THE TAKE AWAY
Calvinism: Predestination from Another View - Part II
By Kersley Fitzgerald
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This is a fantasy story in five parts — a tale that unravels the complicated issue of salvation to reveal the single, shining treasure that it is. Part One is here.
The Golden Heart: Part II, MirandaBy the time Joseline got back from shutting windows, it was time to cut vegetables for lunch. Afterward, Cook set her to cleaning the pot the rice had burned in two days prior. Four hours of cleaning came after supper. The sun was long gone by the time she remembered her silver.
But when she returned to the fire, all the silver was gone and Ryan was scrubbing grease off the flagstone with a huge grin on his face.
Joseline's heart beat wildly. "Ryan, what have you done with the silver? Did you steal it?"
Ryan rose to a crouch and held his hands up. "Settle down. Why would I steal your silver?"
It was a foolish thought, but then a sparkle of gold under his chin caught her eye. "Where did you get this?" She stepped forward and reached for the heart-shaped locket hanging from his neck. "Oh, Ryan, did you sell the silver for this? Cook will beat me, and Xander — Xander will probably kill me! You have to get it back!"
Ryan grabbed her arm, his soapy calluses leaving soot marks on her skin. He dragged her to the butler's pantry and opened the silver drawer. Forks, spoons, and knives sat in neat rows, cleaner than Joseline had ever seen.
"Miranda did it," Ryan said. "She helped me turn the spit, too. The meat was still awful, but it gave me time to get this." He fingered his locket. "You can get one, too. She's going to be here in a few minutes to tell everyone how."
"Miranda?" Joseline absently shut the drawer and rubbed Ryan's fingerprints away as she followed him out. "But no one has seen her for months." She paused as Ryan passed by the pile of damp straw that made his bed in the corner of the kitchen. He picked up a ratty coat and put it on. "Where are you going?"
Ryan strode across the kitchen to the exterior door. Joseline followed him up the stairs, across the courtyard, and to a gate she'd never seen before. He pulled a silver key out of his pocket.
"Miranda gave me this. She'll give you one tonight. Don't worry, you'll like it. Imagine being out in the forest instead of just looking at the trees from the window! I've already been, but I wanted to come back to say goodbye." With that, he unlocked the gate, swung the leaf against its creaky hinges, and passed through. "Goodbye, Joseline."
She backed away from the door. "What about the wolves?"
The grin he'd worn earlier returned. "There are no wolves in the forest." He shut the gate, and Joseline could hear his footsteps disappear into the woods.
By the time Joseline returned to the kitchen, the staff was seated around the big oak table. Xander sat at the head, closest to the fire. Miranda, the pastry chef who had disappeared some months before, perched on the edge of her chair at the opposite end. Both of the two long benches on either side were filled to overflowing with wait staff, cooks, butchers, and even the dairy maids. Joseline stood in the shadow of a hutch and listened as everyone questioned Miranda.
Miranda laughed. "I'll get to your questions, I promise. Although you may not quite understand the answers. But first, here Joseline. You can share my seat."
Joseline's face grew hot as she came forward and sat next to Miranda. The big wooden chair was more than big enough for the two of them, and she was grateful for the seat.
Miranda leaned forward, her elbows on the table. "First of all, Xander, thank you for your offer. But I am not coming back to the kitchens. This is not the place for me anymore. I have greater things to do than bake sweets for the barons."
All eyes turned toward him for a response. Even Joseline knew that the one thing Xander prized before all else was the approval of the barons. Not that anyone had actually seen him receive such an honor. In the dim light, Joseline thought she could see his lips mouth "Blasphemy!"
"And, Cook..." Miranda turned and took Cook's hand. "I miss you too. But I cannot live here anymore. And I hope that after tonight, you'll decide to join me."
The servants muttered softly, and Miranda raised her voice. "I hope you'll all come with me."
The butcher rubbed his stained hands together. "But where you been? We don't know where to go if you don't tell us."
"A very reasonable question. Four months ago, while closing the shutters in the southwest tower, I stopped and looked out over the forest. Have you ever noticed the smoke rising from behind the trees? Or the white sails on the boats in the river? It puzzled me greatly. Who lives outside the castle?"
"No one lives outside the castle!" Xander said.
Miranda lifted her head slightly. "Then where does Madam White from the laundry go every evening?" She leaned toward the others, who were exchanging curious glances. "I will tell you. I went to Madam White and asked her. She said that the Count may be the ruler of this castle, but he is not ruler of the world." Miranda let the whispers die down before continuing. "Outside these walls is a mighty King. He is good and right, and it is His people who sail with white sails and live in the deep woods. Like us, they were born in the castle. Way back in the times of long ago, our great-great-greats pledged themselves and their children as slaves to the Count, and we have been his slaves ever since."
Image Credit: anika; "silverware"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Salvation | Calvinism-Tulip | Witnessing-Evangelism
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