Knight of Passion

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Knight of PassionKnight of PassionAlone in her tower, Princess Mariella could hear the sounds of battle coming from below. Out of her window, she could see down into the courtyard of her prison, the tall stone spire that had confined her for close to five years now. Far below, the cobblestones were streaked with scorch marks, long black lines of soot that crisscrossed the ground and spread up the walls. She felt tears welling in her eyes. The poor knight.He wasn’t the first person who’d come to rescue her. She wasn’t sure if she hoped he’d be the last. Many had tried, especially in the first few months, but none had been a match for the dragon that guarded her. Their bodies still dotted the castle, nothing but bones and disfigured armour, turned to ashes by the heat of the dragon’s breath. As she watched, the huge b**st thundered past the window, the beating of its wings shaking the glass. She took a step back, afraid.She heard a deafening roar as the creature circled around, turning down towards the courtyard and unleashing a giant bout of flame, white-hot and blindingly bright even in the mid-morning light. Shielding her eyes, Mariella couldn’t bear to watch, even after the fire was gone. She didn’t want to see the body of her would be rescuer, now nothing but charred remains like so many others.Trying not to cry, she waited for the b**st to return, flying back up to its roost triumphantly. It slept above her, curled around the roof of the tower, always alert for intruders. As she made her way back to her bed, falling down heavily onto the edge, her shoulders slumped as she sat in a fit of melancholy. She felt the hot sting of tears rolling down her cheek and didn’t try to stop them. Every time it was the same. Every time someone came to save her, they died, and she was left alone, still trapped.Quietly, she began to weep, holding her face in her hands as her body shook with wracking sobs. Oh gods, why her? All she wanted was to be free, to be able to walk around outside again, to see her family, her friends. Anything but these four walls. She missed her parents so badly. She was only eighteen when she’d been k**napped, whisked away from the royal castle in the middle of the night, and locked up here, in the middle of gods know where. She still didn’t know who had taken her; One of her father’s enemies, she imagined, but which one? As the king of Treimara, he had plenty of them; rivals for the throne, foreign powers, and even a few magical beings as well.But if they were holding her to ransom, why was she still here five years later?No matter what they asked, she knew her parents wouldn’t leave her to die. No amount of money was worth more to them than her, their only c***d, and not even in her darkest nightmares did she think for a moment that they’d abandoned her to her fate. But then, what other reason could someone have to k**nap her?In all the time she’d been confined in the tower, not a single person had come to speak with her. In fact, the only people she’d seen at all were the knights who came to rescue her, and of course the terrifying dragon that lurked amidst the crumbling ruin of the rest of the castle. Her food appeared as if by magic, along with whatever else she needed to survive, but she had no idea how. It was as though whoever had taken her had done so for no other reason than to keep her locked away because they could.She felt like a trophy.Her only solace was the single window looking out over the world below. She’d spent so many hours, sometimes even whole days, just sitting on the windowsill, staring out and dreaming of the day she could finally leave. She watched the waves lapping against the walls of the castle, perched as it was on a small island in the centre of a vast lake. Beyond that, across the single stone bridge, she could see a great forest, stretching on and on for miles, before giving way to wild, flat grasslands, that continued all the way to the horizon. It was a beautiful sight.Sometimes birds would come to her window, sitting outside and chirping their happy songs before darting away again. She’d always been afraid that the dragon would appear and snatch them from the air, but it never did. It didn’t seem to mind anything other than potential rescuers. The thought of the creature sent another wave of helplessness crashing down over the young woman. She felt her tears coming back with renewed vigour and threw herself back onto the sheets.At least the furnishings were nice; whoever had imprisoned her here hadn’t wanted her to be uncomfortable. As small as the room felt, the decor was surprisingly pleasant, more than fit for a princess, and she never wanted for things to do. A tall bookshelf, lined with all manner of books, had been a constant companion and source of escape, and by the end of her first year, she’d read them all cover to cover. Even