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The Fallen Piece
Daniel W. Kneip
The battlefield stench crawled wretchedly over the land where the brave
battled and the weak fell prey to the cunning mind. A seething grey smoke
billowed up, up from the great ruins of a torn castle on the eastern
field. Ghosts of men slain and broken wandered impotently. Such was war.
The last true knight, once wildly infallible, now weary and anguished from
a long, bitter fight, attached his final piece of armor, which was
actually a metal clip to go over his remaining tooth. Then he mounted his
black steed with the weight of sorrow and metal heavy on his back.
Determined from the outset, the knight possessed a keen stealth under the
novice majesty. He swore to defend and fight and die for his King.
He offered one final look back at his Queen, who could not save him,
although she desperately tried in vain. And she had the headache to prove
"And the blisters on thine royal feet," she bemoaned, "from running all
over the place! Trying to cover him and guard against this and guard
against that and attack here and attack there and be in nine different
places all at the same time! The incompetence! I swear Iím just ready
for a hot bubble bath! Kingdom be damned!"
Even the Queenís position was suspect. Enemy pawns engaged her from two
sides that they might strike her down given the opportunity. She could
retreat behind her forces unscathed, the precept of safety, though she was
tethered from protecting her brave knight. "Iím sorry," she cried out to
him. Then her eyes stole over to the bishop, who reclined in a modest
nook of the kingdom.
The high priest, commonly a pilot to Heavenís porch, had recoiled, almost
foolishly, from his post the way bishops often do, leaving the knight
With a long face and two vile eyes, the bishop brushed off the suggestion
that his retreat was purposeful. "And I would do it again, too! Both my
rank among the kingdom and my oath to save my king must not be saddled by
any imposed duty to protect a knight or any lesser being. I have merely a
staff to fight with. He gets a horse and heís STILL not happy! Not my
fault. Anyway, whatís done is done. It lies in higher hands now."
A cold, dark shadow slinked forward and befell the knight as the sun
ducked ever behind the great enemy castle.
Flags waved victoriously, the army aboard cheered with a strange hunger
for blood, and the castle eaves were fully mounted and readied for attack.
The knight reviewed his position once again, an undying will to fight
burning inside him. He jerked hard on the horseís reigns in search of an
exit. To his left! To his right! Nothing! He slashed his whip down on
the hide of the animal, forcing it to circle into safetyís direction. But
no such escape could be found. And the horse, a bit frustrated, arced his
head around and said, "Look, take it easy with that whip, man! Iím not
THRILLED about this either, but at least Iím not panicking! One must keep
oneís wits in the face of such demise! Who knows, maybe theyíll miss!"
Wishful thinking from a horse.
Atop the castle, a thick row of cannons were pushed into place, wheels
clamped tight. Only a light murmur rang from the enemy army as they peered
down at the silent knight who was but a dot on the field, yet hardly
Burdened with the loss of yet another man, and seeing the opposition
closing in all around his kingdom to seal itís fate, the King decreed one
final moment of respect for the good knight.
"This is not a sacrifice," he recited loudly from a note previously
scribed for such an occasion. "I regret my army has been obliterated and
the unconscionable enemy has encroached upon my land. They have seized
upon every dirty trick imaginable to thwart my success and take down my
kingdom. Furthermore, I have no back-up plan! Yet, know this and know
this well: this warrior knight has been brave and true and we shall miss
him and his horse. Both served savagely!"
This was all true. And the horse felt pleased to at least get a mention
from the King. And upon hearing these mighty words of surrender, the
knight, a tempest of emotion, relinquished his soul.
The enemy castle moved forward. With twenty cannons aimed and drawn,
their wicks were lit on command, and the barrels blasted angrily and shot
their hatred down, down at the brave knight and his horse!
And they were decimated on the spot!
Rook takes Knight. Rook to A-4. Checkmate.
A very smooth move.
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