Revelyn: 1st Chronicles - When the last arrow falls

BOOK: Revelyn: 1st Chronicles - When the last arrow falls
10.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub






The First Chronicles of Revelyn



When the last arrow falls




Chris Ward














Dedicated to the great


J.R.R. Tolkien


‘He opened up worlds and moved me first, long ago…’



The First Chronicles of Revelyn

‘When the last arrow falls’


Copyright © 2012 by Chris Ward.

ISBN 978-0-9874471-1 -1


All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,

electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information

and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.





Cover Image

By Kind Permission


Graphic design, layout and Map

Chris Ward


Map of Revelyn




Bear witness:

This map has been copied by quill pen from the third copy of an earlier map. It was prepared by myself in the time of King Richardo, under his express order, and being in the tenth summer of his reign. All attempts have been made to accurately represent the land, but some small variations and errors have perhaps been made due to the poor quality of the original. Recent features have been added in accordance with law.


Alfini {A}: of the
Official Mapmaker
to the Royal House of Hendon.

Note: By order of the Captain of the Night Guard, Commander of the King’s army I have included renditions of the same Map in two larger segments for ease of scrutiny and other requirements. No details have been changed in compliance with this order.  {A}


Table of Contents


Maps of Revelyn

Chapter 1.

Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

Chapter 4.

Chapter 5.

Chapter 6.

Chapter 7.

Chapter 8.

Chapter 9.

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

About the Author






When the last arrow falls


Chapter 1.


He was running fast, but not as fast has he had been. He was tall and lithe, wiry almost, but with a breadth to his shoulders that spoke of great strength. As he ran he would pause every few minutes now to catch his breath and to listen, turning his head back and forward, straining to hear every sound. He knew his enemies were gaining on him; they were closer than the day before when the deadly pursuit had begun, at times now even in earshot. He thought there were two, possibly three, but it was not the number which scared him, it was who they were. What they were.

They were

He had glimpsed them once early the previous day just before he plunged into the forest in a desperate attempt to escape.  It was rumoured that a
was not quite human, bred for pursuit, able to track, and run all day, and then all of the next. Their training from early childhood, if childhood was what they had, removed all remorse or compassion and in their place was a space full of nothing but an empty coldness and a driven-ness which was legendary.  Stories abounded throughout all of Revelyn of their cruelty and of their success. They never failed. Once they were given a quarry they would run it down. They would not stop until they had destroyed it.
were part of the king’s chosen elite guard, and the king of Revelyn’s Lowlanders was a dark and evil man.

Taller than an average man by half an arm’s length,
had limbs which were completely fluid in motion, efficient and fast; so fast that when using a sword there was no contest. They could strike five times where a swordsman who had trained all his life to master his weapon could only manage a single thrust. They traveled with few weapons, a small
shield covered in the thinnest
a magical metal which the royal alchemists had discovered in times past. It was costly beyond the reach of all but the wealthiest kings or merchants. They carried one sword, double sided, a cross between a rapier and a full war sword. They had need of nothing else. It was their speed and complete lack of fear which made them invincible.

They would catch him. The man knew this surely; it would be before nightfall, and the sun now was already well past its zenith.

The man ran well, he too was surefooted and nimble despite his height. He had kept ahead of his pursuers by sheer desperate willpower and several clever moves which had slowed them, throwing them into confusion and causing an irritation and anger. The forest was dense, of oak and elm, large trees some hundreds of years old; in places the thick oak branches brushed the ground. He had climbed onto one and by careful work had traveled some considerable distance from tree to tree before returning to the ground again. This had gained him some time just before nightfall the previous day. In the dimming dusk-light his trackers had trouble picking up his tracks. On the ground they had no trouble. For
, chasing a running man through a damp forest was like following a line on the ground. However it took them a long time, more than three span, to circle and backtrack before they picked up his path and once more with a cry of vicious triumph, took up the chase.

The man had spent the night high up in a huge oak. It had been moonless and pitch dark, and even a
could not continue without light.

He had secured himself to the trunk with his leather belt, and straddling a large branch slept fitfully, cold and scared that he would sleep too long and be trapped like a possum trying to escape a sabrecat.
could climb better and faster than any man.

He was tiring quickly now, his eyes glazing over from fatigue, and the wound on his right thigh where a sword had cut him two days before, was slowing him all the time. It was not a deep wound, he’d had worse, but it would not stop bleeding, and the muscle was tightening and cramping and the pain would shoot up his body and down to his toes. Every now and then he had to stop and stretch to ease the cramp, losing more time.

He paused by a brook and took a drink. It was cold and refreshing, the water clear and life giving. He was careful not to drink too much or his stomach would cramp, and he knew if that happened, it would be the end of him. He stretched his wounded leg, easing the muscles back to life, and wiping the blood away with his loose tunic. It was then he heard them howl. Howling was a
way of letting their quarry know that they were almost upon them, that the end was near. The sudden howl of a real wolf in a deep forest will cause the bravest man to flinch. A
howl is far more malevolent, far more spine-chilling.

howl means only one thing; that life is measured in heartbeats.

The man had some knowledge of the forest. He knew he was almost at its edge now, the northern boundary where the impossible thickness of the trees gave way to meadow and grasslands. He stood no chance amongst the trees. To die, he wanted at least to see his end, not be pounced upon from behind, or above or…or however a
might decide to come upon him.

With another howl behind him he ran on, his heart pumping and lungs gasping, around an oak, over a stream, across rocks and down the gentle slope toward the bottom of the valley. He could hear something moving fast off to his right side, and slightly behind, but the trees were thicker there, the going more difficult and so the sound faded a little. He was following the fastest path, not trying now to hide his tracks or use any other ploy. He was desperate to make the open ground. It was his only chance, if such a thing as chance were to smile upon him.

And suddenly he broke free. The forest ended abruptly in a clearing. He paused briefly, dragging air into his burning lungs and planning his last desperate move. The land fell away for a stone’s throw then rose again, clear meadowland for several hundred paces to a lightly treed hill which rose high above him to his left. To his right the forest seemed to close in once more, but at least he had clear space before him. The sounds behind him were very close. His pursuers were confident now; they could hear him, no longer quiet and calculating, but running like a frightened rabbit, afraid and with no hope. This was their end game and they were enjoying it. A
lives for such a moment; the kill.

BOOK: Revelyn: 1st Chronicles - When the last arrow falls
10.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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