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Tuesday Tales – Yellow

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Gotta love Tuesdays!  It’s time for Tuesday Tales!  This week’s word prompt is yellow.  We continue with Thatcher and Miranda in The Thirteenth Knight.  Don’t forget to check out all the rest of the incredible fiction writers of Tuesday Tales!

fireplace

Winter snow had blanketed the kingdom in a pure, cold frost.  Snowflakes drifted from the sky, twinkling against the light of the full moon.  The scene from forest to field was peaceful.  But the tension in the palace was anything but peaceful.

Thaddeus gazed down at the beaten, bloody soldier kneeling before him.  The blaze in the fireplace warmed the throne room in a glow of yellow light.  It couldn’t melt the chill in his veins.  The report this man brought had happened before.  He hoped it would never happen again.  He lost a brother to it.

“There is nothing left of the outpost?” Thaddeus questioned.

“No, sire.  There were three outposts attacked.  None are left.  I was the only one who managed to escape mine,” the soldier breathed.

“These outposts were along the shore?  Possibly the work of invaders from the sea?”

“Nay, sire.  Mine is in the northern country.  Far from the water.”

“And their armor?  Which kingdom were they from?”

“That is the problem, sire.  They wore no armor.  They were dressed in black.”

Thaddeus glances at the men surrounding the perimeter of the room.  Each of his thirteen knights watched the soldier in trepidation.  William stepped forward from the group.  “How could they survive the blows given to them without armor?”

“I don’t know, my lord,” the soldier confessed.   “We fought back.  We gave it everything we had.  Something protected them from our attack.”

“Black magic,” Thatcher breathed.

Thaddeus sunk onto his throne.  “We will summon the army.  A quarter of them will stay here and protect the palace.  We will lead the rest and find whoever is terrorizing my kingdom.  We will not rest until they are found and put to an end.”  Thaddeus waved his hand to the soldier.  The wounded man slumped to the floor, exhausted from his injuries.  “William, please help him to the physician for treatment.”

William scowled as he crossed the throne room and helped the soldier to his feet.  He led the man from the room.

“And Thatcher?”

Thatcher strode to the throne and knelt before Thaddeus.  The king smiled sadly as he continued.  “Prepare my house and family for our departure.”

Thatcher nodded as he rose to his feet.  Thaddeus watched as he disappeared down the hall towards the living quarters.

 ****

Thatcher stared at the wooden door as he took a deep breath.  He lifted his hand and knocked on it with his knuckle.  After a moment the door was wrenched open.  Miranda stared at him in surprise.  She was still dressed in the sunshine yellow gown she wore earlier that day.  She had not yet prepared for bed.

“Thatcher, what are you doing here?” she demanded.

He nudged her inside her bedchamber and closed the door.  He turned towards her.  “I have been sent by Thaddeus to prepare the household.  We leave tomorrow once the army arrives at the palace.”

“Why?”

“Three outposts in the kingdom have been attacked.  All the occupants were killed except one soldier who escaped to report to us.  We are going to find who is threatening the kingdom.”

“You are going to war.”

He sighed.  “Most likely, yes.  We are going to war.”

Miranda turned and paced away from him.  He could sense the worry filling her.  She suddenly spun towards him.  “Tell my uncle you are staying here to look after the house.”

“I cannot do that, Miranda.”

“You would rather go to war?  Here you are safe.  Here you are with me.  There you could…”  Her voice faded at the thought.

“I have to go, Miranda.”

Her lips pressed into a thin line.  “I see.  I see where your heart lies.”

Thatcher crossed the bedchamber to her and took her hands in his.  “My heart lies with you.  I have to protect you.”

“How can you protect me from miles away?”

“If Thaddeus is alive, the throne is not vacated.  There is no reason to harm you.  You are only in true danger if Thaddeus dies.  Therefore I will defend Thaddeus.  Even if it takes my last breath.”

Tears filled her emerald green eyes with his words.  He gently grazed her cheek with his fingers as he smiled at her.  She grasped his tunic in her fingers and drew him to her, parting his lips with hers.  Thatcher startled at first.  He pulled her closer as he deepened the kiss, weaving his strong fingers in her brown curls.

Miranda gasped as they parted.  “When you return, I will do whatever it takes to stop my uncle’s plans for my wedding.  I can marry no other man.  I will marry only you.”

Thatcher smile grew wide at her words.  “Then, my love.  I will have to make sure I come home to you, won’t I?’  He reluctantly pulled free from her embrace as he pressed a final kiss to her lips.  “I need to continue on with my duties.  Promise you will write to me?”

“Of course.  If you do the same.”

“Aye.  Of course I will.  I love you.”

“I love you also.”

