Talespinning Tuesday: The Weeping Knight

     This will be a new section that is different from FREE STORY FRIDAY in that these will be continuing tales specifically written for this section of the blog. Each Tuesday, the next post will directly follow the adventures of the previous.


Chapter One

He removed the book gingerly from his travel chest, treating it with an almost reverent air. He unwrapped it from its protective layers of wax paper and cloth of gold. It was old, his most treasured possession, and it showed the careworn years of being read and reread. The book’s only value lie within him, in the fact that she had given it to him. He had barely been a man of letters when she gave it to him, much more the boy that was still entranced by tales. At that time, barely having seen 15 winters pass, nights would often find him in the semi-circle that surround the hearth of the local tavern, some greybeard recounting this or that legend. He would stare in wide-eyed rapt attention, looking back through the veil of Time to heroes questing across the land, slaying dragons, and saving princesses.
You are owed a reward, my young knight,” she said. While she tried to sound playful he could tell that something was troubling her. “I present you with two options: this scroll or this book. Now neither is what it appears. The scroll will lead you down a path of honest labor, a life in service to the great and bountiful Mother. In this you will find fulfillment, you will find family, and you shall find happiness.
To choose the book, you choose a life of meaning but at the expense of happiness. This gift is a responsibility. The story within, it will be your story and it does not end happily, I’m afraid. This path shall be hardship and pain but in the end you shall succeed and bring back something that was lost.”
He looked between her hands, all goggle-eyed at the prospect of a gift. Though, at least to him, his choice of the book was an obvious foregone conclusion, he spent a moment considering the scroll for her sake. He was so excited that he did not notice that her expression darken as he reached for the book.
He brushed his lips tenderly to the spine of the book. So much had happened since that fateful day when he had accepted a responsibility he could never have even begun to fathom. He had given up his name, lost his kingdom, fought in wars, been given a new name. Thirty years had passed, an entire life pulled inexorably forward by the turned pages of the book in his hands. His feet had tread the length and breadth of the continent and beyond. He had learned patience as he wintered in the Icy Wastes with Eskani fisher folk and seal hunters. He had learned stealth and guerilla warfare during the summer he had fought alongside the dark men of the Moorlands, horsemanship and archery riding with the tribesmen of the Dygean Steppes, swordsmanship and honor battling the knights of the Sword Duke. He had mastered nine of the sixteen disciplines of the monks of the Floating Isle in the three years he had lived among them. He had learned the basics of aerial combat from the gryphon riders of the Karsa Range.