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 The Raven's Call

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Empress of Ravenlock
Empress of Ravenlock

Number of posts : 42
Age : 31
Location : Ravenlock
Reputation : 1
Points : 54
Registration date : 2013-02-11

Character Information
Weapons and Armor (a general list please):
Title: εмρяεss σғ яαvεηℓσcк, нιgн ρяιεsтεss σғ яαvεηℓσcк, sεяρεηтιηε мσηαяcн

PostSubject: The Raven's Call   Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:20 pm

This is an excerpt of the first chapter of a book i've been writing.

Chapter One

Ting, ting, ting. The ringing from her father’s hammer striking against his latest creation was a sound that she had become very familiar with growing up. Every morning before dawn she was woken to the sound of hammer against steel signaling that it was time for her to rise for the day. Sitting up in bed she stretched for a moment before dragging herself to her feet. Glancing over at her brother’s bed she could see that their father must have woken him already and he must be in the shop aiding their father.

Undoubtedly they would not have had breakfast and that would be her first task for the day, preparing their breakfast. She set about preparing eggs and sausage for her father and her brother. The smell of the cooking mixture had wafted out through the open windows and doors down to the shop signaling to them that if they wanted breakfast they would have to come for it. Not long after the smell had reached their nostrils she heard footsteps and her brother was the first through the door running over to the table. She shook her head laughing as her father sauntered through the doorway joining Koji at the table.

The table had already been set and she began serving them their breakfast in silence. Once her brother and father had been served she sat down to eat as well. Together they ate in silence and once the two men had finished they left the table and headed back down to the shop leaving Raven to clean. It was the same every day, every day she would be woken by the sound of their work in the shop and every day she would cook their meals and take care of everything else that needed done around the house. Raven and Koji’s mother had died a few years prior leaving Raven to take care of the two men.

They lived in a small kingdom, Verylia. Festival time had come around in the kingdom again. This celebration was going to be for the Prince. He had finally come to the age in which he would be married, to who yet had not be announced but there was to be much celebrating on his behalf. The entire kingdom was in an uproar making the preparations.

Cleaning up after breakfast she gathered her things to take into the village. It was her job to sell the weapons that her father and brother so painstakingly made. She gathered up the items that her father wanted to her to sell that day and with the cart loaded she climbed into it taking the reigns and waving at her father and Koji before heading to town.

The ride to and from town was her favorite part of the day. It gave her time to enjoy the quiet without the pounding from the shop from her father’s work. She passed several people walking either to or from the village and she smiled at them as she went. She was an extremely friendly girl. Halfway to the village she noticed a friend who was already on her way to the market. “Bridgett!” she squealed as the horse pulled the cart up beside her. Pulling on the reigns to stop the cart she motioned for Bridgett to climb into the cart. “I didn’t know you were going to the market today. If I had known I would have come by so you didn’t have to make the walk alone.”

“I didn’t plan on going to the market today but mother sent me with a list of things we needed. I was hoping I would see you there though.” She smiled warmly at Raven as she flicked the reigns to get the horse pulling the heavily laden cart again. “I don’t understand why Koji and your father don’t go with to help you at the market, or at least Koji.” She gestured to the heavy load within the cart behind them. “That is an awful lot for you to try and sell today.” Raven nodded at her friend. “It is but father wants me to try and sell as much as I possibly can. We need the money.” Things were tight for them, and the recent raise in taxes was not helping them at all. Of course this was to pay for the celebrations honoring the prince and the lavish wedding that would follow soon after. The celebratory ball was to announce the union of Prince Alyc and the woman who had the honor of marrying him.

Raven would have loved to been able to attend such a celebration of grandeur but she was not of noble birth and was not even a daughter of one of the more prestigious merchants in the kingdom and knew that no such thing would be possible. Raven pushed all of these thoughts from her mind as they continued the rest of the way to the market. Bridgett was chattering on about the ball which made it even harder to forget about. Bragging about how her family had warranted invitations. Sighing Raven politely told her how happy she was for Bridgett but couldn’t bring herself to say much more than that.

