The Battle Field
A gentle breeze carries the sweet scent of wild flowers, welcoming the ride of Helios. The vestiges of the fires linger diming into the dawn.
Sir Erick watches, Avon sitting holding Chrisween, and Kathleen the wolf, her head resting of Chrisween lap. How could they be so peaceful? He did not see Kathleen join them in the night. Peace rests uneasily, over the field of battle.
From the distance a cock crows as if there had been no battle.
Kathleen lifts her head, hearing the sound of horses approaching. Sir Erick looked to the sound seeing a large group of knights coming. He looks back at Avon and Chrisween; Kathleen is gone.
The procession of knights came to a stop, the leading knight asked.
“Sir Knight, can we be of aid. We ride from Dartmoor seeking to kill Vikings.” He dismounted and removed his helmet. He stood a six foot six and had to have been all of three hundred pounds. His black beard showed the white teeth of his smile and his bright eyed twinkled.
“Yes, food and water, and we could use some horses. The Vikings are heading north to the Thames.” Sir Erick said.
The rattling of armor and the sound of horses’ hooves rudely woke Avon. He scrambles to his feet grabbing his claymore ready for a fight, spilling Chrisween. She rolls over and over then sitting up stunned, with a bewildered look on her sleepy face.
“Heel your sword highlander, they’re on our side.” Sir Erick said.
“I am Sir Redwald Baron of Dartmoor, at your service. We have horses found running loose; they may be yours. You are welcome to them and the friars will be along with food and water. We banner a hundred fifty men at arms, all vowed to killing Vikings.”
“I am Sir Erick, of Salisbury in service of the lord sheriff of Salisbury; we killed Vikings in Wilton, with the company of the highlander and his lady. The horde fled to the north. They set fire to the fields, and we could not follow, so we camped here to weather the night.”
“Highlander, what is your rank and title?” asked Sir Redwald.
“I be, Avon of Lomond, a free highlander of the Lomond heights, a knight in service to the king. This is Chrisween of Wilton, my wife to be.”
“We will make our morning camp here; we rode all night. Join us, and tell us of your victories.” said Sir Redwald.
Chrisween stood brushing the grass from her clothes and trying to comb the dried blood from her tangled hair with her fingers. Shielding her eyes from the morning sun, looking up to see at the big shining armored knight his tall armored white charger, and she was charmed by his jovial manner.
“Squire! Squire! Where is that squire when you need him?” called Redwald.
“Here Sire, what is your need of me, Sire?”
“Get the lady Chrisween some clean robes, and set her a tent. Get some handmaidens to tend to her. Be quick about it. Then Send some runners to Search out the Viking horde and report back their whereabouts.”
About an hour later the once quiet pasture looked like a small village, Colorful tents sprang up like wild flowers, the air boiling with chatter, clinking of metal armor, banging of cooking pots, and cracking of wooden swords as squires and pages practiced battle… The smell of warm bread and spiced meat filled the air. Horses rolling around on their backs working the kinks out and scrubbing the sweat off, blowing of steam from the long trek.
Chrisween was escorted to a tent by three women. The older woman, a matron, said “Come with us we will make you beautiful, milady.” Chrisween had never been pampered nor have someone bathe her since she was a small child from Kathleen’s memories. The handmaidens, helping her out of her clothes and washing her from head to toe was something new and unsettling. Her memories are that of a wolf and wolves don’t do this. Kathleen’s mental communications, giggling attempts to reassure her, that this going to be all right, were not helping Chrisween’s disposition. The matron ignored Chrisween’s complaints and scrubbed away. The two handmaidens of Chrisween age were giggling and talking about Avon as if he was fair game. Chrisween manage to get hold of the Katara but before she could deploy it, the matron places the flat of a hairbrush to her rear bared dignity; Chrisween dropped the Katara.
Kathleen could not contain her delight, let out laughing howl, heard all over the camp, giving a brief hush to the camp.
The tent got quiet as they bed her down with lavender oil and dressed her in clean robes.
Outside the tent, hearing all the screaming and fussing hollers, the knights were daring one another to go to the rescue of this damsel in distress.
Avon and Erick, returning from washing up at a nearby stream, joined Sir Redwald for spice meat and ale. Avon told of how the raiders attacked and killed his companions. Sir Redwald commented on the claymore of Avon’s saying,
“That’s a very big sword for such a little highlander.”
“I be five-eight it’s lets me be trimming the high beards,” Avon said, swinging the sword about.
Sir Redwald laughs. “Mine is trimmed just right.”
“Aye it belonged to me mate, Bruce, he be gone taken by the Vikings. It be build for himself.”
“I be calling it Bruce. It trimmed the Vikings just fine.”
“Aye, he trimmed the sheriff’s men to three with one blow. There were ten of us,” Sir Erick said, adding to the boast.
Chrisween emerged from the tent of tortured horrors, dress for the king’s court, the knights all stood and bowed, yielding the path as she passes to join Avon and Sir Redwald. An ox-blood leather bodice molded her form. A cloak of fine white linen fails to hide her sensual young womanly shape. On her head she wore a thin white linen veil held in place with a tiara made of silver.
“Mi lady Chrisween, Sire.” said the matron, curtseying low.
Sir Redwald offered his seat saying, “My Lady Chrisween your throne awaits.” Sir Erick and Avon bow to Chrisween. Avon is speechless his mind is betrayed in his eyes, this cannot be the wild-eyed unkempt, precocious lass that fought at his side. His tongue failed its search for words. He could naught but grin a board pleasured smile and bow kneeling deep.
Sir Erick hastily fills a plate with spice meat and bread, and fills a cup with potage. Kneeling he offered it to Chrisween saying, “For you, My Lady.”
Sir Redwald raising his cup of ale saying “Here is to the Lady Chrisween, her beauty befits a queen.”
A page came running up out of breath reporting “Sire the … Viking are… drunk and resting, two hours ride to the north.”