Hello people, I have done it! I have an English Language Coursework deadline this week, so I had to get this done, and it felt great.
This is the first chapter from my work in progress. I wrote a first draft, did some work to it, got some critique (thank you Jack, Adam and Smithdog!), and this is where it is at. As I write more and more, this will probably change, and as my writing gets better, I will probably re-write parts. But, I had fun doing it!
The parts in brackets I haven’t named yet – I’m awful at naming. Also, the name ‘Gerald’ will probably change as well.
It is approximately 1500 words, and I would appreciate it if you would give it a read, and perhaps make comments on things you like, things you don’t understand, and advice on what to change or even things to add. Also, constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated, but please, no: “You are a terrible writer, give up, you have no hope.” I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter 1 – The Loyal Adviser
It is quiet. Good.
The King’s Palace stood atop Edric’s hill, the highest point in [Capital City’s Name]. Lord Gerald Eckhart stood before the gates to the palace, large and dark. When he was younger, these very gates shone in the light, magnificent to behold. They were a true reflection of the city and its people. But now the gates were dirty and old, the beautiful red colouring of the cherry oak had faded to grey, rotting away. New gates are needed, he thought.
The square was empty, and there was no wind. No birds were singing their night time songs, and only the trickling water of the fountain could be heard. Two guards stood before the gates, clad in silver mail, emblazoned with the king’s gold crown. Half helms sat on their heads. One of the guards was a foot shorter than the other, shivering through his mail.
“Good evening, m’lord,” chirped the shorter guard. His short red beard quivered below his lips.
“I am here to see the king.” The taller of the two men turned to open his side of the gates, but the smaller man just stood there, his eyes fixed on Lord Eckhart. He was still shaking, but more than before. He took off his helmet with his shield arm, and held it tight to his belly. Ginger locks slid down the side of his face. The small man spoke up.
“If I may, my lord…” He stopped, awaiting approval.
I have no time for this. “Go on.” Sweat dripped down the guard’s brow, and down the bridge of his nose.
The small guard chirped up. “Is the king going to be alright?” My Lord.
“Why should I tell you? I am short of…” The guard interrupted. His colleague sported a look of astonishment on his face.
“The king gave me everything, m’lord, without him my family would have nothing. He puts the bread upon our table. He picked me himself m’lord, I swear it on Ran himself!” A smile crept along Lord Eckhart’s face.
“I can assure you your king is going to be fine. He has nothing more than a winter’s chill, you have my word.” The guard let out a huge breath, which was visible in the air.
“Thank you m’lord, thank you.” The guard turned to his companion, with a beaming smile on his face. “I told you he would be fine, I could feel it in my bones.” Enjoy it, peasant.
“I have long heard tales of the valour and honour of the palace guard, and this meeting with you has confirmed it. I know the king sleeps easier with you guarding his home. For your efforts, gentlemen.” He placed a silver coin in the red headed guard’s hand, and then did the same to the other.
“We will tell of your kindness, m’lord.” Oh, please do.
The gates finally opened, slowly. With his green box in hand, Lord Gerold Eckhart entered the grounds of the King’s Palace. Again, it was quiet, except for the faint sound of horses stirring in the stables.
The path was bumpy. One wrong foot however, and you would fall. Cracks littered the path, the mortar disintegrating with every step.
The King’s Palace was as impressive as he remembered. It was four stories high and white as chalk, with gold coloured window frames and a brown tiled roof. It was built in a crescent shape, surrounding the palace courtyard on three sides. Ornate stone pillars supported the walkways around him, each carved with the greatest battles won by kings of old, and the monsters they faced.
The palace surrounded the statue of Ran, the greatest man to ever walk the Earth. Nothing more than a clever man with a quick tongue, with a gift for exaggeration and lies, he had always thought. The statue stood twice the size of any man Gerald had ever seen. Ran was standing on a large stone, with the bodies of fallen enemies around him, raising his sword aloft. The black marble statue glistened in the moonlight, its gold trim glowing.
“Lord Eckhart,” a familiar voice bellowed. “It has been a long time, my friend.” Gerald turned to face the sound, which came from the east wing of the palace.
“Sir Jevon, it has been too long.” Sir Jevon Ambrose donned a white breastplate, and a rough cloak around his soldiers. Grey stubble covered his lower face, and his short hair retained little of its once brown colour. Gerald walked to his side. “I see you have done well for yourself since we last met.” The pair walked side by side towards the front door. Braziers lined the walls, and torches lit their way.
“Fighting in the Forest of Déin did me well. I’m the Captain of the Palace Guard now, but I can’t say I’ve swung my sword much since we last met.”
“I think that is a good thing, what is better than this time of peace and prosperity for our kingdom? I assume you know why I’m here.”
“Yes, the king has long awaited your arrival.”
Gerald stopped, and so did Sir Jevon. They had reached the door. “It is late, and I don’t want to keep you any longer. Go see your family, and enjoy your evening.”
“You too, my lord. Give the king my best.” The pair shook hands, and parted their separate ways. Now, where is the king?
The palace was busy, surprisingly. Maids tended to the house, cleaning windows and portraits. Servants clattered pots and argued amongst themselves, and guards patrolled the corridors. Two stood outside, acknowledged Lord Eckhart with a bow, and opened the doors to the king’s chambers.
The king’s bedroom was warm and stuffy. The room was well lit, with candles illuminating the room in shades of yellow and red. But in the corners of the room, shadows lurked, changing with the flickering of the flames.
The king lay asleep, smothered in a red quilt. Sweat covered his wrinkly forehead. The king looked older than Gerald remembered. What was left of his hair was long and white, and sores covered his cheeks. Gerald sat on the side of the king’s bed, placing his jade box atop the bedside table. The king opened his eyes, and sat up, slowly. His mouth widened, and his brown teeth began to show in his ageing face.
“Gerald, my cousin, you came.” King [Name] spluttered out a chesty cough, and his smile suddenly turned to a frown.
“Of course I did, you are my king.” King [Name] grabbed Gerald by the arm.
“I fear my life is coming to an end, and I fear for my son. Everything I have done I have done for him. I fear for his safety.” The king coughed again, louder than before. He was wheezing. “I asked you here for a reason. I want you to stay here with my son, and help him become a great man, and a great king. Henry will need your counsel.”
“I am honoured, but why me. Why not Lord Bracken, or Lord Prowse? Both are wiser than me.” The king smiled.
“But you are family.” Gerald sat silent, and nodded his head. “Promise me you will keep my son safe, protect him from harm. Help him. Please.”
“I will do what I can to help him, for you.” Tears filled King [Name]’s eyes, and he smiled.
“I have a thirst, could you ask one of the servants to bring me some tea.”
“I will right away, and I have brought some sugar from my crop. It is the finest sugar you will ever taste. You will sleep with a good taste in your mouth.”
“Thank you, Gerald. May God watch over you. Goodbye.” Gerald kissed the king on his brow, and left the room, closing the doors behind him.
“Guards, the king would like to have some tea, and he would like to see his wife.”
“Right away m’lord.” Excellent.
The next morning, Lord Gerald Eckhart was awoken by a loud knock at the door. Light was shining through the shutters, so it must be morning. He heard the knock again. Half asleep, he heard it again. Behind the door stood the guards from last night.
The guard took a few seconds to find his tongue. “M’lord, I’m sorry, but the king… He’s dead.”
The king is dead, he thought. A sinister smile stretched across his face. Long live the king.
And that is it. I hope you enjoyed it!
Have a good night, or if you are reading this on a morning, then have a good day!