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The Black Knight
Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.
Sex/Subtext: Yes, it is here. Sorry if you feel sickly by a display of two people of the same sex in love. There are sexual scenes, if this will bother you please find a different story.
Violence: If the thought of Xena and violence upset you, I'd like to know how you made it this far, this story does contain some swordplay and some nasty fights.
Foul Language and Such: There are nasty smelling, rude, ugly men involved in this story, therefore I think that is a must.
Joxer Warning: I like Joxer but don't worry I improved him just for this story.
All yadda yadda about this story can be sent to email@example.com.
|Chapter 1-17||Chapter 18-25|
Father Paul: Sal
The ragged foot solider stumbled to the front of the castle and beat upon the gate," Let me enter!"
The guard in the perch called down to him," What goes on?"
The solider swallowed his spit in a vain attempt to wet his parched throat," I know where the Black Knight is."
The gate flung open soon after and the foot soldier was led into the private chambers of the king.
"What's this I hear," the king drawled sitting in his high backed chair," You know where the Black Knight is?"
The foot soldier fell to his knees more out of exhaustion than of courtesy," Yes, your majesty, I was one of the men to attack the village you selected," The king nodded for the man to continue," The captain sent me back to retrieve anything that survived the attack....Nothing did but when I got there, there were many people there," He stopped to get a breath," Bennett among them. I remembered the story of the brawl he was involved in the road and so I followed them. They rode through the woods for several miles to the north and then cut down a small stream. There was a huge clearing with huts and tree houses," He stopped again and looked at the king," The princess came out to greet them."
The king scratched at his chin," Really," he squinted in thought," She's been nothing but trouble."
The king stood walked to the door and shouted for Sir Matthew. The captain of the guard strode into the room at the king's demand," Yes my lord?"
The king turned and went back to his desk. He leaned over it and looked at the two men in his presence," I want you," He said pointing at the foot soldier," to go with him," He said pointing at Sir Matthew," and plan an attack on this little hidden village." The men turned to leave together," Gentleman," The men turned back to their king," I want the Black Knight brought to me and my daughter if you can arrange it."
The men bowed their head and left the room.
Sarah sat on her bunk, in her empty hut, and sharpened her already sharp sword. The day had progressed slowly. The men's moral was down because of the raid on the village and Claire had been in the kitchen helping Father Paul all day. She drew her boot dagger and glided it along the wet stone. All I want is an hour alone with her, Sarah prayed to whoever would be listening, not even that.
As if on cue the door to her hut popped open and the blonde head of the princess came into view," Hey there."
Sarah set her chore aside and smiled back at the princess," Hey yourself, stranger."
Sarah patted the bed beside her. Claire slowly came over to her and stopped infront of her. Sarah put her hands on the princess' hips and brought her close to her. The princess looked down at her knight and was over powered by the feelings she contained. She brought her hands up and cupped Sarah's face and lower her lips to the one below hers.
Sarah wrapped her strong arms around Claire's waist and leaned back onto the soft mattress. Sarah's tongue flicked out and ran along Claire's bottom lip. Claire moaned and permitted entrance. Sarah's hands found her way into Claire's shirt and rubbed the woman's bare back. Claire straddled Sarah's firm thighs," You didn't think I was going to forget about you?"
Sarah gave her a pouty look and Claire kissed the tip of her nose," I want you, Sarah."
Sarah closed her eyes and groaned as she felt the lips of the princess again meet hers. Sarah's hands came around Claire's torso and she placed a hand on each breast. Claire arched her back and drove her hardened nipples farther into Sarah's hands. Claire's hand pulled at the buttons of Sarah's shirt," Need to touch you."
Sarah's teeth nipped at Claire's neck as she felt her shirt untucked and her own chest fondled. Sarah broke away and ripped her shirt over her head. Claire laid her cheek upon Sarah's breast. Sarah shivered at the feeling. Claire's mouth moved to her nipple and sucked it gently. Sarah's hands moved in a flurry of motion and her hand quickly found their way into the back of Claire's pants. Claire bit down on her breast when Sarah kneaded her buttocks. With a small movement of her hands, Sarah had moved Claire's pants farther down her body. Sarah slowly dipped her finger into Claire, who bucked against her," Let me have you Claire."
Claire wrapped her hand around Sarah's and pushed the woman deeper into her," You already have me Sarah."
Sarah was excited by the wetness of Claire's center. Rolling over onto her, Sarah drug her teeth over the thin material of Claire's shirt. She dipped her tongue into the princess' belly button and continued on it's path lower. She stopped short of Claire's center and looked up. Claire's looked back at her with an openness that Sarah had never known. With a glint in her eye Claire communicated more emotion than words could ever and slowly Sarah lowered herself into the curls.
Claire woke from a love induced sleep and felt the warmth that surrounded her. It was by now late at night and everyone in camp was asleep. The afternoon had been spent in the arms of the woman sleeping next to her. The newest faucet of their relationship made Claire smile. She pulled the blanket off their naked bodies and smiled at how nicely they fit together. This is who I'm meant to be with, Claire thought, I love this woman.
