Arthur
N.C. Gossner
(10 reviews)
“I know this is a startling discovery for you, and I wish I were with you now to help you bear this, ... Show More
Genres:
Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult
Tags:
Adventure, Young Adult, Magic, Fantasy, Arthur, Legends, Stories, Sorcery, King, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, War, Middle Ages,

Prologue

      The thud of an arrow in the soft dirt beside her pulled the young woman into reality again. She blinked twice and shook the sleep and exhaustion from her mind. Pulling her arms tighter around the precious bundle that crossed her chest, she ran faster now, adrenalin pumping in her veins. The line of trees was only a few yards ahead of her. She could reach it. She would. She had to.

     She allowed herself one quick glance at the small babe. A smile flashed briefly at the glimpse of a tiny fist clutching the edge of the blanket.

     The young woman’s gaze returned to the edge of the forest, so near now, and she set one foot in front of the other. Her lungs burned with exertion and the blood pounded in her ears.

     The thud of hooves grew louder now. Her pursuers had found her, it wouldn’t be long before they caught up. The cover of the forest was her only chance of escape. One foot in front of the other. Her heart beating hard and fast. The pounding in her ears grew louder still, blocking out every other sound.
     
     The seconds slid by, slow and blurred. The forest was the only object in her line of sight, and it grew nearer and nearer until at last she reached the first tree. Her knuckles grazed the rough bark as she passed it. Another tree loomed up next to her and then another and another. The light grew dimmer, filtering through the canopy of trees.
 
     Another arrow found its mark in the tree next to her. The horsemen were close now; she only had seconds to get away. She had practiced her route many times in her mind. She knew the woods, and she knew the easiest way to the meeting place. Every step was mapped out in her mind. From here on it was simply a matter of time. If she made a mistake, it would mean capture and death. She took a deep breath and dove deeper into the woods without a backward glance.

     The young woman did not need to look back to know that the men had reached the edge of the forest and there they would have to halt and dismount to pursue on foot. It would give her a head start of only a few seconds, but that was all she would need.
     
     The trees flew past in a blur of brown and green. The young woman carried herself quickly through the thick brush, careful to leave the path unscarred by her movement. ”Only a few moments more.” was the thought that filled her mind. “A few moments, and he shall be safe.”

*       *       *
 
     The group of men, clad in full armor and burdened with weapons, was advancing at half the speed of the young woman.

     A tall man at the front of the band, his manner stating that he was, undoubtedly, in charge, stopped and signaled the men to follow suit. They stood in silence as his dark, deep-set eyes studied the forest. He turned to the right and, motioning for the men to follow him, moved forward deeper into the forest.

     A young officer at the leader’s left side spoke up, his voice a hoarse whisper, “Where are you going? The trail of the maid leads that way?”

     “You think I don’t see that, fool?” the leader’s eyes flashed with anger as he glanced at the officer. “I don’t need to follow her path to know where she is going; I am taking a short cut.”

*      *      *

     The young woman sat with her back against the largest of the five boulders which formed a half-circle at the center of a small clearing in the depths of the forest. She pressed the bundle tighter against her and took a slow, deep breath in a vain attempt to steady her shaking hands.

     Suddenly, she jumped to her feet and ran towards the cover of the trees. A hissing sound cut through the silence, and she felt a stab of pain as an arrow pierced her shoulder. She stumbled and fell forward with a gasp, lying still for a brief second before fighting her way back to her feet and starting forward again towards the edge of the clearing, her vision blurred with pain.

     Two soldiers moved out from behind the line of trees in front of her. A scream froze in her throat as she spun around, her feet skidding in the dirt, and ran to the left. More soldiers moved from behind the trees to the right and to the left. The clearing was surrounded.

     She stumbled again, and this time she fell to her knees and did not move.

     The leader moved forward until he stood a few yards from his wounded prey. His eyes held a strange look of hunger and excitement as he drew his sword from his side and smiled coldly. “Well now, what have we here?” He flicked the womans hair back from her face with the tip of his sword. “A lovely maiden lost in the woods, are you waiting for prince charming to rescue you?” he sneered.”I hate to disappoint you, but he won’t be coming for you. Not today.” 

