Marcus stared at the pile of stones made by his father. Sir Robert added a stone to the top. In the distance two more piles could be seen, one halfway to a large rock outcropping the other one placed just before a crevice carved the land from the sea. “On this land a change is made.” Sir Robert patted the rock. “Let no man doubt that I transferred this plot to William of Shondon. So be it.”
Marcus's father turned to the young lad. “This is our land, so that you do not forget this day place both your hands upon the rocks.” Marcus followed his father’s orders, knowing what was to come next. He closed his eyes, clinched his muscles, and waited for the first blow.
Years later Marcus walked onto the same hill with his son and pointed at the weathered pile of stones. “Herein is our property; I’ll not cause you to remember it the way I did, but to know that our line is here. I walked it with Sir Robert’s huntsman and a scribe; it is 100 meters to the sea and 100 meters to the mountain and follows the ridge line to the sea. The records are sealed by the court and held in the church archive.
Great wars began to ravish the lands and for over 250 years the countryside bore no grasses, only the paths of horses and battle. The little stone markers were swept away in the clouds of dust and storm. Villages were destroyed; churches and governments did not survive.
As time passed the gentle rolling grasses of the coastal area began to be reborn, commerce in the city moved sprightly along and the population began to push into the countryside.
Rodney Shondon sat in his tiny flat tuning his guitar. “I ain’t got a farthing in the coffer, but mum is working again in the bakery.”
“I know Rodney, but ye cain’t stay in this flat less you pay the Turk a rent.” Emily Swinsen, moved a stack of magazines from a table and sat on the edge facing Rodney.
“Ya need to try to sell some of yer poetry.”
Rodney laughed just as there was a rapping at the door.
Emily spun on the table, reached to the door knob and pulled it open. The landlord was standing in the opening.
“I know, I know.” Rodney jumped up, he was a head taller than the small Turkish man standing with a notebook in hand. “Mum gets paid on Friday. We’ll have the rents then.”
“I not be here for the rents, but if ya doesn’t pay, ya gonna move on.” He turned. “There’s a constable downstairs, if ya needs to run, ya can go out the back.” He nodded down the hallway.
“A constable?” Rodney felt a drop of perspiration on his lip. “I ain’t done nothin’, really.”
Rodney, with Emily in hand, brushed past the landlord and slowly walked down the stairs. A well-dressed man was standing in the foyer and toting a tan briefcase.
“Sir?” Rodney began.
The man turned and faced Rodney and Emily. “You Shondon?”
“I am.” Rodney paused on the stairs.
“To make a long story short, a paper was discovered beneath the ruins of an old church.”
Rodney cocked his head to one side. “And.”
“An attorney will explain, but a piece of your land is blocking commercial expansion, and from what I have been told, developers want to buy it, the title chasers found the record.” The man approached Rodney. “Remember lad, you own the land, a deed is registered, they can’t take it away from you even with a shotgun; you have it in writing.”
Rodney couldn’t believe his ears. He ran all the way to the bakery and found his mother mopping the floor. “Mum, mum. The old story about our family is true. A man came from the sheriff and said we own lands, and we are to meet in his office today.”
Rodney’s mother smiled. “Rodney, silly boy, you bring such news to the bakery, it’s an old tale I am afraid.”
Emily and the constable finally caught up with Rodney. “Tis true ma’am. The constable has the paper to prove it.”
Emily grabbed Rodney’s arm. “Somebody knew this day might come, all the rocks and stones and wars could not undo that little paper.”
“I want to find the history, I bet tis fascinating.” Rodney put a finger in his mouth.
“Aye.” Emily smiled.
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