over them all. Mikel followed her gaze and froze. He felt the blood drain from his face and a fist clench his heart. There was his father, hanging from one of the lower branches; his hands limp at his sides and a rope cutting into his neck. Mikel’s senses reeled. His father had given him nothing but curses and beatings, had treated him with suspicion and contempt, yet Mikel felt as if an axe had swept his feet from under him. He stumbled and several hands reached out to support him. These were his people now.
His cousin grabbed his arm painfully and pointed up at the rock. “Mikel! They’ve taken father. Do something!”
Mikel’s mind snapped back into focus and he strode towards the rough hewn steps that led to the top of the rock. Two soldiers stood guard at the bottom but they let him pass and followed him up. The steps opened out into a natural hollow in the rock, with seating carved into the rock walls. The Hanging Tree spread its massive canopy overhead and his father’s body, suspended over the edge of the rock, drew Mikel’s eyes. The swollen, blood flecked face, tongue lolling from blue tinged lips, eyes wild and staring, transfixed Mikel where he stood.
“Well, well. The little whelp returns. Too late! Useless as ever.” The familiar voice tore Mikel’s attention from his dead father.
Lord Donard stood over his uncle, who cowered on his knees before him. Soldiers stood to either side. Mikel felt a fury welling up and he struggled to keep it in check.
“You are here a day early Donard. You are trespassing on Forester’s land.” Mikel said. He wondered if his hammering heart made his voice shake.
Donard sneered at him. “What difference does a day make? I warned your father that he was to deliver four thousand gold crowns in tax on pain of death. Are you going to collect it from the people of Woodbridge and the Forest by tomorrow? Or shall I just hang you now like I hanged your father?”
A soldier appeared at the top of the steps carrying a bundle. Mikel glanced in his direction and recognised Captain Bressan.
“I am now the Forester, Donard,” Mikel said, “and you stand in the Forester’s court. The Forest Verderer, Durrem son of Athan, acts as court clerk.” His uncle rose slowly, visibly shaking, and nodded. Donard and Captain Bressan were talking in low voices, but Mikel did not want to lose the initiative.
“Donard, you have confessed before the witnesses here gathered that you ordered the murder of Jerram son of Athan, Forester. The punishment for the murder of one of direct royal descent is death.”
Lord Donard looked up sharply. “What are you talking about whelp?” He turned back to Bressan. “You have your orders Captain.” Captain Bressan walked to the edge of the rock and held his sword aloft. Mikel looked over as Bressan’s men threw flaming torches onto the thatched roof of the Forester’s Hall and into the stables, while others broke jars of oil on the timber walls.
Mikel resisted the urge to run back to his home and instead turned to Donnard.
“Under the Forester’s Charter, I have the discretion to levy Weregild. The value on the life of a man of royal descent is five thousand gold crowns. In the interests of the people of Woodbridge and of the Forest, you may take the value of the taxes from the levy. The balance shall be delivered to the Clerk of the Court within one moon.”
Donard’s eyes blazed. “The Shades take you, and your dog-rotted family.” He advanced on Mikel and held up a large axe with a wide head and thin blade, more like a battle axe than a wood axe. “Do you recognise this, whelp? This is the axe your father kept hidden for years for fear of you. Well, you don’t scare me boy. The Lord Proctor wants you out of his way and he gets what he wants.”
Mikel stared at the axe. It was the first time he had ever seen it, but legend said the axe of the Foresters was made after the Battle of Kharvas, ten long centuries before. As Lord Donard reached Mikel, he raised the axe and brought it down with a wide sweep aimed at Mikel’s head. Before Mikel could react, Donard screamed in pain and let go of the axe, which hit the ground at Mikel’s feet. Everyone stared at Donard’s hand which was red and blistering. Mikel looked down at the Forester’s axe, his axe. Mikel reached out; surely his axe would not sear him as it had Donard. The handle felt cool to his touch. The balance of the weapon was perfect and although he knew nothing of fighting, he felt at home with it.
Donard backed away. “Kill him,” he ordered the soldiers. Captain Bressan advanced, as the other soldiers drew their swords.
Mikel looked at the professional killers facing him and knew his life was at an end. All the years of suffering and secret hope that one day he would escape the curse of the prophecy, had come to this moment of utter despair. He lowered his axe. He would die, what sense was there in hurting others, even those commanded to execute him?
“Leave him,” a new voice commanded from behind Mikel. The soldiers put up their hands to shield their eyes as a piercing white light flooded across the Forester’s Court. The light was so intense that colour was bleached form everything and shadows fled.
“Leave now,” the voice commanded. The soldiers stumbled back, blinded, and with Lord Donard retreated down the steps, leaving Mikel and his uncle with the great light. Mikel felt a hand on his shoulder and a voice whispered, “Tell me when they’ve gone; this is killing me.”
“Tomus?” Mikel whispered back. “Am I glad to see you., or hear you anyway!”
Mikel watched Donard and the soldiers mount up and set off at a gallop. “They’ve gone!” he said and turned as the light shut off.
Tomus smiled. “Oh good.” Then he collapsed.


