What a first draft looks like.

This is an example of something I pounded out and ended up cutting (before cleaning) because it didn’t quite fit.  Still, there were pieces I liked (especially the ending. I really like “closer” lines).

Tykone froze, caught between horror and spastic delight—a Lindorm was before him. Another lindorm, and fighting the grey-skinned stranger. He felt Rickard halt to his right, taking in the same view.

“Which one is the new prince?”

Only then did Tykone see there were two massive men wrestling the dragon-snake.

“The bronze one.”

“That is a man and a warrior to admire— Sweet forest,” cursed Rickard, his face white.

“What happened?” demanded Tykone, seeing the grey-skinned man reach across the lindorm’s back to Kennett.

“That girl of yours tried to pierce her bridegroom while he was distracted with the snake, but he caught the blade and that’s what’s taking the beast’s head off now.”

The flow of blood was no less spectacular than Tykone’s eruption.

“She would never hurt him!”

Rickard’s blade was out just as quickly.

“I saw what I saw,” snarled Rickard. “I can believe he’s the prince from that fight, but I’ll volunteer to let him find a new wife double quick.” Tykone punched Rickard’s throat with a yell. Rickard replied with a kick to Tykone’s knee. That was all Tykone remembered until his sword was wrenched away and a hand held him around his neck. As his vision cleared he saw Kennett’s angry face an arm’s length away.

“Majesty,” croaked Rickard, under the new prince’s knee. “We were fighting for your honor.”

“For your wife’s honor,” contradicted Tykone, wondering if the question was asked.

Kennett released them both, slowly and keeping himself between them.

“You both agree who I am?” he asked, looking from Tykone to Rickard.

“I see your brother in you,” Rickard said simply. “And your mother is unmistakable. After a performance like today I envy the masters who will teach you combat. You’re sure to be a prodigy.”

Tykone noticed Kennett narrowing his eyes as Rickard spoke, but there was no reason to doubt the red captain. He wasn’t the sort to lie anyway.

“What about you, Tyko?” asked Kennett. “Do you have any words of flattery or affirmation to pour on me?” Tykone was pleased to see Rickard blush.

“Only what I’ve already said, Prince Kennett,” said Tykone. “As long as you are loyal to your wife you will have my loyalty.”

“But she tried to kill him!” yelled Rickard.

“Not the girl I know!”

“Boys.” The syllable silenced them both.

“I told her to throw the knife. You both know now that she can throw.” He shrugged. “That I stand before you proves I can catch.”

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