In which the mysterious Unknown Knight does join Arthur’s Quest!
Killmack’s hand had been raised above Arthur’s backside, ready to deliver another slap, but it froze in the air, midspank as a voice called out, “Unhand her, you brute.” Arthur, for his part, winced. While having the humiliation end was desirable, at the same time being the “her” in such a cliche, storybook rescue of a maiden was a new and equally unwelcome humiliation.
Killmack turned to see a stout knight adorned in pure white armoe, his face hidden behind a visored helm. What was not hidden was the way the edge of his steel blade flashed in the cool forest’s gloom.
Killmack shoved Arthur from his lap, sending him tumbling to the ground. ‘Ow!” Arthur wailed, as he slammed into the Earth.
“Villain!” The Unknown Knight growled, advancing.
In a quick movement it was little more than a blur, Killmak plucked one of the knives from his belt and hurled it at the Knight. It tumbled through the air, heading directly for the slit in his visor, but the Knight swung his mighty sword and batted the knife away, sending it to stick into a tree, pommel shaking. Killmack’s eyes went wide. Not only was this knight huge and physically powerful, but quick as lightning and skilled with his weapons. He looked down, thinking to grab Arthur and use her as a hostage, but she had already rolled to her feet and run to take a position behind the knight.
Throwing three more knives, Killmack turned and plunged into the forest. The Unknown Knight slapped them all away, then stood, staring at the space in the undergrowth where the man had vanished. “Do not let me see you again!”
“What are you doing? Go after him!” Arthur screamed. “He kidnapped me! He struck me!”
“I am here solely to protect you, er, um, milady. I am at your service. Yet, I cannot pursue your attacker without leaving you alone and undefended here in this dangerous wood.”
It must be noted that even a man such as Arthur, now with a maiden’s form and a girl’s heart, couldn’t not help but find himself flustered by the sound of this manly fellow offering protection, devotion. Indeed, his cheeks blushed slightly and he cast his eyes downward, overcome with this strange new feeling. “What is your name, brave knight?” Arthur asked, in a silvery voice. “That I may thank you?”
“I am the Unknown Knight.”
“My thanks, Unknown Knight. And how did you know I was here? Indeed, may I ask if you even know who I am?” Arthur did not relish the idea of this mysterious man knowing that the maiden he’d just rescued from a most ignoble spanking was actually Arthur, King, but he was unsure who the knight was, and even if he could trust the man. Indeed, Arthur was rapidly developing a maiden’s instinctive insecurity as to the intentions of the male population.
The Unknown Knight paused, scratching the bottom of his helm. “I choose not to reveal how I knew you were here. Further, I prefer to keep any knowledge I may possess as to your identity a secret.”
“Truly?” Arthur said. “And would you do me the honor of showing me your face?”
“We must move from this place,” The Unknown Knight said, changing the topic. “The Huntsman may have allies. I have your horse and your gear. I will serve as your protector, milady, and join you on your journey, if you will have me, of course.” With that the knight took Arthur’s hand, and began to lead him back toward the Huntsman’s cabin.
Arthur pulled his hand free. “Do not be too familiar,” Arthur said.
“Of course,” The Unknown Knight answered. “I beg your forgiveness.”
As the Knight led the way, Arthur took in his height, his frame. It was clear the man was disguising his voice, but Arthur sensed he knew the man. Indeed, Arthur was discovering another advantage of his new sex, as his woman’s intuition began to assess the situation. For one, he felt certain he could trust this man and need not fear for his virtue. And another, well, it would only be a matter of time before he knew this brave gentleman’s name! He was clearly a true knight, and there were few who matched this man in strength and skill.
As they made their way back to the clearing where the Knight had tied up their two horses, Arthur filled the Knight in on his quest. He mentioned only that he needed to capture a unicorn and was heading north to meet a druid he thought could help, but not why he needed to do such a thing.
The two rode north the rest of the day, a ride which took them out of the forest and into a country of rolling fields. As the sun set, it lit up the neat rows of wheat once more in a golden light, and little plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the chimneys of the little farmhouses that dotted the countryside. “Perhaps we should seek shelter from these good farm folk?” The Unknown Knight suggested.
“I prefer to travel in secret as much as possible,” Arthur answered. Then, plagued by a sudden new impulse to be polite and considerate, he added, “But I do thank you for your suggestion, good sir.” Arthur, it seems, was developing a maidenly sensitivity to the feeling of others he quite lacked as a man.
“I see a place that will suit us nicely, then.” The two were not at the top of a large hill that looked down on a wide valley, and as the man pointed, Arthur saw a burnt out barn on the edge of the settlement, in an isolated nook near a creek.
“That does look most excellent,” Arthur said.
They made their way down the hill, among a twisty series of disused trails, and then came to the remains of the barn, which amounted to little more than charred beams sticking up out of the earth. The sun had set by the time they’d arrived, but a big, bright moon had risen, casting all in wondrous silver light.
The Knight went about making a fire. Arthur, meanwhile, was delighted to find some hay left over that was still good, and he brought it to the horses, who happily munched, neighing with pleasure. Arthur smiled, petting their necks, and even found himself giving his horse a kiss behind the ear. As a knight himself and an avid horseman he had always appreciated a good, healthy steed of superior breeding, but he found himself now rather falling in love with this beautiful horse. A feeling many a girl can identify with, and few men! “You are so pretty,” he whispered. “Such a beauty!”
The Unknown Knight’s horse whinnied, and Arthur went over to show him some love as well. “Oh, you are, too! I love you both!”
What did I just say? What am I doing? The man Arthur had been backed away, terrified and ashamed of the feminine outpourings he’d just displayed, and had not even questioned. I feel I am becoming quite a damoiselle, Arthur thought, fretting over it. I must remember I am a man!”
A tidy little fire crackled merrily when he returned to the little camp they’d made, and the Unknown Knight sat there, propped on his bedroll. He’d laid out some jerky and dried fruit on a cloth next to Arthur’s bedroll. “Eat,” he said. “You need your strength.”
“Strength?” Arthur said, looking at his slender little arms. “I am afraid I am quite helpless. I thought I could defend myself, but that foul Huntsman quite easily overpowered me.” Famished, Arthur grabbed a piece of the jerky and began to munch on it.
“You are a slender and petite woman,” The Unknown Knight. “But perhaps not as helpless as you think.”
“What would you know,” Arthur answered, his mouth full of food, “being so big and strong? It seems women are not meant for lives of battle.” Even as the words left his mouth, Arthur remembered saying the very thing himself while still a man. It didn’t strike him as so simple and just now.
“And yet when I was a boy, I bested men twice my size.”
Arthur narrowed his eyes. Not only did the statement give him some hope for himself, but his woman’s intuition clicked all the little clues he’d gotten into place. He laughed, a sweet, woman’s laugh, full of pleasure at his discovery.
“Why do you find that humorous?”
“I am amused, Unknown Knight, because I have fathomed your true name!” Arthur said.
“Oh? And what is it?”
These chapters from Lady Arthur originally appeared months ago on my Patreon. There are many more as well as new chapters weekly, as well as another story, LIT RPG, currently running. Check it out and please consider supporting my work on Patreon!