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Sword in The Lake

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Sword in The Lake

Postby Blood Dancer » Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:50 pm

This is something I just scribbled down.

Chapter 1

It was past midnight when the stranger walked into the village. The tall hooded figure appeared so suddenly that it was as if he had just popped up from the shadows themselves. Without as much as a sound the stranger paced through the dark streets. In his hands he carried a basket, which he held against his chest.

He stopped before a hovel, past the market and the smithy, and near the other end of the village. No light came from within but still he tapped at the door. At first there was no reply but the stranger tapped again and again and a fourth time. Finally the door opened to a small, candle-lit, living room. The stranger entered the small shack and stared around. The floor was hard-packed earth, the walls were weary and smelled of old wood and in the center of the room was a small table with two benches on each end. Atop the table were a few pieces of pottery but he could not make more of the room in the dim light.

The door closed behind him and he felt the cold tip of a sword against his back. “And who might you be?” Demanded a hard voice. “Well, speak up!”

“It’s good to see you too, Lan,” the stranger replied as he slowly turned to face his host.

Lan was a stocky, blond man who had served in Rome during the latter years of the Empire’s occupation of Britannia. His face betrayed his relative youth. Although in his mid-thirties, Lan’s once smooth features had given way to hard lines and his once lavish blond locks were no more. In all aspects Lan seemed to be a shadow of his former self. When Lan finally lowered his sword, the stranger placed the basket on the table and pulled down the hood of his cloak, revealing his identity and a voluminous black and silver mane.

“Don’t you recognize an old friend, Lan?”

He turned away before Lan could answer and walked circles around the small living room checking every nook and cranny; the small window, the hearth and even the bowls of water. He dipped his long index finger into one bowl three times just to be sure. Satisfied he waved at Lan. “Take a sit, old friend.”

“Why thank you, Merl. Really, your hospitality is unequaled.”

“Check the basket.” Merl told him, ignoring Lan’s sarcastic remark.

Lan did as his friend bid. He held a small oil-lamp over the basket and with his right hand checked the contents. Whatever it was, it was soft and warm and it also breathed. Lan almost dropped the lamp when he removed the small silk blanket revealing the source of Merl’s secrecy. It was a babe but he could not tell whether it was a boy or a girl.

“Who is this, Merl?”

Merl thin lips warped into a mocking smile. “Your son, Lan. That is your son.”

Lan joined Merl at the other side of the table. “Again,” he whispered. “Who is that?”

Merl noticed the hint of frustration in Lan’s voice. The veteran had never been fond of games and deceit. Merl flailed his right hand over the table. Two clay jugs appeared out of thin air. “Have some, Lan.”

Lan picked one of the jugs, shook it and smelled the filling. Finally he took a sip; it was ale.

He held Merl’s emerald gaze for a brief moment and shook his head. “Whatever it is that you have done this time, Merl, I cannot help you. I have my own problems to worry about.”

“Why must this be a problem?” Asked Merl.

“Look at me, Merl. Look at where I live and tell me why it shouldn’t be?”

Merl took a sip of his ale. “I don’t see it, Lan. If anything this is your salvation. Yes, I know you are debt-ridden and I also know that Elena is pregnant but that is nothing compared to what’s to come. I came to you because you owe me your life. The time has come for to settle that one debt.” He paused to take another sip of ale. “But trust me when I say that I wouldn’t consider it if the times weren’t so dire.”

“What are you talking about, Merl? Who is this child?”

“The future…”

Lan sighed a long drawn-out sigh. “You know I have no means to raise him, don’t you Merl? I am still wondering what to do with my own son.” He said waving at the other room where his wife slept.

“How is she?”

“You know her, Merl. She’s too proud to show how she feels but sometimes I hear her sob in the middle of the night. I-I-I have failed her.” Lan rubbed at his eyes, fighting back his tears. “She left everything for me. She turned on her family, believing that I would provide for her. And what did I do? I failed her. I gave her nothing but p-p-pain and s-s-s-sorrow.”

Merl’s heart sank as he watched his friend break down in front of him. Tentatively he reached out to his friend, his gloved hand touching Lan’s right shoulder. “You gave her love, my friend. Very few men do that these days.”

Lan held Merl’s gaze, his eyes red-rimmed and shining with tears. “Love fades in the wake of hunger, Merl. You know that.”

Merl’s eyes narrowed at Lan’s words. “Lan, old friend. When have I ever let you down? I would never give you a burden bigger than you can handle. Your woes have been taken care of.”

