|The Lords of the House: House of Glass|
|Series||Fable: The Axe and Scottman by Wes Green|
|← Strong Arms||Chapter Chronology||The Woodcutter →|
The sound below Elizabeth's bedroom woke up baby Louisa and she started to cry. She picked up the little baby and wrapped her in her silk blanket. She gently patted her back and hummed a sweet melody in her ear.
What in the blazes is going on down there? I mean these things usually get pretty lively but this is exceptional.
The baby settled quickly and Elizabeth placed the child back into her crib. She began getting ready for bed. She opened the grand closet in the bedroom and selected a nightgown. She put the nightgown on and sat on her large bed and started to brush her long flowing hair. Suddenly there was a loud abrasive knock at the door.
She quickly made sure that she was decent before she opened the door. She opened the large wooden door quietly to avoid waking Louisa. Although she tried to be quiet, there still was a slight creak from the iron hinges. Standing in front of her was Reginald’s head guard looking slightly flustered. She was used to seeing him marching about the castle with other guards. She always felt very safe around him. He had a tough face and large belly but she always felt that he was loyal to house Scott and he would protect them with his life.
“Is there a problem?” she said to the guard with a vague undertone of annoyance.
The guard appeared to be panting as if he had been running. There was clear perspiration coming from his brow. It made his hard looking face look worse.
“I’m sorry m’lady I was sent by his Lordship. He and Marcus they….”
“They have what, had a falling out? Hardly a reason to come to my bed chamber and disturb us.” She interrupted casually.
“Sorry m’lady you misunderstand. They haven’t had a falling out they have been fighting. Fist fighting to be precise and now Marcus has been arrested and locked in the castle dungeon, I don’t have a good feeling about all this m’lady.
He looked at the floor and paused for a moment.
“Because m’lady….I…. I know that most of the house guard are in Marcus’ pocket.” The guard rubbed his big hands together nervously.
“He’s in the dungeon for fighting with Reg? What for? Reg would never put Marcus in the dungeon.” She said getting flustered.
“I am sorry m’lady…..Marcus….He…..He be-headed a man while he was been sentenced.” The guard looked as if he had just understood the significance of what he said for the first time. The colour in his face drained away.
The words hit Elizabeth like a horse carriage. She felt her knees start to go under her weight. She felt dizzy and sick.
“I must speak with Reg, as soon as possible. I will be down shortly.” Her voice was beginning to crack.
“M’lady if you please, can I accompany you to the audience chamber as a precaution.” The guard looked both ways down the corridor.
“You think I may be unsafe?” she said still trying to come to grips with what had happened.
He beheaded someone in the audience hall? In front of all the townspeople? Against Reg’s orders?
“No m’lady I just want to help you if you are taking the little one.” He tried to sound as honest as possible.
“What about the boy? m’lady?”
“I think he’s asleep. I don’t want to worry him. Wait for me at the bottom of the stairs and I will meet you in a minute.”
The guard nodded and hurried down the corridor and shuffled down the stairs. Elizabeth put some presentable clothes on and picked up the baby. As she did Kingsley knocked and entered the room.
Best not worry him. He should go get a good night sleep.
After she convinced her young son that everything was OK and he should go to bed, she made her way out of the room quietly and went to meet the guard at the bottom of the stairs.
When she reached the bottom of the stairs, the guard wasn’t there. She looked left and right. All she saw both ways was darkness.
Where has he gone?
She walked slowly around the curved corridor. The baby was asleep and laying comfortably on her chest. The castle was usually quiet at this time in the evening but never this quiet. There was something definitely amiss. It made her feel uneasy. She had noticed that the candles lighting the walkway had all been blown out so as she was walking around it was getting darker. She came to the end of the corridor where there was another set of stairs leading down to the ground floor. As she was about to make her way down, she noticed the outline of a figure in the darkness. The figure was sitting down beside the banister. As she got closer she realised it was the guard.
“Why are you sitting there? You said you would meet me by the other stairs.”
Only silence was returned to her question. She moved closer to the guard and got within one meter of him. The light from the moon from a nearby window cast a dim light on his face. His eyes were open.
