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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: White (10/29/09)

TITLE: Messenger in White
By Marc Smith


Lokken stooped down behind a clump of berry bushes directly in front of him, removed an arrow from the leather quiver laced to the back of his tunic, and silently knocked it onto his longbow.

“Calm down, Lokken, just like a thousand times before,” he reassured himself drawing an extended, yet inaudible, breath.

Silent tracking was Lokken’s most prolific skill, which made him one of the most renowned hunters in the kingdom. His ability to overtake even the most suspecting of targets without so much as a whisper was unprecedented, and unmatched.

Lokken smoothly rose from his crouched position and carefully raised his bow. This animal was unlike any he had ever encountered; a magnificent white stag with a majestic antler rack and broad shoulders. From his vantage point it appeared to be almost a head taller than himself, and he was nearly a head taller than any man in his village.

Just before releasing the string, Lokken noticed the deer peer back at him then dart to his right allowing the incoming projectile to pass safely by. Lokken quickly and quietly crawled to a closer location, knocked a second arrow, and repeated his attempt. The outcome was identical, with the stag glancing back at him then scurrying safely away. Confused at his misfortune, Lokken readied yet another arrow and took aim. This time he locked eyes with the hart, and instantly he knew this was no ordinary creature.

Lokken slung his bow over his shoulder and hesitantly made his way to his former prey. As he approached, he spotted a woven basket, covered by a white sheet, lying on the ground at the stag’s feet. Removing the sheet revealed a small baby boy as the words to an ancient prophecy echoed in Lokken’s ears “…and the messenger in white shall bring to pass the time of the True King, who will bear his mark of royalty upon his right hand…”. Lokken stooped down to inspect the child, witnessing a birthmark in the form of a crown on the back of his right hand. Suddenly the white stag disappeared into the trees as Lokken heard a disturbance from directly behind him. He instinctively wheeled himself around and unsheathed his sword. His broad blade beamed with a radiant white light as more of the prophesy filled his mind “…and he who discovers the True King shall be his guardian for all his days…”.

That brief distraction allowed a dark creature to leap from his hiding place and shove Lokken backwards into a tree, knocking the wind out of him. He recovered just in time to evade the thrust of an ominous blade as he spun, slicing his sword through the midsection of his assailant. The prodigious pig-like creature squealed in pain as his severed body fell in a lifeless heap to the ground. Lokken quickly identified his attacker as a fabled Onyx Warrior. He marveled at the ease of his accomplishment in defeating the Orc, but his elation was tempered by the distant grunts and growls of numerous warriors heading his way.

Lokken knew he needed to get to safety, and he knew exactly where he needed to go. He snatched up the basket with as much care as possible and ran as fast as his legs would carry him. He had only heard myths and legends of the Ivory Citadel, but they all pertained to the coming of the True King. He didn’t know the exact location of the castle but he knew it was close and his feet were being mysteriously drawn to it. The noises behind him grew closer and more intense. Lokken realized he was running out of time, and energy.

Before he knew it, Lokken had broken free of the forest into a wide opening where he froze in his tracks. There, standing before him, was the most impressive structure he had ever beheld. Its three pointed towers soared into the heavens with pure white walls gleaming gloriously in the afternoon sun, causing him to momentarily shield his eyes. In his wildest dreams Lokken could have never imagined such a place.

His state of awe was cut short by a faint clicking in the distance, followed by the rattling of chains as the enormous front gate lowered, beckoning him to enter. Lokken sheathed his sword, cradled the child in his arms, and strode confidently into the great white castle, knowing that this was only the beginning of a life long journey.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 11/09/09
Very cool story. I wanted more:)
Dolores Stohler11/12/09
Congratulations! A well deserved win. I hope this is the beginning of a book because it's a fabulous story that many more would enjoy.
Beth LaBuff 11/12/09
What a story! (Would love to see the movie!) Great writing! Congrats on your level placing and Editor's Choice!
Patricia Turner11/12/09
I hope this is chapter one - I want to read the book too! Great writing! Congratulations on your win and your EC!