~*~ Standing slightly taller than the average male, Eadmund Berkeley had no bulk to boast of nor anything in his features to distinguish him from another and he quite preferred it that way. The noble's son sought none of the honours due to him eagerly, but instead put up with the homage and deference with a practiced grace even as he extended the same lip service and regimented obedience towards his father. In fact, the only thing that set him apart from the serfs who laboured his father's lands could be said to be his excellent posture, inquisitive mind, and inherently commanding presence. Though not scrawny, he was lean and his toned muscles shone bronzed in the light of day and pale in the darkness of night. Sandy brown hair lay thatched over his forehead and tucked around his ears, framing his angular jaw and softening the grey eyes that peered out from slightly brooding brows. Right now it was the heat of the sun that beat upon his back, tickling sweat beneath his chainmail and giving him no shade but for the visor of his helmet. Eadmund sat up straighter in his saddle, swaying gently with each step of the sleek brown roan beneath him as it trudged down the winding road toward the tavern where he would eventually join up with King Richard and his cavalry of knights on their way to the Holy Land. It was a foolish move on the part of the king to agree so easily to the Saxon advisors who had whispered promises of fame and glory while the Pope stood atop his altar and screamed down blessings upon the man who freed the Jewish homeland from the Arabs. But how was the monarch to know that this scheme of supposedly ultimate triumph would end up being his own undoing? Untrusting of the Norman blood upon the throne, the Saxon nobles had gathered their wits about them in a coup that would wrest the throne of England from the Norman invaders and settle it upon the rightful shoulders of a Saxon king. Who they would place upon that throne when the Normans were gone, Eadmund had no idea. There would likely be bickering, fighting, chaos and confusion until one noble proved himself the most powerful of his neighbours. The dishonesty and back-stabbing left a bitter taste in his mouth. And now, whether he liked it or not, he had been placed into the fray of things by order of his father. Ah, how many nights Eadmund had prayed fervently for the Lord to move His hand and prevent him from departing on this quest! Though truly he was a knight in the service of the king and truly he respected that loyalty to the crown and the loyalty to his father to see this task complete, there was nothing he detested more than vain bloodshed and mock glory. Of both of those he would be sick of before too long, he knew. If only he had been able to wriggle his way out of this journey, if only he could keep his head out of the politics and conspiracies that abounded. But as a noble's son, it was his place to be in the business of his father, and so his father's--- Eadmund had no time to finish that thought as a heavy wooden object crashed onto his skull and dropped him from his horse. He had only moments to gasp, to raise a trembling hand to the warm substance oozing from the side of his head, before his sluggish mind registered the sole of a worn boot coming quickly to his face. Then, his world went utterly and completely dark.