Seven Deadly Swords

Reymond has a secret, he has lived before and he will live again, unless he can do something to beat the curse of the Seven Deadly Sins. For the first time he has the opportunity to do so, having obtained the sorcerous notebook that sparked the curse in the first place. His only problem is that the rest of his former brothers in arms, who were cursed at the same time, don’t want him to succeed.

Reymond has to race against the clock and the machinations of the other Deadly Swords to put all the pieces into place before the curse kicks in again.

This section occurs during the First Crusade and sees the knights, all named after the Seven Heavenly Virtues, before they are cursed. Reymond, our protagonist, is Patience.

The extract

A great sand coloured beast, with a black shaggy mane, appears briefly exposed in the distance for them all to see.

It is circling them. Reymond jogs a little faster, catching up with Chastity. “What are we going to do?” he asks.

Chastity sighs. “Not sure if Humility has a plan.”

Humility appears as tired as the rest of them as they jog onward into the night. It is hard to read any expression on his face. The smell is getting worse, the beast is getting closer.

“Humility?” Reymond calls, his voice surprisingly loud in the desert air. Humility holds up his hand, and the knights come to a ragged halt.

They adopt a rough circle, steel outwards. Humility is in the middle. “Let it come,” he says. “We must kill it, or it will take our prize.”

Diligence fits an arrow to his bow, Humility hisses. “Stay your arrows. Swords only.”

Reymond is not sure why this command is given, but it does not fill him with confidence.

There is a burbling growl to his left, then a roar. The beast runs out of the night, leaping towards the circle, directly at Kindness. Charity thrusts him out of the way, staggering as he is swiped by a massive paw, all claws. He goes down heavily on the sand.

Reymond dashes in, thrusts with his sword and scores a hit in the meat of the beasts’ shoulder. It rounds on him and his sword is torn from his grasp, still sticking from the creature’s hide. It thrusts its head at him, jaw alarmingly wide, descending with hideous finality.

Chastity’s arms seize Reymond round the waist as he tackles him out of the way. They tumble down an incline in a shower of sand. There is a great hissing, spitting and squealing. As Reymond rights himself, he sees Diligence withdraw his own blade from the creature, followed by a gout of blood.

Diligence neatly steps aside, under the beast’s swiping paw. Humility takes a great overhand swing at its hindquarters, and the beast yowls in pain.

Reymond staggers towards it, feet slipping up the incline, groping for a sword that isn’t there. His ears are ringing. He feels wetness running down one arm and his breath hitches in his chest.

Kindness is not moving. Reymond sees Temperance hanging back, looking for an opening, his sword poised. Charity’s sword glances off the beast’s head, and, as it rounds on him, Diligence steps in, slashing at its throat. Blood spurts. The creature sits back on its haunches, shaking its great head and as one Diligence and Charity plunge their swords into its chest, extinguishing it forever.

Reymond is relieved to see that Kindness is breathing, but has an egg sized lump on his forehead. Feeling dizzy, Reymond sits heavily beside the priest and slowly topples to one side. The last thing he sees is Temperance with his arm around Chastity, leading him up the hill.

8 thoughts on “Seven Deadly Swords

  1. jmpayer says:

    Personally, it bugs me when characters are named after characteristics. It’s confusing, often misleading, and/or too much. If they’re going to be assigned a virtue, I would suggest making that a nickname or something you can play off, but have regular names that get used for most of the story. Ie. Reymond ‘Patience’ Whatever, but most of the time just call him Reymond. You did that here with Reymond but none of the other characters. Otherwise it distracts from the story, which is too bad because it otherwise seems interesting.
    My .02

  2. Lady of Lore says:

    It was a good scene. I don’t necessarily mind when characters are named after virtues/ characteristics, but most of the virtues reminded me of female names and it would distract from the story to remember they are all men. And switching from Reymond to Patience was disjointing too. That aside, the present tense helped keep the action “in the moment”. Sentences are short for fast-paced action. I would have liked more description of the “beast”. Was it a typical animal like a lion? Or a mythical creature? It is an interesting scene. And I might be completely thinking I’m seeing this…but I get the feeling that each character emulates their namesake. If that was intentional, it’s a nice touch.

  3. Eliza Worner says:

    I’m wondering why you chose to write this in present tense. It’s not really working for me. I would suggest, as a writing exercise, rewriting this scene in past tense to see what happens.

    I am also wondering why Reymond has a name but the others are known by their virtues. It’s confusing.

    But the storyline is interesting. Thanks for sharing your work.

