TITLE: The Sign of the Cross
GENRE: Young Adult Historical
Pierre had a fire in his belly, a fire hotter than his father's furnace. Marta sat beside him, her faced bathed in warm spring sunlight, her eyes closed. She looked content, but Pierre knew her thoughts were as disturbed as his own. He took her hand.
Without opening her eyes, she said, "If you love me you will not go." When he made no reply, she glared at him. "You don't love me."
"If God calls me, Marta, must I not obey?"
She pouted. "You hear Him, do you?"
"I know He wills it, and what cause could be nobler?"
"I am afraid," she whispered.
He shrugged. "Should I fear unknown perils? Would you have me hide at home while every able Christian battles to regain holy Jerusalem from the heathens?"
"I care not a fig for holy Jerusalem, and nor do you!" There were tears in her eyes.
Damp, rotting wood and sharp pine - the sweet perfume of his childhood - filled his nostrils, and doubt washed over him. Could he leave Fourelle?
Apart from the rattle of a lone woodpecker, nothing stirred, in a scene that had changed little in a thousand years. All was calm and serene - like a painting - but the tale it told was a lie. Peace and tranquillity were of the past. Three months earlier - in November 1095 - Pope Urban had made a speech that lit a spark throughout Christendom, and nothing would ever be the same again.