Monday, October 28, 2013

Karenn's War Chapter 1

So, I am starting a new story, and here is the first chapter. Hope you like!

Chapter One: A Longing for Adventure

Hello there! My name is Karenn, and I am 18 years old. I love riding horses, hunting, practicing with weapons and basically doing anything in the outdoors, wish sort of sits well with my parents because it's good for me (and for every girl) but which they are sort of worried about because dangerous times were afoot. I prefer lincoln green to any other color, and love to leave my home and set out in the world with nothing but the things that I can carry on my back. My father, an old and wise man with slightly graying hair, is my best advocate. I think he remembers what it was to be young and long for adventure. My mother is a bit more timid, but she is also a great hunter, though not for the love of it. You see, long ago my parents fell in love and married, then they fought together, long and hard, to take back our kingdom from the Enemy. And so they were crowned King and Queen, and yes I am a princess, but I beg you not to judge me by it. My brother (who is 20 and heir to the throne) and I grew up as normally as possible. I am privileged, but in different ways. I got a good education and training and so on. But sometimes I do long to be normal.

Now I sat and listened to my father try to reason with my mother. I had finally come out in the open and told my parents of my real longing for adventure. I didn't want to marry some nobleman or prince or whatever and live happily ever after. I had been thinking about this for years, and I knew what I wanted. I wanted to do something, to live for a purpose, to leave my castle and find my own way in life. I didn't want to be dependent on my parents for my welfare, I wanted to work with my hands, to make a difference, to be out in the world. To go places and see things. And I didn't care if I lived happily ever after as long as I did something worth remembering. My Father understood my longing, and I think Mother did too, she just was worried about me. I had proposed one year. At the end of that time I would come home and would make a decision concerning the rest of my life. 

"Adele," my Father pleaded, "please listen to me. Karenn needs some adventure. Surely you can see that." He sighed, exasperated.

My Mother looked up at him pleadingly. "But Fredrik, she's just a lass!"

He turned her gently towards me. "Look, Adele, she's not a lass anymore. She's a woman." 

Mother put up her hand. "Alright. But I want one thing Karenn. Promise me that you won't get hurt."

I looked pleadingly at Mother, "Mother you know I can't promise that! But I will promise you one thing," I said slowly and meaningfully. "I will not get hurt except for a good reason."

She sighed. "That is hardly comforting, but very well. I give my permission." I jumped up and hugged her. 

"Thanks mum," I whispered. I gave father a quick hug and ran for the huge oak doors, but Father's voice stopped me.

"Karenn, don't leave until the morning."

"I won't, Father," I said, and, giving him a smile, ran from the room. 

I got my gear together that evening then headed down the path from the castle to my friend Cassi's house.She was outside drawing water, but put the wooden bucket down when she saw me coming up the path. I couldn't stop myself and ran up to her. "Cassi! They said yes! I'm leaving in the morning!"

I mixture of sadness and joy crossed her face. "That's wonderful, Karenn, but.."she took a deep breath and smiled wobbly, "I will miss you." 

"And I'll miss you." I couldn't help the tear that trickled down my face. "I wonder if you'll be wed by the time I return!" I jabbed her in the ribs. 

"Oof! As if I would wed without you there!" She grinned. "And you must be there. So come home." She saddened again and we stared at each other. Suddenly I hugged her. 

"I won't forget you Cassi." I whispered fiercely as I tugged her long red braid. "And don't you forget me." She shook her head. I headed back to the castle. I couldn't sleep that night. But the next morning I said goodbye to my parents and shouldered my pack and weapons, ready for anything. Well, for almost anything. I wasn't ready for my brother's face. He looked worried and concerned. Whenever Warren got like that I always choked up. I looked away and blinked before I looked back. He was leaning on the castle gate watching me, his long black hair waving slightly in the wind. He walked up to me. "Karenn," he said kindly as I stared up at him, "Why don't you take me with you?" I patted his arm. "Because, Warren, this is my adventure."

"You can't share it with me?"

"But you have responsibility here."

"So do you."

"But I have to go, can't you see that?" I looked pleadingly up at him. "This is my one chance to see the world."

"And you couldn't still see the world with me. Come on! Why do you have to be by yourself? Why not take this one chance to go with you old friends and I on an adventure? Before we grow up and leave."

"Now you're talking about taking the others too? Cassi, Azule and Verde? No way, they couldn't go."

"Why not?"

I didn't really have an answer for that. I looked over at Father. He was watching me and smiling. I looked back at Warren. "Fine. But you'd better be ready in an hour."

He grinned at me. "We're ready. The others and the packs are outside." 

I pretended offense, but I guess I was really looking forward to having all my childhood playmates with me one last time. Warren and I waved goodbye to our parents then walked out the gate. The others were waiting for us, Cassi was in her matching dress we had once sewn together. Azule and Verde, brothers, were both tall and raven haired. They weren't twins, only brothers, but the only visible difference was their eye color. Azule had deep, striking blue eyes while Verde had forest green. I grinned and shook my finger at them. Cassi laughed. Warren mock bowed to me and waved his hand elegantly to all the lands beyond, forests, mountains and plains and said, "lead on, dear sister." I grinned and curtsied. 

"Thank you, kind sir." He bowed again but started up as I dashed past him into the forest, laughing over my shoulder. "And we are off!" I called to the hawks above us circling in the bright blue sky.

It was that night that forces invaded the neighboring country of Gotharn. Far away a mother was screaming, running for her children and her home, fleeing from the dark terror of the forces invading her village. She stopped and stumbled on a stone and turning in fear saw a score of men on black horses standing over her. The last thing she knew was laughter and the feeling of a sword plunged into her heart. A father fell fighting on his doorstep. People were running everywhere, and mad chaos ensued. Those with strength fled to the hills. Others, not caring what happened to them, sat down next to the graves of their loved ones and were slaughtered next to them. Others submitted, some were not given the chance. And in the forest was one refuge running, running with an old man and his son. Hunted, they fled, while the Enemy laughed from his newly conquered throne. The history of his reign was every after written in red ink to commemorate the blood of the slain.


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