Rare Things for a Rare Life

The Knights of Joshua

by Tiana Dokerty © 1984-2021

Home | Chapter 4 | Chapter 6

Chapter 5: Humanity – 144 AK, Early Autumn

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

 

Lorness Castle

Geleib woke when he heard the door open.

It was Cailleagh. “Geleib, where are you, my love?”

He rolled up on one elbow. He'd been asleep, knowing not to wait up for her when she was on the Order’s business.

She spun around the apartment, the light from the fireplace casting large twisting shadows that cavorted with a life of their own. Whenever she returned from the Sanctuary, she was like this, intoxicated with power.

“I’m here, wife. Did you wake me to take advantage of me, or is there news?”

She giggled. “Which would you like first?”

“Does it matter? I’m receiving both, correct?”

She dropped onto the bed after littering the chamber with her clothes. “Of course. I’ll tell you my vision first. It lasted but a second, yet I’m terrified by it still.” She placed his hand upon her breast. “Can you not feel the rapid beat of my heart?”

“I can… and wonder how I may help,” he purred, his eyes roaming over her greedily.

“I felt danger.” She came closer. “I saw a woman dressed all in gold. A veil hid her face, like a bride’s. She carried a sword, its tip pointed to the heavens. Then she thrust, piercing my heart. I’m afraid. I am afraid that I know what it means.”

“What?”

“That you must not let the prince marry. Promise me he won’t,” she cooed.

Geleib leaned back to look at her. “I can’t promise that, my sweet. My plan requires the prince to have a legitimate heir. Thus, he must have a wife.”

She cried on his shoulder.

Or, she pretended to… an act Geleib knew all too well. He delighted in it every time she resorted to that strategy, for it meant she would be particularly eager to pleasure him lavishly.

He rolled his eyes, pulling her atop him. “don’t worry,” he soothed, “these visions are often uncomfortable at first. Over time, they become clearer. This may be only part of the revelation.” He bit her neck, and they began to play.

When he woke in the morning, Geleib thought about meeting his wife…

It was his thirteenth year, and he was still in mourning after his mother’s death. Sitting in the grass, he was pulling the ripe heads off the purple clover. One by one, he pelted the pregnant kitchen cat, who sunned herself royally nearby, ignoring his attacks completely.

Seeing Cailleagh always brightened his day. She was seventeen, a woman, shapely and easy to look upon. Many nights he lay awake thinking of her. Long auburn hair that caught the sun, seeming on fire, framed her brown eyes. They were dark amber stones set in her perfect heart-shaped face. Her skin was pale and smooth like porcelain. She was old enough to marry, yet father had wondered aloud why she wasn’t.

This was the first time she ever took notice of him.

“What are you doing?” Her brow furrowed. Her hips swayed back and forth, her satin skirts rustling.

“This monster has ravished the town and I must repel it to save the people.” He grinned.

“What fun!” She dropped to the ground beside him, part of skirts covering his lap. Her face was so close. She smiled at him and picked up a stick, tossing it at the beast. Then a bigger stick, followed by a rock.

Geleib switched to rocks, too.

Together, they repelled the cat.

After that, Cailleagh played with him every day, any game he wanted.

She became his best friend.

 

River Town

Blackhawk turned his shirt inside out and hid his coat in the burlap sack. “Here goes. Remember to call me ‘da’.”

Little Soldier nodded in agreement, smiling brightly.

River Town was busy. Each breath smelled of fresh-cut wood from the mill. The street was crowded with many wagons filled with bags, boxes, and children.

They must be fleeing debt collections. Perhaps one of them would take the girl if they thought she had no family. How do I tell who would be good to her?

He slid out of the saddle and placed Sarah on the ground. “Stay put.”

“Hallo,” he said to a shopkeeper, “What’s going on?”

“Haven’t you heard? The king has taxed the nobles, so they’re calling in all their debts. Any who can’t pay back their loan in full have their children and wives taken instead, so everyone’s fleeing to the west.”

“I never thought I’d be fortunate to have no land. Do you know these people?”

“We’re a close community,” said the shopkeeper as he passed bags to grasping hands.

Blackhawk checked on Little Soldier, but she wasn’t where he’d left her. He searched through the bustling crowd, eyes sweeping back and forth methodically.

Where has she gone? What do I do now? I can’t just leave… can I?

Finally, he spied her.

She was standing in a wagon, patting the head of a baby in its mother’s arms, chattering away, making the babe laugh. Little Soldier turned, pointing unerringly at Blackhawk. He might have lost sight of her, but she’d never lost sight of him.

She is something.

He walked over. “There you are. I told you to stay put.”

She glowered a familiar scowl, wrinkling her nose.