  1. That was brave of him to stand up like that! well done for the blogfest and thanks so much for hosting it for us!

  2. Ooooh!!! What's up with Tomus and the light?!?! Oooh where's part 2??? What a great piece of tension and bravery here - thank you!! Mikel is really brushing up into an amazing hero!! Wonderful! take care

  3. Gripping, this pulled me in right away. The tension was there and stayed. I learned enough about Michel to care. Great job.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  4. This is a gripping tale/excerpt Dominic. A great entry into the 'fest. He was certainly brave. Bravo!

    My entry is published on the link I have above:

    No Fear Blogfest

  5. Hi Dominic
    That was an exciting excerpt. Mikel and Tomus were both very brave. Tomus seems remarkably angelic. ;)

  6. Hey Dom - Excellent story! I so enjoy reading about Mikel. And how did Tomus manage that light? Now you have to give us the next installment!

    Until I read your comment on my blog it never occurred to me that my humorous babbling would meet the requirement for your "No Fear" contest. But if you say it, it must be so; therefore, I added my blog to your list! Thanks!

  7. Dominic, Add me to the followers list. This is a cool contest. Now--do I find the courage to follow the directions and add my MC at her heroic best? ; )

  8. Okay, I'm in. I've linked and I'll go post my MC's greatest battle on my blog. Man, this is hard! Thanks, Dominic, for the kick in the...Oh, you know where. ; )

  9. This gripped me from the start and I loved this line, "The light was so intense that colour was bleached form everything and shadows fled." I more to read more of his bravery!

    No Fear Blogfest

  10. NICE! A well-written scene, smooth to read and easy to fall into. Exiting stuff, and I love the last line, too. * "Oh good". Then he collapsed. * - great stuff.

    Thank you for hosting the blogfest! Great idea!!


  11. Thanks for hosting this blogfest Dominic, I enjoyed it. Your scene is the perfect one for bravery, well done.

  12. Dominc,
    This is so powerful! I want more. ; )

  13. This is a very entertaining story and you have created a vivid story world. What I like about Mikel is that he doesn't flinch despite his fear. That's what real bravary is. Nice writing. Thanks for sharing.

  14. You can feel his inner terror and he remains so strong. (I can 'see' that cheek muscle flexing!) A wonderful piece of writing - thank you so much for this blogfest, it's terrific. So many great reads.

  15. Very nice. I like the peek into the world you've built. It makes me want to explore it more.

    Mine's finally up, too. It's here.

  16. Great excerpt, Dominic!

    I seem to be a sucker for stumbling accidentally on blogfests only just in time. My entry is up at Views From the Bald Patch.

  17. Very nice!
    Good luck to everyone. I'm giving it a try as well (my first, to be honest).

  18. Welcometo Botanist and Stephanie - glad you could make it!

    Especially good luck Stephanie for your first blogfest!

    I am about half way through and will make sure I get round all the rest of the entries today. Exceptional standard everyone!


  19. My original comment didn't take because my computer was throwing wobblies and then I was out all day Sunday, so I shall try again. I thought this was very exciting and your hero very brave. A loved Tomus' bluff a great way to overcome evil without resorting to violence themselves. I see there are lots more entries now :O)


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