Sure it's actually Friday, but we can still celebrate the weekend as part of Thanksgiving. Now, one of the rules for sending me fanfiction is that you avoid controversial subjects. I also intend to avoid such subjects, but this preview I have for my next series will most likely be distasteful to some people. However, I found this necessary as I required a crime that would require the death sentence and so allow for an act of mercy and a chance for redemption. I'm also using this story to help establish how my next novel will differ from Shining. While there will still be battles, I want to work on establishing a fascinating world more and write for the Adventuring Spirits. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this short story.
Short Story (for Legends): One Knight’s Honor
One day, a farmer brought a knight to the king’s court for justice. The charges were severe. The knight had raped the farmer’s daughter and the farmer caught him with the aid of one of the loyal knights. The king asked the knight if the accusations were true.
The foolish knight stood up and spoke, “What of it? She was only a peasant girl.”
The king grew furious over the remark. “The punishment shall be the same as with any man guilty of this horrible crime. Death.”
The foolish knight looked up at the sound of his sentence. He then tried to plead with the king saying, “You will kill one your knights? Those who pledged their sword to protect this realm?”
The just king responded, “I have no place for a knight like you at my table. You do dishonor to the realm. If I were to show leniency to a wicked knight, then the entire kingdom will be destined for doom. If the warriors who are to protect my land are evil, what need does another army need attack us? Rank will not save from the law established long ago. You will die, and all costs resulting from your action shall be taken from your purse.”
The farmer looked delighted at this sentence. His faith in the king’s sense of justice had rewarded him. But then the prince stood up to speak. He had been in the king’s court that day, listening by his father’s side.
“Father,” he started, “This man has been condemned. Now let me speak on his behalf.” These words did not resonate well in the ears of the farmer, but he held his tongue, for the prince was well respected among the people.
The prince continued, “Instead of death, I propose an alternative. Death will not relieve the pain this poor farmer’s family has endured. It is a quick and easy option, but not a complete restitution. I ask that this knight, after being stripped of his rank, be placed under the authority of this poor farmer to work in his home.”
Both parties looked up in shock and disgust of this proposition, but they allowed the prince to continue, for he was well regarded among the people.
“Father, I suggest that this foolish knight serve as the farmer’s slave for a year and a half’s time. During this period, the good farmer may maintain the right to execute the fool, but I ask that be held off. Instead, I say that if the foolish knight shall offend the farmer or his family, torture should come first. If he dares attack, then his right arm shall be cut off, but still forced to work the rest of his term. If he continues, then one of his legs as well. He would then be placed out where the people can see him. They will be reminded of his title as knight and see what can happen to those who do such injustice. If he should run, then all the knights in the realm will hunt him down, for he will be branded of his crime.”
The descriptions of this torture terrified the knight, and the prince could see it. The farmer was still reluctant, but considered it nonetheless.
In conclusion, the prince then spoke, “However, after this foolish knight has served this sentence, I say give him an opportunity to let him regain his title. All of this, if it is well with you, my father.”
The king listened to the request of the prince. The queen whispered in his ear and the king heeded her counsel. He gave his verdict, “If the farmer accepts this, then I will grant it. If he does accept, then that proves already he is a far greater man than this foolish knight.”
There is no need to express the difficulty of a man, who brought another for justice, to receive the perpetrator into his home. What father could possibly accept such a man? He had all the right and intention to demand the previous verdict, but the prince now addressed him.
“I acknowledge the pain your family has felt and offer my deepest sympathy, but I have given this man’s life into your hand. I implore you to bestow mercy. This act is inexcusable and I will not blame you for having his head now. But what good will it do you? It is quick and simple, but it will not take away the pain. He is a human being like yourself and so I implore you to have mercy. His life is yours to deal with. Please respect it as a human life.”
The farmer took a breath and thought about it. He could not argue with the prince, for he still held respect for him. While he could and certainly had been just, the prince was more known for his care and sympathy toward his people, despite their deeds.
The farmer took a look at the prince and then the foolish knight. His hearted ached at the idea of him being near his daughter, but he heeded the prince’s request and accepted the terms.
When the farmer and the knight were gone, the king called his son over and said, “You know what you have done acts somewhat against what I had said earlier.”
“Father,” he replied, “What you said is true. If we allow evil to happen in our kingdom, it will surely fall. But what I saw was potential. A potential for that foolish knight to make proper amends with the family and gain something he never had. If we always move to eliminate our subjects with this potential, could we say our kingdom is good?”
The time the knight served became an important experience. As soon as he arrived, the family was enraged until the farmer had explained it all. Even then, the foolish knight was never unaware of the hatred the family bore toward him. No word of hatred, though, was as powerful as the fair maiden victim’s silence toward the knight. No word from her lips. No smile directed toward him. Only a glare that sank deep into his soul.
Nonetheless, in spite of his pride, the knight worked. He would complain and faced hardships, but he still worked. The promise of the opportunity to regain his post kept him going, but that was not all. As time went by, he saw the maiden’s actions and her kindness toward others. Soon they learned she was with child, and her good deeds never ceased.
As the knight grew accustomed to witnessing the family’s life, he grew to respect them. His complaints stopped by the third month.
When the child was born, the family had a mix of joy and sorrow. For since this baby girl was conceived through rape, they were reminded of the incident. However, the knight bore their scorn and did not feel any anger towards them. Instead, as he saw this baby girl, he felt the fatherly instincts. He wished to raise this daughter of his, protect her with all his might, and see her grow to be happy. As he felt love for his child, he felt a greater love for her mother. And so, the knight felt pain inside for having wronged this good maiden.
After his time of servitude was over, the knight never ceased to work for the family. They grew accustomed to his presence and their scorn had worn off. He had atoned by his good deeds and learned humility. The village no longer bore him hatred either, for he became generous in both gold and action. Soon, the maiden came to love him as well and they were married properly.
His story was never hidden from the public. Instead, the knight would tell it himself as to how he came to respect the people and love his wife and daughter. In this end, the prince’s hope was fulfilled. The knight had obtained true honor.