A thing most troubling unfolds, which I didst perceive following mine wake. The sun, that valiant display of our Lord’s love and passion, splashed most gentil into mine eyes and roused me from the sleep chamber I was renting. On wishes from mine liege hadst I arrived in Canterbury the night previous, the details of which I has’t noted in mine entry dated yesterday. Consumed didst I a breakfast plentiful and chatted pleasantly with the innkeep, but as I made mine way to the church so I could payeth respects and sing the glory of God to the heavens, I realized I hath not heard bells. A goodly and faithful servant if modesty may permit, I has’t carried out mine liege’s wilt these past 10 years and visited provinces many, and nary hath the bells failed to toll on a Day of Rest.
But this revelation wast far from the most disturbing truth! As I approached the center wherefore ought the cathedral sitteth, I discovered that the blessed home of our Lord hadst vanished! Its rightful lodging hadst been usurped, occupied by a peculiar building of red hue, boasting a sloping roof that veered in directions multiple. It looked to be of wooden construction, and I didst notice a statue of a man sitting cross-legged and hands folded. He wore simple robes and a head covering, and I knew him to be a vision of serenity. Near the base of the statue, two men of advanced age, also clothed in robes, spake in hushed, reverent tones.
“Believers!”, I cried. ” A cathedral layeth hither just mere days past. Where can a devoted man worship our Savior, Christ Jesus, whose name be worshiped and magnified without end?” Their faces wore confusion. The shorter of the two, a man of braided hair and wire frame, extendeth his arm and didst invite me to take it. “My most humble apology, cer, but we knoweth not a Christ Jesus. We art not familiar with a ‘cathedral,’ whatever that may be; our temple standeth hither. Tell me, what name has’t thee?”
“Cer Poleon, a dutiful knight in the service of Lord Gralla, ” I replied. “Does thou sayeth, truly, that thou dwellst in Canterbury and has’t nev’r hath heard the name of the Christ? I cannot contemplate it! What is this strange edifice? “
“A holy temple, Cer Knight. No cathedral hath formed upon this rock. We follow the example of the Buddha, and through his example, strive to reacheth nirvana. May we speak with thee for a time? I suspect thou carryst much suffering; perhaps we can assist.”
“Nay, gentlemen! “, said I. “Thy words spark much distress in mine heart. The very air hath been madeth heavy with weird, and I must determine the cause. ” Staggering, I took mine leave from those folk, thoughts curdling like thick pottage. Though I hadst been awake but precious few hours, I steered myself in the direction of the inn. Winks and reflection would be allies.
Some 50 feet hence, three robed boys were kneeling, whispering with the tone of who hath been assigned a office and is not certain they art performing to par. “Boy! “, I pointed, too abruptly. “What devotions doth thee recite? ” Two stared at me! The third simply hath said “We maketh merit, cer.” I repeated his words and asked him to explain, but he only closed his eyes once more, his concentration settling in as quickly as it had left.
‘Tis twilight as I pen this missive, and I cannot decipher these signs as I has’t witnessed the present day. It leaves me with unease, and I shalt seek explanation on the morrow.
pridie Non.Sept., 1331
Yesterday’s events weighed heavily on me; I pitched and swerved within the confines of the sleep chamber like a ship in a murderous storm. I rose early and buffed mine armor to the brightest polish that would grant me favor. A knight of mine liege’s house doest not don armor lest he intends to use it, but the puzzle loomed atop mine head; best that I prepare for dire circumstances, whether they be witchcraft, trickery, or some other manner of deceit. The sheen, the unbearable light, would reflect mine courage and the glory of the Lord.
Canterbury is managed by a liege lord known to me–or at least, I hath believed so yesterday. As I slogged through town to Lord Sabourin’s estate, chanting danced around me from many a throat. I kneweth not the tongue; I hath heard namu and renge and other words I wilt not attempt to transcribe hither. At the last juncture ere mine intended turn, a wench of perchance fifteen years wast sitting as still as the eldest of trees, her lady visage a fortress of deliberate attention. Her companion, a slightly younger wench, tugged at her sleeve and asked thrice how many hours they must practice bhavana. She receivedth no reply.
Lord Sabourin, a shorter man than I, greeted me at his gate, and I could fathom not what I saw! His fine clothing and his crucifix of our Savior hadst been replaced with a simple robe, though that he did retain his fire-coloured hair and tan spectacles. “My Lord Sabourin! “, I exclaimed in a crackling voice.
“Where has’t thee placed thy garments? Knoweth thee of the cathedral, the symbol of our faith which now wanders hath lost? ” I realized I hadst failed to thank him for receiving me. “Apologies for mine disposition, lord, but I am much affected. ‘Tis as if ‘t be true our Christ Jesus wast forgotten by the whole of Canterbury in a single day!”
Mine liege’s cousin regarded me with a look I once noted a farmer’s wife giveth an ill-tempered calf, though the glance wast not unkind. “Cer Knight, be not troubled! Lord Gralla hath long been a trusted partner, and I welcome any of his vassals to mine home. But I understandeth not thine anguish. What is a ‘cathedral, ‘ or a ‘Jesus’? I sense suffering upon thy head. “
“Thou has’t spake the truth!”, I said with fervor.
“I aim to liveth all four truths through example, ” he replied. “Art thou in need of counsel, Cer Knight? T’ would please me to confer about our shared journey on the Path. “
“The Path? “, I echoed. I gazed out into his fields below. Wandering monks huddled together discussing alms. Men of simple clothing slept on wooden floors, taking refreshment that would fill not a dog. Lord Sabourin stated these men were called” ascetics”; he tends to their base needs, and by their presence, they remind him to practice mindfulness. He expressed surprise I kneweth not the word.
We stood silent for many minutes. In the distance, I saw the temple with its bizarre statue and wooden frame. I heard snatches of chants and prayers. I gazed as parents instructed their children about compassion and moral living. I pondered why I alone appeared to be certain of the truth–but that thought now felt bitter and uncertain. Suppose, through some process unknown to me, t’was I who hadst turned wooden?
I remained at Lord Sabourin’s estate for supper. He extended an invitation to instruct me on the Path ere the mission is completed and I must returneth to mine liege. After delivering thanks, I beseeched him to await mine response.
I lie hither now in the chamber, re-reading these exploits and retaining a much less certain sense of the world with each turn of the page.
I am considering his offer.
@gjbasden said: “I’d love to read about the travails of an English knight where Buddhism is the dominant religion rather than Christianity. “
There are a few ways I could’ve done this. After experimenting a little, I decided to throw another element into it.
I’m very aware that the language is patterned after 17th Century English, not 12th (as it ought to be). There’s a world of difference between those few hundred years. But in my opinion, Shakespearean-tinged English worked better than our modern tongue.