“The King has ordered us to Scotland! Tell him to ride with nary but the clothes on his back for we must away ere he finds himself the first amongst the four of us to be held in a donjon*,” shouted his lord, Sir Reginald Fitzurse, whose wine glass has long shattered against a barren stone wall. The knight turned towards his squire and said, “Pack what you need and hastily. I need de Morville informed immediately–de Tracy and le Breton should be with him. The journey should take three days in good weather. Two if you can help it. Now, go! Away with you!”
It has been over a day and a half since he last saw the face of his master, which was twisted in anger and urgency as he gave him his orders. The young squire was to journey to Knaresborough so he can deliver the message himself to Sir Hugh de Morville, Lord of Westmorland and Knaresborough. His lord, Sir de Morville, and two other knights were charged with the murder of Archbishop Bennet. And rightfully so, thought Zuan. None of the four knights made secret of their wrong doing for they claimed to have done it in the name of Henry II.
Five and ten years of age and having been bequeathed the role of a squire a year earlier, Zuan never imagined he would immediately be tasked with a mission such as this. Having fallen under the tutelage of Sir Fitzurse, he had no choice but to follow out of loyalty or be shamed for spitting on the oath he has taken. Either his master and his three brothers-in-arms were misled by the King or their sense and reason simply fled them in an attempt to rid their monarch of a supposed troublesome clergy man; none can say for sure. All Zuan knows is that he must reach Sir de Morville the soonest he can. He’s been riding his horse to the point of exhaustion for the last couple of days but he had no choice. His master gave him direct orders to ride hard and fast, and so he raced the sun and the moon, sparsely stopping and only then to rest his steed.
The sun has long since sunk on the second day of his journey but he dare not stop again. He will push on to Knaresborough and urge the de Morville to come with him. If luck would have it, he would also find Sir William de Tracy and Sir Richard le Breton with the said lord, and be on their way with no further delays. He will persevere and serve his lord knight true.
Zuan leaned further down to the point wherein he can feel the destrier’s mane whipping against his face. When he accepted his lord’s orders, he felt his sense of chivalry shrivel for he is helping in the escape of murderers. But what is chivalry without loyalty and loyalty without brotherhood? Perhaps he was too tired to decipher where one ends and the other begins, or wherefore these two values are set aside for a much higher cause, whether true or imagined.
If he survives long enough to journey with four wanted men and scale the mountains of Scotland while praying that the druids do not take offence for their trespass; maybe, just maybe, he’d be able to think about the worthiness of his choices.
*I decided to write a short piece of fiction for today’s “Daily Prompt”. I have been reading a lot of historical romance novels recently and I have taken a liking to the way they are written. Admittedly, I have researched a fair bit before writing this very short story for if go by with what I know, I might end up writing a fan fiction of the books I have read. Forgive any inconsistencies for this is the first time I have written a story of this sort. I am, by no means, an expert in history nor am I a blessed with the wit of published authors. It’s a start though.
*Critiques are welcomed.