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The Knight, The Princess, and the Shadow (Short Story)

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The Knight, The Princess, and the Shadow (Short Story)

Postby Sir Valiant » Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:26 pm

Hi Fellow Story writers! :)

This is my first post in the Stories Forum. I am relatively new to writing and my skills aren't that sharp just yet. I enjoy writing in the castle/medieval theme as Medieval history and the stories of the knights of old have always been of interest to me. A couple years ago, I had to write a descriptive paragraph for school, eventually it turned into this short story called The Knight, the Princess, and the Shadow. I hope you enjoy it!

The Knight, the Princess, and The Shadow

The wind whirled through the trees. The branches swayed eerily in the icy night air and seemed to reach out and grasp at him. Crisp leaves fell from trees and swirled down the rugged trail. Gargantuan cedars stood on every side and a wisp of black smoke curled into the night sky. The stench of a carcass slowly drifted towards his nostrils. A shadow started to dart between the fallen and rotten trees. The pale moon was suddenly smothered by dark clouds. He peered into the night trying to see the faint trail before him. Looking straight back at him was two pairs of glinting yellow eyes. Canine fangs showed as the moon was uncovered. He reached for his knife and then straightened his towering frame. Grasping the hard wooden handle he slipped the double edged ten inch blade from his waist. Widening his stance he prepared for a fight to the death.

Lurching suddenly but swiftly forward one of the wolves attacked. Sidestepping the leap the man held out his knife which grazed the creatures shoulder. Unexpectedly the second beast leaped at the man reaching for his throat. Raising his arm the man teetered and suddenly fell backwards. A violent struggle ensued between the man and wolves. Snarling, kicking, blocking, and scratching. One wolf lay dead but the other fought on for revenge of his companion. Pinned and in a helpless state the man was fighting for his very life. The wolf prepared for the kill. Suddenly a dark shadow bolted into action and tackled the wolf to the ground. Raising its arm high it ended the attack swiftly and suddenly. As soon as the shadow appeared it disappeared. Struggling to his feet the first man looked around him; there was no sign of his rescuer. Except for the wind in the trees and the trickle of a stream all was quiet. The two wolves lay dead before him. Bending low, the man reached for his leg. A sticky red substance leaked through his pant and smeared on his hand. The man hobbled towards the creak and, rolling up his pant, applied cool water to his leg.

The night was getting darker as the man continued on his journey for the king. Slowly, he crept down the forest path still with his knife drawn. His ears were alert to every noise. Suddenly a branch broke in the distance. The cool wind picked up speed and rustled the bushes around him. A shadow flashed by. There was a feeling of emptiness in the area. A coyote howled in the distance. The uncanny sound of an owl’s hoot sounded above him. The man stopped and apprehensively looked around him. He gently crept off the trail and stood behind a tree. About a hundred yards before him loomed the most dreaded of all the beasts. Its head reached thirty feet in to the air and grotesque scales covered its form. Two monstrous claws that could rip a lion apart stuck out from his arms. A crusty jagged back met with a log powerful tail with tens of spikes near its end. Its enormous bat-like wings spread out into an expanse. His long scaly neck connected with his horny head and protruding red eyes that glared into the distance. His legs were as solid as iron and each foot was decorated with five razor-sharp claws.

Gazing that way for a while the man abruptly became enraged. Behind the hideous beast was a cave packed with jewels and gold but also in a crook of the wall was the King’s long-lost daughter, the princess. Her once gorgeous sapphire dress was tattered and torn. Her lovely hair was dirtied and knotted. The man could see that she was worn from tough work and labour. She lay on the ground with no strength left in her. An overwhelming sense of justice filled the man as he saw the scene. Courage replaced fear and mercy replaced worry. It only took an instant but something was going to be done. The man in the forest knew he had met his match. But this time he was prepared. Going back a few paces, he bent low on the ground, and pulling on a pile of soil, he removed part of the woodland floor. He reached in and grasped a full suite of chainmail and armour. After quickly donning it he drew out the glinting steel sword and shining shield. A magnificent red cross ornamented the shield and lit up the black forest night.

