This is my first fanfic. I've written stuff before but never posted. I'd love feedback! This story takes place immediately after the movie. The whole gang is back for another round of excitement, adventure, and romance. Well, that's the plan anyway. I hope you enjoy! I don't own any of these characters. I didn't create them.
Chapter One: The Calm before the Storm
Adhemar winced as one of his pages removed his breastplate. He felt as though he'd been run over by a wagon. He took in a sharp breath when the page's grip on the breastplate slipped and it fell against his sore body. The man cowered, throwing his arms about his head and falling to the ground. Adhemar would have hit him but the unfamiliar pain, both physically and mentally, of his loss stayed his hand. Instead he glared down at the incompetent page, his eyes shooting daggers. With a deep breath he gazed straight in front of him, the events of the past few hours running through his brain. Adhemar tried to make sense of it all.
He'd been beaten. That was most clear. The lowly son of a Cheapside thatcher had unseated him. His reputation was damaged, the Black Prince aiding in its destruction. His prized horse was gone. Gone to the peasant who called himself a knight and had somehow convinced Prince Edward to do the same. It irked Adhemar that the prince chose to favor William Thatcher, a fraud, over him, a successful general in the king's army. Had Adhemar known years ago that lying is what it took to gain the prince's favor he would have done so long ago.
Adhemar winced once again as the last of his armor was removed. He clenched his jaw tightly against the ache of his body as he raised himself from his seat on the bench. He breathed in deeply once again.
So this was how it felt to lose. He hated it. But he hated the man he'd lost to even more. William Thatcher may have been knighted, but he was no nobleman, despite the Black Prince's word and everyone knew it. The prince couldn't protect him from every misfortune. Adhemar merely needed to wait for the right time to enact his revenge. Whether on horseback with a lance in hand or with both of their feet planted firmly on the ground, it was just a matter of time before he would strike back. Adhemar was consoled by the fact that the humiliation he suffered now would be nothing to the degradation Thatcher would come to know. Victory was sweet while it lasted but revenge endured and was even sweeter. Yes, it only be a matter of time before Adhemar would strike. He would wait for the right moment and when it came, he would not hesitate to regain his honor.
* * * * *
They all sat around a crude wooden table, beating a steady rhythm and shouting.
" Go! Go! Go! Go!" Roland, Wat, Geoff, and Kate chanted as William chugged his mug full of ale.
They kept cheering as he finished it off. Will wiped the ale from his lips and cheeks, grinning from ear to ear. " Nothing to it." He declared giving a belch.
The tavern around them was full of drunken laughter and barmaids rushing to and fro. The lanterns burned brightly all around the crude wooden tables, which were filled with men of all sorts, talking, laughing and drinking.
" A toast! To our champion!" Geoff raised his mug and the others followed suit.
" World champion." Wat corrected.
" World champion." Geoff conceded. They all took a swig.
" So Will, why aren't you with Jocelyn this evening?" Wat inquired.
" She only thought it right that I celebrate with you all tonight. Without you I wouldn't have gotten this far." William replied.
" Ah, young love," Chaucer sighed softly, putting a hand to his chest. " Enjoy it while it lasts Will. In no time she'll never want you to stray from her side."
" Not Jocelyn," Will declared. " She would never tell me what I could and couldn't do."
" Not Jocelyn my arse!" Wat exclaimed throwing up his hands. " All women," he pointed to Kate. " Are like that." Kate glared at him.
" Whatever she says, it's worth it." Will shrugged. " She's worth it."
Chaucer sighed again. " That's beautiful. Another toast! To love."
They all raised their mugs. " To love." Everyone took a large swallow of ale.
" Whose turn is it?" Will asked eagerly as everyone set their flagons down on the crude wooden table. They all looked at one another. No one wanted to follow Will.
" Kate!" Wat blurted out.
" What?" Kate exclaimed looking at Wat in shock.
" Yep, yep!" Roland agreed pointing to Kate. " Kate's turn."
" What?" she said again, turning to Roland and giving him the evil eye.
