An arrow flew past just over the left ear and thunked in the dirt behind mercenary battle witch Polypoloy Castle. The brown eye, which had been through many close calls regarding arrows this afternoon, barely twitched before traveling to look to her right. Too many soldiers on her side lacked shields tough enough to withstand the thick Kan shafts. She sidestepped to avoid another arrow, then was forced to bring up her staff to knock a couple more away. Smiling, she waved to the enemy archers as the barrage ended and the armies crashed together. Pol crouched deep, then sprang over the heads of several soldiers to bring her closer to the edge of the battle, where the Kan army was starting to surround them. A broadsword sliced toward her left ribs as she landed, another coming down over her collarbone, sending her rolling backward to avoid the blades. Springing to her feet, she jabbed her staff straight into the man’s nose, crushing the front of his skull and spraying her with blood. His companions attacked her ferociously, most of them also wielding double broadswords, honed to fingernail-thin sharpness, thick enough to make her stay well away. Years ago she’d made the mistake of thinking Kan broadswords would snap like any other sword when applied sufficient pressure — that blunder had cost her a good staff and several gold bullets to pay for stitches. Nowadays when she knew she was fighting Kan soldiers she carried a spell or two to weaken their blades, and her staff was covered in several layers of strength spells. It wasn’t always necessary to fall back to destroying weapons, however; a well-timed flame always served Pol well. She spun her staff clockwise, keeping the enemy away in front, and waited for the men behind her to make a move. They stepped in, and she spun gracefully around on her toes, the staff clanging against their swords.
Time to fly.
She sprung off the ground, bringing her knees to her sides, and plucked a packet from the inside pocket of her shorts before she started her descent. Too late, she noticed a soldier who thought to impale her on his sword as she landed. Twisting sideways, she brought her staff around for balance, the sole of her boot catching on the tip of the sword. The staff dropped as she brought her arm down to catch her, and with the other she threw the packet. It exploded a few feet away, and the soldiers around her burst into flames. The warmth licked her cheeks and played around her fingers, now lightly clutching her staff, warning her not to be so careless. Her lips, pressed tightly together in the stress of the fight, now spread into an exuberant grin, and she leapt to her feet, running back into the battle with a loud cry. Soldiers fell around her, and soon her boots were sinking in blood mud, her legs and stomach spattered red. The shirt, ending above her belly button, originally a light blue, was now purple and would have to go.
A quick survey of the battlefield showed that, although she’d killed a fair number of Kan, the majority of bodies in sight were Golian. They’d attacked with roughly 500 against 230, which should have been strongly in their favor. Pol’s face, light with the thrill of battle, began to distort to a displeased frown. She took off through the fray until she could spring from the ground and land on the highest point of the battlefield. First she reapplied fire spells to her staff and coated her boots with another shield spell, then she dug out some mildly spelled lotion to cover the scratches on her shoulders. Anyone who saw her before a fight suggested she wear armor, but ruining her cute outfit wasn’t worth it. She bore several light scars all over her body because of this, but those only added to her impressive figure. Prepared to fight once again, the mercenary had to decide which side to fight for. What she saw did not please her.
I think I’m on the losing side again. Damn.
There, that unedited passage is the start of my 2010 Nanowrimo project. I made the 50,000 words for the contest, but only got about halfway through the book, so now (at a slower pace) I'm finishing it (current word count = 85k). I'm really challenging myself with WitchLyre for 2 main reasons: I've always avoided writing battle scenes before, so that one ^ up there ^ is really my first one; and the main character, Pol, is kind of evil. Not evil evil, she's just not nice. Very unlike any character -- especially a main character -- I've written, I'm having a lot of trouble keeping her the way I want her. Anyway, if you have any opinions on the above passage, I'd love to hear them.
Confession: The only battle scenes I actually like to read are those by Brandon Sanderson (esp. Mistborn). Most of the time I skim battle/fight scenes if they're longer than a page. I should probably change that if I'm going to be writing them...