She moved closer to look at him.
His neck has been cut.
There was blood still spilling out all over his massive belly.
She looked down at the floor and realized she was standing in a huge pool of blood. She felt a huge panic wash over her. Her dizziness returned with a thud. She gripped the baby tightly and staggered backwards, slipping in the viscous sticky blood. She bumped into something behind her that wasn’t there before. She turned around as quickly as she could.
The last thing she saw before she passed out, in the pool of blood, was a massive studded fist approaching her face with deadly velocity.
Reid heard the roar of the crowd from the stables. It broke the silence like a shattering window. He was tending to horses like he did most evenings. The noise seemed to escalate louder as he continued to do his duties.
What’s going on in there?
Reid finished brushing Lord Reginald’s horse and decided to head towards the audience chamber to see what all the commotion was about. As he entered the courtyard from the stables he noticed the peaceful tranquillity of the night sky above the night was clear and the stars could be seen twinkling above. It was a sharp contrast to the hive of activity in the audience chamber in front of him.
Suddenly the massive wooden doors to the chamber flew open and out came the hoard of people. As they exited they some were chanting.
Why are they chanting Marcus?
Reid decided to make his way against the flow of people towards the source of the commotion. As he pushed through the people he was barged and nearly fell to the floor. There were guards ushering people out with firm embrace. When he entered the hall he saw the body. There was a man who had been beheaded laid flat at the foot of Lord Reginald’s seat. Lord Reginald was sat close by on the floor covered in blood and looking defeated.
“You there! What’s happened here?” he said grabbing a random woman from the hurrying crowd.
“Marcus! He lopped off a murderers head! His lordship then attacked him and threw him in the dungeon.” She shouted over the noise.
“Marcus is in the dungeon? This is crazy. He beheaded someone?”
He has fallen too far now. There isn’t any coming back for him.
Reid took a seat at the back of the hall and watched Lord Reginald send his head guard away presumably to inform Lady Elizabeth.
I will let him have some time before I approach him.
It was clear to Reid that His lordship was severely depleted by the whole event and that if he needed his help he notice him at the back of the room and call him up to his seat. Reid decided that the best thing to do under the circumstances was to just sit at the back of the room and wait for something to happen.
He didn’t have to wait long.
From the side door behind Reginald came a hoard guards. They closed on him with deadly velocity and swarmed over him like flies on a rotting corpse. They kicked and punched him. He tried to defend himself but they had batons and used them quickly. His screams of pain and anger vibrated around the hall. Reid hardly believing what was happening sprang to his feet and as he was about to run to his help his lord Marcus entered the room. Reid dropped behind a bench out of sight.
“My Lord. I told you that you would regret your decisions to lock your own brother in the dungeon.” Marcus looked to be taking a sick pleasure in seeing his brother broken laying on the floor.
“Traitors….” Reginald spat out blood and teeth on to the floor. His face had swelled up and it looked as if some bones in his face had been broken as his face was visible distorted.
“I’m afraid brother that I can not let you rule this land anymore. For too long have you let these pitiful people do what they please. It must be stopped. You are not are strong as father was. You never were. I am though. I will be the Lord of this House I will rule these people like they should be.” Marcus knelt down close to his broken brother.
The blood from the beheaded man and the fresh blood from Reginald couldn’t be distinguished now. There was blood everywhere.
“You are not the head of this house Marcus. I am and my son will be after me. You will all pay for this.” Reginald said with great rage and authority.
“Really? Well what do you propose you are going to do about this?”
Marcus draw a small dagger from his belt and without hesitation slit across lord Reginald’s neck. The red stream from his neck poured out on to the floor.
Reid had to use all his energy to hold his anger and tears back he nearly cried out.
“You see brother. I will be Lord of this house and unfortunately for your family they will share your fate as well.” Marcus nodded to the traitorous guards.
“Bring them here I want them to see him dead.” Marcus started to laugh out loud.
Reid looked through the gap in the bench he was hiding. Reginald had stopped breathing.
He’s gone…. I must get Elizabeth and the children before the guards’ do.
