First of all, hello everyone, I've been lurking here for a while, but finally felt the urge to post something. For a novel that I've been working on for a bit (it's been in my head for years), I have a sort of training scene, and I just wanted to receive some feedback on whether the way I described the fight is exciting or not. Context: Main character Jack is introduced into a new tolkien-esque fantasy world (with a more defined magic system). Anne is a girl about his age, and is likely going to be a love interest. Andre is her father. Jack is going through a bit of an existential crisis as he adapts to the new world, and part of that is him thinking it could a reality TV show (which gets set up a bit earlier in this section).
I followed Anne and Andre though the open doorway into the the structure. I quickly realized that it was an arena, and, oddly enough, the moss didn’t seem to grow at all in a circle around the center. The diameter of the clear space was probably around fifty feet. I looked at Andre, who was unwrapping a sheathed sword from a bundle of cloth. Anne had found a sword of her own, somewhere. Andre walked to me and handed me the sword.
“Now we will see if you possess any of the skills of a warrior,” he said, smiling. I unsheathed the sword and held it out. It looked very common and unadorned, although the metal of the blade of was polished and appeared quite sharp. The sword’s blade was perhaps four feet long, and the pommel was roughly another foot. It looked like it was designed to be held in two hands. I looked across the circle to where Anne was standing, she had a smaller sword, one which resembled a katana, her other hand was free. She looked impatient.
Realization dawned on me, “Wait, am I fighting her?”
“Well of course,” Andre replied happily.
Without another word he walked away and left me to fight for myself. Anne appeared to be unnervingly excited at the prospect of killing me.
Suddenly, she sprang forward, faster than i thought possible. I sluggishly brought my sword up in time to block her overhand strike. I fell back under the raw power exerted by her in that blow. Laying on my back I tried to bring my sword around to slash at her, but she flicked it aside, and pointed her sword at my exposed throat.
I stared down the edge of the blade, wondering what my life had come to. Time seemed to slow down around me. I looked up into Anne’s eyes, I saw the grit and determination behind her beautiful blue eyes. I paused and took in her face, it was the first time I truly done it – she was quite remarkable actually. Her face was round, and her tan skin was spotted with the occasional freckle, her mouth was shut tight, and her curly, long, brown hair was pulled back out of her face. What a way to go, I thought, realizing that I was mere moments from death. But then it hit me, this had to be the big reveal in the reality show, right? Any second all the cameras would be visible, the host would come out and congratulate me. I waited.
Yet nothing happened. I slowly opened my eyes, Anne started laughing at me.
“You thought I was going to kill you?” She continued laughing, and my cheeks turned red. I started to get angry, this whole thing was fucked up.This stupid reality show still wasn’t over, and my patience was wearing thin. I stood up, and held my sword in front of me, I imagined this was the “set” position. Now i was ready. I watched as Anne straightened and backed up a few paces. I breathed in deeply, then out, relaxing myself. I leaned forward onto the balls of my feet and bent my knees slightly. Anne adopted a similar pose, all traces of her smile from moments ago gone, she was once again the hard warrior.
This time i started by shuffling to my right. I reasoned that if I could get on this side of her, she wouldn’t be able to defend as well, since she was holding her sword in her right hand. However, she copied my movement and also began circling, keeping pace with me.
I had to think of a way to win. I knew without a doubt that she was a better swordsman than me, she had probably been practicing since she was a child, whereas I had never held a sword before today. Since there was no way i could beat her from just swordplay, I knew I needed some sort of surprise, to give me the advantage. I debated my options, but was interrupted by her.
“Well are you going to do something, or just walk in circles?” She chided at me. I reigned in the temptation to charge at her, and instead watched her movements, trying to guess when she would strike. I observed her taking a bigger step than usual with the left foot, but I thought nothing of it. Then she struck at me, her sword coming down at an angle across her body. I skitted back to avoid it, narrowly avoiding getting sliced, then before I could even process what had happened, I swung my sword at her exposed side, and while she managed to twist away to avoid most of it, the tip of my sword drew a thin line across her side,
I nearly dropped my sword in shock as she cried out.
“Oh god I didn’t realize that I, I mean i didn't mean to, It just kinda happened.” I stuttered on and on with apologies as i approached, but then she spun around and held her sword to my throat once again.
“Dead.” she said softly, gritting through the pain the she undoubtedly felt.
I opened my mouth in shock.”But that’s not fair, I thought you were hurt, I was going to help you.”
“Well you shouldn’t have, now your dead.” She said smirking, before she lowered her sword and looked at her side. I was so confused, I didn’t understand how I had managed to hit her at all, that hadn’t been me thinking, my body had just done that, without my say so. Also, i felt bad for hurting her, she was so pretty, and it felt wrong hurting her. Also also, I was still mad at her for cheating just to win.
And on top of all this, Anne was still pretending all of this was real, they wouldn’t end the reality show. I stopped for a moment to consider if maybe this whole thing was real. It seemed impossible, but I was seeing all of it. And maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if it all was real. Magic, swords, dragons, that did sound pretty badass.
Andre walked over to Anne, holding his hand near her wound, murmuring something quietly. I watched as the wound stopped bleeding, then scabbed over, then slowly the scab flaked off until only a faint white line remained on her side.
“What did you just do?” I asked, approaching the two.
“I healed her, with magic.” Andre responded.
“Right, so can you teach me to do that?”
“Yes, in good time. For now, we should continue your sparring lesson.”
“We’re not done?” I asked, worried.
“Not yet,” Anne stood up. I could see the excitement in her eyes, she wouldn’t be bested again. For a few hours, we spared. She continued to destroy me, with ease. Each time holding the sword to my throat, “dead.” My muscles ached from the weight of the sword, and constantly moving so much. My mind was starting to wonder and I was struggling to stay focused. Finally, as the sun was approaching the horizon, Andre called it off. Relieved, I sat and rested for a moment, drinking some water. I followed Anne and Andre back down the trail, ignoring my protesting legs. On the walk back, Andre started trying to explain magic to me.
Hopefully I got formatting right. if yoy have any other questions then don't hesitate to ask. Once again, any criticism is appreciated.