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  • A wasted Knight - part ten - wondering feet and minds

    As the young knight headed off into the forest, the dark closed in behind him. He was unaware of the eyes the followed in the distance.

    The knight walked aimless and uncomfortable. Unsure of where he was going, and unsure of what to think. The path that both his mind and body took was perhaps not the best. But then what is the right path? Is there ever a right path, or is it about the decisions we make along that path that make it right? Robert Frost took the path less travelled and to him, that has made all the difference but I wonder if it wasn't really about the path, but the choice he made. Surely a path, in and of its self holds no morality but the intent with which it is engaged makes all the difference.

    Unfortunately for the young wounded knight, the intention with which he now travelled this road was not one of redemption but more of escape. Actually it was more than that fore the Knight had already escaped the danger that initially wounded him. Now he was running future from the source in an effort to escape the pain. The young prince hadn’t realised yet that the pain was within him and emanating from the wound he refused to addressed and wouldn't allow others to help with. Pressing on into the heart of the forest, the knight hoped the pain would leave him - but it didn't.

    The world sighed and wondered why humans did this to themselves. Why did they eternally try and run from themselves? For creatures that usually possessed the ability to logically consider and react, Humans also seemed to be the only creations that also tried to leave themselves behind. Other creations didn't exhibit the same tendency to run from themselves - sure they would run from danger or threat. They would leave an area if beaten in a fight but this was always because of an external factor. Humans were the only ones that found themselves to be a threat to their own existence and wanted to run from themselves. How odd these human beings are, the world thought. And the world was right.

    As the knight moved through the forest, so too did his mind. It wondered through the past adventure from his training through to the recent ‘attack’ of the Raevac in the forest – or was it an attack he wondered… at any rate the young prince wasn’t going to stick around and find out.

    The mind is a wondering creature, much like it’s human container in which it resides. A mind will wonder seemingly aimlessly unless it’s kept in check. Like a dog walking out the gate and down the road – a mind may not seem like it has a destination in mind but it knows that it’s on the move and heading in a consistent direction yet it knows not where it will stop.

    So wondered the knights mind into a dark forest of it’s own. It wondered past fights and remember battles it had failed in and it wondered if the battle had been lost because of it. The mind meandered through the low-lands of rejection by the princess in the tower and it dwelt in the shade of the “what if” tree where it considered all the things it should have said that might just have made the princess see the knight differently. As the young knights mind strolled unchecked it took the young knight to a place where he felt very third rate, not just second rate but below that. Where others were first-rate and succeeded in life, second-rate knights won some and lost some but overall came out on top. But the Prince felt third-rate – That place where… well it’s a hard place to describe and the knight couldn’t put into words what that place felt like. It was similar to when you were at school and being picked for a game. Your friends would all line up and the two captains would take turns choosing the best players and slowly everyone would be picked before you. Usually you would finally be picked reluctantly and added to a team. But this time the prince felt like he hadn’t even been picked – one team had decided they would rather play with one less player than to have him on their team. The knight figured it was better to leave the game and stand on the sidelines, but as his mind wondered more be begun to think it would be better if he didn’t stay to watch the game because it hurt too much.

    When there is such a burning desire to play the game and be good at it, but you simply aren’t that good – what do you do? You can practice and practice until you are good enough but while you practice, so are the others and you all increase in skill and find that you are still last to be picked or worse, not picked at all.

    The young knights mind and feet continued to wonder unchecked while the knight focused on the pain in his chest. He didn’t know how long it would take for the wound to heal but he was determined to diminish the pain so he kept walking ignoring the growing pangs of hunger and the internal warning signs that danger was immanent.

  • A wasted Knight - part eight - A heart sets its way

    The knight dreamed as he lay on the moss. The place he had drifted off to was not death but another dreamland where there was an fantastic joy that overcame the young prince. Two things where abundantly clear in the dreamworld in which he now resided 1)There was no pain, in fact it was better than just no pain, there was overwhelming joy 2) The knight was no longer the knight, he was someone else who had won the battles and come through victorious. There were scares on this new body but he couldn't tell you how they had got there, and for the moment he didn't care to try and remember. He just wanted to enjoy this moment for as long as it lasted.

    Dreams have a powerful way of highlighting the wants and desires of the heart. They facilitated the imaginings of a wild heart that has until now been bound in reality. In a dream you can live through the most fantastic and horrifying scenarios. The prince was dreaming of a life better lived. In his dream he had managed to rid himself of the two things that had caused him the most pain for the longest time- his heart, and himself.

    In the moments that passed for the knight, he lay there and dreamed with a broken heart of a life he wish he had.

    Why are hearts so uncontrollable? from where do they get their ability to deny and ignore all the realities around them? They cling to hope which should have logically long left these shores. A heart is the most wild thing the world has ever encountered. There is no stopping a heart when it sets its way; Neither bricks nor brilliance can dissuade it. There is nothing that can confine a heart that has known freedom before and yearns to have it back.

    Their is nothing as beautiful as a heart set free to be all it was destined to be, and nothing more disappointing than a heart which has never been allowed to really live. A heart is a lot like a captive bear, elephant, or other animal chained from birth. The animal which is bound from birth learns early that it simply can not be free from its bonds. Later in life it won't bother to test the thin chain. So to a heart bound and suppressed from birth never really lives the way it somehow knows it could.

    The knights heart had lived free once before and now felt and constraints of reality it simply would not accept. Sinking into the moss would never be enough for this young heart and somewhere deep inside the knight, it began to stir. Even as it realised it would have to leave the dreamworld for the constraints and pain of reality which would immediately enveloped it. The Knights heart cried out to the young prince. It cried for freedom, I cried out for revenge, it cried out for a life that was not finished.

