Chapter 1: As a knight, it is your duty to follow the queen's orders. Refusal to do so equals death. But what if the order is evil? What will you do?
Absolutely nothing because her torture was worse than death.
Queen Maldena was on her throne with her feet up on a pillow, which was sitting upon someone's back. She sighed heavily, clearly in distress.
"This pillow is too hard!"
Her head servant, Calmon, ran up to her. "What can we do to make it better your majesty?"
She purses her lips and sighs. "Well. . .did you know that baby's feet are really soft?"
Calmon raises an eyebrow. "No, your majesty."
She sighs again. "Well this pillow is way too hard, so could you go get me all the baby's feet in the kingdom and bring it to me? I need them for my pillows. Call Sir Joseph."
Calmon bows his head slowly and signals me.
Although I heard the entire exchange, I pretend I wasn't eavesdropping.
"Your majesty," I say as I bow before her.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see her wiggle her toes. "Get me some baby's feet."
I lift up my head. "Pardon, your grace?"
She rolls her eyes. "Come on, Joey, use your head! I want you to go and have the people cut the feet off the baby's so I can use them for my pillow!"
I gulp. She's never asked this of me before. Honestly, she's only been on the throne for a few weeks so she hasn't had the opportunity to ask something this stupid.
"Forgive me your grace, but we can not d-"
"Who is the queen here, Sir Joseph," she asks, now sitting up in her seat.
I gulp again. "You, your-"
"That's right! ME! ONLY. ME. So if I tell you to get me some freaking baby's feet, what will you do?"
I try to ignore the sweat trickling down my forehead. "I will. . .obey."
She sits back in her thrown. "Awww that's a good knight. Right, Calmon?"
He nods while he looks me in the eye, his eyes full of fear.
"Now go make a decree for some baby's feet! Ooooo I'm so excited!" She kicks up her feet on her pillow, hurting the servant under it.
I bow my head and leave the throne hall contemplating what to do next.
I enter the knights yard, full of young men training under the tutelage of the older knights. As I walk towards the knights hall, my father, the head knight, intercepts me.
"Joseph. I hear the queen has called you for an order. What was it?"
Some nearby knights listen in. I avoid the eyes of my father.
"Sir, the queen wants me to lead a squadron of knights to collect. . . something."
His eyebrows furrow and he puts his hands on his hips. "Well, spit it out, boy. What is it?"
I gulp and make eye contact with a fellow knight. "Baby's feet, sir."
My father squints. "I'm not following. Baby's feet?"
Calmon enters the knights' hall. "Sir James!" He bows slightly before him. "I need to speak with you about the queen's decree.
" In his hand is a scroll which I assume contains the written decree. I stare at it with both fear and contempt.
My father eyes me once more and then heads into the knights' hall with Calmon.
I let out a breath of stress while I rub in between my nose. My apprentice, Sir Lewis, approaches me.
"Sir! What's going on?"
I walk past him into the Hall. "A lot, Lewis."
He follows behind me. "Anything I can do to help?"
I stop in my tracks. Maybe I don't have to carry out this order. Maybe. . .
I turn to face him. "Yes, actually. We're going to stop a law from being carried out."
As soon as I say this, my father and Calmon walk out of the main room.
"What's going on, sir?"
My father, with a serious look in his eyes, pulls me close. "Son. We have to carry this out."
My eyes widen. "Sir-"
"There's more at stake than you know. If we don't carry out this order, the queen may decide to declare war on the Kremlins. That would destroy our nation. It's a necessary sacrifice."
I gulp. "Father, I-"
He gives me a stern look and walks away with Calmon, holding the scroll that would wreak havoc on our kingdom.
"Sir Joseph. . ."
I turn to Lewis. "You're going to see why being a knight takes sacrifice."