Title: Rich in Charms
Summary: Geoff reminisces years later. A ficlet.
Disclaimer: 'A Knight's Tale' is the property of Columbia Pictures. I make no money from this work of fan fiction.
Notes: I don't usually write ficlets much anymore. Novel or novella length stories seem to be the norm for me lately, but this idea took hold and I suppose you all know how that goes. The phrase I've taken the title from -- 'rich in charms' -- comes from the play adaption of Canterbury Tales: 'Lo, she was fair and young and rich in charms.' These words were in the Wife of Bath's tale at the very end.
When I look back at the morning of my life from these twilight years, I find both numerous satisfactions and numerous disappointments. Of both, I am certain, I could wax poetical at long length were I given a chance to do so. Then, I could go on about war and the peace before and after, for I've seen both -- on country and personal levels. I could thoroughly bore the young who sometimes pause to listen to the spoken fanciful tales of an aging storyteller.
But what is life with boredom except exceedingly dull and pointless?
Adventure is the key to capturing an audience, that I'm well aware of. Pepper it with the scope of human emotion and all are catered to. What should I tell today? Should I relive my journey with the pilgrims? Philippa called that story dull. Perhaps I should conjure up a tale of thieves and nuns? Or knights? Everyone loves tales of knights and tournaments and one I remember has it all: adventure, love, danger and sorrow.
Not this time, I think.
My listeners this night are young, with dreams still in their eyes and tenderness in their hearts, so I shall tell a simple story of a beauty I once had the fortune to know.
She was young and fair and a more determined maid these eyes had not glimpsed before. I fell for her and hid it away. Sometimes I wish I was the sort of man inclined to toss away the marriage yoke at whim, for she tempted me to a great degree. I could not go to sleep at night without dreaming of her slender form beside me and the touch of her hand upon me.
I don't think she was aware of my love for her until the end. I could be wrong I suppose. She may have realized that my teasing was much more than teasing. Never did she say a word. I teased them all then and we laughed and joked. She laughed with them and turned away.
Those were good times and in all these years, I've not forgotten them or her. There is a special place in my heart for her. The sweetness of her expression in happiness lent a beauty to her features that I'm positive Helen never possessed and when angry, Greek goddesses envied the magnificence of her wrath. Ire would cause a flush to color her cheeks and the emotion in her eyes was hot enough to sear a man through. She was passion, glorious passion.
Throughout the months of our acquaintance, I never behaved improperly until those final moments before I left them all.
I managed to find her alone in her tent -- a rarity to be certain --, packing for the journey forward, and could not hold myself back any longer. She opened her mouth to speak, to ask why I came to her tent, I imagine. My hands grasped her waist and then.... Then. I kissed her and sipped of the sweetest nectar upon the face of the earth at that hour.
Such a kiss we shared and such a slap she gave me. The force of it turned my cheek and I daresay, I can still feel the sting.
I smile to recall that slap, just a reflex on her part, not an action of anger one would suppose. Her eyes were wide open when she stepped back, her hands shaking as she crossed her arms over her breasts. There was a longing in her eyes that I had not hoped to dream would be there.
"Geoff," she began, voice a bit husky, the tiniest of frowns curving her brow.
"I couldn't leave without letting you know how I feel," I replied, taking steps back towards the opening of her tent.
"Why even bother? You're leaving. I somehow doubt we'll see one another again. You could have just left."
Her dark eyes drew me in and I moved back towards her, helpless to stay away. "I've been holding myself in check for propriety's sake --"
"You shouldn't have bothered. By now, you should know I care little for propriety."
I nodded, my gaze hungrily caressing her. "That is true. You aren't the average woman."
Licking her lips, she stretched out a hand, traced my features with pale fingers. I turned my cheek into her palm, keeping my eyes upon hers. Slowly, she slipped her hand behind my neck, giving a gentle tug. Heaven was going to be my destination for twice in one afternoon and a mild giddiness took me. Those perfect lips were going to be touching mine once more.
It didn't happen. Bliss was denied us and I've no idea what might have been said or done next had Wat not chosen that moment to walk into the tent. He took no notice of our proximity to one another as he attempted to lift one trunk to put in the wagon. It was too heavy for him so of course I was pressed to help him. When I returned to the tent, she had gone.
That was the last time I glimpsed her. Fate refused to give me another chance. When Philippa died, I held on to a hope that one day, I might see that tournament beauty once more. It was a hope I still have and one I will die with. Likely, she died long ago. It's a sad thought, that such a woman could be called to Death's embrace, but we all go when we're called.
And now, it's time for my brief tale to end. The fire is in embers and I see wide yawns on the faces of my audience. Good night then. Good night listeners. Good night innkeeper. And good night my Kate, rich in fairness, beauty and charms.