Tuesday, 23 October 2007

A Medieval Story [Part 1]

It's a King Arthur/Princess of Thieves fanfiction. Enough said. Just using characs from mostly KA so yea. BTW, i'm gonna use the name Lucan for another character so basically in my story Dagonet's Lucan doesnt exist.

Sractch the above sentence. I've changed my mind. Lucan exists. The other character will be named Aodhfin meaning "white fire". And Dermott the Harris's Hawk now belongs to Tadhg.


It was a cold morning.

'It's positively freezing!' Talwen exclaimed as she climbed onto the top of the watchtower where her friend Saoirse was sitting. She held out her hand, and watched with excitement as a lone snowflake floated from the air and landed neatly on her palm. She was grinning with joy. 'Look, Saoirse, the first snowflake of winter!'

Next to her, Saoirse was busy rubbing beeswax onto her bowstring. 'I can see that, Talwen. You know, the way you state the obvious? It's kinda...sad, actually.' She continued rubbing vigorously.

Talwen rolled her eyes. 'Yeah, and you would know about sadness, would you?' she said sarcastically.

Out of the corner of her eye, Saoirse waited until Talwen turned away before muttering. 'You have no idea.' Finally finished with the beeswax, she proceeded to reattach the bowstring onto her bow. Grabbing one end, she tied the bowstring to the nocks using a bowyer's knot, taught to her by...

Biting her lip, she continued attaching the bowstring to the second nock, and she was gripped with a strange sense of familiarity as she did so. Standing up abruptly, startling her friend in the process, Saoirse proceeded to grab her quiver and lifted it over her head, so that it rested diagonally across her back, with the top of the quiver just behind her right shoulder. Reaching back, she took out one of her arrows, and stopped short. She remembered how they'd have so much fun fletching their arrows, and that they dyed the feathers in different colors, to mark their own. Saoirse's was blue, while his were dyed in crimson red.

Would everything she see remind her of him?

With a vicious snarl, Saoirse grabbed the arrow and notched it to the bowstring, pulling it back as far as she could without breaking the bow. Mentally tranferring her anger to the arrow, she let it fly, her blue eyes following its journey as the arrow affixed itself in a wooden plank nailed onto a tree. Instantly, she felt better.

Not too far away, Talwen stared at her friend. 'Saoirse, are you alright?'

Saoirse was about to answer when a cry came up from a man running into the town. 'Jeric,' Talwen got up. 'What's he shouting about? We're so high up here that we can't hear a thing...'

Below them, Jeric, the blacksmith's son, ran into the courtyard. 'They're coming back!' he yelled. 'The knights are coming back!'

Saoirse and Talwen exchanged smiles. Even after so long Jeric still referred to King Arthur's men as knights. The girls looked towards the hills where Jeric had gestured. They saw the knights but there was something else. 'There!' Saoirse called out, pointing with her bow.

Something was coming up behind them. Or something.

'All I can see are five or so men on horses riding up. What about you? What do you see?' Talwen asked. Saoirse was grim. 'Seems like bad news.' Instintively she reached for her sword. Throwing her bow over her head so it hung diagonally like her quiver, Saoirse was quite prepared to ride to see whoever was that behind her father. But Talwen grabbed Saoirse before she could do anything else. 'And just what are you doing?'

Saoirse rolled her eyes. 'Oh, I don't know...maybe seeing what that is?' she jerked a thumb at the riders behind the knights. Talwen was sarcastic. 'Yeah, and do what? Come on, Saoirse, think! You're the princess. Do princesses go riding around playing I Spy? Besides, Princess,' here Talwen's voice took on an aggravating tone. 'How do you know these aren't members of your father's company? That these aren't the brand new knights your father recruited?'

The other girl scowled. She never liked it when she was referred to by her royalty. Her gaze darted to her father, Arthur, who was riding in the front, flanked by Galahad, Bors, and Gawain, Talwen's father. Ganis, who once aided Arthur against the Saxons, was now one of the knights. So was Lucan, her almost-brother, whom the late Dagonet protected under his wing until he died and Arthur adopted him.

Her blue eyes then darted to the five riders behind the knights, and her eyes narrowed. 'I'm still going to see,' she said, as though asking for permission. But both of them knew that either way, she would do what she want.

Talwen sighed. 'Go ahead. Get yourself killed if you want to.' She'd barely finished talking when Saoirse jumped down the side of the watchtower onto the wall of the fort that protected the city, not caring if she broke her neck or not.

Whistling, Saoirse ran down the length of the wall, and almost banged into her mother, Guinevere, who was surprised at her daughter's hurry. 'Saoirse, what's happening?'

Saoirse shook her head. 'I don't know. That's what I'm about to find out.' She gripped her sword tighter. 'Are you going to stop me?'

Guinevere had known long ago that Saoirse was very much like a younger version of her. Same blue eyes, same fierce protectiveness...the only thing different was Saoirse's reddish-brown [mostly red] hair, betraying her Celtic background. 'Well then, are you going to get yourself into trouble?'

Saoirse shook her head, biting her lip to keep the grin from spreading. 'No.'

'Then do whatever you feel it right.'

A loud screech from above jerked mother and daughter from their thoughts. Circling above them was a Harris's Hawk. They heard a three note whistle in the distance, and saw one of the knights holding his hand out, beckoning to the hawk.

Another screech and the hawk spreaded his wings before flying off towards Arthur. Saoirse turned back to her mother. 'I'll meet him there,' she said. Guinevere nodded. 'Go.'

Smiling, Saoirse ran down the stone steps and towards the stables, where Jeric was resting a while. 'Saoirse?' Jeric asked. 'Going to see your father?'

