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In this exciting new adventure, two mythical characters, thrown together in a supernatural journey, uncover divine powers destined to transform the world. In a time of Kings and Knights, they find themselves drawn together by love, and the intervention of unseen forces. Their journey becomes one of passion, discovery, and deep insight regarding truths governing all life.
The Light and the Shadow is the second book in the Domatarious Chronicles series, which depicts the activities of Domatarious, a messenger of God, and the new creation of Earth. In this story, Sir James and Lady Fleur, two medieval characters, are thrown together in an adventure that uncovers divine powers destined to transform the world. It is a deep love story and a mystical adventure through battles with forces both visible and invisible. James and Fleur learn to trust in their love for each other and in the wisdom provided by Domatarious, as they face unimaginable obstacles. While a simple story, the book contain deep truths that can impact the reader’s personal journey.
As I rode the trail, my mind was as misty as the morning sunrise. A fog hung in the air filling the road and woods as a soft blanket of fine wool. This setting provided a moment of tranquility in a world knowing little peace. How long I traveled across this land, I neither knew nor cared. Zoë, my stable and trusty mount, trod the path with no complaint or hesitation, not knowing the pointless direction I sought as she obeyed my foolish and empty thoughts.
My journey hadn’t always been as unfilled as this. In the earlier times, believing in the honor of serving my King and country, I found glory in protecting the land from forces of darkness. Those days brought abundance of life to me and my companions. In all we pursued, the value of honor was our existence. We rode to battle confident of victory and we loved each other as much as we loved our King, knowing we would never see failure.
The glory of that precious time is now but a memory, for when the King died, a sleep of fear took over the hearts of the people. How naive we must have appeared to the destiny makers watching our foolish games. How they must have laughed and scorned our dreams and vision.
I began to sense the gentle warmth of the summer sun and knew it was time to provide Zoë a rest. My body ached from the weight of the iron suit I wore and my back longed to be free from the confines of metal and brass protecting my weary body. Looking at my gloved hands, I realized these weapons of war hadn’t moved in hours. Instead of wielding sword and shield, they clung to reins with no direction or purpose.
Zoë pulled the reins to direct my eyes toward a small stream ahead. I gave in to her desires, for they clearly transcended any of my own. Stopping by the stream, she drank the cool waters running near her tired hoofs. Lifting her head, she looked around as an encouragement for my own movement. She sighed as I lifted the heavy load from her back and set my feet upon the ground. I removed the helmet that seemed part of my own body and felt the cool morning breeze across my neck and face. How many years had I worn this burdensome load of iron in order to protect King and country. Now, in the same way Zoë carried her burden, my armor was a heavy encumbrance carried out of habit.
The sun breaking through the trees brought warmth to my haggard soul as the stream beckoned to heal the wounds of body and spirit. I removed the breastplate, my loyal protector in many a gallant challenge, and studied the nicks and dents, which spoke of valiant opponents who previously sought to terminate my feeble life. They believed in their own noble cause to which I appeared the enemy. Was this simple plate of armor the thing protecting me from premature death, or was there a benefactor who watched my every move? One more question escaped my ability to reason.
In confusion and exhaustion, I sat my reliable protector on the bank and proceeded to strip. Wading into the stream, I felt the coolness wash over my weariness and bring refreshing. I must have remained in this place some time for when I returned to the bank of the river, Zoë had moved on to tall grass, which offered her sustenance for whatever was ahead. I walked to her with a sense of peace I hadn’t felt for many a month. Unfurling the blanket from her saddle, I reclined on the ground and drifted into a sleep that provided a temporary refuge for my tormented soul.
I awoke some time later feeling I was being watched. Reaching for the sword, I rose and cried out “Who goes there?” The natural quiet of the day responded with no words, just a sensation of the existence of another. I realized how foolish I must appear, standing with my sword in hand, prepared to vanquish all foes, and as naked as the day I was born. This new reality overshadowed the alarm, and I fetched my undergarments and suit of chainmail. Looking about I saw no person or beast, however I still perceived I wasn’t alone. My peripheral vision caught a movement to the left, yet I held my place and avoided the impulse to turn and charge. I lowered my sword and pretended to move toward the retrieval of my armor. It was at that moment the stillness of the woods gave way to the sound of a snapping branch, and I knew the figment had become reality.