now, with few other activities to fill the trabzon escort time, she often found herself thumbing through the familiar pages.Looking up through her tears, she gazed at the sky out of the window. She just wanted to fly away. As she whimpered, a sudden sight jolted her back to reality. Rushing past the window, black scales streaked with red, the dragon flew up towards its roost. But instead of the slow, triumphant swoop she was used to, the creature looked panicked. Circling back around, roaring in fury, she saw that one of the horns that flanked its head had been cut away, leaving a cracked and jagged stump, and thick red blood marred a black hole where it’s eye had once been.Leaping to her feet, she rushed back to the window, a sudden hope filling her body. Down in the courtyard, she saw the knight, still standing, with his sword and shield in his hands. Under his armour, his purple tabard looked frayed and scorched, but he still stood tall, preparing himself for the dragon’s return. Mariella couldn’t believe it. He was still alive!Quickly her elation turned to dread as from the heavens the creature descended. Rushing towards the ground, fanged mouth split in a roar of anger, the dragon folded its wings back, diving straight for the knight. In response, he simply raised his shield, bracing himself as a sudden, blinding explosion erupted from the dragon, enveloping him completely in fire. But from within the swirling mass of orange and yellow, the princess could see a purple light. As the fire died away, she saw the knight, shield still raised, surrounded by a gleaming wall of force. As it dissipated, the knight lowered his shield, preparing his sword arm to strike.Still plummeting downward, the b**st roared once more, preparing its talons to strike. Mariella couldn’t tear her eyes away as in a sudden clash the two collided, the dragon charging straight into the knight, who didn’t even flinch until the last second, throwing himself to the ground as the dragon careened over his head, crashing into the cobbles like a comet falling from heaven. Leaping to his feet, the man rushed towards the fallen b**st, as it struggled to pick itself back up.Before it had time to do so, however, the knight was upon it, his sword streaking left and right across its hard scales. Avoiding the b**st’s snapping jaws and swiping talons, he carved away at the creature again and again. In the face of such a vicious onslaught, the dragon roared, firing a jet of flame across the courtyard, narrowly missing the knight, whose keen reflexes kept them out of the line of fire. Skillfully, he dodged right, rolling around the side of the creature’s head, out of the way.Dropping his shield, he took up his sword with both hands. The b**st had only a second to react to what was happening, and the princess saw the fury burning in it’s one remaining eye before the knight brought his sword down. In one swing, his blade severed the head clean from the dragon’s body, and as it fell to the ground it went limp, slumping down onto the cobbles with a crash. Mariella couldn’t believe it. The dragon was dead!The knight fell to his knees, visibly panting as he caught his breath. Mariella watched from her window, feeling the tears start to flow again. But this time, they were tears of joy. She was free. She was finally free!——————–It took a while for the knight to find her. Even with the dragon dead, the ruined castle was a labyrinth of fallen walls, missing floors, and deadly traps. Waiting patiently, the princess sat on her bed, her heart pounding in her chest as she awaited her saviour’s arrival. Every now and then, she’d walk back over to the window to look down at the body of the dragon, just to remind herself that she wasn’t dreaming. She could hardly believe this was happening, after so many years of being locked away, she was finally free!After almost an hour and a half, she heard the sound of metal boots on stone, and felt her heart leap into her throat. This was it. She stood up, straightening out her dress as she heard him approaching the door. Glancing over one last time at the mirror on the wall, she checked her hair to make sure it was perfect, before turning back towards the door, hands clasped together in front of her. She’d been imagining this day for the past five years. She wanted to look her best.From beyond the heavy wooden door, she heard the footsteps stop. For a moment, all she could hear was her own pulse, thundering in her ears, before the brass handle turned. As the door swung inwards, she took a sharp breath as the figure of the knight appeared in the gap. He was around six foot, broad and muscular. This close, she could see the sword emblazoned on the front of his purple tabard, the edges of which were now badly frayed, and not a little singed. His face was still covered by his helmet, a simple bucket without the flashy escort trabzon embellishments some knights wore. No wings, no lion’s