Story Time – The Knight of Wands
Hello to all,
While I am re-working The Knight of Wands I have decided to write a fictional drama around him and will probably do so for all The Knights as I get to them. I hope you enjoy these mini dramas and that they might help you get to know our lovely Knights a little better. It is all great fun playing with their characters and creating dramas, plots and romance around their lives.
The Drama of The Knight of Wands Part One – The Homecoming
As we enter the action of The Knight of Wands Card, The Knight is nowhere to be seen. Instead we find ourselves in the cold cobbled inner courtyard of a 16th century castle. The place is a hive of activity with men and women of all ages running to and fro, fetching and carrying all manner of items, even furniture. Tall ladders line the strong stone castle walls, while young boys scurry up and down them to hang garlands of dark green foliage and rich red berries. Everyone is extremely busy, even the Smith whose hammer rings out sharp and clear in the cold morning air, as it connects with hot metal somewhere in the distance. A rotund red-faced young girl runs shouting from a doorway and attempts to round-up a goose that has tried to escape its fate. As we take in the scene around us, we realise it is one of preparation and anticipation. The Castle is being lavishly decorated for a celebration of some kind, even the entrance gate just across the drawbridge and under the portcullis is draped with flowers and greenery.
A clatter and thud of loud hooves in the outer courtyard draws everyone to attention. The Castle Guards rush forward and hail the rider who carries The Royal Standard. He dismounts and breathlessly shouts out loud and clear ‘Hear ye, hear ye, The King is nigh, prepare for The King’s arrival’. A mad rush of sheer frenzy follows as all involved must cease their activity and line up to greet their King. Our eyes are drawn to the second floor window on the west wall of the castle. Three, maybe more young women’s heads bob back and forth. These are The Ladies of the castle and from what we can see, look beautifully dressed and groomed.
A trumpet sounds loud and clear and a voice calls out ‘The King is here, The King is here’. And with that, three horsemen thunder across the drawbridge, under the portcullis and appear through the gateway in a cloud of steam. Horses call out to each other as they circle excitedly among those who stand waiting for orders to be relayed to them. The three horsemen seem in high spirits and shout and laugh as they greet familiar faces.
For a moment silence descends upon the courtyard as all drop into a low bow, eyes to the ground, they hold their stance agonisingly long as The King takes in his surroundings before giving the signal for all to relax. Grooms then spring into action and move rapidly to take care of their charges. The three horsemen quickly dismount. They lead their steaming horses steadily away so that they can be fed, watered and brushed down.
The King and his two companions disappear at haste up steep stone steps and enter the castle hall through its thick oak doorway. We follow unobtrusively behind them, eager not to be seen. There is an air of excitement and anticipation in the way everyone seems to be hurrying and rushing here and there. The mood is light and jolly.
Inside the Great Hall, we encounter yet more servants and maids in a flurry of activity. Two scullery maids tending the large roaring fire in the Great Hall blush with mortification when the three men come upon them unexpectedly. They had been giggling and chatting instead of working and under normal circumstances would have been severely chastised, but The King, whose mood today cannot be broken, laughs with them before sending them on their way.
The King and his companions stand by the bright burning flames and warm their cold bodies. A manservant arrives with a tray of wine and some bread and ham for the exhilarated, yet weary travellers to break their fast with. They had been riding all night and were eager to fall upon their food.
The approaching Manservant once in the presence of The King drops his head and stares to the floor until he is given permission to rise. Taking a liberty, he speaks out, ‘my Liege, it is good to see you returned safely to us once more. And your son, The Knight of Wands, has he safely landed too?” The King turns to his trusty manservant and dispensing on this occasion with formalities he gives him a friendly pat on the back. ‘It is certainly good to be back home for a while, and yes, my son will be here before nightfall. I trust all is in place for the festivities tonight and for the Jousting Tournament tomorrow? My son, The Knight of Wands, will be bringing some people with him, new acquaintances. We want to make a very good impression on them and I am happy to see how well the castle is being prepared for their arrival. They come from some of the most noble and aristocratic families in Europe, and this visit, once successful, will strengthen the allegiance between us. Nothing must go wrong. I want their every wish, desire and need catered for. These are my orders and make sure everyone is informed and aware. Do you understand?” The King stared into his Manservant’s eyes and held his gaze just long enough for him to be totally clear of his instructions. The Manservant nodded silently and with bowed head backed slowly and quietly away from his King and Master.
