To Kill A King (short story)

Hastings

Saxon Story #7

-When we left them last time, the housecarl had just woken up to find Breya staring into his eyes while he slept-

She cannot know, she has no way of knowing. Unless I was talking in my sleep.

But the way she keeps staring, not even breaking her gaze for a second. She must know. If I try not to think of it she might not guess. But how can I? Every waking moment is filled with memories from the battlefield.

Arrows spinning down from the sky like leaves in autumn, the blinding glare of sunlight reflected on armour, the screams of dying men and horses. There, I can see it. She has a glimmer in her eye, a crystal of suspicion beginning to form.

She can see me, standing by my fair King Harold’s side. How can she know? She does. She sees the Normans overrun us, we have to retreat, but the king will not give an inch. Very well, I’ll kill him to save our lives. My sword will find his heart and then we can escape this butchery.

Why are they not running? Why do they stand around his corpse and wait to die? A dead man can show them no gratitude. I will not wait for a foreign lance to open my breast. If they wish to die then let them.

But the smell of the blood is too powerful for me to bear. I would turn back if it would save those proud warriors and their fair king from this slaughter. But it is too late and the smell of blood is already thick around me.

“Do you know?”

“Do I know what?” She asks.

Relief, warm and soothing like a flagon of mulled wine on a crisp winter morning.

“Do you know it’s rude to watch a man sleep? Aye, unless you care to join me?”

She is disgusted by my words. But she does not know. All the revulsion in the world could not be sweeter as long as she never knows.

PART 8

You can read another historical short story here.

Or you can find my e-book on Amazon Kindle.

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