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My Broken Knight

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arranged marriage
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Blurb

“It has nothing to do with me,” I said simply.

She groaned, frustrated and stepped closer.

“So, you do not care I have to spend the rest of my life with an old man?” she asked.

“No,” I told her coldly.

“How can you say that? Do you not have a heart?”

No, I didn’t. It had been ripped out by a dark-haired beauty that had claimed it, only to rip it from my chest and stomp on it. So, no, I didn’t have a heart. I was certain only a hole remained there now.

"Do you not believe in love?" she asked.

I looked at the princess before me. A true beauty, yet what hid beneath the surface could be as ugly as the face of a toad.

"Do you?" I asked.

She smiled a beautiful smile. The sun's rays were getting caught in her golden hair and the wind slightly biting her cheeks.

"Of course," she said. "Even if I don't get to experience it. It is real. I have seen it. Haven't you?"

I thought over her question for a little while, before looking over her shoulder towards the little lake in front of us.

"Believing in love is like believing in magic ... It isn't real. It is just another fairytale for kids."

***

William was a true believer when it came to the ways of the heart. He set off into a brutal war for seven years, the thought of his true love Vanessa the only thing keeping him warm in the cold northern kingdom Seeka. He promised to return and marry her, but when he finally does, haunted by the death of his friend and the horrors he had seen, Vanessa is already married. She broke his heart, telling him that only a lord was good enough for her. William swears off love forever, but what happens when he becomes the private guard to the beautiful princess Grace?

Grace is the only daughter of king Richard, ruler of Etheria. After the brutal war in the north he is forced to marry his daughter to an old king, who can bring the country back on its feet, but it means no true love for Grace. Only loneliness. Grace still has her heart set on love, but what happens when her heart starts beating for her knight Sir William?

