$15.99 / Perfectbound
ISBN: 9781608444342
300 pages
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Excerpt from the Book

Chapter One

Above all things, whosoever would be a knight of Christ, choosing such holy orders, you in your profession of faith must unite pure diligence and firm perseverance, which is so worthy and so holy, and is known to be so noble, that if it is preserved untainted forever, you will deserve to keep company with the martyrs who gave their souls for Jesus Christ.
- Prologue to the Primitive Rule of the Poor-Fellow Soldiers of Jesus Christ

“Gilbert, pass me Father’s cloak and sword belt, please. Robert, help Father stand, if you will,” Edward said, directing his two brothers. They had to move—someone had to finally move.

It was too hot, Edward thought, even though it was very early in the morning. Their clothes were damp with sweat already.

Edward and his two brothers were serving as chamberlains to their aged father, Roland, who was preparing for his ordination ceremony as a Knight Templar. Edward knew how important this was to their father.

Their father seemed unfazed by the heat, unfazed by anything, really, yet here they were, in the kingdom of Jerusalem, gathered in the great hall of the Poor-Fellow Soldiers of Jesus Christ, better known to most as the Knights Templar.

Gilbert slowly lifted the white cloak, the snowy material heavy in his hands. The cloak was adorned with a cross of red, the mark of a Templar knight. As he lifted the cloak, Gilbert thought his father would never survive the heat in this garment. Robert pushed his head and shoulders back while glancing at his father as if to see the whole length of him, then he made a final adjustment to the position of his father’s sword.

Edward slowly walked around his father, nodding his head all the while. “Done! Father, this is splendid! You are ready for the ceremony.”

The sounds of the warrior-monks intoning the sacred chants filled the air in the chapel then seemed to rise up higher and higher so that the sounds reverberated sharply in the streets and alleys of the holy city of Jerusalem.

Roland seemed far away as he gazed out the west window upon the Dome of the Rock; it was almost as if he were trying to conjure up something from his fading memory. Then, just like that, Edward watched Roland “come back” to them.

Standing straighter, Roland said ardently, “God gives us so little time, Edward.” Roland’s worn eyes could barely make out the dome in the distance, but he knew it was there, of course. Everything seemed muted to Roland today, which was very strange on this, of all days. Even the chants seemed faded—indistinct, at best—when they never had before. Roland thought it must be because all of the sights and sounds of Jerusalem were ingrained in him. He had imagined his ordination ceremony so many times that the reality of it now seemed to lose color somewhat, to grow fainter. It was as if this were so important to him that it was too intense to bear.

Roland turned his attention back to the room, where preparations continued around him and his sons. Young squires were running about, moving candles and other vessels used in the celebration of the Mass. All of this was in preparation for the most solemn of all occasions. He smelled incense and knew that the Grand Master of the Temple, the leader of the Templars, and the Bishop of Jerusalem were conducting the ritual acts of purifying and sanctifying the Templar chapel with incense. He loved that sweet smell. It cleansed the air of the otherwise foul-smelling odors of the city. In minutes, Roland would be called forth to the chapel for the Knights Templar ordination ceremony.