Here is an excerpt from the first chapter of my young adult fantasy novel. Let me know what you think!
Agnita willed for her legs to climb faster up the hill so she could catch up with Frenz. Once she reached the top, he was already overlooking the river. Hearing her approach, Frenz turned around and grinned at her.
She lunged at him to give him a good punch, but he dodged the blow just in time. She used to be faster and stronger than him, but he had grown much bigger since last summer. Every passing season was a reminder of how much closer she was to a life of drudgery. With a sigh, she brought her attention to the frothing rapids below. Before the rains came, the water was low and lazy enough for her to go wading in its refreshing depths.
“I wish summer would stay with us a little longer,” she said.
“It won’t be summer as long as the Nesins are alive.”
Agnita glared at him. “They will never make it this far north with General Kaloun protecting us.”
“If this war is not over in a month, I am joining his army,” said Frenz.
“You can’t do that. You’re a kid!”
He raised his chin to look down his nose at her.
“I can and I will. The army is accepting fourteen-year-olds. My age is not that far off. I will convince my father to allow me to go.”
“Then I will go as well.”
He grimaced. “Wearing pants and playing boy’s games will never erase the fact that you are just a…”
“Oh, shut up.”
He looked away from her with a shrug. She crossed her arms, trying to swallow back the anger and hurt that swelled up inside of her. A year ago, they were not talking about anything remotely close to war. She longed for them to just be children again.
“What am I going to do if you don’t come back?” she asked.
His hazel eyes met her blue ones and they softened a little, but his jaw was still set with a growing determination.
“It is my duty,” he said.
“Your duty, if you ever had one, is to help your parents on the farm.”
“You are such a simpleton sometimes.”
Frenz’s words stung her so much that she could not open her mouth to spew out a retort. He had become so disagreeable since the news of Nesin fanatics and their violence spread over the countryside. She hated them, too, but she saw no point in obsessing about them every day.
“Look,” he said suddenly, pointing down to the river.
Agnita couldn’t help but smile as an ebony stag trotted over to the riverbank to take a drink. His antlers’ large size spoke of his great ability to escape from both huntsmen and wolves. Perhaps he would bring her some good luck. It was said among the farmers that when you saw an old buck, fortune would befall the viewer. She still hoped that some fairy tales held some truth.
An idea formed in Agnita’s mind as she watched the deer bound toward the woods.
By: Sara Kjeldsen