6.22.2015

Short Story: "A Knight's Farewell" (Contest Entry)

Image prompt via Faith.

A Knight's Farewell
By: Eve Estelle


     "Must you leave us?" her tone was one of sadness, though she did her best to appear strong in the face of worry.
     Sir Rowan gently touched her arms.  "The Queen requires my aid - you know that I cannot stand idly by when Her Majesty calls." His voice was subdued, and sorrow fought against bravery in his manner.
     "The Queen has many knights - should it be such a horrid thing if just one of them were to stay in the village?"
     "I have my orders," he replied quietly, "as do you."
     She glanced down at the dusty floor of the old storage room, tears welling in her eyes. "You will come back?"
     Rowan pulled her closer, lightly wrapping his arms around her as she buried her head in his chest. Faithful to his Queen and his duties, he took a deep breath and said, "I will do my best to return, Emeline, I promise you."

     Sir Rowan Elric was a knight of the Dawnlight Kingdom, bound to protect Her Majesty Queen Thea. He was just one of hundreds, but his duties to his kingdom were no less valuable. Raised from the age of seven as a warrior, Elric's skill in battle was admirable, and he was knighted by age fifteen. Now, more than a decade later, he knew little else when it came to a life outside of protecting Her Majesty's kingdom.
     Upon his trusty steed, he would ride through the bustling streets of Dawnlight and long for the chance to experience life among the common folk. He was kind to the merchants, chivalrous towards the weavers and dressmakers, even respectful of the servants and housemaids - but he always dutifully returned to his post at the castle. In the end, his loyalties lay with the Queen, but sometimes fate has ideas different than what one had planned.
     Emeline, a simple servant girl within the castle, never questioned her place - she cleaned and performed tasks that no wealthy hand would ever touch. She, along with the other servants, groomed the horses, grazed the cattle, washed the dishes, as well as anything else that was requested of them, and never let loose a single complaint. This was the life of a servant - and though those who ranked higher than her were rarely hostile, there was one man who treated her the kindest: Sir Rowan Elric.
     It was taboo for a knight to associate himself with a servant. If one is a member of the nobility, then they socialize with fellow nobles; and if one is merely a servant or commoner, then they socialize with fellow servants, commoners, and others of similar rank. Elric never understood why this was the way it was - after all, weren't they all human? He didn't like to simply ignore those below him as the other knights and nobles tended to do. He would smile, greet, and shake hands with even the lowliest of peasants, though he always stopped short of inciting consequences... Until he met Emeline, that is.
     Years of being kind and courteous resulted in a bond forming between the servant girl and Sir Rowan. Every morning when he took his horse out for a ride, he would pass her in the stables as she performed her daily tasks. Starting out as a polite nod of the head, he soon began adding an extra word or two to their greetings.
     "Good morning," he would say one day, receiving a simple "Good morning" in reply. Next would come "How are you?" and small remarks about the weather. Finally, he asked for her name:
     "Emeline," she said, "my name is Emeline."
     "Do you not have a last name, Emeline?"
     Stuttering slightly, she replied quietly, never pausing in her work, "No. I don't have one."
     Elric smiled, noticing her nervousness. "It's a beautiful name. Means 'hardworking', I think, doesn't it?"
     "Yes, that's right."
     "A good fit, then." He smiled again, and Emeline couldn't help but return it.
     Simple greetings eventually turned into lengthy conversations. A few weeks passed, and soon Rowan was purposefully entering the stables to talk with her. Of course, he could never tell a soul of this - the nobles would likely banish him for bringing shame upon the nobility, and any commoner would certainly rat him out for a simple penny. He knew the risks that came with befriending her, but he wanted to do nothing else.
     Months pass, and we return to the present - they've become quite attached, able to tell even their deepest secrets. Hours spent behind stable doors, chatting away the time. He's even managed to sneak her out of the castle gates once or twice, to gallop the open fields.
     But two days before, news reached the castle of an attack on the kingdom. A thousand armies from a rival empire; and today, Her Majesty Queen Thea has called upon all of her knights and soldiers to defend Dawnlight - including Sir Rowan Elric.
     Now, standing in the dusty old storage room within the stables, he and Emeline must say their farewells, uncertain of what the future holds in store for them. Bravery, will, and strength ensure a bright future for the kingdom of Dawnlight - but the same cannot be said for the men who defend it.


Author's note: This is the full version of my entry for the "Imagine This" writing contest hosted by Faith. Since this came out to be 886 words, the one I submitted was slightly shortened (ended up around 841 words). The image reminded me of a medieval-like era, so that's why this is a medieval-themed story!

Update (6/24/15): Second place! Woohoo!

6 comments:

  1. This is neat! I like the names and love how you interrupted the picture.

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    1. Thank you, Ashley! I'm glad the interruption didn't disrupt the flow too much. I was afraid it might. I was trying to find some nifty medieval names, too - thought these were pretty cool! ;)

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  2. You are the writer girl! :D I just love how you can take any picture and make a story with it or anything you know :D You got the talent ;) I love it ^.^ You definetely are wining the contest :D I am sure! haha :) Great post Eve :)

    *Heena :)

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    1. Awe thank you, Heena! :) Who knows - that would great, but may the best writer win! lol. I know I've got some very good competition. ^^

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  3. That was beautiful, Eve! I love what you wrote....just gorgeous. <3
    And actually, you interpreted the time period just right! The picture is actually of Arthur and Guinevere from the BBC show Merlin, one of my favorites shows. :)

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    1. Thank you Christine! ^^ Really? That's awesome lol. I've been meaning to try that show, but I couldn't make it through to the end of the first episode. That's hardly a chance, though. I better give it another shot sometime!

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