A/N: Sorry for the lateness and shortness of this. I've been involved in a slap-fight with life lately.
Also, a huge thanks to the reviews and such. It really does help me power through when a story is fighting being written.
Adventure did indeed tend to be unsubtle, but only due to the tendency of knights to be dense. When a man spends his life learning to tolerate bashes to the head and risk a fiery death simply to win the hand of a princess, it stands to reason that he cannot be entirely sensible.
The Knight of Summer defied such reasoning, by virtue of being sightless and without family. While he was quite capable of taking a beating, he was one of the few that never saw much point in doing so if it could be avoided, no matter how prized well-placed scars were.
By and large, he was more clever than most knights, in such respects. Unfortunately, he still counted himself among their community, and every proper knight needed at least one damsel to risk an exceptionally unpleasant death for.
And it was for that very notion that the Knight of Summer found himself in a run-down tavern, eating a stew of uncertain origin that probably had been made by a witch if the taste was any indication, and waiting for a young man of ill-repute.
Gambit, the man called himself (a rather pretentious name, the Knight of Summer thought) and was said to be a thief without parallel. But more than that, he claimed to know where the Rogue Princess could be found.
Such a claim was, of course, utterly ridiculous. While quests were meant to be difficult, the search for the Rogue Princess had erred on the side of impossible. The Knight of Summer didn't have enough fingers and toes to count the knights that had died in the quest to find her.
One would think that the King and Queen had bothered to keep a map or at least to make a note of where they left their daughter, He brooded quietly to himself, but I suppose that wouldn't have made for a very good bard's tale: and then the knight procured a map and followed it until he found the princess and awakened her. The end.
He sighed heavily and almost choked as a hand clapped down on his shoulder. He spun around, drawing his sword.
"Have at thee!"
"Calm down, mon ami. Gambit don't want no trouble, and he don't think you do either."
He could hear the grin in the other man's words, and fought back a wince at his lack of self-control. He was on edge tonight; he wasn't like Lord Creed, ready to fight at a single offensive word or kill at the mere mention of a dwarf. At least, he didn't want to be.
He gestured at the chair, motioning for the other man to sit, even though the scraping of a chair told him his invitation had been pointless. He took his seat once again, sitting stiffly (the chairs were terribly uncomfortable; he'd sat in one for barely a few minutes and it felt as if he'd sat there for two months), one hand still on his blade.
"You say you know where to find the Princess. Tell me, thief."
"Gambit don't do business without a name, and he definitely don't do business without gold."
He took the purse from his side, dropping it down on the table with the clinking of coin.
"I am the Knight of Summer."
He heard the purse being dragged across the table, the clicking of tongue against teeth as the other man weighted the gold briefly.
"Knight of Summer isn't a name, mon ami."
He raised a questioning brow.
"And Gambit is?"
The other man chuckled lowly.
"Gambit got things t'hide. Does a knight need to hide his name?"
He could feel his cheeks reddening. How dare the man question his honor? It was almost a struggle not to request a duel at the blatant challenge.
"My name is Scott."
The man's chuckle morphed into a surprised snort of laughter that was quickly smoothed over into an extraordinarily fake cough.
To a knight, honor was paramount. It was why they hurled themselves into battle, why they preferred titles to simple names.
It was also why Scott, the Knight of Summer, removed his glove and slapped it across the face of the thief with a resounding smack.
"You, sir, have offended my honor! I demand a duel."
And honor also had the blame for the knight's surprise when the thief lunged across the table, catching him around the waist and pulling them both to the floor amid the shrieks of the other patrons.
Scott prided himself on his skill with a blade, on how he could move with a cat's grace even in full armor. He did not, however, pride himself overmuch on his skill in fighting dirty, unlike the scoundrel that had just attacked him.
He fought against dragons in the rocky cliffs of mountains, not against thieves wielding fists and wooden mugs in the smoky air of a tavern.
Knights simply did not involve themselves in bar brawls.
Gambit pulled himself away, the gold jingling at his hip in his hurry to leave. The shrieks had turned to wild cheers, the little squabble into a mass frenzy of fists. Scott caught his breath and crawled forward, scrabbling at the man's ankle, pulling him back down to the floor. A hand caught him in the eye and he grunted, but shoved ahead anyway, keeping his head low and covered.
Silence reigned in the tavern as the guard's bellowed into the riot. Gambit had stopped struggling to get free, his body still tense under Scott's grip.
"Who is responsible for this?"
He couldn't almost feel the fingers pointing at the both of them, and hung his head in shame. Fighting in a tavern, against a man not worthy of his blade...it was disgraceful.
Boots stomped across the floor, and he felt himself being hauled roughly upward. If the heavy sigh was any indication, Gambit was undergoing the same treatment. It was precious little comfort. This sort of behavior was expected from one such as him, not a knight seeking the hand of a princess.
His voice was hoarse with embarrasment when he finally got a hold of his tongue.
"I apologize for my actions. They do not befit my station."
The guard's grip on him had loosened as he got a good look at the knight.
"I recognize you. The Knight of Summer."
He could barely manage a nod, the shame was so great.
A long silence followed his affirmation before the guard cleared his throat.
"A knight and a thief...this is an unusual situation. We'll hold you in a cell for the night before we decide what to do. An unusual situation, indeed."
Scott had rested in many unsavory locations before; it came with being a knight. But a jail cell...that was a new low. He braced his shoulders, raising his head and straightening his back. Whatever they decided, he would face it with the courage that befit his station, not sniveling like a wretch.
Still not entirely happy with this. It sort of feels like my tone has been rather schizophrenic, and I think it's because I'm a bit hesitant about the narrator thing.
Which is why I have a poll about it that I would love for you guys to check out. Pretty much it's just asking whether you want more of the narrator, or less.
So, please go take a look and vote.
Thanks for reading, as always. :)