The Twelfth Knight

Roscoe sat on his bed, absentmindedly running his whetstone down the length of his sword. It seemed like all he did lately. Well, that and all the training exercises. The last time he saw any real action was years ago, when a group of sparkly vampires had taken over the Kingdom. The First Knight had defeated the threat, and, along with the Jester, made everything right in the Kingdom again.

Nowadays, the only thing that happened in the Kingdom were bar fights, and the local constables handled those. The Queen and the Jester were beloved by the people, so there weren’t any internal issues of Kingdom security. No external threats had made themselves known either. Or, if there were, they never made it down to him.

Anything like that would go through the First Knight before anyone else. If he wanted the assignment, he’d take it. If not, he’d hand it off to the next knight in line, who would decide whether or not to take it. And so on.

With how boring things had been in the Kingdom lately, even the most mundane assignments were being grabbed up long before they could get to him. That left him nothing but time to train and sharpen his sword. He may not need the weapon now, but that would change someday. Someday, the Kingdom would need his sword and his skills as sharp as they could be.

He was Roscoe, and he was the Twelfth Knight of the Kingdom.

A Thank You To All

As you know, Matticus and I just finished up a story in which we saved his Kingdom from sparkly vampires. Along the way, we ran into many of our fellow bloggers. These are all amazing people. Not only did they make the writing process fun, they were also very good sports about the whole thing.

There are a few of our fellow bloggers who we would like to give extra special thanks to:

First and foremost, we’d like to thank Goldfish for agreeing to be our villain. Every good story needs a good villain, and you were the best, my fishy friend.

We’d also like to give thanks to Faithhopechocolate, who took the time to write her own story about the happenings in the Kingdom. Your adventure is a welcome addition to the Kingdom’s legends.

Last in this category, but certainly not least, is another blogger who was awesome enough to play our other big villain: Jaded. You certainly kept us on our toes, my dear.

Next, we’d like to thank all of the bloggers who were gracious enough to take part in our silliness. Our story wouldn’t have been the same without the  33 grams of awesome provided by (in order of appearance):

Finally, we’d like to thank everyone who read our story. A story, no matter how good, is nothing without an audience, and you are the best audience a couple of silly kingdom savers could ask for. We really hope you enjoyed the story and wish for you to come back for our next project, whatever that may be.

Revis and Matticus Save The Kingdom Chapter 32

While Matticus had Goldfish distracted with his attack, Revis ran to retrieve his thrown daggers. Just as he closed his hand around the hilt of his second one, he heard Matticus cry out. He looked over in time to see the Jester slump to the ground. Whatever had happened between the two also threw Goldfish backwards.

She landed hard on her back, the air blasted from her lungs. Revis rushed towards her. He knew he had to get to her before she recovered and put her defenses back up. The Knight swung both daggers at her head, hilt first, hoping to knock the sorceress out.

By this time, Goldfish had regained enough of her wits to see the attacks coming and tried to block it. One dagger was deflected enough that it missed her head, although the blade did cut her arm. The other dagger’s hilt struck her just above the temple, but her blocking attempt had slowed the strike down enough that it didn’t render her unconscious.

Just as Revis had started swinging his daggers a second time, the sorceress spoke a word that sounded like gibberish to the Knight. Suddenly, he was flung away from her by some unseen force. He hit the floor just before he hit the wall and managed to roll enough to avoid some of the damage.

The two combatants rose from the ground at the same time, eyeing each other all the way.

“You are no match for me, Knight,” Goldfish spat.  The pain in her head quickly faded away and the wound on her arm closed as her magic returned her to full health, and speaking the necessary words, she rose from the ground to hover menacingly over the Jester.  “Together, you might have managed to get the better of me.  Alone you have no chance.  Give up now and I’ll let your family live.”

Revis seethed, but said nothing.  His eyes darted around the room looking for something, anything, he could use to his advantage.  He needed to find a weakness in her defenses.  He needed another distraction to catch her off guard so he could strike again.  But, his rational thoughts were fading as anger at the threat to his family slowly consumed him.

