“Where are my brothers?” Taylor asked his father. The young man carefully brushed his steed, patting her neck every once in awhile to keep her happy.
“They are in the market,” The older man told his son. “The Princess wished to leave the castle gates today to take a stroll around the market. She had been unable to before on account of the rain over the past few days. As your substitute, your brother was summoned to the castle at dawn to escort the princess through our village.”
Taylor nodded. “Very good,” he said softly, “she mustn’t ever be left alone again in a place like this.” Despite his wishes, Taylor’s mind traveled to a place he had grow accustomed to over the past years, a place in which his life took new meaning, a place where he had unconsciously drifted back to whenever he thought about the princess and her royal family.
It had been a year in which the rain came every day at the same time. Almost like clockwork, the merchants in town packed up their goods moments before the huge drops fell to earth. In moments the town square was deserted, the only remaining existence was an unfortunate bird every once and again who did not feel within it’s bones that the rain was coming and when it realized what was happening it was too late.
Taylor had been almost 12 at the time he first laid eyes on the girl with the mysterious green eyes. It was in the market place that year with the rain. He and Kintessa were wandering through the square, searching for a bit of food to take home to his poor family, when he spotted a girl in a black cloak hovering over a cart full of chickens. Taylor tied the horse tightly to a cart although he was certain the beautiful brown animal would never try and escape. He approached the girl slowly. He did not understand why he was approaching her, he had no interest in girls other than his own mother and he was pretty sure that was only because he was supposed to like her, her being his mother and all.
“What are you looking at?” Taylor had asked her softly.
“The chickens,” the small voice replied. She sounded as though she was deep in thought, the concern in her voice rang out above everything else in the noisy market. She turned to him. The cloak was covering almost all of her face, blocking everything but her eyes and the small silhouettes of her dainty features. “Why are they all locked up in a cage?” She was innocent and her eyes sparkled with it.
“They are to be sold,” Taylor replied cautiously. “For food.”
The girl gasped. “I want to buy them all,” she declared. “I want to buy them all to set them free.”
“But you cannot,” Taylor explained growing irritated with the girl’s ignorance. “They must be sold for food. We cannot live without food. Have you gone mad? Do you not eat chicken?” He was shocked to say the least.
“I do not,” the girl said. “I eat carrots, and potatoes, and peas.” She looked him in the eyes. “I could never eat a chicken.” She looked back over the cage. “I will buy them. I will buy them all.”
“With what?” Taylor questioned. “I have not more than a Denier. What do you have? They must cost at least a three Deniers each!”
“My father will do it,” the girl declared defiantly. “And then my father will never let you sell another chicken again.” She sounded set in her ways and very sure of herself.
Taylor chuckled. “And who might your father be?” He grabbed the girls arm and pointed towards the stone castle, “The King of Concertlot?” The girl pulled away from his grasp. “And for your information, I, my lady, am not selling the chickens.” He turned away from her rather proud of himself.
The young boy was starting to walk back to his horse when he felt something pelt him in the back of the head. He instinctively grabbed the back of his head where the unknown object had hit and turned within the direction it had appeared to come. The girl was standing there at the cart, she had pelted an apple at the boy’s blonde hair. The hood of her cloak was now off her head, revealing her face and her long brown hair. Her green eyes were glowing with fury.
“You... you... you... scoundrel!” She snapped. “Talking to me that way! You should be ashamed of yourself!”
Taylor paled. “Your father is the King of Concertlot,” he whispered as he recognized the princess.
Just like every afternoon at the same time the sky grew dark and the wind picked up. The merchants quickly gathered up their belongings and started to scurry away. Taylor looked up at the blackening sky and knew they had to get inside quickly.
“Your Highness, please forgiving me for I did not know it was you,” he groveled bending a knee to the floor. The horse behind him neighed as a crack of lightning broke overhead. “We must leave at once,” he begged rising to his feet. “It is not safe out here in the storm.”
