|The Lords of the House: Strong Arms|
|Series||Fable: The Axe and Scottman by Wes Green|
|Next||House of Glass|
|← Prologue||Chapter Chronology||House of Glass →|
Chapter 1.11 REID Edit
Farna castle was in good keep. Reid, the gardener and overall handyman, had been employed with the Scott’s at the castle for nearly a decade now. He knew every inch of the castle like the back of his hand and he was extremely proud of the job he did. He had a particularly busy day ahead of him. He needed to fix a bed frame in one of the guard's bedrooms, change a broken tile in the main dining hall, move some boulders from outside the main gates to the “Rockery”, that Mrs. Scott had requested to be created in the courtyard, as well as all his other day-to-day jobs.
I need some help.
Reid made his way from his quarters to the front gates. As he stepped out into the courtyard, he noticed that the day was bright and there was a crisp chill in the autumn winds. He didn’t mind that though, as he knew he would be sweating by 10.00 AM, so he would welcome the cool air.
When he reached the gate, he looked up at the guard patrolling the upper perimeter walkway of the castle.
“Open the gates lad” he shouted to the guard. The guard nodded with a funny smirk on his face. As the gate opened, Reid’s already bleak day got a whole lot worse.
Those boulders are the size of pigs!
The guard started to laugh. Reid didn’t appreciate that, not one bit. Not considering everything he does around here for everyone.
“You think that’s funny, do ya lad?” shouted Reid.
“Aye I do” said the laughing guard now belly laughing.
“Well….Good sir I need to just let you know that the bed frame you need fixing will be next week. Unfortunately I can’t get the wood. Woodcutter’s stock is low apparently.” He said it with a formal tone.
The guard's laugh abruptly stopped. He looked like someone had just pissed on his shoes. Reid took a small amount of satisfaction from that. He would still fix the bed anyway; he was that kind of guy. He did however leave the guard thinking that he was sleeping on the floor again for the next week.
Reid eyed the large pile of huge boulders.
How am I going to do this?
He heard the footsteps of someone running towards him from behind. He turned around.
“Kings! Where have you been lad? These boulders are not going to shift themselves!” Reid said while patting the young lad's head.
Reid wasn’t a particularly old man but lately he felt it. He always felt a sigh of relief when the boy would come to help out. This was definitely one of those times.
“Hey Reid! Got some boulders to shift do ya? Well I can help if ya like?” the young lad said to Reid.
“Thanks lad that would be great.” Reid pointed over at the pile. The young lad glanced over.
“OK..No problem” the boy said and quickly ran over to the rocks.
The young lad was Kinsley Scott, the 7 year old first born of Lord Reginald and Elizabeth Scott. Out of all the Scott’s, Kingsley was different. He had a kind heart. Overall, the house Scott over recent years had grown arrogant and selfish and had a reputation of been the most unforgiving liege lord of the north. It was only last week a farmer close to Windmill Hill had asked for some tax relief following a bad crop this summer. Marcus Scott, Lord Reginald’s brother had refused the request and doubled his taxes for asking. He even slapped him. Reid still couldn’t believe it. Marcus slapped a man who was asking for help. The worse part about it was Lord Reginald was present and let it happen. Lord Reginald had always been a formidable man but at least he used to always be fair and honest. Reid wasn’t even sure about that these days.
He watched the young lad shift a few small boulders into the courtyard.
Yeah young Kinsley was different. He only cares about helping others.
“Good lad. Are you not going to pick those big ones up?” Reid asked with an air of humour nodding towards the biggest rocks.
“You must be kidding Reid! I only have small arms.” Kingsley said as he carried a few small boulders to the drop off point.
“Maybe… But they’re strong arms lad, just like your dad's and your granddad.” Reid picked up a sizable boulder. The boulder was heavy even for Reid.
“Ere Kings…..try this?” Reid handed him the boulder before the lad had a chance to refuse.
Kingsley gripped the boulder and initially bent forward under its weight. He quickly adjusted his stance to avoid tripping. He then stood upright holding the boulder comfortably.
“You see Lad. Strength of a hero. Just like your granddad.”
