Dark Lord of Kismera Pt. 1



Thunder sounded as two horses flew toward each other; a high rail, called a list, separated the two combatants in the jousting arena. Lances lowered in readiness, the knights braced in their saddles, anticipating impact. At the last second, the knight dressed all in black ducked under his opponent’s lance and pulled his black horse to a sliding halt at the end of the course. Horse and rider spun around and prepared for a second charge. The Friesian stallion snorted and pawed in eagerness, causing the crimson tassels on his draperies to swing. The knight spurred the horse lightly, and the stallion leapt forward into a full gallop.

Blue-gray eyes sighted his target through the slit in his visor. He aimed carefully, making sure he hit the perfect part of his opponent’s armor. He braced for impact. Pop! His lance splintered on contact. The other knight made an undignified dismount from his horse.

Squires raced out from the edge of the contest area, two to each knight. The Green Knight, who had been unhorsed, was helped to his feet by his squires and checked for injuries. At his nod that he was unhurt, one squire handed him a long sword and retrieved his green shield adorned with a white fleur-de-lis. The other knight caught the bay horse from which he had fallen. The Black Knight’s squires held his horse while he dismounted and then he was similarly outfitted with sword and shield.

The crowd was on its feet now as the squires backed away and the knights moved in, ready defensively. The eager Black Knight lightly rapped the crimson lion painted on his shield with the hilt of his sword.

The knight in the green and tan colors moved in first, sword swinging in a vicious arc. The Black Knight deflected the blow and moved to the side to attack. Crouched and ready, the Black Knight attacked, his sword flashed in the light as he swung fiercely at the other man. The Green Knight dropped his sword low to block the blow to his leg. The Black Knight moved quickly, despite the weight of his armor, and struck again, giving the other knight only time enough to block with his shield. The Black Knight’s sword made a heavy thud against the shield. The Green Knight staggered under the force of the blow, caught his balance, and made a rush at the other man.

He knew his opponent could have used that stumble to his offensive, but was toying with him. He tried a deceptive move toward the Black Knight’s hips, causing the man to sidestep slightly. The Green Knight then spun, his green and tan surcoat belling out around his knees, and his arm flashed around with a punishing blow aimed at his foe’s ribs. The Black Knight was ready for the move and turned to catch the blade with his own shield. His right arm moved in an arc over handed and forced the Green Knight’s sword downward.

Steel rang against steel in the quiet of the arena for a while and an eager crowd held their collective breaths. They heard the grunts and gasps of effort through each man’s helm as the two fought. After several more minutes of ringing steel, the Black Knight caught the other man behind the knees with the flat of his blade, bringing him crashing down.

The Green Knight landed on his back and struggled to rise. The Black Knight quickly brought the tip of his sword to the other knight’s neck, and with his other hand, raised his visor.

The crowd had been cheering on their champion, but hushed to hear his words. “Do you yield?” he asked loudly and clearly.

The other knight nodded, and at that motion, the Black Knight sheathed his sword and helped his opponent to his feet.

The crowd went wild then as one of the Black Knight’s squires returned with his horse and took his shield and helm. He remounted and as he settled back into the saddle, the stallion half-reared. As the crowd began to quiet, a voice boomed into the arena.

“Ladies and gentleman, our victor the Black Knight. The Normandy Hotel and Casino hopes that you have enjoyed this demonstration of medieval combat. Please give our hero another round of applause as he makes his victory pass!”

Read more from Tamara Hartl!


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