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The Kings Promise

By , SLC, UT
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"The Beginning I" and Chapter I

PART I















A CHRONICLE OF MY LAND AND THE KINGS PROMISE
By Master, Jared S. Cunningham,
Tutor of King Henry I of Linderservia.
For, my pupil, Henry, the Prince of Salzt

THE BEGINNING
I
Oh, the land of Sancastria, the motherland to every Linderservian king that has breathed. Every Linderservian king pays homage in his heart. Every one makes his pledge
After every-other or every two chapters, there is an excerpt from "A CHRONICLE OF MY LAND AND THE KINGS PROMISE By Master, Jared S. Cunningham, Tutor of King Henry I of Linderservia. For, my pupil, Henry, the Prince of Salzt" that is very crucial to the plot.
to his ancestry from the sweet isle cupped by the sandy-handed shores of what were the independent lands of Hordenlind and Mudden. Upon its emerald sea, the isle still sits, home to the most earnest and sound.
The people of Sancastria lived their days merrily and humbly. They farmed their rich fruits and hearty vegetables; they kneaded their crust-less breads, and sang the songs of a happy people. Nothing, not even the ocean storms that raged upon their earthly homes, or the baking sun that dried their crops, could alter their spirit and ambitions for their future.
Powerful with life, Sancastria became, casting an envious shadow over the larger coastal civilizations of Hordenlind and Mudden. The peoples of the mainland began to lust for the Sancastria and the leisure it held, forcing the island dwellers to live in fear as they stormed and raged the island in a vain attempt to learn their blissful secrets. Raids increased and enveloped the Sancastrians into a fearful existence. Only when the word of another continent, belonging to neither Mudden nor Hordenlind, was rumored, did Sancastria strike out from its fear.
With a prevailing fist, Edward Linderserve the youngest Prince of Sancastria fought his way through the mainland with a loyal army at his side. He plunged through dark forests and dry desert lands, his thirst for finding the people of Sancastria a new home free from fear unquenchable. His men only spoke to him in whispers, his greatness outshining them all and one by one he attracted followers from all around. Wild men calmed, women buried in the ways of witchcraft left their brews behind them, and the children of the once feared Mudden and Hordenlind men, all came to Edward’s side.
Edward sank into the midst of hungry people, starving for a leader, and eager to follow him. His mission for a new home for his Sancastrian people on the rumored continent was paused and he drifted from it as year by year he grew more powerful and his grasp over the mainland toppled the strength of Hordenlind and Mudden’s power combined. Only age and the death of his wife stopped his determination to finish his duty to Sancastria entirely.
Sancastria turned its back on Edward, its people sickened by his abandonment of them. The people of Sancastria grew hostile and their happiness droned from anger. The land began to act as if it were a child whose only parent had left them to care for another.
As Edward and his descendants formed the empire of Linderservia, Sancastria shut its doors to the outside world. Mudden and Hordenlind deeply weakened and struggling to contain their own powers closed their doors as well. At last a final sense of peace within Sancastria and the mainland was created.

