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17 December 2012 @ 12:26 pm
Of Honour, Power and Wolves - Chapter One - Part A  

Fic Title: Of Honour, Power and Wolves
Fic Acronym: OH PAW!
Fandom: Teen Wolf

Fic Rating: M
Chapter Rating: PG

Fic Word Count: unknown
Chapter Word Count: 9,387

Main Character: Stiles
Pairings: Derek/Stiles, Scott/Allison, Lydia/Jackson

Warnings: none for this chapter

Summary: Stiles' life is about to be turned upside down by his curiosity of the mysterious prisoner in Duke Guaire's dungeon. You know what they say, curiosity killed the cat... perhaps in this case it is more like, curiosity set the cat out on a mad adventure dealing with magic and
politics, wolves and villains, all to clear his father's name and expose a corrupt duke... but that is kind of a long phrase.




Of Honour, Power, and Wolves

chapter one





Stiles pressed closer to the trunk of the large oak tree, knuckles turning white and thighs starting to tremble with the effort it took to hold on. He squinted in the low light of the dusk, trying to decipher the figures gathered around the caged wagon. The horse-drawn contraption was oddly altered, boarded up across the sides as if to keep the prisoner inside a secret. Stiles couldn’t help but roll his eyes at that; given the meddling minds of the locals and general lack of interesting events in the area, something like that could only serve to add intrigue to an otherwise mundane sight.

The wagon had stopped near the back entrance of the Tower Capalláidir and Stiles recognized the profile and gait of his father as the commander of Duke Guaire’s  personal regiment walked out to meet the two soldiers who had jumped down from the sides of the wagon. The men spoke in hushed voices before all turning to look at the wagon that currently looked like a wooden box on wheels.

The horses hooked to it were acting uncharacteristically anxious for creatures as well trained as they. Four other men came out of the tower carrying long metal poles with chains on the end. Stiles saw his father’s minute nod, a movement so familiar that he could recognize it even at a distance. At his father’s signal, the group of men all moved to the back of the caged wagon. With a dull, heavy sound of metal and wood moving, the back opened and the men were quick to move forward and reach inside. They must have hooked the chains at the ends of their iron poles to the shackles around the limbs of their prisoner, because moments later they were leading the staggering figure out of the wagon.

Who was this person who needed such secretive and heavily armed transport? Stiles leaned forward on the bulky tree branch as far as he dared. Suddenly, one of the horses bolted forward and a shout echoed in the quiet evening as the men worked to keep hold of the prisoner while others moved quickly to grab at the horses. The prisoner, however, did not move; he simply stood silently, watching the mess of nervous men try to quiet the riled animals. With the help of one of the soldiers, the driver was able to get the horses under control, and Stiles’ father waved him off. He drove away, the sounds of hooves echoing through the quiet evening. Stiles turned his attention back to the prisoner.

The captive man was dressed in clothes that more closely resembled torn rags, his chest nearly bare. He walked with a stoop, his back hunched and his knees bent as if he couldn’t straighten them. His torso looked bulky as if he worked a hard job like in the forests or mines. The men led him to the tower door using the poles as leashes that could lead him without allowing him to get too close to them. Odd. The poles resembled something that would be used on wild animals, not simple humans.

Stiles furrowed his brow wondering how any single person could possibly be such a threat as to require that sort of treatment. The prisoner looked angry but calm. It seemed, really, a little ridiculous that even though he was the one being led to face however long in a dungeon and perhaps even some torture, he was the only one who seemed calm. His face was in shadow, but his movements were easy for Stiles to see. They were stiff as if all his muscles were bunched, gathered and ready if opportunity arose. He moved slowly, deliberately, taking in his surroundings and seemingly unbothered by the number of armed men around him. Stiles was watching from a fair distance and it was steadily growing darker with the encroaching night and yet, the man in chains had eyes that seemed to flash with colour. Stiles nearly fell out of his tree when the man looked in his direction. His breath left his lungs as he imagined that the prisoner looked directly at him, seeing him in his hiding spot. He couldn’t have seen him, though, could he?