I turned and in three strides was upon the site of this perceived activity. Jumping into the low bushes surrounding me, I raised my sword to bring a quick death to whatever person or beast lurked in hiding. The sudden shriek of a small voice arrested my attack in mid flight and my sword crashed far to the right of the sound.
“Show you as friend or die as a foe,” I shouted to the bushes around. Battle honed the instinct of survival, and I began the second move of the sword toward the place of concentrated focus.
“I be friend, I hope.” Came the high-pitched voice, “Hurt me not for I intend no harm to you or your steed”. The shrill voice became a small boy, or perhaps a man, it was difficult to determine at that moment. His outward appearance was of a mature individual yet half the appropriate proportion of a normal man.
“Who are you and what’s your purpose spying on me? What do you seek and do not make a quick move, or it will be your last? Step forward and show yourself. Where are you from and do you represent any in the land?”
“My Lord, you ask me much, and I don't know which to answer or how to move. I fear that if I do either in the wrong way, I shall never have a second chance to try again. I am Troy, and I am frightened.” He moved with hesitation and held his hands before him as one who would bring me a gift but had lost it in transit. He was a man, but about four stones high. His legs and arms appeared as muscle prepared to defend his honor well, but his stature betrayed his vulnerability.
“I come, my Lord, as one who allowed his curiosity to be his downfall. I mean no harm, as I honor seeing one of your obvious nobility lodged in our woods. I beseech you, please forgive my intrusion, and I will disappear from your sight as though I never existed. Let me be a passing vision and we will both be at peace today, especially me.”
“No foe,” I ordered with a calmer voice, "Stay your ground till I’m sure of your particular purpose in these woods. Do you live here alone or are you serf to a local noble?"
With caution he lowered his hands and said, "No, my Lord, I am a free man and have been since birth. I have lived in these woods with my people since the great sickness. We have now become few, but wander the woods with complete freedom bringing harm to none. I protect and serve as observer for no one, and I have nobody to whom I report. I am not here by any order, I have no place to go to tell of your being here, no one will find this of interest, and they will not come to see what I have seen. I am alone, my Lord.”
I laughed at the denial that hid truth I’d best unravel if I was to know the risk at hand. “This no one who you speak of, is he King or robber?”
"He is not a he, my Lord. Oh, I mean, he does not exist, no I mean she does not exist. Oh, would to God I did not exist.” At which he commenced to tremble and cry. "Take my life my Lord, for I have failed my mistress in my task.” Falling to the ground, he bent his neck to prepare for the blow of my sword.
What a strange creature. Prepared to die and yet not even knowing why I was here. In addition, who was the mistress he’d failed? For that particular matter, where had Zoë and I wandered in our meandering?
“Stand up Troy and stop cowering before me. I will not take your life or harm you unless you refuse to answer my questions with truth. Your tongue had best speak truth or I may have to relieve you of its presence! Whose territory is this and who is this mistress you appear to serve this day?”
He rose and with great care moved into my shadow, as if the sunlight was blinding him. “Thank you my Lord. May God have mercy and grace on all you do for showing mercy on one who deserves to die; on one whose presence is signature of a life misspent; on one who is less than dirt, on one...”
“Enough Troy, you have humbled yourself enough to please God and man, now talk of the explanations I seek, and do it without further games!” My patience with this small man had worn thin, and I still wasn’t sure of the potential vulnerability into which I may have fallen. I knew from accumulated experience, if one person existed in an empty place, others were also around. Caution increased the concern for responses, and I stepped closer to this boy/man and reached out for his shirtfront. In an instant, I found myself in the air and flying over the boy/man's head. I landed on my shoulder and lost the grip from my sword. I rolled to my feet and planned to lunge at whatever rouge had slipped up on me. Nevertheless, no one was about, only the man/boy who now held my sword. It was as large as he was tall, but he lifted it with no effort and flung it at the nearest tree. As the blade buried into the tree and the shaft swayed from the significant power of the impact, I realized I had misjudged this man/boy known as Troy.
“As my mistress would say, my Lord, what you have sown will often bring a rapid harvest. I will show you no harm as you showed me none. Nevertheless, I too would appreciate some answers as to how a noble as you finds his way into our quiet wood. I also am curious to know if you are a friend or foe.” With that, he started to laugh and hold his belly as if he would burst. “My Lord, forgive me for my indiscretion,” he said between bouts of laughter, “but the look on your face as you flew over my humble head was one I shall never forget. I hope I laugh with you and not at you, my Lord, for picture in your head what my eyes beheld, and you will know the cause of my unpardonable joy.”
