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A Walk in the Forest

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In the noble forests of Firgrove, Duchess Zelda Dusknight was riding her regal Friesian, Phantom, alongside the knight commander, Sir Justin Moorland of Silverglade on his dapple grey steed, Maxy. Their courtship had started delicately, but quickly; Sir Justin had asked for Duchess Zelda’s hand after a few days of saving her from the wolves, and to his delight, the Duchess had agreed.

‘My father thinks that I have made an excellent choice in asking for your hand,’ Justin said, steering his horse around a fallen log.

‘Oh, yes, sir?’ Zelda replied.

‘Yes, your Grace,’ the knight said, ‘he says that you have spirit, and that you are an excellent ruler of Firgrove. He says that you really know how to manage a kingdom.’

‘Well, tell your father that I am grateful for his praises,’ the Duchess said, ‘however, sir, I wish to know more about you.’

‘Well, your Grace, there isn’t really much to know about me,’ Justin said, astonished that the lovely lady before him wanted to know about him, ‘I am the knight commander of Silverglade, which is something that I have wanted to be from a young age. I have shown much prowess in fighting against Silverglade’s enemies over the years, and my name is known across the land of Jorvik.’ He watched Zelda carefully as she took in this information and steered Phantom through the winding trees of the forest.

‘That’s all very well and good, sir,’ she said, ‘however, I said that I wanted to know about you, not your title. Who is the real Sir Justin Moorland.’

The knight commander paused. ‘Well… I am… I am brave, and friendly,’ he said, ‘I am welcoming… I see the best in people… and maybe that could be seen as a fault of mine. I trust very easily… and some say that I am a little absent-minded, and the harsher of those people say I’m stupid.’

The Duchess let out a small chuckle. ‘Well, I don’t think that you are stupid, sir,’ she said.

Justin laughed. ‘Thank you, your Grace,’ he said.

‘Oh, please, sir,’ she said, ‘stop calling me that. It’s Zelda.’

The knight’s jaw dropped. ‘But… you are of much authority than I, your Grace,’ he said, ‘it would be… disrespectful.’

‘Not if I tell you myself,’ the Duchess countered, ‘besides, when it is just us, there will be no one to take offence to it. In settings with other people, however, I am afraid that you will have to revert to calling me by my official title.’

‘Of course… Zelda,’ Justin said with a smile.

Zelda chuckled and urged Phantom into a canter as they approached the open fields. Justin grinned and tapped Maxy’s sides to catch up with his girlfriend.