Lan blinked as he stared at Merl. “What do you mean?”

“You are to work for Gaius Severus Orsini as his foreman, my friend.”

Lan straightened his back and cleared his throat. “Orsini? But he lives…It’ll take me weeks to get there Merl, I barely have money as it is. I cannot make such a---“

Merl raised his hand as if to stop him from talking. “You are a bad listener, Lan. I wonder how you actually made it in the army. Tomorrow, you will go see the Hector the merchant and tell him that I sent you. He will give you money and provisions and when your child is born, you will take your position at Orsini’s Villa. Oh and Orsini is aware of the task ahead. He will teach the boy in the ways of letters whereas you will impart in him the ways of the blade and warfare.”

The babe sighed within the basket, forcing both men to their feet. Merl checked the window again while Lan attended the infant. “He still sleeps, Merl.” He said with a smile. “So who’s the father, Merl? I know he’s not yours. Who is it, Merl?”

Merl’s wide green eyes held Lan’s gaze. “The Dragon.” He simply said.

Lan slumped into a bench and ran his hand through his receding blond hair. “And he has no means to raise his child? His own flesh and blood?”

Merl shrugged. “It’s not that he hasn’t. He is a barbarian, Lan. He was as quick to give this one away as he was to give Morgan.”

“So why give him to me? Why bother coming all this way when you can raise him yourself?”

Merl snapped his fingers and two more jugs of ale appeared. “I already have Morgan. She was born with the talent whereas the boy wasn’t. And yes, I know they share the same father but it doesn’t seem to work that way.”

Merl rose to his feet, then pulled his hood over his head. “I’d best be going now. My pursuers must have picked up on my ruse by now. Vortigern, as you well know, isn’t easily fooled.”

Lan called out to Merl as he left the hovel. “The boy’s name, Merl. What is it?”

Merl glanced over his shoulder. “Arthur,” he said.

And just as he had come, Merl melted away into the shadows, his voice lingering in the air.

Lan nodded and went to back into the hovel.
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Re: Sword in The Lake

Postby Michael50210 » Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:00 pm

.......
This
Is
AWESOME
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Re: Sword in The Lake

Postby Asger » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:07 am

Very well written, very cool.
loneliness + alienation + fear + despair + self-worth ÷ mockery ÷ condemnation ÷ misunderstanding x guilt x shame x failure x judgment n=y where y=hope and n=folly, love=lies, life=death, self=dark side
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Re: Sword in The Lake

Postby Galorian » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:40 pm

Definitely leagues above whoever wrote the script for that new Camelot show... Nice one mate.

Keep it up, but never forget that any character that you make might one day grace the pages of Factpile- Arm them with feats to spare! :D
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Re: Sword in The Lake

Postby Blood Dancer » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:01 pm

Chapter 2

On weary legs Eli ran through the ancient forest. He was a slave of the Orsini village, had always been - like his father and grandfather before him. The midday sunlight hid behind the clouds precariously showering the old forest. Sweat caressed his face and body as he ran through the undergrowth.

His breathing had fastened and his vision became blurry as his blood rushed furiously in his veins. By now he moved by instinct, skipping past large stones and exposed tree roots while trying to keep an eye out for the occasional wolf that was often seen wondering around the old forest.

The fear of dying kept him going.

****

“Arthur!” Lancelot called out.

Arthur drew rain allowing Lancelot to catch up. Lancelot’s white mare was younger than his powerful grey stallion, Dust. Dust had been a gift from Lord Orsini for his…well, he never knew why Orsino gave it to him but as his father had told him: “Never look a gift-horse in the mouth.” So he dropped the matter and went on about living his life.
Although they were brothers, Lancelot was his exact opposite. Arthur was tall, blond and broad-shouldered. His skin was fair and his eyes were golden like the sun. Lancelot was his opposite. His younger brother was also tall but not as tall as him. Lancelot was also lean and his face was not as masculine as Arthur’s own face. His eyes were dark brown as was his unruly hair. As a child Lancelot was always mistaken for a girl. Arthur smiled as he remembered those days. The man that rode beside him was anything but a woman. Lancelot had grown strong and healthy and like him had been educated in both letters and swordplay. Lancelot had in fact become a better swordsman than Arthur and his prowess with the bow was also unmatched.

“Calm down, brother.” said Lancelot. “Eli can’t have gone far. We’ll find him, surely.”

