Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Mark of the King: Chapter Seven

So, guess what I'm finally getting around to today!!!

If you said putting Chapter Seven on here, then you're correct!! I am so sorry I've been stalling for the past couple months... but now that school is pretty much over and done for the summer, I can finally spend more time writing and posting my stories on here for you all!

Thank you for your patience! I think that's it!
Here's Chapter Seven!

Chapter Seven

A week went by. Then two, then three and Skandar grew accustomed to his new life in the Capitol. Under Sir Reuben’s careful watch, the other men no longer considered Skandar a captive, instead welcoming him as one of their own.
Much to his dismay, Flynn remained his tutor, though he eventually accepted the situation with silent tolerance. 
He lost his initial clumsiness with a sword, and day by day, the weapon melded itself to his liking, as though an extension of his arm. When he became comfortable on foot, he was placed upon a horse. Being raised a farm boy, Skandar excelled in the art of mounted combat, a thing which he found pleasantly to his supreme liking.
Physical changes also took place in those few short weeks. Gone were the gangly arms and lanky body, replaced by a compact torso supporting broad shoulders and muscled arms. He also discovered that he easily kept pace with Oliver and the other knights on their daily run.
Four weeks passed since Skandar set foot in the Capitol. After a tiresome day, Oliver, whom he now considered a brother, approached him cheerfully, and brandished a sly, lopsided grin.
“Are you aware of the date?”
“Pardon?” Skandar removed his leather vest, replacing it on the rack with the other similar articles of clothing in the armory’s arsenal. 
Oliver leaned on the wall, propping himself up with one arm. “You’re hopeless, you know that?”
“Hopelessly famished, maybe.”
“If that be the case, then you’d best come with me,” Oliver added, turned on his heel, and sauntered casually through the armory and turned down the hall. Once he checked the order of things one final time and everything appeared to be in order, Skandar raced after his friend.
“So,” Oliver announced when Skandar overtook him seconds later. “Today marks one month since we brought you to the Capitol.”
“Already one month and I’m no closer to achieving my goal than when I first began.”
“You’ll get there soon,” reassured Oliver. The two young men stepped into a courtyard. Already the sky overhead was black; the new moon cast no light upon the earth below.
Winter came early that year, and Oliver and Skandar tucked their hands under their arms and hunched over against the biting wind that swept around them. The cold blasts nipped at them like hungry dogs and howled as though a pack stood, searching for the smallest crevice of exposed flesh to enter and tear.
“For the present,” said Oliver, his teeth chattering loudly. “There’s a surprise awaiting you at Sir Reuben’s home.”
“First,” Skandar contradicted, his breath freezing in an icy cloud before him. “I must find a decent cloak!”
Oliver turned his head away, lest his smile betray him.


