by thefourpartland

Update: Bloodaxe hit Kindle this morning!

I haven’t talked about Bloodaxe much on here, but it’s a new short story that will be released to Kindle Select in a week or so. I’m using it as a trial of the platform, and I’m hoping for good things after Breaking an Empire did 2,500 downloads in a single night.

The prologue of Bloodaxe is already posted on the website here. You might want to read it before getting to the fun below.

Being born hurts. A lot.

I felt like I was being squeezed through a rawhide bag by a former member of my personal bodyguard. The one who killed people by strangling them with an iron bar. Not wire. Bar.

After that, I got smacked around by a particularly ugly old crone, then cleaned up and handed over to a woman with enough gold cloth that she had to be a duchess. Not bad for a second time around. Much better than a peasant, although I had always liked dear old mum and dad.

I was small enough I figured it was better to be polite, so I said โ€œHelloโ€. Turned out some of the connections weren’t working right, since all that came out was a squawk. And so it turned out I was going to have to go through a normal childhood, complete with all the annoying stages of growing up. Lovely.

Whichever god thought this was a good idea is going to wake up one morning with me standing over him with an axe. A bloody great one. And if I don’t find out which one it is, I’m going to start with Frethden, god of trickery, and work my way in from there.

I’ve been through childhood once, and it turns out the only reason I remembered it fondly was because I didn’t remember it at all. Learning not to crap your pants? I’m so very glad I now have complete memories of that.

Anyway, less faeces and deicide, and more storytelling. It turned out I had been born into the duchy of Trond, which was the smallest of the duchies that once made up my kingdom. Bigger than the three earldoms and two baronies that sat around it, but smaller than the other two duchies. Situated nicely in the middle.

Or not so nicely in the middle. The other two duchies didn’t like my new parents very much, and decided to do something about that. Specifically, they sent several assassins in the night, plus a rather large force of regular soldiers. And when you’re four years old, it doesn’t matter how many years of battle-hardened reactions you have, you still need to run and hide. At least being four meant I could hide in a tiny cubbyhole.

It turned out the gold cloth wearing woman who was my new mother was fairly skilled with a rapier. Significantly more so than my new father, who got himself skewered within moments. I’d have been sad, except I only ever saw him at a distance, or at state affairs. Not exactly a loving father-son relationship. So, new mum dispatches the assassins, including the one who got the duke, finds me, and decides to leg it, since there’s rather more soldiers around who belong to the other duchies than to ours.

She calls, I come, we’re whisked off through miles of secret passages and tunnels, and end up climbing out a trapdoor hidden in the back of the fertilizer shed of a local farmer. I liked that touch. Sneaky, devious. Gave me more respect for the duchess. What I didn’t like was the damage a shaggy pony can deal to four year old buttocks. I’ve acquired battle scars in less painful ways.

I also didn’t like the irony of the gods. Because my Mum and I ended up living in a peasant village. On a hillside. Farming. Yes, I was once more a peasant farmer. I hadn’t liked it the first time I was growing up and I didn’t like it now. And how the hell was I going to fulfil my destiny of returning to save Rudvic if all I had to work with was some dirt and the clots who ate it?


  1. Peter Newman on 02.03.2012

    The grizzled narration is fun to read although it makes it harder for me to care about the Duchess. He’s like the bastard child of the Look Who’s Talking films and Kratos (God of War).

    Liked the opening line too.

  2. The Four Part Land on 02.03.2012

    That’s kind of the idea with the character. He’s actually based on a Viking king who was called Bloodaxe (as well as sundry angry relatives). Likewise, Finehair was another Viking king, although beyond that the historical resemblance ends.

    In some ways, the attempt was to make a character who’s an asshole, but who the reader enjoys being around. Feedback so far suggests it mostly works *fingers crossed*

    At this place in the story, Bloodaxe himself doesn’t really know his mother either. Immediately after this is where they actually spend some time getting to know one another. About a decade of story time, in fact. Mum becomes quite important as it goes along. And angry. But then again, most of the characters in the book qualify as angry.

  3. Sonia Lal on 02.03.2012

    I enjoyed reading it, the POV of an old hero born into the body of a child, and he has to remember every little bit. LOL

  4. The Four Part Land on 02.06.2012

    Thanks Sonia ๐Ÿ™‚

    It was interesting, since I’d never written a story of this length from a first-person perspective before, but the tone it let me hold was very enjoyable. And I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll have to do it again.

  5. Steve Green on 02.04.2012

    Oh, I really like this character, and I’m looking forward to knowing him better in the future.

  6. The Four Part Land on 02.06.2012

    Like many stories, I think he gets better the more you get to know him. And His family is a real bunch of heroes ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Nerine Dorman on 02.07.2012

    Lovely piece of narration here. Just watch out for your pet phrase โ€“ “as it turned out”.

  8. The Four Part Land on 02.07.2012

    Oh dear, I used that 4 times in a short span. Somehow, I didn’t catch it at all. I’ll have to add it to the list of phrases I hunt down.

    Glad you liked it, and thanks for the catch ๐Ÿ™‚

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