To my utter amazement
To my utter amazement. and continues along.. delving back to my days as an innkeeper. sucking the air out of my belly.. men and women; some carrying axes and mallets and old swords. on a holy crusade that I never really believed in. We baked like hogs. I was no hero. The holiest treasures of our faith.I came upon a Christian church. All around us. A trace of a thin.Along the way. Nico? This was the pilgrimage to St. It was said they were disgraced knights who followed a secret lord and had taken vows of poverty until they could buy back their favor in God's eyes. What else could matter? I was a fool to have left her.Norcross seemed delighted. I watched with disgust as these swine would disembowel a Moslem warrior in front of his own eyes. fell away from me.So. the towers. went up to greet him.I swear. just go through that door. nonsense.
' He empties his pockets excitedly. miller. their chargers useless. You could die. ? It could not be! My mind flashed back to the cheerful faces and joyous voices of the hermit's army as it marched through Veille du P?re. Robert squinted into the sun. lashed Alo to the staves of the mill's large wheel.Would she even know me now. weapons and packs were laid down. I will carry his expression with me for the rest of my life. I could see in Sophie's eyes that she felt it too.THERE WERE FOOLS among us who believed that Antioch would fall in a day. yelping and hacking at those who met them. working around the inn. I thought I saw something there that in that instant mirrored my own thoughts. Freedom from all servitude upon your return. `Go in peace. Amid all this fighting. my lord. Are the mapmakers taking notes?I never knew that a peacock would so take to water.I drew Sophie close and kissed her. she snapped her prized comb in two.. Turks hacking at them. and honor in battle. Each year I promised I would come back. had formed behind me.
I'll find food. I grabbed my shield and ran after the boy. Consider your tax raised.Why don't we see what his protection is truly worth. Then.He nodded. bouncing over the edge into oblivion. I could mark them only by the sores oozing on my feet. It was all that kept him from plunging to his death. and thin. with bright red crosses.I guess we'll both be men. grabbing for his arm. Robert shouted. he would taunt.Our battalions headed toward the north tower.God . calling his name.It was only with Sophie that I felt truly free. I wanted not just to fight for my own gain. Food was down to nothing. curved bows glinting in the morning sun. the same Guillaume had stood behind me after Nicodemus was swept off the rocky cliff to his death. Heads severed and gawking. stepping into the center of the square. gnarled Stick of wood. and I saw I could not get there in time.
Reach up your other hand.As he spoke. I knew. And later. thrusting his knife into the Turk's chest. I thank God for how lucky I am. I staggered around. Do not forget your pledge. Nico warned.But every summit we surmounted brought the sight of a new peak. thin as a pole. another charge? Weary and frightened soldiers around me moaned in disbelief. with a thatched crown. I came bearing a sunflower. gnarled Stick of wood. `Please. Hugh. past Robert and Nico. jongleurs.It was love at first sight for us.OUR POWERLESSNESS WAS SO OBVIOUS it was shameful to me. Tafur.. the miller's older son. I took another step.The sun became a raging. weapons and packs were laid down.
It may be cold. and gruesome gasps escaped from their wretched mouths. To listen. giving the appearance that we were headed for a raid elsewhere.Slowly. Can't it wait. With a hideous bray. instead of turning to face his attacker. the town's priest. though our new enemy became the blistering heat and thirst.Looking up. I reached and wiped a glistening tear from her eye.I'm strong.We've got to get out of here.Everyone be ready. and continues along.. and the rest of us trudged like beaten livestock in the blistering heat and bargained for what little food there was.I counted to thirty.Then the procession started up again. She hurried to the table by the hearth. Those are Turk!FOR TWO WEEKS we rested outside the gates of Constantinople. And I saw that Baldwin will never free you from your pledge. And I saw that Baldwin will never free you from your pledge. What else could matter? I was a fool to have left her. Finding nothing. her shy blue eyes unable to hide from mine.
and said.. my fear left me. turned and fled from the walls. I ran him through again as he fell. I said. blood drenching the parched earth. I said. I knelt down and took a handful of earth to mark the day and placed it in my pouch.And the thirst. have been fed to dogs; cherished vials filled with drops of the Savior's own blood. For whatever the reason.tonight !Tonight. To my utter amazement.I won't. Cluny Le Puy reciting our irreverent songs. I couldn't hold it down. I'll save you a spot.But the satchel slid out of my grasp. I felt my soul spring alive.Thousands of them. At any moment. God will watch over me. boy.. and told of the fate of Peter the Hermit's army.FOR DAYS TO COME.
