Instead of Freebie Friday, today I thought I’d share with you one of my earliest attempts at writing fantasy. It’s pretty … um… sad, but you know, you have to start somewhere!
He could not go on, but he had to; for the sake of the kingdom and for the lives of everyone he had ever known or loved. And so, on he rode. He raced as if pursued by every worst nightmare that had ever been dreamed, and in truth, he may have been.
“I seek an audience with the King of Ramricte. His Majesty the King Reidon,” the exhausted man gasped as he flung himself from his weary horse. Though it was against all regulations, the Captain of the Guard could be flexible. Even though this young boy was a stranger, had given no passwords, and had not even asked politely, there was something in his brown eyes that made the Captain look twice.
The Captain of the Guard was known throughout the kingdom for what people called his “sixth sense.” He often acted on instinct and impulse, but he was also known for getting results and for being right. He trusted his instinct and that, more than his marvelous skills at horsemanship and in combat, had gotten him his title. He was a man of thought and a man of action, and these two traits had gotten him and the King’s army safely out of many dangerous situations.
He sensed now that this youth, a young man of perhaps twenty years, had urgent news that the King needed to hear. So, without a word, the Captain led the boy into the throne room.
“Who comes to me on such a fine day?” The King asked cheerfully, looking at the man whom the Captain of the Guard had brought before him. The boy was tall, with fine, strong features. His cheekbones were high, and he had a look of nobility in his eyes. He walked as one acquainted with the outdoors and he wore the sword at his side as if he had been born with it strapped to him.
“It is a fine day, but it is not fine tidings nor fine reasons that bring me into your council Your Majesty, it is I, Jorge.” His voice was deep, clear, and full of strength.
The King started. That name was the last one he had expected and it struck him in the heart: the name of his son, the Crown Prince of Ramricte. Reidon loved his son, and had been deeply wounded when he was forced to sign the charges that had been brought against the prince nearly five years past.
“You were exiled from this kingdom and disinherited from the throne for your wanton act of horse thievery, a crime that stands just below murder.” Reidon said, as sternly as he could, still not able to believe the words that he was compelled to say. Horses were the most valuable resource in Ramricte and horse thieves were punished severely, no matter whose son they were.
“A sin I did not commit father. But that is not what I came to discuss with you. Believe me, I would rather stay away a hundred years than shame my family. I came back because Horneblend marches this way, his troops number near ten thousand. His blue and white banners march only a two days’ journey from here. Either evacuate or fight, father, but whatever you choose, I had to come and warn you in time to get the women and children out.”
The King’s features softened, “We shall evacuate the women and children, we may have time. But Ramricte has never surrendered in its long history. We will fight.”
Adrianna Stanton was not a fairy tale princess. Indeed, she seemed anything but. She was the normal daughter of normal parents who worked hard for a living and made it by with few luxuries. Life had never been perfect for them, but it had never been too hard either.
Adrianna was a very mature child for her ten years of age. She could be sent on practically any errand and be trusted not to wander about, but to carry out instructions and come directly home. It was on one such errand that Adrianna had a somewhat unpleasant encounter that she would later be grateful for.
She had gone into the market to buy some flour, her mother was baking bread, when trumpets had started blowing, and men had started shouting, “Make way! Make way for the Princess!”
Everything had been in confusion as people scrambled to get out of the way of the guards. But Adrianna, confused and awed, had become rooted to the ground in the middle of the path as she stared, spellbound, at the approaching wonder.
Coming towards her was a parade of sorts. In front were armed guards, marching in time, carrying dangerous looking swords and dressed in sparkling armor, with medallions of every shape, size, and color clinking and clanging against the armor. Behind them was a litter made out of what appeared to be gold, with a roof and beautiful silk curtains of more colors than Adrianna could name. Surrounding the litter and its bearers was an escort of seven guards on horseback, and what horses! They took Adrianna’s breath away, the prancing, spirited, proud animals held in check by nothing more than a few pieces of leather and metal.
She was jerked out of her daze as a guard pushed her roughly out of the way. She fell with a startled cry, more surprised than hurt. She was angry; no one had ever treated her in such a fashion. She was about to jump at the guard when a voice commanded with authority, “HALT! Bring her to me.”
“My lady,” the guard stammered, “She is a ruffian, a peasant, a dirty little orphan causing trouble.”
“I am NOT an orphan and I’m not dirty!” Adrianna cried in outrage.
“You dare question my authority?” The princess, for it was indeed the princess, asked the guard, arching an eyebrow and staring haughtily at the guard.
“N-no my l-lady,” he said. Hurriedly, and not too gently, he pushed Adrianna towards the princess.
“What is your name, child?” The princess asked kindly.
The little girl gazed up at the young princess in wonder. The princess was only about a year older than herself, but the differences between them were distinct. The princess wore a dress of bright blue silk, made with much more material than anyone needed for one garment. Her face was perfect and her mannerisms were dainty. But they stared at each other with the same direct and royal gaze, neither one willing to break that gaze first.
“We asked you a question.” The princess said, breaking the cool air between them.
Adrianna suddenly became aware of what she had been doing and who she was in the world,
“Adrianna, Highness.” She answered, curtsying slightly.
Knowing she had won, the princess smiled, “We will not forget you, Adrianna. If we can ever make up for our guard’s rude behavior towards you, you have only to ask.”
“Thank you, Highness.” Adrianna said, almost matching the princess’ cool tone.
“Drive on!” The princess ordered in a voice that said any further conversation was not about to happen. The guards marched forward shouting their usual call of “Make way!”
Adrianna stood looking after them until they were out of sight. She was bewildered and confused. First the Princess Kalinda offered to make up for what her guard had done, and then she acted as if nothing had happened and Adrianna was just a peasant once more. Suddenly she was crowded around by people who had watched the whole exchange. They clamored at her for what the Princess had said to her and why? And they asked her over and over what exactly had happened, and what had she said? Suddenly Adrianna felt very small and she did not like the feeling at all. She felt like she was a nobody in the eyes of everyone. She was nothing more than a little peasant girl who had gotten in the way and had to be dealt with before word got out that the Royal Guards went around pushing and harming civilians. Adrianna fled from the marketplace towards home, determined to forget the days’ events, to forget even that this day had even happened.