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The Fallen King: Chapter Four

by MaybeAndrew

The Fallen King

A storm surrounded the lighthouse, beginning to put out the lights of the village. Liam speaks the magic words his father had taught him before his death, which does not stop the storm but seems to heal his senile grandfather. 

Chapter Four

Keeper of The Light

 It was dark the day Liam was given the Authority. The sun seemed to barely pull itself over the horizon. Even when it had, the thick canopy of clouds kept all but a little of its light out. Now that he was dying, Father needed someone to replace him as the Keeper of the Light. Though Liam was not sixteen yet, he was by blood right the next Keeper and the only trained apprentice, so an exception was allowed.

The other Keepers had to be there, of course. Uncle Sitric, Keeper of the Walls, and Hugh, Keeper of the Well, came up to the lighthouse. They filed in, closing the door against the oppressive cold mist that hung outside.

The first floor of the lighthouse was claustrophobic. The kitchen was messy, bookshelves cluttered, and furniture in disarray.

But none of that was strange. It was Father that changed things. His bedroom had been on the third floor, but climbing the stairs had become too difficult for him. They moved his large hay-stuffed bed to the first floor. Though it never really was the bed that shrunk the room, it was him, his coughing, the site of his weakness, and his stench; that sickly sweet scent of rot permeated the room.

Hugh muttered a blessing and propped up Father in his bed. Liam tried not to notice how weak Father looked there against the wall, the light of only a few candles playing across his bony face. He used to feel massive, his broad shoulders stretching out like a wall. He had been impenetrable. Even when Arwen had gone up as Offering, he seemed like he could withstand a whirlwind. He had cried, of course, but even his tears seemed to exhibit his strength. His back had been straight despite them, his face stoically and honorably. But now, he lay thin, gaunt, and weak, barely able to lift even his small Lownire blade.

After he was propped up, he took both of Liam’s hands in his, resting them on the blankets on the edge of the bed. He was too weak to lift them. His hands were so cold and boney that Liam felt if he squeezed too hard, he might break them. Father smiled at Liam. His lips were chapped and covered in purple scabs. His face was pale, and the veins on his once brawny neck were now blackening as if filled with swamp muck. The Darkness never killed anyone gracefully.

He spoke the oath of Authority in the King’s Speech. All other Keepers could do their rituals in the common tongue, but The Keepers of the Light had to use the language spoken before the kingdom fell. Though his voice was soft and hoarse, it rang with the power carried in those words. He commanded that the Authority leave him and go to Liam. His words meant that all the powers and rights he had held would now be his sons. Liam knew these words. He’d read them before but never heard them spoken. He had hoped to never hear them spoken.

Father finished and smiled at Liam again. Liam breathed out. Now it was his turn. He’d recited these words many times, read them, heard them, and been trained by them. He could have spoken them without a thought on a normal day. But today, as he stared into his father’s once sharp green eyes that had become blurry with the Corruption, he had to concentrate.

He was accepting the Authority offered to him and swearing to use it correctly. It was the Oath of the Keepers of the Light.

With each line, a feeling of tension grew, hanging in the air like building thunder. As Liam started the second half of the oath, his father joined in, saying the words with him, adding to the energy. Then, two lines later, when Liam spoke of remaining a pure vehicle for the burning of the flame, Hough’s gravelly voice was added to the two. After two more lines, when Liam swore to protect the city, the powerful voice of Sitric accompanied them. These parts of the oath were common to all Keepers. When they spoke them all together, they affirmed each other as Keepers. There can be no lone Keeper. Their Authority was only kept with the deference of the others.

The four voices rang out more powerfully than seemed possible in the dark room, and then as they all finished together, the power seemed to hang in the air, like a rope had been pulled to just by its breaking point.

“Astrum be upon your heart forever, and your tongue shall be the commander over it,” Liam’s father whispered in the King’s Speech. He then kissed his son’s forehead, the last step in sealing the Authority to Liam. As his cold cracked lips left Liam’s forehead, the building tension in the air snapped.

