Escape

Good morning all and thanks for stopping by to read Chapter Thirty-Three of The Cursed King. This chapter comes to you a day earlier than usual because I will be away this weekend without my laptop, and so lucky you, you get to catch up with Jerimeh a day early. Life is busier with the UK opening up its businesses once again and the sun shining, but I am still plugging away at the book and still (somehow) ten or so chapters ahead. I have found myself lacking behind lately, and that is a mix of being outdoors and finding less time to write, and also the fact that what I’m writing is a lot more intense as I reach the end of the book. However, that, is for me to worry about. There is plenty of breathing room to spare and these Chapters will keep coming every fortnight until the book is finished.

In today’s Chapter, Jerimeh has just escaped on Sir Robert’s horse from Hartlake. As he reaches his childhood home of Battlestorm, Jerimeh meets a kindly farmer who wants to hear of his new friend’s story, and we learn more of the tragic story of how Jerimeh became Arkgodson of The Hartlands. Thank you for reading, and Chapter Thirty-Four will be posted on 19th June.

Escape

Jerimeh VII

First light meant that Jerimeh was safe. He patted Sanguine who snorted happily. He was not sure how he would dismount the horse by himself, but he would need to figure it out unless he could find a helpful stranger. In the distance, he watched the ships enter the docks of the Bay of Jivanos. He watched from the trees, his heart still thumping faster that he had ever remembered it, as he thought of the young people he had left behind. It was the first time in years he had felt truly alone. And the first, also, in which he had felt at peace. Remembering his own youth, he smiled. He used to ride. He used to row. He used to wander and feel the world at his feet. He wondered if he could go back to that. He wondered if his aged body would allow him, for what was left of his days on Earth, to feel like that again. Perhaps I should not go back to Silver City at all, he thought. Perhaps it would be better to stay here. And yet the thought was there and gone as quickly as a sharp breeze. Then the stillness of reality returned, and what remained of the muscles in his body commanded Sanguine to make his way towards Jivanos.

Jerimeh followed the cliffs towards the town and enjoyed the rays of the low sun. Winter in the south was far kinder than it was in the north, and though he felt some chill, he had more than enough furs to protect him from the worst of it. His legs were beginning to ache though, and thought that he would be far more comfortable if he could dismount his horse and stretch his legs for the remainder of his journey. Before long, Jerimeh happened across a farmer herding his sheep who helped him from his horse. The gruff commoner introduced himself as Dorlan, and did not seem to have any idea who Jerimeh was. The Arkgodson did not tell him. It was not often that Jerimeh could talk with people who did not know his position, and it was something that he missed dearly.

“What are you doing out in these parts?” Dorlan asked.

“I have travelled from the south,” Jerimeh told him.

“Refugee is it? Aye, it’s a terrible thing what’s happening. I’m lucky to live where I do. All those poor people in the borderlands being driven from their villages. Suppose them nobles don’t care about all that do they? We’re little more than tax and tragedy to those poshcoats.” Jerimeh nodded neutrally, but did not commit to a response. “Well, we’ve got to look after each other. My stead is not too far from here and on the way to town. Care for some tea?”

“Yes,” Jerimeh told the man, smiling. “I think I would.”

Dorlan’s stead was as quaint and as humble as Jerimeh had hoped. It was quiet, but close enough to town so that he did not have much further to travel. There were no paintings on the wall, and the shelves and crates only held food and crockery. There beds were made of straw, which were covered in cow hides and sheep skins. It was exceptionally warm though. The log fire spat and flickered in the corner as two sheep chewed on another pile of hay in the corner. One had strayed too close to Dorlan’s bed for his liking, and he gruffly pulled it away and threw it into the pile where the other animals ate.

“Get out of it!” Dorlan groaned as he walked over to the pot of boiling water that hung over the fire. Once it was boiled, he lifted it and poured the water into the cups.