Kingsley’s granddad, the great Williem Reginald Scott, was a member of the Heroes Guild years ago and carried out many quests all over Albion. He had a great reputation for been incredibly strong. Apparently he wielded a 6ft. great sword in one hand. Unfortunately, Williem disappeared decades earlier when out on a quest, never to be heard of again. It hit Kinsley’s father and uncle hard. They both were never the same since. Many of the town’s people say that Farna hadn’t been the same since the disappearance of their great “Hero Lord.”
Reginald and Marcus Scott didn’t appear to show any traits of heroes like their father Williem. Yes they were both big men but they weren’t heroes. Reid had often suspected that Reginald’s son, Kingsley, had Hero's blood, the blood of the Archons. It was the way he moved and his incredible strength for his age. It was a sure sign.
“Its still pretty heavy Reid” the young boy said.
“Well you’re going to have to get used to it kings. I’ve got other stuff to do now. Would you be a hero and move all these boulders into the courtyard.” Reid smiled at the young lad as he placed the large boulder down.
He ran back over to the pile and picked up the rock that looked the largest. He struggled. The veins in his neck were bulging and he was bright red faced. He proceeded to carry it all the way through the gates and place it down in the courtyard. No other 7 year old boy could do that.
It’s a sure sign.
“No Problem Reid…Really Easy.” Kingsley said while he stopped to catch his breath.
“I appreciate it lad.” Reid patted the young lad’s head again smiling. He headed off to crack on with his other duties. As he got to the entrance of the castle, he looked back at the lad who was still carrying the boulders.
Yeah…. Kingsley is different.
Chapter 1.12 REGINALD Edit
The castle's audience chamber was a hive of activity. The Farna townspeople filled the stalls around the hall. The occasion was the monthly public sentencing of all the criminals that had been caught and gathered up from the previous month. They had already had petty thieves, common assaults and even a few people who had been apparently caught kicking chickens. Reginald sat in the Lord of the house seat at the back of the great hall. The grand Lord seat was taller than a man stood up with a royal maroon interior and dark mahogany frame. It stood out as a centrepiece in the room. Reginald’s brother, Marcus, stood next to him. Marcus was especially irritated today. Something that Reginald had noticed had exponentially increased of late. Marcus kept rubbing his hands together. Whether this was some sort of mannerism that he had picked up recently or whether he was nervous Reginald couldn’t tell.
I best keep an eye on that.
“Send the next one in.” Marcus shouted at the top of his voice. The noise of the people in the room died down and the anticipation could be felt from around the room. From the front of the room the great doors to the audience chamber slowly opened. The great old hinges that held the door on the wall making a screeching sound as they did. Led in by two guards came a man who was heavily chained by neck and foot. As the man was walking, it was clear that he had been beaten, appeared to be suffering from malnutrition and had been left to wallow in his own filth. Reginald could smell him from where he sat some 50 yards away.
As the guards and the man finally made their way to the sentencing stone, the crowd began to stir.
“Quiet down!,….ORDER” Marcus shouted at the crowd in his characteristic overly aggressive way.
Marcus’ rant didn’t appear to affect the liveliness of the crowd. Reginald stood up.
“ORDER.” He boomed out in his low pitched voice that carried well in this big room. The crowd did indeed settle down. Marcus gave Reginald a look of frustration and looked back towards the prisoner. Reginald just held a hand up to Marcus in a dismissive way.
“Guard… What does the prisoner stand trial for?” The shackled man was looking at the floor. He appeared to be a broken man. It seemed like he was crying at first leaving a trial of fluids on the floor as he entered the room. But on closer inspection Reginald noticed that it was his nose. It was bleeding.
“Murder Lord Reginald” the guard said firmly. The crowd collectively had a sharp intake of breath.
Yes this is what they have come to see….bloody Vultures.
“Proven guilt? Sir?” Reginald asked.
“Yes m’lord. He was seen by many to strangle his wife to death in a pub in Farna town and then have a drink afterwards.” The guard pulled the man up so he was standing straight.
The man had been severely beaten and starved. He looked like he could hardly stand. His nose had been broken freshly and the blood was seeping down his bearded and dirt stained face.
“Why did you strangle your wife?...Before you answer be careful as your answer will affect your sentence greatly.” Reginald wasn’t a man to be messed with and he took the law very seriously.
Marcus had left the side of Reginald and was now walking towards the guards and chained man.