“I will tell you when it is or is not safe,” the princess replied, taking advantage of her status. Her age of 10 was showing through in her ignorance.
Taylor grew more and more worried as the sky grew even darker and the villagers rushed to their houses. Many people ran in-between where the princess was standing and where he was standing, too many people to witness which one of them had grabbed the girl.
The drops started falling and Taylor looked around for the girl who had been standing there not less then thirty second before. He started to panic for her, he didn’t quite understand why. He just felt as though she could not take care of herself out in the market place especially in one of these storms. In the bottom of his stomach he knew that someone had taken her, he just knew it. The princess did not know her way around the village although her family owned it. It was not likely that the royal family emerged from the castle without an escort, a whole entourage usually, and why she was out by herself at a time when the storm always came was a mystery that Taylor knew the answer to: she had to have snuck out of the huge stone fortress.
The rain came down in heavy sheets but Taylor knew he had to help this girl who he had never met before that very moment. He ran to his horse, untied her, and climbed on her back. “Kintessa,” he said, his voice yelling over the loud rain. “We have to get the princess.” The horse whimpered but started out into the square, emerging from the semi-dry area Taylor had tied her to.
“Where could she have gone?” Taylor asked himself. He guided the horse down an alley between houses. He pushed his blonde hair out of his eyes but seconds later the rain pushed it back in. Taylor shivered in his clothes, he knew he should have taken his coat but he was not expecting to be out in the rain for as long as he was.
Kintessa and Taylor pressed on down the alley. “Whoa,” Taylor exclaimed stopping the horse. “What is that?” He jumped down off the brown back and grabbed a piece of black cloth off of the ground. He stared at it a few minutes and turned to Kintessa. “It is a piece of her cloak.” He jumped on the horse. “This way,” he commanded steering the horse to the right, straight down another alley.
They continued down the alleys, the rain driving hard into Taylor’s back numbing him completely. He was freezing but he refused to give up his search. Something was paining him in his stomach and it told him that he was going the right way.
When the boy and his horse reached a darker alley, the horse refused to move on any farther. “What is it, girl?” Taylor asked. The horse backed up farther. The boy knew that she sensed something of danger in this alley. “I’ll be right back, Kintessa,” he told the horse climbing down off her back. “Stay here.” He patted the horses nose and kissed it. “Don’t move.”
Taylor walked slowly down the alley, careful not to make a noise as he walked in fear that someone, or something, might hear him and come after him. He stomach ached until he reached a lighted window at the end of the alley, the pain just stopped abruptly as if it had never even been with him the whole time.
Taylor walked carefully to the window and peered in, mindful not to make a sound. What he saw in there would never be erased from his mind, three men were sitting at a table in the room while the girl with the green eyes was sitting in a chair against the front door. Taylor could see the terror in her eyes from where he was standing. She was too terrified to fight for her own freedom so she allowed these men to keep her in the chair in the house.
Without warning Kintessa neighed from down the alley, she was frightened for her master.
“What was that?” One of the men asked in alarm. Taylor quickly ducked his head from the window but not fast enough.
“Somebody’s out there!” Another man exclaimed. Taylor kept his head down but he heard the chairs crashing inside as the men jumped out of their seats and ran to the door. He had been spotted and there was no escape now. Not knowing what to do next, the dead end alley behind him and the men coming at him, Taylor stood up quickly.
“There he is!” The third man shouted appearing in the window. Apparently only two of the men had left the house, not three.
“Help!” Taylor screamed as the man pulled him through the window by the collar of his shirt.
“Close your mouth,” the man snapped at him slapping Taylor’s cheek hard. “Do you want the who neighborhood to hear your yapping?”
Taylor’s cheek stung and he knew it had turned red instantaneously with the impact. The man threw him in a chair against the wall, Taylor’s back hitting against the hard material. He felt wounded and his pride was hurt when he looked at the princess. He knew then that the tales he was told by his parents were false, boys could not save princesses in distress.
