Prologue for my story

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Talan, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. Talan

    Talan Member

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    Not sure if this is for fan fiction only, or original stories as well.

    This is the prologue for the story I'm writing. I know the basic plot, I've written an outline for it, but I haven't decided on a name yet.

    Oh yes, and there is some profanity, sorry.

    *****
    Updated
    [​IMG]


    Prologue

    The sweet aroma wafting from the kitchens was liberating; it was a pleasant odor after the scent of horse dung in the stables. His father said he was a rustic lad, even though he was highborn, and son of the High Lord of the East. He would spend most of his day in the stables, combing the horse’s fur, and feeding them oats. The stableman wouldn't let him ride anything but a pony yet, but he promised that when Jack grew, he'd let him ride any horse he liked. When he wasn't playing with horses, he was playing with his wooden miniature toy knight; his mother gave it to him for his fifth birthday, which was two birthdays ago, before she passed away. He wanted to become a knight when he was older, not high lord, let one of his sisters take that for all he cared.

    Fastening his dark blue cloak around his shoulders, he bolted out of the stables towards the back entrance of the kitchen, trying not to get drenched in the bitter, cold rain. The downpour had lasted for a sennight. As he opened the door and entered the kitchen, the scullions stopped their work to greet him. When they asked if he wanted anything to eat, he figured they were tired of scrubbing pots. One girl took his cloak, and gave him a kiss on the brow; he liked the smell of her. Another, a plumply pretty girl, gave him a mince pie and lead him to a table. After he was situated, she went back to her work.

    He ate his pie in silence, pushing back his rain-matted black hair when it fell in his eyes, and watched the scullions work. One scullion, a heavyset man with big meaty hands, and not much of a neck, tripped and sent plates flying everywhere. The chef slapped him on the back of the head, and made him clean it up. Jack laughed uproariously; the man gave him a baleful look that quieted him instantly. Jack hurriedly finished his pie to escape his glare.

    Slipping his cloak back on, he darted out of the kitchens, and entered a long hall with pillars reaching nearly four-and-twenty spans high. Golden script was etched into them, and spiraled all the way around. Tapestries and paintings of the former Eastern High Lords decorated the hall. One painting portrayed his father after the battle of Draegar, that was when he was two. His father had lead his men into the Bearwood, and ambushed the usurper’s army when they were marching for Varengard.

    He walked the hall for what seemed like hours, looking at the paintings. He didn't have anything better to do. Besides, he was trying to avoid his sisters. A faint noise caught his attention, and he pressed his ear against the door and started to listen. "...even you could handle this," came a voice with a foreign timbre.

    “You’re sure there is no chance of failure,” came a queerly familiar, rough voice. It tickled the back of his mind, just outside his memory.

    “All you have to do is open the gate of Toothbane, and the East will be yours.”

    “Yes, but what if the King’s army doesn’t win? I don’t mean to sound dour, but my head would surely decorate a pike here.”

    “Do it, or I shall kill you now.” Jack could tell he shouldn’t be hearing this, but his legs wouldn’t move.

    “I.... I’ll do it. All I have to do is open the gate, and I reign as High Lord of the East? What’s the catch?”

    “There’s no catch, stupid, we need you to open that gate. The Varen highlands are all but impenetrable, and Toothbane is one of the strongest fortresses known. Even once you open the gate, it’s going to be difficult for the King’s army to break through.”

    “I suppose I have no other choice?”

    “You don’t.”

    The man with the harsh voice let out a long audible sigh, “I see you're implacable. Then I’ll do it.”

    “You’re a very valiant man, Captain.”

    “Only when I have to be,” they both chuckled at that.

    “Come, let us drink to seal the deal.” He heard footsteps coming closer. He couldn't get his legs to move, closer still, I have to move, I have to! Finally just before the door opened, his feet complied. He ran behind one of the pillars, and peeked around it to see. The first one that came into view was a large man with a brown mustache, and thin, receding brown hair, and deep-set blue eyes. He remembered him -- Sir Tyon Cohen., Captain of the Wing Guard. The second man to come out was a wiry, and bald man with a blue tattoo that covered his scalp. He seemed to stare right at Jack as he scanned the hall, his somber gray eyes unnerving. He smiled a toothy smile, revealing a gold capped tooth. Slobber escaped his mouth and rolled down his chin. He wiped his mouth, and then clapped the other man on the shoulder as they descended down the hall, his indigo robes swishing as he walked.