The dark beauty beneath her shivered and smirked," Claire," The woman whined with her eyes still closed," I'm cold."
Claire laid down upon Sarah," Is that better?"
Sarah put her arms around Claire and rested her hands at the small of her back," Everything is better now that I have you."
Claire's eyes began to water and she set her forehead on Sarah's," I love you."
Sarah smiled," I love you, too."
The king munched on an apple, as he walked around the court yard inspecting the troops that Sir Matthew selected to defeat the Black Knight," Not one of you are to come back without the infamous Black Knight. Die trying, I don't care I want to cut his stomach out myself. Do you all understand."
The men looked on with indifference and the king knew that they did. He nodded to Sir Matthew, who sat atop a charger. Sir Matthew turned to the gathered me," Alright, let's move out."
The men began to move swiftly into the early dawn light.
The warning bell rang for the fifth time when Sarah finally emerged from her hut. pulling her shirt up around her shoulders, she looked to her men on the outside trees to see what had sounded the alarm. They pointed in every direction calling to each other to look this way and that. Bennett ran over to her, his sword and light armor already secured," We're completely surrounded!"
Sarah gazed at her brother in disbelief," They couldn't have found us," She looked to the hillside where some of the kings men could be seen," I...What...Bloody Hell! Somebody get my sword and a bow."
Men ran around camp, setting up defenses and trying to arm themselves as much as possible. Claire walked up behind Sarah with a look of startlement in her eyes," Sarah, what's happening."
Daniel came to a stop next to Bennett," Oh nothing Princess," he smiled at her while he downed his mail," Just a little party your father sent."
Claire looked at the hillside now that was totally covered with her father's men," My God."
Sarah pushed Claire toward Father Paul's hut," Stay here," She said opening the door," I'll fight better if I know you're safe."
Claire looked up at her and almost argued. Seeing the conflicting feelings in her lovers face she nodded once," Just make sure this is not something you die doing."
Sarah leaned forward and kissed Claire squarely, there infront of all of her men and in front of all the kings,"Now go," Sarah ordered and turned to meet to coming force.
William and Duncan stood on the porch of a tree house with bows and arrows cocked and ready to shoot. Other men around the camp had placed themselves in similar pocessions.
"Do you think she narked on us?" William asked his voice cracking with a touch of fear.
Duncan looked over at him with a funny face," Do you really think she'd kiss our Sarah there in plain view of all them men if she wasn't on our side?"
The men they were referring to were now very very close to the camp and the men on the ground, led by Sarah, grew tense. William pulled his arrow back and took careful aim," I suppose you're right," he eyed a young man a little older then himself," I was just thinking crazy I guess."
"I'd guess," came Duncan's reply as he let go of his arrow. It buried itself deep into the chest of a man. Duncan lost no time in cocking and launching yet another arrow into the army below.
William let his arrow go and watched it strike the young man in the throat. The man scratched at it but William knew, that by the lose of blood the man had already suffered, that the man was going to die. He felt no remorse as he drew another arrow. If he didn't kill that man then that man would have the opportunity to kill him or someone he knew. It was kill or be killed and William understood that, even at his age. Sarah had once told him that it wasn't exactly right but it was better then losing someone close to you. William let another arrow fly.
Claire sat in Father Paul's hut and heard the trampling of men as they rushed into camp. She held little Gabrielle closer to her and prayed.
Sir Matthew sat upon his charger and brought a young lieutenant to his side," Bring the catapult up."
The lieutenant nodded and shouted the order back to the left over men. They brought the catapult up and set a firebomb alight.
"I want you to hit there," he indicated with his sword," there and there. And continue to hit the camp in a circle from those points."
The men released the firebomb and it crashed through a hanging bridge and then into a hut. Others followed.
Daniel slashed into a crowd of men," Gee boys," he laughed at the king's men," How about we, oh I don't know, break out some mead and call it a day?"
Some of the men looked at him as if he'd gone mad but they were distracted for long enough for three of Daniel's men to run them through. Daniel nodded his approval and cut a solider in the thigh. As the man dropped his sword and clutched his wound, Daniel relieved his stomach of must of it's organs and continued on.
Sarah stood in the middle she was sure of it. Bennett stood at her back and she at his. They fought what seemed like an endless line of troops and then the firebombs hit. The flames took out half of the major rope bridge crashed into what had been, a few moments before, Bennett's hut. The flames rose high up into the tree branches above. They're going to set fire to the forest, Sarah thought in horror. A lone solider saw Sarah standing lost in thought and tried to relieve her of her head. She came back just in time to deflect the blade but it cut deep into her cheekbone," That's going to leave a mark," she said to no one in particular. She pulled to man close to her and didn't stop till she saw her blade come through his back. Kicking him away she moved over to where Bennett fought.
"You've got to shot the firebombs!," she yelled to him," Go."
