THE CURSED KNIGHT TEMPLAR

VOW OF CHASTITY & SUGAR

Dawn found Yosef lying awake in the Ambrosia Hands officers bed. When he boarded in Cyprus, the captain had looked at his templar knight apparel and the boarding letter given to him by the Cyprus Templar Master Abraham Brandon. Straight away he and his luggage were ushered to the Officers quarters, and given a cabin with a stretching room, a small closet for his clothes, travel chest gifted to him by Marshal Jacob.

He loved this wooden chest a lot despite the Templar teachings not to be attached to wealth or material things. Compared to the days he used to sling his sack on the back with a few clothes he owned, this was the way to go. Inside the chest were his few clothes he had not seen fit to wear on this voyage, a Bible, hymn book, map of the Holy Land of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and a purse of money for upkeep and emergencies.

Yesterday night when he came back, he was exhausted from the ordeal of almost drowning and the therapy administered by Cook Jasper. He had not remembered to close completely the small cabin window in the officers room given to him.

Early morning sunlight was seeping through the gap in the window, coating the wooden interior with orange to violet early morning warmth. The sea air was crisp and refreshing to breathe in.

It was a scene that made him at ease, wished he could remain resting a bit longer, unfortunately, his groaning stomach could not let him rest.

Having foregone supper, the hunger was catching up with him in a nasty way. Yosefs stomach was groaning, and contracting within, leaving him with a nasty feeling of emptiness within, even headache was cropping in, how he wished to eat some warm salted pork with a hot cup of tea if lucky some pieces of biscuit thrown in.

The sounds outside the cabin told him the ship was awake and going about the early morning chores. Above deck on top of his roof, he could hear the sound of scrubbing of the boards, the loud voice of Chief mate Musa giving instructions to the sailors on the deck, once in a while, he could hear the sound of the wind whistling as it flapped the masts (by now they must be at full mast). All this was lovely on any day but today what he wished to hear was the sound of cooking coming from the far away cook-room or the aroma of food, unfortunately, all he heard was the morning chores and the smell of the crisp sea air.

Seeing no sign of being called for breakfast. Yosef decided to wake up from the bed and walk to the closet to see which clothes to put on for the day. He had thrown the dirty apron on the writing-table before he went to sleep, and it was nowhere to be seen which gladdened him. Putting it on once was worse enough, he could not wish to see it next to him and be reminded of yesterdays indignity.

Opening the closet, he was greeted by the sight of his Templar robe and tunic. He remembered leaving them wet in the kitchen yesterday night. However here they were, washed and ironed, smelling fresh and with a scent of washing soap lingering in them, something he had seen in only recently washed and ironed clothes. Remembered leaving his wet robe and tunic in the cook-room beside the stove drying, Jasper must have had someone wash it in the night, had it dry in the warm cook-room before being ironed. This act and what Jasper had done to his shoulder and hand yesterday made him view these sailors in another light.

Regretted seeing them as uncouth, and primal fellows who delighted in indulging in the pleasures of the flesh. Resolved to know them better and share some Christian messages with them. The sandals were not there, they must have not dried, anyway it was not bad going barefoot like the other sailors.

Having put on his clothes. He opened the chest and picked the Bible to read a verse to inspire him for the day. Flipped through it at random until the pages opened up to Psalms 30:4-5

”Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. ”

Reflecting on this verse, Yosef thought that it really spoke to his current and past conditions. Yesterday his mortal life was in mortal danger hanging onto life by a few inches, despair assaulted his soul, he remembered how he cried out for help, and Dollo instead of running to his rescue ran to the cook-room to eat spiced chicken drumsticks, the help that came from Chief mate Musa and Jasper. Here he stood on a new day with almost no pain in his arm, definitely rejoicing had come his way with the morning. These verses energized him to face the new day and whatever this voyage may throw to him.

Opened the door, and walked out of the cabin, destination cook-room to see if there was anything for breakfast.

Along the way to the kitchen, before he stepped out of the officers quarter, Yosef was whistling loudly one of his favorite hymns.

”Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all generations. ”

He was too occupied in the hymn that he didn see the door to the Captains cabin opening.

”Ooops! ” He came to his senses when he bumped into someone and almost made that person fall backward. Looking closely, he observed that it was Captain Ramzi the Syrian. Dressed in his immaculate long white jacket, captains hat covering his greying hair, with a blue starched long-sleeved shirt underneath the jacket, tucked into brown loose-fitting trousers ending on his knees, white stockings pulled up to the calf, feet in ankle boots.

Using his fast reflexes as a warrior, Yosef grasped the captain by the shoulders, preventing him from falling over and steadying him.

”Captain Ramzi, sorry about that, I was taken up in the hymn ”, Yosef apologized.

”Knight Yosef, I can see you are in a good mood today, its me who must apologize for what happened to you yesterday night. You almost gave me a heart attack when Chief mate Musa told me what happened to you. ” Ramzi replied.

”Gods in control captain, for a while I thought I was a goner headed to Hades but he came to my salvation through chief mate Musa and the others, for that am very grateful to your crew, ” Yosef said.

”Otherwise, the hand must behave healed from the magic touch of Cook Jasper. The way you have just grabbed me if I had not known better, I could say theres nothing wrong with it ”, was Captain Ramzis response.

Yosef smiled at the captain, ”you are very right, that cook Jasper has a magic touch with that miraculous tea concoction of his, it is my first time seeing and experiencing such a miracle. ”

”How I wish my brothers fighting in the Holy Land also had good physicians like Jasper, most times many of them have ended up as cripples from simple battle injuries, ” Yosef added in a melancholic tone.

”I know what you are talking about Yosef, my hometown is in the neighborhood of Chastel Blanc fortress in Syria. Whenever there was a major fight between the Knight Templars and the Muslim armies. Thousands could be wounded, one of my uncles Issa was a surgeon for the Templars, he could narrate tales of those wounded knights he amputated, and on Sunday he could take us for a walk by the graveyard where the unlucky ones were laid to rest. From that time, my perspective of wars and the crusade changed, where you and your kind see glory and profit for Christendom, all I see is grief and pain. The crusade is a sad chapter for me ”.

”Sorry to hear that Captain Ramzi, I knew you were from Syria but did not know you were so close to the action like that. Personally, I have not gotten as far as Chastel Blanc but have many brothers who have been there and have heard their brave tales. ” Was Yosefs response.

”By the way captain, am famished with hunger, is breakfast be ready by any chance. You know the medicine Jasper gave me required that I forego supper, as I speak hunger pangs are treating me bad. ” Yosef added back not giving the Captain to respond to his earlier statement.

Hearing this, Captain Ramzi smiled and then laughed while looking gently at Yosef with his slate grey eyes before responding. ”Speaking of breakfast, you are in luck, a table has been prepared for us above on the quarter deck. Love to watch the sunrise over the sea as I eat the morning meal, gives me perspective as a sailor and takes my mind away from the things happening back home because of the crusade. ”

”Oh, I see what you mean by that, God placed an inspiring message in the sunrise and sunset. Lets head over before we miss the golden moments. ” Yosef responded and dragged the Captain along with him as if he already knew where breakfast was being served.

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