A writers forum for writers to put up their writing, that they wrote, for other writers to read.


    Short(ish) Story: A Scattered Dream

    Share
    avatar
    YamiShadow
    Head Critic

    Posts : 14
    Join date : 2012-05-29
    Age : 23
    Location : Canada, Forest, Middle-Of-Nowhere

    Short(ish) Story: A Scattered Dream

    Post by YamiShadow on Tue May 29, 2012 5:46 pm

    So this is the short story that I wrote, for the same course that Tory wrote his for. xD It was fun.

    I would put in a foreword of sorts, but most of what I would say could be considered spoilers.

    Any comments or critiques would be brilliant.




    I awoke lying under a soft, fleece blanket. I opened my eyes, and saw a pretty maidservant drifting to sleep on a chair beside the bed. She held a wet towel, and my forehead was damp so I could only assume she had been caring for me. But, who was she? And, why had she been caring for me?

    I sat up in the bed, and took a closer look at her face. I still didn't recognize her. Nor did I recognize the chamber that I was resting in, for that matter. She jolted upright, as if surprised.

    “Sir! You... You should not be up yet. Lord Godrick told me that you must remain in bed, until you have completely recovered.”

    Lord Godrick. Something about that name was familiar... But what?

    “Who is Lord Godrick?” I asked.

    The maidservant frowned slightly, looking as if I had said something unexpected. “Do you not know him, sir? I don't understand why he would have asked me to care for a knight he did not know.”

    “I don't know. The name is familiar, but I'm unsure if I know him. You call me 'sir' and say that I am a knight. If I am a knight, where is my sword?”

    “There, by the wall,” she replied. “But you shouldn't be getting out of bed yet, sir. The burn on your shoulder still hasn't recovered nicely.”

    I reached over and touched my shoulder, and flinched. It was most definitely burned. How, though?

    “What happened to me?”

    “Should I not be the one asking you that, sir?” she said. Her expression had grown more and more concerned with each of my questions.

    It dawned upon me in that moment that she hadn't said my name once since we had begun speaking. “Do you know my name?”

    “No I do not, sir. Would you be so kind as to tell me?”

    “I...” My voice trailed off. The reason for her shock was clear. I must have known who Lord Godrick was once, but I did not anymore. I didn't know where I was; I hadn't known that I had been wounded. I had not known I was a knight. I didn't know my name. The shock I felt must have shown on my face, because the handmaid stood at that moment.

    “Lie down again, sir. I... I will go to Lord Godrick, and ask him what must be done.”

    I lowered myself onto the bed again, and watched as the maidservant went to the door. Before she had left, I called, “Ask him what my name is as well. I'm beginning to become dizzy with knowing so little.”

    “I shall, sir.” She curtsied before rushing from the chamber. I closed my eyes and slowly drifted into a lulled state. My thoughts, drifting. There was nothing for them to focus on, really. I was a knight. I knew a Lord Godrick. Nothing else. I couldn't sleep. I opened my eyes again and rose from the bed. Maybe holding my sword, or what she claimed was my sword, would remind me of something.

    I went to where it leaned on the wall and took it by the handle. I drew the sword, noticing a familiar feel to it. But it offered me no recollection. I could imagine what sort of work I did with such a sword as a knight, but no memories came to me.

    My left shoulder stung horribly. The maidservant had said I was... Burned, was it? I remembered nothing.

    The maidservant bustled back into the chamber, looking first to the bed.

    “I'm here,” I said. She jumped, and turned towards where I stood.

    “Sir!”

    “Remain calm, please. What did Lord Godrick tell you to do, and who am I?”

    “Lord Godrick told me that if you were well enough to stand, you should leave quickly. He says that his debt to you for your assistance has been repaid, if you have recovered that much.”

    “Why? But first, tell me who I am.” I sheathed the sword again. She visibly calmed at that.

    “Both questions might as well be one and the same, sir.” She shuffled her feet. “Your name is Sir Jeremy Greyhart.”

    Sir Jeremy Greyhart. Something about that name rang true, for me. What exactly it was, I could not say. I was certain that she was telling me the truth. “And, what of me running? What should a knight have to fear?”

    “Lord Godrick said it was best not to say-- he said to tell you to leave the kingdom quickly. He mentioned an obstacle removed from his personal path, but not remembering may be better for you, he said.”

    “Tell me what I need to run from.” I rested my hand on the hilt of my sword. Her eyes flickered towards it for a moment.

    “The king. He wants your head. That is all I will say, please don't ask me for more!”

