I stopped Cyrus after we were out of earshot of the throne room. "Sir Cryus, who is this Glenn the Queen spoke of?"
I saw a smile cross the head knight's face as he thought of the man. "Glenn is a strapping young man, probably no older than you, and highly skilled with the sword, even moreso than I. He is also my best friend." He motioned for me to follow him to the west corridor of the castle. He chuckled as the memories of his friend came to mind. "Though he is five years my junior, we became fast friends when we were children." We turned a corner and started heading north. "He was a scrawny boy then, and was constantly being picked on by the other children." He led me down a flight of stairs as he continued. "He hated violence, so he would not fight back." Again he chuckled. "I lost count the number of times I had to rescue him from those bullies." We reached the bottom of the stairs and entered what I assumed to be the knights' quarters. There were four beds to the right of where I stood. "Glenn is a good man and a patient instructor. You will learn much from him.
"This is where you will be sleeping. I recommend you get to sleep early tonight. We will leave after sunrise."
I awoke the next morning at the crack of dawn to the sound of sweet woman's voice. "Sir Wallace," it called. "Sir Cyrus is waiting for you at the front gate."
I woke up as I heard her walking away. Then her words hit me. "Oh shit!" I cursed as I jumped out of bed and threw my clothes on. I ran up the stairs and down the corridor, apologizing to the soldier that I knocked down as I ran by. I ran out the front doors to where Cyrus was waiting for me at the front gate. He had two horses with him.
"It is good to see that you could make it," he chortled.
I stopped by one of the horses, a brown mere with a white line down her face, to catch my breath. "I'm sorry...," I panted. "I'm not accustomed to getting up so early."
Cyrus smirked. "Ah, the joys of living one's own life." He looked to the mere. "Do you know how to ride?"
I looked at the horse. "Um..., no, I don't."
Cyrus shook his head as he walked over to me. "Well, now is just as good as time as any to learn." Before I could object he had lifted me onto the horse. "Well, you look natural enough," the knight said with a chuckle. The mere disagreed with a snort and a stamp of her hoof.
I will not go into detail of the ride to the town of Truce. All I will say is that I cut a pretty pathetic figure on the horse.
Four hours after Cyrus and I had left the castle we reached the town of Truce. It was a quaint little town, but also a very busy. I could not help but notice the people who stopped to stare at me, but I could not decide whether it was because I looked so different or if it was of how pathetic I looked on that horse. Probably both.
Cyrus and I rode through the town and exited through the north gate. Off in the distance I could see a small cottage with smoke billowing out of the cobblestone chimney. As we rode closer I saw a man outside chopping wood on an tree stump. We could hear the dull call of the axe as it cut its way through the wood.
The man must have noticed us as we rode closer, for he stopped his chore and rested his axe on his broad shoulders. "Hail, friends!" he called out as he raised his free hand to us.
"Hail, Glenn!" Cyrus called back with a raise of his hand.
Glenn set his axe against the stump and casually walked in our direction. He met us at the opened gate of the wood fence that surrounded his property. He had wavy dark green hair and deep blue eyes. His body was well muscled, yet he was not too big. His skin was dark and his face was leathery from many days of working in the hot sun. He wore a brown vest over a light green tunic, brown trousers, and a wide smile on his face as he saw who had come to visit him.
Cyrus jumped off his horse and they greeted each other by grasping the other's right forearm. "Greetings, old friend," Cyrus said with a grin.
"Speak for yourself, old man," Glenn said with a laugh. He slapped Cyrus' right shoulder. "It's good to see you again. I was about to break for lunch. Would you and your friend care to join me?"
"Thought you'd never ask!" Cyrus exclaimed as though he truly expected his friend to be so rude as to not invite us. I could hear the sarcasm in his voice, though, and I could tell by the way these two men spoke to each other that they were the best of friends.
Before the lunch; a meal of broiled pheasant, boiled potatoes, dry bread and water; Cyrus had introduced me to Glenn. After the meal, which was quite delicious, Cyrus thought it best to get down to business.
"Glenn," the knight spoke softly, "Wallace has done a great service for the crown. In return the king would ask that you train Wallace in the skills of sword play."
Glenn nodded slowly as he thought about it. "I have heard the rumors about Wallace's deeds," he said as he turned to me. "Some say that you called upon the very forces of the thunder storm to smite the Mystics."
