Thanks for reading and reviewing last chapter! Also thank you to anyone who decided to follow or favorite the story!
This chapter isn't as long as my normal ones, but hopefully you find it just as entertaining! I had so much fun writing this one and I hope you think I did it justice. We are getting closer and closer to the end!
Please forgive any mistakes.
Aaron didn't even see what happened to the boy after he told him to run, his focus was solely on Sir Foyet. He was trying to gauge his opponent as quickly as possible, trying to work out the best strategy for the battle. He had never sparred with the other man during any of the daily practices, so he wasn't sure what to expect.
He didn't get to ruminate for long, because seconds after the young man ran away the other knight lunged forth stabbing at Sir Hotchner with his steel blade. A clashing sound echoed through the chamber as the two swords met and quickly broke apart. Foyet backed up a few steps and Hotchner started to slowly circle his opponent.
"You know, I've never liked you Sir Hotchner," Foyet said with extra emphasis on Aaron's title.
"And why is that?" the knight asked buying more time to find his opponent's weaknesses.
"Because you are a walking contradiction. You act all noble and claim to be loyal to the crown, but here you are fighting against one of the king's must trusted guards. You are directly defying his highness and going against the oath you swore when you entered the knighthood," Foyet remarked diving forward and swinging the flat side of his sword for Hotchner's head.
Aaron quickly deflected the cut and forced Foyet's sword back down to his side. He stepped further away and retorted, "The oath I swore was not to a king but to a principle. I agreed to fight for what was good and right in the world. I pledged that I would defend the masses against evil and keep that promise on my life. My vow never said anything about protecting and defending a tyrant and his absurd rulings."
"Then I think you joined the wrong knighthood because that is exactly our job. The king is our ultimate ruler and we follow his orders. Right now you are performing an act of treason and I will make sure that you pay the appropriate price," Foyet cried as he closed the gap in between the two men and brought his sword up in a slashing motion.
Hotch easily countered the slash but did not expect the under swing that George employed after his sword dipped down. By pure luck only was the gallant knight able to jump out of the way of the sting of the other man's sword.
"I see you have a few tricks up your sleeve," Hotch commented as he brought up his weapon and swung it around in a swishing motion.
Foyet smirked at the other man's attempt at intimidation and plunged his steel toward the crook of Hotchner's left arm. Reflexes told Aaron to bring up his arm in defense, but without a shield he took a vicious cut through his armor.
The dauntless man didn't miss a beat, pushing the pain away for the moment. He took advantage of his opponent's offensive distraction to hit Foyet on the back of his knee with the flat of his blade. The other knight's leg buckled beneath him and sent him down on one knee. Aaron then steadied the tip of his steel at the man's unshielded neck and said, "Surrender."
"This isn't over yet," Foyet yelled out as he flung his body to the left and savagely swung his sword upward toward Hotchner's heart. Again Aaron was able to turn aside the strike with his injured arm, though the severity of his wound increased.
The other knight popped back up on his feet and started swinging wildly at his foe, keeping the other man on the defensive. Sir Hotchner knew at that moment that he needed to turn the tide in his favor and stole a breath to renew his mental resolve.
Without any tell, the noble knight swung his steel in an arc and the two blades met, causing the knights to come face to face through the "V" shape that was formed.
"I can't wait to see your blood spilt all over this floor," Sir Foyet gloated with a crooked smile.
Hotchner's face remained an impenetrable mask, with his lips pulled tight, "The only blood joining the rushes below my feet will be yours."
George pushed back with his sword and called, "Ha ha! So this is a fight to the death! It will be a fitting end for you, down here with the souls of all the other traitors."
The other knight chose not to rise to the occasion and instead transferred his anger into tightening his firm grip on the hilt of his sword. He swung the broadsword up and delivered a glancing blow to the right shoulder of his pompous opponent. George cried out in surprise and shock at the injury his sword arm sustained.
Unaffected by his opponent's cries, Aaron rushed forward and continued to keep his foe off guard by delivering blows with deadly accuracy and timing. George, understanding now that he couldn't underestimate the younger knight, lost his sharp tongue and focused his mind.
The two men continued to circle each other taking turns striking out and countering each other blow for blow. It seemed almost as if a stalemate was forming when George noticed a weak spot in Hotchner's defense. Without a moment's hesitation he struck out against the knight faking him into believing that he was aiming for his head. When his blade was in mid-arc he changed his grip on the hilt and jabbed the tip of the steel through his opponent's thigh.
