Drace MacKinnon, The Black Knight, current hero and champion of the Las Vegas hotel and casino, The Normandy, spun his big black horse in a tight circle. He galloped the horse around the arena and brought it to a sliding halt in front of an elderly woman of about eighty. Her granddaughter and grandson were seated on either side of her. He removed ribbons with tiny bells from the trapping around the stallion’s neck then sidestepped the horse close to the railing. He extended a gloved hand to her, crimson and black ribbons trailed from his fingertips. As she reached for the ribbons, he caught her hand, leaning over, and raised her hand to his lips; he brushed a kiss over her knuckles.
“My beautiful lady,” he said in a deep voice, and turned her hand, dropping the belled ribbon into her palm. Marion Theile of Dayton, Ohio blushed to the roots of her hair. “I am told today is your birthday,” he continued at her nod. “I wish you the happiest of days.” He gave her a broad smile.
Her blush deepened. “Oh my word,” she gasped.
He backed the horse away from the rail, bowed, and then rode another round of the arena to the cheers and applause of the crowd.
One of the squires from the show doubled as a groom and had taken the black stallion back to the stables to unsaddle and rub him down. His other squire, who was new, was currently helping divest him of the armor he wore. It was not the full suit of armor, which was sometimes displayed, but had a breast and back plate over a chain mail shirt made as realistic as possible.
A black surcoat with crimson trim and a crimson lion on the front went over it. It was almost impossible to get into or remove by oneself.
Done with the evening’s performance, Drace was in the props room drying his shoulder length hair with a towel. The mahogany brown hair was almost black with sweat after being under his helmet and the hot lights in the arena. While Drace stood ruffling up his hair, the new squire unbuckled the leg guards from his muscular calves. When she stood up, her blond head barely came up to his chest. Violet eyes looked up at him as he automatically raised his arms for her to undo the straps on the sides of the breastplate.
“Thank you, my Lord,” she said in her softly accented voice.
“Hey, I told you only ‘my Lord’ me in the show. I’m just Drace here, ok?”
Vashti was so cute when she blushed that it made her purple violet eyes and long platinum blond hair even more striking. “My apology my Lo… Drace. Please sit down so that I may reach your shoulder straps.”
“Thank you,” she said as he sat on a bench for her.
A damp towel caught Drace in the face when Joe, his red haired rival from the show, threw it across the room.
“How do you rate the new chick?” Joe quipped as his own assistant worked on his armor. “Come on Vashti,” he teased, “when are you going to leave that big lug for me?”
“Hey, I resent that,” the college kid who was divesting Joe of his breastplate grumbled as he fumbled with a stubborn buckle.
Joe lightly shoved his brown-haired, lanky squire. “Man, you know I was just kidding,” he laughed. “You’re the best.”
“Dude, you’re just saying that because my mom bakes you brownies.” He gave a little sound of triumph when the buckle finally came free.
Joe grinned, “Well maybe that’s true Samuel.” He mussed the kid’s hair. “Doesn’t hurt that she’s a hot number and she always delivers those brownies in person.”
Samuel laughed, finished with Joe’s armor, and set it on a stand behind him.
Drace smiled at their horseplay. Vashti had gotten him out of his chain mail shirt and the heavy linen shirt he wore under it, leaving him in his breeches and boots. She handed him another towel. “I’ll leave you to your bath now, my…Drace,” she whispered.