     The woman did not look up as he spoke. Her gaze was fixed on the bright green of the grass beneath her, as if avoiding looking at him would simply make him disappear.

     “I’m talking to you, lady.” His sword tip twitched, nicking the top of her left ear.  Still she did not move. Frustrated he bent and, with a quick twist of his sword, cut the bundle loose from her chest. It fell limply into his hands and her eyes widened slightly as he lifted the bundle to his own chest and stabbed his sword downward imbedding the tip in the soft dirt. “Ah, here at last.” He smiled and knelt in front of the woman. “He is in my hands. My son. My son. At last I have him.”

     “He is not your son, and never will be.” The woman spat the sentence out without lifting her gaze, anger and distaste filling each word.

     “He will be.” the dark-haired man replied with a cold smile. “He will be.” he repeated the words as his hand moved over the bundle and pulled back one of the blankets. A hiss of anger escaped his lips, and he dropped the bundle to the ground. “Where is he? Where is the child?” he demanded his hand closing around the woman’s throat as he stood, pulling her to her feet. “Where is my child?” he screamed again.

      The woman smiled and shook her head. “He is safe from you and that is how he shall stay. He is long gone now, far from your reach.”

      The leader’s eyes were alight with rage. He spun, throwing the woman against one of the tall boulders. Her shoulder struck the smooth surface with a crack, and she fell, biting back a scream of pain.
 
     “Find the child!” his voice filled the clearing with inhuman volume and men around him scrambled for their weapons, tripping over each other in their eagerness to get away from the wrath of their master. One unlucky officer, slower than the rest, was caught in their leaders gaze. “Lieutenant Stan, come here.”

     Stan moved quickly, keeping his eyes down. “Yes, sir.” He bowed his head as he spoke, stopping a few feet in front of his leader.

     “Why did she not have the child? You said that she had the child and would bring him here.”

     “She did, sire. She must have traded the child for the empty bundle before we reached the clearing.”

     “And how did the child slip through our fingers? How did we not catch whoever took him?” the man hissed, his voice shaking with wrath.

     “Sire, please, I do not know how.” Stan faltered.

     “Threatening your cowardly slaves will not help you find the child. He is gone. I told you; you will not find him,” the woman interrupted.

     “You will not win!” the leader shouted, snatching his sword from the ground as he spun on her. “I will find the child, and you will die, but you will die knowing that you did not beat me! You cannot beat Zenas, Lord of all Elismire, Master and King of all men!”
Log in to add a comment or review for this chapter Chapter updated on: 12/29/2014 6:19:44 AM
  • Yashita Ghazi commented on :
    5/31/2017 3:19:57 PM
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  • Angi Shearstone commented on :
    1/8/2016 2:44:09 AM
    Exciting start, well told, with high stakes! Great scene, you've got me hooked, I want to know all about these people.
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you so much! Sorry for the delayed response to all your comments, life has been busy o.O But I do appreciate you checking out my work and love seeing new comments! Glad this chapter hooked you, hope you enjoy the rest :)
      3/2/2016 10:52:34 PM
    • Angi Shearstone You're welcome! And I can definitely relate to busy. Keep writing & stuff! I'll read what I can whenever I can!
      3/3/2016 10:56:20 PM
    • Yashita Ghazi i am miss yashita ghazi i have a proposal for you via at (yashitaghazi11@gmail.com)
      5/27/2017 9:57:21 PM
  • Kine Gaye commented on :
    9/18/2016 11:52:54 AM
    Good day. It’s my pleasure meeting you, and that you enjoying your day? Can you allowed me to introduce my self to you. My name is Kine Ghazi . I will like to get ... Show More
  • anna brown commented on :
    3/22/2016 6:57:01 PM
    Hello good day, i will like to meet you in person, am miss Anna, am form France and am leaving in London, please contact me on my email id at (annh1brown@hotmail.com), ... Show More
    • Kine Gaye Good day. It’s my pleasure meeting you, and that you enjoying your day? Can you allowed me to introduce my self to you. My name is Kine Ghazi . I will like to get acquainted with you. please I'll be glad if you write to me or send your email address direct at my private email address (kineghazi12@gmail.com) because i have some important thing i will like to discuss with you privately. Hope to hear from you soon. Kine Ghazi.
      9/18/2016 11:07:34 AM
  • TP Keating commented on :
    12/1/2015 1:36:04 PM
    Anyone who starts their bio with a quote from Joss Whedon has excellent taste, in my opinion. Meanwhile… I like the original approach in the prologue, and the chapter ... Show More
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you! *high five* to a fellow Joss Whedon fan! And thanks for checking out Arthur! Glad you enjoyed the start and hope you enjoy the rest of the adventure :)
      3/2/2016 10:51:32 PM
  • Kelly Vo commented on :
    6/27/2015 3:44:29 PM
    Great prologue. A wonderful setup and I have to say, the last line made me laugh. Zenas is something else. :) Can't wait to read more and to see Arthur grow up. A very enjoyable opening.
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you so much for checking it out Kelly! Very glad you enjoyed it and I hope you continue to enjoy the rest :D yes, Zenas is definately something else...dude needs to go to therapy for a while. I tried to tell him that but he wouldn't listen. Someone suggested I get him a puppy but he didn't like that idea either and besides, he might just eat it or something o.O haha. Anyways...Very glad that you are eager to read more, excited to see what you think of the rest! :)
      7/1/2015 6:40:55 PM
    • Kelly Vo Please no puppy eating. I would stop reading at that. ;)
      7/4/2015 9:58:57 PM
    • N.C. Gossner Its okay, I would write Zenas right off a cliff and our of my story if he tried that :P
      7/4/2015 10:09:55 PM
  • Cassidy U. commented on :
    6/29/2015 2:51:49 AM
    Ooooo now that is quite a gripping way to start a story! I can't wait to read further to find out what happens as Arthur grows up.
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you!!! So excited to have you on board the Jukepop community with us. This will be fun! Thanks for starting Arthur! I hope you continue to enjoy it and I cant wait to read your prologue too! :D
      6/29/2015 5:36:19 AM
  • Ada Redmond commented on :
    6/21/2015 10:10:27 PM
    I think I told you I was going to read your spin off first didn't I? Hahaha. This was way too tempting and after that prologue I'm already hooked so, here I am! :D Loved ... Show More