“These people are leaving.” Blackhawk held out his hand to Little Soldier.

“Not yet,” the woman sighed. “Shaun still has a dozen things to load. My name is Kennah Beecher. We’re heading south to where the weather is… milder.”

“Actually…” he began, then swallowed. “I saved her from a debt collection earlier in the week. Her family is gone.”

The woman adjusted the babe in her arms, then looked into his eyes.

She is so calm.

“I have to go to High Castle. It won’t be good for her there. I…” He didn’t understand his hesitancy. He still didn’t comprehend why he’d rescued her, but having done so… “…and I’m… looking for a family… to keep her safe.” He held his breath.

If this doesn’t go well, we’ll jump on Whitefoot and ride as fast as possible.

“I see.” Kennah looked down at the small girl, examining her closely. “Do you want to go with us? I can see you are a good girl, so would be welcome.”

Little Soldier paused, then nodded, “Yes, ma’am.” Turning, she jumped into Blackhawk’s arms and hugged him. Then she placed another button in his hand. “You will always be my valiant knight, Sir Hawk. I love you.” She hugged him again.

“Thank you, Your Highness.” He gently lowered her into the wagon, blinking away tears. He cleared his throat and focused on Kennah. “Thank you, ma’am.  Could you get her a new dress?” He scrounged a handful of baden from his purse. “Something nice. The buttons are falling off this one. It’s all tattered now.”

“Of course,” the woman replied, laying a hand on his arm.

Blackhawk stood stunned, unmoving. Her simple touch engendered feelings he had no experience of. Feelings he couldn’t name.

“It is a good thing you have done, saving a stranger,” Kennah continued. “I’ll get the dress when we stop at the general store. Blessings of Joshua be upon you, sir.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” he mumbled, mounting Whitefoot and riding away fast.

 

@@Lorness Castle

[Geleib deals with her vision and advances his plans

  • building his army within the army
  • how the Black Robes are providing information and blackmail material
  • how many nobles he has under his thumb
  • how he’s subverting the Black Robes to his own use, not just gathering information for Cailleagh]

@@Caswell, Drakes Circle NEW SECTION

[Develop section for story of the creation of the knights]

Drake called all his circle’s children to come to the front and he sat on the steps with them. He told them the story of the first Knight.

1 AK - The Sea of Glass  

The man had crawled out of the water and collapsed on the smooth white beach. A child found him, cautiously poking his with a stick then backing away. Others came running, having seen a body from the road nearby.

A young woman put her hand to his face and felt a breath. “He’s alive! Carry him to the inn.”

“Should we?” One man asked. “He was spat out by the Sea of Glass. Perhaps the Gods wish to test him.”

Another opined, “See the debris of his ship.” He pointed to the rubble rocking on the surf. “The Sea of Glass is calm. He must have angered the gods.”

“Nonsense,” the woman responded. “He is a gift from the Gods. Perhaps it is we who are being tested.”

So, they took the man to the inn and tended him.

After he recovered, he began to share a strange doctrine, that the Gods the people worshipped were only children of the God of Truth, the first created beings of Him that He had charged to govern the world. He explained, “Their Father had charged them with governing the nations since He had chosen a man to raise up a godly nation. From this man, all the world would be blessed. But some of His children rebelled and ruled the people irresponsibly or worse.

A trunk washed ashore a week later, with other wreckage. They brought it to him. He opened the box and withdrew his Knight’s clothes, and pulled out a large book of ancient writings. The man explained that he was a Knight of Joshua.

The God of Truth had sent Joshua, but the people refused to listen because they expected a Warrior. He had come as a shepherd. Then Nachash, the great serpent, had him killed. Yet, many days and nights later, he was shown to hundreds of his followers to be alive.

Many balked at the Knight’s words, but he spoke of the beautiful works of the God of Truth, and healed many people who had been sick with palsy or blinded. Tales of this spread. So he was called to Farr Castle. When King Weisheit heard this man, he believed.

The King also spoke the beautiful words of the God of Truth.

The Great Destiny is the prophecy that the King gave to the people, that our land would prosper and grow, that it would become the center of the world, for all the people would spread the good news of Joshua to other lands. And when darkness came, and the people faltered, they would be renewed in the Word of Joshua by hearing the Knight, who will teach them to see the light again.

After this, every village was to have a circle, and the Fellowship of the Knights of Joshua was created to teach men who would spread the Word of Joshua far and wide until the whole world had heard it.

Drake patted each of the children as they ran back to their parents. He smiled at Taryssa, who sat in the first row. She blew him a kiss. Her praise always elated him. He called her to come to the dais and address the assembly. She brought with her a small boy.

