A fantasy satire to die for.
Sir Gallard’s horse reared its head as they crested the hill. The knight–who was tall, blonde, broad of chest, and dressed in his finest iron plate–tried to steady his steed.
“Easy now,” he said in a voice both soothing and steadfast. His horse, Lightshine, was a trustworthy charger. It did not scare easily or often. But from his saddle on the hilltop, Sir Gallard could see what had upset his mount. Before him, a wall stretched to the horizon in either direction.
“The horses seem spooked, Sir,” remarked Timdry Meeks, esquire, Sir Gallard’s shield-bearer. Timdry was a scrawny lad as squires went, with bony elbows and plain brown hair, but he showed promise as an archer.
“So they are, Timdry. But trust not the senses of these noble beasts, lad. Those walls are nothing to be frightened of.”
The walls, for their part, might disagree. Fifty feet high they stood, running like a line drawn across the land by a hand from the heavens. Every one hundred feet, a spire rose from the wall–guard towers, Gallard knew them to be. Even from the hilltop, the knight and his squire could make out the countless white stones that made up the walls. As legend had it, each stone was a human skull taken from some foe felled at the behest of this empire, the Kingdom of Skulls.
While most believed the truth of these claims, Sir Gallard knew better than to put much stock in the rumors spread by the peasantry. While some circulated stories of slaves at work with skulls and mortar, this squire had related to his liege that, in the library of Lighthold, he had read that the fact of the matter was simple illusion magic practiced by the Skull King’s dark artists. And while most went out of their way to avoid ever setting eyes upon these cranial constructs, this knight had traveled explicitly in order to find them.
The horses, however, would go no further. Sir Gallard and Timdry tied them to trees. It was only as he looped the rope around a scorched trunk that the squire–who had traveled with his head down–noticed that the tree was charred to ash on its bark. Looking up, he saw that all the trees within view were likewise roasted. Standing there black, bare, and burnt, the forest’s residents evoked in his mind the stories other squires had told him, tall tales of the bloodthirsty savages, the fearsome monsters, and especially the exotic women within the walls that stood before him and his noble lord.
“Sir! Look at the trees!” he exclaimed.
Gallard considered them, not for the first time. “A mere forest fire, Timdry,” he rationalized. “These things happen.” Seeing that this explanation did not put his ward at ease, Sir Gallard continued, “At worst, it’s the work of the Skull King’s charlatan magi, used to keep the birds away. A well-placed bird dropping might disrupt the spell upon the walls, after all!”
Timdry’s face resolved from worry to deep thought. He nodded slightly, and Gallard returned the gesture. Turning back to the wall and drawing air deep into his lungs, the knight sensed it now. The air smelled of foul magic and evil doings.
The pair had traveled now for almost an entire growing season to arrive at the gates to the Kingdom of Skulls, overcoming rigorous obstacles to reach this object. They’d come from Lighthold, Sir Gallard’s family’s keep in the highlands of the Good Lord’s Dominion, so named because it was the northernmost castle and therefore the first to see the light of the sun in the mornings and the last to behold the light of the moon in the nights.
It was there, on a sunny spring day, that Gallard’s family and their lieges had gathered under wind-tossed banners and friendly skies to see off their young lord and his party of twenty-five men, all headed south in the name of liberty and justice. His father, the Lord of Lighthold, had decreed the departure a day of both solemn contemplation and joyous revelry, for it heralded the dawn of a new age for the Good Lord’s Dominion and its people. The denizens of the Dominion had danced and sang and drank late into the night, long after the three moons took the place of the sun in the sky.
Sir Gallard left amidst a festival that the criers said was the largest ever in the Dominion. The monks in the abbey could find no records of a grander celebration, and the men in their cups at the settlement’s only tavern all agreed how they never expected to see another of its kind–at least not until the day of their young lord’s return.
From those lofty spirits, Sir Gallard had departed with his honor party. The troop was a veritable anthology of Lighthold’s greatest living heroes. Among Sir Gallard’s company rode Sir Bludlost, a veteran of every major battle in the kingdom’s recent history; Sir Lombro, a seasoned warrior with a proclivity for axes; and Sir Amwoir, an infamous wooer of wenches, witches, and women the world over.