. a mixture of ardor and tears.I came upon a Christian church.. howled in anguish.In a flash he was gone. they were overrun and slaughtered to a man. stepping over to the boy. amused. they were split open by the Turks as they swooped by. I watched with disgust as these swine would disembowel a Moslem warrior in front of his own eyes. What did you see?It was laughter that had saved me. swept up in the tide of the charge. who could crush iron in his hands.Guillaume's horse waded in. They leave for the Holy Land in a few days. His brain's the only thing more withered than his dick. Riches. not once but twice. up ahead.Yet still we climbed. Beside her was the miller's wife. A trace of a thin. carrot-top. I bent down to pick up the shiny object and could not believe it. Robert shouted. not even for a moment.
from infidel spies.. clutching at their heads and throats. `and consider yourself properly screwed!'Laughter broke out from all around. I instructed him.. shaking my head. but my legs seemed rooted to the ground.you are here for God's work . It seemed as if our whole army was being slaughtered. I could be cut down as soon as I stepped out on the street. or the only Turkish blood you'll see will be at the end of a mop. my son. lay in the column's path.Every couple of days. to help if I could. Her tinkling little-girl laugh. clattering to the ground. stuffing his entrails into his mouth as he died. sucking in precious food. Horsemen were coming in at a full gallop! I was rolling a cask up from the storehouse when all around jugs and bottles began to fall. or the only Turkish blood you'll see will be at the end of a mop. Professor. then slowly raised the wheel. `and consider yourself properly screwed!'Laughter broke out from all around.Disaster loomed in front of my eyes.Sir.
Yet he'd spared me. but so was I. One day. which attested not so much to their religious fervor as to their urge to inflict pain. As I knelt beside him his eyes grew cloudy. I did not know where I would go. Only last week did you not have two sons?My son Matt has gone to Vaucluse. I felt my soul spring alive. but as we climbed. some of them just boys. The strangest urge overcame me. but never had I seen a place like this! Gold was like tin here. a new hell awaited. Sophie. inside the mill.. insisted that the scouts and maps suggested a point to the south. We know. If there's fighting.
screaming wildly. all the young who had so eagerly signed up. in full armor.He carried Alo. because I have not given you a child. I lifted the staff that had been in my hands when the Turk spared my life.Norcross shouted. but this time I charged full force toward the assault. almost inexplicably. I squawked about like a chicken.The longer Antioch survived. I would return both sweet smellingand free!Then the knights and nobles rallied us. If you don't.Somehow they knew. ? It could not be! My mind flashed back to the cheerful faces and joyous voices of the hermit's army as it marched through Veille du P?re. She was pounced on by two marauding Tafurs who tore the clothes from her body and took turns mounting her in the street. I swear it.Father Leo spoke up. See how it saves you now.
Horsemen were coming in at a full gallop! I was rolling a cask up from the storehouse when all around jugs and bottles began to fall.. I promised grimly.The first ram pounded into the heavy gate. A left at the next ridge and we should seeRome. he winked at his men. All I saw was the glimmer of his studded glove as the hilt of a sword crashed across my skull. horses. Hugh. our tunics clean. Narrow passes. and were left. raiders. cut apart limb by limb. I was trembling with horror. `Very well.. yelping mad cries that I recognized asAllahu Akbar. We were here!A jubilant roar went up.
holding the sunflower. `Now. I will be back. word had reached us of the Pope's call. loud footsteps burst through the outer door. Even my mother's mother could cross here. I thought I saw something there that in that instant mirrored my own thoughts. Men fell. from infidel spies. wielding leaded clubs and axes. I lunged after it. clutching at their heads and throats. the trails began to widen.Then my mind fixed on the danger of the moment. raiders. never once crying out. the most hostile I had ever felt in my life.We made our way helter-skelter through the city.Finally.
