Dravignon stands resolute in stone, a city which claims the title ‘un-breach able’ because no one has ever been foolish enough to try. The lower half is made up of the houses of the subjects, the poor who work their fingers to the bone for almost nothing. Higher up the hill which the city is established upon are the homes of the rich and powerful. They oversee the lower city with contempt, and laze about while poorer citizens do their work. At the centre lies the castle, the home of King Vallinor, who is the ruler of the entire country of Treabador. A cruel man whose actions and orders made him the most feared man in the country, King Vallinor was the reason that Dravignon remained un-breached.
“You boy! What are you doing?”
Mikael glanced up and saw two guards bearing down on him.
“Is there a problem gentlemen? I am just laying out my father’s wares.”
“Gentlemen? This boy talks as though he were from the house of a lord, not the house of a peasant.” The two guards laughed while Mikael stood with some clay pots in hand, attempting to keep a neutral face in front of his antagonists. “You would do well to stick to your station in life boy.” One of the guards spat at Mikael’s feet.
Why don’t you stick to yours?” Mikael answered, earning himself a fist in the gut.
“It’s to the gaol with you. Maybe some time in chains will help you understand your place.”
As Mikael was led away, his father appeared from the shop and watched with sadness as his only son was taken. He was an old man, and knew that fighting the guards would only bring more trouble, so he was forced to watch the rough way that the guards dragged Mikael towards the city gaol.
Mikael was shoved in to a dank black room with walls of stone and a hard cobbled floor. There was nothing in the room, no food or drink and nothing on which to sleep. It was just a bare prison, which the guards intended for Mikael to stay in for three days. But this plan was soon destroyed when a visit from the King’s advisor visited the prison. As he passed the cell in which Mikael was enclosed he stopped, and peered in through the bars.
“What crime did this boy commit?” His voice was smooth, silky and treacherous. Mikael knew instantly that this man was not to be trusted.
“He cheeked a guard my Lord.” One of the soldiers replied, a shake in his voice which betrayed how afraid he was of this man. The advisor made a motion with his hand and the guard unlocked the cell. A chill swept the room as the man entered, his dark eyes peering at Mikael from a pale, gaunt face. He looked as though all the energy in his face had been absorbed in to the dark orbs with which he regarded the boy in front of him.
“He will do very well. Release him.” The guard removed the chains that bound Mikael, and then shoved him roughly out of the cell, pointing after the advisor who had begun to sweep down the corridor, his long black cloak billowing behind him like a phantom. He turned and beckoned to Mikael, who followed him in a daze, his mind clouded by his hunger and thirst. They made their way through the town, the advisor always ahead of Mikael. The young man watched as people moved purposely to avoid the man he followed, even those from wealthy households. It appeared he was very much feared, and Mikael’s original distrust deepened. It was when they reached the gates of the castle that he truly began to feel afraid. Inside was a man more terrifying than this advisor, a man who controlled the whole of the country, and who could order the deaths of entire towns by just a snap of his finger.
Once inside the advisor called a servant to wait upon him, and once the woman had removed his cloak he ordered her to show Mikael the servants’ quarters.
“This boy will be working here. He is to take meals to the King’s guest without speaking to her, and will not mention to anyone what he sees. The punishment for disobeying these orders is death.” His eyes fixed for an instant on Mikael’s face to impress upon him this understanding. “When he is not called to bring food, he shall work as the kitchen boy taking orders from the cook. You may go.” With that the man swept off, leaving Mikael with the servant girl who kept her head down and beckoned for him to follow her through a small door which leads down in to the smoky kitchens of the castle.