Phil Kaveny

The Works of Philip Kaveny

Philip of Trier Part IV by Phil Kaveny

crossbow

If you missed Part I visit here

If you missed Part II visit here

If you missed part III visit here

Otto Poked Urich and said.

“Question the church! Who would question the church? If you question the church you end up on the rack”

(No one listening noticed the interruption as Philip continued his story)

Philip’s most interested listener was Thomas the Blacksmith’s who hung on his every single word. Thomas was asking himself a series of desperate questions which all broke down to this one question. How could what Philip had made him imagine be made real. Thomas’ life might well depend on the answer because he too had made a powerful enemy of His Excellency the Prince-Bishop of Trier.  He had made an enemy of the prince not so much for something he had done but for who he was.

Thomas was a new kind of man; a man that could make the future with his blacksmith’s hands if someone got the ideas into his mind. But Thomas had no future because in two months he was to report to the Bishop of Trier who would then present him to the Inquisition and the dreaded Father Zangerlee. Who, it was alleged by reliable sources, had reports and spectral evidence that Thomas the blacksmith was a warlock. Spectral was the sort of evidence that only father Zangerlee and the inquisition was able to see, because according to them witches and warlocks had the power to cloud men’s minds to hide their demonic deeds.

Zangerlee had said on several occasions, perhaps with Thomas in mind,

“There was no man so large and strong and proud that the wheel could not break him and then bring him back to God so he may be remitted to the civil authorities to die in a state of grace in the soul cleansing fire. It is my vocation to break the body to save the soul”

Thomas was given the customary two months to arrange his affairs, just as Philip’s aunts were. The idea was of course that it would be better for everyone if Thomas the Blacksmith would simply arrange his own death and leave all of his property to the church, so that they could pray his soul out of purgatory, and his lovely high-spirited seventeen-year-old daughter Jeaneal could spend the rest of her life in a convent. Thomas let his mind relax and not dwell on his dark future as Philip continued his story and the whale oil lamps flickered in their world lit only by fire.

This night Philip’s story seemed to open new doors to everyone’s perception. Thomas knew that Philip the boy, now a young man, who  he had held in his hands like a puppy might have a secret that could save him from the rack, fire, tongs, and wheels of the inquisition. But why, Thomas thought, should Philip care  for me. I did not for him only a few hours ago.  For all my size and strength, I am worth no more to him and his dark friend than a can of worms.

Then those who were watching Thomas as his mind seemed to grind like a millstone saw a clever smile come a across his face as said he said out loud, in a stage whisper.

“Philip may despise me, but not my daughter, but not my beautiful daughter.  Maybe she could win his heart and he could save my ass from the flames.

Philip heard Thomas say something but he could not understand the mumbling and continued his story, taking them all back to Carlo and Alphonse.

******

Carlo had two things for Alphonse.  One was a new scorpion crossbow more deadly than the first and, if that was possible, even more beautiful. It was handheld and the stock was made of Ironwood so strong and heavy it would not float. It had been polished with a hundred coats of resin and its crow’s foot cocking mechanism completely disappeared into the stock when not in use, making the surface completely smooth. The bow itself was not much wider than a hand span of a large man and the draw less than half a foot. The bow looked small and deadly like a scorpion with tail arched ready to strike, and it was made from steel forged from a meteor. This steel had a strength and resiliency like nothing else made on the planet. The  bow’s dart that fit into the trough was encased in steel with a core of mercury and would hit with hundreds  of foot pounds of force on the blunt head of the dart as it crashed into the soul-eating beast.

Then Carlo spoke to Alphonse almost as if he was singing a lament.

“You will be able to cross the River Styx because when you were a baby your mother held you by your heal a and dipped all the rest you into the river.”

Alphonse interrupted.

“Yes and you know the rest of the story. She died herself shortly afterwards and the gods in their brutal whimsy let me live to do what I do.”

Carlo continued to speak as he unrelentingly polished the blue-black stock of the scorpion crossbow, holding it up to the light until the sun seemed to shine through it. He held the crossbow like he was saying goodbye to a friend and lover for the last time. Then Carlo said.

“The Scorpion will do you no good where you are going without these words.”

