The oil merchant was indeed there, just as he usually was. Francesco bought a flask of oil from him for his mother, but instead of heading back through the food merchants, he continued forward, towards the tools and implements. That was his favorite section of the market. He stopped to look at a knife: it looked like a soldier’s knife. It had a leather sheath and a no-nonsense, woven leather handle. Francesco always stopped for things that looked as if they could easily belong to a soldier.
I will be a soldier someday, and I will need things like this. I will be a soldier as soon as I am old enough. I will ride into Apulia on my big white horse and join the crusaders there. Little boys will run up to me to touch my boots and horse. People in the street will part formy passing and bless my mission.
Lost in his thoughts and daydreams, Francesco suddenly realized that some of the merchants were starting to pack up to leave. He quickly backed up – and backed right into someone standing behind him. He just as quickly turned around, eyes to the ground, and he saw before him white linen brushing sturdy boots. His gaze rose to a dark leather cincture that held a large broadsword on the man’s left side and continued up, past the large red cross that was appliqued to the linen covering the man’s broad chest, to the chainmail cowl that surrounded his thick neck. Above that was a very red beard, and above that, very blue eyes. Francesco could barely see that man’s head, as tall as he was. He stumbled back in awe and amazement. He had backed into a Knight Templar.
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