    The king? Why would he want my head? The handmaid clearly would not tell me. Nor would Lord Godrick, from what I could gather. Maybe it would be best to escape, at least from Lord Godrick's castle. Finding the reason that the king hunted me had fixated my thoughts all ready, and I could not think of much else.

    “Very well. May I request supplies for my journey? Enough silver and bronze to host me in smaller inns for a month's worth of journey, a horse, and a cloak are all I request.”

    Her eyes brightened at that. “Yes, Sir Greyhart.” She left the chamber quickly. I removed my hand from the hilt of my sword, and approached the window of the chamber. My shoulder stung horribly still, but it was almost a distant numbing sensation in comparison with my thoughts on what she had said. If the king hunted me, whoever the king might be, did that mean Lord Godrick was the king's enemy? If so, should I... No, I didn't know anything about the king; if I had been an ally of Lord Godrick's, I would not be very likely to be safe approaching the king. First, I must find the truth of why the king hunts me.

    I rode from Lord Godrick's castle around noon, and I didn't stop until nightfall. My shoulder was in horrible pain, but I needed to at least look as if I were leaving as I had been ordered to. When I had finally stopped, I considered buying a room and going to rest immediately, but I quickly dismissed this idea because I needed to eat. And while I was eating, I might be able to learn more about the reason I needed to run.

    The stable boy walked my horse off to the stables as soon as I had dismounted. I felt generous at the moment, so I flipped him a couple bronze coins before entering the inn. A travelling musician sang off-key, 'I'll sing a song of days long gone, and kingdoms long forgotten.', among the clamour of the many people drinking, the light from the candles was dim, and nothing at all seemed to be still. I approached the counter, and the inn-keeper soon greeted me. 'I'll sing a song of love once lost, and fields where hearts would soften.'

    “Greetings, knight. To what do I owe this... Pleasure?” he asked. It was immediately clear that knights did not often stay here, and that those who did meant trouble. In passing, I reflected that he was quite likely right in thinking I was the same. 'I'll tell a tale of a knight so pale, and a quest he had begotten.'

    “Greetings. I would like a room to stay in for the night, and possibly some information.” I flashed a few silver coins between my fingers. He eyed my hand for a moment, before looking back up to my face.

    “The room I can give, but I don't know if I can tell you anything. What kind of information are you looking for, sir?” His tone had changed, rather notably.

    I lowered my voice and leaned in before replying. “I'm looking to learn a bit about the knight who goes by the name of Sir Jeremy Greyhart. I hear tell that he is wanted by the king, and--”

    “Ah,” the innkeeper interrupted. “So you're not a knight. You're after the money on his head, aren't you?”

    I decided I would play along for the moment, and smiled. “I might be. And if I am, I might also be willing to pay highly to learn more about him.”

    “How highly are we talking, 'sir?'”

    I dropped my whole satchel of silver onto the table. The innkeeper reached for it, but I grabbed hold of it before he could take it. “How much information are you willing to give?”

    The innkeeper's expression became serious again, and he looked up at me. “I'll give you enough. Maybe not everything you were looking for, but with a price as large as the one on Sir Greyhart's head, what should you care about this meagre amount of silver?”

    “Very well.”

    The innkeeper rose and called out to a couple of his workers, and then grabbed a cup and began to scrub it. 'Of journeys failed and new paths trailed, and a love unforgotten!' I heard the bard end his song, and there were some cheers despite his poor quality of singing. The innkeeper stood close to where I was, but he was careful to make it look as if he weren't talking to me. In a place like this, bounty hunters would not be likely to miss an obvious opportunity. “It is said that about a year ago, Sir Greyhart went to the king's court seeking honour in the tournament. He is said to have done so well that the king named him one of his personal guard.” He stopped for a moment, and walked a few steps away.

    I watched him carefully, and began to wonder whether I should ask for a drink. This sounded as if it might be a long story, and the bard had begun to sing horribly again. He slowly drifted back over to me.

    “Now, there's no real way to confirm it, but it's suspected that Sir Greyhart also saved the king from an assassination attempt. Whatever the reason though, from that day forward, the knight served the king, and not his old lord.”

    “You're referring to Lord Godrick, I assume?”

    He chuckled. “Of course. Who else would have a knight so skilled?”

    I was a skilled knight, then. A skilled knight, a tourney winner, and possibly the king's saviour. None of this sounded like the sort of man who the king would want the head of. I pulled out a few bronze coins, and put them on the counter. “Bring me a drink before you continue.”

    He scooped up the coins and slipped away, only to return moments later with a full cup. I took a large sip. I paused after that, wondering if I had always been such a drinker. The fact that I hadn't retched after such a large sip told me that I probably was.

