You Were: The Beloved
July 29, 2010
In the 13th century, you were a lady in the court of the Count of Champagne. At the age of thirteen, you married a nobleman three times your age who promptly ditched you for the Crusades. You were young, rich, and bored—a combination that’s spelled trouble throughout human history.
At eighteen, you began to frequent tournaments. You loved the jousting, the pageantry, and especially the melee, where all the knights battled at once. (As dainty and sweet as you may have been, you like nothing more than a nice, bloody fight.) At first you sat in the back with your mother-in-law, your pretty face hidden by fans. Then, one day the old lady stayed at home with a cold, and you made the tragic decision to move to the front of the stands.
That was the same day a new knight arrived on the scene. It was whispered he came from a foreign court. Your friends swore he was English. His dark, gleaming armor fit his handsome form so perfectly that it must have been crafted from quicksilver. And when the young man removed his fearsome helmet, all the girls in the stands gasped in unison. He had milky white skin, hair darker than the blackest ink, and eyes so green they recalled the rich fields of his native land. He looked up toward the ladies watching him from above. Then his eyes found you, and the rest of the spectators disappeared.
Back in those days, it wasn’t uncommon for knights to fall passionately in love with women married to other men. In fact, it was almost encouraged—as long as the love didn’t involve hanky-panky. From the day of that very first tournament, the knight wore your colors as he wiped the floor with his every opponent. Soon, there wasn’t a knight in the land who hadn’t been beaten—or a lady who didn’t sigh with jealousy at the thought of his love for you.
Still, the other ladies could never have imagined the beautiful letters the knight paid to have smuggled into your room—or the songs he wrote so the troubadours could sing you to sleep. Finally, your mutual desire grew so intense, that you kicked caution to the curb and devised a plan to meet in person.
But the tournament that afternoon didn’t go quite as planned. The other knights of the region had grown bored of losing. As your knight’s horse enjoyed a pre-tournament snack, they added something to the hay. (What it was you never knew.) When your knight mounted his horse, the beast went crazy—bucking and kicking until it delivered its rider straight to death’s door.
You had your knight rushed back to your home (which, I should remind you, was also your husband’s home). Even if he had lived, your reputation would have never survived. But your knight died in your arms, just moments after your lips met for the very first time.
The next afternoon, the tournament stands were abuzz when the knight in the quicksilver armor arrived at the tournament on a trusty new steed. One by one, he destroyed his competition—not just beating each man, but destroying him. There were many knights who never fought again after that day.
The final contest was a match between the two best jousters in the land. They struck each other at the very same time, both blows hard enough to kill. And one did. When they removed the quicksilver knight’s helmet, they discovered a beautiful young girl inside.