Disclaimer I: It is quite obvious that I do not own King Arthur. I actually do not even own the DVD at the moment because my brother stole it from me.
Disclaimer II: This, again, takes place before and during and (possibly) after the battle of Badon Hill. I own the storyline, a few characters, this laptop, my iPod, and my seemingly endless supply of coffee.
Disclaimer III: I have a creative license, which is funny because I don't even have a driver's license (I'm almost 19, btw). Does this mean that I will keep the characters that died in the movie alive? Well, you'll just have to see.
Disclaimer IV: The characters, again, are out of character. Hopefully not too much, but honestly, I'm not sure how they would react to different things and am just going with the flow.
Disclaimer V:I really like odd numbers... sorry. ENJOY THE STORY!
A Burning Sky
When I was ten years old, I watched as two young boys of our Sarmatian village mounted the same horse and rode away, without looking back. One of those young boys was my older brother. I watched as he rode off, clutching onto the little fence around our village, straining to see a glimpse of them as they were lead away. How long I stayed at the fence, fingers clenched tightly and painfully around the posts, eyes straining beyond their ability to see over the long waves of grass, past the horizon. How long I watched, begging myself to have one last chance to say goodbye, to tell my brother that I was sorry I pestered him and his friend always, to ask him to come home safely.
At eleven years old, I bothered some of the older men in the village, men that had served their fifteen years already, to teach me to fight. At first it was a way to feel connected to my brother, and then a way to protect myself if ever needs be. I was a studious pupil, eager to learn anything the men could teach me, however I was young and limited as to what they were willing to teach. I learned to shoot a bow and arrow, though I was not the best. Out of ten arrows, only three or sometimes four would even strike the target. I was too small for a blade, it hindered me more than helped and I did not have the strength to swing it. Finally the men were able to teach me with a dagger, which I became exceedingly better at with time.
My thirteenth year, on the exact day of my birth, I watched in horror as my home was attacked by a group of barbarians. My father had begged me, pleaded with me, and threatened me to hide under the bed while they fought the attackers. That was the day that my father was killed, infront of my eyes as I stood outside of the door, one sweaty hand clutching my tiny dagger. The murderer looked at me, holding onto the sword that he had plunged into my father's chest, and simply walked away. The man's face, scarred and scraggly, would stay with me forever.
My mother, a beautiful woman with a kind voice, often told me that some Sarmatians went to the Wall, to be near their knights. After my father was killed, she would lay in my bed with me, my younger brother pressed between us as he slept, and would often talk about finding her missing son, staying with him until his contract was up. She would clutch onto my five year old brother, kiss his brow, and rub her fingers over my cheek. In a fit of fear, she had once asked me to never have sons.
As a tradition it seemed, a group of barbarians came on my sixteenth birthday. This time, the group was larger than our village could handle and as the men fell to their death, my mother had pressed my eight year old brother to my side and told me to take the horse, to ride to the woods on the far side, not to stop until we were safe. That in a days time, we should return and if it was safe, we would start to rebuild.
My greatest regret is putting my brother behind me on the horse. I had not been sure that I could guide the horse with him infront of me and had told him to hold onto my waist behind me. When I felt his arms go slack and slump sideways, I did not want to turn around to look. We weren't far enough away from the village for me to stop the horse and find out what was wrong, so I clutched onto his arms and the reins and rode harder. Once in the woods, I turned to see if he was okay. Seeing the furrowed arrow sticking out of his back, his eyes closed and his heart stopped, had me feeling weak.
A day later, my brother's body wrapped in the cloak that I had had wrapped around my shoulders, I rode back to the village to be in awe that the entire thing had been burned down, not a single alive soul in sight. I struggled to bury the bodies that I could find, knowing each of their names, but didn't bother marking their graves. No one would be back here, no one would ever know about this place. It was destined to be forgotten.
For the first time in years, I begged in my head for my older brother to be alive, to be safe, and for me to find him.
How long I walked, how often I cried, or how much my heart broke over my long trip, were insiginicant numbers. However, I soon found myself surrounded by men dressed as soldiers, swords pointing at me while I lay on the ground after tripping, my tears wetting the dirt underneath me. A large man nudged me with his foot and I whimpered, not caring that I was supposed to be Sarmatian and frightening, praying for a swift and not drawn out death. I waited, and the wait felt like an eternity before the man hauled me up, tied my hands lightly infront of me and put me on a horse. I asked, half in fear and half in awe, where we were headed and he said simply, "Away."
The lord of the house, Grent Rivarus, met us at the door. He looked at the people that his soldiers had dragged in, tiny things and weak. Then he noticed me, sitting atop a horse by myself, holding onto the reins and looking around me in that same fear and awe that I had when I was first placed on the horse. Where was I, was I near my brother, had I really made it?
"What is your name, heathen?" My eyes snapped forward at the harsh voice with the accent like the soldiers, only sounds more important. At least to himself.
"Irissa." My voice cracked, as I hadn't spoken in such a long time. He sneered at my name, my voice, my very appearance and then turned to the soldiers.
"Bring the heathen to the rooms to bathe her and prepare her for kitchen duties. The rest will work in the fields."
If I should ever be thankful for Grent sending me for kitchen duties, I would find myself on a double edged sword. One side sat the fact that I was not in the fields, but that made the others think I was being favorited and therefore was shunned. The other side was that I was in the kitchen, but only for a while longer before I was assigned to be Grent's personal food tester, and his favorite whipping post for whenever he was in a foul mood.
The years went by slowly, with me counting down slowly to figure out how long I had been there. I arrived around my seventeenth birthday and if my countings were correct, it was close to my twenty-third birthday. Six years, six long and agonizing years. I often worked in the kitchen with Chauce, the polite cook who seemed to be the only one that did not hate me for my Sarmatian background. He would save scraps for me, bread or meats or sometimes vegetables that were unappealing to lord, days from going to waste. I would hide them in the folds of the simple gray dress that I wore, fraying at the edges and torn in places since I only got a new dress once a year, and this one was already showing age.
During one of my kitchen duties, while Chauce worked to prepare a meal to break the fast, I wondered on my brother. I had counted multiple times, seeing as how my twenty-third birthday was coming up, that he would be, if he was still alive, in his thirteenth year of his fifteen year duty. Chauce screamed at me to pay attention while I worked, seeing that I had been daydreaming, and it snapped me from my thoughts. Pushing all thoughts away besides what I as doing, I worked quietly and quickly.
Being Grent's personal food tester was a dangerous job, even if it did not seem like such. I had to try a bite, that he specified, of every meal and take a sip of every drink, using a tiny spoon that I always kept on me. He always swore that if his food was poisoned that I should pray that it would kill me instead of just making me sick because if I survived the poisoning, he would kill me. As if I would be the one to poison him. Not that I hadn't thought of it on multiple occasions, but I was not stupid. Where would I go, if his soldiers didn't kill me before I got through the doors?
Grent was pacing nervously in the dining area when I arrived with his tray, to which he glared at me and snapped twice, pointing to the seat he always occupied.
"I have guests coming, where are their trays?" Keeping my eyes on the floor, I bowed my head lower.
"They-" My voice was cut off as the others walked in carrying trays. Chauce sent me a look that clearly said I shouldn't have left so soon and I nodded barely noticably. Chauce was reaching fifty years of age and he looked after me as his daughter, though we both agreed it would be best if Grent did not know of this. He could use it against either of us in seconds if he wished.
Chauce left the room and the rest of the workers, plus one that had not carried a tray and myself, all moved to the far way, bending our head. We waited in silence for the guests to come, though we were not sure how long it would be. Finally the doors opened and the messenger said his guests had arrived.
The men moved into the room and my heart stopped for a split second before almost shattering my rib cage. The stories that had reached even the slave quarters of Grent's house were enough to tell us that these men were the famed, the infamous, Knights of the Round Table under Arthur Castus. The knights under him were of my own heritage, Sarmatian. I forced myself to look back down, not to look at their faces to determine if one of them was my brother. They were there for two nights, three days. I had plenty of time to find out where my brother was, if he was still alive.
Grent greeted his guests and ushered for them to sit at the table, Arthur closest to his right side so that they may speak. There were no introductions but Grent snapped twice and the workers and myself stepped forward, pulling our small spoons from our pockets, and tasting first the food of each man and then after cleaning the spoon, we tasted the wine. We moved back towards the wall and Grent eyed each of us, though me the most. Once satisfied, he rasied his goblet which the others did after Arthur shot each of them a look.
"To your health." Though he was toasting the men, I could feel his eyes on me for some reason. I struggled not to raise my eyes and prayed that no one else noticed. I was lucky, for once, because no one did.
A/N: Phew, this was short. I have four parts (including this) written right now and to be honest, they are all kind of short.
However, it's only the beginning.
Hope you enjoyed it, thanks for reading. Reviews are awesome!