A Knight Alone

16 Jan

The knight ride on through the harsh desert night, past the lights of the village far off to his left. He was tired, hot, aching, with a terrible thirst, but he knew he could not enter the village. He uncorked his old wineskin and poured the last few drops of water onto his parched tongue. God would provide him with more. God always provided.

Even at night, his armor was heavy and stifling. He hadn’t rode under the sun in many days, ever since he had passed out on his horse from the heat and woke up in one of the enemy villages. He tried to make sense of that day’s memories, but couldn’t piece the entire story together. He remembered fighting to stay conscious, praying, singing old marching songs. All while a hellish sun cooked him in his armor hotter and hotter, and the sunlight reflected off his enameled breastplate gave him a blinding headache that seemed to reach down his back, even to his toes. He needed to take it off and find some water, but he knew he couldn’t. A knight must never relinquish his sword and armor. God would see him through this heat, but taking off his armor was unforgivable. A knight is his armor. A knight is his sword. He remembered seeing palm trees in the distance to his left. An oasis! God came through again, he had thought. Then nothing, until he had woken up in a bed under a beige tent drinking water from a small cup a woman was pouring into his mouth. A lovely woman, truth be told. Was he dead? Was this paradise? Then the woman had said something to him. That accent. He was in the enemy village! Where was his armor? He reached up and his head was bare, his breastplate gone. His sword. Where was his sword? There, on a small cushion next to him, with his armor piled next to it. He tried to grip the hilt and grab it. It moved slightly towards him and clattered to the floor. He was weak, weaker than he had ever imagined possible. Had they poisoned him? He tried to speak to the woman, but his words came out garbled, mixed with spittle.

Shhh”, the woman said. “Shhh, just lie back. Everything is all right. You will be fine. Please try to lie still. You are in my house, in the village of Tre Feneh.”

He drank some water and manged to croak, “Mm horse.”

Your horse is stabled outside. You can get him when you are better. You should be happy he walked into our town or you’d certainly have died.”

Mm name”

The girl smiled. “I’m Lily.”

He drifted off again. Hours passed- or was it days?- and other people came in. People with angry looks on their faces, who looked him over and them went on their way, never speaking to him. He was wary and grew frightened of them. He had horrible, violent dreams. He remembered one where he was being hunted down by the angry village folk. When they reached him, he wheeled his horse around to face them, but found himself naked and unarmed. Even his horse- he looked down, and found himself saddled to a dead carcass that looked like it had been partially butchered.

Savages!”, he cried. Suddenly, a troop of knights rode by and the villagers froze in their spots, hiding their weapons. A surge of relief went through him so deep he laughed. These were his brothers! The men he had trained with in the academy for 15 years. There was Shmuli, who had been knighted with him at the same ceremony. “Shmuli!”, he called. But he could feel something was wrong. “Shmuli! Shmuli! It’s me. It’s Meir!” They didn’t even notice him. “Yossi! Avrumi! Please, somebody, help me!” But they just rode on, talking to each other, laughing, in their polished armor, on their impossibly tall horses. He knew that Shmuli had recognized him. Why didn’t he help him? He cried and tried to grab onto his leg. But the villagers pulled out their weapons, and pulled him back, laughing. “Haha! You’re dead now, boy. You’re ours.”

But suddenly, there was Lily, tossing him his sword, strapping on his helm and plate.

Lily!”, he cried. “Thank God! Thank you, Lily.”

He woke up with a start. Lily was standing over him, looking worried. “Are you ok?”, she asked.

I must leave at once”, he told her.

PS- I wrote this before I wrote the other piece last week. I wasn’t going to put it up , because I thought it would just sound melodramatic now, but you know what? It’s my blog, so I’ll write what I damn well want.

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11 Responses to “A Knight Alone”

  1. Tinok ShenishBeth January 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    This is beautifully written, but you really do need a hug. 

  2. Dan January 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    I wouldn’t go for anyone who’s going to take away my sword.

    • itchemeyer January 17, 2012 at 1:55 am #

      OK, I’m really not sure here- are you joking or not?

      • Dan January 17, 2012 at 10:53 am #

        Just whenever I’m reading a romantic allegory and it references any sort of weapon, I’m thinking only one thing.

        • itchemeyer January 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

          Well my next story is called “The apples of the cigar train tunnels”. Stay tuned.

  3. Gutman Braun January 17, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Beautiful, ol’ boy.
    Just beautiful.
    [me, wiping away a tear]
    I hereby knight thee: “Brother of mine.”

    Hmmmm… story of Samson in a nutshell, perhaps?

    • itchemeyer January 17, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

      Holy crap, youre right. That didnt even enter my mind for some reason. It actually started off as the image of the knight walking through the desert.
      You know, I was wondering if anybody ever wrote a book of Tanach stories in novel form, you know, with thoughts and dialogue.

      • Gutman Braun January 18, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

        Funny that you mention it… I have recently been toyng with the idea of having A LOT of fun retelling stories from Tanach heavy doses of wry humor. I dunno if there’s a publisher or a market that would be interested in buying it, but I’m sure I could amuse myself writing it. Stay tuned…

      • em January 31, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

        I mean, there have been a few popular novels explicitly playing off one Tanakh story or another, but I doubt they would have passed muster in the frum world, if that’s what you’re asking. There was one on megilat Esther called “The Gilded Chamber”, which I seem to remember was a kind of soupy, overwrought romance, but I guess if you’re in the mood…
        I was thinking Esav would be fun, though. Or maybe Judah/Tamar/the boys.

        • itchemeyer February 2, 2012 at 1:35 am #

          Yeah. Yosef would be good too. Moshe. David and shlomo.

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