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Ashburn's Knight - Perspective Contest Entry

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Ashburn's Knight - Perspective Contest Entry Empty Ashburn's Knight - Perspective Contest Entry

Post by Guarnere on Sat May 19, 2018 4:58 am

Story Title: Ashburn's Knight
Story Link:
Characters involved: Guarnere

Ashburn's Knight - Perspective Contest Entry Ashbur10

“What… happened?”

“You were in the battle.  You took a bad hit.”

“Did I… did we win?”


“I can’t remember it… I can’t remember much…  Tell me… what happened- the beginning...”


You are Calden Aimstead, Holy Knight of the Order.  You joined the Order of Prosperity with good intentions, better intentions than most in fact.  After you lost your parents to scoundrels, you vowed to protect.  The strength needed to protect is not an easy strength to gain, yet you sought it out and gained it anyway.

This morning you woke up a proud knight.  You were awake well before the sun rose over the ocean, the morning was a foggy one and the lights of the city watch cast an orange glow in the darkness.  Moments from your waking you were already dressed in your formal under-armor and ready, eager as always.

Today, you would say, today would be the day you impressed everyone.  Especially fairest Ashburn.

The knights were readying in the keep.  You were one of the first to arrive, but she was already there.  Your commander, Ashburn, with the fairest hair and a twinkle in her eyes at your eagerness.  Rubbish to age, you thought.  Perhaps she was a commander and well older than you.  But Calden Aimstead would be a hero, and she would remember your name for the rest of her years.

You told your dragon this after you had received your orders.  All knights were supposed to be ready to arrive at the battlefield before the sun rose over the mountains.  Everyone fell into a rush to get their mounts ready for combat.  No one wanted to be last to fly, least of all you.

And, of course, your dragon was the finest dragon of all.  Pure white, regal of structure, strong of heart and light of wing; Guarnere.  You arrived and you told him of your morning and your plans.

“This morrow,” you said.  “This morrow the light of her eyes shines just for me.  I ensure you of it, Guarnere.  The Lady Ashburn will look to me with her love and attentions, and that fairest heart will ever be mine.”

“Aye, boy,” the dragon replied.  “This morrow over the last?  And the one before that?  Never have I known such a relentless drive, striving ever for something just out of his grasp…  Go out the keep, impress a wench with the shine of your sword and the polish of your helmet.  Leave Ashburn’s heart to herself.”

You never did listen to your dragon.  And you weren’t about to now.  Not when there were more important things to worry over.

Today was the first day the Holy War came to your doorstep.  The island of Prosperity had been untouched for generations, for centuries even.  You had been a dragon knight for not long, but you knew the unease of the other men and women readying to mount their rides.

It was dark still.  Knights were yet throwing saddles across the necks of their companions, clasping buckles across their beasts and themselves.  You had already thrown your full armor on, had graced Guarnere with your saddle and offered yourself to check the Lady Ashburn’s straps while she checked your own.  Anything for a chance to talk to her.

Then the first dragon launched, blew out the torches in the keep’s courtyard with a beat of their wings that took the voice from everyone in the yard.  Earlier may have yet been another briefing of your training, or menial tasks handed out.  But that first dragon was heading to the coast, where an army sat in wait.  Your coast, not your army.  That was too real to push away.

With haste, you finished and climbed upon Guarnere’s mighty shoulders.  There was still fear from the others, another dozen riders in the courtyard outside yourself.  But, Guarnere would not let you down, you knew.  And Ashburn had a look of stoicism to her that steeled your heart.  Never would you let Ashburn overtake you, for the moment you let yourself believe you were in her shadow, she would never see your brilliance.  If anything, you wanted her to think you were holy, that you were unstoppable.

She took off, the mighty Galahad beating his wings beneath her.  You were right behind her on Guarnere, your mask barely on fore the cold morning winds swept around you.

In minutes you were above the fog, flying free away from the Order’s keep.  The city, not more than glowing orange figures in the fog, disappeared behind trees and mountains.  Another dozen, then two dozen dragons rose from the terrain around you, until you were just one of many behind the iridescent black scales of Ashburn’s Galahad.

It took little less than an hour to arrive, time where all you had was the sound of wind and your own breath caught in your mask.  The sky was beginning to lighten.  The sun just lifted over the ocean, but it yet hid behind the mountains at your back.  More ocean rose to your front, and the fog that caught the trees and forests lifted as it closed towards the beach.

And there, right on the beach, was an army.  You could see them stretch out a mile down, and could see the banners beginning to rise with the morning troops.  You could also see your own men, knights of the Order and warriors of Prosperity, hidden behind the treeline off the beach in wait.

But the dragons and their riders would reach first.  They would scatter the war camp from inside, burning the tents and breaking the lines, and only then would the combined armies of your islands attack.