  4. sam says:

    The names did bug me, but I’m sure if earlier in the story there is some explanation there, like they gave up their real name and were given these titles by some ancient seer or something… I’m sure the names wouldn’t bug me at this point in the story.

    I liked this. I have no problem with the sentence “Blood spurts.” i really don’t but i did laugh when i read it… but genuinely liked it. (it reminds me of the shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35 “Jesus Wept.” )

    I find the present tense is a really hard tense for me to read through, so if it were up to my opinion, i’d shift to a past tense.)

    If i had one bit of advice for you, it’d be to do a little research on melee techniques, strategy and terminology. Not a TON of course, you don’t want this to turn into Tolkien Fan Fiction or something, but enough to where you don’t have to re-use too many words (ie, “rounds on”)

    oh, one more. as it applies to dialogue tags, (my opinion) “so and so hissed…” should be avoided at all costs…. unless they’re speaking Parseltongue)

    i would definitely flip to the first page and start reading if i were checking this book out and opened up to this part first.

  5. johnsonofdaw says:

    For what it’s worth (I’m not a fantasy action reader) I too found the names distracting. Unless they really reflect their characters, which they don’t appear to in this short extract, they just use up attention space better used to follow the action and absorb the drama of the story. Present tense adds to it if you can pull it off which you do here.

  6. allisonnewchurch says:

    Is this historical or is it just fantasy? (Sounds like a Queen song) Also, what is your target audience? You haven’t mentioned an age bracket, but it sounds like it’s probably aimed at 10-12 year old boys.

    The title is Seven Deadly Swords and yet in your set up you refer to the curse of the Seven Deadly Sins. That confused me.

    I agree with other posters about the character names. Rather off-putting and feminine. Chastity and Charity are much too similar. If you must stick with the virtues names, can you rename one of them?

    The writing didn’t flow for me and I didn’t connect with any of the characters. I’m presuming this isn’t the opening of your novel and by the time we reach this scene we’re cheering for the band of knights.

    Also, you mention the beast’s claws, yet Kindness only ends up with a lump on his head. Surely the claws do some damage.

    Is the beast a dragon? Please say it’s a dragon. Then you can have fire, smoke and all sorts of goodies happening. I think you need more description of what kind of beast it is. Perhaps that precedes this scene.

    Majority of the sentences were relatively short and for a scene which should be charged with emotion, it was rather flat. These guys are fighting for their lives! It needs a lot more power.

    Not sure if it’s permissible to suggest re-writes, but I’m going to anyway. This is just off the cuff, and I’m sure it could be improved with some deep thought.

    “A growl sounds to Reymond’s left and he turns to face it. He can hear the pounding of blood coursing through his veins as his heart races. He takes a deep breath to calm himself and raises his sword. He is ready. With a roar, the beast charges, flecks of foam flying from its mouth, the stench of its foul breath washing over the men. Kindness is directly in its path as the creature leaps, one massive paw, tipped with claws like razors swiping at the knight. Kindness falls to the sand and is still.”

    Good luck with the writing,

  7. smithreynolds says:

    There is power in your scene and your sentences. My suggestion is, pare down to that power and cut anything that doesn’t tell the story. Example: A great sand colored beast appears(appears annoys me . How did they know he was coming…sight sound smell, and you do have some of that which is really good) It is circling them. They jog onward into the night. The smell is getting worse. The beast is getting closer. Humility holds up his hand and the knights come to a ragged halt. You love the names of your characters, let go of that. It doesn’t mean they can’t have these names. Play a game just for fun and call them George and Sam and Peter for awhile while you work on how they behave that makes them who they are. Some good writer once said If you really really love some sentence, name, word, description, that’s probably what you need to get rid of. One last thought: There are times you are indicating to me as reader that I am in a science fiction fantasy: example: Instead of saying that Chastity “seizes” Raymond around the waist, why not just say he grabs him. Keep it simple. And the phrase “rounds him” is a signal to me the reader that if I don’t know what that means I’m not up to speed in the lingo. It’s a little insulting to your reader.
    Have fun. I enjoyed your excerpt.

  8. fhadmin2014 says:

    Thanks for all of the comments – this particular scene occurs on page 247 of 468 (word pages) so yeah there’s a lot that happens before it. The entire book is in present tense, and yeah I know that doesn’t work for some people. There is, I believe, in previous scenes enough set up for the character names (they do all have other names) – suffice to say thanks but no thanks for the suggestions to a) change the tense & b) change the names

    There is a pretty long set up to this bit where they are hunting a mythical beast

    It’s a historical fantasy thriller

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