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Monday, May 10, 2010

The Treaty Contest: Category, Style (Part 2)

Brone groaned as he looked at the huge oaken tree that was directly in Kerr and his path. The horses couldn’t go around it because of the steep cliff that dropped away from either side of the trail.
“How are we supposed to catch him now?” He said while grinding his teeth in frustration.
Kerr dismounted from the old gelding and started walking towards the oak.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Brone snapped impatiently. “I don’t recall telling you to dismount!”
“Well, we can’t go on with the horses, and our mission is to catch the knight. So, the only way I can think to catch him is by walking to our destination on foot. He probably had to dismount too, so it’s not like he can out run us.”Brone didn’t like the way Kerr was starting talk intelligently. In Brone’s opinion, Kerr was starting to think too much for himself, and that always meant trouble.
“Very well, but I’ll go first. Nudge me gently if you see the knight, okay?”
Kerr nodded silently.
They climbed over the huge oak, getting scratched and hit with the numerous whip-like branches, but finally the fell like a sack of potatoes on to the other side of the oak.
“Let’s keep going. We will be rich if we succeed!” Kerr said excitedly in a horse whisper.
Brone licked his knife blade in anticipation, smiling at his companion. “Right you are, now come on!”

The two men trekked uphill for almost an hour, and Brone was getting thirsty. He kept smacking his lips, trying to bring moisture back into them that the sun rudely stole without permission. Kerr noticed Brone’s thirstiness, and dug into his pack, pulling out a canteen that looked far too nice for any one of Keyren’s men. Never the less, it had liquid in it.
He handed it to Brone. “This is a drink I’ve saved for special occasions, but I can’t bear to see another suffer from lack of water. Here, take it.”
Brone stared at the bottle suspiciously, but thirst overcame him quickly, so he grabbed it from Kerr and gulped it down greedily, some of it slopping on his chin.
“Thanks, ah…Kerr. I owe you one. I should’ve remembered to bring something to drink, but I left it with my pony horse.”
Kerr shrugged as if it wasn’t an issue. “It was my fault, remember? I was the one who suggested leaving it there because I thought it would be too heavy. Boy, wherever it is, I hope it’s not that much further.”Brone shook his head as he handed the empty canteen back to Kerr. “Nay, it’s not that much further. Just another five minutes of a brisk walk I think.”
Kerr put the canteen back in his pack and continued following his companion at a faster pace.
He saw a hut on a distant hill.

Lillian didn’t know where to start. Perhaps Castle Court or Stoneside Lane would be the first place to look? She shook her head knowingly. The poorest of the poor would not live in fancy named streets. In fact, they probably didn’t even have a home to live in. Lillian scratched at the haversack tunic she had put on as clothing to fit in with the poor. No sense in drawing attention, she had told mistress ForestHeart. Now she was beginning to wish she had taken Ivy’s advice. Even the simple homespun tunic would be better than this itchy sack! How could the poor stand it?
Or how could they not? Ivy wondered accurately. This is probably warmer than most of the poor beggars have.
As if to prove her point, a small boy dashed by, his feet bloody because of the rough cobblestones underfoot. He wore only too-short shorts and a vest. Pitying him, Lillian casually dropped a small purse and hurried away before the boy knew who had dropped it.
Maybe now he can get some shoes with it! She thought with pleasure. Suddenly, she remembered how thin he had been. No, he probably will spend it on food. And what if he has a family to feed? Will it be enough?
Lillian had to stop herself from going back and delivering all the money she had hidden away to the small boy.
I’m being a fool. There is no way I can help all those like him. And what if he brings his desperate family and friends? What would I do then? I wouldn’t have enough money for them all; I would let them down.
Wrapping her tattered cloak tighter around her, Lillian moved to the dark shadows of the ally, eyes flitting around for some movement. With a feeling of dread, she continued towards the west end of the village. This was the place where the poor lived. All the city garbage was dumped here. No brick houses, wooden cabins, or stone cottages were anywhere to be seen. Not even mud huts were to be found. Instead, tattered clothes acted as roofs, bent rusty platters or large rock slabs acted as walls, while oozing mud, black as oil acted as carpeting. Where the mud was not, broken glass was. No food was around. No water (unless you counted the sewage water from the city) was to be seen. No animals called to one another, no birds sang out the songs, and no children played or laughed in the streets. This was Mudslide Village. A steep cliff with thorn bushes and briars sheltered some of the town from the wind, but although it gave shelter, it was also a danger. Whenever the wind howled or strong gusts hit the cliff, huge boulders would come hurtling down, crushing homes. That is why most people lived away from the cliff, but they still were in its shadow. Lillian had to stop herself from turning around and running away. She must complete her task.
She hitched up her scratchy skirt, trying not to get it dirty. Within two minutes she gave up. Her legs sank into the slop-like mud, making a squelching sound as she moved. Now she concentrated on not getting stuck. Bravely, Lillian continued deeper into Mudslide Village, never again to come out.

Brone was stumbling. Not only in his walking steps, but also in his words. He would blink constantly, trying to comprehend the world around him. Slapping his companion on the back, he chuckled lightly.
“W-w-wonder wh-h-where we are go-go-going. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Don’t…well, I don’t re-recall. What ab-about ya-ya-you my pal? Do ya-ya-ya-you kn-know?”
He continued repeating himself for lack of memory that he had already said those words before. Brone’s companion sat him on the ground gently.
“Best you go to sleep. I’ll continue up and get what we were looking for. You’re in no condition to fight, if you pardon me saying so.”
Brone stared blankly at his companion as he lay down, as if looking at him for the first time.“Who a-are ya? And w-who a-a-am I?”
His companion patted him on the head, smiling.
“I’m not the one you think I was. Now, go to sleep.”
Brone smiled as he closed his eyes, looking for all the world like a baby in a cradle and not a fierce warrior who was out for blood.

His companion raced ahead to the shack, knowing time was short. His boots pounded the ground beneath him, making dust clouds rise up all around him. Coughing because of the grit being churned into the air, he slowed his pace slightly. He wouldn’t be much help if he couldn’t see for the dust in his eyes. And what if he scared her by his appearance? She would, no doubt, be in shock after what had happened to her. The boots made a hollow thudding noise on the wooden porch of the shack. Knocking on the door, Sir Valliento entered the little shelter, calling gently. “Philippa?”


  1. Good section! What do you mean, Lillian was never to return!!?? If it means what I think. . . that's sad! I guess I'll just have to wait and see! :)

    ~Princess Gloria

  2. It seems to me that this story is getting exciting. Can't wait to see what happens!

  3. I love it! I can't wait to read the rest!

    Princess Melody***