A knight in armour, who says his name is Sir Bedwyr, has appeared in the cellar of Cat and Simon’s house in Wemworthy. Before they can work out what to do, he has trotted off on his white horse, to seek a dragon or a quest in the strange world he has been transported to…
A large swathe had been cut through the market in Wemworthy town centre. It was as if a dinosaur had come to life and trampled its way cross the neat rows of stalls. Splintered bits of wood, pulped fruit and vegetables, brightly coloured T-shirts and various bits of plastic lay trampled on the ground, while small knots of people were gathering, looking shell-shocked. Some of them were attempting to clear up the mess, but most just stood there looking amazed and relieved that they had survived the carnage. A number of cars were slewn across the road, some with smashed windows, most with doors left open where their drivers had escaped.
The police constable on duty was feeling rather appalled. Normally, his morning shift in Wemworthy town centre was calm and uneventful. Even on a market day, like this one, he usually just spent his time finding the odd lost toddler or exchanging a few stern words with a stall holder whose van was blocking a side street. But today he had been stopped at least five times by members of the public wittering on about a knight in armour, and now he’d reached the market square it looked as if someone had chosen his shift to re-enact the Battle of Bosworth.
“Oh, constable, thank goodness!” said a woman stall keeper as she spotted the policeman. “There’s a madman on the loose! He’s dressed as a knight – on a horse – just smashed his way across the market saying he’d come to save us!”
“Called us peasants!” added another woman with great indignation. “Said ‘I’ve come to save you, peasants!’ and then knocked all the toy rabbits off my stall with his stupid great horse!”
Everyone, now that they’d spotted the policeman, started to rush over to give their version of events. A tall well-dressed man who appeared to be the owner of a smashed BMW tried to push to the front of the crowd.
“Ruddy maniac!” he spluttered. “Some kind of anti-roads protestor. Stuck his sword right through my windscreen! Look at it! Said he was protecting the peasants from my ‘dark magic’… What kind of ruddy Harry Potter nonsense is that?!”
“Look at my stall!” shouted another angry member of the crowd. “He rode right through it!”
“He smashed all my hand-thrown pottery fruit bowls,” wailed another.
“Look at my car! The horse kicked my bonnet in!”
“You’ve got to do something!”
Police Constable Taylor felt as if he’d walked into a bad dream. In fact he seriously thought about closing his eyes and hoping it would all have gone away when he opened them again. But before he could try it, the noise of the crowd raised itself a pitch and several people shouted at once: “There he is! That’s him! Arrest him!”
Trotting down the road towards him was a knight in shining armour on a white horse, with a long sword in his hand.
Constable Taylor blinked.
The knight was still there.
He had dark curly hair and blue eyes, and as he reached the policeman he halted, and held his sword up in a salute.
“Good sir, I have rid this market of the metallic beasts that had it surrounded, and have set free these good peasants you see before you. I await your thanks.”
Constable Taylor realised that he was staring at the knight with his mouth open. He closed it quickly, and cleared his throat, trying to summon up a Voice of Authority. It was distinctly difficult when the person you were trying to impress was at least six feet higher up than you and was holding a long sword dangerously close to your head, but Constable Taylor did his best.
“I am afraid I must request that you accompany me to the Police Station, sir. You are under arrest for disturbance of the peace and various counts of damage to property. You do not have to say anything –”
But he got no further, because the knight simply frowned, and leaned forward, and pointed his sword at Constable Taylor’s chest.
“Sir, your thanks are a little hard to understand, but no matter. I am afraid I cannot join you at your Station, temping though I am sure your feast would be. I have a Quest to fulfil. Can you direct me to a dragon, or perhaps the sorcerer who set these metal beast on your peasants?”
Constable Taylor was distressed to find that his mouth was open again. He shut it firmly, and took out his walkie-talkie. But the knight was already wheeling his horse round.
“Farewell, peasants,” he called. “Since none of you can help me, I shall try my luck westwards. I did think that I heard a roar from that direction that had the very tone of a dragon… Till we meet again!”
He waved his sword to them all, and clattered off down the road, just as two children arrived at the edge of the crowd and shouted something that sounded like, “Stop! Sir Bedwyr! Come back!”
Constable Taylor shook his head, and activated his walkie-talkie. “This is PC Taylor, requesting backup. Serious incident Wemworthy town centre. Four cars requested. Repeat, four cars requested. Suspect heading down the High Street towards Whites Lane.”