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 [ENG] The Tale of Sir Rupert the Inept

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Erandir

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Number of posts : 25
Age : 30
Ort : San Francisco
Registration date : 2008-04-06

PostSubject: [ENG] The Tale of Sir Rupert the Inept   Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:00 am

Title: The Tale of Sir Rupert the Inept and Simon, his Squire
Author: Erandir
Rating: PG13
Warnings: Epic battle, ugly dragons, near-death, possible homosexual undertones.

A/N: This started as a poem, then turned into this short story, and eventually it will be a series of short stories because Rupert and Simon are just too amusing to not play with.

------------------------

1: The Tale of Sir Rupert the Inept and His Squire

Once upon a time, in a far off land, there lived a knight. Though he came from a noble and well known family the knight had no tales of glory to cement his own fame. Very few even knew who he was, and no one was quite sure how he had even become a knight.

Now, for the knight himself this was quite frustrating. He knew that he deserved his title, but had now way to prove it. The knight had entered many tournaments, but wound lose most every fight. It was not long before he became the laughing stock of the kingdom. The knight had found his fame, but not in the way he had wanted.

So the knight became determined to prove his quality and regain his honor. Taking up his lance and sword, Sir Rupert left the kingdom with only his squire in tow. He had heard tale of a dragon that held captive a town and meant to rid them of this pest.

No one expected to see Sir Rupert again.

But the knight did return, much to their surprise, with the head of the dragon as prize. Proof of his valor in battle.

His tale is now told far and wide, but there are some who say that it is not the truth. So what really happened?

------

Sir Rupert the Brave, as he should have been named, was tall and strong. His armor was never dull, but always shone like the rising sun. His sword was always sharp and ready, his lance always in hand. Ever was the knight ready for battle, but to be ready is not always to be victorious.

The squire, called Simon, had seen it many times. His lord would stand ready for battle, his sword in hand, but when the attack came he would cower. His reflexes, so strong and quick in training, would fail and leave him vulnerable. One blow to his shining armor would sap his strength and strike fear in him. One injury and he would surrender to his opponent.

So when the knight set out to slay a dragon, the squire was quite reasonably nervous.

“My lord I am not sure that this is such a good idea.”

“This is something that I must do, Simon,” the knight told his squire, “I will be laughed at no longer.”

“If you are killed they will laugh until they are dead,” the squire pointed out.

“If that is the case then I will be dead and I shall not hear them,” Sir Rupert replied stubbornly.

The squire sighed, but he knew there would be no changing his lord’s mind when he was determined. “I still do not think it is wise,” he said anyway.

But it did not matter what Simon thought. After all, he was just a squire, and Rupert was a knight. It did not matter that Simon probably had more common sense.

So they journeyed onward despite the squire’s better judgment, and despite many warnings. No tales of horror or woe from those they passed on the road could make Sir Rupert turn around, and Simon grew afraid that his knight might actually be too stubborn for his own good.

When they finally reached the besieged town, Simon was so afraid that he was reluctant to give Sir Rupert his sword.

“Simon, I need my sword to fight the dragon,” the knight argued.

“My lord you know as well as I how you fight. You will be killed if you face the dragon!” the squire insisted.

“I will not return to the king without that dragon’s head. I will not be thought of as a coward any longer.”

“Then we shall go to another kingdom,” Simon suggested desperately, “Start your training anew. No one will know the difference.”

“I will know the difference,” the knight snapped, growing impatient and frustrated. “I will not be able to live with myself until I return a hero!”

While the knight and his squire had been arguing the dragon had not been asleep. He had been brooding in his cave, sitting atop his shining horde, and he had grown hungry. It was time for lunch, he decided, and he trundled out of his cave to see what was to be had.

Farm animals had grown scarce, boring, and tasteless in the past few weeks. The dragon had moved on to more challenging and tastier game: humans. Though the humans fought back, and their clothes that got stuck in his teeth and sometimes made him ill, their meat was far more delicious than those fat animals. This caused further terror in the townsfolk when his form appeared on the horizon.

