Chapter 5: Black Riders

by Svein Kåre Gunnarson

“Finally we’re here!” Ronan exclaimed impatiently. “I’m sure we could have been here by noon if we had gone faster.” He pressed his heels briefly into the side of his horse to make it run up the last hill, as he had tried several times already to arrive as fast as possible.

The First Knight just sighed. This time he didn’t stop him, he just brought his own horse to stand still and waited in silence. Ronan had almost reached the top of the hill before he looked around and found he was alone. With a puzzled expression he turned and saw the knight immovable by the foot of the hill. Torn by the choices he looked to the top just a few horse lengths away, and down to the knight - who looked the size of his thumb at this distance. The smell of the smoke tore at his nose this close; It was tempting to continue up and take the situation in, to see what had happened. He steered his horse a few steps further, but then changed his mind and started on his way down again, where the knight waited.

“Why didn’t you continue to the top?”

Ronan looked surprised. “But - you didn’t come…”

“Did you need me then?”

“I… If someone had seen me…”

“Who someone? What would they have done?”

“How could I know? But if it is some evil deed, and the people responsible still are there…”

This time the knight didn’t interrupt him, and his voice trailed away.

Ronan looked embarrassed down to the ground. “Maybe just silly of me.”

“No, not at all. Maybe I’m too careful, but we don’t know what has happened. Neither here, nor earlier at Morgath’s castle, so it’s just sensible to be careful.”

The knight set his horse in motion, with Ronan following - slowly this time.

“Besides,” the knight paused until Ronan was beside him. “I’ve felt for some time that we’re watched. It may be my imagination, but I don’t think so.”

Ronan looked anxiously around. “How long? Why haven’t you said anything?”

“I saw no reason to worry you. We couldn’t have been attacked by surprise on the path we were following. And - despite all - I haven’t really felt any danger.”

They slowed down as they reached the top and could look down on the scene below on the other side.


“Don’t kill me!” The man had been surprised by the sight of the First Knight and lay sprawled over the burnt timber like a pile of old tattered rugs.

“Then maybe you can be so kind to tell us what has happened here?”

“You’re…” The man licked his lips. “You’re not one of them?”


“The black riders.”

The knight looked at himself; All black, as his horse. “No, I’m not. What can you tell me about these riders?”

“They came just before sunrise,” the man said as he rose carefully to his feet. “Making so much noise they could wake up the whole land. And those noises - I can’t describe that sound. It just… sounded terrible. Inhuman.”

He swallowed before he continued in a low voice.

“I was over by those rocks when they appeared, so I hid behind them. But I heard all the screams. The taunts and accusations. They were called traitors and… and words I can’t even think of speaking.”

“Those people…?” The knight asked softly after a long silence.

“They were no traitors!” The man looked defiantly straight into the knights eyes. “They were a good couple. Poor, but honest and hard working.” He turned his head away and whispered, “They deserved better.”

The knight followed his gaze and saw two fresh graves.


Morion looked at the knights that had gathered before her with a worried look. John certainly hadn't exaggerated when he said they looked more weary than tired - they looked as they had fought and walked all night. No one could remember anything about the nameless knight yet either.

"Nothing at all? Where he lived, if he have any siblings, a girlfriend, or what he enjoyed to do? Absolutely nothing?"

Morion sighed as the only response she got was the knights shaking their heads. She slumped disgraceful down on the chair next to her. "I don't like this. Not one bit," she said absentmindedly to herself, staring into the empty air.

"No! Please, nooo!"

The despair in the voice made everyone turn their heads towards a knight in the back.

"I tried to think, if our friend has any parents, or siblings or all that," he said, eyes getting wet. "But I can't even remember the names of my own family, or even their faces!" A big tear found its way down his cheek in the shocked silence, as the other knights seemed to realize they too had forgot parts from their own life.

Morion sprang to her feet. "You remember all you can. Help each other. I'll get some pergament and ink so you can write down every detail, no matter how insignificant it may seem." She paused a bit, wrinkling her forehead. "I'll send someone to help you writing, if you prefer to memorize aloud, and they may help in other ways too. Later, we'll get you some physical training - we shall overcome this!"


Morion was sitting alone in the throne room, wondering what message she should send out in her realm about the situation when a young squire barged in without knocking.

"My Lady," he said without waiting, breath going heavily. "There's an army approaching."

"It's too early for help to have arrived already," Morion said to herself, biting her lower lip. "Whose army is it? Did you see it?"

"I'm not sure, but it looked like Morgath's."

[Content][To be continued]