This fic was written as a challenge for the Dancing Dove's Seanfhocal Circle fanfiction challenge. The challenge was to describe a squire's Ordeal, in approximately 800 words. From title to end, this fic is exactly 800 words. (yes, I'm quite proud.) I've done a fragmented style, based upon the eight rules of Fight Club, adapted to suit the Ordeal. Feedback would be very much appreciated.
Welcome to Knight Club
Rule #1: You do not talk about the Ordeal.
When the Chamber door opened, Roald stumbled out. His father's arms steadied him, his blue eyes searching Roald's face.
The prince winced, recalling his Ordeal visions: his father's bloodied corpse… the scepter and crown handed to him. He pulled at the king's shirt. "I can't… you won't—" His voice cracked.
Jonathan brought his fingers to his son's lips. "Shh," he whispered. "What you saw is between you and the Chamber." His eyes were serious as he wiped Roald's sweaty forehead. "But remember that these are fears, not truths, that we do not speak of."
#2: You do not talk about the Ordeal.
Cleon's shoulders slumped when the Chamber brought its next vision. His mother stood before him, a tall girl standing next to her wearing the full bridal regalia. Her face was veiled from his view.
"You must propose," his mother instructed, urging him forward.
I don't want to, Cleon thought. But he was a dutiful son. He would try.
He stepped forward and lifted the veil. It was Kel.
His heart lifted. But he could never tell her this-love was a forbidden word with Keladry. He would find some other way.
#3: Someone yells stop, goes limp, taps out. the Ordeal is over.
The god was more terrifying than anything Joren had encountered, and spoke of solemn truths that Joren had refused to hear.
Only one thought ran through his mind: Escape.
He backed away, averting his eyes from the incredible Mithran glow. His hands reached behind him, feeling for the Chamber door. He turned and clawed at the iron frantically.
He sucked in his breath as a surge of heat touched his back. With a tortured scream, the air left his body. He slumped to the floor, dead.
#4: Only one person in the Chamber at a time.
"You've done me wrong, and you'll pay," the young girl spat, kicking Vinson with her heeled boot.
Another lady hissed at him, clawing at his face.
He recognized them. from before… but—how could they be in the Chamber? It was sealed. He was alone.
"Your conscience controls the magic of this room," a disembodied voice said. "Your guilt brings them here."
What should I do? he asked, his body sore from the beatings. So many shared this room with him—all of them trying to hurt him.
#5: One Ordeal at a time.
The stood overlooking a valley, a battle raging below them. A legion of soldiers, fresh reinforcements from the capital, stood at Faleron's back, waiting his orders.
I don't know what to do, Faleron realized. His soldiers looked at him expectantly. I'm not a leader—I'm a solitary fighter. This is Kel's thing.
"She is not here," a cold voice echoed within his mind. "This is your test."
Faleron grimaced, turning to his legion. With a wave, he urged his troops into the battle.
#6: No weapons, no magic.
They were innocents, and they were dying.
"It was bandits," an elderly man informed Neal. "They… attacked." Coughs wracked his body and blood trickled down his chin.
Neal reached inside of himself, looking for that well of dark green magic. But then he remembered—his Gift was useless in the Chamber.
The man clutched at his arm, his grip painfully tight. "Help me," he whispered faintly. All around them Neal could hear the sounds of death. He could feel the Black God hovering nearby. But he could not save them.
#7: Ordeals will go on as long as they have to.
Kel woke suddenly. Her sheets were damp with sweat, and she gasped for air. It was him again. And there were even more children. It had been months since her Ordeal, and the dream was occurring more and more frequently.
She needed to go back into the Chamber. She needed to find out who this horrible little man was-figure out the mystery of the killing machines. But would she have to have another Ordeal? Was it even possible?
Until she did, though, she would keep dreaming. Keep remembering.
Final Rule: If this is your night for the Ordeal, you must have it.
Merric's eyes followed Kel as she left his room. "I can do this," he repeated. But his voice lacked genuine confidence. Why couldn't my Ordeal come last? Or first? Any day but today?
He straightened out his bedspread, rumpled from the group of squires—no, knights—who had spent the day with him. If he was going to die in that Chamber, he would at least do his mother proud with a clean bedroom.
There was no turning back, he conceded. Tonight was the night. He sat at his desk and waited for the familiar knock of his knight-master.