July 17, 2009


My mission required I cross the lawless land.
I was told to escort an old monk, but the robed figure was spading a garden when I saw him. He seemed to be unaware of the pending journey.
The message I was to deliver could broach no delay. I urged him to be rapid in preparing to leave.

His motion was more fluid than fast as he separated the metal shovel blade from the handle. The metal disappeared beneath the folds of his cloak and the handle became a walking staff.
His long gait had carried him a distance before I realized he had started the trip. I had to hurry to catch up with him.

My sword was useless in the shelter less sea of sand between forests… but the old man’s shovel carved a shaded burrow into the coolness of the earth when needed.
The edge of my blade was my protection… so I dare not defile it on the sticky vines and woody growth of the forest. My sword was only feared by humans. The briars had no fear.
Fortunately, the monk kept his shovel blade sharp enough to clear the trail overgrown from last passage.

My intent had been to see the monk safely along the road… but so far he had been the one exploring the trail ahead and providing protection.
There was only one threat where my sword would be useful… but I was more than a sword length behind when the monk was attacked.

I raced forward as the huge assailant swung his weapon against the frail figure in robes supported by the walking stick.
Still too far away to assist… I heard the clang as the weapon struck the shovel blade beneath his robes. I saw the attacker fall… entangled by the walking stick.

By the time I covered the distance and arrived panting… there was no throat for my sword to threaten. The thief decided a shovel blade could be as frightening as a sword blade and had departed for easier prey.

At the edge of the city I was feeling proud of myself for my success. I had not only arrived with my important message, but I had safely delivered my human charge as well.

The old man did not enter the city; however… he held his walking stick in obvious salute to me and said…
“You have arrived safely to deliver your message. My job is done.”
He turned then and started his return trip to his garden.

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