Medieval Monday is back. This week we are to choose a fight or battle scene. My favorite is from Betrothal, in which the two heroes, Geoffrey and Thomas, square off against one another.
By the time Geoffrey returned to the reception room, Thomas had moved closer to the door in anticipation of the king’s customary afternoon ride. His entrance drew no one’s attention as the courtiers were milling about, waiting for the king to rise. He took the opportunity of the unguarded moment to seize his friend’s tunic and shove him out the chamber door.
“Geoffrey! Have you lost your senses? What are you doing?” Thomas grasped his arms, tried to break his hold, but to no avail.
Geoffrey bore him into the corridor and threw him unceremoniously into the far wall. Thomas whirled, and reached for his knife. Geoffrey darted forward, struck the blade from his hand and grabbed his clothing again.
“You had to interfere, Thomas. Had to plant doubt in my mind.” Geoffrey’s voice lowered in deathly calm, though he seethed with anger. He adjusted his hold on the dull red fabric, screwing it into a tight knot against Thomas’s chest.
“What are you talking about, Geoffrey? You are not making sense.” Thomas glared at him, though Geoffrey caught a flicker of fear in his friend’s eyes. Good.
“I went to Alyse to learn her choice because you thought it would be ill-advised.” Geoffrey leaned his full weight into Thomas, trapping him against the wall with no hope of escape. “Now, in trying to prevent one disaster, I have created another. She thinks I do not trust her judgment and has withdrawn from me. Christ, she may not even speak to me again. Everything I have worked for the past two days, the trust, the companionship, the regard, has vanished.” He shook Thomas roughly, like a terrier with a rat, and turned a cold eye on his friend. “And you are going to help me get them back.”
Thomas’s mouth twisted into a sneer. “Why does this matter so much to you, Geoffrey? The girl must wed you. What does it matter whether she comes willing or not to your bed? You are acting the lovesick fool!” He managed to wrest his tunic away and put some distance between them.
“Better a lovesick fool than a man incapable of feeling.”
“By God, Geoffrey…”
“Peace, Thomas.” Geoffrey put out a dismissive hand. “My regard for Lady Alyse is none of your concern. But the grief and mistrust I have brought down on my own head are, for you certainly had a hand in that.”
After ten years of friendship, how had they come to this?
An unwilling chuckle erupted from his lips, causing Thomas to glance at him suspiciously. “Two friends at odds over a woman,” he offered ruefully. “We sound like a tale from the Round Table.”
Thomas grinned at that, and the tension eased. “We do indeed. ‘Sir Thomas and the Lovesick Fool.’” He sobered. “My pardon, if my words have brooked a quarrel betwixt you and your lady. ’Twas not my intent.” He offered his hand and slowly Geoffrey reached out his as well. “So relate to me what has transpired and I will devise a plan of action to win back the regard of the fair Alyse.” His mouth turned up into a knowing smile. “For who knows better than I how to seduce a woman?”
Hope you enjoyed this excerpt! See you next week!