And, at the head of this dragon assault, was the Lady Ashburn and her wing.  You.  Calden Aimstead.  Fearless.  A legend.  You proved it.

When Ashburn tilted Galahad’s nose down and dove into their ranks, you were right behind with lance and sword.  Men scattered beneath.  Guarnere landed and your steel found flesh and dropped the first and only riders they would mount this battle.  The screams and clatter of steel rose as the other dragons landed around you, then drowned into silence as the dragons roared their mighty den, shattering the hearts of the mere mortals they had set their sights upon.

In the battle, you lost your lance.  You lost your wings as well, too many men with too many swords pushed in for most of the dragons to remain still and seated.  But, Ashburn was still in the fray and you were devoted to fight at her side.  So, through swords, spears, and arrows, you swung your blade and Guarnere clamped his jaws.  The blood of a thousand nicks against his scales joined the blood of your victims, and together painted the beach a grimy red.

You were too busy adding to the carnage to notice the weapons.  All of you were, your eyes set and focused on the dangers around you.  You never noticed until a flung boulder struck Galahad’s shoulder and he dropped.  And Ashburn dropped.

All of the dragons noticed then, they noticed the lines of siege equipment that had been hidden in a cove, and wheeled out just as the sun was rising over the mountains to illuminate them.  They noticed one of their own wounded, spears finding purchase as their enemies surrounded them.  You were the only one who noticed their Immortals, their answer to the Order, marching across the camp towards the fallen comrade.

As dragons and riders dropped from the sky to aid Ashburn, you did what you must.  You took your sword and joined the other knights, cutting and hacking away, letting Guarnere wipe the area clean with his tail.  You met your fellows next to Galahad, where his broken shoulder had caught Ashburn’s legs.  There was time yet for the dragons to pull Galahad away, and for your knights to draw Ashburn up.  None of their infantry could match the might of your men.

But the Immortals could.  You knew that they would take more lives once they arrived.

You made the choice not to let them.  Your choice was to delay them long enough for the knights to take back to the sky with Ashburn in safety.

So, you took her blade, and lifted it with your own.  You met their soldiers on the field and cut a swathe through them.  You met the Immortals on the field, and as they rushed you held fast and you took them one-by-one.  Each one fell before you, never had they seen such a display.  The largest came first, with an axe the size of yourself, and you walked through it and severed the tendons of his arms, then his neck.

The next few carried spears, and all of their attacks were pushed aside for you to step in.  The first received just a cut, the next had his legs taken out from under him, the third managed to catch one of your blades before the other tore out his sides.

You fought them all, these men of war hidden behind the metal faces of demons.  You had drawn a line through the sand and had not allowed a single man to pass it, and you became what you had wanted.  A legend.

Galahad was taken to safety behind you, drawn away by a few of the larger dragons.  Ashburn was taken upon Guarnere’s shoulders and lifted back to the treeline, where your men had come out running and screaming into the fray.

You almost did it.  Another few seconds and you would have been swooped to safety.

You didn’t notice the archer though.  Standing behind the Immortals with his long bow, he had been watching you through the fight, waiting for his shot.  He took it when your last enemy fell.

When Guarnere returned, you were sliding down to your knees in the sand.  The shaft of the arrow stuck out from the leathers around your ribs, wedged deep inside of you.  The sounds of the battle died away.  Your enemies were pushed back just as you had fallen, and your allies rushed along your sides, not realizing the hero that was kneeling in their midst.

You always were too eager, Calden Aimstead.  Too eager to please.  Too eager to chase after whatever whim your heart desired.  You were never the type to think about what you might be leaving behind, what you might have gained if you had just fought for your own survival as well.

You said once that legends were made of those who never took a half-step in, and I believe you now.  You became an absolute legend…

If only you were still around for me to tell you…

“I’m afraid he can’t hear you anymore, my lady.”

“Does it get any easier, Guarnere?  Losing men?”

“I’ve lost many a rider, Lady Ash.  I would gladly give my own years to bring back theirs.”

“Do me a favor…  You have your silver tongue, Guarnere.  Make sure that those that ride after him know his sacrifice, that they may not pay their own.”

“Of course.  I shall tell his story.  He gave his life for yours and Galahad’s, now his shall live on in prose and song.  Calden Aimstead, Ashburn’s Knight.”

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Ashburn's Knight - Perspective Contest Entry Empty Re: Ashburn's Knight - Perspective Contest Entry

Post by Celestia on Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:08 pm

Reviewing and reviewed

Enjoyment/Fun: 25
Quality: 60
Originality: 30

subtotal 115
contest award 300
final total 415 awarded to uh where is this going? Let me know.

If you win the contest the prize will be awarded later at the contests conclusion.

Ashburn's Knight - Perspective Contest Entry 158avbn

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