Points of Departure, Chapter 16

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

đť”—he Lord Deleiere looked at the green-clad man and the mail-clad man who sat before him, pondering the refusal of the former to lay out his purposes just moments previously. The green-clad man returned the gaze coolly, his face bland and relaxed. The mail-clad man, though, grew tense at Deleiere’s regard, thinking that he might once again have to come to the defense of the man in green–and that the strange healings he had experienced either might or might not prove efficacious again. For they had been peculiar, and the one had happened when he was unaware of it, and such oddness can be fleeting, indeed.

At length, the master of the house spoke. “Would that I could accept on the face of it the word you have spoken, traveler,” said he. “But you have not named yourself to me, and you are not known to me, and I cannot say in faith that I have discharged my office if I let matters pass as they currently stand. So I must ask you again what the business is that you are about, or else to be shown some token of faith that I may trust and therefore trust in the one who bears it. Otherwise, I cannot take the risk with the lands and people of my lord, and I shall have to ask you to depart in haste, lord though you yourself might well be.”

The green-clad man stood suddenly and advanced towards the Lord Deleiere, looking him full in the face as he did. The mail-clad man rose, as well, readying himself for a fight he was sure would come–for he knew there were guardsmen about, and no guard could readily see such an advance and not act in turn. For his part, the master of the place rose and made ready to fight, as well, but he stopped suddenly, and his hand lowered slowly to his side. After a moment, his face relaxed, as well, and he quietly resumed his seat. The green-clad man returned to his own in turn, and the mail-clad man was left standing, confused at what he had just seen. But he did not stand long, only glancing around to see that no other threat sought to present itself, and, when comforted that none arose, he resumed his seat.

As he did so, the Lord Deleiere continued, although his voice was somewhat changed as he said “Of course you are welcome to stay here so long as you might like. Indeed, we hope that you will participate in the festival that we will be having that celebrates the founding of our town. It is not often that we have such guests as you with us at any time, much less on the day when we commemorate the town’s founding by royal charter. For we do, indeed, have such a charter, so that while we are governed by Sir Falias in the name of the king, we owe fealty to no lords else. But we do have requirements for being a person of the town, to be sure. A person has to be born here to parents who were born here, or else appointed to the town by the royal governor–and Sir Falias has been chary of making such appointments, for which we praise him. I think he would offer such to you, did you want such things, but I know that you do not, for you have business elsewhere, as you say.”

The green-clad man nodded. “We do, but we will stay for the festival. It is good to see people in joy together, and we would partake in it if we may. When will it be?”

“Within five days. Preparations are still underway, but the day is coming, as the priest says who keeps the calendar. The church stood when this place was a village only and beholden to a most foul lord who had usurped it unjustly. The records the priests have kept for long attest to such matters–which is another thing we have to celebrate in this town. For many places have not such memory, kept inviolate in writing, and their sense of who and what they are is changeable as the seasons. We remember because we are given words to look upon again and again, if we will, and so we remain as we have been, honored by kings and by the God who has emplaced them. And for it we are grateful in great measure.”

“As you should be. But for now,” and the green-clad man stood, followed by the knight and shortly by Deleiere, “we would rest, for the journey has been long so far. And then we would see what manner of place this town is, and why it has so much to celebrate these five days to come.” Deleiere nodded to the request, and it was not long before the green-clad man and the mail-clad were led to chambers in the house that were richly appointed and comfortable for so small a town.

The mail-clad man commented to that effect, and the green-clad man replied “It is a part of town life that there is wealth in it. Because the people are free, they have not the taxes to the lord and to the king to pay, so more of what they have is their own. Too, because they are free, they tend to benefit from trade, even in so small a town as this–but you will note how many people are in it and how many come through it, or did you not note the numbers of wagons of diverse types in the town as we entered? For they have come from different places, and they will to them return, but their goods and moneys may well not. And the commons, like the noble, will spend their wealth on such comforts as are available to them. It is a truth that most will do so without thought to the future, which has not seldom been to my benefit–and now to yours.”

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

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