“Raven is something wrong?” Bridgett asked. “Not at all, i’m just happy for you. You’re very lucky to have been invited. I wish I could go.” she trailed off and Bridgett understood and changed the subject quickly so as not to upset her friend any more than she already had. “Would you like me to come by after i’m done purchasing all the items mother asked me to? I could help you in your stall and try to help sell as much of this as possible.” Raven nodded. “I’d like that.” She would enjoy having the company of her friend even if it was only for a short time while she was stuck there all day trying to sell the vast array of weapons that her father had loaded the cart with early that morning.

When they passed through the gates of the castle to the upper town and the market she got down from the cart leading the horse through the streets and up to the market near the weapons stall. Climbing down from the cart Bridgett said farewell and that she would be back soon to help. Left alone to her work Raven set about putting the more noteworthy weapons out on display first. There were several crates that she could use to place some of the swords that all looked similar. She used the counter top for the unique and eye catching weapons that her father and brother had crafted.

She hung the bows and the maces to leave more rooms for knives, swords, daggers and the like. The cart remained behind the stall along with the horse, which she knew she didn’t have to rack the horse up because she was a very loyal mare and would not stray and it would not be until midday that she would need to be fed and given water so she had plenty of time to set about selling as many weapons as she could.

The market was unusually quiet for the morning but she assumed that it was because of the preparations for the upcoming festivities. She had an extra crate that she had upturned so that she could use it as a place to sit since there did not seem to be many about that were in need of purchasing any items let alone weapons.

A man stopped by the stall a few hours after she had been there sitting in silence. “Raven how is your brother?” He offered a warm smile. His face was familiar he was a friend of her father’s as far as she knew although she did not see the man often. “Koji is well thank you, Icrythe.” He nodded, “And your father? Still working himself to death?” Giggling she nodded. “From sunrise to set he is always in the shop. You should come by and say hello.” He agreed that he would and said goodbye leaving her to herself again.

A flood of people had begun to usher themselves into the market, chattering excitedly as they fanned out through the stalls paying no attention to the goods that were on display in any one of them. Frowning she wondered what was happening and almost as soon as she began to wonder was her question answered. King Talei and Prince Alyc had come to the market. For men of nobility they were dressed plainly. King Talei in a simple tunic of green and black breeches and Prince Alyc a tunic of the palest blue and black breeches as well.

Raven assumed they would be looking for some kind of gift for the prince or for his future bride on their wedding night. Every now and then one could find some of the most beautiful gems and treasures in the market, if you knew where to look. The prince and king were talking amongst themselves as Raven stared while they came up to stop in front of her stall. Slowly she stood so as not to gain their attention and smoothed out her hair and clothing wishing she had worn something a bit more presentable.

Staring down at her feet she tried to become as invisible as she could manage but she found herself startled by a man clearing his throat only to look up into the king’s eyes. Flushing she cast her gaze down again and apologized. “You’re Highness, is there something that I might help you with?” Hearing his sharp intake of breath she peered up at him through her lashes. “You could help me with this.” He said, the smirk evident in his voice as he picked up one of the more threatening looking swords. “Of course, majesty.” Keeping her gaze steady upon his chest so that she looked respectful of her station she held her hand out for the weapon.

“May I?” She asked as she stepped from behind the stall. “Please.” He motioned for one of the guards. A guard stepped up in front of her and giving him her best curtsy he bowed in return. In an instant the shy girl had gone and the visage of a warrior replacing it. Her eyes met the guards, one hand in front of her, her body turned slightly away from him. Her left foot forward and her right hand holding the sword by the hilt just behind her eye line the blade glinting in the sunlight pointed at the guard.

He didn’t give her a chance to get her bearings and as he charged his blade swinging, she blocked the blow twirling only to kick him square on the small of his back sending him stumbling forward. She had to choose her moves more carefully than any other warrior or knight would. This man was of the royal guard, she was allowed to defend herself, to strike him, but if her sword pierced his flesh that would mean death for her and she was simply here to sell some weapons.