He would miss her so. She was leaving that afternoon with six of her helpers, ladies that had taken charge of the orphans and widows service. They were to take tea with Cailleagh Melazera. Cailleagh was going to teach them her management skills. This, Drake hoped would make Taryssa even happier and more useful to his Circle. She’ll only be gone a few days.

Taryssa told all the fellowship, “The Lady of Lorness will place this boy, Kollen, with a family today. I hope you’ll bring me more orphans so we can give them each a future, a better life.”

As all the members were leaving, Taryssa escorted the boy to the coach. She tousled his hair as she waved to those that followed them out. Her three helpers climbed in. The ride would be cramped, but the child could ride up with the coachman once they were out of sight.

The boy she had chosen was a beautiful blond-haired specimen. He was full of life and smiled freely as they rode away from the castle. He was innocent. He was just what Cailleagh had asked for.

When they reached Lorness, they disembarked, dismissing the Coachman who would pick them up three days hence for their return.

They walked to a wagon across the road in front of a simple white-washed meeting house. When they arrived at the Sanctuary of the Alte Regieren, Cailleagh greeted them at the entrance to a great cave with a welcoming smile. And gifted each of the ladies with a black robe.

Cailleagh took the boy’s hand and walked him to a stone table as she chattered on about his wonderful future.

 

Frei Forest

As they rode through the forest, Rebekah and the Donofrios marveled at the providence of the Lord, but still she complained, “Alas, I’ve no skill at posing as a man.” She’d need a better disguise when she hunted for Sarah.

“I could teach you to act more like a brute. Couldn’t I, Ma?” He grinned.

“That he could,” his wife smiled back.

Rebekah’s eyebrows rose as he shared how to better her performance.

They located a small clearing within the southernmost tip of Frei Forest. “This is perfect. We can hear the river but are hidden from those traveling on it.” Rebekah pointed at several rabbits. “There is much undergrowth sheltering small animals we can snare, and over there, I see blackberries.”

Vincent and Helen nodded. It was almost dark.

In the morning, they cut small saplings for a shelter. Rebekah instructed the older children how to make the components of a hazard. That night, she showed them how to fit the pieces together.

As everyone slept, she banked the fire, pushing the coals into a pile and covering them with ash to keep the heat in. She prayed for Sarah and Jonathan and David and all those harmed by the evil world.

Thank you, Father, for your provision.

 

Lorness

Jonathan had been spending most of his days in taprooms, hoping to hear information. He looked ragged, drinking more than he should, eating less. Not learning anything new, he needed to act, but he was unclear what to do.

Perhaps, I should go to High Castle and talk to Sagen.

The prince might take him to the king, who could declare those taken free from the terms of collection. Although, if the monarch believed it a lawful seizure, he would not do that.

Rulers can be well-intentioned yet hurt people with bad laws.

He dropped his head into his hands and whispered a prayer. “Father, please make plain to me where I should go next in my search.” He heard no response but was restless, so he paid and went out.

Heading toward the market, he saw two men fighting, farmers by their dress. It didn’t look serious. The bigger man was shaking the other. Still, a crowd was forming. A soldier ended his banter with a shopkeep and turned toward them, so Jonathan intervened, “Friends, could you stop a moment and help me?”

Both looked at him.

The bigger man dropped the other, saying, “How?”

Dusting himself off, the other chimed in, “What do you need?”

“Can we sit?” Jon asked, pointing to a drinking establishment. “I’ll buy you both an ale while we talk.”

The big one shrugged and the other raised his eyebrows and smiled.

As they walked, he introduced himself. “My name is Jonathan O’Toole.”

“Randall Stratton,” the smaller man said, “this’s Woodrow Cayton. Pleased to meet you.”

Jonathan found an empty table, ordered and told them of his loss.

“Well,” Randall began, “we know your pain. That’s what we were wrestling about. We lost our wives and young ‘uns also. We’re so frustrated we started bashing each other for the grief of it.”

“You might be on to something,” Jon said with a smile, “I have wished to die. A good thrashing might be a fitting compromise. Are there many that have lost their families this way?”

The two looked at each other.

“At least a dozen,” Randall replied.

“What if we wrote a petition to the king, and all signed it? I am willing to deliver it to High Castle. What do you think?”

Randall’s mouth dropped open.

“That would be either very brave or very foolish,” Woodrow blurted out.

“I am ready to die as it is,” Jon noted. “If the king executes me, it will end this torture.”

“Aye, that be true,” Woodrow agreed, as Randall nodded.

“Would you ask the others? Then meet me here tomorrow night?”

They agreed and slapped him on the back. It was the happiest any of them had been in many weeks.

 

Home | Chapter 4 | Chapter 6