Daniel stared at the lights up at the castle.  His loyal mount clip-clopped up the well-worn path, but the starchy trousers felt foreign on his legs.  The life of a knight required minimal clothing – practically rags – otherwise the armor was too heavy.  Then, the life of a wolf was even less inclined to ironed clothes and high collars.  He ran his fingers between his sweaty neck and the stiff collar.  Archimedes tossed his head back and forth as they entered the thickening crowd before the iron-wrought castle gate.  About six months ago on the battlefield, the poor gelding lost his right eye, and although it was healing over, he got nervous in crowds because there was so much he couldn’t see.  Daniel patted his neck lovingly.  He didn’t like the crowds any more than his horse did.

“May I take your mount, sir?”

Daniel blinked a moment before he recognized the question.  He looked down at the fair-haired page and forced a gentle smile on his face.  The boy’s wide eyes looked overwhelmed.

“Treat him gently,” he asked, swinging his leg over the horse’s body and sliding down.  He placed the cracked leather reins into the boy’s open hand.  “He lost an eye and can be a little skittish.”

The boy nodded understandingly.  Daniel brushed his hands through his already messy hair and looked around.  The colors of the women’s dresses were as varied and many as the stars in the sky.  The boy cleared his throat, still looking up at Daniel.  Daniel raised an eyebrow as the page looked up at him.  He casts his eyes to the right then the left, where another knight was pressing a copper piece into a different page’s hand.  Daniel’s green eyes widened, and he shoved his hands into his pockets until he produced a silver piece.  He handed it to the boy, whose eyes widened.

“Thankya sir!  Merry festival sir!” and the boy rushed off, Archimedes at his heels.

Daniel chuckled under his breath as the boy ran off and pushed through the crowds until he was able to get inside the castle, where the call of the moon was weaker.  He leaned against the wall and stared at a girl on the other side of the room, dancing with a tall man, wearing a crimson and black gown.  As she spun, he saw her eyes were bright purple.

.

Word: Startch.  ||  Time: 15 minutes.  ||  Character: Daniel Hawthorne.

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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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