In response to Writing 101’s prompt A Character-Building Experience
Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?
Our stories are inevitably linked to the people around us. We are social creatures: from the family members and friends who’ve known us since childhood, to the coworkers, service providers, and strangers who populate our world (and, at times, leave an unexpected mark on us).
Today, write a post focusing on one — or more — of the people that have recently entered your life, and tell us how your narratives intersected. It can be your new partner, your newborn child, or the friendly barista whose real story you’d love to learn (or imagine), or any other person you’ve met for the first time in the past year.
Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.
This belongs to a longer story but I rewrote this entire part because of the prompt. I’m still not 100% satisfied so feedback would be great.
I was so ensconced in my own thoughts that I did not hear any sound until it was too late.
“It is not clever to be on your own in this place, lass.” The voice cut into my thoughts, cold and stark.
I looked up to meet the severe blue eyes of a mounted man. They were cold and grave; I could see death in these eyes if I was not careful. I stood up; I was not tall enough to reach the neck of his horse but at least it gave me a little bit of strength not to look at him from the ground. I answered as steadily as I could and yet with no defiance in my voice.
“I am not alone my Lord.” He was travelling with four men, all of them carrying swords, and as such likely to know how to use them. “But my companion went in search of food.”
“And left you by yourself?” His lips curved into a smile that was not engaging at all; it was as cruel and cold as his eyes. “That is not very diligent.”
“I can look after myself.”
“Is that so?” In an instant he was off his horse and closing in on me. There was no way I could defend myself against this man; he was towering above me and all about him bespoke of impressive strength. Still I had learned to move fast and my dagger was resting against his chest as his arm went for my wrist.
I asked, I wasn’t entirely sure what, looking desperately for a sign or a coat of arm on him or his horse that would reveal which house he belonged to. But my eyes always came back to his, their colour a blue so deep it was hypnotizing. Sill I could find nothing. Suddenly and much to my relief Daniel’s voice rang from the trees behind us.
“My Lord d’Avalon, I would ask you to step away from my Lady. I have no desire to kill you or your men tonight.”
Anger flashed in the cold blue eyes, but something else. He did not believe that he was threatened and so stood where he was. I could not tell why but I removed the dagger from his chest even though he had not moved. It made him smile; it was not the same cruel smile as before but neither one that reached his eyes.
“I would rather no one died on my account tonight,” I said softly. In truth, I could not bear it, not after what had transpired at my uncle’s estate.
The man nodded and stepped away as he ordered his men to stand down. Daniel came into view then, a bow in hand but held as an offering, harmless piece of wood. When he was at my side he offered a deep bow to the man in front of us.
I had not recognized the name when Daniel said it first. It may have been a good thing too for I would have done what I did then, which was fall into a deep curtsy. I could hardly be blamed; I had never met the man and his name was rarely spoken at my parents’. In Avalon, the eldest always carried the title of Duke whether or not he was the heir to the lands. It was a boon granted in eternity by King Gaspard of the Puy a couple of hundred years before when the eldest son of Avalon gave his life to save the princess Eloise of the Faith. But this Duke had achieved great deeds of his own and saved our country from a war only a year and a half before, sparing thousands of lives among the youth of St-Dome.
“It is not a safe road to leave a young lady alone knight.”
I did not dare move.
“I was not far but in truth I am surprised she was not ready for you. She was trained for that.”
They spoke of me as if I wasn’t here. Though I knew it wasn’t uncommon, it had never happened to me before. It was unnerving and even if I had been of a mind to comment, the strength coming off the Duke made me cower. I wasn’t sure why but this man intimidated me. I looked up at Daniel; I could tell he was struggling to decide whether he found this concerning or utterly enjoyable. He was on a footing with the Duke as a knight, although not a noble; I was not and he found it amusing. And I could not tell anything: not until spoken to anyway.
The Duke seemed to finally take pity on me; he took my hand in his and pulled me up. The images that washed over me were overwhelming and left me unsettled though I did not understand at all what they meant. Thankfully his hold was strong and prevented me from falling. I also knew in the way he held me that this man would defeat any knight or soldier on any field with a sword: even Roderick. Daniel had really not been much of a threat to him. But apparently he was also honourable and would not have hurt another knight’s honour without provocation. I seemed to recall his name was Endymion but to be true, I could not gather my thoughts properly. I had never thought someone could radiate strength as he did or maybe I was still looking into the flames of the fire. His presence had a physical impact on me that went beyond the images I had just seen.
If I remembered right he was only a year older than Thierry. He had not reached his twenty-fourth name day yet. In the light of the fire he looked to be of the pale complexion one found often in the north and his hair a light brown. His face was cleanly shaved and he had fine features for all that they were mostly forbidding. He had a strong jaw and the demeanour of a man used to be obeyed. I could tell he was examining me as thoroughly as I was him but I could not say what he was thinking, whereas I was fairly certain all my thoughts were open for him to read at his leisure; I was never good at dissembling. Once he was done with whatever he tried and probably succeeded in finding out about me, he looked at Daniel.
“Have you caught any game knight?”