Warrior Dad Part 1

The yellow light from the flickering lanterns and candles danced across the gray stone walls and combined with the glow from a large, round-stone fireplace at the end of the long room. The three-foot cedar logs sung a low rhythmic chorus of snaps as the fire slowly consumed them. Roughhewn timbers, blackened in the middle by soot, encased the hearth. The cool dampness from the dark hall faded as I entered, slowly replaced by the heat of the ample fire as I crossed the room. On my left spaced evenly along the wall, hung three vibrant colored satin banners from ceiling to floor, a full three times my height. I paused and took in the first banner of rich royal purple, the hue of a king’s robe. The second banner was a dark green. Darker than any emerald I had seen. The third banner sent a shiver down my spine, crimson, blood red. I thought myself brave but that banner froze me in my track. A color so somber, it conveyed not merely the color of blood but the feeling of pain, of sacrificed and fear. As a man, I had seen my fair share of wounds and no picture, no drawing, no words could capture that intensity of red. To call it a color did not do it justice. Entranced by the emotions that flooded over me brought on by that banner, I stood motionless.

“So, you have come.” His aged voice snapped me from my abstraction, jerking my head back to the fire and the high back of the chair sitting in front of it. I could see the gray hair on the crown of his head over the top of the chair back. “Come pull a chair next to me and warm yourself by my fire for we must talk.” Not the voice I had anticipated. It did not boom through the room like a clap of thunder, instead came soft and warm, yet still carried authority. Not frail, yet the aged voice demanded the respect due it.

Without a word, I moved around from behind him as he motioned me to a chair with his right hand. When I took my seat, I came in full view of the man who had summoned me. Strength show through the wrinkled ashen skin of his face. Strength not measured in how much he could lift or throw, although I think even at his age he could still hold his own, but strength of heart. A strength that came from knowing what he believed was true and right. His bulky frame filled the enormous chair. My eyes drifted down to see his breastplate, embossed with his coat of arms. The same three colors as the banners placed in three diagonal stripes, the purple stripe on the top followed by the green with the red on the bottom. His armor fit him well. It was clean and well cared for, but showed every mark inflicted in battle giving me the feeling he could tell me the story behind each one.

His elbows rested on the arms of the great chair with his fingers knitted together above his lap. My gaze traveled back up to meet his steel blue eyes. They say a man’s eyes are a window to his soul but this man’s eyes seemed a window into my own soul. They pierced me, cutting me open for all the world to see. No pretense, no hiding, just exposed. I squirmed in my chair suddenly uncomfortable. I wanted to lie; I wanted to try covering up things I had done wrong years before, to make excuses for the failures of my past. Without a word, his eyes condemned me. The guilt of my life twisted my stomach in knots till I began to wonder if I might throw up right here, right in front of him but then I saw it in his eyes. I saw mercy.

He took in a deep, slow breath and let it out with a slight sigh. “Do you know why I have called you?”

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Comments
  1. Bill Enval says:

    Cant wait to read more!

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