As it did so, blue flames erupted around the two’s hands and temporarily engulfed them. The room was shown through the fire’s bright, pure light, and his father’s cold fingers became warm. The flame didn’t burn or give off smoke. It was like the pure rays of sunlight. The fire flickered away as quickly as it had come, and the room was dark again.

Father collapsed back and closed his eyes, breathing heavily. Liam looked down at his own hands, his heart pounding in surprise. Not a sign of a burn. He’d never seen the Authority passed on before. Was that what always happened?

Sitric placed a hand on his back, pulling him out of his thoughts. Sitric held a long glimmering dagger in front of him, palm open so Liam could take it.

The Lownire blade. It was the same blade his father had used his entire childhood, the same one that had been passed down generations. Impossibly sharp, light, and the bane of creatures of Darkness. The only thing they hated more than Astrum. That blade on his hip would announce him a Keeper. It would mean respect wherever he went.

Liam took the blade, wrapping his fingers around the leather on the handle. He held it nearly at arm’s length, his entire arm tensed. He tried not to show how uncomfortable it made him. It was so sharp, so light. One slip and he could injure someone. Wielding that dagger had been his fate since Arwen had gone, but a fate he had always ignored.

Sitric patted his back, “You’ll make a good keeper. Lownire needs you.”


Grandpa slammed the door of the lighthouse as he stepped inside. Liam was still staring at him in stunned silence, not noticing the puddle forming at his feet.

Grandpa turned and glared at him. “Have you gone lighthouse mad, boy? You’re dripping water everywhere. Dry off!” Grandpa said, hobbling over to the kitchen.

“But…” Liam responded.

“But what?” Grandpa said, drying off his face with a towel he found on the counter.

Liam’s mind ran through countless buts and finally settled on what he felt was the most pressing. “The storm - the village - it’s putting out the lights,” He stammered.

Grandpa’s face screwed up in anger, ready to deal out another whirl of insults, and then he stopped as if he heard something. “Indeed it is. At least you’re able to notice that,” he conceded.

The thunder shook the lighthouse once again. In a burst of movement that seemed impossible for such a small old man, Grandpa rushed to the door and threw it open.

“Go back to where you came from, you self-centered, whiny child!” He shouted, staring up at the sky.

The thunder seemed to crackle loudly in response.

“Bah, nobody asked you,” Grandpa scoffed.

The cliffside shook with wind, and rain blew in through the door.

“Yes, I have heard your message. Now shoo!” Grandpa said, shaking a fist at the sky.

In protestation, low growling thunder shook the sky.

“No, I will not go with -” Granda began,

A flash of blinding light filled the lighthouse, and a clap of deafening thunder shook Liam’s skull as lightning struck nearby outside.

“If you want to be that way,” Grandpa leaned back and took a deep breath, “Tha mi àithenda Prokela Demeatch!” He shouted. Somehow, though he’d never been taught a single one of those words, Liam understood each one with pure clarity. “I command thou tempest to depart!”

All at once, the rain stopped, the rolling thunder quieted, and the wind ceased to howl. In the silence, a low wind began to grow, blowing back out to sea and whistling past the lighthouse. After a moment, it was gone too, and all was still. The storm left as suddenly as a scared doe. The clouds still hung outside the window, but they sat stationary and without rain or thunder, like the power of the storm had left them.

Grandpa slammed the door shut. “Now, where were we?” He said, sighing, “Oh yes, you’ve ruined it!”

“Ruined what?” Liam asked, still reeling from the storm’s sudden departure.

“Why did you say those words!?” Grandpa added, advancing on his grandson. “Where is your father?!” He was stopped so close that Liam could feel his breath hot against his chin.

The question gave Liam back a certain amount of control. The sudden emotions solicited from it and the simplicity of the answer awakened him from pure confusion.

“Dad’s dead,” Liam responded flatly.

Grandpa opened his mouth and then stopped. “Oh,” He said softly, “I apologize, the last couple years have been….” Grandpa gestured vaguely, “-foggy. How did he die?”

“A creature of darkness struck him,” Liam responded, once again, the emotion in his voice controlled. “On the path back from the village.”

Now it was Grandpa’s turn to be stunned. He stepped back and arched an eyebrow. “Your father, struck and killed by a creature of Darkness, on the path to the lighthouse? Did he have Astrum?”

