Part I

She did not know what made her decide to go out that morning, but suddenly a thought, a flash, something came to her and she decided to go for a ride. Calling for the stables to saddle the horse, and asking her maid to hurry and change as they were going for a ride. Before long the to women were galloping across the green countryside.

The lady felt wonderful, the wind played with her hair like a lost lover. Letting her senses fill with the pure joy of the ride, she turned her face to the sun and laughed.
After some time, the maid called out, asking if they could please stop, as her mount could not keep up with her lady's fine white mare. Reluctantly the lady reined in her horse until the mare stood panting, ready to answer her mistresses' slightest touch to once more leap into motion again.

The lady look around, slightly lost. This part of the woods were not familiar to her, but she knew the direction of the castle that was the lady's home, and slowly set off in the general direction. Letting the horses make there own speed, allowing them to stop and graze whenever they wanted along the way. The two women chatted as though they were best friends rather than a lady and her maid, which in truth they were. The woods soon rang to the tinkling laughter of the two young women, laughter that suddenly stopped as the pair entered a sunlit glade.

There before them, were several bodies of what looked like robbers and in the middle an armoured figure lay like a tumbled heap of scrap iron. With one glance the lady knew what had happened, the robbers had set upon the knight. She looked around counting the number of bodies on the ground; he had put up a very good fight against many adversaries. Quickly she drove admiring thought from her mind and moved to inspect the night.

This was nothing new for the lady, as she had for some time much to the amazement of her family been studying the art of medicine. She wanted to be able to bring reliefe and nursing to all people, not just the rich, as was the current state. She had seen so many charlatans, and false doctors in her nineteen years, so had decided many years before what she wanted to do with her life.

Bending over, she lifted the helmet from the knight, and gasped at the blood soaked face that lay before her. The maid reached.
"Stop a milksop." She said to her maid, "Get some water from our saddle packs."

Gently she bathed the blood from the knight revealing young and handsome face, marked by lines that spoke of laughter rather than frowns. The eyes gently fluttered and opened, revealing a pair of blue eyes, which seemed to focus on her own before once more closing. She inspected the knight for injuries, he had suffered many cuts and bruises from sword thrusts and cudgel blows, but she could find nothing that might prove fatal.

She must take him back to the castle where she could tend for him. She smiled to herself, that could be interesting, and let an sigh. Recovering, she looked around for the knight's sword, which she found broken on the ground, her respect growing at the knowledge that he had fought on even without his sword. Taking the blade, she bid her maid help her while she cut two stout branches which with the aid of some rope found on one of the robbers, they bound the branches together with smaller limbs until a form of sledge was made. This they then harnessed to the lady's own horse.

Then with both of them, being a gentle as they could the half-lifted half-dragged the knight onto the sledge. He moaned but did not wake.

Then slowly, trying to avoid any bump she could the lady led her horse homewards, sending the maid on ahead to prepare the castle to receive her charge.

Part II

Upon reaching the castle, the lady ordered the knight to be gently taken to her own chamber, where without any waiting she set to work removing the knight's armour, revealing a fine young body covered by many bruises and several old deep scars. Eventually after bathing and wrapping the knight in fresh sheets, she forced a juice of fresh herbs into the knight's mouth, before settling herself to watch over the knight as his breathing turned to gentle sounds of sleep. Every so often she leaned over and bathed the nights head, holding his hand as he thrashed about moaning as the fever in him reached its height

Days passed with the lady hardly stirring from the bed of the knight and then one morning a weak voice woke her from her dozing.

"Where am I?" mumbled the knight each word taking a supreme effort.

"Hush," replied the lady, soothing his brow with a damp cloth, "You'r safe and amongst friends"

The knight seemed to relax "Am I dead? Are you an angel?"

She giggled, "No, Sir Knight, you are not dead, though for some time there it was touch and go. Now rest. The worst is past, and you must regain your strength"

Suddenly the knight realized he was naked underneath the covers. He tried to sit up, but at once fell back gasping. "Did you..." he began to gasp, but the words were lost as once more sleep closed his eyes.

Days passed and the knight grow stronger, the lady came every day to visit, each time telling him stories about her day, and what had happened. How the cook had broken the best pot, how the stable boy had fallen in the horse dung, how the flowers were blooming in the palace garden. Gradually, the knight's spirit began to return, his laughter joining hers at her latest tales of palace life.

They learned more about each other in those few weeks than most people do in a life time. They told each other their deepest secrets, their plans, their wishes, their dreams.

As the knight grew stronger, he accompanied her on walks around the palace, the gardens, showing him her world, enjoying their time together. At last the knight was well enough to leave her, and though she never said anything, she knew that her heart would break at this.
No word of love had passed either ones lips, nothing more than the holding of a hand to aid the other as they walked or touching legs as they rode through the green countryside.

At last the time came for him to leave, the knight put on his armour, now fresh and cleaned, and prepared to say his goodbyes.

