Greymer shifted in his mail, rolling his shoulders as he tried to remove the kink in his back. His armor was light, at least lighter than the full plates the royal guards were forced to don for formal ceremonies. Though it was still beginning to itch under his back even though he had only taken his position a few minutes ago.
The princess' door had closed shortly after he arrived as she had been escorted to her chambers by her father. The king had not acknowledged Greymer's existence as he was standing guard at the door and had left without so much as a nod, not that it was uncommon. Guarding the door to princess' chambers was a very simple and easy assignment for a royal guard. It meant becoming a night owl since he would always watch it at night but it also meant that you rarely had to don the heavy full plate of the guards or walk as much as you would need to if you were guarding the king.
The job also had other perks to it, such as being able to glimpse the princess as she retired and when she woke. She was a stunning beauty, young and vibrant but she never carried herself as many believed she ought. Her eyes were always downcast and she did not carry the same air of confidence royalty ought to. Greymer didn't mind at all, for this same behavior made his solo job easier as she never asked him to fetch things or run errands as some of the other guards were forced to by the queen.
Greymer shifted his arms slightly and then let his large white wings unfurl behind him before tightening them up as well. He wished for a chance to truly stretch his wings in the sky but it was a rare chance. His wings pulled in tight before he fanned them out to almost their full width blocking the door from sight behind his white feathers. His wings, a trait of his Valkyrie race, were something he was profoundly proud of. Of course nearly all of the royal guards were Valkyries but they all had a special sense of pride in their wings, a trait no other race possess.
Greymer folded his wings back in when he felt himself fully stretched. In truth the worst part of the assignment was that there was little you were permitted to do. He had to stand guard, never let his eyes falter or his nerves wane, and yet he had nothing to occupy his time. Other guards had the luxury of being with others so they could at least talk and converse to fill the void of time but Greymer was alone in his duty and the only sounds he heard came from down the long corridors as the other guards made rounds and conversed.
He fiddled with the pommel of his sword with his fingers as he swayed on his feet. He did enjoy the peace and quiet as he stood, using his wings to press himself from the wall. It was peaceful and serene and gave one time to reflect on anything they wanted.
The peace was broken however when a loud yell sounded from the hall. Greymer shot up; his hand gripped the hilt of his sword. The next minute was filled with more yells and the then the crashing of metal. Greymer took a step forward when he heard a distinct wooden creak. He turned around to see the young princess, her hair was a bit disheveled and her face still waking from her sleep.
"Guard, what's happening?" She asked, rubbing her eyes.
Greymer wasn't sure but he didn't like what he heard so far. "I'm not sure." He said to the teenage girl. "Please remain in your chambers for now." He said sternly. She nodded and he heard her latch the door after she closed it. Good girl. He nodded.
He took a few more steps down the hall and saw three other royal guards running down the right path, their shields out and swords drawn. "What's happening?" he demanded from them.
The last of the group, a young Valkyrie named Famer stopped briefly. "Someone has made it in the keep! Protect the princess' door!" he commanded and followed his companions around the corner.
Greymer took a few steps back. He could hear the sounds of fighting. Yelling, steel striking steel, and some other animal like squeals. The yelling continued and the steel clashed fiercely but then he heard a loud curse. "Greymer!" Someone called.
Greymer stepped forward, his right hand on his sword, preparing to join the fight when he realized the call was not a plea for help but a warning. An intruder circled the corner and glared at Greymer.
Whatever it was, it wasn't human, or Valkyrie or anything Greymer knew of. It was covered in a black shroud with a hood for its face. It landed from its jump on all fours like a cat, hugging low to the ground. He could see from the sleeves that it had long ivory claws in place of its fingers that scratched the floor. It's back arched slightly and he could see from the edges of the shroud that it had jet black fur, or maybe feathers jutting from the corners not covered by the fabric which covered most of its body. Under the hood he could see the faint glow of green eyes and the hooked angle of some kind of beak or mandible. Whatever it was, it didn't seem to have any kind intentions as it stared down the winged man.
In an instant the monster leaped like a frog into the air and bounced off the right wall trying to pass Greymer. He tried to follow the beast and drew his sword, swinging it in one fluid motion. The creature was faster than he thought however and his sword's tip grazed the stone wall. He turned to follow the beast and saw it was ignoring him and going for the door leading to the princess' room. In one move the beast jumped again and smashed the iron and oak door to splinters.
He heard the princess' scream the moment the door exploded and Greymer leaped after them, making it to the door in two long strides. The room was dark but had a single candle by the princess' bedside to light it. Greymer saw the creature on the bed a knife now in his hand as he retrieved it from the bed where it had been thrust. Greymer's heart fell until he saw the demon looked to the side of the bed. There, amid the tumbled blankets was the princess pulling away in fear from her would be assassin. The creature made another move, turning to leap on her. Greymer moved first.
He spread his wings and gave a single heavy flap as he leaped propelling himself forward as the creature leaped on the princess. He fanned his wing to full width, catching the monster with a bat of his wing and flinging it across the room. The monster tumbled and rolled after it hit the wall, returning to its feet instantly. Greymer faced it down and dropped into a low stance. He never did carry his shield with him on duty, it always just seemed to get in the way, but the lack of his shield would not change the outcome of their encounter, it made him less encumbered something he would need against the fast opponent. "My lady, are you hurt?" He asked.
