Title: FOUR CORDS
When recruited into a secret organization of spies dedicated to protecting their land from the shadows, Kyri must survive a new world of grueling training and deadly magic to secure her future.
First 500 words:
Kyri had heavily miscalculated and she was going to pay for it. A bead of sweat teetered dangerously over her brow in the hot midsummer sun, threatening to drop into her focused and unblinking eyes. A gleam of sunlight hit the heavy chainmail of her opponent, temporarily blinding her as she continued her search from her crouched position. The only way she’d be able to get her opponent down on the sandy ground was to find a spot of weakness. She chided herself for forgetting her footwork and getting maneuvered into facing the sun — rookie mistake.
Quickly blinking away the droplet of sweat she found it — a small sliver of exposed torso underneath the left arm. She lunged to the right and narrowly missed, leaving herself open.
With a grunt, her opponent slammed her to the ground. Kyri could feel every bone in her body reverberate with the feeling. It was futile to struggle against the tight hold but Kyri would be damned if she didn’t try. If she moved a bit to the side she could get her elbow to wedge into that soft spot right there....
The clammering of a bell, strident and clear, rang through the arena.
Kyri sighed and collapsed onto the ground, spread eagle as the weight of another human being lifted off of her. Her opponent turned to her, offering a hand as help. Kyri grabbed it and hoisted herself up. Dusting the sand off her body, she turned to face her best friend, Dina, who was grinning at her, happiness evident on her face.
“That was good, Kyri. Much improved.” Dina said, admiration in her voice. “I’ve seen you do the feint a dozen times in practice but you nearly got me there. If you keep working on it you can use it at the Showcase next week.”
Kyri snorted. “I still have a lot of work to do since it landed me splat on the ground.” She released her long black hair from its braid and shook it free, letting the sun settle on her dusky skin. “It would give me a leg up on the competition if I could also throw some unarmed combat into my routine for the Showcase. ”
“Think we’re ready for it?” Dina quirked an eyebrow at Kyri. She yanked her chainmail off and heaved a sigh, turning in Dina’s direction.
“I hope so. I’m just glad the written exam is over. Now, I can proceed to forget all the historical dates we memorized.” Dina shook her head at Kyri’s broad grin. “I need to be at my best. This is my one chance to decide my future on my own terms, Dina.” Kyri’s grin had faded, leaving a pinched grimace in its wake. “I haven’t been able to sleep in a week. I don’t want to go back to the palace for the rest of my life.”