Forward the Lyte Brigade is the story of son of an innkeeper Nolan Lyte trying to re-establish the Lyte Brigade, the guild originally founded by his great-grandfather and disbanded since the retirement of his grandfather.
In the preview chapter, Nolan’s latest attempt to find recruits for the Lyte Brigade starts off poorly, as he struggles to gain traction for his guild and get people to take time out of their busy lives to pay attention to him.
So, basically, Nolan is the equivalent of a
Greatest Living self-published author…
Even with all his recent efforts, Nolan is no closer to actually having a guild to lead. His posters don’t seem to be working and there’s no sign of Pela. She must have decided not to join the guild. He doesn’t blame her. Why would you join a guild run by a Captain that tripped over you?
Nolan sits glumly in his chair. He did finally decide that Pela’s advice about winning people over through their stomachs was good idea. This, coupled with the advice from his copy of The Habits of Those with the Utmost Efficient Habits about offering people something in exchange for their precious time, gave him a brilliant idea: free sandwiches.
Thus, Nolan had prepared a new batch of posters detailing the various benefits of membership in the Lyte Brigade and hung them up around the inn’s dining hall. Then, he had his mother help him make a big platter of sandwiches. Finally, he posted a sign outside the inn proclaiming Guild Information Session, Free Sandwiches.
Looking out into an empty dining hall, Nolan decides that he didn’t quite understand what Pela was trying to tell him, and he is certain the book has misled him. He planned to lure people in with a big pile of sandwiches and have them read the posters, ingeniously placed right next to the pile of sandwiches.
What was supposed to happen was that people would come for the sandwiches and stay to join the Lyte Brigade. What is happening is that people are coming for the sandwiches, staying to eat the sandwiches, completely ignoring the posters, and then leaving – and helping themselves to a couple more sandwiches on the way out.
“Stupid book,” Nolan mutters. If it didn’t belong to the good people of the Porthaven Central Library, it would be destined for an exciting new career as a doorstop.
Nolan sighs and glances up. Even the people who were just wandering in to steal his sandwiches seem to have disappeared, and the inn is currently empty. Except for one very tall Elf woman with black hair, dressed in furry clothes that may have once been a bear – or something else similarly large and hirsute. The Elf meanders around the inn, sceptically studying his posters, but, just like everyone else so far, makes no sign of having interest in actually joining his guild.
He sighs again and goes back to his book. When he glances back up, he flinches at the sudden appearance of the tall Elf looming over him.
The tall Elf stares down at Nolan, arms folded over her chest. “I was promised a sandwich,” she notes. She speaks with an accent, but not one that Nolan recognises.
“They’re over there,” he says, pointing to the platter.
As he watches the tall Elf stalk over to the pile of sandwiches, Nolan realises that she must be a traveller, maybe even an adventurer, and she must be a long way from home. Along with her accent, she has a deep tan, and her boots are absolutely covered in mud and dust. He realises that she is exactly the kind of person he’d love to have as a member of the Lyte Brigade. Unfortunately, she only seems interested in his sandwiches.
The tall Elf reappears. “I would like another sandwich,” she declares, through a mouthful of the previous sandwich.
“Yeah. Take as many as you want,” Nolan answers.
She re-reappears at Nolan’s table with a sandwich in each hand. When she speaks to him, it is around a third sandwich stuffed partway into her mouth, “Also, I would like to join your guild.”
“Sure. Yeah,” Nolan mutters. “That’s -” He pauses as he begins to comprehend what she actually said. “What?”
“I would like to join your guild,” she repeats through the last mouthful of sandwich.
Nolan stares up at the woman for a long, stunned moment. “There’s, uh, there’s a form you need to sign,” he says once he recovers. He quickly begins looking around his table for the clipboard with his sign-up sheet.
“Mom!” he calls. “Where’s my clipboard?”
He scurries through the inn, checking under the tables for his wayward clipboard.
“One of the tables has a wobbly leg,” his mother calls from the kitchen. “I think your father is using it to keep it level.”
After a frantic search, Nolan reclaims the clipboard and springs out from under the table, narrowly avoiding hitting his head on his way up. He takes a seat across the table from the tall woman. To get himself into the proper mindset, he clears his throat, decides it didn’t sound nearly professional enough the first time, and clears his throat again.
This has exactly the opposite effect than he’d hoped for, sending him into a coughing fit and leaving him red-faced and gasping for breath.
“So,” the tall woman says to break the silence. “Who is supposed to talk first?”
“Sorry. I’ve never done this before,” Nolan says. “I guess -” he glances down at the forms on his clipboard “- the first thing I need is your name.”
“My name is Falcata,” the tall woman tells him. “I am from the Amazon Decapolis.”
“You’re an Amazon?” Nolan asks. “Wow! You must know all about fighting.”
Falcata nods. “I have been training since I was seven years old,” she explains. “I am proficient in the four styles of Amazon pankration and the use of seventy-four types of weaponry. I also received extensive dance lessons.”
“Dance lessons?” Nolan asks.
Falcata nods again. “Dancing teaches valuable footwork and coordination skills, as well as providing muscular and cardiovascular conditioning.”
“I see,” Nolan says. “And what was that about weaponry?”
“I can use seventy-four different kinds of it,” Falcata says.
“Seventy… four?” Nolan asks in amazement.
That can’t possibly be right, Nolan tells himself. Are there even seventy-three types of weapons? He tries to mentally count all the weapons he knows: swords, and axes, and big sticks, and… those curvy swords. And maybe kicking people? Biting? You could probably throw a potted cactus at somebody – does that count?
“No, actually,” Falcata answers, bringing Nolan back to the matter at hand.
“Oh,” Nolan answers. “Because I didn’t think there even were -”
“I should say seventy-five. I miscounted.”
“Where did you learn to fight with seventy-five kinds of weapons?” he asks in amazement.
“Back home,” she answers. “Like I said, we begin training young.”
Images of startlingly small girls hitting each other with startlingly large weapons spring to Nolan’s mind. He clears his throat, regains his composure and continues, “I just need your signature, then you’ll officially be a member of the Lyte Brigade.”
“Very good. When do we start?” Falcata asks.
“The guild can’t officially be reinstated until it has five members,” Nolan answers sheepishly. “And it, uh, hasn’t been going so well. You’re the first member I’ve managed to sign and it’s been weeks already.” He bashfully looks away. “Sorry.”
“In that case, I will require lodgings,” Falcata says. “I will have to get my things.”
Nolan’s dad hasn’t been thrilled about Nolan’s plans for Lyte Brigade, but he should be happy that Nolan has at least managed to rent out one of the inn’s rooms for the foreseeable future.
Forward, the Lyte Brigade will soon be available on Amazon as both an ebook and a paperback hard copy. In the meantime, the other Realmgard stories are all currently available in the same formats.