First Knight of Ballicastle

          Kevin was a devilish lad, his parents often wondered if he would survive to see his 16th birthday. He was well beyond that now, as he was now seeing his middle 30's. He seemed to have the luck of the Irish as he survived many a situation he should not have. He had settled down some having become a knight and after many a battle life took on a new perspective that youth rarely saw and maturity gained in insight. But that devilish light still shown in hazel eyes, sometimes blue, sometimes green or grey. Just like him at times, where women were concerned, he just couldn't seem to make up his mind. Maybe the truth was no one challenging and intelligent enough had crossed his path yet.

          Those who had shared his company knew of his intense passions, but none had ever been able to settle him. He had wit and a will to survive and he knew what honor, loyalty and devotion meant for he lived by the chivalrous rules. He had an easy way about him that belied the fierce way in which he could fight, or love, if need be. Some might consider him arrogant, for he never settled for less, but most didn't know the difference between being arrogant and one being assured of oneself. Most of his past remained a mystery but fate now took him to these lands in search of a home to settle for good, maybe even a wife and family. He was in no hurry, and as always would choose the best for himself.

A New Start

        Kevin had been away but in reach if the King of Ballicastle needed him. With the lands at peace such had not been the case except for a few conferences and visits to the lands. He had bought his own estate just outside of the lands he served, built the manor home that had an extended library as part of it. He was a learned man as well as having been knighted by King Chadrick for his abilities and adherence to the codes of old. Still, the library had been more of a gift to the woman he had planned to marry, such would not be Fate's hand for in time she left without word as to where. He remained on his estate for a year's time until it became apparent she would not return. He accepted things as being for the best. He eventually sold the place on Golden Pond as to seal a past to where it belonged, it had been so much a part of her it was built. He would miss the lake mostly that was a few acres as part of it.

        He donated all the books collected to the Ballicastle library upon his return to the lands here to live again. He was granted a small manor home of his own, one with a pond, out near the forests and rolling hills to the north of the castle itself. Far enough away to grant him solace when he sought it, yet close enough he could be at the King's hand in a moment's notice. He hired a maid, cook and lad that could fetch, fix, and be the all around handy man as needed. He spent a good portion of his time at the castle itself and the surrounding lands. Being somewhat still the wanderer, this appeased that part of his nature to wander between both. His mornings were spent keeping his abilities honed. His evenings were spent usually reading but he knew he needed to start getting out again and meet others. A man was not an island unto himself and far better the warrior that was well rounded.

        The thunder of hooves made of the warhorse ridden, resounded as hardened earth was met in a gallop. Steel flashed as reds glinted of the sword's polished surface with the rising of the sun. Rider and horse moved as one across that field set up with burlap dummies. Another steel glinted flash came with the song of the sword's blade as it slashed through air in a downwards sweep to split a burlap dummy open to his left. Sand spilled as in a split second later the twin to the right was felled in the same fate as sword swept up in a continued momentum overhead and back down in a passing right swing of precision. A lad of one of the Ballicastle guards hurried to drag the dummies from the field as another was quick to replace them. The burlap of the few dozen dummies were more stitches than material with the constant repairing that attested to Kevin's morning rituals.

        Still in a hard gallop heading down a short distance the warhorse was reared up in a grouping of six dummies. Kevin would prefer moving targets but for practice this sufficed. Hooves slashed airborne kicking two to fly backwards landing flat while the motion of a guided sword swished to slash two more on the right before the steed was down and turned in a tight gallop around to bare down on the two remaining ones. Dewy moisture gathered along the horse's nostrils as they flared in the heavy breaths taken and release for the all out workout he was being put through. One hand in a tight grip of leather straps while legs were pressed in balance against the sides of his steed. A good knight was as proficient in riding as he was with his sword. The Ballicastle cape flurried with the breeze along with the motion of rider and steed without hindrance to the skill of the knight seated in this mock battle.

        The lads in turn that were helping him were learning by watching. Such was part of the beginning of their training. The exercise done had Kevin giving the old warhorse a work-down trot around the field to cool him off slowly, keeping him from any damage. He finally dismounted at the start of the field to hand him off to a stable boy that waited. A good rub down, extra water, some special mixed meal along with fresh hay would be his reward. A hand lifted in a swipe over a sweat sheen brow as Kevin next talked with the lads, answering any questions they had and showing them how he handled his sword to be able to move as fast as he had in taking the dummies down on both sides. He explained how warhorses were especially trained to become an extended weapon besides another form of protection for their riders. It was important to become a friend with the steed they one day would have.

        Kevin had not been out much socially and almost dreaded to add that to his life again. He found the times spent here helping with the training of the young men rewarding. Still, he was becoming aware he needed something more to fill a growing need within himself. He needed adventure. The lad was still a part of the man and that desire to be on the move, doing something that appeased both mind and body was starting to gnaw at him. He needed challenges. Once the field was cleaned up and the lads taking their leave he took a few laps around it himself on foot to work off that extra energy he was still fired up under. His pace finally slowing had him changing directions by the time it was midmorning to head for the pond by his new manor home to take a swim. Swimming was another one of his favorite pastimes. It also helped to keep him in top physical shape. A new life was starting to mold out into a routine for him, one he hoped to add more to.

Hit Counter