The Apprentice, by Joshua White

Joshua White

Mrs. Harrison

World Literature

6 November 2015

The Apprentice

            Inside the blacksmith shop, it is humid from the many furnaces. It smells like burning, hot metal. There are numerous tools lying around. All of the finished works adorn the walls of the shop. Among the shields, swords and armor, one sword stands out from the rest. It is the sword of a noble King of a fallen nation. The pommel of the sword has a large, red ruby on it. Aaron is working on the latest order, a dozen swords for the empire. He doesn’t like that he’s making it for the corrupt empire. His first year as apprentice has been discouraging. He started when he was 15 years old. His boss makes him do tedious tasks almost nonstop. Aaron mutters to himself  “Don’t forget to pick up bread from the bakery for Dakota and Wesley”. He’s meeting them at the tree house after work. He knows Dakota will be overjoyed that he’s bringing her food. Ever since she ran away from home, she’s been living at the tree house. He wonders if Wesley is there today. Lately, Wesley believes his uncle, King Victor, has been suspicious of him. And the King is right, they have been plotting how to stop him and free the kingdom from his dictatorship. Today, Wesley sent Aaron an urgent message to meet at the tree house after work.

Aaron puts on his cloak and runs his fingers through his thin, brown hair and begins to walk to the bakery. The cobblestone is rough as he walks along the road. He passes many different shops. As he approaches the bakery, the smell of fresh baked bread wafts through the air. He walks inside and the baker recognizes him and exclaims, “Aaron, good to see you! How’s the shop going?”

Aaron replies, “It’s going fine.  How are you doing?”

Mr. Baker says grimly, “It’s not going well, if things don’t turn around I’ll have to close my shop for good.”

The baker hands him his warm loaf of bread and Aaron pays him the money. The baker says, “Here, you paid me too much money.”

As Aaron walks out of the shop he says, “Keep the change, you need it more than I do.”

He continues to walk through the town and reaches the gates of the city. The castle guards stop him by saying, “Halt!”

Aaron stops and says, “What do you want?”

The taller of the two guards says, “It’s gonna cost you if you want to pass through the gates.”

Aaron resists the urge to fight and reluctantly tosses them two coins as he walks through the gates. He continues on through the forest until he reaches the towering oak tree. He climbs up the tree and reaches a trapdoor and opens it. Dakota and Wesley greet him. Once he steps inside, he feels a sense of relief. The tree house has always been his favorite place to go. Aaron and Dakota found it when they were young. They’ve fixed it up nicely over the years. There is a wooden table with chairs to sit on, a large rug on the floor, a window that faces the castle and there is even a small bed in the corner. Dakota is sitting on the rug, braiding her long brown hair.  Wesley is sitting at the table reading a book. As they are eating the bread, they start to discuss their plan.

Aaron asks, “Wesley, did you figure out how we can cause a diversion to get inside the castle?” Ever since Wesley discovered that King Drake was still alive 4 months ago, they’ve been planning how to rescue King Drake and stop King Victor. Two years ago, Victor took over the kingdom upon King Drake’s “death”. Victor has become wicked with his new power. He has wreaked havoc on the kingdom since King Drake left. Under King Drake’s rule, the kingdom prospered and the people were content.

Wesley replies, “Yes, I made a plan on how to access the throne room. I placed a lot of traps around the castle, so we should be able to make it inside.”

Dakota asks, “So when are we going to do this?”

Wesley says, “Tomorrow at dusk, we will meet outside the shop. Don’t forget to bring your weapons and supplies.”

Aaron replies, “After all these months of planning, we’re finally ready.”

The next day Aaron wakes up and rushes off to work. He has trouble concentrating at work because he keeps thinking about their plan. Finally, his shift ends and Dakota and Wesley are waiting for him outside. Dakota has her bow and arrow and Wesley has his dagger. Aaron has the sword that he had made. They begin to walk to the castle. The three of them are all nervous.

As they approach the castle, Aaron is astonished at the grandeur of it. The towers of the castle are so tall that they seem to reach up into the clouds. There is a lavish garden in the courtyard. It is bursting with exotic plants and stunning flowers that he has never seen before. The air smells sweet and fragrant. In the distance, you can hear the clatter of the castle guards’ armor.

Aaron asks, “ Are you ready guys?”

Dakota replies, “ I was born ready!”

They reach the castle and follow Wesley into the secret passage that leads to the castle. Once inside the castle, Wesley starts to lead them to the throne room.

All of a sudden, a group of soldiers come around the corner with their swords drawn and shout, “Stop!! What business do you have inside the castle?”

Wesley shouts to Dakota and Aaron, “Quick, come with me!” They start to run down a corridor towards the kitchen. Wesley then guides them through a tapestry into a secret passageway. It leads them upstairs just outside of the throne room.

