Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Prince Gavin from "Young Knights of the Round Table" by Cheryl Carpinello #Action #Adventure

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Prince Gavin

Gavin’s gaze was drawn back to the castle’s battle-scarred walls and the heavily armed guards. The evil emanating from the structure surrounded and held him captive, like a lone deer surrounded by hungry wolves in the dead of winter, unable to move, its eyes glassy with fear, its limbs frozen by the hypnotic gleam of the wolves’ yellow eyes. Even knowing its life was ending, the deer wouldn’t break and run. So Gavin sat frozen in front of the castle.

The enormity of his quest enveloped Gavin and he sighed. Continuing on meant he might save the Wild Man, but he might put himself in danger as well. King Edward was his father’s enemy and possibly responsible for Aldred’s murder. If Gavin were caught, Edward wouldn’t treat him kindly. The young prince summoned his courage and focused on the Wild Man. It had seemed so simple last night in the company of Bryan and Philip.

He had dressed with care in the predawn hour, not wanting to look in any manner like a prince. His old, worn clothes didn’t quite fit. His unruly hair completed the disguise. He rode one of the older stable horses. Not wanting to answer questions from the stable master, he’d waited until no one was around and then led the horse out a back gate. White streaks of sweat now covered its withers and hindquarters, a testament to the effort it took rider and horse to cover the forty miles in under five hours.
As if sensing it was the subject of Gavin’s mind, the grey horse danced around, anxious to move.

“What you think, huh, fella?” Gavin asked the horse. “Think anyone will recognize a prince of Pembroke Castle?”


Gavin dismounted and led his horse to the water trough. He was surprised to find so few people in the yard. This didn’t appear to be a place where people wanted to be, much like the village outside. When his horse finished drinking, Gavin walked him to the stable.

“Hello?” he called.

“Whataya want?” a gruff voice answered out of the dark. The owner moved into the shadowed light. As he wiped his hand on his hide apron, the old man looked startled to see a boy standing there. His weathered face softened a bit. “Whataya need, boy?”

Gavin winced at his use of “boy.” “I wanted a place to tie up me horse while I get some bread.”

The old man squinted. “Put ’em in that empty stall. I ain’t cleaned it yet.”

“Thanks.” Gavin led the grey to the stall, but didn’t remove the saddle. Instead, he just took the bit out of the horse’s mouth. The old man threw half a section of hay into the stall, and the grey started munching.

Gavin had to get the man to open up. “Things are quiet around here.”

“That a fact or a question?”

“It seems quiet. Not many people around.”

“And those that are, mind their own business.” The old man glared at Gavin and turned to go back to his work.

Gavin walked out of the stable, disgusted with himself. “You did a great job,” he grumbled. “Got insulted twice and told to mind your own business in less than five minutes.” He ran a hand through his brown hair. “If I’m going to help the Wild Man, I have to do a better job of getting the baker to talk.”

He walked across the yard. Amid the barnyard and rotten food smells, Gavin’s nose picked up the aroma of freshly baked bread. On the other side of the castle keep, he found the baker’s ovens. Looking around and not seeing anyone, he grabbed a loaf still warm to the touch and tore off an end.

“Hey there! Whataya think you’re doing?”

Gavin turned to face the biggest man he had ever seen. The baker easily stood six feet tall, and to Gavin it seemed as if he was at least four feet across.
“So-sorry,” he stuttered. “I only wanted a bite to eat. I didn’t see no one around.”

The baker stood with his enormous hands on his wide hips and glared at Gavin. “You ever think of callin’ out?”

“Uh, no sir, un sorry, sir.”

“Well, no harm done, I suppose. What’s a young’un like you doing here? Where’s your pa?”

“Me pa’s back home.” Gavin pointed to the north, at least what he thought might be north.
He hoped that was the general direction he’d indicated to the guards earlier. “He sent me for supplies. He knows a captain who’s agreed to stop in ’Kom and leave the supplies there. That saves us a trip to Lianelli.”

“Ain’t never heard of any captain willin’ to do that.” The baker looked suspiciously at
Gavin. “You sure you’re not here to steal from us and King Edward?”

Gavin shook his head vigorously.

“Well, I’m not so sure of that.” He started to reach for Gavin’s shoulder. “You need to come with me to see the king. He’ll have those guards’ heads for lettin’ you in the gate.”

Gavin ducked under the baker’s arm and ran toward the side of the keep. With the baker in pursuit, he sped around the corner.

Then the baker called out. “Yo, guards! Thief in the bailey! Rally ’round the keep!”

Gavin didn’t wait to see or hear any more. He left the side of the keep and ran across the courtyard. Angry shouts followed him. He dived around the corner of the stable, scrambling to get away without being seen. As he ran, a hand shot out of a side window and grabbed him by the collar. Gavin nearly fell from the sudden stop.

“Now, where do you think you’re agoin’?” the stableman asked.

Gavin twisted, trying to break the older man’s grip. “Let me go. I’m not hurtin’ no one.”

“Let you go, huh? Not until King Edward has a chat with you.” The man pulled him up and back to the edge of the window. He heard the old man curse, and the pressure on his neck lessened.

Gavin pushed off the wall with his hand. The old man lost his grip. Gavin landed face first in the dirt.

“Help! The boy’s over here!”

Gavin jumped to his feet and took off running, rounding the corner of the stable. Ahead was another, smaller building, an open door right in front. Not knowing where else to go, he dashed through the opening and into the dark. The foul smell almost did him in. Gagging, trying to hold his breath, his gaze swept the darkness.

“My swords! What could stink so bad?”

Seeing the stench’s source, he clapped a hand over his mouth to keep from throwing up. On the other side, lit only by a slit in the roof, lay the decaying body of a man. Unable to hold back any longer, he threw up. Still spitting and gagging, he looked again through watering eyes at the man. Wisps of white hair stuck out of the skull. It was impossible to tell who he had been. Some flesh remained, but only enough to discern that the figure was indeed a man.

Shouts outside brought him out of his stupor. He looked around, but saw no way out other than the door he’d come through.

“What I wouldn’t give to be back home,” he said. “I could die here. No one will believe the thief is a prince of Pembroke!” His stomach still queasy, Gavin searched the darkness for a hiding place. He moved further toward the back of the room and then froze; his heart skipped several beats.

Two lights shone in a dark corner. A quiet voice spoke to him. “Here! Come here! I’ll halp you.”

A small figure stepped out of the darkened corner, his frail hand extended. Ragged white
hair like that clinging to the corpse sat atop the apparition’s head. Gavin backed away, but the ghost followed. “Who...what...who are you?” he croaked.

Young Knights

Action Adventure Kindle Book

Three Friends. Three Quests. Three Mysterious Predictions.

At Pembroke Castle in medieval Wales,11-year-old Prince Gavin, 13-year-old orphan Philip, and 15-year-old blacksmith's apprentice Bryan, brought together in friendship by the one they call The Wild Man, embark upon a quest to save The Wild Man's life when he is accused of murder and robbery. If they have any hope of succeeding, the three will have to confront their fears and insecurities, and one of them will have to disclose the biggest secret of all. But it is the arrival of King Arthur and what he reveals that surprises characters and readers.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre - Tween Adventure
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Cheryl Carpinello through Facebook


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