Edward lay sprawled face down in the mud, listening to the ringing of his ears. Above his head he could dimly hear the herald proclaiming his opponent, Sir Orland the Invincible, victor of this round in the Autumn Tourney of the Society for the Re-Creation of the Age of Chivalry. Sir Orland strode off the field to get ready for the next round, and the herald bent concernedly over Edward.
"Are you injured, my lord? Shall I summon the Chirurgeon?"
Edward rolled over, tried to sit up and protest that he didn't need a doctor, and blacked out.
The next thing he knew he was lying on a cot, stripped of his armor, being sponged with cool water. It was very quiet in the chirurgeon's tent, enabling him to hear every word of the heated argument going on just outside.
"You could have killed him!" The voice was that of his twin sister, Ellen; Lady Eleanor the Perfect, who never did anything wrong, who never raised her voice or lost her calm dignity, while Edward bounced from scrape to crisis. He'd never heard her so upset.
"Lady Eleanor," Sir Orland sounded tired and annoyed. "If your brother would play by the rules of the lists and acknowledge the blows he receives, he would not have to be beaten senseless. Talk to him, not to me! And I warn you, if he pulls this stunt again, I am going to call your parents and suggest that they refuse to sign the fighter's waiver for him. Perhaps by the time he's old enough to sign it for himself, he'll have learned more sense."
"That wouldn't do you the slightest bit of good," Ellen said bitterly. "They heartily approve of his getting beaten up--they think it will make him grow up to be a proper man."
Sir Orland whistled. "Like that, is it? Perhaps he ought to give up fighting altogether--sounds like he gets plenty of it at home."
"He wants to be a knight."
"Trying to prove something to his parents? Well, it's none of my business. However, my lady, I strongly suggest that you persuade him to alter his fighting style. Remember that he is allegedly fighting for your honor." Footsteps sloshed off through the mud, and Edward heard Ellen sigh as she entered the tent.