What’s he doing now?
Before Reginald had time to think about what his brother had planned, the shackled man spoke.
“M’lord….My wife. She…she drowned our son.” The man could hardly speak and he dropped to his knees in tears.
“M’lord she was drunk again and she left the poor baby in the bath and passed out drunk.” He started to sob.
“Brother. There was no baby it couldn’t be found.” Marcus said to Reginald.
“There was! My little Toby. He was only a month old. Ask anyone. People saw that she was pregnant…. Ask em please.”
“Your wife was a big lady. How could you expect us to tell if she were pregnant or not?”
Marcus revelled in the laughter he got from the crowds in the room.
“She give birth unexpectedly, we didn’t realise she was because she was drunk all the time. She handed me the baby to look after for weeks while she went off to get drunk. She eventually came back and said she would change and that she would be a proper mother. She pleaded for me to go make some money so I went away to Bowerstone for a few days to see what I could make there. When I came back I found the baby face down in a cold bath. He must have been there for a day or two just floating there, dead. She was nowhere to be found. In my grief I buried the baby behind the house and went to find her. I found her in the pub again drunk singing along to the bard like nothing had happened. I couldn’t help myself, please.”
Marcus grabbed the man's chain collar and shouted at him.
“You are a filthy murderous bastard. And you need to die like the one you are.” He let go of the man and spat at him.
Reginald let that slide, like he had let a few things that Marcus had done recently slide. He felt the expectation of a sentence from the crowd and Marcus upon him. The man seemed to be genuine and if his story was true then any man may have done the same. He had killed his wife and needed to be sentenced. But what would it be?
“So Brother…our Lord Scott what will it be? We cannot not let these crimes go unpunished. We must make this man an example of our control over these lands.” Marcus griped his katana handle attached to his sword belt.
“I will brother. I think we need to find this baby before we carry out sentencing. We need all the facts Marcus. The very minimum will be Bargate Prison and if his story isn’t true, then he will be sentenced to death by hanging at Hangman’s Hill.”
The crowd erupted in boos, and Marcus’ bright red face oozed with rage as the crowd started to get louder. Marcus seemed to get angrier.
“This man is a murderer brother and you allow him to live? What is wrong with you MY LORD?” Marcus moved towards the knelt shackled man with speed.
“We need the facts Marcus. We need to do this by the rule of law.” Reginald shouted above the increasing sounds of chamber.
“We need to do what he deserves.” Marcus shouted back to his brother. In one smooth motion Marcus unsheathed his perfectly sharpened katana. The reflection of the light from the blade crossed Reginald’s eye line and made him blink. Marcus held up the blade with both hands above his head.
“Murderer!” he shouted as he brought the blade down on the man quickly. The blade travelled straight through skin, muscle, blood and bone before hitting the ground with a massive metal on stone sound that echoed around the room. The man’s head hit the floor and rolled to the foot of Reginald. The open neck wound gushed with blood in pulses as the heart continued to beat. The blood sprayed the front row of the now cheering audience. Marcus was also covered in blood now. He sheathed his sword and grabbed the head by the hair and raised it high for all to see.
Reginald, in shock from what just happened, sat there for a moment taking it all in. As he saw Marcus stood in front of him holding the head like a trophy he launched himself at Marcus fist first. Marcus felt his incoming attack and sidestepped it. Reginald hit the stone floor beside the headless body. Marcus was on Reginald like a flash and was hitting him with the head he had still had hold of. As the Head hit him in the face he was unsure if the blood was his or the head's. He grabbed Marcus’s ankle and pulled him to the ground. He then jumped on top of him using his weight to hold his younger brother down. Marcus was beaten.
“Little brother. Your trial will be tomorrow. And I assure you this. You will get what you deserve.”
Reginald shouted to the guards.
“Empty the hall. Take Marcus to the cells. And clean this mess up.”
There were chants now. “Marcus... Marcus...” as the people was led out of the hall.
“You are crazy brother. You are going to arrest me? You are going to sentence me? How dare you? I am Marcus Scott. Not some pauper roaming Albion.” Marcus was led to the cells by the guards.
“I am Reginald Scott the rightful Lord by birth of this house I will have the final say Marcus. What you have done tonight has damaged this house possibly forever. You pay for that tomorrow.” Reginald sat in his seat face in hands.
