Friday, 20 May 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: Meeting His Majesty

Brotherband book six came out on Monday guys! You gonna read it? (You should) I (naturally) preordered a copy and it arrived on Monday. But the thing was, with all the other Brotherband books we did them as family read-alouds but our dad is currently away for work so it wasn't going to work! (Nonono: cue panicked sobbing) And then, I - the master of brilliant plans - came up with...you guessed it, a brilliant plan. I'm reading it aloud and our dad can listen in via face-time! We've read the first six chapters so far and have already laughed aloud and died with excitement multiple times (Yup, multiple times). So basically, it's great!
(I'm not sure if I should mention the fact that I sat staring happily at the book sitting on the shelf with all the rest of its series for...a while. Nah, I won't say that. It could cause you to think I may be loosing my sanity*)

And now, back to my story. Option one won once more (he he he) and I discovered the fatal mistake of inventing a pirate/character like Warin...(Get away, you're not meant to even have come into the story yet, man!) I always think these episodes sound weird but apparently they don't according to some other people. So...yeah, I'll leave the judgement up to you. You can decided that too. :)


(*I actually lost my sanity years ago.)

Ana’s face froze with horror. “I…Louise…you…” she trailed off, looking from me to the indistinct face outside the window.

“What?” I asked, a vague feeling of dread creeping up my spine.

“It’s…” Ana’s mouth moved silently for a moment.

“C’mon kid, you there?”

This time I recognised the voice. “No,” I shook my head slowly. “You can’t be serious. You’re not…it’s not…”

The person outside tapped the window. “I’m going to open it now, kid,” the voice said.

I stared as the blade of a knife slipped between the glass and the sill, flicking the latch to one side. After a moment of grunting the window was pushed up slowly. His hands appeared first, unmistakeably a man’s, toughened and strong from years of hard work.

The window slid up the full way and he vaulted through, landing nimbly on the floor.

A look of shock crossed his face as his eyes landed on me.

I stared back, frozen in astonishment.

Captain Wielder was the first to break the silence. “Look, my lady,” he began. “I know how this might look, but if you’ll just trust me I can explain.”

Drawing myself up, I look sternly at him. “What are you doing in this house?”

Warin spread his hands helplessly, glancing around nervously. “I…” he seemed lost for words. “I tell stories,” he said finally. “To her.” He nodded at Ana.

“That’s how you know so much,” I said slowly, the full import hitting me.

Ana looked anguished. “I never meant to start,” she whispered. “I just met him one day an’ he came back again.” She raised her eyes to mine, “You won’t tell?”

I looked from her anxious face to Warin’s helpless uncertainty. “No,” I finally decided. “I won’t tell.”

Warin smiled lightly, sitting down on the window seat. “Now that we’ve got that sorted—”

“I still don’t think it was very nice of you,” I interrupted.

He frowned. “Not nice?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Taking advantage of a girl to get inside information of her aunt. That is not what I expected of you.”

He looked surprised and a little hurt. “It’s not like that,” he said. “I have plenty of other ways, Ana just…she wanted to hear stories.”

I sniffed. “I still don’t believe you,” I told him flatly.

Silence came in reply. Warin tapped one finger awkwardly, eyes shifting around the room anywhere other than me.

He coughed. “Louise,” he started hesitantly.

I ignored him, letting him decide whether to keep talking or not.

“May I ask…what is your mission here?”

I looked up quickly. “No you may not.”

“Oh,” he shifted uncertainly. “If there’s anything I can help with…” he trailed off, frowning.

Footsteps came from the other side of the door and in a flash Warin dived out the window, disappearing into the darkness.

Eumin opened the door. “There you are Louise,” he smiled, walking in. He pushed the window closed, pulling the heavy curtains across the glass.

“Time we all got to bed,” he said, turning back. “You and Leo can camp out by the fire.” He bent down, kissing Ana’s forehead. “And you should get some sleep, my girl. We’ll still be here in the morning.”

I stood as Ana snuggled down into the thick blankets, complete contentment in her face as her father whispered goodnight.

Leonora was tossing blankets around the main room, trying to unfold them without getting herself tangled in the long woollen layers. 

“Want a hand?” I asked, picking up one blanket and laying it neatly on one of the hay mattresses.

“Don’t set fire to them,” Susana warned, coming into the room through another door.

In a few minutes I found myself comfortably wrapped in layers of wool, staring into the warm flickering coals of the fire.

Leonora sighed happily from her mattress. “This is good,” she groaned. “Night Louise.”

“Night,” I murmured, drifting off even as I said it.

That night I had a dream.

Marius stands in a dark room, a cloak of midnight swirling from his shoulders. He looks down at the woman sleeping peacefully in the bed. She is only young, betrothed to be married to the merchant traveller. A small smile flickers across her lips, she dreams of her trading lover. Her soft hand rests delicately on the pillow beside her cheek.

