Okay, real talk? Me and my villagers have been under siege for over six months now and many have died—that’s a legit bummer—but also, there are sparks fah-lying between the head siege-knight and I!

I actually hated him at first, which feels so weird to say now, but I thought, “Okay? I get you love my cas' (who wouldn’t) but is this really the way to go about getting it?”

So when he and his horsemen rode up to my gates and demanded the “immediate surrender” of my castle, I had my wall guys offer a light response—nothing major—I said, “maybe fling an arrow here, dump some boiling hot grease there, don’t get carried away but why did I have murder holes installed if we’re not going to use them, right?” And I thought that would be the end of it. But they came back, encircled my land, slaughtered all my livestock, started in with the typical siege-type stuff: fire arrows, night-time raids, etc., etc.

This whole thing could’ve been avoided had I taken his demands more seriously. Admittedly, I was in the bath a lot during the initial siege months and got most of these deets second hand. I can’t help but think the knight’s savage retaliation against the surrounding villages is at least partly my fault.

When he came back to dictate Terms of Siege or whatever, two thoughts immediately crossed my mind:

  1. My life, legacy and the safety of my people is at stake. Whatever is done in these few moments will impact my court, royal lineage and the fates of thousands.
  2. This knight DUMMY THICC.

But I sent him away, I had to, I can’t surrender my castle to every triple thicc hottie that rides up here. We’d wait it out, hope for one of the tri-monthly plagues to hit his camp and chill in the keep. From a strategic standpoint, I reasoned, I could use that time to come up with a more proactive plan, but quite frankly I spent most of my time daydreaming about the knight riding around all day just packin’ that shmeat!

But maybe it’s more than that? Like, the other day, he was setting fire to a bunch of my crops along with his other little knight friends, and I dunno, usually that would make me super pissed and murder-prone, but I just kind of respected it. Then when he rounded up some of the serfs he’d taken as prisoner and began beheading them one by one just outside the range of our archers, and disemboweling them and hanging their entrails up on spikes like grotesque maypoles, he singled me out by name and was like, “Open thy gates and your subjects will be spared,” and I know I’m supposed to think: No. Don’t. Those people have families. But honestly? I was flushing over the fact that he knew who I was.

I couldn’t shake this feeling that I should be sallying forth to wife his ass up and I hate sallying, it’s like my least favorite thing to do, but with him, it’s just like, what are my options here?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully on my team’s side with everything and I’ve told my war council that repeatedly. I’ve said point-blank, whatever happens between me and the knight I want you guys to know I put my professional obligations ahead of getting my cheeks clapped to absolute smithereens. And that’s a promise.

And they took that to heart. They’ve been really supportive. Just being there for me you know? Recently I suggested, what if we challenge the knight to a kissing contest, winner gets the castle and all its attending lands? And they were all like, “huh, pretty outside the box, pretty left brain, we like where you’re going with it, but, um, optics-wise we’re not so sure that’s the right strategy from a peasant-relations standpoint.”

So I suggested a micro-pivot, maybe a Greco-Roman wrestling match, you know, original rules—fully nude—you know, like both of us fully oiled up to avoid any friction injuries. And they seized on it! Markkus, my oldest and most deadly advisor shot up from his chair, and said, “Perfect! A duel between you and the knight, why didn’t we think of that before all those poor people starved to death?”

And I said, “Yes a duel. A wild, like, oiled-up, messy-haired, just like two guys going crazy on each other kind of duel—”

And he said, “Trial by combat! Brilliant, he’s a knight, he’ll have to accept.”

And I said, “Yes well, combat’s sort of a strong word.”

And just like that I was hustled into my battle armor and saddled onto my horse and given a sword and a lance and led through the city. Markkus pinned a note to my breast plate and slapped my horse to make her gallop and I have to admit I became quite emotional as the city gates opened and I could see the knight across the field, sexily leading his men in drills.

I felt a true sense of civic pride as I rode past my townspeople; with their dirty, sunken faces, and troughs full of nondescript, brown slop and their stagnant pool of water that doubled as a bathroom and their corpse pile and the shabby cage they’d erected to house those who’d gone insane from hunger and their smaller, albeit equally important, auxiliary corpse pile.

I was adrift in thought and halfway to the knight’s camp before I realized I forgot a little white truce flag. Now arrows are whizzing around me and pinging off my armor but it’s like, uhhh no sweetie this armor is handcrafted Corinthian Steel I don’t think your arrows are going to mean much— Okay that one got me in the elbow joint, should’ve covered that— Ooh another one connected, right in the clavicle, they are really picking their spots. Okay I should probably go back for that white flag— Nope, gates are shut. Villagers throwing rocks at me from walls. Okay, well I feel like if I wave my arms a bunch maybe they’ll stop? Hmm, can’t move my arm, or anything. Ground feels nice but also cold. Hot ass knight is approaching! Upside down and sideways for some reason.