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 Post subject: Tale of a Knight, by Crafty Llama
PostPosted: December 20th, 2014, 9:55 pm 
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Tale of a Knight
RuneVillage 2005 Writing Contest Winning Entry
by Crafty Llama (2005)

It was a big castle. I mean really big. You could fit a few cathedrals in there, and still have room to have a Grand Ball, like the one that took place that night, and a lot of extra room. Who needed a castle that big? The King, that's who. King Roland of the Rytellia Kingdom. Grand place, it really is. Lovely countryside. Beautiful. Off subject, but pretty none-the-less. Why not ramble on about Princess Raquel then? She's beautiful and on subject. Why, that's right, thank you self. But there's no time, I've still got to introduce myself. You mean us? Whatever. Go hide in a hollow tree or something.

My name is Avidan. I'm a knight. What do you mean, "How can I be a time of day?" No, a knight, you idiot! This tale's from long ago! You know, Medieval Times! What!? Well, same to you! Ugh. Anyways, yeah. I'm a knight. With shining armor. Well, until it gets dirty, then I have to get it all shiny again. I tell ya, it's not ea- what? Oh right, the tale. Well, I guess I should start with the Grand Ball. The castle was decorated special, and there was this big orchestra playing some wonderful music. I actually live in the castle, being a knight and all, but I went about a mile away and rode my horse in for a dramatic entrance.

My horse was a white one, and I named it Draften. The old hag I bought him from insisted that his name was Cornelius, but what kind of name is that? Of course, that's the only thing it answers to, so when addressing him I say Cornelius, but when talking about him I say Draften. That night I wore my best tunic, light green with dark green bordering. What? Well it was in style then, this took place a long time ago! Whatever. I had my dark hair done special for the Ball; the hairdresser had said that it was smashing. Of course it was, it was my hair. Yeah, I guess I'll get to the story now...

"Ow! Blimey, you dumb horse!" I cried. The stupid thing had hit a bump, and I was knocked about unpleasantly. "Faster Cornelius, or all the pretty ones'll be taken already!" We had approached the drawbridge, which surprisingly, was closed. "Oi! Wall guards!" I called up, and a shiny helmeted head poked over the tall mossy stone wall. "Open this drawbridge this instant, I say!"

"What?" The guard called down.

"I said, open this drawbridge this instant, I say!" I yelled back up, louder.

"You ate a cabbage in Tristit?" the guard called back down.

"No! Open this drawbridge right now!" I yelled back up. "I'm late, yes, but please open up!"

"What?" the guard screamed.

"I ate a cabbage in Tristit!" I yelled, throat sore and voice hoarse.

"Oh, alright." The guard said, and turned the crank to open the drawbridge.

"Thank you!" I called back up, riding through.

"What?" he yelled down. I ignored him. I tied Draften to a post outside the castle gates, brushed off my clothes, and pushed the castle doors open. I tried again. I grunted with effort, but these damn huge things were far too heavy. "!" I groaned, trying with all my might. All of a sudden, the weight seemed to cease, and the doors opened easily.

"I won't help you next time," mocked my fellow knight, Koler. He was a big man, about a head taller than me, and twice as muscular. He was our best knight. He wore a black tunic, bordered in gold. Not actual gold of course, but to the same effect. He was a charmer to boot. A real lady's man. I can't say I wasn't a little jealous, but he was my best mate. He pulled some of his long blonde hair out of his eyes. "You first, it'll make it look like you opened it."

"Funny mate, funny. Thanks though." I walked in, him following. The Grand Hall was done up really nicely. Banners everywhere, a concession table off to the side, and a wonderful orchestra off to the other side. The dance floor was pretty crowded though, that was a downer. I loved being the center of attention. Immediately a few women surrounded Koler, all hanging on to him and being utter fangirls. What did he have that I didn't? Besides personality, a great body, and devilishly good looks? Nothing. It disgusted me. I walked over to the concession table, my prime lookout spot for someone that wasn't dancing or hanging on to Koler. No luck yet. I poured a glass of punch and saw that Tervil was standing here too.

Tervil wasn't much of a talker, nosir. He did his job well though. He was also a knight. He refused to wear armor, saying that it slowed him down. His straight black hair poured down to his shoulders, and his shiny eyes seemed to be locked in one spot. I looked over to where he was looking, and saw that he was staring at King Roland's younger brother, King Azazel, ruler of the Scortich Kingdom. Azazel seemed to have his eyes focused on the grand stairs, down which Princess Raquel would make her entrance.

