The Man in the Black Suit is an ongoing story from Deadman. If you missed out on the first chapter, check it out here before jumping in!
“This world is old and so am I”
The wall between the three kingdoms had been breached, artifacts that shouldn’t be in the hands of amateurs were, and the devils Bible was here. This was a situation that was bleak at best. So Jon sat in his chair in the middle of his apartment, amongst his books, thinking on the past, trying to remember the last time this sort of thing happened.
Like an encyclopedia he ran through all his encounters in the order they happened, cataloguing anew all the information and events from his past. But nothing connected thoroughly, just bits and pieces, faces and names, parts of Scripture. The farther he went back the harder it was to find anything of relevance. Three days passed as he sat, the world outside moving as usual, the thousands of people unaware of the dangers that possibly lurked in the shadows with plans of….That was it. Jon remembered.
It was right before King Arthur took power in England. Somewhere around 470 A.D. It had been a harsh winter, the snow had killed many and many more sick, England was in dismay and seeking salvation. Twelve men rode horses a few miles outside of London, the countryside still cold although the cities had begun to warm. The night was cold, but it wasn’t biting, and the moon hung full overhead.Heavy brown burlap robes cloaked ten of the men and the other two wore peasents clothing. One was young and had blonde hair, the other a man in his thirties with close cropped brown hair and grey eyes. They rode at the front of the two columned train of men and beast.
The young blonde spoke with curiosity and wonder, “Father Jon? How am I to save England?” Jon smiled at the boy and sighed deeply, preparing an explanation. “Well, young ward, there’s a sword in an anvil atop a stone, ran through like a Knight ill suited at his job.” He smiled and the blonde boy laughed a little, then Jon further explained, “The local folk and even some of the royal court believe that the bearer of that sword is the one and true King of England, chosen by God, himself. And you, my boy, are going to retrieve that sword.” The young lad thought a moment then turned back to the Father. “But Father you didn’t answer my question.”
Jon laughed out loud and hard, “You are a clever boy, aren’t you?” The boy beamed with pride. “Okay, okay. Like me, young ward, you’ve been in the care of the church and we have raised you with the love of God in your heart. With that sword in your hands and a crown upon your head you will help restore faith in God back into the people of this land. That’s how, my boy.” The ward sat contemplative upon his horse. Jon smiled and nodded, having sated the boys curiosity for now. But before the silence could last the boy asked another question. “Father Jon. Does heaven really exist and if it does…will I have a name there?” Jon expressed his appreciation for the question. He looked back at the ten men behind them, the only visible under the heavy burlap was a silver cross that reflected the moonlight. Then he turned back to the boy. “Yes it does. And though we cannot see it we live in Eden every day. God is all around us and so is the eternal heaven that he lives in. And you have a name, my boy. Your name is Arthur.” Young Arthur chuckled and stifled his laughter, checking that the monks behind him didn’t hear. “My name…is Arthur!” The young man was so happy silent tears ran down his rosy cheeks and into his wide smile. Jons spirits rose in seeing the delight that gave his young ward, something everyone took for granted so often: A name.
Arthur let the silence finally longer, the weight of his name settling in. The crisp night would hold some new and interesting things yet, Jon thought to himself. Arthur and his smile turned back to Jon, “Please, Father, tell me more about heaven. Why do you say we walk in Eden every day?” Jon nodded his agreement and chose a path of an easy to understand story for the boy, “This world is old, young Arthur, and so am I. Already I’ve existed for more than 300 years, living as a man, passing the word of God and the world we live in much, much older than even I can fathom. And I’m quite clever. Once. Far before you were born. There was a man who tried to unite heaven and earth. It ended very badly. But. In that very bad act we learned good knowledge: The kingdom of heaven is around us.” Arthur didn’t seem to understand, so Jon went further into explanation.
“The world is not what you think, Arthur. Heaven and earth and the inferno all exist. And they exist here, all at the very same time we do. But. There’s a wall between the three kingdoms.” The blonde haired boy looked at Jon with wide eyes, “Kingdoms?” Jon nodded and continued, “Yes, kingdoms. And as long as they are separate we can live in peace. Any breach of that wall and bad things will happen.” Arthur drank the whole thing in, the horse beneath him walking a steady pace, then he asked, “Father Jon…If heaven falls to earth what happens to us?” Jon took a moment and decided the best answer was the truth. His tone was cold and hard, “We burn.”
The words sent a shiver through the young lad. And he spoke with determination and courage in his juvenile voice. “If I’m to be king…I’ll be sure to keep the three kingdoms separate and ensure that heaven remain standing. And I’ll guard the gates of heaven and earth alike and make certain no one tries to combine them again.” Jon offered the boy a sincere smile and a nod of approval. “Well said, Arthur. But first. Let’s get you that blasted sword, yeah?” Arthur nodded and faced forward. “Father, you’re very old.” Jon winked and from then on the twelve men rode in silence.
Back in his apartment Jon smiled a sad smile for his long lost ward, and said a small prayer that heaven received their protector well. But. Arthur reminded him then and now what was afoot: Someone was trying to unite the three kingdoms.
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