As we may be at the Dubuque Renaissance Fair today (or not Iʼll have to let you know later), and as I expected to be busily in love all day yesterday, hereʼs a little more of the first chapter from the Sepharad story.
The first piece from chapter one was here on Friday.
more from the infamous Sepharad story
The Northerner hurried after him, catquiet for all his size. They passed through twists, turns, dips, stairs — all back ways, all as dark as sin, which led in about a quarter hour to a large wooden door, iron-bound. The small one pulled open the massive portal by a huge iron ring and motioned his towering companion within.
It was a vast multiple-arched room, separated and supported by massive columns, floored on many different levels. The cellar area of the building — reserved as a tavern. The little fellow steered them both across, down, up and up to an isolated table between two outer walls and a column.
“Wine?” he asked, and the Northerner agreed. “Wine!” the little fellow shouted toward the center, where large casks lay stacked in the bottommost spot and busy workers hurried. A large fireplace — low on the far end of the place — provided heat, smoke and food cooking in two large cauldrons. The tavern was mostly empty, with only about twenty drinkers huddled at various tables closer to the fire.
“I be Søren,” the tall one offered.
“Thank you, Søren.” The black-bearded other hesitated around the foreign vowel, but pronounced it successfully. “I figured it was the last darkness for me for certain until your sword — ”
A pitcher and two ceramic mugs clattered onto the table. “Your wine, Jew,” gargled the waiter.
“Add it to my tab, Jaime,” the small one waved him away airily and began pouring the ruby liquid into the vessels.
“Your tab,” snarled the fellow sarcastically, stalking away.
“Jew?” inquired Søren.
“Not my name. My people. You may call me Judah.” He raised his tankard. “To you, Søren. My gratitude. You’re a brave man, a stout companion in a fight with a good sword. I owe you much more than this.”
“I could not allow so many to attack a single man.”
“Most in this city would have joined those bravos.”
“I am not… of this city.”
“Clearly not, my friend. The city is not so large that I could have missed one of your heroic size. Besides you speak Aragon so vilely you must be a foreigner.”
“Aye. You make strange sounds hard for my tongue in these lands .”
“I am sure we would think the same trying your native language. Whence do you come?”
“The North,” Søren answered briefly, waving his hand accurately northward, and poured himself more wine.
Judah chuckled, “All Christendom lies more or less north of Sepharad.”
“My homeland lies north of Christian lands. Though missionaries come to the courts of our kings, we worship our old gods still. One-eyed Othynn guides my way,” he then upended the mug and quaffed the wine in one long draught, “when he bothers with humans at all.”
“You are not a Christian?”
“Christians have no interest in our beliefs — except to exterminate them. If you are interested, I guessed you could not be a Christian.”
“Rather the Christians are a kind of Jew, loath as they would admit such.”
“How is this?”
“Their Christ, their god, one of their three-in-one gods, was a Jew, though some say his illicit father was a Roman centurion.” Judah waved the empty pitcher for more drink.