The Rose Knight’s Flower

“It was his pain that set him on this journey, to find the truth in a world torn to pieces; to put those pieces together again, and to mend a bleeding planet.”

2012 08 26 – CH1 – Of Live and Love

Behold a poor and humble knight, trudging along and weary though his head is still held high. He has seen countless battles. He has fought for G-d and country. He has fought for honor, and he has fought for his lady. He has lost everyone he ever loved. The world of chaos swirls around him, but he is steadfast in his own righteous order. The chaos consumes through decay, while he saves through healing and defense.

Today this lonely kight crosses a battlefield, and the dead are numbered in hundreds and thousands. In the center is a solitary oak tree on a grassy knoll. The Oak is limped over, and torn to pieces at the base, appearing to have been broken some time ago by a cannon ball. It is practically lifeless. Even still, light seems to shine on only this place, as dark clouds break slightly to allow this magical luminescence. The knight is drawn to it, for he is in need of respite, again.

As he closes on the hill, he sees an illustrious thing. A wild rose grows there, tormented by the weather, and having developed many thorns, yet thick-stemmed and tall just the same. The Knight is enraptured by the rose’s beauty, and bewildered by its resiliency- considering the environment it grows in. It is next to this dying tree, and found its way up through a rocky earth. He decides to take the rose with him.

Now this knight has seen many roses, and knows what may become of his decision to pluck it from the earth. Without its roots it would die quite quickly. That would be worse than leaving it in the ground, so the knight has an idea. He took the earth, and the roots, with him as well. He has just the bag to put it all in, and begins digging carefully. He delicately places the entire plant into the bag, and then sets it all inside a saddle bag. He allows the rose to stick out the top of the enclosure, so that it can always find the Sun, saying, “I will be your oak.”

Though he has toiled, instead of resting, the Knight feels rejuvenated by the presence of the rose and he carries on through the fray. The clouds break open wider, gradually, and the sun seems to follow him as he saunters towards his mission. It is very far away, and the tribulations along his path threaten to defeat him before he can even begin, but this knight is no stranger to valiance and so he trudges on with his rose by his side.

2015 08 22 – CH2 – Respite

Behold the weary, lonely knight, trudging forward to fates unknown. On a long dark road, and across valleys low, the timber moaned with the wisps of winds passions. The forest was alive and danced to and fro, while the keenest of predators hid in their hollows. The heavens were closed, and covered with a sea of swirling darkness it seemed. Some might have seen it as frightening, but this knight had been on many roads, and he knew the eve well. To him it was refreshing. To him, nature was at play- taking a break from the every day. He reveled in it, as if it were like watching children run around dancing and smiling; a life that used to be, and a life that could be again.

His armor had become worn, and had long since been cast aside, making his steed’s job easier- less work for the wear. His countenance seemed unwavering, but perhaps only he knew that it wavered. In each of those moments he was practiced at seeking respite. Respite is a place in time called home, and is created on the spot when you find a space that is lovely enough to make it so. The knight had grown accustomed to this, as he began this journey as a lay minister, and learned the timeless value of a sabbatical. He had lost count of the weeks. He never was good at remembering time in the structure of days. He tends to remember his journey in segments; in stories, each with its own beginning and ending, like chapters in a book; a book that is writing itself.

His rose was kept safe, by his side, in a satchel, with a mixture of earth from the battlefield on which it was born, and a piece of ground from each site where he had a sabbatical since. It had become a distant memory, that he carried with him, because it reminded him that from the most tragic of places, can be found a glimmer of hope; a hope that should not have lasted, but somehow survived, and could live in splendor, in the right environment. He sought to find that environment, and the knight carried the rose by his side, and protected it if necessary. It is all he has to remind him of the world before the war; a story he held in his heart, which is the source of his pain. It was his pain that set him on this journey, to find the truth in a world torn to pieces; to put those pieces together again, and to mend a bleeding planet. Every step got him closer, to what he hoped to find.

On that night came a curious thing. A fork in the road appeared over what had been an endless horizon. The Knight saw a tree that he had not seen before, amongst the many which he had become accustomed to, and then a shrub too. It seems the winds had brought change, as they tend to do, and changes involve decisions. The knight approached the fork with caution, appearing humble. He heard a bird cry out, and then another, but he did not recognize them. He realized that he would have to get to know the nature of this new place, before venturing forward. He let his horse lay by a tiny stream, and walked around shortly to inspect the ground.

He saw tracks of dogs, and small things like mice. He noted the direction of the water’s flow. He saw where the berries had fallen to the ground, of a new kind of plant. Sometimes that means they are edible. Sometimes it just means they are edible to birds. Having enough in his pack for a few more meals, the knight would not need to worry about berries just yet. He felt more comfortable with his surroundings, and took a seat on a giant leatherbound book.

The book was quit sturdy, somehow, and did not become bent or broken over time by his sitting on it. It was unlike other books. It was made to be indestructible, and though even the knight hadn’t looked inside, as per his duty he did carry it, until the day he needed to pass it on. Only then could he read what it held within. He sat there so long he was not sure if he was sleeping or awake. He was always aware of his surroundings. Sometimes, rarely, his surroundings would shift into dreams. These dreams he would always want to explore, but at the same time would want to escape from, in order to remain vigilant should a situation occur. In times like these he would put his life in the hands of nature, and nature has so far taken care of him, in his weakest of moments, and that night he slept.