The lady stood at the castle gate trying so hard to be brave, as the knight took her hand and gently raised it to her lips.
"Sweet lady, I owe you my life and will always be in debt to you, but there is something I must do before I leave you, something I must say."

She stood there watching as he hurried off into the distance, her lip starting to tremble, suddenly thinking what was happening, suddenly realising just how much the knight had begun to mean to her. She turned wiping a tear from her eye, letting out a sob that can only come from a broken heart. Not wanting to see any one, she rushed to the castle just wanting to be alone. Hid herself in her room and tried to forget the world in a sea of tears.

She stayed in her room for two days, refusing all attempts to bring her from her world of sadness.


It was on the third day that she saw a man striding across the courtyard, heading towards her room. It was only as he came near that she realized it was her knight, no longer clothed in armour, just in plain doublet and hose. Moments later a knock came on her door.

"Go away," she said in a timid voice. "Please, Sir Knight, go away." The knocking came louder.
"Lady let me in. I have to see you" came the voice she had last heard saying those words of farewell. Slowly she walked across the room to open the door, but at the last moment something stopped her, and in a quiet voice she said "Please Sir Knight, go away. I beg you"

The knocking stopped and she heard a sigh followed by footsteps moving away from her door.

A week later the lady ventured once more into the world. Though her face showed no sign, her heart was aching fit to burst. With her maid she wandered around the market, picking up items without really seeing what they were, not intending to buy anything. Her mind was numb, as was her heart, and it was only when she suddenly felt an urgent tugging on her sleeve from her maid that she realized they had stopped in the middle of the town square. There before them was a small ring in which two men were fighting toe to toe, one man was a huge giant of a creature, whose fists the size of mallets was reigning blows upon a smaller man, whose only defense seemed to be his quickness, for he was managing to avoid most of the blows. The smaller man was blooodied from many cuts, and she turned away at the sight of even more blood, a sharp pain piercing her heart at the remembrance of what had gone on before. She was just about to leave, when a gasp from her maid made her turn.

She looked again. Even now the smaller man was fighting back. But wait! Her heart flipped, her mouth dropped. She knew the face under the blood, she knew the eyes, the smile, it was her knight.


The world seemed to spin before her as the roar of crowd echoed in her ears, and suddenly she was falling into a black pit of darkness.

She felt herself struggling, climbing, then the hazy forms appeared before her eyes. As they cleared the worried, blood-smeared face of her knight slowly focused. She went to move but the knight hushed her.

"My lady, please don't trouble yourself. It is me, and I am fine" The knight gave her a smile that rocked her heart until she thought it would break once again.

Slowly she sat up with the help of her knight.

"Please my knight, take me from here," she whispered clinging to the fact this was all a dream.

He swept her up in his arms and with a glance to her maid to let her know all was well, strode away to a special place they both knew of. He settled her down on a mossy bank under the spread of a willow tree.

"You left," she began "Why are you here? Where is your armour?"

He quieted her with a kiss, and she thought her heart would fill her chest to overflowing.

"My lady, when I left I told you I had something to do, and so I had. I decided that all I ever wanted in this world was the love of the most beautiful, kind, wonderful person I have ever met, you my lady."
A grin spread across his face.
" I had nothing to give you except for myself, so I sold my armour and my sword, and purchased this ring."
He slowly pulled a cord from beneath his shirt, " with which to ask you to make me the happiest man in the world." He put the ring back. Sighing he continued, " When I came to ask you my lady, you refused to see me. What was I to do? I had nothing, so I helped round the village, and made some money at the boxing booth in the fair. Ohh! I won by the way," he said with a grin, and chinked some coins in his pocket.

Suddenly all became clear to the lady, what had she done, nearly lost everything, through one misunderstanding. Her head felt light, and her heart pounded in her chest.

"Oh my knight I am so sorr..." she started to utter, but this was quickly quieted by a kiss that she had longed to feel again for these past days. The kiss went on and on, until time itself seemed to stand still.

At last they parted, breaking the kiss. She rested her head in the arms of the man she loved.

"What was the question you wanted to ask me that day you came to my room, and I did not answer you,quot; she asked with a grin.

The knight moved until he was kneeling before her.
"lady, I am but a poor knight who has nothing to give you but my love, my life, my soul and my whole being." She smiled touched at his discomfort. "I am nothing without you, my lady. So please my love, will you..." He stuttered, then once again started in a firmer voice, sure that this time all would be right.
"Would you, my lady, do me the honour of becoming my bride?" He pulled the ring from cord around his neck and offered it to the lady.

Smiling with blue grey eyes lit like fireflies the lady took the ring, and placed it on her finger.
"My knight, with all my heart I say, yes, yes, yes, but first please just call me Jade, for that is my name"

"My lady Jade" the knight replied, the rest of the words being lost in a kiss that lasted through the happiness of the rest of their lives together


Barry Eva 1999