Jerimeh had grown used to his tea being poured through a sieve filled with tea leaves, and so it made him feel instantly guilty when he looked at the loose leaves floating around his cup with disappointment. “Thank you, so much,” Jerimeh beamed to cover his own shame.

“Aye, no bother. We used to get a lot of travellers through here. Not so many during wartime. I’ve lived here all my life, but this last ten years has been most wonderful. You get your odd outlaw here and thief there, but the people I’ve met you… oh would not believe their stories. Jivanos being the place it is, named after an Angel and all, we got a lot of travellers. Now though, it’s back to how it was the last time. The only people you see are people fleeing from war. The destruction and horror being so fresh in their minds, they’re not wanting to share. Can’t say I blame them.”

Jerimeh nodded. “It does not matter how fresh the horror…nor how open the wound. Reliving trauma is always the same.”

“It is good to share though. It is good to speak your truth.”

“Would this be the price of my tea and this fire?”

“I ask nothing of you, traveller,” Dorlan smiled. “Your company is enough.”

“Have you no family?”

Dorlan shook his head. “I have my animals. I have this land. That is all the family I have ever needed. What about you?”

Jerimeh nodded. “I did once. A long time ago. A big family. Sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces, parents, grandparents…a wife…and children.”

“Age is a terrible thing. They never tell you how hard it is. They never tell you of the sadness…of the loneliness.”

            Jerimeh sipped at his tea. “It is the duty of the old to protect the young. If the young knew what ageing was then they would never rightly choose it.”

            “Most do not ever reach it. Is it worse to die in your twenties with a sword in your belly or in your eighties having pissed the bed?”

            “Both are equally gruesome, neither is more honourable than the other. Death is never noble, nor is it shameful…death is just death. There is no greater meaning to it than that.”

            “You have the air of a man who has lost faith in the Gods.”

Jerimeh could not help but chuckle. “It would be a bad time to do so if I had. What I mean is there is never a good time to die, nor is there a bad time…there is just your time.”

The farmer looked up at Jerimeh. “You speak well for a common man…what do you do?”

“It is hard to explain.”

“Do you have somewhere else that you need to be?”

“I suppose not.”

“Well then tell me your story, traveller.”

**

            Jerimeh awoke entangled in silken sheets and long legs. He felt a pair of lips kiss his neck and the heat of the sun soak his skin as it shone through the oriel of his chamber. As soon as he awoke, he drifted straight back off to a dreamless sleep, occasionally interrupted by the soft words spoken by the woman next to him. They were not full sentences, just whispered words every now and then, spoken as gently as a feather carried on a breeze.

            “Wake up, my love,” the sweet voice said to him again. Jerimeh turned in his bed and saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.

            “Am I dead?” he asked her and smiled.

            The lady smiled back. “I certainly hope not. What makes you say that?”

            “I have lived a life fulfilled…I thought for a moment I was in paradise.”

            Jerimeh felt a pillow land on his face. “Oh, do shut up.”

            Kristina leaped from the bed and ripped the sheet from Jerimeh. She wrapped it around her body and walked towards the balcony. “The tide is in,” she told him happily.

            “Which means a good catch no doubt. We should have a fine dinner.”

            “Fine enough for the Earl of Jivanos?”

            “Your father? I certainly hope so. If anything is fine enough.”

            “I’d dare say the man’s standards are slipping. Afterall, he let me marry you.”

            Jerimeh threw the feathered pillow purposefully to the left of his wife’s head. “And how cruel he was to do so. To allow me to marry a woman whose wit is far greater than my own.”

            He arched his back and sprung out of bed in one clean movement before letting his body fall forward. He caught his fall in the oriel ledge and held his position for a few moments, revelling in the stretching of his biceps and abdomen as he peered out over the ocean. “I should visit my grandfather,” Jerimeh thought aloud.

            Kristina nodded and wrapped her arms around his taut torso before kissing him on the back of his neck. “I am sorry.”

