Archive for April 11th, 2012

11th April
written by amber

The Fall of a Knight

It’s hard to stay cordial while fighting for your life, even when your life doesn’t amount to much. I was a lowly knight involved in an unfair battle against an enemy who seemed to know nothing about the rules of chivalry. He hit me when I was down, he wouldn’t stop hitting when I ceded.

I came to believe that he was trying to actually kill me.

If it hadn’t been for the princess I was defending from his unwelcome intentions, I would have fled.

“Good sir! Do stand down!” I shouted at him, struggling back to my feet.

“Are you friggin’ kidding me? You attacked me,” he responded as he continued to whack me with his broad sword.

I’d long since lost my own sword and was trying to parry his blows with my shield, with no weapon to hand other than my small dirk. I’m sorry to say that I did get in a couple of jabs through the chinks in his armour around his ankles. For these dishonourable pokes, I gained no strategic advantage. He continued to hammer with his sword upon my shield and upon my armour or helmet whenever I wasn’t able to intercept his blows.

Sooner or later, he’d find a chink in my armour and his large blade would do far more damage than my tiny knife had done.

Steadily, he drove me backwards. I retreated as slowly as I could, hoping that the princess had divined the unfortunate direction of this battle and escaped to safety. Before long, the inevitable occurred – I tripped and fell upon my back, as helpless as a turtle, my shield flying out of my reach.

Through his helmet’s eye slits, I saw the gleam of victory in his eyes. He lifted his sword above his head for the killing blow. Numbly, I waited, keeping my eyes open so as not to display cowardice.

I saw the arrow enter his throat, I saw him keel over, a jet of red blood spurting into the air.

“Are you all right?” came a female voice. It was the princess.

I knew she dabbled in archery, but I had no idea she was this skilled.

I had no choice but to accept her assistance in standing up, but I kept my helmet on so that she would not see the red of my shamed visage. I would rather have died than be rescued by a woman. I’ll never be able to hold my head up after this.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

I’m grateful to David Brin for this first line, from his tremendous novel of science fiction and crime solving, Kiln People.