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Tirza And Her Knight


Allen M Werner


For the love of my life - Susan Marie


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Copyright ©2018 by Allen M Werner - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Artwork by Allen M Werner

Cover Model – Samantha Werner

Table of Content


Prologue

Chapter 1 Mirror Mirror

Chapter 2 A Lonely Finch

Chapter 3 Frustrated Father

Chapter 4 The Wave

Chapter 5 Great Speech

Chapter 6 Blackest Hole

Chapter 7 She’s All Smiles

Chapter 8 Love A Parade

Chapter 9 Who Be This?

Chapter 10 Field of Dreams

Prologue

But the fool would not just walk away as he should.

He rose to his feet, clad in his armor, towering over Tirza’s slight frame, covering her entirely in his broad shade.

Smiling handsome, Sir Mosley leaned in closer, brazenly retaining his hold on her cold, dying hand.

‘This is it,’ Tirza decided in horror. ‘I’m dead. He’s going to kiss me, and Elizabeth is going to kill me.’

Every soul in the hall held their breath as the bold cavalier moved his large head alongside her, not intruding upon the sacredness of the veil that covered her face. He went near her ear instead and whispered words of hope. “I know the truth. Your virtue transcends this moment.”

Chapter 1 – Mirror Mirror


Tirza was absolutely radiant but dared not laugh. Her nerves were all a titter, chills scurrying up and down inside her like a colony of conies. Soon the grand reception would commence, and she would be the centerpiece. All eyes, all attention would converge on her deserted figure in the middle of the great hall, left to receive the proposal of an arrogant, pompous stranger.

No more than an hour earlier, Tirza was a simple scullery maid, dressed in drab, tawdry greys, mopping up slop, a puddle of red wine and broken glass from the white marble floor in the solarium. Princess Elizabeth had spilt the drink, or rather flung the slender, fragile vile across the room and against the wall in a typical state of rage. It was no secret to anyone in Castle Newland that Princess Elizabeth had a bad temper – and she loathed these arranged affairs, these proposals.

“I’ve no wish to wed a lothario,” she would scream for all who would listen. “They send me old men and lanky boys. None who know how to impress.”

Seventeen, Tirza didn’t care to reflect on Elizabeth’s baleful yelps or heartless messes. Right now, at this very minute, Tirza was stunning, done up like a queen.

Tirza stood alone, thin, wiry and small before a full-length mirror. She admired her humble reflection. She knew her face did not accurately reveal the famine sparring in her innards, the abject misery that occupied her soul. Behind the dark, tired eyes, a youthful chubbiness in her cheeks continued to resonate.

On her head, a circlet of silk embellished with blue cornflowers ran, above it a reticulated board where a sheer veil was bunched up and stored. Only a few slender strands of Tirza’s straggly, dishwater hair could be seen.

Tilting back and forth to the accompaniment of her own cheerful humming, Tirza dared to dream of better times.

Better times had been so few.

Tirza was an orphan, a filthy waif miraculously delivered from the streets to live in the palace.

Queen Mother, for reasons still unbeknownst to Tirza, took a liking to the child. Queen Mother, Lady Caroline, cared for the destitute. Several days a week, she left the comfort of the palace to join with the sisters of Ligny Abbey. Together, they would erect thatch dwellings, distribute blankets and clothing, wash worn feet, bruised faces and dirty hands. They filled empty mouths with bread and frightened ears with hope, preaching and teaching, ministering and healing.

There were many children but out of the many, Tirza was chosen. Queen Mother took one look into those big, brown eyes and saw something pure and unrefined. She cleaned Tirza up, fed her well and gave her a bed in the palace. She started to call her daughter, and attempted to give her an education, although the other students and the teachers were resistant. They made Tirza’s attendance intolerable. Their bigotry was indefensible but adamant.

Queen Mother finally gave up and removed Tirza from standardized, formal education. The two of them spent nearly every hour together after that. Caroline took Tirza with her, back to the streets, where the formerly homeless waif could provide aid where once she sought it.

On days when it rained, Lady Caroline knitted and sewed, making Tirza dress up in the finest linens, every color in a rainbow. Lady Caroline was sad that Elizabeth would never endure such activities with her.

Tirza looked now at the outfit Lady Elizabeth had donned her. She couldn’t recall ever wearing anything as wonderful as this shimmering silver gown, an intricate pattern of small beads and thread racing throughout the fabric, forming understated leaves, sparkling like approaching stars.

With simplistic wonder and childlike innocence, Tirza impulsively clenched a handful of fabric near the waist, bunching it up between her clean but calloused fingers. Slowly she drew the hem up from off the floor until she could see the shiny silken slippers covering her feet.

‘So much nicer than the dreary ones I’m always darning.’

Grinning and balancing on one leg, Tirza spun. She spun only once, catching her smile in the mirror on the turn back around. It was so much fun, she decided to do it again – and again. And then she spun twice. And then she spun three. Four. The dramatic sweep of the long, flowing dress swishing around her legs reminded her of the fluttering action of bold little finches that nestled above her bedroom window and woke her every morning. She envied those tiny birds. ‘Free to fly away, never answering to none but the Lord Himself. I swear, if I were ever blessed with wings, I’d soar and never leave the fields, soak up every sunbeam, revel in the wind, lift my voice unto God. They’d never find me nesting in the shadows of an old barn or stale hall, not in Newland anyway.’

Tirza would be the first to admit she reserved rather mixed feelings about Castle Newland. It was her home and yet it was not.


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