Chapter 5: The Side Entrance
“The king’s favor is toward a wise servant.”
PROVERBS 14:35 NKJV
Lowered eyes and lofty thoughts. Hand safe in the captain’s keeping, Kester stayed at his side, and while they walked, the boy framed his current gratitude into a song. Composition calmed his frenzied heart. Melodies soothed away troubled thoughts. And without really meaning to, he worked in an accompaniment for harp. I will share it with Asaph at evensong.
The captain’s ambling pace slowed to a standstill. “This is the place.”
Kester blinked several times and returned his attention to their surroundings. They’d reached a wide open room with vaulted ceilings supported by golden columns. The walls had been carved with the figures of lions and angels. Inlaid floors gleamed softly in the light of many lampstands. Four guardsmen stood before double doors that were surely tall enough to accommodate a giant. This must be the entrance to King Solomon’s throne room.
“Did you pay any attention to the turnings?” asked the captain.
“Stop tuning out. This is important.” Taking Kester by the shoulders, he steered him to the right, saying, “The front door is mostly for dignitaries and generals. Which means not you. If the king calls, there’s a less conspicuous way in.”
Through an archway. Into a courtyard. Around a corner. Under an arbor thickly hung with ripening grapes. Kester cast a worried look at the sky, which was the milky blue of morning. “I am late.”
“Excuses fly as far as ostriches with the king. Own up and apologize.”
“I will,” Kester promised.
A narrow path half-hidden by lush greenery led to a side entrance, which was under guard. At least, that’s the impression Kester received. The man sitting before its ornate metal gate wasn’t wearing the colors or armor of the king’s soldiers, so maybe he was only a servant.
Kester had difficulty taking the man’s measure. His hair was pure white, but the planes of his face were unlined. Old, yet ageless. Somber, yet serene. Kester wondered where he was from, for the guard wasn’t any more Hebrew than the captain who pushed him forward.
“Solomon’s expecting him.”
The black-clad man’s eyebrows arched.
“Look close,” ordered the captain. “He’s called Kester, and he’s caught the king’s interest. You know what that means.”
With a careless agility that belied his age, the man sprang to his feet and unbarred the door. An inscrutable gaze. A stiff half-bow. A remark in a foreign language.
Kester stepped closer. “Say it again? I did not understand.”
Inclining his head, the man repeated himself, this time in heavily-accented Hebrew. “The meaning of my captain is clear. Our king has a new pet.”
♦ Do you have any little habits or routines that help you calm down?
♦ How many doors to the outdoors are in your home?
♦ Can you read or speak in more than one language?
Author’s Note: This story is a prequel to Christa Kinde’s Threshold Series [Zonderkidz] and updates twice a week (Wednesdays and Saturdays). More information can be found on the Sage and Song index page.
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