Author Topic: Story beginning - Fantasy - 1436 words. final part of first chapter  (Read 2320 times)

Offline Andrewf

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8135
  • SciFi and Fantasy are my genre of choice.
    • View Profile
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

The first 6 parts are linked above with this final part continuing on below...

Please let me know what you think to this.

Another black carriage stood on the other side of the gate to the one I’d left, the horses whickering to each other in the quiet. When I pulled Chester with me through the gate, two city watchmen stepped forward to stand on either side of us. They looked very serious and formal dressed in their tan leather uniforms with the embossed silver crown over the left breast.
The second carriage creaked and shifted, then the door opened and a bulky man dressed in voluminous purple robes stepped out. He carried with him a thick ebony staff topped with a large pearlescent sphere about the size of a large apple.

“You are accused,” he intoned gravely and turned to face Chester, “with conspiring to have a noble kidnapped and to extort ransom monies. How do you plead?”

I was surprised when the magistrate turned. The grey hair, the long puckered scar running down the left side of his face. Magistrate Tabarez was Aran... or could he be impersonating the Magistrate? I glanced at the watchmen; they were not the same guards I had fought. Could Aran be the Magistrate in reality?

Beside me, Chester shivered and glanced between the watchmen and Aran, like a cornered animal, trapped with nowhere to go. “Th-They made me do it... Th-they threatened to k-kill me!”

Aran stepped closer and stood the staff on its butt end in front of Chester. He let go and took a pace back, leaving the staff still standing upright by itself. “Hold the staff of truth and tell us what happened.”
Chester looked at the ebony staff like it was poisonous but tentatively reached out and lightly grasped the thick shaft. When he did so, the globe at the top of the staff began to glow a pale shimmering white.

“What is your name?” Aran asked.
“Ch-Chester Marris.”
Aran smiled kindly and instructed, “Now tell me again how they threatened you.”
“When I went to the market two days back,” Chester replied gratefully, “this large Rastha wanted to know when Lord Alden would be away on business...”
While Chester weaved his tale of woe and threats, the orb on the end of the staff changed from pure white to a darkly swirling mass of colours.

“Enough lies!” Aran barked, startling Chester into silence. “Tell the truth or I will force you to!”
“Bu-But I’m telling you the truth,” Chester pleaded pitifully.
Aran frowned, touched the glowing orb and commanded, “Veredictum.”

The orb glowed brighter and the swirling colours lost their hue as they transformed to silver. Chester stiffened, like someone had poured cold water over him, and then stood still. When I looked at him closer, I was surprised to see his eyes had taken on the silver of the orb.
“Now, tell me all you know about the kidnap of Dawn Alden!” Aran instructed.

“A month ago,” Chester talked in a monotone, “I overheard Lord Alden talking to another gentleman about having me retire. I decided that Lord Alden owed me for a lifetime of faithful service to the family, and thought that a ransom of his daughter would be the quickest and easiest way of getting the money that I deserved. I started going to drinking dens to find the right group and arranged the kidnapping with Odis, the Rastha leader of a group that seemed suitable. I told him where and when to grab the girl and how to deliver the ransom note. I knew that Lord Alden would pay up rather than see his little girl harmed. I know he received the note but I didn’t know what was happening, until your man brought her home.”

Chester remained unmoving throughout his droning confession. When he finally fell silent, Aran touched the silver orb again and commanded, “Liberodictum!”
The orb dimmed, returning to its original pearly white and Chester relaxed for a moment before snatching his hand away from the staff with a sound of disgust, causing the glow of the orb to snuff out.

“You have confessed to the crime of arranging to kidnap a noble for monetary gain,” Aran pronounced like death passing sentence. “For this crime, I convict you to serve no less than a period of ten years hard labour in the mines of North Scarl.”
“Noooo...” Chester yelled trying to deny the existence of the conviction just delivered.
“Should you survive the mines,” Aran continued implacably, “you are to be permanently exiled from Eastmarch.” He then stepped closer to Chester and growled, “Be glad that the child was not harmed, or the sentence would have been much, much worse!”

Aran gestured the two watchmen towards Chester. “Take this criminal to his friends. They can all go to the mines together.”
The two watchmen swiftly grabbed Chester and locked his wrists in manacles before dragging him away.
I followed Aran back to his carriage and stood to the side as he climbed in, causing the carriage to sway alarmingly.
“I can see that working for you will be... interesting,” I suggested with a half smile.
“I suspect,” he replied straight faced, “that not all of my tasks will be as tedious as this one.”

