When Grandfather Hadwin told us about Sir Theodore Kassel, we begged him to tell us more. He had laughed then, and told us that Sir Theodore's adventures were too numerous for him to tell and instead told us to go to the chapel southeast of the village to read the records there. Unfortunately, we never got the chance…
Sir Theodore Kassel sighed softly as he made his way down to the small graveyard by the coast. Occasionally he passed by a few children, who took great joy in throwing rocks and sticks at the giant rats nearby. He couldn't help but smile, remembering the days when he and his childhood friend, Castimir, did the same thing.
It took some time before he found the gravestone bearing his parents' names. He stooped down to pull away the weeds that had begun to grow around the grave, casting them aside before gently placing a small bouquet that he had brought with him into the small vases that adorned each side of the gravestone. After brushing away the spider webs that have begun to spread across the stone, he knelt down in prayer.
It’s been so long since I last saw you. I wish I could have seen you before you joined Saradomin.
Theodore looked up at the shout and the sound of running footsteps through the overgrown grass. Not too far across the graveyard, he saw the small figure of Hadwin running towards him, clutching a familiar white pigeon in his hand. Theodore quickly made his way to the boy. Hadwin tried to speak in between gasps for air.
“It’s all right, Hadwin, go catch your breath.” Theodore took the bird into his hand and removed the coded message in the capsule. As he scanned through its contents, his eyes grew wide in shock with a slight hint of anger as well. He quickly stuffed the note into his pocket before stooping down slightly, looking seriously into Hadwin’s eyes.
“I have to return to Falador immediately, Hadwin, and do not have time to say good-bye to your family. But please let them know to not come into the city until we send them a message, okay?”
“What’s wrong, Sir Theodore?” Hadwin asked, noting a sudden pained look in Theodore’s eyes. He had never seen that look on anyone’s face before, and suddenly he felt afraid.
“I’m not entirely sure, but it’s serious enough that they’re requiring all knights out in the field to return to the city immediately.” Together they walked back to Rimmington, the knight somber and the boy wondering what the near future held.
“Are these reports valid?”
“Witnesses have seen them marching away from the encampment.” Sir Amik Varze sighed, rubbing his temples. He looked at the group of senior knights that were seated around the table. “The Kinshra are our enemies, but never do we order an attack unprovoked.”
“So who are these people that dare to impersonate our order?” Sir Vyvin demanded. “Our reputation is at stake”
“As is the citizens’ faith in us. We’ve already summoned for all our knights to return, for their safety.” Sir Amik paused before adding, “Hopefully we can account for everyone.”
The other knights looked amongst themselves, wondering who would be so bold to order an attack on the Kinshra encampment. True, the Kinshra were not loved by them, but they had also helped to create the kingdom of Asgarnia, so it was said. And if the reports were true, many women and children were at the encampment as well. This one attack alone would be enough to say that the White Knights were nothing more than heartless warriors who proclaimed themselves political rulers of the land.
“Lord Daquarius has also sent a report by messenger, asking that we send an embassy to meet with him and a few of his knights at his fortress immediately to discuss the matter,” Sir Amik continued as he placed a scroll on the middle of the table. On it was the broken seal of the Kinshra order.
“It’s a trap! The Kinshra do not engage in civility!” one knight declared, pounding his fist on the table. He got a sharp glance from the master-at-arms, and merely straightened himself in his chair. Showing outward bursts of emotion was not of their order.
“Indeed! We’ve been at war with them for as long as I can remember. Why do they suddenly ask for diplomatic procedures?” another added. His fellow knights murmured in agreement before Sir Amik raised a hand to silence them.
“Whatever the reason, it would not be wise to refuse them as well. It will only give them more reason to believe that we were behind this.”
Sir Tiffy Cashien, who had been silently listening to the discussion, finally spoke. “I can request one of my agents in the area to see what they’ve heard of this so far. We must proceed with caution on this matter.”
A low knock sounded at the door, followed by a nervous peon stepping into the room. “Sirs, urgent news from Rimmington,” he stammered, seemingly overwhelmed by the presence of so many senior knights.
Sir Amik motioned for the peon to come to his side. The peon whispered quickly into his ear. Sir Amik’s face suddenly became ashen.
