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Corrandion, Corridane
I am JT, Ringer, nutjob, and archer, in that order. I like animated films, epic films, book films, movie music, folk music, and the occasional random other thing. I make friends by accident and like it that way...

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08 July 2011

Chapter 1, Price of a Throne

If this is the first chapter of this story you have read, click here

Chapter I

Chapter I

The crowd stood with bated breath as king Valun III rode through on a magnificent black horse. King Valun took a long look at both sides of the crowd and noticed its depth. He then turned and began again to face the road before him.

The time had come at last. Valun could feel the gravity of the situation, and it weighed heavily upon him. As was the tradition in Corridane, he was at the head of a procession which ought to have included the queen mother, (provided she was alive), and all of the rest of the royal family, excepting the old king, who was nearly always dead and since buried at the time that the crown prince was taking up the mantle.

The queen mother, however, had died when Valun was thirteen years old, of a sickness which was not understood. And so Valun had given John’s mother the place which belonged to his own, as a sign of favor toward the family. Valnor being also absent, there was no royal family to escort him. The procession had been filled out by the inclusion of all the Trondales and Longfurrows, with the addition of John, who had never told anyone his family name. Everyone was mounted on a fine horse of the color they deemed best.

Every member of the party was magnificently dressed in the finest clothes that could be found, outside or within the castle. Valun and the Longfurrows had chosen a moderate shade of red, whilst John and the Trondales had all arrayed themselves in a blue shade almost as light as that of the sky (which happened to be free of clouds at the moment). Several days of preparation had allowed everyone to show themselves to the best advantage. Richard and Robert had ordered new shields forged for them the day after their homecoming; they were now wearing the shields on their backs, as was Valun, who had ordered his on short notice, having decided he wanted a personal crest entirely separate from his ancestors, which would commemorate his time of exile and hardship. The people passed quickly over Valun’s crest, for as of yet they knew little more than that he was the prince. But when the Trondale and Longfurrow shields caught their eye, the people caught their breath and looked upon the crests and their bearers with the manner of pity and awe one would normally reserve for a deathbed, as they recalled the horror of the Longfurrow massacre, and the sadness of the loss of both magnificent halls. Even though the foiled revolts led by Roland Longfurrow and Eric Trondale had led to the deaths of so many young men, they had been so beloved by the commoners that the people cheered their sons. The attitude was such, that in Corridane under any other king than Valun II, the people would have placed one of the forenamed lords on the throne had he wanted it.

Robert, with his clearly evident strength, was handsome in the way that a mountain is, which is not to say that he was not, but is rather to say that he was handsome in a very firm manner. By contrast, Richard, who had had the good fortune to be picked up as a house-servant, was lithe and flexible where Robert was solid. His flair for extravagance showed itself in his raiment, as he had, at Valun’s consent, added a red cape trimmed with fur. His unusually long and bushy red hair had been restrained under a brilliantly shining helm which sported a thick black plume. The beard he had been growing since he came of age was neatly trimmed about two inches down. His height measured six feet and five inches.

John had added an untrimmed cape to his tunic. He wore no beard and his straight brown hair, though long, was not comparable to Richard’s in length. He did not wear a shield. He was riding on the right-hand side. opposite Robert.

The recent days had done the most to Anne and her mother, who both seemed to have regained a great measure of the beauty they should never have had reason to lose. In their happiness, they seemed nearly to outshine Richard’s bright helm.

In contrast to the glowing happiness of the rest of the party, Valun’s expression gave evidence of the heavy weight he carried in his heart. Even as he was surrounded by the cheering crowd, and followed closely by his great friends, he felt isolated. He felt almost as if there were a barrier between himself and the world, which placed all the voices some distance away. The words he was waiting for had not come, and so he rode forward, on through the streets until those words told him to stop. As he rode, his eyes searched through the ranks of people, so swiftly he hardly noticed. It had become a habit of his to always be searching for someone whom he hoped not to see.

If the reader will allow, we must pause the narrative for a moment and take a good, long, look at Valun III of Corridane, as he is one of the movers of the plot which will presently unfold. He is riding upon a magnificent black horse he acquired in exile; man and beast already know each other well and move smoothly along the road together. Valun’s hair is a dark brown, and falls in wide curls just at the base of his neck. His beard is no wider than his chin and short like Richard’s. It becomes him well. He has covered his chest with a shining breastplate and wears bracers on his arms. His fur-lined cape spreads out broadly from underneath his shield. His height measures six feet and six inches, making him one of only two Corridane kings to reach such a length. He wears a sword, as do the other men. We must now continue with the story, in the hope that the reader is now better able to see king Valun as he rides forward to his crowning.

