This is the first chapter of my book The Broken Tournament, to catch up with the story so far you can read the first installment, the prelude here.
I continued jogging through the broken paths Withwood village trying to ignore a huge stitch I had in my stomach. Hopefully I’d be able to get back soon and recover before tomorrow. As I ran, breathing heavily, I was alarmed to see a complete and utter stranger sitting on a horse. The shock made me forget where I was going and the distraction caused me to trip over a huge crack in the ground. Something about falling just really hurts; it grazes your knees and is extremely annoying. Falling that small distance can cause way too much inconvenience. Luckily this fall wasn’t so bad and only minor damages had taken place but I had more worrying things to deal with. This stranger was approaching me at a quick pace.
He had a brown horse with many bags attached to it, the horse was very plain but the man wasn’t, he was so unusual I didn’t know how I should act towards him. He had a strange hat with feathers as well as clothes with many layers of cloth or fabric coming off in ripples; I lacked the words to describe it since it was so different to the normal clothes I would see daily. Brown and red just looks strange to me, I have no idea how he was able to get an item like that, all the clothes sold here are just green all over, simple as that. What was also strange was that he had the same thing I used to tie my shoes together to tie his shirt together! Why on earth is that a good idea? He looked stupid, not to mention that it’s a waste of time when you could literally put the whole thing over your head without tying it anyway. The use of his clothes was pointlessly over the top.
He looked massive and intimidating from his huge mount and I suddenly realised that this guy might be dangerous instead of some kind of strange sceptical for me to laugh at. Before I could think to run away he started to talk to me, I guess he was friendly after all.
“Where is this place?” The stranger asked, he had brown tuffy hair out the side of his hat and a relatively normal, if not wide face with a hairy stubble which really needed to be cut off or grown into a beard, the middle ground did not suit him.
“Um” I hesitated, how could he not know? Surely this was the place he’d come from, otherwise he’d never be here. “Don’t you know? Aren’t you from here?” I tried to come across as intimidating as I possibly could from a position of lying on the ground staring at my knee.
“Ha ha, yes, but I seem to have forgotten.” His face switched from mild nervousness to confidence, as if forgetting the place where you lived was the most normal thing in the world. I suppose it wasn’t impossible, there were times in the past where I forgot my way and got lost however I would never believe that one could forget not to dress properly. I would need to ask him where he got his clothes from.
“Well, it’s Withwood village? How could you not know?” This whole thing was very strange, he might have been lying but I found it hard to believe that anyone could live anywhere else but here so I had no choice but to believe him.
“Well I took a fall from my horse and knocked my head, the names Matthew by the way.” He got off his horse and went to sit down on the path next to me. Then he put his hand out vertically as if he wanted something from me.
“What?” I said, his action had made me nervous. This man wasn’t threatening but now he was just confusing. He quickly retracted his hand in nervousness, now I was able to relax since he established himself as weak.
“If you don’t mind theirs a few more things I’ve forgotten, do you think you could help me out?”
Well I did have plans later; for one thing I had to prepare for my trial tomorrow which would let me stay in the village. When a boy becomes an adult they go through a village trial which determines what will happen to them as an adult, it was all very vague and nobody ever mentioned it but it was the event plaguing my thoughts right now, having someone to talk too whilst taking a breather could never be a bad thing.
“Alright” I responded.
“So how many people live here?” He had actually taken out a scrap of paper, something rarely seen in the village, and was writing stuff down on it. I knew vaguely how to spell and write words but I was slow and didn’t know the correct way to write the letters in. Reading and writing was a pointless hobby anyway, if I never used it, how could I possibly need it?
“I’d say there would be about, um 50? I’m not sure really” I really wasn’t but it’s more a number I threw out there randomly when I get embarrassed that I can’t really count past, well very far. I never sold the wheat, I just picked it. I would get paid five small brown coins and that’s all the counting I needed.
“50? Alright” He clearly didn’t seem satisfied with my answer and had stopped writing. “Are you sure? This is a very big place! I would have been sure that there would be more than 50!”
“Oh yeah I meant 5 lots of 50.” I just said it without thinking, in fact I didn’t really know how many people there were in the village, if there were roughly 20 people working on the fields and 9 fields how many people would that make? Also theirs probably about 50 people just working on who knows what in the centre. “Never mind” I said, and I told him that information.
“So theirs around 230 people?” he asked me.
“Yeah I guess” I was more amazed with how quickly he could count, or even get that number in the first place, I had no idea people could ever get that clever or speedy.
“And what do we do?” He asked the question carefully for some reason, as if he should be worried.
“Harvest um potatoes mainly, we also harvest wheat and the folks back in the village turn it into bread, it’s a really cool method, I never knew it would be possible to turn something so… so um…” I found it difficult to think of the word “Something so… uneatable into a thing that tastes really nice”
“Aha I see” the man, whose name was Matt (Right? I don’t even remember) continued to write about me with continued interest. Everything about him was strange but he seemed pleasant enough, I was happy to give him the benefit of the doubt and talk to him in this pleasant way. He was strange and interesting, like no adult I had ever met before.