Bennett nodded that he understood and took off towards the hillside.
Sarah's face was sticky from her wound and her hair stuck in it. Another firebomb hit and she was thrown to the ground. Standing up she looked up at her archers," Get down!"
The men started down anything they could find, ropes, ladders, sometimes jumping. Now with most of her men on the field the numbers were almost equal. She charged into the fray and prayed to whoever was listening that Claire was alright.
Claire watched the battle from a crack in between to door and it's pane. She saw Daniel clearly, always with his smile on his face. He cut down men left and right but he favored his right leg as if it hurt him. He didn't see the man that was sneaking up behind him but it didn't matter because Claire flew from her hiding spot and hit the man in the back of the head with her fist. He turned and looked at her with pure rage and she immediately froze. Daniel spun at just the right time to save her from the crazed man.
"Princess," he said angered," you shouldn't be here."
An uproar went up behind him and he turned to see a half a dozen men stalking towards him," Princess," one of them spoke," We've got direct orders from the king to bring the sweet thing back."
Daniel brought his sword up and prepared to fight," Not when I'm still alive, chaps."
The soldiers began to move forward and Claire had to think fast," Wait!"
The men stopped and Daniel turned to her in astonishment," What did you say?"
The soldiers looked at her," If I promise to go with you," she stated very plainly," will you promise not to hurt him?"
The soldiers thought about it for a moment. The princess for this poor man? Yes, that sounded good enough. The leader of the group nodded and motioned her to walk to them but Daniel stuck his arm out," Now hold ON a MOMENT!" he turned her to look at him," I could take all of these men, no problem...."
He went on about how he could defeat the impossible odds and he didn't notice a man behind him. The solider, though stupid, remembered the promise and brought his sword down hard on the back of Daniel's head. His eyes betrayed the pain he felt before they rolled into his head and Daniel fell limply to the ground. Claire looked at her captures and hoped she'd made the right decision.
Sarah watched as the firebombs landed closer and closer to where Father Paul, Gabrielle and Claire were hiding. She was across the clearing from the hut and her path was blocked by the warriors that fought on it. She trudged forward anyway, slicing here and there to move and fighter from her path. As she reached the door she heard Gabrielle's screams of terror. Sarah kicked the door in and held her sword ready. What greeted her inside was only the humble Father and the crying child.
Father Paul shrugged his shoulders," One minute she was watching the fight from the door there and the next she's out of it."
Sarah turned back to the wide open door and spied Daniel's prone body laying in the mud. She rushed forward to help her friend and pulled him to the safety of the hut. Laying him carefully on the small cot, she squatted down beside him. Sarah patted his face softly to try and wake him and his eyes fluttered open," Anybody happen to see who was on the horse that ran me over?"
Sarah smiled despite herself," Nice to know that no real damage was done, Daniel, my friend."
Father Paul scoffed at them both," The only important head he's got is in his pants!"
Sarah smile faded and now serious she turned back to Daniel," Did you see where Claire went?"
Daniel winced and blinked his eyes a couple of times," Um," he started," Yeah, she sort of saved my arse....She sacrificed herself on my account."
Sarah sat heavily down in the dirt. Claire had gone back with the soldiers? No, she loves me. She said so. Maybe this was all a big hoax...maybe she's using you. Sarah pushed the cruel thoughts away. She stood and pushed Father Paul and Daniel from the room and went back to retrieve her sword.
A firebomb struck the hut.
Claire now fought with the men taking her to the top of the hill," I demand you to let me go."
The men laughed at her and patted her in suggestive ways," Sorry, honey, I'm sure the king would be mighty upset with us if we let you go."
"Maybe he'll give us a grand supper," one thought aloud.
"Or maybe he'll let us break the wee one of her women liken' habits," said yet another.
Claire's heart sunk, these men had seen. So had probably every man in the battle. They had seen her kiss Sarah and they were not as opened minded as the people she'd grown to care about in so few days.
What would her father do? He was a cruel unforgiving man. He'll probably let Charles decide what to do with me, she thought solemnly no longer fighting. And only God knows what that weakling will think of.
As they reached the summit she saw Matthew sitting upon a tall horse," Matthew, I should have known that you were behind all of this."
He smiled down at her but it gave no warmth. Ever since she'd grown of age Matthew had shown interest in her and now he had the perfect opportunity to get her.
"My dear Claire," he said,"when will you learn. I'll do anything to have you. Now that I know you'll wrap you skinny legs around a whore, you be sure to let me have you."
"I will never let you have me the way Sarah possess me!" Claire said defiantly.
Matthew smiled,"Really well we shall see dear," He reached down and yanked her up, by her blonde hair, onto the horse with him," We shall see."
He turned to the lieutenant again," Write a note to our friend the Black Knight and inform them that if he wants the princess back he can have her but he has to come get her."
The message was attached to an arrow and shot into the heart of the camp. Bugles went to mouths and the fall back signal was sent out to the king's men.