Carlo handed Alphonse a pouch to wear on a leather cord around his neck and tied it for him. The pouch was clearly from another age, a small thing that never should have survived the ravages of time. More important than the pouch was what it carried inside perhaps since before time was measured, as Carlo explained:

“You probably thought things would go slower than this, but the world seems to have its own speed, and seems to be carrying us now whatever our wishes.

Alphonse delicately opened the pouch and found only a piece of parchment with strange writing upon it. Alphonse said disdainfully,

“What good are these words in this old pouch on this rotting parchment? What sort of a weapon do you call this? “

Carlo said with great pity in his voice,

“The words which you must sing will kill your soul and make the beast mortal so you may kill it.”

Alphonse cried out angrily,

“Rubbish. This is all rubbish about souls, what is a soul then?  Is it the perfect part of me that seeks its home when I die?  Is it that part of me that cannot be corrupted?

Carlos put a strong had on Alphonse’s shoulder but it did no good.  Alphonse continued in a rage and cried out as if to the world.

“But Carlo I am corrupted. I am beyond redemption.”

Then Carlo answered him in a deadly grave voice.

“Your spiritual pride cries out you are unredeemable, like Judas in the Bible after he took the thirty pieces of silver. You may be right. But Clara is not unredeemable, and she is your destiny, what her father kept you and me alive for.”

Then Carlo did something to Alphonse   nobody had ever done before and lived, He slapped him across the face twice very hard and Alphonse’s eyes teared up and his ears rung, and Carlo said in an absolutely imperative voice,

Now do it!!!!!!!!

****

The voices in the Guildhall Tavern all said to Philip of Trier,

“On with the story,”

“Don’t stop now, “

“Tell us more about Alphonse’s night with Clara’”

So Philip continued after he took a small sip of Southern Comfort.  Now, Philip showed them how Alphonse had torn himself with remorse for her. He let them see it all, the color, the sounds Alphonse heard. He made them feel that they cared what happened. As they cared they forgot their moment and touched something greater than themselves that lasted forever, or so it seemed.

*****************

As Alphonse prepared himself to cross the river Styx he asked himself these questions:

Where had Clara gone since I hurt her and called her a slut. Where did she go after I called her a royal slut and she cut me?  How has she made me do this thing, to try to kill the beast that cannot be killed?

When she came to my monk’s cell I could have turned her away.

I could have turned her away. Now the image of her and I together is constantly before me.

                        ***

Now the dark man, the master of the hounds and the warden of the night, asked in a voice that seemed to blend into the question everyone was thinking.

“Tell me more tell me more about Clara. It has been so long since I have heard my story I can barely remember her.”

And still Philip continued with his story and his voice captured the interior of his audience’s mind. Philip’s most interested listener was Thomas the Blacksmith’s who hung on his every single word. Thomas was asking himself a series of desperate questions which all broke down to this one question. How could what Philip had made him imagine be made real. Thomas’ life might well depend on the answer because he too had made a powerful enemy of His Excellency the Prince-Bishop of Trier. He had made an enemy of the bishop not so much for something he had done but for who he was.

Thomas was a new kind of man; a man that could make the future with his blacksmith’s hands if someone got the ideas into his mind. But Thomas had no future because in two months he was to report to the Bishop of Trier who would then present him to the Inquisition and the dreaded father Zangerlee. Who, it was alleged by reliable sources, had reports and spectral evidence that Thomas the Black Smith was a warlock. Spectral was the sort of evidence that only father Zangerlee and the inquisition was able to see, because according to them witches and warlocks had the power to cloud men’s minds to hide their demonic deeds.

Zangerlee had said on several occasions, perhaps with Thomas in mind,

“There was no man so large and strong and proud that the wheel could not break him and then bring him back to God so he may be remitted to the civil authorities to die in a state of grace in the soul cleansing fire. It is my vocation to break the body to save the soul”

Thomas was given the customary two months to arrange his affairs, just as Philip’s aunts were. The idea was of course that it would be better for everyone if Thomas the Blacksmith would simply arrange his own death and leave all of his property to the church, so that they could pray his soul out of purgatory, and his lovely high-spirited seventeen-year-old daughter Jeaneal could spend the rest of her life in a convent. Thomas let his mind relax and not dwell on his dark future as Philip continued his story and the whale oil lamps flickered in their world lit only by fire.

