Geoffrey Clayton Wolfe, the Wolfe, was Francis Whitehall’s Lord in Warwick, England. Merle Gilmore, who served as Francis’ squire, was the Wolfe’s nephew.
“Patience is a virtue,” Lord Geoffrey Clayton Wolfe, a Templar, would say. “Exercise it and grow it muscles.“
Cold Knight – Chapter 3
Devout and religious, bound to his Order, the Wolfe never wed, remaining chaste his entire life, devoting much of his life and resources to the care of the poor and downtrodden. It won him much acclaim while his caravans of tin and iron flowed freely between England and the continent, and Palestine. But when disruptions in trade nearly bankrupted him, many of his knights dishonored themselves, recanting their oaths to him and leaving to serve more prosperous lords.
The Wolfe and his holdings might have been preyed upon by others if not for the protection of the Crown. The Wolfe had helped defend King Henry II in the last baron’s rebellion and Henry didn’t forget his loyalty.
Francis Whitehall, serving as his chief bannaret, would not leave. He stood by the Wolfe through thick and thin. Struggling mightily, the Wolfe gave Francis leave to go to the continent with his family, with his wife Midonia and their newborn Anne, to enter tournaments and win prizes in order to stay liquid.
“Midonia, we have walked this path before and the destination has not changed. I cannot and will not recant my oath. I made my vow in the sight of Almighty God, before legions of sainted angels. I pledged my constancy to Lord Geoff. Only he can release me from that debt.“
Midonia rolled her eyes. “But you won’t let him release you.”
“No. I will not.”
“Lord Geoff has expressed his willingness to release you. He’s broke. His former vassals have recanted and sought other fields. What makes you think you are better than them?… Francis, we are alone in this world. Everyone is… Be done with him. You owe him nothing. We have a family to think about and family must come first. There is no heaven. There are no angels watching over you. There are no gods keeping an account of your promises. It’s an illusion. A lie…“
Betrayal – Chapter 16
Francis’ wife was upset about living on the road in tents. She wanted a castle appointment. She wanted servants, security and flowers. She never understood her husband’s faith in God or his devotion to Lord Geoff. She pressed him constantly to forsake his oath and recant.
Few knew that his unflappable loyalty to Lord Geoff was symbolic of his victory over his demons… a deeply rooted spiritual indebtedness others did not comprehend.
There was a time when the Whitehall family name stood for something… the Griffins… but was forfeited by the unbelievable atrocities committed by Francis’ father, William, against the populace in Warwick.
Betrayal – Chapter 17
William Whitehall had served King Baldwin III in Jerusalem. He had been a knight and often entertained Francis with stories of his rides there.
Tired of war, William returned to Warwick with his newfound wealth. He wed Constance and Francis was born soon after. They lived modestly on a farm. It was a good and quiet life.
But William had dreams, nightmares. Demons of his past haunted him. He relived the awful things they did in the Outremer, the things he did not share with anyone else.
William lost his wits… Guilt drove him mad. He hid beneath his sheets, mumbling to himself, rambling on incessantly about demons and devils, dragons and imps, spirits living in the rocks, trees and water… “The hate,” he would say. “The hate has us all…
And then one day… William donned his rusted old armor, unsheathed his longsword and went on a murderous rampage through town.
Betrayal – Chapter 17
Francis was seven when his father was taken to the block, his head separated from his body.
Constance was destitute. She lost the farm. Ruined, she turned to an old family friend, Lord Geoff.
His was a life of service, his time, strength and largesse used for the benefit of the poor… Francis was humbled by the experience. He knew he would have never become the man he was or restored the honor of the Griffin without the charity shown to him and his mother in their greatest time of need. He had to reciprocate. He could not abandon his lord in his greatest time of need. They were connected now and forever. No matter how many times the cock crowed during his watch, the Griffin would never forsake Lord Geoffrey Clayton Wolfe.
Betrayal – Chapter 17
And at a tournament on Whitsuntide in Germany, Francis Whitehall, leaning on that honor in sacrifice he learned from the Wolfe, rode to the salvation of Pero de Alava. And Pero, in turn, reciprocated this salvation by using his wealth to restore the Wolfe’s trade routes and enlisted the services of the Griffin for himself.
Allen M Werner is the author of the epic fantasy series The Crystal Crux