    And so, like all things, dreams never last forever. The young prince was called back from his dreamland by his own heart. As strange as that may seem, the knight had relented and very nearly given up but his heart, the very thing that was most damaged, would not let him give up on the account of it. his heart refused to be the reason the young prince never carried on. His heart pulled him from the place it so desperately wanted to be.

    Hearts have a bizarre ability to see things for the value they really have. The knights heart was not content to live someone else's dream. It wanted life, and all it had to offer. the young princes heart had set its way to live it's own adventure and nothing would stop his heart from achieving all it hand inside it.

    The Knight stirred in his moss mattress. The moss reached up around the young prince as if to call him back to the dream. But it was to late for the moss. Pain gripped the knights chest again and he called out as the shaft of the arrow gripped on the inside of the Armour and let go. the knight was alive again and the Raevac moved in...

  • A wasted Knight - part seven - making a choice

    The Raevac watched the young prince sit in the dampend moss undergrowth of the forest. Not the cleanest place to sit but for right now it was perfect. The knight leaned back into the soft earth and removed his helment, turned it around a looked at it. The lower part of the right neck guard was dented, the plum was full of foliage, the pin that held his visor onto the right side was lose and not holding the visor in place well.  The first  thought that ran through the knights head was how much of a disgrace his armour was, then the second thought followed quickly "I don't care, no one cares what my armour looks like. I'm in the middle of a forest where I'm meant to be 'being a knight' and I've stuffed it all up. What the heck does it matter now what my armour looks like? It can't protect me against the very thing that will cause me the most damge - myself"

    Sitting the in warm black under growth the prince began to recount his experience. The training he had received, the battels along the way, the dragon, the castle, the princess, and now the forest. For the first time in a long time he felt safe here. His whole life he'd been told the the dangers a forest could hold; How he should watch out for traps, wild animals, bandits etc. The Forest was meant to be a dnagerous place yet he felt safe here compared to the 'safer' world he had just left.

    As the knight sat pondering the world, that very same world kept moving oblivious to the knight. And why should the world care if the knight was tired, sleeping, relenting, releasing, removing himself from it. In the soft shadow of the forest, the world couldn't see the knight as he lay. the world didn't notice the wound deep in his chest. I'm sure it's not that the world doesn't care, it's just that there is so much else going on that the world couldn't do anything even if it did know. Mother earth would craefully accept the young prince back should he chose to return but otherwise it had the rest of life to get on with.  So the  knight  sat there and bleed back to where he had first come.

    On the outside of his armour there was a small pucker and hole where the arrow had struck. The physical damage on the outside was little. Nothing a hammer and small patch couldn't fix. the armour itself would be back to knew and stronger in that place that ever before. But it wasnt the armour that was the problem now, it was the wound beneath the armour. The knight has since broken off the penetrating arrow, or at least it appeard that way from the outside. The truth was known only to the knight who still felt the pain everytime he breathed. The remaining shaft of the arrow lay deep in his heart but causing pain and holding damaged flesh in place. as he deathed the sahft would scrap against the inside of his armour. The young prince wasn't sure whether to pull the remaining arrow out and free himself from the infliction, or if pulling the shaft out would pull with it damaged fleesh and tear away at vital little healthy heart that was left. He began to care less and less as the soft moss molded to his body. Lying back, he positioned his chest plate as far away from the wound as possible so it would not rub. He closed his eyes and left for another world.

    The Raevac just watched as the knight drifted away; possibly the only one who knew what was happening, possibly the only one who could help, and the only one that knew that the night needed to choose before the Raevac chould help. The Raevac poised ready to help, waiting for a sign of need, waiting to see if the young prince would make one last effort to repeal the pain and make his choice.

  • A wasted knight - part six - environmental impacts

    And the young prince disappeared into the forest at the end of the valley. The forest was thick but not dense. That is to say that once in it's life it would have been a very think, solid, and difficult forest to travel through, but now the forest was think but easy to move through. Trees and brunches didn't really put up a fight as the young prince moved through it. In fact they almost sighed with resignation as he moved through. Branches and most just sort of dropped to the ground and it was clear the tree from which it had fallen, made no effort to replace the dismembered parts.

    As the knight travelled on his way, dust, most, leaves, and other debris from the wilting forest began to cover him, just a light dust at first but it gathered more and more. The knight could feel it starting to cling to his damp skin. It didn't feel good.

    Our prince wasn't doing very well. He'd been part of a fairly rough adventure so far, not that this was a bad thing. Adventures aren't meant to be easy or safe really. I don't think many people would go on them if they were. A good adventure has a huge dose of the unknown in it, and hopefully that means challenges and risks. But when people think about going on an adventure I wonder how often they consider that the risks might actually be hard to deal with? That threats are often not happy things, they are nasty and painful. And that human beings, no matter what we say, don't really like to much uncertainly in our lives.

    It didn't seem like such a fun adventure to the young prince now. In fact he was wondering what the heck he was actually doing at this point. The adventure was meant to be to find the girl, rescue her, and live happily ever after. Why hadn't it worked out that way? Where the heck had this adventure gone wrong? Maybe, he thought, he should have just picked the first tower he came across, busted down the door, knocked the princess out cold, carried her back home, and lived happily ever after. It certainly would have saved all the pain and confusion he was experiencing now. He breathed a deep breath and felt a surge of pain shoot from his wounded chest down his right leg.

    The forest, while dark and dead, seemed familiar and peaceful. The young prince felt at home in the withering, resigned forest that wanted to grow but couldn't. He sat down and thought about how comfortable he was there. Maybe this is where he should stay. He didn't want to go home again now that he had stuffed up the great adventure. Maybe he could make a home for himself in the forest.

    And so the knight began to relax and rest for the first time since before he had entered the dark valley. Perhaps it was the physical exhaustion, maybe it was the dark light that made his body think it was time to sleep, or maybe the forest impressed upon him its resignation. What ever it was, the Raevac was not pleased. "This isn't good. This isn't a good place to get comfortable right now. This lad needs to keep moving" thought the Raevac.

