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Old March 7th, 2013, 06:12 PM
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A Word Out of Place - Part 1

This story is now complete. Each part has a link to the next part at the end for your convenience.

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten


Aaaaaand here's part 1 of the other story I'll be posting serially for a while. It's already completed (well, okay, there's an edit I have decided to make, but it doesn't actually alter the flow of the story) but it's shorter than the other one, which is why I started with the other one. This first part is particularly short because I preferred not to put the break after the next section of the text.

There shouldn't be anything too objectionable in this one -- no incest or macro stuff -- but, as always, a lot of people won't like the ending, when it shows up. Sorry, that's just the way life -- or, at least, fiction -- is sometimes.

This is a swords-and-sorcery medieval-y type of story, and since I absolutely can't stand hokey pseudo-archaic speech, I just tried to make the characters use very pure speech in an attempt to make them sound, at least, as though they aren't from our time. Which is utterly unrealistic as a portrayal of the past, I know, but better than throwing in "-eth" endings (which are almost always used incorrectly by modern authors), long "f"-like "s"es (which likewise are seldom used correctly), or the word "ye" which was always pronounced "the" anyway and therefore would not be part of dialog.

(Besides, the story has magic and at least one anachronism in it anyway, so who cares about being true to life?)


A Word Out Of Place
Part 1

"The carriage has reached the outer gates! Hurry!"

The seneschal bustled through the courtyard. The detachment of the Royal Guard trooped into position, and handmaids took their places along the drive as the gates opened. In mere minutes, the carriage rolled to a halt. A brace of footmen took the steps from the back of the carriage and brought it to the door.

First out of the carriage was the King. He looked around in disapproval. This was his least favorite residence. It was rusticated, deep in the mountains and away from the centers of trade along the coast, and so heavily fortified that making the trip was a terrible nuisance. The peasants were less respectful here, too, and with fewer guards at hand he could hardly punish them as they deserved. He would take any excuse to put off visiting, or to shorten his visit. But such fortified places had their uses.

Following him came the queen. A cloud of attendants rushed forward, and supported her gently to a cushioned palanquin. Her eldest son, with the energy of all small children, ran down the stairs and joined her. The nurse came next, carrying the new prince. The King smiled and nodded, and the nurse followed the palanquin onward. The King's personal bodyguards came out after that, and stood behind the King, who ignored them as the familiar furniture of his life. The Royal Magician came out lastly, walked stiffly to the King's side, and gave a half-bow before joining the King in staring at the gateway.

It was a matter of minutes before the second carriage, a much plainer one, rattled into the courtyard. No stairs were arranged, and the plain nursemaid had to climb down carefully to avoid dropping her charge.

"This was the healthiest one available. Give it the usual bodyguard treatment, with the modifications We outlined. Send word to Us when you need access to Our amulet, and We will return within a week."

The wizard beckoned to the nursemaid, and she followed him out of the sunlight into the cellars. As he turned to follow his wife, the King heard the sound of locks being fastened, and the high, thin wail of a child.


"Must we come here, Father? I was going to join Richard's hunt next week. I don't believe we can return in time."

"It cannot be helped, Alfred. We have unavoidable business here. Your brother will be receiving his own bodyguard here, instead of borrowing yours from now on."

"I'm getting a bodyguard?"

"Yes, Andrew. It is your nineteenth birthday in six weeks' time. You have been permitted to shirk your duties in public through circumstances which certainly were not of Our choosing. You must prepare to take up your position in society, and that means you can no longer make an excuse of your brother's absence from the castle. These revolts are becoming extremely tiresome, but We will put them down in time, and then you will be face the necessity of appearing in public like your brother."

"Don't want to go hunting."

"You need not hunt if you do not wish, but there are other obligations which you will undertake. And speaking of obligations, your tutor informed Us before We departed that you have been skipping your lessons again. We have forbidden you the gardens. Where have you been hiding this time? Tell Us, Andrew. Andrew, look at Us. Where have you been hiding?"


"We see. We shall have the stablemaster whipped for assisting you when We return to the castle."

"Ah, Father, that isn't fair! He didn't know I was there!"

"Andrew, you know that We do not tolerate laxness in Our servants. The master of the stables should know what is going on in the area of his responsibility at all times. If you did not wish him to take responsibility for your presence without knowing about it, you should have announced your presence to him -- in fact, We desire that you should show more dignity about such things in any case. It is not fitting for a prince to skulk and hide."

"But Father, if I had told him I was there, he would have sent me back."

"Precisely, Andrew. You do not have permission to skip your lessons. Do not sulk. It is not fitting for Our children."

"I say, look at that! That whole stack of lumber is moving! You don't suppose that that's some sort of trap, do you?"

"No, Alfred. Have you forgotten Our last visit here? Lumber-gathering is training for the guards."

"Yes, Father, I remember, but there is more lumber in that stack than a single guard could possibly carry. It must be... Father, I know that smile. This is something you expected."

"Yes, We have been kept informed. Andrew, watch closely as the carriage passes. We have reason to believe that this is your bodyguard."

"I don't believe it, Father! How is that possible?"

"I had the wizard make certain modifications to the spell this time. Your brother's bodyguard will need exceptional skills, because he will often be working alone."

"Alone? What about the royal guard?"

"Alfred, your brother will not be returning with Us to the castle. He will be remaining here, at this fortress."

"Ha ha, Andrew, you've got your reward for skipping lessons!"

"No, Alfred, this is not intended as punishment."

"What? But, Father, why?"

"We have mentioned that the revolts must be put down. We have no doubts that Our guards will put an end to this rebellion before long, but it is Our desire that Our heirs shall be separated. If the rebels cannot attack all Our family at once, they will be less likely to make attacks on Our person."

"I say, Father, that sounds dubious to me. Wouldn't they simply focus on one of us after another?"

"No, Alfred, We have consulted the Sage of Dandt Rune on the matter. Our family line will remain secure from the rebellion if your brother remains here at this fortress."

"So Andrew will be a sort of hostage? We shouldn't be allowing the rebels that kind of license, surely."

"We have considered the matter already. Andrew is not a hostage. Nobody has threatened him. But the succession will be secure provided he is here. And the rebels will find their license revoked. Before leaving the castle, We have had it proclaimed that the price of rebellion will be execution for the entire family of the offender."

"Ah, we're getting serious at last. That will cut their legs out from under them."

"Indeed. Andrew, please return to your seat. Staring out the rear window is not appropriate behavior for a prince."

The carriage rattled down the road, leaving the armored figure, with its enormous load, trudging along behind.

Part 2

Last edited by tekuno; March 24th, 2013 at 10:50 PM.
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