Just as man was “fearfully and wonderfully made” by the hands of its creator, so was the accursed armor of Sir Geoffrey Breton. McNash had worked on it in the dark, blazing forge for six months, as it required a good deal of measuring to get the fit just right. But it was ready for the Battle of Braxton Hill, and did Sir Geoffrey a good turn, as he used it to defend himself from the sword strikes of the king’s nemesis, Sir Alfric Rushbaugh.

That night, Sir Geoffrey Breton sat down to a victory feast ordered by the good King Stephen II, during which he feasted on roasted pig and sat next to his wife, the Lady Eleanor, who fussed over his bleeding head wound.

“It’s a scratch, woman—leave me be!” he insisted.

That night, they fucked, but he was far too sore and drunk to have remembered it. The next battle’s sure to kill me, he thought to himself.


“That armor of yours is the finest in all Aeldred,” the king remarked. “We shall have it paraded through the cities after the next battle, where you’ll surely slay that bastard whelp of Alfric’s, and your name will be sung by bards for years to come, in The Death of Sir Bernard Rushbaugh.

Sir Geoffrey was flattered, but dared not tell the king that he’d overcome the superior swordsmanship of Alfric Rushbaugh by a fluke—the tree that they’d been battling under having dropped a massive branch upon Rushbaugh as he was about to do Sir Geoffrey in.

So instead, he said, “I’ll kill the bastard, sir, for Aeldred and for all time.” And in the meantime, Sir Geoffrey gave thanks to Zeus, for the oak was that father god’s sacred tree.

But Zeus did not much care for Sir Geoffrey and had his eyes on Lady Eleanor, and so he led her down cinnamon-spiced footsteps down to the courtyard, where the young Sir Bernard Rushbaugh sat singing in a tree. Zeus possessed the young man’s body and lured the Lady Eleanor into a seldom-used room of the castle, where he made love to her for hours.


So the days and months passed, and at last came the night before the Battle of High Fire Hill. Sir Geoffrey Breton’s fine armor was there on display in the feasting hall, off to the right side of the table. As always, Lady Eleanor sat by his side, and by now, rumor of his wife’s affairs had reached him. And so he said to her, too low for any other guests but her to hear, as he pointed to his suit of armor, “Wife of mine, should I fall tomorrow in battle, I want you to promise me that you will not remarry yourself to my enemy, the spiteful Sir Bernard Rushbaugh. Promise this to me now, under penalty. For if you break this vow, I swear to you that I will haunt that suit of armor. And for all of your waking days, I will use the specific set of skills I possess to find you, and I will kill you.”

“I promise,” replied his doting wife, setting her hand upon his. And that night, they made love.

But that morning at first light, Sir Geoffrey Breton donned his fearful armor and prepared to fight in the Battle of High Fire Hill. Lady Eleanor attended to her sewing, and when word came from a courier that Sir Geoffrey had fallen in battle, she fainted straightaway.


But before Sir Geoffrey Breton was buried in the ground, Lady Eleanor was wed to Sir Bernard Rushbaugh, whose forces had won out over those of the now-dead monarch, King Stephen II. The throne yielded to Sir Bernard Rushbaugh, now King Bernard I, and his queen, Eleanor. Queen Eleanor wanted to get rid of the armor that had belonged to Sir Geoffrey, as she was certain that it was cursed. Servants had reported to her about how it clamored and moved at night, inhabited by the vengeful spirit of Sir Geoffrey.

“These are the tales that silly women tell to one another to pass the time,” King Bernard replied to her, refusing to hear another word on the matter. King Bernard had the armor hoisted up to a platform in the feasting hall and put a sword into its hands. And Queen Eleanor grew more fearful by the day and took her dinners in her bedchambers.

But the day came, before the Battle of That One Cypress Tree by the Lake, and yet another feast was called. Lady Eleanor took her seat, looking up at the armor above her chair, its sword hovering there above her head.

A brace of trumpeters entered, and as soon as their trumpets blasted in the feasting hall, and King Bernard clapped his hands together, exclaiming, “Isn’t it marvelous?” the sword of Sir Geoffrey fell, landing in the center of Queen Eleanor’s gaping mouth, impaling her and making her look like a sword-swallowing performer all at once. Some of the women clasped their hands together, thinking it must be part of the performance and expecting Queen Eleanor to pull the sword back out and be alright. Others were already screaming, gripped by the realization of what had happened. A physician was summoned and he walked over, pulling back on one of the queen’s eyelids before bowing his head.

“The queen is dead,” he announced sorrowfully.

Present Day

Katie followed the tour through the remains of Brancevoir Castle. There in the feasting hall sat a suit of armor, and instead of a sword, it held a fresh apple in its upturned palm. She took a look at the little placard, which read:

This armor belonged to Sir Geoffrey Breton, who fell during The Battle of High Fire Hill in single combat against Sir Bernard Rushbaugh, in the year 1424.

“Why is this armor holding an apple?” Katie asked the tour guide.

“Local superstition,” the guide replied. “The apple is sacred to Hera, the wife of Zeus. There are some folks who think that the armor is possessed by the spirit of Sir Geoffrey to take revenge on cheating wives. Thus, the apple is meant as a gift to Hera to placate the spirit of Sir Geoffrey.”