The group of men led the man into the stone tower, Stiles’ father following at the back. Being the commander, it was part of his job to oversee such things.

Once the large iron doors were shut, Stiles was left in near silence. The crickets in the fields and gardens near the castle chirped, a soft breeze rustled the leaves, but otherwise, everything was still and quiet. He climbed down from the tree as gracefully as he could manage, which in the end wasn’t very graceful at all. His muscles were stiff from being still for so long after hours of training and his ‘graceful’ landing consisted mostly of him falling on his backside and scrambling to find his footing.  Grabbing up his sack of training gear - ugh, it smelled foul,  it badly needed to be laundered - and jogged down the dirt path toward home.

Night had truly fallen by the time Stiles’ father arrived home a few hours later looking worn and tired. Stiles had used the time to bathe, to wash his gear and hang it to dry, and to set about starting their night time meal. He nearly dropped the wooden spoon into the stew in his haste to approach his father once the man had set foot into their small manor.

“Hey! Uhh...” Stiles stammered out, coming to an awkward halt in front of his father. The older man paused in peeling off his boots to tiredly regard him. “Sorry, just... what’s going on with the caged wagon? Why was it all boarded up?”

“What?” asked his father sharply. “How do you know about...”

Stiles slapped hand over his mouth, he had meant to inconspicuously wheedle it out of his father, not just ask it straight out.

“Stiles,” sighed out his father in a long-suffering exhale. “Must you always poke your nose into private matters?”

“Just a healthy dose of curiosity, pops,” said Stiles, toeing the ground and feeling sheepish.  “You know how I am.”

“Mmhmmm.” His father sighed, finishing his task of removing his boots and tabard before stepping into the worn turnshoes he kept for wearing inside their home - humble for the abode of the duke’s commander.

Stiles followed after him when he strode through the great hall toward the kitchen. His father sniffed appreciatively at the air before picking up the long-handled wooden spoon and giving the pot of stew a stir.

“I just stirred it,” said Stiles, trying not to sound too annoyed. He wasn’t some infant who knew nothing of cooking. He’d had a hand in doing it since - well; better to not think on that.

His father didn’t respond, but simply set the wooden spoon back down and left the kitchen through the opposite doorway. He stepped past the heavy fabric partition that covered the doorway to the solar and Stiles stopped short at the drapery, not following him in. He could hear the rustling of his father changing out of his royal uniform and waited impatiently for him to finish.

“But seriously,” said Stiles once his father had reappeared, “that was a lot of swords for just one skin.”

“We were just being cautious,” replied his father, simply, before flopping down in the wooden armed, red chair that sat in the corner of the small area between kitchen and solar.


“No wonder the taxes are upped so often if it takes six men and the commander of the ducal guard to move one criminal,” said Stiles, grinning because he knew something was up and he just loved juicy information.


“Stiles,” replied his father in the deep, commanding tone he usually saved for speaking to his men. It sounded slightly resigned, though, as he spoke to his son, as if he knew the lad would get it out of him, eventually. “Just leave it alone.”


Stiles frowned but nodded, anxious as he was to solve the mystery, he still knew enough not to push his father after such a long day. The sound of sizzling startled him forward and he quickly moved back into the kitchen to move the pot to a cooler section of the wood stove. The mixture had boiled over just a little, but it was enough to momentarily fill the room with the putrid scent of burning gravy.


“Smells good,” his father offered before pulling out two wooden bowls to hand to Stiles. “Is Mistress ‘Lissa still sick?”


“She’s much better,” replied Stiles, ignoring his father’s weak compliment considering the room smelled of the burnt bubbled-over stew. “Resting, though.”


“Good,” replied his father, distractedly.


“Yeah,” agreed Stiles absently as he scooped a few spoonfuls of stew into the first bowl before passing it to his father.


“How was training today?” his father asked before turning to take his seat at the bulky wooden table in the far corner of the kitchen, no point eating in the great hall.