"No. I-I'm unharmed." She stammered out.
Greymer nodded. "Please, stay behind me my lady." He gripped his sword with both hands and fanned his wings out again before pulling them back. The imp bounced a little in place. Here it comes. The monster leaped to the right then left in a zig zag so fast it was hard to track, but Greymer kept pace seeing every move. The imp finally lunged at Greymer taking two long strides and leaping at the man from below. The extra step threw him off and Greymer barley managed to drop his sword enough to catch the blade. The knife struck the cross guard of his sword, a set of vibrant angel wings and broke off part of the trim, but the damage saved the blade from finding Greymer's heart.
Greymer swung his sword upward trying to cleave the little demon but the beast jumped over the sword swing and brought the blade down on Greymer's neck.
Greymer made the choice and pulled his wing in tightly around them while bending down. The knife grazed his scalp and he felt the sting of the edge but his powerful wing caught the smaller creature full in the back throwing him to the ground.
The beast started up but Greymer rose with the pommel of his sword cracking the creature's teeth, beak or whatever it had as he bashed it up. The monster was stunned and greyer took the chance to grab the beast by its face, his superior strength letting him force the best to the ground head first. He held the little imp down as it squirmed and drove his blade downward the tip sinking halfway through. The monster kept writhing so he twisted the sword and tore it out before stabbing it again. This time the monster fell still and silent.
Greymer rose from his kill and gave it a nudge. It still didn't move. He turned around and saw the princess was kneeling some distance behind him, her gown and hair a tussled mess. "It's over my lady. Please come with me. I'll take you to the king." He said offering her his hand after wiping the blood of blade on it on his robes.
The princess quickly roused herself and grabbed his hand. The man was mindful of his wings as he led her to the door, stepping beyond the body. The hall was quiet again and that could be good or bad. His sword still drawn and his left hand holding onto the princess' he stepped into the hall carefully, ready to deflect any other attacks.
Relief washed over him as two Valkyries came around the corner in full plate with shields and swords drawn. Blood smeared their armor and one of them was missing his helmet. "Greymer. My lady." one said with a bow. "Are you alright?"
"I am fine. There was an attacker but he killed it." She said quietly. "Please, what is happening?"
"There was an attack, we have dispatched the last of them and were coming to aid with the one that got past. Please let us escort you to your father."
"Yes, let us all go." She said, releasing Greymer's hand. He actually felt a little sad that she release him but he knew his place and followed her with the other two guards at the lead.
. . .
Greymer had sat in while the full report was given to the king and the captain of the guard. The attack had been quick and swift, a team of assassins had struck out and slew two guards before reaching the keep in secret. The royal guards had noticed the attack and roused a good defense. One of their own was lost in the struggle with the creatures, which no one could identify yet.
The king heard it all and was happy to hear that his daughter was not harmed. The king dismissed everyone and his daughter was sent with the queen for the night until her chambers could be cleaned and repaired. As the groups were being sent out the king however order Greymer to stay. He complied, unsure of what to expect.
When all but the king, Greymer, the captain of the guard, and two other royal guards remained, the king spoke again.
"I understand you are the one who protected my daughter, is that correct?" The older man asked with a strong and powerful air about him.
"Yes my lord." Greymer replied.
"What is your name?" He asked
"Greymer Harrowind, son of Balter."
"A fine name. I see your sword was damaged."
"yes my lord. By the assassin's blade."
"I believe we should have that repaired immediately, do you agree?" The king asked.
Greymer hesitated and kept his eyes down as he answered. "With all due respect my lord, I wish to keep the sword as it is."
The king shifted in his seat. "And why is that?"
Greymer still did not look up. "I owe my life to the chink of the cross guard. I feel it will be good to have a reminder of how close I came to failing myself and failing the princess. If I may. It is still a fine sword and will serve me well."
The king nodded for a second before chuckling. "You are indeed a fine man. Perhaps you should have been a philosopher. Very well, you may keep your sword. For now I want you to join the guards at the Queens chambers. You will serve the remainder of the night there."
"Of course my lord." He said with a bow and left.
. . .
After a long day, Greymer took his place outside the princess' new door along with the other guard assigned to her. The princess had not arrived but they were to wait for her and watch over the door. The other guard did not seem used to staying up into the night as he was, so Greymer let him nod off under his wings while Greymer kept watch. When the princess came around the corner, he nudged the new guy with his own wing and roused him so he could stand ready.
The princess walked alone, her guard turning away and leaving down the hall. She walked to the door but stopped suddenly turning to Greymer. "You are Greymer Harrowind, the guard from last night?" She asked.
"I am my lady." He said respectfully, though a bit surprised as the girl never spoke to him prior to the previous night.
"My father has told me I will require a guard now for not just when I sleep but all through the day. He said I am to choose any of the Valkyrie guards. I had hoped you would accept the offer. It is however up to you." She said while looking down.
Greymer knew better. She could order him to be her guard and he could not say anything against it, but then that wasn't how she was.
Greymer smiled brightly. "Of course I accept."
She nodded and gave the slightest of bow. "Thank you. We will have to discuss your new duties tomorrow. Until then, have a pleasant evening." She retired to the room after that closing the heavy iron doors.
"Lucky bastard." He heard the other man mutter.
So yeah. Not sure what else to say. I wrote it. review please. Tell me what you think.