A Medieval Knight in Vatican City

Scott Pearson

The knight stumbled into an angry mob just as yelling and shoving turned into a brawl. Curses—plain from the tone although in languages he didn’t understand—echoed in the narrow street between brick and stone buildings. A fist connected with his jaw, and instinct took over. With no clear allies in the crowd, he simply fought with anyone who got in his way. He punched, elbowed, kicked, and yelled without mercy. A man came at him with a broken bottle, but he knocked the bottle aside smashed his fist into the man’s face. The man fell flat on his back, unconscious. None were prepared for the wrath of a member of the Order of the Temple, and soon the people who remained standing scattered, allowing him a moment to catch his breath and take stock of his surroundings.
       Étienne Joubert skirmished in the hard streets of a city he didn’t recognize. The strange, unfamiliar clothing of the immobile bodies meant nothing to him. He didn’t know where he was or how he had gotten there. Sharp, loud cracks filled the air along with unrecognizable roarings and metallic screechings. Sounds of breaking glass added a brittle edge to the mayhem. He looked up and down the now-deserted street. It was a mild day, and without the exertion of the fight it might have been slightly chill in the shadows between the buildings. The buildings themselves looked fairly conventional, but some of the designs and stonework were out of the ordinary. Most of the windows were shuttered, the residents hiding from the violence in the city.
       He wandered down the brick-paved street, the sounds of fighting growing closer. He paused at a sign: Arlù Ristorante. Alongside the door of the restaurant was a handwritten menu of pasta dishes. Suddenly he was aware of being hungry but, on the other side of the clearest glass he’d ever seen, the restaurant was dark and empty. He turned away, thinking back to the angry cries of mob he’d fought, and thought that perhaps some had indeed been speaking Italian. How did he come to be in Italy from . . . where had he been last? Paris? His memory was foggy. Joubert raised a hand to his head, searching for injuries as he continued down the street. . . .

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