Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Duty Calls

This is part of my novel. You can start at the beginning here.  
(If you noticed, I switch to first person here. I will (eventually) go back and edit all the other parts to be first person so it matches. I think it flows better. I was having a hard time with the other tense. So, warning, it changes suddenly!)  
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So that was it.

Riol was a knight now.

A knight. And I'd never seen him again.

He'd go off. And have adventures. While I'd get married, and have children.

I was almost mad at him, if he didn't look so scared and small next to our Captain of the Guard.

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As I craned my neck to see, the priest bent over him, muttering some benediction, Father looming in the background, a permanent scowl affixed to his face, with Gepilios to his right. I hadn't known Father would be here. Good thing there were all these maids in the back with me, or he'd have spotted me for sure.

As another member of the royal guard knighted Riol, I tried to tune out the chatter around me. One of the cleaning ladies to my left wouldn't stop talking, something about oh-how-nice-a-respite-was and didn't-the-young-lord-look-so-fine. I attempted to shush her with a look, but apparently pauper-clad Miera's glares were not as terrifying as Princess Miera's icy looks.

I wished she would just shut it. Couldn't she see I was trying to listen? It was bad enough I had to stay in the very back, with the other servants and a few skinny slaves that were standing in the corridor behind us. So far away from the actual ceremony. But also far away from Father, I reasoned.

Riol stood, and turned. The Knight's cape billowed about him, and I was amused to see it waft on the floor, trailing just behind his boots. By the looks of it he hadn't grown an inch since I'd seen him last. I, on the other hand, had shot up four inches in the last year, making me one of the tallest ladies in the palace, much to the chagrin of my manners tutor. Oh, well.

The priest was talking again. I leaned forward, trying to catch his words.

"And holy thou are consecrated...by these scriptures...a knight for all time. Do you swear to uphold all that are writ within?"

My brother nodded.

"Then, go, henceforth, and do thy duty!"

The priest waved to the fanfare, but suddenly Riol reached out, his hand catching the priest's arm. My father's eye's narrowed.

He said something, to the priest. Drat! I couldn't hear a thing from here! I stood quickly, working my way out of the gaggle of maids, and began walk forward, keeping my shoulder in direct contact with the left wall. Everyone was fixated on Riol, and my father was now speaking, his tone low and clipped, his back rigid. Whatever my brother said had certainly made him angry.

"It's my right." Riol again. I slipped quickly into the pew to the right, not even looking at who I was sitting next to.

"This is preposterous!" Father. He was getting worked up.

"Now, now, Ressga, calm down. It's part of all the knight ceremonies. Riol just wants his fair chance, same as all the others." Gepilios. His eyes suddenly met mine and narrowed. I shrank back against my pew, feeling my cheeks grow warm. Caught. Oh, well. He'd give me an ear-full later, but I knew he'd never tell.

Riol nodded, and muttered something, still too low for me to hear. The priest looked at my father, and straightened his robe. My father's face had turned a shade of purple I hadn't seen since my elder sister had tried to refuse a suitor. He seamed about to say something, but then promptly turned, and strode back to the ornamental trellis, Gepilios serenely following. Before Gepilios turned he looked at me and flashed a smile, his eyes twinkling. What had I just seen?

"Ahem," The Priest continued, "Sir knight, as benefits your station, have you any last words or sacred vows to utter?"

My brother nodded. All in one breath, as if he was afraid someone would stop him mid sentence, he spoke. "I ask for parley from knighthood for the total sum of one year, as outlined in the knight's royal code to pursue the ancient water ring once crafted by the gnome Ryniomlsu."

Swiftly, my brother  bowed his head, and knelt before the priest, who consecrated Riol's curly black head with the holy water, sealing his words and his fate.

And then all chaos broke loose.


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