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Subject: Honor on the Field, 14

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Date Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 09:52:18am
In reply to: Nell 's message, "Honor on the Field, con't." on Wednesday, November 16, 09:49:08am

~*~*~*~*~*~*Chapter 14*~*~*~*~*~*~

The next day dawned warm and bright and so Nikita went forward with her plan for a picnic. By midday, she was watching with satisfaction as the knights and their ladies reclined in happy repose in a carefully tended area of the Manor grounds as they listened to the strolling troubadour play.

Sir Phillip, also well pleased and in a very expansive mood, organized a boisterous conversation around the greatest events in tournament history, a game that was entrancing Edward, die-hard fan that he was, and where Edward was, so was the bulk of the party.

Nikita sat on the fringes, not really paying attention to her father because she had heard all these stories before, when to her surprise, Rouen appeared and sank down beside her. “My Lord?!”

Rouen shrugged, “I don’t care for tournament trivia.”

“Really? I’d’ve thought you of all people would find it fascinating.”

“Me? Why?”

As he looked genuinely surprised, and interested in her answer, Nikita replied diffidently, “well, you are the champion . . .”

“So it follows, I must be interested in other champions?”

Nikita shrugged helplessly. “Yes?”


“Why not?”

“The tournament developed as a way to for knights to keep their fighting skills fresh when there was no battle. It is not an end in itself, or it wasn’t supposed to be. Turning training into sport gave it interest, I suppose, but it disguised its true purpose.”

“Which is?”

“To retain killing skills, in-between wars.”

“Callous, my lord.”

“True, my lady.”

“Do you always treat death so casually?”

Rouen looked sharply at her. “I don’t treat it casually at all. I believe death, and meting death, is too awesome and too terrible to be dismissed as a game, as mere entertainment. That is why I don’t like trivializing the meaning of the tournament.”

“Is that what the tournament is for you, My lord? A substitute for war?”


Nikita regarded him silently for a moment, holding his gaze with a thoughtful expression that suggested she was trying to solve a riddle. Uncomfortable with the idea that she might be evaluating him, and finding him wanting, Samuelle waved a dismissive hand and said, “I didn’t approach you to discuss my view of the tournament - I wanted to tell you that I visited Marlborough this morning, and met a master builder there.”

Nikita’s expression shifted from thoughtful to shocked and wary in the blink of an eye. “Really, my lord?” she asked in a suddenly strained voice.

Samuelle smiled reassuringly. “Yes. Really. I was very impressed with him.”

Hope and pleasure shining in her eyes, Nikita breathed, “you were, my lord?”

“Yes. He is an intelligent and determined man, and appears to be quite skilled in his craft. Master builders with good reputations will never want for work.”

Nikita looked a cat licking cream as she said, “No.”

“He told me his ambition is to work on a Cathedral.”


“I expect he will achieve it, especially with the support of a good wife.”

Nikita looked down at her hands, a flush staining her skin a most attractive pale rose. “Thank you, my Lord.”


Hearing a note of concern in his voice, Nikita looked up to discover him looking at her with a very serious expression. “Yes?”

“Should your father,” Samuelle paused, uncertain of the best phrasing, “should Sir Phillip do less than he ought, I know the bishops overseeing two Cathedral projects in France; I would be honored to arrange a recommendation for Master Wellman.”

Nikita raised her chin proudly. “Thank you my lord, but I don’t think that will be necessary.”

Looking at her confident, happy face, Samuelle couldn’t banish the memory of Sir Phillip’s strange oblique reference to Nikita’s sympathetic touch when he met him in London. A reference made, Samuelle now realized, long after Phillip must have known that a good man, well able to provide for his bastard and apparently perfectly willing to forgo any support from Wirth wanted to marry her. Forcing down his misgivings, he smiled and said, “I don’t think so either, but remember the offer. Think of it as a betrothal gift, one I hope you have no need to use.”


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Subject Author Date
That was niceLauraWednesday, November 16, 10:17:21am
chapter 14skWednesday, November 16, 02:51:38pm
Loving this story. (NT)signme1Wednesday, November 16, 06:14:42pm

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