Bennett made his way towards the catapults and stopped short. Claire was talking with Sir Matthew, his obvious replacement. Claire yelled something but Bennett could not hear it over the noise of the battle. He watched helplessly as Claire of picked up and thrown on to Sir Matthew's horse and taken away.
The ride back was uncomfortable for Claire, the saddle horn was pressed up against her pelvic bone and the hardness of Sir Matthew was behind her. They arrived at the castle all to soon and Claire wanted nothing more then to be back in the camp with her loving Sarah holding her in her strong arms.
Duncan, William and Bennett searched the ruins of the hut trying to find their fallen hero. They dug the smoldering wood, looking for any sign of Sarah. William dug the fiercest for Sarah was his mentor the one he loved most in the world. She wasn't allowed to leave him yet.
A banging noise was heard but very faintly. They all stopped their efforts and it was heard again," It's comin' from there," Duncan whispered.
They all lunged on the spot and dug crazily. First, a hand appeared and then the rest of Sarah followed. Her hair was singe, so was part of her cheek. There was a nasty burn on the back of her hand but other than that she seemed fine," God," she said as she sat on the rumble with her men," What took you?"
Daniel came over and ran a hand over her spiked hair," Nice cut," he joked mildly though sincerely happy that she was all right," This was sent over to you."
He handed her the arrow with the message attached. As she read it her face was that of someone who was reading a dull book, passive. When she finished she set it aside and looked at each of her men," We got our work cut out for us," they all looked at her questioningly," Are you ready to give one bitch of a payback?"
The smiles that instantly grew on their faces gave Sarah her answer.
The king took the news of Claire's adventure, kiss and all, rather well. He only broke three goblets and tipped over a chair. After his fit was over and he was again calm, he looked to Sir Matthew with disgust," If you still want that nasty wench," he waved to Claire," take her but I never want to see her again."
Matthew turned to leave and Claire had no choice but to follow. She was stopped however by Charles. He looked her up and down and with a light in his eye he slapped her hard across the face," You are a disgrace," he spat at her," nothing good will ever come of you."
The trip to Sir Matthew's chamber was a blur. She thought to herself. What her father had said, what her brother had said and believing it. Then she thought of Sarah and her eyes welled up. The way she laughed. The way her eyes twinkled whenever she looked her way. The wonderful night they had shared. That was just last night, it seemed so far away from her. So far away, just like Sarah.
The creak of a door made Claire come back from her thoughts and she was saddened to see where she was being led. Matthew brought her to his chambers with one thought on his mind. The thought of taking this woman, again and again.
Claire's clothes were torn from her and she clutched at her exposed body. Matthew looked at her with a hunters gaze, not one of love like Sarah. He pulled his manhood from his own clothes and Claire shut her eyes at the sight. She knew what was going to happen to her and she didn't care. Sarah probably died in the battle, why else had she not found her.
Matthew threw her against the wall and pressed himself into the gentle folds Sarah had loving touched the night before. She closed her eyes tighter and bit her lip. He raped her many times that night, until finally he grew tired and fell asleep on top of her. She shoved his body away and cleaned herself. She walked to the window, pulling a robe around her as she went and stared out at the countryside.
Sarah made a mock drawing of the castle in the dirt. The morning sun was just peeking over the horizon and her surviving men now gathered around her. The night had been spent burning the dead and putting out fires that claimed most of their houses. They slept together in a large group, underneath the stars. Two men every hour stood watch.
Now in the early morning rays, Sarah had a plan. Charles twenty-first birthday celebration was that afternoon and any of the common folk who wished to attend were welcome. Sarah planned to work this to her advantage. Her men would set up a perimeter and Bennett would be their decoy. Sarah asked the men if they had questions and when they replied they didn't she told them to ready themselves.
Matthew woke and moved his hand over the empty bed. Upset to find nothing there he opened his eyes and called for Claire," Where are you wench?"
Claire stepped away form the window at his calling and bowed slightly. She winced as she straightened her body. Her insides were torn and bleeding. She was in alot of pain but was determined not to show that to Matthew.
He lounged infront of her and leered," There you are," He pulled the covers away from his nude body and stood. Claire turned her back and looked once again to the country side.
"I dreamt of you," he said coolly in her ear as he pressed himself against her backside," I enjoyed that dream."
Claire turned to face him," Funny, sir," she stated in complete seriousness," I dreamt of you too. Only your body was burning and I danced around it."
She didn't even see the blow that crashed into her face. Pain exploded from behind her eye and she swore under her breath. She stooped alittle, which stretched her insides. Another blow hit her stomach and she felt sick. She fell forward and tried to grab at something to stop her descent. Her hand caught Matthew's thigh but he kicked her away. She flew across the room as if she were weightless. er head hit the floor and again light smashed through her skull. She slumped there and watched, dumbly, as Matthew dressed himself and prepared for his day.
"Your brother's celebration is this afternoon," He said setting his sword at his hip," You are not allowed to be there. You can watch from the window that you're under now, it has a descent view."