2018 03 16 – CH3 – Heart and Mind

His horse tired and weary, the poor and broken knight saw hope in the approach to the castle on a crag’s spire. It is there that he sought to gain insight into the darkness that plagued the minds of men. A woman there was a mystic, having lived for years studying magik, and rarely receiving visitors. Her castle loomed between a break in the clouds, above the lofty hills of Adelon that lay before them. Then as fast as it appeared it was gone, lost to swirling grey and darkness which typically precedes a rainy and stormy night.

The rose the knight carried, had found a home in his right boot, where some dirt had collected in, as he crawled from his bare victory only two nights before. Had she withered or she broken, he would have wept a thousand tears, for the knight had seen in that flower, the kind of resilience that outmatched his own. To grow from hard ground, upon a terrace of death, and yet be so wild and free and filled with vigor, the knight was inspired in ways he was not ready to process. That is why he carried the rose with him, to give him constant inspiration. Perhaps also, he thought, he would plant this rose for his love, where she lay, in a solemn place; in a grave upon which nothing grows.

He had wept upon the soil, for so many months, that the plants upon it withered and faded. It had become a place of death, that only reminded him of his own fate, had he stayed in Verillith, and attended the coronation of Jarkerk the Wise. As captain of the guard he would have been forced to live in ways that dishonored his creed. The hall of ministers would never accept, a man pledged to Moatona, rising above the rank of Magistar. The knight would never fulfill his duty to life, and gain the privilege of being given a name. Until then he carries on, with no name, and no other burden, but his quest to rid the world of its darkness- of its curse.

The horse, which the knight referred to only in clicks and whistles, became slow, as the road picked up elevation, and a cliffside emerged to the left. To the right, a fork gave way to even ground, so the ever-patient knight clicked and pulled the horse rightward, to rest and hopefully, to respite. The fog broke way, as the knight found himself coming into a small patch of dense tree cover. A steep landslide emerged behind him, filled with boulders larger than he and his steed. To the left side came into view, a cave, opening under the beginnings of a harrowing cliff face. He paused, for a time that could have allowed two rounds of dancing at the Old Adler. He was listening intently, and though you couldn’t tell, he was catching his breath to slow his heart rate. He wanted to be as quiet as possible, to hear even better.

When his heart was slower than what was even normal, he stopped breathing momentarily. The world became louder to his ears. First the wind swept past, giving way to the sway of the fir tree and the call of a faraway loon, but not a clack, or a grunt or a breath of any beast, did he hear. He breathed an extra-long breath in, let it out slowly, and then he dismounted his horse, leading it towards the sound of the loon, somewhere above the landslide. The knight watched the opening of the cave, avidly, as he passed by steadily. His horse seemed uneasy, but it did not give any indication of panic. His breath quickened slightly, as he practiced his mantra silently to himself. “A warrior prepared, will never face defeat. He meets his foe with a blade called temperance, and works towards inner peace.”

Nothing stirred in the deeps, and there the darkness lay, betraying no clue as to its contents. The knight kept his pace, and broke stare to look up to the sky. No stars or a moon were seen. No light from on high, to guide him would be found on this eve as clouds grew murky. He felt the weather would not last, but he dared not seek to feed a bear, or find bandits lying in wait or traps. He trusted the ground, the forest, and the sky. These things he knew well. He felt more comfortable when his G-d could see him. He saw the clouds as a bad omen- that his ascent would be riddled with deceit and danger. Very few men had seen the heights of those steep mountains. Often were heard, tales of ghosts and goblins, and of magic the mystic herself lay to test, the intentions of her seeker. This part of the journey would test the knight’s courage, and his resolve.

Ahead along a broken, bare path, the tired knight saw a thicket, surrounded by the dense trees. He circled wide around it, and through the many angles and openings that sprung forth to his vision he saw that the space in between seemed wide enough for he and his steed, to be away from the wind and warm enough until morning. His head circled around, to make note of anyone, or anything watching him, and he felt alone. Though the scene bore ill markings of fate, he felt safe. He felt inner light would keep him, as it had so many times already, in the absence of light from above. He led his horse into the dark entrance to the tiny circle of trees, and found a curious thing. He found water under his feet, and a well spring beside a nestled hallow stump of a fallen tree, the mound behind which hung a flat space large enough for a dinner table.

The horse was already drinking. He shook his head at the animal’s lack of patience, but perhaps it already knew the water to be safe. Perhaps it had become desperate, and he’d pushed it too hard. Diligently, the knight reached into a pouch on his belt, and pulled out a two-finger pinch of powder with a shiny red luster. He released it over the water, and watched as it fell. In the feint darkness he could still see the water’s clarity, if slightly. It turned murky, and then clear.

The knight took a drink, and prayed to his G-d, the Lady Moatona, in thanks for this place of great reward, when he needed it most. He took soil from beneath the stump, and put it into his boot, to add to the little soil the rose had left, to sustain it. He raised to his knees, slowly and steadily, and walked over to the flat spot beyond the stump, and he fell to the ground. He was asleep before he hit the ground, and the bounce did not wake him, but luckily the ground had been covered with many soft needles from the trees around.

The horse, being loyal and in need of rest himself, curled up beside his friend, sharing warmth, and himself slept. The wind howled but the rains held off their descent. This would be the first night our hero would sleep all the way through, since the day before he left on his journey. How weary he was then in his mind, and how weary he had become now, in his body.

(TBC)

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