    “And? Why does the king seek his head? This 'Sir Greyhart' does not appear to be one whom the king would want to kill.”

    “No, not at a glance. Truth be told, he seemed the ideal knight for the kingdom. The only man who might have been his rival was Sir Trillius, but many thought Sir Greyhart was more skilled. What he did is horrible enough for me to even shudder at the thought of it, though. The king had a daughter. Sir Greyhart slew her.”

    A sense of dread engulfed me. I slew the princess? Why? What reason could I have? I put down my drink; my stomach had begun to feel unsettled. “Tell... Tell me why.”

    He eyed me suspiciously. “Nobody knows why. In fact, rumour had it the princess and he had fallen in love.”

    “Please... What was her name?”

    The innkeeper put down the cup. “Ah. You're no bounty hunter, you're one who seeks justice for the wrongly harmed.” He paused. “Her name was Cecilia. Princess Cecilia. Her father's name is King Frederick. It would be best for you to know that before trying to bring Sir Greyhart to the king's justice.”

    I pushed the satchel of silver over to the innkeeper and rose. I paid for a room in bronze at that moment as well, and he handed me a key. I wouldn't be eating tonight. Nor tomorrow morning, I suspected. I went up the staircase at the back, and drifted to my room.

    I couldn't sleep. The room wasn't very nicely kept and it smelled strange, but that wasn't what disturbed me. There were small flashes in my mind. All of them felt like happy memories, but they were all tainted. Eventually, a face took form in my mind and I knew it could be none other than Cecilia. I hadn't wanted to believe it before, but it was true. What I felt for this memory of her could be said to be nothing but love. It hurt more than my shoulder knowing that I was her killer. Something felt wrong about it, though. Why would I, so loved by the king and the princess, kill her? Why did I destroy such a person?

    I gasped, more flashes passed through my mind. There... There was a connection between Lord Godrick and King Frederick. Not a connection akin to friendship, but there was a connection. What was it, though?

    The later it got, the more unlikely it felt for me to have been Cecilia's killer. But, if it wasn't me, who was responsible? I had no way of recalling anyone who would have wanted to harm her. Could it have been part of a conflict over inheritance? Yet again, I had no way of knowing who would be in a position to inherit the throne based upon what were said to be my actions.

    Unless... The handmaid had said that Lord Godrick was caring for me out of gratitude for one of my previous actions. And he apparently had mentioned an 'obstacle' that I had removed from his path. I had strong impressions that there was a connection between him and the king all ready. Could it be a blood relationship?

    That trail of thought did me no good in my seeking of innocence, though. If anything, it made it seem even more likely that I was the one who had killed Cecilia.

    Rest was hopeless tonight. I left the room I had been given, and put the key on the counter for the owner. I slipped out to the stables, and mounted my horse. I rode away, not looking back, not caring where I went. All I saw in the darkness were flashes.

    Dawn came eventually. I saw a castle in the distance, and slowed my horse to a trot. For some reason, I felt that it wasn't the castle of the king. I had no hints of memory at all for this castle.

    At the gates, a guard called out, “Greetings, knight! You appear to have travelled far. I shall send a message to Lord Allister, to see if you might rest here. What name shall I hail you by?”

    I stopped my horse, and thought for a moment. “Tell him that my name is Sir Cecil. I am not from this land, so my name might be one he has not heard.”

    “Very well, sir,” he said. He passed through the gates, and returned not long later. “I've sent a message up to Lord Allister. Your reply shall arrive soon.”

    I dismounted immediately. Something about the name Lord Allister, although I had doubts I knew him, had me believe that I would not be turned away. Soon, my suspicions were confirmed. The messenger arrived, and guided me in through the gates. “Lord Allister wishes to know if you want to eat before you are brought before him.”

    “Yes, I should eat.” He led me to a dining hall, and soon a meal was brought. I ate what I could, but soon I felt full again. I beckoned for the messenger, and he was quick to approach. “I am ready to see Lord Allister now.”

    He nodded, and guided me away through a long hall. I followed him past many rooms, and up a cold stairway. He parted the doors to what appeared to be a large office. An elderly man sat at the table across the room, and I could only assume he was Lord Allister. He seemed deep in thought over what he was reading, but he was quick to look up. He smiled at me and said, “Sir Cecil, I presume? Come, come sit down. You've had quite a journey.”

    I strode through the room and seated myself in the chair to the opposite of him, while he waved away his messenger.

    He then turned towards me, clasping his hands together. “Now, then. You are from a foreign land, Sir Cecil? If there is anything you wish to know about our mighty King Frederick's kingdom, please ask me.”

