The sun rose over the small hamlet that is Bexley with its usual warmth, bathing the small wooden buildings in golden light. Roosters could be heard welcoming the day in their most usual, and obnoxious way. The smell of fresh bread was already permeating through the streets when a messenger, bleeding from the arrow protruding from his back reached the temple.
“My lord!” He called as the horse skidded to a halt. “My lord, I beg of you!”
The messenger fell from the horse, crying out in pain as the arrow shifted. He moved forward, barely able to keep his stomach off the ground, toward the temple doors. The sound of galloping horses were barely perceptible in the distance. The doors opened and the priest emerged, his simple brown robes and bald scalp common for men in his order.
“Oh no! David, what happened to you?” The priest asked as he moved to the boy’s side. “Who did this?”
“Father Alden, the messege – in my satchel – you need to take it and -” David managed to get out before the strain of his condition caused him to lose consciousness.
The preist heard the hoofbeats now, they drew closer, undoubtedly in search of his friend. He looked around quickly for anything and anyone that could help him, but found none. Rather than let the young messenger get caught he would do his best to hide him.
Father Alden pulled the satchel from the saddlebags of the horse, aimed it out of the other side of the hamlet, and gave it a mighty slap on the rump. The horse reared up and began it’s wild gallop out of the hamlet. Father Alden could only hope the horse was not trained well enough to return to its owner once calm. He grabbed David as gingerly as he could, trying his best to avoid the arrow, and brought him into the temple.
The interior of the temple was shimmering with wonderful colors of blue and red as the sun came through the simple stained glass windows that stood tall on either side of the pews. Father Alden walked between the pews, to the back of the temple. He moved the podium to one side, revealing a heavy iron ring on which he heaved. With the dull cracking of wood the old hatch opened. He climbed down the short ladder to the earthen room beneath, carrying the boy with him.
The dark room was full of cobwebs. Alden could barely make out the surface he sought. A dining table sat on the far end of the small room against the wall. He cleared the table with a sweeping of his free hand and laid the boy down gently on his stomach. He then set the satchel down next to him.
“I’ll be back for you. Just keep breathing.” Alden whispered before climbing the ladder.
He closed the door and returned the podium to its original location before the hoofbeats stopped just outside.