Here is chapter two of the fiction book I’ve been working on. As I said in the previous post, any thoughts or feedback would be very welcomed.
If Count Robert de Brant had any passion greater than the hunt for animals, it was the hunt for royal favor and a higher rank than he now possessed. His current goal was to gain the earldom of the Northern March, which would provide not only a higher title, but richer lands and a wider stage for his ambitions.
The young king was due to pass through his lands on an inspection in less than a month, and if de Brant played his cards right he was certain he could convince the king that he was the right man to take over the long-empty March. This rare unicorn could be the perfect opportunity to impress his sovereign.
The clatter of hooves and the rattle of weapons announced the return of the rearguard. De Brant adjusted his sable cloak and stepped out from the doorway, along with the castle steward. He was eager to gloat over his prize…which seemed to be mysteriously missing…
“Where is my unicorn?”
De Brant expected an immediate answer, or someone was going to get hurt. The spear men pulled back a bit, leaving more than ample room for a scout with a bandage-swathed head to take what was coming to him.
“We found him knocked out cold and tied up with the unicorn’s halter. His belt knife was missing. There was a branch by his head with an arrow in it.”
“Do tell. A headache is about to be the least of his worries.”
De Brant turned away, readjusting his cloak. Failure would not be tolerated in his forces. His captain knew well enough the punishment he expected to be dealt out to lazy, incompetent soldiers.
“I want my unicorn back now. Arrest whoever freed the unicorn. An example is in order. If they aren’t found, you will be that example. That should be sufficient motivation.”
“Yes, my lord. A patrol will be sent out at once.”
“Call my squire. All of the nobles will be at tonight’s feast celebrating the capture-and return-of my unicorn.”
“Yes, my lord.”
De Brant turned and stalked across the keep and into the main hall of the castle. If all went well, this would be a night to remember. His reputation as the greatest hunter in the region would be unchallenged, and he would have further evidence of his superiority. If not…every member of that patrol would rue the day they were born. That wretch of a scout was already spending a miserable night in the stocks.
Dismissing his underlings from thought, he returned to mulling over his good fortune in bringing down this semi-legendary creature. He had worked hard to get where he was, and saw nothing wrong with enjoying the perks and privileges of his position, including bragging rights over the other nobles. Unfastening his sable cloak and taking a goblet of wine from a passing servant, de Brant headed up to his chamber, ready to make an impression none would forget.