This night Philip’s story seemed to open new doors to everyone’s perception. Thomas knew that Philip the boy, now young man, who  he had held in his hands like a puppy might have a secret that could save him from the rack, fire, tongs, and wheels of the inquisition. But why, Thomas thought, should Philip care a rat fuck for me. I did not for him only a few hours ago.  For all my size and strength, I am worth no more to him and his dark friend than a can of worms.

Then those who were watching Thomas as his mind seemed to grind like a millstone saw a clever smile come a across his face as said he said out loud, in a stage whisper.

“Philip may despise me, but not my daughter, but not my beautiful daughter.  Maybe she could win his heart and he could save my ass from the flames.

Philip heard Thomas say something but he could not understand the mumbling and continued his story, taking them all back to Carlo and Alphonse.

******

Carlo had two things for Alphonse.  One was a new scorpion crossbow more deadly than the first and, if that was possible, even more beautiful. It was handheld and the stock was made of Ironwood so strong and heavy it would not float. It had been polished with a hundred coats of resin and its crow’s foot cocking mechanism completely disappeared into the stock when not in use, making the surface completely smooth. The bow itself was not much wider than a hand span of a large man and the draw less than half a foot. The bow looked small and deadly like a scorpion with tail arched ready to strike, and it was made from steel forged from a meteor that had a strength and resiliency like nothing else made on the planet. The dart that fit into the trough was encased in steel lead and with a core of mercury and would hit with hundreds  of foot pounds of force on the blunt head of the dart as it crashed into the soul-eating beast.

Then Carlo spoke to Alphonse almost as if he was singing a lament.

“You will be able to cross the River Styx because when you were a baby your mother held you by your heal a and dipped all the rest you into the river.”

Alphonse interrupted.

“Yes and you know the rest of the story. She died herself shortly afterwards and the gods in their brutal whimsy let me live to do what I do.”

Carlo continued to speak as he unrelentingly polished the blue-black stock of the scorpion crossbow, holding it up to the light until the sun seemed to shine through it. He held the crossbow like he was saying goodbye to a friend and lover for the last time. Then Carlo said.

“The Scorpion will do you no good where you are going without these words.”

Carlo handed Alphonse a pouch to wear on a leather thong around his neck and tied it for him. The pouch was clearly from another age, a small thing that never should have survived the ravages of time. More important than the pouch was what it carried inside perhaps since before time was measured, as Carlo explained:

“You probably thought things would go slower than this, but the world seems to have its own speed, and seems to be carrying us now whatever our wishes.

Alphonse delicately opened the pouch and found only a piece of parchment with strange writing upon it. Alphonse said disdainfully,

“What good are these words in this old pouch on this rotting parchment? What sort of a weapon do you call this? “

Carlo said with great pity in his voice,

“The words which you must sing will kill your soul and make the beast mortal so you may kill it.”

Alphonse cried out angrily,

“Rubbish. This is all rubbish about souls, what is a soul then?  Is it the perfect part of me that seeks its home when I die?  Is it that part of me that cannot be corrupted?

Carlos put a strong had on Alphonse’s shoulder but it did no good.  Alphonse continued in a rage and cried out as if to the world.

“But Carlo I am corrupted. I am beyond redemption.”

Then Carlo answered him in a deadly grave voice.

“Your spiritual pride cries out you are unredeemable, like Judas in the Bible after he took the thirty pieces of silver. You may be right. But Clara is not unredeemable, and she is your destiny, what her father kept you and me alive for.”

Then Carlo did something to Alphonse   nobody had ever done before and lived, He slapped him across the face twice very hard and Alphonse’s eyes felt tears and his ears rung, and Carlo said in an absolutely imperative voice,

Now do it!!!!!!!!

****

The voices in the Guildhall Tavern all said to Philip of Trier,

“On with the story,”

“Don’t stop now, “

“Tell us more about Alphonse’s night with Clara’”

So Philip continued after he took a small sip of Southern Comfort.  Now, Philip showed them how Alphonse had torn himself with remorse for her. He let them see it all, the color, the sounds Alphonse heard. He made them feel that they cared what happened. As they cared they forgot their moment and touched something greater than themselves that lasted forever, or so it seemed.

*****************

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One comment on “Philip of Trier Part IV by Phil Kaveny

  1. Pingback: Philip of Trier Part V | Phil Kaveny

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This entry was posted on January 12, 2015 by in Fantasy, Kaveny, Philip of Trier and tagged , , , .
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