Reid hoped he wouldn’t be seen as he crept out the audience chamber. When he was a safe distance away he looked back no one was there. He realised that no one had seen him so then he ran. He ran faster then he has even done before. Past the courtyard to the back entrance of the castle. He reached the ground floor and made his way up the stairs. At the top he found another guard.
Lord Reginald’s most loyal guard laid dead.
His neck had been cut and there was a massive pool of blood surrounding the corpse. Reid barely took any time to contemplate the guard’s fate as he rushed down the corridors towards the lord’s bedroom.
Reid’s heart was racing as he was sweating greatly by the time he reached the bedroom. He kicked the door open.
There was no one there. No Elizabeth or baby Louisa.
He kicked the door again in rage.
“Am I too late?” he shouted.
“Reid?” a voice came from behind.
Reid turned and nearly collapsed with relief to see the boy stood in front of him.
“Kings, we need to….We need to go NOW!” he grabbed the boy.
The boy struggled from his grasp.
“Wait! What’s going on? Where mother? Where’s father?”
“Please kings something terrible has happened. Its not safe for you here anymore.” Reid was pleading with the boy.
“I don’t understand Reid. Tell me.”
Reid decided he had no choice. He grabbed the boy and put him over his shoulder and headed towards the door.
“Hold it right there garden Mr Reid” It was the guard who had teased him by the gate earlier with two other guards. He was holding a sword and looking very pleased with himself.
“put the boy down and follow us.” Reid had no choice but to do as he asked.
“How dare you do this to me” Kingsley shouted at the guard.
“I am the heir to this house!”
“No you’re not and if you don’t shut your trap I will shut it for you.”
“Gag them. Both I’ve had enough.”
Reid and Kingsley were both tied by the wrists and gagged.
As they headed towards the audience chamber through the courtyard Reid looked at Kingsley. The boy’s tears were rolling down his face and he looked so confused and scared. Reid realised then that he was too late to save him.
He looked up at the twinkling stars once again and realised that this was probably the last time he would see the stars over his beloved Albion.
He started to cry as well.
Kingsley still didn’t know what to make of all this. It was still all too confusing to the young boy.
Where’s my father? Mother? Sister? Why am I been manhandled like a common prisoner?
He was been heavily and roughing guided forwards by one of the guards. Kingsley recognised the guard. He was one of the lower ranked castle guards. He was a big man with large hairy arms and an ugly wart covered face. He was holding Kingsley by the hair tightly and as he directed him through the courtyard towards the audience chamber he could feel strands of his hair coming loose. The pain was excruciating.
Kingsley kept trying to shout through his gag that but all the sounds that came out sounded like muffled cries. He looked over towards Reid who looked to be a broken man. He looked like a man who was ready to roll over and die. Kingsley half expected that his father was going to appear from one of the door ways as they past and make this whole thing OK.
He is going to make all these men pay for their treason.
Kingsley was forced up the stairs towards the audience chamber. He didn’t struggle as he knew that it would just end up with more of his hair torn out. When they reached the top of the stairs he felt a sudden sense of relief as standing there was his uncle Marcus.
He was standing in the arched doorway with his hands behind his back.
“Stop right there” Marcus said to the guard while holding up a leather gloved hand.
Marcus will make these guards pay for what they have done.
“Take the boys gag off.” He motioned to the guard.
The big guard let go of Kingsley’s hair which came as a slight relief from the pain it was causing him. He then proceeded to roughly removed the boys gag. Kingsley instantly called out to his uncle.
“Uncle! these guards they have beaten, bound and gagged me and Reid. You must arrest them immediately.”
Marcus didn’t move. Nor did his facial expression change which was one of contempt.
“Young Kingsley. I am afraid that I won’t be arresting the guards.” He said though an oddly satisfied smile.
“I don’t understand uncle. What’s going on?”
Marcus approached Kingsley and bent down to Kingsley’s eyelevel.
“You don’t understand poor boy? Well then….I must show you.”
Marcus grabbed the boys bound hands and led him into the audience chamber. As they walked in Kingsley could hear Reid who was obviously still bound screaming through his gag. Kingsley looked back towards Reid. He was shaking his head and crying desperately. The look in his eyes was one of anger and it was obvious he didn’t want Kingsley to enter the hall.