The newly clad knight marched back onto the path. Before him was the creature; once again, it was a fight to the death. Racing forward he shouted with a great shout. Stopping fifty feet in front of the beast he drew his sword. Once again he straightened his towering frame. His one hand grasped the shield and his other gripped his word. His muscles were tight and ready for action. His breath came short and quick. The great creature in front of him considered him as if he were but an ant. The man readied his position and without warning the beast opened its gaping mouth and blew incinerating fire and coals at him. Out of the corner of his eye the man saw the princess gaze at him; lifting his shield he deflected the first attack. Sprinting toward the monster the battle began. The man blocked and deflected the attacks of the beast while at the same time swinging his sword in powerful strokes. Dodging and jumping, man and beast continued their struggle. Fire and smoke filled the forest as there was never a battle like this before. The beast’s tail narrowly missed the man’s skull. A large gash opened up on the monsters thigh. A claw grazed the man’s shoulder drawing blood. The man became weary and his breath came in long gasps. He mind was clouded and weakened. Unexpectedly, the creature spread its large wings and soared into the sky. Circling twice it dove down with incredible swiftness and pummelled the man into the ground. Lifting its great claw the monster was prepared to end the fight. Careening down with extreme power, the claw became concealed in a shadow. It glanced off the man’s shield and created a great hovel in the ground. What was supposed to be a death blow saved the man’s life. Rolling into the hole and climbing out with renewed resolve the man leaped at the beast’s back. With a futile effort it tried to shake him off. Steadily he climbed up its neck and, raising his sword, he drove it into the beast. The brute lifted up its head and with an abundant wail collapsed to the earth, dead.

Rising from the ground and oblivious that he was bleeding from numerous places he rushed to the side of the princess. Lifting her head he opened a sack that he carried and slowly gave her a drink of cool refreshing water. After giving her a drink he fed her some food. She managed a ‘Thank you’ and then drifted off into a peaceful sleep.

* * * * * * *
Three weeks later:

A great feast was being held at the royal castle. The King, after hearing the tale of the man and seeing his daughter restored to him in good health was having a celebration. All the people of the land were invited to this delectable feast. The castle was bursting at the seams with people from far and wide and the man had to tell his story many, many times. Best of all the man was knighted by the king himself and enrolled as the chief over all his army. He was given the princess as a wife and together they ruled over half the kingdom. It was a joyous time for all the people as justice reigned in the land as long as the Knight and his princes were together. Joy was abundant, love was everywhere, and Righteousness lived forever. And on quiet nights when it was only the knight and his princess they talked for long hours under the stars and wondered who it was who saved the knight from his first danger so he would be ready for the second. It was also said in the land that there was another man of the forest who no one knew. He was fast and brave and some people said that he even looked like a shadow…


Happy Writing,
Sir Valiant :)
"Soli Deo Gloria"
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Re: The Knight, The Princess, and the Shadow (Short Story)

Postby Aeridian » Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:09 am

You said you were kinda new to writing? Well reading this, I probably wouldn't have guessed that. You've got some pretty descriptive scenes here. Well done, I'm looking forward to more by you. :)
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Re: The Knight, The Princess, and the Shadow (Short Story)

Postby Sir Valiant » Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:17 am

Wow Aeridian! Thank you for the kind words! :)

The descriptive scenes are there thanks to one of my best writing friends; the thesaurus! :D
Usually when I write something, I just use basic descriptors such as large, ugly, or calm, and replace them with words such as gargantuan, hideous, or peaceful. I find that the more descriptive one can be in their writing, the more they can make a story come alive. I read your story for the GCV and thought it was great. In your case the builds were well put together and really brought the story to life!
Hopefully I can put some of my own builds out that go along with my writing.
Thanks again,
Sir Valiant :)
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