Sir Peter Kendrick settled his great helm on his head and peered through the eye slits. He could see his opponent, Lord Cecil Abernathy, preparing at the other end of the tilt barrier. His horse shifted under him, as if feeling the tension in the air. His squire, Hamlin, handed him his lance and shield. He spurred his horse forward and trotted into the ring, and stopped in front of the grandstand, with Lord Cecil drawing rein next to him.
A herald read the rules aloud. “Three passes with the lance, whoever remaineth seated wins. If both are unseated, the round shalt be run again. In the event of a tie, the winner shall be determined with swords. No blood is to be drawn.”
The two knights nodded their assent, saluted the baron and each other and trotted to opposing ends of the tilt. Peter felt his horse’s muscles tense beneath him as he tightened his grip on his lance. The trumpet sounded. Sir Peter spurred his horse into a run. Closer and closer drew the two combatants. He lowered his lance. The lances connected with a thud, splintering against their shields. Dazed but still seated, both knights prepared for another pass.
The trumpet sounded again. Another charge. Lord Cecil’s lance struck Peter squarely in the chest, sending him tumbling to the dust with a crash.
His squire ran out and helped him up. “Are you all right, sir?”
“I’m fine,” Sir Peter gasped. “Just lost my wind.” Hamlin helped him back onto his horse and handed him a fresh lance. Peter turned to face his opponent, determined not to be unseated a second time.
The trumpet blasted. As the two drew nearer, Peter saw Lord Cecil’s shield waver, giving him the opening he needed. His lance smashed into the other knight, throwing him head over heels. The match was tied.
Sir Peter dismounted as Hamlin brought him his sword. As he and Lord Cecil moved toward the center of the tilt, Lord Cecil swung his blade at Peter’s head. He ducked and blocked a sweep towards his legs before swinging at Lord Cecil’s shoulder. Over and over their swords clashed, each one seeking to find an opening and better his opponent. A glancing blow numbed Sir Peter’s arm and put him at a disadvantage. Seeing this, Lord Cecil doubled his attack with a flurry of strikes that Peter was barely able to deflect. Cecil overcompensated, half turning, and putting him off balance. As feeling returned to his fingers, Sir Peter took advantage of this and swung a jarring blow that sent Cecil’s sword flying. He then followed through with strike that knocked him to the dust. Peter placed the tip of his sword on Lord Cecil’s chest. Cecil surrendered.
The crowd cheered as Sir Peter was presented with a laurel wreath for winning the day’s tournament. As he walked off the field, Lord Cecil congratulated him. “Well fought, sir knight. If ever you are looking for a place to serve, come to my halls, and you will be welcome.”
(Assignment for Lesson #8 - Beginnings)
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