Time was running short.  He knew that Goldfish was probably already working on casting the spell that would either take his or Matticus’ life.  Thinking of the Jester he let his eyes fall to where Matticus lay on the ground, where he was surprised to see the Jester’s eyes open.  When their gazes met, Matticus winked at him, and Revis found his smile.  His anger cooled and his mind cleared.

“I think I’m more than capable of defeating you, merwitch.”

“Let’s put that claim to the test,” she laughed. Without taking her eyes off of Revis, she waved her hand in the Jester’s direction. Matticus slowly began to rise off the ground. After he was levitating a couple of feet in the air, Goldfish snapped her hand towards the doorway. The Jester flew out into the hall, the doors closing behind him.

Once his feet were on solid ground again, Matticus ran to the door. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t get the doors to budge. Cursing, he turned around, trying to figure out a way to get back into the room.

As he did, the Jester saw that he was not the only one that the sorceress threw out into the hall. Jaded was right in front of him. She was awake now, and, from the look on her face, she was very angry.

“When I first started helping Goldfish,” Jaded began, “I was only doing it because she told me to. Now that I’ve tasted some of the power she wields, I refuse to go back to the way it was. If you want your Kingdom back, you’ll have to take it from me. And, this time, you don’t have your Knight to save you.”

Matticus drew his sword, spoke the words to spark its flame to life, and replied coolly, “And you don’t have the sorceress protecting you this time either.  You are no longer a vampire.  You are mortal.  I am not as clueless as I usually appear.  Do you think the Queen would have married me otherwise?  Do you think the people of the Kingdom would have put up with me if I was nothing but silliness all the time?  Think on that very carefully, Jaded.”

In response she snarled and glared, but she knew that the menace behind those actions was gone.  She lacked the strength of her prior vampire self.  Her fangs no longer held any threat or power.  The realization that she probably she turn and walk away incensed her into action.  In blind fury she rushed the Jester, her hands reaching for his neck, wanting to tear him limb from limb like she could have done easily before the Knight’s potion “cured” her.

The Jester saw her coming and had plenty of time to end her, but he took pity on her instead.  He knew that they had changed her life irrevocably.  They hadn’t meant to, and she might have deserved some sort of punishment for her role in the plot to overthrow the kingdom, but he wasn’t sure taking her life was the right thing to do.  As she reached him, Matticus sidestepped and used his right boot to trip Jaded.  Her momentum sent her sprawling head first into the magically locked door, once again, knocking her unconscious.

Time was not on his side. He knew he needed to act quickly. Looking around, he tried to find something to tie Jaded up with. They couldn’t afford for her to keep causing them problems. After extinguishing the blade, he used his sword to cut strips out of a nearby rug. It was one he had never liked anyways, so he didn’t feel too bad about it when he used the strips to bind Jaded’s hands and feet together. Then, remembering that Goldfish had said that Jaded possessed magic items, he took all of the jewelry off her and stuffed it into one of his pouches.

Now, all he had to do was find a way back into the throne room. All of the doors were magically locked, but there was still one hope. Right after his wedding to the Queen, she had shown him a secret passageway that connected to it. She had shown it to him in case they were ever attacked there. It was meant to be used as an escape tunnel. He was using it invade the room.

Matticus ran down the hallway that would take him to the secret passage. Because he was rushing, he neglected to keep his noise to a minimum. It ended up almost costing him when two sparkly vampire guards came around a corner in front of him.  They were poorly trained as swordsmen, however, and the Jester cut them down so quickly that he barely had to break stride. Making his way through corridors that only he and his wife knew, he quickly came to the doorway that led to his destination. First, he uncovered an eyehole and looked to see what was happening in the room.

From what he could see, it appeared that Goldfish and Revis had yet to start fighting.  She remained hovering by the throne and the knight hadn’t moved either.  They seemed to be waiting for the other to make the first move and perhaps be open for a counter-attack.  Beads of sweat appeared on both their brows as the seconds passed.  It was look on his Knight’s face that finally clued Matticus in to the reality that the fighting had already begun.  Goldfish must have engaged Revis in some sort of mental battle and the Knight was slowly losing.  His features were growing pained.  His face had drained of color.

