Bygone Heroics

‘…and tonight the witch shall be punished for her sins, her soul purified.  She shall taste the wrath of the Almighty…’ the priest was shouting at the highest chord his voice could muster.  With each invocation of the Lord’s name, his eyes dilated and his hands trembled; lost in self-righteous ecstasy.

She stopped listening; the embers at her feet were catching.  Smoke had started to rise and was now dancing around her legs like the snakes she once saw at a market when the charmer played his flute.  She had been with Henry then, and he had laughed at the sight.

Cornelia shivered.  She was neither cold nor afraid, she shivered out of hate; hate at the priest and his false pretenses at sainthood; at the ignorant flock of peasants mesmerized by their shepherd, mumbling their agreements and nodding their heads at every lie he uttered; and hate at Henry, mostly at Henry.

He’d said he’d come for her when he visited her in the dungeon dressed as a guard.  Cornelia had believed him.  But there she was now, strapped to a stake, her bare feet prickled by twigs, heat rising up her knees.

‘In the name of the Almighty, we damn this witch to—‘

She heard it before she saw it.  An arrow whizzed past her ear straight into the priest’s throat.  He choked on his last words and blood splattered, turning his white tunic into a crimson mess.

Only when his face was planted into the wood did the crowd come to.  It screamed as one and ran, scrambling and trampling on top of itself.

‘Told you I’ll come,’ his voice whispered at her ear, turning cold dark hate into burning love.  She felt the cold steel of the dagger slicing between her wrists cutting open her binds.

 ‘Quick, on the horse.’

Cornelia jumped off of the dais onto the saddle and they galloped away, exchanging the burning embers of the stake to the blazing sunset ahead.

damsel in distress

It’s Trifecta Monday and the word today was:

Ecstasy: trance; especially : a mystic or prophetic trance

Don’t ask me how I got from that to the knight in shining armour…it just happened! Hope you like it.


29 comments on “Bygone Heroics

  1. Oh this is brilliant swashbuckling fun!

  2. TheImaginator says:

    Lots of story packed in here 🙂

  3. jannatwrites says:

    Oh, he did come for her! Death of a self-righteous priest and the freedom of the accused…I love a happy ending 🙂

  4. Like straight out of a childhood book … Thinking Fenimore Cooper or similar. Great stuff all the way into the sunset.

  5. go Henry! (wonderful work on the fine line between love & hate)

  6. Draug419 says:

    Hooray for true love! What a great story (:

  7. Linda Vernon says:

    Oh this is a good story! And oh how I loved the ending! 😀

  8. Maggie says:

    Yaaaay! Happy endings are fun to read.

  9. Thomas Marlowe says:

    Is it wrong to cheer? Alas then. Loved the rescue, loved the descriptions. Thank you.

  10. This is a really cool response to the prompt. Well-crafted and fun to read. Thanks for linking.

  11. KymmInBarcelona says:

    The story is so in tune with Sant Jordi (big celebration here) – although Cornelia isn’t much of a “damsel” in distress. Still, it’s nice to have a knight swoop in at the last minute for a dramatic save!

    • Sandra says:

      St George is a huge celebration here as well (Malta). No, she isn’t the typical damsel; she’s more of a modern woman trapped around a stake… Thanks a lot for your comment Kymm.

  12. I love the ride into the blazing sunset! I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to see if Henry came through in the end. Great job!

  13. lumdog says:

    Great, old fashioned tale of a daring rescue. Loved this. 🙂

  14. kdillmanjones says:

    I loved this story! I love anything to do with witches, but this one is particularly satisfying. Wonderful all around.

  15. CHI Canada says:

    Good post, i will share with my friends.

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