Arthur scanned the tree line before them. Eli had escaped through the forest and he’d surely avoid the wrath of the populace than his only option was to head south towards him and Lancelot. Or so Arthur hoped. Lancelot wheeled his mare away from him. Dust had an unnerving effect on the young mare. He too scanned the tree line.
“Look!” he pointed at a small figure emerging from the tree line.

Arthur’s eyes narrowed as he tried to make sense of what it was but Lancelot burst forward leaving him trailing behind. Younger and skittish the mare might have been but she was also faster than dust. The ground had been rendered treacherous by the constant rain that had plagued the land for three full days and nights. As they approached the forest, Arthur confirmed – much to his relief – that it was indeed Eli the slave.

“Eli!” he cried as he slowed Dust to a trot.

Eli looked up as the horsemen closed in on him. He wanted to move but his legs, his body had given up on him. At first he couldn’t tell whether they were friends or enemies it was only when he noticed Dust’s dark muzzle that his heart settled. Had it been the Gaul, he might as well have killed himself. Slowly he rose as Arthur and Lancelot stopped their mounts. Lancelot lifted his leg over the pommel of his mare’s saddle and slid to the ground. Arthur stayed atop dust. The midday sun shone brightly over his head, making his pale blond hair shine like gold. He looked like a hero from the stories his mother used to tell him every night. What she would think of him now, he wondered.

“You had us worried, Eli.” said Arthur.

“Aye,” concurred Lancelot. “Father must be pealing his bald head right now, thinking that you ended up as Lord’s dinner.” He finished with a smile.

Eli swallowed at the thought. Lord was the Gaul’s burly wolfhound; a creature with as much malice as his owner.

Arthur laughed at Lancelot’s words. “You scare him, brother. Don’t you think he’s had enough for one day?”

Lancelot nodded.

Arthur extended his hand. “Come Eli, my father is expecting you.”

The slave shook his head. “I can’t, Arthur. The master will have me flogged and crucified. You remember what happened to Ben, don’t you?”

Arthur sighed. “Yes, but my father wouldn’t bother defending you if you were guilty, would he?”

Eli nodded but stayed where he was considering his options. Go with Arthur and Lancelot or keep running until one day the Gaul catches up with him. Go and die or run and still die? Which would it be?

From the distance came Lord’s soul-chilling howl followed by the dreaded song from the Gaul’s Hunting Horn.

“I hate to interrupt, Eli,” said Lancelot, “but the Gaul won’t be like us. I bet he’s already drawn his blade. So what will it be? Die now or let my father defend you?”

“I’ll still die!”

The howling grew closer and closer as Eli weighed the situation. Suddenly, Arthur heeled Dust toward Eli. Leaning over in his saddle Arthur grabbed the slave’s grubby tunic and effortlessly hauled him from the ground, dropping him over the pommel. Eli winced when he landed. Arthur heeled his stallion into the tree line while Lancelot settled himself on his own saddle. From there they raced towards the villa, hoping that there were no more search parties aside from them and the Gaul and his hound.

An hour later they raced past the villa’s gates and stopped at the centre of the courtyard where their father, Lan, awaited their arrival. As far as Lancelot could tell, he was none too pleased. Despite being in his mid-fifties, Lan was quite stocky and muscular and when he stood he still was of fair size, towering over Lancelot. He wore his usual mail-tunic with a backing of buckskin and his leggings. Bundled over his hip was his gladius. He no longer had hair but his bald head made him more menacing, what with his aquiline nose and protruding steel gaze.
Last edited by Blood Dancer on Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sword in The Lake

Postby Michael50210 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:33 pm

Woot, you made another chapter!

Yay!
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Re: Sword in The Lake

Postby Asger » Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:05 pm

Vunderbarr!
loneliness + alienation + fear + despair + self-worth ÷ mockery ÷ condemnation ÷ misunderstanding x guilt x shame x failure x judgment n=y where y=hope and n=folly, love=lies, life=death, self=dark side
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Re: Sword in The Lake

Postby Megaraptor18 » Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:40 pm

Its great
It's only funny until someone gets hurt...then it's hilarious!

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Re: Sword in The Lake

Postby Galorian » Thu Oct 27, 2011 3:33 am

Great work man, truly excellent writing.

There are a few grammatical errors and an issue of syntax or two, but that hardly matters this early in the writing process.

Keep up the good work!
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Re: Sword in The Lake

Postby Commander Cross » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:15 am

...
This
Is
DELICIOUS!!!!! :D
http://dragcave.net/image/n765.gif

Please help save the dragon egg.

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