I gave a nervous chuckle. "Heh, that's not true, though I guess I can understand why some would think that."
Glenn leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. "Tell me about this weapon you used, and why it is that you cannot repair it or forge a new one."
"Well," I began as I drew the pistol. "It's called a gun." I took the clip out and handed Glenn the gun, who examined it closely. "It fires bullet," I took a bullet out of the clip and showed it to him, "like a bow does arrows, only smaller and faster. As for why I can't fix it or make a new one is because I don't have the tools to do it."
"I see," Glenn said as he returned the gun to me. "It seems to be a weapon for cowards."
I nodded slowly as I replaced the clip and returned the gun to its holster. "It is, but I never claimed to be brave."
Again Glenn nodded. He stood up and walked over to where I was sitting. "Stand up," he ordered. I did as he bade. He proceeded to examine me, walking in circles around me, grabbing the flab around my waist and grabbing my upper arms on occasion, as if to measure my strength. He stopped and looked to Cyrus. "He's not in the best of shape, is he?"
"No," Cyrus agreed as he stood. "He doesn't like to wake with the sun, either."
Glenn nodded slowly with understanding. "We'll have to fix, now won't we?" He pointed to the door. "You can begin your training by finishing chopping the wood outside."
This was not what I had in mind for my training. I turned to Cyrus to protest, but he stepped out of my path to the door. "Yes, sir," I said sulkily and walked out the door to my chore.
Shortly after I began Glenn and Cyrus exited the small cabin and told me that I would be living with Glenn until I finished my training. When I queried as to how long that would be, Glenn sharply answered that it would depend on me, and ordered me to get back to work. I bade Cyrus farewell and returned to my rigorous labor.
Once in a while, as I was chopping the wood, Glenn would bring me out a spot of tea. It was bitter tasting, but quenched my thirst better than water would have. A few hours later, or at least I assume it was that long, I finished my chore. My hands were covered with blisters and my arms were sore. Glenn immediately bade me to carry the wood to the wood shed on the far side of the cabin.
Later that evening, as I was putting the gardening tools back into the tool shed, Glenn poked his head out the cabin door. "That is enough for tonight.'Tis time for dinner."
I let out a sigh of relief. My body ached as I slowly made my way back to the cabin and walked in. The inviting smell of roasted meat assaulted my nostrils as entered the cabin. I looked to the table and saw a roasted leg of lamb setting on a platter in the center of the table. To one side of it was some more dry bread and a block of cheese. On the other side was a bowl of lettuce and chopped onions and carrots. There were two small bottles on the table, one oil and the other vinegar.
Glenn was already sitting at the table waiting for me. I walked over and flopped down into the chair across from him.
"You have never done a hard days labor before in your life, have you?"
"No," I said, shaking my head wearily. "My family is very well off, so I never had to."
Glenn smiled at that. "That's going to change. Eat," he said, motioning to the food. "You've worked hard today."
If there was one thing I could say about Glenn then, it was that he could cook. Even the cook back home couldn't make anything like what Glenn and I ate that night.
After dinner I got my first good look at Glenn's home. Along one was wall were shelves full of books. There was desk against another with parchments scattered atop of it. Near the desk was a painting easel with a unfinished painting of a woman sitting in a field.
Glenn sat in a padded chair next to the fireplace. He was reading a book and smoking a pipe. He wore spectacles as he read. He saw me looking at the books on the shelves. "Gifts from Sir Cyrus," he commented. "He knows how I enjoy reading."
"I see that," I said as I took one of the books off the shelf. It was about a lost magical kingdom from the Dark Ages called Zeal. It might have something that I was looking for in it. "Do you mind if I read this?"
"Go right ahead," he answered without looking up from his book.
I took the book and sat down in another padded chair on the other side of the fireplace. I started to read it. The letters were a little strange, but not too unlike the Latin alphabet, and it did not take me too long to catch on.
The sound of Glenn closing his book sometime later caught my attention. He set it down on the small table next to the chair and got up and walked over to his desk. Once there he sat down in the chair facing the painting, pulled a pallet and brush from a cabinet in the desk, and continued his work on the painting.
A scholar, a scribe, an artist, a swordsman. Glenn was a true Renaissance man.