“Hold your tongue, you worthless wench,
There are no saints to save you;
We’ll leave your body in a trench
Or perhaps enslave you.
“Your shack will make a useful base
For our next operation;
To keep intact your pretty face
You’d better learn your station.”
Daric spots the vicious voice’s source beside a tree
Four bandits have a fair young maid encircled hopelessly.
Her fiery curls and bold green eyes are strong but full of fear,
Since she is unaware that some help is very near.
Daric grabs a stone and hurls it at the nearest lout,
The bandit crumples to the ground before he can cry out.
The other three all dive for cover and the young maid flees
Towards Daric’s position as they melt into the trees.
“Stay behind me!” Daric calls, emerging sword in hand,
With shield held up and visor down he loudly takes a stand.
“This lady is not here alone, fight now or leave her be!
I have no time for so-called men who act so cowardly.”
They do not reappear, and when it’s clear they’ve gone,
Daric turns to the young maid who’s as graceful as a swan.
“What were you doing way out here, where bandits raid and roam?”
“I sold eggs at the market and was finding my way home.”
“I would escort you there, if your father would not mind.”
“Were he alive he would be very glad to meet your noble kind.
My name is Beatrice, but joy has left my family,
I am all that’s left of our once very fruitful tree.”
“You are all alone out here? Things should not be that way.”
“They would improve if I could ask my rescuer to stay.”
She blushes. “Please forgive me for my shameless forwardness,
A man like you must have important matters to address.”
A man like me? thinks Daric, Oh, my poor girl piteous,
What if beneath this noble shell I am still hideous?
I never thought to look at my reflection since the Hill
Now I dare not show my face, this is a bitter pill.
“Do not idolise me, my good lady, I am flawed;
My past is full of selfishness, bitterness, discord;
Right now I’m on my way to make amends for my old life,
I’ll spare you all the details, and so save you needless strife.”