Sir Hotchner felt the stabbing pain emanate through his leg and dropped to his knees in an imitation of Sir Foyet's position earlier in the fight. His brown eyes gleamed, wordlessly revealing the agony he was feeling in his appendage. The younger man tried to stagger back up but his body could not hold his weight. His only choice was to defend himself from his position on the dirty floor.
Foyet, taking advantage of his position, quickly stuck out with his blade. Hotch brought his weapon up, but not fast enough. The other man's steel glanced off of Aaron's hilt and sliced through his right hand. The magnificent steel went flying from Hotchner's grip and across the chamber.
With heaving breaths Aaron focused his gaze straight on his enemy and said, "Let us finish this now."
"Oh, I will," Foyet sneered. "But first, I think you deserve to know what I have planned." The arrogant man circled his opponent with the tip of the blade held steady in warning.
After sitting back on his feet, Sir Hotchner remained still, ignoring the throbbing of his hand, "What use would I have for your plans?"
"Oh, I think you'll find them very interesting. First, I will find that filthy excuse for a slave and take his sweet ass until he's cold and dead. Next, I will cut off his head and take it to the prince to prove to him that his true love is no more. Then, I am going to go and find a lovely girl that I've heard so much about, Lady Haley Brooks, and take her out to the barn to tarnish her innocence," Foyet goaded, his voice flicking like a whip with implication.
A spark ignited in Aaron's eyes that betrayed his stone faced expression. In a stained voice he spoke, "You sir, are not going to get the chance."
"And how are you, an unarmed man, going to stop me?"
Hotchner remained silent and bowed his head in defeat. Foyet bellowed out a sinister laugh and stopped his stroll in front of his enemy.
"Well? You've got nothing to say?"
Sir Hotchner continued his statuesque pose and ignored the taunt.
"So be it," George laughed bringing up his sword, the silver metal looking molten as it reflected the firelight.
With a swift swing the grandiose knight brought his blade downward aiming for the back of Hotch's neck. His confidence in his own talent was so great that he never saw the bloody hand of Hotchner sneak upward from his position on the floor. And before George knew it the length of a once hidden dagger had penetrated him straight through the jaw up to its bejeweled hilt.
The man's swinging steel clanged to the ground having missed its mark. Foyet stood stock still with his eyes blown wide in astonishment. After a few pitiful gurgles of pain the man's stocky body flopped over onto the ground, the life leaving his eyes.
The gallant knight took a deep breath and pushed his body up on his weakened limbs. He stood tall over the body of his defeated foe. Looking down he bent over and grasped the handle of his dagger. He pulled it free of the man's head and placed it back in the hilt that was hidden in his boot.
Without another word, for none needed to be said, he turned his back on the knight and limped up the stairs.
Spencer's heart felt like it was going to beat through his chest as he raced up the stones in the dark. He didn't like leaving a man behind, but he knew that he would be useless in a swordfight. He emerged from the stairwell and started to cautiously make his way down the row of cells. He was halfway to the exit when he heard a voice calling from behind one of the doors, "Spencer! Let me out!"
The slave paused in astonishment and called out, "Lady Penelope? What are you doing in there?"
"It was that wicked knight, Foyet. I was cleaning up the evidence in the anteroom and he took me by surprise. He locked me in here and then went down after Sir Hotchner. Hurry up and let me out! We've got to get you to safety," she explained through the barrier.
Spencer, who was overwhelmed with her concern for him, ran to the guard's room to look for a spare key. He was quick to find one hanging on the wall on a hook. He snatched it up and hurried back to his dear friend. Once she was released from the cell her voluptuous body embraced him in a tight hug, "Thank you so much! Now let's get out of here!"
The boy didn't need to be told twice and hastened his steps to follow closely behind his retreating friend. The two of them discreetly crept through the castle corridors and down into the quiet kitchen. The place was dark and empty, for the cooks had finished their job for the night. Off to the side a dying fire smoldered giving the duo a hint of light to guide their steps.
Due to his familiarity with the layout of the kitchen, the two made their way to the exit in no time at all. The slave cautiously pushed the door open and walked out into the cool night air.
"Now what do we do?" he whispered to Penelope.
"Follow me!" she said, not giving away any details.
She led him down the garden path and through the hedge maze. The route the perky girl chose was one that avoided the guards who were on patrolling on the night's watch. They soon emerged from the foliage and found themselves standing in front of the grandiose stable. Neighing and nickering could be heard coming from its confines.
"Lady Penelope, I can't steal a horse!" Spencer sputtered as they neared the white walls.
"You're not going to steal a horse, silly," Penelope admonished before she let out an intricate whistle from between her lips.
Right on cue, a magnificent white stallion came around the back corner of the stable with Lady Jennifer riding astride, "What took you guys so long?"
Penelope looked up at her friend and said, "Sir Foyet somehow found out about our plans and tried to stop us."
"Is everyone okay?" Jennifer asked with concern.
"He locked me in one of the cells and Spencer had to let me out. Spencer, what happened to Sir Hotchner?"
The boy looked down at the ground and stubbed his toe into the dirt in shame, "I don't know. He released me from my chains and we were making our way out when Sir Foyet stopped us. Sir Hotchner told me to run and I did. The last thing I heard was their swords clashing as I made my way up the stairs."
Lady Jennifer raised a hand to her mouth, "Oh dear, I hope Sir Hotchner is okay!"
"I do too, but we can't sit here and wait to find out," Penelope said turning to Spencer. "Hop up there behind Jennifer."
"I'm taking you to that man's house," Jennifer explained, proffering her hand down to the slave.
"The one you told Prince Derek about. I think his name was Rossi," she said as she help hoist him up behind her.
The young man hesitantly put his hands around the lady's slim waist, "He told you about that?"
"Yes, now stop wasting time! Tell me how to get to this mystery man," Jennifer said as she snapped the reigns and encouraged the horse into a trot.
Spencer tightened his grip around Jennifer as lightning flashed through the sky quickly followed by a crash of thunder, "Make your way to the village."
The duo made their way through the night without any other issues thanks to the cover of the storm. Jennifer was extremely adept at guiding her horse and the sounds of the thunder hid the clacking of the horse's hooves. They only time they had to be extremely cautious was when they pass by the local tavern which was alive and boisterous with the sounds of drunken patron coming in between rumbles of thunder.
Spencer had to practically shout at times to guide Jennifer through the winding streets. After countless twists and turns the boy cried out to her to halt. The house was pitch dark and there was no movement coming from within.
The boy hopped down from the back of the stallion and looked to his friend, "Thank you, Lady Jennifer! I will never forget this kindness."
His words were muffled through the storm the girl got the gist of his meaning. She nodded her head and gestured for him to go to the door. The soaking wet boy walked up the stoop and knocked hesitantly on the door.
Spencer turned and looked back at Jennifer. She shrugged his shoulders and made a vigorous knocking gesture, urging the boy to put more strength into his fist.
Blinking the water out of his glistening eyes the boy turned back and pounded five times upon the wood.
He waited again for the door to open but it never did. Hanging his head he backed away from the barrier. He was almost back to the horse when Jennifer shouted, "Look Spencer!"
The slave turned around and saw the grizzled old man that was his last hope standing in the doorway with a look of confusion covering his face.
Rossi was pissed that someone had the audacity to come to his house in the middle of the night. He had finally gotten into a deep sleep after enjoying a brandy by his fire. He had been dreaming of a pretty maid with her skirts around her waist and her lips poised to kiss when the thumping jolted him awake. He laid in bed and wished for the intruder to go away, but when the noise came again, and louder he hauled himself out of bed.
When he finally got his aging body to the door and flung it open he was surprised to see the skinny kid that Gideon had brought with him the other day. Out of curiosity he ushered the boy into his house and watched as the maiden rode away with her black cloak billowing behind her. He led the boy over to the dying fire and brought him a mug of mead to warm him up.
Once the young man was safely ensconced in the cushioned chair and Rossi in the one opposite did he open his mouth, "Spencer…what are you doing here?"
The boy looked up at him in alarm and sputtered out, "Gi-Gideon t-t-t-old me to come to you."
Rossi furrowed his brow and asked, "When? Why?"
Tear sparkled in the boy's eyes as he opened his mouth, "He…they…uh…I…"
"Spit it out boy!"
"The king's men killed Lord Gideon!" he cried out and dropped his chin against his chest. The boy's brown hair fell down and shielded his face from the other man.
Rossi's eyes went wide at the revelation and said, "Son…tell me everything."
It took some time but Spencer was able to coherently weave the tragic tale of what had happened over the last few days. The whole time the elder man sat and listened with a discerning ear. Once the youth had finished his story the older man stood up and knelt in front of the slave.
"Spencer, you've been through so much and I'm afraid that your trials are not over with yet," he began.
"What do you mean?" the boy asked solemnly.
Rossi heaved a sigh and said, "There's something I need to tell you…"
So how did I do for my first of a few fight scenes? Leave a note :) Love you guys!