Finally, after many minutes of riding, the doors of their destination came in sight. A series of narrow stone steps led up to a wide space where a large group might gather and from whence one could see several streets leading away from the steps on each side. A pair of massive oak doors stood, closed, in the center of the enormous marble building the procession now stood before, looking toward the top, which rose several feet above the parapets of the castle and was covered with a black material which had been imported. There were stained glass windows on every side of the building.

The dais of this awesome building was not empty. A tall man, who appeared to be as many fifty-five years old, whose white beard was at least a foot long, stood there. In one hand, he held an equally tall staff; his other hand was outstretched toward Valun and his party.

“What man is among you who dares to mount these steps and cry out for The Great One to bless him, that he may be a fitting ruler for this kingdom under The One?”

Valun did not react. It was tradition for the crown prince’s oldest brother to name him before the people; the naming fell to anyone else only if the second son was too young or there was none. Richard had asked that James be favored with the role, as James wished for some way to prove his belief in Valun’s word. Accordingly, the party spread out until Valun was as near as possible to the center of the line at the foot of the steps, while James dismounted.

He did not show joy now. Now he looked as if a cloud had passed over his brow and left a trace of it’s shade behind. Old men had come to all of them and explained exactly how a prince gained the acceptance of The One. James had taken his role to heart and would not deviate from it. Mounting to the third step, he faced the old man, pointed back toward Valun, and announced in a voice as deep and solemn as he could make it “I, James Longfurrow, in the place of the prince Valnor of the house of Valun, pronounce my lord Valun III, a blood descendant of the house of Valun, worthy to mount these steps and be crowned king of the Corridanes under The One!”

Riotous cheering ensued, which lasted until the priest of The One, for such he was, pounded his staff firmly on the stone under his feet and called for quiet in a voice which seemed to strong to have come from him alone. When the crowd had subdued itself, he spoke again. “He who has been named worthy of the honor of kingship must now make himself known!”

These were the words Valun had been waiting to hear since he returned home a week ago. As was the tradition, he still did not yet speak. That was for a later time. He mounted the stairs with a firm step. One look at his eyes now would be enough to make a man draw back, apprehensive of what would come. He stood perfectly straight, determined not to show, at this the time of his claiming his own, that anything weighed upon his mind. The others had also dismounted; he was flanked by the lady Evelyn on his right and Robert on his left.

When they reached the dais, the three nobles knelt before the priest, and then quickly rose again. They stepped aside and turned to face the people. The priest then stepped in front of them. Speaking to Robert, he said “Can you, Robert Trondale, say from the depths of your heart that you believe Valun III, son of Valun II, of the house of Valun the Great, will be a good and strong leader of his people, and will do only that which is good for them?”

Without hesitation, Robert answered in his firm voice “I believe within the depths of my heart that this is so, else I would not follow him.” This was the answer which the chosen lord always recited when the time came. To date, no man had replied differently than this.

Passing Valun and coming to Robert’s mother, the lady Evelyn, the priest asked her “Do you believe that Valun III will do as his forefathers before him, and give those below him, and that which is above him, the respect due to those who are above one’s station and have broken no laws?”

“In the place of the late queen mother, I say that I do believe he has been taught thus and is ready to assume the symbols and authority of the station he has come to claim.”

The priest then stepped forward. Spreading his arms out like wings, he turned to the people and cried “Ye people! You have heard the words of the prince, the noble, and the queen! Have you no objection to the prince Valun III entering into this great hall to be crowned, to be lord over all Corridane and rule it’s people as their king?”

All the people there assembled, all the people for miles around, including the bands of outlaws who had been hiding from the usurper, had come for a proper coronation, and that they would have. The people cried “Yea!” with one voice.

“Then let the doors be opened!”

Four acolytes in black seemed to materialize before the assembled people, took hold of the great rings hanging from the doors, and began to open the building to the outside world. The opening produced an ear-piercingly harsh grating sound, but no one dared to flinch. When the doors were pulled back as far as they would go, the acolytes disappeared.

The ceiling of the building slanted upward for at least twenty feet after the walls ended. Just as on the outside, the white marble walls shone in the sunlight which streamed in through the numerous windows. A long, narrow, red rug extended all the way down the length of the building, splitting the two rows of polished wooden benches that extended almost as far as the rug itself. The rug ended at a short series of steps which led to another dais upon which there was nothing but a small table and a carved chair. On the table rested a crown.

The old priest led the way into the building. After him, in succession, came Valun, lady Evelyn; James; Robert; Richard, who was immediately trailed by the rest of Robert’s family, and John. When the royal procession had entered, the common people began to trickle in, making as little noise as possible. While the priest mounted the dais before him, Valun and his party spread out in the manner they had adopted outside, and knelt as one.

