In the five years he’d been James’s apprentice, Bryan had learned a lot. He made a sturdy sword, so James said. Two years still remained in his apprenticeship. Two long years.
Like most sons of tradesmen or farmers, his family had secured this apprenticeship early on. At eleven, he and his father had made the three-day journey south to the Pembroke Castle blacksmith. At first, the prospect of being away from home, on his own, and learning a respectable trade, was exciting. More importantly, it allowed him to see and talk with real knights.
He spent every day learning how to forge stronger swords, tougher armour, how to shoe horses, and even make pots and pans. It was a satisfying trade and one that would ensure him a livelihood. But Bryan didn’t want just a livelihood. Even now, only two years away from completing his apprenticeship, he still couldn’t see himself working with metal for the rest of his life.
As long as he could remember, he had wanted only one thing: to be a knight like Sir Lancelot. Unfortunately, becoming a knight required not only training and equipment, but the money to pay for all that. A knight went through a long training period, starting at age seven as a page, moving up to a squire at age twelve, and then, if he was good enough, being given the opportunity to compete against others of the same age in the tests. If a squire passed those, then he still found himself in need of a sponsor to secure his appointment to the knighthood. And that took a king or a prince or another knight.
Bryan knew only one prince: Gavin.
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