My first story here O.o
Uh, anyways... I had my English mock-exam today, and the topic was "Money". So I wrote a story about money in a not-so-very-fantasyish-fantasy setting, and I thought of making it really complicated, full of intrigues and close to a mystery, but time was running out for me, so I went with the simpler solution. It doesn't make completely sense, and it's rushed in parts (mainly because of the time limit), and I'm sure I have some really weird/weak sentences that make sense in Norwegian but not in English. (And the dialogue... gragh, the dialogue! It's a parody of a sort) Feel free to critize and comment! Rip the text to shreds, if you want to! It's not one of my best writings, but it's okay, I guess. And my Norwegian stories lose the flow when I try to translate them.
But, here you go:
SILVER AND SICKLES
Sometimes pushing people around – sometimes pulling out the rug
Sometimes pushing all the buttons – sometimes pulling out the plug
It’s the power and the glory – it’s a war in paradise
It’s a Cinderella story on a tumble of the dice
- The Big Money, Rush
“We will of course take this to due consideration. Very well, sir, you may leave now.”
Aidan Sheston tipped his hat and bowed, grinning widely. The priest frowned, as if not sure whether to be offended or not, but returned the bow and drew a sickle in the air. The glance that followed told him his time was up by far and the priest had other matters to consider. Those of his lunch, for a start. “I will send you a rider as soon as we have it settled.”
Aidan thought of replying “And may your harvest be bountiful!” or something along those lines... but then, probably, he’d be kicked out of the temple for good. The Brotherhood of the Sickle and Silver made sure everyone knew they were more than mere peasants, and joking about it could do horrible things to a person’s savings.
He turned on his heel and left the temple, tossing a silverpiece to the novice boy at the door on his way out. Outside his carriage waited, drawn by four black horses with plumes on their heads. Quinton, his butler, an elderly man with a rat-like appearance, was already holding the door open for him.
“I think that went well, Quinton,” Aidan said as he got in. The butler nodded stiffly. “That is marvellous news, sir. Is there any other business milord should take care of while he is here?”
“Like what?” He shrugged. “Visiting my grandmother’s ashes? Gambling halls? Brothels? No, I don’t think so, Quinton. Straight home, I think, would please me more. Three weeks in this wretched city is enough for any man, especially me.”
“As milord wishes.” The butler closed the door and took seat beside the driver. With a sharp “Hey-la!” and a crack of the whip, the horses started trotting, their hooves clacking against the cobbles. The carriage jerked forwards.
Aidan fiddled with his purse and bit his lip. He’d given them money enough – enough to ensure his case would be among the first ones the priests would take care of. It should work out all right. It should happen soon.
If he had looked out of the window instead of on his purse, he might have seen something that would greatly upset his plans. It would have upset them anyway, but if he’d seen it he could at least have prepared for it.
But he didn’t, and left Corrwell-upon-Stagsmouth without the faintest notion of the future.
The carriage came to a halt, and Aidan looked up. Someone walked across the gravel in the manner of somebody not very fond of it, a shadow appeared in front of the window, and the door opened with a click. He half-expected a hand to show up and escort him out, but apparently the servant thought he managed to find the way all by himself. Well, well, as long as they didn’t treat him like a lady he was happy.
He gave the servant his hat and his cloak and trotted up the stairs. Finally home again. Wild horses couldn’t force him down to the city again, not now. It felt like some had removed lead weights from his shoulders along with his travelling cloak. He smiled.
The double oak-doors stood wide open like welcoming arms, both carved with the family crest, a golden stag rampant on a green field. Two similar statues guarded the entrance, watching who came and left.
Aidan paused for a moment. Where were the flesh guards?
The hall behind the stags lay empty, and he took a careful step inside, peering around like a thief. It should have bustled with life at this time of the day.
“Quinton,” he said. “There isn’t any event of importance going on now which we just happened to miss, is it?”
The butler appeared out of thin air. It seemed to Aidan that no matter where he went, Quinton was always right behind him, but he didn’t take the same way as him to get there.
“None of which I know, milord,” he said, missing the sarcasm. He was good at missing such things, excelling the other servants by far. “There could of course be some pagan festivals in the fields –”
“Which my mother would attend? Seriously, man, our dear Lady Sheston would never –”
“Did milord see the fields when we drove past?”
“Uhm, well... no.”
Quinton gave him a disapproving look. Aidan had seen it many times before – it was the kind of look you got when people found you pulling the legs off a beetle one by one. The butler drew his breath, a motion that made him grow six inches taller, and slunk down again when he breathed out. “The Lady finds happiness in the strangest places.”