mane. Just a simple metal cylinder, tapered at the top, with two holes for the eyes. His armour was the same; simple and functional. At his hip, his sword lay in its scabbard, but there was no sign of his shield.For a moment, the two stood in silence. Mariella could hardly breathe, her whole body rigid with the adrenaline in her system. After what felt like an eternity, he spoke.”Princess Mariella Coulthurst?”Mariella nodded. His voice was higher than she’d expected, not as deep and gravely as the knights who’d accompanied her father. As she nodded, he dropped to his knee, tilting his head forward in a sign of respect. In a shaky voice, she replied.”Arise, sir.” Doing as he was bidden, the knight stood back up. The princess took a moment to steady her nerves. “What is your name?””Sir Treningham, your grace. Paladin of Arus, and knight in service to your father, King Edmund the Second, long may he reign.”Mariella felt her heart leap again. So that’s how he’d deflected the dragon’s fire. Not only was he a knight, but a paladin as well, a holy warrior blessed by the gods. She was in awe. Unsure what to say, she struggled to find her voice, heart beating even harder in her chest, her body tingling with the elation of freedom after so many years. This man, her saviour, was everything she’d ever hoped he would be, maybe even more so. When she’d lain awake at night, picturing this day, she’d imagined a tall, handsome knight, riding in on a white stallion to save her from her torment. And here he was, standing before her. She wondered again if she was dreaming. Trying to slow her nervous breathing, and ignoring her flushed cheeks, she finally spoke again.”Please, remove your helmet, so that I may look upon your face.”As the words left her mouth she felt the anticipation inside her rise even higher, her thoughts racing at a hundred miles an hour. Sir Treningham nodded, and reached up to his helmet.”As you wish, my lady.”As he took his helmet in both hands, Mariella waited with bated breath. She could hardly breathe she was so excited; would he be handsome? Would he have short hair, or long flowing locks? Would his eyes sparkle the way they had in her dreams? With barely-concealed emotion, she watched as he lifted up his helmet, to reveal…A woman.Mariella felt as though she’d been thrown straight into a wall. Standing across from her, in full plate and chainmail, was a woman, with pale blue eyes, short blonde hair, and a determined jaw. She looked as though she were in her mid-twenties, and as Mariella stared at her, she gave the princess a look of confusion.”Is everything alright, my lady?”Startling back to reality, the princess began to stammer.”Oh, yes, of course, my apologies, I was simply…”The knight let out a chuckle, her mouth curling into a wry smile.”You were expecting a man, weren’t you?”Looking down, embarrassed, Mariella nodded.”Yes.”In response, the knight’s smile grew into an amused laugh.”I’m sorry to disappoint you, my lady.”Immediately, Mariella’s eyes went wide, and she did her best to apologise, much to the knight’s enjoyment.”No! No, I’m not disappointed, honestly, I had just… Well, you know, I’d always assumed that… all knights were… men.”Trailing off, the princess felt her cheeks burning bright red with embarrassment. Bemused the knight looked down at her, biting her cheeks to stop herself laughing at the young woman’s awkward attempts to dig herself out of her hole. Abandoning her rambling, Mariella let out one final cry.”Thank you for rescuing me!”The knight smiled warmly, bowing her head to the princess. “It is an honour, my lady.”Mariella gave a nervous chuckle and smiled back. Inside, her mind was racing. It had never occurred to her before that her saviour might be a woman, never once in the whole time she’d been imprisoned here. Of course, she knew there were female knights, but for whatever reason she’d always imagined some brave young man coming to her rescue. She tried to clear her head, focus on the here and now, but the shock lingered. In a haze, she asked the only question that came to her head.”Where’s your shield?”Again, Sir Treningham laughed. “Gone, I’m afraid. The dragon’s fire was not kind, and after a chance encounter with some falling rubble downstairs, I had to abandon it. Well, what was left of it.”Looking around the room, the knight took in her surroundings, admiring the four poster bed.”Not terrible, for a prison. Although I suspect you’d rather see the back of this place?”Mariella nodded, and the knight chuckled.”Come on, let’s get out of here. Is there anything you want to take with you?”For a moment, Mariella considered, but in the end she shook her head. “No. No there isn’t.”Sir Treningham smiled, reaching out a hand towards her. “Alright then. trabzon escort bayan Let’s go, quickly. My horse is outside.”For a moment, the princess paused, considering, before sheepishly asking.”Is it…?”Sensing what she meant, the knight replied.”Yes. It’s white.”Mariella smiled, and took her knight’s hand. At least she’d got some things right.