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
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