Competition

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Apeiron

That One Guy
#1
So, Will posting all his stuff about knights and chivalry and what have you reminded me of something. About two years ago I had entered a forum writing competition. It wasn't big or anything as the site had fairly low numbers of active people, but still. I entered against another familiar writer from the site and ended up winning. I haven't changed any of the wording, but I did fix an embarrassing mistake or two. Any-who, this doesn't really have a title but it's a piece of writing I don't mind sharing with y'all. Enjoy.



Tral bobbed and weaved as the throng of people moved along. His breath was coming to him in heavy pants and his legs burned as if they were on fire. The small bundle of food that he had stolen was huddled in his arms, close to his stomach, and anyone who got in his way met the blunt force of his shoulder. It didn’t matter where he hit them so long as they got out of his way.

The city guard wasn’t exactly after him, however the baker’s wife certainly had a mean swing with a rolling pin, and he did not want to be on the receiving end. So he ran. He ran as fast as he had ever run in his whole life. Probably the fastest he would ever run.

His feet slid across the gravel, and his worn cloth shoes caught the tiny bits of rock like a net did fish. He hated being a poor. Stealing for his food, his clothes and even his shelter some days. But he didn’t want to die more. So he stole. If the gods had a problem with the way he wanted to live they could send him to oblivion later. Right now he had to live.

Pushing off on the balls of his feet, the alleyway was a blur. The noise of the crowds on either end of the way deafened his ears to his own foot falls.

From behind him he could hear the huffing voice of the baker’s wife as she yelled, “Get back here you maggot covered filth!”

He didn’t dare look back. Looking back meant fear and he didn’t want to admit he was afraid. So he ran on. Jumping small crates as they presented themselves and even toppled over a few barrels in hopes of slowing the woman down. It didn’t seem to work.

Gritting his teeth, Tral ran up a tower of boxes and jumped onto the low roof of a nearby house. Luckily it was a sturdy building and the roof was well thatched. Turning around he jumped once more, on to the opposite building and ran. A jump again to the building on his right took him away from the main streets and even further away from the crazed woman. Early on in his life he had learned the value of running roofs. They were a place of menace to those walking below, and a high-way for street rats like him.

Having lost the baker’s wife, Tral leapt into a new ally and ignored the stench and filthy water at his feet. The important thing was that he had gotten away with enough food to feed his sister. If only just his sister.

Sagging against wall, he licked his lips and tried to catch his breath before pushing on. His entire body ached and his legs pleaded for mercy. A kind of mercy only met when asleep, or dead. He couldn’t sleep, and the latter choice was out of the question. Before too long, the red-head was back on his feet, ignoring the protest of his body and fueled by the drive to live. Now that he had gotten away he would be free to work his true element.

The crowds.

It didn’t matter what city, town, or even a road way, people would ignore him unless he gave them a reason to notice. Blending in with the menagerie of people was easy enough because of that, and with his short stature no one could spot him quick enough before he saw them.

Oh the advantages of being a kid.

Solemnly, Tral wove his way once more through the stream of people. Being careful to stay away from the edges and even more careful not to bump into others. There was no telling what the actual bums of Ectelo would do to a child with food – just to save themselves.

When he grew up, he would be a knight and make sure to never act like one of them.

As the sun began to sink from its zenith, the short boy found his way to the very edge of Ectelo. The food in his arms would be enough for the day, and only for his sister but so long as she was alive he would wake up tomorrow – starving or not – and make sure she lived.

The small shack of rags they had made was sinking again. What with all of the rain it was no surprise really. Before the night came most of it would be dry, but he knew already that Elyse would be sick come morning. Unless he gave her his shirt. Again.

Before he entered the hut, he stopped and took several deep breaths. He wouldn’t look the greatest but he had to at least show her that he wasn’t tired. That he hadn’t just run the Aervo marathon. “Elyse,” he called out as he dropped low and shuffled in, “I’m back!”

The moment his gray eyes came up from the cold cobble stones, horror washed over him. Inside their small hut was a strange adult with unruly black hair, and a beard as scraggly that came down to his chest. Fierce brown eyes locked with his and a small grin split the man’s grimy fce. “How do you do, Tral. My name is Cral. You’re going to be my squire.”
 

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