Chapter 3:

The Accolade (Part 1)

The Flight of The Draykes

I stood still. Or as still as I could, which considering how my mind keeps wandering, wasn’t terribly much.

Fidgeting about in the stifling silence, I glanced around the enormous hall, starting from the double doors that were three men high and presently shut tight, guarded by household guards in the livery of the Draykes, blue upon black, standing ramrod straight with 6 foot long spears made of the local heartwood, black as night and topped with wickedly gleaming iron-wrought heads. That, along with the longswords at their waist and burnished armor, both made with Faesteel, would deter all but the most foolhardy from causing trouble in Hall Drayke.

Not that even the foolhardy could have done much, what with most of the nobles and movers of forces present in attendance.

Idly picking out members of the crowd, I saw Sir Falmer, the first army’s commander standing ramrod straight while talking quietly with Sir Pierre, the minister of trade and finance, a portly genial man who would fleece you of all the coins you had in a heartbeat, and leave you with feelings of gratitude for the same.

Turning my head, a flicker of a..shadow..caught my attention near the Tapestries that showed the rise of the Noble Family of Drayke but focussing on the spot itself, nothing seemed to be there apart from the walls, lit up by the torches hung within their holders every few feet.

Shaking my head, I turned to the raised platform, the Dais on which two seats made of Ashwood, another wood that was black shot through with streaks of red that glowed like fire, with engraved carvings of a dragon in flight on the armrests. The left seat was occupied by a man, who even seated looked like a giant, his head of black hair streaked with grey fell to his shoulders, while the rest of his body was encased in armor, except for his hands, both of which were clasped together in support of his chin, as his piercing gray eyes looked in front. This was my Father, Count Callum Drayke, his frame and armor being in direct opposition to his moniker, Callum the Peaceful.

As my gaze moved to the next seat, I had the urge to smile at my obviously bored mother, Lady Alina Drayke as her long fingers rapped the edge of the seat. She was wearing a palace dress of elegant blue, hued to show the sky of a storm, a storm that she was certainly able to unleash given the sword strapped to her side in a scabbard as red as her hair. If her husband was known for being peaceful, Lady Alina Drayke would be known as the wrathful.

The stories say that rather than the prince rescuing the princess, it was my mother who cut her away through, if the stories are to be believed, hundreds of Hagarians, before reaching my wounded father, and saying the line that has been immortalized in every play of Draconis City, “My Darling Fiance, do try better next time if you want to surprise me.” before looking around at the utter chaos of the battlefield and murmuring to herself, “But as surprises go, this one isn’t so bad.” and then promptly rallying House Draykes forces and sweeping the Hagarians off the field.

As my father described it, his heart had overfloweth with love and also winceth at the fury of his beloved's wrath.

A few months later after the holes in my father’s body had healed, they stood underneath the holy altar and Callum Drayke said his vows to his bride, Alina Calmwater, who said her vows to her future husband and added something under her breath that made Callum Drayke go white as a sheet, and then they kissed each other as husband and wife and a year later my brother came along. My brother whose accolade is today, Aaron Drayke.

I followed along a good 15 years later but then as I said, Proteans have long lives, and from what I’ve heard, it wasn’t for a lack of trying on my parent’s part. Also, yes, gross.

Carrying on, the accolade.

My brother, Aaron Drayke, was to be knighted today as he had turned 21 years of age a few days ago and if rumors were to be believed, was well past his initiation to Silver rank, the prerequisite to being a Knight.

Ah, Speak of the devil, and the devil appears, though the devil, in this case, turned out to possess the softest pair of brown eyes, curly brown hair, and a smile that could just not be suppressed as he strode through the double doors, which I didn’t notice had opened, following Sir Patrick Raul to whom he was a squire to for the last 6 years.

As the hall fell silent, the sound of their boots striding across the carpeted hall was the only sound present, until the band in the corner of the room began playing the Flight of the Draykes as the two men came to attention in front of the Dais.

