Musings on the Art of Writing

As a child, I discovered fantastic worlds created in books. When I began writing about the worlds of my own imagination, I realized how hard authors work to set their characters free to live for our enjoyment. This blog will explore that weird and wonderful process.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Mystery of the Crusader's Cross

Years ago, I wrote this mystery after watching a TV series about the crusaders of the Dark Ages.  I wanted to explore how history might affect a young girl living in a British castle.  As my Mom slipped into dementia, she seemed to enjoy my books for young people so I dug out the manuscript and polished it up.

When King Richard's knight rides into Guillaume Castle, Lady Mercia who is twelve, abandons her school lessons to find out why.  She marvels at the Crusader's Cross he's brought.  She even touches the holy relic, a wooden cross covered with gold lace.  When the Baron's wife, Lady Eleanor, faints and the cross vanishes, a squire accuses Mercy of stealing it.  She has to prove her innocence!

She isn't the only one who gathered around the Baron when the cross disappears.  So she sneaks around the caste to discover who may have taken it.  However, someone does not want her to learn the truth and tries to stop her.

“That’s my girl,” I whispered.  In my imagination, my falcon, Fleta, dove into the flock of starlings.  Talons outstretched, she snatched a bird from the air.  Her triumphant kree echoed in my ears as she swooped to my gauntleted hand.
“Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant!” 
Father Matthew’s voice ended my daydream.  I glanced at the priest.  He peered down at the little ones, his eyes an angry black beneath bushy brows.  My own Latin lesson, barely started, was scribbled on the slate laying on my lap.  
It was hot.  Too hot for Latin.  Too hot to listen to Father Matthew’s dronings.
I leaned against the stone of the great hall’s open window.  My legs dangled over the ledge brushing the ivy creeping there.  A warm, August breeze twirled the dust in the castle’s bailey.  One of the palisade guards, Jean, I think, moped his brow, setting aside his iron helm to let the warm wind cool him. 
“Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant,” I heard Richard repeat.  Father Matthew huffed and with a swish of his black robes, moved on.
Through shimmers of heat rising from the courtyard, I saw the stooped figure of Delwyn standing on the mural tower.  He had just released Lady Eleanor’s peregrine falcon.  Duchess soared above the palisade.  I watched her circle upward.  Latin left me with the excited flutter of her wings.  Down she dove. 
“Lady Mercia, have you finished your lesson already?”  Father Matthew glared down at me.  He reminded me of Dru, Baron Guillaume’s goshawk.  “Or are we daydreaming, again?”

If you wish to read more of Chapter I, click here.  To purchase your own copy, click here.