  • A wasted knight – part Five – Rejection and creation

    [Please read a wasted night - part Four before reading this]

    A wasted knight – part Five – Rejection and creation

    The young knight was gaining his strength back and while the Raevac talked, he began to plan how he might escape. However, it was obvious that the Raevac was not stupid, or inattentive. The knight would have to plan his escape far beyond the first move or getting away. He continued to think through his options.

    "The sad story of a Raevac is that we were once Guardians of the Diplomat. We are the ones who where set free from service for one reason or anther. Set free to wonder the world alone…"

    The young prince piped up, perhaps a little hastily "Why alone? You said there were always two Guardians for every diplomat. Aren't you meant to even be married to the other Guardian? Where is your wife?"

    Quietly the Raevac moved along the pillar it was on, then spoke very softly, almost a whisper which was rather hard for the young prince to hear.

    "Foolish child… use that head of yours and think about this for a moment. Why would a guardian who is so committed that they serve one diplomat their whole lives, suddenly turn away from the person they love the most? Why would you think that a Guardian who is taught the highest levels of integrity, honour, loyalty, dedication possibly consider ever going out alone? Young prince, ill assume that you are still coming to you senses after the battle and wound you have received, but hear me on this. A Raevac would never give up or leave. You remember that, as long as you live."

    It dawned on the knight that something must have happened to the Raevacs wife, and what happened to her was obviously death or the Raevac would still be fighting to set her free, or she would be here. The knight felt very…

    "And why do you assume I am a man, that my wife would not be here?" grinned the Raevac, who until this point had its hood pulled low over its face. The Raevac pulled the hood back to reveal the face of a weathered, but pretty female face.

    The knight was indeed surprised but then realised that he should not have been. If both Guardians where as formidable as each other and the myths portrayed, then a female Guardian this could indeed be. He said nothing and tried to keep his thoughts off his face.

    "I was once a Guardian and yes I once had a husband who was everything to me. Strong, compassionate, and dedicated to the cause and to me. I love him and miss him and will forever…"
    The Raevac just trailed off as she thought about her Husband Guardian.

    "You see the way a Guardian team worked with a diplomat was very formal. Women would travel in a carriage and men would ride on horse back. It's the royal, formal way of doing things and that is very important in these situations.

    In this instance we were actually travelling with two diplomats and their guardians with particularly sensitive orders. When ever the king had something of incredible import that he could not be present for, he sent two diplomats and their associated guardians. Sort of double the wisdom and double the protection.

    The location we were to travel to was a costal city and there were only two passages in and out. This made the city easy to defend but also risky to visit, hence the extra protection. The king we were to visit had been hostile and threatening all sorts of things. The diplomats where being sent to ease the situation and find out exactly what was wrong.

    We Guardians spent a long time trying to ascertain the best route to enter the city. After a lot of scouting we found no presence of a threat along the coastal roads, and so proceeded into the city. It was then, however, that we realised the threat was inside the city. As the gates opened to the city on our arrival, a large party of horsemen wearing foreign armour rode out to meet us. The coat of arms was not that which we were expecting and it became apparent that something had gone very wrong in this city.

    Diplomacy is always the first choice of a Guardian but soon talking turned out to be useless. The horsemen became hostile and insisted that we let the diplomats be taken without a fight, when we obviously refused a full fight ensued. Several of the horsemen split the guardians down the middle and drove the carriage which had the female diplomats, the other female guardian and myself in it. That was the last I saw of my husband… I watched carefully out the window as the carriage careered away from the fight. We were flanked by several of the horsemen. The fight looked terribly fierce and hopeless. It was clear the horsemen were warriors' and well prepared for the attack.

    Our carriage was taken to an awaiting ship where we were sent away and held captive for a very long time. I can only assume that a ransom was asked because one day the prison we were held in was liberated by the army with King Gyidon himself at the forefront.

    We were taken back to the kingdom and given rest for several months. During this time we learned that none of the men had survived from the fight outside the city. Evidently they had fought for a long time and struck down many of the horsemen. It appeared that it was an arrow which ended the lives of the Guardians, not the sword. It would be my guess that the horsemen could not kill them at close range with the honour the guardians and diplomats deserved, and would have pulled back to allow a shower or arrows to take the lives of such challenging foes.

    King Gyidon released the women diplomats from serve as they could no longer serve as just the female halves. They were offered positions in the King's court for the rest of their days. The King also set us Guardians free and offered a very comfortable live as a King's guard. But I could never serve in the palace for the rest of my days. I will always need to be outside and fighting in the mud. The palace life was not something I could accept. So I was set free with the palace gates always open behind me for when I will return. The name they give to us that travel the country side now is that of Raevac. We are not in the kings service, but are forever searching for those who could be"

    The prince had forgotten about his plan to escape and had become very interested. "What do you mean searching for those that could be?"

  • Memoirs of Sir Robert Williams

    By Hayden Sanders and Jo Brunskill 

    About this story: This is a funny story Jo and I wrote over email. We would each write a paragraph or two then email it to the other to carry on. It's a very fun way to write a strange and interesting story.

    Chapter one - The Wallnut tree and the storyteller

    There are many things I wanted to be as I was growing up. First it was a policeman, but I soon realised that had to stop bad people and that could hurt, so I gave up that idea. Then i wanted to be a firefighter, then realised that they keep going into the places that people are running out of, I didnt like that idea. Once I wanted to be a soldier, then found out that they get shoot at! so I gave that up as well. But the one thing I was wanted to be was a good storyteller...