Those townsfolk, in terror, turned to Sir Rupert for their salvation. They put their faith and hope in him, but did not stay around to watch the fight. There was every chance that the dragon would defeat the knight, as it had many in the past, and when that happened the townsfolk did not want to be there to provide the dragon’s afternoon snack.

However, it is important to know that Sir Rupert had never seen a dragon before this moment. Before now he could not have known the true horror of the mighty creature.

Now he knew all too well.

When Sir Rupert set eyes on the scaly beast he became paralyzed by fear.

He cannot truly be blamed for his initial reaction, for even an experienced knight would find himself afeared at the sight of the horrific beast. So horrible was his visage that even the bravest might be forced to look aside in disgust. His muzzle was tracked with scars and scorches from his own teeth and flame, his wings so scarred it was near impossible for him to fly any longer. Yet his breast and belly were, like most of his kind, studded with the gold and gems of his horde; the objects that clung to his skin after his long sleep underground.
But when the monster dove toward them, its jaws agape and serpentine neck outstretched, it was not Sir Rupert, but his squire who thought to act.

Simon leapt to action as the dragon came toward them, swinging the large sword awkwardly at the beast. His strike missed entirely, but the dragon was sufficiently distracted from the panic stricken knight. His interest was no longer in Rupert, for the knight was no threat to him.

The squire realized his mistake instantly as the dragon turned his attention to Simon. The squire had absolutely no training with a blade, but right now he did not have much of a choice. Rupert was still not reacting, so Simon held the heavy blade before himself in what he hoped was a threatening manner, though the effect was somewhat negated by how his arms shook from the weight. The dragon did not seem affected.

The creature lunged, his jaws open wide and ready to swallow Simon whole. The terrified squire reacted on instinct alone and again swung the sword toward his foe.

This time he struck true, and the beast jerked back in surprise as a gash opened on the side of his nose. At first he seemed surprised as well that such a small creature could harm him. Simon was certainly surprised, but he did not have the time to dwell upon his sudden success before the dragon attacked again.

Startled, but with more confidence now, Simon struck back. Another gash opened upon the monster’s neck, causing the dragon to screech in rage. Simon struck again without thinking, plunging his sword into the dragon’s chest.

The creature screeched again and thrashed in pain. Simon was tossed about, but his sword was held fast within the flesh and bone of the dying beast. Unwilling to lose the blade that was his lord’s prized possession, Simon remained beneath the thrashing beast until he had freed the sword. But by then it was too late. The dragon released his final breath and collapsed, pinning Simon beneath.

“Simon!” Sir Rupert had watched the whole fight in awe and some disbelief. How could a boy with no training defeat a dragon when a knight did nothing? It seemed impossible, and yet he could not deny it had happened. Rupert had seen it. And now he was conflicted. Simon required his aid, but would the squire tell everyone what had truly transpired here? Would he let everyone know that the knight truly was a coward?

No. Simon was a friend more than he was a squire. He could not let him down when he needed him. Besides, he truly would be a coward if he left him now.

Sir Rupert hurried over to the body of the slain beast and heaved with all his might until the creature moved enough for him to pull free the prone form of his squire.

“My God, Simon,” the knight breathed as he carefully cradled the body of his squire. It was not hard to tell that Simon had many broken bones. The dragon had nearly crushed him to death. It would take a lot of work for him to survive injuries this severe.

As quickly and carefully as possible, the knight carried his squire back to the village. Simon needed care now or he might not last the night. The villagers asked no questions as they took in the blood soaked knight and squire. Rupert was not surprised that they assumed he had slain the dragon and rescued his squire from certain death. None of them suspected that the squire had done most of the saving.

Sir Rupert did nothing yet to change their minds. He claimed fatigue and concern for his squire and avoided any questions about the battle except to say that the dragon had been killed. Villagers had gone to confirm this, but Rupert was not concerned. After all, the dragon had been killed with his sword. To all intents and purposes it appeared he had done the deed.

