Of Squires and Knights by B.J. Vancheyson
With only one year left before he is to be dubbed a knight of Consany Castle, Jonathan does not expect his final days as a squire to hold any surprises. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Close to mastering the ways of knighthood while training under the noble Sir Grant, Jonathan is an adept sword fighter ready to protect the townsfolk whenever he is called upon.
One day, he learns a perilous truth when a fellow squire reveals one knight’s evil deeds right within the castle walls. Now, Jonathan must carry a secret that could foreshadow dark days ahead. Amidst this new turmoil, Jonathan has a chance encounter with a peasant that awakens his heart and forever changes his path—right as battles threaten to wrench him and Sir Grant away to war.
To make it worse, the skirmishes seem shrouded with mysterious circumstances, adding to the horrors of the frontlines.
As he nears knighthood, Jonathan lives among insidious secrets and battle woes, while struggling to follow the call of his heart—all as he serves valiantly as Sir Grant's trusted squire. Will he find a way to protect those who are dear to him? If things don’t change, the people of Consany, from the town to the castle, could face a dark and uncertain future.Amazon
Excerpt from Of Squires and Knights © Copyright 2023 B.J. Vancheyson
Jonathan felt a sharp poke in his arm as he redipped the spoon into the pot. DeSoto was leaning over close to him, nearly in his face. “Did you ever see such a knave’s ceremony?” he demanded. “What is so great about being a knight of the bath, having to take a bath and pray all night in the chapel? What skills do you need for all that?”
Jonathan sighed. “Well, that is the ceremony,” he said, simply. “You know the bath is symbolic: It washes away your sins before your dubbing.”
“I want to be a knight of the sword!” DeSoto claimed, punching his fists in front of him, as if fending off some unseen foe. “That is how to be dubbed—out there on the battlefield, suddenly being made a knight because of your fearless fighting.”
Jonathan had to fight the impulse to roll his eyes. “Yes, we know, Lord DeSoto,” he joked, as some of the squires jested with DeSoto for insisting on being called by his last name. “But nobody is made a knight of the sword just because of fighting—you just have to show a great amount of courage, above what is required of you. Anyway, either way, you become a knight. There are just two different ways of doing it.” However, DeSoto just started shooting invisible arrows at the guests sitting opposite them at the table.
The voracious diners gulped up the first course as if their throats could expand like a cobra’s for the bundles of food to slide down. This was typical, though, of any main meal at the castle. The steward appeared again from the kitchen corridor, clapping twice, and the seven servants quickly collected the pots and whisked back to the kitchen.
“Soon,” the steward crowed loudly, “the second course, a lovely fare of spiced plums will appear in front of your palates. But first, for His Majesty’s and your own entertainment, I humbly present the renowned harpist, Lunker of Twyne.”
A young man pounded on the table, the tabletop in front of Jonathan bouncing up and down in his wake. “Yes!” the man cheered, laughing like an evil lunatic. “Shall Sir Renscel have as great as feasts when he is King?”
With that, the cheering declined to a mumble, and the applause descended to a faint tapping of fingers. Everyone, even those visiting from the town, knew that Sir Renscel was Chancellor of Consany, so that if the heirless and queenless king died, Renscel would become ruler of the kingdom; yet, no one ever mentioned this in the King’s presence, as it would be a very improper topic.
Renscel smiled sweetly, as if trying to make a friendly face in the wake of the rude comment. “Yes, well, I am confident that we’ve many, many days to pass before we think of that era. King Thomas has perhaps several full decades ahead in his life.” His arm spurted up, sporting his goblet. “To the King!” he shouted.
Jonathan followed all the diners raising their goblets to toast the King. “The King!” the entire hall seemed to cry in unison.
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