    I smiled at that. “Yes, I am. I'm thankful for your offer, as well. I've heard that recently, the heir to the throne was murdered. I'm unsure who will be inheriting now.”

    “Ah, yes. Dear Cecilia. Always so kind... As for who shall be inheriting, I imagine that would be the king's brother, Prince Phillip. Lord Godrick hasn't a chance at inheriting, even if there is no proof connecting his old knight's actions with him. I suppose I, or my grandson, might be a potential inheritor, but my connection with the king's line is generations old. I have no reason to desire the throne, so I haven't really concerned myself with the inheritance,” he said. He looked into the fireplace, seeming thoughtful again.

    Lord Allister turned back towards me after what seemed quite some time. “Was there anything else you wanted to know, Sir Cecil?”

    I decided that I would confirm it now, or always be unsure of who my memory was of. I said, “Yes, there is more. Cecilia, she had black hair and pale blue eyes did she not?”

    “'Cecilia'? Your are quite bold, Sir Cecil. A foreign knight referring to a princess by her name, and without title. But, yes, you are right. She did have black hair and blue eyes,” he replied.

    Ah. I missed the title. Was it... habit? The memories I was beginning to have were most definitely of Cecilia, so it could be. Having confirmed that it was Cecilia who I had been beginning to recall, I felt somehow worse than before. If the loved one I remembered was truly her whom I had supposedly killed, my journey was far from over. “My apologies, Lord Allister. Princess Cecilia. I have a few more questions. Was it truly Sir Jeremy Greyhart who murdered her? Could it have been another?”

    Lord Allister's smile slowly faded at my questions. “It is hard to say if it was truly him, Sir Cecil. But, it was either he, or the knight by the name of Sir Allen Trillius. It is a generally accepted view that Sir Allen could not be the killer for the fact that he had served the king and his family for many years. Yet, a few suspect him because of the rumours of a hidden love between Sir Jeremy and Princess Cecilia. Truth be told, I had no doubt that dear Cecilia loved the knight. She always spoke of his acts of bravery in service of her father. There was never another in her eyes. Nor another who she told me about so very often.

    “But, I have no way of knowing which knight killed her. It is said that the two fought after she died. Sir Jeremy was said to have suffered a serious burn on his shoulder-- Sir Allen sent him flying from the castle wall into the moat below by hitting him with a torch.”

    My fingers slowly moved for my shoulder, and I gingerly touched it. Sir Allen Trillius, then. The innkeeper had mentioned the same knight, saying that he is perhaps the only one who might be a rival for me. He... No, he might have done it. I might have done it. I cannot immediately blame him.

    “Who does Sir Allen directly serve under?”

    “Why, he is Prince Phillip's knight. Is this significant to you in some way, sir?” he asked.

    “Yes. It might be. But, enough for today Lord Allister. I must rest. Tomorrow, I ride for the king's castle. If you would be so kind as to provide a map for me?”

    “Very well, sir. I shall bring one to you in the morning. The messenger shall lead you to your chambers if you wish to rest. Now, it is rather close to noon, so I shall be remaining here for the time being. Shall I expect you for dinner, sir?”

    “Yes, I would enjoy having a meal with you,” I said. I rose after that and left, only to be met in the hall with his messenger. The messenger led me through more passages to a guest chamber, in which I soon settled in.

    I lay down on the bed, deep in thought. It was vastly different than when I had laid the same way the morning before. Now, there were so many thoughts running through my mind that I honestly didn't know what I should be looking to.

    A sword. It flashed through my mind, stained with blood. I stood up and went to the window of my chamber, looking out at the spring weather. I rested my hand on the hilt of my sword, and it struck me. The blood stained sword that I saw in my mind had a different feel to the hilt. It wasn't my sword.

    I gasped and fell forwards, barely catching myself before tumbling from the balcony. The blood stained sword within my mind-- I took it within my hand in the memory. I... I pulled the blade upwards from the body beneath it. The body... Of Cecilia.

    Tears welled up in my eyes at the memory of her body upon the cold stone floor within the castle hall. Had I really slain her? What, what could be worth these memories? What could be worth a world without her? I knelt down, putting my face into my hands.

    That evening, I met Lord Allister in the dining hall for my final meal before the journey. The meal might have been a succulent tapestry of flavour, but with my new memories it was bitter. Lord Allister's conversation offered some consolation, but it seemed nothing in comparison with the thoughts crossing my mind the whole time.

    I slept that night. I slept, and I dreamed of happy days with Cecilia. The tranquillity of it was beautiful, but there was always the constant feeling of decay. What came after those happy days was painful. The dreams of Cecilia did console me, though. When I awakened, I was ready to do what must be done.

