Sparks showered about my head as his sword crashed into mine. Staggered from the thrust of the blow I cried out in rage … and fear.
Edlyn’s scarlet hair danced in the morning breeze like flames licking her alabaster face.
Surely such a wonderful lady would have nothing to do with a common worker like myself.
Her emerald eyes sparkled in sun as she carried on with others in her sorority. Their frivolity was infectious, soon I found myself chuckling at their antics.
She is heading toward me. Did she see me staring?
I returned to my work as the group proceeded along the path.
“Good day,” her voice chimed through the chilly air.
I glanced up, she looked straight at me. “G-good day, m-lady.”
Images of the young beauty danced about my mind as they strolled away. Infatuation filled my consciousness.
A hand grabbed my shoulder and spun me with a violent movement. “You would be wise to not pursue the lady.” A colossal man towered over me. “I am assigned by the King to protect her.” A slight shove sent me toppling to the ground.
My blows bounced from his armor without any effect. Trepidation welled up within my being.
What can I do? I cannot defeat him.
His armor clanged as he raised his weapon.
Was that a gap?
A small opening at the base of his chain mail gave me a hint of hope.
Edlyn smiled when she saw me in the village market. “It is a pleasure to see you.”
“I am glad to see you again, as well.” I shaded my eyes. “I am hoping we can see each other more often.”
Her beautiful countenance seemed luminous in the afternoon sun. “I feel the same for you.”
“Why does then King have his knight to protect you?”
Her eyes turned to the ground. “My father was a prominent man. The King promised him I would prosper for all his years of loyal service.” She grasped my hand. “But that matters not, I am happy when I am with you.”
The intimidating soldier approached. “It is time to leave here.”
I jabbed my blade at his unprotected midsection. A swift counter and my adversary pinned my weapon to the ground with his. I struggled but was unable to break free.
“I will not allow this to continue.” His growling voice sent shudders down my spine. He shoved his massive boot against my torso sending me stumbling backward.
“We cannot continue to meet like this.” I doused my candle. “It is dangerous.”
The moon glowed amidst clouds strewn across the night. The wind in the trees sang a faint song of spring. Soft shadows accentuated the features of Edlyn’s face.
She clasped my hand with hers, “It is no concern of the King who I plan to wed.” Her smile melted all my concerns.
We walked amongst the trees on the outskirts of the village pausing for a moment to watch a deer drinking from the brook.
“Edlyn!” A thunderous voice startled us, “You must leave now.”
The beautiful lady gasped with fear and scurried back to the village.
The mountain of a man grabbed my shoulders and pinned me against a tree. “She cannot marry you,” he snarled. “She has been promised to the Prince.”
I tried to run, his sword grazed my leg.
“She wants to marry me.” I ascended a steep slope; jagged rocks tore my unprotected flesh.
“She is destined for the Prince.” He continued to pursue me.
I must get to the top.
She wrapped her arms around my neck, her face etched with despair. “Nothing good can come of this.” her voice cracked under the intense emotion.
“We can leave. Move to another village and be married.” I held her tight.
“The King has many soldiers, he will find me.” Her lashes dampened with the hint of a tear. “He will kill you …”
“I do not care. I shall not be intimidated anymore.”
“Edlyn. Where are you?” We cowered at the familiar voice booming through the hovel.
“Oh no, it is …”
“Hush.” I touched my hand to her rose colored lips. “I will resolve this.” I grabbed my sword and walked out the door.
Anxiety coursed through my veins.
A hand grabbed my foot. With one hand braced on a rock, my rival pulled at my wounded leg.
I stomped my foot trying to dislodge his hand.
The hillside gave way.
In desperation I grasped the rocks, their sharp edges gouging my skin. I looked below, a heap of rock and man lay twisted at the base of the ledge. I descended, slow and cautious; careful not to suffer the same fate as my pursuer.
I grabbed my sword and limped past my fallen adversary. His body flinched, he lunged his sword toward me. “I … cannot … allow…”
I fell to the side, evading his attack. I thrust my sword into his abdomen. A brief quiver and he was motionless.
I stood next to the lifeless body, my feet stained with crimson mud.
I hobbled to the shack as fast as my bloodied and battered body could move. A sense of relief spilled over me.
I stood in the corridor, blood from my victory still dripping from my sword. Edlyn sobbed, hunkered in the shadows, “No … no, please.”
“Do not fear, my love.” I squatted near my beloved. “I have defeated the soldier, now we can leave here … now we can be married.”
Anger consumed her expression. “Get away from me.” Tears and mucus sprayed from her quivering lips. She began striking me about my chest and shoulders.
Stunned, I could not speak. I stood, stepping backward toward the door; confusion pounding in my mind.
“I cannot … marry you,” her voice strained through her tears.