CHAPTER I

The pleasant blue of twilight presented itself, sneaking its way across the crisp winters’ evening sky. In the northern distance, the mountains of Salzt towered above a bank of snowy clouds, whilst across a solitary valley the green, snow-packed flats of Linderservia smoothed into gentle hills. Any signs of living life where held hostage beneath mounds of lightless snow, the snow tinted a simple azure by the sun’s sinking light.
Within the frozen valley, sat a castle, its years of loneliness constructed by greying stone, the hands that had resurrected it long stilled and resting in forgotten graves. The singular, rounded tower of the castle was topped with two flags, and played host to the flags owners, the royal children and the ministers of foreign affairs from both Salzt and Linderservia. The withered garrets of the castle roared with austere vivacity, their glassless windows pinned over with thick leather blankets to keep out the frozen air.
“It is too cold in here. I want to go home. Has winter ended yet? I want to go home,” Phillip the young Duke of Mudden, and future Duke of Sancastria, wailed, his high-pitched voice biting the room’s peaceful calm and infecting its inhabitants with instant annoyance.
“Come, come, little Phillip, we only arrived and you are here for good reason,” a nurse-maid with an unfortunately squared jaw and pair of extremely thin lips, cooed a she wrapped her arms around the sniveling boy.
“I hate it here! I hate it! I want to go home where the food is good and where my parents are. Take me home nanny! The people here are all wild, wicked, people! I hate them! Wild north people! ” Phillip cried into his nurse-maids shoulder, allowing her to rest him on her lap as she sat before the humble fire place.
Cassandra watched the ruthless boy as he his crimson red lips smiled mockingly at her, his smile widening the moment the nanny’s glance was averted from his plump face. Cassandra’s eyebrows creased and she stopped playing with the rag doll that occupied her pudgy hands. Henry, Prince Irony, the future king of Linderservia, watched her from across the room where he lay on his stomach, hunched over a book half his size. His boyish face creased with curiosity from an intrigued attempt in guessing the small princess’s reaction to his brother’s brashness.
“That was very rude,” Cassandra whispered curtly, the red roses in her cheeks growing into a fierce bloom.
“Nanny, the wench princess whispered something mean to me!” Phillip wailed again, forcing a fat tear from his glossy eyes.
“Philly! Where did you hear that word? No future Duke of Sancastria will ever say such a word under my arm,” the nanny scolded, pointing a sausage-like finger at Phillip’s pointed nose.
“Oh nanny, but she hurt my feelings! She whispered a truly nasty thing at me! She and her servants are so awful to me nanny!” Phillip whined shrewdly, cuddling deep into the nanny’s bosom, continuing his heartless jest.
Henry eyed his little brother with great dislike and then quickly returned his attention to Cassandra. Her small hands were clenched in tight fists, her eyes flickering with the hatred that children are cursed with on sudden occurrences of heated emotion. The redness in her round cheeks brightened and blended with the dark scarlet in her hair. She did not say anything; she only glared at the nanny and Phillip with hate. After a few minutes of heavy breathing, Cassandra straightened and adopted a fit of sadness as she fled the room.
“You have upset her!” Henry exclaimed, washing the look of triumph off Phillip’s face as he hastily slammed his book shut, “You know nothing of respect Phillip. We are in her land. Not ours. I am ashamed of having such a pet of a brother as you. A manipulative little dog.”
“My lord,” the nanny gasped, holding her young duke even more tightly in her unwavering arms, “You have no right to scold your brother. You must remember that you two are only young boys!”
“I may be yet a child, but I am not a child as he,” Henry remarked carefully and coolly, his eyes narrowing with his continuous disgust at his brother and the nursemaid’s superficial authority over the both of them, “That young girl is to be one of our wives. This visit was to see who would accompany her the most, not to mock her. No matter how childish the reason.”
The nanny’s eyes drifted from Henry and focused on her lap, as they always did when he was angered, for he frightened her when he was angry. His face always became remarkably still and unmoving with heated coldness and his eyes would flicker with resentment, even as a babe, they had. She shrunk her shoulders, feeling belittled by his unaltered gaze, and his powerful way of speech. Her heart raced and her body endorsed with further guilt as her young lord continued to cast a look of disapproval upon her, and then, without another word, slipped out of the room leaving a hint of beseeching power behind him.
Cassandra ran down the castle’s dark and narrow hallways, her breath staining the winter air with small bursts of fog. Her dropping tears froze into crystal balls and her finger tips grew purple from numbness as she scampered desperately to her mother’s chamber. The castle was beginning to grow dark and the winter night’s cold heathen was starting to spread throughout the ancient structure. Cassandra did not notice the cold, nor her tears; she did not even notice the castle’s ghosts that plagued her imagination during the night. All Cassandra desired was to be wrapped in her mother’s warm and comforting arms.
When the door to her mother’s chamber appeared, Cassandra let-out a cry and pushed the door open with all the strength her arms could offer. Cassandra inhaled the warmth that her mother’s fireplace was radiating and folded her hands gaily in the pleasure of seeing her mother’s figure seated in a moth-bitten chair. As the young princess exhaled the warm air dropped to a frigid degree, Cassandra went still with disappointment and her heart sank deep into her stomach.
