In 1307 the knights Templar were arrested by the thousands in France, and tortured into giving confessions of blasphemy, idolatry, and other charged not fit to be mentioned here. Many were executed, others imprisoned. This story follows the possibility of one escaping.
The wind was cold and chilling, whipping the freezing rain directly into the face of the traveler as he stumbled along.
He was dressed in muddy and ragged clothing which had once been white, a thick mantle draped about him, sodden with water. Red shreds of cloth hung in tatters from where it covered his left breast and his face, partly covered by the cowl, was scarred under the thick beard, the blood on it washed away by time and the driving rain. His features were set in a mixture of determination and despair, and his eyes were filled with a bleak anger. In his hands for a staff was a javelin, but no shield hung at his back, and no helm crested his brow. Wearily he trod along, setting one mud-caked boot in front of the other.
Life was not good to the traveler, and was not likely to get better. He peered at the scene ahead, the muddy road leading through the black trees, and the evening-dark overshadowing even the rain, turning it into a dark-silver curtain. No color could be seen except dimly the brown of dying leaves still in the trees, falling rapidly to the ravaging winds; there was nothing that did not match the despair of his stony heart.
There had been a time before he had faded into a wasting shade, a time where he had traveled brilliant and powerful, high above the common folk, looking down upon them from his war-steed. His clothing had been white, his heraldry a blood-red radiance. But that time had gone, with intrusion, arrest, imprisonment, torture, and finally that which enstoned his heart; the betrayal, the turning and trodding upon every oath and belief he had ever held. He had trampled it, his marks increased by those of the rich who pressured and tormented, and the pope who turned his head away, leaving him to fall into the pit of his own heart.
Even so, had that been the end of it he would have rotted in a quiet dungeon-cell, safe and somewhat warm; at the least fed. But he had not been content to rest like this, branded as a heretic, blasphemer, and idolater, although in his mind he had forgotten that fleeing would hardly change that. He had escaped then, and fled, armorless, with only the clothes on his back, torn from prison and flight both.
He had decided after his rage had subsided that he would die quicker in this manner; in prison, he would last a year and more, even if the prison-climate overcame him. Here, it was just a matter of wager as to whether starvation, cold, or bandits would smite him first.
He cared little now, a deadening of his heart the only real feeling he held; it was as if on the day he had slashed apart his mantle-cross to hide who he once was and what he hand once stood for, his heart had left him. It was as if the brilliance of that symbol had taken part of his soul away with it, leaving he himself in shreds.
The forest darkened even more, but the rain still beat down, filtered somewhat by the arching branches. It was not a place to be at night, even for an armed knight; for a wearied traveler, it was akin to near suicide. Bandits and murderers, thieves and outlaws, they all lurked in the woods, and at night they roamed unchecked. The traveler cared little though, his eyes fixed on the muddy road, his thought fixed on not thinking, of averting through lack of reason the pain of his sin.
Ahead figures moved, and at a harsh call the traveler looked up both warily and wearily. Exhausted in mind and body, he made little attempt to avoid the arrow which flew through the air, piercing him in the breast. And as his own red blood stained the mantle, mixing with the red of the shreds of cloth still there the emotions sapped for so long returned; the traveler collapsed, body wracked by grief and remorse, even as life gladly slipped out of him.
Okay, this will be my last Templar fic for a while, I promise!
Basically, I saw the Flash Fiction pathfinding picture, and after that a birthday card with a Templar clad in a ragged surcoat and mantle, and yeah, it popped out.
Also, for those f you unfamiliar with Templar garb, they wore a red cross at the left breast of their mantle.
Edited by Zarayna, Nov 26 2012 - 10:04 AM.