The picture above is the coat of arms for Rhylath. Special squadrons and different families of the nobility will have different coats, but the general army has this for the coat of arms.
Prince Edmond Ryall, Stowerling Palace, Winterhold, Rhylath
There were about twenty squires in total who were going to graduate to knighthood. All of them--Edmond excluded--bore scarlet tunics with the crest of Rhylath.
As Edmond stood there with the other young men, he felt himself growing more and more nervous, to the point where beads of sweat appeared on his forehead. He began to twiddle his thumbs anxiously.
"Baron Eric Lyndon II, are you willing to serve your kingdom. . ." Edmond heard his father's monotonous voice speak to the son of Earl Eric Lyndon about serving his kingdom with honor and valor.
It's a short ceremony, he told himself. He dubs you knight, either hands you the sword you made or a sword that has been passed through the knights of your family.
As another young man was knighted, he realized he was at the front of the line.
It was his turn to be knighted.
As he walked up the steps, he noticed a few nobles nod their heads in recognition of him as the crown prince, while a few other lesser merchants and baronets bowed completely.
I'm not in that much of a powerful position, am I? he wondered, though he knew he was just lying to himself. The crown prince had almost as much power and position as the king himself.
He sunk down to one knee at his father's feet.
"Prince Edmond Ryall, are you willing to serve this kingdom? See that ye serve with all your heart, might, mind and strength? To hold true, to swear fealty to this kingdom and its king? To help anyone in need, woman or man, child or feeble, in their times of need? To never tell a lie, to fight with honor and valor?" Alexander asked.
Edmond swallowed though his mouth was dry. "Yes, my king." He bowed his head.
The king drew his sword--Wrath, a beautiful blade made of the translucent white yet very heavy metal known as arsteel--and tapped his shoulders with the flat of the blade. "I dub thee Sir Edmond Ryall. May you serve your kingdom with honor throughout your days!" he sheathed his sword and raised his hands. The people cheered as Edmond stood.
A servant ran up to his father and handed him a black sheath. "This sword was given to me by my father before he passed," said Alexander with quiet reverence--though Edmond was unsure if it was because he had just knighted his son, or because the sword was special. Though it saddened him, he suspected the latter. "He told me to give it to mine own son when he was knighted." He handed the sword to Edmond, who drew it in awe.
It was a beautiful ebony blade, jet black--though at the edges it glinted a slight shade of dark purple, hinting at it being edged with obsidian. The handle, which was polished iron, was black as the night sky.
"The blade's name is Darkheart. May you carry it with pride, my son," Alexander said. Edmond sheathed the blade and stepped off the platform. When he was down, he replaced his unnamed steel blade with Darkheart.
The last few gentlemen--mainly the sons of nobles, though there was a daughter of a baronet--were knighted. There was a ball scheduled after the knighting ceremony. Though Edmond wished to be other places--due to prior unsavory experiences within large crowds--it was only common courtesy, being the crown prince and a new knight after all.
"Edmond!" Lionel called not too long after the ball had started. He turned to see his friend walking up to him, wineglass in hand.
"Come to speak with me about how the ladies look in their gaudy gowns?" Edmond asked jovialy, staring momentarily in shock at a woman who wore a bright red dress that was tight in all the right places and tighter still in all the wrong ones.
Lionel smiled crookedly. "Well, if you insist, Duke Zai Bezarius's daughter--Ada, I believe--her dress is cut low enough that I may need to go--"
"I don't want you to finish that sentence, my friend," Edmond said with a laugh.
"I thought not."
"Have you heard!" a man shouted not far from where Edmond and Lionel stood. "The Goldstorm may not be the only Archive out there!"
The room silenced immediately.
What? Edmond thought. He turned to see the man.
The man in question was of a thin, lanky build with chocolate brown hair that grew down to his shoulders, curling slightly at the end. He wore an expensive crimson suit with gold embroidery. He wore a new kind of neckware that was slowly becoming popular with the nobility: An ascot.
