Daaskmere Monk

William of Meadowsford

Book Cover

arrowShawn Postoff

Copyright © 1997 - 2009
arrowInfinitive Ink Limited


XXVIII ill title To Meadowsford

Said Father, “Sir William,” as upward I rose,
“Your accolade’s captured despite all your woes,
And so as your title of Squire now goes,
Your first quest of knighthood has rooted and grows.
As you made your vigil to Heaven last night,
I pondered the recent historical fight
Betwixt all those soldiers who charged to the east
To conquer the Dragon they’d branded as beast.
But think of this monster you’ve feared up to now.
Consider its birth, and recall on your brow
That half of its nature once perched at you hand:
Your lan’ret that ne’er was intended to land.
The riddle described by our new-ousted king,
Was thought to have easy solutions to sing.
But answers lie not in the beast’s bloody death,
Your quest is defined by some other deep breath.”

It seemed I had known from the start this was true,
For these were conclusions I earlier drew.
But still I knew not how the Dragon I’d face.
How possibly could I expect to embrace
A mission where I all alone would be met
With menacing Daask and his eyes on me set?
I tried to conceal my most hesitant mind,
Performing more confident actions inclined.

Sir Robert then spoke, “I assume by your look,
That Father’s conveyance has not been mistook.
So now a quest calls, to be thought and defined,
But needs a new friendship to which you can bind.”
So ‘cross the expanse of the stonework debris,
With I in my tunic, Sir Robert led me.
And rounding the bones of a building’s remains,
Discovered I there but a beauty in reins.
“Sir William,” said Robert, “as gift to your height,
I’ve brought you this destrier, done with delight.”

And standing there peacefully, proud and upright,
Was handsomest war-horse that e’er caught my sight.
His coat was like mine when I turned me a knight,
It blinded and bathed me in glistening white.

“He’s beautiful, master!” I joyously said.
“A stallion of strength and of purity bred.
Do tell me the name he was christened when born,
So here with his stature our pact may be sworn.”

“His name,” Robert said, “is Sebastian the Bold.
You’ll find in his temperament, courage does hold,
And little can frighten to alter his charge,
This stallion to you will be loyal and large.”

I smiled with genuine pleasure at this,
And ‘twixt his two eyes I invested a kiss.
The bond between knight and his horse was now sealed,
Not even in death would we have it repealed.

“Now don you your armour,” came Robert’s demand,
“And over Sebastian assume your command.”

But as I prepared to then saddle my seat,
‘Twas Wimstayme presented his special gift sweet.
Outstretched with his hand he revealed in its hold
Two spurs polished brightly of glittering gold.
“Sir William,” he said, “a fine horse you now ride.
So now it behooves you, when into his side,
You signal intentions to gallop away,
Your spurs speak the quality knighthood should say.”

“I thank you,” I told him. “I thank you all three.
I know absolutely there never could be
A model of dignified courtesy form
As from you I’ve witnessed with memories warm.”

“Sir William,” spoke Wimstayme, “my deepest esteem
I offer you now as you capture your dream.
And tho’ it would please me to ride with you home,
I’ve other appeals that do call for my roam.
With Robert alone to the Dale will you ride,
And later I’ll join you the valley inside.”

“Take care, noble Wimstayme,” called Robert just then,
“Godspeed on your travels, our bravest of men.”

Then Wimstayme upmounted his war-horse with ease,
And waved a most simple goodbye with the breeze.
His form disappeared down an old village street,
In moments the gallop had faded complete.

Sir Robert then looked to me, fully prepared,
Then climbed to his saddle and boldly declared,
“No longer as charge are you bound to my side,
But ere to your quest, I suggest you abide,
And see lovely Meadowsford, where for some days,
You’ll rest, and then journey to th’easternmost gaze.”

‘Twas thus how it happened that we both returned
To Meadowsford Dale for whose comfort I yearned.
We parted from Father Andreas that morn,
With thanks once again for his blessing new born.
Then riding our horses across the terrain,
I asked of Sir Robert how he was not slain.

“Tho’ I had desired to challenge the beast,
My charging was foiled when fears were released,
And masses of men went retreating like knaves,
To carry me back with their panicking waves.
So I was pulled out far against from my will,
Not given the chance for expression of skill.”

“Perhaps, then, ‘twas lucky,” I said as we rode,
“For watching the battle below me explode,
The death and destruction was widespread and fierce:
Not one single sword at the Dragon could pierce.
Sir Robert, were any from Meadowsford killed?”

“A few,” he responded, “saw Heaven fulfilled.
But most have returned to the Dale still intact.
And still are some missing - we’ve nothing of fact
To say where they are, if they’re dead or alive.
‘Tis all we can do to have hope they survive.”

“And what of my friends?” I then timidly asked.
“Have they in return been unearthed or unmasked?”

And now Robert looked to the fields passing by,
Where newly-green grasses reached up for the sky,
And trees in occasional number conversed,
Not caring the trespass two humans traversed.
“Alas, gentle William, it pains me to say,
Saint Michael was slain by the Dragon that day.
He boldly attacked when the beast ‘came revealed,
His passion to kill it could not be concealed.
So sad his adventure! So early his leave!
So quickly his laughter has given to grieve.”

I’d never confess it to Robert’s good ear,
But Michael was not who I wished of to hear.
“And what of good Duncan, and Richard as well?
What happier news of the two can you tell?”

“Our Richard is home,” answered Robert more eased,
“But Duncan’s arrival has not yet appeased.
Our worrisome hearts still of him do not know,
(At least, when I joined you, the news it was so).”

A silence ensued as I thought on my friend,
And desperately hoped he’d appear in the end.
We trotted our horses a pace that was brisk,
Not wanting o’er three days of journey to risk
Exhaustion from riding and carrying strong
Two knights who’d been absent from home for too long.

But truly I wondered if I was a knight,
Or simply if clad in exterior sight.
For faith was not solid when I was bestowed,
And now it was guilt that assailed as I rode.
‘Twas not only I whose betrayal was chilled,
But also of Robert, my master most skilled,
And Father Andreas, and Wimstayme adored,
And certainly, watching in anger, the Lord.
In me was profanity, vulgar and base:
For wanting of God His approval and grace,
I’d offered myself as a soldier of Christ,
With thoughts my achievement was overly priced.
I’d acted a groom who would swear to his bride,
While eyes to another more shamelessly side,
Then finding in marriage less consummate cares,
Believing that freedom more practic’ly fares.
So now I was knighted, tho’ felt no esprit,
“Dear God,” I entreated, “have mercy on me!”

By then we had climbed o’er the last of the hills,
Where into the valley the foliage spills,
And I with a thankful made sigh did exhale:
Below me invited my Meadowsford Dale.