The mysterious Knight and Geoffrey de Tours are set to battle in the final of the King’s tournament, while Princess Eleanor looks on with trepidation.
Will the reigning champion, Geoffrey, maintain their mantle?
Or will the mystery knight win the tournament and Eleanor’s heart?
Who is the Knight? And will their identity finally be revealed?
Find out in the next instalment of this timeless tale of love and honour, set in the majestic medieval castle of Valence.
A Princess, A Knight And A Tyrant King.
When war is brewing she must fight or die…
Download the whole story as an ebook by joining my mailing list.
The strapping figure of Geoffrey re-entered the arena. He stepped forward, holding his helmet aloft, and smiling at the crowd, playing with their favours, his point clear ‘I am not afraid to show my face. In contrast, The Knight stepped out to rapturous applause but stood perfectly still on the contender’s mark. Waiting.
As the Herald began his long-winded introduction, the crowd hushed and Princess Eleanor began tapping the arm of her chair impatiently. Suddenly, the King reached out and grabbed her hand. She gasped as he crushed it tightly in his fist. Then, without so much as a glance, he let her go and she made sure not to move again.
Anticipation and excitement filled the air, and once the Herald finished his speech, the crowd was utterly silent. Eleanor was sure her heart could be heard pounding in her chest. She was worried her father might reach out and crush that as well.
The sudden sound of the fanfare made her jump, and she watched as both knights adjusted their stance and turned their attention to the King, who raised an arm. It seemed like he waited an eternity, holding his hand aloft, relishing in the power he had before he struck it down and the match began.
Eleanor wasn’t the only one that shifted to the edge of her seat.
The two knights slowly circled one another. Geoffrey lunged but was beaten back with a swift movement of The Knight’s sword. They tested one another, striking and falling back, finding strengths, and seeking weaknesses. Geoffrey was forced back more than once, but The Knight took several blows to the shield.
They parried back and forth, but Geoffrey had more strength. He pushed forward, again and again, and again. The crowd gasped as he raised his sword to strike a final blow. The Knight deflected it and Geoffrey stumbled. As he tried to regain his balance, The Knight struck him hard against the shield.
But he shook it off and lunged towards his opponent once again.
Princess Eleanor could hardly breathe as she watched; she noticed The Knight’s shield arm had dropped, tired from repeated blows. She could barely look as she realised it may not be long before her precious Knight was struck down.
Geoffrey had noticed their arm drop as well; he was merciless, striking blow after blow after blow against the shield, forcing The Knight to fall back, almost to the wall of the arena.
Suddenly, The Knight threw the shield aside. Geoffrey’s supporters cheered, sure that he had secured victory, and Eleanor noticed the King edge forward on his throne.
Geoffrey lunged, the clashing of their swords rang out across the arena, the audience was screaming in delight, the champion was taller, stronger and victory seemed within his grasp as he bore down on The Knight.
Their swords pushed against one another, Geoffrey’s one-handed strength to The Knight’s two. It looked as though it was over, it looked as though The Knight would buckle. The King chuckled in delight as the thorn in his side was about to be torn from his flesh.
But The Knight twisted; the champion had pushed his weight too far, and he lost his balance and stumbled forward. The Knight struck him to the back of the head and the King’s champion, four years running, fell to his face in the arena’s sand.
The crowd roared, ecstatic at the surprise defeat. Geoffrey turned to stand, but The Knight was there, holding a sword at the loser’s neck.
The victory was sealed with a reluctant nod from Geoffrey and The Knight turned and took a step toward the King to accept the prize, but Geoffrey saw his chance; he leapt up from the ground and charged toward The Knight, piercing his sword through the tabard and chain mail beneath.
The Knight contorted with pain, but the crowd drowned any cries screaming and shouting, baying for Geoffrey de Tours’ blood as attendants pulled him back and dragged him out of the arena.
The Knight had dropped to one knee but was helped to stand and escorted before the King, who was fuming in his seat, barely able to contain his rage. However, it was the King’s duty to bestow the championship on The Knight, and, despite his anger, he stood, waiting for the crowd to settle.
“We congratulate you!” The King boomed, his voice strong and intimidating. “Your performance has been heroic. You are, truly, a deserving champion and you may claim your prize.”
The Knight stepped forward, one hand clutching the wound, the other moved to unbuckle the helmet. The crowd whispered, as, at last, the face of The Knight would be seen. Without thinking, Eleanor stood, desperate to see the face behind the mask.
With a flourish, the armour was lifted. Eleanor gasped, and the crowd went wild.
“What is the meaning of this?” The King yelled with indignation.
A beautiful young girl stood before them, her blond curls were tied into neat plaits, just a few loose straggles around her face, her ice-blue eyes held the gaze of the King as she lowered herself onto one knee before him.
“I am Princess Adelaide of Perrigor, and I have come, under your terms, to request that you release my father’s castles back to his control.”