This week’s exercise based on Shore Leave by Lynda Hull
Write a descriptive3rd person scene between two people. The main character is experiencing something that is distressing, but the tone is celebratory and lyrical.
Sam the squire enters the village grounds riding behind his master Sir Bruce Sans Pitié. Sir Bruce is perched atop his mighty black warhorse, towering above the simpering peasants, his full plate armor shimmering in the bright midday sun, as if he is being graced by the personal touch of God. He argues with the village elder who grovels pitifully before him, while the other villagers stand around them in a wide circle. Suddenly, a flash of steel appears from his right hand, and the village elder’s head comes tumbling down onto the dusty ground. Shrill screams echo against the blue, serene sky. Two male villagers hastily enter into a house and they reappear moments later with a struggling maiden in their grasps. She screams hysterically when she sees her father’s headless body twitching in the sand, but they are quickly muffled by the gag forced into her mouth. “Bind the maiden and place her onto my squire’s horse,” he exclaims. “It’s a gift before he enters into his full knighthood.”
They gallop across Sherwood Forest with great velocity, the horses’ hooves thundering as they speed across the dry soil, while they bask in the shadows of giant ancient oaks towering above them. Sir Bruce starts bawling out a bawdy song about a bartender’s wife while Sam occasionally steals a glance at the maiden sitting behind him, and he can’t believe his luck and he starts getting lost in his daydreams where he is doing the very same things that his master is singing. He hums along to the tune, feeling the wind brush across his face and hair, and he starts laughing, laughing raucously at the sky, the trees, the little forest creatures fleeing away of these imposing giants rushing towards them, when suddenly they spot a white knight in the distance galloping their way.
Sir Bruce tells Sam to stand his ground at this very spot and await the incoming challenge, while he himself gallops off to set up an ambush. So he just waits there calmly as the white knight approaches, in eager anticipation of the battle which is about to ensue. When the white knight has come within earshot of Sam, he cries out: “In the name of King Arthur! In the name of everything that is good and just, release that maiden or I will drive this sword tip through your soft belly, as God is my witness!”
Sam laughs at this blasphemy, and he sits there on his horse with his drawn dagger, taunting the knight to come closer and challenge him properly. The white knight complies, and he charges towards Sam in full speed, his outstretched sword held firmly in his right hand. But Sam knows he does not have to meet the challenge. Just as they are about to clash, Sir Bruce suddenly appears from nowhere from the right side, ululating a loud battle cry. It is a truly fearsome sight to behold. He has become an avenging angel descended from heaven to smite the true enemies of God. The white knight sits paralyzed with awe for just a split-second, before he feebly brings up his shield, but the delay is more than enough for Sir Bruce to strike a mighty blow with his sword across his opponent’s helmet. The white knight topples from his horse, and he lies there on the forest floor, blood streaming out from within his helmet. Bruce Sans Pitié looks briefly down at his opponent before bringing down his horse’s hooves upon his back. The battle is clearly over, barely before it has begun.
With his last gasp, the white knight lifts his head and looks straight into Sam’s eyes trying to speak to him. He murmurs something, barely comprehensible, some gibberish about justice and right. But Sam’s attention is already focused elsewhere. Sir Bruce Sans Pitié, his master, is galloping away amongst the trees, almost out of sight, and Sam knows he has better get going as well if he doesn’t want to fall too far behind.