Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Penning Tournament - Updates

Bongiorno! Yeah, I know you're probably all wondering why I've been gone. Well, in a rather hilariously chaotic chain of events, all I have been able to do over the past few days is answer comments. You see, I was gone for a while, and then arrived home a lot later than I had anticipated to, and then once I got home, I got sick... again. :P So, sorry...? I'm okay now, and so I figured I'll make it up to you guys by this post, and hopefully a good CE on Sunday (shh! I'm not saying anything else about it!). Anyways, I'm here today to give updates on the Penning Tournament. You can find the previous tournament post here. Just as a reminder, this writing challenge is a writing incentive of a sort for me and Lucy@TanglewebsAndFairyRings.

The Results:
I completed the challenge at the very last minute, and Lucy, difortunamente, did not. So, I shall post mine right here and now.
Leta sat down on the ground. Another mission to be completed, and it felt more hopeless in outlook than any previous ones. This would be the one to decide everything: what Leta and her team had worked for, and whether it would ever come to anything. They only had a couple hours, and then they would begin the impossible-seeming quest.

Leta looked around at the team. Sam was out of sight, undoubtedly checking the flier's readiness. Tsonja was looking over a diagram of the movements for the plan. The only proof that Vance was anywhere near was a lofty figure in the distance, keeping watch quite unnecessarily. Bertie was looking at Leta in an almost observing way, as though not quite sure what to do or say.

Leta looked back down at her feet. She didn't even want to think about how much of the team would be left after this was all over. Could she lose any of them? Technically speaking, she could lose any one of them, especially with the jobs they all had. But could she really afford to lose them? Not just for the team, but for her? It pained her to think of it... yet, she couldn't help it somehow.

She could lose any one of them forever, and be all alone... again. Leta could lose Sam, never to be cheered or assured by his happy words again. She could lose Tsonja, never to laugh at that dry look again. Leta's face grew warm with the threat of tears. She could lose Bertie, never to hear that infectious laugh again... Leta looked up at Vance's shape in the distance. She could lose Vance... never to see that frustrating grin, or that wind-blown hair, or that towering figure keeping watch in the distance ever again... Leta looked down yet once more.

So much could be lost... But losing Vance... How would she ever recover from that? How would she ever feel whole again if that happened? Leta couldn't lose him... She couldn't be alone again.. They couldn't leave her alone.. Never...

Someone sat down next to Leta. A hand neared Leta's. Leta looked up. It was Bertie, still looking at her observingly, but with almost a tinge of worry now.

"You okay, kid?" Bertie's hand went over her own comfortingly.

Leta bit her lip hesitantly. "I don't know, Bertie..."

Bertie smiled. "Don't say you don't know, because I know you, kid, and you're worrying. What's wrong?"

Leta attempted a smile. "Nothing, Bertie... It's just - I - what if one of us - or more than one of us - doesn't come back from this mission?"

Bertie nodded and sighed a little. "I know what you mean. I've been thinking about it a lot too, kid, 'cause I've been there before" Bertie swallowed, and paused for a moment. "I've gone out there with somebody, and come back alone, and it wasn't fun, I can tell you. But I guess that's what we all signed up for, isn't it? We never go out there a hundred percent sure that we're gonna come back, I guess, so what makes this time any different?"

"Yes, but..." Leta looked down. "Well, when I got into this, I signed up alone. I was alone, thought I always would be. I though that if I didn't come back, it'd still just be me... alone... so, I guess it didn't matter as much... I never counted on losing a team... you, or Vance..." Leta trailed off, her eyes going back to rest on faraway Vance.

Bertie turned her face towards his with a characteristic smile. "I know. But don't worry - you won't be alone again. We've got your back, kid"

"But can you guarantee you'll never go?", Leta asked doubtfully.

Bertie smiled again. "You know I can't. But I can promise you, kid, that Vance and I, we'll stick by you. We won't ever leave you, even when it seems like we might"

Leta's eyes flew to Vance again, and a moment of silence ensued.

Bertie also turned out to look at Vance thoughtfully. "You like him, don't you?", he queried finally.

Leta was a bit startled by the question. She recovered after a second, and half-smiled. "Yes, I do..." She laughed. "But not like you mean, Bertie... Not like you and Tsonja anyways"

Bertie turned away from Vance and back to Leta. He raised an eyebrow at her suspiciously, a tiny glint in his eyes. "What about me and Tsonja...?

Leta smiled teasingly, the first real, full smile she'd felt all day. "Oh, nothing, Mr. Dim-Bulb Fleming, nothing at all", she said, so quiet it was practically under her breath.

Bertie shot her a mock irritated look. "Somehow I have a feeling that wasn't supposed to mean 'nothing', kid. And really?" He slapped his hand to his face laughingly. "You 'forgot' my rank again. You know, technically I'm Major Dim-Bulb Fleming! Can't a guy get a little respect, at least from Russian little girls who are under his command?"

Leta shook her head grinningly. "Nope. You'll always be Mr. Dim-Bulb Fleming to me, Bertie"

Bertie eyed her exasperatedly. "Not sure if that was supposed to be disrespectful or sentimental, but either way you're gonna pay for it later, kid"

Leta got up laughingly. "Well, so will you, Dim-Bulb. I believe I'll go over to Tsonja right now and tell her of your being enamored with her"

Bertie got up in disbelief and pushed Leta back down. "You rascal!", he laughed frustratedly. "You wouldn't go and tell her such a story like that! For that, you're in timeout here until we leave"

Leta looked up at him innocently. "It wouldn't be a story, it would be true. And last time I checked, timeout is not a regulated punishment, Bertie"

Bertie chuckled a bit. "Well, it is now. And who told you such a ridiculous story anyways?"

Leta blinked and grinned. "Well, Vance was the one who figured it out, but it's pretty obvious anyways"

Bertie started to walk towards Vance, a reluctant grin spread over his face. "Well, I'm gonna have to have a word with Lt. Vance, then. You stay there, Missy"

Leta called after him, making sure Tsonja was out of earshot, "So when do I need to buy a dress for your wedding?"

Bertie's now-becoming distant figure quaked as though laughing. "Never - you're not invited!"

What you just read was an excerpt from In Greater Hands, right before an action scene (I apologize for the unstable nature of the scene - it was supposed to be a relief in between intense scenes, and it isn't the full scene). I wrote it for the Penning Tournament challenge (which there's a link to at the beginning of this post). I chose this line of the song If Ever I Would Leave You, my favorite song from Lerner and Loewe's Camelot:

Oh, no, not in springtime, summer, winter, or fall - no, never could I leave you at all!

The next challenge will be posted shortly by me, since Miss Lucy did not finish hers. And there will also be a change in plans for this feature. Since Miss Lucy will be unable to blog during this Lenten season, her writings for the tournament will appear on the blog of yours truly when she e-mails them to me. Her challenges will also appear here. Anyways, I think that was all I had to say. ;) You can count on another challenge being posted soon. At the moment, I'm off to go and think it up. ;)
What did you think? Did you like the excerpt I wrote? Do you like Bertie? Or any of the other characters mentioned? What do you think of the song I chose for this challenge? Anybody else now really wanting to listen to Camelot? :)


  1. I love this! Love the playfulness between Bertie and Leta:) Nice job, Belle! And I have never listened to Camelot before. . . I'll have to check it out!

    1. Thank you! Depending on how you and other inklings feel, this or Alagna will be the next story on The Inklings.
      Oh, yes check it out by all means! Quite the hilarious (and sad) musical, that.