I unfortunately don't have the actual prompt for this assignment, but I remember the gist of it: to get genre writing out of the system. My professors can't stand it, so this particular professor allowed our first assignment to be genre, to satisfy the impulse and get it out of the way. It was supposed to be a scene of 500 words that really allows the reader to know the characters. And of course, tell what genre it is.
So this is a short scene in a fantasy story. A little bit of background: Captain Revelin Drake is hunting a defector from his brother’s army, Taran Maddock. When he finally moves in to capture Maddock, Drake discovers he practices dark magic, but thanks to a hooded stranger, isn’t killed. Instead, both Drake and his unexpected ally are captured by Maddock. This scene takes place in the dungeon of Maddock’s lair.
“Ah, the princess finally awakens!”
Drake groaned, willing his eyes open despite the pounding of his skull. The cell floor was cool against his face, but his shoulder ached, and every nerve echoed with the lightening that had pulsed through him. He wanted to slip back into blissful unconsciousness. As luck would have it, the man sharing his cell didn’t seem to believe he should.
“How’d you sleep?”
Pressure on his wrists brought the Captain to full wakefulness, and his back stiffened reflexively. He struggled to move away, look over his shoulder, something. But everything ached and his limbs didn’t want to obey his commands.
“Easy, Captain,” came the red-haired man’s voice from behind him. “Dark magic will do a number on you if you aren’t used to it.” The tinkering of metal against metal, and suddenly Drake’s wrists were free.
He attempted to roll onto his back and felt his comrade’s hands guiding him to slowly do so, but his right arm was unable to move properly. He froze as pain shot through his shoulder, and he hissed between clenched teeth.
“Shoulder? Yeah, I heard the snap when you landed. Lucky for you, the lightening knocked you out before he started having fun.” That forced Drake to focus despite the pain, and he blinked worriedly at impossibly blue eyes through a curtain of auburn. The man offered him a weak smile, then brushed his bangs out of his face before helping Drake into a seated position. “It’s dislocated. On three, I’ll reset it, okay?”
“Sure,” came the Captain’s weak response.
The man nodded, and took hold of Drake’s limply dangling arm. “One.”
But just as Drake was about to say “two,” the man wretched his arm. With a sickening crack, the joint was forced back into place. The pain that jolted through him was enough to twist his stomach, and threatened to knock him out. His shoulder ached, but it was no longer the piercing pain it had been while dislocated. And he could move his arm again. “I thought we were doing it on three,” he growled, tenderly touching his sore shoulder.
“You would have been tense. Makes the job harder, and makes it more painful.” The man casually shrugged, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“So you’re after Maddock?” he asked. He straightened, pulling away even while a thin layer of concern still coated his features. His boots were silent as he all but glided to the cell door. The angle was awkward as he tampered with the lock, but he managed to make it look as natural as breathing.
“Yeah,” Drake replied, somewhat bewitched by the other man’s work. “How did you manage to free yourself from the shackles?”
“Even cursed shackles have locks, and any lock can be picked.” No sooner spoken and the lock of the cell finally succumbed to his ministrations, and he swung the barred door open until it clattered against the stone wall.