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3/05/2009

Renewed Effort - and Constantinople

First of all, by the time you read this Velvet Verbosity will have published the results of last week's 100 Word Challenge and the new word should be out there, as well. Check it out. So now it's Thursday and I'm stoked. I have begun working on the next Chapter of 'One Knight's Story'. The story seems to be taking an unusual form, however. It's like each Chapter of the story will be separated by a snippet from an earlier time in his life. And those snippets may, or may not, say in sequence from older time to more recent time. I don't know how the story wants to come out. Yet.

One Knight's Story

Pre - Chapter Two

Constantinople


"Come down from there, boy."

His son had been playing on the roof. Not so much playing, actually, as hand fighting with a trader from the East, as he often did. Wushu, he called it. An ancient form of Chinese fighting, both armed and unarmed. It was the unarmed aspects of this ancient art that fascinated the boy most, though. He was a little puzzled by that. Most boys his age were interested in swordplay and hacking each other to little pieces .. well, pretend, anyway ... but his son would rather deliver a well placed blow with a clenched fist or elbow or knee than handle a two handed broadsword. Strange, that.

"What is it father?"

"Be seated, my son, and listen. I have been hearing rumor for some time that troubles me. And, for some time, I have been making preparations, on account of those rumors."

His son, big for a boy of thirteen, sat on a low stool next to him as he sorted through bolts of silk recently brought to him by the trader who had been exercising with his son, on the roof.

"Rumors, Father? Preparations? What are .."

"Tut!! Listen, boy, and you shall know all. Talk and you shall hear nothing but the sound of your own voice. As I was saying ... rumors have been coming to my ear for some time that lead me to believe there is trouble coming. A leader has arisen among the Mohammedans that would seem to be poised to attack the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem. This man, this Saladin, has taken important cities in Syria and I fear he will turn on Jerusalem now. If that happens, I am sure there will be a call for another Crusade. It could be ten years from now, but the danger here grows ever stronger and I fear it will no longer be safe for us, for you, here in Constantinople. I have been making preparations for us to return to Wales."

"But what of our shop, Father? What of our business? How will we live? What will we do? When will we leave?"

"Hold!! I can answer but one question at a time, boy. Your mind is too quick, as is your tongue. Ask one thing at a time, and be so kind as to wait for an answer."

"Sorry, Father."

"There is no need to apologize, boy. Ask your questions."

"What will happen to our shop, Sir?"

"I have been talking to Suliman, the Tea Merchant. He has expressed an interest in purchasing our shop and business and has offered a fair price. I have not accepted his offer yet, but the price is fair and I have not chosen to be too public about my intentions so the likelihood of other offers is slight, at best."

"How will we live, Father? What will we do?"

"Two questions? You are a lucky scamp, you are, for one answer will suffice for both. We have been very fortunate here, in this place, my son. We are men of wealth now, and when we return to Wales, we will return to our ancestral home with all we need for a long time. We have land there and we will do as our ancestors have done - we will herd sheep and farm - or more likely, hire others to do those things for us."

"How will we get there, Father?"

"There is a large group of Pilgrims returning to England and France. We will travel with them."

"But what of thieves and villains, Father? What of them?"

"The pilgrims travel under the protection of the Templars. I have arranged to purchase a letter of credit from the Templars which I will redeem in France. I will hire men, when in France, to accompany us to Wales. These arrangements have all been made, Gwalchmei. I have thought this through very carefully."

His son sat there for a moment, deep in thought. He watched his son, surprised at the aplomb with which his son had greeted all of this.

"Father, how soon are we to leave?"

"The pilgrims will not leave for a month, yet. So, a month. Why do you ask?"

"Sala al-Tikriti is due here in a week, from Mecca. Perhaps, if he were made to see an opportunity to deal directly with the traders from the East, instead of through a middleman, he might see enough profit in it to offer you a better price than that of Suliman the Tea Merchant.
Perhaps."

"Perhaps you are right, my son. I think such a thing might be possible. I will talk to Sala when he arrives."

And once again he marveled at the quick mind of his son, who had become so expert at dealing with the men of Mecca.

"Oh, and one other thing Father, if I may. When we get home to Wales, I would train as a Knight. I believe that is what God wants me to do. At least, I know it's what I want to do. And God and I have almost always seen eye to eye."

And he thought to himself, "And a fine Knight you will be, my son. A fine Knight, indeed."

"Of course, my son. We will speak of this when we have got home. Now, go back to the roof and your exercises. And make sure you hurt no one - or that no one hurts you. And please? No more do I want to see anyone thrown from the roof. My heart grows weak from the worry."

"Aye, Father, and your beard grayer."

With that he was up the ladder and onto the roof.

Ndinombethe.

12 comments:

Jientje said...

It's funny how sons always seem to be able to make their father's beard a little greyer ...

Shadow said...

the pleasure of writing your own book, you don't have to know what will happen in the end, 'til it's the end....

moneythoughts said...

I am enjoying the story very much. I love this period of history, and it takes me back to when I was a boy and watched movies about knights.

Joyce-Anne said...

I love getting some backround on the character...very interesting.

Tara R. said...

Your characters are so rich. I look forward to each new installment.

LceeL said...

Jientje: Oh, yes they do, Jientje.

Shadow: Actually, I'll only find out when I get that far.

Moneythoughts: Thanks, Fred. I'm enjoying this story, as well.

Joyce-Anne: I'm glad you think so, Joyce-Anne.

Tara R: Thank you, Tara. I'll try to keep it interesting.

Momisodes said...

Very interesting installment. I love the subtle ways you present his son as eager, young, and quick.

As always, looking to read more :)

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Ah. Brings back memories of the movie Kingdom of Heaven, with Orlando Bloom. Have you seen it?

LceeL said...

Momisodes: I try to leave as much as I can to the imagination of the reader - but somtimes ....

HollyATOM: No. I have not seen that movie - but OB is one of my favorite actors, ever since Lord Of The Rings.

Patsy said...

Just read the last couple of line of the book because it was there above the Wordless Wednesday I was reading.

"Seems the *son* in your story has a wee bit of the son you raised in him," she said with a slight smile tickling her lips.

I may yet have to delve into this story -- just not really my thing though.

Oh, and I found Stonehenge interesting, but no WOW for me either.

Indigo said...

These installments to the story are an immediate smile for me. Thank you! Words that carry us to distant lands and another time...you weave the enchantment dear friend...(Hugs)Indigo

Ree said...

I always want to take so much time with your posts, I end up saving them until I can read them in peace.

Fathers and sons are a special breed. I know the two that live with me are.