Thatcher gave her one last smile as he opened the door and slipped into the hall, closing the door behind him.

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Tuesday Tales – Travel

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Hello again and welcome to another Tuesday Tales!  This week’s word prompt is “travel” and we are “travel”ing  back to visit Thatcher and Miranda in The Thirteenth Knight.  When you are done please stop by an read some more incredible stories by the talented authors of Tuesday Tales!

great hall

Thatcher stood at attention along the wall of the Great Hall.  The wide expansive room lined with stained glass windows was filled to capacity with the lords and ladies that traveled to the palace for the Great Harvest Festival.  His eyes darted to his brothers-in-arms, Thaddeus’s other twelve knights, that also stood guard along the outer wall.

His eyes then slowly, deliberately studied every man in the hall.  Thaddeus would choose one of these as Miranda’s husband.  Thatcher snorted in disgust.  Not one of them was worthy to lace up her boot much less warm her bed.  He shook his head.

His eyes softened as they met Miranda’s.  He forced a smile to her.  He knew it was weak.  There was no sparkle in her emerald green eyes as she returned it with a smile of her own.

Life in the palace over the past couple of weeks had been anything but pleasant.  Thatcher was unaware that Thaddeus’s knights resided in the palace with the king – that was until he was shown to his rather elaborate bedchamber.  It made complete sense.  Having the King’s Knights in the palace at all times insured the continuous protection of the royal family.

However, it made Thatcher’s life a living nightmare.  Always being so close to the one he wanted more than his own breath, his own soul yet knowing he would never possess it.  The agony constantly etched in Miranda’s perfect face told him that she felt the same way.

He watched as Miranda pulled herself away to greet several guests.  It was only for a moment.  Soon her eyes locked with his again.  He felt his heart thunder in his chest as he watched her nibble at her lower lip nervously.  It he had any sense her would turn his resignation to Thaddeus.  And run for home.

He was distracted by thin, cracked laughter.  He turned his head slightly to where the chuckle had come from.  With a silent growl he returned his focus to the crowd.

“You are the farmer’s son, the one who asked for Miranda’s hand when I took her from the village,” Count Brunon mocked as his long, thin fingers caressed the goblet of wine he held.

“I am,” Thatcher answered.

“And now you are one of Thaddeus’s knights.”

“Aye.”

“Do you think as a knight you will be worthy of her hand now?  I told you, Thaddeus will never marry her to a peasant such as yourself.”  Brunon took a long triumphant sip for emphasis to his words.

Thatcher turned his head slowly to glare at Brunon.  “From what Miranda told me, she can be married to no less than a lord.  You seemed quite eager to retrieve her from our village.  Were you hoping to be the one Thaddeus chose?  Sadly, you are not a lord either.  That, Count Brunon, makes you equal to me in this little tragedy, doesn’t it?  Neither of us can have her.”

Brunon snarled at him then stormed off into the crowd without a word.  Thatcher smiled smugly as he watched the Count go.

Don’t forget to stop by and check the rest of the incredible stories at Tuesday Tales!

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Tuesday Tales – Chocolate

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Hey everyone!  Welcome to another Tuesday Tales.  This week’s word prompt is “chocolate”.  We are back with Miranda and Thatcher in The Thirteenth Knight.  And don’t forget to stop by and check out the other wonderful writers involved with Tuesday Tales!

garden

Miranda wandered along the garden paths, ignoring the leaves on the trees blazing in brilliant autumn color or the rows and rows of late blooming blossoms.  She wrapped her arms around herself to block out the chill in the air.

She was in disbelief.  Thatcher was here, in the palace, serving her uncle in the closest capacity one could serve the king.  He would be in the palace protecting Thaddeus, protecting her.  He would be so close yet still…

“Is everything all right, my lady?”

Miranda spun around, finding Thatcher behind her.  She took a moment to soak him in.  He wore a gold embroidered maroon tunic and chocolate brown trousers of a knight.  His short black hair, chiseled, muscular body and sapphire blue eyes were that of her Thatcher.  He quickly untied his cloak then crossed the browning grass to her draping it over her shoulders.

“Miranda, you are freezing.”

“Why are you here?” she breathed.

“I thought your uncle explained it perfectly.”

“You joined the army.”

“Yes.”

“I was that easy to forget.”

“No, Miranda.  I joined to find my way to you.  Even I know Thaddeus isn’t going to marry you to a farmer’s son.  The only way for me to reclaim your hand is to work for it, shed my blood for it.”  He opened his arms wide in presentation.  “To become one of his knights.”

Tears filled Miranda’s eyes.  “Oh Thatcher.”

He pulled her into his arms.  “What is it, Miranda?  Tell me.”