    • N.C. Gossner You did tell me that, But I am really happy to have you readig Arthur as well!! :d I am so glad that it caught your interest, thank you for starting! And i am really glad you are enjoying it :D I have trouble writing descriptions sometimes, this story has been through so many revisions and re-writes in the five years I have been working on it, so I am really glad that all the work is paying off and you enjoyed the descriptions and all. I am glad you dont like Zenas, he is such a pain sometiems! ;) Thanks again for starting! and I cant wait to hear what you think of the rest!! And thank you! My sister and brother in law made the cover for this and I am in love with it too! They are currently making one for Brothers In Arms too, I cant wait to upload it to here! :D Thanks again!!
      6/21/2015 11:27:18 PM
  • David Khalaf commented on :
    6/16/2015 5:04:40 AM
    Strong opening; sets the scene and the conflict. Great imagery and detail. Best of all, concise and to the point--a quick taste of action before we enter the story. Nice work!
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed it, especially since you are such an amazing writer. And thank you for checking it out! I hope you continue to enjoy it :D
      6/17/2015 1:32:25 AM
  • A. L. Ross commented on :
    6/8/2015 4:17:07 AM
    That opening paragraph...cinematographic!
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you so much! You have no idea how happy those four words just made me. :D thanks for checking it out, I hope you enjoy the rest if you continue to read more :)
      6/9/2015 1:21:21 AM
  • J.A. Waters commented on :
    2/28/2015 5:19:02 PM
    Lovely push into a new world. I like the rush into the woman's escape to start things out as we're given some fun questions to urge the reader on: Why was this child ... Show More
    • A. L. Ross In reference to how he knew where she was going: perhaps, since she'd been practicing routes (?), there would be natural trails forming where her feet had trampled plants?
      6/8/2015 4:19:40 AM
  • Eliza Knightly commented on :
    5/18/2015 10:45:45 PM
    Wowzers! You had my heart racing right away. Great opening. We know nothing about these characters but immediately understand that there's much at stake in this chase.
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you so much Eliza! That is great to hear! My aim here was to create a prologue that would hook the reader right off, so I am glad that it worked for you :D Hope you continue to enjoy the future chapters if you read farther :D
      5/19/2015 4:11:52 AM
  • D # commented on :
    4/5/2015 10:15:24 PM
    Well, that was exciting! I had to check it out, because, as you know, I have curiosity issues. Kind of an awesome opening actually. It flows really well and I felt a ... Show More
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you very much! I am glad it caught your curiosity enough to make you check it out :D and I am very glad you enjoyed it too! I hope you enjoy the rest too, if your curiosity leads you to read farther :)
      4/6/2015 3:43:30 AM
  • Maleaka Yuno commented on :
    3/31/2015 10:56:40 AM
    A Very dramatic opening scene I like it!
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you very much!! :) I hope you continue to enjoy the story! Thanks for the comment, I love to hear readers thoughts on it :)
      3/31/2015 8:25:22 PM
  • Conni Byron commented on :
    3/15/2015 11:08:54 AM
    Nice start with the action and fear. I'm very concerned an curious to where something went. I think our writing styles are a little similar. I know I have a story that ... Show More
    • N.C. Gossner Whoops, I missed this comment, sorry. Thank you so much for starting Arthur, :D I hope you continue to enjoy it! :)
      3/19/2015 9:10:43 PM
  • Shannon Smith commented on :
    3/1/2015 1:35:53 AM
    Love your cover!
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you!! :D
      3/1/2015 1:56:50 AM
    • N.C. Gossner My sister and brother-in-law made it for me :D
      3/1/2015 3:19:03 AM
    • Kara Brown It is really neat. They did a very good job.
      3/5/2015 12:04:40 AM
  • Andrea N. Clemons commented on :
    3/2/2015 9:13:16 PM
    I've been meaning to read your work for quite some time. I can honestly say it was not a disappointment! It was an exciting start to say the least. Looking forward to reading more!
    • N.C. Gossner Wow, thank you so much! I am glad you weren't disappointed! :D I hope you continue to enjoy it! and thanks for reading and commenting! :)
      3/2/2015 11:48:45 PM
  • N.C. Gossner commented on :
    2/25/2015 5:40:40 PM