            Jerimeh sighed. “There is little to be sorry for. His healer told me that not a thing could be done. All we can do now is ease his suffering until he is ushered into paradise.”

            “Perhaps in that case we should pay a visit to the church…and pray to Natos.”

            Jerimeh scoffed gently. “Why would I do that? I did not pray to Jivana whilst he was living, why pray to Natos now that he dies? It is Natos’ duty is it not?”

            “We do not pray to the Angels and the Gods for them. We do it for ourselves…to ease our own suffering.”

            “I will ease my suffering by taking my bow into the woods and fetching us some meat to go with our fish this evening. You may go if you like, but you will not catch me on my knees in a God’s Hall.”

            “I worry for your soul, husband.”

            “Do not fear for me. Fear for the deer that I will bring to our table…I think I will take Jonah with me.”

            “Do you think he is ready for that? He is still just a boy.”

            “He is almost ten years old…I first went hunting with my father when I was eight.”

            “Yes, but you were a savage child. Jonah is sensitive. He prefers books and singing. I am not sure he would do well at the sight of a dead animal”

            “Then that settles it. He will see more than enough death through his life. The sooner we prepare him for it, the better.”

**

            Jerimeh walked through the woods with the thrill of the hunt coursing through his veins. He had been in battle several times in his life, however most of the time he exited the battlefield with little more than a few bruises. Jerimeh’s father was Lord of Battlestorm, a port city on the east coast of The Hartlands in the Earldom of Jivanos. Battlestorm was a harsh name for such a beautiful coastal town that was decorated with glorious white cliffs and sandy beaches. The Earldom as a whole was rich, but Battlestorm was one of the richest towns in the entire Kingdom. Jerimeh had been betrothed to Kristina since he was a toddler. The agreement had been made and they were brought up together, and became the best of friends at a young age. Jerimeh could not believe his luck as he got older and watched other relatives not meet their wives and husbands until the day they married, or saw them marry out of some rushed alliance to secure an army for an upcoming battle. Jerimeh’s fate was sealed young, and he could not have been happier.

            Jonah was the first of three children. Their middle child, Adam, was just five years old, and their youngest, Dalphine was only two. At twenty-seven, Jerimeh was eager to pursue fatherhood far more than he had been at eighteen. He had learned that all of his previous instincts for violence and warfare when he was younger had begun to wane, and though he still got the rush in battle as any man did, he began to appreciate the gentler ways of life. Hunting was his way of incorporating that adrenaline and the joys of homely pleasures. Jonah did not inherit Jerimeh’s taste for adrenaline. It seemed that Jonah was born elderly and cautious. The boy had little interest in fighting, and rarely raised his fists at the other boys around court. What the boy did have, though, was a razor-sharp wit and a tongue that often got him into trouble, though it always came with a reluctant respect from his elders, including Jerimeh. There was never a time Jerimeh could remember when he chastised the boy without also smiling to himself.

            As they walked through the woods, Jonah held his bow over his shoulder. He seemed to take some curiosity in the roots that protruded from the ground, and asked Jerimeh about the birds in the trees and what kind of birds they were. Jonah asked about the flowers and the trees, about why forests grew here and not on the beaches. He was inquisitive and intelligent, and if he was not Jerimeh’s first-born son, Jerimeh may have considered him for the church.

            Before long, Jerimeh and Jonah reached a vantage point at the top of a small hill overlooking a stream. There was a thick brush of trees between their arrows and the deer that they aimed at. Jonah was trying hard to withhold his apprehension to his father, whilst Jerimeh battled with the line of sight to find a clear shot.

            “Are you okay?” Jerimeh asked his son.

            Jonah nodded. “Yes.”

            “It is okay to feel guilty…taking a life is not something one can do lightly. Even if that life cannot talk to you, and even if it does not see it coming.”

            “Then why do we need to do it at all?”

            “Because we need to eat and we have a big family to feed. You know your grandfather is coming today.”

            “I don’t like grandfather. He is always trying to make me fight in the courtyard with my cousins.”

            Jerimeh laughed. “Yes, he will do that. He did the same with me when I was a boy. I have to say, I did not care for it much either at the time.”

            “Fighting or being forced to fight?”

            “Both, I suppose. I am still not overly fond of it now.”

            “Then why do it?”

            “It is my duty…and it will be yours one day too.”

            “What is it like? Being in battle…”

            Jerimeh felt a wave of caution. The kind of caution a man feels when he wrestles with his desire to be honest with his children, but also not to frighten them. Jonah stared at him intently, eager for an answer.

            “It is eerily quiet…until it is not. You are of noble blood, Jonah, which means that we enter every battle head to toe in plate and mail and atop a horse. There are no better protected men in war than us.”

            “And what about those who do not have noble blood? How are they protected?”

            Jerimeh had scarcely ever thought about that. They aren’t, would have been his honest answer. Smallfolk were expected to fight for their lord just like a man of noble blood was. You fought with what you were given or what you could find. Why would a rich man give up his armour to a poor man he did not know? Why would he buy him a sword that he had not been trained to use? These all seemed to Jerimeh to be logical answers, and thought that even a boy of nine should be able to understand this, but something stopped Jerimeh from telling him this. Something about it did not seem quite right.

            “They are protected by the Gods and by Jivana,” Jerimeh said blankly. “Now hold up your bow,” he swiftly moved on, “and place the arrow like this…that’s right…now I want you to pull the string back as far as you can and close one of your eyes as you do it. Line up the tip of the arrowhead with where you want to pierce the deer. Now don’t actually loose the arrow or else you’ll scare-” In a flash, Jonah’s grip gave out and his arrow flew through the trees and landed in the rump of a buck. The group of deer gathered by the stream immediately darted off into the trees.

            “I’m sorry father! I couldn’t hold it!”

            Jerimeh could not help but laugh. “I can see that! A mighty fine shot considering you had only just begun to aim.” Jonah smiled and Jeirmeh caught his eye. He was happy that the boy could see the funny side of his error. “Well, I dare say we’ll have to do some more walking and find another spot.”

            “So we are going to try again?” Jonah said, seemingly disappointed that this was not the end of their hunt.

            “Of course,” Jerimeh said, trying to be encouraging. “We can’t go back without dinner for tonight. We will stay here until sundown if we need to!”

**

            Whilst Jerimeh and Jonah were not in the woods until sundown, their hunt had taken them most of the day. They were met in the woods by the lardner who hauled the deer onto a litter to be transported back to the castle for dinner whilst Jerimeh walked the way back with Jonah. They both had dried sweat on their foreheads as a cool summer wind breezed past them. The most intense activity had been at noon when they scrambled up a hill so not to miss their opportunity to strike. It was Jerimeh’s arrow that found its way into the deer’s neck. If Jonah was upset by the image, he did not show it, and kept his emotions hidden. Jerimeh would have understood if he was upset, and felt a small amount of shame that the boy felt the need to hide this from him.

            As they approached the castle, a guard ran up to him from the gates of the town. “Lord Jerimeh…you must come quick to meet your father in his council chamber.”

            “What is it?” Jerimeh asked.

            “It is Lady Kristina’s father…he has been murdered. Assassins believed to be from the Old World.”

            “The Earl is dead? Does Kristina know?”

            The guard nodded. “I believe so, lord. They are waiting for you in the castle.”

            “Come Jonah…we must go to your mother.”

            Jerimeh sprinted as fast as he could across the town and the courtyard with Jonah trying to keep up. Once he arrived at the castle, the guards immediately let him through. Once they were through, the portcullis slammed down behind them. Jerimeh was pleased for the guard’s foresight. If it was true, and the Earl had been murdered by assassins, they could easily come for them too. They raced up the stairs until they were outside the Lord’s chamber. Before they entered, Jerimeh knelt down to face his son.

