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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)

TITLE: The Lady of Light and the Nocturnal Knight
By Myrna Noyes


Merriment buzzed in the air. The feast at the court of Prince Reynald was nearing its midpoint; the first course of light beef broth, cheeses, bread, wine and ale already consumed. A small chorus of dancers and a mirthful jester entertained while the dishes were cleared in preparation for the next portion of the lavish meal. Servants began carrying in laden chargers of richly-sauced fish and fowl, along with brimming bowls of delicate greens and herbs, nuts, and fresh fruits. The guests seated at the long tables chattered and laughed while shrill melodies rang throughout the long, lamplit hall from the brass sackbut and the various woodwinds played by a half-dozen musicians.

The young maiden of copper tresses and emerald eyes tapped her foot in time to the lilting tune as she glanced around at her table companions, but her gaze caught and held at sight of the comely dark-haired, dark-eyed stranger four seats down. His clothing was that of nobility, with a silken tunic of deep purple and a black velvet pleated jacket. An aura of mystery and adventure clung to him.

Gloriana nudged the woman beside her. "Mother, who is the gentleman seated next to Sir Halway? His countenance is most enchanting."

"Ah, Daughter, I believe he is a knight of the realm and the only surviving son of Lord Darby of Maerwynn Manor. He is reputed to be quite fearless and chivalrous."

Gloriana said nothing more about him, but as the meal was drawing to a close with its array of sweets and elaborate spiced desserts, she became aware that he was now observing her. Casting down her eyes, she took a bite of the berry tart before her, a faint flush glowing on her cheeks.

Later, as couples formed to join in the popular new processional dance, he was suddenly at her side, bowing and doffing his cap.

"My Lady, will you consent to partner me in this frolic? Your radiant beauty has charmed my senses into utter captivity."

"But, Sir, I do not know you." Her hand smoothed the gold-embroidered white gown she wore, and her rosy lips hinted at a smile.

"I am Rowan of Maerwynn, Lord Darby's son. I have been three years away from home in Prince Reynald's service. Indeed, I am most pleased to be back. Will you join me now?" He smiled encouragement as his eyes pled for her acquiescence.

In answer, she held out her left hand, gathered the flowing train of her dress in the other, and they joined the revelers in the center of the room. They danced well together, and when they finally stopped to rest, Rowan led her out into the quiet courtyard. The soothing sounds and fading sunset colors of twilight surrounded them as they trod the scented, flower-bordered paths.

Rowan broke the silence first. "I admire the peace and hush of eventide. There is a mysterious and magical beauty in starlight and moonshine. Don't you agree, Mistress Gloriana?" He looked at her, waiting.

"In truth, I confess that I prefer the day, with its liveliness and light. The dark holds dangers, and evil hides in shadows, does it not? However, the sun brings growth and health."

"But," replied Rowan with ardor, "though daylight can be hot and harsh, blinding the eyes and burning the skin, the cool breezes of night bring relief and aid in rest."

"Have you not seen the sun's rays dance and sparkle on the water and cause jewels to glitter and metal to gleam?" she argued demurely. "'Tis a wondrous sight!"

Rowan took her soft hand in his, and bent down to whisper in her ear, "Dusk is a time for lovers, for romance, and for sharing of confidences that are too tender to be spoken in the intense light of day."

Again Gloriana felt the pink flush suffuse her face and did not reply for several minutes. Finally she spoke, "The priest does tell us that God created both day and night, the moon and stars as well as the sun; and He pronounced them all good. I concede, therefore, that night can have its own special charms."

"And I will grant that as the priest also instructs us to walk in the Light of our Blessed Lord, there is a time to savor the day's brightness and the dazzling loveliness it reveals." He flashed a meaningful smile at her as they continued their stroll hand in hand.

Evening's dimness could not veil Gloriana's dawning joy.

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This article has been read 1194 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 05/28/09
Great description, engaging conversation, and that last line is a delight. Very good.
Mona Purvis05/29/09
Love the Title. I appreciate the way you let the story unfold, not too rushed. Your descripions are vivid. Great writing.
Loren T. Lowery05/29/09
Excellent and well defended position on both fronts of Light versus Darkness. Love the interplay between the protagonist and their engaging dialogue. And your descriptions were fast, full and perfect in the telling of this delightful tale.
Catrina Bradley 05/30/09
The dialog seems perfect for this era, great descriptions, an enchanting tale of a dawning love. Love it!
Colin Swann06/03/09
An enjoyable read about light and dark playing a part in human relationships.

Thanks for sharing - Colin
Jan Ackerson 06/03/09
Rich and romantic, with a marvelous sense of time and place.

I got just a tad impatient with the first two paragraphs of description, wishing for something to happen, already.

Love the interplay between your two protagonists.
Sara Harricharan 06/03/09
Ooooh! I like this. Very well done and now I think I would like a sequel. Please? lol! This was well done, with a cute title and not forced at all. I like the easy touch of romance and the interaction between this lady and knight. Nice job!
Patricia Herchenroether06/03/09
I loved this story of beginning romance in a past era-really neat title as well.
Felt like I was in the great hall with them.
Lollie Hofer06/03/09
Could your descriptions have been any richer? I enjoyed how you used the contrast of dark and light in their converation. The dialogue was believable and had a nice cadence to it that was fun to read.
Gregory Kane06/03/09
A rich feast of voculabulary and mood. Very well done indeed.
Janice Fitzpatrick06/04/09
This is simply engaging and beautiful, with it's descriptions and setting. It took me back into a time I love reading about. I would have liked to visit such a place for even a few brief moments. That enra always intrigued and enticed me. Your dialogue and characters were so believable. I liked the wit and quickeness of the girl. I love this one! Congratulations on your well deserved win. Just beautiful!
Rachel Rudd 06/04/09
The setting of this story was perfect for its excellent description of romance between "light" and "dark." Very well done and congratulations on the win!
Loren T. Lowery06/04/09
: ) : ) : ) Myrna, my friend, doing the happy dance for you indeed! Great job and congratulations!
Carol Slider 06/04/09
What a beautiful, rich and descriptive story... a fairy tale grounded in reality, with much truth embedded in it. Congratulations on a very well-deserved First Place!
M W06/04/09
Wow! i loved it! It was as if I was really there! Totally awesome story!
Marita Thelander 06/04/09
Congratulations, Myrna. This is beautiful. I LOVED it. Very well paced, and the setting is clear in my mind. It captivated me.
Charla Diehl 06/04/09
Top notch writing and story telling--loved the light bantor between the MC and her knight as they discussed their preferences for light and dark. First place--great job!
Beth LaBuff 06/04/09
I loved your telling of this tale and being transported to another time and place. Congratulations!!
Pamela Kliewer06/05/09
Congratulations, Myrna Joy on a wonderfully written, delightful piece!
Joanne Sher 06/06/09
This is absolutely GORGEOUS, Myrna - and SO deserving of 1st place EC. Wonderful. Congratulations.