By Scott Pearson
Here we are already: the third installment of the ReDeus anthology whirlwind, Native Lands. To complete my trilogy of stories featuring Étienne Joubert, a fourteenth-century Templar Knight miraculously returned to the twenty-first century, I wanted to follow up on elements introduced in the two previous stories. “The Tale of the Nouveau Templar,” from Divine Tales, had introduced the world-weary Joubert as he walked a beat in Manhattan for his updated version of the Templar. In the second ReDeus anthology, Beyond Borders, “A Medieval Knight in Vatican City” went back to the moment of Joubert’s return to the world of the living and chronicled the challenges and losses he faced in Rome, revealing the full circumstances of his break with the Knights Templar and his often adversarial relationship with the church—as well as the surprising way he met his trusted valet, Stephen.
Having substantially developed Joubert in those two stories, I wanted to give more attention to his two sidekicks in the new story, as illustrated by the story’s title, “The Squire and the Valet.” The squire of the title, Tony, was introduced in “The Tale of the Nouveau Templar” as a wise guy for the Greco-Roman pantheon. His circumstances changed during the course of that story, however, and as my new story begins, Tony has become a trusted assistant of Joubert.
When a demon of the Christian pantheon appears in Manhattan and begins a killing spree, primarily targeting members of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape tribes, Joubert, Stephen, and Tony take a road trip into the wilds of New Jersey to maintain peace between the pantheons. Soon, Stephen and Tony find themselves in a much more dangerous position than they ever imagined, while Joubert crosses paths with a mysterious character introduced in Dayton Ward’s story “Conscript” from Divine Tales. Thanks, Dayton!
Once again Google Maps and other internet resources came to the rescue as I hurtled toward the deadline while trying to get my facts straight. On a related note, a special thanks to the inimitable Alan Kistler, who provided emergency advice on the relative coolness of various Robins. You’ll just have to read the story to learn how that turns out out.
ReDeus: Native Lands will be available in print and digital editions tomorrow.