Author’s Notes: One thing I can’t stand is when people get excited about reading my work. They practically beg me.
When I was growing up, everyone just assumed I was some kind of genius. Either that, or they hoped to learn some dirty secret about the inner workings of my mind. Despite repeating that my story is fantasy and that it probably wouldn’t appeal to them if they don’t like fantasy, they’d insist on reading it. After relenting, I often didn’t hear from them again—they even avoided eye contact. Sometimes I never even got my story back.
Which makes me wonder . . . what does Thangar say about me? Does it reveal potential genius? In 1986, I honestly thought so. I deluded myself into believing I was destined for greatness. And that belief built the stepping stones upon which my writing stands today. Without that practice, without all those crimes against fiction, I couldn’t write nearly as well as I do now. So many people have this Mozart theory stuck in their brains—this idea that some kids are born great. They never stop to think about the rest of humanity, the people who work hard at being good, or the people who simply write bad fiction. Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers argues that there has likely never been any real such prodigies. After all, Mozart’s father was a musician who taught him piano from as early as Mozart could reach the keys. It’s no wonder Mozart could play by age 6.
Thangar and Sint rode off on their horses, leaving the Enchanted Mountains, towards the dreaded castle. They saw the castle guards and more jousters. Some of the guards who’d managed to flee acquired a new weapon—catapults—which flung giant stones into the air and crashing to the ground.
Thangar and Sint went back south to the mountain and took the knights’ [the ones killed earlier] armor. When they returned to the castle, the knights thought Thangar and Sint were jousters and ceased firing the catapults. Then Thangar and Sint neared the catapults and cut the wood [holding them together]. When the knights saw this, they knew they had been tricked and attacked them.
“Come on, Thangar, let’s ditch these suits—they’ve been giving me the cramps,” said Sint.
The two fighters [Thangar and Sint] took up lances and jousted down the knights. All of a sudden, an arrow cut into Sint’s arm—his sword fighting arm—and he had to switch to his bad arm, handicapping him. Arrows were tumbling down from the balcony.
“It’s the archers!” Sint yelled in pain and Thangar rode to his aid. But Thangar’s attention was drawn off and a jouster knocked him off his horse. He’d lost his horse but fought on.
Sint fought the knight while Thangar climbed up to the balcony and into the window. Inside, he quickly spun around with his sword, cutting the balcony! Thangar then jumped down and it tumbled onto the archers.
Thangar ran to Sint’s aid and helped him kill the rest of the knights. Thangar and Sint were in pain but were victorious at last. The giant draw bridge was closed but Thangar and Sint slashed the door as if it was paper and together they ran into the castle. Their map did not reveal the inside, however, which was a mystery!
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