A single tear dropped from Claire's eye as he turned and left.
Sarah stood out by the main gate that lead to the inside of the castle. She watched the men walk to the guard posts. All weapons were left outside in a large pile. Duncan and Daniel stood to her left and when she nodded they walked out into view.
Daniel turned and smartly hit Duncan in the mouth. Duncan hit him back with a one-two punch. That was enough to draw a crowd and the guards as well. While the king's men pulled the two apart, Sarah slipped unseen into the castle's interior.
William stood as normal as possible against the outside wall. A rope fell to his side and he looked around to see if anyone had noticed. When he was convinced the coast was clear he scurried up the rope.
At the top of the wall stood Sarah dressed in a simple set of armor that was covered by a heavy cloak. Her bristling hair blew in the wind," You go that way and drop the rope to the next man."
William took his coiled rope from Sarah's hand and hid it under his cloak," What about a sword?"
Sarah turned back to him with an amused look," Kill a soldier and take his. Be one less to worry about later."
William shrugged at this simple logic and went to do what he was told.
Others of Sarah's men where now positioned on the ledge. They had made a rough circle around the main plaza where hundreds of commons mingled together. Somewhere down there was Sarah and even though they couldn't see her they knew that when the time came that she would rise to lead them.
Sarah scanned the ledges and was pleased to see that the guards that had once stood there were now replaced with her men. She now looked at the balcony above her. Claire would come out onto that with the others of her family. But they weren't her family, not anymore. When Claire had expressed her love to Sarah she had become part of her family, part of her. And now she'd do anything not to lose that bond.
Claire moved a stool over to the window and looked out into the people. There were so many. She looked closer and saw the hopelessness in their eyes. The sadness. The sadness that my family put there, she thought bitterly. A movement in the corner of her eye caught her attention. It was William! He was here. He was dressed in a guards armor but he was there. And that could only mean that Sarah was there too. Claire whooped with happiness for the first time in her life.
She went to the door and flung it open, prepared to run down the hall and throughout the castle until she found Sarah but a hand restrained her," Sorry, milady," a guard said," You're not to leave, your family believes that the Black Knight will make an appearance and think it best that you stay here."
To dumbfounded to argue, Claire was lead back into the room. Her mind was running wild. They knew that Sarah was going to be here? I've got to tell her, warn her. The door slammed behind her with an almost deafing force, jarring her from her thoughts. She ran to the window and looked into the sea of people. How could she let Sarah know where she was? Claire turned back to the contents of the room and the answer came to her.
Sarah smiled, the doors on the balcony opened and the royal family walked out. Charles leading and his father coming right behind him. Sarah moved people out of the way to get a better look at the gathering above her.
The doors shut and no Claire. Sarah's plan wouldn't work if Claire wasn't on the balcony. Bennett across the square didn't have the vantage point she did and processed with the plan.
"Riddle me this, riddle me that," Bennett bellowed into the air," The Black Knight isn't afraid of the mean, nasty Sir Matt!"
Sarah winced and dove through the crowd. She had to get to Bennett before he got himself killed for no reason.
Claire dumped all of her parchment, into the plush chair. Throwing a large blanket on top, covering the mess she walked over to the fireplace. Picking up a burning log she threw it onto the pile of combustibles.
Smoke began to fill the room and Claire threw a chair through the window, allowing the smoke to pore out. She could hear the shouts from the people below as they saw the castle on fire. She gave herself a satisfied smirk and hovered in the farthest corner.
Charles spun at the sound of shattering glass," What in bloody hell?"
Sir Matthew and his father turned to see where he was looking. The king swore under his breath," Sir Matthew!"
Matthew was at his majesty's side in an instant," Yes, my lord?"
"You had your fun with her and now get rid of her," The king ordered," While your at it get the horse's ass down there," pointing into the crowd," and I'll have a sacrifice for my son."
Sir Matthew bowed at the waist and sent his men into motion.
Duncan and Daniel were being led into the innards of the castle, on their way to the dungeon. As soon as they were inside the inner walls. They used body language to communicate which each other. Daniel rubbed his eye, asking Duncan in code, if he was ready.
Duncan responded by blowing air through his lips, making a slight noise. Telling Daniel that through was no time like the present.
Duncan spun and smashed the cartilage of one guards nose into his brain. Daniel with a similar move crushed the others wind pipe.
Smiling at each other they made their way out into the courtyard.
Sarah watched as the people on the balcony move. They're all head back in.
The crowd yelled and shouted. Someone shouted that the princess was in that room. Sarah was in immediate motion. Whistling loudly she got the attention of her closest men. They began to move on the guards nearest them. The others, who were out of earshot, advanced on the guards as well. She smiled at their efficiency. Damn good group, she thought. She moved to Bennett's side," We've got to get in there," She yelled over the battle raging in the courtyard," How?"
Bennett with squinting eyes looked for a possible way," There," he pointed," climb there and swing across."
Sarah turned her head and saw what he was telling her. He wanted her to climb up the stone staircase that stopped at the top of the outer wall and then use a long, clothe like decoration to swing to the window in question.
She simply nodded at him and went charging up the stairs.
Claire sat huddled on the floor. Now the fire was out of control. It raged through the room eating everything in it's path.
Not your smartest plan, Claire, she chastised herself.
Suddenly the door exploded, sending pieces of it into the flames," Claire."
Claire stood up into the light of the doorway and her heart sank as she saw Sir Matthew.
"Stupid," He said as he came at her.
She fought him off but realized that she had no where to go. He grasped her by the hair and slammed her face into his knee.
Her broken nose could no longer smell the smoke the enveloped her outside and she could do nothing about the fog that rolled into her head as she fell limply to the floor.
Sarah ran up the stairs and was met by William," Is it really her room?"
Sarah nodded," I can feel it in my stomach," She looked over at the billowing smoke that came from the tower window now. She probably thought she could contain it, Sarah thought," You coming with me?"
William ran after her and together they cleared several soldiers that stood in their way. Standing back to back they slashed and cut their way to an interior door. Both breathing hard wanting to get to Claire before they were to late.
Sarah ran through the halls of the large castle. She could smell the smoke. She could hear startled voices all around her as she and William ran.
Daniel and Duncan commanded the men that were on the walls and in the courtyard. They were surprised as some of the commoners picked up dead soldiers swords and joined the fray.
Daniel heard a scream and turned to see and soldier high on blood lust charging at an unarmed woman. Daniel yelled to get the man's attention," You big wuss! You have to beat up on women to get thrills."
The man spat in his direction and turned to face Daniel. His face was covered with blood and he wore an evil grin.
This fellow needs to be taken down a few notches, Daniel thought as he swung his sword to test the man. The man swung heavily upon Daniel's sword and laughed. Daniel swung again and changed it before the man could react, cutting him cleanly on the cheek. The man screamed and grabbed at his cheek.
Enraged the man charged at Daniel. He slashed at Daniel with insane vigor and it was all Daniel could do to keep the man from landing a blow. One close call was when Daniel didn't efficiently block the man slice and a piece of his ear was sacrificed.
Daniel's eye was caught by Duncan who was in a similar fight for his life and in that instant the man striped Daniel of his sword. Daniel watched helplessly as his sword flew into the air.
The hilt of the man's sword collided with his chin and he fell heavily to the ground. Daniel watched as the man raised his sword and was certain his was going to die. But suddenly the man's chest exploded outward. The blood splashed down on Daniel, he looked up to see a blade pointing from the center of the crazy soldier's chest. As the man dropped to the ground next to him he looked up to see the woman that he'd save standing there. She was staring at what she had done with a passive expression. Reaching down she helped Daniel to his feet.
Daniel looked at her and found that his stomach fluttered and his heart pounded as she looked back at him," Thank you."
She smiled at him and he was dazzled," You're welcome."
Sarah and William skidded to a stop as they came around the corner. There infront of them stood Sir Matthew and six large men. all of them stood in the doorway that was pouring smoke. Sarah could make out the top of a blonde head on the floor and it angered her.
William stood next to her, his sword ready," Yes, Black Knight?"
Sarah smiled slightly to herself, nice touch there kid," You ready?"
William with a smile in his voice," Yes ma'am."
Sarah and William attacked together. Sir Matthew shouted orders from the back of his group, taking the safety that they gave him. Sarah buried her sword into a man's thigh and she twisted the blade before pulling it free. As he bent over his leg, Sarah swung horizontally into the top of his head. Before his limp body hit the floor she'd moved to the next man.
Duncan fought with a much younger and stronger man. Duncan knew physically he was outmatched but he had years more experience than the cocky man infront of him. Duncan moved the man until his back was to Daniel and making eye contact the friends had shared their plan.
Daniel moved away from the woman he was obviously wooing and pulled the sword from the dead soldier's body. He was now moving steadily to the fighter's area. During the communication with Daniel, Duncan's enemy scored several hits on him. A deep forearm cut and a slash across the stomach.
While Duncan was still watching Daniel move, Duncan's opponent cut through Duncan's wrist. Hand and sword fell to the ground. Screaming Dunacn clutched his stump. Daniel still several feet away watched in horror as the scene played out. Without thinking he threw the sword in his hand and with great relief watched as it buried itself deep into the young man's back.
Rushing forward Daniel picked Duncan up and turned to the woman he now knew as Ann," Do you have a place where I can tend to him?"
Ann nodded and guided the two men away from the battle.
Back inside the castle Sarah and William grew tired as the men in Sir Matthew's unit fell dead. Sarah's arms grew weaker from swinging the heavy sword again and again. William, she could tell, was tiring too because she could hear his short hard breath. Finally the last man fell and now only Sir Matthew stood between Sarah, William and Claire.
