A/N-I own nothing.

This piece is for PhoenixWoodworm, who reviewed my other piece. Thanks for your review, Phoenix! It means a lot!

Chanson de Geste:

A Prequel to La Chanson de Roland


"Ave Maria, gratia plena, dominus tecum..."

The chapel echoed with the gentle cadence of the prayer, the whisper rustling in the still air like leaves, murmuring like a river.

"...benedicta tu, in mulieribus..."

The words grew louder, more rushed, more frantic—

"...et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus..."

There was a sudden clink as something slipped to the floor—the rattling of beads against the stone—the creaking of the prie dieu as someone shifted—bent—the door opened, and a shadow loomed over the floor, reaching out, long and stretched, toward the steps of the altar.

"What are you doing here, child?"

The question coincided with the muttered "Sancta Maria", and the syllables snapped together, sharp in the silence of the chapel.


"What for?" Not accusatory. Simply curious, kind, wondering.

"For peace. For my country. For my king. For my family and friends. For me."

A sigh, rippling through the chapel like trickling water. And then the creaking of a second prie dieu.

"I will pray with you, child."

"Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae."

In the brief pause before the Amen the breath of one of the speakers caught—hitched—wavered for just a moment before choking out the last word of the prayer.


The Amen flowed into the beginning of the next prayer, and that one into the next, and they didn't pause anymore, just kept going.

The only light in the chapel was the flickering candle, and the parallelogram beam from the half open door.