Azazel was a jealous man; envious that his older brother had gotten the position of King of Rytellia, and that he himself had been sent off to the desolate desert region of Rytellia called Scortich to rule as a Minor King. His thick black hair was tied back into a ponytail, and his eyes, surrounded by a darker patch of skin, had yellow irises. Is that what Scortich did to him? Scortich was a rather unpleasant place they said, full of dangerous creatures and always had really hot or strange weather. But had it changed his physical appearance? No, something else must have happened.

"Finding an interest in men, eh Tervy?" I asked, jokingly. He didn't reply for a moment.

"Watch yourself Avidan, something tells me young Azazel isn't here just to have a good time. He's been standing there the entirety of the Ball so far, just staring up the stairs. Something's up. Tell Koler to keep his guard up," he said in that low, nearly monotonous voice of his. I'd do that later, I wasn't too worried. Azazel was an odd fellow, but he wasn't a bad person. Just then, the music ended, and trumpets sounded. King Roland and Princess Raquel started walking down the stairs, wearing bright fake smiles, waving to the applauding crowd. Azazel's eyes were locked on to Raquel. Is that all, he was just another person attracted to her?

Raquel was decked out in a beautiful dress with countless petticoats, her tiara glistening in the chandelier's candlelight. Her perfect complexion awesomely complemented her long brown hair, not to mention her other ehh, great features.

King Roland looked less magnificent in his blue and white tunic and red cape, golden crown perched atop his half-bald head. Azazel backed further into the shadows when Roland and Raquel sat down at the table set especially for them, set with a load of delicious looking food and drink.

The rest of the Ball followed out similarly, me standing there with Tervil, who wouldn't keep his eyes off Azazel, who wouldn't keep his eyes off Raquel, who wouldn't keep her eyes off me. I wish. Near the end, Koler walked up to me, two girls hanging off him, and he looked happier than a monkey in a banana crate.

"Here Avidan, Tara will dance with you," he offered with a big silly grin on his face.

"Oh, sorry Koler. I'm just so exhausted from dancing with so many women; I'll have to pass. C'mere for a second." I pulled him in so I could whisper Tervil's thoughts to him without alerting the ladies.

"Oh, sorry misses, I'm afraid we have to go on patrol now. It was a pleasure." He flashed them one of his smashing grins, and they swooned. He, Tervil and I then retreated to the shadows behind the table at which sat the royalty, and Tervil whispered something in the King's ear. The King chuckled.

"Nonsense, my good Tervil. Keep an eye on him if you wish, but I assure you, he's not up to anything," responded the jolly Roland, who had cleared about twelve platters of food by now, and was working on his thirteenth.

"What is it, father?" questioned Raquel, who had snapped out of a daze of boredom.

"Nothing, sweetheart. It's high time we got to bed, don't you think?" He stood up, clapped two times, and slowly but surely, the crowd dissipated and left. All that remained were the now packing orchestra, Roland and Raquel, and us three. Azazel was nowhere to be seen, but I was sure I hadn't seen him go out the door with the rest of the invitees.

And we get back to my spiffy Avidan brand 'Narrative'. Spiffy, huh? You know you want it. But you can't have it, you know why? It's mine. Mine, I tell you! Hahahaha! Ahem. I apologize; I've gone a bit nutty in my old age. Anyways, that night turned out horribly. Not the most horrible thing that could possibly happen to mankind, but it was a problem, yeah. Most thought so. I mean, if that happened to you... You'd be in tears. Ha, I can see you now, lying on the ground, fetal position, sniveling your heart out. And you know what I'm doing? Laughing. Laughing at your poor, pitiful- Ow! Hey, no tomatoes onstage! Hey, stoppit! Oi! Ow! Fine, to the story!

The King was out of shape. He tried to hide it, but the tears were rolling down his face like boulders down a hill. Just not as fast. And not as painful, as you'll see later. He had all eight of us; the knights, that is, gathered around his throne like we do on the important missions. But before then, no mission was this important. According to this plump, gray-haired mass of authority, Princess Raquel had been kidnapped.

