The First 300 Words

Chapter One:  

Hidden Agenda

My arrow struck the goblin right between the eyes. He vanished like a popped balloon filled with smoke and glitter.

Three more of the short green beasties darted out from behind the forest trees, braver as a group. They raised their axes and bared sharp piranha teeth, then at some unspoken signal ran right for me, screaming and taunting: “Die, Princess!”

Stupid goblins. They always clumped together like that, making a nice fat target. I stood my ground and fired two arrows, one right after the other. My new-found nymph magic made aiming a snap; the wood just seemed to know what I wanted. And two more clouds of green smoke drifted away in the cool breeze.

The last goblin halted in his tracks, alone and uncertain, and dropped his weapon. But before he could turn to run I took two quick steps and swung my fist hard at his chin. Why waste an arrow?

That made four down.

The silence of the dark woods didn’t fool me; more attackers waited for me and my elf-made bow. They always did. I listened for wing-beats in case the sprites were flocking, but I heard nothing from the branches above. So I knelt in the mossy leaves and pretended to tie my bootlace.

When I heard the loud crunch of snapping twigs I smiled. This was too easy. A small giant or a troll thought I wasn’t paying attention and was trying to sneak up on me.

Still kneeling, I eased my bow off my shoulder and reached for an arrow. Then I stood and spun toward the sound, nocking my arrow and drawing it in one swift motion. An ogre stood five feet away, rotting teeth bared and a massive tree branch gripped in both hands above his shaggy head.