What have you done Marcus?
“Brother you will regret this. I promise you. You will regret this.”
He could still be heard as he was led down the corridor to the cells.
Chapter 1.13 KINGSLEY Edit
Kingsley was laid in a hot bath relaxing. He was still aching from moving all those rocks for Reid. He really liked the friendly gardener. He had known him his whole life and regarded him as one of his best friends in the castle. After he had finished the job he thought he would make himself scarce and out of the way of the audience hall, as his father Lord Reginald Scott was holding the monthly sentencing and it always got really rowdy, which Kingsley hated.
Yeah best stay away from that.
Kingsley had decided to take a long hot bath to help soothe some of the cuts and bruises he had acquired this afternoon. The bathroom in his bed chamber was always clean and tidy and well stocked with all the fancy perfumes and soaps his mother liked him to smell of. His mother had also taken the liberty to get his bed clothes out ready for him and place them on the cast iron drying rail that was secured to the wall in the room.
She always thinks of everything.
As he lay there, he could hear in the distance a commotion coming from the audience hall in another part of castle.
Someone must have been sentenced to death.
There always was a massive commotion in the townspeople if someone had been sentenced to a particularly horrible future. Be it Bargate or the noose. Kingsley was glad he had avoided it and decided it was best for him to get out the bath, get in to his bed clothes and get some sleep.
Kingsley’s bedroom was suitable for any heir to the Lordship. He had a grand four-posted bed with what seemed like hundreds of cushions, as well as the finest furniture that Bowerstone could offer. The room also included a view of Farna town and in the distance south you could also see the lights of Bowerstone. It was the second best room in the castle other then of course his mother's and father's.
He put on the bed clothes his mother, Elizabeth, had placed out for him. She had ensured that the bed clothes had been washed in some sweet smelling substance that was delightful and that they had been pressed. They felt great on Kingsley’s skin.
She’s a great mother.
From outside Kingsley’s room and a bit further down the hall, he could hear some sort of commotion. It sounded like one of the guards was talking to his mother outside her and his father’s room.
How strange? It’s unusual for a guard to be speaking to my mother at this hour.
There were usually the house guards wandering the corridors as matter of routine patrol during the evening but never usually any conversation.
I best go see if everything is OK.
By the time Kingsley reached his mother's and father's room, the guard had gone and the door was shut. Kingsley slowly opened the door to find his mother in the rocking chair by the bed cradling his one year old baby sister, Lousia, gently. She was gently rocking the chair and humming sweetly to the baby. The baby appeared to be asleep swaddled in some ornate blankets.
Kingsley’s mother was a beautiful woman. She had slender frame with a long feminine face. Her long black hair reached the small of her back. She had a mother's smile. Full of love and well being for her children and husband. When she noticed Kingsley, she smiled lovingly and beckoned him over.
“Is everything OK Mother?” Kingsley whispered.
“Yes my little prince. Everything is OK. Loo is asleep and getting over her teething. Bless her.”
“The guard he came up and…”
“Nothing for you to worry about Kings. You will have your time in the future to worry about matter of the house.” She continued to hum for the baby.
“So something’s happened?” Kingsley said questionably.
“Just a tussle between your father and your uncle. I don’t think it’s anything serious. Just a disagreement between them.”
Kingsley knew exactly what usually happens when the two brothers had disagreements. It would usually involve both parties not talking to one another and making the atmosphere in the castle horrible for everyone for weeks.
“Oh not again mother.” Kingsley shrugged.
“Not to worry my boy. Not to worry. Why don’t you get yourself to bed. You worked hard today. Reid told me that you do more work that 3 men could.”
I don’t know about that.
“Really? I just help out where I can.”
“You have a kind heart son like your father and the strength of your grandfather. You will be a great man Kingsley I swear it. I am so proud of you. Now give me and your sister a kiss and go and rest.”
She grabbed Kingsley and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“I love you sweetheart.” she said.
“I love you too mother.”
Kingsley kissed his baby sister and walked towards the door. As he opened the door Elizabeth said.
“Remember son. Don’t worry about matters of the house. Your time will come and when it does you will show them.”
“Good night mother.”