As Tamarrion rode towards the city gates on her way from Turdael, she looked down on the young squire who was escorting her. She saw on his face the pride and excitement that he could barely contain from being given the honour of escorting a real life paladin. She smiled to herself and thought of how young he seemed, she had been too when she was a squire.
In these lands the customs were different; here only nobles’ sons were sent to other noble families to serve as squires in preparation of knighthood. In hers, and the neighbouring kingdoms, even royalty were required to serve as squires and be knighted before being eligible for the throne. Her father had always said it was to knock the arrogance out of them early and to see the world and lives of people outside of the castle walls. Princes and princesses were however usually sent to other members of the royal family.
Tamarrion had been sent to her uncle, Lord Eiron, when she was twelve. The thought of her years in the house of Eiron brought back memories of joy, warmth and safety. As she rode out through the city gates, thanking the squire whose eyes were gleaming, she could smell the scent of the forest, bringing her straight back to that day with a sudden burst of sharp pain.
It had been early fall, the leaves were yellow, some already turning orange or bright red. It was a day of joy and festivities and she was allowed for the first time to join the hunters in the annual deer hunt. At fourteen winters she had been allowed to be part of the escort of Lord Eiron’s youngest. She had been almost as excited and full of pride as her young escort in Turdael. She had always looked up to her older cousin; he was skilled with weapons and a natural leader, showing promise of climbing high in the military ranks.
They had been riding for some time and the sun had risen far above the treelines when a rock fall forced them to take a detour, separating the small group from the hunting party. She remembered how the murmur and soft laughter had suddenly changed into dead silence. For a moment all she could hear was the creaking of leather, the clinging of metal and the horses’ hooves as those in front of her stopped short. She and the young Lord Eiron had been at the rear. Suddenly they could see why, the party had ridden straight into an ambush.
End of Part 1