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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (04/08/10)

TITLE: The Broken Pen
By Caitlyn Meissner


Laying down my quill pen, I picked up the sheet of paper and studied what I’d written.

Dear Uncle Roderick,

Greetings! I know you’ll be surprised to hear from me, uncle, and no wonder, since the relationship between our two families has never been cordial. But since my late father’s death I have often wished to meet with you, hoping to end all our fights and quarrels. I am willing to relinquish my claim to the East Field, if by doing so we can have peace. In hope I remain,

Edmond Culloden

Pleased, I folded the paper, removed a candle from the stand behind me, and dripped some molten wax onto the edge of the page. Before it could harden I pressed it flat with my signet ring and replaced the candle in its socket.

“Giles!” I called.

A ruddy faced boy poked his head through the tent flap.


“Go deliver this letter to my uncle. You’ll know where to find him.”

“Yes, sir.”

“And Giles….”


“You’d better take this with you,” I said, pulling one of my white tunics off the bed and offering it to him.

“Yes, sir,” Giles said, snatching the tunic and bowing as he backed his way out of the tent.

To the boy’s misfortune, he backed straight into my brother’s stomach, hard.

“Clumsy oaf,” Rolland said, cuffing him. “Get out of my sight.”

Giles disappeared in a flurry of white tunic, and Rolland took the seat beside me, his brow furrowed with bad temper.

“Writing again, at a time like this?” he asked. “Surely you have more important things to think about.”

“I happen to think my writing is important.”

“For a scribe maybe, but you are a knight. Such work is beneath you.”

“How so? Every man should know his letters so he can conduct his own business. There is no shame in that.”

“But you are wasting your life. The pen is not the weapon you need. A knight’s only weapon is his sword.

“I wear my sword with honor,” I declared, patting it for emphasis. “I’m no coward, nor am I afraid to fight. But still, I believe I own another weapon stronger than any sword.”

“And that is….”

“This pen,” I said, picking up the quill and handing it to him.

“This?” Rolland laughed, snapping my pen in half with one quick flick of his wrists. “Let’s see you do the same with my sword,” he said, letting the pieces fall to the ground.

Before I could reply a trumpet call shattered the stillness, ringing clear and bright in the morning air.

“A horn!” Rolland cried, jumping up. “Something has happened.” He hastened to the door, and I, stopping only to grab a second white tunic, followed him out of the tent.

The sunlight blinded me for a moment, and I raised a hand to shade my eyes as I looked around. The tents surrounding mine quivered in the breeze while our soldiers, a small sea of men, stood ready in their armor, awaiting the command to attack.

Only the East Field, that contested ground, separated us from my uncle’s warriors who were prepared to fight in order to defend his claim to the land.

As I watched, a small party of horsemen broke away from his camp and rode toward us.

“Look!” I cried, clutching at Rolland’s sleeve, “they bear a white flag. Our uncle wishes to parley with us.”

“Parley?” Rolland scoffed. “Our uncle is too proud to parley. This must be a trap.”

“No,” I said, tugging him forward. “Our uncle desires peace. Come! We will meet him halfway.”

Still skeptical, Rolland followed me as I raced across the field, waving the white tunic over my head.

Halfway across the field the horsemen halted, and an old man swung himself down from his horse’s back and rushed towards us, holding my white tunic.

“Uncle Roderick, it’s so good to see you again!” I cried, greeting him with a bear hug, joy covering both our faces.

Uncle offered his hand to Rolland, but my brother refused to take it. Scowling, Rolland said, “What’s going on? Why are you here?”

“I received your letter,” Uncle Roderick said, looking serious, “and you were right, Edmond. I am ready to stop quarreling about the field. It isn’t important anymore. All I want is for us to be reconciled.”

“Yes, let us have peace,” I said, remembering the broken pen. It had done its work well.

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This article has been read 639 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sandra Carter04/15/10
This was good reading.
Charlotte Maccallum04/15/10
I enjoyed reading this piece. Well done
AnneRene' Capp04/15/10
Great story, well written and very entertaining.
This is the 3rd article where I have learned a new word and am pleasantly amused :)
And lastly...excellent job with the topic!
Donna Wolther04/15/10
Very good story.
Amanda Brogan04/15/10
Wonderfully written! It really takes the reader back to the era of the knights. The topic is very well demonstrated in the story as well. I think this one has a good chance of winning! :)
Karen Macor04/15/10
Enjoyed this very much.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/17/10
Very nicely written. How wonderful to be able to make peace.
Ruth Stromquist04/19/10
Great description. Bear agrees with the above comments.
Jan Ackerson 04/19/10
Well done!
Jackie Wilson04/19/10
Great story and well told. Very, very good!
Loren T. Lowery04/20/10
This flows beautifully with description and dialogue both of which help to carry the story line and engage the reader to the end. Keep this up and I wouldn't expect to see you in the beginner's level for long.
Amber S. 04/20/10
Realized I never left an actual comment on this! D=

Like I said before, I like it. -nod- Well writ and well thought.

I'll try to get a full critique written and sent soon. ;)
Beth LaBuff 04/20/10
Yay! I hope Rolland learned a thing or two. You've written a wonderful compelling story. I enjoyed this!
Amanda Brogan04/22/10
Yay, Caity!!! :D I told you you would win! ;)
Beth LaBuff 04/22/10
Hey, super congrats on 1st place... (I can't believe this is your first entry, Wow!)