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The Chapel or Judge Eternity 18 of 20

Anthon tells Martin Luther about himself and the monk finds reason to doubt what he's been taught
Together they quickly saddled the horses. Anthon tied the majority of his armor onto the horses harness and wore only the shirt of mail, the breast plate and the helmet.
"Why not wear it all?" Martin Luther mused aloud as they both swung up on their stirrups.
"Because, I want to be able to move freely, the armor is very good but it slows me a bit and I can't ride as fast with it all on. Now ride!" The giant slapped his horse with his reins and it leaped to a gallop, the well trained palfrey fell easily behind the warhorse as it thundered away.

Anthon held the horses fastest gait until he felt the war horses breaths becoming more labored then he gradually slowed the big horse until its breathing became normal.
The midday sun shined strait down through the trees along the roadway, but deeper in the forest there was only darkness.
Martin Luther followed Anthons example and loosed the saddle without removing it. Together they dug out leather basins from their packs and watered the horses from skins tied behind the saddles.

"At our next stop there is a well, we will refill the skins from that. Stay close and be ready to go when I say." Anthon ordered.
Martin Luther looked up from giving his horse grain and nodded his understanding.
"How did it happen?" the young monk asked in a quiet voice.
"How did what happened."
"How did you become one of the damned?" Martin Luther whispered the last.
"Damned? Why am I damned?" The giant raised his eyebrows and his voice more than a bit.

"Because you have forsaken God, for immortality."
"I did not!"
So many things were baffling to the young monk, and against everything that he had been taught by the Church.
The Church taught that these being were evil men who had forsaken their faith for mortal power. It also taught that they could not enter holy places or touch the Word or any holy thing and yet Anthons armor was engraved with prayers to God. Set into his mail shirt were rings stamped with Psalms. By all accounts his flesh should have been beset with Hellfire, and yet . . .

"What pact did you make?"
"You are beginning to annoy me Martin Luther! I am no teacher and I leave that to my Liege Lyle. I made no pact, I did not sell my soul." The giant glared at Martin Luther from beneath thick eyebrows and his wooly mane.
The horses were near to finishing their grain. Anthon stowed everything that had been moved carefully and Martin followed suit.
The young monk thought carefully and phrased his question with equal care. He valued Anthon as a protector and after staying with the giants family on the edge of the forest, he also thought of the knight as his friend.

"Sir Anthon," Martin rendered the proper address and then asked his question," do you believe in Jesus Christ?"
Anthon pulled the straps on the war horses saddle and then eased the bit into the big stallions mouth. The big horse resisted a bit at first as if to say I don't have to do this, then gave in and rattled the piece of polished steel against its back teeth.
The knight swung up into the saddle and then stared at Martin until he was safely in place, then turning his back to Martin he said, "No Brother Martin, I do not believe in Jesus Christ."

Martin Luther felt is heart sink in disappointment and worry for his new found friend and guardian. While dogma could be wrong about beings such as Anthon and Wennal, the Bible was not wrong, could not be wrong as to the giants fate. He would burn as a lost soul.
"I knew him."
Martin Luther started from his sorrow. "What!?"
"I knew him, so did Lyle and many others who walk the Earth."
"You knew Jesus Christ?" Martins head spun at the prospect. "The Messiah?" The lawyer in him made him qualify the question.

"I knew him, although I wish now that I had known him better. That is where I also met Wennal or Lyle as he calls himself now, in the Holy Land although we didn't call it that back then, it was just a collection of countries under Roman rule. We didn't start calling it the Holy Land unit the Crusade."
Martin Luther was distracted by the enormity of what Anthon was telling him, but again his legal training brought the subject back to center. "Do you believe he was the son of God?"
"We all are aren't we?"
"What?"

"See, that's what I mean Lyle is much older then I, and can answer your questions better than I. I am a warrior plain and simple, that's all I have ever been and all that I ever want to be. Don't worry about me and my soul my young friend, that is a mystery which will be answered in its own time"
Without warning the big man slapped Martins small riding horse on the rump and sent it trotting down the trail. He dropped the visor on his sallet so the monk could see his eyes and let himself weep remembering the fisherman who knew more about everything then anyone else Anthon had known.
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Published: 12/23/2010
Bouquets and Brickbats