"It-it must have b-been Azazel. B-but what were his motives?" he managed to blubber out, while sobbing maniacally. "I-I'm sorry, Tervil, I should have listened to y-you..." This was madness. A full-grown man, bawling like a baby. I was, however, stoked at the prospect of a quest. That's just how I was, always the adventurous type. Crytin stepped forward. He was the strategist of us all, a bit shorter than us all, but very smart. He had a golden hooded robe on, but the hood was down. He was most likely wearing a chain mail under it; the kind he claimed was his 'special' mail.

"Perhaps he wishes to overthrow you, your highness," he said in that little voice of his. He extracted a scroll out of his robes, unrolled it, and read aloud. "According to this, if a King has no heir, and no mate so as to reproduce an heir, and a nearby reigning Minor King has an heir or a mate so as to reproduce one, the Minor King takes the King's place as King, and the King rules as a Minor King wherever the previous Minor King reigned, so as that there will not be a lack of main ruler in the Rytellia Kingdom." Crytin rolled up the scroll. "So, as I see it, he plans to marry Princess Raquel, so he can take your place as King. His motive? Envy." The little man stepped back into place.

Lance stepped forward to take his turn to speak. He was a big man, not as big as Koler, but big, yes. Certainly bigger than I will ever be. He was dark-skinned, a trait commonly found in the east, which is where he hailed from. Ironic as it is, his choice of weapon was a long spear, or lance. He wore white armor trimmed with blue, rather stunning looking. "That's awful! But Scortich is so far away; can we make it in time?"

"You must try," said the King, who had wiped away his tears and had a determined look upon his face. "Go now, to the land of Scortich, to my younger brother's castle. You must stop the wedding! My knights, Koler, Tervil, Crytin, Avidan, Lance, Mezzo, Rotern, and Lylack. I bid thee luck and speed! Go!" And so we did. We did our bows, and left the throne room. Rotern took out his map. It was a big map, it was. Some obsessed fool had gone and mapped out all of Rytellia on a single mass of parchment.

Rotern was our designated navigator, but that wasn't his only use, he was good with a bow. Like hitting the target every time, with perfect accuracy, from far away. With distractions. He wore leather armor, with green and gold clothing. He had all sorts of special arrows, like grappling hooks, zip lines, ones with special capsules at the tip full of different things like water, pellets, even gasoline. He was one of our best men.

"According to my map, we have to travel due east to get to Scortich, then northeast a wee bit to get to the castle," he said knowledgably. He already knew all of this; he had memorized the map years ago. I guess it was just for show.

"East? I thought it was west," said Mezzo thoughtfully. Mezzo was a good knight, he was very skilled with his throwing knives and hatchets, but there was one problem, he had a very low attention span. He wore similar armoring to Rotern, but trimmed with steel.

"No, it's east, see?" Rotern held the map so that Mezzo could see it, but Mezzo's thoughts were elsewhere. Crytin sighed.

"Why do you even bother trying, Rotern?" he asked testily.

"I ask myself the same question every day, friend. Every day." Rotern replied, folding up his map. This whole time, Lylack had said nothing. He never said anything. I had never heard a word out of his mouth, or any sort of emotion. He was decked out in very heavy armor all the time, and from his size, several layers of it. No one was that big. Not even Koler, and his size was mostly from muscle. Lylack was a head taller than Koler, who was at least a head taller than the rest of us. I'd never seen his face either; he always wore that helmet, and never raised the visor. His weapons of choice were twin war hammers.

And we were off. We exited the castle and got on our horses. It was a wonder Lylack's horse didn't collapse beneath him, I had thought to myself. We approached the drawbridge, and surprise, surprise. It was closed.

"Oi!" I called up, and the same shiny helmet poked over the edge.

"No, sorry, I don't have any toys!" he yelled back down.

"Lower the drawbridge!" I screamed. If he didn't hear that, he was deaf.

"Slower the Mawtidge?" He yelled back in question. That didn't even make sense. Crytin cleared his throat.

"Would you please lower the drawbridge good sir?" Ha, he'd never hear that.

"Certainly, Sir Crytin!" The drawbridge lowered almost immediately. "Have a nice day!" I was dumbfounded. I said nothing of it however; just kept my anger silent and inside like a good boy. And we trotted off in the direction of east, towards Scortich and Azazel.

