14 December 2012 @ 10:45 pm
*NaNo* Part the Third - Section the Third - The Search - 951 AD  
The King remembered my father well, it was actually rather impressive when one considered how many people the man must meet in only a few months, never mind over several years. It was rather an honour.

I felt less honoured to be remembered by the Prince, in fact even though I had told Father that it would happen, I was actually surprised that it did. Was I really so memorable, or was it simply a case that I hadn’t changed in the intervening six years, which if it were the case was rather depressing.

I was so distracted by my thoughts that I didn’t realise that the King himself was in front of me until he spoke.

“And young Geoffrey! Did you ever learn to shoot a bow and arrow?”

I almost jumped at the sound of his voice, but thankfully I managed to hold my poise, although I really had no answer whatsoever to that. I hadn’t so much as looked at a bow and arrow since those dark days when the Prince had revelled in tormenting me.

But I had to say something to this King. “I…haven’t had that honour, sire.”

“No? Well, with any luck you’ll have a chance while my guard and I are encamped here.”

I almost shouted ‘No!’ because I feared he would enlist his son’s help in that and the last thing I wanted was to be around sharp objects with the Prince.

But I held my tongue and fortunately, nothing else was said by the King and fortunately the Prince did not require individual greetings.

Lord Folant made sure to make a truly impressive and lengthy speech of welcome to the Royal Party, one that lasted long enough to make the young and even a few of the not-so-young shuffle from foot to foot waiting for it to finish. When he finally did finish, it was Father’s turn and he thankfully made his speech rather short.

Once that was done there was no reason for me to have to stay in close proximity to the Prince and I moved to get out of his line of vision as quickly as possible.

I hoped that the King’s guard would be encamped on the outskirts of town, near the large stables where the few soldiers who had passed through Monmouth stayed, but then this was a royal party and it was quite likely things would be different.

Still, I consoled myself by remembering that Lord Folant’s home was on the opposite side of town to the church and our home, so chances were I wouldn’t have to cross paths with the Prince at all!

At least, that was what I thought would happen, but life seems to have an uncanny ability to do the exact opposite if what you hope it should. Sometimes it even seems as if it enjoys mocking you. It certainly seemed that way to me, because as I hurried towards home, who should I almost trip over but Prince Caerleon himself.

He was almost unrecognisible in his armour and helm, but his eyes were the same, cold blue and full of contempt.

"Well, well, well, if it isn't Mudmouth," he sneered at me and looked about him with absolute disgust. "It appears that I was too kind, Mudmouth is too kind a description for this dungheap of a village."
I stiffened slightly, as intimidated as I was by the Prince, I found the insult to my home, the town that had put so much effort and expense into welcoming him and his father was almost enough to make me object.

I didn't actually say anything, but it seemed I didn't have to, because the next thing I knew, I was been grabbed by the shoulder of my jacket.
"You want to say something to me, Mudmouth? Come on, don't be shy, I'm all ears."

I swallowed hard, I wasn't about to say what I had been thinking. I wasn't a complete fool, I was in enough trouble already, I certainly wasn't going to compound it.

The Prince grinned and gripped my shoulder to the point I winced. "Not a brave one, are you? Happy to glare and mutter under your breath, but not man enough to actually say something. You make me sick, you know that?"

The next thing I knew my shoulder was being wrenched and I found myself on the ground, my eyes stinging as I held back tears. The last thing I wanted was the Prince to see me cry. That would only make things worse, if that was possible.

"Well, got anything to say now, Mudmouth?"

I shook my head, not looking up, getting slowly to my feet. I needn't have bothered because the next thing I knew there was a shooting pain through my shins and then my hip as I ended up in the dirt once more.

"Did I say you could get up?" The Prince jeered with a laugh.

I looked over my shoulder and up at his self-satisfied expression wishing for once I could do or say something, but I was bruised enough all ready.

"Good, you're starting to learn," he folded his arm and smirked triumphantly. "People seem to have no respect for royalty these days, but I think you at last are getting the message, aren't you?"

Once again all I could do was nod.

"Well, now that's all in order, I must be off, I have very pressing matters to attend to."

But if I'd hoped that was the end of that, I was sadly mistaken, for as the Prince walked by me, he very deliberately stepped on my hand and this time there was no holding back the tears.
 
 
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