I don’t have a choice though Reid.
Marcus looked back also. “Take the Gardener to the dungeon we will deal with him later.”
Take Reid to the Dungeon? why?
Kingsley had so many questions
“Why are we coming here uncle? Where’s Father?”
“You’re father is waiting for you by his seat. Please go to him.”
Marcus let go of Kingsley’s bound hands. The rope tied around them was starting to break the skin and blood was starting to leak from his wrists. The pressure was making his hands throb.
“Go on….GO” Marcus said in an aggressive way to the young boy.
Kingsley having no other choice started to make his way to his father’s seat. Step by step felt like a lifetime. He was constantly playing out the possible reasons why this was happening. None of them made any sort of sense to him. As he got closer to his fathers seat he could make out that there was someone laying at the foot of it.
It dawned on him.
Oh No father….
Kingsley started to run towards the body. As he got closer he realised that it was indeed his father. He reached Lord Reginald and his stomach sank. He saw the deep wound across his neck and the brutal bruises all over his face. He grabbed one of his hands. His hand was cold. He was dead. He was Gone.
“Oh Father…..Please….What happened??” the boy screamed through the tears.
His eyes were still open and Kingsley had to use all his concentration to calm his shaking hands to close his father’s swollen eye lids. He placed his head on his father’s chest and knelt in the pool of blood that had formed around his father’s body.
“I’m sorry boy but your father time has past he was a weak foolish lord and now its time for me to rule these lands.”
Kingsley heard the words come out of Marcus’ mouth but didn’t really care. He was just so upset and stunned that his father was gone.
“Boy? Did you not hear me?”
Kingsley remained silent holding on to his father’s lifeless body. He noticed his father still had a small dagger concealed on his belt under his shirt. He always had it there. He used to always say it was for emergencies. Kingsley drew the blade and held it in his bound hands.
“Boy? I had to cut his throat as he wouldn’t shut up.” Marcus started to laugh quietly.
Kingsley upon hearing those words sprang to his feat and launched at his uncle. As he reached Marcus the man quickly side stepped out of Kingsley’s assault path and tripped him. Kingsley managed to slash across his uncle’s face as he fell. Kingsley hit the stone floor with a thud. He looked at the dagger. There was blood on the blade.
Please let it have killed him.
Instead Kingsley heard Marcus’ voice again.
“Guards, control that stupid boy and call a nurse he’s cut me really bad.”
Marcus had a diagonal slash across his face running from above his left eye on his forehead across his nose to his right cheek. It wasn’t life threatening but was going to leave a scar.
Marcus was furious.
He ran to where Kingsley was laying and with all his might kicked the boy in the gut. The wind left Kingsley and for a moment he thought the impact of the boot had killed him because he was unable to breathe.
Marcus grabbed Kingsley’s face and pulled him up towards his.
“For that boy you get an extra special gift.” And through him back on the floor.
Kingsley was just getting his breathe back when the big ugly guard grabbed him again. Before he had a chance to say anything Marcus did.
“Bring her in…NOW!” he called out. His voice carried around the hall and echoed off the back wall.
Out of a door at the back of the large room came two other guards and his mother. She too had been beaten badly. Her nose was broken and the blood had soaked her dress. Her eyes had swollen shut and it appeared she couldn’t see. It looked like she had been beaten pretty badly.
“My baby, where is my baby? Where’s my boy? Where’s Reg?” she screamed out as she was dragged into the chamber hysterically.
“Mother!” Kingsley shouted.
“OH… Kingsley. Be brave my boy it will be OK. You’re father will save us.”
“Unfortunately not this time my dear Elizabeth as I killed him earlier. I cut his throat and I took an insane amount of pleasure in silencing the righteous bastard” Marcus said to the broken woman.
“MOTHER ITS TRUE!!” Kingsley shouted desperately which earned him a punch to the face from the guard. That nearly knocked him out.
Elizabeth dropped to her knees and simply screamed a horrible moaning sob that came straight from her soul.
“Marcus? Why?” she managed to make those words audible through her cries.
