by jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold
Descanso is the smallest of the Rose Knights, and perhaps the strangest. He is a dream made flesh, a pale man with skin the white of the ocean's dead, riding a horse of fog and silk. His banners trail behind him like a wind from the Orient. His smile gleams of starlight and the gentle thoughts of a loving woman.
His home lies amid a thorny thicket of rose canes, a flowered wall run riot around a pale-turreted fairytale castle. There are a hundred beds within his home, and a hundred maidens sleep there, each for a hundred years. They are Descanso's power, Descanso's fire, Descanso's beating heart, innocence captured on the knifepoint of revelation, the happy fantasies of a hundred fathers that their daughters remain forever virgin.
He is both their virginity and their temptation, rolling through the night of their lives as an avalanche travels alpine valleys.
Descanso fights no great wars. He is a man, of sorts, with a man's rough, loving heart and fleshy sword to match, but he is so small that his battles are all of stealth and misdirection. How else could he stand on the Fields of Honor against the great buffoons who wield Jacobean broadswords as if to cleave the bones of dragons?
So honor in the classic knightly sense does not become him, though Descanso has honor of his own. His battles are of the heart, rehearsed within the red-beating forests of his hundred sleeping maidens, fought for real in the bedchambers and taverns of the wider world.
Descanso Dream, the White Knight, is the Knight of Love.
And he has become trapped within his own snares.