As quietly, and as quickly as he could, the Jester eased open the hidden doorway and slipped into the throne room.  He needed to sneak up behind Goldfish and knock her unconscious before she noticed him.  He hoped that Revis could hold out long enough for him to cross the space.  He took his first step into the room, the sorceresses eyes snapped onto him with red rage, and Revis cried out in pain.

Revis and Matticus Save the Kingdom Chapter 28

After they had spent precious time with their families, Matticus and Revis got back to work. They went over everything they had learned about what had happened while they were gone. Then, they went over it again. What they had learned was not much.

Jaded, and her sorcerer, had led an army of sparkly vampires to the castle. Without the leadership of the First Knight, the rest of the Kingdom’s warriors weren’t prepared to deal with the invaders. They put up a valiant defense, but were overmatched in the end. The Queen and Prince were flown out by Rara right before the castle fell.

Since then, the sparkly vampires had been slowly building up their numbers. Publically, the vampires had only replaced the army, and local law enforcement, with their own. Behind the scenes, however, they were moving their army around. When Grayson showed Revis a map showing where the vampires were repositioning their troops, he could only scratch his head. The movements made no sense at all.

“This is ridiculous,” Revis spat. “There is no reason at all to move soldiers to these locations.”

“What do we do,” Matticus asked.

Revis thought about it for a minute before answering. “The smart thing to do would be to figure out what she’s doing before we make any moves,” Revis began. “But, since this has taken way longer than it should, I say we just go confront Jaded and get this over with.”

“Direct assault?  Small chance of success?  Almost certain to mean our death?  What are we waiting for?” Matticus sarcastically rolled his eyes.

“That sounds familiar, did you steal that from a movie?”

“What’s a “movie?”

“Never mind, it doesn’t matter,” Revis sighed, exasperated, “Do you have any better ideas your Jesterness?”

Matticus slid his gaze over the map, studying the troop placements again, racking his brain to find some connection, some small clue, that made it all fit together into something that made sense.  But, in the end, he shook his head in defeat.  Either the vampires had no idea how to stratigcally place troops to run a kingdom or they were smarter than he cared to admit.

“Nope, you are right.  It’s time we finish this madness.  Let’s track down Jaded again, get her to divulge the whereabouts of the sorcerer and the details of their plan.  And then…”

Revis raised an eyebrow.

“Oh, sorry,” Matticus continued, “I should have finished that with a question mark.  And then…?  What are we going to do once we have all the information?  Neither of us can fight a sorcerer on our own.  We are going to need some help, right?”

“We already have your two friends and two dragons. How much more help do you think we’re going to need?”

“But….”

“Nonsense, Jester. We’ve got this covered.”

Matticus wanted to protest further, but Revis began going over the details of his plan. The more he listened to his Knight, the less he worried. Although, he still thought that they needed more people than they had. An army to help them defeat the vampires wasn’t going to appear out of nowhere, however.

Once he was finished going over his plan, Revis looked at each person, in turn, to make sure they understood their part in the upcoming attack. Deb, Dani, Grayson, and Rara all nodded their heads when it got to be their turn. Finally, it got to Matticus. He still wasn’t completely convinced that this was going to work, but they really didn’t have much of a choice at this point. His head nodded, as well.

With a nod of his own, Revis produced the ink bottle that made portals. He used the brush to cover the entire wall in front of them. Matticus was going to ask why he used so much of the ink, but then he realized that the dragons wouldn’t fit through the portal if Revis made the portal smaller. As soon as his Knight was finished, Matticus jumped through the portal, if only so Revis wouldn’t push him through again.

The laughter at his own cleverness died on his lips, though, as the Jester felt himself come through the other side but was immediately blinded by the thickest darkness he had ever encountered.  He waved his hand in front of his face, but couldn’t see it.  He rubbed his eyes and blinked to see if there was something covering his face, but there wasn’t.  He knew he should move to keep from getting knocked over by the rest of the group when they came through, but without knowing what was in front of him, he wasn’t sure if he should risk it.

The thought of having traveled so far just to be trampled by either Rara or Grayson got his feet moving and he shuffled forward until his right boot caught on something and he fell forward with a grunt and a groan.  On his hands and knees, with what felt and tasted like dust swirling around his head, he yelled a warning over his shoulder, “Careful, something isn’t right here!”

