The Black Knight Chapter One. By EternalSenshi. I don't own SM. Please R&R.
When thou wouldst become a knight, thou shalt follow the Code of the Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry:
Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions
Thou shalt defend the church
Thou shalt respect all weaknesses and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them
Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born
Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy
Thou shalt make war against the Infidel without cessation and without mercy
Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God
Thou shalt never lie and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word
Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone
Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
And when thou willst follow the Code, thou willst be a real, true knight.
An unsettling darkness fell over the moor, leaving the rider and his horse able to ride freely. His visor was set over his face as his horse clopped across the grass, leaving him to wonder how long this aimless wandering was to last. How long had he gone without sleep or food? Not that it mattered to him, for he never had any use for those particulars. What he craved was warm flesh; a maiden to lie beside him at his bed, her skin soft and white, almost like cream. He could almost taste it in his mouth as he crept through the night.
There would only be one for him.
He nudged his horse to gain speed, thinking of what had been told to him, who knew how many years ago. M'lady had been a kind host, letting him in when others would not. He was not as solemn and silent as he was now, for a humble, poor knight received no service in his past. That knight, when he had lain close to dying…God had been evident in that house, saving his life for but a price.
As he turned to the now evident main road, he saw light not too far ahead. He could use one night in an inn, if not for him, then for his horse. If he could find her…he couldn't wait for the night in which he could end this entire unending nightmare. Was she a barmaid? A pauper? A noble? Married? Whoever she was, he would bed her, and then his worries would be over. The lights became clearer as he approached the town, and the sound of pan flutes and a lute reached his ears. A minstrel was engaging the crowd with his song of a tale full of glory and courtly love. He rode up in the shadows, listening to what tale had been traveling around the country lately. The minstrel opened his mouth to begin his tale, and the crowd was rapt with attention as he began with,
"In March's drought that dried to the root
Came weary traveler, trudging on foot.
He came in nightfall for an inn to stay,
Hoping to pass the dreary night away.
5Deep forest, he entered, seeking help and remorse
From some helpful soul on his wandering course
From his pilgrimage, from far off lands he did seek,
Now he begged for help as he was dying and weak.
A knight was he, and what a gentleman
10Who, from the moment that he first began,
Was to fight for all things in Chivalry:
Truth, honour, freedom, and all courtesy.
Yet this knight, while full devout at heart,
Could find no welcome to his part
15Of nobility; he seemed the beggar kind
So ne'er the less, he could not find
An inn. So trudged he through rivulet and gloom
For a place to stay. He was who
The lady waited, ah, yea, it was he:
20The Knight of all knights that only she
Could call to her, the hermit of the deep weald-
A hag, merdaille, pautonier, and menald.
He knocked on the door of her servile hovel
On his knees. She opened up to see him grovel
25For services, be they trifling and astored,
He'd pay her all back, he avowed on his sword.
'Good knight,' said she, uncomely yet kind,
'You've traveled so far and have yet to find
A place to stay. Come in, rest your feet.
30I'm afraid I've nothing here to eat,
Good sir.' She bowed aside to let him in
But his troubles with her words had started to begin.
No food in the hovel made him feel no more amused
Than seeing her looks. Inside he refused
35To go. He cried out, 'Alas, nay!
Do you expect me to starve if you may?'
'Well, sir,' said she, her rotten teeth baring,
'I'd gladly do any sharing
Of food, had I morsel or scrap.
alas, I do not. Come in, take a nap.
I'm afraid, good sir, I have no bed.
You'll have to lie on the floor instead.'
He fumed, having traveled for miles a day
And yelled, 'You hag! Is this any way
45To treat a person who lay close to dying?
With your so-called 'help', why, you're not even trying!
Is this how you treat people of my position?'
'Good sir,' said she, alarmed, 'with your permission,
I will allow you to see what status can kill.'
50She opened the door wide and said, "If you will."
Angered, he stormed in, expecting to see
The poorest of poor in all poverty.
Instead, 'twas a place of refined taste,
And, said he, 'A shame that this goes to waste
55On a loathsome beggar such as you.' And she
Remarked, 'Things are not what they appear to be.'
One flick of her wrist, and he watched her repair
From poverty's damage to one lovely and fair.
Her face was smooth with sparkling eyes
60That shone like the stars in the heavenly skies.
Those eyes were now furrowed in great irritation
As she opened her lips and scolded, 'Your station
Is one of honour – were you deceived?
Or was demanding shelter a goal you achieved?
65Think you to reproach me for poverty.
The High God, in Whom you believe, say I
In voluntary poverty lived his life
And surely every man, or maid, or wife,
May understand the plight of the poorest in need.
70This is the lesson you should heed,
For he is noble who does noble deeds,
It does not make you noble if you do as you please.'
