The Berkshire Chronicles

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
My first piece of writing, a short story of Alistair, Son of the Earl of Berkshire, and his adventures. I would love a critique.

Submitted: December 10, 2011

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Submitted: December 10, 2011

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Chapter One

Alistair, Son of Roland, was blinking out what was left of the haziness in his head, result of the elongated night he had. He recalled the laughter, trickery, and foolishness that made up that cold night. His mind went back to that moment when his best friend, Gavin, threw a light pebble at the exterior window that was the one light source of his room, aside from the small candle burning on his bedside. He was just about to lay down for a rest, and he was already pulling away the fine-linen, violet bed curtains that lined the outside of the bed. Alistair looked curiously around the finely carved bedpost, one of four that held up the curtains, that was embellished with gold.

His family was very well off, and his father did not approve of the very tight-knit relationship between the two friends. Gavin was a simpleton, a peasant. Alistair was a son of the Earl of Berkshire, and part of a much respected family in England. Alistair quickly strode over to the tall, gold-lined window. He waved joyfully at his counterpart, and signaled with his hand for Gavin to wait a moment. He went to fetch the thatch rope, woven by one of the dozens of servants his family hired. He would grip the brass handle, pulling the drawer out slowly, as to not make any noise. He would then look down only to a random conjunction of the poetry that he wrote. They were all beautifully composed, with much thought put into each line. He simply brushed the parchment aside, then finding himself staring at the thing he was searching for, the rope. He snatched it out of the cabinet and traveled back to the window, the floorboards making a quiet squeaking noise. He would thrust his hand to the latch, unlocking his window and swinging it open silently.

He would then reach the other hand up to the tip of it, the one containing the rope. With ease, because of time and time again of practice, he looped the rope around the piece of metal outline sticking out. He would use his other hand to tie a quick knot, and let the other end trail down the three stories that made up the stone walls of the manor within the wall. Showing no signs of troubles, he gripped the rope with his hands and swung his feet out below him. Alistair slid down the rope quickly, as a modern fireman would a pole. He would land, both feet firmly planted on the ground. He would take a quick look around, noticing not only one person was there anymore, but three, not counting himself. It was tough to make out the features of any of them, because of the dim torchlight.

“Hey Will!” a friendly voice welcomed, using his informal nickname. Alistair’s full name was Alistair William Ronaldson, and he preferred the shortened version of his middle name. It was obviously Gavin’s voice.

“Greetings, Gaven,” he said in reply to his welcome, “Who else is with you, I can see a few other people shadowing you.”

“’Ello William,” another of the figures greeted.

“Leo, is that you, you old devil?” Alistair questioned jokingly.

“It is.” he whispered in reply.

There were two shadows still unaccounted for. Alistair squinted at the one more to the left. He studied the figure of the other person, looking through his mind for anybody matching the vague description his eyes were giving him. Finally, but uncertain, he found someone matching the figure.

“Alyss?” he questioned timidly.

“Yes?” the figure he was studying, now identified as Alyss, responded quite shyly. His cheeks blushed from a pale white to a dark red in seconds. He looked over to Gaven, whispering to him embarrassed, “Why did you bring her?”

“You know why,” he responded mischievously.

Gaven was the only other soul in the world that knew of the secret crush that Alistair had on the daughter of Thomas, Baron of Cornwall. Alistair would never dare to say anything about it to her; he isn’t even able to utter out a single syllable around her. After Will got over the shock of his crush being with the group tonight, he questioned,

“Now what are we planning on accomplishing tonight?”

“I heard about a peasant that found an ancient artifact?” Leo responded.

“We could also go hit up the fishermen’s traps,” Gaven spoke.

This is how Alistair’s Thursday nights usually play out. The band was from Tenebrae Corps, an association that taught adolescents the art of spell-induced stealth and thievery. They were required to bring tuition of stolen goods and/or money. This is why they met up every Thursday, and why Alistair was so curious to the real reason of Alyss’s presence. He knew Gaven too well to think he would possibly sabotage the mission with a lady’s presence. As if knowing exactly what Alistair was thinking, Gaven came out with,

“Alyss has joined the Tenebrae Corps.”

Oh really?” Leo responded, showing a large amount of doubt.

“Do you have a problem with it?” Will hissed, not noticing the amount of anger in his voice. Leo hushed himself very quickly, and Alistair could feel every one else’s eyes searing into his skin. He then realized he had been a bit to harsh on Leo. He started to stutter out an apology in many fragments,

“Sorry, Leo...It’s just...I...I think everyone should be given a chance...and...”