When they had done this, the priest, who was now flanked by his acolytes, raised his hands, and cried “Hear me, all ye who are above and below! Valun son of Valun has been deemed worthy to receive the crown and rule this land as lord, has he not?”

No one spoke. Confusion began to appear among the common people. Almost forgetting that they were in the temple, they nearly rioted. The priest was unfazed. For a long moment, he stood frozen in thought. Then he suddenly cried “He is chosen!”

At these words, two of the acolytes brought the crown forward from the table. Taking it from them, the priest raised it high, and then slowly lowered it down onto Valun, saying as he did “You take upon you, by consent of your people and the One, the power to order things as you see fit. Handle that power carefully, or the One may destroy you. Rise and speak, King Valun III, fifth of your house!”

At the word, Valun and his retinue rose as one. Valun then called out “Bring the sword and chains!” Having said this, he began to walk down the aisle holding his head high. The determination in his eyes had been replaced by the joy the others had shown before the crowning. The nobles fell into step behind him as the commoners looked on, admiration visible on their faces.

Valun stopped when he came to a carpenter’s workbench which had been set up on the dais outside. Two strong chains lay across it.

Richard had been waiting for this moment. He left the temple, then reappeared only moments later bearing a long-sword in its sheath. He then knelt and presented the hilt of the blade to Valun, who drew it. Waiting until the last man was facing him, watching intently to see what he would do, Valun raised the sword above his head. Flourishing it dramatically, he brought it down across the chains with ferocious strength, shouting the ancient words: “Vires! Sapientia! Justicia!” His cries were punctuated by the sound of the severed chains falling to the ground.

Sheathing his sword and stepping away as the acolytes reappeared yet again to remove the ceremonial props, Valun projected his voice out toward the crowd.

“My people! You have accepted me as your king, and for that I thank you. But is there not another you would like to see in my place? Would you not like to see the Peacemaker returned in glory to his kingdom?”

The people roared their approval, while Valun held up his hands futilely. From an unseen opening, a horn sounded its deep, booming note over their heads. At this, the people silenced themselves and Valun continued.

“For I say to you that it is in my mind that, so long as my father is alive, I have stolen his crown from him just as did the man I thrust out only seven days past. To reconcile myself to the kingship I have claimed, I must receive my father’s blessing, Is this right?”

Again there was a wave of sound broken only by the horn of the temple.

“So I call upon you my people, to follow me in what I desire, which is to return my father to his kingdom, and punish those who have kept him from his home! Are my people content? I will not rest until this is done, and all Corridane shall rise with me. Have I spoken well?”

Having declared his intent, Valun stepped back and let the unfettered joy of the crowd wash over him. Crossing over to Robert, he said “Tell me. Did I speak well?”

“That you did. Though if I may be so bold, I say that you may be relieved in the future to have discovered now that your people venerate your father so. Else they may not have consented so easily to your call to war.”

“I did not say I would take them to war!”

“What then, did you mean by saying you would punish those who kept your father away, or that all Corridane would rise with you? If that is not a promise to march your people to war, then you know not of what you speak.”

“I know not of what I speak? How dare you?”

Richard, hearing the argument approaching, stepped between them. “I cry your pardon, my lord, but Robert is right in what he says. Either you mean to march the people to war as soon as you are able, for they will not forget, or you have spoken a foul untruth upon the steps of the temple, which is doubly terrible, or you are simply not fit to be king, though far be it from me to believe either of the latter. The people are waiting for your word. Tell them now that you will make them fight to reclaim your father, or release your hold on the respect of your people which your father has passed on to you.”

“You have my pardon, my friends. I see now what I have done.” Coming before the crowd again, he cried “My people! If I call you to war, for so have I done, for the sake of the old king, will you follow me?”

“Unto the ends of the earth, for we would bring back the wisdom of your father!”

“Are you satisfied, Robert? They want my father more than me? Than I will give them my father, and show them as I do so, that I am my father’s son.”


  1. Interesting story so far. I just had a point I wanted to make about the formatting. Your writing is all pretty much solid print, even with the indentations. Solid print,at least for me, is really hard to read. You might consider putting spaces between the paragraphs so that your writing is easier to read. Good job!

  2. I don't think I have anything to critise about this chapter JT. Except, that maybe,the prologue was a whole lot longer than your first chapter but that maybe because it is just the prologue.

  3. If you guessed that the prolougue was written long after the first chapters, you were right. That is also why you will notice improvement in the writing style later on...


Thanks for commenting. I would like to know your thoughts if you have just survived an episode of my writing...:)