This is the 42nd in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.
A Family Tradition, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 12th January 2012
Word count: 725
Theme: family, brother, father, fight, challenge, nobility, honour, distinguish, responsibility
“It is time, sire,” the page said dropping to one knee to address the king who had stoicly been sat in his throne for three days without rest waiting for this moment.
The king nodded, and broke his vigil to stand, “Fetch my bread, and fetch me wine, then bring my weapons and my armour,” he commanded. The bread and wine were brought first, he ripped a chunk of bread off and dipped it in the wine. He sucked on the wetted bread chunk until all that was left was the crust. “Take the rest, give it someone more deserving, and more in need than I,” he commanded.
Next came the armour, it took three men to carry the armour, and two to carry the sword, a sixth man carried the large daggers. The king was a giant of a man, compared with the people of his kingdom, he was easily a foot taller than their tall men, and he was big and broad. The kingdom respected strength, and they respected their foreign born king for his, and over the years they had learn to respect his wisdom too, he had brought them peace, and prosperity until recently.
The first reports of trouble had been heralded two weeks ago, the word coming from the east was that giants were attacking. The king knew otherwise, and as the reports came closer, he dispatched his army to clear the way, but not to attack. Some had ignored orders to their peril.
As the king strapped on his sword, having put his armour and daggers in place first, he flexed. The old armour was masterfully made, a gift from another king. The leather beneath the panels and studs creaked as they were forced to make way for the still taut muscles of the king.
“I am ready,” the king said to himself quietly.
“Sorry, sire?” his page asked.
“Nothing,” the king said, and then added, “Clear out all of you. Make sure the castle is empty.”
“In the absence of your guard, we will stand and defend you sire,” the page said, the sword and armour bearers did not seem so certain.
“This is not a fight for the kingdom, this is personal,” the king said, “I would not have my people die in my stead.”