He was an old farmer. The days of making war were over, yet he knew that he could still wield his great-grandfather's sword with more pure, exquisite skill than any of the young men who'd been styling themselves "knights" these days. He was old, that was true, but he'd been anointed by the King himself, and he still knew - no, he was absolutely certain! - he could still swing his sword with more assured grace than that with which he tilled his soy fields.

His modestly complicitous sons simultaneously praised and berated him whever they would tell stories of the zealous, legendary knight he was. He did not know if he was being served a backhanded compliment some days, or if the praise he received was for true.

His weapons and armor were kept inside, near a warm fire, easy to notice even from the front door. Travellers stopping in for a meal (of these there were many; the old knight's hospitality had also weaved its way into the legends that the old man scarcely believed) would always notice his great-grandfather's sword above the mantel, its place of honour. The traveller would ask him, by all the gods, is that the greatsword Caliban, Slayer of the Scarlet Prince, and he would be forced to affirm it, indeed, that is the sword. In truth, he would much sooner avoid reliving tales of king and country, preferring instead to regale his guests with tales he'd heard as a boy, tales of dragons and kingdoms of beauty.

Nevertheless, he was a gracious host, and would call his sons in from the field to recount his own stories of warring and whoring and thrones. It never failed - he would nod in the right places, laugh at a friendly jape, or laugh at the tendency his sons had to embellish small details to tell the stories in a more positive, more interesting light. As always, he would say, Aye, that was me, and that is the very sword you see above my mantel.

After sufficient wine, and only after etiquette allowed, he would close the door on his suit and armor, and gaze emptily upon his soy fields. It was a fulfilling life. Still, not a day passed that he did not long for living: the clatter of hoof, the clash of steel, and the trumpeting of warhorns appealed to him. He knew that he enjoyed almost nothing more than preparing a good table for good friends, but his sons always molested the proceedings, deeming it necessary to bring in strange, outlandish foods to supper. His eldest son had taken a liking to a strange dish from the far lands called "pizza", and was of a mind to eat it once a week. The same son would find the same uneaten pizza in his father's place in the morning, when he rose to break his fast. The old man had nothing to do with new foods.

But when the summer days grew so long that there was scarcely three hours of night, he would stand as straight as an arrow, gazing without seeing his fields, his mind hearkening back to the days of glory. Pizza would never do - great hunks of meat and cheese and bread, and large, stinking jugs of dark, eye-watering ale. Now there was food! And what better food to have after a day of hard work, be it cutting down fields, or cutting down men! Embittered by such thoughts, the old man glanced over his shoulder at the heavy oaken door of his modestly palatial house. His soy fields fled from his mind: all that remained was the urge to fly through the forests atop a horse, any horse, with only his sword and armor as company. There were inns and taverns along any and all roads, and he was well-known. He could still command. He knew it in his heart. Perhaps the days of being in the midst of battle were done - but that did not mean he had to relegate himself to a life of emptiness and small talk. Why do that, when he could just as easily command a force of freeriders into battle, and be so close to the battle that he could smell the blood and sweat of men?

He did not want to dishonor the importance and fierce beauty of his great-grandfather's sword by leaving it to become a relic, a souvenir from times long past. Gods be damned, he was a knight, and though he was old, his mind was still as sharp as his blade, and he was strong enough of voice and body to wear his armor and become the knight he once was. Seeing the old farmer, his sons would call it lunacy that he would show a desire to wear his armor, and to sheathe his sword again.

He shoved open the door, and went inside to stare at his sword. Taking it down from the mantel was like coming home after a long journey in a strange land. He closed the door on his soy fields, and began to search his house for his armor.