The assassin’s hand emerges from the dark folds of the cloak, it is startling white against the fabric darkness. The pale fingers fasten onto the woman’s wrist.

A scream of pain rips the air.

Then all is silent.

A blood smeared knife quivers in the hand of the man who once was Marius.

Someone opens the door, freezing on the spot at the sight of the churning dark figure. Glittering black eyes look out from under the hood, then with a sweep of darkness he is gone.

I woke, sobbing into the pillow, my whole body shaking in terror. The flicker of the fire calmed me and slowly I relaxed, realising it was just a dream. I drew in a shaking breath, concentrating on breathing slowly and steadily.

Soon, I dropped off to sleep again.

Leonora woke me in the morning.

She started by tossing her blankets onto my head, then picking up one side of the mattress and rolling me off onto the floor. I scrambled up, struggling to free myself from the entangling sheets.

“Morning,” Leonora greeted me cheerfully, pulling on her shoes.

I tripped over a blanket and fell face first onto her mattress. “Same to you,” I said, my voice muffled by the mattress.

“How’s your sleep?”

“Good,” I replied, rolling over so I could breathe. “I think I had a weird dream but I don’t really remember what it was.”

“Generally speaking, all dreams are weird,” Leonora remarked.

I nodded agreement, but something was wrong, I just couldn’t quite remember…I shrugged it away, pulling the blankets off my legs. “You know what?” I said to Leonora.

She looked up. “Yeah?”

I threw the blankets in her face. “Morning,” I grinned.

Breakfast was a cheerful matter, consisting of warm freshly baked bread spread with homemade butter.

Eumin chewed the last of his bread thoughtfully. “We’ll be going to the castle this morning,” he said, swallowing.

I looked up. “To meet the king?”

“Yup,” Leonora nodded, drawing the back of her hand across her mouth.

“I’m not sure if we’ll be back or not,” Eumin turned to Susana, a wretched look in his eyes.

“Don’t worry about us,” she said, smiling sadly. “We’ll be waiting for when you get back again.”

Eumin looked at his family unhappily. “I don’t want to leave again so soon, but we may have to,” he sighed, eyebrows drawn together.

Susana shook her head. “Who else would save the world otherwise?” she smiled.

A faint hint of a smile touched the corners of his mouth. “Well,” he slapped the table with the palm of his hand. “The sooner we leave the sooner we get back, eh?”

We were ready to leave in a few short minutes. Leonora and I said our goodbyes and then headed out to the road to give Eumin a few moments.

He embraced Susana tightly, murmuring quiet words in her ear. 

Then Susana stepped backwards, the glitter of unshed tears in her eyes. “Go save the world,” she said, patting his arm.

Eumin heaved the pack over his shoulder and turned away, his long steps taking him out the gate to the road. He glanced back once, raising his hand in farewell.

Susana copied the gesture, a faint smile lighting her face. Ana and James, holding tightly to her skirts.

The walk to the castle took only ten or so minutes, and I was entire absorbed in my surroundings and barely noticed the passing time. When we turned out of the town I glanced up and stopped midstep. A castle soared high above the road, turrets and towers almost sweeping the clouds.

Nothing in Feâ Sirih could ever have compared with its stunning elegance.

I walked up the road in a daze, unheeding of the amused glances from Eumin and Leonora. We crossed the stone bridge, approaching the palace guards.

The turrets towered high, flags flying from the battlements showing the insignia of a waxing moon with some kind of bird soaring across it. I felt a shiver of delight again as the guards saluted and stood aside, the huge gates open to allow us through. 

A servant led us into a grand waiting room and disappeared to find the king. I sat down on one of the lush red cushioned seats and stared around.

“Liking it?” Eumin asked with a smile.

I suddenly realised my mouth was hanging open and probably had been for the past few minutes. I shut it abruptly, nodding.

Leonora slumped down on a chair, stretching her legs out. “I don’t think I could ever manage to live in a place like this,” she remarked, nudging the edge of an ornate mat with the toe of her boot. “The guard house is definitely a better place for me.”

I rubbed the velvet fabric of the seat. “It’s amazing,” I breathed.

Then the door opened and two men walked in, deep in conversation with each other. The one with ginger-brown hair looked up first, an expression of surprise crossing his face.

“Eumin!” he exclaimed, stepping forward and shaking hands with him. “And Leo,” he greeted her with a handshake also. “I heard you had returned. Successfully too, this time?”

Eumin nodded. “Yes, sire,” he beckoned me forward. “Please allow me to introduce Lady Louise De Corlette of Feâ Sirih.”

The man smiled and offered his hand. I suddenly noticed the silver circlet on his forehead, and it occurred to me that this was actually the king.

I fumbled as I attempted to curtsey and shake his hand all at once, mentally kicking myself at my idiocy. Of course he was the king, who else was he going to be?