He bowed and spoke, 'My lady, say you
Of my God, you dost not believe in him too?'
75'I am a god,' said she reprimanding,
'All the magic in the world is at my commanding.
My name is Hecate – goddess of all sorcery.
M'lady, however, is how you shall address me.
I should grant you the grace to live virtuously
80But knight, I see it would not work on thee.
For your insolence, I decide my punishment to be
My servant, for all eternity.
You lack in chivalry, you've broken the Code.
Now come in, and again, you'll never see the road.'
85Forever he stayed, locked up in her home
And still, the night beckons him to come
And ride – but one day he shall return
And bring with him Hell, making our kingdom burn."
The townspeople applauded as the minstrel took a bow. The knight sighed as the last words rang in his ears – he was known as the Knight of Hell. They knew nothing of Hell, for he had been sent there many times at M'lady's bidding. Supposedly that was his tale being sung, except that it was not so. He had come to her home, traveling miles and miles while bleeding from wounds of a rogue attack, trampling through field and fen to find shelter – she had opened her door, and he had collapsed on her doorstep. When he awoke, she had healed his wounds, and he berated her for being so poor and ugly. And that's when her true form appeared…
She had healed his wounds, making him stronger – but there had been a price. She was the beautiful Hecate, with long golden hair and piercing blue eyes as blue as the sky. She had called him to her. Healing him, she had given him the gift of immortality to serve her. And he did, for almost fifty years. He had served her every need, from going between Hell and Heaven, and finally, approaching Earth.
Again, he was doing her bidding.
"Get thee a mate," he murmured, remembering clearly her last words to him. And he would do anything to find his mate. He would need to bed her as soon as she was ripe, bearing him a son. And then…he didn't know what would happen next. Perhaps he would go back and do more of M'lady's bidding.
It was late, and he knew he should have a light rest, for he could faintly sense her presence. If he rested, maybe his senses would sharpen enough to find his mysterious maid. Carefully, he unhorsed himself and took off his helmet, able to see the small village clearly.
Suddenly, he felt her presence sharply around him. The feeling of her being close hammered in his chest – and furthermore, she was close to ripe. She was most likely a wench to be this close to him. Anxious to discover her, he led his horse towards the closest inn, thinking of what had led up to this journey.
"M'lady, how will I know who she is?" he asked.
Hecate smiled softly. "My dear knight, you shall feel her close. You will feel when she is ready to bear you a son."
He pondered over this for a moment. A feeling would lead him to his eternal mate? A single feeling? "Why am I searching for this lady?"
Hecate only smiled. "You must do anything you can to find her," she said, cleanly changing the subject.
He would do anything to find her, just as she said. He shook his black locks roughly, as if trying to shake his brain into giving him more information; as if it would give him any clue as to where she would be. As he tied his horse to a nearby tree, he felt her presence diminishing, leaving his senses. He sighed and walked to the inn's door, knocking heavily on the solid oak door.
A tall, burly, bearded man who stank of beer and feces, answered the door. His eyes were squinted in confusion until he recognized that the knight was wearing armor that caught the indoor fires. "Ah! Good Knight!" he slurred in his rough voice as he wobbled back and forth. "How can I help ye?"
"Are you the innkeeper?" the knight asked.
"Ay, that I am," the innkeeper said excitedly, sloshing his tankard all over the dust-covered floor. His bulging eyes and studied the knight, watching for any sudden movements. "What can I do for ye?"
"I would like to spend the night, master innkeeper," the knight said, warily watching the sloshing ale.
"Ah! Good! Good!" Even in his drunken state, the innkeeper still knew when money to be wasted on ale and women was coming his way. "Come right in, sir!"
The inn door opened up to the knight, revealing a dimly lit room full of drunken farmers and merchants, grabbing the attention of barmaids and wenches. The stale air reeked of the scents of fermented wheat, dirt, and excretions, making him falter slightly. He preferred the open outside of the world or the cozy chambers of M'lady's cabin. The fire kept the place stifled and dry, with all of the windows barred from letting in the cool night air.
"Shall I show ye to the room?" the innkeeper asked, waddling over to him.
The knight nodded, not saying a word.
"Shall I fetch ye something? Food? Ale? Women?" the innkeeper asked, continuing his inebriated stumbling toward the stairs.
"No, that won't be necessary," the knight said, holding up his hand. "Thank you, good innkeeper," he said, pulling down his hood at last.
The innkeeper waddled out of his way, and knocked lightly on the door in front of the two men. "That be yer room," he warbled hoarsely, and began his twisted walk down the stairs.