“Why? Well because I want to be Lord.” He started to laugh. The other guards in the room also joined in on the joke.
Kingsley still shaken by the punch tried to go to his mother only to feel the restraint from the big guard again.
“Louisa? What about the baby?” she shouted.
“I have had her drowned mi’lady.” Marcus smirked.
“Noooooooo…..Please NOOOO!!! Why? why? WHY? She was only 1 she was no threat to you!” Elizabeth curled up on the floor shaking with the torment of the news she had just heard.
Marcus’ words echoed in Kingsley’s mind. He saw a vision in his minds eye of his baby sister laughing and playing with his father by the fire in their bedroom. The fire burnt bright and strong and in his mind it was getting hotter and brighter.
“I’m sorry Elizabeth. She had to die just like your son will too. But as a favour to your good self I will spare you the sight of the boy been killed and a gift to him he needs to watch you die. Guards…”
Marcus motioned to the two guards holding his mother. They both released her from their grip and both simultaneously drew their swords.
Kingsley felt the world around him slow down. He wanted to reach out and save his mother. She was too far away though and the guard holding him was too big and too strong.
The guards at the same time plunged their swords deep into his mother. Her pained tormented screamed stopped and it was obvious the life in her had disappeared as her lifeless body dropped off their blades and hit the floor like a slab of meat in an abattoir.
Kingsley’s vision became blurred. He was instantly transported back to his vision in the room where his father and baby sister and now his mother were stood by the fire. They were all looked at him. The fire was burning harder now and hot so incredibly hot.
“Don’t die son.” His father said to him. “Escape this place” his mother said holding his father’s hands.
They all looked at the fire burning in the room. Burning inside his mind. Kingsley could feel its heat rising to the surface. Infusing every cell in his body with anger. It was raw rage white hot incredible rage ready to explode.
“OK. My boy. It’s your turn.” Marcus turned to face Kingsley and drew his own sword.
Kingsley felt the grip of the guard’s massive arms around his shoulders increase. The pressure helped him release and channel the rage.
Kingsley felt the surge hit him like a bolt of lightning. With explosive velocity his ripped the ropes binding his wrists. He grabbed the massive hairy arm of the guard and with all his force brought it down on his shoulder.
He heard the snap of the bones in the guards forearm and the guards screams only acted as a catalyst for more of Kingsley’s rage to flow out of him. Before the guard had chance to react to the arm that was now only attached by skin Kingsley picked the whole man up above his young head squeezing the mans face as he did. He felt the bones in the guards face crush under his terrific strength. He felt his eyeballs burst under the pressure and took a small sense of satisfaction when he realised the guard was dead. With all his strength He hurled the dead guard across the room with such speed and force that when it hit Marcus and the other two guards it knocked them off their feet.
More guards entered the room following the commotion and Kingsley quickly realised that he was grossly outnumbered. He took his chance to run back into the court yard through the main doors.
“AFTER HIM!!!” Marcus screamed at the guards who were now flooding the room.
Kingsley was running as fast as he could but knew that the guards were right behind him. He needed to get out of the castle but the only ways out was through manned doors. He had no other option but to risk drowning and try the sewage pipes that lead out of the castle. He found an open sewer at the end of the courtyard. The sewers entrance was about half a meter wide and dark. The smell was incredibly potent. He wouldn’t be able to see where he was going but it was the only option he had available to him. He knew that the sewer ended up in the lake in the woods and that was his best chance of survival.
Without hesitation he entered the pipe and slid down into its depths.
1.2.4) DO YOU PLAY CARDS?Edit
Back in the Axe and Scottman Inn, Seb was finishing off his fourth pint of ale. He did notice that as Big jack had continued to tell the story the ale seemed to taste nicer and nicer.
Or am I just getting drunk?
It was hard to tell for Seb as he was so engrossed in the story. It was tragic. What had happened to Kingsley Scotts family. He could hardly wait to find out the next part of the story and how the axe became apart of it. Big Jack had taken a break in the story to serve a few other customers who had just arrived. Seb noticed that the large man had a fondness for laughing and joking. Every so often the loud rumble from his low toned laugh would shake the bar that Seb was sat at.