    Lord Allister met me at the gates to give me the map I had requested, and I decided to speak with him once more before leaving. “Thank you, Lord Allister. Knowing you has been an pleasant experience.”

    “Knowing you has been more than that, sir. Please tell me, do you really intend to go to the king?”

    “I do. I must learn the truth about Sir Jeremy before I can leave. I have made it my quest,” I said.

    “Very well, then. I wish you the best of luck.” I nodded to him before reaching for the map. He held it tight, despite the fact that I had grasped it. “Find the truth, Sir Jeremy. You loved her. You do love her.”

    I stared into his eyes. Life reflected in them, and in that moment a flicker of hope reignited within my heart. I would find the truth. The end was in sight, but I would not give up yet.

    “I will, Lord Allister. I will bring the truth to light, and I shall not surrender. One day, we may meet again. Be ready for that day,” I said. He smiled, letting go of the map. “I have one last question before I leave. How did you know who I was?”

    “You confirmed it for me when you touched the burn on your shoulder, Sir Jeremy. But, what made me suspect it was you initially was the name 'Sir Cecil'. With that name and the burn, you could be no other.”

    “I see. Thank you, Lord Allister. I will not forget your kindness,” I said.

    I kicked my horse to a trot, and rode from his castle. My quest was coming to an end. There would be justice for Cecilia's death. The one who thrust the sword that I removed from her body would not escape me.

    I rode through the day, passing villages and riding through forests. Many others travelled along the road, although in the opposite direction from me. It was dark before I reached King Frederick's castle. The cover of night was necessary, though. If I were to just go to the king, there would be little to no chance of finding the truth.

    I dismounted and tied my horse's reigns to a tree. I patted his shoulder. He needed to rest after how I had been travelling. I approached the moat, and looked up at the cold stone surface of the castle darkened by the shadow of the night. The only sound to be heard was the water, sloshing up against the shore, and against the wall of the castle. What I intended to do was a vast risk with the wound on my shoulder, but all other options had all ready been exhausted. I took my rope from where it sat on the saddle, leaving my sword in its place because it would likely prove to be too heavy to swim with, and tied a noose-like loop on the end of the rope. For a time, I just sat and listened to the water, and the silence of the night.

    I placed the coil of rope around my unburned shoulder and slowly neared the moat. It was deep, and I had no recollection of being able to swim. But I knew I must be able to, because I had apparently fallen into this moat once before.

    I took a final, deep breath. Then, I jumped into the water. It rushed around me, like wind pressing against a traveller on an especially brisk day. I surfaced, gasping for breath moments later, and swam. It was a long moat, but somehow I felt confident in my abilities.

    Soon, I reached the wall of the castle. I found a decent, but thin, foothold under the water, so I was able to stand high enough for my shoulders to be above the surface. My left shoulder was tensing due to the pain of swimming, but it wasn't too bad as of yet as the water had comforted the burn somewhat. I took the rope, and I looked up at the dauntingly high wall. There was certainly enough for my rope to tightly wrap around higher up, but I was unsure whether I would be able to toss it far enough. I threw the noose end of the rope up despite the nagging feeling, and tried to watch it ascend in the darkness.

    There! It landed around something. I tugged, tightening the noose. It held well enough, so I began my climb. I wouldn't dare go to the top of the walls, though. There would be guards. Where I intended to go was in through one of the many windows. It would be easier to find what I sought from there.

    About halfway up the wall I found a window, as I had been hoping. It was fortunate as well, because my rope appeared to have caught on a loose stone not far above where I hung. I reflected that if I didn't find what I was looking for within this one night, I would likely be hanging again within a day.

    I stepped into the window and looked around the hall that I stood in. It was familiar, but I didn't truly recall where it was. I began to walk down the hall, but slowly because my shoulder was in horrible pain after the climb. If someone were to try to fight me, sword-less and pained, I might...

    I felt the cold steel of a blade against my neck. I stopped immediately.

    “Tell me why I shouldn't kill you right now, Greyhart. Tell me why.”

    The voice was vaguely familiar. The fact that this man was asking me told me that we might have once been friends. I couldn't fight anyways, so I decided that I would trust this man.

    “Because I didn't kill her. I loved her, I loved her with my very being. I know it sounds implausible, but I found her body. After the fight I was sent flying from the window, I'm sure you know. I remember only pieces, but I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that I did not kill her!” I said.

    For a moment, the blade remained against my neck. I stood perfectly still, hoping. If this man didn't believe me, I would die.

