First Five Pages

I would like to note that while I have gone threw this chapter myself no one else has before I posted this.  This itself is the first chapter of the book, it was originally five pages but now it is six.

Dear Alexander, son of Ethan, King of Parthi,

 

I am writing today to inform you that you have been accepted into the kingdom’s page school.  You are expected to arrive at the academy on June 1st.  Showing up late will be grounds for dismissal.  Your first classes will begin the following day.

Please read the bottom part of the letter for the list of things to bring.  If you have any questions feel free to ask any knight of the kingdom or send a raven back.

Either way we expect a raven from you no later than May 1st.  Enjoy your life as a page and best of luck to you.

 

Sincerely,

Lord Julius

Headmaster and Evaluator, Parthi Page School

 

As Alexander read the letter that had arrived for him via raven he realized he finally had what he wanted; his dad had requested that the kingdom’s page school take him on as a page and they had agreed.  He was about to take his first step on the path to becoming a knight.  Since Alexander was old enough to walk and talk he had wanted to become a knight, he feared that since he wasn’t truly royal blood he wouldn’t be allowed to become one.  He should have known all along that his father would never let his dream be crushed.

Alexander was King Ethan’s adopted son, an orphan found on the castle gates one morning twelve years ago.  No one knows why the king decided to take Alexander in but he did, naming him the heir to the throne if no one else was there to take it.    King Ethan had one son of his own who was fifteen years older than Alexander, who because he was older, took seniority in taking the throne.  That was fine by Alexander though, he wasn’t trying to become king just a knight so he could see the lands and help people.

The queen had died several years before the king had found Alexander at the castle gates.

Alexander was a tall and well-built for twelve.  He had long black hair that went midway down his back.  Alexander had been growing his hair out for a while.   His hair completely contrasted against his pale white skin.  Some people didn’t think that Alexander’s skin was natural.  Not many people in Parthi had light skin and dark hair.  Most had a mild tone skin from the summer sun and the years of having lived in the kingdom where agriculture was a big part of their life.  His bright blue eyes furthered that contrast and also furthered some people’s dislike of him.  King Ethan was a little below average height and had white hair and a white beard, his brown eyes were caring and showed compassion to all of his people.  Erith, King Ethan’s son and Alexander’s brother by adoption, was just a little bit taller than King Ethan and had blonde hair and a clean shaven face.  His brown eyes were nowhere near as strong as his father’s, but Alexander was pretty sure the look would come in time.  Erith had just finished page school and was starting his squireship but when he became a knight he would be assigned to the court and become King of Parthi when their father died.

The one group of people that Alexander felt most comfortable with was the servants and warriors.  No one knew where Alexander had come from and because of that most people didn’t consider him royalty.  This made his life in the castle unusual because he got to train with all sorts of warriors on how to fight, the king’s guard, city guard, and even foot soldiers from the army.

 

Alexander walked into the two floor stone building that was Parthi’s page school.  He had his bag on his back and his acceptance letter on his arm, he felt proud but he also felt nervous for he didn’t want to let his father down.  As he walked down the hall second and third year pages took steps to the side of the hallway.  Alexander did not even think Twice about the actions of the other pages, as part of the royal family he was used to such treatment wherever he went in the kingdom.

“Pages, Little Alexander here is another one of you after today.  Do not stand aside for him or give him any other special treatment that you would a member of the Royal Family.  It took his brother a bit of time to learn that so if he asks for special treatment, do not give it to him.”  A big booming voice that was moving towards him down the hall said.

A big bulky man in a black tabard with a red eagle on it walked up to Alexander.  The headmaster of the page school, Lord Julius, was so big that he took up most of the hallway; there was no way Alexander was going to be able to get passed him without talking to him.  It was questionable as to why he was still leading the page school.  Alexander had heard stories that Lord Julius could move extremely fast when he needed too.  Stories were something you heard a lot of from both people who had been to the page school and people that had attended it.  It was frowned upon in Parthi to talk about any specific training knights would get so instead when asked about the school knights and visitors would give stories about pranks, shenanigans or instructors.  Some of the stories were true, others were not.

“You Mr. Alexander are in room twenty-two.”  Julius said.  “You will be living with Page Kat.  Such a weird name for a boy.”

“Yes my lord.”  Alexander replied.

“Drop your bag off in there and meet the rest of your class in the dining hall.”

Alexander walked down the hall until he found a door with a twenty-two written on the chalkboard outside.  Every door looked the same as the next one. Alexander had heard that this was part of a training technique, if you made all of the rooms the same than no one person would feel any different from the person standing next to him.  That way every student at the school would feel like they were getting the same training.  From the way Lord Julius had talked to Alexander already he got the idea his training wasn’t going to be quite the same as everyone else’s.  He opened the door and found a boy all most the same height as him with long brown hair and deep green eyes.

“Hello, my name is Kat.”  Said the boy standing in the room as he held out his arm for an arm shake.

“Alexander.”  Alexander returned the arm shake.

“I know who you are Alexander.  I don’t think there is anyone at this school who doesn’t know who you are.  I hope you are ready to lose your hair.”  Kat said.

“I am ready.  I have been waiting to go to this school for as long as I remember.  If parting with my hair is what it takes I can do it.”

“Then let’s go.  Wouldn’t want to keep Lord Julius waiting, the way he seems to like you.”  Kat said, leading the way not knowing that after this point the two would be connected for the rest of their lives.

 

 

When they arrived at the dining hall Alexander and Kat were surrounded by the other 46 new pages.  Alexander attracted more than a few stares and by the looks on some of the faces he got the idea that he wasn’t quite welcome here.  His father had warned him that the other pages might not be happy because they had let someone who wasn’t really royal blood into the school.  At least as far as everyone knew, since Alexander didn’t know his father.  It was kind of ironic really because it just meant that Alexander would have to work harder to prove himself worthy of being knighted a protector of the kingdom.

A few of the older pages stood around, Alexander guessed the older pages were waiting for the same thing that they were, Lord Julius.  They didn’t have long to wait, not five minutes after they had arrived in the dining hall Lord Julius walked in with six other adults, all dressed in knights attire like Lord Julius but instead of gold belt buckle theirs were silver.  Indicating that they were only knights and not lords, in other words they didn’t own enough land to be given a second title on top of being a knight. This uniform was only for the school though, outside of the school knights wore what was appropriate for what they were doing and also what the knights of their own land had worn for years.  There is also a difference between owning land and standing to inherit land, many knight’s families owned land but they did not personally own land so they did not get the title of lord.

“Welcome to Knight School.  You are about to begin your life as a page.  For the next three years you will learn what it takes to be a knight.  Some of you will not make it.  For it will be a long and hard three years.  We want only those here who are suited to be knights, therefore suited to fight, lift, and run.”  Alexander could have sworn that Lord Julius looked right at him and that he heard Kat groan..  “You will learn to fight, plan, ride, and act like a Knight. You will also go through extreme physical conditioning so that you a ready to perform on the battle field and be able to lift your weapon in the first place.  You are to do as your seniors and teachers tell you.  Anyone in this room breaks the rules and I will hear about it, resulting in the rule breaker not being with us for that much longer.

“Now it’s time that you all looked like knights.  Those of you with long hair line up over there with Page Jeffery to get your hair cut.  The rest of you line up with Pages Kellen and Eli to get your clothes, arms, and armor.  All of your armor will be polished by you for your first year.  I expect you to know how to do it.  After that, polishing your armor is not a worry for a knight.  It is a worry for a knight’s servant to fret over.  Now go.”

Again Kat led the way and Alexander followed to the line where people with long hair were getting their hair cut.  Kat had a lot of energy and a smile that wouldn’t go away.  As Alexander’s hair was cut off he felt different, he had been growing his hair out for the last five years, losing it was almost like losing an arm.  Kat on the other hand appeared to be having no problem losing all of his hair.  At least he appeared to have no problem with it on the outside.

When Alexander was done getting his hair cut he went over to the pages handing out gear.  He was handed three white tabards, black belt, an ordinary sword, a bag of polish equipment, a set of chainmail, and a helmet.  Pages were not given plate armor until their second year, and the rest of the clothes they had brought themselves.  Pages were provided with gear that they would use while training at the page school.  At the end of page school they could decide to keep the gear if they wanted but if they did it would show poorly upon not only the knight but the family that the knight was a part of because it showed that the knight’s family could not afford anything better than gear that was used for years before the page who was taking it had been issued the gear.  The idea behind using a standard set of gear was the same as the idea behind having all of the rooms the same, it kept pages feeling equal.  Alexander walked back to his room.  According to the letter he had received training would not start until tomorrow, him and Kat would have some time to talk before classes started.  Alexander wanted to get to know his partner for the rest of his life as a page and beyond.

 

 

Kat was back in the room by the time Alexander got back.  The room was nothing special, there was a bed on either side with a curtain and on the wall opposite the entry there was a door to the washroom.  The washroom was just a toilet, wash basin and a tub to wash one’s self in.  The tub had to be filled by water from one of the servants when one of the pages requested it and had enough free time.  Twenty years ago the major cities had sewers installed that washed out twice a day by water reserves.  Rooms at the school were not made for comfort; they were made as places just to sleep.  Alexander found out exactly how much this was true when he lay back in the bed to test it and found it was almost rock hard.

As pages Alexander and Kat were expected to spend all of their free time studying or preparing their gear.  After laying out all of their gear and unpacking the boys went off to the dining hall for dinner.  Dinner at the dining hall was served mess hall style, trainees brought their plates up to a counter and the counter would give them meat, vegetables, and a piece of bread.  At first it looked like everyone was getting the same amount of food but then Alexander realized that some people were getting more food than others.  After taking a good hard look at all those he noticed getting more food he realized what they had in common, they were all from families that had more money.  If they were paying off the people who were handing off food why did they give Alexander such a hard time when he wasn’t paying anyone off and had every intention of participating fully in the school?  Alexander had no idea.

Once they had their food Alexander and Kat took seats at a table with a bunch of other first year pages.  Some of them gave Alexander dirty looks when they thought he wasn’t looking.  He hoped these looks would stop, it’s not like he wanted to be out of the normal.  He just wanted to become a knight.  Maybe once he had been a knight for a knight for a little while Alexander would look into making spots available in the school for people who were not of royal blood just so that others like him could get the same chance he was getting.

“Hello Pri… I mean hello Alexander.  My name is Philip, son of Killian Lord of Monistel.  I am in room twenty-three along with Kelly.  Don’t worry about the other pages, they are just jealous.”  Said a short boy with short blonde hair who didn’t seem to mind talking to Alexander.  His hair lacked the marks of the knight’s barber so he had had short hair before he had arrived at the school.

“Hello Philip.  This is Kat, my roommate.”

“Hello Kat.”  Philip said cheerfully.

“My brother said the first day is the worst so if we get through tomorrow we should all be good.”  Alexander said.

As they ate they talked about what they thought they should expect over the next several years as pages.  Together they decided that they would not let each other drop out.  They had all had some training on how to fight but Alexander had the luck of learning from the King’s personal guard.  Thinking about it that way Alexander did have some experience that most of the other pages didn’t.

 


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