A clearing dappled with light,
soothed with the gentleness of the wind,
such is where the knight laid to rest.
His long sword astride his horse,
and his lance upright against the tree,
he nursed wounds endured thus far.
He would build a fire
to fight the chill of his armour,
but rest was all he could manage.
Dropping his shield, a clatter
which eclipsed his armour's crashing,
the knight fell against the tree.
And his weary eyes drifted
with the consistency of smoke,
scanning trees he'd passed
and seeing his slain amongst them.
He feared that, looking hard enough,
would force pale spirits to rise before him.
He struggled to remember if these slain
were his brothers or his foes,
the line of the dead blurred and stirred
until he felt at one and apart from all.
"Oh Mary protect me," his dry mouth struggled,
"I feel my hour is upon me, and valiantly I've fought."
And with his prayer came rustling,
a brigand bursting forth from the brush
and two Catholic knights behind.
Stumbling with his wound,
he fell down to the bluebells
and tried to stand with his falchion.
"Curse you," he cried,
"you will never see heaven,
on God you are not worthy!"
They prepared a final blow,
but stopped when they heard
the wounded knight remove his helm.
"I prayed to the holy mother
and you were what she gave."
He made a laboured stance,
the difficulty clear in his face,
and clasping his lance deftly
"all of you enemies of heaven, all of you!"
His horse was much too distant,
and he stood painfully against the tree
breathing heavy with lance in hand.
No one moved, no one breathed,
least of all the Catholics
who recognised this lone knight.
they too removed their helms
and our knight, winded with shock,
he pointed to them with shaking hand.
"How can this be, my brothers...
You are with the church again?"
"And you are not," one spat;
contempt a thick venom in his veins.
But still no move was made
until the brigand tried to run,
at which point the Catholics grasped him
and forced his rebellious body to the knees.
Instead of facing trial and execution,
he was stabbed on the spot
and told he may leave.
He took slow, laboured breaths,
and in five paces collapsed to the blossom,
the sunlight speckled but soothing upon his skin.
"You're cruelty has no reason, my friends.
The church is controlling your hand,
and I shed a tear for your souls."
Taking his lance in both hands,
our knight pushed away from his tree,
and he bravely stood with wavering strength.
"I dreamed of ascending
both of you at my side,
but I see I've been cheated
and though it gives me the will to fight,
I almost wish I had the strength
to drop my lance and give you my soul."
"Our fates will be heroic brother,"
one of the Catholics managed to say
with tears clouding his vision.
"I will not disappoint you,
in delivering you to paradise,
though I know you will fight well."
So they fell to battle,
in that ring of green,
all the world so still,
in wait of the victor.
The birds and the beasts captivated,
the people sensing tremors in the air.
The wounded knight led,
with clumsy thrusts a plenty.
But the Catholic short-maces
struggled to counter the lance-stab.
So they circled and stumbled,
echoing metal throughout the wood.
Knowing he is surely doomed,
yet showing no signs of concern,
the lone Protestant breaks out-
roaring-running and driving his lance
straight toward a single enemy,
and the Catholic is caught off guard.
Past his defence, into the plate,
and somehow through interlocking rings,
on God the strongest offensive
those three men had ever seen.
So he fell back, breathless and still,
his cry but an echo of his former word.
And the Protestant defender fell unarmed,
exhausted to his knees and accepting
the imminent fate before him.
"I've slain your ally, so take your mace,
and slay me now so he may be avenged."
But the Catholic's courage began to wane.
He dropped his mace, fell to the side of his brother,
and his words came out tearful and slow.
"Be avenged? Be avenged, for what?
You have minutes to live Protestant
and that's if I do nothing...
I've lost my taste for vengeance."
"I see her you know..."
Our great knight said.
"She says it matters not,
he will join me, you will join me."
And the survivor was quiet,
he looked over to his enemy.
"Who do you see... Who?"
But alas our loyal protestant had passed.
During my University course I've been reading a huge amount of medieval literature. Tales such as Gawain and the Green Knight, or even The Faerie Queene inspired me to write a Protestant Vs Catholic poem that borrows from the context. I don't claim this to be perfect by any means, and I think that compared to those works it is but a fledgling attempt in comparison, but take it for what it is. I enjoyed writing it.