Aside from these knightly escorts, Sir Gallard also rode with several of his father’s castle guard–all proficient swordsmen who had seen little of the world outside of their native keep–and an appropriate number of smiths and squires to maintain equipment and care for the horses. To a man, they were excited at the prospect of their voyage, especially given that they were only to accompany Gallard as far as was convenient. For them, this was a trip more for pleasure than honor.
The company had come down from the Mountains of the Gods and across the plains of Lillacia, where the purple grasses grew with wild abandon. This had been the journey’s prologue in Sir Gallard’s estimation. It was a pastoral scene where the noble peasants of the plains hailed them with gravity and gentility, for word of their quest had spread before them.
The party maintained a comfortable pace, singing songs of glory and paying royally sized sums for room and board at small inns with eternally grateful innkeepers. Every night was full of jokes and speeches and country girls who beamed shy, crookedly toothed smiles at the knights and their squires.
Only once had Sir Gallard needed to convince an angry father to overlook an unchivalrous indiscretion on Sir Amwoir’s part. The rest had been so happy for the business that they didn’t seem to mind the prurient interests of the men-at-arms. And not a one commented on the damage done to their doors and tables by Sir Lombro’s axes.
At the border of Lillacia, where the purple plains gave way to the orange marshes of Infernus, the traveling companions that had accompanied Sir Gallard thus far reached the point at which they intended to turn back. For in Infernus, a swim would light a man on fire before it would refresh him. Their desertion was not unexpected.
Quite the contrary, it was planned, for no knight from the entirety of the Good Lord’s Dominion, let alone the castle of Lighthold by itself, had ever travelled so far south. In fact, many of these good-time gallants were more interested in the trek back through Lillacia with their newly won wages, which were paid as promised by Sir Gallard for their escort.
There were still several among Sir Gallard’s escort who were hesitant to let him, the man they called Lord and who would someday rule them, proceed on a journey that they, simple folk as they were, could not understand the import of.
“My Lord,” Sir Bludlost addressed him on their last morning together, as they broke their fast around a wooden table in the common room of the last Lillacian inn on the road to Infernus. “Up to this impasse, we have shared drinks and swapped tales with great joy. But I implore you now to truly consider the prospect of the journey before you. Surely, you must see that your quest is too dangerous. You cannot risk your life in this manner. Even if you should safely travel the road from here to the Kingdom of Skulls, what can you hope to achieve with the savages there?”
“Sir Bludlost,” Sir Gallard had replied while tearing into a loaf of bread, “I understand and appreciate your concerns. But if I do not proceed now, I return to my people a failure.” Gallard paused and looked the warrior in the eyes. “Do you remember your knighting, sir?”
“Aye. ‘Tis a memory I hope to keep till my last breath.”
“Then you’ll remember that when my father laid his sword upon your shoulders those many harvests ago, it was because he saw in you a sense of honor and responsibility that merited recognition by his grace. You, sir, are the most senior knight in our party and you know better than any of us that being a true knight often means facing the world in ways that no mere man ever would. This is why I must proceed.”
“Then, my Lord, you must allow some of us to accompany you.”
“No, Sir Bludlost. I cannot risk any more than is necessary in the trials to come. To arrive at the gates with a party this size might be seen as an act of war. You and the rest of these brave men have done your part and you deserve your just rewards. You must return now to the kingdom that will have need of you come the harvest. The rest of this journey is mine to face.”
At this point, Sir Lombro, typically a man of few words and several drinks, planted the blade of an axe into the table with a loud thunk, rattling the cups and plate there upon.
“Here’s to Sir Gallard the Brave,” he proposed. “A toast, I say, to the Champion of Good Lord’s Dominion, to the heir of Lighthold, to my Lord, your Lord, and the only man I know with balls big enough to swing them as a knocker against the gate of the Kingdom of Skulls!”
“Here! Here!” cried the rest of the knights at the table. “To Sir Gallard the Brave!”
And so, after hale and healthy farewells and with this new addition to his appellation, through the fiery marshlands the noble knight proceeded. Only Timdry, motivated perhaps more by duty than bravery, soldiered on alongside him. The pair rested by day and traveled by night to better protect themselves from the dangers of the foreign land.
This leg of their journey, Sir Gallard mused one evening as they broke camp, was where the first verse of the song they would write of him would come from. Infernus had long held a hellish reputation amongst his people, and his willingness to traverse it marked his true departure upon this quest for their souls. For only a hero who has known the horrors of hell can ever truly appreciate the grace of heaven.