A moment later he heard one of his companions come through the portal behind him and also call out in surprise and alarm.  Matticus shuffled forward in the dirt to make as much room as he could.

Revis was the last one through. He knew that the ink worked by transporting whoever walked through the portal to wherever they wanted to go. That meant that the dragons were going to be coming out somewhere else. The warning that Matticus had called out had come through the portal all garbled, so Revis didn’t know what he had said. It wasn’t until he felt the cold steel of a blade against his throat that he knew something besides the darkness was out of place.

“And who might you be,” the Knight asked his unseen assailant.

A voice from the darkness answered, “I am your worst nightmare.”

“No. Waking up without my penis is my worst nightmare.”

“OK, fine. Maybe I’m not your worst nightmare, but I am quite up there.”

While the assailant was talking, Revis was trying to think of a way out of his predicament. If there was light, he’d just turn himself invisible and use the confusion that created to get out. In the dark, however, that advantage was negated.  The Knight realized his best hope was to keep his would-be captor talking to give Matticus an opportunity to come to his rescue, so he quickly replied, “You aren’t my second worst nightmare either, that would be to lose my family.  And I’ve been living my third worst nightmare, spending weeks on end on the road with only the Jester for company.  So, really, where does that leave you?”

“Quit your yammering, Revis, or I’ll…”

Despite feeling the blade press more tightly against his throat, Revis cut off his attacker’s response, “Nowhere, if you think about it.  I mean, I’m already experienced my third worst nightmare, and you aren’t anywhere near that, so why don’t you ease up out of my face before something bad happens to you.”

“How dare you…  How can you possibly threaten me when I could kill you with a flick of my wrist?”

Despite the darkness, Revis shrugged, “If you were going to kill me, you would have already done it.”

The assailant began laughing, “Oh, no, poor misguided Knight, so confident in your abilities and your worth, all of this was just a distraction.  We are the bait to draw Matticus out, and once he is captured, I will kill you.”

 

Revis and Matticus Save the Kingdom, Chapter 26

“Attack?”  Steph’s eyes went wide with fear, “That can’t be!”

“The vampires must have gotten wise to the disappearing populace,” Revis replied.  “They probably sent out patrols to see if there were any groups camping outside the city walls.  That’s what I would have done.”

Steph shot Revis a death glare.

“What’s the plan,” Matticus whispered, trying to bring the focus back on their current problem.  “We have to go to their aide, right?”

Steph’s eyes went even wider.  She hadn’t ever considered leaving the small community she had been helping to build to their fate.  It troubled her greatly that such an idea would even be a consideration.  Her discomfort grew with each passing second it took the Knight to respond.

With a sigh, Revis shook himself out of his revelry and addressed Steph and Matticus.  “I’ll use my ring to get close to the camp and see what the situation is.  If there is a chance we can save what’s left I’ll come up with a plan and we can spring into action.  But…”

“There is no ‘but,'” Steph interjected firmly.  “We will help them.  Go ahead and see what you need to see, that’s fine.  I expect you to come up with a plan, though.  The First Knight needs to live up to his title right now.”

A look of profound sadness crossed his face as he replied, “I will do anything I can to rescue as many of them as possible, but I will not risk losing our chance to save the entire Kingdom in order to save a couple of people. I can’t jeopardize the lives of the many for the sake of the few. The job of First Knight is to serve the greater good. Sometimes that means making decisions that break your heart, but they have to be made anyways.”

Before she could offer a rebuttal, he turned himself invisible and started walking towards the camp. Steph debated telling Matticus her argument, but decided it could wait until Revis returned. The two of them waited in silence for  a number of minutes. Matticus managed to keep himself from jumping when the sounds of screaming came from the direction Revis walked. He put his hand on his sword, intending to go see what was happening.

“Don’t,” Steph advised, grabbing ahold of his shoulder. “You may cause more problems than you’d solve by going there.”

Out of the darkness, a woman came running. “Faithhopechocolate,” Steph exclaimed. “What happened?”