He waved his hands--one holding a wineglass filled with sparkling gold champagne--dramatically as he spoke.
"Odd. . . Gold irises," Lionel muttered.
"What do you mean?"
The man continued his speech. "You must be thinking that I have drunk one too many cups of wine! But, my friends, believe me when I tell you, there may be more than one Archive! We've all learned. . . The battle between Etreith and Ethav! The two brothers that tore themselves away from each other and fought history's bloodiest battle for one thing--The Goldstorm Archive!
"The Goldstorm Archive is not a myth and there are other Archives!" he shouted. "There are four! The Goldstorm, the Blueblaze Archive, the Whitefrost Archive, and the--"
"WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?" bellowed a voice that Edmond knew all too well.
King Alexander stormed into the room, in full uniform. His cropped light brown hair had obviously been groomed by somebody far more skilled than himself, his scraggly beard trimmed. The crown that was perched on his head gleamed more than usual, hinting that it had been polished for the occasion. He wore a midnight black cape with silver tassels. When light shined on the cape, it glimmered red. He wore a tight scarlet coat with gold embroidery. His hands, clenched into fists, bore pearl white gloves. Wrath hung at his side in its shining silver sheath.
The king's brown eyes, already ablaze with fury, dilated when he saw who was speaking. "You." The sense of pure loathing was clear in his voice.
The man laughed. "Well, it's been a while. . . Uncle."
Alexander's voice burned with rage. "What are you doing here, Senri!? Your father promised to keep away after I married--Damn you! He promised he would never bother me again after I lost her!"
"Uncle, dear Uncle, Your Stormshi--"
"Senri." Another man's voice broke into the mix. "Do not mock the man and his obsessions."
Edmond's uncle Visermann walked into the room.
Though his uncle was well into his sixties, his build suggested he was ten years younger. He had thick locks of dark silver hair that were slicked back. His eyes were icy blue, like Edmond's. His suit, made of saturated dark blue velvet with silver embroidery of lilacs, was clearly tailored to fit his sturdy build. He too wore an ascot, along wore white gloves, though they shone silver.
Edmond did not hold many fond memories of his uncle. And, it seemed, neither did his father.
Edmond remembered his uncle Visermann as a serpentine man. Charming and handsome he may be, there was always a sinister feeling about him. Even that smile, which had won over so many men and made so many women swoon, had a feeling of malice behind it to Edmond.
"I apologize for my son's rudeness, my Lord. You see. . ." he smiled cruelly, preforming an exaggerated bow mockingly--and Edmond felt cold hands run down his spine. "He simply wishes to spread knowledge that you may find of use. After all. . . You are searching for the Goldstorm Archive, am I not correct?"
The king grit his teeth, clearly itching to draw Wrath, going as far as settling his hand on the hilt of the blade. But he contained his resentment for the man. Barely. "I am. . . But that does not give you the right to spread rumors! NOR does that give you the right to speak of these things when we are trying to celebrate the next set of fine knights in our kingdom!"
"Ah. . . Yes. Your kingdom's patron god--" Visermann said "god" with as much disrespect and loathing as he could "--is Etar. . . God of kings and kingdoms, and his most sacred ceremony. . . " he paused for dramatic effect, winking at Edmond and flashing him another malicious smile. "The knighting of a king-to-be."
Alexander's expression became dark as the death god Ather's gates. "Dare you mock my son the day he was knighted, in mine own palace?" Alexander stepped forward, sliding Wrath out of its sheath an inch.
"Father, shall we leave? We are clearly unwelcome here," Senri said.
"Yes, my son. . . Goodbye, Eltos," Visermann, using the word for "younger brother" in the Old Tongue. It was mainly used as a term of respect in Rylian culture, because Etar was Ather's Eltos--though it was clear that Visermann meant anything but.
There was a tense silence for a few minutes before Alexander piped up.
