The sound of the loud horn trembled throughout the room; it was yet another long morning at guard training camp. Whose parents sends their kids to guard training camp, and not something cool like fishing camp, or basic wizardry camp? Even my neighbour Kimmel got to go to a scribing camp. Guess that is the difference between spoiled children and me… *sigh*
Only get ten minutes to get out of bed, and dressed.
“To be ready for action” they said, “Be thankful you have ten minutes” they said. Some mornings it feels more like slave camp then guard camp. Last week a kid, two bunks away from me slept through the alarm and he is still not done scrubbing the cobble stones in the castle.
The camp “activities” are just marching in order, turning every now and then, marching again, and turning, and so on. Real “brave and heroic”. No guard actually marches anyways, why do we have to know this? What a waste of my time. The only thing that keeps me going through the day is knowing I would get to do weapons training. I was the best in my camp, for everything other than the bow and crossbow. Some elf everyone called Algae or something. Think he is some hot shot only getting bull’s-eyes. He even shoots an arrow through another one making the first one explode. What a show off.
Could the day get any worse? We are doing survival training and I’m stuck with “Mr. Hotshot”. I don’t even speak Elvish, this is the worst camp ever. I will try to be friends but if he doesn’t speak human, than we are going to be the first to lose in survival training and become the laughing stock of the camp.
Things worked out better than expected. I guess just being told my entire life one thing about elves and never really meeting one, I made some sort of strange image in my head. His name is Egil, he’s a super guy. We made the perfect combo! We came first place in survival training. Kicked some campers butts!
Egil and I had the most interesting conversations. I feel like we are brothers that never were! This camp has suddenly become worth it. I’m finally happy that I came.
We had a free day today; some of the guard were really bruised up during the survival training. Egil and I spent the day talking. I’ve told him how I am now happy in guard camp and joking said that “One day I’ll be the commander of the guards because then kids would only do the fun stuff in the camps and never any of the boring lame things.”
Egil wasn’t as ambitious as that; he simply wanted to be the number one archer in the guard, working for the rightful king or queen. He doesn’t seem to care about rank or status, as long as the right things are done. Egil really does look out for everyone and everything. He was telling me about how he thinks “lizardmen” and “orcs” are living and smart creatures too. How when the guards do hunts, it disgusts him. I guess everyone is allowed an opinion.
The rest of the day we spent training and practicing. Teaching each other how to use the weapons we were best at… Turns out, I’m destined to never be an archer and Egil for the safety of everyone else shouldn’t hold anything longer than a dagger.
It’s near the end of the camp. I feel like I’ve gotten taller and stronger. I don’t lose my breath as I run and I can keep up with some of the real guards! One of the corporals even asked if I wanted to join up as a recruit! Whoa, that is a big decision.
Egil was asked to join as a Private first class! Apparently they’ve not seen someone as good at archery as him since, well… ever. That is super cool and exciting. Except now he is beating me again, I will have to join and out class and rank him. Not like I’m jealous or anything.
Guard Journal 1:
Today is the day.
Ever since I was young, I’ve looked up to my friend Sergeant Major Egil Agilaz, and have dreamed of both of us achieving those silly childhood dreams. He had always excelled and I had lagged.
He stopped striving once he got a position as the top archer. I did not understand, a waste of perfect talent, as he did nothing and I worked. Every day I would spend extra hours learning about strategies or combat skills. Slowly I mastered them all. It took years but this day is the day I’ve been waiting for.
Promotions day. We don’t often get these days but when they do happen, a lot of people moved up in rank. There was no commander in the guard at this time, and I was positioned for the spot. I wasn’t told I’d be getting it, and much like the last time, they start with the recruits.
Hours seemed to pass as is often the case when anxiety and excitement mix with longing and having to wait. My stomach turned and it seemed like butterflies danced in me waiting for my name. I didn’t care what happened; just if they called my name. Every moment, in my head, I counted the people and noted the rank they were at. The worst was when someone was late, and they allowed them to get into the ceremony. The guard at the front reading the names would lose track and re-read the list.
“Volund” the younger guard said, “Please walk up”.
My heart stopped. It was finally happening. Twenty years of blood, sweat and well… mostly blood, have finally paid off. I walked up. Head held high, shoulders back. In perfect posture. Nothing could break me at this point.
“Umm, Volund, yes…” the older guard said. “It seems that when you were in guard training camp, you were a few minutes late to getting ready in the morning. The royal guard does not allow for tardiness. Can you explain yourself for your actions?” He said as he looked towards the mop and bucket in the corner of the room.
I froze. Why would what happened more than twenty years ago matter now? How did this guard even know? Too many thoughts passed through my head… until someone patted my back. My mind cleared as I looked up, it was Egil. He was looking at me with the weirdest of smiles. I became blank.
“Guards! Attention!” The younger guard yelled, “Today we are honoured to show you the new commander of the royal guards. This is a memorable day, as in the past 20 years no one has been able to outmatch him, outwit him, or come close to his honor. Now this man, Commander Volund, will lead us with the same devotion he has shown and take the royal guards to a new level!”
The crowd cheered and clapped.
Guard Journal 42:
The council has voted for a King. The first time in our history we will have an elf lead us. Lord Casca, a noble born elf. Smart and skilled, hopefully he will lead us into a peaceful time. Nothing has been the same since we have lost out leaders. He is our hope to a brighter future.
Guard Journal 45:
Patrols have been reporting rumours that the people are upset that Casca is king. He was fairly elected and we the guards honor that. Egil still stands by him. Seems they both shared common beliefs.
Many living creatures are intelligent and deserve to live.
It does seem however that Casca is very two sided. At times he works hard for the people. Other times he seems to simply want to cause problems. I’m not sure if he is ill, or simply his way to distress, however; I’m sure this is why the people are unsure of him.
Guard Journal 50:
The Lady Dawn, magically appeared out of nowhere. The records for her house never existed, and it simply appeared. No living relative was around and everyone believes that she should rule. I feel the people may start an uprising.
Egil has become very upset, as he does not believe that because you claim to be someone and you magically appear you deserve to rule. He is becoming very protective of Lord Casca. Maybe too much so.
Guard Journal 51:
The people attacked! Casca was murdered.
“Queen Dawn” has stolen the throne.
I’m too shocked to write down everything that has happened this day.
Guard Journal 55:
I managed to find Egil today. Rather.. He found me. Seems that all these years that I believed he stopped training, he was learning “other skills”. He is able to appear out of thin air quieter than any ninja. Amazingly skilled!
Our encounter was short but he left me with a very clear message. He has started a group that has been coined as the “Confederates”. He is working to give everyone and everything a chance to create a fair world. Still following the current rulers law of kill and then be praised, he is trying his best to take over. Thousands of: Orcs, lizardmen, meer, juka, and many many more creatures all joined up to assist him.
He has offered me a position to join him to help be the wave of the future and change the corrupted system. My position in the guard would be extra helpful to him and his plans.
I will need to think on this… everything I worked for…
But there is something wrong and something needs to be solved.
Note hidden in the castle: