Apparently back in September I promised monthly updates on Battle Scars III: Swords of the King.
Whoops! Is it really the middle of April? Looking back, I see I told you about awards & accolades for For King and Country. I wrote about research for Book III based on my visits to Lincoln and Nottingham, my experience as a ‘supporting author’ at GRL in Kansas City and the Big Gay Fiction Giveaway. And in March and early April I highlighted some significant events in the life of Richard the Lionheart.
So, what is happening with Swords?
I am closing in on “the end.” Three weeks ago I told a friend I had 5 ‘chapters’ noted in my Scrivener outline. Well, one of those turned into 3 chapters. I’m at 94,000+ words and those remaining 4 could add another 10,000-20,000 words. A broken truce, numerous engagements between Richard’s army and the French, the big climax and aftermath — Henry, Stephan and Robin will be in the thick of the action.
At Gisors, Philip of France takes a dunk in the River Epte when a bridge collapses in September 1198. (A true story.) And the pace won’t let up in the pages that follow. Richard’s brother, the evil John (you know, King John of Magna Carta fame), does not forget how Henry, Stephan, and Robin thwarted his efforts to overthrow Richard in Battle Scars II.
It seems like the research never ends. I think I have read everything I need to, and then discover I want more detail about a particular place or event. Check/cross-check more sources. Am I missing some piece of information? I certainly hope not.
Snippets from Swords of the King
If you follow me on Facebook you will have seen these short snippets. Then again, given Facebook algorithms, maybe you haven’t! Enjoy…
John sniffed at his drink. “Interesting that you defend Lady Elle, Henry. She ignored her brother’s wishes when she did not marry you. She chose that landless, penniless squire. Quite the story there, even my own mother involved. So many secrets, plots and intrigue.” John’s eyes grew icy as he brought the wine to his lips and swallowed a swig. He clamped a hand on Henry’s shoulder and scrutinized Robin. “But as they say, the truth always outs.”
* * * *
A wrinkled map covered the table in the king’s tent and tallow candles made the air stale with smoke. The men hovered over it like a pack of wolves. Snarling, Richard whisked out his dagger and stabbed Paris. “So Philip consorts with Flanders, Ponthieu, and Boulogne. Where will they strike?”
* * * *
“Watch out for the rats,” Allan said.
“Give him the torch,” Henry said. “The path is uneven, and I for one don’t want to carry Weston if his foot catches in a hole.”
“Or slips in the pigeon shite,” Allan added as he handed the torch to Edric.
“Is that what smells like an overripe privy?” Edric had slowed, lowering the flame to inspect the sandstone.
“I thought that was you, Weston,” Robin said and increased his pace uphill.
* * * *
Just as Henry started after Robin, curses flew at the front of the room. Stephan scrambled atop the trestle and the curses weren’t the only thing in flight. He landed on Edric Weston and both men disappeared from Henry’s sight.
Chairs toppled, wine and food bounced into the air, and men clambered to get out of the way. Stephan and Weston rolled across the floor, knights cheering, definitely more in Stephan’s favor than Weston’s from the shouts Henry heard. King Richard was on his feet spurring them on, but one quick glance at his wife and at Queen Eleanor, and he immediately ordered them to stop.
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Château Gaillard – by Sylvain Verlaine (Own work), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons