25 Days of Writing – Day 13

Day 13: Your character has a whole day off to do whatever they want. Write a scene of them enjoying this free day.

Trey walked down the steps leading into the courtyard. It had been his intention to ride out for another patrol this morning, however his Uncle, Lord Markus, had warned him that the King was likely to call Council that evening. It would be poor form for the heir to the throne to be absent during council, especially during peacetime, so Trey found himself trapped at Herongarde Castle for the day. He wondered what he might do to amuse himself.

He walked slowly around the stone-bordered pond that formed the centerpiece of the courtyard. A sculpture of Mary stood at the center, overlooking any activity that occurred there. Trey knelt and said a silent prayer, that he might be calm this day and be at peace. He doubted that his prayer would work – he already felt the anxiety building in him. He longed for the open road and silence. He rose again and made the Sign of the Cross before the statue.

He gazed upon Mary and his mind began to drift. He thought about Rose – the times they had spent in this very courtyard. He shut his eyes, trying to banish the images, yet only making them stronger.

The sound of women’s voices jarred him back to reality. The Ladies of the court were walking out to the courtyard to take in some fresh air. This was the first truly warm day of the spring, and everyone was eager to get out from the castle walls. Trey looked up as the Ladies noticed him there. There were three in this group. Trey new them all: Margeth, the head Lady, Anise, and Katherine. They turned to each other and giggled with glee.

All the Ladies of the court were aware that Lord Trey was unmarried. All three of these Ladies fancied themselves as Trey’s next wife. It didn’t seem to matter to them at all that the only reason why Trey was alone was that his first wife, Rose, had died. They also seemed indifferent to his disinterest in ever wedding again. They only knew that one day, Trey would be King, and his wife would be Queen.

Trey looked away, glancing about the courtyard quickly. It had suddenly lost its charm with the presence of the Ladies. Trey stomped on a remnant lump of snow then strode away from the pond and the statue of Mary. He nodded at the Ladies as he rushed past them back into the security of the castle chambers. The women bowed reverently as he passed, then commenced to giggle and titter as he marched away down the hallway, toward the King’s Hall.

The King’s Hall was empty. Trey was disappointed, as he had hoped to find his father there. He turned to leave, beginning to walk out the door while still looking at the large tapestry that hung over the desk at the head of the room. The tapestry depicted the herald of Herongarde, the mark of Trey’s home and family, and the mark that he bore on the forearm of his right arm. He would rule Herongarde one day. The thought depressed him.

“My Lord!” cried Gilbert as Trey crashed into him in the doorway. Gilbert had been on his way in with various parchments to review with His Majesty, and had been paying as little attention to where he was going as was Trey. Trey snapped his attention onto the man in front of him, trying to keep hold of the rolled papers in his arms. Trey grabbed a few as they fell, as others bounced and rolled to the floor.

“Aye, Gilbert!” said Trey, embarassed. “So sorry, my Lord. My mind is on other things.”

“Aye, Trey,” said Gilbert, wrestling with the disordered pile of parchments in his arms. “Could you spare a moment to help me?”

“Of course, my Lord,” said Trey as he was already picking up the rolled papers that had fallen. “What business is this today?”

“We review our trade agreements, Trey. You should join us.”

Trey rolled his eyes. This would certainly be dull. “I would rather be riding Garnog beyond the walls of this castle, my Lord.”

“It will one day be your duty to endure these meetings, Trey.”

“Aye, but not now, Gilbert,” said Trey, with a forced smile.

“Aye, first you must learn to read, Lord Trey,” boomed a voice from the doorway. The King – Trey’s father – stood there smirking. “You need to turn your focus to your learning, and less to your riding and patrols.”

Trey frowned and looked away. “Rather not,” he grumbled.

“I am surprised, actually, that you remain here, Trey,” said the King. “Are you ill?”

“Lord Markus advises me that you may call council this day. Is this true, your Highness?” asked Trey.

“Aye, it is. I am glad that you take that duty seriously.”

“Of course, your Highness. Nevertheless, I request leave to ride patrol. There are questions near Quilgar that I wish answered.”

The King frowned deeply. “No, Trey. You will not indulge such foolishness this day.”

“But–,” began Trey.

“No, Trey. You will remain here this day and attend to your duties as a proper bearer of that Mark on your arm.” The King’s voice grew louder with each word. “I’ll not have you off chasing fantasies!” He ended with a great wave of his arm.

Trey knew he could not win such an argument with his father. He would spend the day in or near Herongarde Castle. He was disappointed.

The King’s expression lightened. “I suggest a day of rest for you, Trey. Rest and pleasure.

“This castle is a prison to me,” muttered Trey.

“Then go you to the market this day. To Artyl to enjoy a tankard of mead with your brothers at arms, aye?” suggested the King.

“Or to Gastin to repair your shield?” added Gilbert.

Trey frowned deeply. None of these things interested him.

“Ride out and pay your respects to Rosaline, perhaps Trey?” said the King with a much softer demeanor. “It is ten years since her passing. Is this why your mood is so dark?”

This angered Trey. Rage welled within him, but he knew better than to express it – not to the King. He clinched his teeth and squeezed his eyes shut, drawing a deep breath. Exhaling slowly, he opened his eyes again. “I will find something useful to do, your Highness, Lord Gilbert.” Trey turned smartly and marched from the room.

***

Trey eased Garnog into an easy trot. He was on his way to the village of Artyl, an easy one hour ride from Herongarde Castle. He would avoid the market. He thought of shopping as women’s work, and certainly below a man of his status. Instead, he rode toward the shop of Gastin.

Gastin was a well-respected blacksmith within Herongarde. He has been entrusted with making many of the swords and shields borne by the Mark-bearers of Herongarde. His son, Jason, was himself soon to earn the Mark. Gastin was as much family to the brothers of the Mark as could be any man.

Trey’s shield had been damaged over a year earlier in an ugly match at tournament. The function of the shield was not harmed, but it seemed unsightly for the heir of Herongarde to bear such arms. Trey had put off repairing the shield as he had more important things to do. Besides, he did not care that he was heir. He didn’t want to be heir, and he didn’t care what others thought either. Today was a good day to get it fixed, as it was an appropriate excuse to get him away from Herongarde Castle for the greater part of the day.

As always, Gastin was in his shop busily working. Today he seemed to be working on making a set of horse shoes. Trey had seldom ever seen the man not coated with sweat and wielding his hammer. Trey wondered if Gastin ever slept. Trey dropped his bent shield onto a table in Gastin’s shop, making sufficient noise to call attention to himself.

Gastin looked up, and smiled broadly upon recognizing Trey. “My Lord!” he said, setting his work aside. “My Lord Trey! It is great to see you.” Gastin bowed. “How may I serve you this day, my Lord?”

“Aye, Gastin, Tis good to see you too,” smiled Trey. “My shield here is damaged. I wonder if you might repair it?”

Gastin eyed the shield, picking it up and turning it over in his hands. “Aye My Lord. It must have been quite a battle to cause this.”

“Aye, but I still defeated my opponent. Of course, this still functions fine, Gastin, but it is ugly and unbefitting me.”

“Truly, my Lord, this this true,” agreed Gastin. Gastin continued to inspect the damage. He looked up from the shield. “I can certainly straighten the damage this day, my Lord, and before you must return to Herongarde Castle. However, I cannot correct the herald. I am out of cobalt paint, and the merchant has not brought me any for months.”

Trey smiled. “I shall be pleased to have it the correct shape again this day, Gastin. Encourage your merchant to get proper cobalt quickly, however, as soon your own son will need properly marked equipment, aye?”

Gastin smiled broadly, exuding the pride he felt for his son. “Aye, my Lord. I shall remind the merchant that he serves his King, not just me.”

“I shall ride on to the tavern and have some mead, I think,” said Trey. “It is not often I have time to enjoy some leisure.”

