A King's Ransom

By Victor Nunez All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Adventure

Ch. I Overlook Road

Prior to Sir Charles, his father Sir Chancellor had ruled for just over two decades. His kingdom divided amidst itself in the latter times of his rule. Despite having a young Sir Charles and a loving wife, his men were not supportive of his decision to invade the fortress of the enemy. They lost many men in what came to be remembered as the "Overlooked Fall". Sir Chancellor was leading the men across a very old bridge.

Unsteady, old, and rotted it was a wonder no more serious consideration was taken. Truth be told time was of the essence, and assuming it was a bridge the enemy would have undoubtedly used countless times prior with no trouble. Sir Chancellor insisted that the men split off into form two by two and race across the bridge, then immediately form a defensive angle with their shields in the face of the enemy forces of
archers.

The king and his men were right that the bridge was used by the enemy, used to trap over-zealous foes that is. The archers lit up their arrows and immediately bombarded the impending forces of Chancellor and Chancellor was forced to retreat with a handful of survivors. Over half the men perished in what amounted to a foolish attack into unknown territory. Vigilance had not even been hired to prospect the land before arrival, clearly his charges would be of little detriment in comparison to the benefits of protecting half the current lineage of knights, warriors, and ax-men.

The men and women of the forces and locals not only thought the King lacked judgment, but his impeachment was insisted upon by order of round table. Anytime a mishap of this magnitude occurred, the sacred order of the four leading (and surviving) knights would convene in order to determine what appropriate measures were to be taken. This time they knew that Sir Chancellor had overstepped his boundaries and had cost their kingdom too many lives to go unnoticed. They decided that Sir Chancellor would need to be exiled beyond Overlook Road, he would be exiled for 20 years. This was a lifetime for all practical purposes as the king had already just recently celebrated his 70th birthday!

They knew by the time he could come back from his exile, captivity would be the least of their worries. He would be lucky if he could still mount horseback, let alone overthrow their remaining kingdom.

Out of principle the men still wanted to allow Sir Charles, his son, the opportunity to lead them into the next era. He knew his father had failed miserably, but didn't want to make it obvious to them that he cared so much.

Prince Charles: My father messed up, he deserves to be locked up. His actions were weak and reasoning lacking. I shall see to it that such a scenario never again occurs.

Sir Swiftrod: I am glad that you see our point prince. From now on you will be henceforth known as King Charles. Your father's legacy will be re-established by your leadership.

King Charles: I will see to it that what you say rings true. You are dismissed.

Sir Swiftrod: Yes your majesty, your father will be sent by chariot across Overlook road and they shall head east into the Jail quarters. The guards will make certain that he still receives meals and doesn't get punished physically. They just don't want his liability further. Thank you for reasoning with us about the matter.

King Charles: It's all clear Swiftrod, you are in the right.

King Charles was now paranoid that they might go after him next, were they only planning to pretend he would follow in his father's lineage so that he would not present them a circumstantial struggle? He didn't know, but he still had much respect for his father. Despite his father's shortcomings he knew he would not send men into a suicide mission, and he was certain there was more to the story.

He decided to consult Sir Vigilance. He secretly road horseback, past the local cottages, and into a secret quarters on the hillside where Vigilance was positioned. Sir Vigilance was shocked to see the Prince, he had heard of his father's fate and was perplexed as to why he'd come to him.

Sir Vigilance: What would you have of me Prince Charles? There's nothing I can do to overrule the decision of a round table. The repercussions of being caught in treasonous dealings, would be nothing short of excommunication.

King Charles: I am now King, Vigilance I need your help. It is only treason if you deny your King's commands.

Sir Vigilance: Ah, I see. Well so be it, what do you need?

King Charles: I need you to stealthily follow the horsemen and guards that are taking my father away. I need you to visualize his whereabouts and positioning within the jail quarters. I then want you to subcontract Sir Fireworks and Sir Alchemy. The three of you shall work together to disrupt the armed guards, cause fire in the opposite wing, and use the alchemists most potent and acidic recipes to destroy the wall that houses my father. Return him to me without knowledge of the knights.

Sir Vigilance: Is that all? ha ha. So let me get this straight, you want me to do all this without their knowledge? You know, it's perfectly reasonable that Chancellor had fireworks and alchemy materials handy to escape. What makes you think the knights of the round would be oblivious to such an obvious escape?

King Charles: You let me worry about that, I will command for the most guards I can to cover Overlook road. I will insist that the neighboring Giants have decreed an offensive to our farmland region. I will explain that a villager falsely alerted them of treasures near the Jail Quarters hidden by the abandoned gold mine. They will be sure to listen and their guards will be less focused. You will be able to go in and out undetected.

Sir Vigilance: Okay, and then what? Chancellor will still not be welcome and you and I will both be overthrown.

King Charles: Chancellor will be happy to live freely, I have already made amends for a cottage on the hillside nearby Westbrook. Past the river bend and beyond the foothills so that no one will ever suspect it. Your usual fee is in this bag <tosses the bag of gold coins over to Vigilance>.

Sir Vigilance: My usual fee won't even be enough to cover the alchemists assistance, you better up your ante Charles. This is one of the riskiest engagements as of late, pony up or get out.

King Charles: I had a feeling you'd say that, here this will cover it. <tosses one smaller, weightier bag to Vigilance.>

Sir Vigilance: Is this some kind of joke? <opens bag>. Oh, wow platinum nuggets. I didn't know we had these in circulation.

King Charles: You do now, now get to work. I don't have all day.

Sir Vigilance: Yes sire, at your service.

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