    Jack made sure they were long gone from the hall. He moved away from the pillar and moved down the hall towards his father's chambers. I have to tell dad. His footsteps echoed throughout the hall as he descended towards his father's chambers, he feared the two men might hear him. When he came up towards the end of the hall, he took a flight of stairs to another hall, this one didn't have the huge pillars thrusting towards the ceiling, but it did have tapestries and was decorated with statues of heroes of legends long past, of former High Lords of the East. Near the middle of the hall he spotted his grandfather, Edarn Horn, who died before he was born, the man next to him was his great-grandfather, Bilon Horn, and on for near a thousand years his family line went.

    The entrance to his father's chambers was an arc door, with iron knockers fashioned after bear heads, and made of strong oak a half span thick. Flanking either side of the doors were guards, each in somber green tunics covering their hauberk, with swords belts draped around their waists, holding longswords. Each carried a banner for their liege lord, Horn, the Black Bear on a field of green. The one on the right he knew, Rondin, the squire for Sir Leran.

    “Sorry Jack, your father His Grace said no one is to be permitted in,” said Rondin.

    “I got to speak with him,” said Jack.

    Rondin glanced at his companion, who only shrugged. “What business do you have here?”

    “I told you, I must speak with my father.”

    “Can it wait?”

    “No.”

    “You’re going to get our asses in a lot of trouble, you know that?”

    “I’m sorry, but it’s urgent, I must speak with my father.”

    “Very well,” he said as he open the large oak doors.

    His dad gave his son a look, his blue eyes boring into Jack’s, and then dismissed him, and continued talking. That’s as about as much as the other lords gave him. Jack waited until he was done with what he had to say. “Father, I...” Jack began.

    “It can wait, Jack,” his father said, turning back to the other lords. “The Usurper King sets on our very doorsteps, we cannot yield to him, you know your fate as well as I. He is a treacherous man, he’ll have no mercy.”

    “We must try, Your Grace, we stand a dismal chance. We may be able to hold to a siege for a few months, or even a year, but what then?” said a slim man with a blue boar patched on his red tunic. His big bushy brown mustaches swaying as he spoke.

    “You surely cannot believe that. The usurper will have all our heads if he crosses the Toothbane. He’ll have his soldiers jam their spears up our asses before he takes our heads,” said a burly man, with thin black receding hair, and a patch of two yellow axes crossed on his blue tunic. “I’ll fight damn it, I’ll fight.” The last set off the whole room in an argument, each lord trying to make his voice heard over the others.

    “Both of you have the truth of it,” Jack’s father’s voice cut through all the other lord’s chatter, “We cannot yield,” that appeased most the room, “but we cannot hold out for very long, with the whole realm coming to besiege us.”

    “Your Grace, I’m sure the usurper would give us a pardon, surely, he cannot be as bad as the rumors say.” said the slim man.

    “Shut your dastard mouth you little shit, it’s always you who’s last to the battlefield, and you who’s first to turn his craven ass and flee when the battle goes awry. Your Grace, you cannot heed this blackguard ****er’s plea, I’ll not have my sons calling me craven when they grow of age,” said the burly man.

    Anger filled the others man’s eye, and he glared at the burly man with such contempt that Jack thought they may well duke it out right there. His father held his hand to halt them, and began with, “Let’s not quarrel amongst ourselves, now, give me counsel or damn it, I’ll draw this meeting to an end.”

    At least the two men looked abashed. The burly man coughed as if to clear his throat and said, “Well, Your Grace, let’s look at this map.” He drew out a withered piece of parchment, a map of the East, and pointed towards Varengard. “Look here, we can open the gates to Varengard, this will coax them into an easiness. However, once they make way to Toothbane... We’ll break their asses on the ****ing gates. They’ll not get any further. The lot o’ them are cravens, and fresh boys that haven’t seen a bit o’ blood, any good soldiers they had are long dead from the beginning of the war. We’ll break their ****ing necks on the teeth, or we’ll die trying.” Most the room nodded their consent. They need to know what Tyon is suppose to do.

