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Friday, October 18, 2013

Flash Fiction - Treason

I went in a little different direction and stretched myself with this story.  I admit, I'm nervous about how it will be received. 

Does it make sense?  Does the ending satisfy? 

Without giving the story away, I hope you enjoy.  Please leave comments below on what you thought.  I will probably post more on this story later based on the feedback I get.  This story evolved as I wrote it, and it took on a life of its own.  I learned a lot writing it!

Here, for your reading pleasure:

Treason

Even from his private chambers deep within the castle, King Cedric the First felt the low rumble echoing off the castle walls. The king glanced between the faces of his advisers and personal guard, looking for answers.

"What are we to do?" he asked the room, eyes bulging.

"Your men will defend the castle to the last, Sire." Solomon, the King's uncle answered.

King Cedric sighed. "How did this happen? Who's even attacking?"

The king sat confused at the sudden attack. Peace marked his six year reign as king of Duwari, a small coastal kingdom. His ambassadors kept peaceful relations with neighboring nations. Increased patrols kept the roads clear of orc and goblin hoards.

"It looks like a riot, Sire. An uprising."

Cedric stomped his boots against the stone floor as he paced the room. The king dismissed Joab, Captain of the guard, to organize the castle defenses..

Solomon cleared his throat. "Your majesty, perhaps you would like to sit down."

King Cedric scowled and looked at his uncle. An armored soldier burst through the door, interrupting the tension.

"Your majesty," the soldier's voice echoed out of his iron helmet. "The outer courtyard is lost!"

"How?" Cedric squeaked. "Farmers and merchants cannot stand against my men."

"The troops surrendered, Lord. Many even turned to join the rebels." The panicked soldier stood at attention, awaiting the king's reply.

"What magic is this?" Cedric asked.

"Sire, perhaps we should regroup elsewhere," Solomon spoke up.

Cedric clenched his fists. “Never,” he spoke through gritted teeth.

"We can review our options from a safer location.” Solomon walked over and put a hand on his nephew's shoulder.

The king relented. He turned to the messenger.

"Hold the keep with your lives. No one gets through, and no surrender. Tell Joab to deal with any betrayal in kind."

The knight bowed and rushed from the room. Solomon pulled a small stone from the wall at the far end of the chamber.

A click sounded within the stone wall. The room shook as the wall moved, revealing a stairway heading down into darkness.

The king motioned to his two personal guards. One moved to the passage, leading the king and his uncle down. The second bolted the chamber door and took up the rear, pulling a lever to close the wall behind.

The lead guard grabbed and lit a torch. Cedric followed close behind. He pushed the soldier on, ready to be out of the dark, dank passage and out the hidden exit in the rocky hills behind the castle.

Cedric soon saw daylight and breathed a sigh of relief. His sigh became a shriek when strong hands grabbed him at the exit.

King Cedric squinted in the sunlight. Cedric's guard lay on the rocky ground with a tall heavyset farmer standing over him, crude sword pointed at his back. Other farmers and townsfolk pressed in on the king, subduing him and his companions.

What's the meaning of this treason?” His voice rose in pitch as he spoke.

For treason,” King Cedric recognized the voice, “and the murder of King Edgar VI, you are under arrest.”

Cedric narrowed his eyes in hatred and terror as the speaker, Prince Edgar VII, approached.  Cedric protested, fought, and begged as his captors dragged him to be hanged.