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The Craven Knight

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Felix remembered sitting in his father’s lap and listening to him telling the story of Elouan, who took no glory for himself and stayed behind to make sure no dangers befell his friends.

The Craven Knight, the people called him, yet no one was braver than Elouan when the fair princess was taken by a foul beast that took up residence in the old woods. Elouan had answered the call immediately. He didn’t tell his father and mother; he didn’t send for his friends. With his trusty sword, he braved the old woods without companions. With a simple fire spell to light his way, he faced the evil of the forest alone.

It was said that the mangled bodies of previous adventurers lay strewn across the forest. It was said that the Craven Knight shook with fear when he laid eyes on the beast and that he dropped his blade and ran when he looked into its evil eyes.

But Elouan did not give up. He had another sword forged for his hand and returned to the forest. He was afraid, but for his people he marched on; for his beloved Danica, he would slay the beast.

Hunters saw the Craven Knight make camp outside the monster’s territory. Adventurers saw him wander the woods and shadow the beast, studying its moves from afar. It was said that the monster grew so accustomed to Elouan’s presence that it paid him no heed—that he could certainly sneak up on the beast and kill it while it slept. But Elouan did no such thing. He kept shadowing the beast until the townsfolk, believing the Craven Knight was courting the evils of the forest, called for his blood. They prepared to burn down the forest the night Elouan made his choice.

Now that his Book of the Beast was written, he knew the monster’s weaknesses and strengths. From the day he saw the creature, Elouan knew what had to be done. After standing at the crossroads of destiny for so long, it was finally time to move.

The night before battle, he sharpened his blade and said his prayers. In the morn, when the beast left its den to hunt, Elouan barred the way. Without his helmet and visor he stood in the sunrise with his dark tresses loose in the breeze. Without his armour, Elouan challenged the beast.

With lightning reflexes, the knight dodged the beast’s feral assault. With swift feet and sweeping strides, Elouan danced around the monster, wearing it down with calculated cuts before dealing the final blow…