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The Battle of Brendan Chapter 2

Started by AnnieUK, June 15, 2010, 01:51:01 AM

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Previous chapter:  http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,457.0.html

It soon became clear to all Richenda's ladies that their mistress was expecting.  She was often sick early in the day and is the case where women gather together, the secret was whispered about and husbands and sweethearts told, and soon much of Coroth knew that an heir to the duchy could be expected early in the new year.

The furore over Brendan's escapade died down as interest was drawn elsewhere.  A tearful Brendan had apologised to Alaric later that night, truthfully albeit somewhat reluctantly.  Relations between the pair were cool for several days, and Alaric and Richenda agreed not to tell him about his future brother or sister (likely a sister, they now agreed) until things were more amicable again.

Alaric was walking in the castle gardens one afternoon a little more than a week after the sword incident when he saw Brendan playing quietly by himself, with his nurse keeping a watchful eye from a distance.  That good lady was determined not to be found wanting in her supervision a second time.  He came up quietly behind Brendan, watching as the boy moved twigs and stones into a formation obviously meant to be the battle ranks of two armies and galloped his toy horse behind one line, urging his forces forward.

"How goes the battle?"

Brendan looked up briefly, brushing red-auburn hair out of his eyes with one grubby hand.

"I have set up my infantry and cavalry, but now I don't know what to do.  What should King Kelson tell them to do?"  He waved "King Kelson" in the air, then shrugged and glanced at Alaric.  "Do I just march them all forwards?"

"You could, but that might not be the best thing to do."

"What then?"

"So these are your infantry, yes?  And these your cavalry?"

Brendan nodded assent.

"Do you have any archers?"


"Yes.  Look over there.  There is a slope there perfect to position some archers.  And the way your opponent has their infantry set up, I'd have a row of archers just here ready to fire as many volleys as possible before your infantry move.  Look."

Alaric selected some darker stones to be his archers and demonstrated what he meant as Brendan watched intently, nodding at intervals as his stepfather moved twigs and stones.  The blond head and the auburn one grew closer together as one set of stone soldiers performed a flanking maneuver on the other, turning the opposition and reducing their room to move, forcing the opposition's other flank into the herb garden until gradually the opposing twigs and stones were removed from the battlefield and Alaric declared a victory for King Kelson, who galloped around the battlefield in triumph to the cheers of his army.

"You will learn more about this sort of thing when you are my page and then my squire." Alaric said cautiously, watching his stepson for a reaction.  "Of course that won't be for a little while : you need to be eight, or maybe seven at the least.  I have got you something, though, as a sort of promise that I mean you to be my page, and later my squire, unless King Kelson wants you as squire at Rhemuth. I meant you to have it at Christmas, but I think you should have it now."

He drew a short dirk from his belt.  It had a tooled green leather scabbard and  the hilt was engraved with the arms of Marley.

"The arms are yours, of course, but I wanted a green scabbard because your lady mother is Duchess of Corwyn now and you will be a page of Corwyn."

Brendan sighed as he took it and carefully drew the dirk and touched the blade reverently. There was silence for a few moments until he gasped, "It's mine?  Really mine?"

"Yes.  And I can show you some of the first sword forms with it, so when you come to train properly you will know them already.  You'll have to get used to doing it with a sword instead of a dirk, of course, but it will still help."

"Thank you, sir."

Alaric tousled the lad's hair.  "When you are my page, you will have to call me "Your Grace" or at least "My Lord"" he grinned.  "But for now you don't need to be quite so formal.  In fact I think it would be nice if you had something other than "sir" to call me."

He looked sideways at Brendan and was heartened to see that the boy was still watching him intently, hanging on his every word.

"There is pater, of course, if you like Latin.  Or baba, as the Eastern children say.  Or even just father, if you prefer."  He left the sentence hanging, waiting to see if he got any response.

Brendan looked up shyly.

"When Mama has the baby –"

Holy St Michael, which of the servants has been loose-tongued around the child?  Don't they know he has hearing like a dog, thought Alaric. 

"When Mama has the baby, the baby will call Mama "mama" and you "papa"."

"Yes, that's right, in time."

"So I think I'd like to call you papa too, cos I will be her brother and I'll look after her."

Alaric grinned in delight and held out his arms to invite his stepson onto his knee. 

"I'd like that very much, Brendan.  Is that really all right with you?"

"You are my new papa, sir.  My old papa is gone and I miss him, but you are my new papa."

"Just one thing more.  If you are to use your dirk to practice sword forms with me, no playing with my sword any more, agreed?"

"Yes, Papa." Brendan grinned and reached up to hug his stepfather.

"Shall we go and tell Mama what we have agreed?"  And hand in hand the Duke and the Earl walked back to the castle, and the infantrymen and archers became mere sticks and stones in the dust once more.

Next chapter: http://www.rhemuthcastle.com/index.php/topic,581.0.html


A sword is definitely not a toy.  I'm sure there was some tension between Alaric and Brendan in the intervals of the novels.  By "King Kelson's Bride", the 2 of them to have a great relationship.  And Brendan was shown to be totally devoted to Briony and Kelric.  Being a spouse, parent, and step-parent takes a lot of work and patience.
We will never forget the events of 9-11!!  USA!! USA!!


Here in WV, gun ownership is VERY common.  I know several families that have had confrontations like that.