“No time,” the woman cried. “He needs your help.”

As Matticus and Steph hastened to follow Faithhopechocolate, the Jester was struck by the woman’s appearance.  She was wearing the stylings of the Order of the Holy Paraclete.  He had heard of the order but, as this was the first time he had ever met one of the sisters, he had presumed their numbers had dwindled away to nothing.

Her life of servitude had left her extremely strong and despite the stringency of her robes keeping her strides to a minimum, Matticus and Steph struggled to keep up with her.  The Jester was impressed.  He found her name very striking too.  Faith, hope, and chocolate, were three of his favorite things.

He knew he should be worried about his Knight, but Revis had managed to survive more than one harrowing situation in the past, it was one of the reasons Matticus had made him First Knight.  Beyond his loyalty to the kingdom, the man had an uncanny ability to find a way out of the worst scraps.  Plus, he had all those wonderful toys and tricks.  As much as he complained that he wanted to know where Revis had acquired everything he had stowed in his pack, Matticus trusted his Knight implicitly.

The closer they got to the camp, the thicker the smoke became. When they arrived, they found that there was a very large bonfire in the center of the camp, but the structures remained unharmed. From the other side of the fire, Revis stumbled into view. He fell to his knees, wobbled for a second, then finished his face-first fall to the ground.

Matticus and Steph rushed to his side. They rolled him onto his back. The entire front of his armor was covered with blood. His breathing was extremely rapid and his eyes were closed. “You better not die saving my people,” Steph muttered before turning to Faithhopechocolate and asking her questions.

The corner of Revis’ mouth turned up in the start of a smile, but it vanished so quickly that the Jester wasn’t sure whether or not he actually saw it. Deciding that he did, Matticus cuffed the side of his Knight’s head. “You jerk,” he yelled. “I was really worried about you.”

“Sorry,” Revis apologized, opening his eyes. Ignoring the look of pure hatred he was receiving from Steph, he continued, “I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of getting Steph back. You just happened to be collateral damage.”

“What actually happened here?”

“I really did smell oil burning, but it was from this bonfire, not the buildings. They made it to burn the bodies of all the sparkly vampires they’ve killed. I just helped them put a couple in there. That’s where the blood came from.”

“Who protected them?” After Revis pointed at Faithhopechocolate, Matticus asked in disbelief, “You killed all of them?”

“Vampires don’t like crosses,” she explained.

“You just showed them crosses?”

“No, I hit them over the head with one.”

The Jester looked from Faithhopechocolate to Revis and back again, and then rolled his head back and belly laughed harder than he had in a long time.  Steph was not amused, but the Jester’s laughter was infectious and Revis joined in.  Sputtering between laughs, Matticus stated, “That must be one heck of a cross!”

Faithhopechocolate’s eyes beamed with love, “You better believe it!”

Steph stamped her foot in frustration, trying to snap the three of them out of their frivolity, “This is serious, though, if the vampires have sent out patrolling bands this far from the city, they must have known they were supposed to be looking for something, and when those patrols don’t make it back, they will send a larger force expecting trouble.  Well armed.  Prepared for whatever we can throw at them.”

The weight of Steph’s words couldn’t dampen the Jester’s mirth, he just kept picture sparkly vampire after sparkly vampire getting bashed over the head by a whole myriad of crosses.  In the back of his mind he made a mental note to make sure that some sort of weaponized cross was added to the armory when he made it home.

Revis had stopped laughing at that point. “Look, Steph,” he said, “you and Faithhopechocolate need to tell the people here to start getting everything ready for a road trip. They’re coming with us to Long Beach.”

“What about the people still left in Bruges,” Steph countered.

“I’m afraid they’re on their own for now.” Before Steph could argue any further, Revis continued, “I don’t like it any more than you do, but we can’t do anything for them.”

Reluctantly, Steph walked off to start giving orders to those in the camp. Matticus and Revis began refilling their own supplies, filling up on water and food. Halfway through their chore, a shout came from the outskirts of the camp. It was followed by another a few seconds later. The two men slumped their shoulders and shook their heads. They knew what was happening before Steph ran up to tell them.

