Hallow Hill – Part 6


He woke some time in the night to the sound of thunder and rain as it poured down on the thatch roofing and sprayed the stone walls of the house. He discovered he was naked beneath the wool blankets. The cot he lay on was stiff, the mattress thinly stuffed with straw. Alarmed, he worried the girl robbed him and left him in some abandoned farmhouse.

He sat up and immediately regretted it. The pain in his left arm was excruciating and he lay back down. It was bandaged and a makeshift sling held it across his chest. The bandage was fresh linen and smelled of herbs. When he peeked beneath the bandages he saw that his wounds had been cleaned and even sewn shut. No thief would tend me so, he realized and lay back down. When lightning crashed and lit up the room, he realized he had not been moved very far from where he’d passed out. His mail hung on the spade handle and his tunic – the sigil of his house sewn on the left breast — was tossed across a bag of feed. The rest of his clothes were nowhere to be seen. Continue reading

Hallow Hill – Part 5


They walked in silence as the trees began to thin and a modest house came into view. There was a low barn that could house a cow or two and maybe a horse. As they passed by it, he saw there was no horse. There was very little hay too and from what little look he got inside, there was barely any in the loft. She caught him looking. “The cows graze. Easier.”

There were two cows and they walked untethered across a great, overgrown green surrounding a well. Paul saw other houses in the distance but most were in disrepair, their thatch roofs gone or collapsed while the stone and wood walls crumbled. He saw no other life.

“Where are the other villagers?” Continue reading

Hallow Hill – Part 4.5


Paul landed on his arm and he had the breath driven from him. He coughed and sputtered, struggling draw air even as the pain in his arm curled him into a fetal ball once again. The girl was at his side then and he felt her rip open his sleeve at the stitching down the side. There was a small gasp and she pressed warm fingers to his arm. “What be your name?” she asked. It seemed an absurd question while she was kneeling there, his pain making any attempt at speaking nearly impossible. He had to concentrate, drive away that pain in order to form enough coherent thought to answer her. “Paulin,” he begain. “Son of Ga—“

A terrible wrenching pain overtook him as she pulled a large piece of wood from his bicep with a sharp, swift tug. He howled in anguish, turning his face into the ground and crying out that he wished he were dead, anything but that pain. “Your arm is bent up,” she said coolly and then the pain was nothing to the sickening sensation of his shoulder popping back into proper alignment. He retched where he lay and had to pull his head back in order to not swallow it again. His head swam and the world went white with pain. Hoping he would slip into unconsciousness, he rolled onto his back and closed his eyes. Continue reading

Hallow Hill – Part 4


He dreamed of the dead.

This one, like so many others before, took him back to Hallow Hill during the deep winter, before the Blood Plague came. The whole House came together and fires would be lit in the hearths as cousins and uncles would tell their tales of gallantry from the previous year. They would speak of exploits at the Bridge, a narrow pass through the vast mountains separating the east and the west, or across the Skipping Stones, a series of islands that bridged the gap between the Twin Cities that looked at one another over the Sea of Stars.   Continue reading

Hallow Hill – Part 3


The man they called Bearkiller said something in a deep, gutteral voice that made it hard to understand. He had a beard of course black hair so thick his mouth was nearly hidden. All Paul glimpsed was a flash of bright, white teeth.

“My Knight,” Lord Mossfield said in his high, nasal voice, “Keeps fairer law here than Lord Halloway. By right of force, I say begone, boy.” He giggled then and coughed so hideously that brown flecked snot and drool flung from the frog lord and Paul had to turn away to avoid being struck by it. Anger began to override his fear, yet the sight of Bearkiller stayed his sword hand. He swallowed and glanced to his uncle, but the older man simply stared at the fat lord with disdain. If I back down now I am a coward and father will disown me. The Nobility has no need of cowards. Continue reading

Hallow Hill – Part 2



The Mossfields came around the bend and he could not see the end of their line. Twice my number, easily. Jack looked at him, but Paul did not see any hint of fear on the boy. Perhaps my father should have given him the ring.

“You’ll want to speak to Lord Mossfield himself if he’s here. Do not treat with anyone lower than your station,” Loukas said as their group moved to meet them. Continue reading

Hallow Hill: A Tale of Aranor – Part 1


The wind on the King’s Road blew strong and smelled of an early spring. Already the bogs and marshes to the west were growing ripe. The stink of the lowlands reminded Paul of a privy. Impatient, he searched for signs that banners would soon come around where the road curved through the forest on the east. Pine forests made it impossible to see and he sat back in his saddle. Rock, his black destrier, barely moved as he sat. The horse was well trained and fierce in battle, if it came to that. Paul hoped it wouldn’t. His father had named him Knight a month ago, but his sword remained undrawn in combat.

Maybe they won’t come, maybe the Weaver will be merciful.

His Squire, a young man of sixteen named of Jack, held his banner straight despite the wind. The deep blue fabric flapped as another gust of wind took it, causing the black raven emblazoned on it to ripple and soar. It was the banner of House Halloway, his House. One day he would be expected to take his father’s title as Lord of Hallow Hill, but no son could inherit without being tested. He was almost eighteen and never blooded. His fingers flexed inside his leather gloves and twisted the reigns. Continue reading