Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2012
A small dust cloud forms as the horse’s hoof paws the ground in anxiousness; its rider sits rigidly in his saddle patiently awaiting his page to pass up a shield and lance. The sun glints on the immaculately polished armour; a blinding light in the eyes of the knight’s opponent. The latter sits equally still on the opposite side of the field; his armour painted black; his visor closed revealing nothing. A small slit for a pair of eyes not seen in the gloom within; calculating eyes, which if could be seen, reveal no emotion: no love nor hate, just an unsettling coldness to make one shiver for no explained reason.
The crowd holds its breath in anticipation. Murmurs only in mere whispers may have filtered in the air; no more sound than a butterfly’s wing fluttering in the early morning amongst snowdrops on a meadow.
Shields in place on each of the knights’ arms and lances firmly held they await their monarch’s pleasure. The drop of a piece of pure white silk cloth lightly falls and the lances are lowered to a horizontal position. The crowd erupts into a raucous chorus of supportive cheering for their chosen favourite, as the men on horseback charge at each other in the early morning heat. Within seconds they meet in the middle of the field; the impact of lances against metal, a thunderous noise as wood shatters. The men rock in their saddles; horses neigh in protest, but both survive for a second charge. Quickly furnished with a new lance, they turn as one and ride with fury as their guide.
The ground is churned once more and dust clouds their vision. Again their marks are found, this time with more success as the black knight deposes his opponent from the saddle. The unfortunate individual unceremoniously crashes heavily onto the dirt; his polished armour no more looks radiant. With difficulty the man crawls to his feet; the heavy armour weighing his progress.
As the black knight thunders towards him mace in hand, his opponent barely has time to raise his shield in defence. The crowd is beside itself; cries of anguish, cries of joy, as man, beast and weapons do battle. A final almighty swing of the mace destroys the defender’s shield; the man staggers backwards, but does not fall. Clumsily he draws his sword as the black knight remarkably dismounts with apparent lack of effort. Sword, dark as death itself, is drawn from its scabbard as its wielder strides purposely towards his opponent. The blade raised in the position of the falcon is lowered quickly and efficiently in a downward swing before the silver knight has time to anticipate. Metal, razor-sharp and powerfully handled, slices through at the nape of the neck drawing blood and dealing death in one swift blow.
The crowd is instantly silenced; their breath held for a further time. Their monarch stands, a satisfied grin indicates approval. Those for the black knight cheer the victory; for others the celebrations will be limited to a burial service.
Immediately the ground is cleared of debris and corpse. The black knight, now remounted, patiently awaits the next challenger.
RLB – Tomewriter