1780

Blotted Ink with a Broken Quill

United States

13 years old.
In love with books.
Ranger's Apprentice. 1
Dawn of Wonder. 2
Wings of Fire. 3
Warriors. 4
Percy Jackson. 5

ENFP-T

Coldplay.
Beatles.

Guitarist.
Artist.
Screamer.
Lover.
Actor.

Join Date: September 12, 2018

Message from Writer

I have found that what I put here before was very deep.
Nah...
Just wanted to say hi.
So hello.

And remember that whoever you are, however you look, in what way you think, what you drink, how you express yourself, how you write, what music you listen to, and even how long your fingernails are, the only real thing about you is what you decide to be.

The Invitation and The Trials, Chapter 2 and 3 of: A Kingdom in Chaos- The Awakening; Book 1

December 3, 2018

FREE WRITING

2
He picked up the slip of paper and read:
    
Jerad Tavish,    
Time of event, 9:30 a.m. on the eve of the full moon,
Do not bring anything on your person.

    Greetings,
Master Hunt


Before he even finished reading the note he was dashing towards Garon’s door. Then remembering himself and what was at stake, he politely knocked. He heard Garon get up from his chair and walk over to the door, the clomping of his boots echoing through the floorboards. The door opened and Jerad, bringing up his most respectful self asked “Could you possibly let me attend the trials?”
“What?” Garon said, though he clearly understood.
Bringing up his courage, the apprentice said, “I asked you if I could attend the trials; they’re tomorrow,” handing Garon the note as he spoke.
“Did you forge this letter? I've seen Master Hunt’s handwriting, and I know yours is not as elegant.” Jerad’s handwriting was fine, it just seemed that Garon had a small amount of trouble in believing this.
Garon was silent for a long while, his face an emotionless deadpan. He always did this, and whether it was because he was thinking, or if he did it simply to annoy Jerad, and after about twenty minutes, he finally answered.
    “I assume I can’t stop you from going, and it looks like that invitation is genuine. You may go.”
Jerad was almost happy enough to hug the man... Almost.
He composed himself, and thanked Garon. Now all that was left to do was wait till the time finally came… At six in the afternoon, he had a fitful time falling asleep considering it was still early, but he knew he needed rest, and after an hour or two, he fell into the embrace of darkness.
Startling awake he got up to do the chores, but then he remembered what was to come of the day and let the tension out of his shoulders. By the darkness outside of his window he decided it was around five in the morning, that meant he still he had four hours before the trials, but he could sleep no longer and got up to ready himself. He put on his most durable tunic and denim pants and grabbed his hunting knife off his bedside table. Garon wasn’t awake yet, so Jerad decided he would go out and take a walk.
It was surprisingly dark outside and it took him a minute or two to become accustomed to the light level. After he was acclimated, he started up the street, not having a particular idea of where he was going to. Briefly stopping by the garden near the “Golden Dragon Inn,” something caught his eye in an alleyway near the tavern. He saw a distorted black shape slip through the passage in between the buildings. He almost dismissed it considering it could have just been a waiter, but his instinct told him that wasn’t the case. He walked slowly towards the alleyway and pulled out the small hunting knife. It was a blade of steel that was forged with nickel, producing a lightweight, durable material somewhat like stainless steel. He stepped into the passage and disappeared from view.
As the apprentice crept through the dank alley he heard voices; they seemed to be coming from an abandoned building to his left. Jerad bent down under the window sill and attempted to eavesdrop on their conversation.
The harsh voice of a man exclaimed “We don’t have time to wait! When do you think the plan can be put into action?”
“Your wishes will be granted before long, Idar, you don't have to wait much longer.” Ice crept through Jerad’s veins, but he didn't know why. It could just be an alleyway gang—maybe the Coppers—but the voice seemed familiar. Too familiar.
***
    Jerad quickly ran out of the alley and rounded the corner, bolting for his house. He was heaving by the time he returned and couldn't believe what he had overheard. It could possibly be a planned murder of the king!
The apprentice opened the door to the shop, and quickly, ran up the stairs. Fumbling with the keys, he unlocked the door up to the house part of the shop, went to his bedroom and locked the door.
After his hammering heart subsided into a normal pattern he lay back on his bed to digest what he had just seen. How? an Idar had something to do with it. His mind began to race, trying to remember if and began to brainstorm what the trials could be for intellect. He already knew a race was set in place for strength and endurance, and only the first eighty people to cross the finish line get admitted to attempt the intellect challenge. He could read very well, so that wouldn’t be a difficulty. He also knew quite a lot about the geography of Lithia. History could be a problem; even in Garon’s best efforts to teach him, he found it boring. But he assumed most everybody besides the nobles would know about as much as he did, so that was okay. He heard a couple people on the street outside, less than usual, so he assumed he had two hours or so. He heard a creak from Garon’s door and the man walked out of the room.
    “When are you leaving again?” he asked in a drowsy voice.
“About two hours.” Jerad replied
Garon walked back into his own room and shut the door; it was obviously too early to be up in his opinion.
Fixing himself a quick breakfast, Jerad ate, then dropped the iron knife from his boot on the table, as the trials had told him not to bring anything. And with only his clothes, he set off for the trials.