“No apology needed mate,” Leo responded, satisfied and giving Alistair a wink. The group then decided that it would be a good idea to set out. They would walk together in a close quatrain of people. Alistair knew he couldn’t stay out in the courtyard for too long without his parents knowing. Will led, with Leo, Gaven, and Alyss trailing behind. Their footsteps scraped lightly on the beautifully set cobblestone path. As they reached the outer gate, Will stopped to talk to the guards.

“Hello again Alistair,” one of the guards said gruffly. They always used his given name.

“Well, hello Javins, doing well I hope?” Will replied in an even tone.

“Very well Sir.” he then told Will.

“I’m going for a walk with a few friends, I’ll be back in roughly an hour,” Will declared.

“Alright, be safe,” the guard warned.

Javins and many others of the patrol of guards had become accustomed to Will’s late and long walks, and never questioned them. The group walked down the path, and Will admired the woods that were, at the moment, topped with the frosty snow that was the sincere definition of December. Alyss, blue-eyed, and blonde, and also a brilliant thinker, was Will’s definition of perfect was. His thoughts drifted off to the very pretty girl, as a teen boy does. Before he knew it, his head hit something rough and hard. His behind hit the snow, and the white flakes scattered everywhere, particularly on Will’s trousers and coat.

“My God..,” Will complained to himself.

“You alright mate?” Leo and Gaven replied in unison.

“It seems that he’s drawn to that tree as much as he’s drawn to Alyss,” Leo added jokingly. Will turned around, giving Leo a playful glare, and making sure that Alyss was out the range of hearing when Leo said that.

“If Alyss heard you say that, I would’ve had to kill you,” Will told Leo while getting himself up. It just so happened that Alyss had just came inside earshot.

“If Alyss heard you say what?” she asked.

“Nothing..,” Leo grinned sheepishly. Alyss gave him a funny look, and then turned to Will.

“Are you alright?” she asked, sincerely worried.

“Uh...I’m fine...yah..,” Will stammered out. He brushed off the rest of the powdered snow off of his cloak, and looked up at Alyss, his face red-hot with embarrassment. Outside of the castle wall’s shadow, the sunset only helped it be even more noticeable.

“What are you all staring at? Let’s go” Will ordered awkwardly. The others reluctantly followed the retreating body of Will, the two boys and a girl in a tightly packed group. Alyss had many things racing in her mind, but most of it was about Will. She was ecstatic that Will was her band leader, because she also had a crush on him. They both had feelings for each other, but they don’t want to admit it, for fear of declination from the other. Alyss gave out a small sigh, and realized that she had been staring at Will, and the others had started to notice. She decided to try to go talk to him. Pushing past the other two boys, she quickly tip-toed up to her crush.

“Hey Will,” she greeted him quickly, to embarrassed to look at him.

“Hello, Alyss,” he replied, as shyly as her, if not more embarrassed. “Is this your first mission?” he asked, trying to make small talk.

“Yes, I’m a bit nervous,” the shyness in her voice faded away a small tad as she started to open up to him.

“Well, don’t be, it’s a lot of fun,” Will replied, joyful that he could even make out full sentences in her presence.

“I’m not sure it’s for me, I mean, I’m a lady.” she said timidly.

“As if that matters. There are plenty of women in Tenebrae.” he uttered out quickly, really trying for her not to give up the Tenebrae.

“It’s the only time you are ever going to see her,” he thought.

“Will you please try it, for me?” Will begged. He then realized he might have revealed his admiration of her. His eyes went wide in anticipation of her answer.

“Alright, but just tonight,” she replied.

“Great!” Will said gladly. It just happened that he had reached the first stop on their loop of thievery. Beside the group, a pond that was enchanted, and therefore never froze all year. A line of fisherman’s nets were sprawled about the shallow water. Gaven was the first to pull his standard-issue camouflage cloak over his head. Then came Will, and then Leo. Alyss had trouble putting it on, because she had never used it before. Will came up in front of her, and placed his hands on her hood. He gently pulled it over her beautiful blonde hair, and it just happened that his face was but two inches away from Alyss’s. He could feel her light, lovely-smelling breath on his cheek. Alistair would stay their forever, but then he realized Alyss starting to look at him funny. He pulled away, embarrassed at his own foolishness. Gaven came up behind Will.

“So, when are you going to make a move on her?” he joked. In reply, Will jabbed his elbow into Gaven’s ribs.

“Shut up,” he said, awkwardly smiling, red-faced, and thoroughly embarrassed.

 


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