Words on Wednesday

Posted: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 by Travis Cody in

So, last week I took the plunge and posted the beginning of my novel. I'll post a little more today, still from chapter one.

My buddy Bond over at The Couch has been wondering if a blog is a good medium for posting a novel project like this. I wondered the same thing before I posted the first two sections of chapter one here. I'm trying to post them in small bites, and I'll include a link back to the previous posts. I may not post more than chapter one, which is 28 pages long.

My novel is intended as a trilogy and isn't really designed for serial posting, but it was important for me to at least put it out there. I'm glad I did. I hope you enjoy what I do post.

Oh, here are the other posts in case you missed them last week.




Chapter One


The lead horses on the team of six threatened to bolt at the explosion of Collin's rifle, but the driver deftly reined the frightened animals, and managed to keep the harness from fouling and tripping his team.

The confusion allowed Wade and his brothers to maneuver into a ring around the coach, effectively preventing the driver from lashing his team and running hell-bent for help. Wade nodded with confidence. Tom to the left and Brant to the right jumped to the ground and had the doors open and the coach empty before the driver could consider his next move. With his passengers on the ground, his only option now was surrender.

Wade noted with relief that there were only three passengers, and just one woman. He had nothing against the so-called fairer sex in general, but there were so few like the McCord women. His wife, sister, and sister-in-law suffered the same difficulties of exile as did their men, yet they somehow remained the backbone of the family. They raised the children and spent months at a time waiting for the return of brothers and husbands.

"Drop that shotgun, boy."

Wade heard Collin's ominous warning and it startled him. Never before had he let his mind wander during business.

Wade pulled himself back to proper focus and noticed with genuine astonishment that the King's Line shotgunner had fixed the barrels of a sawed-off shotgun on his chest. Wade McCord knew by instinct that he was well protected by his family. He knew that friendly pistols and rifles ringed this foolish hero and would kill him if he so much as twitched. Wade was annoyed. He refused to even consider so ignoble a death in a remote piece of forest in the heart of sheep country by the hand of a suicidal would-be hero, and a mere boy at that.

"Look here, son," he started conversationally.

"No," Drew Compton interrupted. "You look here." The young scout somehow managed to emphasize his shotgun without moving and drawing fire from the many guns he saw out of the corners of his eyes.

Wade locked his gaze on that of the boy, his gray eyes conveying a hauteur which had cowed many experienced Crown officials throughout Vargus. He didn't seem able to intimidate this 'gunner, and that pleased him and irritated him at the same time. He did notice the tension in the young body, and adjusted his tactics.

"Alright, what do you want to do?" Wade asked, though his cold tone told the 'gunner that he didn't really care.

"I want y'all to back away from this coach and let us go on our way."

Wade smiled. “No,” he said, and the steel in his eyes made it a most horrific expression.

Drew Compton swallowed hard. The sweat was streaming down his face and stinging his eyes. He wanted to blink, but knew as soon as he did he would be dead. He didn't know why he had raised his shotgun, but he knew he couldn't lower it now or he would never reach his ultimate goal. He said nothing.

Wade shifted in his saddle. His experience told him he that he must simply find the right set of words to disarm the young scout.

"Listen, son, you're a reasonable man, and so am I. You won't leave this place alive unless you put down that shotgun. That won't make you a coward, it'll make you a smart man, and give you a head start on becoming on old smart man. I don't want to have to kill you, but we mean to have what we came for. Just drop the shotgun and we'll finish up and be on our way."

Wade didn't wait for a reply. He gestured to Wes to locate the strong box and get it down.

The sound of the shotgun blast shocked Wade. So did the feeling that someone had punched him in the shoulder. Then he felt the fire and was incredulous that the idiot had actually shot him. He slipped sideways out of his saddle and fell to the ground.


"You dumb son-of-a-bitch!" Wes McCord shouted. He squeezed the trigger of his pistol and sent two bullets thudding into the body of the shotgunner.

Stupidity in full measure was displayed before his eyes. He couldn't believe the obscene overconfidence with which his brother had played the situation. He couldn't believe the King's Line 'gunner had chosen to fire when he knew it was certain to be his death. He couldn't believe he, himself, had not acted twenty seconds sooner.

Wes watched as the boy dropped heavily from the coach seat. He was reconciled to the necessity of what he had done. He'd done it a number of times before. But he was repulsed by it just the same. He was a sane man and did not enjoy killing.

He glanced briefly at the body as it rolled face up to the ground and saw how young the dead man really was. About Clay’s age, maybe younger. Wes' chest constricted and he turned away. It could have been Clay, or any of them.

{It was not your fault.} The mental voice of his mare gently invaded his recriminations.

{As much mine as anyone's, Broma. This didn't have to happen.}

{I could have warned you, but the rapport between us is so shallow these days.}

{I know. Wade's rules. He still doesn't understand the magic we share. He thinks I'll let us get lost in the rapport. He can't seem to accept that we've all grown up. We don't behave the way we did when we were children. We know what's at stake, now more than ever.}

Wes and Broma had been magically linked for five years, since the mare's birth. His affinity with Broma was the most common human/equine relationship in Vargus, manifested in the most rare form. He was able to converse with the mare over virtually unlimited distances, and to touch any other familiar equine mind to degrees proportionate to distance. Basically, he could establish a mind link with any horse in the realm. He and Broma sometimes had a tendency to lose themselves in the joy of rapport, to the exclusion of most everything else. It was one of the few things that kept Wes sane.

