Unlikely Friends: A Thief Questions a Cavalier about Tactics
"For Vanadia, with thanks for lessons learned."
Each stanza is a sonnet with a Petrarchan octave and a sestet that I adapted from the Petrarchan quatrain
“So let me get this straight. You think we ought
to make our stand right here on open ground
when so much better cover can be found
over there. Do you want to get me shot?
I mean really… It’s bad enough that you
insist on wearing clothes that tend to flash
in moonlight, traipsing here and there with crash
and clatter. Now this? Do please take a few
breaths to reconsider. In the name
of all the times you’ve almost got me killed
while questing for some goal we knew was just,
the days spent riding hard in heat and dust,
the moors we’ve walked by night, the blood we’ve spilled,
please let your code not dominate the game.”
“My code is who I am.”
“But who you are
is not the only thing you need to know.
Your old friends travel with you when you go
in search of fame and glory. That bright star
you follow may be fair. It may be fine.
But not alone does any one star rise,
and no lone star can satisfy the eyes
forever. Other lights there are that shine
above the hills. I want to live to see
them shine again. I will not leave your side.
You know I won’t. No fear of pain or death
will make me run. But while we still have breath,
I’d really like to urge you to confide
in my good sense. Sir Knight, please follow me.”
“Perhaps you don’t recall: I have a name—“
“Ye-e-e-s, I know. Reputation, bla bla bla.
But what is to be gained, what sacred law
upheld, by dying here? It seems an empty fame
to fight for glory’s sake on clear terrain
when all about us better odds abound.
In all our years of wandering we’ve found
it best to work as equals—far more sane
than one knight’s pride as lone and guiding hand.
So come into the trees. I see our friend
the mage’s fingers dancing with a spell.
The day is young. The morning mist bodes well.
You’ll earn your place in songs before the end:
when they break through, then draw your sword, and stand.”
Thanks to Roger I. Wilkie for this contribution!