Étienne Joubert is a fourteenth-century Templar knight living in twenty-first-century New York City, serving the Catholic Church in a world teaming with gods. When a demon goes on a killing spree, including two Lenape Tribal Elders, it falls to Joubert to deal with the problem and keep the peace between the two faiths. But his mission is complicated by differences within the Church, and hes fortunate to have the assistance of his longtime valet and newfound assistant.
The Squire and the Valet was written for ReDeus: Native Lands, edited by Robert Greenberger and Aaron Rosenberg. In this third ReDeus shared-world anthology, the stories had to involve the faiths of Native Americans in the same transformed world, following the return of every pantheon of gods and goddesses who have ever been worshipped. I returned again to Joubert, my character from my first two contributions to the ReDeus series, The Tale of the Nouveau Templar and A Medieval Knight in Vatican City. To mix things up a bit more, I prominently featured Jouberts valet, Wilkins, as well as Jouberts sidekick/squire, Tony. The excerpt below is from the opening scene.
The Squire and the Valet
Wilkins scrambled clumsily over the low wrought-iron fence to check for signs of life, but wasnt optimistic. The bloody tears in the black clothing suggested the deep claw wounds of a large animal, and a substantial amount of blood had run down the steps and pooled at the bottom. A smeared trail of blood led back through the open wine-red door of the cathedral. He knelt beside the body, which lay on its back, head hanging over the stairs, and felt for a pulse at wrists and neck with no luck. The patch of white at the front of the shirt collar was spattered with blood. Old St. Pats was one of the few Catholic churches still open in the transformed Manhattan following the Return of the Gods, and having its priest murdered would probably be the end of the historic cathedral. All these concerns were shoved aside, however, as he looked more closely at the body, trying to understand what had happened, how the priest had been attacked by a vicious animal inside the cathedral. Protruding from the priests left side was the shaft of an arrow. . . .
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