Their swords flashed in the sunlight, sparking like bolts of lightning, the radiant impressions fading slowly in the spectators’ dazzled vision. The female fighter Helene spun and dodged with lithe quickness. She fought with two swords, wielding them like lethal silver torches while her male opponent struggled to keep up.
Then two knights took the stage with sword and shield, their weapons leaving solid thumps on the wooden barriers with each blow. There was satisfaction in each hearty crash, as the audience cheered either for the strength of one knight or the determination of the other. Many perched on the edges of their seats, fists clenched subconsciously as they imagined themselves in their patron knight’s place.
And then there was the Blue Knight. With gentlemanly kindness, he gave his blue rose not to the prettiest maiden but to a little girl, whose eyes gleamed as she accepted the prize and whose voice ran hoarse cheering for her sweetheart. The Blue Knight fought fiercely, enduring countless blows from his fearsome foe. It was with increasing difficulty that he rose time and again after being knocked down, until finally he lay collapsed in the grass, unable to fight any longer. It was with disappointment that the little girl watched her knight be carried off, and doubtless there was despondence in his own heart to have failed her.
But there were yet more rounds to be fought, yet more fighters to test their mettle, and none could yet say how the tournament would end…
So I went to a medieval festival yesterday! I’ve mentioned before how much I love them and yesterday was just a reminder of the fact. All the costumes–armour, dresses, feathers and leather!–all the wanton cries of “Huzzah!”, all the amazing stuff to buy. Oh, the stuff to buy. Some girls drool over new shoes. I drool over hand-carved wands, pewter and sterling silver, and leather books. I picked up a couple things, a hair wand and a hobbit hole necklace (as well as a Claddagh ring for my sister), but really what I picked up was inspiration.
Guys, this is going to be me one day.
You’ll find me wandering through a medieval festival, lost in a world of fantasy, brave enough to play a part I’m yet too shy to act. You might find me competing in a tournament, or simply admiring the sights, or playing a fiddle, or telling stories. But that’s what I’ll be doing–going to all the medieval festivals not just as a spectator, but as somebody who belongs there.
I know I’m going to write fantasy for a long time, likely the rest of my life, but sometimes I forget why I do it. It’s easy to forget, since I just sit at the same laptop every day to write, surrounded by technology and electricity and running water, but when I go to medieval festivals, I remember.
I love the chivalry of the knights, men and women alike. I love the dresses and cloaks. I love the music by fiddle and flute. I love the hearty pewter, the elegant sterling silver. I love the leather, love it, love it, love it. I love the magic and the rawness and the unpredictability.
But most of all, I love the adventure.
I love that you’re stepping into a different world where anything can happen and anyone can become a hero. I love looking at people not in terms of status or wealth, but in terms of strength, cleverness, and bravery. I love that there are people in the world who love fantasy just as much as I do, and who are constant reminders that as long as the hero endures, so too does our hope.
Hope is an open door, through which the light glows most radiant. Hope is our guiding star, our flaming brand, our solid shield. Hope is the sword with which we cleave doubt, fear, and evil itself.
Coming back from the festival, I am full of it, this hope stuff, and that is a gift more precious than my money can buy.
What are you hoping for this week?
May you see hope as your door and have the courage to find your way through it.