Rare Things for a Rare Life

The Knights of J'shua Book 2

by Tiana Dokerty ©2023

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Updated 6/8/24

Part 6

 

Chapter 26

Parynna - 325

Caswell Castle

Preening to ensure that her hair, dress, and understated jewelry were perfect, Parynna sighed at her reflection. Their first guest would arrive all too soon.

All she knew was that Cynthia Gardonet would be married to Jonathan Otual’s son, David, in three days’ time. The girl was pretty enough, if a little mousy, from what she’d been told. A suitable bride for a penniless Knight of J’shua.

Thankfully, Caileagh had taught Parynna how to wean Drake away from his relationship with J’shua by keeping him focused on superficial religious efforts. The Knights were not yet outlawed here, but it was inevitable. Their beliefs were in opposition to the Melazeras. Therefore, they had to go. Not that she’d permit their demise to affect Drake—or her. She’d worked too hard to ensure her husband’s position and good fortune.

That brought her thoughts back to hosting the ill-conceived wedding. Blast Drake. He sprang it upon her as if it was some wonderful surprise.

It would have been wonderful if she had known in advance, to alert Caileagh. Delivering David’s mother, or better yet, his father would have reaped bounteous rewards. They still would if Parynna could find some way to capture them.

She could not do so openly; it would cause a scandal, a blot on the Caswell name. No, that would not do at all. Worse still, Drake was being unusually close-lipped about whether David’s parents would attend. He had that abominable boyish glint in his eye that showed he thought he was doing something clever. And not even her best attempts to pry it out of him had worked. She feared he had more unpleasant surprises in store.

Then it struck her. She could turn this to her advantage without involving David directly. As a knight, the boy would inevitably leave his bride all too soon to go off on some pious quest. That would leave his new bride all alone.

 

Chapter 27

Owakar - 315

Amidst the Atmosphere of Lorness

Owakar whispered Words of Life to those that could hear him in Lorness,

[Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as the atoning sacrifice for sin.]

Even though the Warrior was away manipulating his latest plaything in Farr Castle, the gloom remained over Lorness as his minions stirred up misery. But the Book of Life always provided encouragement for himself, and sometimes for the earthly followers of J’shua in the Density.

His luach came alive. Line after line rose up. There would be a wedding in Caswell.

“Why is this of interest?” Owakar muttered to himself, flicking through the glowing words.

More words, more words, then finally, David Otual’s name was large and illuminated. He poked it to learn more. The son of Rebekah and Jonathan would marry soon.

“Will they go? Do they know?”

The Otual’s son had attracted the Warrior’s eye. He sent a message to Temana, the guardian overseeing Caswell. “Do you have everything in hand?”

“Peace, Owakar, you’re not the only competent one. We are ready to help them.”

Contrite, Owakar responded, “Yes, of course you are. I didn’t mean to imply you weren’t. The family has become special to me. But they don’t stay in one place like most of those entrusted to us.” The prayers of each Otual echoed from the Book of Life on Owakar’s luach. And it reminded him of the passage:

[Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity.]

Owakar paced up and down stone path.

I will need help. Certainly Rebekah will go. No sense of self-preservation in that woman. But will Jonathan attend?

He swiped and swiped looking for any information to help him plan for this fiasco. The Warrior will his minions there. Most likely, Melazera’s spies have informed him.

This is a disaster.

 

Chapter 29

Drake - 252

Caswell Castle

Delighted by his Circle’s well wishes for his friend’s son and bride, Drake bustled about the castle.

Garlands of freshly cut flowers hung everywhere. Servants set trestle tables for the townsfolk he’d invited to the feast following the wedding.

Drake knew David wanted this to be a small affair, but this was a day for celebration. A day to be remembered. A day on which he could indulge a young man he thought of as a son.

He would never have a son of his own. Parynna had informed him she was barren after she lost the baby. He loved her. He would never replace her. So what if one of his uncles’ sons would one day inherit the earldom from him? It was an irrelevance.

Today, he would rejoice.

He regretted he could not share with his wife why he was so caught up in the preparations, but he did not want to cause her pain. He did not want her thinking back to the atrocity that had almost broken them. No. This was his burden to shoulder. He would not let her suffer. And she was so happily engaged in her charities that he didn’t want to distract her.

Of course, the last surprise he still withheld: David’s mother would attend in disguise. He wondered how long it would take for Parynna to identify Rebekah bedecked in clothes and make-up that transformed her into an old crone.

It’s going to be splendid! Oh, she is here!

 

Chapter 30

Jonathan - 450

New Moon, Late Spring, Woods Outside Caswell

Jonathan tromped through the glade where he usually ran into one of the young sentries. He visited James of the Wood and his boys whenever he passed through one of his camps. There was a camp near Fairness Crossing, Lexandria, and Caswell. He usually found them near Caswell because Drake Caswell, the earl, did not have much of a military presence. The original brothers were now men. But they had taken in new cast-off children. This time, he found them outside Caswell. Today he expounded on the creed of the Knights of J’shua.

[Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.]

When he finished speaking, a boy ran up with a message for James of the Wood. After James read it, he shot Jonathan a face-splitting grin and shared the news of David’s wedding.

Somehow, one of James’ tribe had learned that Jonathan’s son, David, now a Knight of J’shua on his first mission, would take a wife. Further, the earl had offered to hold the ceremony in Caswell, only a day’s ride away. Jonathan wondered how James was so well informed.

With all his heart, he wanted to attend. Yet he knew that if he did, men would be there to ambush him. Worse, if that happened, it would ruin the happy couple’s day and could have them seen as accomplices.

No, the sensible thing is to stay away…or…perhaps, watch from afar.

After eating with the boys, he prayed about it. He received no guidance. All would become clear. Then he would make up his own mind. Pushing the matter aside, he slept.

In the morning, he was sure. He had only one son. It might also be an opportunity to encounter Rebekah. Surely, she would not miss the event either.

Having decided, he spoke to James of the Wood. “I need a way into Caswell, but not as myself. No one must recognize me. It would put my son and his new bride in peril. Can you get me there in time? Do you have—”

“Finally! A way we can repay you, a little.” James beamed. “I’m sure we can help. Come. Look at some things that have…uh, fallen…into our possession.”

“You have not been stealing, have you?”

“No. We merely follow the examples of lords and their stewards…charging a small toll to those who wander through our woods. We don’t seek them out. And we’ve not hurt anyone. And most were more than willing to help orphans.” His eyes twinkled. “You told us Lord J’shua would provide. He has.”

“James,” Jonathan shook his head at the irrepressible youngster, “when there is time, we need to have a long talk.”

 

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