Hiding the small gift under his jerkin, Jacques stole out of the blacksmiths in the early hours on the morning. He always made sure that he went down to see her at least once a week. It was to make her happy, he kept telling himself, but each time the child’s eyes lit up on his arrival, he told himself that there was something more to it than that.
“Ser Knight! Ser Knight!”
The small girl’s squeal of delight made Jacques smile softly as she ran towards him. The man did what he did every time he came, dropping to one knee and opening his arms for her to run into. Lynnette laughed into his shoulder as she wrapped her small arms around his neck and he wrapped his around her before standing up. The giggles increased as he span her around, kissing her once on the cheek before he put her back on the floor.
“Ser Knight has come to play with Lynnie?” She asked, holding his right hand in both of hers much like Lissette had the first time they had met. It made Jacques smile as he looked down at her touch.
“You know I always come to play, mademoiselle!” The knight replied. “But, I have a big surprise for you today!”
Lynnette’s eyes grew wide as she looked to his other hand for one of his customary presents. A frown presented itself as she realised it was empty. Jacques chuckled softly, making her look up at his face.
“Ser Knight?” She asked, still confused. He nodded for her to continue. “There is no su’prise.”
The knight smiled wider at the little girl, raising his free hand to his eyes in a motion for her to do the same. A moment later, her small yet chubby hands left his to cover her eyes.
“Did Ser Knight get me a cake again?” The small girl giggled happily in anticipation, bouncing from one foot to another. “Yemon cake is my fav’rite. And Lissy’s!”
“I know, but it isn’t cake this time.” Jacques replied softly, pulling the small blade out from his jerkin and lying it softly across both hands in front of her. “I’ve made you something extra special. A present that befits a girl who Ser Jacques sees very often. Open your eyes.”
Lynnette followed his instructions, opening her eyes in an instant. The bouncing from one foot to another ceased almost instantly and her eyes grew wider than he had ever seen. Jacques lowered his head to try and see her reaction more, and unsheathing the blade a little for her to see better. The steel was blunted, and there was no way in which Lynnette would come to any harm. It was something he’d wanted to give her, in light of the current situations, so that she could start to learn to keep herself safe.
“A sword, Ser Jac- Ser Knight?” Lynnette asked, looking up at him with excited eyes. It never ceased to amused Jacques at how hard she found his name to pronounce, but he supposed it would come in time.
“Yes, a small sword for a little girl.” He nodded, turning the blade towards her, hilt first. “So that she can protect herself. How does that sound?”
Lynnette looked at him for a moment longer and then put her right hand on the hilt of the sword, slowly pulling it out of the sheath.
“But, Lynnette, you must not hit people with it, okay?” The knight added in a serious note. “Apart from me when I teach you.”
The small girl nodded and looked at the sword in wonder yet again. The concentration of the Loisel girls was unmistakably similar. Lynnette pushed the sword back into it’s sheath and wrapped her arms around Jacques once more.
“Thank you, Ser Knight!” She said happily into his chest, looking up to his face. “Can we learn now?”
Jacques nodded softly, like her sister, he couldn’t say no to her, no matter how hard he tried.
“But only for a little while. I have to be back at the forge soon.” He had barely finished the sentence before Lynnette was pulling him back out of the kitchen towards the yard. The sun was beginning to rise in the East causing weird shadows to emerge across the lawn of the Clement holiday home. Being head strong ran in the family, which Jacques had not failed to pick up on from an early stage.
He pulled Lynnette to a halt in the middle of the lawn, taking up his position on one knee again. The sword was offered back to the five year old and Jacques waited expectantly for her to take it once more.
Nervously, Lynette took the sword in her hand and looked up to Jacques for instructions. The knight shuffled round, taking her hand in his and showing her how to hold the sword properly.
“Now, you have to hold it quite tightly, you don’t want to drop it now, do you?” He asked, slowly pulling his hand away so Lynnette could prove herself capable. The craftsmanship of the sword had been one of Jacques finest. He had to make sure the blade was strong enough, yet light for a five year old to wield. It also had to be blunt, but look enough like a sword to convince the very clever youngster.
“Ser Knight?” Lynette asked, turning round a little too fast with the sword still raised. Jacques caught it in time for it not to hit him, though it would likely not to have hurt him.
“Always lower your sword before turning round to talk to someone, Lynnette.” The knight said firmly, lowering the sword point to the floor. “What is it, mademoiselle?”
“When will Lissy be coming again? I want to show her my new present! But, I... want to show her how good I am too...” The small girl asked, making Jacques swallow at the question.
“She’ll come soon, I promise. In the meantime, we have to practice!” Jacques insisted, pointing at the blade. “Now, lets see how you hold it again!”
Lynnette smiled, forgetting about her sister’s absence and instead deciding on concentrating on being able to impress her with any skill she could muster with her sword. She lifted the sword back up into the position Jacques had shown her moments before and looked at him for reassurance.
Neither one of them noticed Madelyn come looking for Lynnette half an hour later, Jacques had managed to teach Lynnette how to attack and defend a little, though the small girl liked to attack more. The girl came at Jacques one last time, hitting Jacques chest with the blunted point of her sword.
Jacques held the shaft of the sword, pushing it between his arm and side, looking down in mock shock of what had happened.
“You got me!” He said, looking at Lynnette. “Oh... Lynnie has gotten poor Ser Jacques!”
The knight fell sideways, a smile on his face. “Who will save poor, Ser Jacques?”
Lynnette squealed happily, hurrying to his side and looking into his eyes. “Ser Knight isn’t really hurt! Ser Knight just pre...tends!”
Jacques chuckled at her statement, pulling her into a small embrace. “He does, don’t worry!”
“Ser Jacques?” Madelyn’s voice pulled the knight back to his senses, sitting back up to look at the young woman in front of them. “Lynnette, we need to go now.”
“Madelyn.” Jacques inclined his head politely, putting Lynnette’s sword back into it’s sheath. “I apologise, I forgot the time. Lynnette, this is yours. Keep it safe. And remember, no hitting anyone with it.”
Lynnette nodded up at him, taking the sword in her small hands. “Thank you, Ser Knight. You’ll come back soon, won’t you? And tell Lissy to come too?” She asked sweetly as Madelyn took her hand.
“I will, mademoiselle, I will.” Jacques promised, watching them both head back towards the big house with a smile.
That would be the first of many visits Ser Jacques Storme would make to the house, to make sure the youngest Loisel was happy, and to make sure she could begin to learn how to keep safe from a very young age, without her siblings.