My immediate anger at his mocking turned to a quieter discontent as I mentally pictured the exchange he proposed. Here was the battle-hewn warrior overcome by one who was a third my size. I knew my expression had to be one of pure astonishment and confusion. A begrudging smile worked its way to my lips, and with a small shake of my head acknowledged my change of attitude.
“Troy, I too ask for your forgiveness for underestimating my opponent. Long ago, I learned from a great King that the heart of a man knows no boundary or limit. I trust your heart is large and strong, protecting all you honor. I entreat you to permit me to begin again, not from strength, but from respect. I also trust you will show me how you accomplished this great defense in the midst of a sure defeat.”
“Come my lord, sit here in the shade for the sunlight hurts my eyes. We will talk as strangers who seek to be friends.” With that, he turned and pulled my sword from the tree, handed it to me and proceeded to walk to a quiet green space among the trees. Amazed at his boldness, I followed and reclined against a stout tree across from the stump he had chosen to make his chair.
“It is one of the difficulties my people suffer since the great sickness. The sun causes our vision to blur and produces great pain in our head. In the shade and dark, we are as the owls that see all, but in sun, we seem as bats, moving in the shadows as though blind. Now, my Lord, tell me of yourself and your quest, and I shall answer all you ask to the best of my humble ability. ”
Smiling, I responded, “I shall not underestimate your humble ability ever again my friend. My name is Sir James, and I come from the court of the King of all England. I serve and have served his honor and grace for over ten years. My King died over a year ago, and while the physicians and wizards say it was because of many battle wounds, I know it was of a heart badly broken. My King had a Queen who was of great beauty and honor. Together they ruled with absolute truth and mercy, and the land prospered in all they did. Nevertheless, my Queen's heart turned to another, and she and her lover fled the Kingdom in shame. My King did pursue them and defeated the knight and his rebel soldiers. Nevertheless, he allowed my Queen to escape. She died in France several months later. My King grieved for her and lost his ability to rule with truth. Others took advantage of his weakness and commenced to divide the Kingdom into pieces to fit their pleasure. As the Kings' pledged protectors, we remained loyal until his death. Since that time we have wandered our separate paths in search of answers to save the dream of our King.”
He pondered my words as if memorizing the lines I spoke. “My Lord, if I may be bold enough to ask, what is this you seek, and how will it save the Kingdom?”
“Before my King died, he called us together and told us he knew his time was over. A great magician, who’d been with him almost all of his life, came to him and informed him to prepare for his end. The great magic man told him his love had failed the Kingdom , and now it would be restored by another who would hold the honor of the dream above all things in this world. The Kingdom was to be a pure reflection of the heart of God himself. It would be a place of peace and joy in which people had respect for each other as though God himself lived in them. The one who would fulfill that which my King had not accomplished lived in the land of England. It was our duty to find this person and bring them to the throne to rule. We all left on the day our King died and went into all parts of the land searching. Soon after we left, his honor, Duke Prindle, acceded to the throne. Upon hearing of our quest, he sent out warriors in secret to persuade us from our search, for he feared the old magician would cause betrayal to his reign. He ordered the troops to persuade us to stop our search or, if we refused, then kill us. Last I was able to find out, two of us remained, Sir Thomas and myself. All others died at the hands of Duke Prindle's army. I’ve wandered for many months in search, but I fear it may all have been a lost cause, as I have found nothing to support this quest.”
“Therefore,” Troy replied,” your quest brought you to our woods and stream. Weary of your pursuit, you rested here were I discovered you.”
“That is the tale I bring to you, Troy, humble servant with strong arms.” I answered, “And now to your part”.
“This forest in which you rest belongs to Lady Fleur. Her father held the land and before that, his father, and before that, his father and before ... I imagine his father, but I cannot say as I ever thought back that far. My people settled here long ago and have worked in the field and forest as good friends of the Lord of the land. A great sickness came upon my people some time ago, and we lost all but a handful. I am the second generation after the sickness, and we continue to recover from our loss. While we are small of stature, we have learned from the ancients the art of arm fighting. I am able to throw men five times my weight, and my brother Jerrod once threw a large bull that attacked him. While we are a peaceful people, we fear little that comes toward us.”
I definitely found myself in awe of this little man, for he spoke with confidence that even our bravest knights would find challenging. “Tell me of your Lady, and what she brings to these woods you seek to guard”.