- Oct 27, 2005
- Reaction score
- Key West Fl. Cookeville Tn
This is from my second book, it should be out soon, its the sequal to A King's Quest, please let me know if I made any mistakes
Pain wracked the knight champion, slowly he pulled his body out of the icy water onto the frozen shore. Blood ran off his back, forming a murky pool under him. Gasping, he coughed up a bloody froth from his burning lungs.
Bertravis Liolbane wasn’t sure why he was alive. Lifting his face out of the mud, he stared forlornly back in the direction he had came. I should have stayed, he thought miserably. My King and Queen died and I still live.
Flexing his fingers into white hot fists, he wished he had either of his swords. One had broken while cutting the ropes to his Queen’s barge that carried away her and the dead twin heirs. The second, he had given to King Dorian in his desperate attempt to buy them time to escape from his brother’s men.
If either were in his hands, he could end his disgraceful life, dying in the mud like he deserved. Although he had tried drowning himself, somehow he had been washed up here.
As King’s champion, he had sworn to protect the King and Queen no matter what and had failed. Images of their deaths flashed through his mind, showing him every moment. Why did I survive!
Glancing at the river he saw a body floating face down. Is that the Queen? Eyes fixed on the body, he realized it was one of her maids.
The arrow sticking out of the back of his shoulder cut deeply and he nearly passed out from the pain nearly as he struggled onto his hands and knees. After being shot by hidden archers he had received a brutal beating from his cousin. Gunther, he was sure, had intentionally cracked his ribs with his iron shod boots.
Five generations of Liolbane’s, including Gunther, had served as the personal protectors and champions to the royal bloodline and never had any failed, until today. Choking back a sob that threatened to overcome him, he knew he would be remembered as the first.
Maybe, thought the knight champion bitterly, one of the children might have lived, but he doubted it.
Bertravis had watched his Queen die when he had fallen on the stone docks. The arrows from Gunther’s hidden archers had struck her in the chest. The sickening sound of her body striking wood and the splash of the baby falling into the swirling current had echoed off the walls of the underground chamber. Lying in the mud, he could still hear both sounds.
In a crumpled ball at the edge of the docks he had watched the second boat carrying the other newborn become engulfed in flames.
In his head, he heard the second baby’s screams as the burning boat was swept out of the underground chamber.
A ragged sob tore through Bertravis. He had failed in his duty to keep King Dorian’s family safe. By allowing the Queen and her newborns to be killed, he couldn’t ever return to the palace. No longer could he be Proctor of the Krannion order or champion to the king, because on his watch the royal family had died, killed by the King’s brother. He would now be a disgrace to the other Krannion knights still serving honorably.
Being alive with the King’s brother, his cousin, and their personal wizard, Cyadine, plotting against him also posed a danger to his wife and lands. He could not allow harm to come to her. He had to leave.
King Dorian, Queen Ellanor and their children deaths had also killed something inside him. Disgraced or dishonored knights who broke or betrayed their vows were allowed three ways of killing themselves. He had no swords to take his life honorably.
A knight couldn’t kill him in combat because there were none present here. That only left slavery. He could die fighting in the slave pits.
Pushing past waves of pain, Bertravis Liolbane staggered upright. After his eyes cleared of dancing stars, he studied the dark sky and surrounding landmarks.
A billowing black cloud hung over something on the other side of the river. Desperately brushing his long, mud matted hair back out of his eyes with a bloody hand, he blinked away the river water. Looking out again, he saw the burning remains of the first boat.
He could see no movement now in the smoldering remains and thought he must have been mistaken. With a heavy heart Bertravis dismissed the surge of hope. For a moment, he thought he had seen a figure clutching something staggering out of the flames.
Now he knew where he was. Kallamar, sat at the juncture of three rivers and he was on the Andulin, which flowed south until it reached the Eversea Ocean.
South is good, he thought sadly, tearing his eyes away from the burning remains. South will take me far from here and not bring any danger to my wife. In the south he could receive the death he justly deserved.
The port city of Cor lay in the marshlands where the Andulin ended in a thousand branching streams and the Eversea Ocean began. It was far enough away that Gunther’s men wouldn’t find him until he was dead. Cor was a den of thieves, slavers, and cutthroats where, despite having a Highlord Captain, only gold set the laws.
No one in the port city would question why he wanted to sell himself into slavery. The slavers would be happy to clap him into chains thinking mistakenly he meant to fight.
Bertravis Liolbane, ex King’s champion, started walking southward in slow ragged steps, leaving behind a trail of blood and tears.