[A/N: Hey! Thanks for reading!  This is a school project, and I appreciate the time taken in reviewing!  Just to let you know, every time I update I will delete old reviews and add new ones if there are any.

ANCAMNA – THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! That is just the type of constructive criticism I need!!!!! (Pay attention to that y'all!)  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!  Ummm…as I write this, I'm having a little trouble finding where you mean: "Paragraph 4, line 4, second sentence: a little confusing, try adding 'the knights' between 'in the army' and 'cut down'". If anyone else can spot it, please tell me.  And it's a history project.

And to all the rest of you who reviewed (or will review, *hint hint nudge nudge*) after I revised this – THANK YOU!!!!!]

The History of Novem Manor

            Listen, and I will tell you of the nine brave knights who participated in the creation of our glorious society.

            Hundreds of years ago, there was a very evil Empire encompassing almost all of the known countries.  The Emperor Severio conquered countries, and absorbed their armies into his own.  He was an evil and sadistic man.  Since groups of knights often banded together and became close friends, he would split any such groups apart amongst his many legions.  One such group was comprised of nine knights – Amadeus, the religious leader; Niun, the ninth son of a ninth son; Virgil, a man strong enough to fight three men at once, yet kind enough to charm the birds from the trees; Arthur, a knight with the might of a bear; Junius, the youngest of the group; Zaccheus, the most innocent, though not the youngest; Cassius, a vain man who went into towering rages if anyone sullied his reputation; Marcell, a man with a love of war so strong that it was a danger as much as a boon to the group; and Alastair, the unspoken leader and protector of the band. 

            This beleaguered band of valiant heroes fought their way across the Empire, looking for any country not under the influence of the Emperor.  Chased by the Emperor's greatest army, hampered by hunger and exhaustion, farther north than anyone had ever been before, the close-knit unit resolved to make one last stand.  There followed a heroic battle that would be passed down through the generations until it became legend.  For each soldier in the army cut down, two more would take his place.  Still the struggling knights fought on.  First Cassius fell with a piercing war cry, taking three soldiers with him.  Then gentle Virgil died, catching the man who had slit his stomach in a spine-cracking embrace.  Next Marcell, with a blood-curdling shout, went down, crushing the men under him as he fell.  Zaccheus perished with tears in his eyes, mourning for the loss of humanity that forced men to slaughter others like animals.  As Alastair called his remaining warriors together, Niun was stabbed through the heart from behind. 

            Now the knights were down to four, and the enemy army whittled down by half.  The now smaller group of loyal friends stood back-to-back foursquare, and looked to Alastair for guidance.  Arthur, Amadeus, Junius, and Alastair fought for their second wind as the battle fever ebbed, and the army gathered for one last, final charge. 

            Remembering his illustrious forefathers, Arthur met the assault with a whirling sword, and went down in a blur of silver and red.

            Calling on the lord for support, Amadeus spent the last of his failing strength in an attack that stunned those it killed.  Even though he was half blinded and had no use of his left arm, the foes were hard-pressed to get through the spiraling blade.

            Junius and Alastair faced the last dozen of what had been a hundred of the Empire's finest soldiers.  Gasping through a punctured lung, Junius looked up at Alastair from under a blood soaked fringe of hair.  Alastair looked around at the carnage caused by senseless hatred, and knew that as much as he reviled it, only wiping out the last remainder of the army would stop the killing for any length of time.  Glancing down at the dying Junius, he almost felt the question going through his friend's head.  Helping Junius to his feet, Alastair nodded once – and faced his enemy for the final time. 

            Junius grasped his sword in a grip already slick with blood.  Holding his side with his other hand, he braced himself against his partner, friend, leader.  Knowing he was dying, knowing that he would not survive long anyway, Junius determined to give his all to the battle ahead.

            Junius took six with him went he finally returned his soul to its Maker, and Alastair gave a heart-wrenching scream of pure emotional pain, giving his enemies cause to hesitate.  That hesitation proved to be their undoing as Alastair became a deadly whirl of flashing steel.  You see, a man with nothing to lose has no reason to fear for his life.  Finally, the battlefield was quiet.  Alastair stood, chest heaving, not even bothering to staunch the blood flowing from the gashes in his brow and stomach.  His sword dropped to the ground as his arm – already sliced to ribbons – became too weak to hold it.  He dropped to his knees as the battle rush left him, grinding dirt into his lacerated legs.  He didn't care.  He shouted at the unyielding heavens as tears ran unchecked down his cheeks mixing with blood and dirt, asking why he had to be the one to survive, why he had to carry the burden of their memories for the rest of his life.  Let it end now.  Let the pain disappear, and let the nine brave knights go adventuring once again as before.  These thoughts accompanied Alastair as he pitched forward into the waiting arms of blessed blackness.

            Alastair awoke in pain, both physical and emotional.  Railing against the tribe that had rescued him, he would have taken his own life if they had not tied him down.  Finally, the elders got through to him.  They told him the only way to really honor the bravery of the eight who had died: Alastair had to live, had to carry on in their memory.  The tribe had buried them with its highest honors, and the leader wanted to make Alastair his heir.  Desperate for life, Alastair accepted.  Soon, the beloved chief died, and Alastair was named in his place.  Having no way of knowing the customs of these people, Alastair remade the tribe's lifestyle into that of a manor, and the surrounding tribes followed his example.  He named his manor ______, after the nine who had originally escaped from the evil of Severio.  His crest was split in half, the upper field blue, the lower purple.  Nine stars were scattered across the blue, reminding all of how civilization was brought to the north.  A lion reared on its hind paws in the purple: both Alastair's personal crest, and a sign to all to fight for justice with the strength of a lion.