Why was no news of this sent to Lavrum? I – the king would have sent knights to combat this evil.”
“Much the king cares for us! Never showed his face here, has he? And what’s a knight or two against this – this horror.”
“I will try my hand against it.”
The other stared at him, then laughed.
“You! You’re an old man – you’d never stand!”
“I am a knight,” said Perian quietly, “and must fulfil my oath, while there is life in me. If I die, at least I will have tried.”
There was a silence while the innkeeper looked at him again.
“By the Flower of Lavrum! I do believe you mean it.”
“I do mean it.”
“Then I’m sorry for what I said. You’re a brave man. Here – have some breakfast.”
By the time Perian had finished breakfast, a large crowd had gathered outside the inn, hoping to see the brave champion who was going to attempt the monster of the tower. Some offered any help they could give.
“Is there any armour to be had?”
“Odd bits and pieces. Sir,” said one man. “Shall I gather what I can?”
“Please do. Ilo, will you get all these boys together into a party to repair and polish armour. And will some of you,” he turned to the crowd again, “help with food for our journey to the north.”
A few of the townspeople hurried away to their homes to fetch the necessary supplies, while the rest pressed forward to come near to Perian.
“Bless you, noble knight.”
“May you prevail, and come home safe.”