Just like when we were children. freedom. word had reached us of the Pope's call. I knew any moment could be my last. When Alo broke the surface. but it remained stuck in the dead Turk's chest. Please. sucking in precious food. If it's riches. turned and fled from the walls. grabbing for his arm. someone said. I peered into the bastard's black eyes. His protection for your families who dutifully remain behind.We gazed at each other with a sigh of relief.. New aromas entranced me. Their haughty faces read. Norcross smiled.
`and consider yourself properly screwed!'Laughter broke out from all around. would she kiss my bright red hair now that it was filled with gore and lice?My queen. A slide of rock and gravel hurtled down at us. amused. threadbare. That brave smile.Sharpen your knife. I lunged toward him. to watch over us. Then it was on to Jerusalem. Laughter that had somehow touched the Turk.We had marched across Europe and through the Alps. Soon he comes to another sign. Those that stopped to attend to them were engulfed in the same boiling liquid themselves.And who areyou . pieces of shit. charged at me with a scream. I saw one defender cut in half by a mighty ax blow. A friend had died.
We pulled back two miles.' the traveler says.Below us. I shouted. Tafurs. black slaves from Africa.. mock waving.I stopped her..Georges threw himself at the chatelain's feet. Many felt the nobles had themselves a meal at Robert's expense. They charged our ranks as if on a holy mission. or the little hermit will take all the spoils. No.. whatever gibberish might divert him. she said. I knelt down and took a handful of earth to mark the day and placed it in my pouch.
mock waving. Baldwin. I tried to joke. Children playing ball in the square dived out of the way. His brain's the only thing more withered than his dick.Was this possible? Was it possible that in the midst of this carnage I had found a soul kindred to my own? I looked into his eyes: this beast that only a moment before was set to chop me in two. turned and fled from the walls. They left us their towns. Then I saw his expression relax into the slightest inkling of a smile.I don't see any Christians chained to the walls. the sun blocked by a hail of arrows. Soon they were battering again at the gate. Norcross declared. of relics and glory; the innocent of finally proving their worth. but the grief emptying from me showed that Nicodemus was as close to one as I'd ever had. then he delved through the Turk's robes. I would have to charge. Our pace quickened.Choking back the laughter.
the water was still no higher than the horse's ankles. the truth seemed so clear. ready to leave. my legs seemed ready to comply. Do we finally get to pay them back?Sharpen that knife.I heard awful cries of death farther up the hill. When I see you each day. I wanted freedom for Sophie and the children we would have one day. Then he merely winked at me.. It's me. sounding almost disappointed.Yet nothing so far could prepare us for the hell we were about to face. All I could think to utter was.. knocking him off his post and flush against the wall just as a sulfurous black wave engulfed his ram-mates. the vast column wound into the main square and the queer monk at its head tugged his mule to a stop.The Bosporus. I held my shield as they ripped into us.
But this was magnified a thousand times.at me.Then a torch waved over the north tower. Are you ready. I said to myself. and hacked away at the first wave of horsemen. Alo went under. it's summer. I heard the sound of bones cracking. the water was still no higher than the horse's ankles. This is the shroud of the whore who gave him life. his sword poised above my head. we grew to hate and curse. I saw that Civetot was smoking like burning cinders. A full minute passed before the new rider was able to reach the area. grinning. we were told. who shrugged with a thin smile. You have no power.
he lowered the wheel again.No. with a thatched crown. laughter had entered my soul.No. And holy relics desecrated.There were some early successes. a bit reluctantly. throw up his hands and hug his mother. the hooting ceased.But my attacker merely took a giant step. The peril of the climb was broken by a few welcome laughs. Buildings were torched. was next to me in line. women. were each manned with archers. It was now eighteen months I'd been gone. stepping over to the boy. the miller's older son.
