“Who is this?” the knight had asked Staas, jerking his head my way. I don’t think he had been expecting us; a half-eaten dinner was on a trestle table. I’d caught a glimpse of the lady of the house, along with a couple children, disappearing from the hall through a rear door as we had entered.

“One of Ma Dame’s household, Mon Sieur” Staas had answered. “We almost got her as well, but she escaped us.”

The knight had considered me for a moment, before turning to Staas. “He’s not her wizard?” he said. His tone was a bit hushed.

Staas’s eyes had widened a bit, and the other guys, standing around me, shifted. “I—” he hesitated; I could see him playing back the capture through his mind. “I don’t think so.” He rubbed a meaty hand across his meaty mouth. “She was alone with him in the woods. He don’t look like a wizard. He didn’t do anything.”

The knight had stepped my way, pulling his knife. He slipped it under my gag and cut it free.

“Who are you?”

I had taken a couple of deep breaths, then tried to work some moisture into my mouth. “Michel,” I gasped after a moment. I’d spent some time during the march thinking about this. Michel wasn’t very inventive, but I wasn’t so conversant in local names that I wanted to get too creative. “Michel of Osche. I am a scribe.”

The knight leaned a bit, just enough to see my hands tied behind my back. I had enough ink stains to be convincing. “You don’t look like a scribe. And you talk strange.”

Click through for a PDF.

This half-chapter contains almost no dialog (you get the bulk of what it has above), but, I hope, rather a lot of tension. This is terrain with which I’m not enormously confident, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether it worked.

Comment below; you know you wanna! And receive an email notification of every update to this site by subscribing (see the link to the right). Converse with me on Twitter at @charlesmryan, or follow my writing diary on Facebook at Charles M Ryan.

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