“It’s an honour, your majesty,” I stammered.

“I assure you, the pleasure is all mine, my lady,” he replied, looking at me curiously. The king glanced around, “I was not aware that you would be in here, or we would not have come in. Lord Ganstro has been telling me the latest news of the assassinations.”

The king sat down on a chair, waving his hand to signal that we should resume our places. “So, he spoke. “Tell me you plan.”

“We figure on starting at the place he was last,” Leonora rubbed her hands together. “Louise – who is, by the way, going under the cover name Louise Conwell. It wouldn’t be good if word got out that she was, you know, his sister.”

The king nodded. “Yes, I can see how that would end.”

“Anyway, Louise would have a reasonably fresh scene to look at and maybe we could find something to work on,” Leonora finished.

The king nodded, tapping his chin thoughtfully. “Yes, that is probably best.”

A quick knock sounded on the door and it opened, revealing an anxious faced servant.

“Your Majesty,” he panted. “A messenger has just arrived from Sáliner bringing news of another assassination last night.”

A man pushed past the servant, his face streaked with dirt and sweat. “Please, your lordship,” he choked. “You must do something.”


҉

1. Eumin was on his feet. “We’ll go, my liege.”

2. I suddenly remembered my nightmare. It couldn’t have come true. Dreams are just dreams.

3. “No,” Lord Ganstro placed his hand on the king’s arm. “Something is wrong here.”


҉

Well, there ye go, hope you enjoyed it! I had fun writing it, although Warin is getting slightly annoying with appearing at places I don't want him. I'm desperately trying to think of things that I can do to get rid of him until the time when he was actually first meant to come in. I still want that to happen a while away, though it won't be the first time anymore. 
I'm really curious to know all your thoughts on the characters you're meeting and how you like them, whether they feel real or not, if they remind you of anyone from a different book (or movie)...Tell me ALL your thoughts on them! (Pretty please?)

Aaand don't forget to vote for your favourite option.

Fair Winds!


17 comments:

  1. I'll vote for option two - just for a change.

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    1. Oh wow! You're actually gonna do it this time! :D

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  2. two or three.... are those page break thingys meant to look like those metal spinning blade weapons you chuck through the air.... because that is what I thought of when I saw them.

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    1. The cool artistic 'the end' things? Actually, no, they're not specifically meant to be throwing stars (the throwing things you where talking about. Or maybe you meant quartos but they're basically the same thing) I just found the symbol and decided it looked cool. :)

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  3. Hey! I'm commenting! Maybe not being able to walk does have some benefits.
    Option 2.

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    1. Hehe, I did think you might this week. :)

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  4. I love how Leonora woke Louise up :D (utter brilliance at its finest)

    I'll vote for option three :)

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    1. Yup. :D I was grinning while writing that scene.

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  5. I love this story so much, and I actually think Wielder is a really fun character :D. BUT I agree, characters that shove themselves everywhere can be a problem (I have some very pushy characters too).
    I vote for option ... one.

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    1. Oh yay! Someone knows what it's like. :) I do like Warin, but I'm just finding that he rather has a will of his own!

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  6. Well, so far Ana and Captain Wielder are my favorite characters. Even if the latter is a pirate, and a love sick pirate at that. :)
    I like option 2!

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    1. Yeah, I really like Warin too. :) I'm rather looking forward to introducing Gypsy Boy in a few weeks, 'cause he's probably my other favourite (eventually. He's a little annoying at the beginning but he gets cool).
      I have actually written this hilarious scene that's going to happen almost right at the very end (yeah...weird I know) and if Warin's one of your favourite characters then I'm pretty sure you'll love it! xD

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    2. Lol. I look forward to both Gypsy Boy and the anticipated scene! :)

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  7. HI I'M NEW I READ YOUR "ABOUT ME" SECTION YOU ONLY WENT TO PUBLIC SCHOOL FOR KINDERGARTEN SAAAAAAME HEEEERE!!! *cough* Sorry, that was a little spastic. But YES, RIVENDELL, MY FAVORITE LOTR PLACE!

    Also, I've arrive in the middle of a story, it seems, and I'm not too sure what's going on, but I LOVE IT ANYWAY. Very, very well written? And you're 14??? I'm jealous. X)

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    1. YES THAT IS SO COOL! SO GLAD TO WELCOME YOU TO MY IMAGINARY WORLD!

      If you want to check out the rest of the story just click on this link: 'Sword, Sails + Scoundrels' or the SS+S page up the top and it's got links to the other four 'episodes' that come before this one.

      Thanks so much Rachel, it makes me so excited to be getting more readers to my humble corner of the writing world! :D

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  8. Loving the story. The characters all feel quite real to me. I always start reading with no memory of what had just happened and then immediately get drawn into the world of the story.
    I vote for 2 with Samuel and Joshua votes for 1.

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    1. Aw, that's cool. Thanks massively. :)

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