Good news! Now that we have 7 chapters of Secret Arrows written, we’ve decided to share the first chapter with you. (We previously shared the Prologue.)Except, it may not be call Secret Arrows. We’ve decided that it’s a little corny, so for now, we’re calling it “Secrets of Rensovia. (Rensovia is the Medieval kingdom that Val lives in.) If you have any mysterious names, go ahead and post in comments. We just might name our book that! Just a warning, Chapter One isn’t so interesting. We need and appreciate them. We do feel like the rest of the book gets better, so even if you don’t like it, still come back for Chapter 2, because it DOES get more interesting. Anyway, here goes.
The whole day had been a waste. It was only noon, yet I had already broken 3 dishes, countless glasses, and spilled a goblet of wine during my kitchen shift. To make matters worse, my father had just been recruited to fight in a war, and I was worried sick about him. After all, he was the only family I had left. Nausea knotted in my stomach as I continue to scrub the dishes.
As ever, luck wasn’t on my side. I had smashed the most expensive piece yet. I flew to the broomstick and dustpan, but I knew it was too late when I heard the clumping of a soldier’s thick soles down the hallway. As I was beginning to stuff the scattered shards into my apron, the lock began to rattle. I gave a silent thanks to myself for locking the door earlier, but I knew I had to keep working to have any chance of salvaging my job. I was stuffing the last of the china shards into my apron pocket when the door finally clicked open, revealing a burly guard. I tried to ignore him, like a good little maid, but I eventually cracked, feeling his eyes boring into me. “What do you want?” I huffed. “I’m just a lowly maid!”
He turned to me.”I just thought you might want to know” he breathed, so that I could just make out what he said. “Know what?” I snapped. But, I was starting to connect the dots. I just didn’t like what they said. A soldier talking to me privately, the sympathetic look in his eyes… Yes, it could only mean one thing. My father was dead
. . .
“Your father has died.” The soldier’s emotionless response only confirmed my suspicions, but it was still a blow. My father…dead….the two words just didn’t belong in the same sentence. After telling myself for weeks that he would be fine, it was hard to believe that he wasn’t.
“H-how?” I managed. If I was going to believe this, I needed some proof.
“You see, it wasn’t just him,” the soldier began, his eyes misting, perhaps envisioning the deaths of my father and these apparent others. “No, Sargent Keyroid was eliminated along with the rest of his unit.”
With that, he turned on his heels and left me to my sorrow. I was as sullen as any girl who had just received the news of her father’s death, maybe more. But, I realized, along with the units’ death came the opportunity I had been waiting for practically my whole life; the chance to be a knight.
. . .
Everything and everyone had their place. Women were maids, men were knights, pigs were food. So, as you can imagine, I, as a girl of 12, was looked down upon by just about everyone except the pigs, which made my mission of being a knight next to impossible. Now, a few years back, I had finally figured out that I could disguise as a boy and change my age to try out for the army. Everything was set; I lopped off my hair, practiced fighting with kitchen knives to build up muscle, snuck into private fighting sessions meant for knights. You name it, I had done it. But, when I was finally ready to try out, I discovered what you could call a hurtle. A huge one. You see, all the spots were taken. It was devastating after all that hard work, but I made the most of it, biding my time, waiting until an opportunity to be in the army arose. So, when I heard that an entire unit had died, I knew that those deaths were simply blessings in disguise.
. . .
“This is it” I thought, collecting all the knives I could carry. I had to look intimidating in order to have any shot at qualifying as a knight. Anyone with sense knew that knights were fierce, muscled. My racing thoughts were clouded with what ifs. “What if I get discovered? What if I don’t do well? What if I make a bad impression? What if…” Praying that only a couple boys would come to try their hand at being a knight, I left my broom closet bedroom, supplies in hand. A glance at the clock showed me that I had a mere 5 minutes to reach the training arena. The time had been posted on the wall three hours ago. So, I cautiously set off down the hall, scanning my surroundings for people who could catch me in the act.
Luckily, I arrived at the tryout without incident, but it goes without saying that I wasn’t off the hook just yet. There was still the detail of appearing masculine. Just before I stepped into the training room, I patted down my hair, rearranged my gear, and rubbed over my chest, thanking God that it was still flat. With a deep breath and a final adjustment of my jacket, I was ready