I led the expedition with my three noblemen.

Sir Ralph, Sir Cribbins, and Sir Stanley were more than happy to accompany myself on my daring adventure.

In truth, I believe that it was less to do with their sterling sense of character and keen nose for danger and more to do with their interest in the council-appointed provisions that are sanctioned to any gentlemen if they are to go on a daring expedition.

That, and they often grow bored when left to sow and plough their fields and tend to their wives and children.


We set off from the village at dawn in high spirits.

We were supposed to pick up Ralph from outside his home in the market square, then we found a note tacked to his door.

The note explained to us that poor Ralph had spent the evening wrangling his boars back into the pen and was so exhausted he’d need to sleep until ten of the morn.

We continued on out of the town gate, cheered on by the few peasants who’d come to see us in our regalia.

As we headed down the cobbled bridge and the fanfare and hubbub began to die down, I spotted Sir Ralph’s estate through a slat in the city wall.

Sir Ralph’s boars were truffling in the marshy loam. We all knew that Ralph was likely to have drank half of an ale-house the night before, but we accepted the note.

Peasants and ruffians criticised each other, but noble knights strayed from such matters.

“I hope Sir Ralph gets a break one day,” said Sir Cribbins. “Tending farm his entire life must be tiring on the old chap.”

We all agreed, and nobody mentioned the boars. We’re knights, not peasants.

When we got to the forest, it was almost midday. The horses were growing weary, so we tied them up near a small lake next to a few bushels.

Whilst the animals chewed on the rough leaves and lapped at the water, we opted to play poker until Ralph arrived.

I dealt the cards, a packet of high quality gilt-lined triple-paper-backed cards I keep under my second undershirt, below my silver crucifix.

We sat and played, drinking the council provisions into the hot afternoon whilst sitting under the balmy branches of the Nakunaku tree. As we played, we discussed how difficult the life of a hero was.

Indeed, we had already had our fair share of casualties.

Sir Cribbins had a small piece of grit in his shoe, no doubt the result of our adventure so far.

Sir Ralph, who turned up at two of the noon, complained of a headache.

Due to cutbacks at the council’s office, the alcohol provision no longer came with a freshly cut caché of ice, but pre-cut ice that had been frozen overnight.

We also had to segment the lemon for our cocktails with a filleting knife, no longer receiving pre-cut lemon wedges.

Sir Stanley almost cut himself whilst preparing the lemon slices.

I mean, he didn’t. But he very well could have.


We resumed travel in the evening under a twilight sky after we’d all rather nodded off.

I’d fathom some dastardly plant in the area secreted a sleeping toxin that rendered us unconscious, one of the more dangerous threats of the forest.

“We did not get drunk,” said Sir Cribbins, staunchly sitting atop his horse and not sliding off it.

“Indeed,” said Sir Stanley, in a clear voice that was not at all slurred. “Getting drunk is for peasants. And we are—what are we, Sir Ralph?”

“Knights,” said Sir Ralph.

He could, however, have been wishing us goodnight, as he dropped from his horse after shortly after speaking.

We decided to camp for the night, spurred on by Sir Ralph’s decision.

When morning broke, our limbs and heads hurt. No doubt it was from the journey so far, treacherous and perilous as it had been.

Sir Ralph pointed out that the city was very much a short jog away from where we were stationed.

I pointed out that perhaps the creature that the king had sent us to vanquish had used its foul swamp magicks to send us back to the city.

“I agree, Sir Bigglesworth,” said Sir Stanley.

He said this as a matter of course.

That is because my name is Sir Bigglesworth.

“We must have journeyed many miles further than this!” I cried.

It was true then, and we set off, incensed that the wicked creature could have done this to us.

We were as fast as the wind, and had left the neighbouring forest by noon after two restoratives, a nip of bourbon for each man and another game of poker.

I caught Sir Stanley cheating his hand, but did not call him out on it in front of the other men.

To do so would be untoward.

And we are knights, and knights are not peasants.


From the dim forests, we set off over the plains. Sheaves of wheat lay uncollected between the barren rows as we ventured past the rickety farmhouses overrun with bracken and moss.

Behind the small buildings, long since abandoned since the fiends scared off the decent farmers, lay the swamp.

We left the horses and began to wade through the muck and the mire, unsheathing our swords and holding them aloft to keep them from getting coated in mud and sticking to the inside of the scabbards.

I noticed Sir Cribbins had trouble getting his sword out and saw that he’d dented it.

He blamed the blacksmith, or the age of the weapon, but we all knew that occasionally he’d lose his temper with his handmaiden.

It hurt more than Ralph and his drinking or Cribbins and his dishonesty streak.

If there was one thing I’d raise my voice to, it would be that.

After all, I’m virtuous.

I wish I could, but it’s easily rationalised away. I risk my virtue by not saying anything on my men, but I simply give up any chance of being virtuous if I chastise the other knights.

And it’s a risk I have to take.

Perhaps that’s what it means to be a brave knight?

The cottage looms ahead of us and I put up a hand.

Ralph, Cribbins, and Stanley stop.

“I’m going to take this beast alone,” I say. “The Creatures from the Black Lagoon are mine.”

I open the door to the cabin.

I leave the cabin.

My knights applaud me, and we trek back across the swamp. We reach our horses, grazing on the edges of the dirty water.

And as we set off home, my heart swells with pride.

The evil has been vanquished from the kingdom, and I will tell how I lopped off her head along with the head of her putrescent partner when I get back to the city. There’ll be music, dancing and sweet mead.

And sure, I’ll…exaggerate some details.

The sleek black hair of the insolent beast was wet, and I can say that she had kelp for hair. Her teeth, as round as they were, may have been pointed? Like fangs?

I work out the finer details on my horse. Any problems or inconsistencies with my story, I’ll just put down to my fear at fighting the monster.

I feel the metal cross, warm against my flesh. And the golden chain against my neckline.

I’ll tell how both sea-gorgons tried to kill me first, as I tried to reason with them.

Because that’s what happened. I don’t lie.

And even if it is a lie, what’s the matter with that?

I’m not a drunkard like Ralph.

Or a trickster like Stanley.

Or an abuser like Cribbins.




It’s all in the name of God, after all.

And God told me.

It is sin for two women to be together.