“Of course, my Lord. I shall attend to this at once.”

“Thank you Gastin,” said Trey with a short bow. Gastin bowed deeply as Trey turned and left the shop.

***

He was already into his third cup of mead when two young men from Artyl came in, boasting of their success in a fight with some rival fellows over some woman. Trey tried to ignore them. He recalled when such ‘conquests’ were the fabric of life when he was younger. Trey knew now that such victories seldom lasted and these fights were wasteful of energy. He hoped they would just get drunk and shut up.

The young men’s boasting and bragging grew louder as they consumed their drinks. Trey was starting to feel annoyance. He was seated in a dark corner of the tavern, hoping for some peace. These men, little more than boys, really – were disrupting everything. Trey noticed that they were starting to act belligerent toward the tavern keep and other occupants as well.

A barmaid approached Trey’s table, offering him another drink. Trey glanced at her with a sour expression. “Those boys ought not to be here,” he commented.

She smiled. “Aye, my Lord. Yet they frequent this place. Always difficult, they are.”

“Whose are they?”

“They are local, my Lord. Their father has died; their mother is ill. The keeper tolerates them for pity.”

“I’ll not,” grumbled Trey. “Tis no excuse to act so vile.”

The barmaid smiled uncomfortably. “Another mead, my Lord?”

“Aye, woman. I would like that,” Trey said as he rose from the table. “But first, I shall have my peace.”

The barmaid stepped aside as Trey walked past her toward the pair of boasting men. She worried that this would not end well.

“Gentlemen!” said Trey with a malicious smile and open arms, “I hear you have had great success this day!”

One of the men, a blonde, smiled in return. “We have conquered some fools this day,” he slurred.

“Fools, aye?” said Trey. “What fools?”

“Aye, my Lord,” responded the other man who had darker hair, “the fools that thought they were greater men than us!”

Trey’s smile turned to a frown and he nodded. “There are none greater than you, aye?”

The blonde chimed in again. “Not in Artyl! We shall have whatever we want.” The other man grunted his agreement and raised his glass. The men tapped glasses and drank deeply.

“More mead, Keep!” shouted the dark-haired one. The Keeper looked up with a frown and began to move as if to obey the order.

“Nay, gentlemen,” said Trey in a low voice. “I believe you have had enough.”

Both men turned and glared at Trey. “We shall have what we wish!” said the blonde.

“No. We shall have what I wish. And that is silence,” growled Trey. The Keeper froze, and all eyes in the tavern turned to the conflict building before them. “You have had enough.”

“I don’t think you know who you’re dealing with,” muttered the blonde, too drunk not to slur slightly.

“Oh really?!,” boomed Trey. “I believe you know not who you are dealing with!”

“There are two of us,” added the dark-haired man.

Trey turned to the dark-haired man. “And I am ten times the man you are. I say silence. Harass this place no longer.”

“Hah!” laughed the blonde. “You know nothing.”

Trey’s lip twisted. “Nothing aye? Then why bear I this mark on my arm?” He pushed his sleeve up, exposing the symbol of Herongarde tattooed on his forearm.

The cocky expressions faded from the faces of both young men.

“Aye, boys,” continued Trey, “I believe you are finished here today.”

The blonde straightened. “I could –,” he started to speak, but the other man smacked him across the chest. The blonde glared at his brother.

“We will leave, of course, my Lord,” said the dark-haired man.

“Good,” replied Trey with a contemptuous smile.

The dark-haired man grabbed his bother by the tunic and pulled him out of the tavern, leaving Trey standing in the middle of the room. Trey nodded to the keeper and returned to his seat. A fresh up of mead was brought to him, which he drank slowly, savoring the new silence of the tavern. This was much better.

When his fourth cup of mead was drained, Trey glanced toward a window. Judging by the quality of the light, he knew it was time for him to return to Gastin’s shop and then on to the castle. He dropped a few coins on the table, and walked out of the tavern in silence. His time of leisure was over, and it was time to get back to his duties.

Finally.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *