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The Robber Knight


Reuben woke up in a bed that wasn't his, in a stone room he didn't recognize. That in itself wouldn't have been too strange: he often woke up in unfamiliar rooms, when he had gotten drunk the night before and the proprietor of the inn had had to carry him up the stairs. The fact that Reuben was missing his sword, shirt and pants however, and that there seemed to be three arrows sticking out of his back was slightly more disturbing.

Quickly, Reuben reached behind and checked where exactly the arrows had pierced his skin – on the right side, far away from both his spine, his lungs and his heart, so the injury was not life threatening. He wondered why he had passed out in the first place. He must have been thrown forward by the arrows and knocked his head on something. Of course he couldn't remember feeling any pain in his head, but that was the only logical conclusion.

How embarrassing!

Because of this stupidity he now was here, probably the prisoner of the very men who earlier this day had had the audacity to demand his surrender. He, a prisoner? His face contorted in a grim smile. 'We will see about that', he thought.

Nimbly, he jumped to his feet. The arrows in his back twisted a bit from the motion. It was a curious feeling.

In a flash he examined his surroundings. A friendly, warm-looking room with a carpet on the floor, drapes in front of the windows, a comfortable bed, a chest, two chairs and a table. Reuben frowned. This didn't look much like a prison.

He went to the door and pushed. It swung open, easily. A further indication that his original theory had not been correct. Reuben knew from long experience that prisons tended not to have unlocked doors.

He pulled the door shut again so that nobody passing outside would notice he had awoken and went to the window. The movement twisted the arrows in his back again and he felt trickles of blood streaming from the wounds, but he paid them no heed. There were more important things to think about right now.

Having reached the window, he measured the narrow gap in the stone wall with a practiced eye. Too narrow for him to climb through, damn! Well, at least he could have a look where he was. Maybe that would give him a hint as to who was holding him and why they had brought him here.

Reuben had a very bad feeling about his current situation. If people took good care of you, that usually meant they wanted you to live so that they could have the pleasure of torturing or enslaving you later. Personally, he wasn't up for either of these options.

His plan was simple: to get out of this place and far away as quickly as possible. He had no clue where he was – the last thing he remembered was fighting the men in the clearing, and after that, there were only the strange and terrifying visions of unconsciousness. The dungeon... yes, he remembered dreaming of the dungeons while he was unconscious, and of the aghast faces of his interrogators, and the darkness, and the girl...


He frowned. Why had the girl played any role in his dreams? The girl he had robbed only today? Normally, only his torturous days in the dungeon plagued him. Nevertheless, he could have sworn that for a minute he saw her face floating above his. Why was that? Well, she had been a pain in the ass. Maybe, he thought with a wry smile, enough of one to be lumped in with his other nightmares.

Shaking his head, he berated himself. These useless meanderings got him nowhere. The girl was long gone and he was awake now. His only aim was to get out of this place, quick, and if possible, alive.

Reuben took the last step to the window and his eyes widened. Before him lay the most beautiful view he had ever seen. A narrow, fast flowing river, winding its path between gentle wooded slopes. They formed a valley, the same valley he had ridden through earlier. The house he was in had to stand on a tall hill, maybe a mountain even, right in the middle of the valley.

Reuben's eyes traveled downwards and saw one, no, two great walls surrounding the house, with towers here and there, atop which fluttered a banner showing a white flower on blue background. There was also a gate house with a portcullis with guards on duty. Servants were hurrying about and men in armor were gathering in the courtyard in front of the house.

No, not 'house'.

Reuben raised his hand and slowly caressed the thick wall. Not a house – a castle. The castle. Reuben's heartbeat quickened. The castle where the lord of these lands lived. The man who was responsible for exacting justice on people like thieves, murderers, and, oh yes, robber knights.

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Ian Somerhalderas Sir Reuben
Jennifer Lawrenceas Lady Ayla
Danny Trejoas Burchard
Dennis Hopperas Sir Isenbard

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