A Male-Centered Opening

I’ve been aware, almost since day-one, that having a female main character severely limits my potential audience. Attempts like these (as an alternative to a Linnea POV opening) have been the result.

“Don’t do it Captain.  I’ll report you.  You’ll lose your post.  You’ll be demoted.”

Another choking sob filtered through the heavy oak door, followed by the unintelligible garble of a woman’s voice. Tykone laid his free hand on the doorknob.  The knuckles of his left hand were nearly as white as the ivory knife-hilt his fingers gripped.

“Do you doubt me, soldier?” Rickard’s face was frosted with sweat.  “I’ll kill you myself if that thing in there doesn’t.”

“Do you think it is fear of you that stays my hand?” whispered Tykone, hating himself more with every moment he hesitated.

“Ignore him, Captain.” The voice beside Tykone reminded him of the new recruits standing watch with them.  “You are Hjalmar, and no mere soldier.  I, at least, with follow wherever you lead.”

Tykone’s eye barely registered the fury this defiance had raised in Rickard before a shattering scream dissolved his indecision.  Tykone threw his shoulder at the door.

The grunts of the men instantly beside him let him believe the crack he saw was actually widening that fast.  He dove into the room before any of the others could have fit.

Before him was the stuff of nightmares.  The body of a gargantuan snake nearly looped the room, black except for the strip of dirty yellow where its belly showed.  There was no sign of the woman.

“Sanna!” yelled Tykone.  “Sanna! Can you hear me?”

Sword drawn he lept over the shifting body, looking for the head.  Then he saw it, black and yellow, tipping up to the ceiling.  Tykone saw the feet of a young woman—one still wearing its white bridal slipper—disappearing behind the creature’s dragon-teeth.

With a scream that nearly gagged him, Tykone stumbled over black coils toward the head.  Swinging his sword as he went, Tykone was aware of a bruising ache in his shoulder, and the exclamations of the soldiers that followed his example.  None of their efforts seemed to be noticed by the great serpent.  None broke through its scales.

And then the bit I love, but haven’t decided where it belongs.  Also between Tykone and Rickard, and designed to hint at their history/subtext.

“That was always your problem, wasn’t it, Rickard?  You tried not to see what a monster might be doing—because even you are man enough to know you shouldn’t leave a woman alone to face him.”

Tykone believes his co-captain’s brother, Magnus, attacked his good friend (the protagonist), while Rickard insists she was a willing party to her *Ahem* un-planned pregnancy.

Magnus’s story is unavailable because he disappeared right after killing the girl’s father in an honor-fight over the issue.

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