*Book One*

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Chapter 1: A Picture
Note: This is a romantasy. Be aware of described violence, death, and betrayal (not between main characters) -William- I stared at the picture for the hundredth time. Even though it had fated over the last seven years, she was still as beautiful, and I remembered every detail about her. Every tiny little one. Like the soft freckles dancing over her nose. She always hated them. Her beautiful deep green eyes. Her dark raven hair, that fell like a waterfall down her back. She had always been breathtaking to me. Even when we were kids, I had not been able to take my eyes off her. I promise I will come back for you … My own words echoed in my head, as I thought about our last conversation. Don’t forget me. She had said those words right before she handed me the beautiful painted picture of her. She was smiling her sweet smile. Her lips were painted a soft red and her cheeks a sweet pink. I remembered what it was like kissing her. It warmed me even though the cold bit my cheeks. I remembered everything about her. Every tiny detail. “For seven years I have had to watch you look at that picture.” My friend Greg came up to me on the big wall, where I stood watch for the night. The torches beside my face and the big cape, the only things keeping me warm. He looked from the picture I held tightly between my fingers and then at me and smiled before he turned to look at the dark and snow-covered forest. “Tomorrow,” he said. “Tomorrow you finally get to go home and claim your woman.” I rolled my eyes and put the picture back inside my armor where it laid safely secured to my chest, closest to my heart. “You make it sound so … vulgar. I am marrying her. Not just f*cking her.” “No, you even refused for seven years the w****s that were brought here. Tell me, are you getting tired of your hand yet?” I shook my head, as we laughed together. We had come from two very different lives. He was the son of a wealthy lord, me? The son of a wooden carpenter who wished for glory. The king’s soldiers had painted such a beautiful picture of what it meant to become a knight. The admiration from the people you would receive. The feeling of making a change in the world. Coming home a hero. I had been so wrong, refusing to listen to my father, who had fought once too, and had lost his leg because of it. Don’t fight for a king you have never even seen, my son. There is no glory fighting on the battlefield, only death and misery, as you hear those very men talking about it, crying for their mothers. His words were so clear to me. He had been so right, but I had signed my name, promising to serve the king for seven long years, and fight off the northern barbarians of Seeka. It was nothing but an ice block. Nothing except big dark trees grew here. I had seen more men die of hunger or from freezing to death than I had seen them die fighting for the king. There was no glory to find, as my father said, just misery, but it did not matter. What I was really seeking was Vanessa. Beautiful and sweet Vanessa, who I had promised to marry once I returned home. There were no rings, and I didn’t even get a chance to go down one knee. It had been fast, as she said goodbye to me. We had grown up together, both our mothers had been close friends. Sadly, mine had died from a bad cough and hers shortly after, leaving her all alone, since her father had died on the battlefield years before that. She was then sent away to live with some strange aunt but had come back for a summer to sell her parents’ house and things. We had not planned to fall in love. It had just hit us like lighting, and we had been crazy about each other, now all grown up. She was so unbelievable and when she laughed … I saw nothing else but her, and I could not wait to call her mine. “You lovesick fool,” Greg said. “You are just jealous.” “No, my friend,” he said and put his hand on my shoulder. “That, I am not.” He walked away laughing and I turned back to the dark woods. It all just looked like one big shadow that was covering the ground, but then it seemed the shadow started to take a shape … wait, no, many shapes … Sh*t! I turned around and yelled, “Flesh Eaters!” The whole camp broke into chaos, just as the damn barbarians started to charge towards us. They were dressed in heavy fur coats and wore skulls as masks … real human skulls. It was said after they defeated their opponent, they ate them and wore their faces, becoming one and taking over their strength. I wasn’t certain if it was true, but I had fought many of them, and they were as strong as bears. “Get ready!” I shouted. I turned around just as a hook placed itself against the upper part of the wall. I drew my sword as I ran over to the big wooden pikes we had tied together and looked over. Here they come … I cut the rope only for four more to latch onto the wall. I tried taking them all, but just as I reached the fourth, a Flesh Eater jumped over the side and raised his axe. He charged towards me. I dodged only to cut him on his back. He fell forward, but I had been distracted long enough for the rest to get over the wall. They came after me, one after one. I tried to take as many as I could, but as I ran one through with my sword, his weight overpowered me, and one of his comrades from behind made me lose my balance. We went over the side and towards the ground. I groaned as we landed. Him on top of me. I used all my strength to try and push him off, as people ran around yelling and screaming. “Come on!” I said. But I could not rock the man … I was ready to give up when suddenly the weight was pulled off me, and a hand was reached down to me. “Come, let us kill some Flesh Eaters,” Greg said. I smiled up at him and grabbed his hand, and we went into the chaos of men, limbs and blood. We stood back-to-back, as they came for us. “How many are there?” Greg yelled. “No idea! Weren’t they supposed to have been pretty much taken out?” I asked. “That was what the last message said. I think they missed a few.” “A few?” He laughed behind my back, just as I pushed another one of them back. “Come now. This is the glory they talked about. If we take them down, our names will be shouted from the roof tops of the castle in Catalla!” I shook my head, as we kept meeting more and more Flesh Eaters. “Concentrate!” I yelled at him. “Come on, Will. We are winning!” he said and turned to me. I looked over my shoulder at him, only to see a Flesh Eater charging at him from behind. “Greg. Look out!” I grabbed onto him and pulled him out of the way, only to be stabbed with a long spear right to the stomach. “Will!” I fell down on my knees, the pain masked by the shock, as I looked up at the man who was going to be the death of me. He twisted the spear into my stomach as he said in another language, I had used my seven years studying, “Watch your friends die!” I turned to look at Greg, who had been grabbed from behind and pushed to his knees. One of them pulled out a poorly made knife. All their weapons were poorly made but could still cut through flesh. They pulled his head back and cut his throat. “N-No … o …” The blood ran down the side of my mouth, as I saw the blood streaming down his throat. He looked at me with wild eyes, as he realized death had come. Then he fell forward, going completely still. I turned back to the man in front of me, my hands grabbing the spear, trying to alleviate the pain that was overpowering me. “You lost.” Their language was as hard as them. The tongue rolling hard on what I could only believe to be the R’s, but the Flesh Eater was right. Greg had not seen we had been the last standing. The rest of the camp on fire, some of the men already being cut to pieces to be eaten. I could not believe this to be the last night I would live. I was not done living. I had not married Vanessa yet. I could see her in my mind, even now, with the Flesh Eater in front of me. She was still so clear in my head. So beautiful … So warm. The man laughed, as he watched me suffer, but I refused it to be my last minute on earth. I used the last of my strength to push back. It shocked him. He took a few steps back, letting go of the spear, as I pulled it out of me, and slowly got back to my knees. “Who are you?” They looked shocked. All of them. I was too, but I could not die. I could not die until I had married the love of my life. “Death.” He looked even more surprised when I answered him in his language, but he did not get a chance to process it before it ran the spear right through his throat. His eyes looking wild and shocked, forever to be stuck like that. I pulled it back, only to hear the faint sound of horses. An eagle joined the roar of hooves, and I knew help had come. I fell to my knees again, feeling so weak suddenly. “Vanessa,” I whispered just before darkness came.

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