------

It was many weeks before Simon was well enough to get out of bed and speak for any amount of time. By then the villagers were hailing Sir Rupert as a hero, and the knight grew worried that his squire would tell them the truth.

But Simon did not.

The knight was surprised but he did his best to hide it. He did not understand why Simon would not want that glory for himself.

“Simon?” the knight asked when they had a moment alone. The squire looked up at him from where he lay, bruised and bandaged, on the bed. Rupert felt ill when he looked at him. Simon should not have been injured. Sir Rupert himself was supposed to fight, supposed to protect Simon as well as the townspeople. He should have been the one laying on that bed. He had failed them all.

“Simon, I –“

Rupert was cut off when Simon pressed his fingers to the knight’s lips. “Do not,” the squire said slowly, smiling faintly. “You have slain the dragon. I do not wish to further tarnish your reputation. I do not desire that fame. Keep the glory for yourself.”

“Why?” the knight asked in confusion. There were countless people who would do anything for that fame?

Simon laughed a little, weakly. “You may not remember,” he said, “But we grew up together.”

“No, I remember,” Rupert assured.

“Even when you were little you dreamed of being a great knight,” Simon recalled fondly, a weak smile on his lips, “I used to watch you when you would play; pretending to be a legendary knight, fighting pretend dragons.”

“Apparently those pretend dragons are the only ones I am any good at fighting,” Rupert muttered.

“You have no faith in yourself,” Simon replied sternly, the smile turning a frown upon his tired face, “Just because you did not have the courage to face this one does not make you a coward.”

“But I am a knight, I am supposed to be brave,” Sir Rupert argued, “I am not supposed to know fear.”

“You told me once during your training that courage was not the lack of fear, but acting despite that fear,” the squire commented. “If that is the case, then all that you need to become courageous is to put that fear aside.”

Sir Rupert was silent as he took this in. He did not recall saying such a thing. It was possible that Simon had just now made it up, but there was truth in it. In tales of glory knights always seemed fearless. The others that Rupert knew did not seem to know fear either, but facing beasts such as the dragon that Simon had slain how could they not be afraid?

“Were you afraid when you faced the dragon?” the knight asked, needing that assurance.

“Terrified out of my mind,” Simon replied, looking as though he might laugh if he had the energy.

“You are more courageous than I, then,” Rupert sighed.

“Nay, I merely had the proper tools,” the squire insisted. “I held your sword still. You had no weapon to fight, nothing to defend yourself. I would have acted the same in your shoes.”

But would Rupert have acted the same in Simon’s shoes? That was what worried the knight. If it was only the weapon that mattered, why was it Rupert had lost so many tournaments? It was true that he was not afraid during the tournament fights. Was it then merely his lack of skill with a sword that let the other knights defeat him? Simon had neither skill nor training whatsoever, and he had taken down a dragon. Perhaps fighting dragons was actually easier than fighting other men. This new logic made Sir Rupert a good deal more confident that, should he face a monster again, he would not be afraid. He grew assured that next time he would not let anyone down.

------

It was a few more weeks before Simon was well enough for them to leave. The squire was still a little pale, and showed bruises evident of his still-healing bones. But Simon would not let them dally in the village any longer. He was determined to head home so that Sir Rupert could show his prize and obtain his well-earned and long-desired fame.

With the head of the dragon wrapped up and secured to a donkey that the townsfolk had given them Sir Rupert and his squire headed off down the long road home.

As they journeyed, Simon could tell that his lord still doubted himself. He did not think there would be any way to convince Sir Rupert of his worth until the knight defeated something himself. The squire rather hoped that something came soon; he was not particularly fond of the knight while he was moping about like this.

Lucky for them, or perhaps not, depending on your point of view, that something came before they returned to the kingdom. The two had been on the road for nine days. While stopping for the night they happened upon a cave. It seemed a good place to stay the night and the pair made camp. But shortly after nightfall the pair were set upon by a small company of goblins.

With Simon out of commission still it was up to Sir Rupert to fight them off, and he was determined to do just that.

