The Broken Promise

This is a story I wrote in first year, so I can't promise it'll be good.
I think it's relatively entertaining though, even if the story is a bit basic and the setting is almost ignored...

                Ira sat on his bed, quietly humming an old country tune. He was reading about fighting techniques, and had just begun the part about sword combat when there was a loud knock on the heavy wooden door. He grunted and his younger sister Euphrasia crept in to his room. “Afternoon,” said Ira.

                “Afternoon,” replied Euphrasia. She looked at his book and grinned. “You learn by doing, Ira,” she said. Ira grinned; she was challenging him, and he knew he would win; he always won. He closed his book with a loud thud and jumped off of his bed.

                They sprinted to the cellar, grabbed their sturdy wooden practice swords and ran out to the orchard, which was warm and bright in the late afternoon sunshine. Euphrasia lunged at her brother and he dodged her.  He leapt out of her way when she tried to hit him again. “Give me a chance!” panted Euphrasia.

                “Your enemy wouldn’t give you a chance if you were in the army, would they?” said Ira, as he ducked to avoid a whack on the head with Euphrasia’s stick. He tried to jab her and succeeded, but she hissed a curse and cradled her left wrist in the opposite hand.

Ira dropped his sword and ran over to his little sister to see if she was hurt. He could see that she was trying not to cry, as she always did. He gently prised her fingers away from the wound and was surprised to see a ragged cut which was bleeding freely. She looked up to him with that defiant look she sometimes wore which said, “Back off, I’m fine,” but he ignored her warning look and gently led her to the kitchen, where he cleaned her cut with some water from the water pump and tied a clean strip of linen round it.

“I’m sorry,” said Ira apologetically. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. You know I’d never do that deliberately, I promise. You know that, right?” Euphrasia looked up and Ira saw that she knew.

He got up and went back to the orchard to collect the swords. He was on his way back to the farmhouse when he heard a faint rhythmic thudding. He went over to the road beside the orchard to see what was causing the noise.

 Ira gasped. Marching towards him was a huge army of elves, all in full battle gear, holding their longswords and carrying their impressive yew longbows on their backs. Ira stood there gaping as they marched by. Some of the elves looked at him, but none of them spoke, or even smiled. They just passed by and never looked back.

Ira grinned and ran back to the house, where he found Euphrasia waiting for him. “The elves-amazing! Wow-I…” he stuttered. Euphrasia scowled. “I need to join them. The army, I mean,” he said. 

Euphrasia snorted and looked him up and down. “You’re too young,” she said. Ira glared at her and went back to his room, slamming the door behind him. Euphrasia laughed at him and went back into the kitchen to make supper for her father, who would be returning from the city soon. 

Ira sat in his room, thinking over what Euphrasia said. “I’m not too young,” he thought defiantly. “I’ll join them; I don’t care what she says. She’s only fifteen, what does she know?” He lay on his bed, silently cursing her. He reassured himself with the fact that she was a girl and therefore knew nothing of combat. In time his anger wore off and he resumed reading his book.

Ira was momentarily distracted from his novel when the door slammed shut and he knew his father was home. He heard raised voices from the kitchen and knew that his father would be shouting at Euphrasia for not having his supper ready. Ira considered going out to help her, but he was still a little angry with her and decided to leave her to handle him herself.

A few minutes later -when the shouting had died down- he went out to get his supper and talk to his father. He went to the kitchen and sat down. Euphrasia plonked his supper on the table and he thanked her. She took her supper and sat at the far end of the table.

“Father…” began Ira timidly.

                “What is it boy?” thundered their father.

“I-er…I am going to join the elven army, father,” he said, with more confidence than he felt.

“I’ll take you to market with me tomorrow and you can go and join up,” said his father.

“Oh! Well-thank you father,” said Ira, astounded. His father got up and walked out of the kitchen happily. Ira was taken aback. Euphrasia looked at him sadly and sighed.

 “Why is there a war?” asked Euphrasia.

“You know very well why!” Ira said.

                “But why doesn’t the King give other creatures a chance? It would stop all of this fighting. Mother would have agreed with me.”

“Don’t mention Mother you little-” Ira stopped himself. “Illyrion has been ruled by elves since… Since… Since forever! It’s tradition. It shouldn’t be changed, I know that. Would you rather be ruled by pixies? Or humans?”

“Yes,” said Euphrasia. Ira stared at her in horror.

“That’s treason! You could be killed!” he hissed.

“Don’t care. Stuff tradition. Stuff the king!” she said. With that she stormed off to her room, leaving Ira to think how he could change her mind. He knew that she wouldn’t pledge her allegiance to the King if his soldiers came to inspect the house, and that could get her killed. He decided to sleep on it and went to bed, his mind whirring with worried thoughts.

The End

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