{He knows that we equines are not foolish beasts.} Broma's mental imprint was stern within Wes' mind. {We know the importance of what we do and we will not stand idly by and let any of you be injured if we can help it.}

{He forgets, Broma. He has responsibility for all of us and sometimes it blinds him. Besides, the rapport has little to do with this situation.}

{How so?}

{Wade knows that any man holding a drawn and loaded weapon is dangerous. He handled this situation badly and paid for it.}

Broma did not answer.

It was true that the mare could have warned Wes much sooner if they had been active in the rapport. She was able to read the subtle nuances of human body motion and scent that could translate into a near precognitive sixth sense in her rider. Deep rapport between the two could make them one, and Wes often found himself seeing and feeling as an equine.

Wes had learned an enormous capacity for control over the link, as had Broma. They had manipulated the link over the years such that Wes could be involved in any number of routine or non-routine tasks and maintain a passive rapport with Broma. A step further into the active allowed him to converse with the mare while suffering no undue restriction of his movement. Many times he had carried on conversations with Broma as he spoke to his brothers, and they had never guessed.

If he could only make Wade understand this power, there was really no limit to what could be achieved. It was an odd dichotomy that Wade would not allow the rapport to be completely active when the family was in the heart of Vargus proper. It was one of the few things that could be absolutely counted on to protect all of them, but Wade had made the link off-limits.

Wes became aware of the screaming behind him and fervently wished it would stop. Finally, Tom slapped the woman quiet, with apologies. Outlaws they may be now, but ten years and more earlier they had been nobly born and bred to be leaders of the realm. Manners they had in full measure, as much an ingrained part of each man as the incredible magical powers that they wielded.

Wes looked to the front of the coach. {Arvanel, how's Wade?}

{Well enough.} Wade's stallion replied, evincing a weariness Wes understood. {He is merely dented, and deservedly so.}

Wes acknowledged the report silently, agreeing but not pursuing any further discussion. He turned his attention to the driver of the coach. He didn't expect trouble after the death of the shotgunner, but he wasn't about to take a chance. His ruminations had taken mere seconds.

"You," he growled, his deep voice made more menacing by his size and the still smoldering pistol he brandished at the cowed coachman. "Why don't you climb on down from there? Keep your hands fisted and where I can see them."

The driver complied, one wild eye on Wes' gun, the other on the body of the 'gunner. As he struggled awkwardly down the side of the coach, his hands fisted so tightly that his knuckles whitened, Wes grew impatient. He urged Broma over and grabbed the driver by the front of his shirt. He flung the frightened man to the ground where Tom collected him and put him with the passengers.

Wes took another careful look around, then gave the all's clear nod. Garret clambered up the back of the coach, located the strong box, and hoisted it down to Alex Cavanaugh. Alex settled it across his saddlebow.


  1. Turnbaby says:

    Damn Trav--can you send me the rest--I love this--I have some suggestions best left for email--but I LOVE this. I have decided not to put the other parts of my novel up because I don't think this medium works well for it--it just won't 'serialize'. However--I am gonna do some short pieces specifically for the blog. LOVE THIS!

  1. Travis says:

    Hugs baby! You are too kind.

    I may go back to focusing on poetry here. I'd love to write some short pieces too - we'll see if I can get the words to move at all in that direction.

  1. Meribah says:

    I'm really enjoying this story, Trav. I find the human/animal telepathy parts particularly fascinating. You have quite the imagination. I sure hope you get some of your work published eventually. It would be cool to pick up one of your books and say I knew the author way back when! **grins**

  1. Travis says:

    Meri: **tosses scooby treats** I'll be happy just to finish it!

  1. Trav,

    You are a very talented writer. I love it! Keep it up!!!!

  1. Duckles says:

    Do you really think, that I will be satisfied, with only the first chapter??

  1. Travis says:

    Dix: Awwww shucks!

    Duckles: Well, I hope not! I'll consider posting more after we get through chapter one.

  1. Bond says:

    My friend, This is one hell of a story and I am hopeful that you finish it and I get to read it someday.

    I have a real battle going on and I believe the leave the novel behind and intil it is complete and use Monday matinee for short 2-3 week serials.

  1. Amanda says:

    Wow! You are a truley talented writer Trav..finish that book sweetie!

  1. Anndi says:

    Well I love all I've read sweetie... Thank you for sharing it with me.. thank you for sharing your gift with us all.

  1. Travis says:

    V: The story is the thing dude. Stick with it. And thanks.

    Am: Thank you my dear.

    Ann: Hugs darlin.

  1. Maryfly says:

    Trav, again, love the concept and enjoy reading your story. Don't make us wait too long for the next installment! hugs!

  1. Finally got a few minutes during this crazy week to read - Good stuff!