|The Secret Oath (standard:fantasy, 1447 words)|
|Author: Ian Hobson||Added: Oct 18 2010||Views/Reads: 1619/775||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Maglanda's uncle is rich and powerful, while her half-cousin, Davitt, is just a novice in the castle guard. This might be a prologue for something longer but, for now, it's just a short story.|
The Secret Oath ©2010 Ian Hobson Lord Malag would not have approved of Maglanda leaving the castle unchaperoned; but she was a headstrong girl and, knowing that he would be out riding all afternoon, she had left by the side gate - where the guards took little notice of who came and went - and followed the footpath down to the river. It was late summer, though there had been rain the previous day, so occasionally she had to lift her skirts to negotiate puddles; but it felt good to be out in the open air. Later, as she left the riverside, she noticed Davitt, her half-cousin, lingering ahead just beyond the crosspaths. He was becoming a nuisance, following her around like a puppy. As she drew level with him, she looked straight ahead, hoping he would take a hint and leave her in peace; go back to his duties, his weapons practice, or whatever he should have been doing in the middle of the afternoon. But that was too much to ask for. 'It's a lovely day, Maglanda,' he said as he turned and, uninvited, walked beside her. This was something new, and probably her own fault for returning his greeting the day before. It was obviously time she took him down a peg or two. She stopped and, lifting her chin, looked up into his eyes; they were a steely pale blue and at odds with his shock of raven hair. 'Have I given you permission to walk beside me, or to address me by name?' 'Well, no... my lady, but I thought...' 'You thought? Well maybe you should stop thinking and get on with whatever it is Lord Malag pays you to do.' Lord Malag was the Halkeep of Rowanshall, and thus ruler of all the lands south-west of the great river. He was also Maglanda's uncle. 'But my duties for today are completed, my lady.' Davitt's face had reddened slightly. He was just seventeen, a year older than Maglanda, and although the two of them had met three or four times when they were children, and even played together, they had only recently become reacquainted after Davitt's enrolment in the Halguard. 'And I suppose you are so skilled with that weapon you carry, that you need no practice?' 'No, my lady.' Davitt's hand went to the hilt of his sword, a present from his father. 'But the arms master has an injury, and today's practice was cancelled.' Maglanda had heard that Lord Cramann had fallen from his horse, but forgotten that he took personal charge of weapons practice. She stepped to one side as an old man, carrying a large bundle of firewood toward the castle, passed them by. 'So where are your fellow enrolees?' she asked. 'Getting drunk in the town, I suppose?' 'Probably.' Davitt smiled, having noticed a slight softening of Maglanda's tone. But when his smile was not returned he tore his eyes from her beautiful face and long flaxen hair, and turned to look east, towards the town, desperately trying to think of something else to say. Then, remembering something overheard in the barracks, he said, 'You know there's talk of war?' 'When is there not talk of war?' Maglanda felt a little frustrated; the conversation was not going as planned. Though Davitt was right; rumours of war-bands threatening the kingdom's northern borders were becoming more frequent. 'I just wanted you to know that...' Davitt hesitated as he turned back to face his half-cousin, unsure of himself. He longed to tell her that he loved her, but couldn't, 'I just wanted you to know that if ever there were any danger, I mean, if there was a war and...' 'Oh, how sweet,' said Maglanda, with more than a hint of sarcasm. 'If ever I'm in danger, you will be my protector? Well, I hardly think that will be necessary, as I live within the walls of a castle, Click here to read the rest of this story (110 more lines)
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