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Chapter 10 - It's a Quiet Journey Back to Cuenca

The journey back to Cuenca was uneventful.

Zaina, Malik, and Joseph were all joyfully reunited with their much-relieved parents. Farajj invited Diego and Martin to stay overnight at his farm before continuing on toward Toledo.

Accepting the invitation, they ended up spending a very pleasant evening with Zaina’s family. Her two little brothers recognized Martin immediately and soon had him engaged in their games.

The meal proved to be a feast, prepared by Farajj’s wife and all of her daughters. Seeing how the close-knit family lived, worked, and prayed together gave Diego and Martin much to think about.

Later, Zaina got out her oud and sang for them. It was a concert the boys would remember for the rest of their lives. The next morning after yet another wonderful meal, the boys departed. A short time later they paused at the little bowl-shaped valley, where Zaina first discovered Tizona.

“You know,” said Martin as the horses grazed. “There are many good and honorable causes for which a knight might go to war. He must defend his lands and protect his people. If need be, he must defend his honor. In the cause of justice a knight may be called upon to bring those who do evil to account. All of these things our lord Rodrigo has taught us. But he never mentioned fighting for religion -- fighting to force a land and its people to accept a single faith. I fear that may be what is to come for Spain -- wars over religion. After meeting and getting to know the people we’ve encountered these last days, I don’t think I could fight for such a cause. I’m not so sure now that the life of a knight is what I really want.”

Diego looked at him thoughtfully. “Not long ago I would have said you were crazy. And actually, I still think so. But at least I do understand what you are saying. I can’t remember ever wanting to be anything but a knight. And that remains my goal. But I have to admit the experience has changed me too. It has made me see that those we might face on a battlefield are actual people -- people with their own view of what is right -- people with families and children -- not just faceless enemies. I’ve learned that a knight must consider carefully the cause for which he fights.”

“I wonder if lord Rodrigo considers so carefully,” Martin said as they resumed their journey and left the little valley behind.

 
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