An Eye for an Eye

Rolandus and Percyvell concocted the ultimate plan to steal 3 prized painite rings from the King of Astilat. But when Percyvell is captured and sentenced to death, a rather different tale of grieving and vengeance unfolds. ~A short historical and fictitious novel about revenge and death in the middle ages~

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3. Chapter 3

Percyvell had reached the palace. His heart was pounding so loudly that he thought it may give him away. Percyvell had fought his way through the dense forest towards the east of the palace so that he could escape the light of the torches at the entrance. It was lucky for him that there was no moat around this castle, as his job would have been much harder; the slopes on either side of a moat were, in general, too steep to climb once submerged in the water. Many had drowned in moats when trying to reach castle walls, simply because of their steep banks.

Percyvell glanced up at the towering stone wall ahead of him. He knew that he would have to scale it to gain access into the castle, but it would be no easy task. He fumbled in his leather satchel for the grappling hook that he had brought. Pulling it out, he studied the metal claw. It was a cheap purchase, but it would have to do.

Percyvell swung it around his head, gathering speed, before releasing the hook into the air. It rose almost to the top of the wall before clattering back down again. He threw himself out of the way to avoid being hit. Cursing loudly, he set about preparing the rope again. Suddenly a loud shout came from his left.

"Who's there? Declare yourself!"

No, please, no, Percyvell thought hurriedly. He slipped his dagger out of its leather sheath and narrowed his eyes, piercing the gloom. A figure loomed in front of him - a knight of Astilat. Percyvell lunged forwards, dagger raised, and plunged it into the knight's chest. At first it met the resistance of his protective leather breastplate, but it sank through into flesh within seconds. There was a muffled groan, followed by a soft thud as the knight collapsed onto the grassy bank, gargling blood.

Percyvell wiped his dagger, sheathed it, and prepared the hook for the third time. He swung it around his head, faster, and released it into the air. This time it landed over the top of the wall with a faint crash. Percyvell tugged on the rope to check it was securely attached before beginning his long and treacherous climb up.

 

*

 

The King lay on his four-poster bed, curtains tightly pulled. His son had ignored him for the rest of the night. What was he doing wrong as a father? Was his love not enough for Galot? The King was just mulling this over when he heard a commotion outside the door. Silently, he propped himself up against his pillows and reached for the sword underneath his bed.

"What's going on? Who is it?" he hissed, parting the curtains and glaring out at the door, which was rattling against the lock. Suddenly, the doors burst open and a young man, around twenty years old, stumbled through, a trickle of red running down his temple and a bloody dagger clenched tightly in his fist.

There was a brief moment where both men stared at each other in alarm. Then -

"Guards!" the King roared, leaping forwards and pointing the sword at the man's head.  Both men lunged for each other, the young man for the King's throat and the King for the man's chest. Just before the dagger contacted the King's neck, his own blade deflected the blow. If it wasn't for his skill in combat, he would never have been able to change his sword's direction in time to divert the dagger.

"Guards!" he roared again, slicing the sword diagonally.  The King felt a twinge in his back. He tried his best to ignore it, blocking another nasty attack as he did so. Two guards, thickly clad in armour, scurried through the doors.

"Seize him, fools!" the King roared, anger rising in his chest. Where were they when this man broke into his palace? Why didn't they stop him at the gates? The man was swiftly disarmed and forced to his knees, a sword at his neck.

Silence. Then a loud clatter as the King kicked aside the dagger and pushed his face into the young man's.

"How dare you..." he spat, "You will die for this. Guards, lock him in the dungeons!”

 

**

 

Rolandus snatched his cloak from its stand and tightened it securely around his shoulders. He had made up his mind. Rolandus was going after Percyvell; he hadn't returned and now that it was dawn, it was bright enough to go searching for him. Rolandus felt adrenaline slice through his chest like icy knives as he thought of his son's lifeless body in the hands of the knights of Astilat.

"Percyvell..." His voice cracked as he slipped outside into the new day, the sunlight startling him. He had the most dreadful feeling that he was going to be too late to save Percyvell, no matter how quick he was.

Rolandus began to sprint down Rhaewien Pathway - the direct route to the King's palace.

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