    We are in the final days of the Nanowrimo contest and every vote helps. The first 12 chapters of Arthur are up, and more coming soon. If you are interested in checking it ... Show More
  • Steve Conary commented on :
    2/23/2015 11:51:06 PM
    I definitely like it, I was hooked from the first arrow. The only thing I don't really like is that I started it when there are only eleven chapters. I can't finish it all at once now.
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you so much Steve! :) I am so glad you liked it! haha, well I will do my best to get more chapters on here for you. more coming very soon. :D Thanks for reading and leaving feedback! I hope you continue to enjoy it!
      2/24/2015 12:53:43 AM
  • Andre Clemons commented on :
    2/22/2015 3:56:41 AM
    I love a good adventure fantasy, and right from the beginning this delivers! I'm interested in knowing more about the young woman in this prologue as well as what happens ... Show More
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you Andre!! I am so glad you like it so far and it has caught your curiosity :) Thanks for reading :)
      2/23/2015 6:34:15 PM
  • Matthew Cole-Wilkin commented on :
    1/23/2015 2:22:41 AM
    Great start! I love the images, love the world you're already putting in my head. Looking forward to getting on the rest!
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you so much Matthew, I am so glad you are enjoying it! Thanks for reading and for the feedback :)
      1/23/2015 7:42:45 AM
  • L. B. Garrick commented on :
    1/21/2015 11:38:38 PM
    You got me hooked, keep it that way in the next chapters!
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed it! I will try! ;) I hope you continue to enjoy it! :) would love to hear what you think of the rest :)
      1/21/2015 11:42:46 PM
  • Brynn Mcvay commented on :
    1/14/2015 2:07:56 PM
    I definitely like how you have thrust us into the action at the very start, i look forward to reading the rest!
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you Brenna! I am so happy you liked it! :D look forward to hearing what you think of the rest!! :D
      1/14/2015 5:15:07 PM
  • BJ Holder commented on :
    1/13/2015 1:01:30 AM
    What a tool! That being said... I love that your story starts of right in the middle of an action scene. I also want to say, "Yeah!" When she stood up to him. I look ... Show More
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you BJ, I am so glad you are enjoying it!! thanks for the comment! :)
      1/13/2015 1:48:38 AM
  • Eric commented on :
    1/11/2015 5:24:54 AM
    What an epic prologue. I like the way that you write, with the action in the first sentence. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I have a lot of questions already, but I'm not ... Show More
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you so much @Dustion Honour. I am so glad you are enjoying it so far, and I look forward to hearing what you think of the rest. Thanks for reading, and the feedback. :)
      1/12/2015 4:52:24 AM
  • M. Howalt commented on :
    1/9/2015 12:34:03 PM
    Right smack into the middle of action. I like that! This prologue really made me curious because there is so much mystery already. It's interesting how the reader doesn't ... Show More
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you so much M. Howlat! I hope you continue to read and enjoy!! :)
      1/10/2015 6:38:28 PM
  • Brian Guthrie commented on :
    1/8/2015 11:55:23 PM
    Opening thoughts: great pace and tension. You drew me in wanting to know what would happen. Letting the bundle get away is a nice hook. Not because I care just yet but ... Show More
    • Brian Guthrie Couple of edits: passive voice pops up a lot. I'd lose the word again in the first sentence (we didn't see her come back to it the first time lol). Back to the passive, look for any sentence where the subject isn't the doer needs to be reworked. It's not predominant, but it is there. In your second POV, you tell me he's the leader instead of showing me. What about his manner states he's the leader? How does a casual observer of this scene see he's got this manner from what you wrote? Maybe make them all wear a similar cloak, but his is more ornate, his horse more finely saddled, etc. Show me, don't tell me. You try to do this with the flashed with anger part later in that section, but even that is a weak one. What do eyes flashing with anger look like? What about the rest of the face? The villain fell apart for me in the last scene. I felt, saw, and heard angry acting. He became a very annoying bully who wasn't very intimidating at all and pretty much made his threat and promise at the end a moot point for me. Maybe tone him down a bit? Not sure. Also, what made the officer "unlucky"? What does that look like? Is he unlucky because of his knowledge? Well if so, how does the reader know that until you made it clear by the leader's question? And that doesn't describe the officer very well. What does unlucky look like when describing a person? Just a few thoughts. Must sleep now.