Liam nodded. Liam had barely been able to believe it as well. It had been a bright day, and his father, the great warrior, had been struck. “Sitric said he got unlucky,” Liam said, trying to keep the bitterness out of his voice. “He repelled the attack, but the corruption had already seeded in him by the time he got to Lastrios.”

Grandpa nodded slowly as if barely accepting the explanation. “When?”

“Last month,” Liam said.

“So, you’ve been alone here?”

“Besides you, yeah.”

“I can imagine I haven’t made great company,” Grandpa said, rubbing his chin. “Liam, you’re still dripping water everywhere. Go and get changed, and then I’ll explain some things.”

Liam, awakening to how uncomfortable his wet clothes were and still a little too confused to argue, mounted the staircase and went up to his bedroom. He changed, peeling off rain-soaked clothes for the second time that night. More comfortable and a little less stunned, he came back downstairs in a new pair of clothes.

On the first floor, Grandpa was rummaging through some kitchen cabinets. “You’re out of nearly everything,” he grumbled.

“What?” Liam asked.

“I feel like I haven’t had a real meal in four years, and there’s nothing good to eat in this kitchen!” He snarled, slamming a cabinet shut.

Liam grimaced. “Yeah, sorry, I meant to get some supplies tomorrow…, or today, I guess,” Liam said, glancing outside. It was still dark and cloudy, but the first suggestion of sunrise was glistening on the far horizon. It was tomorrow.

Grandpa took a bag off of the counter and sniffed it.

Liam, though still thoroughly disconnected, was able to get his confusions in the right order, so one came tumbling out as a question.

“Grandpa, what’s going on? What were those words you said to make a storm stop?”

The old man picked up the bag and grabbed a block of cloth-wrapped cheese off of the counter. “Looks like you have a band of wild children living in this house,” Grandpa hissed, kicking a pot out of his way. “Where do you keep the spit?” He asked as the pot loudly rolled away.

Liam gestured to the spit in the corner of the kitchen, still too stunned by his grandfather’s miraculous re-sanity to say much.

“I leave for four years, and my grandson becomes a slob,” Grandpa grumbled, grabbing the spit off the rack.

He stumbled back over to the fire and plopped himself down in front of it. Liam took his cloak off the chair opposite him and sat down. After a moment of silence, Liam decided it was worth a second go at the question, “Um, how did you make the storm go away?”

Grandpa crouched and added a log to the fire. “So, your father taught you nothing about the Old Tongue?” He asked as the log started to crackle on the low coals in the fireplace.

“The King’s Speech?”

“No, not the King’s Speech,” Grandpa said as he got on one knee. He leaned down in front of the fire and gave the coals one continuous blow, causing them to flicker, “The Language of Ancients,” He added and blew once more. “The True Tongue,” He blew again. “The Song of the Stars,” He finished. He gave the fire one last blow, and it rumbled up, catching around the log.



1. Does the flashback communicate the importance of Authority?

2. Does Liam react realistically to his grandpa emerging?

3. What do you think of Grandpa?

Part two of chapter four: https://www.youngwriterssociety.com/work/MaybeAnd...

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Fri Mar 04, 2022 8:11 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...

Hi MaybeAndrew,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

We have a great chapter here with a good structure and two well written halves. I can't say which half I liked better, the more "technical" part where Liam takes over his father's work and we witness his passing or the more "practical" part where we are introduced to grandpa in all his facets.

One thing before I start with the other things; there are more and more little typos in the story, where I just advise you to read over it before you publish it, so that they are out of your feet. That's actually the only criticism I have here.

I really like the emotional and great written build up of Liam's father and him making the handover and him passing away later on. On the one hand, it's a bit clichéd to use this method, but I found it very refreshing in terms of the descriptions and details you've given here. You could clearly tell how Liam was feeling without going extremely deep into his head and I also liked how you portrayed his father in such a way that you could tell he was old and weak just from a few minor details scattered throughout the first few paragraphs.

In terms of writing style, I like how much you tried to use synonyms and also created a very good reading flow.

