Title: The Measure of a Man
Author: kasey8473 / Kes / Karen S.
Email: kasey8473@yahoo.com
Summary: In the aftermath of A Knight's Tale, Adhemar has a moment of thought.
Rating: PG-13 for language
Notes: Just a short, trying to get into Adhemar's mind.

What is it about some women that can bring a man to the very precipice of that cliff insanity and inspire him to contemplate murder? Is it a mannerism, some character trait, that pushes reason from one's head? Or is it just a physical thing, a primal call to claim the one female obviously in heat?

And let there be no doubt that the beauteous Lady Jocelyn was in heat.

Still is. But circumstances have placed her delectable charms from my reach and I must play the gentleman, though I've never made any claims to be such a weak creature. No, I am a soldier as well as a Count, and true gentleman have no place in the sorts of games I excel at. I'll make no apologies for being ruthless.

That trait of mine, that ruthless quality, was one reason I felt that the Lady and I were well suited. Let me explain. The Lady Jocelyn is no shrinking violet, or harmless bit of fluff like she portrayed herself to Thatcher. No, that one is cunning. She plays the games rather well and others besides myself took note of the selfishness she holds within her breast. If she believes that Thatcher's men all love her and care for her, then she is deluding herself. Her beauty will fade and all she will have is her wits and skill at games.

One day, Thatcher will wake up, turn to his prize, and see that she is all he truly does not care for. He will see her, see that selfish glint in her eyes. And he will wonder, as I do, how the craving of having her legs uncrossed can steal the humanity and indeed, the very manhood, from one.

I weighed him and measured him, and he did the same with me. But did either of us realize that to lust for Jocelyn would be the true measure of our selves? Did either of us know that the scent of that bitch would make us face every single part of our selves, including painful revelations?

No, we did not.

I have been weighed.

I have been measured.

And what was found has me thoughtful. Pensive.

I am a ruthless man, there is no other way to put it. I do kill in battle. I do what needs to be done to win wars and yes, I have even taken some darker amusements from the peasants we conquer. But I have never, before that joust, attempted cold blooded murder. Contemplated murder, why a score of times at least! But attempted....No. There's a difference between the thought of doing so and the reality of having a tip placed on your lance in order to kill your opponent.

Yes, I have been found wanting. I, Count Adhemar, have been found lacking in some way and I know not how to change that, or even if I want to change. Who knew that the lust for one woman would change everything? Who knew that sanity was so fine a line to walk? The plain and simple is thus: women have it and we, the men, want it. They know it and they use it against us. Jocelyn certainly did.

She is the past now and Thatcher will be forgotten. Some other woman will come into my sight. How close am I to that cliff? Will I attempt murder again?

And will I then, as I do now, wonder if that attempt is what caused me to become lacking?