Challenge #1, “Pranks”

Knight and squire passed through the tournament grounds, staring at the controlled chaos that surrounded them.  It was the first tournament for both of them, and no amount of practice could have prepared them for the sheer volume of people, animals, and noise.  Chickens and small children darted underfoot, nearly getting trampled by the fantastic steeds most of the knights possessed.  Sir Arger felt self-conscious as he led his war-horse past vibrant colored dragons, pastel-hued unicorns, and even a large, flightless bird known as a Conchola.  The iridescent-feathered bird honked loudly as he strode by, startling Arger’s squire Jansy into a short, nervous flight.
The page assigned to them led them out of the tournament grounds and through the Quedella Castle gates, and finally stopped at the mouth of the cave that housed the entrance to the castle’s catacombs.  “Sir Arger,” he piped in his high pre-adolescent voice, “here are your accommodations.”   The small boy  spun around in a flurry of his heavy linen tabard and vanished, porting himself back to the page’s bunkhouse.
Arger hobbled his charger and ventured into the cave. A cot and a rickety looking armor rack had been set up against one wall.  Pools of rank standing water dotted the uneven stone floor, formed from the drops that slowly dripped out of cracks in the cave’s ceiling.  A rusted and stained iron door dominated the back of the cave, hiding the entrance to the catacombs housed below.
“If my wings get waterlogged and moldy, I’m never going to be able to fly again,” Jansy groused, tucking his wings as close to his lean, sinewy body as he could.  The squire splashed through a large puddle, wrinkling up his nose in disgust.  “Ugh!” he exclaimed, shaking a bit of slime off the toe of his boot, “I’m going to need a can opener to pry you out of your armor after it rusts in this damp.”
Arger was considered a novice Knight, only in his first year competing in the tournaments.  He knew that the novice Knights did not get the best accommodations that most castles had to offer, but the dank cave bordered on an insult to both himself and the Lord he represented.  He sat down on the cot, which immediately collapsed into the shallow pool that had been hidden beneath the legs the frail bunk.  Jansy was showered in the cold, scummy water, causing the squire to shriek and flail arms and wings, flinging a storm of wet feathers around the small cave.
The heavy iron door burst open, revealing two figures doubled over each other, howling in laughter.  Sir Irwin, another novice Knight and Arger’s best friend, managed to straighten himself up and extricate his limbs from his laughter-paralyzed squire.  He stepped over to offer his hand to help Arger up off the ruined cot. “I should have known this was just another one of your practical jokes, Irwin.  Nice job on the page, it added authenticity to the stunt,” Arger said ruefully, using Irwin’s arm to lever himself off the moist wreckage of the cot.
“You never learn,” Irwin said, slinging a casual arm around Arger’s shoulders.  “Your quarters are next to mine, I’ll show them to you.”  As the two young knights ambled slowly towards the castle, Arger began to plot his revenge. They passed through a servant’s entrance as a slight smile crossed Arger’s lips.   The plan was perfect, and Irwin would never suspect a thing…

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Published in: on July 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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