Around this time, Azazel was just getting back to his tower in Scortich, and things were going good for him. Raquel was locked in her quarters, the wedding planning was on schedule, and he was in a particularly good mood. It was going so well for his first evil plot. There was one problem though, Raquel wasn't too happy about all of this.

"Let me go this second you dastardly man! When my father's knights get here,-" The door opened, and Azazel walked in.

"Knights? What knights?" he questioned.

"As in the guys who are on their way to come save me right now?" Raquel replied slowly, making sure to use small words for him.

"Oh, your saviors, is that it? Well thanks for telling me honey, I'll prepare for them!" He left the room, slammed the door, and locked it. Princess Raquel realized what just happened.

"Damn," she said out loud.

That's right kids, another narration! I'm back by popular demand! Anyways, our heroes were making fine progress on to Scortich, why; they were already halfway there! Nothing really had happened so far, just a boring half-day of riding. I remember that my groin was hurting from the constant up-down motion of Draften. What do you mean, too much information? Don't you threaten me with your silly vegetables! Ow! That one hit my eye you inconceivable jerk! It burns! Ow! Well thanks to you, I'm gonna need an eye patch now. Yeah, go tell your friends. Here's the story...

I was exhausted. My groin was hurting from the constant up-down motion of Draften. It had been just a boring half-day of riding so far. The rest of the day would prove to be the same. So why don't we jump ahead, m'kay?

I was exhausted. My groin ached from the constant up-down motion of Draften from the boring two half-days of riding. We had camp set up, and we were about a mile away from Scortich according to Rotern. The campfire blazed in the center, and our blankets were positioned in a circle around it. I was hungry, so I got out a poker and a frank. I skewered the wiener on the iron poker, and held it over the fire. A few minutes later, I tested it for warmth. Still cold. Impatient, I positioned the hotdog in the flames. The tip of the poker was turning red...and it spread down to my hands. Unfortunately, I was only looking at the frank, making sure it didn't burn. Poor me.

"Ow! Holy hell! Damn, where's my canteen! Where's all of our stuff? Hell!" I looked all around, but none of our equipment, food or canteens were to be found.

Rotern sat up quickly, pulling out of sleep. "You lost our things!?"

"No, something stole them! My hands hurt!"

"It must have been the Desert Imps... but why would they come a mile away from their habitat to steal our equipment? Come, we're going to have to keep going now."

"Why?" asked Mezzo, snapping out of a daze.

"One, because we need to hurry to Azazel's keep, there's bound to be equipment there," Said Lance. "Two, because the desert is going to be very hot during the day, and if we try and travel without water in those conditions, we may as well shake salt on ourselves for the vultures. Now let's move." We got on our horses, and sped off into Scortich.

Wow. I thought riding to Scortich was boring. Try that in scorching heats and dull scenery. Without water. The horses were exhausted, we were exhausted, and I was seeing a funny little mirage on the horizon. It was of eight funny little men, about a foot tall each, garbed in white robes. They also had these little crude daggers. They were kinda creepy looking, good thing they were a mirage. Yup.

"Hey, look at that funny mirage on the horizon," I announced, trying to start up conversation. Then I saw the horns, the little horns on top of their heads. Oh, and the tails, can't forget the tails. And the flaming evil eyes, which pierce the soul and make the weak hearted go mad. Mustn't leave those out. "Oh dear, that's not a mirage..." I continued. Koler jumped off his horse and drew his flamberge.

"The desert imps!" He called put, and on cue we all leaped off our quadropedial transport devices, drawing our weapons. Well, except me. I have this thing with small creepy creatures, such as bugs, desert imps, and those miniature sloths that merchant tried to sell me once. Sword in hand, I took a step back. The imps had nearly reached us by now, and they all took a flying leap at us. One each, how fun. Except that Rotern and Mezzo had each taken theirs out about fifteen seconds ago with their ranged weapons, and were continuing to kill the others. Tervil dashed forward and skewered one in midair with one of his rapiers.

"Last one's yours, Avidan!" he called out to me as the last imp clung on to me with its little claws, and started gnawing on my armor.