      1/9/2015 12:02:01 AM
    • Judy yes! less telling, more showing! more power, less passive voice!
      1/9/2015 7:24:28 PM
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you Brian, and Judy! i will definately be working on this. Brian i really appreciate the detailed feedback, and I hope you continue to enjoy it as you read more. :)
      1/9/2015 7:43:05 PM
  • Jake Young commented on :
    1/9/2015 5:29:37 PM
    This guy has a serious inferiority complex if he feels the need to announce his lordship over everyone. He probably drives a lifted Dodge. Awesome prologue, you really ... Show More
    • N.C. Gossner Than k you Jake, I am glad you enjoyed it. I will keep an eye on those apostrophes. and i hope you continue to enjoy it!
      1/9/2015 7:42:02 PM
  • Tory Heliker commented on :
    1/6/2015 3:37:51 AM
    NADIATHATSSOGOODIMALREADYSTARTINGTOFANGIRL!!!! WHY ARE YOU SO AMAZING?!?!?? KEEP WRITING!! PLEEEEEEASE?!?!?
    • N.C. Gossner Hahaha!!! THANK YOU!!!! I am so glad you like it Tory!!!!! I certainly plan to keep writing!! more chapters coming soon!! ;) :D
      1/6/2015 4:26:10 AM
  • Tory Heliker commented on :
    1/6/2015 3:37:51 AM
    NADIATHATSSOGOODIMALREADYSTARTINGTOFANGIRL!!!! WHY ARE YOU SO AMAZING?!?!?? KEEP WRITING!! PLEEEEEEASE?!?!?
  • Tory Heliker commented on :
    1/6/2015 3:37:48 AM
    NADIATHATSSOGOODIMALREADYSTARTINGTOFANGIRL!!!! WHY ARE YOU SO AMAZING?!?!?? KEEP WRITING!! PLEEEEEEASE?!?!?
  • Tory Heliker commented on :
    1/6/2015 3:37:39 AM
    NADIATHATSSOGOODIMALREADYSTARTINGTOFANGIRL!!!! WHY ARE YOU SO AMAZING?!?!?? KEEP WRITING!! PLEEEEEEASE?!?!?
  • Tory Heliker commented on :
    1/6/2015 3:37:24 AM
    NADIATHATSSOGOODIMALREADYSTARTINGTOFANGIRL!!!! WHY ARE YOU SO AMAZING?!?!?? KEEP WRITING!! PLEEEEEEASE?!?!?
  • Tory Heliker commented on :
    1/6/2015 3:36:45 AM
    NADIATHATSSOGOODIMALREADYSTARTINGTOFANGIRL!!!! WHY ARE YOU SO AMAZING?!?!?? KEEP WRITING!! PLEEEEEEASE?!?!?
  • Nicole Adrianne commented on :
    1/6/2015 12:27:09 AM
    This is dramatic, in a good way. Your description of the woman's fear ("scream froze in her throat", etc) was compelling, to where you get a little edgy just reading it! ... Show More
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you so much Nicole! I am glad you enjoyed it! :)
      1/6/2015 12:32:48 AM
  • Madison Hardin commented on :
    1/5/2015 7:32:11 PM
    I like your bad guy. He's very creepy.
    • N.C. Gossner Thanks Madison! I am glad you approve! :D
      1/5/2015 8:30:06 PM
  • Katherine McPherson commented on :
    1/4/2015 5:55:34 AM
    Great prologue! I look forward to reading.
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you! i am glad you like it! :)
      1/4/2015 6:12:53 AM
  • Don Durbin commented on :
    1/4/2015 4:26:13 AM
    Excellent grasp of the language. This kind of story line could fill a largely empty niche market.
  • 1/4/2015 6:53:53 AM
    I love how the woman's character is being developed via a thrilling prologue.
    • N.C. Gossner Thank you Craig! I hope you continue to enjoy the story. Thanks for reading! :)
      1/4/2015 11:48:16 PM
  • Don Durbin gave
    1/4/2015 4:22:35 AM
    The author is quite adept at developing her characters and the plot. We know from the outset that it turns out well but we want to know, nonetheless, what happened to ... Show More
  • Kara Brown gave
    1/3/2015 6:41:31 AM
    I great beginning to what I believe will be a great novel!
  • Amanda E gave
    1/3/2015 6:14:20 AM
    A great start from a new author just spreading her wings. I think she will soar.
  • Amanda E gave
    1/3/2015 6:13:24 AM
    A great start from a new author just spreading her wings. I think she will soar.
  • Amanda E gave
    1/3/2015 6:13:11 AM
    A great start from a new author just spreading her wings. I think she will soar.
  • Amanda E gave
    1/3/2015 6:13:08 AM
    A great start from a new author just spreading her wings. I think she will soar.