“They’re attacking now,” she exclaimed. Revis and Matticus began reaching for their weapons. “No,” Steph stopped them. “You were right. You have bigger things to do. You two go. We’ll hold them off so you can get to Long Beach and stop these sparkly bastards for good.”

Matticus wanted to protest, but couldn’t. Revis had grabbed him and was pulling him away from the fight.

Revis and Matticus Save The Kingdom, Chapter 22

Matticus tried to scream, but he had no mouth, and there was no air to carry the sound waves anyway.  Next to him, he saw that Revis had turned into a whale, and for some reason he thought that was weirder than his own predicament: he had turned into a potted plant.  He tried to laugh, but when nothing happened he remembered he had no mouth.

He did, however, notice that they were falling at a great rate of speed, and the world they were approaching was getting larger and larger.  As he began to feel the air rushing through his leaves he realized he could scream if he had a mouth, and was actually thankful he was a plant so he couldn’t hear the terror in his voice.  The whale thrashing around next time was making plenty of noice for both of them as it was.

As the air grew thicker he could feel the heat of the friction starting to singe his leaves, the pain started to border on intense.  And then, at a probability factor of 1 to 1.25 million to the twelfth degree, Matticus and Revis were returned to their bodies and safely transported back to the kingdom.  As the world around them righted itself, they thought they heard a monotone voice talking about an infinite improability drive going offline, but since they had no idea what that meant they assumed they’d misheard.

The prison cell looked exactly as it had when they left, except there was no sign of Jaded. Matticus pulled on the door, but it was locked. His Knight still had the key, so getting out was not a problem. They made their way out, getting only slightly lost now that Jaded wasn’t here to lead them around the castle.

While they were searching the castle, they noticed something strange. A fine layer of dust had settled over everything. Nobody had been here in some time. “How long were we bouncing around in between universes,” Matticus wondered aloud.

Revis ignored him, looking out for any traps that Jaded may have left for them on her way out. They made it to the hole that Grayson had made without incident. Judging from the position of the sun, it was around noon. The two men spent the rest of the day revisiting all of the other locations they had been to on the island. All of them were deserted as well.

“I hate to say it,” Revis began.

“Then don’t,” Matticus pleaded. “Please, don’t say it.”

With a shake of his head, the Knight finished his thought anyways. “We’ve got to go back to Bruges.”

“I told you not to say it!”

“Sorry.”

“You better be…  Do you still have the map?”

Revis unslung his pack and dug through it until, with a triumphant grunt, he pulled out the map that Ruta had given them back in Tuscon.  Unfurling it, carefully so its worn edges and fraying sections would remain intact, the two men studied it and discussed possibly routes until they had settled on the fastest of the paths least likely to result in their deaths.

As Revis placed the map back in his pack, Matticus mused, “Though, couldn’t you just use your whistle to ask if Rara or Grayson could transport us there?”

Revis thought about it and then shook his head, “No, I don’t want to call upon them unless we absolutely have to.”

Matticus frowned, and dug his toe into the dusty trail.  “I think it might be wise to talk to someone we can trust before we head into Bruges again.”

Looking up and around at the scenery, he continued, “It’s obvious some time has passed since we imprisoned Jaded here, we have no idea what we will find in the city.  We have no idea what this world is like anymore.”

“That’s a disturbing thought,” Revis quipped. “The problem with finding someone we trust to talk to first is that we’ll have to pass Bruges up to do that. Bruges is directly across the sea from us. We may not have time to go someplace new and then head back to Bruges. We should probably just go into the city and find out for ourselves. Either way, we’ll have to find a boat before we can go anywhere.”

They looked around the dock, but there were no boats in sight. Revis and Matticus walked further up the beach, looking for anything they could use to sail back to Bruges. An hour into their trek, they found a small cove containing a two man vessel.

There were two people on board, a man and a woman. The man, who was a sparkly vampire, had the woman tied up. Revis was about to signal to Matticus what they should do when the woman spoke. “This is what I get for picking a man without a beard,” she muttered.

“Shut up,” the vampire commanded.

“Do vampires have movements? Are your movements smooth? Do you have to push them out?”

“Shut up!”

