Take Up Arms ~ An Original Medieval Group Story

The Kingdom of Ruminia lived in fear for many years under the oppressing rule of King Emnartius and Queen Litremon and it is essential for their corrupt regime to end. It's up to a wide-spread group of rebels, with a few newly recruited individuals, to rise up, take up arms, and revolt.

Authors' Place ~ http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/iUX9Ta0/Medieval-Era-Group-Story-Authors-Place

Chapter 1

Bloodshed Again ~ Frank Van Balladeer

"You there! Stop!"

I stood by the apple stand in the Autumn Bazaar, watching the chaos unfold with my friend Merritt as the large group of Silver Knights rushed to apprehend the lone man in the centre of the Village Square.

"Get him!" I heard one knight cry out to the others.

The lone man fled, looking for a way to escape. He made it about as far as the wall of one of the houses when the first knight reached him, grabbed his leg and pulled him back down to the ground. Several knights surrounded him in a circle, restraining him with brute force.

Ten years ago, I would've flinched to see the man being beaten up. Now, I barely reacted as I watched the knights beating the man to a bloody pulp, watching solemnly as his dark red blood splattered across the tiles on the ground.

Unconscious and looking worse for wear, the guy is grabbed under the arms and dragged roughly away by the knights. A few of them form a protective line around the man, telling citizens to back away but they might as well keep quiet. No one even lifts a finger to help the poor soul.

When I was younger, I'd sit in my mom's lap as she'd plaster the hair back from my forehead and tell me stories of the kingdom we resided in.

"Frank, the place we live in is not known for its kindness," my mom would say.

"Is it because the king and queen are bad people?" I would ask her and she'd slap my hand lightly.

"Don't say that, especially not in public. They'd have you beaten up, arrested, tortured, and who knows what else," my mom replied.

"Why?" I asked.

My mom bit her lip. "The King and Queen of Ruminia...they're not...they're not the most likable of sorts. There are...other bad men out there who try to overthrow them and take the throne for themselves."

"Like who?" I asked.

"Rebels, mostly," my mom said with a ghost of a smile. "That's the group your father joined."

"And what happened to these rebels?" I asked.

"Some were rounded up and either killed or, if the King felt merciful, held captive in the dungeons of the kingdom," my mom said sadly. "Your father was one of those who the King didn't show mercy."

"Who else?" I inquired, curious, not seeing the darkness behind the tale.

My mom sighed, a sad look flitting across her face. "Well, the more harmless group of people are the Purple Robes, they're called. They're a group of protestants who can see the corrupted truth being the kingdom's regime and work to spread the word to others. They're not as wanted by the kingdom as the rebels, but they still get thrown into prison if they're ever captured."

"And the third group?" I'd heard from the other children in the village that there were three main groups of people that were, in the eyes of the kingdom, wanted convicts. The rebels and Purple Robes made two. What was the last one?

My mom looked really uncomfortable now. She shifted uneasily, as if debating with herself whether to tell me. Apparently, she made her decision that I should learn the truth now instead of later on when it would be too late.

"The last group call themselves the Necromancers. It basically consists of people who practice...illegal magic. Like the rebels, they oppose the kingdom and take action, unlike the Purple Robes, whose main force of revolt is to spread rumors and recruit others. However, Necromancers prove hard to round up. Their cult is sacred and has been for thousands of years. Whenever a Necromancer, or at least someone suspected to be one, is captured, there's always a huge trial within the kingdom debating whether said Necromancer should be killed, held prisoner, or set free entirely. It depends on the degree of crime the Necromancer in question has committed," my mom explained kindly.

Growing up after that had been a harsh journey. As the years passed, the rule of Ruminia grew ever harsher. More and more people I knew were rounded up and accused of being rebels, Purple Robes or Necromancers.

The old man that lived across the street.

The couple next door.

The friendly woman that would sell my mom bread.

My own mother herself.

All rounded up and executed by the hand of King Emnartius.

Now, I live alone. It's hard not to have a bleak outlook on life when you live in such a place. No doubt the lone man that the Silver Knights of Ruminia had just apprehended was again suspected to be part of those three groups.

"What a mess," Merritt whispered to me. "We can't go one day without witnessing at least one capture."

The owner of the apple stall, a kind 25 year old woman named Lorienne, sighed to us. "It's not like any of us can do anything about it."

She turned to me. "So, do you have anything to exchange me for that? -she indicated the apple I was holding- "If you can't pay me back in coins, I wouldn't say no to some game."

Living on my own was a challenge in itself. With both my mother and father gone, I'd had to find some way to raise money to keep my belly full. Luckily, before my father was exposed as a rebel and killed, he'd taught me a little set of useful skills. Learning how to hunt was one of the best bonding moments we'd shared together. With his old axe in tow, I'd leave my cottage in the wee hours of the morning to hunt game and fell trees. The money I'd make off selling the meat to butchers and the lumber to carpenters was not disappointing.

I shook my head to Lorienne. "Sorry, but I've got nothing for you. It's a good thing I'm not broke yet, right?"

With that, I handed Lorienne a couple of coins, pocketed the apple and walked off, beckoning for Merritt to come with.

I know there was a time when Ruminia was a peaceful and democratic society. In the village library, I snuck in one time at night and found some old history books nestled away inside. Reading the books by candlelight, I'd been astounded by some of the tales from old Ruminian history.

King Patormont was Emnartius' predecessor, until he was mysteriously poisoned at a dinner feast in his own kingdom.

King Metarticus was Patormont's predecessor, at least until he was publicly assassinated during his coronation. He certainly had a long-lived reign as king, didn't he?

King Harpyllis was Metarticus' predecessor, and he was found strangled to death in his own bedroom.

The point is, the royal family tree has been spilled with bloodshed through the pages. It's no wonder why most people eventually turn against the kingdom. Living in Ruminia is a risk laden within itself.

"You need to be careful," I whispered to Merritt as we walked through the packed Bazaar. "I don't want you to be the next prisoner."

Merritt, to my dismay, had revealed to me that he was one of the rebels a while back. He'd tried to recruit me, his friend, but I'd refused. I'd been too cowardly. The memories of what King Emnartius had done to my father and my mother were fresh in my mind despite the years passed. Merritt tried to appeal to my nature, telling me to let the hatred against the King spur me on to revolt. But I'd declined.

"I'll be fine," Merritt told me. "The King hasn't found me yet."

"What are the rebels' movements?" I asked casually.

Merritt eyed me suspiciously. Just as there were rebel spies in King Emnartius's inner circle, King Emnartius had also sent his own spies into the rebels to gather information. Merritt eyed most people with suspicion nowadays, and me being his childhood friend didn't help much.

"We're not planning anything big. Yet. Right now, we're just trying to gather our recruits and enlarge our society," Merritt replied, taking a bite out of the apple he'd bought for himself.

A/N: To all readers, I hope you enjoyed the first chapter so far and that you'll continue reading! Ratings, reviews, comments and constructive criticism are always welcomed (because I genuinely want to improve my writing, and others too).

To all writers, when you write your chapter, make sure you list your character's full name in your chapter title so readers will know your name and that you reveal your character's backstory in your first chapter. Reason for this being that I'm not posting the list of characters in this story; it's up to the authors to reveal their original character to the readers from the top. Tedious, but it makes the story easier to read without a long list of character bios to have to blow through. ;)

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