Chapter 6: The Caged Birds
The king made a great throne of ivory,
and overlaid it with pure gold.
1 KINGS 10:18
Kester followed the captain through a tall, airy tunnel which led onto a wide porch surrounded by trees. Terraced garden beds. A cascading waterfall. Stone arches covered with flowering vines. Shapely urns. And from several overhanging branches, gilded cages. Each held birds with bright plumage. Pips and piping. Trills and tremolos. Kester’s heart lifted at the simple beauty of their worship.
He pursed his lips and blew a soft note. If I could properly play a reed instrument, would I be able to emulate their song?
The captain chuckled. “Do you like birds?”
“Hardly surprising. From what I’ve heard, you’re part songbird yourself. But are you paying attention to the path?”
Kester paused to look back the way they’d come. Nodding once, he said, “I am not lost.”
His guide strolled through an archway into a smallish room—by palace standards—furnished with couches and cushions. Kester peered around curiously. Braziers burned away the morning chill, and rugs softened the floor. But there was no sign of the king or his father’s harp.
“We’re behind the throne,” the captain explained. “The king rests here. Not many people are allowed here.”
“I have known the king since his birth.” The old man smiled blandly. “And I escorted him to the throne on which he sits.”
“King Solomon trusts you.”
“I should hope so.”
Kester said, “I will also trust you.”
“Good idea. So here’s a word of advice.” The captain guided him along a passage that angled slightly and opened into a room so long, it felt like a corridor. Lowering his voice, he said, “If the king honors you with a gift, don’t refuse.”
The boy’s steps slowed as they passed through an unremarkable door into a room of greater magnificence than any Kester had seen. The throne room of King Solomon.
“One more thing.” Bending low, the captain whispered, “How do you feel about cats?”
♦ Do you have a personal retreat?
♦ May as well ask y’all, too! Do you like birds?
♦ How do you feel about cats?
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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