Stella Marie Alden Interviews Marcus Blackwell from How to Train Your Knight
Today, we welcome Stella Marie Alden and the hero of her latest release, How to Train your Knight. She has taken an interesting path with her interview by having one of her characters interview another.
“Are you Marcus Blackwell, son of the Earl of Thornhill?” The cardinal towered in the pulpit and glared down.
Behind the altar, a long faced Christ stared sadly, haloed in mosaic gold fleck.
Sir Blackwell, Lord of the Meadows, squinted his eyes and frowned up. “You know I am.”
“And are you here of your own free will to confess your sins.” The interrogator’s voice boomed and echoed in the huge church.
“God’s Bloo- oomph” He sucked in his breath when his wife’s elbow lodged deep into his side. She flashed him a honey-sweet smile.
He tried again, but only for his love of the raven-haired gypsy. “I meant to say, I am.”
His lady squeezed his hand, nodded, and gazed brown eyes forward as if nothing was amiss, but her eyes sparkled wickedly.
Head bobbing with enormous cap slipping over his face, the cardinal read out the accusations in Latin. “Do you admit to these?”
What a lot of folderol. Marcus crossed arms over chest to prevent himself from grabbing sword’s hilt. “To being a Templar? That I do. ‘Tis no sin. ‘Tis a great honor.”
The cardinal sneered. “There’s no honor in leaving your priestly vows, without the Pope’s sanction.”
“Which pope? So many have perished as of late, I can’t keep track.”
“The king comes,” a guard shouted at the back of the church.
The door slammed open, people bowed and curtsied, and Edward stomped down the main aisle. He growled, adjusted his crown, and pointed at the cardinal. “Know that I have sent formal protest to His Holiness.”
The cardinal cleared his throat and his fat face reddened. “Marcus Blackwell, Lord of the Meadows, you are charged with leaving your Templar orders, a fate punishable by dismemberment.”
“Oh for the love of all the saints. I was nay truly a Templar.” Marcus gave his renowned scowl, the ignoramus paled, and a woman in the back of the church fainted.
“So you posed as one of God’s chosen but were not? Then we are done here. Guards!” The twit flayed his arms.
“Damnation! You twist my words.” Marcus started forward, but his wife held him back.
She whispered into his ear, “Calm yourself, dear husband, or I shall needs follow you to an early grave.”
“The man is a holy arse-hole of a boar’s behind. I will not stand for it.”
She hid a snicker behind a flowing sleeve. If not for her belly rounded with child, he would travel south with the arse in shackles, and get the blasted proof he needed.
Marcus looked to his friend, Edward. “With your permission, Sire?”
The king nodded, and the crowd parted as Marcus strode to the back of the church. He climbed the back ladder to a small balcony, knowing the acoustics would carry out into the courtyard.
“It was 1272, Edward’s father still reigned. We had less than a thousand men against hoards, and yet we proceeded to Jerusalem, to give aide. The Normans, our allies, never arrived in time.
The enemy, demon-spawn, had no honor. Late at night, they sent an assassin to kill Edward. Being a light sleeper, I heard the commotion. I killed the coward, but not before he managed to put a poisonous knife into Edward’s arm.”
Marcus paused and toned his voice low. “The night was one of the blackest I ever recall. Our future king, in the fever of poison, hacked away at a hundred men. My man and I came to his aide, swords in hand, naked from sleep. The enemy surrounded us. I made my peace with God. I would die brave, buried in the blood of the infidels-”
The door to the church swung open. “Si vous plait? May I take the tale from here?”
“I was just getting to the good parts,” he growled at the familiar French accent.
Edward grinned as Julien, dressed in Templar’s finest mail and armor, clunked down the aisle.
Halfway to the altar, Julien turned, and pointed to the church floor. “Come down from there, mon ami. ‘Tis a truly ridiculous stance, even for you.”
He knelt to the king when he reached the altar, then grinned up the Cardinal, whose mouth had dropped open.
“Allons. Incroyable. No? So. Let me continue. That was where I found them, nigh onto death. Me and my men took pity upon them, and saved their miserable English souls for another day. However, my leader, a man not to be argued with, insisted, on compensation for our hard work. Thus, The Beast of Thornhill joined our holy order, as any sensible man would do, in the same circumstances. Oui?”
He waited for the Cardinal to nod.
“When the war was over, we stopped to see Pope Gregory, who released Sir Marcus from his vows.” Julien shrugged. “C’est fini. That is all.”
“What you say has no proof.” The Cardinal’s face turned a deep shade of violet, matching his miter cap and gown.
Julien winked at Marcus and unrolled a huge parchment with the pope’s seal. “I took it upon myself to keep this.”
“I thought it still in Italy.” Marcus shook his head and grinned.
“Are you daft? Leave such an important document with the Italians?” Julien grinned, kissed Lady Ann’s hand, and raised his purse. “A joust!”
Stella Marie Alden loves Zumba, yoga, watercolor painting, and fixing up her house.
Growing up in Vermont, crayons fought over placement in their cardboard box and imaginary friends crowded the house. Her brother complained. “Tell her no one’s here, Mother.”.
She’s been a librarian, a clarinetist, recording engineer, electronics repairman, and now architects software. She lives in NJ with her life-long hero and two cats. Her girls are grown but ever supportive. Go Mom!