The queen of Salzt had not noticed her daughter’s entrance. Draped in thick furs and bundled deep within the rotting armchair in which she sat, she held her sickly son. The baby’s face was wrinkled with the ill signs of fatigue and consumed all the love his mother had to give. Cassandra shamefully choked back her tears at the sight and pushed her way back into the dark and hurtful corridors of her company.
Henry, with the help of a dying candle, found Cassandra in the castle’s forgotten library not an hour later. The library stood windowless in the most northern corner of the castle, covered in dust and the ink in its books and scrolls faded from yellow neglect. The mangy, ill-lit room was Henry’s favorite. Everything about the room enchanted him, from the musty, unreadable books to the stained wooden trunk that stood stubbornly-locked in the smallest corner of the room. What enticed Henry the most out of all the aged materials the room had to offer, were the series of four small tapestries that hung between the series of oak book shelves and scroll slots.
At first, Henry felt territorial over Cassandra’s presence in his favorite nook, but as he studied her figure, which hand rounded into a tight ball, he began to feel something else entirely. His disappointment in his younger brother and nursemaid was still present in his expression, as much present as it was inside of him, and so was his pity for the young girl, but something about her trembling shoulders sparked a different feeling hidden in Henry’s being. Henry made his way towards Cassandra, whose head was buried deep within her knees, and very quietly, observed everything about her.
Cassandra’s first appearance upon greeting the arrival of his party had not impressed Henry, for she was a mere child. They were all children, but he had assumed that she was like his brother, young in mind, young in body, and mostly, young in soul. Her eyes had shone with piercing buoyancy that had irked Henry and that had annoyed him, their voluminous green depths made his confidence weaken. He had also found that the highlight of scarlet, a thing so rare in his homeland, in her dark auburn hair, was unreal and queer. Cassandra’s mannerisms radiated knowledge and a maturity far beyond her years, which irreverently wounded his pride and caused him to have a harsh judgment of her.
In that moment, all of Henry’s first judgment felt like a distant daze. Henry knelt by Cassandra’s side, placing his candle-holder on a nearby table. Seeing the girl in the midst of her youthful sorrow made him desperate to help her. The corners of his mouth shifted into a gentle frown of concern.
“You should not heed my brother’s words. He is a manipulative dog that does not know its place,” Henry advised in an assuring tone.
Cassandra did not move. She had felt his presence since he had arrived and has felt no need to respond to it, she wanted to be alone. No matter how much her distress urged her to shun the foreign prince and his family and run from the room, Cassandra did not feel that he was bothering her; nor soothing her for that matter. In fact, she felt as if she was obligated to listen to the young prince.
“He only does it for attention. All children do when they feel lonely. He was trying to upset you, to cause a scene, to make someone else hurt besides him,” Henry continued, eager to rouse Cassandra from her unmoving position.
Henry’s words touched Cassandra, more deeply than he had intended. She immediately thought of her new baby brother and how his presence had made her feel lonely. Her head flinched sideways and she opened her eyes, as she began to ponder what Henry had said. Not all children, Cassandra thought, I do not cry for attention, I only cry when I am hurt.
The library suddenly felt renewed and its old stuffy -stench transformed into a fragrant perfume of mildew, Cassandra wanted to hear Henry speak more. She looked up, finding Henry’s stormy eyes staring down at her. They pierced her and enthralled her, filling her with a sudden childish adoration. Her body, already so small, began to feel smaller as the corner of his lips subtly rose into a triumphant smile.
Cassandra’s teary eyes forced Henry to return the girl’s immediate adoration. Carefully, with his candle in one hand and Cassandra’s tightly held in his other, he helped the princess up. Henry felt an instant compulsion to cheer the princess and he did so by guiding her to the series of small tapestries on the opposing wall, inventing stories to go with each brightly embroidered image and holding her little-shaky hand shamelessly in his.
As Henry guided Cassandra to each tapestry and provided her with elaborate tales, a hallowed change within him began out of the austere feeling Cassandra had sparked. He allowed his mouth to create and his eyes to imagine his improvised stories, but his mind began to stir, and a desire that his long line of grandfathers had all possessed, moved excitably inside of him. The tapestries enlarged within his mind, they grew to gigantic proportions, glowing with untold secrets, the patches of thread and fabric creating a dream aspiring web. Henry’s heart raced as the human figures dressed in the yarns of Linderservia’s ancient colors configured into familiar identities.
Cassandra looked up at Henry, moved by his sudden silence; his mouth froze in mid-sentence as his hid tilted slightly to one the side. He backed away from the last tapestry, shook his head, and then looked down at Cassandra. Startled by the girl’s intent gaze, he guiltily looked away; he had the unexpected urge to write to his tutor, Jared. Jared would have answers for the questions about his ancestry that quite suddenly filled his thoughts. The fear that he had found a timeless and affectionate need for another person, begged his subconscious to provide him with a distraction.
“I must have these tapestries,” Henry professed allowed, his voice sounding heavy with intent and his fingers tightening around Cassandra’s, “Can I have them Cassandra? I know they belong to this castle and to your mother, but can I have them?”
“Why would you need them?” Cassandra inquired, moved by the shadow of distress that had crept across Henry’s face.
The shine in Cassandra’s eyes returned the same shine that had glinted when they had first seen Henry. Henry’s pride, again, felt as if it were damaged and caused his toes to shift uncomfortably in his boots. Henry’s first judgment of Cassandra replaced itself without trial. He looked Cassandra straight in the eye, the feeling of helplessly asking a child to negotiate to some ridiculously simple plan consuming him.
“Please? I must have them,” Henry pleaded, his voice strained and his forehead pulsing with want.
The light from Henry’s forgotten candle flickered between them, bouncing off of the room’s faded coloring, and reflecting their shadows across the floor. A gust of chilled-air rushed into the room as the foreign-affairs minister of Linderservia, Lord Arthur, opened the door. The two children, Henry standing in the early transformation of manhood, and Cassandra about to leave the age of reason, stared at the minister as if they had been caught stealing cakes from the castle’s kitchens.
“There you two are!” the minister roared, his voice low with paternal concern, “You two have had the entire castle for you,” as he said this, a rush of nervous voices swept through the corridor as servants called the children’s names, and upon seeing the children’s hands interlocked in a loose embrace he added, “Her royal majesty, the Queen of Salzt has turned ill from her worry. You two know that you are to always be in the presence of an elder. You have broken that rule.”
“We are sorry,” Henry apologized, standing tall and stepping protectively in front of Cassandra, her hand dropping harmlessly from his, “It was my fault. I had asked Cassandra to take me here. I had been wondering if she knew the stories behind the tapestries in here.”
Cassandra blushed and felt a wave of embarrassment hit her tear-stained face as Henry lied for her. She gawked at Henry with wonder, detecting a faint glimpse of boyish loyalty. His eyes had suddenly widened, causing him to look adolescently innocent. The look was not intended and the princess was too young to realize its earnest, but she admired it all the same.
Time passed and the snow packed valley began to thaw. Only the fickle snowflakes of winters last furies wisped here and there about the castle. Salzt’s relentless cold front rose high into the sky, welcoming the kindred elements of spring.
Henry had spent his last days at the castle hiding behind the tall bookshelves in the library. Whenever anyone entered in search for him, especially if it was Cassandra, he glued himself to the bookshelves wimpy surfaces in hope that he would not be seen. Cassandra had become too attached to Henry for his liking and his pride could not take her unfaltering confidence anymore. Not only that, but he wanted absolute privacy so he could admire the tapestries in awe.
Henry felt guilty, distancing himself from Cassandra, but he would be reconciled, for he felt that more pressing matters required his energies. Every day, he stood before the tapestries, his hands folded behind his back, and his eyes searching every bright thread, seeing the secrets that the tapestries held. The secrets woven into the tapestries soothed Henry’s nerves and he strongly felt that they had presented themselves to him for a reason.
Phillip and Cassandra were forced into a depleted companionship from Henry’s lack of presence, and the nursemaid became their superior as the queenly mother of Salzt spent her days bent over her son. Cassandra grew resentful of the black-haired boy, his almond shaped eyes always shinning with a devious plan. Phillip pulled at her hair whenever the nanny’s glance turned to her embroidery or he would grab her rag doll from her hands in the moments she was seeking consolation. The small boy abused her constantly with the sharp loveless words that spoiled boys can possess. Cassandra’s torment was so unbearable that she smiled for the first time that winter when it was time for Phillip and all of the Linderservian company to leave.
“I will report to my king, your highness,” Lord Arthur informed Cassandra’s mother, his hat tucked reverently underneath his arm, “thank you for your hospitality this winter.”
“Yes,” the queen sighed, “I will offer hospitality if you and your princes should ever need it,” the queen paused, looking down at her silent, but smiling daughter with discontent, “Now Cassandra, say farewell to Lord Arthur. He will be your minister someday, and say goodbye to the princes. Your future lies with them. Pay your respects.”
“Thank you Lord Arthur, for visiting,” Cassandra thanked quietly, her pleased disposition stunning the round man into a bow, feeling as if he were already being addressed by his future queen.
“Our pleasure,” Lord Arthur replied, rising from his obeisance and gesturing towards the princes.
Phillip stood in front of the nursemaid, scratching his nose with impatience. Henry gazed up at the cloudless sky, his arms securing his fur cloak around his chest. The lingering, late winter chill bit at his skin, but not to the extent of Cassandra’s betrayed stare. Cassandra only honored Henry with a small tilt of her head, making sure to avoid eye contact with him, for she earnestly felt betrayed, betrayed that he had comforted her and then pushed her into the plentiful, lonely, and hurtful hours spent with Phillip that she had suffered.
The queen wrapped her arms around her daughter as they watched the Linderservian party leave, disappearing into the lush spring green lands of their country. Cassandra held fast to the affection her mother was suddenly showing, drinking its appearance greedily. Her smile widened, for now she was alone with her mother and the princes had left from her sight. Now, she and her mother could travel back to the king’s palace further north. There, she had friends, and her own Salzian nursemaid could look after her brother. The melting snow felt as if it were turning into water below her very feet, melting from her happiness.
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This book has 31 comments. Post your own now!

