I barged into the King’s hall, holding my helmet in my hand and leaning it on my hip, waiting for the heads of the King’s guard to turn towards me. The King was in mid-speech, therefore I once again, had perfect timing. I began walking down the great hall, lifting my helmet up and twirling it about. I threw it up, but the King stepped forward and caught it. He looked at me sternly.
‘To what do I owe the pleasure, milady?’ he asked, annoyance dripping from his tongue.
I leaned forward and took my helmet back with one quick motion.
‘You promised you would select worthy knights to fight for the kingdom when the enemy soldiers marched on our plains. Yet, I have received no word from you, but I see no other worthy knight standing in your halls.’ I looked him straight in the eyes.
‘That is because all worthy knights have gone,’ replied the King.
I narrowed my gaze. ‘All worthy knights have gone?’ I turned to look at the King’s guardsmen. ‘Have you heard him? Such claims!’ I turned back to the king. ‘I am as worthy as the rest of them, and you know it.’
There was a pause and the king seemed to be in deep thought.
‘You’re right,’ he said at last, ‘you are the most worthy of all…to clean the stables!’ The king burst into a roaring laughter, as his guardsmen added to the raucous.
I scowled and nodded. ‘All right, if that’s how you want it. Mock me.’ I turned and began to walk away. ‘Just tell me where they have gone to meet the enemy’s armies.’
The king was in too much of a hysterical laughter to reply, so placing my helmet over my head, I marched back out into the field. My steed stood waiting patiently, and I stroked its mane, contemplating where to ride. If the king was not going to cooperate, then I was going to have to find out myself.
Atop my steed, I trotted along the pebbled path, until I came to a villager. I asked him which way the king’s knights had gone.
‘Along the main path South,’ he replied.
I paid him in thanks and turned southwards. When I arrived, the knights were fighting a few bands of enemy forces, but it wasn’t a significant amount. I knew right away that this wasn’t the enemy’s main army.
I rode to the knights and urged them to follow me in search of the main army, so that we could find them and stop them before it was too late, but they would not follow. The king had given them instructions, and despite my past victories, I did not have the required experience for them to hear the authority I felt within me.
So I turned and left, rode by myself, all along the main path, along the narrow paths, searching the location where an ambush could occur. It was night when I finally saw an army coming from the East, a massive army. I urged my steed to ride fast to the king’s fortress.
Arriving, the king was enjoying dinner, but this time, I did not wait for attention to be upon me, I did not twirl my helmet; I shouted out in urgency and alarm.
‘An army marches West towards the fortress and will be upon us by midnight.’
The king stared at me for a while. ‘The enemy’s army is South,’ he said. It was clear he did not believe me, for there was no hesitation, and his voice rang with certainty.
‘A few small bands! Please, you must heed my words, a large army is amassing near the Western gate to the kingdom. The other knights would not follow me, but we must gather our forces to defend this fortress.’
‘The knights will not follow one who does not have any authority in this kingdom,’ the king shot back.
‘Then consider this my last deed for this kingdom and I will be gone from your lands by morning, but not before I fight that army, and do everything I can to protect the people of this land.’
The king laughed. ‘If what you say is true, do you truly think you alone can defeat an army of knights and soldiers?’
‘I sure will try.’
I marched out of the king’s halls and hurried to the Western field. I called out to the villagers about the approaching doom, I shouted to leave their homes and hurry to safer grounds, but instead, many took knives, spears, bows, and whatever makeshift weapons they had and followed me. We weren’t many, but at least I was not alone. I formulated a plan, selected able-bodied men to attack from the flank, and other teams to attack in intervals. If they could rotate and rest, then they may have a fighting chance.
We barely had time to prepare much else when arrows began flying our way. I dodged and rode my steed into the fray, fighting knights and soldiers who were on horses, pushing them off, so the villagers could gain these horses for themselves, gain a bit of an advantage. I shouted out orders and called out to the men, so that we could coordinate our attacks. I led them as I would have led any army, as though I had done this before.
