Updated: Jun 11, 2020
By Glenn Anderson
Sir Owain remained still while his squire finished sealing him into his armor. There was no need for words between the two, for the ritual had long since lost its novelty. This time, however, the squire withheld tying on Sir Owain’s belt. Instead he confidently drew the steel sword and held out the naked blade to his knight. Sir Owain stared silently at the boy before reaching past the sword and seizing the belt. He tossed it around himself and completed their ritual by re-sheathing the sword.
“I don’t understand,” the boy inquired. “You know you are about to do battle, and I shall not be far.”
Sir Owain sighed. “You are too eager, young Tristan.”
He knelt down next to his squire and placed a mailed finger on the boy’s head. “Hear this morning’s lesson: never draw unless diplomacy is lost. Battle does not bring glory, only death. Honor, that brings glory.” He rose and gently stroked his horse before disappearing from their camp.
Sir Owain emerged from the tree line and set off down the cobblestone road. Up ahead he could see his quarry. Sir Owain made no effort to hide his approach, though the thieves had not yet noticed him. He could see them tying their plunder to a mangy string of horses, distracted by their greed. There were three in total, a large brute of a man, his scrawnier counterpart, and a gaunt man in tattered leathers. Sir Owain thought to take them unawares, but that was not his way.
The thieves spun away from their plunder and grabbed for their weapons, but when they saw Sir Owain was motionless, they relaxed their grips. The gaunt man pushed his way to the front of the group and his lips split into a brown-toothed grin.
“Yield?” He asked. “Now why should we do that?”
“Thou hast been charged with thievery. In the name of the King, Calbria, and the Lady, I, Sir Owain, order you to come with me. Yield, so thou may face justice.”
The two other men looked in deference to the gaunt man. His grin fell into a defiant snarl.
“And if we refuse?”
“You cannot refuse justice, but I offer you now the choice of how I deliver it. Yield,” he said, “or die.”
They answered him by each drawing a blade. Sir Owain ripped his own from its scabbard.
Not a blade. A sword.
The large man swung a predictable, clumsy blow, and Owain’s parry caused him to stumble forward, exposed.
The thief’s sword clattered onto the cobblestone path followed shortly by his corpse. The scrawny man surged towards Owain, aiming for his head. Owain ducked the blow and rammed his shoulder forward, launching the man further down the road. The man’s blade slipped from his hands as he stumbled backwards and he raised his arms in a pleading x. Sir Owain calmly stepped forward and kicked the fallen blade to the man’s feet.
After a brief hesitation the scrawny man knelt down to pick up his blade and came at Sir Owain again. Owain slapped the blade aside and buried his sword to the hilt through the man’s chest. He gave a forward shove with his gauntlet and the second body embraced the cobblestone.
The gaunt man attempted to flee, but didn’t make it far before his toe caught and he collapsed onto the road. His blade skittered out of reach and he began scampering toward it on all fours, but the knight beat him to it. Owain picked up the weapon and marched toward him with a sword in each hand. He closed his eyes and awaited death.
Sir Owain flipped the thief’s blade in his hand and extended the hilt to his foe. The thief stared incredulously at the knight, and then at the weapon in front of him.
“Why?” he whimpered, hoping to distract the knight.
“Because victory without honor—“
Sir Owain was interrupted by the thief thrusting the outstretched blade towards his heart. He turned at the last moment and the attack instead scraped across his breastplate. Sir Owain pushed the thief aside and finished him with a practiced decapitation. He stared down at the corpses of lesser men.
“Because victory without honor,” he said, “is meaningless.”
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Check out the mechanics of the Knights here. How do Knights apply chivalry in battle? It seems restricting your capabilities may be foolish, but to some it instills courage.