In Year 8 Humanities, students have been learning about many aspects of medieval life. Roles, living conditions, the Black Death, weaponry, the power of the Church, influential people, challenges and change. One of the ways in which the students have been able to demonstrate their learning as well as their incredibly creative minds has been through the development of narratives set in medieval times. The challenge was to develop a short story which painted an authentic, medieval setting with convincing characters. It needed to start with the action and be effectively resolved.
We have selected three of these stories to share with you.
The Knight in Black.
Nicholas I, 8K2
His breath warms the inside of his helmet. It’s Edward, staring into the eyes of death. Crowds are stomping and cheering. They now verse on formal ground, unlike the day his master was killed. Horses grow ever more restless. The knight in black unwavering, turned his way around the tilt and began to charge.
Edward shivered as he remembered the day. How he pleaded with the knight in black to not fight his master. His master was injured in a tournament and they were riding home to treat it, when the knight in black appeared around the corner and he challenged them to a joust. The knight reared his horse, the squire looked up to his master. His masters face was pale, there was a glint of fear in his eyes as he kicked his horse into a gallop. The knight in black and Edward’s master charged with lances. The outcome of the battle to be revealed when they met. The knight in black was triumphant as Edwards masters limp body rolls off the back of the horse. The knight in black laughs. Edward runs then crawls to his body. The knight in black faces the boy from a top his horse. The slits in his helmet hiding something cold.
“You will not live this down!” the squire, tears running down his cheeks, swears to avenge his master’s death. The squire feels the cold blade touch his shoulder, and then his other. The king lowers the sword and looks him in the eyes.
“Edward of Sheperdswell, be thou a knight,” the king booms. Edward swore his oath of homage and dined at the table with other great and honoured knights. He trotted on his horse back to the shack. Well built with brick and stone as his master had much wealth, the shack had been abandoned as Edward was his masters only family. The cabinet across the room held a lance and sword. The day had come for Edward to wield the great weaponry as his master once held. The day had come for Edward to finally avenge his master’s death.
“Hear ye, hear ye. Come one come all!” shouted the jester. “Tis a battle of great strength!”
Edward was ready. He had been training for this since he buried his master. Ahead of him, two knights faced each other. Lances crack and crowds roar. Now was Edwards time to beat the murdering knight. Edward trots his horse to the tilt. His lance pointing to the distant rider. They pass each other at trotting speed and make their way to the other end. Now it begins, the fight Edward has waited for. His wavy breath warms the inside of his helmet. It’s just Edward, staring into the eyes of death. Crowds are stomping and cheering. Horses grow ever more restless. The knight in black unwavering, turned his way around the tilt and began to charge. And like not long ago, the outcome of the battle will be revealed when they meet, except Edward was prepared unlike his master. Crowds roar, lances crack. The outcome was completely unexpected by the crowd. Shock and awe as the murdering knight lay in the mud, Edward was full of pride and glory as he had avenged his master. He looks down at the knight, smiling as he had done on that very first day. The knight in black’s dignity, stripped and Edward returned home glorious.
Arabella C, 8D2
Air evaded me, the lump of fear in my throat blocking off my airways. Is this how I die? He gripped my collar in his filthy hands, I could barely think.
“T – Thomas? “I muttered, barely audible “please, y – you know me! Don’t do this” I choked out.
“I knew you were scum!” he spat, disdain coating his words. “and to think” he pushed me up against a wall, I felt the jagged stones stab into my back as I let out a painful gasp as the remaining air rushed out of my lungs, “I was starting to like you” he mumbled, the revulsion growing in his voice.
“Thomas you just don’t understand! Let me explain-“I felt a hot sting swell across my face as he readied his fist to take another hit.
Before I knew it, my knee was making contact with his groin, he doubled over for a split second as I bolted.
A strong hand wrapped around my ankle, the moment when I thought I was free from this nightmare, he dragged me, kicking, and screaming back towards him.
I felt… trapped, no where to go, no one to save me.
That morning had begun like any other, the hazy mist of early morning dew filling my senses as I opened the shutters.
“Avery?” the familiar voice of my servant/only friend, Alya filled my blank thoughts, “morning sleepy head!” her feet made little sound on the cold stone tiles, as she walked over to stand next to me, following my gaze.
The hills lay charcoal under the pale sun, feeble rays struggling to shine through the broken layer of cloud as it rose just above the dense forest and hilltops.
“Avery?” Alya waved her hand in front of my face, breaking my train of thought “breakfast is ready downstairs when you get out of that head of yours” she joked, masking her concern with her cheery nature.
I snapped back to reality.
I would often daydream about the future, a time when I wouldn’t have to hide who I am in order to make my way in life, when I didn’t have to wipe charcoal on my chin, or conceal my features with powder, or talk differently. It had become routine by now, I’d forget what my real face looked like, or what I really sounded like at times.
As a girl, dressing up every day as a man was strange, a concept mostly unheard of. In the small town of bruges just south of Ghent, I was a knight, a noble man who would do anything to protect his honour and village, but underneath that all, I was just a scared little girl.
It was two weeks ago today that I’d heard the news, the news that broke me…
Around 4 years ago, I had run off with my brother when he got accepted into the knights order here in Bruges, before that, when he underwent training, he would spend hours in the candle-lit forest, teaching me everything that he’d learned that day – how to fight and speak properly. He’d been my role model my whole childhood and now, he was gone.