As Sarah looked up from the bodies on the floor her fighting spirit came back with a vengeance. There infront of her stood Sir Matthew, with a battered Claire in his arms. He held a knife lightly at her throat and an ugly smile on his face.
Sarah raged as she watched Claire, slumped and battered, hang in the man's arms. William next to her glanced back and forth between the two, ready to jump out of the way or join Sarah if the need occurred.
"Sir Matthew," Sarah's tone spoke more than the words themselves. Ice seemed to hang from them," Let her go."
Sir Matthew burst into insane laughter, laughter of a hopeless man who had one playing card left," How's it feel like to fuck her, Sarah?" He sneered at her as he fondled Claire's breast," She was very good to me last night."
William grabbed Sarah's arm as she let forth a huge battle cry and began to charge at Sir Matthew," Sarah, losing your head will solve nothing."
Sarah spat in Sir Matthew's direction," Coward, come from behind her." She held her sword ready," Come on, yellow, it'll just be you and me."
Sir Matthew thought this over for several long moments. His eyes never leaving Sarah's he licked the lobe of Claire's ear and bit down hard enough to draw blood. Licking the blood from his lips he pushed the unconscious woman away," You know she'll never be able to touch you again without cringing, Sarah, I ruined your treasure."
Sarah's dark side took hold of her fully and without a coherent thought in her mind she charged the man that possibly taken everything from her.
Duncan and Daniel followed Ann into a passage way somewhere inside the castle. Their hiding was short lived as they heard heavy foot steps. Hunched in a corner they sat quietly as five men escorted the king down the hall into a room. Daniel watched as two guards remained outside the door as the rest returned to the courtyard to clam the riot.
Duncan met Daniel's gaze," Go friend," He wheezed," I'm in good hands here." Duncan patted Ann on the hands," Go kill that bastard." Duncan pressed a dagger into Daniel's hand and nodded.
Daniel returned the gesture and walked out into the hall.
The king sat at his desk his back to the door. Holding his head in his hands, he wondered how he had come undone so quickly. His head hurt. His back hurt. He was pissed. Just another day, he thought somewhat amused.
He heard the door open and his fury boiled over the top," I thought I told you to...."He said as he turned and stood. Before he could finish the sentence a well thrown dagger dug itself deep into his chest. Looking down at his chest it seemed like he was dreaming, this couldn't be happening to him.
He looked up and was shocked to see who was staring back at him. Even though the years had made the man's face rougher and his eyes had definitely harden since the last time they'd seen one another, the king knew who stood infront of him. Who had taken his life.
"Well, brother," the king coughed leaned heavily on his desk,"You've won. I don't know why I'm surprised....You said you'd kill me after you found out I killed our father. He always did like....you better."
Daniel stared hard into his brother's eyes," Everyone you've ever touched, has been hurt. I had to stop that. You were once a great man, John, but not anymore."
The king nodded his head and began to sink to the floor as the weight of his body became to much for his legs," You were meant to rule, Daniel, that's why I took it from you."
The king's eyes remand open fixing Daniel in his death stare until Daniel walked over and slowly shut them.
Sarah slashed hard and growled when her blade hit the wall. Kicking, she was satisfied as she connected with Sir Matthew's shin. Her victory was short lived as his fist slammed her face back. Momentarily, her neck was exposed but she rolled away before her opponent could land a blow.
Jumping back to her feet. She studied Sir Matthew. He favored his right leg and one of his eyes was swollen shut. She was sure he was doing the same to her. She noted that her left hand was broken, making it impossible to swing her sword with two hands and a cut on her was bleeding heavily, reducing her vision.
Sir Matthew held his sword low, waiting for her to make the next move. A move she was not willing to do. She paced back and forth, matching his movements.
Finally, Sir Matthew broke his resolve. Slamming his sword down on to hers she rolled on to her back and kicked him over her head. He landed hard on his back and laid their stunned. Sarah was quick to regain her footing and held he sword at the prone man's throat," Say hello to your men for me," she said through clenched teeth.
"Sarah," came a small voice from behind her. She turned to see Claire sitting up, with the help of William," don't. He's not worth it."
Sarah, overcome with emotion, dropped her sword and fell to her knees," Oh God." She broke down and cried and felt no comfort until Claire wrapped her arms around her," I thought.....I couldn't have...I need."
Claire kissed her temple," I know, I know." She ran her hands through Sarah extremely short hair and made a mental note to ask about that later," I'm alive and so are you, that's all that matters."
A laughed erupted from the floor and Sarah turned and used her body as a human shield. There in front of them Sir Matthew squatted on his heels and held his sword ready to strike," I'll kill both you bitches."
Sarah straightened to show she didn't fear the threat and in her mind she screamed at herself to think of something.
She didn't have to think long because the smiling face was torn in half as William cut through the back of Sir Matthew's head. As the limp body fell to the floor, William turned to his friends. With a shrug he smiled," Looked like you needed some help."
Sarah hugged him and thanked him. He pushed her off and told her to take care of her woman. Sarah smiled and began to reach for Claire. The princess watched as the strong arms engulfed her and gladly used their support.
