It was sweltering inside Brenna's plate mail under the angry sun, but she didn't
seem to mind. She had dreamed of being a knight since she started dreaming and was
filled with elation at the thought of proving herself in the tournament. Brandon was
sweating more than Brenna, but his sweat was pouring out of his nerves, as he was
dreadfully afraid Brenna would fall to harm in the tournament or that they would be caught
in their little farce.
âBrenna maybe this isn't such a good idea, what if you're hurt?â
âDon't be silly, I'm just as good as any knight at King Marks court, except maybe Sir
âSilly Brenna, you're not a knight, you're a girl in over-sized armour with a bloated head.
What are you going to do if you're matched up against Sir Tristram?â
Brenna hadn't considered fighting the greatest knight in all the realm, and it sent a shiver
of excitement down her spine.
âWell, I'll just have to do my best to beat him, or score some points off of him at leastâ
she replied coolly.
The two arrived at King Mark's court just in time for the tournament. There were
great tents, and fires with roasting meat, and serving girls in cotton dresses handing out
mugs of mead to patrons. The crowd was eager today because Sir Tristram, a favourite
at court and tournaments was expected to enlist. Brenna was very careful here not to
sound too girlish as she spoke to the lists. A gruff old tournament organizer took her
name down as Sir Brandon. Meanwhile the true Brandon, her squire had also been
registered as Brandon, Sir Brandon's squire. They were to be then for the rest of the
tournament known as Brandon and Brandon. Brenna was matched up first against Sir
Lamerok, a fine knight and a favourite at King Mark's court. She was nervous, she hadn't
expected so many accomplished knights to be present. She had never seen such a
vivacious crowd either, or had she? The perspective change gave her a greater
appreciation for the amount of pressure is placed on the performing knights.
Brenna who was tall for a girl stood six feet tall, and didn't appear out of place besides the
fact that even in plate armour she looked dangerously thin for a man. Many of the
tournament organizers approached her, asking her if she was sure she was in good
health to fight, but she only nodded and gave her most manly voice possible that she was
fit and ready to compete. Even the spectators noticed how thin the challenger Brandon
was. Isuelt who had joined King Mark at his spectator booth to see Sir Tristram perform
also noticed how thin this new Brandon fellow appeared to be.
Brenna's turn to fight was up. Brandon handed her his lance, and checked to make
sure his sword he was lending her wasn't sticking in the sheath.
âBrenna will you wear my favour for this match?â Brandon asked.
âCertainly not, what if someone sees you tie it on the lance? They shall think us queer!â
Brenna seethed in a violent whisper. Brenna trotted off to the jousting pit and rode up to
the center to meet her opponent Sir Lamerok in sportsmanly gesture. She hoped King
Mark would notice her grace through this gesture. Brenna's mare snorted and pawed the
dust eager to proceed down the line, and Brenna matched her anticipation as sweat
trickled down her brow. The horn sounded and it was time to begin. Brenna urged the
mare down the line, galloping hard, as the space between herself and Sir Lamerok
narrowed she braced her shield and aimed her lance right bellow Sir Lamerok's gorget
and hit him with the point of her lance right on the top of his chest. Brenna had learned
from play fighting with the boys that men, unlike women have a very centric point of
gravity, hit them low or high enough and they may loose their balance very easily.
Brenna smiled as Sir Lamerok flew backwards from his horse and rolled twice across the
dirt. Only once more did Brenna need to unhorse him and she would move up on the
lists. The second round against Sir Lamerok resulted the same as the first, but the third
round Sir Lamerok shifted in the saddle, causing Brenna's lance to only jar him slightly
and chip some paint off his painted sigil on his armour. Brenna however, fast and agile
moved in her saddle to catch the blow of Sir Lamerok's lance with her shield, shattering
the lance into a hundred pieces. Brenna was filled with excitement but she gracefully
complimented her opponent and thanked them for the exhilarating joust.
âYou joust well for such a skinny lad! But how are you with your sword, boy?â Sir
Lamerok shouted, abashed that he was unhorsed by such an unassuming man.
âJust as well as I ride, even though you've been beaten fairly I will honour you since you're
such an esteemed knight and enter melee combat with youâ Brenna called back with as
much grace as her ego could muster. Brenna was incredibly fast and agile, which
pleased the crowd immensely as knights tend to be slow and bulky in the melee which
makes viewing rather boring. Sir Lamerok lined up against her, and swung his heavy
sword at Brenna hard, but he was too slow for her snake like reflexes. She dodged all of
his strikes, or glanced them away from her core with her tiny shield strapped to her left
wrist. Sir Lamerok however ate every one of Brenna's blows she dealt him, and there
where many because she was very fast, striking like a cobra. Sir Lamerok's shield was
too heavy to lift in time to deflect the quick attacks, which didn't hit very hard, but in rapid
succession quickly wore out Sir Lamerok and he yielded. King Mark and Iseult were
astonished by Brenna and called out to her âyoung boy, come over and kneel before your
king as I would grant you knighthood right now for besting Sir Lamerok, surely you wont
deny me your skill at my court!â
âAs King Mark commands I would gladly receive the titleâ replied Brenna proudly.
Brenna knelt before King Mark and received his honours, and was announced later that
knight at the banquet as Sir Brandon, but in their cups many people were joking that
perhaps they should share with Sir Brandon their meals or were sneering Sir Brandon the
skinny. Brenna was glad for her plain features as she was not permitted to wear her helm
or her suit of plate to the table. Her figure was well hidden under her loose belted tunic,
pants, and riding boots. Brenna only needed to pull her hair back into a neat braid at the
nape of her neck and she fit the part of a young man very well since no one in their right
mine would doubt that anything less than a man could have rode so well or fought so hard
in the tournament that day. Ignoring Sir Brandon's obvious youth and softness Queen
Isuelt became enamoured with him. Brenna felt her gaze, and it made her sick. Brenna
never considered that success in the tournament would warrant female attention. A
serving maid handed Brenna a hand written note and as Brenna read it, she realized it
was from Iseult and that it was a letter of admiration. Iseult begged Brenna to meet her
after the banquet under the moonlight, by the well in the garden. Brenna's stomach
roiled at the thought of meeting this woman simply to further her political gain at court,
but she knew she had to meet Isuelt as Sir Brandon and turn her down, perhaps profess
love and devotion for another. Brenna looked up quickly to see Iseult was still staring at
her intently. Brenna looked about for Brandon, but the squires were not permitted at the
high table, and she couldn't find his face amongst any of the nobles or more common folk
in the large dining hall.
Brenna who had never drank so much mead in all her life began to ask for leave to
her new room at the castle which King Mark himself had so generously provided her but
King Mark stopped her and began to speak: âSir Brandon, although you have not fought
Sir Tristram yet as both of you were weary from the tournament, I should think that if you
do well against him tomorrow in the joust and melee you will be further proof that Cornwall
has the greatest knights. I would like to send you to Camelot to prove yourself through
quest to King Arthur and become a member of the Round table. Would this please you?â
âI am your knight to command but there would be no greater honour than proving our
lands worthy by becoming a Knight of the Round Table. And perhaps then I could pursue
my dream, and quest for the Holy Grailâ quipped Brenna.