Barron Jones ’20
Thomas was only six-years-old when he began his service of Sir Edmure the Daft of Lakewood. Lord Edmure was a funny fellow with a round belly and fat filled cheeks. Thomas had always been unsettled by his master although there was nothing unsettling to him. He could barely sit a horse without Thomas’ help and sometimes Thomas wondered what Edmure would do without him. Edmure was only fifteen years older than Thomas, but still was around seventy pounds heavier. Thomas, on the other hand, was muscular and tall, almost the opposite of his master. He wore a leather belt around his waist. Attached was a steel sword dangling from his waist. Upon closer examination one could tell there were faces engraved into the blade each face more obscure than the last. The final face on the blade was nothing more that a circular shape carved into steel and contained nothing within it, absolutely nothing. The young squire had always wanted to boast the glistening armor of a knight. He had always wanted to ride into battle at the side of his lord with bravery and courage in his heart, so when he heard of the tournament that Edmure was to ride in at London he was filled with joy. It was a groggy day and they had been traveling to London for just over five days. Thomas had awoken to a layer of mist settled upon their camp site as well as Sir Edmure drunkenly bickering to his brother about the mud on the ground.
“There is no possible way I’m marching through this,” Edmure said.
“You’ll have a horse,” replied his brother.
“We’re not riding today.”
“Brother, there’s a reason they call you daft.”
“Yes, and there is a reason they call me Lard Edmure.”
His brother released a short snicker after his sibling had made a fool out of himself. It was at that moment that Lord Edmure locked eyes with his squire.
“You, boy, bring me some more mead and a tub of apples along side,” He said drunkenly.
Thomas reluctantly agreed and made his way into the supply tent to fetch more mead for the already drunk lord to consume. The big barrels within the tent were heavy and put stress on Thomas’ arms. As he pulled a large jug out, one of the handles came loose and the jug fell to the floor spilling its contents at Thomas’ feet. Thomas cursed at his mistake knowing he would be punished in the future. As he was selecting another jug, he noticed something on his sword. One of the faces had disappeared, only three remained. It had been the most vibrant face, the one with the most tasteful features. Thomas, realizing he had no time for his mind to play tricks on him, quickly seized a jug and brought it out to Edmure.
“Where are my apples?” Edmure groaned.
“My Lord, there is nothing but wine and mead in the tent,” Thomas replied.
“The woods,” Edmure said.
“Excuse me?” Thomas questioned.
“There’s an orchard in the woods. Go there.”
Thomas, confused by his Lord’s knowledge, paused for a second or two before grabbing a woven basket and hurrying into the woods. The forest was damp and a fresh layer of fog had just settled. Thomas crept through briars and bushes sheepishly making his way towards the orchard which he could see far in front of him. As he moved through the brush, he heard birds calling above him, but when he looked up there was nothing but a canopy of leaves. When he got closer to the orchard it dawned on him to examine his sword for the missing face. His eyes searched for it but were caught in bewilderment as he realized something: another face had disappeared from his blade. Thomas was so overcome by confusion that he stopped right before the entrance to the orchard. He could have sworn there were three faces less than an hour ago now only a nearly blank one and a completely blank one remained.
Thomas’ attention was immediately drawn from the sword to a voice somewhere from within the grove.
“Hello?” Thomas searched for a reply.
A man stepped out from behind one of the trees. He was dressed in a set of red robes with a fur interior. His eyes were without color and his hair was old and gray. In his grasp was a golden scepter which looked heavy in his withered hand.
“Who… Who are you?” Thomas asked.
“You do not know?” The King replied.
Thomas examined him once again.
“I am your King,” the old man smiled.
“Truly?” Thomas asked unconvinced.
“What is a King doing so far out in the woods?”
“All Kings need rest. After all, Kingly things are much harder than servitude.”
“How did you know I was a squire?” Thomas questioned.
“I’m the King,” the King answered.
“If you are truly the King, why are you not wearing a crown?” Thomas asked.
“Crowns grow heavy when you are carrying them for so long. Sometimes it’s good to give them away,” the King replied quickly.
“Lord Edmure is a cruel man,” the King continued, “He is always forcing you to do things beyond your capability.”
The king began to walk calmly around Thomas picking an apple as he went and crushing it beneath his foot.
“How…” Thomas stumbled for words.
“I’m the King, remember?” the King, cut him off, “You would make a much better knight than he will ever be.”
“I’m not of noble birth,” Thomas said sullenly.
“But you know a King,” the King replied, “and you know what kings can do.”
“You wouldn’t,” Thomas’ eyes widened and his heart pounded, “you would knight me?”
“Of course,” the King’s posture had changed and he was now standing upright and holding the scepter steady in his hand.
“However, I do need something in return,” the King stopped circling Thomas and paused in front of him.
“I don’t have much but I’m willing to hand over anything in my possession,” Thomas said hastily for he had been overcome with joy.
“Then we have a deal,” the King stated, “I require a sword to knight you.”
Thomas hastily drew his sword from its scabbard and handed it over to the King.
“Is my sword what you want in exchange?” Thomas questioned.
“No,” the King answered solemnly.
The King placed the flat side of Thomas’ sword against his lips and spoke quiet gentle words.
“I will free you from your servitude,” the King said.
He laid the sword on each of Thomas’ shoulders as was customary for Kings to do whilst knighting.
“You may rise Sir Thomas the faceless,” the figure stated. The King was now no King at all. He was now a tall Knight in black armor with horns and wings painted upon his breastplate. As Thomas stood, he stared into his Sword. Only one face remained now. Only one. A blank empty face, just a circle with no soul.