(The Thirteenth Monk)
eartsick am I, Giselle, the fourth daughter of the undisputed King of France my father, when my inferior wedding entourage arrives at Le Monastère de l’Incorruptables. Magge raises her pallid face and her watery eyes embrace the graveyard beyond. Terror impales my heart as with ghastly optimism I whisper, saying, ~ Defend your faith, Magge. The Incorruptables will intervene for you ~
Etienne, the young Captain of Our Guard, rides around the wedding entourage, guiding the straightening of the ranks. He smiles encouragement to Magge and then he salutes me, gazing into my eyes longer than protocole allows. Etienne finally assumes the point of the spear.
The Incorruptables stand outside the Monastery gates, bearing a solemn monolithic greeting. They include twelve monks in hooded robes of dark vermillion, each of these with a golden sash. A thirteenth monk, in the center, wears a hooded robe of violet with a vermillion sash. Each of them has a young man in attendance who wears a coarse loose chemise and a cullote of white. Only that thirteenth monk speaks, and smiling with ceremonial ennui, says ~ Deus nobis arridet. ~
I reply, to the gasps of the wedding entourage, ~ Yes, God may smile on all of us, but can he stop smiling long enough to tend mercy unto Magge? ~
The thirteenth monk is taken aback for a moment because I know Latin. Magge taught me well. Yet the thirteenth monk is not offended by my request. His eyes hold me and then they follow my trembling finger toward Magge’s apparition.
At once, the thirteenth monk mutters and snaps his finger, pointing to Magge. Four of the attending young men hurry toward Magge’s horse and lead her into the Monastery courtyard ahead of all of us.
To that thirteenth monk I speak, saying, ~Mihi complacui. Benedic vobis.
The thirteenth monk replies, saying, ~ Thank you, your highness. I am well pleased with you, too, your highness ~
<for previous chapters, search “whisper” on my blog>
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