            “You know what has happened…you understand?”

            “Grandfather is dead. And we are in danger,” the boy said bluntly.

            Jerimeh nodded. “We must go in there and be strong for your mother. Do you understand?”

            “Yes, father.”

            “Good lad.”

            Jerimeh stood and took a deep breath, he opened the chamber door and as soon as he stepped through, he realised that his body was frozen. It was as if he had walked off the earth itself and into a dream. Nothing that appeared in front of him made sense. There was no part of his mind that could comprehend it. He watched Jonah run over to his mother and he was crying over her still body that lay upon the ground. Jerimeh did not know why he cried. Then Jerimeh saw his father laying beside her, he was also still. Then, Jerimeh felt himself slump to the ground. He did not know why. The scene before him could not be real. None of it felt real. If it were real, then it would mean that his wife, parents, and children were dead. It would mean that his entire world had crumbled around him. It would mean that Jonah would be traumatised for the rest of his days. And so Jerimeh decided that this was not real. That this scene was a figment of his imagination. He looked down at Jonah who was now beside him, frantically tugging at his arm as he cried and cried.

            “Father…there are men coming up the stairs. We need to leave! They’ve killed them all, father…we have to go…we have to go.”

            Jerimeh wanted nothing but to wake up. He squeezed his eyes shut and opened them wide, he pinched at his own skin to force himself awake, but nothing happened. Jerimeh was trapped in this world. Trapped in this new reality that he could not escape from. Trapped in a chamber with his son frantically pleading with him to help him as guards pounded on the chamber door, ready to finish what they had begun.

            It was not long until the guards burst into the room and launched Jerimeh across the chamber. Jonah scrambled to his father and nestled his head into his chest. There was still no comprehension within Jerimeh. No true understanding of what was happening around him. And then he saw that these men were not guards. These were the same assassins masquerading as guards. They wore the emblem of his House, but they were no kin of his. Their faces were covered in mauve cloth and their eyes were icy, without mercy, as if they were just vessels without a soul.

            It then dawned on Jerimeh that this was no dream. His family were dead, and the only member of it that remained to him was about to be slaughtered beside him. Instinctively, he reached for his dagger, but soon found that the holster by his ankle was empty. He backed away slowly, keeping Jonah close to him. It seemed that they were waiting for Jerimeh to be entirely still before they finished them both. With nowhere to go, backed into a corner and with Jerimeh’s back pressed against the cold stone wall of his father’s chamber. Jerimeh whispered words of condolence to Jonah. He offered reassurances and kindnesses, but felt an immense guilt that his last words to his son would be lies.  As the shadows fell over them, Jerimeh pulled Jonah close and pushed his eyes shut.  

            Then he heard a thud. Then two more. But he was unharmed. He did not feel a thing. Is death that quick? He thought. Then Jerimeh allowed himself to open his eyes. Jonah was crying into him, but still alive. He looked up to see the massacre. All three assassins lay dead with their throats slit, mingled among Jerimeh’s family, his wife, his father, and his children. Standing over all of them was Stillius. Stillius was just seventeen, and had left home as a young man to join the secretive brotherhood of The Order of Ravens. It had been years since Jerimeh had seen him, but he recognised his big eyes, his blonde hair so light that it was almost the colour of snow. The young man held out his hand.

            “We do not have much time. We have to leave. We have to leave now.”

            “I will not leave them here…we must-” Jerimeh began.

            “There is no time,” Stillius stressed. “If we do not leave now, we will join them. There are more on the way.”

            “Where will we go?”

            “To the Order.”

