Sir Archibald de Bacle
Once upon a time, there lived an aristocrat named Sir Archibald de Bacle who explored the seven seas. He was knighted as a Sir by Queen Isabella; she was renowned for being a bad tempered woman with ill patience and was rarely crossed by others. One day she requested Sir Archibald de Bacle’s presence, but to her surprise he did not appear for the meeting she so desired. In a rage Isabella began thinking of all the punishments she could inflict upon him. “I should cut off his head!” she cried, “no, that’s too easy, I want him to suffer, he can rot in prison instead!” As the day went by Queen Isabella knew he would not come to her call. A much crueller, more devious plan came to her mind. She would summon him to her palace and send him off on a very dangerous mission, a mission so dangerous that he would probably never return.
Sir Archibald arrived a day later with handpicked wild flowers to pardon himself for his late arrival. Though she was furious, Queen Isabella welcomed him with open arms and a huge smile. Unfortunately for Sir Archibald that smile was not a true smile, but a smile of mischief and cunning. Those who knew Queen Isabella well enough knew that it only harboured bad news in disguise. “Come Sir Archibald, we have much news to discuss. The fate of our Kingdom rests in your hands”. He followed the Queen into the palace and listened attentively to each word she said. “I have decided to entrust a very important mission to you; increasingly our fleets heading to Africa are experiencing pirate attacks, and in most cases the ships and crew have not been recovered”. Sir Archibald (who was not the most charitable person in the world) did not like the sound of this at all. Nonetheless, he kept his expression neutral; if what he had heard about the Queen’s temper was true, he did not want to risk angering her! The Queen continued talking, “Those filthy pirates are stealing precious diamond and silk cargos, cargos that we simply cannot live without. Our country cannot tolerate this insolent behaviour, we must stand our ground and let those outlaw bandits know that we are a country not to be messed with!” The Queen had worked herself up in to a fury by now and was standing on the table between her and Sir Archibald shouting at the top of her voice. “You must go and take charge of the seas and ensure that the path between our Kingdom and Africa is clear!”.
Sir Archibald gulped. He knew there was no way he was getting out of this. The Queen turned to him with that crooked, devious smile, “I want you at sea within a week – don’t let me down or there will be dire consequences!”.
That smile sent shivers running down Sir Archibald’s spine. He knew that he had to obey her orders. He had been on many adventures in his time, he had explored the world map, but he had never had to tackle pirates head on before. With a queasy feeling in his stomach he kissed the Queen’s hand and promised her success in regaining control over those dastardly pirates.
Sir Archibald’s right hand man Tom was waiting patiently for him outside the palace’s grounds. “So what did she want, will you be bestowed with another title?” Sir Archibald’s stomach turned once again, how he wished it could have been something so pleasant. As a leader he could not let anyone see that he feared this mission, so he boasted loudly and proudly to Tom, “Come dear one, we must return to my manor and organise ourselves, we have but one week to get the finest crew this Kingdom has ever seen together. After, we leave for Africa!” The two gentlemen mounted their horses and set off into the night.
Once back at the manor Sir Archibald was a lot calmer. He had devised a plan and knew who would be joining his ranks aboard his ship. He felt sure that this quest would reward him with riches and regain his popularity with the Queen. He would be famous! Sir Archibald de Bacle – the man who saved everyone from the threats of the pirates. Everybody in the kingdom would all know his name.
A week later, after having worked hard with his servants and crew, he was aboard his ship about to sail out to sea. The Queen had come specially to wave them off. She wanted to make sure she would see him alive for the last time! The Queen felt an immense feeling of satisfaction; he just didn’t know what he was up against. With that, she turned and walked back to her chariot. She felt sure that it would be the last she saw of Sir Archibald de Bacle…
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