    Not just an average one mind you. Growing up I'd quickly grown tired of the "and then and then and then" stories of my peers, and the unimaginative adventures of Dick and Jane and fanny the dog that they forced down our throats at school. No, I wanted to be a storyteller with a difference. Someone whose tales meant something and touched people.
    I had only ever known one good storyteller at that point in my life. Stories came and went with their creators, but only one man's stories endured in my heart. And the teller of those stories was a gentleman that I had lived next too for several years when I was a young boy.

    We lived close to the ocean but not right on the beach. In our back yard there was a large walnut tree. It had been there for centurys, or so I thought when I was young. I would climb in it all summer and spend hours gathering the walnuts and eating them while I sat in the branches. The tree was enormous and so high that I was scared to ever climb all the way up to the top. The tree was strong and would have held me if I had ever been brave enough to climb up. I would sit in the middle of the tree and look at the highest point and wonder just what the view would be like from the top. I was content to sit where i was and look out of the corn feild behind our house that seperated my house from the beach. I remember many a summer day sitting in the old walnut tree dreaming about the adventures that life had to offer.

    Now the house next to mine was rather unasuming. There was nothing about it that stood out for anyreason. But living in that house was the most amazing storyteller i have evern ecountered, Sir Robert Williams.

    At face value, Sir Robert Williams was as unassuming as his house. But right from the start I knew there was something special about him. He was a man of small physical stature, with a greying moustache and a comb-over any senior citizen would be proud to sport. A plain looking man, except for the small glint of mischief in his eyes.

    The first time I met my fascinating neighbour happened purely by accident. I had been watching him for a few weeks from the old walnut tree, but hadn't yet brought up the courage to address him. The day in mention was a particularly stunning Saturday in early summer.
    Sir Robert was pottering around the garden. Although he didn't actually appear to be gardening as such. In fact, I wasn't sure exactly what he was doing, and it was my curiosity that led me to climb onto a rather flimsy branch that leant over onto his property.

    I could see that the old man had a spade in his hand and he was digging at something but not the sort of shallow digging that my Dad did in the garden. When my Dad digs in the garden, its short sharp lines for planting seeds in. or its with a pitch forlk as he turns up potatoes. But the diging the old man was doing was in one place and he kept going down. He was diging close to the fence by our house and I had trouble seeing whether it was a hole in the garden patch or in the grass. I crawled out a little furthur on the branch I was currently sitting on but as I did a large leafy branch entered my view and obscured the old man even more. I leaned out to the right and placed my hand on a branch. I put a small ammount of weight on it to check that it would hold. statisfied I would not fall, i put my full weight on it and crained my neck to look around the leafy branch and down over the fence. just as my head peered over the wooden rail enough to see what the old man was doing, I heard a soft crack somewhere behind me. Experience had taught me that this was not a good thing and as i turned my head to see which branch had given way, I began to fall through the lofts of the walnut tree. As I drifted through the branches, i wondered to myself which side of the fence i might land, and prayed that i would land one side rather than a top the solid wooden fence..

    As I saw the ground getting larger and larger and closer and closer, I panicked and screwed up my eyes, as if I could stop the inevitable by not looking at it.
    Thankfully, someone up there was looking out for me, as it wasn't the fence that I landed on. But to know for sure where I was, I had to open my eyes.
    Slowly, painfully, I peered out between my eyelids. The first thing that I could focus on was a tall blade of grass about an inch and a half away from my nose.
    Eventually, I managed to widen my sights to other blades of grass, and even to the large pile of dirt to my left. Uhuh, that must mean I was in the - suddenly, I heard a voice that I'd never heard before. A voice that chuckled out..

    "Heavens my dear boy, are you alright?"

    For a moment I thought about just closing my eyes and pretending nothing had happened, that I wasn't there, then I thought the better of that plan. I had landed on my left shoulder and as I rolled over and put weight on my left arm it collapsed beneath me and I could feel the dull throbbing pain that said I had hurt myself but probably not broken. I rolled over on the ground and said

    "I think Ive hurt my arm"

    "Well, youve landed in the right place" said the old man "I was a feild doctor once upon a time, amoungst other things, lets have a quick look and see whats happened"

    I lay on the ground half scared but curious about what a feild doctor was. I had heard of Doctors that fix brains, and doctors that fixed hearts. I had even heard of doctors that fixed trees, like the one i had just fallen out of. But what did a feild doctor do? how do you fix a feild? do you need to be a special doctor to fix a feild of corn like the one over the fence?

    I was just working up the courage to ask him what the largest field he'd ever worked with was, when he spoke again.

    "Come on then, no point in just lying there lad - can you sit up?"

    Swallowing my questions like the rice bubbles I'd eaten that morning, I focused my energy on sitting without bumping my aching arm.

    "Uh, I think so" I said, while proving myself right.
    "I don't think anything's broken" I said, in case he wasn't sure about arms. After all, a field doctor wasn't like a real doctor, was it?

    The old man stepped in to take a look. "Hmm, a few bumps and bruises but I'm sure you'll be just fine. Want to come inside for a biscuit?"

    Now, I had been well trained by my mother and various bossy aunties over the years of what to say to a stranger's invitation, so my answer was clear -

    Oops, I thought. How did that pop out when I was meant to say no??

    Chapter 2 - The house of wonders....and good biscuts

    The old man helped me to my feet then promptly put out his hand and introduced himself.

    "Well now that you have landed in my yard and we are about to share afternoon tea, I supose its about time we introduced ourselves. My name is Sir Robert Williams. and what is your name lad?"

    I stuck out my right hand, which Sir Robert grabed instnatly and gave a good solid shake. his hand was big and mine almost disapared when he shook it. My name is...

    "Robert too! But usually my family call me Bob or Bobby. Except for my Grandma, but she's really old."

    At that point, I stopped abruptly. This Sir Doctor man was at least 5 times as old as my grandma. I hoped he wasn't offended and wondered how I could dig myself out of the hole I had just begun to dig. Speaking of holes -

    "What are you digging?"

    At my question, Sir Robert started to look a bit sheepish. He let out an "Um" and a careful clearing of the throat like my Dad makes when Mum asks his why he hasn't done the dishes yet, as if considering how to break the news gently. Or just something to distract my Mum from the fact the he's not answering.

    "Well, ahh uh-hmm, you see lad. Life is a series of stories. We all have them, some last a long time and others are just short, but every story needs to come to an end. So I was just about to burry this" He picked up a small silver box that was sitting next to the fence. It was very bright and shiny, just like a ring that was also bright and shiny. The box reflected the light straight into my eyes and blinded me for a moment. I shirked away and put weight on my left arm, the arm gave out and I flopped over sideways. Sir Robert chuckled "Its only a box lad, it wont bite"

    "The box caught the light, and the thing with the shining, and then the ouch and its like...." I protested. Sir Robert laughed louder now as he helped me to my feet while saying "Come on Bobby, lets have that biscuit shall we"

    We walked to the back porch of Sir Roberts house. I could see through the open door that his walls held many picture frames, and most of them had pictures in them as well! in fact I think all of them had pictures in them... "hmmmm" I thought, and stood at the door just looking inside. Sir Robert had gone inside and already returned with a tray, on which resided a plate of biscuits, a large jog of lemonade and two glasses.

    "Lets sit our here shall we Bobby? There is nothing like a sunny day to lift the spirits and it would be a shame to waste such a day...." his voice trailed off because my eyes had caught the sight of the worlds most glorious biscuits. I knew these biscuits well and my heart leaped for joy when I saw them sitting there on the plate. These were the one-of-a-kind girl guide biscuits. oh yes they were, but not just the plain variety! Oh no these were the type with chocolate on one side. All the training and proper up brining from my parents told me that I should never talk to strangers, I should never accept gifts from them, I should never go home with them, and I should never take food from them. But all that had completely slipped my mind as I stared at the biscuits on the plate..

    "Go on then lad. Take one - or two if you'd prefer!!" Sir Robert said with a chortle.

    I didn't need to be told twice, these were my favourite biscuits, which my Mum never bought because she said girl guides had ruined her life. I often wondered how they'd ruined it. Maybe they'd sold her poisoned biscuits? Good thing these ones didn't taste poisoned.

    After a biscuit or three, I turned my attention back to my new friend ( I figured one became friends after sharing biscuits), who was watching me with a very bemused look on his wrinkly leather face.
    Hearing my Mother's voice inside my head, I spluttered a quick but grateful "Thankyou" through the soggy biscuit remnants around my mouth.

    "You are most welcome, my boy" Sir Robert replied. His Mother was obviously very strict on manners too.

    "Now, how would you like to hear a story?" he asked with a warm smile.

    "Is it about the shiny thing?" I asked hurriedly.

    "You'll just have to wait and see..."

    Chapter 3 - Stories and shiny things

    The old Sir leaned over to me and grinned "would you like to hear a story about the name Robert?"
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    I was intrigued "is the main character called Robert?"

    Yes, but even better than that, this is the story of how the name Robert first came to exist"

    "Wow, how do you know where my name, I mean our name came from?"

    The Sir grinned and leaned back in the sun and began

    "Many years ago, a long time before you or I were born, there was a family that lived in the farming community called Phoebrance. Have you ever heard the name Phoebe? Well Phoebe means light. So this area was know as the community of light. It got that name because of a very well known school in the area. The school was very good and all the royals in the region would send there children there to learn.

    Despite all of the royal children who attended the school there, Phoebrance was filled with normal people like you and I. Some of them were even less well-off than we are, and these villager's children grew up to be farm labourers or servants to those who were more advantaged. Fiscally that is."

    "Sorry - what? Fish-cally?"

    "Uh, yes. Sorry about that young lad. Sometimes I forget my audience! They served the people who had more money and could afford to have someone around to do their chores for them."

    "Gosh - I'd like to have someone like that around!"

    "I bet you would" Sir Robert chuckled, with a twinkle in his eye.

    "Now back to Phoebrance. Of all of the families in the community, there was one family who was the poorest of all..."

  • A wasted knight – part Four – back story to a Raevac begins

    [Please read a wasted night - part three before reading this]

    A wasted knight – part Four – back story to a Raevac begins

    "Not many people understand the incredible responsibility and subsequent pressure a King or Queen come under when they rule a Kingdom. No decision is ever simple or without consequences. The smallest change to common law or kingdom planning decision will always impact someone or something and as a result will start a chain of events that can create issues much large and future removed from the original decisions than most people might think.

    As you know, the largest kingdom is not our own, although it is one of the largest. The largest is the land of Muerdon ruled by King Gyida. Back in the history of the Muerdon Kingdom, it became obvious the protecting the borders of the kingdom was incredibly resource intensive. Often the battalions required to protect the borders where kept away from their families for years on end. The monarchy realised this was not having a positive impact on the population, for while they were all safe, they missed those that were away serving their country, and those that were away become demoralised as they watched the days go by without seeing their family for birthdays and the like.

    The king began to search out ways to ease the pressure of protecting the borders of the kingdom. A plan was hatched that solved several of the huge kingdoms issues. Plan involved appointing a very select few people to be representatives of the king in all matters that concerned the kingdom. In essence they became second in command and responsible only to the king. They had the ability to send commands that would over rule anything sent before, even from the kings own hand. They had the royal signet with which to seal letters and orders. They held as much power as the king did.

    The King knew that anyone with the level of power that the diplomats had, would become a target. So guardians where also appointed to serve and protect the diplomats.

    Selecting a diplomat was not as simple as just looking for someone with good looks and a quick wit. They had to be the very definition of integrity, honesty, and all those fruits-of-the-spirit things.

