Inside the Book:
Title: Enter Knight
Author: K.A. Keith
In this scene, the young troubadour, Rudolph Mellor (nickname Jamello), confronts the paladin Xephard on the eve before the party’s descent into the Hel plain:
Jamello regarded the holy warrior. “Xephard the Fearless. How does one accomplish this?
The paladin’s deep voice was slow and serene. “I have thought on your question. It is one I have answered before, but never well. I will make amends now.
“Simply this …it is easier to be brave than not. The ugly part of fear is that it immobilizes one to action.” The paladin paused, gathering his thoughts. “The rabbit runs, not because he is afraid, but because that is his nature. If fear covers him, he freezes in the face of danger and is taken. The secret of courage is then to do a positive action despite one’s fear.”
“And you?” asked Jamello softly.
“I have no mantle of courage to slip on, having no need of such virtue. From my northern fathers, I know that the thread length of my life was wound by the Norns at the time of my birth. When it plays out, I will die. This knowledge is a mighty gift.”
“Is that all?”
Xephard smiled warmly. “No. Long ago, I gave our goddess of wisdom and war, the soldier’s friend, every breath and shout and fiber of my being. I have no hidden self to fear or hurt. I have been shriven.”
“Nothing left to lose?” said Jamello wryly.
“Exactly!” beamed Xephard. He lapsed into silence. Jamello thought him done, until the temple peer lifted his head once more. “The holy mistress of Lampus says that how one lives out his days is what is important. If one’s deeds in this life are found worthy, Spear Goddess will gather you to Her circle of champions to live again as a chosen of her court, to be a hero most excellent.
Do you this thing, Rudolph Mellor.” The paladin’s cloud-blue eyes gleamed in the dark as he spoke.
That said, Xephard lay back and fell apparently into untroubled sleep. Jamello groaned inwardly. He always knew that Cynthia would lure him into an inescapable fix. At last he reclined, troubled by shivering nightmares and dire, waking images such that he was surprised to find Henlee’s booted toe nudging him awake after the others had apparently risen with the dawn, such as it was in this bleak and blasted place.
He sat up and blinked.