It was in the fire swamps where he’d killed a blazing reptilisk, a beast his tutors had told him tales of as a child. In the stories, the beast was as tall as three men and stronger than ten. Tales told that it was covered head to tail in deep red scales with a row of razor-sharp ebony spikes down its back. In the most in-depth accounts, it had wings twenty feet across and could breathe fire the way men breathed smoke from pipes. Gallard and Timdry had tracked one from a fresh kill in the marshes to a cave with the remains of several exotic animals littering its mouth like pieces of food after a meal.
The battle in the beast’s den had been what Sir Gallard had hoped for. Surrounded by the bones of prey, the knight had engaged with the monster. He parried its teeth, sliced at its flanks, and was scratched upon his fine armor by its fearsome talons. The reptilisk was fast and cunning, but Gallard was resolute and unflinching. Thoroughly sweaty, bruised, and bleeding, he had finally driven his sword through the monstrosity’s heart.
As the heat of battle cooled, Sir Gallard noticed that much to his surprise, the monster was not so fearsome as the stories told. Lacking wings and spikes, it crawled nearly on its belly, hobbling along awkwardly on four short, stumpy legs. While it was long and red, it told no riddles as the fables reported. And although it lacked the fiery eyes and fiery breath of myth, Sir Gallard was certain the story would benefit from granting the reptile these legendary traits.
The evening after the battle, as he sat blackening a few trophy teeth over a campfire to lend credence to this mythic version of the story, a puzzled Timdry asked him, “Sir, aren’t we sworn to uphold the truth?”
“Of course, Timdry,” the knight replied as he rotated the teeth to make it appear as if the flames licked them on all sides, “But sometimes embellishments such as these have a nobility of their own.”
Once past the swamps, they had entered the Great Pangashi Desert, alternately making friends and doing battle with the various local warlords and their nomadic tribes. One chieftain in particular, a brute of a man known simply as Zarkahn, had taken a shine to the knight. Perhaps it was the novelty of this northern dandy that delighted him. Perhaps it was the armor that looked to be made of swords, not hides.
Whatever it was, Sir Gallard found himself going more than a bit native smoking a mystical pipe in a mud hut where, by the light of the three moons, a loin-clothed and tattooed Zarkahn had inspired him with a tale of victory to be won in an attack on the Sun Fort, the oldest holdfast in the Pangashi. Having changed hands more than the Sun changed seasons, it was always a prime target for any tribe on the rise. Perhaps it was only a trick of the light or the potency of the exotic herbs, but when the knight looked at the warlord, he could see a fire blazing in his eyes. Sir Gallard saw from that fire that this battle was an opportunity for greatness.
If his fight against the blazing reptilisk had been worthy of a fairy tale, then his actions in this battle were worthy of a grand history. The tribe had stormed the gates at sunrise, smashing through on Zarkahn’s mighty pachyloderm, a beast so large that Zarkahn rode on its back with a driver, two archers, and a half-dozen of his best warriors. The mammoth had smashed through the fort’s wooden gates with its massive ivory tusks and trampled the enemy forces on the other side.
From there, Zarkahn and his vanguard had descended from the colossus to lead the assault. Sir Gallard rode in on his steed behind them, dismounting to stand alongside Zarkahn on the frontline of the attack. The clash of weaponry had rung off the walls for hours as the fort’s current residents made clear their unaccepting attitude towards surrender. Sir Gallard battled his way through the fort with Zarkahn, downing foes in the entry, in the courtyard, in the temple, and in the throne room.
It was only when Zarkahn finally engaged the enemy commander in single combat, disemboweling the man and bathing in his blood in the market quarter’s central square, that the remaining hostile forces laid down their arms. In a traditional ritual of tribal warfare, each remaining foe was slain with his own blade, and the tourist knight rolled his fair share of heads, as was his right as a conquering hero.
Sir Gallard’s role in the conquest of the Sun Fort had won him an honorary membership into Zarkahn’s clan and had given him the second verse of his glorious ballad, full of curved swords, barbarian screams, and his demure denials of the tribal women’s advances.
As he and Timdry departed the Sun Fort, their saddlebags heavy with victors’ spoils, they waved farewell to their new allies and Sir Gallard made clear to his charge that when this story was told in the North, they would spare their listeners the knowledge of the ritual killings.
