A True and Perfect Knight

A True and Perfect Knight by Rue Allyn

Book: A True and Perfect Knight by Rue Allyn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rue Allyn
into a hug.
    “I am glad you found me. I could not find my way back to the river, and I heard noises, so I hid, and it got dark, and I was scared. I did not want to be scared. I wanted to be brave, like you and Father.”
    The boy paused for breath.
    Haven closed his eyes tight on the memory of Roger’s courage, despite the perfidy that ended his life. Thomas would never know his father.
    Haven placed a hand over the child’s mouth. “Hush now. You are safe with me.” Haven lifted his hand. “As soon as I stop walking, you may talk all you like, but right now we must be quiet.”
    “Why?”
    “Sssh. All good warriors are quiet when they move. You can be a good warrior, can you not?”
    Thomas opened his mouth.
    Haven placed a finger against the boy’s lips.
    Thomas closed his mouth and nodded his understanding.
    Haven gave him a gentle squeeze of approval, then started walking at a right angle to his former track. His direction led him through heavy growth that made soundless travel nearly impossible. He prayed that he made no more noise than any other animal that prowled the night.
    After he had traveled an estimated half a league, Haven stopped at the first clearing. His muscles ached from carrying Thomas, who had fallen asleep once Haven had settled into a steady pace. The sudden cessation of movement woke the boy. His stomach grumbled in concert with Haven’s empty belly.
    “I am hungry. Can we have rabbit stew? I like rabbit stew best of all the things Rene makes, except for honeyed oat cakes.”
    Haven put Thomas on the ground and took his hand, leading him across the clearing to a large oak tree. “I like rabbit stew also, Thomas, but we cannot build a fire for cooking tonight, nor do I have a rabbit to make stew from. We must be warriors tonight and eat warrior’s food.”
    He studied the arrangement of branches in the old tree. While he might be able to climb the tree and haul Thomas up with him, none of the branches were thick enough to provide a bed for a man his size without danger of falling. He doubted that he could get Thomas to sleep in the tree without him. Haven resigned himself to a night spent on the damp ground. The tree would guard his back. God would have to guard the rest as he saw fit.
    He felt Thomas tug on his hand. “Did you hear me?” The boy sounded worried.
    Haven knelt. “I am sorry. I do not think I heard your question.”
    “I asked if we are going to stay here.”
    “Yes, we are.”
    “Where are the beds and linens? Mama says sleeping without linens is uncil…unci…uncibilied.”
    Haven smiled inwardly. The boy put up a good front. But Haven could feel the child tremble. “Your mama is correct. However, warriors do many uncivilized things.”
    “Why?”
    “Because at the time those things are necessary, and civilized things might get in the way of a warrior doing his duty.”
    “When will we eat the warrior food?”
    “As soon as we make ourselves a bed to sleep on.”
    “How will we do that?”
    “Do you see those pine trees over there?”
    “Aye.”
    “Help me gather as many fallen branches as you can. We’ll pile them here in the notch between these two large roots. When we have a pile as wide as you are tall and half again as long as I am, we’ll eat our warrior’s dinner.”
    “ C’est bon. ” Thomas scampered off to the pine trees. Haven searched his chosen spot for hidden burrows.
    He had no desire to be awakened in the early hours by an angry animal trying to get out of its home. Finding nothing, he joined Thomas in the search for good branches from which to make their bed. Soon they settled on a springy mound of pine boughs. Haven sat with his back to the huge oak, placing his drawn sword ready to hand by his side. Thomas placed himself squarely between Haven’s legs and held out his hands.
    “I suppose you want your warrior’s food now.”
    “Please you, Sir Haven. I’ve been a good warrior. I was quiet, and I helped to make our bed as you

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