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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write something in the YOUNG ADULT or TEEN genre (06/07/07)

TITLE: The Unusual Squire
By Shari Armstrong


Just who does he think he is? She stormed into her room, the hem of her skirt swishing around her ankles. Her father could be so …so irrational. She collapsed into her bed, staring at the canopy above her. She was determined to prove herself to them. To all of them. Just because she was a girl, didn’t mean she couldn’t contribute to the kingdom.

The next morning arrived to fanfare. Trumpets blared outside her window, as the knights her father gathered rode off to meet the enemy. She groaned, rolled over, covering her head with her pillow, trying to block out the noise. It only reminded her that she had to remain behind.

She threw the pillow toward the window, hitting her writing table. A bottle of ink spilt, staining her lessons. She hated those lessons anyway. It was so boring stuck here learning about the world, when she’d rather be out experiencing it. “That’s it. I’m going to join them.”

She opened her door, looking down the hallway, and not seeing anyone, she made her way to her older brother’s chamber. She slipped into his room and found his chest of riding clothes. She pulled out some pants that looked like they would fit, a muslin shirt, a jerkin of suede, a cloak and some boots. Everything fit, except the boots. “No matter, I have my own riding boots.” She pulled her hair back in a low ponytail, pulled her hood up and retrieved her boots. She slipped her dagger into her boot.

Sneaking out of the castle was easier than she thought it would be. She just walked with her head up and a confident stride, and nobody even looked at her twice. The trail that the knights took was easy to follow. Since she was traveling light, she caught up to them quickly, falling in step with the other squires near the back of the party.

As the men were gathered from many different villages in the area, nobody would think it strange that they didn’t recognize one more squire. Each would assume “he” came with another, and hopefully not notice that she didn’t belong with any one knight.

The party stopped moving forward and loud voices argued. She made her way to the front, so she could hear better.

”We can’t cross here! They will be expecting us. We need to send a scout down river to see if there is a better place to cross.”

”Send one of the squires,” another said. “He can move quickly, and unnoticed. You. Are you familiar with these woods?”

It took a second to realize he was talking to her.

“Yes,” she paused, took a breath and tried to deepen her voice. “Yes, I grew up near here.” That was at least true. She’d only ridden with a party of guards, but she was somewhat familiar with the wood surrounding the castle.
“Good... good. Go down river a ways, looking for a narrow crossing. Keep a sharp eye out for enemy scouts. Come back before dark. We will make camp back that way.” He pointed along the path.

She gave a slight bow, “Yes, sir.” She took another deep breath and began walking along the riverbank. She soon lost sight of the others, and stated to lose her nerve. But, with a quick prayer, she moved on to find her destiny…. and hopefully no enemy scouts.

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This article has been read 1073 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Leigh MacKelvey06/15/07
Very well written and promises an exciting read. Keep on with the story!
Catrina Bradley 06/15/07
Love the beginning - drew me right in, but then I love this "genre" :) And a great adventure followed. A beginning to what promises to be a captivating book for teens! :)
Marilyn Schnepp 06/16/07
Great lead in! But this reader was disappointed that the story didn't have a finish. We'll never know what happened - and to a "teen", I think that would be a disaster. But what do I know - I'm an adult?) Nice job.
Dee Yoder 06/18/07
I was drawn into your story right away. This is an adventure that I think teens would love!
Jan Ackerson 06/19/07
Teen girls will love this--if you expand it. Great images, and very evocative writing.
Joanne Sher 06/19/07
This is a GREAT start - considering starting with this for Page-Turner? ;) Definitely kept my interest. Great characterization (especially for a 30-minute write LOL)
Kristen Hester06/20/07
Oh, I want to hear the rest. It was so well written. I think any teen girl would want to read this story of an independent princess!
Brenda Welc06/20/07
Very nice writing. i was feeling her frustration in the beginning. Great story.
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/20/07
This is a great beginning to what would make a wonderful novel. I so much wanted to follow her on her adventure. Excellent writing here.
Sara Harricharan 06/20/07
This is a first chapter right? There's more? There has to be! You cannot leave me hanging so! Grrr! lol. This is great. I wish there were a few more descriptions about the MC and what made her want to go with the Knights other than just wanting to experience the world. It was pretty good, reminds me of Tamora Pierce. Good job.