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Beauty and Death---Chapter Three

by polishcommonwealth

They stopped at a small town in between Lvov and Lublin, Tsaronka, to rest their horses. While waiting, they entered a tavern, and found that it was almost filled. The words ‘Ottoman’ and ‘defeat’ went around each table like an echo. After being brought some wine, they went to a table where the men welcomed Pan Casimir and Pan Cyril. An old man sat there, with a wearied face and a small hat upon his white and aged head, though at that same time, that face did not indicate weakness; and if it did to others, then they would have been deceived. Another man sat there also, who looked more French than Polish. He, Pan Casimir afterward learned, was a messenger from France sent to King Jan Sobieski. They welcomed Pan Casimir and Pan Cyril to their table, and the main topic was, of course, the war with the Ottomans.

“What will the king do at Krakow?” said the old man gloomily to himself. “He shall be smothered with blood and defeated, covered with shame, no one to help him. We are alone. No one shall come to our aid, and if they do, it shall end no better than at Vienna.”

“But take heart,” said the Frenchman. “For I come from my king for the very purpose. It is heard in some streets of Paris that the Spaniards are forgiving old grievances against the French. They are rallying their men, and are investing greatly in a fleet. Yet that has nothing to do with Krakow. My king wishes to go to Krakow and route the Turks, but how he knows not. Secrecy must be in this plan however, and it shall not fail, once my king thinks of a plan.”

“But how do you know that your king will come up with a good plan?” asked Pan Cyril.

“Holy Mother! Do you not know who my king is?” cried the Frenchman, throwing up his arms. “He is King Louis XIV, the Sun King some people call him. True, many people, especially his court, believe that my king is so dull. They do not believe in such masters of art. But I believe! He was one of the masters of ballet, he was the maker of the Palace of Versailles, and he was, and still is, a great war general. How many victories and wars he has won! And even more has he himself been in the middle of battle, and though bullets and sabres are seeking him, he comes out with victory unscathed!”

“He is a wonder, I shall not deny that,” said the old man. “But you give me no reason to hope. I do not doubt that King Louis will come. The question is, will he have victory like you say? And what will politics do to injure the resistance against the Ottoman swarm? Surely, there must be wars of our own to deal with. Spain, France, the Netherlands, England, even the Holy Roman Empire itself, is fighting all against each other. These stories that you tell are probably rumors, for would kings of empires truly forgive each other with no fault so soon?”

“These are not rumors!” said the Frenchman triumphantly. “The king has ended the war with a treaty, he said so himself. He has said so just before I left, which is probably why you have not heard the news. What remains to be seen, and whether or not these nations that have previously been hostile to each other shall be comrades in battle, I know not. But my hopes are high.”

“I had heard that the war ended when I was in Lvov,” said Pan Cyril. “Yet I too did not believe.”

“Why did you not tell me that when we were in Lvov?” asked Pan Casimir.

“More important matters were at hand, and it did not come to my mind then,” said Pan Cyril.

“They may have peace,” said the old man, “but they shall never have peace within their hearts. At least not the Dutch. They are heretics, and because this is a question of our faith as well as a question for the country, I do not wish help from heretics.”

“Well, is that a surprise?” said the Frenchman. “Of course heretics will not help us. The Dutch are not concerned with the Ottomans.”

“Yet may King Louis call upon the English for help?” asked Pan Casimir.

“He may; and then again he may not. But I will not deny that England’s navy would be of great use to us.’

“I doubt the English will come,” said the old man. “ They have had a civil war, then another war with the Dutch, then their capital city is burnt to the ground. It is true that they have rebuilt their city, but many debts have made them corrupt. The English have too many things to worry about on their own.” And though the old Pole was right, the Frenchman said;

“Why so gloomy all the time? Do you not know happiness? Do you not see joy? Do you not see hope? One of two things shall happen. Either the countries, united by the true faith, shall conquer and drive back the Ottomans, or the Ottomans shall wipe Catholicism from the world, and the day of judgement shall come. Then we do not have to worry about this world, and only prepare ourselves for the true life that was made for us.”

“That’s one way to look at it,” said Pan Cyril.