Seb drank the last dregs of the ale in his tankard and placed it down on the bar. He felt a presence suddenly appear beside him.
“Do you play cards lad?” the strange quirky voice said.
Seb turned around to face the same strange old man who had been previously sat in the corner of the room laughing to him self quite oddly. He appeared to be an old man in his seventies maybe. He was a short man that was probably exaggerated by the way he was stood which appeared to be slightly hunched. He had a friendly clean shaven face that had a mischievous look about it. His white hair was cropped short at the sides and long and wavy on top. It appeared bright white against his dark red hooded overcoat that appeared to be well worn and old.
“Cards? Er…not really.” Seb said still a bit confused at the way the man started the conversation.
“These ones are easy. Come on you’ll love it.” The man started to giggle to himself as he hopped on to the chair next Seb. He started rubbing his hands together as if he was trying to warm them up.
“Talking about that thing are you?” pointing at the huge axe in front of them.
Seb’s attention was suddenly drawn back to the most magnificent weapon he had ever seen that was still mounted on the back wall behind the bar.
“Its magnificent isn’t it?” Seb said staring in wonder at the axe again.
“Hmmm….. If you like that sort of thing I suppose……Needs a polish I think….. Heh heh….. You know I once tried to pick the bloody think up...... Dreadful cuts on my hands I got….. Dreadful…..I didn’t manage to lift it…..arms to weak you see…… No No….. Cards are much better…… Easier and fun.”
The old mans rambling on was starting to get to Seb.
“I’m sorry sir. I just want to listen to big jacks story about the axe. I don’t want to play cards.”
The old man made an overly sad face and said.
“OK then well how about a trick?”
He produced a normal deck of cards from what looked like his sleeve and started shuffling them in a surprisingly skilful way. It looked like the cards were dancing from one of his hands to another.
Seb was surprised to find himself been impressed by his skill.
“Go on then old man gimme a trick.”
What’s the worst that could happen?
The old man grinned excitedly and immediately concealed the normal cards he was shuffling. He then out of nowhere produced another deck that was different from the last. It glowed strangely almost blue. He started shuffling the cards fast. As the cards flew through the air, some cards course through the air changed as if they were travelling in a different air stream to the rest. First it appeared to be at random however as Seb looked closer he realised that it wasn’t random and as the shuffling became faster the flow of the cards was starting to make a shape as they were moving through the air.
No that cannot be. How is he doing that?
The man drew another deck and another and Seb counted another six decks as he shuffled faster and faster. The shape the cards were making in the air appeared to be taking the form of a man.
Seb could hardly believe what was happening.
The shape became more defined. It was a man. It was a large man reaching maybe seven foot. His arms were as thick as Seb’s legs. Seb could do nothing but watch in awe as the man made from flowing cards jumped over the bar and appeared to start polishing the axe. He then turned, looked at Seb and patted him on the back. The weight of his hands were surprisingly heavy considering that he was made of cards. The large man then stood up straight and looked to be laughing. Seb completely astonished and confused looked over at the strange old man who was still shuffling the cards and he too was laughing as if he and the card man were sharing a joke with one another.
Seb couldn’t believe his eyes.
“Stop that” came the massive voice of big jack. As quickly as it started all the cards whirled back to the old man who neatly concealed back in his maroon overcoat.
What the hell just happened?
“You see what you did now? Those people who I was serving have run off scared.”
“Apologies big Jack….I was just showing your friend here one of mine…. Well….. Kind of….anyway” The old man looked genuinely apologetic.
“That’s OK. You’re as much a part of this place as the wood and nails. Would you care to listen to the next part of the story with our new friend Sebastian?”
“Absolutely why not? He he” the old man said while laughing his characteristic laugh again. Seb watched the strange old man again as he jumped on to the stool again next to where he was sat.
“Just a bit of harmless fun lad.” He said
Seb stayed quiet. Didn’t know what to say. Big jack broke the silence.
“OK gentleman. Ale for the both of you?”
Seb still trying to make sense of what just happened pushed his empty tankard towards big jack.
Well it would be rude not to.