Joanna waited on her blaze-faced palfrey, stone-still in the shadows of a dappled thicket watching the tilting yard while a pair of knights closed on each other with blunted lances leveled. When the shafts encountered shields, one knight slid off the side of his charger, skidding on his back in the slick grass. Throughout the passing hours of the late afternoon many knights had ventured onto the field, yet only one remained undefeated. Joanna could only hope this one was the knight her mother had named.
Her cowl masked her face, and though the knights glanced over at her when they passed on their return to the castle, none approached her. She hoped no more riders would venture onto the field to delay her task further. Her courage waned with the dying sunlight. When at last the victorious knight reached the side of the field where Joanna waited, he lifted his visor, smiling for her as if he believed she had been watching him alone. Her very presence captured his curiosity.
Without waiting for an inviting smile in return, the knight spurred his stallion to the fence.