'Yes,' Saoirse attached her sword to her horse's saddle bags. 'Jeric, who are those riders behind him?'

'Dunno,' Jeric shrugged. 'But your father seems to know them. I heard him call out something to one of them. I think his name was Tadhg.'

'Got it.' Saoirse mounted her horse. Kicking its flanks she urged the palomino forward. Far off, she saw the hawk perched on the hand of the knightshe saw earlier. The moment the knight spotted the girl riding towards them, he gave another soft command, and the hawk left him for Saoirse. The hawk circled her before flying towards his master again, as if daring her to a race.

'Faster, Amergin,' Saoirse urged her horse to keep up with the hawk. Arthur and his knights had stopped now, waiting for Saoirse. They were laughing, and Saoirse's face burned. Just they wait and see! she vowed silently.

All of a sudden Amergin lurched, and the girl had to hold on tightly just to avoid being thrown off. Saoirse petted the horse, trying to calm her down. 'Amergin,' she said gently, rubbing the horse's neck. 'What is it?'

Arthur and the knights were some distance away, but they weren't laughing anymore. Saoirse glanced at her father before turning her attention back to her horse. 'Amergin,' she whispered. 'What is it?'

The horse whinnied again. Saoirse turned around. Three men in really short armor and red capes were riding towards them. Romans. She heard a soft galloping that grew louder with each step, and knew her father and his knights coming. 'Girl,' Arthur said gently. 'Go back to town. We'll see you there.'

'No,' Saoirse was sick of being treated like she couldn't take care of herself. 'I want to stay.'

'Tadhg, Gawain,' Arthur said. 'Escort the princess back to town.'

'No!' Saoirse edged away from both knights. 'I'm staying.'

Arthur came forward. 'Ganis, the rope, please.'

Ganis took out a coil of long but strong rope from his saddlebag and passed it to his commander. Arthur dismounted. So did Saoirse. 'Tadhg.' Arthur said. Saoirse blinked. It was the knight with the hawk. So his name is Tadhg. 'Dismount.'

Confused, the knight dismounted. 'My lord?'

Arthur continued. 'Tadhg, I need someone to make sure my daughter doesn't get into trouble. Can I trust you to handle the task, even though it'll be challenging?'

Tadhg nodded. 'Of course, my lord.'

'Good,' Arthur said. 'That's all I needed to hear.' Without warning, he tied the rope around Tadhg's right hand. More surprisingly, the other end of the rope went around Saoirse's left wrist. His daughter was shocked. 'Father, what is this?'

Arthur was unperturbed as he mounted his steed. 'My, you're running wild, girl. I don't feel it is safe for you to leave the grounds like you did last time. Remember what happened?'

Saoirse rolled her eyes. What happened was that she caught a thief, who ended up setting fire to a section of the forest and blamed it on her. She glared at Tadhg, who was looking calm, and suddenly had an inspiration. 'I'll just cut the rope,' she said snarling. 'It's not going to stop me.'

'No it's not,' Bors said grinning. 'That's why we'll be using these instead.' He held up a pair of metal cuffs held together with a long chain. Ignoring Saoirse's protests, he clamped down the cuffs onto her wrist and Tadhg's, bellowing in laughter.

'Uncle Bors,' she cried out, indignant. He chuckled. 'Sorry, lass, but orders are orders.'

'You better get going,' Lucan said, laughing. 'If you stay any longer your father might be tempted to do something more drastic.'

'Right,' Saoirse muttered, mounting her horse with difficulty. On her left, Tadhg mounted his horse as well. She glared at him. He looked calmly back at her. Then the biggest shock came.

'Tadhg's going to be your tutor, since we are on the subject of your upbringing,' Arthur remarked casually. If it were possible, Saoirse's voice were now only a couple of degrees above freezing point. 'Can I disown you, my lord?'

Her father winced at the formality and coldness in his daughter's voice, but let it pass. 'Please, it's for your own good.'

'Good day, my lord,' Saoirse said, her eyes narrowed. 'I hope by doing this you achieve what you wanted, Sire.'

'Saoirse,' Tadhg, surprisingly, chided her. Saoirse immediately swung towards him, wary. How did he know her name when no one had said it before? She had to keep an eye on that one. She didn't need a tutor. Just to prove her point she glared at him again. Tadhg inclined his head. 'It would be much better if we got along instead of fighting all the time, Saoirse,' he said in Gaelic.

Now Saoirse was confused. Not many people bothered to learn Gaelic, preferring to study Latin instead. Gaelic was just another of the little things Aodhfin taught her. She remembered how as a child he was hired to be her companion, and that with her mother's permission Aodhfin taught her the Celtic language. That was when she found out her name--Saoirse--meant "freedom". Then she felt Amergin whinny and she was jerked back to the present.

Tadhg half-turned around on his horse and nodded to Arthur and the other knights. 'I'll bring her back to town, my lord.' He nodded again and cantered off to the town, leading Saoirse, still deep in thought, right behind him. She didn't seem to object.

Gawain and Bors were astounded. 'Tadhg's something good,' Gawain spoke at last. 'Whatever he said--it turned Arthur's girl around. She wasn't even lashing out at him!'

Arthur nodded. 'I hope I don't regret this. Let's meet with the Romans.'

All of the knights galloped after their leader.


P.S. Celtic is pronounced Kell-tick. Tadhg is pronounced TYG, as in Teague, rhymes with League. Saoirse is pronounced SEER-sha. Lucan--for those ppl who seriously need help--is pronounced Loo-Kearn, not Loo-CAN.
Trivia: In this whole chapter, only three ppl had referred to Saoirse by her name: Talwen, Jeric and Guinevere.

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