XXIX

Fensham's Wake

 

The soldiers retreated to ponder their place,

and Fensham stood up and looked death in the face.

There was the Bishop, cloaked in his treason.

Fensham stood living, and wondered the reason.

 

‘We finally meet, O Seeker of The Crown.

Wouldst thou take readily this power struck down,

or consider me Master and thy Overlord?

Answer me now, or prepare for the sword.’

 

Fensham he fondled a grin on his face,

and looked all around at the death in the place:

‘Dost thou really think thou art worthy of rule?

Thou art nought but a demon’s fool.

No matter whether I choose fight or serve,

I know of the place which I truly deserve.

And only if ever a man of true good

dost sit in that seat would I offer my blood.’

 

The Bishop laughed out, for he cared not a bit

whether this man stood by him or where he would sit:

‘Thy blood shall run whether thou choose it or not.

And thou shalt die at the point of thy plot.’

 

Without understanding the depth of those words,

Fensham was taken and suitably bound.

Word spread ‘cross the land and the kingdom all heard

of assassination and the perpetrator found.

 

Merely one night did he spend in the jail,

and he considered his mission and how he had failed.

Yet that night the Angel of Fensham enlightened

visited him lest he be ever frightened:

 

‘Thou thinkest thyself a failure, we see.

So The King’s forgiveness was lost upon thee.

Thou wast never charged with altering fate,

for the world within thee can only be great.

 

‘Each thing of creation is a world set apart,

and creation requires thou findest peace in thy heart.

The world dost move on and thou art lost to the past,

yet only in peace shall thy memory last.

And even should the truth of thy goodness be known,

it shall not endure lest it be laid in stone.

For many a truth shall this Church overtake,

no matter the people who fight in thy wake.’

 

‘Then why fight at all, if no end there shall be?

Why seek out truth if it die with me?’

 

‘Truth does not die, but merely alters in form.

Man must dig through the layers of history’s storm.

Hope yet we carry that wisdom can return,

and mankind reconnects to a past it has spurned.’

 

‘That is a dream for a span beyond mine.

Never in my days or in my lifetime.

It saddens me greatly that man cannot see

his potential for peace and all he can be.’

 

The Angel smiled and said, ‘Thou hast woken.

The end of thy slumber in the words thou hast spoken.

Thine eyes and thy mind art truly awake,

for thou hast seen wisdom for wisdom’s sake.’

 

The Angel vanished, leaving Fensham alone,

considering life and a need to atone.

He lay down on his bench and closed his eyes.

Sleep overtook him with gentle surprise.

 

And when, in the morning, he was taken out,

he stood in a courtyard and looked all about.

Many had gathered to judge of this man,

for they had heard of the evil of this Lord Fensham.

 

The Bishop, as Master of all in his sight,

declared himself worthy to judge what was right.

And a hooded man was dragged out in chains

to stand facing Fensham and remind him of pain.

 

The hood was removed, the man blinked in the sun,

and Fensham recalled the deeds he had done.

For standing in chains born of Fensham’s wake

was the archer of Baronstown who made a mistake.

 

He was handed a bow and promised his freedom.

He trembled and cried, broken and beaten.

He could not look at Fensham as he accepted an arrow,

but through all his torture, he looked to tomorrow.

For this was the only price he could pay

to walk from this place, yet ashamedly say,

‘I am the archer who made the mistake,

and I have suffered in Fensham’s wake.’

 

Fensham looked up at the clouds in his fear,

but a voice from the next world said to him clear:

 

‘Do not be afraid, for my son and I

await thee in heaven though thou must die.

Steel thyself righteous and forgive this man,

for he is a victim of the Church and its plan.’

 

Fensham looked forward as the archer drew,

and shouted aloud, ‘I forgive you!’

He turned to the Bishop and said just the same,

and the people around felt a change in the game.

 

The archer, setting his selfishness apart,

turned with his arrow and speared the Bishop’s heart.

As rifles boomed out, the archer was killed,

but he died with his goodness and duty fulfilled.

 

This time, no delay saw Fensham cut down,

and with him all hope of ever a crown

ruling rightly and wisely and knowing one’s place.

The Church would be swift to completely erase

any notions of kingship that were handed down

by any man seeking to usurp the crown.

 

Three days passed of rumours and fears.

Some felt at peace, with others in tears.

How could a Forgiving Man suffer any greater

than to be deemed forgotten or branded a Traitor?

 

In an unmarked grave, to deter Church reproof,

was a man laid to rest who had learned a great truth.

Those who knew Fensham were not given the chance

to mourn with his body, to laugh and to dance.

Without a gathering, lest some trouble it might make,

each alone lifted a glass...

and shared Fensham’s Wake.

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