    Now as a side point, the definition of diplomat means to be an exact representation of the person or governance to which one is bound. This meant that every diplomat needed to be an exact resemblance of the kingdom of Muredon. Now everyone knows that there is no such thing as a perfect person, we all have our flaws. So how was the king to get around this? In his court, the king had many advisors both men and women who were wise and experienced. The best representation of the kingdom would be to allow both a male and female aspect to the diplomat. And so the very first diplomat was not a single person, but a married couple representing both man and woman. Our dictionaries don't reflect this at all, and the use of the word these days bears no resemblance to how it should be used. When ever a diplomat was invited to a neighbouring country, it was understood that a diplomat was two people and also the guardians that went with them.

    The guardians that travelled with a diplomat where a unique breed; like the diplomat, guardians where always a duo, male and female. The bond between the diplomat and the guardians was impenetrable. Diplomats had to be able to trust their guardians with their life. For this reason and diplomat and guardians where paired for life. If a diplomat ever left the kings service, the guardians would never be sent with another diplomat. It didn't matter what reason the diplomats left the kings service for, if it was treason–which never happened in the Muerdon Kingdom, then the guardians could never be trusted. If it was death, the guardians were set free to do as they wished. The assignment as a guardian meant a lifetime of service to one diplomat and that was their life.

    Diplomats and Guardians become so important to the Muredon Kingdom that young adults were hand picked and taken into special court education, and so were the guardians that would eventually protect the diplomat.

    Guardians underwent years of training in everything from etiquette to martial arts. They become expert killers and perfect gentle men. The roles of each guardian differed but the responsibility was the same for both — protect the diplomat at all costs, never let anything happen to them. They were given absolute licence to kill should the need arise, and frequently it did. Guardians where expert military tacticians and would regularly adjust travel plans for fears of ambush. A Guardian was not a coward, and in the interest of protecting the kingdom, would also eliminate an ambush by sending the diplomat around another way, then heading back to deal with the ambush — Guardians where a bread not to be messed with.

    It's not surprising then that Guardians became the most urban legend in the surrounding kingdoms. You see, a guardian did not dress like a warrior. They looked so similar to everyday royalty that people where never sure if a guardian was present or not. Thus people never really realised they had seen a guardian. When tails of the devastating destruction a guardian had brought on an ambush party were told, no one was ever sure guardians really existed because they had never seen a mighty warrior pass their way.

    And so that is the life of a guardian" the Raevac said
    The knight had listened without comment, but now he felt just a little jipped.

    "Hang on, that's a lovely story but it's not about the Raevacs" complained the knight.

    "Ahhh that's right, now let me tell you about the Raevacs and how they are know only by the tails that are told of the destruction they leave behind"

  • A wasted knight – part three – back story to a Raevac begins

    [Please read A wasted night - part two before reading this]

    A wasted knight – part three – back story to a Raevac begins

    The knight didn't move for a long time, and neither did the Raevac. They both watched each other but didn't pay any attention to the other. As the day drew the hot wind blew up the dark valley and made the situation very uncomfortable. The Raevac pulled a wine pouch out and moved over to the knight.


    The knight just looked at it and said "why do you bother to keep me tired up like this, why don't you just kill me, or let me fall on my sword"

    "In time I will let you be, but currently you are wounded and in no shape to look after yourself" said the Raevac, "Now drink"

    The knight just looked at the wine and did nothing. This slightly frustrated the Raevac. Lurching forward, the Raevac grabed the knights helment and stuffed the end of the wine punch into the knights mouth. The prince bit down and closed his mouth refusing to drink. The Raevac grabed the Kight under the chin and forced two fingers into the checks of the knight. This resulted in the knight having to open his mouth, and the wine poured down his throat. When the wine was almost all gone, the Raevac pulled the pouch out and drank the remains.

    The knight began to feel a little better, until this point he had not eaten or drank anything since the encounter with the princes almost two days ago. As his thoughts began to clear, the young prince started to realise just who it was that he was now a prisoner of. A cold chill ran down him as he began to think that this could be a Raevac that had captured him.

    "No, it cant be" he thought, prayed. "No please let it be anything but a Raevac" he begged his brain to find another answer to the question of who this stranger was. But his mind came back with no other answer. This must certainly be a Raevac.

    You see the problem with this being a Raevac is this; Raevacs' are a fierce group of people, if you can call them a group. They travel alone and live as they please. No one ever meets a Raevac and lives to tell the story. The closest you may ever come to a Raevac and live, is to come upon a scene of destruction and death only moments after a Raevac has been there. Or when you lie in a thicket to rest and think you see a shadow move in the bush, you look around and decide that it was just a branch. But actually you have come as close to a Raevac as any living person has. Having said this, like all things there is a certain amount of Myth that is bound to a Raevac, and separating the stories that are spoken in hushed whispers in the taverns is no easy task. Yet the simple truth is that to encounter a Raevac is a rare experience and few have ever told of such an encounter.

    The knight pushed himself around to face the Raevac. "Sir, if I may be so bold, are you a Raevac"?

    The Raevac sprang to life and the knight kicked himself for having asked the question. The Raevac flew from the felled pillar and landed next to the knight, grabbed him by his good shoulder and threw him up on a broken section of wall.

    "Why would you think that?"

    "Well" began the prince "I have never seen someone such as you before, yet you are well equipped and seem very capable of looking after yourself, so my assumption is that you travel alone and take no prisoners with you. This would seem to be true of the Raevacs I hear stories about"

    The Raevac glared at him "don't listen to every story you hear in a tavern lad."

    The knight looked at the Raevac and in a moment or gusto, or perhaps stupidity said

    "I've know people like you, gutless, cold killers that travel the world and have what ever you want with out concern for life or love"

    The Raevacs eyes flared with such passion that they alone could have light the valley on fire, but the rest of the Raevac stayed still and strangely calm.

