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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Thriller/Suspense · #917345
Never trust the Earl of Warwick (this may turn into a book)
“There is the castle of the Earl of Warwick.” said my master to me, “You should be cautious my boy, for as a host he is a gracious and honourable man but, “ he sent me a strange smile, “As a captor he will be a nightmare that will never stop.”

“Yes sir.” I replied. My pony tossed his head. I was sure she was as nervous as I. The looming castle and its high walls were foreboding enough but I had heard much more than what I saw. I had heard that a man had been murdered in the tower by his first man. Apparently it had been rigged. An assassination. That’s what Michael told me. In a way it scares me but Sir John Okey denies Michael’s words.

I gazed up at the great port caulis that now lay ahead of me. This was a rebellion, a chance to make this King see reason. Sir Okey does not support the King at which I am surprised, as I believed him to be a loyalist. But I as his Squire am not his mentor nor am I anyone to judge him. As my dear father told me, I am just the baggage boy at the moment not a Knight. I do wish I were older. Then I would have pledged my fealty to my King. Though right now I dare say I am pleased not to fight for or against the King.

“Are you ready Matthew.” Sir Okey asks me.

“Yes sir.” I tell him but he knows how I really feel as I ride in through that demeaning gate. What scared me the most were the holes in the roof of the entrance. The holes made for one purpose, to boil the intruders. That was when I truly realised how much danger we could be in if we put a toe out of line.

Then suddenly we were not just entering, we were being greeted with music and dance. All my fears left me then and I knew we had chosen the right side. The Earl of Warwick would never kill people as they slept like King John. He would never steal the little wealth the people had. Yet it was these thoughts that made me lose my newfound confidence. My eyes wondered in awe around the great courtyard. A grim building with locks and bolts on the doors caught my eye. I did not need to be told what those chambers were for.

“ Those are my dungeons boy.”” Said a loud voice in my ear.

“Sir Warwick.” I bowed low to him as I had been told I should do to a noble of such high calibre.

“Rise up young Squire. You are now an honoured guest in my Castle. Enjoy yourself.”

I did not like his tone of voice. It made you trembled at his every word. The thing was it was also friendly in the nicest possible way. I wanted to like him.

“His spies are everywhere.” Sir Okey whispered into my ear. “Here take my sword to the armoury it is dented in three places from the horse stepping on it last evening and then come to me in the Hall. I shall need my armour taken a way. Do not forget the horses they will need feeding and a good stable to sleep in. Go on now.” He sounded terribly supreme, “You must be my eyes and ears.” He finished with a whisper.

“Yes Sir Okey.” Gingerly I took his sword. Then I took his warhorse, Blackwind and my small pony by the reigns and lead them away.

I have never been quite so intimidated by an armoury. There were so many knights and so much noise and flares for a second I was totally bewildered. Not only by that though but after the freshness of the air outside, inside was nauseating. The smell of sweat and wax and metal was incredibly strong.

“Lost are we?” laughed an obnoxious looking knight.

“No. I am just where I need to be thank you.”” I retorted handing my masters sword to one of the many blacksmiths, “ A horse stood on it sir. Can you fix it?”

“Of course I can lad. I am the best there is.” The man boasted. I found that by this time I had to leave else I would be ill.

“Thank you very much sir.” I briskly left there and returned to the stables where I had left Blackwind and my pony. After feeding them I went to find my master.
“Sir. I have done what you ordered.”

“Good. You will soon be a knight. All we have left to teach you is how to strike a man dead.”

I smiled weakly.

Since we arrived here I have been a spy for my Knight. I know now that Michael’s rumour is true. They are all calling that tower the Ghost Tower now. I also know there are more than three men willing to kill my Master and myself and maybe even the Earl himself. I dare say this Castle will soon be downed, as none seem too willing to work as a team. My Master told me the rebellion might not go a head after all.

I... am afraid. I cannot help it. The whole of this castle scares me. Especially the haunting screams that ring in the night. I have no trouble guessing where they come from, Sir Warwick’s dungeons. There are also the muffled sobs that you here in the passages.

I went up on the Ramparts today. To see the Long Bow men practise. I loved it. If I cannot be a Knight I shall be an archer, the best archer there will ever be. At least I loved most of it. I loathed the narrow journey up and down from there. It seemed like the walls wanted to squeeze the life out of me. No body else was affected like that though. I wonder if that was real the fear that Sir Okey told me about once. If so then it was the first time I have ever tasted real fear.

I have never heard such lies as this! My master a spy for the King. Why that is so…. It is so possible. I surely could not have been miss lead by the one man I thought I could trust! I believe Sir Warwick knows I had nothing to do with it. He is still taking me along to see poor Okey tortured. I will not look a way. Sir John Okey told me once. If I was ever to be in this position to watch, if I turned my head, lowered my eyes I too would be tortured. The thing is this is no justice system. How can they call this fair? I will watch and I will still become a Knight. But I will never spy. It is far too dangerous for me.

I have never seen such unhidden pain. If Okey were ever to be freed he would no longer have a leg. The hooded man put The Boot on my Master. It crushed his leg bone and the snapped the tendons. Marrow could be seen beneath the blood. Even after this Okey was silent other than screams. Then he was stretched. I felt tears prick in my eyes but I disguised the as a sneeze. Never have I seen barbarity of this nature. I know Warwick knows that Okey will be silent until the end but he carried on.

The Oubliette! What could be a worse punishment for poor John Okey? To be trapped in a hole for the rest of eternity. Forgotten about like a cow slaughtered for meat. How I would have wept at the state he was in. That Dungeon with mould infested walls and damp in the air. At least unlike some of the fifty other men he was left to lie on the cold floor.

Then I was given the honour of telling him of his punishment. The misery on his face. But I promised him. One day I will avenge him. He who taught me the role of a Knight. I shall kill this Earl, as tomorrow I shall ride to London. I will leave tonight. No one but Sir John Okey will know. Maybe I shall even be able to save him. Well, as Okey would say, Tomorrow is another day. Another day and for me another life.
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