Work in Progress: The White Raven, week Fourteen

Week Fourteen. The week in which a decision was made.

The White Raven will be two books. I’m committing trilogy again, because there’s just too much book here. When all is said and done on book one, the wordcount is going to be very close to my original 100K estimate. So what we have here is The White Raven, book one. Book two will come after I finish the Swords of Charlemagne books.

Now I need to come up with two titles.

The White Raven, Book One
Week Fourteen Total Wordcount

In other news, chapter 3 of Fools Rush in is live on the Forbidden Fiction website. (log in required.)

And we’ll finish this up with an excerpt. It’s been a while since I gave you anything, so here’s Lorcan in the arena. He and his companions are supposed to recreate the battle of Horatio at the Bridge — an impossible task, set up by someone who wants Lorcan dead.

***

“I’m expecting a wedge,” he said as they walked back toward the bridge. “I’ve put you in positions so that you can take the sides of the wedge. Stop them however you can. The ones that get past you I’ll deal with.”
Nona nodded. “And we build a barricade with the bodies, hm? Good plan.”

Lorcan swallowed. He didn’t want to have to kill anyone today, but the chances of avoiding that were slim. “Take your places and get your helmets on. And may all of our gods smile on us.” He went back to the bridge, watched as Nona and Ennius took their places. Linus waited for Lorcan to nod, then turned and shouted.

Across the arena, the gates opened. Men started to file out, forming ranks, and Lorcan started counting.

“I thought you said thirty!” he called. “A… what did you call it?”

“A triarius,” Nona called back. “And yeah, thirty.”

“That’s more than thirty,” Lorcan muttered. He swore softly, seeing Linus striding across the sand toward the assembled forces. A big man walked to meet him — Gaius. Linus gestured broadly, clearly incensed. Gaius turned, frowned, then stalked back toward his men. His voice was loud, and it carried across the sands:

“…told you only the triarius! Who are these men? And what do you mean, making me look like a fool? And in front of my father and all of Rome? Get the rest of these men off the sands now!”

Nona trotted over to Lorcan. “Someone made a big mistake?”

“Sounds like it,” Lorcan agreed. “I wonder who?”

“Whoever is acting as Gaius’ second, I imagine,” Nona said.

“At least we know Gaius is going to play fair today,” Lorcan said. “Go on back to your place.”

Nona trotted back into position, and Lorcan licked his lips. The triarius had formed ranks — three rows of ten across — and he finally had a good look at them. Their armor wasn’t anything like what he was expecting. Nothing at all like what he’d seen in the arena, nor what he’d seen on soldiers in the city. This armor was very ornate, very fanciful — breastplates ornamented with colored enamel and helmets with ridiculous metal crests. They carried shields that were slightly rounded squares, and to Lorcan’s surprise, they wore no leg protection at all.

“Nona, what are they wearing?” he called. “That’s the most ridiculous armor I’ve ever seen!”

“Oh, they’re supposed to be Etruscans,” Nona called back. “That’s the army that was attacking Horatius.”

“Etruscans dressed like whores going to war?” Lorcan called back, incredulous. He’d forgotten that there were more than just his men that could hear him, and that his voice would carry to the first rows of spectators, who roared with laughter. The laughter spread like waves through the crowd, as his words were repeated from seat to seat.

“Oh, they’ll be saying that for weeks, “ Ennius said. “That’s a good one.”

What do you think?