The morning air was brisk and cold, with golden leaves falling from their vigilant posts in the trees. As the cold was biting his face, Jerad wondered why they staged the trials in the end of fall, but he grudgingly told himself that this made the trial all the harder and that it wasn’t just a planning issue. People started flooding onto the street and he could see many other people who were coming for the trials.
    Everybody poured out into the square where the trial was to begin until the shortest of the commoners couldn’t be recognized or seen. The chatter was overwhelming, and since he had no one to talk to, he listened. He heard many people going on about about how they were chosen. He overheard a tall blond girl saying, .“I was just sitting at my front doorstep, just turned twelve the night before, and a falcon flew up to me and dropped a slip.” The group of girls around her, no doubt nobles, giggled. “And that ridiculous notion of not bringing anything with you, how am I supposed to survive without my servants?”
Jerad, getting bored of their banter, went towards the front of the crowd to see if he could catch any other interesting comments. He obtained small snippets like, “What do you think the race will be like?” and “I hope I pass.” Then he noticed a short girl with dark hair and blue eyes. She was silent like him. She wore practical clothes, and they were simple, although the tailoring was impeccable. Over the left breast of the woolen shirt was a crest embroidered with silver thread. It pictured a stag with an eagle on it’s left horn standing in front of three interlocking trees. The stag represented the kingdom and its people, the eagle for the academy, and the trees to show unity of all three. It was ironic as well, considering that the leader of the academy and the king were brothers.
The princess was here? That wasn’t exactly a surprise; the royal line almost always had spirit animals; it had something to do with a blessing of some sort. But she was at a race in a public plaza without any guards? That was odd. If Jerad had to guess, they were close, just out of sight, as to not have any trouble from crowd goers.
    A booming voice came from his left, and the crowd fell silent.
“Welcome to the beginning of trials,” the man said.
There was a mixture of clapping and cheering, and he waited for it to die down
”My name is Master Hunt of the academy of Eludria.”
The king's brother, speak of the underworld, wore a set of formal blue robes; over his heart, there was an eagle embroidered with silver fabric. The man spoke again, “I would instruct all of you except those chosen to find your places along the racetrack.” Many of the people, mostly adults, and some children, started walking toward the exit of the square. After they left, the master of the academy said, “Everybody, I will warn you once, and once only, the trials are not for the faint hearted or the dull minded. I suggest that if you excel in either one of those categories, you should drop out now to save yourself the time and pain.”
Nobody left, unsurprisingly.
“The rules are simple; stay within the boundary of the red markers planted in the ground, and no physical contact of any kind with other competitors. Our other masters will be at each obstacle to instruct you on the task. The first eighty across the finish line will be tested for the intellect trials, where only the top thirty will be offered entry. Now everyone, to your places.”
The mob of people walked towards the starting line, jostling to be first. After everybody was in line, Hunt raised his hands, everything grew silent until the only noise was the wind wrestling with the trees.
“Ready, and… Go.” It was chaos, a maelstrom of bodies sprinting along the track. Jerad established an early lead, and played around with pace until he found one that suited him. The people started to thin out and soon he could only see eight other people. Six were behind him and two were ahead: the Gadrel girl and a tall muscular boy with dirty blond hair who looked to be about fifteen. Jared estimated he was in the top thirty or fourty at the moment, so he kept his pace. In the distance Jerad saw the beginnings of the first obstacle, a wall made out of rough stone, around seven feet high and as long as the track. He saw the tall boy jump and latch onto the top of the wall then pull himself over out of sight. Jerad ran up to the wall, and the instructor said,
“Get over the wall in any way you see fit. If you cannot complete the task you have to stay here for an additional two minutes after you have given up.”
Jerad backed up then sprinted madly towards the wall, half jumping and half scrambling up. He landed his first foot on the wooden wall, pushing up to barely grab onto the ledge, battling with it. He silently thanked Keyan for allowing him to use the forge; the hammering had made him strong enough to pull himself up.
Jumping off the other side, he continued running, noticing that the Gadrel girl had made it over behind him. He started to accelerate, knowing he could outrun her. He had always been good at running, but then reined himself back in; there was no point in tiring himself out. No need to prove he was better at running than the princess. Going back to a steady jog he let the girl pass him, knowing it would be better in the long run. He might as well just try to get within the top eighty. Coming up on the next obstacle, he realized that it was a river. He cursed to himself, it wasn’t that he was bad at swimming, but that the water would be freezing. There were boats positioned in strategic points around the wide river, waiting to carry back competitors to this side to try again.
“You have to swim across the river. If you forfeit to the boats you come back to this side and try again. If you fail twice, you have to wait five minutes on this side, then you will be ferried across to the other side,” the instructor proclaimed, “If you cannot swim, you are allowed to automatically fail and wait for the allotted time.”
Jerad saw the princess battling against the river, but she was doing surprisingly well, her arms in a rhythmic stroke which propelled her swiftly through the ruhing torrent.
