The beginning to a novel I began writing at age 12 and revised at age 15. Untouched and unedited since then, I just thought it would be an interesting post. I imagine that there are quite a few typos and cliches but it is ten years old…
Ferguson Falkirk stared out of the window in his room in the north tower of castle Loyan. A soft, cooling, dusk breeze teased his clothing, causing his brown dungarees to flap lightly against his slight, muscular frame and stir his gold hoop earring. He took in the glorious summer scene below him, young hares somersaulting in the rich green grass and the last rays of sunlight flooding in through the window casting a distorted shadow on the stone floor behind him. Suddenly this vision of tranquillity was shattered as the ferret’s weasel sergeant rushed in, tripped over the lion-skin rug and would have rolled out of the window had Ferguson (or Fergus as he sometimes was known) not have caught him in time.
‘Yes Lennox?’ enquired the albino ferret, casually as if it was normal for a weasel to attempt to fly out of a window.
‘Sir, his majesty wants ter see yer’ replied the weasel in his gruff northern voice.
Fergus followed his sergeant down the long winding staircases leading down to the battlements. Upon reaching the battlements Fergus sat and admired the rare beauty of the sunset, two doves could be seen courting, dancing in the crimson sky. The weasel sergeant was becoming impatient, the king wanted to see the lieutenant urgently and the throne room was directly below them. To get there it was a good five-minute walk around south tower and down a long corridor. Suddenly the lithe ferret stiffened up and leapt over the battlements, did a smart somersault, grabbed on to the wall and slid through the window into the throne room. Lennox Xanicus (for that was the sergeant’s name) shook his head in disbelief and followed his example.
His Royal Highness, king Braus was pacing the throne room. He was a most majestic and elegant sight, wrapped around his lithe, sinewy frame was a beautiful cape of deepest aqua blue, over his torso he wore a plate of gold armour and a gold helmet with a dove feather plume was covering his regal head. As the ferret and the weasel rolled in through the circular window he looked up, not in the least bit taken back by the fact that Fergus had smashed the stained glass pane upon entering and that Lennox had further more spread the priceless glass when he shook himself.
‘Lieutenant, do you know of Hanan?’ Enquired the king in a casual manner
Fergus like every fighting mammal knew of Hanan, the volcanic island ruled over by the mink triumvirate Wernin the slaughterer, Kjarno Riktooth the berserk psycho and Granos the valiant. Braus and the rulers of Hanan were in constant conflict. The minks were persistently sending their captains over to Brausinia (the small island where Fergus lived) to overthrow Braus and make Brausinia part of their growing empire. The last attack on Brausinia, two years ago had been driven back at a bitter cost, the minks had sent waves upon waves of marten warriors, almost three thousand of them. Such ferocious and regular assaults were common practice for the armies of Hanan so it made little sense that there had been no news of marten troops for two years. Such bitter peace was both welcome and unnerving for Braus. Unfortunately, peace time was, as always, desperately short and psychologically consuming.
‘Yes sir’ Replied Ferguson after a short delay.
‘You also know that, James Saint-Verlese, the heir to the throne of Brausinia is in a high security prison falsely charged of high treason?’
‘Yes sir’ Ferguson, like most well informed members of Brausinia society knew of Saint-Verlese’s recent diplomatic summit with the triumvirate, a summit which was of course an elaborate trick, resulting in the capture of the young prince. Ferguson often wondered why on earth he had been the only creature with the foresight to warn Braus and Saint-Verlese against this venture.
‘I fear that the current state of peace may be more to do with the Hananian’s plans for Saint-Verlese and less to do with any mercy they may feel towards our ailing nation. Thus Ferguson, in the interests of retaining our nation’s pride, I charge you with a rescue mission. I have had the cooks prepare your supplies; you will march south and gather troops to sail to Hanan. You will report back here with the force and I will prepare a galleon for you. You will rescue Saint-Verlese and bring him back to the castle. Now go and tell ‘The Empires Vagabonds’, you will march at dawn’
Fergus bowed quickly and scurried out of the open oaken door followed by Lennox. Ferguson was deep in thought; such an order was drastic and shockingly sudden. How long had Braus been planning such an excursion, and why send the Vagabond’s? Fergus’ platoon wasn’t often entrusted with rescue missions due to their erratic nature and wild spirit.
Lennox was thinking too, though his mind was only concerned with finding a solution to the age old problem of fur dye. He preferred his winter white fur but was frustrated by the fact that as soon as it had appeared it was a matter of weeks before the dull brown of summer returned; if only he could find a way to make white fur last longer, or, better still, make it permanent. Lennox often dwelled upon such trivial matters and was viewed, mistakenly by some, who when conversing with him had often found him to be preoccupied and muttering about fur, to be absent minded.
As the pair crossed the vast banquet hall a pretty female stoat, a friend of Lennox’s, stopped them.