Then all talk was broken, for a young boy had entered the tavern with wide eyes, and gave a groan from his bloody mouth. He had an obvious wound on his shoulder where blood slowly poured out. And before anyone realized what had happened, the boy cried out, with a groan, “Turks!” and then fainted upon the floor. Then men who had been most quick to the boy rushed to catch him, and quickly laid him on two chairs. Doctors were sent for, and luckily one of the men in the tavern was one, and he attended the boy. Yet Pan Cyril, not wasting a moment, rushed out of the tavern. Knowing his horse was tired, he made way to the Turks with no steed, with his sword ready. Pan Casimir, seeing this, quickly followed his brother. The old man also followed the two brothers on his white stallion and soon the entire company at the inn went to see if they could slaughter the Turks. Then the rest of the town, as if in revolt, grabbed sabres and muskets and went ahead, horse or no horse, to the upcoming battle. Pan Cyril, having the head start, was far ahead of the main company. Pan Casimir followed his brother as quickly as his legs could carry him, sometimes calling out to turn back, yet his brother would not listen. The old man, with his sabre, rode past Pan Casimir, and eventually the old man rode past Pan Cyril. The Turkish party, which could be seen from a distance, was small. Yet, even though the old man, now feeling young again, was still far away, only half the party stood and faced them, for they were already fighting another small party, though it was barely defensible. The Turks, firing their muskets, rode on their horses in an attempt to encircle the charging townsmen, But before this happened they were dealing with two sabres--Pan Cyril’s, and the old knight. The sabre of Pan Cyril flashed in the sunlight, bathed with blood, and the old knight’s sword quickly sought enemies, and sent them to death. The Turks, just before they had recovered from the sudden attack, Pan Casimir came, relieving his brother and the old knight. Then after Pan Casimir came, the entire angry mob approached, as if they were the fowlers, and the Turks the imprisoned bird. The Poles which had been previously attacked were joyous at the newcomers, and they fought with more ferocity, though truly the majority of them only had scythes and pitchforks.

When Pan Casimir rushed into the Turks, he stabbed with his blade, left and right. And though the Turks certainly had superior numbers, the Poles had gained the upper hand, for the Turks were dismayed at the sight of the sudden attack of the townspeople. But the Turks pushed back. They, with their horses, had a great advantage over the townsmen. Therefore, with their long lances, kept at bay the charging townsmen. But disaster ruled in the Turkish flanks, for the old man and Pan Casimir with some other townsmen flanked the Turks, and after firing their muskets, charged with sabres and spears. Some, not having weapons, used their own muscle strength, tearing down Turks from their horses and throttling them. The Turkish line was being encircled, and indeed after a little more than half the Turks fell, the rest put down their weapons and surrendered.

Taking them prisoner, they went back towards the town, and the helpless Poles who were formerly attacked heartily thanked the rescuers from the village. After the villagers had reorganized things, they went to the prisoners to question. Many of them refused, but those who did not refuse gave away precious information. Another Turkish army was going to enter into Little Poland, ravage the Ukraine, and reinforce the troops at Krakow for a final assault. From what the Turks knew, there was no more out of them than that, and they were sent with guards to a nearby town, called Zamosc.

When it was evening, Pan Casimir and Pan Cyril made ready their horses. But the old man pressed them, saying, “Do not go. You may leave in the morning, and your horses shall be in even better shape than they are already. Stay with me and my family, and in the morning you may continue on your way.” Pan Casimir weakly agreed. The two brothers went to the old man’s house, talking along the way. They shortly arrived, however, and Pan Casimir was astonished by the richness of the house. Though it was entirely wooden, it was still worthy of greatness. Above the main door it had a head of a lion, expertly carved from the wood. When the two brothers walked in, they looked upon many furs which laid upon the floor. They were met by the gaze of a man and a woman, obviously husband and wife.

“These are two excellent men, Pan Casimir and his brother, Pan Cyril, who fought with me today against the Turks,” said the old man, whose name was Pan Vladyslav. “That was the battle that I told you about. I invited them to supper. I hope it was not ill of me to do so.”

“Of course not,” said the husband. “Just a surprise, though a pleasant one. We always welcome warriors of greatness into our house.”

“We welcome you to our household,” said the wife. “Follow me towards the table. Supper should not be too long.” The two brothers, followed by Pan Vladyslav, entered the dining room, and took their seats. But Pan Casimir, as soon as he entered the room, was met by the sight of a young maiden. He smiled, and took his seat, and tried not to look at the young maiden, but he could not. To him she seemed like some Greek deity, goddess above all gods. But, knowing that this thinking was a sin, he quickly put it out of his mind. Yet he could not help but look at the young maiden, whose brilliance never disappeared. At last supper was served, but Pan Casimir as he ate, still could not take his eyes off the young maiden. Such a woman he had never seen before! The household and guests ate the food with relish. After supper was finished, Pan Casimir was wondered by the sight of his life. The young woman who he had seen before started singing, and it was no ordinary singing. She sang like a waterfall flowing down towards the stream, gracefully falling towards the quiet water. Pan Casimir was touched to the heart with this music, and after she finished singing and they were alone, he took the nearest opportunity to meet her.

“May I have the pleasure of knowing you?” Pan Casimir said, bowing slightly.

“Of course,” she answered, bowing in return. “I am Anyia Dobukhrovna.”

“Dobukhrovna? That is a nobleman’s name, I have heard it before. What is your house doing in a small village like this? Though I must admit the house ” Anyia was silent for a while, but said;

“We have lived here not for a long time. Indeed, we move like nomads to different small towns very often. But I fear to tell you why.”

“Why do you fear? Do you fear that I am a Turk, leading you to dishonor?”

Then a silence went about the room, but Pan Casimir hated it. Therefore, kneeling, he said;

“I cannot bear it, your highness!” said Pan Casimir, not knowing what he had said. “Your eyes are like pearls, your hair like a golden jewel, you sing like the angels in heaven! Tomorrow, if I leave without love from you, I shall not stand it!”

“Stand, good soldier! But do not compare me to the angels. I would accept you beyond doubt, but my father and mother have already arranged a marriage.”

“Tell me his name! He shall go without his life!” Anyia looked back agast from what Pan Casimir said.

“He is a very good man, and I do not wish for him to die. If he dies by your hand, there shall be no place in my heart for you.”

“Then you hate me!” said Pan Casimir, groaning. Going to a whisper, Anyia replied;

“I shall not say that I despise you, but I have no reason for me to love you either. To make you leave with an easy heart, I shall remember you fondly. Yet you must give me reason why I should choose you over my betrothed.”

“What is his name, so that I may know whom I must better?” But Anyia had no time to answer, for the mother of Anyia walked in the room, and immediately Pan Casimir and Anya parted.

“I am afraid we have no room in our dwellings for you to stay here with your brother,” said the mother. “Yet we shall pay for your staying at the inn.”

“Ah, it is no need, no need! I shall pay for the rooms. Even take this as my gratitude,” and dipping into his pockets, Pan Casimir found five gold coins which he gave to the mother. Then going out with his brother they went for the inn.

But Pan Casimir could not sleep. He could not help but think about the beautiful maiden which he had seen that night. He kept imagining her standing beside the bed, with her golden hair touching to the ground, and her dress filled with gems brushing across the floor. Not only did this he admired, but also her wonderfully calm voice, which soothed him greatly. So calm and refreshing was her voice, that he had forgotten about the war. Such a beautiful lady had he beheld, and what match to her was comparable? Finally, only weariness from the past day forced him to sleep. Therefore he slept, with beautiful images of the golden lady at Tsaronka.

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113 Reviews

Points: 8921
Reviews: 113

Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:38 am
Necromancer14 wrote a review...

Well! Interesting chapter. I see it took a romantic twist!

Here's my review:

So first of all, they fight the Turks and then Pan Casimir falls in love. Now, I found that the love part was kind of strange. She said she would be fine with marrying him if she wasn't in an arranged marriage, when she had only just met him two seconds earlier??? That's not very realistic. I know this isn't in the modern age, but even back then people didn't just marry other people immediately after they met them. (With the exception of arranged marriages.) Also, they were talking to each other like they had known each other for a while. The whole scene seemed weird considering the circumstances.

That being said, I think this was a really good chapter. It kept my interest the whole way through.

After being brought some wine, they went to a table where the men welcomed Pan Casimir and Pan Cyril.

This reads weirdly. Usually you start with the noun, and then you substitute the noun with a pronoun. Here, you used a pronoun first and then used the noun at the end.

They welcomed Pan Casimir and Pan Cyril to their table, and the main topic was, of course, the war with the Ottomans.

You already said that they welcomed Pan Casimir and Pan Cyril. You don't need to say it twice. You only need to say that they brought the Pans over to their table.

But I will not deny that England’s navy would be of great use to us.’

You accidentally used an apostrophe instead of quotation marks at the end here.

Then men who had been most quick to the boy rushed to catch him,

I believe you meant to say "The men who were most quick rushed to the boy to catch him," because the way you wrote it meant that the men who were most quick to the boy caught him, meaning whoever the boy thought was fastest caught him. That doesn't make much logical sense. Also, that was a really long paragraph. I would break it up.

He smiled, and took his seat, and tried not to look at the young maiden, but he could not.

This was a very well written part. It reminded me of a fairy-tale, but it's completely unrealistic, just like the sudden friendship, which now to think of it, is also like a fairy-tale, though very unrealistic.

If he dies by your hand, there shall be no place in my heart for you.”

This is just an example of the sudden "we've known each other a while" vibe. Now don't get me wrong; this whole section had great dialogue, it's just weird with the circumstances.

therefore he slept, with beautiful images of the golden lady at Tsaronka.

Great ending! I always like a good ending, and here's definitely a good ending.

Well, that's my review! I hope it was helpful.

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54 Reviews

Points: 405
Reviews: 54

Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:51 pm
PlainandSimple wrote a review...

Here to review your work!

Although I don't know much about what is happening, it's very detailed. You did great work with using descriptive words to help the reader have a better view of things.

Even though I did start near the middle I am hooked! It is very hard to do that. Very amazing job!

Keep writing, I'm sure your story will get more attention soon. You are really a great writer.

From your friend


Thank you for the encouragement!

Death is only the end if you assume the story is about you.
— Welcome to Night Vale