This book takes place in the 1200's. Back when knights and princeses took a leading role in forbiden love and death that surely parted. In this epic tale a young love may lead you to a surprise twist and a tragic ending that isnt so tragic after all...You never know what can happen in Capa.
Our story begins far away, deep in the forever wood of Demina. Here the trees are tall, the flowers grow by the dozens, and animals rome where they please. We come upon a small kingdom, Capa. It’s neither the biggest nor the smallest, but it’s the biggest at heart. We close in on a young man of just 17. He is working in the local blacksmith shop. Soon this blacksmith boy will become a man.
“Ashton I told you many times before to treat my job with respect.” Says Ulric the blacksmith. “Father what is the point of being young if I waste my days behind these four walls. You and mum have been telling me to find a maiden.” Replies Ashton. “Well, be off then. If getting you out of my shop will get you out of my home let it be that.” Ulric says with hesitance. As Ulric chases out his only son a man walks up to the counter. “Hello sir. Are you Mr. Ulric Brach?” Asks the man. “Yes, I am. How may I help you sir?” Replies Ulric in a questioning manner. “I am Sir Edmund of Capa. I am here to give you this letter of awareness. I must be off, but you must attend or you will be thrown in jail. Good day.” The man states as he turns and walked out the door from where he came. Ulric opens up the folded paper and begins to read. Half way through he sits and he yells “Why? Why us? Why now? My family needs me to support them. Why us?” As he finishes. Tears begin to fall against his cheeks. Almost looking like a spy among the sweat that also lies on the man’s face. He becomes tired and can barely stand back up.
Once Ulric regained his strength he walked over to the door of his small but manageable shop and yelled as load as he could “Ashton! Ashton!” After one more call Ashton came running to the door. “You call me pa? Why are you crying?” Ashton looks confused and questioning of his father’s news. “Sit down father you don’t look too good.”Ashton states as he helps his father over to the chair near the corner of the room. “Ashton I have some news concerning you and I. News your mother and sisters will not like. Neither will you.”Ulric explains. Ulric places his hand on Ashton’s knee. “I am going off to fight in combat with many other men. We are fighting for more forest. I must go, or they will imprison me for being a trader.” Ulric says to his son. “Why was I included? Are they taking me off to war as well?” Ashton rises and begins to pace in anger. “No son. You are going away. You are being sent to train to be a knight at the king’s castle, my king’s castle. His name is King Henrique of Capa.” Ulric tries to make eye contact, but Ashton looks away in anger. “How can do they do this? How is mother going to handle this? How are Julia and Zara going to take the news? How are they going to keep everything running without us? Julia isn’t old enough to work in the fields and mum already has so much on her shoulders. How will they eat and feed the cattle or make it through the winter father?” Ashton begins to mutter as he paces around the shop. “Ashton!” Ulric says in a deeper, more serious voice. “The number one thing we must do is be strong. The moment we start to be weak we will fall apart. They will send your mother and sisters money until one of us returns home.” Ulric begins to tear up. “I just hope we both come home.” Ulric begins to cry once again, but this time with the help of his only son they work up the strength to exit the shop and begin their journey home.
We come upon Julia setting the table for dinner. Zara and Elizabeth are at work making dinner. “Mum. Why do I always have to set the table? I want to help with supper once and awhile. It’s not fair.” States Julia in a whiney voice. “You cannot always get your way Julia. There are other people in this house and you must respect their choices. Besides, we wouldn’t eat till noon tomorrow if you helped to cook dinner.” Zara replies in a humorous manner. “Julia just please set the table. Dinner is almost done, but you may help tomorrow. Is that okay?” Elizabeth states as she convinces them to stop fighting. The door to the small, but homey cottage opens with a screech. Julia jumps from the chair and runs to her brother’s side. She grasps his leg and squeezes. “Julia, let go of him before you break his leg. We need him in the fields tomorrow.” Elizabeth states in a motherly fashion. “Elizabeth, dear we need to talk.” Ulric replies in a worried manner. Zara and Julia become curious and attempt to listen in on the conversation. They finally hear faint voices coming from their parent’s bedroom. “Dear a man came to the shop today. He gave me a letter from King Henrique. He needs me in combat. They are also giving Ashton a chance of a life time. They wish for him to apprentice to become a knight. They wish for us to leave in the morning. I wish I could turn them down and stay with you and the girls, but they will throw me in jail to rot if I do not go.” Ulric speaks to his wife. As she hold back tears. She begins to reply. “How long? How long are they taking away my husband and only son? How long?” She cannot hold it back any longer. She begins to cry. Ulric holds her as close as he can possibly get. He whispers in her ear. “Not for long. Not for long.” They sit in silence for a few minutes as they wipe their eyes. The children begin to act like they were before, but they cannot fool Ulric. “I can tell you two know. I wish there was some other way. Some type of alternative.” He sits himself in the small wooden chair. Elizabeth walks over to the kettle and stirs the condense of the pot and removes it from the flames. “Julia. Zara. May you please take a seat so I may serve dinner.” Elizabeth states as she holds back a few tears left over from before. “Yes mother.” The girls speak almost in sync as they seat themselves at the small wooden table. Ulric was seated at the farthest corner. Beside him was a seat reserved for Elizabeth. Across from that seat sat Julia. She never left her father’s side. Beside Julia was Ashton, and across from him sat his sister Zara. “Mother, why is papa and Ashton leaving us?” Julia asks in a confused manner followed by the sad face of a five year old. Elizabeth begins to reply, but Ulric stops her and nods. “Julia, Ashton and myself love Capa. We are willing to risk our lives for this place we call home. These people are our family, and we need to help them to protect Capa from those who wish to harm our family.” He looks over to Ashton and can see the pride grow from the fear and blossom. “That’s exactly what I was going to say.” Elizabeth states as she begins to giggle as she looks over at her husband. She can see that the fear still lives inside. Hidden under the pride and courage and bravery that now for fills its place and she becomes worried. She begins to smile and continues on with her dinner. Confused and worried for her husband and son.
As the morning dew settles on the crisp grass. We see the sun rising and lighting the small cabin. The family is settled down. Cozy and comfortable in their beds. Ulric opens an eye to the burning sensation of the sun. He stretches his arms and legs and begins to awaken for the long day ahead. He walks down the hallway to the second door and knocks a few times before entering the doorway. Ulric begins to speak in a quiet tone. Practically still sleeping as he says. “Ashton, it’s time to get up. We need to be off in an hour. So start packing.” Ashton awakens and replies in a drowsy tone. “I’ll be up and ready in a half an hour father. Do not worry.” Ulric closes the door and walks back to his room and closes the door. Ashton begins to stand and walks to the conjoining washroom. He grabs a rag and wets it in the water pail. He clenches the nearby soap in the opposite hand and begins to wash his face and hands to ready himself for the long journey ahead. He drops the soap, and begins to dry his face with the rag as he hears a faint knock at the door. He walks over and opens the door. Suddenly Julia bursts from the hallway. She clenches onto her brother with the intension to never let go. “Julia, you need to stop. I have to pack and get ready to go. I haven’t even eaten breakfast yet.” Ashton pleads his sister to release. “No! You cannot go! I will not let you go!” Julia replies as grouchy as she has always been in the mornings. Ashton quickly grasps her wrist and pulls her off in the matter of seconds. She has forgotten how much stronger he was than herself. Ashton begins to walk into the kitchen when he sees something in the corner of his eye. It moves fast. So fast that all he can make out of it is the black shadow it leaves behind. He twists his head in search for the mystery. He fails to find this shadow, and becomes oddly cold and filled with doubt. Worst of all, he fears what the shadow could be.