A/N: All of the speakers should be pretty clear. I happen to love A Knight's Tale--who wouldn't with Heath Ledger in there?--and I've always wondered what everyone was thinking when Will wouldn't run away.
Disclaimer: If I owned A Knight's Tale Heath Ledger would never have worn a shirt during the entire movie.
A Knight's Honor
He was sick with fear. Every fiber of his being trembled with the fear that overran his system, but his mind was clearer, not as clouded with the sickening terror. His mind had latched on to his pride and held it, the only thing keeping him. He looked at the faces of friends on either side of him and then forwards, towards the waiting guards, towards the crowds that would turn against him and devour him with the same passion with which they had embraced him.
They had told him to run. He should have. He should have slipped into the crowds, fading back to the ordinary, Cheap-side born man of nothing that he was. But he would not. He could not. Just as he could not withdraw. He was a knight, no matter what any paper said, no matter what any noble said. He was a knight and would not flee like a whimpering dog before it's master's kick. He was a knight and would uphold the honor of a knight. And knights did not flee. They stood before their enemies, took the beatings, took the anger, and stood firm against it. He would stand firm. He could do no less.
Wat wasn't a man of words. Even his threats seemed to fall short and Chaucer could run rings around him when it came to arguments. But a fist to Chaucer's face usually put a stop to that. Wat wasn't an eloquent man, preferring to let his fists do the talking for him. But his fists wouldn't help him now. His fists and his threats wouldn't stop Will from marching forwards into the arms of the guards. For a moment he contemplated knocking Will unconscious, throwing him over the back of the horse and running, but he couldn't. He couldn't hurt Will, not even to save him from himself. He walked forwards, just one of their group who loved their peasant-knight lord so. Just another as helpless as the rest.
She hadn't known him long, but she still knew him, still loved him. He had this kind of charisma about him, this quality that made you love him. He was infectious, lighting up the air around him. She couldn't figure out how someone could manage to hate him with such a passion. Kate knew the contours of his body from crafting his armor. She knew the lengths he would go to for pride and for love. She knew how his face lit up when he smiled. She knew how much Roland and Wat and Chaucer and yes, even she, loved him. She knew how he would never, ever, ever back down.
She knew that they were going to take him. And it broke her heart to know.
His heart was shattering but at the same time he had never been prouder of Will in his entire life. He remembered Will when he was a little boy, a curly-haired blonde boy with an incredible smile that was hidden beneath dirt and the unhappiness of leaving his father behind. It had been Roland's job to teach little Will the ropes of the job. But it had been Roland's unofficial job to coax that smile from wherever he was hiding. Will had been his little brother. And then he had grown up. The kid had always had a stubborn streak and a gift of persuasion. And dreams. He'd always had his dreams too, dreams that Roland had never had the heart to tell him would never come true. But, god damn him, he'd done it. He'd managed to "change his stars" as he always said, if only for a little while.
But Will's dreams were about to shatter. Reality was going to pull him down again and this time Roland wasn't going to be there to pick him up and wipe him off and pat him on the back. Because Will had risen too far, too damned far above him, so far that only God could save him from the fall now.
It hurt to see him willingly march into the lion's den, to not turn and run as they all wanted him too. He'd always ben stubborn but this was a new height. This was…this was Will. And Roland had never been prouder.
She'd damned his pride and she had meant it. She had begged and she had cried, had promised to run with him. She'd do anything for him to just not go out there, into the stadium where they were waiting for him. Before he had stayed his lance for her, to prove his love. But not even that would make him flee. He was so strong. Too strong. Too damned strong for his own good. To damned proud for his own good. But she loved him for it, because of it, despite of it. She always would. She'd rather live in a hovel with pigs if he were there than live in a castle as the much bejewled wife of Adhemar. She would do anything she had to to keep Will, her Will, safe and free. He'd told her she spoke of things she knew nothing about, and she had, because she was that desperate to keep him. She would have faced down anything if only he would flee. But he would do anything to keep her from living in a hovel with pigs and mud and the freezing cold. He was too proud for it, to noble for it. And, secretly, she was pleased because that wasn't what she wanted, that life of a pesant. But she hated it and she hated him too, because what she wanted was him. Only him.
She couldn't watch him walk into the stadium, not while she sat back, helpless. And she couldn't walk in with him either, no matter how much she wanted to. She was a lady and had to do what was proper of a lady. And in that, and that alone, she understood him. Because he was a knight, and had to do as was proper of a knight.
With a flourish of his pen Geoffrey Chaucer had turned a poor, peasant squire into a noble knight. With a few words dripping from his honeyed tongue he had turned Sir Ulrich into a crowd favorite, and Will had done the rest. Geoff was never lacking in words or eloquence, but now, finally, he found that he was. Nothing he said would stop his lord, his friend, his Will, from entering the stadium. Will had saved him, time and time again, and he had repaid him by turning him into the maginificent, the honored, the favorite. But nothing he said could save him. Not even a word from his pen or a word from his tongue could save Will. And he wished so that he could. He wished that he could give the story a happy ending, wished that he could make himself braver, stronger, strong enough that he would stand up and fight for his lord. But he just remained the coward, the silent, wordless coward who let his lord destroy his life and his dreams.
For once in his life Geoff hated words, and how sometimes they could mean everything, and other times, when you most needed them, they meant absolutely nothing at all.
As the guards closed in around Will, gripping him tightly by the arms and forcing his friends back the fear closed in on him as well. For a moment he felt he had made a terrible mistake. He should have ran. He should have ran, he should have ran, he should have ran. Damn his pride, he should have ran. But then, looking up and seeing the self-satisfied smirk and the look of contempt on Adhmear's face he knew that he had done the only thing he could have done. For love, for duty, for the trials that had brought him here and now, for his pride, for his friends, for his father, for himself, for the honor that only a true knight can have; he would stand tall and he would be as he was. They couldn't take that away afrom him. He had done the only thing he could. He was a knight, and with that came a knight's unmovable, unshakable honor. And he, William Thatcher, was never going to run away again. Because knights do not run. And, for all their papers, for all their words, he was a knight.
Doesn't people begging for a review get annoying? What harm could just pressing that little button down there do? Go ahead. Press it.