As the captive continued to goad the vampire, Matticus and Revis crept down to the small dock the vessel was moored to.  With a silent prayer that it would work, Revis activated his ring, and both he and Matticus were relieved when he successfully disappeared from view.  As the knight did his best to stealthily board the small craft, Matticus went into action to distract the sparkly vampire.

“Hey, excuse me,” Matticus started, interrupting the heated exchange between the vampire and the woman.  Trying to play dumb, something that didn’t come naturally to the Jester, he continued, “Would you be able to help me?  I’m lost and trying to find my way to Bruges.”

“Get out of here,” the vampire growled menacingly, only throwing a minor glance in the direction of the Jester before turning his full attention back to the lady.

“So, you can’t help me then?” Matticus queried innocently.

The vampire, in a rage, whipped around and prepared to lunge at the Jester.  The speed of the attack caught Matticus off guard and he stumbled backwards, tripping over his own feet, and fell to the ground.  He fumbled for his sword, but he was too slow, the vampire would be on him before he could properly defend himself.

Luckily, Revis had made it into position, and two daggers suddenly sprouted from the vampires chest, then disappeared as the beast grunted in pain and surprise.  A moment later its head splashed into the water next to the boat, and its body crumbled to the deck.

Matticus untied the woman. “Are you ok,” he asked.

“I’m fine.”

“What about your movements,” Revis asked. “Are they regular?”

The woman answered excitedly. Matticus stared at the pair in confusion as they talked about their bowel movements for many minutes. “Uhh,” the Jester interrupted, “we’ve got things to do, Revis.”

“Wait a minute,” she shouted. “You’re Revis? And you’re Matticus!”

“Uhh….yeah. Who are you?”

“I’m Miss Four Eyes, but that’s not important. They told everyone that you were dead.”

“Who told everyone that?”

“Jaded and her mysterious sorcerer. They told the Kingdom that you two were dead when they took it over two months ago.”

“We’ve been gone for two months,” Revis muttered, shaking his head.

“I don’t care how long we’ve been gone,” Matticus yelled, grabbing Miss Four Eyes’ arm. “What happened to my family?”

revis and matticus save the kingdom chapter 4

It took them a couple of days, but Revis and Matticus finally had the city of Bruges in sight. Matticus resisted the urge to jump up and down. That would be undignified, after all. He looked over and saw that Revis was deep in thought. Well, either that, or he had gas. It was hard to tell sometimes.

“Something on your mind,” the Jester asked.

“I’m trying to decide whether or not we should go in through the city gate, or sneak our way into the city.”

“Why wouldn’t we go in through the city gate?”

“We’re well known throughout the kingdom. If something out of the ordinary is going on around here, they’ll stop once word of our arrival spreads.”

Matticus thought it over for a minute. “True,” he replied, “but if we show ourselves openly, the sparkly vampires might panic. That could lead to them making mistakes.”

With a shrug, Revis began leading the way to the front gate. When they arrived, they found that their way was blocked by a city guardsman. “I am the Gatekeeper. El Guapo is my name.”

Matticus was about to reply when Revis leaned in towards him. “Watch out,” his First Knight cautioned. “He’s a sparkly vampire.”

Surprised, Matticus took another look at the Gatekeeper, but still couldn’t see anything sparkly about him.  That could have been because El Guapo was covered from head to toe in armor, with a very thick plate around his neck, or that could have been because Matticus still wasn’t sure he knew what he was supposed to be looking for.  Unsure of how to proceed he looked back to his knight, giving him leeway to take charge of the situation.  That was, after all, the benefit of having a trusted knight.

It’s good to be the king, Jester or otherwise.

Revis stepped forward, his body twisted slightly to hide that his right hand was on the pommel of his sword, and addressed the Gatekeeper, “We are travel wary and in seek of an inn for the evening, can we seek shelter within your city?”

Emotionless, El Guapo replied, “Only the Keymaster can pass.”

“What?”

“We have no vacancies here.  Move along.”

“But there is nowhere else to go.  Surely there must be somewhere we can rest our heads?”

