11 The Honor of a Knight

The Honor of a Knight

By Audrey High

Long ago, in the land of Camelot, I went to King Arthur’s court to serve him as a knight, having trained long and hard as a squire beforehand. The castle was tall and grand. I was afraid that he wouldn’t live up to the standards of the other knights. In the council room was a circular stone table. Twelve knights were seated around it, as well as King Arthur himself. I took my seat next to Mordred, Arthur’s right-hand man, who was also his son. My name was engraved in the place in front of my chair. I breathed deeply. I was officially a knight at the round table.

King Arthur rose to his feet, all his royal glory shifted in his mannerisms. He introduced me to the rest of the knights and Guinevere, his queen. They all nodded in my direction respectfully. I read the names in the places of the round table. Lancelot, Gwain, Gareth, Kay, they all seemed very honorable. I had heard stories of each of them in my little town of Celeste Shire, such a noble name for such a small town.

After a short meeting, the knights were dismissed. Sir Gwain came up to me afterwards. “Welcome to our brotherhood,” he told me. “I guess it’s a brother and sisterhood now.”

He grinned. Queen Guinevere received me with dignity.

“If you ever need anything, just ask me. Women at court must look out for each other.” She smiled. I smiled and we headed to the dining room for dinner. The tables were filled with all kinds of food. There were roast turkeys and venison, fruits of various kinds, and desserts of all types.

After eating my fill, I was taken to my quarters. The castle servants served me well.

During the night, I couldn’t sleep. I decided to explore the castle. As I made my way through the halls, I thought I could hear voices. I followed the voices in the dark. My father told me to sleep with my sword close to me in case of invasion. The other knights find it strange. Lancelot laughed openly at me, but I kept my promise to my father. I followed the voices to the library where I could hear Mordred’s voice as well as a woman’s voice.

“…in Arthur’s drink and give his kingdom a toast. He should be dead by dawn. the woman told him.

“Thank you mother.” Mordred sounded cheerful. “Arthur’s rule is getting too long for my


I quickly ran back to my quarters. I thought about what I had just heard. Was Mordred

really plotting against the king? Who is Mordred’s mother? There had been rumors that his mother was the sorceress Morgana, but are the rumors true? I knew I should tell someone, but who would I tell? It wouldn’t be appropriate to wake the king in the middle of the night to tell him something he probably wouldn’t believe. I decided to tell Queen Guinevere. I would feel more comfortable telling another woman, and she told me if I needed anything to go with her. I

cautiously went to Guinevere’s chambers. She was reading a book and when she saw me, she put it aside immediately.

“What’s worrying you?” she asked, looking at my disturbed expression. Guinevere listened to what I had to say. She drank in every little detail, yet her expression darkened as I continued. When I finished, she thought this over, clearly concerned about what unfolded.

“I think you should go back to bed, you could have dreamed everything. Goodnight.” I thought she would surely believe me. I made my way back to my quarters. If Guinevere didn’t believe me, Arthur surely wouldn’t. I slept uneasily the rest of the night.

In the morning at breakfast, I did not eat much. The rest of the day was spent mostly training and riding my horse. I was given a squire of my own, a young lad named Adrian. He was an older squire whose previous knight had been severely wounded in a jousting match. The gentleman had never recovered well enough to return to duty. That night, at dinner, Mordred stood up, a golden goblet in his hand.

“A toast to your majesty, King Arthur!” All the knights in the hall rejoiced.

“Eat, drink, and be merry my friends and celebrate the long rule of the king!” I knew I had to act fast. I knew that I could be kicked out of the order, but I also knew that the king would die if I didn’t act now. I jumped up and knocked the goblet out of the king’s hand before he took a sip. The entire dining room fell silent. They all looked at me. I got up straight and addressed the crowd.

“Mordred has tried to poison the king with the help of his mother, Morgana!” I wasn’t entirely sure about the Morgana part, but it was what I had. Mordred immediately got up to defend himself.

“You are a foolish knight! My loyalty is to the king! I would never wish for him to be harmed!”

