Chapter 7: The Six Steps
Twelve lions stood there, one on each side of the six steps;
nothing like this had been made for any other kingdom.
1 KINGS 10:20 NKJV
King Solomon’s throne room was designed to impress and intimidate, but Kester was a child of heaven, a zamarim who had decorated the throne room of God Most High. Rather than awe, the boy peered around the extravagant chamber with polite interest.
There is beauty here. Balanced architecture. Superlative craftsmanship. Intriguing details. Given the chance, Kester would have liked to explore the scenes carved into the long walls, but he doubted time would allow a lengthy perusal. The morning sun climbed steadily higher; before long, the doors would open to a flood of rulers and generals, ambassadors and delegations. But before they arrived, Kester had an apology to make.
He followed the captain, circling around until they could see the throne. Raised above the room upon a dais, the king’s throne was a masterpiece in ivory and gold with carved lions holding up its armrests. Even without asking, Kester would have recognized this lofty seat as Solomon’s. He sits upon his father’s throne—David, the Lion of Judah.
Kester’s attention caught on the former king’s harp, which occupied the throne. His fingers itched to touch the tuning pegs, and his mind was so full of potential melodies, he hardly noticed the remarks that passed between the other two.
Solomon’s deep voice echoed slightly in the lofty space. “Most men cower at the foot of these stairs.”
The captain drawled, “He hasn’t even noticed you. Or your pets.”
“Unusual.” Solomon stretched out his legs, crossing them at the ankle. “How long has it been since I was beneath notice?”
“Forgive the boy’s lack of awe. Though I daresay it’ll make things easier.”
“Things?” echoed the king. “Since when are you privy to my plans, Captain?”
“Since the day a little runt named Jedidiah first took me into his confidence. You couldn’t have been more than what … three?”
A low chuckle filled the hall, and a large hand pressed lightly between Kester’s shoulder blades. Rolling his eyes toward Solomon, the captain said, “Don’t you have something to say to your king?”
Kester hadn’t forgotten. He quickly climbed six wide steps. Sidestepping a yawning cat, the boy skipped over a chain and circled a cushion. By the time he reached Solomon, who slouched comfortably at the base of his throne, an elbow propped on its footstool, Kester had composed his apology. “I am quite late. Please, forgive my rudeness.”
Solomon stared up at him, eyes wide.
Recollecting himself, Kester dropped to his knees and bowed his head, mumbling, “I am here.”
Relative silence stretched for several moments, until the king finally asked, “Why?”
Kester wasn’t sure what to make of the king’s strained tone. Have I committed another offense? He quickly peeked at the captain, hoping for some clue, but the man only smirked. Kester cautiously answered, “I am here at your request, my king. Last night …?”
“Yes, yes, but here!” exclaimed Solomon, gesturing broadly. “Or has it escaped your notice that you’re surrounded by lions?”
Lions. Oh. Twelve full-grown predators had places on either side of the six steps, flanking the path to the king. An unusual, exotic, and formidable guard. But Kester had paid them as little attention than they had him. He fumbled for a reasonable response and came up empty-handed. So he folded his hands in his lap and calmly asked, “Are you fond of cats?”
♦ How’s Kester doing with the whole “ordinary boy” thing?
♦ Did you know Solomon had such an extravagant throne?
♦ Have you ever been close enough to touch a wild animal? Do tell!
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.
Sage and Song, © Copyright 2015 Christa Kinde, all rights reserved. If you want to receive an email whenever my stories update, subscribe to this blog. You can also watch for notifications on Twitter.