Étienne Joubert is a fourteenth-century French Templar knight who suddenly finds himself battling through the streets of a Rome he barely recognizes, dodging metal carts that speed by without horses. Taken within Vatican City, he struggles to find his place in the twenty-first century, a world that seems full of gods except for his own.

“A Medieval Knight in Vatican City” was written for ReDeus: Beyond Borders, edited by Robert Greenberger and Aaron Rosenberg. In this second ReDeus shared-world anthology, the stories had to be set outside of the United States in the same transformed world, following the return of every pantheon of gods and goddesses who have ever been worshipped. I decided to go back in time relative to my first ReDeus story, “The Tale of the Nouveau Templar” (now titled “The Many Gods of Manhattan”) and tell of Joubert’s arrival in the turbulent twenty-first century—and his last days in the fourteenth. The excerpt below opens the story.

Coming soon.

A Medieval Knight in Vatican City

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. . . .

Beyond Borders cover and ReDeus concept copyright Crazy 8 Press. Nouveau Templar cover and text copyright Scott Pearson.
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