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Perspective

Who you link to for a Point of View (POV)is extremely important in storytelling. I am going to give an example of a very short piece told from two perspectives. This is the same scene; the same action beat and the same outcomes. In one case we lock on to the knight, in the other case we lock onto some marauders.


Templar Knight

Knight's POV:

Kenneth stood resolutely at the entrance to the ancient stone church, his grip tight around the hilt of his sword. The late afternoon sun beat down mercilessly on his chainmail, heating the metal to an almost unbearable degree. Sweat trickled down his brow, stinging his eyes, but he did not let his spine bend. He had prepared for this moment with meticulous care, ensuring every strap on his armor was secure and every piece of his gear was in place. The shield on his left arm felt snug, its weight a familiar comfort. But despite all his preparation, Kenneth knew it would soon be tested in a way it never had been before.


Before him, spread out across the stone courtyard before the small church, were at least a dozen marauders, their weapons glinting wickedly in the harsh sunlight. They were a motley crew, hardened by years of raiding and plundering, and their eyes were fixed hungrily on the church. Kenneth could see the greed in their expressions, the anticipation of easy spoils. But they would find no easy victory here.


His thoughts drifted briefly to his grandmother, inside the church. She was the reason he stood here now, facing such overwhelming odds. She was a frail woman, her health failing, and she had taken refuge in the church, when the town had been targeted for pillaging. Kenneth had promised her he would keep her safe, and he intended to keep that promise, no matter the cost.


He recalled the times she had cared for him as a child, her gentle hands tending to his scrapes and bruises, her stories filling his young mind with dreams of valor and honor. She had been his rock, the one constant in a life filled with uncertainty. Now it was his turn to be her protector.


The sun blazed down, intensifying the heat beneath his armor. Kenneth's muscles ached, and his mouth was dry, but he refused to be daunted. He could not afford to show any sign of weakness. The marauders were watching, waiting for the slightest hint of fear or hesitation. Kenneth had to be as unyielding as the stone walls behind him.


He took a deep breath, steeling himself. He had faced battles before, but never had so much been at stake. The weight of his duty pressed heavily upon him, but it also gave him strength. He was not just fighting for his life; he was fighting for his grandmother's life, for her peace, and for the sanctity of the church she had found refuge in.


The marauders began to stir, their leader raising a hand and barking orders. Kenneth tightened his grip on his sword, his eyes narrowing. He had no illusions about the outcome of this battle, but he would not go down easily.


The first of the marauders reached him. Kenneth felt the impact reverberate through his arm, but he held his ground, parrying and striking with a determination born of desperation and love.


For his grandmother, for the promise he had made, and for the honor of a knight, Kenneth fought; a bulwark against the tide of darkness, a lone warrior standing firm in the face of overwhelming odds.

 

Marauders’ POV:

Bilko squinted against the glare of the sun, feeling the heat seep through his ragged clothes and burn the exposed skin on his neck. He flexed his left hand, the stump of his missing finger throbbing with a phantom ache. It had been years since that brutal winter night, but the memory was still fresh—left to freeze outside the church, the matron's cold eyes watching him shiver, her heart unmoved by his pleas. That church had been a symbol of his suffering, and now, it was a beacon of hope for his desperate family.


Ten of men stood ready, their eyes fixed on the lone knight guarding the entrance. Bilko’s stomach churned with a mix of hunger and determination. His family, like those of his comrades, was starving, crushed under the weight of oppressive taxes imposed by the local feudal lord. The same landlord who had funded the church that now housed the treasures they sought. Gold items, relics, anything that could be sold or traded for food—these were their salvation.


The leader of their band, a burly man named Grigor, raised his hand and barked out orders. Bilko tightened his grip on his crude sword, feeling the rough leather of the hilt bite into his palm. They had raided before, but this was different. This time, it was not just about survival but retribution. The knight stood in their way, a final obstacle between them and the chance to feed their children, to see their wives smile again, if only for a night or two.


Bilko's eyes scanned the church’s defender, noting the glint of his chainmail, the oversized shield, the set determination in his stance. This knight, whoever he was, had prepared well. But Bilko knew that even the most well-prepared man could be overwhelmed. Numbers were on their side. God help him that he would be one that survived. Then, God was unlikely to intervene in his favor.


He thought about his own preparations, the whispered plans around the campfire, the resolve in the eyes of his comrades. They had nothing left to lose. The oppressive sun bore down on them all, knight and marauders alike, but it was a different heat that fueled Bilko—a burning need to right the wrongs done to his family and friends.


Grigor gave the signal, and they began their advance. The knight, ever vigilant, raised his sword and shield, ready to meet them. Bilko's heart pounded in his chest, each beat echoing the silent promise he had made to his family. This was for them, for every night his children went to bed hungry, for every time his wife had cried over an empty pot.

His sword met the knight's with a metallic crash, the impact sending a jolt up his arm…

 


These are meant to be somewhat silly little stories. They have too many passive sentences, and the use of internal thoughts for characters are a touch redundant. The point to be made are not these things which can be polished. Although this is the exact same story, choosing to see it as the knight, or choosing to see it as the assailant make for very different hero’s and very different villains. Always pick you POV wisely.


As a writer experiment with doing more than one POV for the same scene. You never know what you might discover.

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