#NaNoWriMo : Story for the Day: The Knight
Edvin and Ephani are two characters from later books in the series. In short, Ephani is an adopted heiress and Edvin is named as her knight and protector. Ephani, having been shut up with books the chief of her life thus far, is enchanted with all the majesty that knights can provide, but even more enchanting for her is Edvin's unwillingness to show his face. Many say he is cursed, others say he is hideous and therefore screens his face from view to spare himself the embarrassment, but Epahni eventually will discover his secrets.
|At 30,000 words.|
Ephani’s flight was assisted by the rising crowds: their entertainment had done, the match was over, and now they must only make way for the Duchess’ new Ward and quit the arena in peaceable queue. As the buzz of subdued praise and chatter filled the various boxes, Ephani hurried down the stairs to the first tier, weaving in and out of the milling attendants, keeping her attention on Sir Edvin bringing his horse back to the stables whilst she raced ahead to the side entrance of the barracks. She came to the armoury first and stopped for a moment to observe a few of the injured knights nursing their bruises and tying their broken arms to splints. Their grimacing aspects composed when they saw Ephani enter. They inclined their heads, said their gracious Miladys, and waited until she passed into the barracks to continue their dressings. Ephani made her quick curtsies to ask many of the knights as she could, but where she would have paused to remark their livery and say her felicitations to each, the sight of Sir Edvin entering the other end of the long garrison from the arena commanded her attention. The knights for now must be forgotten while their Lord and Master was in the adjoining room, and Ephani scampered away from the due pleasantries to make her most eager congratulations.
She would have approached immediately, but Sir Edvin was being addressed by one of the event’s judges at present. He was being given his prize of twenty silver in a small leather pouch, but Sir Edvin was shaking his head and refusing to accept his reward. Ephani could not quite hear what he was saying to the judge, but it seemed to her, by way of a few gestures, that he was asking for his prize to distributed amongst his opponents as consolation for their loss. Ten silver might furnish their hands with a drink, but twenty would buy them a hearty meal and more pints than was good for them. This would be recompense enough for their pains, and Edvin nodded the judge toward the armoury and infirmary where the winnings might be distributed equally. The judge would not quarrel with him; he was victor and he may do with his winnings whatever he liked. He said a few more words to Edvin and scuttled away, leaving Edvin to change his attire and Ephani all the joys of watching him.
She stood in the doorway at the far end of the barracks, screened from Edvin’s view by the width of the stone post. She took a few breaths to recollect herself before approaching, but was stopped when Edvin suddenly began removing his belt and tabard. He had worn a thin plate to the event rather than his hauberk, and though such attire was needful for the event, it was hardly so now. He removed the cuirass, fauld, and spaulders directly and cast them aside, enjoying his free movements once more in his dampened tunic. Ephani coloured and turned away, hiding her eyes with her hand, but she realized that if she should turn back and look for a few more minutes, she might be able to see his skin colour or he might even be pressed to remove his cowl and hood. He did not, however. He kept his moistened tunic where it was and only donned his hauberk over it. Ephani sighed with disappointment until Edvin began adjusting his cowl. It did not sit quite so well as it should have done about his neck and shoulders. He fussed with it for some minutes before finally surrendering to its removal along with the removal of his hood.
Ephani held her breath and her eyes flared: he was untying the bottom of his hood. I’m going to see him! she thought, but in one celeritous movement, he turned from her, swiped the white cloth from his head and went to work at remaking its various knots, treating her to a view of the back of his head. He has brown hair . . . soft brown hair. Her mind was alive and her lips unmoving, too beleaguered by the gauntleted hand running through his delicate brown tufts to advance. She made a wistful half smile, her heart warmed, and though she contrived to discern the colour of his skin by the tips of his ears, the hood was soon replaced and the prospect was over. He tucked the bottom of his hood into his cowl and turned around once more to fix the draping front of his hood in place. His features were shrouded once more, and her opportunity to see his full appearance was now lost. She felt as though he had turned purposely, not from a sense of her presence, but as to guard others from what might be beneath the folds of the fabric. What could be so horrific that he should feel the need to hide himself even when alone? If she was in peril of being overcome by a young woman’s powers of infatuation before, they were all over her now. She had begun to consider him as a magical being, a protector conjured from spells and sent to guard her forever, but this one trace of humanity, however slender a proof it might have been, was a contradiction to her beliefs and was all the evening’s reward. What other rewards awaited her for her forbearance of his obscurity must be conjectured, but she told herself that if she should be patient, perhaps the eyes that had so captivated her might in time show themselves without the hindrance of such an encompassing shroud. Excited by what she had seen, she crept from her hiding place and made her gradual approach. He might be displeased to know that she had seen this one attribute, but she would make her apologies as they should be requisite and glory in the notion of her having witnessed this small glimpse of her guardian.
Enjoy the story? Read the first book in the series: