Guinevere brushed the hair out of her eyes andhuffed in exasperation,
as Mordie stubbornly stopped once again to rest. Tucking the blonde
strands behind her ears, she lay back on the pile of wood in the wagon
behind her. She closed her eyes, listening to the trafficmoving around
her, all traveling towards the distant tournament. She opened them
once more, making to sit up, when in the corner of her eye she saw a
glimmer of bright green in the dark woods to her right. Suddenly,
Mordie jerked forward and Gwen fell off the wagon, along with all
the wood. Luckily, she managed to roll to the side to avoid the
mountain of wood about to crush her.
She watched, aghast, as the wood for the knights’ tents fell on top
of poor Mordie. He whinnied in pain and tried to shake himself free
of the reins, but collapsed under the growing pile. Gwen jumped up,
scrabbling desperately to salvage as much firewood from the muddy
ground as she could, while at the same time trying to free Mordie.
Clearing enough wood so her steed could hobble to his feet, she
quickly started to load the undamaged wood. She was so intent on
doing this that she did not notice another pair of hands helping her
until she crashed into their owner and fell to the ground again.
‘Oh, sorry, forgive me, miss,’ came a boy’s voice.
Gwen looked up at the boy, but his face was hidden beneath a
broad, straw hat.
‘You don’t have to call me miss. I’m not a lady,’ she looked down at
herself in disgust. ‘And I really fail to see how you could’ve mistaken
me for one.’
The boy took off his hat and twisted it in his hands. He looked a
few years older than she was, maybe seventeen. He had floppy brown
hair and solid, green eyes. There was an odd, regal sense about him
that Gwen couldn’t place, he certainly had no airs or graces.
‘Well, I didn’t want to seem rude,’ the boy mumbled, his ears
steadily turning red.
He helped her to her feet. ‘Do you want me to help you finish
loading the wagon?’ he asked, as Gwen tried to rid her dress of mud
and horse dung.
She sighed, ‘Yes, thank you.’
‘My name’s Wart, by the way.’
Gwen thought she had heard wrong. ‘Did you say
‘Yes, everyone calls me that because it more or less rhymes with
my real name.’ He didn’t care to divulge what it was.