“Fine,” replied Stiles, filling his own bowl and then taking a seat diagonally from his father.


“Learn any new moves?”


“Nope.”


Stiles took a bite of his stew, breathing in through his teeth when he realized it was much too hot for his mouth.


“What did you cover?” asked his father before blowing on his spoonful.


“Hand to hand, then piking.”


“Yeah?” asked his father, looking suddenly more interested. “Who were you paired with for hand to hand?”


“Scott.”


His father made a noise of amusement in the back of his throat before shaking his head.


“Of course.”


“Yep,” replied Stiles before standing up. “We should have bread with this.”


“How’d it go?” asked his father as Stiles left him.


Stiles ground his teeth and rolled his eyes while retrieving the loaf of bread where it was wrapped in cloth on the far counter.


“Well,” said Stiles, setting the bread down on the table and breaking off a piece for his father. “We’ll both be sore in the morning.”


His father nodded, smiling in a strained way that showed good humour while also giving away his weariness. Stiles sat back down and watched his father dip the chunk of bread into his bowl of stew before turning his attention to his own meal. They ate in silence; his father a man of few words and tired from a long day and Stiles not wanting to talk military training any more than he had to. After a while, though, his curiosity about the happenings earlier that evening had him bouncing his leg under the table. He watched his father slowly eat as he turned over what information he had gathered from spying.


“So, is he like a warrior or something?” Stiles couldn’t help but burst out a few moments later.


“Stiles,” warned his father in monotone.


“Maybe he’s a personal guard to one of the opposing dukes.”


“Stiles.”


“Or maybe he is one of the guys leading the miners’ protest... wait, no,  why so much security for just some peasant miner guy?”


His father sighed in annoyance.


“Is he a spy?” asked Stiles in an excited hiss, his eyes widening in excitement. “Oh! Like one of the ninja rogues from the East?”


“Stiles!” bellowed his father, slamming an open hand down on the wooden table.


Stiles jumped in his seat before shooting him a guilty smile.


“Sorry.”


“Can you please just let it lie?”


“Yeah, of course!” replied Stiles, nodding emphatically before taking a bite of his stew. He mumbled “like a sleeping dog” before scooping another spoonful from his bowl.


They sat in silence for a few moments before being interrupted by a knock on the door. Stiles’ father rose from the table and left to answer it. Once he was out of sight, Stiles quickly set his spoon down and stood from the table, hurrying over to the doorway between kitchen and great hall to see who had come.


Two of the higher ranking guards stepped into the manor, speaking to Stiles’ father in hushed tones. His father turned back in that moment and his eyes landed on Stiles who grinned sheepishly.


“Come, sit,” said his father to the two men. “I was just eating a late supper.”


Stiles had the sense to grab his father’s bowl and spoon and quickly bring it out to the long table at the front of the great hall.


“I can bring more for you, sirs,” he said to the men as he placed the bowl at the table.


“No,” said one, even though the other was looking at the half-finished rabbit stew with hungry eyes. “We came to speak on matters of the...”


“Stiles,” cut in his father, suddenly. “You should leave us. I am sure you are tired from your training.”


“Yes,” said Stiles, regrettably. “I was finished eating anyway.”

His stomach growled in hunger as he ducked through the second door at the end of the great hall to the family solar. He flopped down on his bed once he had reached his bedroom. He stared up at the fabric hanging above his bed for a few moments before the low murmur of voices was too much to bear and he was up and creeping back to the edge of the hall and crouching next to the doorway.

“The full moon is two nights away,” spoke one of the men.

His father hummed in response.

“He will turn,” spoke the other.

“He could turn tonight,” countered Stiles’ father.

“Will the cell hold him?” asked the first man, sounding fearful.

“We shall hope,” said Stiles’ father.

“What does the duke want with him?”

“I am not certain,” answered Stiles’ father. “He is calling a meeting on the subject.”

“What are we to do in the meantime?”

“Make sure he does not bite you,” replied Stiles’ father gravely, though there was some sardonic humour in his voice.

Stiles was confused; what did it all mean? He crept away from where he had been listening and looked out his bedroom window, watching as the stars were appearing in the sky. Who was this prisoner? Why were the guards so on edge? Why was his father being so secretive?

He needed to know.

Feeling antsy with curiosity thrumming beneath his skin, Stiles decided to sneak out to find his friend. Together they could wonder at the facts.


------------

“Stiles! What are you doing in my bedchamber?” hissed Scott. “I almost called the guards! Think of the scandal!”

Shrugging off his best friend’s reaction, Stiles finished climbing into the bedroom through the castle window.

“I came bearing news of something much more interesting than the nighttime endeavors of the duke’s son,” said Stiles, smirking. “Oh, and I brought you this, too,” he hastily added, pulling a folded paper from inside his cloak.

Scott quickly took it.

“A letter from my mum?” he asked.

Stiles nodded.

“Why does she insist on sending letters?” he complained as he unfolded it. “Why will she not come speak to me herself?”

“She does not wish to disgrace you with her presence... as you know.”

“How is it a disgrace?” asked Scott in frustration. “She is allowed to visit her only son! She has permission and it isn’t as though the entire dukedom doesn’t already know of my bastard...hood.”

Stiles winced.

“You’ve been recognized by the Duke,” said Stiles. “Let it lie, Scott, you do not need to label yourself so vilely.”

“The duchess thinks it,” said Scott, staring unseeingly down at the letter.

“Nothing is keeping you from visiting your mother, you realize,” said Stiles, moving the conversation forward with the knowledge of how his friend was prone to mope.

“I would not embarrass her with my presence in the house she serves,” said Scott detestably.

With quick movements, Stiles smacked Scott on the back of his head.

“Ow!” gasped Scott, bringing a hand up to the back of his head. “Damnation, Stiles! I’ll call the guards yet!”


“You will not,” scoffed Stiles. “Now listen, I have news.”

Scott sighed and plopped down in an armchair by the open window Stiles had clambered through moments before.

“Let’s hear it, then,” he said in resignation. “What town gossip have you gotten hold of this time? You’re practically an old woman, Stiles.”

“I resent that,” said Stiles, shaking his head at Scott. “No, this news is my own first hand account.”

“Of what?”

“Scandal! Intrigue! Mystery!”

Scott raised an eyebrow.

“There’s a new prisoner in Tower Capalláidir,” explained Stiles.

“Is that all?”

Stiles made a face, twitching in frustration at Scott’s lack of enthusiasm.

“Are you not even the slightest bit curious of this news?” he asked.

Scott let out a heavy sigh and leaned back in his armchair letting his head fall heavily to the dark red fabric at his back.

“I’m more curious of this Allison of the house of Argenté,” he said in a whoosh of breath. “I am to meet her in just over a month’s time.”

“You’re already betrothed,” replied Stiles with the annoyance of having said it all before. “You already know she is considered plus belle la terre,” he continued with sarcastic flourish. “You have heard the descriptions sung of her, of her long brown hair, her soft red lips, and her deep warm eyes.You know that their family is of very high standing and this can only mean good things for your future, you lucky... horse’s... ass. What else is there to be curious of?”

“But will she like me?” he asked, staring off into some unseen place with the face of a lovesick puppy.

Stiles faked a gagging sound as if he were to vomit.

“Shut up,” exclaimed Scott, grabbing a fringed cushion from his side and throwing it at Stiles.

Stiles effectively ducked the pillow before leveling Scott with a glare.

“You don’t even deserve my news,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest.

“I’m sorry, Stiles,” said Scott, frowning apologetically though it wasn’t very persuasive because the corners of his mouth kept flickering with amusement. “Please tell me about the new prisoner.”

Stiles looked like he would hold out on Scott as punishment, but began twitching shortly after with the desire to share. Finally, he dropped down into the chair opposite Scott’s, leaning forward in excitement, eyes wide and sparkling with mischief.

“So, I stayed late after practise today...”

“I am aware.”

Stiles gave Scott a look, clenching his jaw in annoyance. Scott put up his hands in surrender, before nodding for him to go on.

“...and when I went to leave, I saw the caged wagon coming through the castle gate,” continued Stiles. “The thing was, it was boarded up instead of open like usual.”

“Why would they do that?” asked Scott, finally starting to be pulled in.

“Because they don’t want us to see what’s inside,” answered Stiles, grinning excitedly.

“But you did,” prompted Scott, leaning forward in his seat.

Stiles bit his lips together and nodded.

“What was it?”

“I don’t know who he was,” said Stiles. Scott looked unimpressed seeming to have realized it was just some guy and this story was growing quickly uninteresting again. Stiles quickly continued. “I’ve never seen him before. He was built like a soldier, like really built. He was dressed in torn rags. I don’t think he’s from here.”

“A spy?”

“Maybe?” answered Stiles with a shrug. “That’s not the best part, though... They had him in chains like they would an animal. It took six men plus my father to take him into the tower.”

“Was he violent?”

“That’s the thing,” said Stiles, shaking his head. “He just walked in for them, no problem.”

“Why would they need so many men?” mused Scott.

“I don’t know,” said Scott. “Then, later when we were having our supper, two soldiers came to talk to father. They were asking strange things about the prisoner.”

“What kind of strange things?”

“They were worried that the tower wouldn’t be able to hold him,” said Stiles giving Scott an incredulous look as he said it like he couldn’t believe it though he had borne witness.

“Tower Capallaidir?” asked Scott in surprise.

Stiles nodded emphatically.

“That...” started Scott, furrowing his brow. “That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Father said something about not letting him bite them,” added Stiles.

“Wh...”

There was a knock at Scott’s door. Scott and Stiles stared at each other with wide eyes for a moment before Stiles was practically falling out of his chair in his haste to get to the window.

“Lord Scott?” asked the voice of an elderly woman from behind the heavy wooden door. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” called back Scott, his voice slightly more shrill than usual.

“I heard voices,” spoke the voice again.

“I was dreaming,” answered Scott.

“Tomorrow,” hissed Stiles as he was crawling through the window. “After practise. We’re going.”

“Going?” whispered Scott looking back over at Stile in confusion.

“To see the prisoner,” whispered back Stiles.

“What?” exclaimed Scott.

“I asked if I could come in,” replied the elderly woman’s voice from the other side of the door.

Scott’s eyes widened in fear and he looked between the large wooden door and Stiles face where he was looking in the window after climbing out. Stiles shook his head at Scott.

“Uh, no, I’m fine, you shouldn’t... trouble yourself,” exclaimed Scott.

The door began to creak open and Stiles quickly ducked down, nearly losing his footing on the stone wall and falling to his doom.

“STOP!” exclaimed Scott. “I... I’m NAKED!”

“What?” asked the old woman standing in his doorway, quickly covering her face with her hand. “Why are you naked, my lord?”

“I... I was... I took off my bedclothes in my sleep,” said Scott.

Stiles was trying not to laugh.

“I... I was sleepwalking and I... took them off,” answered Scott. “I’m fine, please just go. I was talking in my sleep and walking in my sleep and... yeah, I am sorry if I woke you, Madame Eithne.”

“Tis not a good omen, sleepwalking,” said the stooped, old woman before turning to leave, one hand still over her eyes. “Not good ‘tall.”

“I’ll try not to do it again,” replied Scott.

Once the door was closed, he ran across the room and looked out his window to see Stiles halfway down the wall.

“I’m not going to Capalláidir,” called out Scott in a low voice. “We’re not permitted.”

Stiles didn’t answer, just kept climbing down the side of the wall like a spider. Scott watched him until both feet were safely on the ground.

“I’m not going, Stiles,” he called out, unsure if the other actually heard him over the sound of the ocean and wind, and the distance now between them.

He watched Stiles run across the grassy cliff and out of view before letting out a frustrated huff and turning to his bed.




PART B

 
 
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