——————–Galloping through the dense woodland, the princess kept her arms wrapped tightly around her rescuer’s waist. Sir Treningham, whose first name she now knew was Katherine, kept hold of her horse’s reins, urging the white stallion on with her spurs as together they thundered through the underbrush, riding hard for the break in the treeline. It had barely been an hour since they’d left the castle, and the noon sun still hung high in the sky above them. All around, the sounds of the forest rushed past as the pair travelled ever onward.The princess’s mind was still a blur of activity. The further they travelled from her prison, the more relieved she felt, but that was hardly the only emotion coursing through her brain. As they’d been leaving, Katherine had revealed to her the true reason she’d been imprisoned in the first place; as it turned out, the dragon wasn’t only her guard, but also her k**napper as well!Dragons, the knight had explained, are proud and mighty b**sts, that don’t take kindly to intruders encroaching on their territory. They’re fiercely territorial, and the only thing they care more about than themselves is their treasure hoard. Years ago, on an expedition with his knights, her father had stumbled across the dragon’s lair, and in a fit of hubris, had stolen as much treasure as he could carry. He and his men had ridden back to Tremailia as quickly as they could, but not quick enough to evade the dragon’s eye.For close to a decade, it had sat, plotting its revenge. And finally, on the day of her eighteenth birthday, it made its move. Taking on a human form, the b**st snuck into the castle disguised as a maid, made its way to her room, and stole her away from her bed under the effects of a sleeping spell. In its mind, her father deserved to lose something just as valuable to him as the treasure had been to the dragon. And the natural answer was her, his one and only daughter.That was why the creature had kept her alive. She had become part of its hoard, yet another curiosity to add to its vast wealth. All those years she’d been right to feel like a trophy; that’s exactly what she had been.But now, the dragon was dead, and she was free. But as happy as she was, she couldn’t help but feel a tiny twinge of sadness. She was going to miss her room, with her books and her window. She didn’t know why, but for some reason, she couldn’t shake the feeling.And what of her rescuer? Looking up at the back of Katherine’s head, her short hair fluttering in the wind, she felt a mixture of emotions passing through her. She was everything she’d expected from a knight. She was chivalrous and handsome, and well-spoken. She wore shining silver armour, even if it had been blackened a little by the dragon’s fire. She was, in every way, the perfect knight.Mariella remembered all the stories she’d read as a little girl. The stories that had spun around and around inside her head during her years of captivity. In the stories, the knight would always ride to the castle on the back of a white horse. He would slay the dragon, climb the thousand stairs, and free the princess from her tower. And that’s exactly what Katherine had done. And yet…And yet there was something else. Something Mariella didn’t want to admit. Because to be honest, after spending all those years locked up alone, she didn’t even know how to admit it. Because while the story ended there on paper, she’d always felt like there was an implication of something that happened next. An implication of something… intimate.She closed her eyes, trying to ignore the memories. The memories of all the night’s she’d lain alone in bed, eyes closed as her hands moved across her body, imagining her brave knight there with her, his hands on hers as he gently lay her back, kissing her neck as he slipped off her dress. He’d gently part her legs, exposing her privates before kissing down to them, teasing her lips with his tongue before pulling away, unfastening his belt, and making her a woman.She felt the muscles in her legs clench instinctively. Why was she thinking about that now? It had never been anything other than a stupid fantasy, something to get her through the lonely nights, and now, with her arms around Katherine, she knew for certain it would never come true. After all, they were both women. Women don’t have sex with each other. Do they?By the time night fell, the pair had left the forest far behind. Striking out across the grasslands, Mariella marvelled at the vast expanse of untouched countryside. But now, as the sun disappeared over the horizon, she was beginning to feel tired. Slowing her horse to a canter, Katherine looked around for a good place to camp, and finally settled on the crook of a small hill, shielded from the elements by a rocky outcrop.

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