Claire stood out on the balcony with Sarah on her arm and William at her back. She stared down at the carnage below her and winced. All this because of my family, she thought, how many families has mine ruined this day?
Sarah, as if sensing her troubled heart, squeezed her hand gently," We can rebuild, Claire. Those people, down there," Sarah nodded at the courtyard," They'll help you, you're their leader and they will follow you. Just like I will." Sarah nuzzled Claire's bruised cheek.
Someone cleared their throat from behind them and Claire turned to see most of Sarah's force. Battered and torn, they stood before her. William bowed before her his sword raised to her," As will I my queen."
One by one each man drew their sword and dropped to their knee. Claire felt an unbelievable rush of emotion ran through her. Her hand cupped her mouth in a vain attempt to cover her sob. She finally let her tears of gratitude flow as her warrior, Sarah, knelt before and offered her queen her blade.
Daniel studied the actions of the princess, now queen, in front of him. She could rule this land so much better than I, he thought, I can't rule. I have too many things I'd rather do. He smiled to himself as he glanced over at his new found life with Ann.
No, he thought, it's better if I kept that family secret a secret.
Duncan cradled his mangled hand. He could hold a sword but that didn't mean he didn't kneel before his queen. He smiled at her lose of emotion, knowing that she was finally happy and safe. Duncan knew now that they all could be happy and safe. He thought of his wife and their unborn child still in her womb when he buried them. A tear rolled down his strong face. He had his little Gabrielle now, he smiled at the thought of the little bundle of laughter. As soon as he found time, he'd take Gabrielle and journey out to a pine groove far off the main road and he'd introduce his family to each other.
Bennett walked briskly through the innards of the castle. He was unaware of the ceremony taking place above him and at the moment he really didn't care. In his strong grip struggled the young prince Charles and Bennett was determined to put the foul boy in his place.
Smiling hugely at the ex-prince Bennett removed the keys from his belt loop. Opening the cell door he threw Charles inside.
The ex-prince stumbled and fell to the ground, landing in something Bennett didn't really want to think about. After the young man spat and threw himself against the bars, Bennett choose to speak," There are some pretty big rats down here. Alot of the prisoners talked about them and I always tried to get your father to clean them up..." As if on cue two huge rats walked timidly into the ex-prince's cell and regarded the young man with indifference," But as you can see, he didn't do much about them. I'll talk to the Queen and see what she wants to do about them."
Charles shrieked in horror and jumped on to a bunk," Bennett," he pleaded," I never treated you badly...." Bennett smiled, turned on his heel and left the dungeon.
Claire motioned the men to their feet and smiled at them," As my first official act I appoint Daniel captain of my guard," she met his eyes and saw that it was expectable. "Duncan," she said. She'd seen his hand or lack there of before she had spoken and made up a position just from him," You will be my advisor on all things," she smirked at the smile that spread across his face.
"William," she turned to the young man that she owed so much," My personal bodyguard, where I go you go....don't take that too literally."
William bowed his head," No, ma'am."
Sarah began to fidget next to her and she smiled at her lover," Patience," she whispered and was rewarded with a dazzling smile," All the rest of you, my royal guard. You escort me anywhere outside these gates and will be in charge of getting your kingdom a new army. One that works to help it's people. This is not just my kingdom, you all fought to get me here and it belongs to all of us." Looking each man in the eye, she smiled," Dismissed."
As the men filed out the door leaving just Daniel, Duncan, and William. Claire turned to Sarah," You, my love, get the most important job of all." Reaching up with her hand Claire soothed the burnt cheek and the gashed forehead," You've done so much for me and I don't ever want to be apart from you. I love you, Sarah, and I want you to be my wife."
The hand that still rested on the warrior's cheek could do nothing to stop the tears that flowed from Sarah's eyes," Claire," she whispered hoarsely," I don't know what...YES! Gods in heaven." Sarah wrapped her arms around the smaller woman's waist and twirled around, laughing," Yes, Claire, nothing in the world would make me happier."
Sarah dropped the princess back to her feet and she kissed Claire softly," Will you please, dismiss the rest of your people."
Claire giggled and waved her hand at the three men standing by the door. As they turned and left Sarah searched for Claire's mouth again. Finding it, her heart soared. Her Claire, she thought as she held the most precious thing in the world in her arms. Tomorrow they would be worried about rebuilding. Tomorrow they would worry about what to do next. Right now all that mattered to either woman was the one they were holding, kissing. They had found their other half and right now that was all that mattered.
To be continued...
Author's note: First, I'm sorry to all those who started reading this in October and waited patiently for me to post more on Indigo's page. Second, I'd like to take the time to dedicate this story to SpearMaiden. Babe, I think we've both seen each other go through hell and I'd talk you through it again if I had to. Your inspiration is the reason this story got finished. Lovens. Third, drop me a line if you liked, or not just don't bash me to hard...I'm fragile.
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