This story is at the request of rocker punk. I hope you like it!

Chapter One

Long ago there lived a man. Stricken by vices, he roamed the countryside 'til one day he met a knight and his esquires. He joined this group, changing fate itself. This set him on an irrevocable path, a path of fate.

ooooooooooooooo

"Are you sure about this, Winny? We're still far enough away for you to change your mind."

"No, Edward. I can do this. Besides, what would it look like if you had two squires and I had no maid?"

"Normand could escort you. No one would know," he said. It was quite obvious that he was searching for any reason for her not to do this.

"I'm sure he wouldn't be happy about that at all," she said, gesturing behind her to the next horse back.

"Quite the contrary, milady. It would be an honour," that same man said, projecting his voice forward to them.

Winifred turned back to smile briefly at the bald, muscular man following them closely. A second later, she looked forward again and asked, "Edward, how far is it to Rouen?"

"We should be able to see it over the next hill," he said, gesturing ahead of them with a tanned, calloused hand.

Pensively, Winny glanced over at the dark-haired man that rode beside her. She almost immediately looked down, though her eyes saw none of what was before them. If she was going to change her mind, it would have to be now. Just before they began the ascent of the hill before them, Winny looked up and said, "No, Edward. I will do this, but my way."

"I really hate to see you work, though," he said, looking at her with sad eyes.

Winny looked up at him, her eyes alight with a new idea. "I only need to appear busy when we're in public. You and I both know that a lot of shopping happens. I could buy the food and such," she said.

"You could as a lady, too," he pointed out.

"You should know my real reason by now: the banquets," Winny said, smiling and lifting a single eyebrow for a second.

Edward chuckled and said, "I've seen you after banquets enough times to know about that, but how will you meet someone eligible for marriage if you don't go to them?"

Winny snorted and said, "You and I both know that I will have no say in who I am to marry."

"I've said it before and I'll say it again, I can approve or disprove any suitor for you," Edward said. His tone was serious.

Winny smiled gratefully and said, "Thank you for that, otherwise I'd already be married to Count Adhemar or Visconti."

"They were horrible," he said, laughing along with her. When he stopped laughing, he asked her, "What's your real reason?"

Winny sighed and said, "Adhemar's in France for the season."

"Why didn't you tell me, Winny? He'll know us both on sight," Edward said worriedly.

"That's why neither of us can go to the banquets. I'd risk much even just shopping for you," she said seriously.

Edward sighed before saying, "I'm sorry to have doubted your reasons."

"It's alright, Edward. At least now you know what danger faces us," Winny said.

The group rode into Rouen that very same day. As they did, someone caught Winny's eye. He was a blonde man who appeared to be quite poor. He was walking next to a man on a horse who appeared to be a rather poor knight, presumably from the country. He appeared to notice her as well as she, Edward, and the rest rode past.