"Well then, let the ball begin!" Alexander spread his hands and the people cheered. The band began to play again.
Edmond attempted to leave the ballroom as casually as possible.
He failed, only realizing that he had when Baron Raleigh Axtrous's daughter, Susanne, ran up to him, curly blonde hair and frilly blue dress bobbing.
"Prince Edmond!" she called, almost running to greet the young prince.
Damn, Edmond thought. Just as I was able to walk out inconspicuously. . . But it was too late. He had already acknowledged her. Instead of leaving and ignoring her and needing to go through the deal of explaining later, he put on his best smile and walked up to her.
"Hello, Susanne. How are you, this fine evening?" he asked politely, putting his hands behind his back and holding his right wrist.
She fluttered her eyelashes at him. What in the name of Etar's Crown could this woman wish for? Edmond wondered.
"My dear Prince Edmond, would you care to dance?" she asked, curtsying. "I see you've yet to enjoy dancing with another woman."
Well. That's certainly unusual. It was customary for a man to ask a woman to dance with them, not the other way around. He sighed, blowing slightly, knowing his duties as a prince and knight.
"Why yes, Lady Susanne," he said gentlemanly, with an exasperated sigh. He offered her his arm, which she took delicately. He lead her to the center of the ballroom where several other men and their female companions were dancing.
An old song to teach you to dance began to play.
"This is the Song of Singing Love,
"Spread your arms, gracefully as a dove!
"Go on, turn around,
"Singing to the Song of Redeeming Love.
"This is the Song of Swaying Love,
"Fit your hands together as gloves,
"Go on, turn around,
"Swaying to the Song of Redeeming Love."
They bowed deeply to each other, though Susanne was the only one who was smiling.
"All those who are in the mood for a swing--get yer rumps on the dance floor!" one of the band members called.
A new, more upbeat song began to play.
"Another dance, Lady Susanne?" he asked, hoping she'd decline.
He was wrong.
She flashed him a delighted smile. "Why of course, my Lord!"
They stepped up, balancing more on their toes, Edmond taking Susanne's dainty hands.
Triple step, triple step. . . Edmond thought, doing a bouncy step to one side, then back the other way. Rock step. He and Susanne both stepped back slightly, then pulled back in.
Arch. . . Edmond lifted his hand up, turning it to the side so it was flat. Susanne lifted her hand and put it across Edmond's, so they resembled a T. He walked forward to his left, Susanne passing by him on his right. Rock step. They stepped back so it flowed better.
Arch. . . They repeated the same movement.
Triple step, triple step, rock step.
This movement was a bit more difficult. They lifted and crossed their hands, as they had done before, but instead of walking by each other, he gently twirled his hand in a loop, turning Susanne to her right. He twirled to his left, completing the loop.
They repeated that pattern twice more. On the third attempt at a loop, Susanne crashed into Edmond, making them both fall over.
Edmond laughed. "Getting a little tired, I see?" he said, peeling himself out from under Susanne.
"I suppose so," she said with an embarrassed smile.
"Another time, then." Edmond turned to walk away.
"That was enjoyable, my Lord," Susanne said abruptly. Edmond spun on his heel.
"A pleasure, Susanne," he said briskly, walking off.
Finally. . Edmond left the ball as soon as she was out of sight.
He began to wander around the palace, taking a long route to his quarters.
In a few minutes he was back in the peace of the courtyard, softly lit in the moonlight. The gentle breeze that rustled the tree branches felt cool against his face.
"Nice night, isn't it?" Edmond said, looking up at the stars above. When his mother had passed, his had told the twins that she had turned into a star.
"What has happened to mother? Why is she not moving?" Myles and Richard asked in unison.
"She--she--she. . ." Edmond couldn't answer, knowing what he'd done.
"She is a star now, my boys. . ." Alexander had a faraway look in his eyes, as if trying not to cry by keeping his mind off everything. "She will always watch you from above."
