The knight stood on the hilltop, dark against the morning, horse beneath him, watching the day bubble up through the cracks in the earth.
He was waiting for his turn. He could see the rook hulking in the corner of his vision, and the king’s camp was easy to spot: a thin flow of black smoke rising from the copse two ridges east. They were planning to castle, he was sure. And if he was sure White would be sure. And that made him wary, and ready, and – yes – alive.
Ivory flashed in the gorse. The knight grinned, and moved.