    The feeling of cold steel left as he lowered the blade. I turned around to face my captor. He was a tall man, with golden hair. He looked like the sort of knight who would have legends about him echo down through the generations.

    “If you aren't her killer, who is?” he asked; he put the knife away as he spoke.

    “I don't know. But, I suspect I know how we can find out. Take me to Cecilia's room.”

    He looked a bit confused. “Don't you know where her room is?”

    “I might have, once. I told you all ready though, I only remember pieces now.”

    “Ah. So, you did suffer from the fall. How do I know you aren't lying about not killing her?”

    “You don't. I don't. What I want is to find out who killed her. If it was me, I will willingly go to the king and accept punishment for my crime. But, I believe completely that I would not have killed her.”

    “For the moment, that's all I need to know, Greyhart,” he said. “I'll take you to her room.”

    I followed the blond man down the hall of the castle, turned down another, and hid behind a statue when we heard someone in the passage. After they had passed, we continued. The blond man stopped outside of a door with a light shining from inside, and he raised a finger to his lips. I approached the door beside him, and listened for whatever might be happening within.

    “Brother, starting tomorrow you shall have new guards. After the death of my dear daughter, I would not be able to bear losing you. We may never have been friends, but I know I can trust you,” a man said.

    “Yes, I know just the men. You will not need to worry for me long, I hope.”

    I might have stayed to listen longer, but the blond man gestured for us to pass the door at that moment. We turned down another hall as we continued. We reached Cecilia's room soon enough, and the blond man slipped in the door ahead of me.

    “What exactly are you looking for, Greyhart?”

    I approached her desk and looked around the top of it, moving some things around to see if I could find anything. “I'm not sure. But, I suspect there might be a message somewhere. It would be asking her to meet me in a hall, if my suspicions are correct.”

    “If you two were truly in love, she would have put it somewhere special before going,” he suggested. He pointed to the jewelry box on the desk. I opened it, and as expected there was a small piece of paper folded over.

    When I opened it, it had a message much the same as what I had been expecting. Something told me I had seen this message before, but I didn't have any memory of it. The blond man held out his hand, so I gave him the note. He frowned, after a moment.

    “What is it?”

    “This writing is familiar.” He looked up at me. “But, I've never seen your writing.”

    “Then, what's the issue? All this means is I am right in saying it isn't me.”

    “Yes, but this is extremely familiar writing. I'm not sure who's it is yet, but I feel as if something is completely wrong now that I have seen it.”

    Could it possibly be Sir Allen's writing? I didn't want to jump to any conclusions, so I didn't voice my suspicions. “Give me the note. I will keep it, until I find the truth.”

    He nodded and gave it back. I put the note into a pocket in my shirt, because it was drier than my pants were, before turning towards the door. A thought struck me. “The sword-- the one used to kill Cecilia. Who's was it?”

    “No one's in particular. It was one of the many swords from the castle armoury,” he replied immediately. It appears I will have to find another way to the truth. But... Maybe there was a hint towards the goal in the armoury.

    “Very well. Take me to the armoury, then. But, before we go, was it three days ago that Cecilia died? This is extremely important.”

    “Yes, it has been that many days. I'll take you to the armoury,” he said. He led me out the door, and we went down one of the hallways silently. We turned a corner, and were met immediately by castle guards. They drew their swords and quickly surrounded us. The blond man reached for his own sword, but I held my hand before his to stop him. There were too many men.

    “So, you've returned, Greyhart,” one of them growled. “You dare show your face here again? You'll be taken before the king at dawn. Until then, you'll await your fate in the dungeons.” He turned to the blond man. “You of all people, I never expected to side with him. You'll hang at his side.”

    “Greyhart is innocent, Martelson!”

    The name was familiar. But I had been one of the king's personal guards for a year, so it was to be expected. I prepared to defend myself as well, despite their numbers for we had no other real hope of escape, and--

    “Silence!” The man, Martelson, struck the blond knight with the flat side of his sword. There was a loud crack, and he fell to the ground. The guards descended upon us in that moment, and we were tied up quickly.

    They took us to the dungeons, and locked us in a dark room. I heard them laughing and some talk outside of the cell for a while, until their voices died away leaving us in silence. The blond knight was the one who spoke up first.

    “I'm sorry to have gotten us into this, Greyhart. I should have been more watchful, it was careless of me.”

    “No, I fear it was me. I left my rope hanging obviously at the window. Judging by where we met them, someone found it,” I said.

    He sighed. “Well, we can only hope the king will give us a chance to speak before our execution.”

    After that, we were both silent. The night, or what I thought was still night at least, seemed to take an eternity to pass. In the darkness of the dungeon cell though, I really didn't have any way of knowing how much time had passed.