    “Father I...” Jack began, but his father wouldn’t have it, he moved his hand before him to quiet him.

    “Yes, very well. It seems a good plan, but may I make some suggestions?” asked his father.

    “I’d be damned to stop you, Your Grace,” said the big burly man.

    “First, after we open the gates to them at Varengard, Sir Jycelan Tripole will lead Lord Harland’s retinue and the guards of the fortress, they’ll ride after the usurper army and make sure they stay out of sight. Before Toothbane lays a high hill, that leads into flat land a good five hundred yards from the front wall. Once the usurper’s envoy asks permission to pass, we’ll deny him. They should make camp for the night, and most likely they’ll wait to at least build ladders. Sir Jycelan should be there right after them; they’ll build pikes along the way, and plant them into the ground on the hill. It will make it hard for their horses to break the pikes while going up a steep hill. If they try to break through the pikes, then we’ll open the gates, and charge. If they try to scale the walls, then Jycelan will charge. They’ll be trapped either way,” said Jack’s father. Everyone nodded their consent, even the dour lord with the bushy mustaches that the burly man called a craven, even if he was reluctant, Jack wasn‘t sure he trusted him though.

    Jack thought his time was now, “Father I nee...” was as far as he got before he was denied again, his father just said to wait until the meeting was at an end, and so he did, he waited until all the lords had their say, and Jack almost fell asleep he thought it was so insipid. Yet, he waited patiently, and finally his father drew the meeting to an end, and the lords bowed their way out.

    “Can I speak now?” asked Jack impatiently. When his father nodded he continued, “I overheard...” My father told me not to eavesdrop, what would he say if I told him I did, even if I heard something important? It matters not, I must tell him what I heard, “I overheard Tyon Cohen speaking with a skinny bald man with blue tattoos on his head. He told Tyon that if he opened the gates at Toothbane, the usurper king would make him High Lord of the East. I’m sorry that I listened, I knew I shouldn’t, but my legs wouldn’t work.”

    His father gave him an accusatory frown, and gave a shake of his head that swayed his long brown hair, but he just sighed and said, “You always were your mother’s son, in looks and all else, except with the sword. Jack, you’re right, I don’t approve of eavesdropping, but this information is very valuable, so I’m not going to punish you. However, if it happens again, I will punish you, now, is that clear?”

    “Yes, my lord,” said Jack.

    “I suppose I should question Tyon.”

    What? He’s not going to admit that, why won’t you believe me? Are you mad? Is what he wanted to ask, but all he managed was a curt nod, and a weak smile.

    Five days passed, and his father left for battle on the first, dubbing him the lord of Varen until his return, but Sir Gorane was the castellan.

    You’re a man now, Jack, I need you to take care of Varen and your sisters if I don’t return his father told him, Yes, milord, Jack replied, his father mussed up his hair and gave him a hug, and then he went to his sisters and said his farewells. Jack wanted to weep, his father made it sound like he was going to the morgue now, but he had to be strong, he was nearly a man grown, his father said as much. He had to be strong for his sisters, and for his people, and he had to be strong for himself.

    That had been on the first day, and Jack had spent most of his time in his room. He had his food brought to him here, and his teachers gave their lessons to him here. His sisters visited a few times. He had been in an austere mood, fearing for his father’s death, and hoping Sir Tyon didn’t betray him. He had been tried, but he was still in command of the Wing Guard Jack was told when he asked about it. A fortnight passed since that day, and on the eve of the second sennight, Jack heard a faded rumble outside his room. He pushed off his fur blankets and hurriedly dressed himself. He put on a somber green tunic, with the black bear on his breast, and gray pants, and his black boots. He rushed down the hall, and heard the walls of the keep smash, and the men rushed past him yelling orders. Jack’s heart froze in his chest, and knew something was very, very wrong. At the end of the hall was a large double window. He peered out and saw an endless field soldiers in crimson and black armor, raining burning arrows down on the castle. The usurper’s banners flying high, a black gauntlet on a field of crimson with a yellow stripe cutting through the middle. Jack's heart almost leapt out of his chest. Oh god, my father...