" Sounds like its Kate's turn." Geoff smiled and waved at a passing bar wench to bring another drink. Kate looked straight across the circular table, staring at Chaucer in exasperation.
" Come on Kate." William encouraged as the barmaid set a brimming vessel of ale down in front of her.
Kate eyed the flagon as if it were a venomous snake. She glanced up to Will. He grinned at her. She smiled slightly, her shoulders slumping in defeat. The men around her let out a cheer. Shaking her head ruefully she moved her hand to grasp the handle of the mug and took a deep breath. With one last glance around the table she set her shoulders determinedly and lifted the flagon of ale to her lips and tipped back her head.
" Go! Go! Go!" her comrades chanted, pounding on the table.
" She's got it!" Roland cried cheerfully as her head tilted further back.
" Come on Kate!" Will encouraged.
" That a girl!" Wat exclaimed.
Kate drank down the last gulp and gasped for air. Will, Geoff, Wat and Roland let out a hurrah, slapping Kate heartily on the back. Kate laughed gaily at her success. She'd never done that before.
" I cannot wait to return to France!" A man at the table next to theirs shouted. " At least there the women act like women!"
Kate blushed with embarrassment. Wat stood up immediately in his chair, overturning it. Roland rose more slowly, his demeanor threateningly serious. William and Chaucer turned in their chairs to stare at the rude man. The Frenchman, realizing that he'd said the wrong this attempted to retreat but William put a restraining hand against his chest, rising unhurriedly from his chair.
" What did you say?" he asked the man.
" It was nothing." The Frenchman laughed nervously waving his hands in front of him.
" It sure sounded like something to me." Roland all but growled. The Frenchman's eyes filled with fright.
" I would like you to apologize." William declared.
" What?" the man asked.
" Apologize." Chaucer repeated more slowly, his mouth spread into a cynical smile.
" To a woman?" the Frenchman said distastefully. " Never." he stated boldly.
Wat rushed around the table; Roland grabbed a handful of his shirt, holding him away from the man. " Apologize or I will fong you!" he shouted, his face turning red with rage.
The Frenchman jumped as Wat grabbed a chair and crashed it to the ground. His voice quivered as he turned to Kate. " My apologies, lady. I fear I was mistaken."
Kate, still seated at the table, inclined her head to the man. William lowered his hand and smiled at the man.
" You may leave now." he declared cheerfully. The Frenchman hurried from the bar as fast as he could, tripping over and running into chairs on his way to the door. " What a rude fellow." he snorted seating himself.
" He probably wouldn't know a real woman if one sat in his lap naked!" Chaucer huffed.
" Don't give that man any thought Kate." Roland patted her shoulder as he too sat down.
" Wat?" William called to his fired up friend. " Wat, its all right. He's gone." The red headed man was still glaring in the direction that the Frenchman had gone.
" I'd love to teach him a lesson!" Wat exclaimed fiercely.
" Yes, yes," Geoff rolled his eyes. " A lesson in pain," Will, Kate, and Roland joined him, laughing. " Loads of pain."
Wat glanced at them, then back to the door. He then turned and picked up the chair he'd overturned and seated himself.
" Thank you. " Kate said softly. " No one has ever stood up for me like that before."
" If they mess with one of us then they mess with us all." Roland declared courageously.
" That's sweet of you." Kate said.
" Sweet?" Wat snorted. " Hell, its not all that. We just like you." He grinned at Kate, giving her shoulder a firm shake.
"All for one and one for all." Chaucer declared.
" That sounds like a toast!" Will exclaimed. They all raised their glasses.
"All for one and one for all!" they declared robustly and took a long swig of ale.
" That's really good. I should write that down." Chaucer said aloud, mainly to himself.
" Who's next?" Kate demanded.
" Chaucer!" Watt shouted gleefully.
" What? Not I." Chaucer protested.
" Sounds like you're next to me." Kate sighed in mock sympathy.
" Go! Go! Go! Go!"
* * * * *
Well, that's it for now. More to come. This was just a setting the plot and tone kind of thing. Stay tuned for new developments in the story! I'll post the next chapter as soon as I finish it. Thanks so much for reading!