The princess lifted her eyes to him, the vibrant green he had seen earlier that day was gone replaced with fear and helplessness. As their eyes met, Taylor felt his pride growing stronger, he refused to sit back and watch her eyes grow dull. They were going to get out of this situation alive.
The two other men entered the house and looked at Taylor. He glared back. “You are a stupid, stupid boy,” one of them told Taylor.
“You’re stupid,” Taylor shot back.
The men laughed. “And he speaks!” The insulter chuckled. “He has a tongue, but not for long. No one speaks back to me, boy.” He leaned in closer to Taylor’s face, his breath hot and musty. Taylor thought quickly and knew what to do. His hand inched closer to the knife he carried in his belt. The man pulled out his own knife, it’s silver blade glinted in the light of the candles. “I’ll teach you for speaking back to me!”
Taylor took a deep breath and acted on his plan. He raised his feet quickly and kicked the man hard in the stomach. The man fell to the floor clutching his stomach in pain, who knew that an 11 year old boy could kick that hard.
It wasn’t too long before the other two men were running towards Taylor, grabbing for any weapon to strike him with. Luckily the boy had expected this. “Kintessa!” He bellowed, reaching for the knife in his belt and pulling it out quickly. The men were on him in seconds.
“Get out the window,” he commanded to the princess. “Get to my horse.” She looked at him wide-eyed. “NOW!” He yelled. He was unable to see if she followed his command but he knew that she would.
Taylor quickly said a prayer and stabbed one of the advancers in the stomach. The boy winced as something hard hit him in the head knocking him down to the floor.
“Got him,” the one man left unwounded exclaimed in triumph. He knelt down next to Taylor, twisting the boy’s knife out of his hands. He held the knife in the air ready to kill the 11 year old without another thought. “You are a nothing,” the man said. “You’ve hurt my friends and for what? To save a princess who I am just going to recapture anyway. You are a silly and foolish boy. We weren’t going to kill her, you fool, we were going to use her as bait for the King’s money. And now... now you’ve given up your own life for nothing. You’ve hurt my friends rather badly and now you are going to die. May you rot in your own foolish hell.”
Taylor heard a neigh out the window and all his fury exploded. His strength grew and the man’s words had hurt. He was not foolish, he was not silly, and he was NOT going to die. He kicked the knife out of the man’s hands and grabbed it up off the floor. “You are the fool,” he snarled. “You are the one that is going to die.” Before he knew what he was doing, Taylor had stabbed the man three times. He dropped his knife to the ground and rose to his feet, his blue eyes wide in amazement and horror. “What have I done?” He muttered aloud.
The horse neighed.
Taylor looked towards the window. Without a second thought he jumped down to the ground where his horse was waiting. The princess was clutching the mane of the beautiful beast. Taylor climbed on the back and they quickly made their way out of twisted alleys, and back into the market. The rain slowed as they emerged from the last alley, the sky brightened and the merchants set up their carts. It was as though the storm had never occurred... just like usual.
When the King had learned what Taylor had done to save his daughter he knighted the 11 year old. The poor family from which Taylor had grown up now became a wealthy family. The King and Queen awarded the Hanson family the finest clothes and the nicest house in close proximity to the castle with the rest of the knights. They got riches and glory all because of what Taylor had done to save the princess.
Sir Taylor became known throughout the village and most of all respected. He was dubbed the protector of the princess, and the King’s finest warrior and ambassador. A great respected man and at the time all the appointing was over he had just turned 12. Taylor quickly settled into his role and did not disappoint anyone. Whenever he went on a journey the villagers missed seeing him on his horse riding through the village and when he arrived back home they felt safer and more secure. His being around provided protection for more people then just the princess.
Now he was 17 and was more involved in his role then ever. He followed the King’s orders down to the exact detail, never missing a beat. Even when it meant doing things he did not desire to do, or even... detested... to do.