She took a deep breath to steady her trembling voice.  “Thaddeus has spoken to me of my impending marriage.  As next in line to the throne, I can be married to no less than a lord.  I love you with all my heart, Thatcher.  I will until my final breath.  But by my uncle’s  own words I will never be able to be your wife.”

She pulled free from Thatcher’s grasp as she heard approaching steps.  Through swollen eyes she gazed up guiltily at Thaddeus.

“What is the meaning of this?” he demanded.  “I sent Thatcher out to see if you were all right.  I thought since you both came from the same village it would be special for some time alone with an old friend from home.  But to find you in his arms…”

Miranda looked away from her uncle.  From the corner of her eye she could see his glare flicker between her and Thatcher.  Then his gaze softened.  “Thatcher, what does your father do?”

“He is a farmer, your majesty.”

Thaddeus shook his head.  “I did not realize, Miranda.  I did not know Thatcher was your young man.  I did not intend to make this decision I have to make concerning your marriage worse for you…”

It was all Miranda could stand.  With a sob she fled the two men in the garden and sprinted to her bedchamber.

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Tuesday Tales – Funny

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We’re back for more Tuesday Tales!  This week our word is funny.  And I have finally come up with a title for this story – The Thirteenth Knight! Don’t forget to stop by and check out the blogs of the other talented writers of Tuesday Tales!

great hall

The Great Hall of the palace was buzzing.  The lords and ladies of the land laughed and ate and drank.  Miranda sat on her wooden seat beside her uncle’s throne watching the merriment.  Her stomach anxiously fluttered.  Thaddeus would soon return with his knights.  It wouldn’t be long before he would choose her husband.  She glanced around at the loud boisterous men then cringed.

Not even the court jester and his funny antics could bring her any joy.  She glanced up as Court Brunon strode by her side.

“Good day, Lady Miranda,” he crooned.

“Good day, Count Brunon.”

“Can I interest you in a cup of wine?  A walk in the garden?”

“No, thank you.”

“Are you sure, my lady?  A beautiful day like this.  A walk would do you good.”

“Again, no thank…”

Miranda startles as the slamming doors of the Great Hall cut off her words.  She watched anxiously as Thaddeus stormed through his court with his knights at his heels.  Despite her apprehension she rose and hugged him.

“Uncle, you are back.  How was training?” she greeted.

“A little more adventurous than I had planned, little one.”

“Your majesty,” Brunon interjected.  “There are 13 knights in your company.  I believe tradition dictates there should only be twelve.”

Thaddeus’s eyes drew to slits as the glared at Brunon.  “There are thirteen because I am king and I supersede tradition.  Besides I need more protection for both Miranda and I.”  Thaddeus took Miranda’s hand in his.  “Let me introduce you to the latest addition to my company.”

Miranda followed her uncle as they traveled through the assembly of knights until the end.  She gasped as her eyes met those of the thirteenth knight dressed in his royal uniform and armor.

“Thatcher!” she breathed.

“My lady Miranda,” Thatcher replied.  Miranda’s heart thundered in her chest as she was captured by his sapphire blue eyes for several moments before he dropped to his knee in a low bow.  He took her hand in his and pressed a chaste kiss to the back of it.

“Sir Thatcher fought valiantly when we were attacked and protected me from those that wished me harm,” Thaddeus beamed proudly.  “I am honored to make him part of my thirteen.”

Miranda felt her head swim.  She thought she would never see Thatcher again.  She cried every day since she was taken from her home.  Now he was here kneeling at her feet, his lips against her skin.  Her voice trembled as she spoke.  “I think I am going to step out into the garden to get some air.”

“I will accompany you,” Brunon volunteered.

Miranda lifted her hand up in protest.  “No.  I would rather be alone.”  Without another word she retreated from the three men and the frivolity of the Great Hall.  She ran through the halls of the palace until she reached the garden.

Don’t forget to stop by and check out the other Tuesday Tales and see how the other authors use the word funny!

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Tuesday Tales – Picture Prompt: Autumn Lane

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It’s time for another Tuesday Tales!  This week we wrote to a picture prompt provided by the lovely Tai Vicari.  We start where I left off last week with Thatcher and Miranda…

walk in the woods

Thatcher stepped from his tent clasping his book tightly to his chest.   He inhaled the warm autumn air.  The army had spent two weeks in this forest practicing drills.  It was the most intense training he had during the three months he was a member of the King’s Army.  Today was a well deserved day of relaxation.  Thatcher looked up as he heard his name called.

“Thatcher!” a large soldier several years older than Thatcher shouted.  “Come with us to the village for a pint of ale and a bar wench or two!”

“Thank you but no,” Thatcher declined.