Once free of the confines of the castle, the youths raced through the now-familiar streets of the Capitol and crashed into the door of Sir Reuben’s home. Not a noise could be heard from within, but through the window, Skandar saw the flitting shadows belonging to the people inside.
He shivered and banged on the door with a numb hand. John answered it, and instantly the room behind him came to life with people and voices. The young men hurriedly stepped in, welcoming the warmth and merriment of the dwelling.
Aidan and Eoin shouted from where they stood by the table, hanging over the steaming food like vultures. But when they reached a hand for the platter of fresh bread, however, Lady Morgaine, who stood watching them nearby, slapped their hands away and after that, they left it alone.
Muriel, followed by Catrain and two serving girls, entered the room from the kitchens. When she set the food on the long table, she rushed to the young men who stood shaking slightly near the threshold. Fondly, she hugged Skandar before embracing Oliver.
Cat smiled at him and waved from across the room, but remained where she stood with Aidan and Eoin.
Skandar returned the gesture, and then scanned the space for Sir Reuben, locating him sitting cross-legged on the floor playing a game with Eliza. Memories of his life in Tiem flooded his mind, and he stood trapped in his thoughts for several moments.
“Look Momma!” he called out.
Sybbyl turned her head and smiled. “What do you have there, Skandar?”
The little boy held the stick aloft proudly in his hand and struck a valiant pose. “A sword!”
Sybbyl laughed, her tired eyes lighting momentarily at the child.
Skandar toddled over to his mother and playfully poked her with the blunt end of the slender piece of wood. “Does Da have a sword?”
His mother’s face fell. A year passed since her husband’s disappearance; the wound still fresh and raw, though Sybbyl refused to acknowledge Edmund was gone entirely. She forced a smile and answered, “Yes. Yes he does.”
“Momma,” Skandar tugged at his mother’s thin skirt and looked upward with large silver eyes. “When is Da coming home? I miss him.”
The young woman knelt and picked up the child, placing him on her slender hip. “I don’t know, Skandar. Keep praying and maybe one day, you’ll find him and bring him home. Now,” she touched his freckled nose gently. “You play here and be a good boy, my little warrior.”
“Skandar? Skandar are you coming?”
“Yes,” he shook himself free of his brief reminiscence, crossing the room in only a few strides where he took his usual place at the now crowded table. “My apologies.”
“No need, lad.”
Sir Reuben said grace, a thing he did before every meal. Skandar respectfully bowed his head, but allowed his mind to wander until the prayer ended, and the chorus ‘amen’ spoken by all at the table except Skandar himself.
“I know this is supposed to be about Skandar and all, but what’s your opinion on the impending treaty?”
Skandar looked up from his soup as the table fell into silence; every eye staring fixedly on Sir Reuben.
The Keeper chewed slowly and raised his mug of crimson wine to his lips. 
Skandar looked from face to face. Everyone appeared to understand Aidan’s inquiry except Skandar. Replacing a slice of tender meat on his platter, he cleared his throat.
“Sorry, what treaty?”
Catrain answered first, “It’s a peace treaty between Corrthaine and Tir O Niwl basically stating that we will cease the exchange of meaningless threats against one another. Our countries have been playing a bluffing game; each side taunts and beckons the other to war, but neither acts upon their allegations.
“Corrthaine’s ambassador in Tir O Niwl, as well as the King and his officials, have worked for months to reach agreeable terms with the Niwls, and now it appears we may find some common ground.”
“And as is often the case,” groaned the Keeper, “King Fendral is quite adamant that King Caddock journey here for the signing. Which unfortunately arouses complaints from the nobles from Tir O Niwl.”
“What is your opinion, Sir?” repeated Aidan.
Sir Reuben leaned forward and rested his bearded chin on his hands. “I believe a treaty of this nature will be beneficial to some parties, and potentially harmful to others.”
From the corner of his eye, Skandar saw Oliver glance down quickly, avoiding eye contact with the other members of the gathering. Muriel must have noticed her betrothed’s movement as well, for she placed her hand in his own and squeezed it gently.
“As with any agreement of this nature, trade between the countries will increase and we shall acquire a new and powerful ally,” continued the Keeper. “But there are some in Corrthaine- in this very city, perhaps –who do not think the treaty should be signed.
“To ally ourselves with Tir O Niwl will draw out many enemies and may provoke the anger of the Thuaidhian clans. At any rate, it would be wise,” he met the face of each member seated at the table, “when travelling through any of the Four Kingdoms to keep a wary eye on the people and a hand ready at the sword.”
“What does he mean?” Skandar whispered to Catrain, but she only shrugged.
“Now,” Muriel rose and stared steadily at Skandar. “We have something for you.”
“What is it?” Skandar questioned dryly. That was rude, he scolded silently.
However, Muriel didn't seem to notice. “Wait here.” She disappeared into the hall and returned moments later with a large bundle wrapped in blankets and tied with a coarse rope, which she placed on the table before Skandar.
Carefully he untied the cord and slid it off the bundle before peeling back a corner of the thick fabric. Concealed within its folds lay an emerald cloak. Along the hem and hood, embroidered in silver thread, were intricate knotted crosses.
Skandar stared at the gift, speechless. It was finer than anything he ever owned in Tiem. Finer than anything he’d ever laid eyes on before arriving in the Capitol.
“Do you like it?” asked Muriel, her voice filled with hope. “Mother and I made it. Oliver mentioned you needed one, and with winter upon us, we thought you may have need of one.”
“It’s perfect,” Skandar held the long garment aloft and admired it with childlike joy and pride.
Then, the two hired girls came around and began to take up the wooden utensils, each filling her delicate arms with bowls and platters in a precarious balancing act.
“Here, allow me to help,” Eoin stacked the dishes and handed them to one of the girls with a sly wink accompanied by a playful grin. The girl flushed.
Catrain rolled her eyes and muttered, “Really?”
When all was said and done, the small party gathered around the fire, enjoying the company of friends. Unnoticed by all, Sir Reuben and Lady Morgaine slipped into the hall and spoke in low tones:
“Reuben, the boy must know.”
“I understand, but now is not the time.”
“When will the time come? When he lies dying upon the field of battle?”
“He won’t.”
“How can you be sure? How can you know? Reuben, please. Before he decides to leave on his own.”
“When the lords attend the treaty-signing, I will know our numbers and where we stand,” Reuben took his wife’s hands in his and gently kissed her fingers. “Then I shall tell him, but whether he accepts it or not depends on the True King. Skandar hardens his heart to His work; I know not if he will ever understand.”
“Give him time, Reuben. If it be the will of the True King, Skandar will fall.”
Morgaine laid a finger to his lips. “Shh, no. Speak not. Skandar will fall, Reuben, and we must have faith that the True King always catches the ones He loves; He never abandons His children. His will be done, not our own, Reuben. His will be done.”
“His will be done.”

