Hello, Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here!
It has been a calm Sunday afternoon here at Willow Manor. I went for a walk with a beautiful young lady that I have known for the past 15 years. Soon it will be 16. She is a blessing to our home and am proud to call her my daughter. Soon, I will be heading off to church so she can sing for God’s glory.
I am proud of her, but I must say It has been a balancing act raising children.
Come with me, down the trail to the Campfire where you can hear Amazing Grace and a tale…..
(You have to tap or click the link to listen.)
Jeptha recommended a journey to Hahyrst, just to get his feet wet on the whole travel bit. It wasn’t that Ashton necessarily wanted to go adventuring in search of wealth or prestige, it was that he needed a fresh start, and anywhere would suffice.
Prepped with some general insight, Jeptha suggested that follow the coastline East for a while until he reached the Wanton Thief Inn.
There, he could look for opportunities and try his hand against the unknown. At most, it was a two day journey if he really stretched it out.
According to Colette, he needed appropriate apparel to even think about staying at an inn and not being turned away as a bumpkin or vagabond. Her meddling delayed the whole idea of travel for several days as she called for a tailor to have him measured for travel garments.
The tailor, a gossip, ensured he was the first to let everyone in Pitmerden know of Ashton’s plans to embark on a trip to Hahyrst.
The morning of departure was met with the Alderman himself riding to Jeptha’s home with the Bishop, his retinue and several gentry. A crier sounded a horn to mark the approach.
Ashton came to the door. There were no introductions, and only accusations.
“Ashton, your field is unplanted. How will you pay your rent this year?”
Simply, and flatly, Ashton replied,
“I will not be sir, for I am leaving Pitmerden for good.”
The alderman was less than enthused and quite dismissive of Ashton.
“Who the ale cask permits you to leave my land? You have sworn an oath of fealty to me and rent is due soon. The Bishop will not be pleased if his tithe is late either. The texts clearly say you will owe twenty percent on your field to the Bishop if you are late.”
Without missing a breath, he asked,
“Where is your mother? Her whereabouts are unknown and we have work for her to perform. She is delinquent.”
A slow burning anger arose in Ashton. He paused, contemplating. His tongue had cost him several times this fall and he did not wish another season ruined with poorly chosen words.
He chose not to care.
“In order of importance sir, you and the bishop killed my mother for speaking sincerity, and I buried her.
May she rest in peace without you doing some strange thing like burning her bones lest she rise up and haunt you.
Furthermore, my mother taught me math if not manners. Thirty percent of zero is zero. You owe me my mother and I owe you nothing. How will you repay me I will ask? ”
Enraged, the bishop gave an order. “The tongue is of offence. Cut it out!!”
The swiftness of the order’s execution was startling. A rider of the gentry touched his horse to knock Ashton down, but he was too fast and dodged the pass. With a flying lunge he reached for an ax that was resting on a fence post to no avail. He was cornered by several others of the gentry and in danger of being trampled by the shod hooves of the horses.
“LET HIM GO!”
It was Jeptha’s voice and it boomed over the commotion. Glancing over, Ashton could see the largest sword he had ever seen in the woodcutter’s hand.
One of the retinue cried, “Scabbard your weapon, peasant, in the name of the Alderman!”
Jeptha ignored the man and repeated,
“UNHAND THE LAD IN THE NAME OF THE KING!”
A horsefly that forgot it was cold out buzzed by and everyone heard it, it was so quiet.
The alderman, looking for an easy out, commanded his men to step aside. This was a matter that could be handled quietly.
One of the gentry made his own decisions and made as if to trample Ashton.
Jeptha’s voice boomed again.
“THE SWORD SPEAKS NOW!”
The man’s horse reared, unseating the rider and trotted off without him. Jeptha was true in his silence and the sword spoke. In a few short strides he was upon the man who was already to his feet, sword drawn. His years of training were for nought in face of Jeptha’s fury. Grabbing the sword by the blade, he wrenched it from his hand and shoved the man hard to the ground.
He tried to squirm away, but Jeptha’s foot landed squarely on his ankle, pinning him on the ground with his weight. True to his word, the menace of the two handed sword spoke volumes.
“Make a move, little man, and the Bishop will have a fresh gentry tongue.”
The landed man nodded, fearful. There was an unnatural strength to Jeptha a man could feel just by being in proximity to the man.
“ALL LOOK TO ME!” Jeptha roared, weight still on the ankle.
“By reason of losing his mother unjustly, Ashton is free of his fealty oath in the name of the king.”
The downed knight, who at the moment could feel the gravity afoot, was ignored by the Alderman for the moment and responded.
“Who are you to speak in the name of the king? Do you not work for me and cut my timber?”
Jeptha responded, “I am Beast, and the crossguard of my montante speaks for itself.”
Colette, who had come outside to see what was transpiring, cringed. She hated when he spoke of himself as such.
Mercifully, Jeptha helped the gentry to his feet and handed him back his sword. Quickly, he secured his weapon on his waistband, not looking for further trouble.
“Sir Gentry, What pray tell is your name? Jeptha asked.
With frustration and embarrassment, he replied, “Sir Bernard, the Colossus.”
“For those present, Sir Bernard, the Colossus, do read the inscription on my weapon for all to hear. I want no misunderstanding as to my position.”
“Why, it says, For Jeptha Berengar, The Beast.”
His look was incredulous as were the others. Afraid for Jeptha and Ashton, Colette could not breath as she looked on. What was her husband thinking?
Slowly, Jeptha turned the weapon over. “What does this side say?”
Sir Bernard gasped.
“It is the sword of King James of La Longi!”