    "Do not lower that portcullis! They shall not enter!" Sir Gorane bellowed before turning to face Jack, his cold pale blue bloodshot eyes meeting his, and he had the stink of wine in his breath, "Jack, find a safe spot, if the city should fall, you must not let them have you," he said as he ran down to the steps at the end of the hall, drawing his greatsword. The last he saw of him was the brown hair-- mostly gray now-- in the back of his head. Jack remained a moment longer, to watch the field of crimson march ever nearer. He ran down the hall of the lower level, and entered the kitchen doors, the scullions all huddled together, and the women wept. A safe spot, a safe spot. Where the hell is a safe spot in this damn place? he asked himself as he ran out of the yard; crashes, and towers crumbling and shouts accompanied him as he made his way to the stables.

    He was greeted by the horses’ nervous whickers, and whinnies. “I need a horse,” Jack said to the stableman,

    He looked him up and down a moment, and said, “Need a big destrier, eh, boy? Oh, need a lance too? Where’s your armor boy?” his breath betrayed the old man, Jack could smell the ale in it, and could tell he was drunk.

    “I do not need your sarcasm, now, will you give me a bloody horse or no?”

    “No, boy, there are no damn horses to spare. Lord Horn was defeated at Toothbane, they say the gates opened in the black of night, and the usurper’s army was ushered in. The sentries were slain, so no warning was given. All the knights of the city took the horses, to fight or flight I don't know. We’re ****ed boy, we’re ****ed.”

    Jack ran to the other side of the barn and started to weep. “No,” he whispered to himself, “This cannot be.” How could his father die? His father was the best sword in the realm, or so he thought. Damn it dad, what in the nine hells have you gotten me into? I can’t cry, I have to be strong, I told him I would, I’m nearly a man grown damn it, he thought to himself, Are you? a voice in the back of his head retorted. He brushed himself off, and tried to find a place to hide. Everywhere he went soldiers and fleeing mothers bumped into him. Got to find a place to hide he told him self once more.

    The rain began to fall, and Jack’s vision was reduced to a blur. He tried to cover his eyes with his hand, but it didn’t do much good. The mushy ground was slippery, and made Jack fall a few times. After the third time he fell, and wiped the mud off his clothes, he noticed the Black Bear badge of House Horn on his tunic, he fruitlessly tried to rip it off, eventually he just took off his tunic and flung it on the ground, and continued to run. He came on a small place on the back of the castle, a stairway lead to a small cellar that kept the meat. He knew this place fairly well; he had hidden here when he played hide-and-seek with his sisters. He crouched in his old hiding place, and after long moments of idle sitting, he dozed off...

    ... And woke to the sound of steel against steel ringing in the air. He walked furtively out of the cellar, and peeked out of the side. The rain had died down, yet a thick fog filled the air, Jack couldn’t see more than a few spans in front of his face. He had no idea how the men were fighting in such a thing. A howling wind entered his senses, and blocked all other sounds from his head for a few moments, until abruptly a flare of blue green light raced across the sky, so bright that it cut through the fog. Then another flare soared across the sky to meet the other, except this one was crimson and orange, and had a sickly glow to it. It doesn’t seem right, Jack thought to himself, it must be a thing of evil, no matter, I’ve still got to get out of here. He felt like a huge craven for not picking up a sword and fighting, his father said he was nearly a man grown, but Jack knew he was only a boy of seven, and had only a year of sword training.

    Suddenly, a sickening miasma wafted into Jack’s nostrils, a putrid smell he couldn‘t quite describe, but it smelled worse than ten corpses, it turned his stomach inside out, and gave him a dreary sense of awareness. Then Jack noticed red eyes staring right at him, never wavering and never blinking. Their shine slitting the fog in two, not tarnishing them for a second. The red eyes started to move nearer, nearer, ever nearer. Until a figure with a dark cloak draped around his body emerged through the fog, his shirt of ringmail was black, and all the rest of his armor was too, except his gauntlets, which were covered in blood, but Jack suspected that they were black underneath the blood. His face was right in front of Jack’s, a sickly gash covered his face, from jaw to ear, his flesh was as pale as the moon, and looked to be long dead.

    The figure began to speak, an awful sound, with a deep and decaying timbre, it was deeper than any voice he had ever heard, “My master wants you brought to him boy.”

