Untitled (in no particular order)

Merrenwen

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Alfred could see the horse snort in the cold night air. Riding like this was dangerous but his brother, his Lord, commanded it. Alfred prayed to the guardians to see them through this night, they had to make it through this night. Alfred never wanted to be a priest, but being third born and having no claim to the Preston house led him there all the same. Many would say it was the guardians themselves that put this path before him. Either way, he prayed. He prayed for his brothers, for their steeds, and for the weather to hold. Most of all he prayed for vengeance against the pretenders who drove them from their house. He couldn’t see his brothers, but he knew they were there. Richard ahead of him, William and Edward behind him. Alfred was a better horseman than Richard, but he knew that Richard needed to lead them this night, even if it was just in their riding order. Alfred knew that Richard was riding away from what had happened, although he wished he was riding towards the future.

A sharp sound woke Alfred from his thoughts, it was a horse screaming up ahead. It was Zithixo, Richard’s horse. He heard the scream and than the thud of the horse hitting the ground with the rider. As Alfred approached he saw his brother being set upon by bandits, Zithixo lay still on the ground with a spear in his breast and arrows in his flank. Richard raised him from a mare, considered him the fifth Preston brother. Zithixo protected Richard from the spear and those arrows with his last act, he truly was Richards brother. Richard stood up and yelled “Come on !” beckoning the bandits on with his bare hands. At the same moment William rode past Alfred lance at the ready as he put it in the first bandits chest who dare approach his lord. Edward, always the daredevil, rode past and leapt from his steed tackling the next bandit. He threw his own sword to Richard and took the first weapon he saw upon the ground. These bandits picked the wrong day.

As the dust settled and blood was wiped from blades, Richard stood over Zithixo’s body. He knelt down and put his hand upon the steed and looked up to Alfred and spoke. “Say the words.” Alfred pulled the holy book from a chain on his waist and began to speak the funeral rites. As Alfred finished Richard stood up, Alfred placed his hand upon his brothers shoulder and began to speak. “It will be alright M’lord.”

Without even looking back Richard snapped “Lord? Lord? I am Lord of nothing. I lay claim to nothing. We have and we are nothing…” Alfred could see everything pour out of his brother with these words. Alfred knew this needed to happen, as a priest and his brother he let this happen. William however thought differently. He stepped up to Richard and shoved his spear into the ground. Grasping it, he kneeled before their Lord. Alfred didn’t know if this was for theatrics or simply because they were all so tired he needed to hold onto the spear. Without looking up William spoke “So long as we draw breath you are our Lord.” Edward looked to them and said “You are our brother.”

Richard composed himself and placed his hands upon William and Edwards shoulders. “Thank you.” Richard than looked to Alfred and cupped his hand around his neck and brought his forehead to Alfred’s, a sign of affection they had learned from their father. As he pulled away Alfred turned to Arthur Dendar their hound master. They grew up together and the Dendars served house Preston loyally for many years. “Arthur, if Richard doesn’t ride none of us do. The town is only a short ways away and we have cleared a path for you.

Edward, the youngest, got the gleam in his eye they had all come to know him for. “Yes!” he exclaimed as he grabbed his gear from his horse, already knowing what his brothers orders would be. Edward was already following the trail back to the bandit’s camp before the other three had gotten their gear. As Arthur got a shovel to see to the body of Zithixo Richard retrieved his sword from beneath steed saying goodbye one last night. He checked the straps on his armor and looked to his two brothers and simply said “For House Preston.”

The fight in the bandit camp was swift, and the king’s treasure chest lay open in front of them. The candlelight reflecting off the gold creating a glow upon their faces. It was a start. The brothers clasped each others shoulders staring at the gold, each saw the future of their house reflected upon the gold. Without looking up Richard spoke “For House Preston.” Solemnly and in unison the three remaining brothers echoed his words.

“For House Preston.”
 
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