GrandmaMagnificat said...
Aug. 17, 2013 at 9:55 pm
Wow, I am super impressed!  Such imagination and beautiful description!  I feel like I am right there in the almost magical land...keep writing because I want to know what happens next!!
 
Catherine said...
Aug. 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm
Love it! Such an unexpected plot twist...
 
Elizabeth C. said...
Aug. 17, 2013 at 12:24 am
Please write a sequel??
 
Curlyque12 replied...
Aug. 17, 2013 at 12:35 am
I mean, it was just very imaginative and gripping once I got into it. Keep up the good work! And I truly hope to see a sequel someday.
 
C.delaMare replied...
Aug. 17, 2013 at 12:39 am
Thank you so much ! That means so much. I have certainly been thinking...ahem, working...on a sequel
 
Curlyque12 replied...
Aug. 17, 2013 at 12:43 am
Aha! I am glad to see who the author is! No problem. It really is good work. The end was very shocking and I applaud you. My only critique is that sometimes certain words didn't seem to fit exactly, BUT I thought it wonderfully done...obviously .
 
C.delaMare replied...
Aug. 17, 2013 at 12:45 am
Thanks again! Especially for the critique. (:I agree with it.
 
Curlyque12 replied...
Aug. 17, 2013 at 12:49 am
No thank you and no prob ! Happy writing!
 
Lizzysees said...
Aug. 17, 2013 at 12:00 am
I really did enjoy this novel . I am still thinking about and all that happened. Really, good job!
 
LizzySees said...
Aug. 15, 2013 at 10:56 pm
Wow. This was so good. Like, I could not put it down. PLEASE WRITE A SEQUEL. :D
 
E.Lee said...
Aug. 15, 2013 at 10:52 pm
Very well done. I love the descriptions and characterization. I could feel an actual sense of where I was and could feel a constant foreboding. Once I reached the second chapter, I was on a roll. I would suggest it to many and do.
 

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