A good knight follows the rule of his king....a good knight protects his king...a good knight follows the orders of his superiors...a good knight protects the weak and innocent....when a knight's king is a tyrant...a choice must be made.
'Nana I want a story!' yelled the small boy between his plush goose feather bedcovers with a huge smile on his face as he snuggled himself deeper into them until eventually only his head remained out in the open air.
'You heard a story yesterday Sweetling, sleep now my knight.' Nan said as she poured the last of the coals into his bed warmer, shutting the copper lid with a clang before walking over to his bed.
'But I'm not tired yet! Just one Nana!' he protested as she pushed the warmer under the first matress at the end of the bed, she knew she couldn't burn the little one...but she just wanted to be sure, just in case.
'My knight you've heard everyone of my stories a million times and a million times again,' she said with a smile as she leaned over him to tuck the covers around him. His eyes never left her. Such beautiful eyes. She thought as she smiled down at him. 'Sleep my knight, you've got a busy day tomorrow.' Kissing him on the forehead she felt the heat emitted from the small boy through her lips. He truly does have a fire inside him. As she finished her duties in his grand bedchambers Nan shut the curtains, cutting them off from the rest of the castle. The fire dead the only light came from the two small candles at his bedside. 'Goodnight my lord.' she said to the small boy.
'Please Nana! There has to be one story you haven't told me!' he pleaded as her hand hit the cast iron door handle. She couldn't...the king would have her head on a pike...He calls you Nana! He loves you like family! A part of her shouted. I suppose...I'm his only family. If he should hear it, let it be from me. Bugger the king.
Pulling open the door the serving girl outside darted to her feet, plain gray dress flapping noisily with the effort. 'Alaina take your leave,' from a purse hidden well in the folds of her dress she took out a silver penny. 'Get yourself a nice drink.'
'Yes my lady, thank you my lady.' she took the coin with a curtsey before striding off excitedly down the dark stone hallway. Caitlin followed her keenly with her eyes until the small girl was swallowed by the darkness, her footsteps echoing back to her, sure they wouldn't be heard she shut the door and twisted the small lock with a click.
'Alright my knight, a story,' she smiled to the small boy as she laid next to him on his bed, he lifted her arm placing it around his shoulders, resting his head onto her chest. She smiled and hugged him close. 'But listen to me my knight,' she dropped her voice to a whisper. 'This must remain our little secret; no one must know that you heard this story, yes?'
'OK Nana.' he said with a stiff nod.
'Good,' I forgot what it was like to have a child. All of Caitlin's sons were men grown, all soldiers, all dead in the name of their king. Such a waste. After their deaths she had joined the Matriarchs. Hoping to do good works in the names of the Gods, when the king had approached her with a child, demanding her to be its mother she had been scared. But her knight was growing; He'll be a good man! I won't let the king corrupt him...I won't.
'In an age countless millenia's past, lived a Dragon in human form. A god among mortals who commanded all he surveyed, A knight that the women said was the most handsomest man they had ever seen and the men that he was a warrior king without equals in all of the Nine Isles. But the Dragon Knight had no taste for kingship, he wanted not to rule...Instead he walked his kingdoms, looking for a woman he loved to take his seed and harbour his child. Because of his beauty women threw themselves at him where ever he tread, ready to give their lives to him and bare him a son. One day, he was gone...vanished,'
'Where did he go?' asked her knight with a curious bite to his words.
'No one knows child, nowhere in the Nine Isles that's for sure. Some say he took wing and lived in time with his dragon kin in order to find a bride, others that he walked around the world. Over Gods Spine and across the lands of the unknown east. But one hundred years later, he returned, still in search for his wife. Still as handsome and as young as the day he left. Upon his return here to Jade Isle he walked into the court of a powerful Lord who bent a knee to his one true king, but the Dragon Knight hadn't eyes for him.
'He had eyes for his eldest daughter, Valaria. A woman of such outstanding beauty the songs written for her still rouse the hearts of men to this day, she was such a beauty the Dragon Knight drew his sword and offered it to her. Stunned and awed she took it and soon the two were wed, their love strong enough to raise mountains from the oceans. After a month she was with child...but alas when their child was born it was still. Not a beat in its heart nor breath in its lungs. For that day they had brought something powerful into the world, not something of flesh and bone but of something much more powerful.
'The couple were sad for a time, but then their child came to them in a shared vision. The next morn they declared that their child had been born into the Nine Isles, that it would become a powerful warrior like the which rivalled that even of his father. But he would come when the Isles would need him most, with that...the couple left. Never to be seen or heard from ever again.' Caitlin said as the candles began to sputter in their fittings.
'What happened to them?'
'No one knows my knight, millennia passed, but their child came and came again. For that night of its birth they had birthed something magical into the land, a Phoenix. Offspring of man and dragon, the only one in the entire world. The Phoenix would chose boys or girls at birth, and they would become gods in their lifetimes. Serving the kingdoms honourably without bias or prejudice, honour and courage their only kings. They became the Phoenix Knight. Immune to the touch of cold or fire, smarter than any man, quicker, stronger too they were glorious sights to behold. But one hasn't been seen in the Nine Isles for nigh on four thousand years, some say because the last Phoenix Knight was killed by a blade of ice to the heart, and that killed the Phoenix within him. Tell me my knight has anyone told you how you were found?'
'No Nana, I've asked the king but he won't tell me...' No wonder, how do you tell a child that you murdered his city and kidnapped him.
'You were found by the king, he was in the Ice Islands trying to quell the rebellion that had started against his rule. So he galloped atop his warhorse, axe in hand at the head of his vanguard into the first city they found with rebel forces. Killing the vicious savages where ever they might be found, one savage ran from a building carrying a woman, running off into the ice lands. An arrow brought him down. When the king went to retrieve the woman he found her dead, neck broken in the fall...but then he heard a cry from the snow. And found you my knight, sinking into the snow as it melted around you quicker than if a fire was there. There are three ways to spot the Phoenix Knight...the first is that fire will not harm him, some old men speak he could actually control it with his will. The second is that no matter how the air might chill, cold wouldn't touch him. The third, his eyes. Golden as the crown of the Nine Isles,'
'Like mine Nana,' he said looking up at him, golden irises glinting in the sputtering candlelight, pupils as black as coals.
'Yes my knight...like yours. You are the Phoenix Knight Tywin, you're born of the Dragons...and I know you will grow to be strong and brave and courageous and be the greatest Phoenix Knight the kingdoms has ever seen.'
'Yes Nana, I'll try, for you.' he smiled. The candles went out, leaving them in pitch blackness.