The knight rode into town, the light of the dawn shining around his mounted form, creating a silhouette in the light of the rising sun.  The villagers saw the approach and ran to him excitedly.  He stopped and watched them approach, silent and stoic in the face of their excitement.

“You were only gone one day!  Did you find her?” yelled a guard.  The knight dismounted, his shining armor coming into focus, and his face was devoid of emotion.  He reached up and helped the princess alight from the horse.  She hugged him and kissed his cheek. He didn’t react.

“She was in the caves of doom, held prisoner by the Lord Devious.  I journeyed through his caves defying madness and beasts.” he yawned. “The Lord had one weakness, his gem.  I shot it with an arrow and he exploded. Then I opened the cage and brought her home,” he turned to look at the princess “go ahead and ask, I know you have to.” he slumped his shoulders and frowned.

She worked her jaw a moment, brows furrowed.  She straightened ladylike and forced a smile to her face “Ahh yes.  Of course.”  she cleared her throat.  “Good sir knight if you would do me the honor of marrying me.  One of such great skill and nobility can become a great successor to my father, who is dying in bed.”

He straightened, tapping his foot. “I appreciate the offer, surely were we to marry we would have two sons, one light, and one dark.  In 15 years the younger, darker brother would assassinate me in my sleep, forcing his brother to gather a band of unlikely heroes to reclaim the land his brother has devastated in his madness, “ he took a breath “ the younger brother will have summoned demonic powers which only the light of his brother’s love could defeat.  The kingdom would have a decade of peace after that…”  he looked at her “do I have to continue?”

The princess looked incredulous “What do you speak of.  Surely you would have a long and successful reign.’

“Look, marry Prince Darius of Uthia when he arrives in two days.  He is dashing and will sweep you off your feet.  If I stay we’ll have to compete… Ugh.” he mounted his horse.

“Good day to you, M’lady.  I have to travel through two Kingdoms to stop the army of the Ogre Yarvil in two weeks, so I really have to be going.” he looked at a scrawny man trying to slip away. “I’ll take my reward you just lifted from the Captain of the Guard.”

The man turned to run but was grabbed by two guards who found the sack on his person.  They handed it up to the knight who took it and rode away.  As he rode he dropped his head back and let out a great groan.  He hated this.  What the hell had he been thinking?

He thought back a decade to when he was just a squire, separated from his master.  He had been riding through the swamps of Darmo, getting increasingly frightened at the sounds around him.  That he didn’t know what was there terrified him.  He held his sword in a quivering hand.  He had no idea where he was.  Suddenly he heard a female scream and without thinking he charged to the rescue.  If he’d thought he would have run screaming.  He was a coward at heart and would never have made the knighthood if not for that.

He found a woman practically glowing in the center of some orcs.   He charged and his horse kicked one in the head, crushing his skull and eyes closed he struck a lucky blow killing another.  The remaining three surrounded him.  He screeched and swung out wildly.  The orcs weren’t expecting such a stupid move, assuming him skilled, and pure luck struck one down.  The horse kicked the remaining two and stomped them.  He was a very well trained horse, unlike his master.

His chest heaved and his wide eyes watered.  He sat for a long time until he remembered the girl.  He dismounted and offered her a hand.  She smiled up and rose gracefully.  As he watched in awe she grew tall and thin, shining like the sun as thin gossamer wings spread from her back.  “Brave one,” she said, “I thank you for your heroic rescue.”

He threw head back and laughed, voice strained and thin. She cocked her head and smiled.  “I will grant you one wish for your heroics.  Choose carefully, for what I do cannot be undone.” her voice was serious.

The sounds of the swamp terrified him.  He hated never knowing what was happening around him.  Anything could happen and he would never know.  “I want to know everything that might or will happen to me from now til the day I die.”

The faerie sighed.  “Very well.  Insight is granted to you from now til your death.”

As she disappeared he became aware of everything and he knew what would happen whatever path he took.  He was so relieved he giggled to himself as he mounted the horse to ride away.  Becoming a Knight after that was simple.  He won every battle, knew every secret of his foes.

He traveled the land and became famous.  He never failed, and he felt great pride.  For about 2 years.  Then the haze of glory faded and reality crashed over him.  He saw no matter what he did, he would succeed, unless he chose to fail.  Life had no mystery.  He went through a life of ease, but he hated it.  He just wanted it to end.  He knew many ways to do that.  He could die any second if he chose.  However, he was a coward at heart.  He would never dare to die.  He knew he would start to get old and find the Faerie of Dawn’s elixir of life and live on for perhaps 500 years.

He groaned.  500 years of complete boredom.  Why had he ever made such a stupid wish?


Published by Robert C Hartwell

I live in Northeastern Vermont in the US. I am currently working towards becoming an author. I am the proud father of two great kids.

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