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2/19/2009

Resumption of service and story

Some of you may have noticed that Velvet Verbosity was offline for a while, and the 100 Word Challenge came to a screeching halt. I am pleased to announce that Velvet is back online and the 100 Word Challenge, which some of you have participated in, will resume shortly. It may take a day or two for her to get some maintenance done on her site, but she will be back on top of the game in short order.

In the story that follows, the Knight is finally named. He is Sir Gwalchmei, a Welshman. Later, in English stories, another Knight whose real name was Gwalchmei would become known as Gawain. But this ain't the same guy. FYI.


One Knight's Story - Part 6


"It distresses us, Sir Gwalchmei, that you would leave our service in this time of conflict and need, and yet ... and yet we understand. You must understand, however, that we can spare no escort, and safe passage will only carry you as far as Acre. You will be on your own."

"Aye, Sire, that is understood. The good King Guy is most generous in giving us leave to depart. We mean to travel through the Kingdom of Lum and then northwest to the land of the Turk, and Constantinople. From there we will go overland to the coast of Normandy, across the channel, and on to High Cross, near which lie the lands purchased for me and my Squire."

"Your way will be fraught with danger, Sir Knight. But then, the stories we have heard of you - you and your two handed sword work - those stories, if true, would seem to portend trouble for those you encounter. We would have more like you, if they exist. Where did you learn such stuff, Sir Knight?"

"As a lad, Sire, my father was a trader in spices. We lived in Constantinople. I learned the knife from the Bulgars, wushu from the Chinese traders who followed the Silk Road and the scimitar from the Arabs of Mecca. I grew to a man in Wales and there learned the ways of the Knight, the use of the sword and lance, the mace and battle axe. The short sword was taught to me by an ancient monk who lived in a hut by the sea; he taught me also to read and to think. In learning to think, I was able to combine the technique of the Chinese wushu master with the long sword of the English and the short sword of Rome."

"Show us this technique, Sir Knight."

"I am unarmed, Sire. Arms are not allowed in the presence of the King."

"Bring in the Squire of Sir Gwalchmei, and his arms."

And so it was that Squire found himself in the presence of the King, answering the King's questions regarding what it was he was seeing.

"It's all a matter of balance, Sire. He practices his dances with each sword, singly, and those he does for strength and endurance. But observe, Sire, now he uses both and his dance, now, is the dance of death. In his mind he faces the enemy and his enemy comes at him and he moves to counter the blow but at the same time, the off side is protected by the other weapon. He never wavers, he is never taken off balance because the swords both weigh the same and his technique is designed to keep him on the attack but always under control."

"Sir Knight!! Stop, if you will. We have seen enough to know that the things you do are strange, indeed. But a test, if you will. Captain of the Guard!!"

The Captain of the Guard threw himself to one knee before the King.

"Sire!"

"Captain. Engage yon Knight in play at swords. Attack."

"My Liege", said the Captain of the guard, who then rose, turned, and drew his sword. he walked toward Sir Gwalchmei, loosely swinging his sword in large loops to his left, the right, then left again. Sir Gwalchmei stood waiting, crouched low, left foot forward, right hand above his ear with long sword next to his head, pointed forward, left hand in front, with short sword held across his body, pointed to the right.

The Captain lunged. His thrust was parried away with the short sword, the Knight stepped into him and had his long sword across the Captain's throat before he could but blink his eyes.

"Yield?"

"Aye."

"Well done, Sir Gwalchmei. We have never seen anything like that before. It is so simple, and yet, it is not."

"No, Sire, it is not simple, but that it has been practiced over and over again until it is like breathing - done without thought."

"We have fifty men in our personal guard. We will pay you 500 pieces of gold if you will give us a month and train the guard in your ways."

"Fifty is too many to train in so short a time, Sire. Give me ten of your best and in a month I will train them in the basics. When I have completed my task, each of them will then be able to train five more."

"Done, Sir Knight. Send your squire to the purser's tent and he will be given half of our agreed amount. The rest we will pay upon acceptance, by us, of your ten trained men."

Later that evening, the squire returned to his master with a sack of gold in his hand.

"I fear, M'Lord, that this may be all we see of your fee. I suspect the King may not be as generous as he would have us think."

"What? You think the King capable of deception, Squire? Fear not - so do I. But should he try to deceive, Good Squire, it will be what I can't give those men that will make the difference between walking out of here with all we are due or being buried in the King's graveyard."

"M'Lord?"

"Experience, Squire. I can't give them experience. Except, of course, should they fall to the wrong side of my sword."

"Do you think the King would turn them on you?"

"I do. Thus the reason they will be but ten."

Ndinombethe.

14 comments:

Jientje said...

Things that look simple, usually never are.

Shadow said...

i have not been following your knights tale and missed a part or 2... got some catch up reading to do i think.

Ashlie- Mommycosm said...

I need to go back and catch up on The Knight's Tale.

Thanks for sharing about Velvet Verbosity. I tried to go to her site yesterday, but got an error message. I do miss 100 word challenges.

NicoleB said...

This is turning into another story I'll buy any time from you as a book!
Can't wait to see how this will work out!

Joyce-Anne said...

Jientje makes a good point, things that look simple usually aren't. In your story, the Knight's technique is *in his bones*, it's part of him--can't wait to see what happens next with the King and his men.

Audubon Ron said...

Catching it a little as I go as time permits.

Tara R. said...

Twists, turns, intrigue and secrets. I love it all.

Employee No. 3699 said...

and I await the next chapter on the edge of my seat...

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Ooh! The plot thickens. I love the intrigue at the end of this post.

Patsy said...

I'm glad to hear that VV is going to be back soon. I did enjoy taking the challenge almost as much as I liked reading what others wrote. Thanks for the info.

So you are having to do a little research to name the knight among other things. You are a true author aren't you.

LceeL said...

Jientje: I have studied martial arts and I know that to be true.

Shadow: Go ahead and catch up. I'll wait.

Ashlie: I miss it too. I'm glad she's back.

NicoleB: Thank you, Nicole. I can't wait either.

Joyce-Anne: Thus his daily 'practice'.

Audubon Ron: Cool. I'm flattered that you would take the time.

Tara R: Thank you, Tara. I am flattered once again.

Employee: And you flatter me, as well.

HollyATOM: Hang around - it's gonna get better.

Patsy: I'm learning. I decided, since these guys are telling me a much longer story than I thought it would be, that they would need names after all.

moneythoughts said...

This is fun. I am enjoying this knight stuff. As a kid, I loved when we studied the Middle Ages. If you ever get to Cleveland, OH, check out their Art Museum. Besides having a great collection of paintings, they have a fantastic collection of armour and weapons from the Middle Ages. I think you would find their collection of great interest. The smallest thing in those days, swords and armour, was covered with art.

M+B said...

Your knight is not just an athlete, he is also so wise! As always I love reading what you write!

Ree said...

That nasty king.