"I wonder how you'd be, seeing your little boy, your eight-year-old troublemaker, all grown up. . . A knight now," he muttered to himself as he walked to his quarters.
It was a decent sized room, with a floor-to-ceiling window that stretched about ten feet. The floors were a beautiful volcanic glass--obsidian, the same material he believed his sword was edged with. His bed was a grand four poster made of redwood, which was off to his left. A chest for his personal items stood at the end.
"Need anything, my Lord?" a voice tinged with age asked.
Edmond's servant, Esymour, was a kind, fatherly man somewhere in his late seventies. What hair he had left on his balding head was greying and he had a simple chevron mustache. He was wearing his usual black suit and cravat.
Edmond smiled. "No, Esymour, I'm fine," he said, taking a small, thin sheath out of the chest by his bed.
"You've become a master with those, my Lord," Esymour commented.
"Well, I practice with them so much, I'd be afraid if I wasn't one by now," Edmond said with a smile, removing another identical sheath. They were made of black leather, lined with a thin layer of duralumin on the inside. They were small enough to strap on to his forearms and be unnoticeable if his sleeves were loose.
He strapped the two sheaths to his forearms, walking to the training room he had passed while walking to his room.
Edmond walked up to a target he had made for himself one day when he was bored--a cut out wooden board that was about twice the size of him in the shape of a man, with target circles drawn in charcoal in the vital areas of a human: The head, the chest, the neck, and various veins and arteries around the body.
Fast, and silent as a viper, his right hand drew one of the four thin ebony blades within the sheath on his left arm and flung it towards the target.
The throwing knife embedded itself up to the hilt in the dead center of the target's chest. He did the same with the other three blades, only instead of aiming for the heart between the ribs, he hit the middle of the wrist, the side of the neck, and the eye. His knife struck the targets dead center every time.
If you weren't used to them, the blades would be a little difficult to pull from the target; because they were four inches of ebony driven straight into several inches of solid balsa wood. Having been gifted them eight years prior by a Shindo man--named Shou Akise--Edmond was skilled with them, to put it simply.
Months before Mother died. . . Edmond thought. Why am I thinking of her and her death so often nowadays? I'd been practically able to forget it for the past eight years. But this month I keep coming back to the same thought. He threw another knife.
"Having fun there, my friend?" Lionel walked up behind him. "Up for a little contest?" he asked, bringing forth his own set of throwing knives. They, though, were made of arsteel, and their sheaths were made of a tan-brown leather. Much less effective for keeping hidden, arsteel being one of the strongest alloys but looking much like quartz: Pearl white and almost translucent. Ebony was also up with the stronger metals, but it was a pure metal--not an alloy. It was also pitch black-- along with it being far from translucent. Not to mention much lighter than arsteel. That didn't make it a featherweight though. It still weighed more than iron, but arsteel was far heavier.
Edmond sort of smiled, laughed, and sighed at the same time. He wiped his forehead and pushed his hair back. "You've been working with those for two years, and your progress is terrible--Etar's Crown, Lionel! You can barely hold the knife properly, much less throw it!" he said.
"Well, I still wanna try a game against you. It'd be fun, wouldn't it?" Lionel said, drawing a blade.
"Fine," Edmond finally sighed, drawing one of his own.
Suddenly, the alarm bells rang.
A/N: Hey! This is a quick author's note.
I don't really do author's notes on this site. . . But I decided to tell you.
If you were able to understand the movements I described during the second dance, that is and actual ballroom dance--it's the swing. So, if you're able to to pull it off from what I described, you can totally blow your friends away and show them that you can ballroom dance! (Oh, the miracles of both your parents having a degree in ballroom dancing.)
Ah... This German name. I really want to spell it with a w, like it's supposed to be, but I fear that nobody will know to pronounce it properly. They'll all say "wiser-man." And even now, I'm unsure, thinking that they'll say "visor-man."
V-EYE-sir-menn. It's a hard v. Vi is one syllable.