‘Fergus I heard you’re sailing to the volcanic island’ she said quietly in the controlled, soothing voice endowed to those rare figures that embody serenity.
Lennox replied for Fergus ‘Yep that’s right Relmin’.
‘I assume then you’ll need as many warriors as you can recruit? My brother’s warrior tribe, the Wichinars will help you; they live in the Goldiern Parida’.
And with that she left heading down a staircase towards the gymnasium.
Fergus and Lennox made their way across the hall and across the grounds to the barracks where Fergus’ regiment ‘The Empires Vagabonds’ were lounging around, playing cards, sleeping, sharpening blades and generally being idle. Naturally, all forty weasels leapt to attention as their lieutenant entered.
‘Weasel’s, we must prepare to march at dawn, we’re going recruiting!’ commanded Fergus in his rich, baritone voice. As soon as the command had left his mouth the troops ran over to their bunks, strapped on their steel breastplates, pulled on their gum boots and started polishing their shields. Satisfied, and shocked by this obedience Fergus left Lennox to inform the Vagabonds of the mission’s details and left for his quarters, in the north tower.
As he strolled along the dark, quiet corridors, contemplating the events of the day Fergus decided to stop and lean heavily on the stone wall. He often paused to digest some of the more pressing issues of the day. As is usual in such a situation, the ferret’s eyes roved around his immediate surroundings until they fixed on a large hole, just above his head height on the opposite, external wall. The curious ferret decided to investigate. The gap was about a foot across and a foot high, enough for a creature to enter. He gazed into the hole and noticed it soon became a tunnel and, by the darkness emitting from said tunnel, it seemed to go on for some way. Fergus wondered how long there had been a hole in this wall. This ground floor corridor led up to the main hall and he’d walked down here many times earlier in the day without noticing such an obvious opening. Curiosity overcame him and he was just climbing up to the opening when he heard a call.
‘Sir, what are you doing?’
Ferguson Falkirk turned to see three of his Vagabonds. Likya, a young, kind, and cheerful female healer weasel, Marvin Quickpaw, an agile and muscular weasel who was renowned for his skill and accuracy at throwing blades and Yangfur, the wrestling weasel who bore as many scars and wounds as Lennox.
Ferguson explained to the youngsters and motioned for them to follow him. Fergus was the first to clamber in; the air was cold and still as though it had been frozen in time. Fergus waited for the others to join him and then led the group down the dark tunnel. After roughly thirty yards, Fergus reasoned that they must be underground now, though whether they were under the foundations of Loyan he did not know, the tunnel got higher and broader to the extent that all four creatures straightened up and stalked along on their rear paws. Ferguson drew a short dagger that he kept in his boot. It was basic instinct and he was glad of it when the procession turned a sharp corner.
Ferguson didn’t see the beast until it was upon him, snarling, suffocating him. Yangfur leapt at the attacker and pounded away with his powerful fists. In the pitch darkness confusion ensued and the wrestling weasel landed as many blows on Fergus as on the attacker. The creature was at least twice Fergus’ weight and had a strong grip on the ferret’s neck. Fergus was thrashing wildly at his assailant and with Yangfur’s help he wriggled from the creature’s grasp. Yangfur was having problems, he felt as though he was hitting bone, his knuckles were raw and he was getting tired. With Fergus loose the creature turned its attention to the small weasel, Yangfur. Meanwhile Marvin, who had been searching for a blade in the darkness, drew a long dagger and thrust it at the hulking monster; he felt the weapon drive through soft flesh, warm blood ran onto his paws and he heard the piercing shriek of the animal as it collapsed. All this time Likya had been trying to strike a light, she finally succeeded and the glow was quite sufficient. Likya lifted the blazing torch and took in the scene around her. The tunnel ended abruptly a few feet ahead of her and outside on the grass laid a large creature and her three companions. Fergus, who had been soothing the sharp cuts in his neck where the beast’s claws had pierced, went over to the large form. He inspected the creature.
‘It appears to be an armadillo’ he announced. Likya scurried out from the tunnel to join the others, they were now outside of the castle grounds, by the northern wall. The armadillo was still breathing and Fergus, mercifully, asked Likya to treat its wounds. Fergus thanked the weasels and then helped them bind the Armadillo. Fergus prided himself on the fact that he did all the work that his soldiers did, which was why he would not accept the rank of general as the other commanders had done. He felt that the other commanders, Mawr of the Starlights, Rener of the Purple Dawn, Leinad of the Riladers and Kluron of the Legin Valiats, had become distanced from their platoons and viewed them as plebians. Fergus understood the value of his troops being able to identify with him. That wasn’t to say Ferguson disliked any of the commanders, with the exception of Kluron who was always getting his arrogant troopers to mock and jeer the Empires Vagabonds, he actually found Mawr in particular to be quite enthralling company. As for the Legin Valiats, Ferguson was comfortable in the knowledge that these nobles and princes were poor soldiers and preferred to lead an infantry division that he had assembled on merit rather than social standing.