“Thank you, Kelin. Return to your duties immediately, and do not let anyone else know of this.” As the peon hurried out of the room, Sir Amik turned to look at the knights.
“There has been a retaliatory attack. The Kinshra have invaded the south.
“Rimmington and Port Sarim are burning.”
Theodore urged his mare quickly along the road to Falador, hoping that he would not be stopped by anyone along the road. He had been on the road now for a couple of hours, but couldn’t help but notice how strangely heavy the air felt, like a thunderstorm was approaching, yet the sky was clear. The sound of wings caught his attention and he looked up to find a falcon coming from the south heading northward at a great rate. He frowned.
A falcon does not bear good news… He turned in the saddle in the direction the bird had flown from, then gasped.
In the distance, thick smoke dominated the afternoon sky.
Simon barely managed to parry a vicious swipe of a black sword as he kept his back towards Laura and Hadwin. He was already breathing heavily from the effort as he parried another slash with a farming scythe.
“Get away from my family, servant of Zamorak!”
“Better than a pathetic farmer!” The black knight swung his sword again, this time snaking it through the curve of the scythe and with a rough twist wrenched it away from Simon’s hands. He kicked Simon to the ground, raising his sword to give the final blow. Hadwin cried out for his father while Laura shielded her son’s eyes, not wanting him to see that horrible final moment.
An ancient war cry suddenly filled the air, so terrible sounding yet familiar as well to the small family. The black knight stopped to look at who gave the cry, then shouted in anger as a white armored knight knocked him off his feet. Theodore stood over Simon, his sword unsheathed.
“Go! Take your family to safety!” he ordered. Simon nodded, quickly taking his family to the stables. Theodore watched as Simon put Laura and Hadwin onto one of the horses before getting on the other, slapping the reins loudly to urge them quickly northward.
A groan from the black knight that he had knocked over made him look back down.
“This is a warning to you, Knight of Falador! What the people of your order have done is no different from what we’re doing to you now!” the black knight hissed, struggling to get up, but failing.
Theodore felt a sudden rage bubble up inside him, but checked himself. “I don’t know what you are talking about, but this village has not done you any harm and do not deserve such violence.” He quickly mounted his mare and began to ride through the village to see if there were any survivors of the attack. A scream made him turn sharply in time to see a party of Kinshra charge right for Simon and his family.
“No!” Theodore shouted as he rode hard, trying to overtake the charge.
Simon’s horse reared up, trying to get away from the black swords. Laura screamed again as she tried to maneuver her horse away from the charge. Hadwin clung tightly onto the saddle horn, his eyes wide in silent terror as the horse underneath him staggered out of the mess.
“Sir Theodore! Help!” Laura cried.
Theodore immediately went for her and Hadwin first, hoping that Simon’s few years of training was enough to hold some of the Kinshra at bay. There’s too many! Saradomin help us! He charged through the small party as much as well as he could, ignoring the pain screaming from his back as he fought the knights back. Just as he reached for Hadwin, a black knight grabbed Laura by the arm.
“Mum!” Hadwin cried, trying to pull her back onto the horse. Laura’s hand clasped around her son’s tightly for a moment. A black armored hand broke the connection with a hard punch and they let go at the sudden pain. Hadwin screamed for his mother again as she was quickly pulled away from the rest of the group. Simon looked up towards them, his face covered with sweat and blood. There was only one thing left to do.
“Go, Theodore! Save my son and go!” he cried. “Warn Falador!”
Theodore nodded, telling Hadwin to hold on as he slapped the reins. The mare needed no further encouragement as she galloped away from the burning town. Hadwin reached out one last time to the burning town, screaming for his parents, before finally breaking down into sobs. Theodore choked back a sob as he guided the mare northward.
I’m sorry, Hadwin. I have failed your father, again, but I hope I do not fail you…
“She’s the only one that survived.”
“Yes. The others are gone, as you ordered.”
“Good. Her training starts in a month’s time, no longer.”
“I do not expect anything else, master.”
“Go. Make sure she regains her strength. Educate her on the circumstances of her parents’ deaths, if you will, when you feel the time is right. The anger will make her stronger and more willing to train for what will be in store for her in the coming years.”