"Eep!" I cried, and started trying to shake it off. I drew the dagger strapped to my leg and stabbed furiously at the little bugger. It kept dodging the blows and continuing to attempt to gnaw through the steel plated obstacle between itself and my flesh. Finally, the little blade pierced through the devilish little monster, killing it and relaxing its muscles, forcing it to release its clinging grip on my armor. I pulled its corpse off my previously shiny dagger, and it fell to the ground, dissolving into the sand like the rest of them. Meanwhile, in Azazel's throne room...

"Milord Azazel, the Imps have succeeded in de-equipping Raquel's knights, but they have been defeated in combat", spoke one of the Scortich Vultars to Azazel. A Vultar is a big vulture, by the way. Big enough for a group of people to comfortably ride. The Vultar was Azazel's right-hand man, and his only real friend.

"Splendid news on both sides, Vultrick," Azazel replied almost cheerfully. Well, as cheerfully as a man can be and still maintain his aura of evil. "Now I don't have to pay the little cretins. However, that means that the knights must be close by now. Alert the Desert Golems."

"Yes, my liege," Vultrick replied, doing a sort of bird-like bow, and flying out the grand window of the grand room. As soon as he was out of earshot, he began muttering to himself. "Yes, my liege, yes master, I'm sick of this right-hand nonsense. I do everything for him, and what do I get in return? 'Alert the Desert Golems'. Oh, I'll alert them, and I'll do whatever tedious task he asks for afterwards maybe. But will I like it? Oh, no sir."

Hello again, and welcome to Spiffy Land! That's right! It's another narration! Whoopee! Unfortunately, it's also the last narration until the end of the story! Yes, it's true, I'm sobbing with you, really. What? You... don't like my narrations? But... sniffle... Fine. Be that way, you will. But one day, when I am dead in heaven, hear me, I will smite you! Smite you with my unearthly powers of doom! What do you mean my eye just twitched? What do you mean, stop asking you what you mean? Bah! On with the show!

My colleagues all knew of my phobia, so they managed to not ridicule my performance. We stored our weapons, and returned to our horses' backs. Near sunrise, we finally reached Azazel's tower. It was rather tall, and perched atop a forty-five degree angle hill. At the top of the hill was what looked to be a dripping human shaped pile of sand, and that's what it was. It was holding a rather large boulder above its heads, and it was throwing it down the hill.

"Desert Golems!" cried Koler, and jumped off his horse, drawing his flamberge. He must love doing that. On cue, we all jumped off our horses, drawing our weapons. Rotern shot a water capsular arrow at the Golem, and the capsule burst on impact, making a spot of wet sand in its chest. That spot of wet sand spread throughout the Golem, and it collapsed into a pile of desert. On cue, three more Golems appeared at the hilltop, and started rolling large boulders down at us.

"Up the hill, dodge the boulders!" called out Crytin. "Keep shooting them, Rotern!" And up we went. It wasn't easy running up the hill, especially with the task of dodging large boulders while doing so. Lylack easily smashed through them with his war hammers, and Lance pole-vaulted up in several bounds, smashing his lance through one of the Golems' heads. Mezzo was still near the bottom, sidetracked by a huge vulture circling the top of the tower. Unfortunately, in his distraction, a huge boulder was headed straight for him.

"Mezzo!" I called out, and he saw the boulder headed straight for him. He bounded out of the way, but it was too late, sort of. The boulder crushed his right leg with a sickening crack and a cry of agony. Crytin sped back down to tend to him.

"Go on ahead, he'll be fine!" he called up to us, making an ushering motion with his hand. I nodded back at him, and finished my climb up the hill. Lance had taken out the other two Golems, so all that was left was to go through the grand double doors, into the tower, and to free the princess and get Azzy locked up. I pushed the great door open. I tried again. Koler started laughing, and pushed the door open. He tried again.

"Do you two honestly think he didn't barricade the door?" asked Rotern, and nodded at Lylack. Lylack backed up a bit, and ran at the door, which gave up pretty easily to his mass. I began to walk in, but was stopped by Tervil's hand.

"Wait," he said in that calm, low voice of his. "He must have an army of his minions prepared in the Grand Hall for us, orcs, trolls, chimaeras, anything could be in there. Are we ready?"

"Hells yeah!" I cried, and ran in to my surely impending doom. There was nothing. It was just a really big and empty room with a grand staircase at the end. Kinda like the room the ball was in, except not as magnificent. Oh wait, it wasn't empty. Azazel was standing at the top of the staircase, holding something shiny. He began to walk down the staircase as the six of us entered.

