Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
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The Nameless Squire’s Tale

by James Matthew Byers

Then, once upon a time, there lived
A noble, gallant squire.
He held the world within his palm;
He walked right through the fire.

Held up against his inner self,
He faced his only fear:
That he would lose the one he loved;
The one he held so dear.

This Gabrielle, the maiden’s name;
There were none such as she.
A vision of a lovely flower,
Budding, wild and free.

This romance was forbidden to
The two who were in love:
The boy a lowly squire, and
The girl a step above.

Daughter of the noble in charge
Of her bravest squire
Through vain attempts had bartered with her
Deep heartfelt desire.

One day the noble caught them, these
Two locked within a kiss.
His anger blazed and kindled at
Just what was now amiss.

The stable where in secret these two
Had met for two years
Became the point of conflict summing
Up the squire’s fears.

“Please, a moment, sir, to hear me,
How much we have to tell;
How deeply I have loved her, your
Sweet daughter Gabrielle.”

The maiden begged in her own way,
But none to their avail.
It seemed their hope grew futile, and
It seemed their hope would fail.

“You want to wed my daughter, and
You want to be my son?
Then listen to me here, young man:
This task must yet be done.

The knight who has so trained you in
The art of arms three years
Met his end by the dragon who
Just lives northwest from here.

In fact, upon the kingdom, this
Vile dragon has proclaimed
His wrath without a tribute now
To keep the dragon tamed.

So if you want my daughter, then
Be off upon your way
And this is my task for you now:
this dragon you must slay.”

The maiden screamed and hit him, her
Cruel father for his words.
“No, daddy, this is just not fair!”
But she would not be heard.

The squire betook the challenge, packing
Knife and fork and plate.
With a gulp, a sigh and a wave good-bye,
He was off to meet his fate.

The armor thus supplied to him
Held no fit to his form
So he just wore his tunic and
His breeches ripped and torn.

The pony he had mounted took off
At a humble pace
And turning one last moment, he
Gazed on his true love’s face.

The day passed into evening, and
Thus growing ever brave,
The squire at last beheld in view
The dragon’s nesting cave.

Along the line were scattered round
Debris in fitful frights;
Debris the squire there found to be
Remains of fallen knights.

He tied the pony safely just
Beyond the cavern’s door,
Then entered in quite softly, next
The cavern to explore.

A rumble from the deep yawn of
The cave’s unending path
Spoke of the great wyrm’s presence; it
Spoke of the great wyrm’s wrath.

The realization entered in
The swiftest squire’s brain:
The dragon, he lay sleeping there
Within his deep domain.

The sword held by the handle in
The young, brave squire’s grasp
Stood firm, erect above him as
He ushered a brief gasp.

Before him loomed the great wyrm, so
Long in an eerie green.
The teeth protruded outward and
Its body, scaled and lean

Spoke for the sleeping dragon and
Thus there the squire prepared
To give his life for his love as
At this one chance he dared.

A twig beneath the squire’s foot
Snapped, cracked, then popped again.
The sniffing dragon’s nostril picked
Up the fresh scent of man.

Before the squire could motion, he
Saw next an open eye
And there before the dragon, the
Youth then prepared to die.

Now luck would have its moment, as
The shields piled to the top
Of where the beast resided gave
To the young squire a stop.

He hid himself as thundered a
Booming voice full of hate.
“Who dares defy my presence here?
I think its time I ate!”

Within the pile of shields there, the
Squire spoke in riddled rhyme.
“It is no one, your grossness, no
One here at all this time.

Just I, a lowly morsel, not
Worth much more than a dime.
I am a wispy air blast who
Blows as a soft wind chime.

You see you cannot see me just
The same as wind that blows.
But hear me, that you can do, but
To you, I will not show.”

Confused, the dragon lumbered to
Where he thought he had smelled
The meal at hand in his cave, but
Now else the squire dwelled

Atop the pile of lost shields behind
In the dragon’s keep.
He jumped unleashing his sword to
Make fast a fitful sweep.

A roar emitted loudly, along
with a thudding shred
and there beside the young squire lo,
lay gleaned the dragon’s head.

Behind the dragon’s body, the
Young lad then caught a sight
Of wealth and gems and golden coin
Which spurned his heart’s delight.

His common place no longer would
Be called a common place.
The treasure of the dragon found
Within the cavern’s space

Would be a winning dowry to
Set forth a castle’s beam
And he and his love could fulfill
Their every wildest dream.

The squire found rope and tied up the
Huge dragon’s head behind
His pony and they strode forth with
Its huge, broad mass in bind.

Upon the kingdom’s border the
Squire gave a shout and yell.
He beckoned all to come and see,
And asked for Gabrielle.

She ran to meet her true love, and
Fell gently in his arms
So thankful he had made it and
Did not come to know harm.

The noble stood astonished and
Then nothing more was said.
He gave the squire his daughter and
The two would soon be wed.

The money from the cavern he
Shared with all those abroad
And told them such a blessing could
Only come thus from God.

He kept enough for himself to
Make his new wife quite proud.
They lived the ever after then
Quite happily endowed.

The noble squire did all of this
For every reason right
And in the end his title became
Known to be the knight.

© 2008 James Matthew Byers

James Matthew Byers is a published author(Grecian Rune, 2004) and a father of two. James has been married to his wife, Dorothea, for seven years. Mr. Byers teaches 8th Grade English at Moody Junior High. He resides with his family and two cats in Rainbow City.

Find more by James Matthew Byers in the Author Index.

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