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December 2020

The Joust

Here I excerpt a chapter of The First Story of Littlelot, because everyone likes a joust. In the story, the hero must joust against the villain to rescue Gwenevere. If Lancelot wins, Maleagant frees the queen from his tower prison. If Maleagant wins, Lancelot becomes a prisoner too.

 

The Joust

Maleagant and I charged each other. Tilt’s hooves pounded the ground like rolling thunder. His muscled shoulders rippled with each stride, ears bent back, gray mane flying. I leaned to the right in the saddle so he and I wouldn’t both fall over.

As Maleagant and I drew near to each other, I lowered my lance and aimed it at his left shoulder. At the same time, Maleagant raised the blue shield higher and deflected the blow, while the point of his lance passed aside, missing me.

At field’s end, I turned Tilt to face Maleagant again.

“Give up, Maleagant! I am the best fighter of all the knights of the Round Table.”

“You are only the best until you are bested by another,” he said as he raised his lance high.

I also raised my lance, and Gwenevere held up the banner, then drew it down.

We charged. Still leaning to the right, I aimed at Maleagant’s shoulder again. Maleagant also leaned right, only for an instant, to avoid my lance. Then he moved back to the middle of the saddle so he wouldn’t fall from his mount. As he passed, he hit the left side of my shield with his lance, but it glanced off.

Maleagant turned his mount. “That’s the second time you’ve aimed for my left shoulder, Lancelot. The best fighter of all the knights of the Round Table must learn to vary his attack.”

Raising my lance, I said, “Next time I might aim for the other shoulder.”

Maleagant squinted at me and raised his lance. Gwenevere drew down the banner, and we charged each other for the third time.

This time, as we came together, I didn’t change my aim, but I adjusted my position to the middle of the saddle, only for an instant, so Tilt and I wouldn’t both fall over. Thinking I wouldn’t aim for his left shoulder yet again, and that I wouldn’t aim for the right shoulder as I had announced, Maleagant held his shield down to protect against a lower attack.

His lance hit the center of my shield and broke into splinters, while my lance’s point struck his left shoulder. The impact forced him from the saddle, and he fell to the ground.

 


Read the Preface to The First Story of Littlelot.

 

The First Story of Littlelot - Full-Color Illustrated Edition
Buy on Bookshop

All book sales made through Bookshop directly benefit independent bookstores.

Also available at these retailers.

The First Story of
Littlelot
Full-Color Illustrated Edition

In his game of make-believe, a boy must make a choice—break his oath to the king or break the heart of the woman who gave him the most meaningful gift.

An Arthurian legend with knights and damsels and other action figures.

The frontispiece and six chapter illustrations by celebrated artists Arthur Rackham, N. C. Wyeth, Thomas Moran, and Herbert James Draper bring Littlelot’s Arthurian adventure to life in this beautiful paperback book.

Available in paperback and e-book.

 

The First Story of Littlelot
Buy on Bookshop

All book sales made through Bookshop directly benefit independent bookstores.

Also available at these retailers.

The First Story of
Littlelot

An Arthurian legend with knights and damsels and other action figures.

In his game of make-believe, a boy must make a choice—break his oath to the king or break the heart of the woman who gave him the most meaningful gift.

Available in paperback and e-book.