She let the world fall away and concentrated on the task. None existed except this man and her. Regaining his equilibrium he turned to rush her again, flicking his wrist sending his sword slashing toward her thigh. She jumped backward and managed to block the blow with a counter thrust of her own. She had trained for hours with her father and her brother Koji with many different kinds of weapons, this man was not as skilled as her father was. Her father had served in the army when he was young, many years before he had met their mother. She had heard many stories and had always paid extra attention when her father taught her how to weild a weapon no matter the kind.

He came at her again, a feint. She could see it clearly and although his blade flicked inward on her left his footing gave him away. Her blade clashed against his. She knew she had to end this as soon as possible. Before he had the chance to make his next move she went on the attack. She raised her blade much higher than she should have leaving her stomach exposed knowing that this man would try to exploit that. When his sword came charging at her stomach she side stepped the blade, twirling just enough that it cut at fabric on the back of her dress. Her blade met his and with more force than a petite girl of her size should have twisting her hand she smashed the hilt of her sword into his fingertips causing the guard to drop his sword.

He moved as if he was going to retrieve it but she held the point of her sword near his throat. He froze, his hands up in defeat. “You win.” It was then that Raven noticed the crowd that had gathered to watch her spar with the knight. Stunned by the eruption of cheering and clapping she turned to the king bowing low. “It is a fine weapon my Lord. The balance is slightly off though.” She handed him the weapon and went to head back behind the stall when he caught her by her wrist. “Tell me girl, what is your name?” She froze at the contact and turned to him, her gaze fixed on his feet. “Raven, your majesty. My father is the blacksmith outside of town.”

The king smiled releasing her from his grasp. “Raven.” Her breath caught in her throat upon hearing her name upon the king’s lips. “Who taught you how to fight so well?” Her eyes were still focused on his feet when she answered. “My father Berolus taught me, majesty.” Without warning she felt King Talei’s fingertips upon her chin tilting it up to meet his gaze. She tried as hard as she could to keep her gaze down. “Look at me.” Calmly he commanded her and her eyes shot up to meet his. He rewarded her with a smile. “Are you selling all of these weapons today?”

“Indeed I am your highness. Everything in this stall is for sale.” His answering smirk caused her to regret not choosing her words more carefully. There was something sinister dancing behind the kings eyes that made Raven uneasy. “Father, we must go. We’re late.” Prince Alyc addressed the king. Talei released Raven from his grasp. “Here.” he handed her a purse. Her eyes widened with shock. “Go home and tell Berolus that your King has purchased the lot.” Another smirk curling Talei’s lips. “Farewell, Raven.”

The way his name rolled off of her tongue was almost frightening. She had imagined on many a night what it would be like to be graced by the presence of the King but nothing she had imagined had come close to this. King Talei and Prince Alyc had left, on their way to what ever it had been that they were late for. The King had instructed her to leave the weapons in the stall and he would have his guards collect them considering she had already received payment. Two of the guards had stayed behind to unload the rest of the weaponry that she had brought to sell that day.

Bridgett came running up when she was just about to leave having forgotten all about their agreement that morning. It was midday now and she had already fed the mare and given her fresh water and was just waiting for the horse to have it’s fill before she left. “Raven!!” She exclaimed. “Is it true? Did the king really buy all of your father’s weapons?” Raven nodded grimly. “That’s wonderful! I’m sure you father will be so proud that you sold all of them, and to the king no less!” The girl’s excitement about her ordeal was unwelcome. Both girl’s climbed up onto the cart and Raven flicked the reigns, the cart lurching forward.

Bridgett continued her incessant chatter the entire journey toward their home. When they were close enough to her home she jumped down from the cart waving a quick goodbye and disappearing through the trees in the direction of the family farm they still lived on. Raven was only too glad to be rid of her. Her thoughts were still reeling from her encounter with the King and the much too silent Prince Alyc. Her thoughts began to stray, though she hadn’t noticed at the time the prince was a very handsome man. Dark hair kept short, a strong jaw that had been almost clenched during the time his father had spent at her stall. “Raven!!!” Koji’s voice halted her silent reverie. Glancing up at the running form of her brother who skidded to a halt next to the cart gesturing hurriedly for her to climb down. She did so with his insistence of helping her. Her brother had never been one that paid attention to his manners. He was not acting like himself.

