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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #2208065
SCREAMS!!! Entry 12/17/19
952 words

Everyone hated Sir Merek.

The villainous man had killed Knights numbering twenty, all in the glorious Joust. The first met his end by splinter to the neck, neck punctured betwixt breastplate and helmet. The second found darkest doom as armor failed with a foul crack. The blunted lance had smashed the proudly beating chambers of his bravest of hearts. I couldn't remember the third, nor the fourth, nor a dozen after that, but to a man, strangeness had accompanied every mortal wound the mysterious Noble had delivered.

None deigned it wise to face Sir Merek under Tournament's banner. To do so would be near assurance of a foul and inglorious end.

Yet face him they did. For fair Lady Aethelu's honor. Had it not been for she, Sir Merek would lack sufficient occasions upon which to dispatch such a number of hapless opponents. It was she that kept them rising forth, determined to best him in illustrious combat, despite the dimly weighted odds of fortune's fickle dice.

Lady Aethelu, it was said, was the fairest of all Nobility's ranks. I had never believed the gaudy tales, believing them overwrought until I saw said maiden with eyes my own.

The creature was a vision from Heaven, surely a direct descendant of Angels most mighty. Blonde tresses of purest silk, flawless countenance, body sumptuously Divine. Always, wore she the most stylish and daring of colorful gowns as she ascended the steps to Tournament boxes. Nary a masculine soul who with her crossed path could resist the bubbling emotions she so facilely inspired. Heartfelt declarations of courtly love reverberated betwixt the Ramparts.

"I will win the tournament for thine honor!" they would cry, only soft flutter of lashes and slyest of smiles therewith to achieve.

Try they did, emboldened by Beauty, to brave the cursed Wrath of Sir Merek, for Lady Aethelu hated none more than him. She called upon the Bravest. The Boldest. The Strong. On this day, she challenged the ranks of Knights in attendance, offering the prize of her hand in exchange for the untimely Defeat of one festooned Sir Merek.

Today, 'twas I volunteered to Fool be. Never a chance had I after gazing the glimmer of Lady Aethelu's spirit-lifting eye. Floating Heaven's clouds, my feet leaving the ground, I had uttered doom's promise to her delicate ear.

As soon as the Oath my tongue had left, I knew it was folly. Retiring from fairest Aethelu's presence dropped my Heart nearly to Hell's depths. Bodies of better men many had been dragged from the field, dead by the reviled Hand of the unassailable Sir Merek.

"Let fortune favor the foolish," I whispered to our Lord, still drowning in the haunting pool of madness created by visions of Our most excellent Lady. Fantastical flights of fancy played visions of Marriage most sacred to the prize of all prizes 'cross mine eyes. Prurience clouded my wits, desire laying siege to reason. Our Lady's visage, her lips had driven me to madness, to the folly of facing Sir Merek.

When the last of his Challengers had fallen, the most recent trampled by horse when unseated, I took my stamping mount with heavy heart. Trepidation quivered Soul everlasting as fingers reluctant curled about handle of Lance.

Nervous Squires brought to me gift of red wine. Blessed blood of Christ, he informed, melancholic eyes already resigned. Tasting its sweetness on trembling tongue, I inquired as to the giver of such a fine gift. The Lady, he told me, was she.

I looked to Lady Aethelu, golden halo of sun gracing the face most fair, shining beacon of Hope to the hopeless. To me. Resolve steadied my Hand, Heart resolute. Quaffing the last of my tempering Gift, I turned to face the Hated Sir Merek.

Darkness leaked from his drawn visor, his countenance ever a Mystery to All. Always accepted his Trophies with visor down did he, holding the same aloft with furious vigor without once his unshielded face on display.

A chill ran my spine as mine heels struck my horse, coaxing the beast to full gallop. This was the moment, likely my doom. I could not help, however, gifting a thought to my Lady, she whose waiting Love charted this most irrational of courses. Surely, armed with assistance of woman Divine, could I wrest victory from Doom's leaden claws.

I raced toward my hopes, chasing my dreams, Sir Merek's proud form strangely diminished within my auspicious eyes.

My lance hit Sir Merek full on, his back finding horse. Failed had I to unseat him, yet a score of one lance I had achieved. My worthy opponent found no purchase with his lance as it slid from my armor. Victory this day would be mine!

I slowed my horse and prepared him for canter, lap of Celebration my Right. Just then, an Illness befell me. Dizzy and weak, I fell from my horse, my eyes finding azure Heaven above. What had occurred? Had I somehow been struck? Why had I not felt the sting of injury's pain?

Unworthy of speech, lying prone in the dust, I turned helm to Lady. I gave to Her my apology most heartfelt, speaking sincerely with mere eyes. My heartbeat grew slower, my fingers trembled with chill.

As my last breath expired, eyes by my Lady transfixed, I saw her true nature, flesh falling away to reveal Demon in maiden so fair. She winked at Sir Merek, and my stilled heart lurched outward, the nature of treachery coming clear.

The Knight was her partner in evil, in murder, which poison she used to ensure.
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