It was a time of darkness, indeed, but a time of humanity as well. The smallest of people stood up where the strongest fell. It was the time for the peasant to become a lord and overthrow the tyrant that crushed their way of being beneath his armoured boot. Of course, how could a lowly peasant raise arms against a cruel army? The peasants find a champion.
It was this champion, the strongest farmer in stolen armour, which marched towards the king’s castle. It was practically a kingdom on its own, but its size is most likely due to the thousands of soldiers that were housed beyond its walls. The champion reached the front doors and to his surprise they opened. Two knights were taller and bulkier than him; they exited and stood before the champion.
“What brings you to the castle of Perlance?” the left knight asked hefting a lance of dark iron. Due to so many knights and little minerals, most weapons crafted for the king’s army contained more iron. We hope this weight would also persuade the knights from raising blades to civilians. It didn’t.
“To challenge your king,” the champion called.
The knights looked at each other and their amusement was clear. The two knights talked amongst themselves for a moment, deciding what to do with this peasant. Eventually the knights decided to cross the bridge towards the peasant to put him into the ground. In this moment the peasant stepped forward with sword of purest steel. Crafted from whatever the village could find. It was a short sword, but a strong one. The knight did not realize this when champion stepped forward and plunged it into the knight’s chest before he could swing the lance.
The armour could not hold against such a blade and the knight could not move once the sword had pierced his being so simply. The knight fell to his knees before the champion and the other looked on in impressed, but not worried. He too took a step forward, but not to challenge the champion, only to pull the doors wider and let the peasant enter.
“If you want to challenge Perlance you must do it publicly,” the knight explained. “Challenge him in front of all his loyal guard and make him fell shame if he turns you down. His pride will be a stronger weapon than that sword.”
“Why help me, he who had served such a tyrant and no doubt enjoyed many pleasure under the cruel mans service?” the champion asked cautiously.
“Like you I am not of lordly bloodline, but a peasant grown on the fields like my father’s rotted wheat,” the knight answered. “I serve the king for my family, but perhaps by helping you, I can help the entire village as well.”
The champion understood the nobleness in the knight’s action and forgave him for his cowardly behaviour. The people were desperate and even becoming one the guard was considered a smart option. Still, there were people like the champion who would rather die than join the enemy.
The champion stepped through the doors and proceeded up the grand pathway that cut straight through the middle of the ‘kingdom’. There were plenty of homes, one for each soldier. Some built atop each other in a haphazard manner. The other knights talked, danced drunk and made merry enjoying the spoils that the village worked so hard to create. In the end, the champion knew that the finest of the village’s work was kept by the king and it made him angrier thinking how the tyrant has grown overconfident with the towns spoils.
The knights did not bother the lowly champion, too concerned with their own frivolities. The champion marched right up to the cast gates which were flanked by four dedicated knights. For a moment they watched the champion approach, but upon getting too close they crossed their lances and swords in front of the door.
“Speak your business, knight,” one ordered. It was the first of the king’s men to call the champion a knight and he appreciated such respect. The champion’s hand, which rested on the hilt of the sword, relaxed a little.
“I have come to challenge the king in one-on-one combat for his right to the throne,” the champion declared.
“Only those of royal lineage or noble descent can challenge the king,” a second knight stated. “It is a law of our land as you no doubt know.”
“Indeed, which is why I show you this,” the champion stated, removing his right armguard. Rolling up a sleeve of chainmail he revealed a darkened forearm, damaged by years under the sun’s rays, but what stood out clearly were the three birthmarks; three lines crossed the muscular arm, like that of a dragons claws.
Indeed, the champion was of noble lineage, a lost son of one of the lords that King Perlance had cut down to further secure his place on the throne. The proof was undeniable and the knights recognized it completely. Their weapons left the door and they opened it wide for the champion. The two swordsmen flanked the champion and walked with him into the throne room. At the end sat the king and his son by his side. The two smiled their evil smiles until their gaze turned to that of the champion.
The champion stood in aged armour and cloaked with ragged cloth. However, his sleeve was still rolled, revealing the clear birthmarks. The son, who had very little knowledge of the outside world, did not understand why his father stood now with wide eyes and visage of fury.
“What, what, what is, what is this?!” the king stuttered. The tyrant always spoke with a stutter, it marked him out more as a coward in the champion’s eyes and he drew his sword.
“I have come to challenge you for your kingdom, Perlance the Snake,” the champion stated for the whole throne-room to hear. “I, son of the Lord Drake, have come to this castle you have festered, to free my village and seek revenge for my family you slaughtered. Step forth and meet Death before Death makes you suffer longer than need be.”
“You f-, you fool…” the king whispered, clutching his sword, ready to fight, but lacking the resolve. He could not see the champions face behind the helmet, but he felt as if he saw a ghost.
Before the king could act the son charged forward with long sword in hand, swinging down towards the champion. Parlance’s son was no adept at sword-play and with two steps and a decisive motion, the heir fell to the ground soon followed by the head. It was the resolve that Perlance needed and in a state of miserable fury he charged. Perlance was far more experienced in fighting than his son was, but he had grown fat on the people’s suffering.
With each swing of the champion’s sword the point cut into the tyrant till he was covered in gashes and cuts. Perlance stared exhausted and blurry eyed, blood spilling from his wounds. It was a battle far from the tradition of a noble duel, but it was perfect for a king such as this. The champion finished the king, cleaving through the neck with a roar.
The champion stood over the bodies and savored the moment. He shook his head at the sorry state and walked away. He stared at the village in the horizon and rubbed the three self-made scars on his forearm. In the end, Perlance would have fallen and his inept son would follow soon after, but thanks to the champion, the kingdom grew brighter a lot sooner.
Be sure to follow!