So, that was Chapter Seven! Feel free to let me know what you think!
I've been working on another short story which I'll post on here when I'm finished with it!
Also, I've abandoned my schedule for The Mark of the King if you haven't guessed already! Basically, I'll post my chapters whenever I finish typing and editing them!
That's all! I hope you have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Oh Look! Someone Nominated Me for the Liebster Award!

Hello everyone! So I have been nominated by Hope Oakenshield for the Liebster Award. She's a great friend and Pintrest comrade!!
I have also been nominated by my dear friend Megan McKeel, as well! She has two wonderful books on her blog full of intense action and espionage! You should check it out; it's amazing!
Last but most certainly not least, Hannah Robinson, another fellow writer and Pin-Pal, nominated me recently for the Liebster Award. 

I did a little reading up on the Liebster Award. It began in Germany (maybe that's why the name is in German!) and it's a way to tell other people about lessser-known blogs.
I have tagged Hope (click on her name above and it'll take you to her amazing blog!) She has asked me eleven questions which I shall answer below. After that, I have to tag 3-5 bloggers and ask them questions. Anyway, I think this is kind of fun, and it allows you, my wonderful readers, to know a little bit more about me.

Here goes nothing! (And by nothing, I really mean pretty much everything.)

Eleven Facts About Me:
  1. I am an unashamed born-again Christian.
  2. My favorite book of the Bible is Philippians. It's so encouraging and strengthening. Plus, it's also home to my favorite verse (see Megan's questions below!)
  3. I have played softball for eleven years.
  4. I have always loved to read a write- I don't remember ever learning!
  5. I am also a lover of music. Currently I've been listening to lots of soundtracks and Imagine Dragons.
  6. I have a bow and I can use it fairly well. I also have a training sword which I would like very much to learn to use properly!
  7. My least favorite school subjects are math and science. I'm not wired for numbers and calculations. Letters and sentences on the other hand, I can do.
  8. My personality type is INTJ, meaning I'm introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging.
  9. I have two cats, one dog, and three fish.
  10. When I was little, I hated the color pink. I like it now, though haha!
  11. I have now run out of things to say.

Hope's Questions:
  1. What is your favorite movie? Can it be more than one? I am a lover of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy. Though here lately, I've been completely obsessing over Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Let's face it- way too many choices there!!!
  2. What color is your hair? I have this sort of chestnut brown hair. Nothing super special there, but I like it.
  3. What is your favorite book series? This has to be the hardest question for me. Um, I'm going to have to say The Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale. Though anything my Stephen R. Lawhead is marvelous as well.  Again, WAY too many choices as I am a lover of books.
  4. Who is your favorite superhero? Captain America!!! Need I say more?!
  5. Have you ever travelled out of the country? Sadly, no. If I could, I would go to the U.K., and New Zealand.
  6. Which do you like better, the mountains or the beach? I don't know why, but I have always loved the serenity and the majesticness of the mountains. I feel excited anytime I see them when we're on a road trip. But alas, where I live there aren't many mountains. 
  7.  What is your favorite quote? "Not all those who wander are lost" by J.R.R. Tolkien is my favorite quote. Again, I don't really know why, but there's something about it I really like.
  8. What color are your eyes? Green. And there's not much more to say about that!
  9. How many siblings do you have? I also have two amazing and wonderful younger sisters whom I adore very much.
  10. What is your favorite TV show? BBC's  Sherlock and ABC's Once Upon a Time are tied. Both usually leave me shocked, outraged, and heartbroken at the end of every episode and I love that.
  11. Where is your favorite vacationing spot? I have no idea. Take me anywhere with mountains and forests and I will be happy. 