    "Contray to the rumours, Raevacs are peaceful characters. I understand how you could think such things about me. But often the people who start such rumours know little of the wider story which has brought about many unfortunate situations in their eyes. Do you know what the word Raevac means prince"?

    The young knight was startled as no one knew he was a prince in this land. While he wore fine armour, that didn't make him a prince or give away any indication of such a thing. He had made sure of that before embarking on the adventure for fear of being treated unequally on his path.

    "No, I know nothing of the Raevacs apart from what my men report back to me"

    The Raevac sat back on a rock and began "Raevac means 'Guardian' its an old term that comes from ancient lands and has its grounding the idea of a guardian angle. A long time ago all we were all Diplomatic guardians for a King in another land. We were assigned foreign diplomats to protect for the entire length of time they were in the Kings service. But things change and we were no longer able to continue."

    "How did you become a Raevac? What things changed? Please tell me as if I am miss informed about the Raevacs, I wish to be promulgating the truth about you rather than enforcing lies" asked the prince

    "I will tell you the whole story if you wish; you aren't going anywhere soon so you may as well hear it"

    And so the Raevac began to tell a story that was not secret but had still never been told to anyone in the histroy of the world...

  • A wasted knight – part two – The Raevac draws near

    [please read my post called A wasted knight to get the full story]

    The knight tumbled back down the stairs of the tower, back into the court yard of dead knights. As the knight looked around through his blurred vision, he noticed that the dead knights didn't seem so horrible this time. In fact the dead knights had a calming peace about them that the Knight wanted. How could the dead poses anything that a living knight could want? Yet they did, and what they possessed was peace. He could feel the peace that they had and he didn't. The pain in his chest burned where the arrow was stuck. He longed to be free of the pain this world brought. He yearned for the peace the dead knights had, and with this he lay down and let the dark night envelop him.

    On the cliff high above the knight, a Raevac watched. The Raevac watched carefully and patiently for the perfect moment, the ideal time to sneak down the cliff. A Raevac is a very crafty and cleaver character, knowing much more about life than almost any other living thing. A this Raevac had been watching the knight for sometime; watching for longer than anyone actually realised, watching since well before the knight had started his journey.

    When the knight had closed his eyes and breathed his last waking breath, the Raevac moved, and moved swiftly. Down the cliff and across the court yard of dead knights. The Raevac drew near to the knight and after a pause, tied the hands and feet of the knight together, and removed the knight's sword. Then in one final movement, the Raevac lifted the head of the knight, and knocked it firmly against the ground, sending the knight into la la land for quite some time. Please with the work, the Raevac moved back into the shadows.

    Morning broke over the land, although in the deep valley you would never have known it. The knight stirred and growled as he felt the thump of his headache. Then rolling from side to side, he realised that he was immobilised which induced and even louder growel. The Raevac, who had been observing from a felled pillar, moved towards the knight, who until this point had thought he was alone. The knight felt a sudden fear of the Raevac and tried to crawl out of the way. The Raevac bent down and said in a firm yet hushed voice

    "Be quiet"

    The knight howled back "you vile serpent of the night…"

    "Be quiet you fool, that princess will finish you if she knows you are still hear" the Raevac snapped.

    "I care not what that lady will do to me, my life is pain and my only wish is to find the peace these other knights have found. Please send me there with them, or I shall have this princess send me there herself"

    The Raevac looked hard at the young prince and then nodded

    "you are a foolish one. You don't know what you are do you?"

    The knight tried to think about this question, but between the thumping headache, the pain in his chest, and the very awkward situation he now lay in, he could not make sense and so simply lay still on the ground breathing deeply.

    The Raevac moved back towards the fallen pillar and retook the position that had been used for observing the knight. For the mean time the Raevac would stay here until the knight thought about cooperating…

  • A Wasted Knight - Part one

    [A story I wrote a while ago and posted on myspace. I'm going to cross post it now and think about writing some more of it. I'm not a writer so go easy on me, or just ignore it all together.]

    There was once a knight, well he was a knight but he was young, first years out of knight school. Ha-ha get it night school Knight School... So anyway, our knight was a great fella. Even though he was young and had only been in a few battles, he had gained the wisdom and strength to survive.

    In the days our knight lived in, many terrible things had been done to lots of people, especially beautiful young damsels. Some of these young damsels had been taken away and locked in towers. Often, these towers were very old and dangerous places. Some even had dragons that lived around them who were told to guard these damsels, so that no one can ever get near them. The rumour amongst the knights was that these beautiful women were the best that ever existed. I don't mean just physical beauty; these were women with whom no women from any other country could compare (at least thats what the knights believed). These women were smart, elegant, captivating, intelligent, dedicated girls who had been taught by the best. Perhaps that's why they had been locked up; maybe they were seen as threats.

    The knights were often exhorted to take on the most dangerous and challenging adventure that there was the rescuing of one of these beauties from their towers. Now this was no mean feat! First he must find a tower with a beauty just waiting to be rescued. Once the tower was found, the knight would often have to travel great distances to get near the tower (always in some really deep valley, or on a titanic mountain). Our young knight thought about the wisdom and beauty of these damsels and realised that there was a lot to be gained from such an adventure; but being so young, he had no idea how to find one or where to look. There were many older, wise knights that had already been on such an adventure and they had many wise things to say. They offered to guide and help the young knight prepare for such a journey. But all of them said that in the end the young knight must embark on this adventure alone, and walk the path knowing that he was loved and cared for at home but that that was all he could take for support.

