Slowly, the knight found himself a way through the forest, trying to gather his daily meal in the bushes.
He, sir Lithar of Nottingham, was heading for the port where a ship would wait to bring him to the continent. He had heard of the pope wanting knights to aid him in the fight against the heathens and he was happy to join.
However, first he had to gather his meal on the way there – he needed herbs, fruits and drinks to stay alive. That was why he had left his horse behind near a tree with the promise of some herbs for him too. He still had Gabriël with him, though – his sword was named after the archangel because it brought justice to everyone that encountered it, like its namesake.
However, he had to be careful – rumor had it that a dangerous damsel with unusual skill with the sword was roaming this fo-
Too late. He felt a sword being pressed to his neck.
"What's this? A knight who lets himself be surprised?" Sir Lothar breathed slowly in an attempt to not lose it. He recognized the voice as a feminine one. If this famed damsel had no honour, then she might kill him on the spot...
"Turn around, foe," she said after a short silence, removing her sword from his neck, with him breathing a sigh of relief. "There is no honour in killing someone who can't fight back." Slowly, sir Lithar turned around as he drew his sword.
"So you are the famed Black Maiden..." Facing him stood a woman who was dressed completely in black. She had a helmet, one of those helmets that still had your chin and eyes visible, but it was completely black, as well as her armour that was apparently suited especially for her... apparently someone had made her the armor. What kind of smith would make armor especially suited for a woman? Fighting was a man's job.
Out of her helmet, long, blonde, curly hair appeared.
"They call me like that nowadays?" Sir Lithar nodded.
"Other famed nicknames are the Black Damsel, the Black Death and even the Black Widow..." The woman grinned, apparently flattered by the nicknames.
"Why the Black Widow?" She asked curiously.
"Because," sir Lothar replied, "people think that you are hunting knights because you once had a man who died young. Now, you're looking for other men to kill because you don't know what to do without your husband." The expression of the woman didn't change; she still grinned.
"Also," the soon-to-be-crusader added, "they say that your looks are like... venom."
"Well," she asked in a playful tone, "are they?" Sir Lothar didn't respond.
"Enough of words. Let me go. I'm Sir Lithar of Nottingham and I'm in Gods service. I am going to fight against the heathens in Jeruzalem. You will burn in hell if you kill a crusader." The woman hardly seemed impressed.
"Ah, but the big guy up there can miss a knight, surely? If he didn't want you to die, he wouldn't have played you right into my arms. Besides, you're not a crusader yet, so everyone could claim such a thing." The knight gritted his teeth together. He didn't want to kill this woman. There was no honour in trying to kill a helpless, defenseless damsel who thought she could handle the sword.
However, God had decided there was no choice.
"Then let's begin." The knight stabbed once in her direction with Gabriël to alert his opponent, who caught the blow very handily, to his own surprise.
The two fighters circled around each other as they only breathed and walked.
Then, the woman tried to stab him, but he caught the blow with his sword – he had left his shield with his horse, so he had nothing else. However, the woman apparently didn't have a shield as well – perhaps she threw it away. After all, there was no honour to get in fighting with unequal odds.
He caught the blow, turned the sword away and tried to stab her himself multiple times – she caught all the blows with her swords handily.
Surprised, he tried to attack her arms, but she caught those blows too, or she simply jumped away.
"Where did a woman like you learn to fight so well?" The womans expression was neutral as she responded, still panting and walking circles around him, as he did the same around her.
"My father, the king of Scotland, desperately wanted an oldest son, but all he got was me, and my mother died after giving birth to me. In secrecy, he hired a knight who taught me how to fight with sword and shield. With him, I learnt the value of honour. The smith of the palace made me armour and a shield, both completely in black because I asked him to."
"Then why-" Sir Lithar asked, interrupted by a pant, "did you run away?"
"I had to pretend to be a man all along," she replied, now staring at him with a tormented expression, "I had to hide my helmet, I had to wear cushions that hid my breasts, making me look fat, and I always needed to make up excuses to all the staff who didn't know about me. I left when they demanded I cut my hair so I would have the face of a man. Now, I can be as feminine as I want." She shook her head and her hair waved with the wind as if to taunt him.
Sir Lithar tried to abuse this moment of distraction to stab her, once again bringing the archangel to her body, but the Black Widow responded immediately by putting her sword in between.
This time, the woman tried to stab him multiple times, the knight responding to every single one of them, but with difficulties. Finally, the sword hit his arm, creating a cut the size of his pink in his wrist, but without harming the vulnerable veins.
The knight panted angrily as he backed off and they walked in circles once more.
"Already had enough, crusader?" The woman asked mockingly. Sir Lithar once again didn't respond. There was no honour in running away from a foe. A peasant, a mere peasant would, but no self-respecting knight would. It was dying or killing.
"Why do this? Why killing off knights?" Sir Lithar asked in his most demanding tone while panting.