"Welcome to my abode, Knights of Rytellia." He definitely rehearsed this. "Although soon it will be home to my dear older brother, and you will instead be the Dead Knights of Scortich." He paused for an evil laugh. He was new to this, I could tell. Real villains don't laugh evilly, only in those bedtime stories parents tell their children. I loved those. "As you may know, I am a master of herbology and metallurgy, and I have mastered the art of potion making and armor crafting. I myself created this masterpiece of a chest plate that I am wearing right now. You see, the exposure of certain metals to certain potion mixtures during the smelting process creates certain effects. There is a potion that I created that allows one to be extremely persuasive, more so everyone believes what the drinker says. Mix that with Draktite and Noctite while smelting the two metals together, and you get this. I call it the Armour of Darkness." How original, I thought.

"You'll never get away with this!" I cried, for lack of other things to say. Azazel snapped his fingers, and Raquel stepped out of the shadows, wearing two bright red glowing bracelets, one on each hand.

"That I doubt, my dear knight. Raquel won't be able to escape either, for I have placed two Rings of Binding on her, allowing myself to control where she goes. And, what you don't realize is that I've already gotten away with it! Queen Raquel is now my wife and co-ruler of Rytellia! But we can't push off to my new home without your blessings, can we?" Lylack let out a cry of rage and charged at Azazel, who dodged out of the way and tossed the shiny something at him, which exploded in a green mist. Lylack stopped, stock-still. Azazel grinned evilly. "You see, although my Armour forces people to believe me, I can't control them without Rings of Binding. So, I whipped up a new potion, one that forces anyone exposed to it to obey the exposer's orders. Like such." Azazel pointed at us and pulled out another small vial. "Kill them." He threw the vial at Raquel and his feet, and it exploded in purple mist, and when it dissipated, they were gone.

"Lylack?" asked Lance. "You okay, buddy?" At this, Lylack drew his war hammers and charged. What happened next happened fast, and it haunts me to this day. Koler charged towards Lylack, embedding his flamberge through Lylack's armor and into his chest. You know the saying 'The bigger they are, the harder they fall'? Well it's right. Lylack fell. Lylack fell hard on top of Koler with a big sickening crack. I was in shock.

"K-Koler?" I called softly. I walked up to Lylack's collapsed corpse. "Koler, buddy? Lylack?" I felt something wet trickle down my face. Damnit. Damnit, damnit, and more damnit. I knelt down and attempted to lift Lylack by the head, but no use. Instead, his helmet popped off. I stumbled backwards. To this day, I wish it hadn't. Lylack's head was bald and his skin was flaky. His ears were full of wax and slightly pointed. The back of his head was all I needed to see to know he was a troll.

"T-Tervil..." I started. The tears came faster, and I couldn't suppress the small sob that leaked out. My current state of life was crushed, just like Koler. I didn't know what was going on; why God Almighty decided it was their time to go, why I hadn't rushed in with my sword like the hero Koler was instead.

"We have to go, Avidan. Let him go." Tervil said consolingly, and I nodded, standing up. We exited the hall and left through the grand doors. A huge vulture awaited us. On his back were Mezzo and Crytin. I recognized it as the large bird that had distracted Mezzo earlier, causing his current condition. Crytin stood up, eyes shiny with previous tears.

"We saw it all through the windows, come on up. Vultrick has agreed to help us." Vultrick stepped closer and set his wing down like a set of stairs.

"Pleased to meet you, Sir Knights. Climb aboard," he invited cheerfully.

"Is Mezzo okay?" asked Rotern worriedly. Crytin bowed his head.

"Actually, he succumbed to blood loss before I could administer any bandages. I'm afraid he passed along with our other comrades." I swore. Why was everyone dying all of a sudden? Azazel would pay, I'd personally make sure of that. We climbed aboard the giant vulture, and he took off into the clouds, headed for Rytellia.

Azazel was in a strikingly good mood now. He was perched on his new throne, wearing his spiffy new crown, and the guards were currently escorting the Minor King Roland to the door. Life was good. He found that he was good at villainy, so he decided to hatch another dastardly plot, this one fueled by power and evil. He would make a new, larger batch of Command Draughts like the one he had used on the large armored knight, and insert them into the waterlines, putting everyone in Rytellia under his command. It was brilliant, really.