“Also what’s your name?” He asked me as an afterthought.
“Kil” I said, that was a fair enough question. I threw in a little sentence at the end to check I’d got his name right “It’s kil, Matthew.” At this point Matthew became excessively nervous and started sweating more than I had during my run. To comfort him I put my hand on his shoulder, this was instantly way too awkward for me and I fiddled around with the grass behind my back to try and calm my nerves and make the whole thing feel more natural. This clearly had the opposite effect because he had become crazy and started breathing hard.
“Well Kil, I I I I m M mustbe going n n now, it was p p leasent talking though!” he quickly leaved me, riding away on his horse as fast as he possibly could, what a strange man I thought.
I realised that I should probably get back to my training for the trial tomorrow and got up to run. Nobody has really told me anything about the trial, all they seem to say is that nobody has ever failed and that I’ll be fine if I train properly. Well that’s nice and all but I’d still appreciate knowing more information!
I returned to the massive buildings in the centre of Withwood where a familiar and vile face greeted me. It was Jak, the leader of the village and he was insanely creepy and very camp.
“Kil, how are ye?” Oh dear, he opened his arms to hug me and I had no real choice but to go and hug him, he was the village leader after all and you had to follow what he says at least some of the time.
“fine” we hugged for a brief moment and then I pulled away, but he was still grabbing me. He patted me on the back but wouldn’t let go until a few more uncomfortable seconds had gone by and I was made to feel very cold and horrified.
“Ye ready for yer trial Kil?” Looking at this large old man actually gave me some reassurance, if this elderly ugly fart could pass it then pretty much anyone could.
“Yep” I said, one word answers were the way to go with this guy, if you kept on talking for long periods of time it would inevitably lead to a new conversation and that was the last thing I wanted. He had a talent which I hated – being able to talk about anything pointlessly forever.
“Aha! Ya see, you’ll be FINE! I look forward to see you become an adult Kil, the time seems about right! You certainly look like an adult! And a very strong and HANDSOME one at that!” He talked to me as if he owned me and felt comfortable touching my shoulder and chest for long periods of time as if it was completely normal. Sure it was normal for him but ultimately that still wasn’t a good thing.
Thinking about the shoulder thing from earlier (as Jak touched my shoulder) made me realise that maybe that’s what Matt thought when I tried to reassure him. Because it’s either that or he really wants to give me one, and the very idea of that disgusts me.
“Yep, well see you” I replied and moved to leave.
“Alright Kil, no worries, I’m sure we’ll have an even longer time to talk once ya pass yer trial and become an adult like me, we’ll basically be in the same age range at that point! We’ll be sure to have a long talk then!”
“ahahahah, yep, see you” I walked off as fast as I could, he was horrible to talk too, every minute made me feel filthy and felt way longer than it should. Something about the way he talked to me was just extremely unnatural. The villagers often said things like “Don’t worry, he tends to like men of your age” and it was common things to joke about. Was he like that really? No, he was probably just as uncomfortable as I was but trying to hide it.
Even if Jak was interested in me I’m not attracted too males, and not old fat ones at that. Most of the girls at the village were nice enough for me. If any of them came on to me as hard as Jak did then I’d have a much different reaction. In a way it might be simpler for me if I did like old fat guys, I wouldn’t have any relationship troubles then and I’d be in a position of power by default. But contemplating that idea for even a minute made me feel sick inside so it wasn’t even worth it, I’d sooner die than be forced to be with him.
I went to the nearest shop which sold food and once I had brought a small meal I sat down eating it on a high overlook gazing at the village I call home. This was Withwood. Tall and magnificent with sprawling landscapes of beauty and buildings of excellent feats of construction, the sun was high in the sky and it cast the whole view in brilliant sunlight, this was the life. Just relaxing in the sun, I knew that I needed to win the trial, just so that I had another chance of seeing this view again. I promised myself that when I came back here eventually I would sit here again and think of the many years of comfort I was to have.
Once I finished I walked down the path to meet with some friends before going to do some more training, a simple circuit of press ups and sit ups would probably be enough, I don’t want to wear myself out before the big day. It was at this time that to my complete shock and horror I was grabbed from behind and gagged.
“argh” I tried to speak but words would not come out, I did gag myself once because I thought it would be fun but never as badly and tight as this. I wrestled with my captors who I couldn’t see but in the end it was futile, they took me into a carriage and drove off. One or two of the villagers were still at their stores and I could hear shouts wishing my luck on my trial. So this was it, my trial was beginning.
Thank you for reading the first chapter of this big adventure story! It’s still early days yet but I hope you stick around to see the difficulties and trials Kil is about to face!
All feedback is appreciated but criticism more so, if you have any suggestions or things you thought could have been improved you are actively helping me create a better work by pointing things out to me! So thank you! I had excellent feedback last time so thank you! You’re continued support is what is going to make this project great!