∴ A Knightly Counterpart ∴
The needle rushes through stubborn cloth to pierce the pad of your thumb. You curse, then hold up your work for appraisal. The time-worn tabard is no regal regalia, but belted at the waist it might just do. You fold it neatly, then push it inside a battered bascinet.
Today you will at last enlist with the knights of your district. Yet much as you anticipated knighthood with fervour as a child, adulthood has raised new anxieties. It is not the enemy that you fear, but the judgment of your comrades. High born and high ranking, the knights of the rota are sure to scorn you. Your name is old, but it is not wealthy.
You sigh and lift your father’s longsword from your straw pallet bed.
There is comfort in its stately simplicity. Long, straight quillons meet a brown leather grip. Your palm curls around the strange yet familiar pommel. No jewels or engravings for this simple country knight. Only purpose. Dependability. A stalwart grace.
And in this, nobility.
∴ An Ensorcelled Sword ∴
Flickering shadows set the hairs on your bare arms on end. The torch in your hand sputters despite the still and stagnant air. For the briefest moment you consider turning back, but caution falls silent beside the thrill of the unknown.
You note what looks like a worn sarcophagus in the middle of the chamber. Carved from the same stone as the cavern itself, the casket is unremarkable – but for what lies on top of it. The sword seems hyper-real against its decrepit surroundings. Harshly downturned quillons gleam darkly against the broad steel blade.
Stepping toward the sarcophagus, you choke down a nervous laugh. You’ve heard enough folk tales to know how this ends: a shambling corpse emerging from the casket, hell-bent on restoring its treasure. Forcing back superstition, you grasp the green leather grip.
A moment’s suffocating silence. The sarcophagus remains undisturbed. Chiding yourself for your childishness, you exhale deeply and turn the blade in the torchlight. It’s so striking that for a moment you fail to notice the bleached bones of your own transfigured hand against the hilt. Continue reading
∴ A Striking Statement ∴
The marble is cold beneath bare feet as you step toward the small framed print at the end of the hall. Unwatched, you trace the outline of the knight on horseback – his stance and expression resolute as he passes monsters and demons.
Since moving to Munich a month ago, your world has become a whirlwind of cut-throat commerce under the appraising eye of your Master. His home is full of fineries you couldn’t have imagined a year ago – yet this unassuming woodcut is the one that keeps drawing you back.
Perhaps it reminds you of a simpler time, when morality seemed as black and white as the ink pressed onto the page. Your eyes come to rest on the lone knight’s longsword – slender yet striking with S-shaped quillons and a recessed disc pommel. A true cross. Your hand drops to the sword at your own side – almost the image’s twin.
In this world the weapon is a symbol of status. But you have demons of your own to fight, and you like to keep it near. Continue reading
∴ An Elegant Equilibrium∴
The play is all politics and murder, but that’s not why you’re on the edge of your hard wooden seat.
You should have paid heed to the clawing feeling as you dressed for the theatre. It’s too soon to be seen, let alone to be seen enjoying such frivolity. Better to hide away until the taste for vengeance is dulled.
And yet here you are, penned in by gasping theatre-goers and pinned to your seat by the cold stare of Edward Heath from across the pit. As the son and heir of the man you killed in a duel, you’ve no doubt he’ll seek his satisfaction. Impulsively you reach for your rapier, running your fingers over the twisted filework.
A death cry goes up from onstage, spelling the impending end: “With thy sharp teeth this knot intrinsicate of life at once untie!” You tighten your grip and grit your teeth.