Gavin called his servant to his side to help calm his destrier, he adjusted his mail for the last time and rode on to the list. Gavin knew his days of tournament were few, as soon as the invocation was done he rode to the barfrois to issue a challenge. He could feel the tension in the air grow as he approached King George. The guards tensed not knowing the knight who approached. Gavin stopped, and if a stone had dropped a league away it could be heard, for it was so silent among the onlookers. The king leaned forward to hear Gavin’s words, the queen turned her head to not look Gavin in the face. “My King” Gavin said, I challenge you to a duel, to death” and at this point he pointed his lance into the Kings chest. “And if you refuse I will kill you now.” King George let out a hearty laugh, as if this spectacle was being staged, the queen and nearby attendees all laughed nervous. The king was insulted, his body fumed with anger, so much so that he accepted the challenge. The king had been the greatest knight many years ago, and being a vain man. “Tomorrow, at noon, as we planned” the king said, knowing that no plan had been made, surprised, Gavin agreed, wondering what the king had himself planned
A feast was held that night, and as usual wine was served. The king drank more than usual, which worried the queen, as she knew tomorrow could be his last day. She did not ask him what was happening, this surprise challenge, as did no one, even though he was a gentle man, to question the king was an invitation to prison.
In the morning the King awoke as the sun entered the window of his chamber. His man-servant came in and began to help dress him, not looking into his eyes. Outside the window, the birds sang as they always did, and if not for the noon challenge, this would be as any day at the castle. On this day however, the queen and their daughter openly prayed to The Morrighan for the kings sanity and the servants in the castle prayed silently. After a hearty meal, the king walked from the castle to the stables, he picked out his fastest horse, he was dressed with his strongest mail, the coat of arms adorned his horse, and his lance, which he had not held in several years, even for ceremony was given to him. He rode to the list where a small casual crowd had gathered. If the King fell, their would be fewer witnesses and a proclamation would be made, saying the death was heroic, and Gavin would be executed quietly.
As the Kings and Gavin approached each other, they slowed. The King got off his horse and raised his armor to show his face to Gavin, Gavin returned the courtesy. As they approached, the King extended his hand to Gavin, and Gavin extended his hand to the King. With that the King reached to his side, grabbed his sword, swung it in the air with the speed and strength of a man half his age. Gavin’s head was removed, it fell to the ground. His body a moment later. His face froze with a smile, and Gavin died at the hands of a man he adored.