Thise auld gentil Bretons in hir dayes
Of diverse aventures maden layes…
It all came down to the third lance. Guigemar looked down the pitch at his opponent. The tall Lancastrian had proved more formidable than he had expected, but that was all to the good. He was more than ready.
After some weeks of idleness since the last campaign, the king’s proposal of a tournament was met with hearty cheers by all his knights. Guigemar had been especially enthusiastic, as he had known it would be his last adventure before reluctantly heading home. Somehow Brittany had come to be a rather dull place in his mind, and he thrilled to the world he had discovered in Arthur's court.
The lanky man opposite him doubtless had the same eagerness and resolve. Guigemar felt the familiar weight of the lance under his arm as he measured up his challenger. The two of them had faced many today, but now it was just them.
And the one lance each wielded would decide the matter.
Guigemar allowed the possibility of another draw to enter his mind, and then swept it away. He would be satisfied with nothing but victory. Beneath him, Robin stamped with what seemed to be equal impatience. The huge chestnut charger strained at the bit, his muscles wound as tightly as the coils of a serpent’s body, ready to spring. How strange that training could so completely overcome the nature of the beast; a horse in his natural state would flee this sort of arena, yet here he was, as eager for the fray as his master.
The crowd shouted encouragement to them all. Guigemar knew there were likely as many cheering for him as against him. It didn’t really matter. God would award victory to whomever He chose. All any knight could do was his best. Fate would fall as it must.
But how he wanted to win!
Let it be so, he prayed fervently and briefly, I wish to depart with my name upon their lips in joy. Guigemar glanced up at Arthur and saw the king leaning forward with anticipation. The cares of the kingdom and the recent skirmishes in the north had lifted from his brow for the time being, and he retained that look of youthful vigor that only fleetingly visited of late.
The queen sat beside him, eyes bright. She always seemed half thrilled and yet half terrified that one of the men might actually injure himself drastically. It was not unknown. Without exception, Arthur’s knights threw themselves into the jousting with the same zeal they showed in battle.
It meant something to win, and Guigemar had very nearly won everything.