A Prince and His Knight

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Quatre Winner, Jul 16, 2014.

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  1. The bright and happy kingdom of Frieden was, indeed, a land that lived up to its sunny reputation. Not only was its climate excellent and its countryside rich and beautiful, but its people were unusually happy and prosperous. The poor and needy were taken care of, the strong helped the weak, neighbor helped neighbor, and the lord treated his tenants with respect. Father and mothers loved each other and their children, and worked hard, finding time also to play. Strangers visiting the land always felt eased after leaving it, strengthened for their journeys. Many decided to stay, and were welcomed, as there was more than enough to go around.

    Frieden was an anomaly in the lands round about for this reason, though that did not stop other lands from wanting to trade goods and knowledge. Frieden was a bountiful land, to which the more jealous and hard-hearted attributed their prosperity. Frieden lay just North of the Great Sea, nestled in the fertile green foothills of the White Mountains, right above the Crossroads. The hills were rich in ore and jewels, and abundant in timber and game. Yet, it wasn't the country's position on the map, nor its natural resources, that was its true source of prosperity. So long as a good king and queen had ruled the land, together, no serious harm ever came to the land. For more than 500 years, Frieden had stood tall and bright, bouncing back from wars and famine, plague and severe weather. Everything that was thrown at them is people endured with remarkable cheerfulness, always retaining their kindness and generosity. Some called it luck, others magic, but only the king and queen knew for sure. They reigned justly and wisely over Frieden, providing the example for their people in how to love one another, and treat the world around them. So long as they remained bright of spirit, their kingdom could not be toppled.

    Yet, on the borders of Frieden lay an ever-growing darkness, fueled by hate and envy, which could not penetrate into the beautiful land by force. Rather, it was slowly eating away at the villages on the outskirts, a constant but unclear threat. Knights who went out to inspect the problem had not come back, save one, and he had gone mad. No one was sure what to make of his stories of monstrous beasts, of shifting mists and possessed villagers who ate their own children. To the loving, happy people of that land, such things were almost beyond the scope of their imagination. Frieden had weathered other catastrophes before, but this was something altogether different.

    In fear of their lives, many on the outskirts not yet affected still packed up and headed further in, petitioning the king and queen. Many a brave young lad with no wife or children to support volunteered to do battle against the menace, even if no one quite knew what it was. However, both the king and queen knew there was only one who could go against such evil and have a chance of remaining unscathed, one who had the magic of the royal bloodline flowing through his veins; their only son, the prince.

    Kai, the prince's most trusted knight, was not pleased about this at all. Though he didn't know what the meeting was about, exactly, he could guess well enough. He paced before the heavy wooden door of the conference room, waiting on tenterhooks for the prince to return, occasionally stopping to run his fingers nervously through his blue-black hair. Once in awhile, his eyes, a lighter, deeper shade of blue, would glare at the door, as though it was the cause of his discomfiture. He couldn't hear what was going on on the other side, and that made him antsy. Being antsy made him more intense than usual, even in his stormy silences. Even the guards on either side of the door didn't look him in the face. He usually got some ribbing for being so young for a high-ranking knight, and for being incredibly serious, but good-natured jokes were not in the cards today. Even the two older, taller men seemed to have an inkling of what the prince was in for. Since the magic in the royal bloodline was kept secret, no one would have understood why the prince had to go tackle this evil, except that the royal line had always been able to make things right in the end. Still, neither the knight, nor the guards, wanted to see their beloved prince anywhere near the borders. Kai was determined to volunteer himself in the prince's place, if only they'd let him in the damn door...

    (That's right, I used a little German in honor of PT. This kingdom is vaguely European, so there's no absolute linguistic rule for names and such [though Kai is a German name. Who knew?] Anyway, we can go inside the room and play out what the king and queen and prince are doing, or just have the prince come out and Kai pepper him with questions.)
  2. "Do you understand?"

    Prince Adalric understood. It was not a difficult thing to comprehend. But the simplicity did not soften the shock. The words simply brushed past as his limbs felt too heavy to reach out and take hold of them as they drifted by. It wasn't fear. Not entirely. He had no idea that it had become so dire. That desire to protect his people, his loved ones, turned to cold guilt in his stomach. Perhaps blame fell on the shoulders of his parents for keeping the information from him, but he couldn't bring himself to that accusation. He should have known. He should have asked.

    "My child..." His father's soft voice did little to cut through his dreamy state. "I know it is a terrible burden we must place on you now. Had there been any other path, I would have it traveled."

    The prince shook his head, pale waves of hair making the movement seem more violent than it was. "No, father. I understand. If you and mother were to leave, too many may suffer for it." His brows knit as he looked down at his hands. "When must I leave?"

    Answers came in the form of his mother's hitched breath.


    What felt like hours later, he pushed the doors open to step into the hallway. Despite the heavy weight of the conversation, he looked up and smiled at the guards posted at the entrance. They tried to return the sentiment, but the worry hung in the air even here. He hardly blamed them for their concern. He even appreciated it. As his gaze followed the loud footsteps echoing against the walls, the expression brightened. It was a relief to see a familiar face. Even if that face seemed to be alight with frustration.

    "Kai, you'll wear your shoes down if you keep that up." He wished he could tease him, but the playful chiding didn't ring right today. A lot of things didn't.
  3. The knight had frozen in his tracks at the scraping of the heavy wooden door over worn flagstones. Yet it was obvious that he'd been pacing; he did that quite a lot. To say he would wear his boots into nonexistence was not hyperbole in his case, though the prince's joke was rather lost on him at the moment. Kai's deep blue eyes flashed, though his face betrayed nothing, as he fixed the prince with a rather intense stare. Adalric would feel the knight's strong fingers grip his arm harder than he intended. Yet, Kai asked no questions for awhile, but allowed his eyes to bore holes into the prince's. What Kai often lacked in emotive expressions he more than made up for in his eyes.

    "The meeting didn't go well." he said at length, voice no less intense for being soft. Adalric's face was paler than usual, and the knight could have sworn he felt a tremor in his arm. Realizing he was probably hurting the prince, he let go of his arm, stepping back and frowning deeply. That was his default look, but Adalric would know how to read him better than anyone else. Worry showed plain enough in Kai's tense posture, and the way his mouth turned downward. Worry for his prince, and what he could guess had been the essence of his royal parents' summons. Not that the knight thought it a good idea to send Adalric out into the borderlands. Kai himself had been there in the past, and though this new rumored evil was worse than anything before, Frieden's borders had always attracted dark and destructive forces. Why the king and queen would thinkā€¦but perhaps he had been wrong. Kai almost looked like he was begging the prince to contradict him; perhaps Their Majesties had decided to marry the prince off? Whatever his personal feelings on the subject (which Kai ignored) it was better than the alternative.
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