Lancelot approached Arthur, "Arthur, here, I needed to give this back to you."
Arthur looked to see Lancelot holding out his Bible.
"Guinevere and I borrowed it.... I hope you don't mind."
"No, not at all, thank you," he paused, "get your things together. We'll be leaving soon. The snow isn't ceasing and we'll need to be moving as quickly as possible."
Arthur watched with a smile, as Lancelot walked towards his horse.
Lancelot stroked his horse, and slung his saddlebags over him. He slowly lifted his head, looking for Guinevere.
"Good morning, Lancelot."
He turned to see Guinevere there, a smile on her face.
"Yes, it is a good morning," he replied, returning her smile.
She cleared her throat, and moved a bit closer, unawares to Lancelot. Slowly, she slipped a book in his saddlebag. "I will be riding with you," she spoke softly. "Arthur has acquired another horse."
Lancelot turned to her, "Really?"
She nodded, and she turned away from him.
"Is something wrong?"
"No.... I was just thinking that's all."
Lancelot mounted his horse, "Are you ready, Guinevere?"
The Knights and Guinevere treaded carefully on the slick snow.
Guinevere still had Lancelot's cloak, and was surprised he had never asked for it back. Wrapping it tighter around her, she struggled to keep herself warm.
Lancelot looked back at her and frowned. Dropping back slowly, he soon rode at her side.
He smiled at her, "I hope you don't mind my company."
She lifted her head from the nape of the cloak, "Of course not."
Lancelot patted his saddlebag, "I wanted to thank you for the Bible you gave me."
Guinevere smiled, "It was Arthur's idea. He gave me one as well, and asked if I would give you the other."
"Arthur is a good friend," Lancelot stated softly.
Guinevere nodded, "I see why you admire him so. I never met a man with such a good heart, til I met him."
Lancelot frowned, "Perhaps, I shouldn't have dropped back..."
"But now I know two," she said, as she looked at Lancelot.
Lancelot looked at her relieved. He thought he saw very rosy cheeks for a glimpse, and then Guinevere looked down.
"I have a surprise for you." He reached behind her and lifted a hood that was connected to the cloak, and placed it on her head. "To keep you even warmer," he leaned closer, "I asked Tristan to add it for you but, please keep it a secret. He doesn't want the others to know he sews," Lancelot said with a smile and a chuckle.
Guinevere laughed softly, "I shall, I promise. Thank you, Lancelot."
He nodded. "There's no need to thank me. I wanted to thank you for sharing the most important story with me."
Guinevere would've responded but, a sharp call for Lancelot interrupted.
"Lancelot!" Arthur called urgently.
Lancelot kicked his horse, and rode to the front. "What is it, Arthur?"
Arthur gestured ahead, "Saxons, hundreds of them…maybe more."
Lancelot sighed, "To take them head on would be slaughter."
"Yes, it would be."
Arthur and Lancelot looked, seeing Tristan ride down a small hill.
"I have scouted ahead. They are in thousands," Tristan stated.
Arthur nodded, "We will have to go around them."
"I will check the flanks. Make sure they're not baiting us."
"I'll come with you," Lancelot stated.
Tristan looked at him in surprise, "All right, but I keep a head count. I don't want you taking my job from me," he said seriously.
Lancelot looked at him.
Tristan winked and half-smiled, "Just a bit of humor."
They stopped their horses before a small ridge. Tristan got off, walked up the ridge and stooped down low…
Lancelot kneeled down low, "How many?"
"At least one thousand…"
"How could you know so quickly?"
"Fifteen years of doing this, you start to memorize bodies of people ... and I have good counting skills," Tristan said calmly, a smile in his eyes.
Lancelot and Tristan mounted their horses, turned and galloped back to Arthur.
"One thousand," Tristan said.
Arthur nodded solemnly, in deep thought.
Lancelot looked down the line of Knights, his eyes searching for Guinevere, "Where's Guinevere?"
"She was in the back last I looked," Galahad spoke up.
Lancelot looked closely. Galahad turned to look behind, "She's gone!"
Lancelot hastily rode back there. Her white horse was still standing in place. "She mustn't be far." He glanced down and saw small foot-tracks leading into the thick forest. Cautiously, he followed the tracks.
Guinevere pulled out a piece of bread. Deciding it was a nice and quiet spot, she slowly started to munch on it, when she heard snow crunch nearby. Alert, she lifted her head and looked.
Lancelot was concerned. He didn't see her anywhere. He stepped another step, his footfalls being silent -- til now. He frowned at the branch that snapped under his boots. Surely, she would be ready to attack now.
The sound quieted, so Guinevere started to eat again. Time had passed by a few minutes, when the crunching snow was heard once again. Guinevere looked--nothing. "It must be an animal," she told herself. But somehow she got an eerie feeling, she was wrong. She looked behind her, but her vision was mostly blocked by dense brush, until she saw a flash of movement coming towards her. She opened her mouth to yell, but the attempt was stifled by a rough and callused hand.
Her bread dropped to the ground, as the man wrapped his arm around her waist, and pinned her other arm down with his own. With great effort, Guinevere fought with all her might, but he overpowered her small frame, and dragged her into the thick foliage.
Lancelot stopped abruptly. The sound of branches slapping wildly caught his ears. "Guinevere!"
He ran forward, the branches were all still. In his dash, he had felt something give way beneath his feet. Lifting his boot, he saw crumbled bread on the cushioned ground. Kneeling down, he picked up a fragment of the bread. Still a tad warm, considering. Lifting his head, anger pulsed through his body. "They have her!"