When I heard the screams down the road in the courtyard I dropped my fork and ran out the door as fast as I could. I never expected to see what I saw.
It was Old Hamot, waiving his sword around and around like a sling. Peasants, men and women, were gathered all around the well, their backs to the castle wall, barracks to the left, blacksmith to the right.
They were trapped.
“Hamot, stop, what are you doing?” I yelled.
He came closer to the people, still swinging that sword. I couldn’t believe the ninety year-old had the strength to lift it, let alone wield the damn thing. I had seen him perform this maneuver decades ago, it was his way of showing off before he killed an enemy.
The women screamed as the men that were there, farmers really, tried to form a feeble wall of protection.
I came from behind Old Hamot running as fast as I could and tackled him to the ground. I heard a bone break, and the old knight screamed.
I was just getting myself off the ground when I turned around and saw him already up, arm hanging at his side, running to his sword!
Once again I came from behind but this time grabbed his tunic collar and turned him around.
His eyes. I’ve never forgotten those eyes. They darted this way and that, as if he were on a field of battle.
“Hamot! What’s wrong? It’s me, Rem! Stop this!”
“Their king is dead!” Old Hamot said, gripping my arm with his good hand so tightly I thought he’d break my skin. “We have them on the run! We can kill them all, and they’ll never bother us again!”
I shrugged him off, more in terror than anger. He had said those same words to me over thirty years ago at the Battle of Zurren.
So it was true, what the other knights were saying. Old Hamot had lost his mind.
(The word prompt today was “Muddle.”)