Sir Gorleth and
the Torch Lighter
by Kieran Judge
snatched the torch from the cold tunnel wall,
burned his hand in the process, and brandished it
against the darkness. You there! Show
had just vanquished The Guardian Knight of the
Wondrous Fort by lopping off his head in single
combat. The Guardian, it should be noted, was
hampered by a severe cold and a running nose from
standing in front of the fort entrance waiting
for a knight to challenge him. Now deep in a cave
on the way home again, Sir Gorleth feared a
servant of the Guardian Knight was coming for
back! said the darkness.
shadows emerged a small man. He was crooked and
bent with age. His skin was pale and he had
smudges of soot all over his face.
you? Sir Gorleth asked.
the Torch Lighter.
a Torch Lighter?
ignorant; youre a knight alright. Now put
that torch back where it belongs. It takes ages
to do them all again.
stunned into servitude, did as he was asked. The
torch slotted snugly into the metal buckle. The
old man smiled like a mother when her child
returned home for supper, happy it hadnt
been eaten by the neighbourhood dragon.
light these torches? Sir Gorleth asked.
clever. Yes, I light them. And then pompous
knights come along and take them on your quests
and adventures. You never think of the poor soul
that has to replace them, do you?
sorry, Sir Gorleth spluttered as he wiped
his brow. I didnt realise.
knights never do.
The old man
stared Sir Gorleth down defiantly. The wrinkles
in his brow were beginning to grey, and the
knight felt a stab of pity for this man, alone in
the dark, doing a task nobody else took the time
to thank him for.
Im afraid I must be on my way, sir,
Sir Gorleth said.
the old man sighed. He gestured into the cold
murk. Down there, first right, go straight
for a mile and a half, left at the split, past
the waterfall, behind the giant ancient stone
dancing dragon, dont ask, and up through
the scree pile. The main trail should be three
miles south from there.
bowed and crossed the mans palm with gold
as an apology. The Torch Lighter didnt seem
to care but he took the money anyway. Sir Gorleth
ventured on, the torches guiding his way. He
found the giant dragon statue and sniggered (it
was doing a jig for crying out loud; look at its
little tail!). He scrambled up the scree pile and
left the Torch Lighter in peace to guard his
children against the ignorant questing elite.