Part Two: An Allegory About the Church (Prose)

(Continued from Part One)

Jonathan hadn’t noticed that he was standing now until his feet had started carrying him into the yard. Slowly, but more purposefully with every step, he moved forward as if in a dream.

What had started as a display of plumage was escalating into an altercation. The officer leading the the yellow-jackets, his eyes hooded and shoulders heavy, had turned from his course through the yard towards the increasingly violent and suggestive advances of the officer to his left. He had tried to ignore whatever slanderous things the officer had said at first. After having failed to achieve the rise he wanted, now the officer and his flanks were getting closer; speaking louder. Stirrings and voices around the yard intensified and others began to approach the scene. Others in the yellow-jacketed group looked wary; some put hands on their sword hilts or pistols, leaving them sheathed for the moment but adding to the tension of the scene as others around them reciprocated. It was a shouting match now between their leader, a captain Jonathan now saw, and the instigating officer who was now backed by more who stood behind him. The gathering men wore expressions that ranged from concerned to gleeful to murderous.

Sharp, unabashed hatred shone through clearly where it had been tempered before. At a loud, foul-mouthed challenge from the officer, the yellow-jacketed captain said something quietly; too quietly for any but the officer and the closest few ears to hear. Like a shockwave, a reaction pulsed from the front where whatever he said was actually heard to the back where what was said was assumed. The growing crowd stepped forward but no reaction was swifter or more aggressive than the officer’s. He leapt forward and the back of his fist connected with the captain’s jaw, forcing him backward into the shoulder of the horse harnessed to their cart. He fell to the ground and for a moment it looked like the crowd would swallow him whole and pummel him into the mud. His comrades – the uninjured ones – leaped from the cart or pushed into the fray without hesitation, fighting with an air of retaliation and desperation that stemmed from much more than this isolated incident. Chaos broke the way thunder claps its hands when you don’t expect it; instant and jarring.

Jonathan had once again become retrospectively aware of his location only as he felt his hands grabbing shoulders of those surrounding the brawl and throwing men out of his way as he pushed inward. The officer and his two cronies were engaged with the captain and two or three of his men who had reached him in time to keep them from killing him when he hit the ground. Fists flew but Jonathan knew the hotheadedness and bloodthirstiness of this officer’s battalion; as soon as one of them was able to draw a sword or pistol there would be dead soldiers in the yard. “Stop!” Jonathan screamed, reaching one of them and forcibly throwing him to the ground several feet away from the epicenter. Jonathan was able to get hands on the second before feeling an arm clamp around his neck from behind.

Jonathan was strong; standing several inches taller than most in the yard. His wide frame and strength had been the envy of most of his company during training and served him well in the pubs in his youth as well as on the battlefield now. Without much effort, he threw an elbow back into the meat of the man behind him and heard his grunt of pain as the arm relaxed and slid away. Shouting filled his ears. He grabbed the next and hurtled him away as well. One of the yellow-jackets had caught sight of Jonathan’s towering figure moving towards him and almost struck, but saw Jonathan fling back another of their attackers and, after a moment’s hesitation, caught Jonathan’s eye and nodded in thanks before turning towards more of the advancing crowd.

A long minute passed as the violence teetered on the edge between escalation and dissipation. Others in the yard jeered and joined in, but higher-ranked officers had finally begun to quiet or threaten the outer ring and bring some to their senses. Jonathan tried to temper his blows to diffuse and not incite. The frenzy stilled slightly.

In the pause, a new commotion brimmed at the far edge of the yard where the gates to the King’s quarters stood. Jonathan risked a glance in that direction, then looked again as the crowd collectively turned to watch. Those gates began to swing open. Towering and impressive; ancient and loud. Guards of an entirely different garb began to step through; regal, gliding, spotless. They kept coming. First 10, then 30, then rows and rows more entered the yard. The sight was profound. They somehow glowed faintly. The light in the sodden, drab, earthy space seemed to change. And then more decorated guards entered. A few mounted officers followed. And as they entered they fanned in an impressively synchronized formation that created an opening for a single figure. The King himself was entering the common soldier’s yard.

Any who were still shouting in the back were hushed into silence. The King strode, not hurried but with purpose, towards the caravan in the center of the crowd. Jonathan felt both impressed and apprehensive as he realized he stood exactly in the center of the space the King apparently planned to occupy.

As the King moved through the ranks, all surrounding Him began to kneel and drop their heads. Jonathan caught a glimpse of the instigating officer hesitate, not sure whether to remain facing the captain or turn towards the King who was now only twenty feet away. Jonathan felt himself drop to a knee and lowered his head, not sure whether he was allowed to look the King in the eye.

The King stopped in front of the yellow-jacketed captain, who had long since dropped to his knees. From the corner of his eye, Jonathan saw the King’s robes bunch on the ground and realized he had bent down in front of the leader and put a hand on his shoulder. Jonathan almost gasped at the familiality and kindness in the guesture. The leader did too, flinching at the touch and then cautiously looking into the King’s face.

(TBD)

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This is long-winded, but was fun to write. I’ll finish it ASAP.

-LS

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