    Finally, the door parted. Two guards stood outside, one holding a torch. They guided us from the dungeons in silence. I tried asking them where they were taking us, but to no avail. We reached a hall above the dungeons, and I glanced out the window. It was nearly noon. They led us through many more halls, until we reached a magnificent doorway. I heard the blond knight murmuring to himself that this was the throne room; it seemed we would have a chance to speak.

    The guards parted the doors before us revealing the throne room. A man who I could only assume was King Frederick sat on the throne, and by his side sat who I thought must be Prince Phillip. The two of us were brought before them, and silence overcame all who were present.

    The blond knight bowed to the king, and I followed suit.

    “Rise,” he commanded. His voice, as suspected, was the same as the first of the two voices I had heard when the blond knight had taken me past the closed room. We both stood, and awaited his leave to speak.

    His brother spoke first. “King Frederick, what reason is there for letting them speak? Clearly Sir Greyhart is your daughter's slayer, so I see no purpose in this. Let us send them to their death immediately.”

    “What reason, Phillip? Before us stands Sir Jeremy Greyhart, whom I have believed to be guilty. By his side stands Sir Allen Trillius, the man who fought him after finding him with the body. The circumstances have changed vastly, Phillip, and so I have decided to listen to their defence.” He turned towards us. “Speak, knights.”

    I glanced at Sir Allen, feeling extremely surprised. This man, who helped me so willingly, is the same who attacked me over Cecilia's body? That was the least of my suspicions. I then looked at the king and his brother, preparing my defence. The king's expression was unreadable, but he seemed almost angry. The prince looked to be vastly more impatient than his brother, as if there was something he felt he must be doing.

    “My king,” I began, “I have little to bring in my defence. My fight with Sir Allen three days before did me more harm than a mere burn on my shoulder-- I didn't know who the man was until you spoke his name just now.

    “For the past two days, I have been seeking and learning. From the nothing that I had been left with, I learned of my apparent crime against you. I doubted the truth of what I had been told. I began to remember things. I remembered days in your service, and heard of how I won a tournament a year before. I heard of how I might have saved you from assassins, and earned the right to serve you as I had.

    “I remembered more, though. I remembered a face of a beautiful woman who was black of hair and blue of eyes. I remembered her smile, her laugh. I remembered a passionate feeling in my heart beyond any other I have known or ever will know, and I became fearful. If this woman was who I suspected it to be, then I had no way of ever understanding why I supposedly killed Princess Cecilia.”

    “Preposterous! Are you proposing that you can't have done it based on love? There's no way you can prove that you loved her,” interrupted the prince.

    “Silence, brother. When he has finished, I shall judge him. You shall not.” The prince seemed offended, but he did not speak again.

    “I ran far, wishing to escape this memory,” I continued. “I ran, wishing I could escape the very possibility that I had harmed her. Through the night I went, and on until dawn.

    “I came to a castle that I did not know, and I was welcomed by Lord Allister. I hid my identity from him, but I tried to learn the truth. From what he told me, there was a some level of possibility that it had been Sir Allen who had slain her, but now I doubt that. Lord Allister found out who I was, but he did not bring me to you. He has done no wrong, though. Do not harm him.

    “More memories returned to me, memories that hurt me more than I can describe. I remembered standing above Cecilia's body, a sword stabbed through her chest. I took the sword from her body, and I can only assume that it was after this that Sir Allen found me. If not for Lord Allister's faith in me, I would have turned myself in to you for what I feared I may have committed.”

    “Hah, even he does not defend himself,” Prince Phillip said. “He tells us of how he pulled the sword from her body, and--”

    “I am not done, my prince! The sword was not mine, I recall how the hilt felt so very clearly that it is as if it were in my hand right now. Sir Allen has confirmed this for me. The sword was from the castle's armoury, which he was showing me the way to when we were captured. Why would a knight use any sword but his own, I ask you?

    “I have nothing more to say to defend myself. I cannot even use memory to say whether I was her killer, it in fact almost points towards me killing her. The only evidence I found was a note, and that also implies I'm the killer. In short, I loved Cecilia more than anything else. That is my one, and only defence.”

    Silence trickled from the stones on the walls for a time. “You do understand, Sir Jeremy, that you have given us nothing to call you innocent by. Am I correct?” King Frederick asked.

    “Yes. The truth is all I have given and if it cannot save me, it cannot.”

    King Frederick rested his chin in his hand, frowning. He seemed to understand that what I said was true, but he couldn't prove it anymore than I could.

    “Take him away, Martelson! 'Sir' Jeremy has condemned himself,” Prince Phillip commanded.

