Greetings everyone! This post is getting uploaded riding on the coattails of an enjoyable three day weekend (yay Labor day). I hope that you all had a great weekend and that you weren’t too upset that I hadn’t uploaded yet. If any of you wrote or started your stories this weekend, way to go! It’s always hard, but it’s worth it. If you want to share, I’d love to read some of them! As promised, here is mine:
As Theo stood outside the brawling circle, he thought about why he had agreed to this ridiculous plan. It would, without a doubt, get him killed. In a sense of wayward pride, he had agreed to serve as a Page to one of the knights in his region even though he was a few years past the age that they started training (13 to their 8). It hadn’t been his plan when he was forced to relocate to the Capital City, but it was happening and he needed to remember his place. His infernal pride was the only reason that he was up before the crack of dawn for the third day in a row, tired and bruised. His mentor, Lord Becker, knew that most knights trained pages in numerous arts, activities, and skills to round them out for an eventual graduation to squire and knight. His mentor also knew that most pages would be ahead of Theo in every regard, because of his age difference. Unfortunately, that training was not Lord Becker’s whim and so it did not happen.
If Theo had been given a choice of Lords to follow, Becker wouldn’t have been his first choice. He had a no-nonsense attitude that was jarring to say the least. He was known for his combat skills and not much else, but he was well-known and that mattered in this life. His trainees ended up fighting in Arenas more often then they ended up reaching knighthood, but he wasn’t breaking any rules so the Capital allowed it. Theo was startled out of his thoughts by the sound of a shrill whistle. The day’s training had begun…
*Six Years Later*
“I will never get used to this sight” Theo muttered quietly, looking up at the vaulted ceilings. The Palace of Capital City was one of the most intricately designed buildings in the entire Nation and many people came to the Capital just to see it. The ceiling stones were inlaid with flecks of metal that formed spiraling designs extending down the walls. His reason for being here, unfortunately, did not include gawking at the ceilings and soon he was called before the King.
Although he was busy, King Matheson took time to speak to all those who needed guidance from his Council. Most of these meetings took place in an ornate office to the side of the throne room so that participants may discuss their issues in private (or relative private considering that the King had a number of guards stationed with him to protect him from attack). Today’s meeting was held here before a small audience of Lords, Knights, and graduating members of the Knighthood. Theo would soon stand next to them as today was his Marking ceremony.
He walked forward to stand mere feet from his King, bowing as was customary, with his heart pounding. The King instructed Theo to kneel, starting the ceremony. He had seen this ritual a dozen times before and could perform the rites in his sleep. Just as the King was about to begin his speech, a war horn sounded from far off. The soldiers and all but two knights ran to the main room, while the knights and knight-elect stayed behind to protect the King and Lords. Theo finally snapped out of his shock and turned, rising and drawing his sword in one motion. Before anyone could make it to the Palace doors, a dozen lightning bolts erupted from nothingness, arcing from person to person. Each person touched by the lightning vanished as if they had never been. The lightning bolts cracked out of existence without any more bodies to strike. The doors groaned as they swung inward.
Through the doors came six hulking men surrounding what Theo could only describe as a massive phantom bear. It had to be two to three times the size of a regular bear and was mostly see through with specks of light and swirling darkness intermittently flashing within it. The only comparable image that he could associate with it was the night sky, but even that could not hold a candle to the sight of roiling blackness within the creature. The men circled until they held the perimeter of the room between them. As they did this, the bear lumbered forward until it reached the center of the throne room. A deep echoing laugh rose up from within the creature, followed by a low voice.
As men fall before me and your world falters, would you draw steel across me? You protect avarice and pride, wrath and gluttony. Why not change the fates instead of falling before them?
No one else seemed to react and, with a jolt, Theo realized he was the only one who could hear the voice. He turned and looked at those behind him. He could see that everyone looked afraid, even the knights guarding the King. Why had he heard the voice when no one else had?
You are the only uncorrupted mind in this wretched hive. You believe as no one else believes. I would have you stand beside me instead of falling with the rest. You, as all the others I deem worthy, have a choice. Only six have chosen to follow me out of all the pure-hearted. Would you be my seventh son?
Without realizing it, Theo had wandered from the office, sword hanging limply from his hand. The voice was so powerful that he could not resist the urge to get closer. As he stared up at this great beast, he pondered the words. He had sworn loyalty to both his Lord and King until death took him to the Beyond. Would he break that oath for a phantom? Could he break that oath? As he pondered this, he stared into the swirling darkness before him. He could see himself in those stars, strong and immortal. He realized what power he would be given if he stood beside this phantom-god. Almost as quickly, the images faded.
“I must decline”, Theo declared loudly. Tightening his grip, he raised his sword and began speaking the rites of Knighthood under his King. “I swear to follow my King through this life and into the next and I sw-”
YOUR OATH IS SETTLED! The bear swung its paw, straight through him. Looking down, he saw where the bear had touched, his body was crumbling. Instead of pain, he felt relief. As his body fell, he heard a small whisper in his mind, just before he faded completely.
A hard choice, and yet the right one. I will see you soon young one.
I hope you all enjoyed my story. I was trying to keep it short since my writing tends to take a turn for the long if I let myself run away with a story. I didn’t have a plan when I sat down to write it, so my plot formed as I went along and I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to end until I got there. This was an uncomfortable experience for me since I usually write with an outline, but it was good practice and I’m thinking I should do more of these.
If you have any critiques, questions, or comments, just let me know! Any advice you want to give, would be received happily and any advice you’d like from me will be imparted just as happily. I will have another post up on Thursday. That one will be the setup for this weekend’s writing and some musings. Stay well everyone!