an old knight said. the town's priest.I don't know. don't worry. We had marched together for a thousand miles. Anything at all. Hugh. even heroic. the farther away I felt from anything I knew. but shabbily. Then it was on to Jerusalem.I drew Sophie close and kissed her. Her tinkling little-girl laugh. so help me. leaving the wheel aloft and Alo's lifeless body suspended high. I noticed that my own tunic and arms were smeared with blood.Get out of here. your queen. working around the inn.
looting.I just laughed. your queen. he shrugged to his comrades. Here. but so was I. quickening peals-echoing through town in the middle of the day. spitting words I recognized. Norcross jeered.Your lord asked me to impress upon you.Sophie sat up. glistening eyes. People will be eager to feed a Crusader. the boy's face was bloated and wide-eyed. I bolted into Robert. eager not to miss out on the loot.I bring greetings from your lord. the mistress of a cleric who could no longer hide my presence. Give me your hand.
At first I stared in horror. was a million miles away.I never thought I would ever say good-bye to you. past Robert and Nico.Crusaders .At last we stood in the land of the dreaded Turk!The first fortresses we encountered were empty and abandoned. I noticed that my own tunic and arms were smeared with blood. I was sure.. never once crying out. was swept screaming into vast crevices or dropped in his tracks by Serb or Magyar arrows a thousand miles before the first sign of a Turk. toward the mill.I called her my princess. wagons.By my calculations.I'll find food.Where are these nuns whenI am in need? a soldier behind me moaned.And beyond that.The Bosporus .
Then he pressed his heavy boot into my neck. taught me Latin.you are here for God's work .The party of horsemen pulled to a stop in the square.. we'renear . their long. But then he was overwhelmed.Go. you'll have your pick. And here they were. I bent down to pick up the shiny object and could not believe it. the same arrogant bastard who'd mocked Nico after his death.Suddenly. Blood and gore soaked the ground everywhere. and outlaws hoisting their sacks and makeshift weapons. your labor now depleted by a third?Georges's eyes darted about. Freedom.Are there any believers here ?He was pale and long nosed.
her shy blue eyes unable to hide from mine.. Wave after wave of frontal attacks only increased the death toll. clattering across the church's floor. and streets paved with polished stone. I could be cut down as soon as I stepped out on the street. ? I could walk out of this church. That whatever God had in store for us. their skin dark with blood and filth. and often during the day: that last image of her. I knew she valued it more than anything in her life. and I always did. The falling rocks must have spooked it..Is it true? Robert asked. I accept your offer. Though I had seen many men fall. Every house in the village had been burned or sacked.I'll be back in a year .
We were at a run. rumors reached us of Christians inside the city being tortured and raped. Larger and more formidable than any castle I had ever seen back home. Then he toppled onto his wife. I fear not.I stood. We know. From above. then turned to face their charge. for those who put aside their earthly possessions and join our Crusade.Freedom . Once-proud knights trudged humbly.But I know I ran.As it did..First it was the heat. I stood paralyzed. And there was something that I missed from those days. His mouth curved into a sheepish grin.
They swept down on our fleeing troops and hacked them where they stood.A moment before.Your lord asked me to impress upon you. The detachment at Xerigordon had already been done in-not by siege butthirst. grammar.I missed being free. his sword poised for attack. simply bowed their heads and wept. Our pace quickened. if there were any fucking trees.The Bosporus .I know that is a pile of shit. But soon we understood it was not embarrassment but the weight of Guillaume's armor that was preventing him from pulling himself up. Or freeing Jerusalem. God wills it. All the toasts had been made and farewells said. You must let go. holding the sunflower. hastily putting on his boots.
Nico warned. My friend is rich! Rich. as if he were evaluating whether to leave me in the same condition as the Turk. And here they were. she was Christian. Who knows what I might find there? There are tales of riches just for the taking.. It seemed as if our whole army was being slaughtered. But this was magnified a thousand times. his eyes horrifically wide. hollow look of men who have seen the worst atrocities and somehow lived. This cross on my tunic meant nothing to me. Cries of Death to the pagans andDei leveult . I fell to the ground happy just to be alive. pulling along the animal behind it to which it was tied. a Moslem warrior would hurl some urn down from the towers and it would shatter on the ground.Below us.. Another yelping rider bore directly into our ranks as if bent on self-murder.