"Because," the woman explained, still walking circles around him while he did the same, "the knights turned against my father not long ago, when it was found out he tried to make his daughter to a knight instead. They killed my father and erased all knowledge about me in the palace. I am still looking for reVENGE." The last syllable came out as a shout as she tried to stab the Scottish knight, who backed away and caught her stab by his own sword.
Gabriël met the sword of the villainess multiple times as its knight was trying to win terrain. The longer he would slack around here, the sooner the boat would have left – he needed to finish it off soon. He had underestimated this woman and the cut in his wrist was his punishment.
The sword even met the armour once or twice, but she captured all the blows without any effort.
Then, the knight made a horrible, horrible mistake – he tried to deal a blow by attempting to attack her neck. However, because of his hurry, he forgot he left his left side unprotected this way and the damsel handily used that mistake by nearing him from the left side and stabbing the sword in the tiny, unprotected part between his helmet and his armor.
Her sword dropping on the floor, he backed off, panting, gasping for air.
"And so, I can add another trophy to my collection. It's been nice fighting with you. I will stay here until your end," the woman said triumphantly. "I do not want you to die alone." Then, the knight made a discovery – he could still breathe! In fact, he could even still talk. He felt at his neck and realized that the sword hadn't pierced deep enough.
The knight panted and replied.
"I'm afraid you are in for bad luck, lady." He didn't even sound hoarse! How lucky he was. God was still with him.
"W-what?" The Black Widow replied, confused.
"Your sword hadn't pierced me deep enough. Now it ends." Sir Lithar, tired of honour, decided he should kill this woman who had attempted and almost succeeded to kill him.
With a few blows with Gabriël, he had her stuck against a tree and she was too flabbergasted to run to her own sword.
"No... no... how is this possible?! I never lost! Stop this!" The knight wanted to spare his fellow knights by killing this woman – he was already preparing himself for the final blow when the woman, still in fear, backed away but tripped over the root over a tree, landing violently on her face.
The knight walked to her, lifted his sword to just above her head, ready to deliver the final blow...
"Stop it! Stop it now! Stop it, Yuri, it hurts!"
Shocked by what his girlfriend shouted, Yuri immediately dropped his mental, non-existent armour and his knightdom as his metal sword, which he had named Gabriël after his deceased granddad, turned to wood again – it had never been anything else than wood.
"Are you... are you okay?" Ellen – no longer the Black Widow, but now just the good old, sweet, Ellen, nodded as tears ran down her eyes. Yuri kneeled down next to her and hugged her.
"I'm so sorry... I would never do anything to hurt you, I'm so sorry..." Ellen hugged him back and they remained sitting like that for a while until, finally, she slapped him in a good-natured manner.
"You win! You win bloody again, and I thought I was so close! I mean... I had you in your neck!" Yuri smiled, glad she was her old self again.
"I thought we had the rules clear," he said with a grin, "a slight brush is nothing more than a wound. You needed to stab me good with your wooden sword."
"I... I guess I forgot." Ellen said.
"It's okay," Yuri said, standing up in the meanwhile and offering the blonde girl a hand, "don't forget I'm the national champion in swordplay."
"Still, though, I thought I could beat you. Let's try again?" Ellen said as she took Yuris hand. Yuri shook his head.
"No, I've had enough. I don't want to hurt you again. Let's just... lie down here and not do anything? I'm tired." Ellen smiled, reaching for his hand.
"Of course. We can do swordplay later as well." Yuri lied down and found himself a nice place on the grass as Ellen lied down next to him, their hands still entwined.
They lied down in the forest close to Yuri's home, where they always excercised, both left to their own thoughts until Yuri broke the silence.
"It was your idea to play knight,"
"Hey, never let it be said that I don't have feeling for drama," Ellen replied defensively, squeezing his hand, "and besides, you seemed to enjoy acting too. Although... Sir Lithar of Nottingham? Seriously?" She said while leaning on one shoulder so she could look at him, releasing his hand. Yuri nervously scratched the back of his head as he smiled in a bit of an awkward manner.
"I really didn't know a good Medieval city, so I guess I just went for Robin Hood..." Ellen shook her head with her eyes closed, laughing, as she lied down again, entwining their hands once more.
"Oh and, you moron, the black widow wasn't even discovered during the crusades! Do your research, man!" Ellen added.
"Well, perhaps I could've done my research if you didn't suddenly tell me you wanted to play knight with me." Ellen shrugged.
"I guess I deserved that one," she replied. It was silent between them again as both pondered about what to say next.
"Do you still love me, Ellen, despite how you can't seem to win from me?" Yuri asked while leaning his head to her side so he could look at her. Ellen sighed and put her head on his shoulder, kissing it and then just letting it rest there.
"Do I need to breathe?" Yuri let his left hand get lost in her thin, blonde hair, pressing his lips on it.
"Next time, Yuri, next time, I'll wiiiiiiumph." Ellens words got lost as Yuri pressed his lips to his lovers. He briefly broke the kiss after a short session of snogging.
"Of course," he said gently, in response, and killed the argument in a way that neither of them minded as he put his arms under Ellens for a close hug during the kiss.