Tuesday, 13 October 2015


This story is for Quote Queste, over at The Splendor Falls on Castle Walls. This was the quote for this month.


Tybalt shifted in his saddle and turned to look at Thea. She was watching his opponent trot his horse in a wide circle, not paying any attention to him. Tybalt tried to take a deep breath, but his armor restricted his chest. Choking out the air he'd just drawn in, Tybalt, turned his horse around, trying to clear his hand.

He didn't want to fight. Not at all, not even for Thea. She always pretended she didn't care during these fights, always pretended she was cheering for Tybalt's opponent as much as she was cheering for him. He wished she would actually openly pick a side. If she would actually say she didn't love him after all, well then, he could go and leave this tiresome fight and never come back. But she wouldn't say anything. He had only spoken to her once in the last two weeks, and that once had been under supervision of her governess.

"I commend you, Tybalt, for winning the first match today," she had said softly, letting him kiss the air over her hand.

"Thank you, my lady," he had muttered, trying to look straight into her eyes without drawing the attention of the governess. He wanted to know what she really thought. Did she love him still, like she had three months ago, before the French raids, before the government uprisings, before everything had heaved up and then just as quickly, just as strangely, settled down again?

A bugle screamed the final warning for the match's commencement, and Tybalt pulled his horse to a stop and faced his opponent. This was to be the final battle for Thea's hand. Did he even want her hand? Would she actually love and respect him, and could he love and respect her?

As the second bugle sounded, Tybalt turned and watched as his opponent, Sir Doran, rode up before Thea and her father, removed his helmet, and bowed as well as he could clad in full armor and sitting in a saddle.

As Sir Doran trotted his horse back to his starting position, Tybalt urged his horse towards the stand, and halted in front of the king and Thea. He pulled off his helmet, bowed to the king, and then stared at Thea, his eyes trying to pierce her face, her expression, her thoughts.

Thea looked at him squarely, all elusiveness suddenly gone from her face. In it's place, Tybalt saw pride, fear, and love. A great, steady love that was outshining the other emotions. She wanted him, not Sir Doran. She really did love him.

Tybalt lowered his head towards his horse's neck in respect towards the princess he loved so deeply, his heart galloping against his ribs and the armor that protected them. As he sat up again, he looked straight at Thea and took a deep breath as she smiled at him. Then he turned his horse. It was time to fight Sir Doran.

As the two knights held their horses in check at their starting positions, Tybalt tried hard not to panic. His lungs felt compressed together into a lump, and he felt like a page again, unsure of everything.

The last bugle sprawled through the air and into his ears, and Tybalt kicked his horse into a gallop, holding his spear tightly. Sir Doran flew towards him, and Tybalt suddenly felt the crashing sting of his opponent's spear flipping his own out of his hand. Then they were moving away from each other, and Tyablt wheeled his horse around, his teeth, his head growing hot. He had to win. But he had no weapon.

He charged again.

Sir Doran swung at him with his spear, and Tyablt felt the wooden pole strike his on the chest. He catapulted backwards off the horse, his armor creating discordant symphony. Thea screamed and Tybalt tried to get up, but everything was swirling into blackness...

"Cut! It's a take!"

Aaron clambered to his feet, pulling his helmet off his head and swallowing fresh air. Leah slipped off her throne, waved, and walked towards her trailer, already answering the questions of five reporters who had been allowed to watch the shooting.

Aaron clanked himself over to Betty, who was sitting on a camp chair, watching him. "How did I look?"

"Very brave, but that fall must have hurt. You shouldn't do your own stunts."

Aaron laughed and pulled off his gloves. "I like the excitement."

Standing up, Betty took his arm. "Come on, let's go get lunch. Then you have to be back on set."

Aaron glanced at Betty's watch, then smiled. "Okay. Let's hurry; we only have an hour and a half, and I want to spend every moment with you."