    Much to my surprise, Martelson acted upon his orders. Was not the king our only judge? Martelson and some of his guards took hold of Sir Allen and myself, and they tried to take us from the room. Some of the guards hesitated, seeming unsure, but they helped as well.

    I supposed it didn't make a difference in the end. I had no proof. The note would not do anything for me... Wait! I was struck by a memory of the very same note in that moment. I had been standing in Cecilia's room, holding the note. I remembered a state of panic that engulfed me, before I had put the note back into her jewelry box; before I had ran and found Cecilia in the hallway.

    “Martelson, in my shirt, there is a note. Bring it to the king, or the prince, it doesn't matter which.”

    “Why should I do--”

    “Bring it to them, now,” I commanded.

    The king took his hand from his chin and his expression softened somewhat. He seemed hopeful. Martelson didn't know how to react to my words, but eventually he took the paper from my shirt pocket.

    Much to my dismay, he put it in the hands of the prince. In that moment, I feared I knew the truth. It was never me, but that isn't why I was fearful. It was a battle of succession, I knew; it wasn't Lord Godrick and myself who were responsible.

    I felt as if death descended on me as the prince unfolded the note, and laughed. “Why, there is nothing here to prove your innocence, Greyhart. It is merely a note written by you to the princess, inviting her to meet you in the hall where you killed her. Whether you remember or not, it doesn't change anything. Take them away, Martelson.”

    Martelson and his men began to drag Sir Allen and me out of the doorway. I shouted to the king, “Look at the note! Don't let him destroy it. It has the truth, King Frederick! What it says doesn't matter, Sir Allen recognizes the writing but he--”

    Martelson struck me in the stomach before I could continue. Sir Allen tried to speak up as well, but he was struck by another of the guards. The doors closed before me, and I knew my fate and Sir Allen's lay in the hands of the king.

    In the dungeons, Sir Allen finally spoke. “Greyhart, you seem to know who the killer is. Am I right in believing this?”

    “Yes. If only I had realized sooner. Cecilia's death, as pitiful as it may sound, was part of an elaborate battle of succession. It was not Lord Godrick who was attempting to secure the throne as had been suspected, but rather Prince Phillip. I once suspected you because you served him, truthfully. I'm surprised at myself, forgetting my own conclusions so easily.”

    Sir Allen's expression darkened, for what little I could see of him. “Prince Phillip may have been my personal liege lord, but I never thought him a good man. This doesn't really come as a surprise, truth be told.”

    I laughed at the sheer irony of it, and leaned back against the cold stone wall behind me. “Here we are, a couple of men on the way to our grave for the mere fact that we forgot. I, much, and you, little. But enough between us to kill us.”

    “We will have to trust in King Frederick. He is a good man, whatever might be said of him.”

    I nodded, and we didn't speak for a time.

    “I remembered, just as they were taking us away,” I said quietly. “I remembered how I had found the note in her room and ran to save her, but found myself all ready to be too late.” After I spoke, we were silent as we sat in the darkness.

    The doors parted after what felt to be near an hour; a single guard stood there with a torch. He entered the dungeon room and untied us. “Come forth, knights. The king summons you.”

    We were... Untied? Could it be? Sir Allen and I followed the guard back to the throne room. When we entered, Prince Phillip was nowhere to be seen and King Frederick was standing with the note clenched in his hand. He looked as if he had been crying for his dearest and only child.

    I bowed to him alongside Sir Allen, and we rose again to face him.

    “Sir Jeremy, Sir Allen. You have both proven yourself to be truly loyal, even in the face of death. You shall be known as Sir Allen the Faithful, and Sir Jeremy, Truth Seeker. From this day forward, none shall not know your name or of the justice you have brought for my daughter.”

    I knelt before him. “I will serve you until I die, my king.” Sir Allen knelt, and affirmed his loyalty just as strongly.

    “Good. Now, the matter of succession. Lord Godrick will be my inheritor, for he is the one who originally was your lord, Sir Jeremy.”

    “No... Lord Allister, or one of his line, should inherit. Lord Godrick, although uninvolved, was pleased by your daughters death.”

    “I see. It appears there is another conflict ahead,” he said. “Rise, my knights. Rise, and be prepared to serve your king as you have sworn.”

    Sir Allen and I rose, and all who were present cheered. Truly, I felt fulfilled.

    I didn't remember everything of my past, but I knew enough. I knew who I was, who I loved, and I felt as if I had a true purpose. I missed Cecilia deeply, but knowing that justice had been brought for her death was enough for me to live on.


    _________________


      Current date/time is Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:03 pm