Challenge #02065-E241: Once Upon a CrusadesteemCreated with Sketch.

in #fiction3 years ago (edited)


"There's no such thing as an elephant."
"Then you have some very big wolves on this planet." -- Anon Guest

"Just think about it for a psalm," said Sir Thakkis. "A beast as large as a peasant's hut, walking on legs as thick as trees, with a nose like a serpent and ears like cloaks? It's too ridiculous to live. And, Frog, I have to remind you that we are on a holy quest and your heretical words have no place."

"I have to remind you that my name isn't Frog. I am Jasmine Saqqaf, and you had no right to take me prisoner."

"I rescued you from slavers. And since we currently have no church, I can't let you continue with your heathen name. We will give you a proper Christian name once we free the holy land in the name of the Holy Church of Our Saviour."

"If I'm so free, why am I in chains?"

Sir Thakkis scoffed. "Women never know their right minds in these matters. You would run right back to the sinful ignorance in which you were held unknowing captive. It is my divine duty to see to it that you are transformed and reborn in the proper Christian way of living."

First chance I get, I am poisoning that mealworm-ridden mess he calls food, Jasmine vowed. Assuming the rot of it doesn't get him first. Obviously, this ironbound idiot was immune to rational debate. Her perfectly sensible daywear had long since been replaced with hot and itchy wool. Silk and cotton from the Indus Valley were too luxurious for a heathen, apparently, and too wanton a display for someone who was allegedly chaste.

Sir Thakkis would pitch a fit if he heard about her husbands. Especially since one of them was at home looking after their shared children. He seemed to have a counter to everything she had learned, too. And most of it contained the phrase 'heathen superstition'.

Unfortunately for Sir Thakkis, her third husband was also a mahout. When they reached Echo Pass, she sang out their calls and told him of her peril. And in order to stem Sir Thakkis' objections, told him that it was a means of letting others using the pass that groups were coming through. She added, "It is forbidden to war in the passes. The people who travel go past each other with their weapons sheathed."

Two days through the winding roads, she met her third husband and his favourite Grandmother.

Sir Thakkis made the motion of a cross over his chest and whispered, "God's bodkins, what is that?"

"Why," said Jasmine, with more than a hint of acid. "It is obviously a very large wolf. If you surrender now, we will be more merciful to you than you have been to me."

She kept her word. Dressed him in sensible cotton and retrieved her silks. Sir Thakkis was not kept in chains, but a nice and airy cage. He was fed the same food as the rest of the train. He was taught as much as he could learn and only kept in servitude for seven years, as was the law. After that, he was given the option of returning to his homeland once he had enough to make it there, or living in her employ as a full citizen of her country.

He demanded the return of his armour, his horse, and supplies to see him to his homeland. Which Jasmine gave.

She would never know if anything she taught him had made it into his empty skull... but at least he had seen something of the true way.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Nejron]

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