TARNISHED ARMOUR

 by
Jeff G.
October 26, 2003

 

In a dismal valley filled with dancing shadows from swirling clouds overhead, there paused a horse and it’s rider.  The horse, Nightwind, was a mighty black steed with eyes of fire and a thirst for battle.  Nightwind’s rider was a poor match for such a splendid animal.  Once a knighted servant of the kingdom of Asperion, he was now a haggard and weary soldier slumped over and holding the reins with one hand, while clinging to the horn of the black leather saddle with the other.  There was no helmet upon his head, for an unseen Oak limb had torn it from him as he fled through the forest of Darkwood.  His face and scalp were now scarred and bruised with trickles of crimson flowing from his forehead and cheeks.  His armour which was once his pride and glory, was now tarnished, scratched and dented as a testament of the battle he had fought.  As he thought of the last three days he felt weary and confused, questioning his own cause and purpose.  His duty had always been to guide and protect the defenseless from the oppression of evil and thoughtless tormentors.  An endeavor of hopelessness and futility had suddenly become his obsession and nearly his demise.

 A whistling wind could be heard calling from the forest of Darkwood.  In pain Sir Geoffrey winced as he turned his injured neck to the sound of the calling.  To his east the chilling wind carried a vision of a lovely princess dressed in white.  Her hair was the color of the night, and her skin was as white as the snows that fall upon the highlands of Grabenshire.  He had seen her face before, and would never forget the slender form of her body as her image floated upon the breeze and seemed to call his name.  Nightwind’s hooves shuffled upon the hard clay soil as he turned his head to meet the eyes of his war torn rider.  The eyes that knew no fear showed terror as Nightwind snorted and jerked his muzzle to the west where in the distance was the land that bordered on the Great Sea of Peace.  Sir Geoffrey felt the horse’s tremors of fear even through the heavy leather saddle.  Their home and kingdom was toward that land of giant fir trees, near where the cold waters of two beautiful rivers merge and flow to the sea.  Nightwind, though nearly as tired as his rider, desired to return to their kingdom land, where there was safety and freedom from the misty image of royalty.

 A damsel in distress? Perhaps.  But what if distress is the princess’ lover?  How many Knight’s, or perhaps even Barons or Earls had answered her call of distress, only to have their honour stripped bare before their own eyes?  Sir Geoffrey had answered her call.  He had carried his sword into battle for her cause as he rode bravely upon the back of his dark horse.  Many hours passed as armoured rider wielded his sword, striking opponents, and in return receiving blow for blow.  Progress seemed futile as the battle continued and Sir Geoffrey and his opponents became weary.  Suddenly a moment of calm prevailed, when the sound of clashing steel ceased and the dust from horse’s hooves settled and cleared.  But the silence was not total silence.  Sir Geoffrey turned to find that his princess was no longer in the place of safety from which she could observe the battle.  In a panic he scanned the mountainous terrain, but she was gone.  There was still a sound in the distance, a voice of mockery, calling “fools, fools, FOOLS!”  One by one the combatants removed their helmets, Sir Geoffrey doing the same.  In shock he trembled as he saw before him an image of his own self.  To the right and left of his image he saw fellow knights from his own kingdom, glaring at him in disgust!  Beside him he suddenly realized that there had been others fighting for the cause of the same princess, some still stood poised for battle, others bore the look of incredulity, that must also have been upon his own face.  In anger he shouted “WHY?” His voice echoed from the canyon that was below them.  Then there was that soft feminine voice again, “fools, fools, FOOLS!”  There was no sense of certainty that the voice belonged to the princess or to another.  In fierce anger and frustration Sir Geoffrey forced his helmet over his dust-covered head.  He grabbed Nightwind’s reins, and turned his mount toward the canyon charging toward the sound of the voice.  The voice was always beyond his reach, laughing at him in mockery.  He turned to see that his own image and his countrymen were pursuing him.  In confusion and hopelessness, horse and rider plunged into the forest of Darkwood…

 …Sir Geoffrey awakened from his memories as Nightwind gave a loud snort, looking at his rider with a look that was now horror.  Once again the image of the white princess was before him approaching, beckoning, calling.  “Never again!” he shouted at her as his heels pressed against Nightwind’s sides, and with reins firmly in hands horse and rider took off at a run leaving the image far behind. 

 Slowing to a gallop as they approached the mountain country, rider called to horse, “We’re almost home!”

Crossing the great mountain range, the two rivers and the fertile green valley could be seen below.  The weary rider wondered in his heart, “will my people forgive me? He tenderly rubbed Nightwind’s neck, gently asking, “is Asperion still our home?”

© Jeff G. 2003

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"We each have our own way of living in the world, together we are like a symphony.
Some are the melody, some are the rhythm, some are the harmony
It all blends together, we are like a symphony, and each part is crucial.
We all contribute to the song of life."
...Sondra Williams

We might not always agree; but TOGETHER we will make a difference.

 

Send mail to opu@bendbroadband.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2003-2014 A.S.P.I.R.E.S.

Updated 04/02/2014