The letter said that he’d gone missing, after going off to fight over the mountains, against a neighbouring village, his body was never found…presumed lost.
From that day on I had promised to myself that I would find him, even if it meant leaving Alya, and the acquaintances I’d made in the village – not that they’d ever be true friends with not even knowing that I wasn’t actually a man.
The night I was preparing to leave, said my goodbyes to Alya, somewhere in the tear-filled goodbye, revealed about being a girl, lying to everyone in the village… and now I was here, face down in the mud, being dragged into my gravest nightmare.
As I feel the tight grip of his hand around my ankle, I could feel my consciousness slipping, no! I wasn’t going to give up this easily.
Desperately, I swung my arm out into the dark, surprisingly, I felt the click of his cheekbone under my unsteady fist as he tumbled into the wall.
A coppery taste overwhelmed my senses as it filled my mouth, he had retaliated by kicking his boot up into my face, I felt a crack as a numbing sensation spread across my face.
Head throbbing, I his barbaric and bloodshot eyes before mine fluttered shut for a split second which was all he needed to thrust his elbow into the back of my head, the overwhelming scent of his mead laden breath sent me off the deep end, the dreadful scent of defeat as it went black, my aspirations, promises, dreams… all melting away in a split second.
Marigold – The tale of two sisters
Ruby M, 8K1
It was the warmest day in the year.
It was the smallest house in England.
Something was bound to happen, Penelope Kemp could feel it. Penelope Kemp lived in a small house beside her father’s masters house, the Duke Wilbur Henning, their family preparing the horses for jousting. They watched over sixteen horses all with rich colour, who would all need to be fed twice a day then groomed four times a day. Penelope and her younger sister Evangeline sat in the Henning barn beside a short barrel of soapy water, scrubbing at two tall, elegant horses.
“Her hooves still have mud, sister please be more careful” Penelope sighed scrubbing at the dirt stains sitting fresh behind the chestnut horse.
“Penelope, today is the perfect day to go and fetch the purple marigold behind the Marquess’s property!” Evangeline leaned against the wall of hay looking up into the barn roof with dreamy eyes. Penelope shook her head as she finished wiping the mud from the dark wooden floors, she pulled the cream cloth up and walked towards a barrel of water.
“Please! It’ll be quick the Marquess will be here at the joust, no one will know!” Eveangeline begged her sister, Penelope turning the knob, releasing water tainted with dirt, she put her hands under the low pressure rubbing her face.
Penelope turned back towards Evangeline, “Stop this sister, we are nothing more than the daughters of a stable man, we are nothing compared to these men, you’ll get yourself hung!” Penelope lashed back. She walked past Evangeline and took the horses of the wooden stick, leading them towards the grassy paddock. After a big huff from Evangeline there was silence, besides the sound of horses trotting, it was quiet. Penelope Kemp shut the gate after the two horses, running back to the empty barn in her red dress.
“Evangeline? Evangeline? Come back sister!” Penelope yelled in a hushed tone, footsteps growing closer. She turned hoping to see her little sister only to see Duke Wilbur walking towards her looking for Evangeline. Her whole body froze.
Evangeline Kemp jumped tree to tree in the woods just outside the Marquess’s property, creeping towards the meadow full of the prize purple marigolds growing behind the servants quarters. She swiftly ran as soon as the Marquess’s servant Emile went inside the chambers. She ran as fast as she could at the purple marigolds, her brown dress which was covered in dirt got caught on her shoe causing her to fall into the grass. Her fall was loud. She heard the door from the servants chambers swing open, she could hear a scowl spreading in this distance. She tried to get up, but by the time she did she fell to the floor again in shock as before her was the terrifying Marquess.
The warmth from the beaming sun suddenly felt cold.
The breeze swimming around her only brought fear.
“Evangeline Kemp!” The Marquess spat pulling her by the dress up to his eye level, Evangeline hanging in the air half a meter from the ground.
“P-Please I’ll g-go just let m-me live” Evangeline stuttered, the huge man holding her dropping her to the ground in a fit of anger.
“You haven stolen from me for eight years! Your crimes will be the death of you!” The Marquess roared, his servant Emile running out with a bat, knocking her in the head.
“Thou shalt not steal” Emile muttered under his breath walking away from his master, taking Evangeline Kemp’s unconscious body to the town square.
Evangeline woke up tied to an oversized piece of wood with ropes around her stomach, wrists, ankles and thighs. She saw angry faces staring at her holding fire, pitchforks and chanting, “HANG HER!”
She looked around the square past the screaming men and women, to the back of the crowd where her mother and father, and sister Penelope stood all emotionless. As soon as she made eye contact with her parents they looked away, then with Penelope, who looked down into the ground. Evangeline could feel tears pooling in her eyes, she heard a man walking holding an axe behind her but she didn’t care, all she wanted was for her sister to come brush her hair and tell her that the pain would be over soon.
But she didn’t.
The man pulled the axe up behind his shoulders then swung it down cutting through Evangeline’s timid wrists, Evangeline wailed with pain. Penelope buried her eyes unable to watch Evangeline’s wrist fall to the ground. All she could hear was the sound of the blood pouring onto the ground.
Evangeline was numb.