WIP from the Hidden Institute sequel

This week, I have written around 1200 words every day. This makes me far more happy than I would be with a single 7k day, because it means I’m getting back into the habit of writing.

To celebrate this good news, here’s a bit I wrote recently that turned out very nice. Hope you like it.



Chester Harrington woke that morning with a song in his heart, and nearly danced his way through the most important day of his life. He oversaw breakfast for his noble parents, helped prepare the bears, and coordinated with the other boys regarding their outfits and the revels to be prepared at halftime.

His was a smaller house of no great standing in the global community, which made this day all the more important. As subjects to Lord Wilde, it was the greatest honor that the Harrington family would host the Bear Polo game featuring his grace.

They were to play Oscar Oldham’s team, a second-rate team to be sure, and one easily beaten. But that was no call for slacking off. Every boy knew that there would be no excuse for treating this as though it were only a game. Thousands of people would be watching, their parents would be harshly judging every movement on the field. And on top of it all, they would be riding next to the King himself!

When he thought about it, Chester’s hands began to shake a bit. If the King saw him, perhaps recognized him for his riding skills, he might share a word with Chester. People might see them talking privately. A thing like that was like currency with his father and the other elder noblemen. And if the King should find him charming and witty, perhaps laugh at a joke or slap Chester on the back…

Chester shook his head and got back to it. The place was an anthill of activity, with breaking down the breakfast, preparing for the midday meal, setting up the awards ceremony (the King’s medal for victory had been ordered more than three weeks ago, and had only just been delivered the day before, causing a minor stir among the servants), everything had to run smoothly.

The day bounced frenetically from one small meeting to another as Chester checked up on safety harnesses for the mid-day show acrobats and color-coded saddles for the bears. It seemed almost no time at all before the game was on, and all the boys scrambled into their newly-tailored uniforms, and mounted their beasts.

They shuffled through the dark, crowded tunnel under the stadium, lining up based on their rank and performance that season. Chester was proud to be first in line, a right his father had fought and paid for. The line waited patiently for the announcement whistle. The bears shuffled back and forth, trying to break out of the line, unnerved by standing so long in the darkened tunnel.

From his place in line, Chester could hear the cheering of the throng through the heavy oaken door. He leaned forward a bit to listen closer, just as the doors sprung open with the hiss of a pneumatic press.

Chester blinked at the glare of the bright light that flooded the tunnel, it washed over them, pushing them back with it’s intensity. The roar of the crowd came with it, rushing past them and battering them with it’s intensity. For a moment, Chester just blinked and stared, agape. His eyes, ears, and mind all tried to adjust at the same time, as one of his friends slapped the back of his helmet, “Go on, dunderhead!”

Chester shook his head, then spurred his bear into motion. He held back, letting the bear amble carefully out, at the gait they were trained for.

One of the main reasons bears were chosen over horses was their flexibility in movement. Well, that and the rise in horseflesh consumption among the more poor of the commoners. Bears could run as fast as a horse in a sprint, they could stop much quicker, they could run sideways if needed, and they learned how to step much better.

Chester had spent weeks teaching his bear, “Bruv” to trot. It was a very awkward way of moving for a bear that looked a bit sissified to Chester, but the trainer said it was a noble and proud gait for a bear. His bear raised it’s head up high, and brought two paws up high every time it put the other two down. The reaction from the crowd was instant and overwhelmingly positive, and Chester grinned inside his helmet. Everyone loved the dancing bears.

As each of his players came out on the pitch, the announcer called out their names to another round of polite applause. Chester led the group in a short circle around the center point of their half of the field, then put them in a line facing the other side.

As soon as they were all in line, there was a sudden loud crack, and the <<tk name for Oscar’s team>> took to the field. They were all wearing the sickly off-yellow and green that Oscar Oldham’s house was known for. They ran out onto the field quickly, as though they could frighten Wilde’s Warriors with their sprinting ability. The crowd was somewhat divided on their appearance, with some people booing them just for being the visiting team. The announcer called out their names as they took to the field then a hush fell over the crowd as the announcer said, “We will now raise a hand to our hearts and renew our vow. Please join our special guest, Myra Palmer, in her rendition of the vow.”

Everyone raised one hand to their heart, and looked up at the vidscreen which showed a tiny girl standing just offsides at the center line. Chester grinned to see the little moppet, barely able to stand alone without messing up her pretty new dress. She shifted from foot to foot as the camera zoomed in. Her words, though muttered and indistinct, were blasted over the entirety of the stadium.

“Um. I swear my undying… my under… votion to the King, and all he stands for.”

As the crowd parroted the young girl’s words, a new sight appeared on the field. From offsides, the King rode in on a mighty Kodiak.

He was brilliant and sparkling, a vision of royalty. His jersey and cloak were gold, and he wore no helmet, letting his own blonde hair blend with the bright, shimmering power of his outfit. The bear was massive and beautiful, with rippling muscles under it’s coat, and the clear focus of a well-trained beast.

“His grace protects us and leads us and holds back the night.”

The murmurs of surprise and amazement shifted through the crowd as the King continued to amble over to the child. Those who had only been mouthing the words of their vow now found themselves speaking loudly as she continued to lead them.

“May all the lords above grant me the grace and power to… fend hims and his works, and may I lay down my life in serf… service to his grace.”

The king’s bear reached the child, and she looked up to see him. That moment would be used in clips for years, as the beautiful little child gaped up at her sovereign in joy and amazement. He reached down and scooped the child up into his arms. The king placed her on the saddle in front of him and held her. He smiled and murmured, “Go on.”

She shouted out, “My love and my life for my king!” The king kissed her forehead.

The crowd went wild.

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