We had parked our vulture outside the castle gates, and approached the expectedly closed drawbridge.

"Open up, we've got an appointment with your King!" I yelled up, knowing that the little shiny head would pop up and yell back his dire interrogative reply. The drawbridge slammed open. Life is sickening. We walked through, and saw Roland flanked by two castle guards, walking away from the castle. On sight of his, his previously glum face lit up, and he approached us quickly, letting the guards catch up.

"Quickly, Azazel is in the throne room! Go!" he whispered urgently as the guards grabbed him and tossed him outside the drawbridge. As they turned to go back in, the drawbridge closed on them.

"Hey!" I heard. "Open up!"

"What?" replied the ominous voice of the gate guard.

"Open the drawbridge this instant!"

"You ate a cabbage in Tristit?"

I walked slower than Lance so as he would open the door so as I wouldn't look like a fool so as I wouldn't be ridiculed so as I wouldn't be mortified so as- Oh dear I'm in a loop. The doors opened, and no one was there. Not even Azazel this time, seeing as he was in the throne room, where we proceeded to. Tervil, Lance, Rotern, Crytin and I stopped at the door.

"This is it friends. May we be successful." Said Tervil, and he saluted. We all let out an amen and a salute except Crytin.

"Yeah, I'm not really the combatant type, so I'll just wait out here. Good luck, and may God be with you." We nodded, and pushed open the door, where King Azazel was waiting. He was holding a martini and had his arm around Queen Raquel in her throne, who was attempting to squirm away but was held fast by the Rings.

"Well, well, well. My knights are alive. But to what purpose? All of Rytellia believes the King attempted murder on Raquel, but I mercifully sent him to be a Minor King instead of execution, thanks to my chest plate. Now die." He smashed his martini to the floor, stood, and swiftly threw a vial at us. I dashed forward, ducking the vial, and it sprayed its contents on my comrades, putting them to sleep. "Bravo, Avidan. But it all ends here." He drew a long black sword, and charged.

I charged back at him, blade drawn. We both swung and our swords clashed, rebounding off each other. I swung up, and he parried with a downwards-vertical slash, which I blocked horizontally, supporting my blade with two hands. He pushed on, bringing me to my knees. The pressure was incredible.

"How long will you keep it up, fool? I have already won!" He was right. He had killed three of my fellow knights, and sedated the rest. He was applying more pressure by the second, and any second I would succumb. Azazel couldn't be too bad of a leader, I reasoned. Then an image of Koler flashed in my brain.

"Avidan, keep going! He's giving you a load of nonsense, just ignore it and fight!" Raquel called urgently to me. Azazel shifted his attention to her.

"Quiet girl, when I'm through with these knights, you'll get your-" I groaned with effort as I released one final strain of my remaining strength, pushing Azazel backwards and launching me forward, embedding my blade through his Armour of darkness and into his chest. On his dead face was a look of shock, one that would remain there until it decomposed off. I drew my blade from his ribs and kicked his body away from the throne. The Rungs of Binding disappeared in red sparkles, which fell to the ground and faded away.

Raquel jumped up and caught me in a deep embrace. I grinned over her shoulder. It was over, Azazel was dead and Raquel was once more a princess. And yeah, Roland was once more King of Rytellia.

Well, this is the last narration. A year later, King Roland was dying, and Raquel was to take his place as Queen of Rytellia. Koler, Mezzo, and Lylack's positions had long since been replaced, but their losses would never truly be repaid. Tonight there was to be a celebrational ball for the rise of the new Queen, and I was decked out in my new tunic, of blue and dark blue. Much more stylish, right? Oh, shut up. This time, I didn't ride a mile away, I was more mature now, and plus I didn't want to deal with that damned gate guard again. I took my place next to Tervil again, and saw that he was eyeing a suspicious looking man in the shadows.

"Finding an interest in men, eh Tervy?" I asked jokingly.

"I was right last time, wasn't I?"

"Yeah, but how often in this world does a psychopathic nut try and kidnap a princess or queen?" I paused for a moment or two. "Up the security around Queen Raquel tonight? Send a search party for the mysterious man if he disappears, and make sure that he leaves the castle?" Tervil merely nodded, and I got to work.

The End

When life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing

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