Aidan frowned, searching the butler’s face for signs if he joked. In vain, it seemed. The man had a humour dry as a roasted cockroach.
“Well, well, well...” he said, currently at a loss of words. “Well, well...”
He stopped in the middle of the hall. Something nagged at his mind, jumping and shouting to get attention. Something he should have remembered, something he should have seen – something... He suddenly became aware of Quinton’s gaze.
“Well,” he concluded.
So his mother, the Lady of the manor, had begun partaking in a festival for workers? That was certainly something new. He couldn’t see why she should – she had everything money could buy – a manor, a household, a title, a county, power, influence (all of which would become his very soon), friends... it was a long list.
She went completely cuckoo when Father died, he thought. Completely cuckoo.
There were things a woman of her stature could do, and there were things she should stay away from completely. Her workers were one of them. He could see them in the window, small pinpoints in a huge green field, dancing in circles and probably singing as well.
Someone tapped on the door. Quinton had never learned the art of knocking.
“The bath is ready, milord,” said the butler without opening the door.
“I’ll come. When do you think the festival ends?”
“As soon as the first sickle is thrown, milord.”
Aidan frowned. “Doesn’t that count as heresy?”
“And my mother is letting this happen?” His heart beat a little faster than usual. The thing nagging his mind started pulling again. There was something he should have remembered...
“She is certainly radical these days.”
A messenger waited in the hall when he came down, bathed and freshly clothed. Quinton had informed him the festival would be over any moment now, as they all had thrown a sickle and buried a silverpiece each. He just hoped they didn’t come while the man was here.
The Brotherhood had sent him – you had to be blind if you missed the sickle embroidered on his livery. His expression was that of a gargoyle. He bowed when he saw Aidan, and Aidan nodded back.
“My lord Sheston, as you know, the Brotherhood of the Sickle and Silver has sent me,” he said. “Your request concerning the laws of inheritance of land and title has been duly considered.”
“Oh my, that was quickly done,” he said, saw the look and nodded. “Proceed.”
“I was of course to judge by my opinion when I came here to see you. You have no criminal record and are the true-born heir, am I right?”
“Good. It all stands in the record books. You also wished to take the passant fox as your charge, instead of your Lady Mother’s stag?”
“Yes.” Of course he chose the only creature that used wit and wisdom to defend itself, he thought. He’d arranged it so well. All that money can buy.
“And your Lady Mother has passed the age of seventy-five?”
“Well, she will in the autumn.” He felt his chest swell with triumph. Right now, nothing mattered more, nothing but his own little world of happiness.
“So she is still the ruler of this manor?”
“Well, technically, yes.”
“Was it her I saw in the field throwing sickles about like they were children’s toys?”
“Err...” The bubble exploded like an alchemist’s shop. He suddenly found himself in the middle of a very fast dive towards a very hard, spiked ground. Headfirst.
The messenger looked expectantly at him.
“Uh... I think so. But she was kicked in the head by a horse just the other day, not good in her age, she became a little... porridgey, never fully recovered, didn’t recognize me at all and...” he hazarded. “Err... yes.”
“My lord, you have been in Corrwell for the last few weeks, how can you know?”
“A messenger told me. And brought her with him,” he ventured when he saw the messenger’s expression. “Very briefly.”
“It seems to me... that your Lady Mother has become a heretic.”
“A heretic! No, no, no, no – it’s just old age and –”
“And those who mock and despise the Brotherhood and thereby the will of the gods are not fit for ruling,” the messenger continued. “It could be heredity.”
Aidan waved his hands and shook his head. “I assure you – it’s not heredity – have you ever seen me throwing sickles about in the field – hey, wait!”
The messenger had turned on his heels and marched out of the hall in the gait of someone who knows that anyone trying to stop him will be crushed to bits. The voices and laughter of the workers could be heard outside. Among them he could make out his mother’s voice. He hurried after the messenger.
“Hey, wait! I paid a lot for this – you can’t just take my fortune –”
The messenger grabbed his reins and glanced at him. The horde in the fields was coming closer. “You have to search your fortune other places, sir. The rules are strict. We will find a new lord by the end of next week. This county can’t have heretics in charge. If I were you, I would prepare for a much – ah, cheaper lifestyle.”
With that, he mounted and urged the horse forwards. Aidan ran after him. “You can’t do this – I paid! I paid, I tell you!”
Horse and rider sped up. The messenger turned in the saddle and gave him one final look.
“I am sorry, my lord. There is not everything money can buy.”
"Writers aren't exactly people...they're a whole lot of people trying to be one person."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald