An Epic Tale (Chapter One)

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An Epic Tale (Chapter One)

Postby TeeVee » September 13th, 2014, 8:34 am

This is a story that was inspired by a poster that had 'Characters for An Epic Tale'. I thought it was a really interesting concept and came up with an outline using the characters on the poster. Here's the first chapter, hope you enjoy :)

Spoiler:
“Doomed! We’re all doomed!”
Abernath rolled his eyes at the man standing in the centre of the square, screaming at the people walking past—it seemed like every week there was some new oddity in the centre of town. He hitched his bag higher on his shoulder and looked around for Lewin. The old bloodhound was stalking a flock of pigeons that were scavenging the cobbles for pieces of food. The doom-sayer’s cries were drowned out by Lewin’s manic barking as he bounded clumsily towards the birds. Abernath watched him with a bemused smile—the crowd was less pleased. After several shouts of ‘get that old mutt!’, he thought it best they leave the townsfolk to their doom-sayer and head home.
“Come on, old boy,” he shouted, whistling for Lewin to return.
The hound lumbered towards him and skid to a halt by his side, his large drooping eyes staring woefully up at him despite the excited wag of the tail. Abernath scratched the old dog’s ear and turned towards the row of old stone houses that stood before them. Four or five of the houses were wedged together on each side of the street, with a small path in between each set. The houses all looked the same—plain grey stone, three windows and one door on the front, plain grass gardens and small stone paths. Dull was how Abernath would describe it. Still, he thought, with the sky being as blue as it is today, the houses look almost cheerful.
He continued down the path until he reached the tall, cracked stone wall that heralded the edge of town. Lewin scuttled across the dusty road towards a house that was squished between the wall and the rest of the houses on the street. Instead of three windows, this house had one that was above the door. It was a small house, but inside was a family larger than life itself—or so Abernath would say. He followed in the old dog’s paw-prints up to the battered front door where Lewin was scratching at the already chipped paint.
“I’m home!”
He watched Lewin bound down the hallway and skid into the first door on the right—which led to the family room, where his family was gathered no doubt. A narrow staircase on the left of the hallway led up to the first floor. Abernath glanced up at the dark landing longingly; it had been months since he’d seen his bed. The thundering of footsteps brought him back to reality as his younger siblings burst through the door that Lewin had vanished into and stampeded towards him. He found himself pinned against the front door as he was enveloped in a mess of arms and bodies and excited hysterics.
“Abe!”
Feeling suffocated, Abernath sucked in the air as they let him go. The twins stood before him, eyes wide and mouths agape, bouncing on the balls of their feet as if they expected something from him.
“What?” he asked them. “Not looking for… these?”
He pulled his bag off his shoulder and pulled out two parcels wrapped in crinkled brown paper and tied with simple string. The twins snatched them from his hands and ripped the paper off their parcels eagerly. Abernath mussed up the mop of black hair on each of their heads and stepped between them to reach the family room.
“Perry! Penny! Get your butts in here and leave your brother alone!”
Abernath smiled at the sound of his mother’s voice. He poked his head around the door and spotted his mother sitting in her favourite chair by the fire. Her face broke into a giant grin as she spotted her eldest child.
“Hi mum,” Abernath said.
His mother threw out her arms and beckoned him over. “There’s my boy! Oh, I missed you so!” She was crying already; he had thought it would take her a little longer. “Give your old mum a hug.”
Abernath obliged, letting her squeeze him tightly. “I have something for you.”
“I’ve told you before not to get me anything when you go off travelling,” she scolded, but he could see the curiosity building behind her periwinkle eyes.
He reached into his bag and pulled out another parcel wrapped with crinkled paper and tied with string. The twins chose that moment to burst into the room, screeching loudly.
“Quiet!” their mother roared.
The twins stopped dead in their tracks and plodded over to the sofa, where they sat down quietly and glanced nervously at their mother. The three kids watched as she took her parcel and unwrapped it. Abernath bit his tongue nervously, hoping she would like his gift.
“Abe!” his mother exclaimed breathlessly as she pulled out a small ivory figure of a couple dancing.
Abernath let out a relieved breath. “It was part of a set in Linkpor. Per and Pen have the rest of it.”
On cue, the twins approached their mother’s chair and showed her the small ivory figures they had been given; Perry’s was a little soldier, Penny’s was a girl dancing. Abernath had been lucky to get them really. Linkpor was a poor excuse for a town—the only thing it was good for was picking up a bargain, and he’d had to practically fight a little old lady to get the whole set.
“So, come child, tell us about your adventure,” his mother stroked the small statue she had been given and then placed it gently on a table beside her. “I want to hear everything.”
“There’s not much to tell,” Abernath said, honestly. “I didn’t find the man I was looking for, so I can’t do anything about the old tractor out back yet.”
“Ah well, not to worry,” his mother said. “Perhaps your father will have had more luck.”
Abernath patted his mother’s hand. He worried about her while he was away—especially when his father was away too. The twins were a handful at the best of times and his mother couldn’t get about like she used to. She was a woman of forty now, but her body was weary and ached often. When Abernath had left, she had been a plump woman with a head of golden hair—the woman before him now was thinner, and her hair was lacking. She was a shadow of her former self—he didn’t want to think about what would happen to her next.
Their family had once owned the large farming estate on the other side of the wall—Tookie Hill they had called it. Tookie Hill was now owned by the King due to a bad harvest that had rendered them poor beyond words. Abernath tried not to be bitter about it, but from his bedroom window in the tiny squished house he could see their old home—abandoned and unloved now.
“I’m sure he will do.” Abernath smiled as he let go of his mother’s hand and turned to his younger siblings. “What say we let mum get some rest?”
They nodded and followed him through to the kitchen, where he set about making lunch for himself.
“You’ve got to feed us too!” Perry commanded. “That’s the rule.”
“Since when?”
“Since the day after you left,” Penny piped in.
Abernath rolled his eyes at the pair. For being ten, they more often acted like five. He was fifteen himself—he wanted to have his independence from the terrible two, but they never let him. That was one of the reasons he went on his little adventures. He pulled out some more slices of bread and made cheese sandwiches enough for everyone—taking a couple through to his mother before returning to the kitchen to have his own.
“Did you hear the news while you were away, Abe?” Perry asked, once he had shovelled the food into his mouth.
Abernath perked his head up. “What news?”
“The King’s sent out a royal decree,” Perry informed him. “All young men of fourteen and older are to report to the castle within the year to present themselves to the princess.”
“Princess Fia,” Penny said in a dreamy tone. Abernath could tell she was miles away dreaming of tiaras and frilly dresses.
“I just got home, I don’t want to go anywhere now,” Abernath said, wearily. “When did this decree go out?”
“About a month and a half ago, I think,” Perry said, taking the opportunity to steal the rest of his twin’s sandwich as she was dreaming.
“I have plenty of time then,” Abernath said, relaxing a little.
“Not the way mum was talking,” Perry said, smiling. “She’ll have you out that door tomorrow, I bet.”
Abernath groaned.
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Re: An Epic Tale (Chapter One)

Postby Teresa » September 21st, 2014, 12:58 pm

Nice start!

Which poster?

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Re: An Epic Tale (Chapter One)

Postby TeeVee » September 23rd, 2014, 3:29 am

Thanks Teresa :)

This is the poster:
Spoiler:
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