    So after many years of waiting and preparing for the adventure to rescue a trapped princess, the young knight set out. The trip would take several months at the shortest and many two years or more at the other end. He knew there would be many battles to fight along the way, many lonely cold nights. Several times he would see other knights that had died along the way, there was nothing that scared him more than seeing a knight that lay in the middle of a sunny field but had been killed. Sometimes there was not even the sign of a battle or fight at all. It just seemed that these knights had died of nothing more than an abandoned heart. These others knights had simply found the first part of the adventure to hard. The young knight wondered why that was as this was meant to be the easiest part of the adventure.

    After several months the knight, who was gaining more understanding and wisdom by the week, came into view of valley that held a very precious princess. She was more precious than any other that had been known before her, and than anyone could foresee coming after. Because of her captivating life, she had been locked in the deepest, darkest valley that anyone had ever seen. In fact, the valley was so steep, rough, and deep that no light ever shone down onto the tower, which stood hundreds of meters below. The young knight looked over the edge and could see no way down. There were sheer cliffs on both sides, and the gorge stretched for miles. This problem was huge, but still, it was only one of many that the young knight had overcome through the past months. Sometimes the problems needed a very gentle approach and some time. Then again there were situations that need a deep commitment to jump in with both feet. This was certainly a problem, but the knight found the means needed to scale the walls.

    The next part was the dragon. Our young knight had found his way down the walls and discovered the remains of many a knight. Some of the armour had claw marks from the dragons. They looked like they had been torn open like a can opener wound. But the thing that caught the attention of the young knight was that some of these knights had arrows through their armour. This was most curious as there was no one around here and the only people that ever came here were knights travelling alone. Who could have shot these arrows at the knights? Our young hero decided that these arrows must have been wounds that had been sustained the in fierce battles when trying to get to this place. Still, the young knight thought that he should remember this, as he was always taught to be attentive to his surroundings and the stories that dead men do tell.

    The dragon proved vicious and nasty - he had particularly bad breath that smelt of rotting flesh. As the young knight fought the dragon and finally beat it back to the point where he could finally kill the beast he remembered a wise saying that he had once been told by his mentors - "Do unto others as you would have them do to you." He looked into the face of the dragon as it lay battered and helpless. The dragon spoke and made a pact to spare his life, and the knight granted the request. They agreed to allow mutual passage away from this horrible valley where the dragon had been guarding the princess for so long. As a token of his appreciation for sparing his life, the dragon spoke of several different paths that could be taken to the tower; he also guided the young knight past several pitfalls that had been well hidden in order to trap anyone that got past the dragon.

    Our hero survived and made it up to the tower. Upon reaching the top he could see the door that leads to the princess room. The lock on the door was very strong, yet with the long years it had rusted to the point where it would simply fall open with the swing of his sword. The young knight took a moment to thank the Lord for all He had brought him through, to thank God for the blessings that had been bestowed upon him, and also to ask for the wisdom to treat this beauty with all the respect and grace that such a princes of the most high deserved.

    As the knight prayed he could hear the princess inside praying. She too was speaking to God, asking for the prince of her dreams to come and rescue her. She asked for a man of daring, integrity, honesty, loyalty and many other things. As the young knight heard her pray, he thought back over the adventure he had come on and remembered all the things he had experienced and learned in the process. And while our young prince would never have thought it, he had gathered all the things this princess was asking for. But such things are never seen on the surface, they only ever really get seen on the journey back home when they are together. Such things as honesty and integrity cannot be explained or interviewed for; they are learned, and then seen in the hard times that ensue after. And so both the prince and the princess had grown into things that they were not before they began their adventures.

    With a swing of his sword, the prince laid open the door. The princes looked around, saw the prince and then quickly sat down on her stool. She looked at him and asked if he would sit and speak with her a while. The young knight was both relieved and bemused. He thought to himself "Surely this fair maiden knows how hard the journey has been to get her; why is she not overjoyed that she has been rescued?" - but the knight was too tired to argue at that moment. He sat down as the princess began to unravel a long scroll. The princess began to speak and asked the prince many things about himself. As the prince spoke, he could not help but feel that he was being measured against a list. The beauty asked about the experiences he had encountered. These were not always easy for the knight to talk about. Some had been traumatic and broken his heart, others he had never talked about with anyone and had no words to describe what he had experienced. For some reason, this was not acceptable to the young princess, and the knight began to become very worried that something had gone horribly wrong in this room. As he gained his breath from the adventure he had just been on for months, he tried to explain that life was a journey and there were many things that had to be experienced to be fully understood. But the princess did not listen; she continued to look at her list.

    Finally the Christian princess looked up and said to the young knight, "You can not take me from this tower. You don't meet the requirements on my list." The young knight stood up and stumbled backwards, completely dumbfounded. He had experienced many surprises in his life, many unexpected battles and twists in the path he had walked, but this was not something he had ever experienced before. As he stammered, trying to ask questions, to try to explain, the princess picked up her bow and drew an arrow. Aiming at the young knight, she said, "Leave me alone and never come back to this tower! I am waiting for my knight to come rescue me. Don't even try anything with me; do you think I don't know how to shoot an arrow? Take a look outside at the many I have wounded, and some even killed!"

    As the sun began to set on the story of the young knight, the world kept moving. Perhaps it didn't notice the passing of such a young and vibrant light, or maybe the world had seen it all before. Perhaps the world had stopped caring, because it too had realised that to care is to hurt and with a world so full of people and lives being extinguished before their time, the world would only be a sad place all the time. So maybe the world knew something that we don't. At any rate, we will never know because we can't ask the world what wisdom it had, more is the pity. And so the world went on and time passed. The story of knights kept being told; some of them lived and others died, because not all knights can be winners and get the girl. If they were all winners there would be no adventure, because every adventure must have risk. Why, if it weren't for the risk, there would be no thrill and no story to tell! - And so is the way of life. And along with many a brave and valiant man, our young night was mourned and missed, and then forgotten. But he wasn't dead, at least not yet