This is just the first part of the third part of “The Knights.” I appologize for the incomplete story, but my mind is otherwise occupied with my upcoming wedding. I’ll have more up the week of June 22nd. Until then, read and be happy!
Hugo thrashed wildly in his sleep. The dreams had found him again. Aaron watched quietly as his friend went through his nightly torture. Hugo had told him the details of the recurring dream some time ago. The dream was of Hugo’s past, long ago and far away. When Hugo was younger, he served as a knight in service to the church. To him, swordplay was a prayer, and physical training was his pennance. Daily, he would push his body to the extremes of endurance. On one such day, he pushed himself too far; he asked too much of his body, and it betrayed him. Lying fevered and ill, Hugo had a vision of God.
God invited him to sit at the foot of His throne. He offered a life in eternal service as a warrior. Hugo eagerly agreed, but found himself awake in bed before he made the vow of service. A monk named Theodore witnessed Hugo’s enraged awakening. Though his boy was weak, Hugo threw himself from the bed. He was reaching out; the monk believed that Hugo desired water, but in truth the knight was reaching for his sword which leaned against the wall far from the bed. Hugo dragged himself across the floor, yelling that he promised to be of service and pleading for a return to Heaven. Theodore rushed to console the knight, but Hugo just weakly pushed him away. With his strength depleted, he broke down in tears. Weeping, he told Theodore of his vision of God, and of his longing to return to His side.
Theodore consoled the knight, and pulled him back to the bed. He told Hugo a tale that would alter the young knight’s life; he told him of the sacred desert of the East, where the prophets of God would wander and seek guidance. Hugo decided that it was his path to go to the desert and find a vision from his God. Once he felt well enough, Hugo began his quest. He traveled for over a year, ever eastward, doing good where he could. When at last he came to the last known settlement on the skirts of civilization, his heart filled with doubt. He was staying at a tiny inn where he met a woman named Miranda. She was young and beautiful, but carried the child of another man in her belly.
Hugo was entranced by the woman, but knew that she could never be his; his life was a holy life, and he chose to deny himself the pleasures of life as a way of honoring his God. His feelings for her were forbiddingly intense; he dreamt of giving up his vows and joining her, especially when he discovered that her child’s father had died. He told himself it would be a more noble thing to become her husband and the father of her child. However, his dedication to his God was even stronger. He left the village an walked into the wilderness as the moon rose high in the sky.
Wandering the unforgiving desert, Hugo’s devotion was tested. His body thirsted and hungered, his mind amble back to the village and Miranda. The nights of walking and days dedicated to mere survival in the inhospitable place wore on the young knight’s devotion. He found himself considering the journey back, dark until he saw the prophet of the desert, Uriah. The prophet was tall and lean; his silken robes rippled in the wind as he strode across the rocky expanse. Uriah payed Hugo no heed until the young knight cried out:
“Prophet! I have heard of those that walk the earth searching for God. Are you truly one?”
“I am.” said Uriah with quiet words that could have blown away with but a soft zephyr. “What do you desire?”
“I need to know how to have a vision of God. I need to return to His feet and give Him my service.” said Hugo. Uriah leaned on his walking staff and contemplated…