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Asa



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
Posts: 3538
Location: Grammar Police HQ. Watch your language, I'm armed with the NYTimes Style Book AND Strunk and White!

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GOT IT!!!!!!!!!! The internet was FINALLY fixed, so now I present my submission!



Mahla slipped silently through the servant's door to the Keep, skirt hiked up to her knees and shoes in hand. She didn't want anyone to catch her in less than the personal room assigned to her. She wasn't supposed to be anywhere else, and they would think the worst if she was found elsewhere. As a newly accepted foster child she couldn't afford any more mistakes, or she would be sent back to her parents in disgrace and all chances for the advantageous marriage they were hoping for would be ruined. The story would be all over the countryside before a moon had passed.

Mahla hmphed in self-righteous indignation. She shouldn't have any problems getting a match! She was any man's equal in riding and archery, and even mounted archery, which she'd taught herself. Surely someone wanted a partner instead of a pretty ornament, right? Surely… and the 'genteel' lady her foster mother was trying to force her to be did not sneak out alone in the middle of the afternoon to go riding. No, she tool all her attendants with her and walked along designated paths in carefully manicured gardens and delicate trees. Never in a real forest, never at a trot or more, never in anything other than a fully riding costume. This she'd been told the last time she was caught, in tones of despairing patience. Then she'd been banned from the stable for two weeks and all but confined to the bower or her tower room.

She was seventeen, for goodness sake! She could take care of herself! And so, while everyone was dozing in the the solar and was supposedly sulking in her room, she sent the stair guard – dear John, he really was sweet to her, and had covered for her in the past – on a wild hare to the other end of the Keep and snuck out to the stables. She really hadn't meant to do anything, not really… just visit Sunstreak for a bit and then go back to her room immediately. But then she'd caught sight of Sunstreak's tack, and couldn't resist saddling her up. And what was the point of saddling a horse and not riding? She'd spent a glorious hour in the fields near the far wall, then brought Sunstreak back before the stablehand woke from his illicit nap, brushed her down and made it back to safe territory before she was missed.

Or so she thought.

As she was coming up the stairs, one hand on the far wall to steady herself, John came around the bend. He had a sorrowful look on his gentle face, and Mahla's heart sank. This was apparently the last straw. She collapsed against the wall, fighting tears, and John took the wrist still extended across the stairs to keep her upright.

"John," she managed to whisper. "Please…"

He shook his head. "I'm sorry, my lady, but I must. It's my duty, and furthermore, it's what I feel I must do. You must learn these skills, Lady Mahla! It's what you're here for. You've gone too far this time."

"But John, must I give up all I enjoy in the process?"

He shook his head again. "My lady, if you'd only waited until the ban was lifted, you would have been given more liberty. It's the way of things here. But now…"

Mahla bowed her head, and the view of the stone steps before her blurred. John echoed her action and whispered, "I'm sorry, my lady. I'll miss you. You're a good child, truly…" as her tears began to fall.
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BS: "...then insist you eat a brownie."
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thespaceinvader



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
Posts: 650
Location: Cardiff, UK

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have something planned for this, hopefully i'll have a go this weekend.
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Tinu.



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
Posts: 3690
Location: The land of dreams

PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the ending Asa, it was unexpected and well done. ^^
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Asa



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
Posts: 3538
Location: Grammar Police HQ. Watch your language, I'm armed with the NYTimes Style Book AND Strunk and White!

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Nu! Glad you like.
_________________
Self-styled Forum Grandmother, because I hand out nicknames and hugs whether you want them or not. ^_^

Keeper of the Library and the Gateway to Haven

Nem: "It's the sort of face you just know is getting ready to poke you with something sharp."
BS: "...then insist you eat a brownie."
__________________
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this and all is mended...
Give me your hands if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
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View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
thespaceinvader



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
Posts: 650
Location: Cardiff, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Stay yourself, my lady. Go not to him.”
“I must,” she replied. “I am promised to him.”

She tried to pass the guard at the foot of the stairs. “Stay,” he implored again. “The Duke is cruel, and your life with him will be filled with pain and sadness.”

She pushed on past him, turning her face from his. She could not bear to look at him now. It was too hard to see his face, and know that she could not touch it, could not caress his skin. Knowing that she must leave him, and go to a man all feared, to save those she loved best.

“Even so,” she said, her voice steely, “I must go to him. I have my duty to fulfil.” Her life would be hard. He was right, the Duke would be a cruel husband and a harsh master. But she was promised to him, and for her to break that promise would be devastation for all those she loved, even the man she loved.

He took hold of her arm as she passed him on the stairs, clutching at her, holding her back as best he could. He kissed her arm, careless of who might see them She shrugged him off, knowing that she went where she must. She shrugged of the guard's attentions and continued up the stairs to the Duke's chamber. She could not even cry.

She opened the door. “My lord, I accept. I will be your wife.”
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