Silent Knight

silent-knightThomas lifted the hammer into position. He used all his concentration and skill to strike the glowing metal in the precise location. The yellow-orange shower of sparks sprayed in a circular pattern, some of them traveling back in the direction of his exposed skin. It was a minor sacrifice to endure for the sake of the village.

His father was ruler. The small town was nestled among the hills, midway between the forest and stream. Thomas knew he’d never be ruler. That lofty distinction was reserved for his older brother. Thomas still took great pride in his work as one of the village blacksmiths.

A conflict was brewing with the neighboring village on the far side of the forest. Recently, tensions had been running high over the unjust bartering agreements of the last several fortnights. It was always the same. Three bundles of wheat in exchange for two sacks of wool.

Somewhere along the way, greed began to infiltrate this covenant. Three bundles of wheat became two, and the sack of wool was packed less densely in return. When the trio of pigs disappeared from the neighboring village, however, it was an act of aggression that couldn’t be overlooked. A militant confrontation was forthcoming.

The men of the village gathered ammunition. The woman prepared meals. The elder leaders took asylum to strategize. Even though Thomas’ father was aging quite well, he was in no position to be on the battlefront. Thomas, however, knew his father’s stubbornness quite well. His father would be leading his village gallantly into a battle that was senseless, but nonetheless necessary.

That’s why Thomas remained tucked away in the dirty shop behind the house. The periodic clang of metal complemented the commotion around him. This was a time to prove his worth, if not to the village, at least to himself. The leaders congregated in the village circle, dispersing rations and distributing weapons to each of the warriors now prepared for battle.

As the battalion set forth on their journey, Thomas remained inside to finish his work. As the sun began to set over the horizon, he emerged from the shop and walked through the door into the kitchen. Seated at the table with her hands wrapped tightly around each other was his mother, trying to keep herself together.

His father’s stubbornness may have been courageous to the village folk, but it was also detrimental to his family. Thomas handed his mother the ornately crafted trivet. He knew that baking was her way to cope with anxiety. Thomas wasn’t the village blacksmith chosen to craft weaponry, but that never bothered Thomas. He knew his place and did whatever he could with the opportunities presented to him.

His mother had dozens of trivets lined up on the shelf above her stove. She probably didn’t need another one. The feeble grin curling at the corner of his mother’s mouth and the tight embrace that followed let Thomas know that perhaps this was exactly what both of them needed.

4 thoughts on “Silent Knight

  1. heraldmarty December 5, 2015 / 7:36 am

    We all have our roles in life don’t we? What a nice change of pace Dave, It’s always so easy to visualize your stories which adds immeasurably (my word for the day) to the pleasure in the reading. Thank you!

    • davecenker December 5, 2015 / 11:40 am

      Thank you, Marty. I appreciate your kind words and am happy to hear I can paint a picture that my muse creates somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind 😉 Hope you have a great weekend!

  2. thenicethingaboutstrangers December 15, 2015 / 4:13 am

    I love this, Dave. Do you know Billy Collins’ poem, “The Lanyard.” This reminded me of that gift from child to mother, the inability to repay her, the joy of crafting something anyway. 🙂
    Merry Christmas!
    Paige

    • davecenker December 15, 2015 / 7:45 am

      That is one of the most wonderful things about connecting with others online – those things that get shared with each other that would otherwise be missed.

      I must admit that I have never read the poem by Billy Collins, but I was able to find it and feel humbled to be even mentioned in the same sentence as such a poetic work of art.

      I can certainly see the resemblance to the message in my story. A mother’s love is often so very silent, and sometimes it takes moments of silence in our own lives to fully appreciate how much of an impact that has on our lives and on those of the people around us.

      Thank you, Paige, for taking the time to read, and for your very kind words. Merry Christmas!

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