Taking up his sword, Sir Rupert pushed aside his fear and faced the goblins. It was lucky for him that there were only a few and that goblins are naturally clumsy creatures, however.

Simon watched with bated breath as his lord faced the creatures. He new better than any now little skill the knight had with a sword. The talent had never come for Rupert, and no matter how determined he was the training never seemed to help much. Rupert was just not cut out to wield a sword.

Sir Rupert managed to beat them off in the dying light, but not without his fair share of injuries. Now, any knight worth his salt should have been able to fight off a rag-tag band of roving goblins with little or no trouble. Rupert’s struggle could have been blamed on the bad light after sunset, but Simon knew better. Rupert was just a very poor knight, but the squire would never tell him that.

When the goblins had fled or been slain the knight turned back to his squire. Behind the cuts, bruises and fatigue Rupert was smiling. His first victory after becoming a knight, small though it was, had helped him regain his confidence.

Simon would not take that away by telling him what a fool he looked.


Last edited by Erandir on Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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Erandir

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Number of posts : 25
Age : 30
Ort : San Francisco
Registration date : 2008-04-06

PostSubject: Re: [ENG] The Tale of Sir Rupert the Inept   Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:01 am

------

The knight and squire finally returned to their home kingdom. With the head of the dragon and Simon spinning a tale of valor Sir Rupert was greeted with cheers and acclaim. It was a strange experience for the formerly shunned knight, but and experience that he greatly enjoyed.

The king named him a hero and had bards begin right away to write the ballad of Sir Rupert the Brave. The knight was elated that he had finally achieved his life’s goal.

But this joy did not last long.

Now that he had proven his worth everyone wanted to see him fight. They encouraged him to enter tournaments or give shows for the technique that had slain the dragon. Sir Rupert could not show them this technique, and so began to grow worried again.

Simon encouraged his lord to train more, and Rupert did so. Knight and squire would work in private, secluded arenas where no one could see, and while they sparred or went through forms Rupert slowly improved, but Simon improved faster.

“You should have been the knight and I the squire,” Sir Rupert commented one day when Simon had bested him again.

It did seem that way, Simon was forced to agree. “I would not know what to do with all the fame,” he said instead.

Rupert looked over at him curiously, “Why do you hate attention so much?” he asked.

“I do not know,” Simon admitted, “Perhaps that is just how I was raised. I simply do not want the attention.”

The knight nodded in understanding. “What shall we do, then, if you continue to best me at swordplay?”

“Find something that you can best me at?” the squire suggested.

“Yet I have tried archery and I have tried the joust,” Sir Rupert replied, “And I am just as terrible at either of those.”

“Then,” Simon considered in hesitation, “Perhaps we should try to continue this farce.” The squire paused to see if Rupert would oppose. He did not. “We both know that I am a better swordsman than you, why not continue to let them think you are the one doing the deeds.”

The knight looked at him curiously. “How?”

“No one saw us fight the dragon, and for the most part it is likely to remain that way.” Simon explained, “So long as no one ever sees that I am the one doing the fighting they will never know.”

“And what about tournaments?” Sir Rupert asked, “With so much fame they will want me to enter. If I refuse they will be insulted.”

This was something Simon had not considered. Having been raised a peasant, insulting the royalty by refusing an invitation had never been a concern to him. “Is it possible to be out of the city or injured at the time of each tournament?”

“Well,” Rupert pondered for a moment, “I supposed that would be possible, although hard.”

“I believe it can be managed,” the squire said encouragingly, “Even if you seem to be incredibly clumsy in the process.”

The knight could not help laughing a little. It seemed impossible and yet they had already pulled it off once. All he had to do was remain a traveling knight. “This may be the craziest idea either of us has ever had,” he chuckled. “But if anyone could pull it off I believe that we can.”

And so Simon and Sir Rupert began the most elaborate farce of their time; the knight who could not fight and his dragon slaying squire. Time has yet to tell if they were ever found out.

The End
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[ENG] The Tale of Sir Rupert the Inept
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