**

            Jonah was sound asleep in Jerimeh’s lap. For hours the boy had been crying and screaming. Stillius had taken them out of the town and to the cove, where they took a small boat out and into a cave. Eventually the water receded, and they reached a point in the cave that was completely dry. They must have walked for an hour before they reached a heavy wooden door that looked as they it had been battered by waves for a thousand years. Still though, it seemed to keep everything out. The tunnels that they walked through were totally dry, and eventually, they found their way to a large circular room with stone etchings and a library of books around the edges.

            Stillius took them to a chamber off of the main room, which had a bed and a desk. It was only once they had made it here that Jonah allowed all of his pain to flow freely. It was hours before he wore himself out to the point where he fell asleep. And as soon as Jonah slept, that’s when Jerimeh’s tears had started. Though he did not wail or scream. He just let them fall from his eyes like rain without whimpering or without trying to restrain them. Stillius did not know what to do. He did not know how to console him, and Jerimeh was glad that he did not try.

            “What happened?” Jerimeh finally asked.

            “I’m afraid you would not believe me…you must understand that I have acted out of the interests of The Order today. The Order does not interfere in the realm above the ground unless it directly benefits them. I will not be able to justify what I did today…saving you… but I could not let you die.”

            “You knew this would happen? You knew and you let them die?”

            “I did not have time. As soon as I learned what was to happen, I travelled here, but I knew that I might be too late. Still, I had to come just in case. If I hadn’t, you would be dead too.”

            “Why are they dead? Who is behind this?”

            “We have intelligence of a religious insurgence in Antinna and Natonia. They call themselves Angarians after the story of Angar the Angel. He was said to be the human embodiment of the Angel of Death in one of the oldest scriptures of the Book of Life and Death. It is said that Natos once became lost taking souls into paradise, and was propelled back to Earth and into a soul of a child called Angar. Angar was capable of incredible things and wonderous feats. He could speak to animals, control the elements and channel the power of the Gods. He was made King, but soon people realised that nobody was dying. There were people living well into their hundreds, their bodies decaying and decomposing, but their hearts still beating and very much alive, though living in horrible agony. Before long, people realised that it was Angar who was the problem, and they sacrificed him. It worked, and Natos’ soul was returned to its duty to guide those who died into paradise.”

            “This does not explain why my family are dead.”

            “Angarians believe that Natos was just the beginning, and that the Angel of Life, Jivana will come to Earth and be their King or Queen. They believe that Jivana will bring immortality to those who follow her. There is a prophecy among them. That the Angel of Life will reveal herself in a place named for her. Jivanos. Today marks one thousand years since they believe that Natos’ soul returned in Angar’s body, and so the Angarians sent men to take whoever was of age with Angar so that they could raise him as their King. They were looking for Jonah, Jerimeh. They were looking for your son. The boy was said to be an orphan. Their goal was to take Jonah and make sure he had no family left, no loyalties or blood ties, so that they could raise him as their own and guide them to the prophecy.”

            “This is madness…utter, utter madness. I need to take him away from here. You need to keep him, Stillius. Raise him as a Raven. I will go away somewhere. I will speak to the King. He will help me raise an army…we will destroy this cult.”

            Stillius could not look him in the eye. “They will be back, Jerimeh. This insurgence has power and influence. More than you or I could ever understand. I can protect you, and I can protect Jonah, but I cannot keep you together. You are safe here, but if you leave with Jonah then they will find you. They will hunt you down, kill you, and take Jonah anyway.”

            “Let them try!”

            “Listen to me, uncle. There is only one way. You must start again. You must relinquish your name and your lands. You must make them believe that you are dead. And…this is the most important thing…you must hand Jonah over to them.”

            It took all of Jerimeh’s will not to punch his nephew in the mouth and roar insults at the boy, but he restrained himself for the sake of his son sleeping in his lap. “You expect me to just hand my son over to the assassins that killed his family? You expect him to go freely to them?”