    Suddenly more of the figures started to emerge from the shadowy fog too, seven in all, and everyone one as sickly as the next. Their combined odor made Jack flinch and hit his head on the ground. He shook his head, and tried not to soil himself.

    “Me? I’m just...” Nine hells, I can’t tell them who I truly am, “a stable hand. What does he want with me?”

    “You’re a very bad liar boy, now, do I have to drag you, or will you come with me?”

    Jack was spared an answer when a shrill horn sounded; the figures gave a nasty snarl and darted towards the sound. “Oh god, may those things return to the hell it came from,” said Jack to himself.

    He got to his feet and ran, to where he did not know, but a soldier found him and halted him. “Jack!” it was Rondin, the squire for Sir Leran, “I thought they slew you, truly I did. The battle of Toothbane is lost, your father is dead," he said, his voice going soft, "I'm sorry, Jack." Jack blinked back the tears, and Rondin continued, "I fled with as many men as I could to race them here and defend the city, but that was a vain attempt, too.”

    “Sir Tyon betrayed you, I told my father as much, but it did no good.”
    Rondin nodded, “I knew that bastard was yellow, same with Lord Hostlin, I’d like nothing more than to rip those stupid bushy mustaches off his craven face,” he said, “Come, we need to get you out of here. Hmm, to the city. You can take refuge there.”

    And so they made their escape out of the castle walls, and entered the city of Varen. Some soldiers in crimson lead the common people, weeping, and carrying their goods with them. Their donkeys and mules shitting all over the road. The soldiers scorched some houses of the ones that tried to fight back, and backhanded women trying to stay at their homes. A knight in gleaming crimson plate mail armor strolled up. Golden runic script was etched into it. He tried his best to be pretentious, but his huge destrier shat right in the middle of the street. He smacked a smiling boy of about three-and-ten, spraying blood everywhere. His mother hurried to him, and tried to comfort him, but the knight made his horse kick her in the face. It was an ugly sight to behold, Jack turned his eyes away and just watched his feet as Rondin lead the way.

    Rondin hid him in a deserted house. He put his foot in the door and Jack said, “You’re leaving?”

    “Yes,” he answered.

    “Where are you going?”

    “To do my duty,” is all he said. Jack knew what that was; to protect the weak and the strong alike. Even if he hadn't taken his vows yet, Rondin was a knight, his chivalry as high as any.

    Jack waited in the run down house. Bugs littered the floor and walls. Some tried to crawl on him, but he swatted them down, and smashed one with his boot, emitting a crunch sound. He raided the house in search of food and water. He found some salt beef, stale bread, and hard cheese. He also found a little bit of water. His supplies were running down, when a knock came on the door on the fourth night.

    God, they’ve found me. Whoever it was knocked again, before pushing the door open to have a look. They found Jack there, crouched in the corner.

    “Where are your parents, boy?” asked a skinny man, his slim arm nothing but sinew.

    “Dead,” Jack said, after a long pause, and a near burst of tears.

    “Then you’re coming with us,” he said. He ordered the two men behind him to pick him up.

    “Where are you taking me?”

    The man laughed, and said, “To The Forgotten.”
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2005
  2. Lego

    Lego God amongst men

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    Wow that's really good, I look forward to reading more, you have to post the next chapter for us when you have finsied it.
     
  3. Talan

    Talan Member

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    Thanks, but right now I'm editing it and making sure there's not too many flaws. I might be able to start writing the first chapter today or tomorrow, and should be done within a week or two. This took about a week to write, and I'm still finding grammatical errors. Also, I need to work on the backstory, such as family houses and trees, their history, and things like that.
     
  4. Lego

    Lego God amongst men

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    That's good to hear! But from what I have read you have the basis for a really good story! I'm Anxious to see what will happen to Jack next.
     
  5. Radagast

    Radagast Art House Member

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    Nice prolouge :)

    One comment however. In some instances, Jack's actions and dialouge seem to be beyond that of a normal seven year old. If you had not told the age, my impression would be that he was maybe 10-12 years of age.

    Other than that, great job.
     
  6. Talan

    Talan Member

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    Thanks for the comment. I'll see what I can do, but he does hang around the stables and what the stable hands say does rub off on him. I might decide to make him ten, it might be better for the story that I'm thinking of. Once again, thanks.
     
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