Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Mark of the King: Chapter Nine

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaccckkk!!!!! 
First off, thank you so much for all the prayers! The mission trip was wonderful; it was amazing to share God's love to the people at the centers and missions. Again, thank you!!
I just needed a couple weeks to settle in and recover before I posted anything on here, I'm sure y'all understand! Here's Chapter Nine, and as always, feel free to tell me what you think!

Chapter Nine

“Pardon me, Princess?” John asked hesitantly. Princess Catrain sat peacefully on a window seat in the eastern wall of the castle. Grey sunlight filtered in through the window and played over the young woman. Her knees were tucked up to her chest, and on them rested an open scroll which she stared at intently.
Catrain lifted her head and squinted at the tall boy. Placing the curled paper beside her, she hopped off the bench and tossed a loose strand of brown hair out of her eyes. “Yes, John? What is it?”
“My father requests he speak to you immediately.”
“I understand. Lead on.”
Catrain toyed with her fingers restlessly while she walked. Though she knew the way to the Keeper’s Chambers, she quietly trailed behind John, deep in thought. Several times she quickened her pace to a slight trot to keep up.
Upon their arrival at the Keeper’s Chambers, John opened the door and Catrain entered. Sir Reuben stood solemnly at the large window, gazing out over the training field.
From his vantage point, he saw every one of the several hundred men occupying the area below, but his interest was in one. Skandar. The youth’s reckless and heated display earlier troubled the Keeper. Then again, many things did recently, it seemed.
Not wishing to disturb him, but anxious to hear what he had to say, Catrain cleared her throat.
“Catrain,” Sir Reuben said, seating himself in his chair. He motioned to the chair opposite him, but the princess politely refused.
“I prefer to stand, thank you, Sir.”
“As you wish.
“May I take the liberty in assuming my wife filled you in on our discussion?”
“Yes, Sir.”
“Good,” the knight slid a long piece of parchment along with a quill and inkwell across the rough table and instructed, “Write out everything you know on this. I dare not speak it verbally while we are within these walls.”
Catrain did as she was bid; scrawling every detail onto the parchment. When she finished, she scanned it, and handed it to Sir Reuben. His eyes darted over the script, and Catrain sat still, chewing her lip as she watched him.
The Keeper read to the end of the scroll, and then crumpled it into a tight ball before tossing it into the fire. Catrain stared at the paper. It twisted and turned while fiery tendrils licked around the darkened edges until the flames consumed it, and the paper was reduced to ash.
“Well?” Catrain dared to ask.
The Keeper cracked his knuckles and, folding his long fingers, placed his hands under his chin. “You know enough for me to tell you what I expect will happen within the fortnight and how to prepare.
“When the ambassador arrives from Tir O Niwl, many honorable lords and knights with whom I have contacted will be in company. Each bears something of the upmost importance, including a letter.”
The princess’s heart leapt. “Sir, by your tone, am I correct in assuming this letter is from-?”
“You are.”
Catrain shifted her balance from one leg to the other and unconsciously, a smile crept onto her face. “Wonderful. Is that the reason I am here?”
“Among others, yes. But there is another thing I must ask of you.”
Catrain cocked her head inquisitively.
“When the time is right,” the Keeper went on, “there is something in the Room of Records Skandar must see.”
“The Legend of Bródúil,” Cat stated.
“Correct. In order for him to know what he is and the dangers he faces, he must read it. But not now.”
“I understand,” the princess stared out the window at the cloud-covered sky. “How long do you believe we have before we begin?”
“Not long, depending on the contents of the letter and the other-” he stopped mid-sentence and put a finger to his lips. Catrain’s hand instinctively shifted to the dagger at her hip and she turned silently on her heel.
Slowly, the Keeper rose and drew his sword from the scabbard. Treading noiselessly over the floor stones, he readied himself, swung the door open, and stepped out into the corridor. Reuben pointed his sword in every direction, glancing up and down the empty hall before waving Catrain forward.
“Speak of this to no one but myself, Morgaine, and Muriel,” Sir Reuben warned.
“I shan’t, Sir. You have my word.”
“Good. Go, now, and watch your back, Your Highness. There are many who seek to do you harm.”
Catrain scowled at the title, but agreed. She straightened, and walked swiftly away.
But the Keeper noticed that her hand never strayed from her dagger.

“Are you certain?”
“Indeed, my Lord. I heard it from his very mouth. The nobles attending the treaty-signing carry something of vital importance.”
Flynn stood before Lord Joran, who, as usual, sat at his table in his darkened chambers.
“What, exactly?”
Flynn paused. “I do not know. Fearing he somehow sensed my presence, I fled and came here.”
Lord Joran drummed his fingertips rhythmically on the table and closed his eyes. When he opened them again, he smiled.
“When the nobles arrive, I want you to find whatever it is they carry. It would be only a minor setback to our greater goals. I meet with the other Lords tomorrow evening. See what you can find by then. Oh, and use the boy if you can.”
“Yes my Lord. How do you wish me to secure their cargo? Dead or alive?”
Joran pondered this. “Hmm,” he said finally. “Preferably alive, if they do not see you. We can use their panic and fear to our advantage. They could quite possibly slip up, and then where would they be?”
Flynn forced himself to grin and replied coolly, “Nowhere, my Lord, except in your grasp.”
“Exactly. Run along. I do believe you have somewhere you need to be.”
“Not now. The knights eat in the hall.”
The Lord sighed. “You know, Flynn, for someone as intelligent as you, you really can be ignorant. Go! Get out, now!”
Flynn’s eyes widened and he ducked as a dagger flew over his head. The blade sank into the hard wood of the door, where it remained, quivering. The younger man stared at the handle, and then at the Lord.
Without another word, Flynn left.

Over the course of the next two weeks, Corrthaine castle was abuzz with preparations for the upcoming treaty signing. Meanwhile, Skandar trained with Oliver, Muriel, and the brothers as Flynn’s presence became scarce.
Under their careful guidance, Skandar learned more from them than he ever had while under Flynn’s condescending eye. Though Oliver insisted Skandar’s lack of focus had not improved in the slightest.
“It’s going to cost you, mark my words!”
“You sound like your father!” Skandar countered. “And I am completely focused!”
“No,” Oliver snapped, “you’re not! One day you will be focused, and it will be on the sword stuck in your chest.”

That's all for now!
Look for Chapter Ten within the next couple weeks (depending on how lazy I'm feeling, haha!!)
For my fellow Americans, happy Independence Day!!
For everyone else, have a wonderful weekend!
God bless!!