Megan's Questions

  1. Who is your favorite actor/actress? Hmm.. that's a tough question. Probably Richard Armitage as my favorite actor, and Jennifer Lawrence as my favorite actress. 
  2. If you could travel to only one place for the rest of your life, where would it be? The U.K. Does that count as one place, though...?
  3. If you had a super-power, what would it be? Captain America's superpowers. Or a metal arm. Either one works.
  4. What is your favorite color? Purple.
  5. If you've done the Disney Princess personality quiz, who did you get? Belle!! She's my favorite original Disney Princess, so I was pretty happy when I found out I got her!
  6. If you could pick any pet to have, what would it be? A cat. I have one now and she's a wonderful animal with a very distinct and funny personality.
  7. Period dramas or Sci-Fi action movies? It really depends on my mood. I enjoy watching both.
  8. What is your favorite thing to do in your free time? Same as before. It depends on my mood! Usually I write, read, watch Netflix, and go on Pinterest. And sometimes I do all at once!
  9. Which is your favorite: Facebook or Pinterest? Pinterest. Facebook has too much drama haha!
  10. Are you talkative or quite? It depends on who I'm around and how comfortable I am with that person. If it's someone I've just met, then I'm normally quiet. But if I've known that person for a long time and I'm comfortable being myself around them, then I can be talkative.
  11. What is your favorite verse? Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Hannah's Questions
  1. Who is your favorite celebrity and why? As mentioned above in Megan's questions, Richard Armitage and Jennifer Lawrence are my favorite celebrities. Both are pretty down-to-earth and normal people. I like that.
  2. What was your favorite TV show as a child? I didn't watch a lot of television when I was younger, but I loved Dragon Tales, and Berenstain Bears
  3. How many selfies do you take on average each day? A big whopping ZERO!
  4. Loud music or quiet music? That depends solely on my mood. If I'm feeling calm, peaceful, and writing, then I prefer quiet. If I'm feeling destructive or if I'm upset about something, then I want it to be louder. But not so loud that I could sustain ear damage.
  5. What is the highest heel you have ever worn? I wish I could say I've never worn heels in my life (because I absolutely despise shoes with heels- so impractical!!!) but unfortunately that's not the case. I have a pair of wedges that are, like, two to two-and-a-half inches.
  6. Which fictional character do you most relate to? Enna from Shannon Hale's The Books of Bayern. She was a nobody who wasn't really special in comparison to another person. But she was smart and had a fiery temper. I don't know; she was just a character I felt connected to.
  7. Cake or ice-cream? Um, I'll take either, please!!!
  8. Fantasy or sci-fi? Both are great, but I think I'll say fantasy.
  9. Current favorite TV show, movie, and book. TV show: BBC's Sherlock and ABC's Once Upon a Time are tied. Movie: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy/The Hobbit and both Captain America movies. Book: Enna Burning.
  10. Video/Computer games or board games? Board games.
  11. Best blog post I've done. Well, there are three completed posts I'm thoroughly pleased with- the rest are works-in-progress. Those are Winter Bound, The Mask, and The Day the World Fell.

So there we go!! Thank you for taking the time to read it! I hope you enjoyed it!
I now hand the gauntlet over to:

Lynsi Keye - Pro Ama De Narratus
Moriah Quint - My Imagination Creations
Hazel B. West - Hazel West's Character Purgatory
Sarah Blair - Cera's Fix

The rules are simple:
Tag whoever tagged you (and thank them too!)
State eleven facts about you.
Answer the questions given you by the person who tagged you.
Tag 3-5 other bloggers (not me!) and ask them eleven questions!
But make sure to notify them about the Liebster Award!

Here are my questions to you:
  1. What is your favorite movie (you can have more than one!)?
  2. What is your favorite book or book series?
  3. Describe yourself in three words.
  4. Do you have a favorite color?
  5. How many siblings do you have?
  6. What is your favorite quote?
  7. Who is your favorite superhero?
  8. Has a song ever made you cry? If so, what was it?
  9. What color hair do you have?
  10. What color are your eyes?
  11. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
That's it! Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this! Please check out these other blogs- I know my lovely friends and fellow writers would appreciate it a lot!
As always, God bless you!