King Stephen, the Silver man and Greta the Witch

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Chapter 10 – The Silver man

Eustace had taken the pre-dawn watch and had awoken the King before first light. They ate a cold breakfast and left the small hamlet of Hertleye Wynteneye just as the sun was rising. They walked their horses to preserve their strength. They rode largely in silence. The rode in a protective formation, he led with Henry in the vanguard and the King in the most secure position in the middle. He was anxious to proceed, if successful the King had promised him the Wessex estate, this would bring him untold wealth. It would also be sweet revenge for that attack on the road in France when he had beheaded the leader of the bandits hired by the traitorous Baron. Once he returned from Rome with the Pope’s blessing, Eustace was looking forward to riding into the Wessex Estate with a letter of execution from the King, and carrying out the death sentence on the Baron personally. While they walked the horses through the forest towards Farnham he pondered how he would kill him.

As they rounded a small wooded thicket, and entered a clearing in the forest his thoughts were brought back to the present. In the clearing was a man dressed in a tight-fitting silver suit and behind him was a large silver object. Eustace saw no threat from the strange looking man standing in the clearing. He held no weapons and was well within bow-shot. Eustace knew that at this distance Henry could send an arrow through the man’s heart.

King Stephen had also been lost in his thoughts about how to persuade the Archbishop to travel to Rome when they entered the clearing. His memory was pulled back into focus by the vision that Greta had spoken about. For here before him was a strange Silver man and a strange silver object, just as she had described. The Silver man’s clothes were like nothing the King had ever seen. They were tight fitting as if he were naked. The King could tell from his build that he was a strong fit man, but he did not have the upper body muscles of a swordsman or a bowman. The silver object behind him was also very strange. It appeared perfectly formed with perfect domed structure and struts below.

But before he could take it in further, he was distracted by a terrible high pitched scream from the forest behind him, and then Greta charged from the tree line. She charged forward at a speed that seemed impossibly fast for her small frail body. She held her notorious poisoned stabbing spear in her right hand aimed directly at the Silver man. Her lethal intentions were clear.

The Silver man raised his right hand in an unhurried gesture, and then there was a blinding flash.

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