For the next minute, all was still, as people lost themselves in the familiar melody until the harsh sound of trumpets marked the ending of the song and the Court Herald came forth to do his duties.

I tuned him out as I stared at my brother, who in complete breach of the courtly proceedings, caught my eye before giving me a subtle wink, or what passed for subtle in his case, which believe me you, was the most exaggerated wink any other person would give.

The only sign that Sir Patrick Raul saw this was the momentary wince that ran across his scarred face before it turned back into stone.

Hiding my face with my hand in an attempt to hold back my grin, My mind flashed back to all the times my Brothers had my back. 15 years older than I was, he was an amiable bloke who ambled his way around, with his trademark lopsided grin and the eyes that sparkled with humor. Most people thought him to be stupid. Most people were wrong. Some thought him to be a warrior. Those people were right.

Standing just around 6 foot 5, he was a giant who was quick on his feet and nimble in his thoughts. He was also fiercely loyal and a bulwark for those he called his friends. As for his enemies, he actually didn’t have any. No, I’m not joking. He could literally become friends with anyone. Enemy trying to take off his head? Two minutes later, the former enemy is now a brother in arms defending his back. He was just that likable.

And here he is, Going through his Accolade.

Speaking of which,

The droning voice of the Court Herald came to an end and then my father, Count Callum Drayke, spoke in a slow powerful voice, “Step Forth Young Squire.”

Taking one step forward, My brother, who if I’m not mistaken was fighting back the urge to roll his eyes, smoothly transitioned into a half kneel, with his head facing down.

Turning his eyes to Sir Patrick, Count Callum asked, “Do you have any objections to Aaron Drayke, your squire being knighted.”

“None my lord” replied Sir Patrick.

Raising his voice, Count Callum asked, “Does anybody else have any objections to Aaron Drayke being Knighted”


“Very well. Sir Patrick if you may?”

With a sibilant noise, Sir Patrick drew forth his sword and proffered it to the count with both hands who accepted it and raised it high, eyeing the sword approvingly.

Turning his attention to the kneeling squire, “Aaron Drayke, Do you wish to become a Knight in the service of House Drayke?”

“I do, My Lord”

“Will you pledge allegiance and take the oath?”

“I Will, My Lord. I, Aaron Drayke, Swear to uphold Justice and banish Evil from our Lands. I will always stand against corruption and the corrupted and my sword and body shall be broken before I let them pass. Honesty and virtue shall be my guiding light and my shield will always protect our people in darkness and light. I swear myself to the service of my Lord Callum Drayke and his family, The House of Drayke. My honor is their honor and so it shall be till the day I die. This is my oath and my oath is my life.”

Bringing the flat of the sword down, Count Callum touched first his right shoulder with the blade and then the left, before announcing, “I receive your oath and find it satisfactory. Under the eyes of Falka, I dub thee Sir Aaron Drayke, Knight of House Drayke.”

“The Knight May Rise and receive his sword” sang out the herald.

Sir Aaron Drayke rose, his face set in hard lines which broke into a grin as he saw his fathers’ rueful gaze as he realized his son had yet again grown taller.

Shaking his head, Count Callum sheathed the sword before proferring it to the newly Knighted boy, nay, Man now.

Reverently, Sir Aaron accepted the sword and secured it at his waist before bowing to his liege who nodded in acceptance before making a shooing motion to him.

Nodding, Sir Aaron turned and bowed to the crowd while the Herald presented him to them, “Noble Folks gathered here today, you have witnessed the dubbing of Aaron Drayke, who shall henceforth be known as Sir Aaron Drayke, in service of House Drayke, in dark days and bright days”.

As the band began playing again amidst the applause of the crowd, Sir Patrick who was smiling at the side was nearly knocked over by the hug that his former squire gave him, a hug that was definitely not part of the ceremony but the Counts pointed look elsewhere encouraged the scandalized Herald to signal the ending of the ceremony and the beginning of the feast.