I swung the door shut with a chuckle, hoping that Aran was joking.
“Kitten informed me that you refused your fee,” Aran spoke from inside the dark carriage. “While I can appreciate your motive, you will need more than a single crown to survive. At least take this to pay your driver.”
A silver mark flashed in the moonlight as it flew out of the open carriage window at me. I caught it easily and watched the carriage pull away, rattling on the cobbles.

I returned to my own carriage and called up to the driver. “Back to the Golden Goblet please,” and climbed in before he pulled away. The sedate pace allowed me time to think.
I felt more relaxed knowing that I would be working for one of the magistrates of the city, and not for some leader of a gang of thugs. Although the girl had been rescued and returned to her father, I was no nearer to working out who I was. Or rather, who I had been.
The carriage pulled up to a smooth stop and I climbed out at the Golden Goblet. I tossed the silver mark up to the driver and called to him, “Keep the change,” before pushing through the door into the inn.

I sat on the bed in my room and relaxed, letting the tension of the eventful day drain out of me. I noticed an envelope lying on the table beside the lamp and reached to pick it up. The front was not addressed and the folds were sealed with a pressed disk of black wax. Under the lamplight it was difficult to be certain, but the design stamped into the wax looked like a wagon wheel with seven spokes.
I broke the seal with a crack and extracted a single folded sheet of paper. Scribed in a neat hand was something both enlightening and mildly disturbing.

Eastmarch’s Magistrates have shown rare instances of clemency in the past.

When a citizen convicted of a crime punishable by death is of previously good character, with true loyalty to crown and country, the sentence can be commuted to a term of service.

These people have their memories and histories wiped clean. In exchange for services that they are assigned for the betterment of Eastmarch, these people are given clues to their past identities.

These services are usually of a sensitive and dangerous nature and often end in the death of the convict. People who die in this service are given a posthumous full pardon and decent burial according to their faith.

Should they manage to complete their term of service, their previous memories and standing are returned to them along with a Royal pardon.

These people are collectively known as “The Crown’s Men”.

Scrawled, almost illegibly, at the bottom of the sheet were the words, “First Payment”.

Questions whirled through my mind. I was a convicted criminal? Of a crime that is punishable by death? What did I do? Who did I kill?
Once the questions had stopped rattling around, a strange calm settled over me. If I had been chosen to be one of the Crown’s Men, I must have been considered to be of good character. I must have been considered to be redeemable, or at least useful.

Not surprisingly, I looked forward to the next assignment from Aran. Not for the task itself, but for the opportunity to learn more about my past.

Thanks for reading  8)


  • Guest
Re: Story beginning - Fantasy - 1436 words. final part of first chapter
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2008, 10:58:17 AM »
Hi Andrew,
 I never took much interest in fantasy until someone bought me a Terry Pratchett book for XMas. Now having read 4 of his books and hungry for more I am taking a keener interest. Having said that, I am no expert on the genre. Normally I wouldn't reply to this kind of material simply because I wouldn't know what I was talking about. Sorry, I'll get to the point. I really liked it and could picture the story in my mind. For a casual reader like me it's very important to see a fictional world clearly and you got that across very well. I don't know if you meant your work to be satire but it seems to be leaning that way. If so - good. It will make an absorbing read. If not, I'll make a quick exit . . . 

Cheers Hunter 

Offline Andrewf

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8135
  • SciFi and Fantasy are my genre of choice.
    • View Profile
Re: Story beginning - Fantasy - 1436 words. final part of first chapter
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2008, 08:29:13 AM »
Thanks for the interest Hunter, Glad that you liked it enough to comment. :)


Offline bonnie_clide

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 94
  • Fantabulous!!
    • View Profile
Re: Story beginning - Fantasy - 1436 words. final part of first chapter
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2008, 09:02:39 AM »
Not much of a scifi fan myself, but this has me rethinking that.


Offline Andrewf

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8135
  • SciFi and Fantasy are my genre of choice.
    • View Profile
Re: Story beginning - Fantasy - 1436 words. final part of first chapter
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2008, 10:41:45 AM »
Thank you Ashley, I hope that meant that you liked it.   ;D