A Chalice of SteelMature


“Paeolo, come sit closer to the warmth of the fire, and tell me why you have come.” Slow to respond, the request was almost lost to the muddled thoughts of the tired soldier. He sat in a cross legged fashion, staring into the glow of the fire, his body savoring the warmth even through the chain mail. “Paeolo? While I pray thanks to God that you fare well, I am curious to know why you and your men should stop here.”

“It is not my intent to burden you, priest… I knew… I knew this would be a safe haven for a night’s rest before we proceed north. My men and I do thank you for your hospitality.” The thanks seeming almost pained. It was obvious to the old friar that the younger man’s pride had lost the battle with the fatigued body, and now needed the wisdom of sleep.

“… and that it is, Paeolo. We are happy to share what food and drink we have with your men, and they may bed down wherever they may find room to stretch out, be it as it may. I assume you head north to Aragon?”

“Before daybreak, yes. Have no fear of the Moors, priest. They will not pass this way unless through me.”

“To be sure. But I pray it will not come to that. I would not want to see harm come to you.” The ripple of annoyance that crossed Paeolo’s face was half hidden under the half shadows cast by the fire’s light. “Your prayers are late, priest.”

The End

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