I felt my face heat up. I looked at Guinevere for backup. She wouldn’t make eye contact.

I ran from the hall and to my quarters. A servant named Bethany came to check on me.

I spent the rest of the night in my quarters, ashamed of my actions. I fell asleep, not having changed into my night clothes.

In the night, I woke up to the squeak of a floorboard. I opened my eyes to see Mordred’s sword pointed at my face. A murderous look was in his blue eyes. I instinctively grabbed my sword, which was next to my bed, and pushed his sword away. Mordred swung his sword, aiming for my neck. I ducked and shielded myself with my sword. I stood up and kicked Mordred in the stomach with my boot. He fell backward through the door and crashed into the wall. I

swung my sword, but he blocked it. He started running down the hall. I ran after Mordred. I wasn’t going to let my near-murderer get away.

Mordred turned a corner and disappeared. I walked slowly down the hall, listening for anything that might give away his location. I heard a clattering sound inside a tower door. I grabbed a torch off the wall. Opening the door, I found Mordred hurrying to pick up his sword. It must have fallen while climbing the ladder. As soon as he saw me, Mordred leapt up the ladder, stifling a grunt as his leg hit the ladder hard. I quickly climbed it after him. I’d only climbed a ladder with a sword a few times before.

Mordred opened a trapdoor in the ceiling. He climbed on the roof. The cold night air was a bit shocking as I climbed onto the roof, but it wasn’t enough to stop me from chasing a killer.

Mordred stood with his sword ready for a fight. “It ends here, my lady. you have lost.”

I licked my lips that were salty with sweat. “I’m still breathing, aren’t I?”

Mordred lunged, and I parried. I thrusted my sword at his throat and he blocked it. He pushed back with his sword and backed me onto the slippery tiles of the roof.

Thunder rumbled overhead. I felt raindrops on my hands. It started pouring pretty quickly. I wiped the rain and sweat from my eyes and parried an attack from Mordred. We each traded blows back and forth for a while. I didn’t realize until we were at the edge of the roof that he was intentionally pushing me back. He was trying to push me off. Mordred took a swing at my sword arm. I bit my lip and tasted blood. I could feel the warmth of my blood on my arm through the cold of the rain. With my weakened arm, I couldn’t adequately block the next blow to my side. I got dizzy for a few moments. Mordred knocked my sword from my hand. He grabbed my throat and lifted me off the roof. I could barely breathe, but I could just enough to stay conscious. My sword arm hung limp at my side.

“Do you want to know why I hesitated?” He asked. “Do you want to know why I didn’t kill you right away?” His blue eyes stared into mine. “I guess you’ll find you eventually.”

His grip loosened on my throat. He was about to drop me. I feebly swung my uninjured arm at him, barely brushing his tunic.

I stared him in the eyes. I wanted him to have the face of the person he was about to kill imprinted in his memory. His eyes were cold, yet I saw something else in them, reluctance?

Mordred pulled me in slightly.

“I will regret this for the rest of my life.” He let go.

I felt the world rush around me as I fell, everything seeming to move in slow motion. I thought of Mordred’s last words to me. I will regret this for the rest of my life. I thought of my life and my sacrifice for Arthur and all of Britain. Nothing would have been better. My last thought as I impacted the cold hard cobblestone was: “Arthur, it was an honor serving you and God.”

It is always a knight’s honor to serve his or her king and country, even at the cost of perceived foolishness, or of one’s life.


Anoka County Library Write On! 2023 Short Story Contest Winners Copyright © 2023 by Avrie Siedschlag; Ella Howard; Greta Graham; Renad Taher; Rachel Mueller; Daniel Gbati; Julia McBride; Audrey High; Lucia Floan; Rhett LeBeau; Anna Moline; Hannah Jemming; Valomi Lewis; Fen Hendren; Kathryn Downs; Megan Nguyen; Lizzie Elsenpeter; Sophia Accord; and Sophia Acord. All Rights Reserved.

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