Dreading what was to come, Jerad walked down to the water, took off his shirt and tied it around his head in the hopes of keeping it dry. He then noticed that the muscular boy was soaking and being carried across to the other side while shivering; he must have never swam before. It made sense because of his complexion. It looked as if he was from one of the deserts, perhaps the crimson. Jerad was surprised he even tried to swim across; he was determined, that was for sure.
Jerad shook himself to stop his procrastination. He stepped into the river and let out an small inward yelp of pain. Although there was no snow, the ice melt from the mountains had run down into the stream, making it cold enough for ice to form over. But this river was running fast enough that ice couldn’t form. So much worse.
He gritted his teeth, then he waded further in until he was up to his neck. He started swimming, closing the distance to the opposite shore. He had swam a couple of times in his life in various rivers, and once even in the ocean— a trip to Yathu for Garon to sign a certain legal document; the man had grumbled about it being a pointless trip, but Jerad had thought it exciting, seeing the different economy and people, noticing their differences and mannerisms as opposed to Eludrian’s. During the trip, he had experienced the crashing waves and felt the thrill of them crashing over him— and had quite enjoyed the feel of gliding through the water.
This was at the opposite of the spectrum; a freezing cold fast rushing river, that could give hypothermia and take you away without a thought. The boats were the only lifeline.
He usually didn’t mind the cold too much, though he was accustomed the heat of the forge and Eludria’s blistering summers. But during the winter, it often got frightfully cold, and about everyone was sick of it. But this was a new level of cold, so painfully hot that it seemed as though his flesh was melting off.
As he forged ahead, he grew weaker, the running must have fatigued to the point were the cold was slowly seeping into his bones, eating his stamina. He wondered if he should just let go, float down to the boatman… He noticed himself drifting off towards the nearest raft, and he yelled defiantly at himself, and managed to travel a few more meters. He dazedly felt something touch his foot, it was soft and it felt like… mud! He had reached the far shore without one fail, though he was still freezing cold; he untied his shirt and used it to dry himself off. It had paid off.
He noticed that the other boy was only just in front of him. Everyone who was running on this side of the river was going at a considerably slower pace, and it felt like a long time before Jerad saw the last obstacle.
There were two men out in the field holding bows, with competitors attempting to dodge the arrows. The heads of the weapons had blunted tips, but they looked as if they could still crack a rib. He saw a short girl attempt to jump out of the way of one of the arrows, but she was a fraction of a second too slow. It hit her in the leg and she fell, but from the way she limped to the other side it looked as if she had only gotten a nasty bruise. He saw the princess duck one arrow, and roll out of the way of another.
There was no instructor, so this must have meant that the rules were simple: get to the other side. With that in mind, Jerad started to run across the field, staring intently at the two archers. The other group had already made it across, so he was a lone target. The one to the left of him fired a shot towards his left leg, Jerad darted to the left, lunging out of the way as the missile whistled past. The other archer fired two shots in rapid succession, aiming for his stomach and left shoulder. Jerad dove to the right, but one of the flint tips smashed into his leg. It was not as bad as it could have been, and for that he was grateful. These archers could easily kill him if they wanted to, blunt arrow tips or no. He kept running across the last stretch of the field no more arrows were fired in his direction, the shafts were finding new targets closer to the beginning of the course. Jerad was now slightly slowed, and once again the muscular boy passed him, this time with a salute and a sly grin.
In the distance Jerad saw the city walls, the sight of them invigorating him. His injury forgotten for the time being, he dashed over the paved tile road leading to the gates. He saw many other competitors waiting behind the line.
A man called, “twenty-four,” Jerad started to sprint faster, knowing the end was so close. He could possibly have a better chance if he didn’t do well on the mental challenge. He passed one, two, then three people, exhilaration and adrenaline pumping his legs forward so fast that he could barely stop himself from running across the line right into the tall muscular boy. He then heard the man call “twenty-six.” All the tension seeped out of him, and his legs turned to butter. He collapsed onto the ground panting. He again thanked Keyan. He would have had no chance in the race without him. After sitting down to catch his breath, he saw people rushing in and going into varied states; some cried, some whooped in exhilaration, and as the final competitor cross the line— a small wiry boy— the competitors behind him all collapsed, and a girl even burst into tears.
“Eighty,” the man exclaimed, in his deep throaty voice, signalling the end of the race.
 

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  • December 3, 2018 - 1:45pm (Now Viewing)

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3 Comments
  • paperbird

    i love the line "The morning air was brisk and cold, with golden leaves falling from their vigilant posts in the trees." you are a masterful storyteller! i can't wait to read the next chapters.
    also, what's going to happen to jerad? this is really addicting to read.


    9 months ago
  • Blotted Ink with a Broken Quill

    Next 11 chapters coming up! And they only get longer.


    10 months ago
  • korra4life

    Okay... sorry to be one of those people but... I'm still waiting for the next part, lol. Is there more or were you just trying to leave me in suspense?


    10 months ago