"When I stepped over the warm, sun soaked threshold I never expected to see..."
But there you see, not one of the entries was like another! You surpassed yourselves in originality. That being said, I am here to show you the two winners--I chose these two based on their merits and my own taste. Thus I give to you:
"All in a Morning's Duel"
By Leanna Ozee
When I stepped over the warm, sun soaked threshold I never expected to see the Earl of Doncaster. He was seated at Sir Godfrey’s table, with his feet insolently propped upon the tabletop, while he twirled in his fingers, a knife.
My hand went to the hilt of my broadsword. “Forsooth! When Sir Godfrey asked me to join him for a day’s hunt, little did I think to find thee here!”
The Earl of Doncaster smiled beneath his mustache. “In truth, I did not expect to be so fortunate as to see thee, Robin of Locksley."
Sitting upon the table was an assortment of fruits. The Earl plunged his knife into a pomegranate and watched as the red juice trickled from the fruit and stained the blade of his knife. His glance was full of loathing. “Thou knowest well that I have sought Prince John’s reward for thee.” He was poised as a cat ready to pounce, and I waited, as tense as he.
Suddenly, he sprang from where he was seated. I was ready and the steel of my blade met his in a fierce clash.
“Pray thee, stop!” Before we could make a proper duel of it, our host had leapt betwixt us. “Is there need to make such a display upon my very hearth?”
The Earl and I took a step back from one another. “Thou art right, Sir Godfrey. Let us no longer insult our host by this unseemly behavior in his home.” I waved my blade toward the open door. “Shall we move to a more suitable place?” The Earl bowed his head in prideful consent. I then proceeded through the door ahead of him.
“Robin!” At the cry, I instinctively dropped to the ground and rolled away. I sprang to my feet again and turned to see the Earl tugging at his sword, which was imbedded in a wooden pillar not inches from where I had been standing.
I waited for him to dislodge it. “Art thou such a coward, Hewitt of Doncaster, that thou wouldst stab a man in the back?”
With a vicious pull, he at last freed the blade of his sword. Then the sound of steel upon steel filled the old courtyard of Sir Godfrey’s family estate, as the Earl and I fought up and down upon its crumbling flagstones.
I bounded atop a mound of stones, the ruins of some aged structure, and fended off the blows of my opponent.
“Thou art mine, Robin!” The Earl vigorously swung his sword at my legs.
I leapt so that his blade harmlessly passed beneath my feet. With a laugh, I sprang down from my perch, giving his head a crack with the flat of my sword.
The Earl sprawled to the ground and I stood, spinning my sword in one hand. He shook his head, and staggered to his feet. “Thou wilt die for that-Robin Hood!”
An impudent smile and the blade of my sword were all that answered his challenge.
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I loved this because Leanna told enough of a story without telling it all. The ending is deliciously open for imagination, and her action and dialog was done very well. :) The second piece was written by our own Bookworm, and told an entirely different story. It caught my fancy somehow. I liked how sunsoaked the whole piece felt, in keeping with that first sentence. :)
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"The End of the Fairytale"
By BookwormWhen I stepped over the warm, sunsoaked threshold I never expected to see my fate hanging in the balance. Looking past the piles of dirt that accumulated in the past weeks, I see my mother. Her brow is slightly arched and I know I’m done for. What was I thinking, leaving this mess behind me? She had gone into town for a month while I was here keeping the coop. What a great job I’ve done. I try a small smile hoping that her emotions of motherly love will soften her. Obviously not. She’s holding a broom in her hand and I’m wondering if that will be the device to kick me out the door.
“Well, you have proven just what I said.” My mother tips the broom in her hand sardonically. “But he wouldn’t listen; he thinks you are the perfect bride to be!” Her laugh sends chills down my back. I’m not really listening, just wondering what in the world has gotten in to her. I know we aren’t necessarily the “best of friends” but usually we keep out of each other’s affairs. Suddenly I notice Baldwin step from behind a canvas to the right of my mother. My face flushes uncontrollably. Why does our business always have to be so public?
“Sleeping beauty, Rapunzel, Belle, Cinderella…” Mother’s mouth twisted as she called me the last fairy tell name.
“Mother!” It was all I could say for a plea. Why bring up my stories now, in front of him? I’m a celebrated novelist in our small neck of the wood, but to bring up my dreams now? I look over at the glistening book case and it’s the first time I wanted to tear those precious books apart! I peal my eyes away and look at the man now just paces before me.
“You are to be my wife.” Baldwin said this with a lot more confidence than he portrayed. “As is the custom.” Yes, that lovely custom where a man comes and tells, not asks, a girl to be his wife. And people wonder why I write what I write. “I’ve read your stories and they are romantic, intriguing, and farfetched but still... good.”
Out of nowhere, all of the sudden, I feel bold. Inexplicably so. “No, I won’t.” Once I’ve said it I’m sure this is the day I just might die of fright.
A smile tugged at his lips and he looks at me with a serene, loving look. “I was hoping you’d say that.” Now I’m just dumbfounded. “Would you do me the honor?” Now even my mother looks like she is about to keel over. His hand is outstretched and something within me compels me to take it. Honestly I always did love him, but I just wasn’t going to give in, but now that he actually asked…
“Truly?” Then I fumble out, “Yes.”
With one fleeting look at the bookcase I knew this was my fairytale ending.
Well done, Leanna and Bookworm! Thank you for entertaining us so well. :)