            “He must. Jerimeh, they will find a way to take him. If they believe you are dead then you can still have a life. I can help you navigate your way through the world without a name. I will do all I can that will not cause me to become an outcast in the Order, but you must believe me. If you try to keep Jonah from the Angarians, then Jonah will have no family left. All he will have in this world is this cult. All you can do is try to influence his life from a far, in any way you can, no matter how small. It is your duty as a father to protect him. You must be alive to do that, Jerimeh.”

**

            Dorlan sat stunned, looking at Jerimeh. “I remember that day…the day that the Earl of Jivanos was killed. The Lord of the Bay and his family all vanished. No one knew what to make of any of it. All we were ever told is that you were all gone, and that some distant cousins were given the land of The Bay. No more was ever said of any of it.”

            “I can’t imagine they would have. It tends not to matter to smallfolk who rules over them, as long as their taxes stay low and their bellies are full, why else would it matter to you?” Jerimeh said, not meaning it unkindly.

            “A good Lord can make a difference. I was too young to know what kind of Lord your father was, but I’ve heard my father complain about many, and I don’t remember him complaining all that much around that time of my life. Did you ever find your son?”

            Jerimeh shook his head. “We managed to track him for the first few years, but it became too dangerous. I rose through the ranks of the Church, Stillius became a sworn member of The Order. It has been decades. I am not sure if he is even still alive.”

            Dorlan suddenly looked suspicious. “If this is all so secret, then why are you telling me?”

            Jerimeh smiled. “The whole reason to keep this a secret was to protect my own life. To keep me alive. But I have lived my life. I have lived long enough. Far too long without my son. My life is no longer worth protecting. I am ready to walk with Natos, and I could not die without telling someone about all of this. All men need to confess, Dorlan. Thank you for being here to hear my confession…whatever you do with the information you have just heard.”

            “It will stay with me. Of that you can be sure.”

            It was the first time that Jerimeh had been to The Bay since he left it all those years ago. Walking through the gates of the town, none would have known that he was once Jerimeh of House Wayfair, heir to all of the lands of his father, the Lord of The Bay, husband to Kristina of House Grey, daughter of the Earl of Jivanos. Neither of those houses existed anymore, and had not done for close to fifty years since that fateful day. None would ever think he was the same Jerimeh, none would think that the gravestone that bore the name Jerimeh Wayfair was still walking among them as an aged ghost.

            The Lord of The Bay now was Arthur Blackhand. Jerimeh remembered Arthur’s mother, Esther, but she was no more than a girl at the time that the assassins came for his family. Arthur was approaching forty, a seasoned Lord, with the type of thick skin and robust build that came from a long line of Blacksmiths. He had a hard face, with a wide nose and a jaw that always seemed to be clenched. Arthur welcomed Jerimeh back into the castle that was once his. All the smells were different, all of the paintings on the walls and even the way the sound echoed around the halls felt distant and unfamiliar. Everything had changed in those years, and yet when Arthur took him to his chamber for drinks, everything flooded back to him. The tears of his child as he cradled his dead mother in his arms, the smells and the sounds and the coldness that ran through his blood. All of it came crashing back around him like a tsunami.

            “Are you okay, your worship?” Arthur asked, handing him a cup of wine.

            Jerimeh nodded. “Fine, my lord. Fine. Now…let’s see about getting me home. We have a war to win.”

Published by beyondthecryptsandcastles

I am an aspiring author from York, UK, and this blog is a place for me to post the chapters of my book; The Cursed King (working title). The Cursed King is a medieval fantasy novel set in the fictional continents of The New World and The Old World and details the lives of characters, rich and poor, old and young, in their quest to navigate their war-torn homelands. I post a chapter every two weeks and absolutely crave feedback (both positive and negative) from readers and writers alike. If you are reading this, then it is YOUR opinion I want, and will also reciprocate with other aspiring writers no matter their genre or content. I hope you all enjoy these chapters and please feel free to send me a message or comment on a post. I look forward to speaking with all of you. Thanks for stopping by!

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