The King returned his attention to his two companions, now nicely warmed by the blazing logs and the pungent heat of the strong wine. Feeling restored after their long ride, they settled into deep conversation about the imminent arrival of The King’s son, The Knight of Wands and the important Royals who would visit with him. We listen to them speculate about The Knight’s overseas adventures and conquests. They voice their concerns about the ongoing battles over territory and power, allies and foes, and discuss strategies for future battles. They also discuss in-depth the entourage who will later arrive with The Knight of Wands. Which ones can they trust? Which ones will join forces with them and who will ride out with The Knight of Wands to lead their armies to glorious success and triumph? They decide to closely observe the other Knight’s qualities, skills and strengths at the Jousting Tournament the next day. They will also watch closely to discover their weaknesses.
Up the stairs and at the far side of the inner courtyard, sits The Queen of Wands with her Ladies-in-waiting. The Queen’s rooms are known for their liveliness and good humour. Her Ladies-in- waiting are the envy of all, for this Queen is bright, sunny and generous. Her energy and spontaneity keeps them all on their toes, and boredom at bay. The Queen likes to sing, dance and laugh, and provides daily entertainment in her rooms for those closest to her.
The Queen of Wands hates to sew and becomes quickly impatient with all the needlework she is expected to be a part of. Today is no exception but there is an extra restlessness about her which makes her pace up and down her Royal Apartments and draws her frequently to the window, or to the chamber door, where she shouts out enquiring of The Guards ‘any news yet?’ Her Ladies-in-waiting do their best to engage her with snippets of gossip from Court life, a new style of hood that is very ‘French’ , and about the excellent form of her big hunter on his last outing. Nothing seems to impress or hold her attention as she paces anxiously, yet excitedly around the large inner chamber. Even the offer of the bright gold silk thread to embroider the sun cannot capture her imagination.
The Ladies-in-waiting all looked to each other and sighed. They all knew The King had arrived and his very presence in the castle had created strong energy vibrations all around. His presence today also meant that his son, The Knight of Wand’s arrival was imminent. The Queen of Wand’s limited patience had been severely put to the test these last six months. Both her strong, powerful husband, and vibrant, virile, son away overseas fighting battles and defeating the enemy, while she had to stay at home and keep busy.
Trusted implicitly by her husband, The King of Wands, thankfully she had not suffered the same fate as many other wives left to entertain themselves in their husband’s absence. The Queen of Wands had been left in a position of Governing Power. Not full power of course, but he knew he could rely on her to do what had to be done, and also to keep an eye on those who could cause trouble for The Kingdom in his absence. He knew she was no fool, and if the situation called for it would be able to confidently rule The Kingdom herself without any help from him. She was strong-headed and feisty, with an independent nature and natural curiosity. Nothing would slip by her attention, and all within the Castle were well aware of the power of their Queen. The Queen knew she was an excellent match for her husband’s mite but remained vigilant about not appearing to be in competition with him, or too forceful in her opinions. Being a clever woman, she had ways of getting what she wanted. However, being a Queen, she had to bow to the etiquette and protocol of a Queenly life which is why she now waited to be summoned by her King instead of just running to greet him as she wished to do.
One of the Queen’s Ladies-in-waiting picked up the gold thread declined by The Queen and began to embroider the sun. Her own hair, although mostly covered by her fashionable hood, was just as bright and dazzling as the silk thread. In fact, she believed her own hair would make a more suitable match for the sun than the expensive silk thread she drew between her delicate fingers. Outwardly she appeared calm and consistent, just as she did every day, but inside her heart pounded in her chest. Every time a horse and rider arrived in the outer courtyard she nearly dropped her needle, and it took all her concentration to steady her hands. Her eyes darted from the window to the door, waiting and willing for something to happen. She thought she would go mad with all this waiting. She understood how The Queen felt, but unlike The Queen, she was frustrated for a very different reason.
Suddenly voices came from outside and there was the familiar noise of The Guards standing to attention. The Queen stopped her pacing and faced the door as it flung open before her. She dropped into a low curtsey before The King, as did all her Ladies-in-waiting, eyes cast down, stomachs a flutter with nerves and anticipation. The King moved swiftly, and breaking all Kingly etiquette and protocol, swept his wife into a passionate embrace before holding her in his extended arms for a closer inspection. The Queen’s face was radiant and alive with happiness. Taking her arm in his he marched her out the door startling The Guards into attention once more. The Queen’s Ladies-in-waiting rose to follow their mistress but The King waved them back and announced that he wished to speak alone with The Queen. Embarrassed looks were exchanged all round as The Ladies-in-waiting dropped into sweeping, acknowledging curtsies.
Once the door closed behind The King and Queen, all pretence at focusing on needlework was gone. The Queen’s Ladies scattered about the room exchanging excited chatter as they danced around in circles. They ran to the window seats and climbed up high to view the activity down below in the Courtyard. They strained their eyes as far as they could see in search of the Royal Standard that would herald the arrival of The Knight of Wands. Still nothing on the horizon. They turned back to each other to breathlessly discuss the festivities and celebrations the coming night would bring; the dancing, the entertainment, the merry-making, the courting, flirting and possible lovemaking. It was all possible now that the men had arrived home. Court Life could begin in earnest once more, and tomorrow there was The Jousting Tournament to look forward to. Life had certainly picked up. Fun was in the air again and the promise of exciting days ahead. The Knight of Wands had been sorely missed.
