Mightier than the sword.

A fanfiction based on A Knight's Tale, 'Mightier than the sword' takes place after the events of the film and during the period before William and Jocelyn's wedding.
William is reunited with a face from his childhood when the gang saves a young woman from a trio of drunken thugs.


1. Shadows and Saviours.

Nissa yelped as she hit the ground. Her wrists broke her fall, but despite the thick glaze of mud that that settled since the rainfall that afternoon, the cobblestones were unrelenting. 
She rolled over onto her back, testing the rapidly swelling joints. Her right wrist was stiffer than her left and it resisted her movement with a sharp stabbing pain. She hoped to God it was only a sprain. 
Nissa saw a shadow cross the doorway to the tavern and her heart caught in her throat. She pushed herself to her feet, wincing as she put pressure on her palms, and flattened herself against the wall opposite the doorway. Her gaze flew from her left to her right as she tried to discern the best route of escape. 
There were exits at each end of the alleyway, but she knew well enough that one direction led only to a dead end. 
If she ran, they would follow and if she ran in the wrong direction, they would catch her. 
Nissa wracked her brain for directions but panic tangled them. 
The shadow in the doorway grew until a thickset, balding man took it’s place. He stepped into the passageway, a wide toothy grin on his fat, grog-blossom spattered face. Behind him two thinner men appeared, they too sporting malevolent smiles. 
“What say ye’ lass?” The large man gloated, “How ’bout we find somewhere a bit more…quiet-like?” 
Nissa grimaced, her eyes turning skywards as she sought answers from the stars above. Inwardly she knew they would yield no salvation; she did not know enough about the heavens to be able to navigate by starlight. 
The woman turned her gaze towards the men again, shocked to find they had stepped closer to her. She could smell the mead on the large man’s breath, he was so close. 
Nissa filled her lungs with air and darted to her right. She felt something brush against the skirt of her dress and imagined it was the large man’s meaty claw. This image spurred her on and she quickened pace. 
Nissa spared a glance over her shoulder, her mouth gaping open at what she saw.
The two smaller men had overtaken the large man and were gaining on her. She realised with a sinking feeling that, despite her lithe build, they would catch up to her in seconds. 
Returning her focus ahead of her, Nissa swore as she came face to face with a wall. She leapt right, following the turn of the passageway, but her mistake had cost her valuable seconds. 
She felt a hand curl around her shoulder. The hand squeezed at her collarbone and cut downwards. Nissa lost her footing and went down hard on her back. Her world blurred as the back of her head connected with cobble. She noted a warm sensation in the place it had struck. The fall had also winded her and she coughed in a futile attempt to regain some of the air that had left her lungs so suddenly. She blinked fervently, willing her world to focus again and fighting back the dizziness that accompanied unwelcome black spots in her field of vision. 
The pain in her wrist flared again as a greasy palm closed around it. Someone was restraining her. The vague shape of someone’s face blocked her hazy view of the sky. She guessed it was the large man, the leader of the group.
“When are you girls goin’ te learn that runnin’ don’t do you any good?”
Nissa could hear the words, but she found she could not comprehend them. It was almost as if there was a wall separating the man and her. Her stomach lurched, what she wouldn’t give for a wall, right now…
“Us..girls?” She managed, her words slurred and heavy on her tongue. 
A gravely laugh cut through the night time air, “Look’s like we got ourselves a slow one ‘ere, lads! Cheapside born and bred ‘eh love?” 
Nissa felt dampness fleck her cheeks, saliva pooled in her throat and she clumsily turned her head to her side. 
A rough heavy palm cupped her cheek and turned her gaze skywards. 
“How ‘bout you get up now, eh? An’ like I said afore, we’ll go find some place quiet.” The man clawed at her shoulders and began to lift her from the ground. 
As he lifted her, Nissa became aware of voices, merrily singing.
“Time to pass with goodly sport, Our spirits to revive and comfort!”
An involuntary smile crossed Nissa’s lips and she listened to the melody, glad of the distraction. The song reminded her of her childhood. She tried to hum along, but there was bile in her throat and her breath hadn’t quite returned yet. 
“To pipe, to sing, to dance, to spring!”
Nissa felt her eyelids begin to sag. It seemed that the higher the brutes lifted her, the harder it was keep the light headedness at bay.
“With pleasure and deli-”
The singing stopped suddenly and was replaced by angry shouting and the sound of heavy steps on the slippery flagstone. Her assailants released her and she hit the ground again. 
Nissa lulled to the side lazily, the bile and saliva mixing in her mouth. She spluttered and vomited violently. Her muscles tensed as she felt a palm flatten on her back, but she forced herself to relax. This hand felt different. It was gentle and comforting and it moved in tiny circles. 
She tried to angle her head to see whose hand it was, but was stopped by long, thin fingers pressing delicately on the side of her head. 
“Sssshhh. That’s it; just relax. You’re safe now.” 
The voice was smooth and well-spoken. A man’s voice, for certain, but nothing at all like the thickset man’s from a moment ago. 
“Everything is going to be alright.” 
Nissa allowed her eyes to close and she took in a breath. She could feel vibrations through the stones as other people approached. There were voices talking over her, but she got the feeling they were too far away for her to know what they were saying. 
There was only one word she recognised. Her name. Someone had said her name, but how would these strangers know what it was?
Before she had time to figure it out, however, her world faded into darkness. 


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