The Oldest Knight

The Oldest Knight

A Story by Don Lund

             The air was filled apprehension, as if a palpable fog covered every inch of the village.  It was time for him.  Again. Many of the remnant souls tried to remember back to a time when the games of the Fall Harvest were a source of joy.  The happier memories eluded most of the survivors.  It seemed like an eternity since there was laughter among the failing hovels where a once thriving community stood. 

 The previously glorious harvest festivities had taken a horrible turn five seasons ago, when their contest of champions had become a challenge of survival.  A dark figure, a being that claimed to be a knight, changed everything forever. They had no name for this so called knight, who utilized great strength and skill to terrorize and to twist their celebration into something they could not have previously imagined.

Of course the town elders tried to end the annual contests and celebrations after the darkness on horseback had killed and maimed so many of their brave defenders.  Despite their protests, It would return every year at the same time to seek to continue its contrived contest to remain their unwanted festival champion.  Today was the day; the few who remained knew he would be there.  The main street was nearly devoid of life.

            A solitary figure clung to a broken doorway and pulled his tattered cloak around his shoulders, as if to protect himself from an invisible wind.  Another figure emerged from a weather beaten home, sword and shield in hand, a skinny, youthful looking man slowly moved toward the middle of an unkempt cobblestone lane.  Each step looked as if his weapons weighed well beyond his capability.

The anticipation didn’t last long for the few souls who dared a quick glance through wooden shutters.  A hulking Monster covered in black painted plate armor, mounted on an even darker warhorse, rode quickly at the lonely soul near the town center. The rider and horse appeared to devour the light around them as they neared the bedraggled defender.

             The frightened warrior raised a short, but sharp blade above his head.  He wore a simple chain mail shirt, some bracers to protect his arms and a helm to deflect indirect blows to his head.  The elders’ new strategy was to keep their young fighter light and quick, in hopes of wearing down, the larger, much heavier plate armored foe.  No one had been able to get in close quarters and stand toe-to-toe with the dark being, without losing all that they had.

            The Darkness quickly dismounted from the horse, a full 50-paces away from his newest target.

            All hopeful expectations ended quickly as the hulking armored being grabbed a short spear from off his horse and hurled it at the frail warrior with lightning speed and agility.  The end of the spear found a home in the neck of the eager squire and a single yelp of pain escaped his throat before he slumped to the ground.  Among the muffled screams and cries of the hidden villagers, more laughter could be heard from the blackest knight. 

            The laughter from the void was interrupted by a frail, but stern voice.

“You are no knight.”

            Evil turned its head to find the source of this new challenge.  More deep laughter erupted from under the faceless helm.  The cloaked man in the doorway stepped out into the light.

            Several wooden window shutters surrounding the main street suddenly swung open as people strained to see new challenger. All were surprised to see one of their oldest citizens move into the town center.  He carried a small, wooden round shield to protect himself.  A shield that was shaking back and forth, something the man of over 60-seasons could barely hold at chest level.

            The Blackness drew a large, two handed sword from a sheath hanging across his back.  A horrid battle cry sounded from within the shrouded form of the Black Knight. It charged on foot with surprising speed for anyone with plate armor.

The eldest warrior lowered his shield to reveal a small crossbow.  He took aim and eased back the trigger to launch a single metal bolt at the chest plate of the enveloping Darkness.  The shot was true and it staggered the Monster.  The next moment was seemingly frozen in time. Villagers began leave the perceived safety of their broken homes.  The Dark being had stopped his charge long enough to look down at the object that successfully pierced his armor.  The Old Man barely regained his breath when the Darkness resumed a more deliberate march toward him. 

At first glance from the gathering crowd, it looked as if their newest warrior had given up.  The Black Knight gained momentum and raised the huge sword above his head with both hands.  The Old Man retreated back to the doorway.  His taller, stronger foe closed with stunning speed, but he saw all he needed to carry on.  Blood flowed off the rounded edges of the crossbow bolt he shot seconds before. 

This Dark Knight was as human as he.  The armored being quickly closed the gap between them running as hard as he could at the elder warrior. With all of his remaining strength, the Old Man grabbed a silver lance from behind the doorway, pointed the end at the neck and braced for impact.  For the second time that fateful morning, his aim was true.  The lance landed just over the heavy chest plate and just beneath the helm of the town’s Nightmare.  However, the Darkness continued to fall forward onto the Old Man, who crumpled under the weight of the fully armored, larger foe.

Villagers poured from the buildings to save their new champion. It took four men to roll the substantial, armored man off of their hero.  However, the Darkness claimed one last victim. They wrapped the Old Man in his tattered cloak, and gently placed his shield on his chest.  The Fall Harvest celebration would return in his honor.

© 2008 Don Lund


Author's Note

Don Lund
A specific challenge to generate exactly 1,000 words for a story in a Medieval setting. Fun, but a unique challenge to fit the requested format.

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Featured Review

Wow! This is pretty dang good! I like how your voice is consistent with the time and setting of your story. You set the scene quite well - I would have liked a little more background on the old man, but it seems like you gave the same amount of into on each major character, so I couldn't expect more. Good job with the use of 1000 words!

Posted 13 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

A great story! I have a particular fondness for knights, so I'm a bit biased, but I think you did a great job being consistent with the genre while still making an interesting read.

Posted 12 Years Ago


The tone of this piece is exuqisite, the palpable - thick atmosphere, the imagery - almost surreal, a bit mythical - wonderfully scribed work.

Posted 13 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This was a really cool idea. For some reason I was picturing a sort of medeival shootout, with the old warrior playing the part of the smarter Man With No Name gunslinger. Well composed, and with a good moral. Nicely done.

Posted 13 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow! This is pretty dang good! I like how your voice is consistent with the time and setting of your story. You set the scene quite well - I would have liked a little more background on the old man, but it seems like you gave the same amount of into on each major character, so I couldn't expect more. Good job with the use of 1000 words!

Posted 13 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on August 12, 2008

Author

Don Lund
Don Lund

Denver, CO



About
I've been making up stories since I was very young. At first it was to entertain my younger brothers, cousins and friends. Later it was to entertain my sons and now I suppose, I may attempt to enter.. more..

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