“Another concession to the notion of righteousness, Sir?” Timdry had asked.
“Exactly, lad. I rather think you’re beginning to understand what it means to be a knight.”
And so it was now, having sojourned from victory to victory as the growing season brought the fruits of the world to bear, that Sir Gallard arrived at the gates of the Kingdom of Skulls, the furthest south anyone he knew of knew of.
Here was his epic’s true drama, the verse of the song that men would drain their drinks for and women would swoon over. He had come–across the plains, through the fire swamps, and despite the primitive desert–to put an end to the centuries of servitude this Kingdom had enforced upon his people.
As he approached the wall, his iron boots crunching in the dirt, Sir Gallard reflected on what Timdry had told him, on the pretensions of a king who would cast such a spell as the one that turned stone to skull before the eyes of man. “To what ends does this so-called King go in order to maintain an appearance?” he mused to himself. He sauntered into a position in front of the gate while an anxious Timdry cowered a few paces behind him.
A sentry dressed in black leather armor appeared on top of the gate. He was a burly man, with an oily black beard braided down his front. “Who goes there?!” he shouted down. To the knight’s ears, his voice was thick with a throaty accent. To his own ears, the sentry sounded like everyone else from his fishing village along the eastern shores.
“I am Sir Gallard the Brave, heir to Lighthold,” the knight replied. “Son of Gallayn the Righteous, and Champion of the Good Lord’s Dominion.” Sir Gallard lowered his head in respect. “And this is Timdry Meeks, esquire, my shield-bearer.” Timdry, still in awe at the walls before him, gave a customary bow in slow courtesy.
“You’re a long way from home, aren’t you, country boys? What possible reason could you have for riding all this way to the gate of the Kingdom of Skulls? Are you an early tribute?”
Sir Gallard squared his shoulders, letting the insult glance off him like a sword off a swift shield. He then recited a speech he had practiced many times. “I’ve come to put an end to the tyranny perpetrated from this place upon my people. Too long have we suffered under the yoke of unrighteous rule and unjust demands. Too long have we bent our knees toward a throne with no right to our allegiance. Too long have our children been sacrificed in the name of a ruler we do not love or trust. Our tributes to your King are at an end.”
From atop the wall, the sentry made a sound like laughter. “Is that so?” he shouted down. “I’ll be sure to pass the word along first chance I get. Now, why don’t you be off on your way?”
Sir Gallard was taken aback. Had his quest already been successful? He wondered at the simplicity of it, raised an eyebrow in skepticism. He had envisioned slaying some foul being or at least battling some barbaric warrior while playing the part of Lighthold’s Hero. He had pictured glorious single combat against one of the Skull King’s legendary monsters for the right to call his homeland a free land. Had his journey really only required some words with a nameless sentry?
Certainly, the knight decided, this man spoke in jest, an insult to Sir Gallard’s noble presence.
“I’d rather pass it along myself,” he called up to the sentry as a challenge. He shifted his weight, felt his armor grind against itself as he maintained his noble bearing.
“And I’d rather pass on guard duty and spend the day drinking wine at my favorite whore house, but we don’t always get what we want, now do we, hero?”
“Now see here!” the knight proclaimed. “I’ve traveled a full growing season to come here and ensure that my people will never again have to send their children to this place. Generations of our young and fit have been sacrificed to your King, never to be heard from again, never to send word if they live or die, prosper or perish. And so it is by the will of our people, the decree of our Lord, and the grace of our Gods that I’ve come to declare ourselves liberated from whatever foul evil and dark magic it is that your King runs his empire upon the back of. And I’ll have you know that I demand an audience with him in order to list these grievances in his hearing to ensure their proper handling!”
The sentry slumped on top of the ramparts. He sighed and gazed upon the knight in a way that made the noble lord feel trite.
“Do I amuse you?” Sir Gallard asked the sentry.
“More than I imagine you could imagine,” the sentry replied. “Where did you say you were from again?”
“I am Sir Gallard the Brave, Heir to Lighthold, son of Gallayn the Righteous, and Champion of the Good Lord’s Dominion.” His identification hung in the air for a moment.
“Do you, Sir,” the sentry sheepishly replied, “have any idea how many gallant knights from nowhere, knights with names that mean more than yours and swords made of steel that would put that iron you carry to shame–do you know how many more worthy fools have come to this gate declaring their homeland’s independence from an empire they know nothing about? Granted, that’s still more than you seem to know, but all in all, it’s still very little.”