“Of course Thatcher won’t come with us,” the large soldier’s tall, thin companion replied.  “Thatcher has no use for alcohol and certainly no use for women.  All he has use for are those good strong knights.  Tell me, Thatcher.  Why are you so fascinated with the king’s knights?  Is it more than admiration?”

The two men stumbled away doubled over in laughter.  Thatcher’s sapphire blue eyes narrowed in furious slits.  He cast a glance over his shoulder towards the cliffs to the palace.  Yes, he spent an extraordinary amount of time serving the knights as a squire to men that were half the man he was.

However, contrary to his companion’s opinions, it was for a woman- one who lived in the king’s palace.

Thatcher strolled silently down the leaf strewn dirt road to find a quiet place to read.  He jumped to the ready, drawing his sword as he heard horses.  He dropped to his knee as he saw three knights approaching.

“Thatcher, where are you going?” the first knight demanded.

“To find a quiet place to read, sire,” Thatcher answered.

“No you are not.  Get your horse and load our things.  We need a squire to accompany us.  We are training with the king.”

Don’t forget to stop by and enjoy more incredible short stories from very talented writers at Tuesday Tales!

Tuesday Tales – Green

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It’s my favorite time of week – it’s time for Tuesday Tales!  This week’s word prompt is green.  We are continuing where we left off last week with Thatcher and Miranda. And don’t forget to stop by and indulge in some more incredible stories written by the other incredible Tuesday Tales writers!!

medieval window

Miranda stared out the glass of the window seat in her bedchamber.  The lofty branches of the evergreen trees framed the beautiful scene below.  Miranda could see acres and acres of forests, streams, villages and farms.  The palace, which was nestled on a cliff to protect it from those wishing the crown harm, provided the breathtaking view.

Yet none of it was a balm for Miranda.

Miranda had not left her bedchamber since she arrived.  Her nurses bathed her, clothed her in the finest silk embroidered gowns and brought her food.  They could not coax her from the room.  Thatcher filled her thoughts during the day.  He invaded her dreams at night.  Miranda had no peace.

Miranda wiped the tears from her emerald green eyes as she heard a knock on the door.  “Come,” she choked.

The large wood door to her bedchamber was pushed open.  A large man, similar in height to Thatcher, stepped inside.  He had auburn red hair and emerald green eyes similar to Miranda.  His broad barrel chest made him huge in Miranda’s eyes.

Miranda did not wonder who this man was.  She knew.  She stood on trembling legs then fell to her knees.  “Your majesty,” she breathed.

The man reached down to her with a large hand to help her to her feet.   “None of this formal address, Miranda.  To you I am Thaddeus.  Or Uncle if you prefer.”

Miranda shook her head.  “I am afraid there is some mistake, your majesty.  I am just a poor miller’s daughter.”

Thaddeus gently took Miranda’s right hand and turned it palm up.  He ran his finger over a small birthmark.  It was twisted in the shape of a cross.  Thaddeus then turned over his own right wrist.  He too bore the cross birthmark.

“There is no mistake, Miranda,” Thaddeus assured.

“The girls in the village used to tease me about my birthmark.  They called me odd, strange.”

“You are not odd.  You are royalty.”

Miranda shook her head confused.  “I do not understand.”

“Let me explain.”  Thaddeus led Miranda to the window seat then sat down beside her.  “Shortly after you were born, your home was attacked by a mysterious army with dark, evil magic.  Your father, my brother, sent you away with a trusted servant to keep you safe.  Your parents and everyone in the castle were murdered.  The servant had family in the village you were raised in.  He left you with his cousin, the town miller, the man you knew as your father.  The servant then came here to report to me where he left you.”

“Why did the army not attack the palace?”

“Your father was next in line for the throne.  I have no heirs and at this point I will not sire any.  However he did have an heir.  You.”

“He sent me away to preserve the crown.”

“And to protect you.  You were the world to him.”

Miranda smiled weakly at her uncle.  It was difficult to feel sorrow for a father she never knew.  She folded her hands in her lap.  “So now what will happen?”

Thaddeus beamed at her.  “First I want you to feel comfortable here.  This is your home.  Once you are comfortable I will find you a suitable husband.  Together you will rule in my place.”

Tears rushed to Miranda’s eyes as a sob escaped her throat.  Thaddeus looked down at her concerned.  “You already have a young man?”

Miranda nodded.  “The farmer’s son,” she whimpered.

“Ah, little one.”  Thaddeus shook his head.  “I am sorry.  I cannot marry you to anyone less than a lord.”

Miranda buried her face in her hands as Thaddeus wrapped his arm around her to comfort her.  Miranda could not be comforted.  It was no use.  Thatcher was lost forever.

Don’t forget to check out how the other authors use the word green at Tuesday Tales!