~~A young man wishes to become a knight, but first maybe he ought to take lessons.
The Knight scampered away, fleeing and yelling in holy terror as the massive dragon rose from the depths of the cave that they had about to take shelter in. Terrance stared after the knight with gritted teeth and briefly muttered a few curses as he tightened his grip on the knight’s abandoned sword. He had already put his helmet on, intending to take the monster on by himself. He knew that he stood no chance, but he hoped he would be braver than the knight when it came to fighting beasts like dragons.
I wanted to be a knight, but I didn’t think I would have to fight a dragon in order to become one. The thought flickered momentarily in his head before he heard a scream. His heart sank when he heard that it was a female screaming, begging and pleading for help. As if I didn’t have enough trouble already. He had time to think before the dragon struck.
He had to think for a moment that maybe the knight was right in fleeing, because the dragon was fast, easily the fastest creature that Terrance had ever come across. The poor lad was barely fifteen years old, and though he was scrawny and usually quick on his feet, he almost got slammed against a tree due to the creature’s enormous claws. He stabbed at the creature, trying to get it killed so that the dangers would end.
And his footing slipped, nearly sending him over the edge of a cliff.
What the-that wasn’t there before! Terrance thought in panic, as he managed to cling to the edge of the cliff. He had just managed to pull himself up and over, and the dragon-who’d been closing in on him-lost its footing. He watched in astonishment as the creature went head over heels down the cliff and into darkness. Terrance stared a few moments, thinking that had to have been the easiest and the hardest battle that he had ever fought in his life.
Renewed screams sounded again, and he hurried into the cave to see a young girl being pulled out by the knight, who looked rather determined to get her out of there.
“What’s wrong? Why is she screaming?” Terrance asked, confused.
“Because this is my home, and I don’t want to leave!” She said, with tears going down her face. “Everything I need is here, and there’s even a stream nearby, and plenty of herbs to eat.”
“Knight, she’s clearly thinking you’re taking her from her home. Perhaps we should just let her be?” The surprised look on both their faces was almost comical. He thrust the knight’s sword at him. “The dragon is dead, in any case. It fell off the cliff as I was defending myself.” He added, and the knight glared at him.
“You really killed the dragon?” He asked, tauntingly. Terrance flushed.
“I didn’t kill the creature, it fell off the edge of a cliff.” He said, scowling. “My lady, are you sure you’re all right here?” He asked, and the woman nodded, sniffling as she moved closer to Terrance and glared at the knight.
“I’m fine, Sir Knight,” She said, staring at him with awe. “I had never thought that a knight could fight without the shining armor,” She added.
He blushed, and the real knight burst into guffaws.
“Lady, he’s no knight,” He scoffed, frowning at him. “And the only reason he looks partly like a knight is because of my sword and helm that he swiped.”
“That I swiped after you ran away,” He couldn’t help rubbing in. The knight scowled.
“He is not a knight?” The lady sounded bewildered. “But he fought like a knight, and he surely won the battle!”
The knight heaved a sigh.
“I must reluctantly admit that my squire did as you have said,” The knight said with annoyance. “Which means that I must report his deeds to that of the council upon our return. I believe, however, that it is time for us to return home lad. The Quest is finished, and now we must depart.”
“But what about the Lady?” He asked, frowning. “We can’t just leave her here,” He added.
“She doesn’t want to come with us,” The knight said with a roll of her eyes. “Therefore, she can go where she pleases. I was simply trying to get her to leave before the dragon came back.”
“Lady, are you sure that you want to remain here?” He asked, hesitantly. She nodded, looking pleased. “But…” He trailed off, and then realized that she could probably defend herself. There was plenty of swords and armor around from other fallen knights and travelers.
“Here,” The Lady said suddenly, and bent down, digging amongst the rubble of treasure. She retrieved a bright golden colored sword, and the knight stared at it with awe as he looked at it with surprise. “A sword for you, as a gift for defeating the dragon. Now I can live here as I wish too.” She added.
He took it hesitantly, the sword surprisingly light. It seemed to fit him perfectly, and he grasped the hilt of it, and swung experimentally. It was perfect.
“That sword will protect you from most normal dangers, as well as a few magical ones. The sword was made by elves long ago, and it has since been lost or forgotten. The dragon found it, but I am unsure as to where. I believe that the sword will stay with its owner for as long as the owner of the sword remains the true knight he was meant to be. With or without the armor that he wears.” She said with a smile.
“My Lady, what is your name?” He asked, and she looked momentarily surprised.
“My name? It is Catriona.” She stated, and he fell to one knee.
“My Lady, I can never thank you enough for the sword that you have given me. It is more than I can ever have dreamed of receiving. I swear by that of my father that I will always treasure the sword, even unto death.” He vowed, and she smiled.
“See that you do, Sir Knight Without the Shining Armor,” She said with a slight bow. “Until we meet again, Sir Knight.” She added.
With that, both of them left the cave, though the other knight received a scroll from the Lady Catriona that he was to deliver to the Knights Council.
They left the cave, and just as they were reaching the edge of the forest, he felt the urge to turn around and look for the cave. He did so, and then frowned when he saw that there was no cave. He felt a shiver, and then the Inn Keeper’s words returned to him suddenly and out of the blue. Words that he had forgotten about…until now.
“It is said that the dragon is owned by a witch, a woman that has called herself Catriona, a beautiful Lady who is like a goddess, who lures young men and gives them gifs. Whether those gifts are of good or evil, none can say. But since those gifts hath come from a witch that controls a dragon methinks that perhaps the gifts are evil.”
But Catriona hadn’t seemed evil. He felt a moment of uncertainty as he glanced down at the sword. Perhaps he ought to throw it away? But no…he made a vow, one that he intended to keep. Even if Catriona was as evil as the Inn Keeper had claimed, he was going to make sure that the sword received the respect that he had promised it.
With that, he turned back and-seeing that the knight had gone a few feet ahead of him-ran to catch up.
Tomorrow would come.
And with it, perhaps the promise that he would finally become a knight. But, even if he did become a knight, he wouldn’t wear the armor.
Because one could be a knight, even without the shining armor.