“Sir Gregory! Sir Gregory! Wake up!”
Greg’s eyes peel open, head pounding from too much ale and mutton the night before. “What’s the meaning of this?” He demands. “My lord, enemy riders from the Lakerland have dared to ride across the Tower Bridge. They are approaching our position and should arrive by midday.” Greg splashes cold water across his face to wake himself. “Call our allies. Tell them to be here before midday or King Akis will have their heads. Who exactly are we facing? Greg asks.
It’s an accord of some of the worst, most vile members of the Sactown Kingdom, my lord.” The page replies. “They are led by Bryant of the West, Sir Fippin the Firebreather, and Sir Tony the Terrible. Our scouts estimate their numbers to be in the five to ten thousand range, although no advanced numbers were available.”
“We have already called in all of our allies and most have reported with their men. Sir Biegler has yet to come, but he seems to only show up once or twice each year. Aside from him, Sanjesh the Young, Omer the Wise, and Sir William of Griffith are all waiting with their retinues. Combined with our own group already stationed here, our armies should be evenly matched in manpower. Of course, we will also bring along Brad the Bard to record your great victory and Kimani the Artisan to sketch your honor after the battle as well. Are you ready to don your armor and ride, sir?” Greg nods in reply.
His squire, Richard the Bearded, helps him dress in full battle gear, mount his horse, and find his way to the front of the line. The enemy has been arriving throughout the day, waiting to make their move. Impatient for action, Greg glances around, nods at the knights around him, digs his heels into his mount, and screams “CHARRRRRRRRRGE”. His men spring into action around him, racing to meet the enemy. Richard the Bearded faithfully rides at his side, carrying Greg’s ban hammer. Brad the Bard trails just behind Richard.
Thousands of men clash at once, one great battle devolving into hundreds of desperate, individual engagements. The fighting is fierce, men on both sides falling to their foes at an alarming rate. “Firebreather! Firebreather!” someone calls. Greg spins his head around to see Fippin the Firebreather charging at him, eyes alight with fury, not even bothering to wear a helm. The crazed villain rears his head back and blows a mouthful of hot fire directly in Greg’s path. Greg throws up his shield and that, along with his thick armor, saves him from the deadly flame. As the fire breather prepares another spout of flame, Greg swings his sword at Fippin, but it’s a near miss. All he manages to accomplish is to cut the hair off of the rebel.
The men around him are much more successful, using a combination of shields, swords, and pikes to reign Fippin in and bring him down from his steed. Greg turns in relief to Richard, ready to crack a joke, only to find the young man fallen from his horse, destroyed by the fire that deflected from Greg’s shield. Greg falls to his knees in despair, cradling his young servant’s head. “You were once a Squire of Sacramento, but as you pass into the other world, I see that you were always a Warrior.”
The battle rages on all around Greg, but he cannot focus. He cannot lead. He has failed. Without his direction, the men around him begin to crumble under the pressure of the enemy. Greg watches Bryant of the West hop down from his armchair at the back of his army, having scouted every strength and weakness of Omer the Wise. Their swords clash once, twice, thrice, and then his friend is just…gone. Tony the Terrible’s men cast pods filled with nails in front of their enemies’ horses, causing them to stumble and the riders to fall. Sanjesh the Young barely escapes the wrath of the Bostonian Beast. Greg weeps in shame. All hope seems lost.
Suddenly from the East, directly behind the enemy troops, sounds a trumpet. Down the hillside ride 5,000 men, armor gleaming, swords ready. “He’s here! He’s here! He’s here to save us!” the few remaining men cry. “Who is that?” Greg asks those around him. “That is Sir Timothy of the Lowe Lands, my lord. The greatest knight of our time. I’ve written many a song celebrating his feats.” Brad the Bard replies, having contributed nothing to this point. “You can recognize him first by his perfectly chiseled jaw and second by his sigil. If you look closely, you will see a roaring Baby Giraffe amidst a sea of Mountain Dew.”
The arrival of the 5,000 screaming troops swings the battle in a matter of moments, as the enemy cannot withstand the pressure of fighting on two fronts. Tony the Terrible is slain by Jillian of Adge, while Bryant of the West is defeated by Jack of Cooley, later dubbed Sir Jack of Dinamo Sassari. Hundreds of enemies surrender, lives spared by Greg’s grace. The day is won, but not without great cost.
“You may want to get that armor repaired before I paint your visage, sir.” Kimani the Artisan advises Greg as he approaches with brushes and paints in hand. Greg looks down, his armor blackened from the fire of Fippin, dented by too many swords to count, and stained from the sacrifice of his friends and enemies alike. “I know of a great blacksmith back at the camp, Tom of the Zillerlands. He’s the greatest creator this land has ever seen. Some would even say he helped build this kingdom. He can fix your armor and make it anew.” Kimani continues. “I’ll get it fixed and then we can get to work on my portrait. Thank you, Kimani”. Greg rides off, refusing to be followed by his honor guard.
Greg leaves the battleground in silence. He dismounts at his tent, hands the reigns of his horse to a stable boy, and trudges into his quarters. Exhaustion consumes him. Greg begins to call out for Richard the Bearded to take his armor to Tom of the Zillerlands, but then remembers: there is no more Richard. There is no more Omer. Head bowed in shame, he removes each piece of armor himself. Dark thoughts plague his mind. I don’t deserve another squire. I couldn’t protect the one I had. He gathers his helm, pauldron, breastplate, vambrace, gauntlet, cuisse, fan-plate, sabaton, greaves, plackart, and fauld and begins to haul his awkward pile to Tom’s shop. How did Richard ever carry all this weight at once? He wonders.
On the way to the blacksmith’s, Greg drops one piece of armor after another, constantly having to bend over and retrieve each piece without dropping any others. As he fumbles his gauntlet for the third time, he sees a rider approaching from the distance. The knight sits atop a jet black steed with an air of superiority, although it’s well earned. It’s Sir Timothy of the Lowe Lands. “Your Grace, I see that you’re having some trouble with that armor of yours. Why don’t you have your squire carry it for you?”
“He…he…didn’t make it” Greg replies through clenched teeth.
“Ah, well I’m sorry to hear that. I see you’ve never carried your armor before. I would hate for you to embarrass yourself in front of the men. Here, take this.” Sir Timothy tosses a large piece of velvet fabric into Greg’s hands. “What’s this?” Greg asks.
Don’t tell me you’re that obtuse. It’s exactly what you need.” As Sir Timothy of the Lowe Lands begins to ride away, he calls over his shoulder.
“It’s a chainmail bag.”
Welcome back to the Royal Mailbag! We’re going to do something a little unique this week and split the questions into two areas. First, we’re going to request the normal types of queries: free agent ideas, play-calling questions, playoff race implications, rotational suggestions, and any other Kings-related topics. Fire way with as many of those questions as you would like.
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