A Familiar Tale Clip

by strassur

Here is a clip of a short story I am writing for the upcoming holiday season.  Basically, a medieval version of Santa Clause and his elves.  Enjoy-

Snow was falling heavily as the year’s end quickly approached.  Constantly battling was nature’s piercing cold and the heat of a blazing fire.  Smoke rose from every factory and home of the large compound as it slowly blended into the gray sky above.  In the farthest reaches of the northern border, this city normally appeared deep in slumber from the powerful wintry and strong demand for production.  However, this evening, as the shrouded sun was setting, the area was bustling with activity; Carts were being loaded, weapons sharpened and final routes and plans were being discussed.

The courtyard was rapidly filling with large war horses lightly armored and stocked with gear for the long journey.  Thins sheets of cloth draped across their backs that were dyed to match the surrounding woods and snow to aid in their stealth.  Mounted on these beasts are some of the most worthy riders in the world.  Skilled warriors who trained from a young age to complete one job: to safely escort a convoy of goods once a year in a time honored tradition.

Talking was at a minimum as this elite group of escorts oiled their bows and checked their blades, their minds on the dangerous task they were all about to embark upon.  Some have made the same journey for many years, but for others, this would be their maiden trip as all the training, meditation, and preparation would have to come together.  Sharp almond shaped eyes checked and rechecked equipment as food and wine filled skins were loaded and dry clothing was waterproofed.

Stepping into the courtyard was a tall figure with a broad chest and a well fed stomach.  He glanced out across the courtyard, assessing the soldiers and equipment with his aged eyes as his lungs adjusted to the burning cold.  Nobody knew how old Kristof really was, but his strong posture and battle hardened hands contradicted the wrinkles on his face and his silver hair.  He stood there for a long moment, stroking his long white beard as he commonly did when his mind raced, thinking now of his journey.

 

“Santos,” called out a scribe, as he approached, arms full of rolled parchment.  All who knew him used this moniker, as few across the lands were aware of his real name.  The scribes pointed ears jutted out from the sides of his cap and moved as he spoke.  “Santos, here are all the maps.  You may need them along the way.”

“I have made this journey every year since well before your time.  I think I know where I am going.”  His voice boomed.  “But I will take the maps to ease your concerns.”

“Thank you Santos.  And the scouts have relayed back that they are trailing a great many horses.  Possibly the green monster.  I’m sure his forces are already setting up in the valley below.”

“I’m sure,” the big man laughed deeply, “he is up to his same tricks.  You worry too much, Irv.  I have with me the greatest warriors in all the land.  We will succeed, as we have for many, many years in the past.”

Kristof left the steps of his great hall and headed towards the eastern rampart.  He could already hear the smith’s hammer pounding in a skilled rhythm, the glow of the great forge emitting its vibrant tone.  After speaking with the blacksmith, Kristof donned his mail tunic and worn leather coat, embroidered with the house crest; a bushy pine tree in front of a rising sun.  He grabbed his massive axe and admired the fresh edge on the blade as it glowed red from the burning embers nearby.

“She will cut through anything you need,” stated the smith, covered in perspiration.  Steam rose like a wraith off his torso into the cold air.

I hope you enjoyed what I have so far. Feedback is always welcome. And if you need any inspiration, check out this book.

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