Katie rolled her eyes. She knew that people who believed in such superstitions were nothing more than whimsical fools who let their imaginations take control of them. She giggled, which she knew would get the attention of the attractive male tour guide. Her boyfriend Blake was off somewhere looking at artifacts and placards and such.

Zeus, looking on from Mount Olympus, had designs on Katie, the 26-year-old barista from Seattle. And Hera had every intention of thwarting her husband’s designs. The spirit of Sir Geoffrey, housed in his suit of armor and lying dormant, was roused awake by what the tour guide said next:

“You know, if you’re going to be in town a while and if you’re interested, I could talk with the manager about arranging an overnight stay. There would be an extra fee involved, of course, but I don’t think it would be much.”

“Oh that would be wonderful!” Katie clasped her hands together and shot Blake a hopeful look. Blake just sort of nodded noncommittally, then smiled and said, “Yeah, that sounds great.”

The tour guide’s name was Ziggy, like Ziggy Stardust—a tall drink of water with a winning smile and close-cropped brown hair. He wore a red sweater, khaki pants, and glasses. He came back after a few minutes from wherever he’d gone and set a hand on Katie’s shoulder. “I spoke with Cynthia, our manager, and she said that the lower room is available for a guest stay tonight if you’re still interested. It would be $150 for both of you.”

Katie looked over at Blake, who said, “Yeah, let’s do it,” and Katie felt a sudden heat in her loins. All of a sudden, she wanted Ziggy with a wild passion, and the feel of his touch and the glimmer in his eyes said that he wanted that, too.

Maybe we’ll find a way to be alone, she thought, before driving the thought away. No, that’s terrible of me. What’s come over me all of a sudden?

Katie and Blake had left their belongings at Blake’s mother’s house and wouldn’t need to go back for them. “We provide toothbrushes and towels,” said Ziggy.


And so they settled into one of the lower rooms of Brancevoir Castle for the night. The overnight stay had a vampire theme to it, and so the beds were inside of giant coffins, outfitted with special mattresses, and covered in red satin sheets. In the room itself, painted portraits of Dracula were hung. Dusty volumes of vampire novels filled the small bookshelf of the room. And on the table at the far end of the room, two goblets stood next to a bottle of red wine. Katie was thrilled, but Blake, who was a History major and was much more interested in the solid historical aspects of Brancevoir, was less so.

“Oh cool!” Katie exclaimed, upon seeing the room.

“Weird,” said Blake. Both of them began wandering around the room, inspecting various aspects of the décor.

“Dinner will be at ten in the feasting hall,” said Ziggy from outside the room.

“Okay, we’ll be there,” said Katie.

And that night, they attended a feast in the hall, just as Sir Geoffrey and Lady Eleanor had 600 years before. And just as the lovely Lady Eleanor had been tempted away from her husband by the wiles of Zeus, so now was Katie under the spell of Zeus’s magnetic power. The table was laden with food: chicken, turkey, steaks, meat pies, salads, and fresh fruit piled high. It seemed excessive for three people, for none of the other visitors had been invited to stay the night at Brancevoir.

“All of this is for us?” Katie asked Ziggy, unable to believe her eyes.

“All of this is for us,” Ziggy replied with a smile, arms held in a wide gesture of abundance. “Eat up.”

Blake took a seat at the head of the table and took up his wooden plate and fork, scooping a generous amount of the meat pie onto it. Katie took a seat at Blake’s right side, and to her pleasant surprise, Ziggy seated himself next to her. As Katie leaned forward, Ziggy set his hand on her knee. “Allow me,” he said, reaching for the sweet potatoes.

Hera, who by now had had enough of Zeus’s bullshit, decided to activate Sir Geoffrey’s armor. And instead of going after the “other woman,” for once, she decided, she was going to use the spirit of Sir Geoffrey and his accursed armor to hunt down that good-for-nothing husband of hers. First, she invisibly knocked the apple from the upturned hand of the armor, startling the guests who’d come for dinner.

Then, she caused the metal gauntlet to flex into a fist. Both Katie and Ziggy looked behind themselves and screamed.

“Cool!” Blake exclaimed. Disembodied eyes within the eye slit of the helmet glowed red. Then a sword materialized and came into the hand of the armor. The ghostly knight aimed its sword at Ziggy’s chest and the booming voice of a woman at once both feminine and strong, echoed through the corridors of Brancevoir Castle.

“I have let you fornicate with every living thing you can put your godly dick into long enough! Have at ye, knave!”

Ziggy looked absolutely mortified.

Then he started into a run and Hera, in Sir Geoffrey’s armor, gave chase. Katie and Blake heard clanging and yelling all throughout the castle, and they looked at each other with puzzled expressions on their faces, unsure of what madness they’d just witnessed.

“Was that like a dinner show kind of thing?” Katie asked Blake.

“Um…I don’t think so,” she replied.

They listened for another moment as the sounds continued, and then Ziggy let out a monumental scream and then fell silent, as though cut down by the blade of the animated armor and whatever demonic spirit now possessed it.

“Let’s get the hell out of here,” Blake suggested.

“Sounds good to me,” said Katie, and they left before the armor could come for them as well.