“Come sister, come inside.” He was so excited that he ran off just as fast as he had appeared. Shaking her head she released the horse from the cart’s grasp leading it to the paddock. They owned two horses, but there were three already in the paddock. Raising a brow she opened the gate for the mare to trot inside. Closing and securing it behind her she turned and headed for the house. From the looks of things they had visitors. Raven was not in a condition to visit with company, her mind scattered but she forced a smile and pushed the door in stepping inside.

“Hello Raven.” A familiar voice caressed her ears with it’s melodic tone. She froze in the doorway, knowing that voice too well. “Majesty.” She squeaked. Silence swept through the room and she could feel all eyes on her. She stayed stock still in the doorway, unsure of how to act with their King in their humble home. “Please Raven, join us.” Peeking up through her lashes she spied the king’s gesture as he motioned for her to take the open seat next to him. Prince Alyc was in attendance as well sitting on the other side of his father. Her own father, Berolus and Koji sat in the only two other seats leaving her nowhere else to join the table but at the King’s other side.

She took her seat as she was bidden and they sat in silence. A fine bottle of wine sat upon the table glasses in front of each chair. Reaching for the bottle, Talei poured Raven a glass. “Thank you.” her voice but a whisper. She took it sipping at the liquid. It was fruity, her first taste of wine and the finest wine available within these lands. All eyes still remained on her, the kings alight with humor and her father’s set grimly. Nothing good could come of this meeting of that she was sure, but what was to come of it? It was not her place to speak despite how many questions that plagued her mind. She could only speak in the presence of the King and crown prince when spoken to. To Raven it seemed like eternity before Talei finally spoke. “After your display in the market today I took it upon myself to come and compliment your father on the fine woman he had raised in the absence of your mother.” Raven remained silent while the king continued. “It came to me then, while watching you dispatch my guard so easily that you would be the perfect wife for my son.” Hearing this sentence Alyc seemed to wince almost in unison with Raven. Alyc was handsome enough sure, but he was a prince and she a simple blacksmith’s daughter. They had absolutely nothing in common

The room went silent again as if Talei was giving Raven time to process the words he spoke. Berolus was the next to speak. “Raven, you will be wed to Prince Alyc.” Her eyes shot up at her father’s voice, her jaw dropping. She had no words for this, never did she think that when she had woken to the hammering of her father in the shop this morning that before sunset she would be told she was to marry the prince. “Raven, I know this is a shock but you are the perfect wife for my son. You’re strength of will, your skill with weapons, and your purity.All of that have the makings of a find princess, and maybe one day queen.”

She felt as if she had been betrayed by her father. Standing she excused herself hastily without asking for permission and ran out the door. She ran, and continued to run until she could no longer see her home or the shop. She dropped to the ground her face in her hands as she began to cry. It was all too much for her to take, any other young woman of the kingdom would have been happy to marry the prince, why wasn’t she? He was handsome and strong, one day he would be king. That life was not one that was meant for her, or as far as she was concerned. She was a self sufficient woman, she could live off the land. Her father had taught her much of hunting and she knew her way around a blade as well as hunting and preparing that which she had preyed upon.

She knew she could have ran, at that very moment, disappeared into the forest to never be seen again but that would bring shame upon her father and brother and she could not condemn them to such a fate. Footsteps shook her from her reverie, turning she saw him, the King his smirk creeping across his lips as was his nature while in her presence. A smirk betraying the thoughts in his mind, a secret perhaps.

Thoughts? Comments?

†нεяε ℓιεs нүsтεяια, α ℓαη∂ ωнεяε cнασs яειgηs.†

†gℓσвαℓ ∂ιsтυявια, вσωs ∂σωη тσ тωιsтε∂ ωαүs.†

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