The mysterious Knight’s true identity has been revealed. Not only is she a woman, but she is a Princess. None other than Princess Adelaide of Perigor, now wounded by the rogue Geoffrey.
While Eleanor is still reeling from the shock, her father is quick to act.
Now Princess Eleanor has to choose between loyalty to her brutal father, or sympathy with this mysterious beautiful woman she had only just laid eyes upon.
Whichever side she chooses, the consequences for both princesses will be life-changing.
A Princess, A Knight And A Tyrant King.
When war is brewing she must fight or die…
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“Seize her,” the King said.
There was no anger in his voice, no rage, and it took a moment for the guards to react to the order.
Princess Adelaide held the King’s gaze as the guards led her out of the auditorium, her eyes flicking, just for a moment, towards Eleanor.
It startled the crowd. Some jeered and booed, some shouted, and most were asking each other what had happened. The Herald, who had been eagerly preparing the trophy, now stood awkwardly at the sidelines, unsure of the protocol in the event the King arrested the Champion.
In the hours after the tournament, the taverns filled with people, each with their own story to tell, some were sure the guards arrested her for entering the competition illegally, and others believed it was to make her a prisoner of war and laughed that the principality had been so stupid as to send her, some had been too far from the action to see that it was a woman at all, and had to come up with their own version of events.
Princess Eleanor could not think of anything else.
The celebratory banquet had gone ahead, but the King had shut himself away with his advisors. Eleanor had eaten little and had paid little attention to the entertainment laid on in the grand hall of the castle. She left while it was still early; slipping out, alerting none of her lady’s maids.
She had intended to hide away in her room, but as she walked through the corridor towards the cold stone stairway, she stopped. Hovering for a moment at the foot of the stairs. She couldn’t just go to bed and forget, forget the tournament, forget the injustice of it and she certainly couldn’t forget those eyes.
With her mind made up, she turned and made her way down to the dungeon.
The two guards sat at a small table playing dice. They said nothing as she walked past and straight over to the cell where Princess Adelaide was being held.
Still in her armour, she sat on the floor, her back against the wall. There was no sign of her helmet or gauntlets. Her tabard was torn and bloody, and although her eyes were closed, she still clutched her side. Eleanor didn’t wish to disturb her, and stood quietly at the bars, unsure whether to stay or go.
“What do you want?” Adelaide’s voice was weak. She didn’t move or open her eyes as she spoke.
“I just want to see if you are well.”
Adelaide turned to look at Eleanor. She was tired and pale. “And what is your verdict?”
“You don’t seem well,” replied Eleanor, feeling rather foolish.
Adelaide laughed weakly. “I am in urgent need of a physician. But I do not believe that one will be forthcoming.”
“Have you sent for one?”
She smiled and closed her eyes once again. “I have indeed,” she said quietly. “I have indeed…”
But Adelaide did not move again.
Eleanor hurried over towards the two guards. “Have you sent for a physician for the Princess?”
One of the guards stood up awkwardly to address Eleanor. “Yes ma’am. He will arrive in the morning.” His speech was slightly slurred.
“The morning!? She may not be alive in the morning!” she shouted.
The guard cast his eyes downward, unable and unwilling to justify the behaviour of the physician. Eleanor glanced back at the woman slumped against the wall. She knew that if she didn’t take charge, then Adelaide would not live more than a few hours.
“Transfer the prisoner to my chambers,” Eleanor commanded.
The Guard was startled. “But ma’am… the King—” he spluttered.
“What about the King?”
“He said we was not to let her out of our sight, ma’am.”
She knew she was defying her father; he would not be pleased to find out that his daughter had undermined his orders. Eleanor was prepared for the consequences, but she wasn’t prepared to let these men be punished as well.
“Then you will guard my chambers, and your friend here will fetch the court physician.” The other guard started to leave. “Wait! Let’s get her upstairs first, shall we?”