The knight looked down at the crowded hall below, the smells of smoke drifting lazily up to the ceiling. His eyes – sharpened after years of staying put away in places where no mortal would dare enter – scanned the area for a female that gave him the strange feeling in the pit of his stomach. He stared at barmaid after barmaid, wives and unmarried women, babes and crones, but none gave him the feeling of commencement. Downhearted, he turned to the door of his room and went inside. He pulled off his hood and unbuttoned his cloak, throwing the black cloth over a small chair in the corner. He sat on the patch of straw that was his bed and stared intently at his fire, feeling lost. She was not here. She could not be here.
The fire crackled, giving off warmth that wouldn't warm him. He had the sudden feeling that she would be a babe in swaddling clothes, or an old hag, days away from death. How long would he have to find her? And if he ever did find her, would she come to him willingly? "To get her at all costs…" he murmured, his eyes reflecting the intensity of the flames.
The dawn greeted the traveler by shining its rays into his line of vision. His eyes fluttered with the annoyance as the brightness of the day sharply hit his eyes. He sat up and rubbed them harshly, feeling the slightest bit of grogginess overcome him. Having not needed sleep for years, he felt as if he'd just come out of a thick fog. Today would be the day, he vowed silently. Today would be the day that he would find his mate after years of searching.
Pushing himself out of the straw patch in full armor, he looked to the window. Not too far away was a green landscape dotted with cottages and people. Behind the other village was a great stone castle, flags high above the turrets, waving lightly in the smooth, small breeze. The sight of the castle, standing tall and proud in the distance, made him melancholy for times long ago, when he had no fear about walking with mortals. Those times had long since passed, and he was now here, sent by a goddess to locate a mate. His fate had been sealed upon it. Grabbing his cloak, he fastened it around his shoulders before setting out the door.
The inn was already filled with the stench of excretions and spilled ale, making him hold his nose in disgust. He stepped over sleeping bodies in their drunken stupor, all the while keeping an eye on every woman. No feeling ever came upon him.
He nudged the innkeeper with his foot, and left a small sack of coins on his chest, not wanting to wake him. With a few more bodies to jump over, he reached the door and swung it open. Taking in a breath of fresh air, he felt refreshed yet anxious to find the one he was tied to. He cursed under his breath, angered at not knowing a simple location for the woman he was looking for. He reached his horse and sighed, petting its neck absentmindedly as he imagined his mystery love.
And then he felt her.
It was a strong feeling in the pit of his stomach, enough to make him double-over as if he were retching. She was close – how close, he couldn't say – and every urge in his body called to her. He felt wants he'd never felt before; a deep thirst that seemed to be unable to quench. Quickly, he forced himself to stand up straight and mount his horse, only to curl forward in the saddle with a feeling of sickness.
If this is what love felt like, he'd rather suffer the slings and arrows of battle.
Clenching the reins in his free hand, he slapped them against the horse's face and kicked his sides, sending the Morgan into a frenzy of cantering. Kicking his horse to go faster still, he felt his inside twist and burn with the feeling of her being. He had no clue as to where he was going, only that she was close.
The Morgan bowed his head as it switched from a canter to a run, taking the knight as fast as he could to the nearby castle – the one the good sir had been eyeing that dawn with a feeling of near mourning – without any hesitations. Dust rose at the pounding of the stallion's feet, sending a cloud to surround them, as if it were a mystic sign.
Sweat beaded his forehead as the pains in his abdomen grew sharply worse. Love, to him, felt a lot like dying – neither emotion he felt too fond of at the time. He used all of his strength to stay righted on his steed, feeling his muscles weaken as the pain from his gut seemed to sear through his limbs. His fingers curled tightly around the leather strap of the reins, ignoring the pain that coursed through his nerves.
The horse and rider raced through the fields, neither caring nor worrying about anyone who was startled by their furious speed. He passed many a fainting woman, but not one made him feel the heat and desire he craved. Instead, he continued to ride mercilessly throughout the land, trying not to collapse before he found his mate. Was it possible that M'lady would take away his immortality so that he could die if he did not find his mate? The pains felt unbearable, causing him to unclench his fist, leaving the reins loose in his hands. A few more seconds and he would fall out of his saddle, coming to a painful and searing end to the end of this journey. He felt his mind become addled, wanting to stop this useless chase for someone he'd never find to relieve him from this burden –
And then the pain stopped.
The Morgan slowed quickly to a walk, letting him regain his control in the saddle. He felt his strength quickly returning to him and held the reins tightly in his hands, aware of their slight waver. His armor felt heavy on his aching muscles, with his chest plate making his breathing feel constricted. After he'd finally willed himself to calm down, he looked at his surroundings. No one was in sight, meaning that he'd probably passed her as he frantically made his way toward the castle.
His horse pawed the ground nervously, then began turning around in circles, as if acting the confusion the knight felt. There was nothing around them except for a thicket on their right. There was nothing to make the horse spooked, and no woman for the knight.
"How could I miss her?" he muttered, his sharp eyes surveying everything as he tried to calm his horse down. He pulled sharply on the bit, but the horse just reared and began to canter off into trees, causing the rider to fall low to his neck, burying his face in the thick, coarse mane. He knew better than to try and control the animal, being as it had helped him out of many tricky situations from Hell and back in their immortal life together. All he could do was let the horse lead him as he tried to avoid low branches.
The horse whinnied and began to slow back into a walk. The knight took this opportunity to adjust himself out of the mane and grab control of the reins, wondering what caused the sudden outburst from the animal. The answer soon came to him as he heard a high, fluty voice singing an Old French song that made his pain come back to him slowly, as if someone was dripping poison drop by drop into his veins. He jumped off of his horse and stepped closer to the sound, feeling the venom of his ache spread through his body with every step he took closer; a punishment for hearing the fragile voice grow louder. As the pain grew worse, he fell on his knees, doubling up as his gut began to burn. He crawled across the leafy floor, knowing he had to reach the voice; he had to know for sure if it were her. Sweat dripped down his forehead as he bit his tongue to keep from crying out as the pain stabbed its way into his heart.
He finally reached a small clearing of jade grass, and was able to see a stream, crusted with sunlight's diamonds. Her voice – for indeed by her naked figure it was a woman – seemed to heal his pain, making him able to release his tongue and feel comfort in his limbs. A new feeling seethed through him, one of ultimate desire and lust.
This was his woman.
Her cream-colored skin was smooth and pure with not a trace of a blemish. Her silver hair was flowing behind her like a cape, covering most of her nude form. Her voice was high in song of the most fluent French.
He growled in arousal. This was his mate – the one he would take whether she was willing or not. "A noble…" he murmured, watching her bathe through the branches of the trees.
"M'lady!" someone called out loudly, making him retreat into more of the tree's protection. He groaned in pain as he felt the sores of being so close to having the one thing he wanted, the one thing that filled him with such thirst he hadn't had in decades. "M'lady!" the voice intruded again.
The woman turned her head toward the voice of one of her handmaidens rushing toward her. "What is it, Lita?"
"What are ye doing?" Lita cried, hurriedly curtsying. "Thou knowst better than to bathe in broad daylight – and thou shouldnst bathe at all!" she added, scolding.
"Why not? A lady of my stature must be clean and pure," the woman answered.
"Also, thou hast a request from thy husband to join him in his chambers," Lita said, crossing her arms in annoyance.
The woman grabbed her robes and began dressing. "He always has a request for me to be in his chamber."
"Thou must do as he says," Lita commanded. "He is thy husband."
The knight's eyes widened. She was married – meaning she would not come willingly. Take her at any cost, he thought. Would that mean breaking the codes of chivalry to make her mine?
"This way, M'lady! Quickly!" Lita cried, ushering her fully-clothed lady towards
the castle. He'd been so caught up in his thoughts of her already been claimed that he'd missed the chance to see her face. Cursing himself, he began to stand up, cracking a fallen branch in half in the process.
Lita and the woman stopped in fear as he crouched down to remain hidden. "What was that?" the woman asked, fear evident in her high, light voice. Again, he cursed himself silently as he was unable to see her face.
"T-t'was probably just one of His Majesty's deer, M'lady," Lita said, still holding her chest in fear. "Thou wouldnst be scared if thou wouldnst bathe alone. Someone could be watching, waiting to kidnap thou, M'lady." She ushered the lady away, both scurrying towards the castle.
Once he was sure they were gone, he stood up and made his way into the clearing. His head was pounding and his head felt as if it would burst with the lust it was overfilled with. There was no doubt in his mind that this noble woman was the one he's been searching for. No matter her marital situation, he would wait until she was ripe and bed her, ending his immortal suffering.
He made his way back to the Morgan in a fog, not knowing what had come over him. The feelings he felt now were worse than the sharp pains in his abdomen he'd suffered through that morning – he was now consumed by his lust, feeling that nothing could quench him until he had her in his arms.
There was now the problem of knowing who she was in status, who her husband was, and the point of having to steal her away. As he petted his horse's neck, his heart began to ache for her. He hadn't even seen her face, and didn't even know her name. The only choice he had was to serve as her knight, winning her favor away from the others that fought for her.
"At all costs," he said softly. His horse nudged him, as if he understood. "At all costs," he said again, a little stronger, "would mean I wouldst become the Knight from Hell."
Yeah, I know, another story. But anyway…um…it was sitting on my computer for so long, and I decided that since I'm just relaxing procrastinating from my important history paper, why not? This will probably be a trial run. I just want to see if I can post other stories while writing WYSSYB. So, um, please enjoy. And please, if you do read, feed the author. Thanks!
Till next time…