I found the second half with Grandpa equally outstanding. The focus shifted from the descriptions to the dialogues and I think it's very well chosen how this change takes place in the story. Grandpa is a little highlight for me because of the way he is presented and also in connection with Liam. He seems experienced and self-confident but also a bit scattered, which gives him a flaw and makes him more human. Liam is intimidated in his presence but also tries to come back to reality and not hide and I think you've done that well in the dialogue here.

Other points I noticed while reading:

Liam was given the Authority of Keeper of the light.

Tiny typo here with the “l” in light.

Though it never really was the bed that shrunk the room, it was him. His coughing, the site of his weakness, and his stench. That sickly sweet of rot permeated the room.

I really like how you did the descriptions here. This is just a small highlight from all the moments between Liam and his father but this is definitely a well-written section with lots of descriptions and few repetitions.

It was the Oath of the Keepers of the Light, or more properly, in the old tongue, Geallaim Choinneáil Astrum.

My first thought was that this was Irish or Gaelic....

“Go back to where you came from, you self-centered, whiny, baby!”

I think the last comma isn´t needed here in the dialogue.

“bahhh, nobody asked you,” Grandpa scoffed.

Tiny typo here at the beginning, but actually; Grandpa, why are you so upset about the thunder? :D I actually like that detail you give us here to show what Grandpa is like.

“If you want to be that way,” Grandpa leaned back and took a deep breath, “WORDS!” He shouted. Somehow, though he’d never been taught a single one of those words, Liam understood him. I command thou tempest to depart!”

A quotation mark is missing here. Maybe it flew off somewhere?

In summary, a really good chapter with a clear emphasis on Grandpa's introduction and deeper characterisation. Well written and interestingly constructed.

Have fun writing!


MaybeAndrew says...

Thank you sooo much for the review Mailice!
My first thought was that this was Irish or Gaelic....

I am a sucker for Ireland (:

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Sun Feb 20, 2022 7:27 am
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VengefulReaper wrote a review...

Hi, just here to leave a quick review.

A great chapter for the backstory on Liam and his dad and how he became a Keeper of the Light despite his age. I love how you describe the effects the Darkness had on father and how painful it must be for him to slowly die like that. It looks to me like the Darkness sucks the life out of you (maybe not literally...). I also like the new info we've been given about the rituals of the different keepers.

I think the departure of Liam's father and the passing of the torch to Liam was excellently done. It has a sense of dread and tension to it as if Liam is taking on responsibility too great for him. It really informs a lot about his hesitance to be a Keeper knowing that he didn't want it in the first place. I'm looking forward to Liam growing into his role as we move along. This aspect of the chapter was the best part for me.

So, the king's speech is like a mystical speech? As in, it has some kind of effect on the darkness? That would explain why their Oath can't be in any other language. Also, the keeper's sword being the only thing able to fight the Darkness is a great way to give your protagonist or the Keeper of the Light a uniqueness that'll make him important to the plot.

Now, onto the grandpa. Ah, yes... the cranky old man... He's certainly not the kind-hearted, gentle grandpa (yet?) but from what I've read, he seems to be suffering from Alzheimer's because he needs to be reminded father died a few months back. And he knows the Language of the Ancients that can control the weather (or at least storms). A very interesting concept and perhaps Liam learns this and becomes a weather wizard of sorts.

I like how you focused on Language in this chapter and the role it plays in your world as well as a focus on the culture behind making someone a Keeper. I particularly liked how each Keeper joined in at specific points in the Oath that pertained to their jobs. Having seeded in the thread of Liam's father dying and him being given the role of Keeper in the previous chapters quite often, this chapter was a good payoff and very much needed to further justify Liam's attitude towards it.

As always, thanks for the read and keep writing!
The Reaper sends his regards...

MaybeAndrew says...

Thank you so much for the review! I%u2019m glad you picked up on so much, like the Lownire blade and Liams unwillingness to be a Keeper, and how he might have to learn the Old Tongue. Those are all very astute things to recognize.
Once again thank you so much!!!!

How can I be king of the world? Because I am king of rubbish. And rubbish is what the world is made of.
— Kate DiCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane