Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Happiest Day of My Life

Okay guys. I wrote this essay for my 2008 English paper and I got 50/50 for this one. The question was to write an essay ending with the sentence "It was the happiest day of my life". Most of my friends (males included) wrote about their wedding day, the day when their boyfriend proposed to them and all that, but I decided to go out of the box on this one.

I hope you'll enjoy it and give me feedback because I really love this story. It kind of represents everything I believe in and love, and this is by far, one of the best stories I have ever written under pressure. It may not be very good because I was under pressure but I am very proud of it. So, here we go.

Elle was always fascinated with legends and stories. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. They held a certain charm for her, a certain kind of something that attracted her to them so much. She was thrilled with the idea of wielding a sword, and was so impressed with the way Lizzy Bennet spoke, full of wit and mordant mischievousness. If only she could be just like them...

Well, if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride, and all that. It was nearing Christmas, and the atmosphere was mellow, yet Elle could not tear herself away from watching Pride and Prejudice for the thousandth time. She especially loved how endearing and saucy Keira Knightley acted in the movie. That woman could shoot comebacks faster than anyone she knew! Of course, all thanks to the scriptwriter (not to mention Miss Jane Austen), but what's the point of a script if you didn't have the right actress for the job?

At that moment, her good friend, Tim, entered her room. Tim knew of her obsession ("I'm fascinated, not obsessed!"), and thankfully, he never laughed at how naïve she was, to believe in the whole "happily ever after" thing. Just as the screen showed Elle's favourite part, where Lizzy and Darcy were engaged in a battle of wits whilst dancing, Tim spoke, 'The stuff legends are made of.'

Slightly annoyed, Elle turned to him. 'You've lost me completely,' she said bluntly. Tim was smiling, a secretive sort of smile. 'What if I told you, I could bring you back to the times of King Arthur and Elizabeth Bennet? Well, not exactly them,' he corrected. 'But something like it.'

That was a sure way to get her attention. 'I'm listening.'

'Let's say there's an alternate universe were stories come to life,' Tim began. 'Where 24 hours here can mean days, weeks, or even years in the Other Realm. If I could bring you there, what would you do?'

Elle answered without hesitating. 'I'd live the life I've always wanted.'

'So be it.' Tim said, smiling gently. '24 hours of our time. Use it well.'

When Elle opened her eyes again, her bedroom was gone. It was replaced by a grassy plain, and a horse nickered at her. Then she heard a shout. Looking up sharply, she saw a band of warriors riding towards her. Right behind them were several youths on horses as well. She squinted her eyes and saw an army of soldiers all lined up beyond them.

'Elle,' one of the warriors shouted when he came within distance. 'Get on your horse! The Saxons are attacking the wall.'

What wall? Elle thought, bemused, when she looked past the army and noticed a large structure to her right. Her eyes widened. Not the Hadrian's Wall?

'Come on, Elle,' the warrior said indignantly, his sword in his hand. 'Do you not hear the drums?'

Snapping out of her reverie, Ells mounted her horse clumsily, noting that the warrior who'd called out to her resembled Tim somehow. As she rode towards the knights, she saw the Saxon army, marching forward steadily, swords drawn.

Without thinking, Elle's hand reached for the quiver at her back. Pulling out an arrow, she notched it to the string of her bow, aimed, and let it fly. It killed a Saxon soldier. She blinked when she realized what she'd done, but there was no time to worry about that now. The knights had drawn their swords, while the youths behind them (squires, she supposed) were shooting arrows at the Saxons.

One of the warriors, a man with dark hair and brown eyes, held up his sword high as he let out a loud battle cry. With a start, Elle realized it was the Excalibur. Yes, there it was. Defender of the Kingdom, etched onto the blade. This guy had to be Arthur.

Another blink of bemusement. When did she learnt to read Latin?

Arthur was speaking to the knight who'd called out Elle's name. 'On my mark, Tadhg.'

Tadhg nodded grimly, his bow at the ready. Elle readied her bow as well, the squires following suit. When Arthur let out a yell, they all loosened their arrows, kicking their horses in the flanks to join the rest of the knights and the cavalry who were charging towards the Saxons.

Elle's fingers let fly arrow after arrow, until she came within distance of the Saxon army. There, she stashed her bow and drew her sword instead, a long hand-and-a-half weapon that gleamed in the light, clanging as she crossed blades with a Saxon.

Her opponent was taller and bigger, but being more nimble, she had the advantage. Ducking as his sword swept over her head, Elle tried to remember everything she knew about swordfighting from books and movies. As the Saxon swept the blade over her head again, she reached out with her sword and managed to slice his feet. He went down.

That actually worked, Elle thought in victory. Then she grimaced. One down, many more to go. She singled out an opponent again, but this time, she tripped a rock, knocking the sword out of her hand. The Saxon kept advancing. Yep, she was going to die. She shut her eyes, awaiting the blow.

It never came. Cracking an eye open, she saw Tadhg striking the Saxon with a blow from his sword. He helped her up, giving her her sword back.

A couple of months passed after the Battle at Hadrian's Wall. During that time, Elle refined her technique with the bow and the sword, all thanks to Tadhg, whom she was steadily growing fond of. She was practicing her backswing when she heard someone call out her name. Her grip on her sword tightened, and she swung around, not expecting to see her best friend's face.

Tim smiled at her. 'How was your trip?' he asked politely. Blinking, Elle looked around. Yep, she was back in her room. She checked the clock. Exactly 24 hours had passed. It was as if she'd never left. She wondered how Tim managed to keep it from their parents. The only reminder that it actually existed, that it wasn't just a dream, was the sword in her hand.

Laughing, Elle proceeded to tell Tim everything. She even mentioned how much Tadhg looked so much like Tim. Then she stopped short, noticing him smile. And everything clicked into place, like pieces of a puzzle coming together.

Tadhg was the Irish form of Tim.

Gosh, so Tim had been there all the time? And to think she was almost falling for him! Oh, the embarassment!

As though understanding her thoughts, Tim chuckled again. 'I hope you liked your Christmas present,' he added, as he left the room, leaving her alone with her thoughts.

Quietly, she thought back to her first battle against the Saxons. To how the knights were oh-so-protective of her. Of how they were her family away from home. Taking into consideration how one day here meant a whole different lifetime for her over there, Elle grinned down at the sword in her hand and whispered to herself.

'It was the happiest day of my life.'

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