In which the gallant Knights Thundar quest to defeat the evil Knights Heat.
"Here ye, here ye," cried King Clayton, the ruler of the great kingdom of Oklahomot. "We are gathered here to honor our Knights Thundar. They have returned from their sojourn to the land of St. Antonio. The odds were not in their favor, but they managed to defeat the great wizard Duncan the Dull, dispatch the Gallic knight Sir Tony, and slay the giant bat Manoo."
"Hoozah! The Knights Thundar have brought immense glory to Oklahomot," proclaimed Lord McClendon. "But pray tell, knights, when shall you embark upon your next quest? Surely you cannot indulge in elderberry wine and roast goose for more than a fortnight?"
Sir Scott, the diminutive leader of the Knights Thundar, stepped forward. "King Clayton and Lord McClendon, we are but your humble servants. We have spent many nights on quest and will do the same many more. If it pleases you, we would like to venture to the perilous land of Miamishire to rescue the fair maiden Larissa of Brien. She is of golden hair and is told to possess many riches. The Knights Heat abducted her from her home and hold her as captive. We must save this damsel in distress."
"'Tis a noble quest, Sir Scott," said King Clayton. "If you succeed, the troubadors and jesters shall speak of you through the ages. You will surely be the most valiant knights in the history of Oklahomot."
"Very well," exclaimed Sir Scott. "We shall ride on the morrow!" All the Knights Thundar cheered.
The next day, the Knights Thundar started their long journey to the east. Sir Scott led the way, with his close friends Sir Kevin and Sir Russell on each side. Sir Kevin, a tall fellow known for his courage and swordsmanship, spoke of the maiden Larissa.
"I have heard that her hair is like a thousand suns, and that any man who holds her weeps tears of joy at having touched the divine."
Sir Russell, famed for bravery that occasionally veered into recklessness, answered back. "Poppycock, my friend! Miss Larissa is but the excuse for this quest. Have you heard of these riches? Diamonds, gold, and untold glory. I will never have to pay for ale at the tavern again!"
"Now now men, we will have plenty of time for both once we have defeated the Knights Heat," said Sir Scott. "But that will be quite the challenge. Get ready to dance … with swords!"
Farther back, other Knights Templar spoke of the challenge ahead. Sir Kendrick, a gruff veteran of many battles, simply grumbled about not wanting to ride his steed any longer than necessary. Sir Jibaka, one of the most versatile knights of the realm, had heard many stories of the Knights Heat.
"The old men say that the Knights Heat have no sense of chivalry, and that they would rather win than fight with honor. What sort of knights do such a thing? Do they joust only for bloodshed?"
"I do not know, Sir Jibaka," said Sir Derek, an elderly knight who commanded respect despite no longer being good at anything knightly. "We can only fight. And, if some Knights Thundar are not able to fight as they once were, we must remember that those knights should still get their share of the rewards. 'Tis written in the Knights Thundar bylaws!"
"Harumph," grunted Sir Kendrick.
After a week's ride, the Knights Thundar arrived in Miamishire. As men of chivalry, they went to the gates of the castle of Knights Heat to make their demands. They were welcomed inside, to their surprise, but could not possibly deny such a kind invitation. Nevertheless, they were ready for a trap.
The throne room was bizarre but impressive. Despite being nominal leader of the knights, Sir Erik was tucked in a corner where he could play with an abacus. Yet he seemed pleased, not discontent. At the throne sat Sir LeBron, a most fearsome knight known for his arrogance. He was flanked by the standing Sir Christopher and Sir Dwyane, excellent knights overshadowed by the dastardly reputation of Sir LeBron. Their association with him cast them as evil, however, and the Knights Thundar were wary.
Sir LeBron arose and spoke. "Welcome, Knights Thundar. We have been expecting you. But I think you will find that you are quite mistaken about Larissa of Brien's presence in our keep. She came of her own free will."
"Not likely, fiend," said Sir Kevin. "Your reputation precedes your words. A man of such pure evil could never woo Larissa. Take it back or taste my sword!"
"Calm down, Sir Kevin," admonished Sir Dwyane. "You are known throughout the lands as the most valiant knight. But do you know from whence that purity came? That King Clayton and Lord McClendon seized the land from unsuspecting commoners? Or that Lord McClendon plunders the resources of his neighbors to finance his vices? What of that?"
"Your tales are for children, not the world of knights," said Sir Russell. "Why, I should throw down my gauntlet right now!" He grabbed for his gauntlet, but Sir Jibaka restrained him before he could make a mistake.
Sir LeBron laughed with the force of six hyenas. "Silly boy, do you not know your own master's history? Ask Sir Scott, that noble soul! He was there!"
Sir Scott lowered his head in shame. "'Tis true, my friends. King Clayton did lie to the commoners, and Lord McClendon does indeed plunder resources to fulfill his darkest desires. But that does not mean we are the lesser men, Knights Heat. What do you have to offer to the world? This castle of iniquity? The songs of his terrible troubadour?"
"Do not speak ill of Jimmy of Buffett," said Sir Christopher. "You know nothing of our ways. The stories told by men at the tavern are hearsay. Have you even spoken to Larissa of Brien, or do you just know of her? She is not only in love with the purest of men. Your notions of chivalry are not true to reality. Why, I bet that Sir Erik has much in common with Sir Scott, though I doubt he has such devotion to the abacus."
Sir Erik looked up and smiled. It was enough to convince those present that the Knights Heat might not be quite as evil as professed.
"That's all well and good, Sir Christopher," said Sir Russell. "Perhaps you Knights Heat are not so bad. But we cannot sup with you. All we taste is blood."
This time, the rest of the Knights Thundar did not hold him back. For all the talk about their valor and honor, they had their most fun in combat.
Prediction: Thunder in six.