Once upon a time, a beautiful village lay nestled in a flowering valley. Yet all was not well, for often the vile Bruteeders drove their herd of boars right through the middle of town, caring not what the heavy beasts ruined or trampled upon the way.
One day, Maiden Mayliss was working in her garden, planting sprouts she had received from her cousin far away. “Push your roots deep, dear ones. Grow strong so you will flavor my soup such as no one here has ever tasted.”
Mayliss patted the last herb in place. But as her hand touched the ground, she felt a deep vibration that could only mean one thing. She leapt to her feet. Already she could hear the snorting and stomping of the boars.
“No!” The beasts were headed straight for the garden. Panic mingled in her heart with fear for herself and her precious herbs. The beasts ran closer and closer. She could see their beady eyes through the dust, focused, determined.
With sudden panic, the lady realized they were not swerving. She froze as surely as if she herself had been planted firmly in the ground. Ground that in only seconds she would be trampled upon.
Something slammed against her, knocking her down with a whoosh of air. She covered her face and waited for the end.
“Maiden Mayliss, are you all right?”
The male voice broke through the darkness, and slowly Mayliss realized she was still in one piece.
“This is an outrage. We must do something to stop the Bruteeders.”
Mayliss opened one eye and discovered that she was surrounded by villagers, including the ever-handsome Sir S. Ward who had, apparently, rescued her from the boars. She blushed.
The mayor stepped forward. “Hear ye! Something will be done. The knight who concocts the best plan within three days will have full backing of the city counsel.”
The villagers erupted into a cacophony of excitement. Many of them crowded around Sir S. Ward, congratulating him on rescuing Mayliss.
“Of course I had no thought for my own safety,” he answered, his head high.
One knight stole away from the crowd and paused by Mayliss’s elbow. “Are you truly all right, my lady?”
Mayliss felt a flutter in her chest. “Yes, good sir. It is my poor garden that has suffered.”
Sir de Pen touched a mangled leaf tenderly. “What were they?”
He shook his head sadly. “It is time something is done.”
Over the next three days the village was astir with preparations and finally the time came to make the announcements. One after another, the knights stood in the town center and described plans. Silly plans, vague plans, and lofty plans—all were booed by the crowd.
Finally Sir S. Ward drew his sword and cried, “For many months we’ve stood back and let the Bruteeders do whatever they pleased. But no longer!”
The crowd cheered.
“We shall defend ourselves. Not only shall we no longer let them destroy us, but we shall destroy them!”
There was a great shout and clamor of armor. Amidst the commotion, it was Mayliss who first noticed Sir de Pen, clutching a crumpled paper.
He cleared his throat. “Do we really want to start a war? Shall we repay their malice with evil?” His voice was quiet, barely reaching the edge of the crowd. “I suggest we send them a letter, asking them to desist. In the meantime, we’ll build a gate, making it impossible for the boars to enter the city.”
Mayliss touched Sir de Pen’s hand. “Is that paper the letter?”
“Uh, no, it’s just….” Sir de Pen thrust the bit of paper behind his back. Unfortunately, Sir S. Ward was standing behind him, looking none too happy about the people’s shift in attention.
“I’ll read it.” The other man grabbed the paper.
“The Bruteeders have ridden
The boars have stomped
All through our town
Your people have tromped
From neighbor to neighbor
We ask so nice
Think of us and
Stop this vice!”
The crowd laughed. Sir de Pen blushed. Sir S. Ward sneered.
The mayor stepped forward. “It is clear to see Sir de Pen’s plan would be the safest and simplest of the ideas. The city counsel hereby agrees!”
The people applauded. The flags waved. Sir de Pen blushed harder, and Sir S. Ward glowered darker.
Maiden Mayliss beamed and whispered to herself, “It just goes to show, de Pen is mightier then S. Ward.”
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