Chapter 1 - State of Affairs
A strong north wind rushed down the valley, scattering leaves already yellowed and blown down earlier by another north wind. Already the smell of winter filled the air, crisp and sharp with the promise of early snow instead of the mild fall usually seen.
It also carried another winter on its breath. A light dusting of ash lay upon the castle parapets and floated down on the roofs turning them a grayish-white. These days ashes covered every level surface and every nook, inside and outside. On days like today when the wind raced through, people tried to breathe shallow to avoid inhaling the acrid smoke carried from the winter up north.
Throughout the spring and summer, conflict ripped through the northern country bringing death to many and sending the ashes of whole villages, burnt to the ground instead of surrendering, south into the lands loyal to the one king. In response, legions of men rode north, knights of those shires pledged to and supporting one land, one king. The land being Britain; the king being Arthur Pendragon.
A slender young woman, chin resting on her hands, gazed north, almost oblivious to the gusts whipping the brown hair escaping from the cowl of her dark green cloak. Days seemed to have passed since the sun last smiled on her land. Then a nasty gale raised up and whipped the hood off her head, revealing underneath the innocent but lined face of a young princess, just past fifteen years. A princess who should have been a queen.
A sigh escaped her blood-spotted lips, cracked and sore from a week of standing on this parapet while the wind destroyed the summer in her land. She waited each day for movement through the trees that would signal the coming home of the knights from the north. No sign of her father or King Arthur.
Months overdue was her marriage. Another change because of the fighting, the refusal of the northern clans to give up their freedom for a different freedom under Arthur. Two months ago, her father had left with a contingent of knights to bolster Arthur’s troops. Two months and no word, just ashes and smoke.
On this Hop, Carpinello's Writing Pages interviews
fellow MuseItUp YA author Susan Royal.
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