Wesley informs them, “Now we just have to wait for the church bells to ring.”

Right at the 9 o’clock hour, the bells start chiming and Wesley’s traps go off with a thunderous clamor. The guards inside the throne room sprint out to check on the castle. King Victor is now alone in the throne room. They slowly walk into the throne room.

King Victor says, “What is this, Wesley?”

Aaron says, “We are here to stop you. You are outnumbered. Just surrender.”

King Victor throws his head back and his sinister laugh can be heard throughout the room. “You think I didn’t know that you were scheming against me? And my own nephew!”

Suddenly, many soldiers come out of hiding. Aaron draws his sword and tells Dakota and Wesley, “Run, I’ll hold them off!”

King Victor snidely says, “Oh, how valiant! Saving his friends. Guards, arrest him now!”

The guards then take hold of Aaron and take him to the dungeon. The dungeon is chilly and damp. It reeks of musty air and sweat. It takes a few minutes for Aaron to adjust to the darkness. Once in the dungeon, Aaron sighs and sits with his back on the cold, stone, wall.

As Dakota and Wesley are racing back to the tree house, they spot something sparkling in the Blacksmith shop. They run into the Blacksmith shop and notice the sword with the red ruby glowing. Wesley removes the sword from the wall and notices a name engraved on the back. As they look closely, they realize it says Aaron. They decide to take it to Aaron, to try and rescue him.

Aaron is shaking the iron bars in his cell, but they won’t budge. How am I going to escape from here? Suddenly, he sees something glimmering in the distance. Then he sees Dakota and Wesley holding a glowing sword. Dakota unlocks the cell door with a key.

Aaron asks, “Where did you get the key?”

Dakota replies, “We took them off of the guard.”

“How did you get them from the guard?” Aaron asks.

“That’s not important, but this is.” Dakota says as she shows him the name on the sword.

Aaron grabs the sword and looks at his name written on the blade.

“I’ve seen this sword a hundred times and it’s never had my name on it!” Aaron exclaims.

Wesley answers, “We saw it shining as we were walking by. We decided that this was a sign that we needed to rescue you.”

As they race to the throne room, their footsteps echo in the corridors. When the guards try to block them, Aaron defeats them all with a skill that he never possessed before. Aaron takes a deep breath and wipes the sweat off his brow. Then, he quickly opens the gate to the throne room. Before the guards could react, Aaron takes them down.

King Victor says, “Nice sword! You must tell me your secret on how you make it glow?”

Aaron replies, “Let’s finish this Victor.”

King Victor says, “Somebody is confident now. But you’re still the same little boy.”

King Victor gets up and says, “I’m the greatest swordsman of all the land. You cannot possibly defeat me!”

He takes out a broadsword and charges at Aaron. Aaron blocks the blow and counters with a side slash. The room is silent except for the clanging of the swords.

King Victor exclaims, “You’re quite the swordsman, but you cannot win!”

Then he quickly attacks with a fury of blows. Aaron instinctively blocks the blows.

King Victor suddenly throws a dagger and Aaron dodges it, but it keeps traveling and strikes Dakota in the stomach. Dakota screams and tumbles to the ground. Wesley runs to help Dakota. Aaron now attacks Victor with a newfound hatred. He disarms him with a final blow.

King Victor says, “You won’t kill me. You don’t have the guts to do it.”

Aaron strikes him on the head with the back of the sword and ties him up.

He then goes to check on Dakota. She is lying on her side and her eyes are closed. Aaron is worried that she is dead. As he reaches his hand out to touch her, she opens her eyes.

“Are you all right? “Aaron asks.

Dakota lifts up her shirt and shows them that she is wearing chainmail. Her stomach is severely bruised underneath the chainmail. She’s going to be all right! Aaron and Wesley help her to stand up.

“Wesley, take us to King Drake now, so we can finally free him,” says Aaron.

Wesley leads them to the most secure dungeon in the castle. It is even deeper than the other dungeons. The air is frigid and foggy. It smells like rotting flesh. They start to doubt that they will find the king in this darkness. The sword begins to glow brighter as they make their way closer to the King. They reach the dungeon and realize the key they have doesn’t work on this door. The sword begins to pull Aaron towards the door of the dungeon. When it touches the door, it suddenly opens. A pale, drawn, King Drake is unconscious on the cold, dark floor of the dungeon. Aaron rushes to the King and kneels before him.

The King wakes up and says, “Are you Aaron?”

Aaron replies, “Yes, how did you know my name?”

The King explains that he had seen Aaron in a recurring dream.

Aaron says, “Is this your sword?”

King Drake replies, “Yes, the sword only responds to a courageous hero. Thank you Aaron for saving me and this kingdom.”

The kingdom prospered for many years and Aaron, Wesley and Dakota were honored for their service to the King. Their story became a legend for centuries to come.

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