A tall cloaked warrior approached me and began fighting me. I dodged, my steed veered, I stabbed, my enemy lunged. I leaned back, but the warrior was tall and he took me by the arm, pulling me towards his sword, lifting my arm to reveal the vulnerable part of my armour. I hit him with my sword, but he swiped it aside and held me tightly. I could not move. He came to strike me.
A man came between us, he was only armed with a shield of pure silver, it shimmered in the night under the moonlight. He hit the warrior and this one staggered back. The warrior came at him, grabbing him by the throat and stabbed him, throwing him aside.
I jumped from my steed and faced my enemy. He went to stab the man who’d saved me again, but I crashed my helmet into his stomach, pushing him back, kicked him and began duelling him again. The man called out to me.
‘Use the shield! It’s magical.’
The shield was too far for me to grab it. ‘Magic doesn’t exist,’ I said. ‘But keep your shield, it will protect you. You may let live.’
‘No,’ said the man. ‘It’s glowing. Its magic is real.’
I looked back at the shimmering shield. The man crawled to it and took it.
‘It shimmers because of you! You have protected us, you who talks back to the king. This can only mean one thing, you are meant to wield it.’
I had little time to argue or ponder, so I decided to indulge in these stories. I lunged to the ground, grabbed the shield, rolled, and came back up. Suddenly, I felt my entire body vibrate and as I waved the shield about, a gust of wind pushed back the enemy warrior. He ran towards me and I drove the shield into him. He screamed and waved his arms about, as though he were on fire, and I drove my sword into my enemy’s flesh. The shield began shaking and it glowed ever brighter.
‘You see?’ said the man.
My enemy fell and I hurried to the man, putting a hand on his wound.
‘This was made for you.’
I shook my head. ‘I don’t understand.’
‘Long ago, this silvershield was made for the knight who would be worthy enough to bear it, for he or she who would protect the people. Long has it sat in a basement, waiting, generation upon generation. You do not obey the king blindly, you do not let other dictate your life. And even though the enemy’s armies are rampaging our villages, you have come to protect us, have called out for us to flee to safer lands, and have faced the enemy yourself, despite opposition. All lands need your strength, you, the Silvershield Knight.’
Somehow, when he named me, it felt right, I felt this new purpose was what I had been searching for all my life.
Having patched up his wound, I helped the man to his feet. ‘What is your name?’ I asked, suddenly compelled to learn more.
‘Just call me the smith, that’s who the other villagers know me as. Been a smith my whole life, like my forefathers before me.’
‘They knew magic?’ He nodded. ‘Do you know magic?’ But the man only smiled and began wobbling away. ‘Until we meet again, my friend,’ he said, ‘my Silvershield Knight.’
By this time, the enemy had moved on to other areas of the lands and had probably reached the king’s fortress, but all those who had stood with me, all those who remained alive, began cheering me on:
‘Silvershield Knight! Silvershield Knight.’
Yes, that’s who I was. That’s who I would be. I contemplated going back, fighting at the king’s fortress, but the shield’s glow moved in waves, and the waves were indicating North. Therefore, North I would go, and fight there. I would follow the shield’s indiations, fight where I was needed, and allow this truly magical weapon to protect me, guide me, and help me vanquish all enemy forces.
I chuckled to myself. I was a believer now, and I knew my true purpose.
I jumped onto my steed and pointed northwards with my sword.
‘Onwards we go! To fight and protect! For the people, the Silvershield Knight will abide!’
The cheers continued on as I rode North, the wind in my face, the shield pulsing and glowing, guiding me to victory.
Once ridiculed by the king, I was called upon by forces more powerful than I could fathom, to protect the innocent from enemy forces, to guide and to lead. Now as I ride atop my steed, I am protected the more I protect, for I am the Silvershield Knight.