Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Kingdom of Heaven belong to their respective creators, Joss Whedon and Ridley Scott.
My lord cries out. She is still in his arms, as still and white as death. Blood smears her arms and legs.
There is blood on the wall, on the floor. There is blood where she pushed the door, the mark of her small hand on the wood. There is where she fell, where blood spattered in an arc across the flagstones. There is where she crawled, with her hands, to the wall.
There is shouting from behind, from below. The halls are filled with servants, priests, and nuns, knights and soldiers, all shouting that the angel has fled. They shout, they make such noise, and she lies here bleeding, dying, in my lord's arms.
Bar the door, says my lord. He sits on the stone, the angel cradled in his lap.
My lord, I say, if they should force—
Then kill them as they come, he roars, and never before this moment have I heard him roar except in battle. The sound of his voice is like a blow to my face. His son's eyes widen.
Odo, says my lord, and Odo, unswerving Odo, takes out his sword and goes to the door.
My lord bows his head. If he is weeping, I cannot tell it. The Hospitaller kneels at his side, the Moor bending over him.
Sunlight glows through the window and warms the room. Men are shouting, and there is a streak of German curses. They have seen the blood stains, but Odo will not let them pass. Someone is calling for the priests to be brought.
The Hospitaller wants for cloth. I bring some to him, tearing up a cloak I had got only the year before. With it, he wraps the angel's arms, where they bend at the elbow. He touches her skin as if he touched the Grail.
My lord holds her, and with one hand strokes her bloodied hair.
She is near naked. The shift she wears does not cover her legs, and it is bloodied and torn. I find one of my master's cloaks, the better one, and I bring it. The Moor gives me a nod of his head as he takes it from me.
There are more people in the hall, now, and Odo is hard-pressed. The Moor stands up to go and help him, but then, without any warning, a silence falls, all becomes quiet, and the door is opening.
The king stands in the doorway.
He has dressed in a suit of clothes borrowed from one of his knights. He is taller than I had thought him, not as tall as my lord but taller than my lord's son. He has brought his body servants, their swords drawn to hold back the mob.
His eyes search the room, and they find her.
The king kneels by my lord's side, his hands taking hers.
How, he asks, and in his voice is a whisper of death.
The priests, says the Hospitaller. They bled her too harshly, and now she is dying.
I am looking at the king. I am looking into his face, and I see how it changes, how it darkens, how his eyes fill with rage and how he is wroth. I see how there is death written there.
Pity the priest who put the knife to her flesh.
The king holds out his arms.
We are breathless. My lord does not move, and, for the most terrifying of moments, we are gripped by the fear that he will not give her up, that he will deny the king. I watch his back, watch the way his shoulders grow rigid, and I think that the king, who is known throughout the world for his kindness, will not forgive this.
But then he raises his head, he lifts her up, and my lord gives the angel into the king's arms.
And by the set of his head, by the way he lifts his head as if shaking off a blow, I know how much this cost him.
She lives, says the Hospitaller. The fever is already diminishing. She lives, and will live, if her wounds are staunched and she is not bled again.
No blade will touch her, says the king. Any man who raises an edge against her forfeits his life.
He takes her up, he lifts her, and I see that he intends to take her away from here, perhaps to one of the royal residences. At the door, he stops, looks back.
I do not know what the king was like before the miracle. A lowly squire does not often speak to the king of Jerusalem, be he leper or no.
But this man now, this king standing here—
He looks at my lord. He looks at my lord, his gaze weighing, as if he is measuring my master against his honor.
My lord seems not to notice. He stares at the floor, where he still kneels, his clothes and hands stained with blood.
The angel groans, a moan of pain and fear.
Attend me, Godfrey, says the king, his voice low. Attend to your king, and your future queen.
We are struck dumb. My lord's son's mouth opens noiselessly, and the Hospitaller sucks in his breath. In the silence, I hear the body servants shouting in the hall, and Odo swearing bitterly.
My lord sits, his head lowered, and then he bows.
Yes, Your Majesty, he says, and stands up.
His face, when we see it, is indecipherable.