Engrossed in the conversation, and still trying to figure out what was sparkly about the Gatekeeper, Matticus nearly missed Revis begin to pull his sword from it’s sheath. “I said move along,” El Guapo raised his voice. “We do not tolerate foolishness around here.”

“Not even on Friday?”

El Guapo pulled out his sword, turning towards Matticus. The Jester looked to Revis, but found that he had disappeared again. He knew that his knight was probably sneaking up behind the Gatekeeper. All he had to do was keep the vampire occupied until Revis got a chance to strike.

Yanking his sword out of his sheath, Matticus barely got it out in time to deflect the first blow. By the time El Guapo swung again, Matticus had his feet under him. He blocked it easily and fell into a defensive stance. Next, the vampire swung his sword in an overhand chop. It was a fairly simple attack, so Matticus set up the standard parry. Unfortunately for the Jester, the vampire, who has enhanced strength, was holding back on the first two strikes. Adding in additional power to this attack knocked the sword out of Matticus’ hand.

“Any time, now,” Matticus shouted as he backed away from El Guapo.

As the vampire raised his sword for a final swing at the Jester, his helmet went flying away. A look of horror crossed its features right before its head rolled off its shoulders, making a wet thud on the ground as it landed.

“What took you so long?” Matticus fumed, as Revis became visible again.  His knight grinned but made no reply.  The Jester shook his head and retrieved his sword.  “Serves me right, I guess, I still have a lot to learn about these annoying sparkly vampires.”

Revis’ grin turned into a genuine smile, “It’s better to have learned that particular lesson, they are crafty and they are strong, when I was here to support you, was it not?”

Matticus nodded in agreement and then turned his gaze back to Bruges.  “The way is no longer blocked, should we proceed?”

Revis joined his companion in looking beyond the city gate to the shadows of the dark corridors and canals that dominated Bruges.  There would be many secret place hidden within the nooks and crannies of the city, many places for dark deeds to be carried out without worries of the screams being heard.  The Knight frowned.

“Let’s get rid of El Guapo’s body first, and then we will head in and see what we can find.  Be on your guard, though, this city is an evil place.”

After depositing the body, and head, into the nearest alley, the duo made their way through the streets of Bruges. As they walked, Matticus remembered why they didn’t want to come here in the first place. The city was full of nothing except really old buildings. None of them were in bad condition, but with no modern buildings, it meant that there was nothing to do in Bruges. Since there was nothing to do in Bruges, they had no idea where to start their investigation. Figuring any place was as good as the next, they went into the first bar they came to.

Most bars are loud, with at least a couple of patrons that were boisterous. They were filled with people drinking, laughing, and having a good time. The bar they entered in Bruges was not like that. It was more like a library than a bar. People were drinking, but they were doing so in a calm, orderly fashion.

“I don’t like this place,” Matticus whispered. “It’s almost as if we stepped into a different dimension when we entered through the scary door.”

“Keep your guard up. I can see at least three sparkly vampires in this crowd.”

“What?  Really?  Okay, this is getting ridiculous.  I know I’m blind and all, but what am I not seeing?”

Revis chuckled under his breath, “You’re trying too hard perhaps.  You are looking for the obvious and missing the subtle clues.”

“Okay, give me an example.”

“Look down the length of the bar, don’t focus on the patrons, but look them over in a glance and tell what you see.”

Matticus turned his head and quickly took in the myriad of customers sitting at the bar and then returned to conversation with his companion.  “Six men, all armed, some well dressed, others barely out of rags, a good mix of height, weights and builds.”

“Good, now look again but tell me instead about the light around each of them.”

Scoffing, not really sure he understood the request, Matticus looked back and his eyes went wide when he saw a definite increase in the light around the third man down.  “The light around him is different?”

“His skin is glowing, sparkling.”

Matticus and Revis turned to look again and found the vampire looking directly back at them.  His mouth opened in a sneer, exposing two elongated fangs, and he stood and shoved his bar stool out of the way.  It went crashing into a nearby table, upsetting the quiet about the place.

“Well, at least it feels more like a bar now,” Matticus said as he stood and unsheathed his sword.

Revis joined the Jester, and only managed to utter, “Crap,” before they were met in battle by the sparkly beast.