Sir Gallard looked up at the sentry in bewilderment.
“I didn’t think so,” the sentry said. “So allow me to educate you. Every few months, some champion of somewhere, dressed in his finest armor and bearing the crest of some family no one on this side of the wall has ever heard of, shows up in order to ‘air his grievances’ to the King. They all drone on and on about the tributes, the tyranny, the injustice of making their noble houses lieges to an empire that, at best, dabbles–and I mean dabbles–in black magic and barbaric beliefs. Like you, they proceed to denounce a whole litany of other whiny gripes that they, as heirs to whatever worthless piles of stones they call a castle, refuse henceforth to abide because some divine insight has led them to believe they should come here to raise a bit of dust and throw a tantrum about it. Does that sound about right? Am I mistaken to lump you in with every other horse’s ass in plate mail who’s ever told me he demands an audience with a King I have no access to?”
“I hardly think–“
“I don’t recall asking you to think, Sir Gallfart, or whatever it is. But fine. If you insist on protesting the fact that you represent, to me at least, little more than a momentary distraction from what, I assure you, is a boring day of duty, then allow me to make something perfectly clear: If you value your life, your head, your squire, and your dignity, then go get back on that horse you rode in on, ride back to Litendon, tell your people some heroic story about how you treated with the Skull King after battling your way into his keep–trust me, they’ll believe whatever you say–and never, ever, ever mention to one of our emissaries that you came here and wasted the time of an enlisted man in the Skull Army. Whatever you may admit to your peasants, you will still pay tribute, you will still give sacrifice. You seem intelligent enough to convince them of both your victory and the continuing necessity of homage. And in doing so, for the sake of those poor serfs, you will achieve a symbolic victory greater than any actual victory you have the prospect of here today.”
“And if I refuse these…terms?” The way Sir Gallard said the word made it clear they were unacceptable to him.
“You see these towers on either side of me?”
“Aye. I have eyes.”
“No doubt, no doubt. Well, in each of those towers is an archer. And if you do not leave, I will be bound by law to give an order, and whichever archer can notch an arrow first will put that arrow through whichever eye of yours is closest to him. Shortly after, the slower of the two will put an arrow through your other eye. Then, I will have to come down off this wall to drag your sorry carcass to the nearest morgue, where we will cut off your head, boil all the flesh from it, and use your skull for whatever construction project is currently underway.”
“Ha!” laughed Sir Gallard. He made a mental note to encourage and praise Timdry’s research the next chance had had. “You’re bluff doesn’t frighten me, gatekeeper. Anyone who’s read Sir Astutia’s account knows that these walls only appear to be made of skulls through dark illusion magic! This superficial enchantment might fool some, but I see the stone and mortar concealed within–just as I see the burnt forest behind me as a means of keeping any birds from befouling the deception!”
The sentry seemed astonished by something, perhaps the tireless ignorance of the world. He spent a moment as if considering how to demonstrate a point, drumming his fingers unconsciously on a skull in the ramparts he leaned upon.
Then, he grabbed a hold of the wall where he’d just been drumming, and with a few yanks and a crunch of mortar, pulled a piece of it loose and tossed it down at Sir Gallard’s feet. There, on the ground in front of the knight, a child-sized skull bounced in the dirt and cracked into two pieces, one of which skipped and rolled and struck the tip of Sir Gallard’s greave.
The sound of iron and bone connecting was unmistakable to the knight, who knew it from battle. Wide-eyed, the lordly hero considered the skeletal fragments before him and then looked up once more at the sentry, who stood with his arms out and palms up, shrugging.
“You…you monster!” cried Sir Gallard, foaming a bit at the mouth. “How dare you?!”
“I’m just doing my job, sir.”
“This will not stand!”
“I think this wall begs to differ.”
“Come down here and face me like a man!”
“Easy for you to say. Listen, I appreciate that this must all come as a bit of a shock to someone from as far out as you. Word doesn’t reach your highlands nearly as reliably as we’d all like. From where I’m standing, I can’t help but think a little more education on the true nature of the Kingdom of Skulls would do all you far northerners some good. At the very least, it’d save me the trouble of delivering this same tiring explanation to every gallant fool who rides up here to have his illusion shattered. But the facts remain despite how you may perceive them as changing. You still have but two choices: Ride back home, present yourself as a hero and move on with your life as if you made a difference…or, draw your sword here and now, die, and leave your family, friends, and–I mean this as a compliment–probably a lusty local barmaid or two to always wonder what ever became of the gallant, handsome knight they sent south to liberate them from an empire they know nothing of.”