A message arrived to The Queen’s Chambers dismissing her Ladies-in-waiting until later when they would be expected to return to prepare and dress their mistress for the night ahead. Their Queen knew how excited they were about the return of The Court and was happy to allow them some time and freedom to prepare. She had chosen her Ladies for their engaging dispositions, enthusiasm and liveliness. She despised the boring, dull, lifeless faces of some of the other Ladies in the Castle. Ladies who had nothing to say for themselves, no opinions and no interests, other than their husbands’. She felt in a wonderful mood and couldn’t wait to see her son again but in the meantime, she had matters of State to discuss with the newly returned King.
Giggling like children, The Queen’s Ladies ran skittishly down the corridors, while The Guards smiled and admired them from behind. The sound of a trumpet in the courtyard below sent them into a mad tizzy. Orders were called out from one Guard to another as the message was communicated rapidly around the castle confines. ‘The Knight of Wands had arrived, he was home at long last. After a six months’ absence travelling to far distant lands, facing the enemy, marching into battle, seizing territory and conquering all who stood in his way, The Knight of Wands had returned in a blaze of triumphant glory. News of his conquests had travelled ahead of him and whereas he had departed a Knight who showed promise and skill, he had returned as a Knight who had proven his mettle and had already become a living legend, a Warrior Knight of Knights.
In the kitchens they spoke of their Knight as invincible, immortal, fearless and lion-hearted. In the Queen’s chambers her Ladies spoke in hushed whispers of his virility, strong athletic body and handsome looks. They were all in love with him, all vied to catch his attention and all longed to be the chosen one. Tonight, all would dress to impress their young and dynamic Knight, hoping his gaze may fall upon them, yet at the same time fearful of swooning if their wishes did happen to come true.
One among them, she with the golden hair, secretly entertained more than just a look or gaze from her dashing, brilliant Knight. Indeed she intended to take up where she had left off six months ago when The Knight of Wands gallantly rode out and away in the early morning summer mists, to lands far away, and an enemy known for his brutality and menace. She had stood on the turret stairs then, sobbing and weeping quietly to her brave and courageous Knight, begging him to stay, yet equally proud of his willingness to lay down his life to protect his country and his family’s honour. As she secretly watched his departure that early morning, she could still feel the heat of his body on her skin, the tautness of his muscles as he had held her in his strong embrace, his passion intense and wild. She had abandoned herself to him, risked discovery and ruin, as she ran her fingers through his coarse dark auburn hair in the candlelit enclosure of his bedchamber. His Guards, sworn to secrecy had smuggled her into his room that eve anxious to gain the trust of their Master who may not return from the battle fields so far away.
On the turret stairs he had held her close and whispered promises of love and a lifetime of passion when he returned. She had let him go that morn and vowed she would love no other but him, and would count the days away until his return. She had pulled the silk scarf from around her delicate shoulders and shivering in the chilly air insisted he take it as a talisman that would protect and keep him safe. The Knight of Wands had accepted her gift and said he would tuck it away safely inside the cold heavy armour he would ride out to battle in.
And so she had waited, six long months for this very day. Her passion and love burned strong and deep and she congratulated herself on keeping their secret safe and sound. Not even The Queen had guessed of their secret romance. Her heart beat so hard, she thought it could be heard echoing around the stone hallways of the castle, but no one seemed to notice. After all this time, The Knight of Wands was close by, so close, she would soon hear his voice, see his rugged face and those striking emerald-green eyes. She knew she would have to contain herself, not show her real emotions. She would have to wait until he summoned her later. Then, and only then could she fall into his waiting arms. She would soon lie beside her man once more, her Knight of Wands, and release the passion for him that burned so strong inside.
Trumpets and horns sounded loud and sharp in the clear winter air of the courtyard as under the portcullis came the thunder of hooves and loud cheering voices. The Queen’s Ladies ran to the nearest windows and throwing formalities and ladylike behaviour aside, climbed up onto the narrow ledges to get the best view.
The Royal Standard billowed in the evening breeze, showing obvious signs of stainage from the long journey it had endured. It momentarily blocked the Ladies’ view forcing them to scramble along the window ledge to see around it. Suddenly, there he was, he, The Knight of Wands, returned from battles in far distant lands, home once again. A joy to behold. The Ladies standing on tip toe upon the window ledge all gasped as they took in the scene below.
To be continued………..
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