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#10536025 Jan 16, 2015 at 11:56 PM
3 Posts

Catherine Walker

The warm summer evening sun beamed down upon Catherine as she stood out on the stone balcony overlooking the sea. She leaned upon the railing which protected her from the hundred foot fall into the rocky depths below, peering out northwards into the distant ocean. A shame, she thought, that most wouldn’t see this phenomenon of nature. Its simple, splendid beauty shuttered by other facets of everyday life.

Her thoughts were interrupted by soft footsteps from behind her. She turned to see an elderly man dressed in fine clothes; Wilkes, her butler, “Madame, you have received a message regarding recent events in the heartland.” He was, of course, referring to the rumors speaking of the sacking of Sentinel Hill. A tragedy, really, that the king’s men would be slaughtered by mere rabble.

“Very well. I’ll see it at once.” He nodded, returning into the large balcony door that led into her cliffside manor on the northern cliffs of Westfall, only to come back moments later. He strode up to her and handed over a parchment with a seal she did not recognize. Catherine frowned, and delicately opened the note.

Addressed to Dame Catherine Walker,

Your influence in the northern country is not unknown, Dame Walker, and I’ve no doubt that you have heard of the recent happenings further south. I know not if you believe them, but know them to be true. Sentinel Hill has been taken by the people of Westfall under the King of the West, myself, Harold Brook. I write to you not as an enemy, but as a call for assistance. Yours is one of the few remaining holds left intact and functional in this battered country, and I implore you to join our cause to fight for our homeland, and not serve as subservients to lesser men. I merely beg for the reprieve for our people - they have suffered well enough in these times, and I seek not to further endanger the lives of our fellow countrymen.

I will put it simply - we need men and women able to contribute to the cause, and yours being the last of the northern holds would no doubt tip the scale greatly in our favour. Please write back as soon as you are able,

King Harold Brook

Catherine retained the frown on her face as she reread the letter twice again, making sure to absorb the contents. He can’t be serious - going to war against a kingdom, with only peasants and farmers? Why did the quality of life suddenly seem to plummet after her father’s death? Left to see to his lands and manor on her own, Catherine had struggled to maintain order in the area, though that wasn't necessarily an isolated issue.

With a sigh and furrowed brow, Catherine folded the note over to its previous state, and walked into the shade of her manor, stopping to hand the letter to Wilkes before striding upstairs into her apartments, where she gathered together parchment and quill, and proceeded to write:

Addressed to Harold Brook

I believe I undersand your concern for your people Harold Brook, and I sympathize with your goals and cause, though I cannot risk the welfare of my own family and citizens in yet another conflict. Many are still battered from the Northrend War years ago, and most are downtrodden and beaten in this age of poverty. I’m afraid I cannot contribute any soldiers or men to your war, for the majority of mine are concerned with maintaining order and peace in my lands, something your revolution has done nothing but conflict with.

Many a farmer and peasant have thoughts of rising up against not only the kingdom, but myself. It seems as though they seek to oppose any form of authority, even if it may not be their foe. You have my sympathy for your cause, but I can give no help.

Lady Catherine Walker

One Week Later…

A large knock on the massive front door of the manor caught Catherine’s attention. She stood up from her study and looked about, waiting for Wilkes to come announce the arrival of someone with grievances, but he did not come. She frowned and descended her large stone staircase, and walked to the door, where another knock followed.

Once she had opened the door, she was met with a man of average height with a calm, soft face tinged with unkempt facial hair. He was dressed in a dirty dark green tunic with brown trousers and boots, and had a fairly expensive looking sword strapped to his side. Catherine looked behind him to see an entourage of five other men clad in various armours and weapons, and a chill ran down her spine. I knew these revolutionaries were mere brutes. She closed her eyes for a split second, whispering a silent prayer to the Light before looking to their apparent leader,

“And who are you? The ‘King’s’ cutthroat sent to persuade me to his cause? Well, I’ve already written him my answer; and that is I cannot.” The man shined his blue eyes as he looked to Catherine, his face nearly transparent - she could not detect any emotion or hint of motive on it.

“You could say that. Or, you could say that I am the same man here to negotiate something of importance.” He flashed a friendly smile, and it seemed genuine enough.

“You’re the supposed King of the West I’ve heard stories about this past month?” She looked once again upon his clothes, taking in their apparent filth and lack of cleanliness, “That is something I do not care to believe.”

“Believe it or not, my Lady, it is true.” He dipped into a seemingly practiced bow, and Catherine, frown still in place, reluctantly curtsied, not so much out of etiquette as of fear of losing her head. Immediately following, the man tilted his head, “May I come in?”

Catherine had no reason to trust this man. After all, all he was known for was rallying a number of peasant folk and sacking an undermanned hold, but there was something about him that gave her slight ease, “You… may.”

“Have you experience with weaponry, my Lady?” What? Surely he can’t assume that I’ll be fighting alongside him with the rest of the men.

“I would certainly hope not. It is not a noblewoman’s place to do such things. Besides, I’ve been occupied with maintaining relative order in my lands, and have had no amount of spare time to devote to such things.” The man strode alongside her as she unknowingly led him to the balcony door.

“Well, you’ll have to learn if you’re to lead your men to victory.” Catherine would have guffawed if it wasn’t for years of practice maintaining a noble composure.

“Surely you can’t be serious, Harold Brook.” A large man following the two in the hallway, one of his lackeys who held a massive warhammer, grunted and said plainly,

“You will address him as King, for he is such.” Catherine looked back as Harold Brook replied to the man, “All is well, Marcus. We’ll have to be friendly to her if she’s to join us.” Marcus shrugged in obedience as the two continued their conversation out on the balcony.

Two weeks later…

Catherine Walker rested on the saddle of her white stallion, reins in one hand as she looked out upon the valley below her. A clattering of hooves sounded out as another rider took his place alongside her. King Harold Brook stretched his shoulders, causing the mail and plates that protected them to slide and clank. Catherine moved her free hand to her saddle, and withdrew a long sword from its sheath. It was her fathers - she had never touched it before that day one week before, and now she held it firmly in between her fingers.

More footsteps and shuffling was heard as scores of bannermen, nearly two hundred strong, marched down into the valley towards Sentinel Hill, bearing the maroon flags and sigils of House Walker. King Harold Brook looked to his side, and into her eyes, his own sparkling like they had before.

She met his gaze, her frown yet again still upon her face as she contemplated various things. Harold pulled on the straps he held in his hand, and his horse trotted forward alongside the rest of her men. Catherine watched him go, but then turned her attention to the setting sun - nearly the same one she had witnessed almost a month ago sitting on her balcony. With a flex of her wrist and clanking of plates, she jolted her horse into action, moving in step with her soldiers as Harold had, and she continued alongside them.

The sun finally fell below the hills of the western plains, and now darkness shrouded the yellow land, and yet the soldiers continued to march.

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