Oct 15, 2010

The Prince and the Swordsgirl

Q: Write a short story in which two eccentric characters meet for the first time.

By Misal Shujjat

The sweltering heat of the sun became more pronounced as the day wore on. Despite it, Prince Altholas remained stern faced and determined throughout his training session with his knights.

He pushed forward with calculated strength, swerving the oncoming swing of Benedict’s sword and succeeded in throwing the unsuspecting knight off balance. He fell to the ground with a resounding thud and a round of laughter from onlookers.

With the point of his blade still carefully resting under the young knight’s chin, Altholas pulled of his helmet, the sunlight catching the red curls of his hair and the small drops of perspiration that clung to them.

“Not in your best form today are you, Benedict?” The mirth in his brown eyes betrayed the chastising tone of his voice. 

“Apparently not, sire.” He replied. Altholas returned his sword to the sheath around his waist and offered him a hand, remembering quite clearly when he had been a knight in training, no better than Benedict was now.

“Take a ten minute break and exchange weapons.” He turned to address the other knights, “I want all of you back on the field in your sharpest.” The men hurried off instantly.

“You there!” a female voice called out. Altholas turned around to see a girl no older than nine years stalking towards him, raven color hair flying. She came to a stop in front of him, hands on her hips.

She was dressed in men’s breeches, a gray cloak fastened about her shoulders and black worn, leather gloves adorning her small hands. To his surprise, he saw a scabbard and a blunt sword hanging from a belt around her waist.

“May I help you?” Altholas asked politely despite the crudity of her address to him.

Wordlessly, the girl tugged at one of her gloves and threw it at his feet where it landed amidst a puff of dust. “Yea. You can help me. I demands a battle with ya.” At this, Altholas couldn’t help but laugh heartily. “Who you laughin’ at?” the girl asked, a crease forming in her brow. “I ain’t no less than them knights o’

“I’m sure.” The Prince kneeled down so he was eye level with the girl and picked up her glove. “What is your name, young one?” he asked softly.

The girl thrust out her chin and said in a confident voice; “Jacquelyn,”

“Jacquelyn,” Altholas repeated with a broad smile, “That’s a pretty name.” The girl’s cheeks coloured with the compliment. “But I will not fight you, Jacquelyn.”

Any trace of a smile vanished from her face and she narrowed her eyes at him. “Is it because I’m a girl? Me mam says girls don’t go ‘bout fighting with swords but I’ll show her. I’ll show all them boys back home after I’ve beat you! And then the Prince will hear of what a brave girl I am and will offer to marry me
and I will become Queen. That’ll show ‘em!”

Altholas was highly amused by the girl’s rant. She was evidently not from
around the castle for she seemed oblivious to the fact that he was the Prince she spoke of. He
let the knowledge pass and said, “Be assured it is not because you are a girl. I am merely scared of embarrassing myself in front of my people. I fear I do not have the skills to take on someone as capable as you.”

Jacquelyn’s face glowed with pride for a moment before she regarded him with a suspicious look. “Are you jestin’ with me?”

“Oh, I wouldn’t dare jest with you.” Altholas replied. “Now, perhaps, when I am a little older, I might be brave enough to accept your challenge-but not today.” Altholas reached for her hand and slid the glove over it, fastening the string firmly around her wrist. “Is your mother with you?” he asked.

 “I…I ran away from her.” She said, ducking her head to avoid his eyes.

“That was a very bad thing to do Jacquelyn, not very noble of a swordswoman.” Altholas said sternly.

“But she wasn’t lettin’ me come here! Said I was outta ma mind for thinkin the Prince would ever talk to a commoner like me! I had to leave her in the market!”

“Look here Jacquelyn.” Altholas said, tilting her chin and forcing her to meet his eyes, “I will have the guards take you back to your mother and you will apologize to her for leaving her behind in such a manner and you will swear to me that you will never do such folly again. Do you promise?” Jacquelyn nodded solemnly, sniffling. “Good.”

Altholas stood up and motioned for the guards. “You never told me your name.” Jacquelyn said suddenly, squinting up at him in the bright sunlight.

Altholas smiled at her, “My name is Altholas Montfort.”

Jacquelyn’s eyes widened with surprise. “You mean…you mean PRINCE Altholas Montfort?” He nodded and her face lit up with glee. “I MET PRINCE ALTHOLAS! Wait until Hadrian and Simon hear about this!” She allowed herself to be led away by the guards but kept throwing him awed glances behind her shoulders.

He stood and waved farewell at her bouncing form for a moment before turning back to his assembled knights. “Right, we’ll start with defence tactics. Ulric, you’re up first.”


fatinnawaz said...

This isn't the Fairytale story?
I love the girl.Especially her name.

Dania Shah Khan said...

Wow this is funny and amazing, your such a good writer!

fatinnawaz said...


Ailsa Menezes said...

i loved this story. i found the exchange between the characters highly amusing.
good job :D

Madiha Shekhani said...

wow! i absolutely love it Misal!Specially the prince :)

Saniya Kamal said...

Not only was the story great, your writing style totally made the story 'there', i mean in that setting.

Sarah said...

My my, this is one amazing piece of work, Miss writer.:)

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