“Not only do you insult my decency, but now my honor as well! Damn you, I say!” Sir Gallard spat for effect. He drew his sword, hoisting it in a strong young grip. He reached out for his shield, which a customarily (and voluntarily) silent Timdry handed to him shakily. “Climb down off your wall and face me, you callous fool!”
“…I take it this is your answer.” The sentry looked off into the middle distance and Sir Gallard, even from his lower perspective, could see the man pondering something. The guard was, as a matter of fact, tracing Sir Gallard’s approach from the burned forest with his eyes. He had seen the knight and his charge upon the hilltop. He had an inkling even from his earliest sight of them that they meant to create a headache for him. Here, not for the first time and not for the last, was some fool of a man who felt entitled to something no one could give him. Here was a drop in the bucket of nonsense that seemed in constant danger of overflowing and flooding the world with its contents.
Pensively, the sentry studied the burned forest the duo had come from and was reminded of the green jungles of home on the eastern shore. He thought of that place often, of his abruptly truncated youth there. In the right state of mind, he could once again smell the sweet rot of the overgrown rain forest and listen to the trees sing the songs of birds that wore the colors of every clan. The caress of his mother, the chants of his tribe, the salty taste of the crystal blue sea–now, these were all just faint traces, the sketchy outlines of a time that seemed more dream than reality.
When the Skull King’s men had taken him from there as an offering, he was too young to understand what he was losing. He knew now. But it was not nostalgia he felt. Rather, it was a strong sense of the contrast between the fantastical world of his birth and the real world of his conscription. In that life he had left behind, no one burned the trees because no one needed to see what was coming from so far away. That difference sang to him like a bird song whenever he considered the arboreal crisps that scrabbled up into the sky all along the horizon.
Then, breaking both his nostalgia and the silence between them, the sentry whistled a birdcall Sir Gallard had never heard, and, before he had time to react, the knight’s left eye went blind and filled with a black and burning pain. Then, before he had time to scream, his right eye went blind as well, and a darkness enveloped him, followed by an unbearable white-hot light set to the music of his own tortured cries that he had not felt coming. The last thing he did feel was the ground running into him at full speed, with the force of the entire world behind it.
Upon the wall, the sentry looked on with well-earned apathy. “Nice shot!” he called out to the turret on his right. Then, he turned his attention back to the ground.
“And what say you, brave squire?” he called out over the screaming. “Up to now, you’ve been quiet–as any good squire should. But seeing as your noble lord is no longer disposed to speak for you, I need an answer from your own mouth. Shall I have my friends waste two more arrows today?”
The screaming petered off and died out as the sentry waited for a reply. Timdry, still staring wide-eyed at his fallen lord, took a minute to realize he was being addressed. Upon this realization, he looked up at the sentry in bewilderment.
“Well?” the sentry prompted.
Unaware of what the question was, Timdry fell to the ground in his haste to retreat, quickly scrambled back to his feet, and ran to his mount, leaving behind Sir Gallard’s standard, body, horse, and his own foul-smelling puddle in the dirt. Never looking back, he rode north as hard as he could, thieving and foraging for food. He only made it as far as the desert, where he went on to become a celebrated palm frond waver for Kazert, the warlord who unseated Zarkahn in the Sun Fort.
He grew to a ripe old age fanning barbarians in that infamous holdfast, outlasting a dozen of the men who ruled from the throne. He aged year after year, survived siege after siege, and was whipped quite rarely compared to the other slaves. It was in ripe old age that he finally died, choking on a grape he snuck from his newest master’s buffet.
As for the remains of Sir Gallard, the sentry kept his promise. His corpse was decapitated, his head boiled, and his skull added to a cart of others waiting for use. A few days after the knight’s untimely demise, a builder arrived on top of the gate where Gallard had fallen and unknowingly used the skull of Sir Gallard the Brave, Heir to Lighthold, Son of Gallayn, and Champion of the Good Lord’s Dominion to fill the hole created by the sentry’s brief yet informative demonstration.
Copyright Lucy Diavolo.