Historical setting: A dark age in Gaul
The stationed militia sends two guards for the next watch. I probably won’t sleep tonight. My thoughts and hopes are racing in a great cacophony of thanksgivings. My need and Nic’s longing is a beautiful synchronicity beyond my own mind’s ability to unscramble. It is good this moment to find myself basking in the Holy Spirit of God. I’m grateful for finding Spirit shared with another person.
Dear God, thank you for opening this gift for me this night. Thank you for this new brother, Nic. Amen. I have no need to sleep for better dreams tonight.
Our next port of call is Grannona, and our meeting place with the two other ancient and limping dromon of the old Saxony Shore Fleet. The centurion who oversees this fleet comes aboard and inspects our ship. Our officer brags on the find of me. He particularly mentions my strength and my youthfulness and a possibility that weapons and armor might be purchased from an older rower who has fulfilled his duty. The cost of these items could be billed onto my indenture. To me, all of this sounds horrifically thoughtful. But Nic steps forward to speak privately with the officers. Their circle of secret is intruded with a glance or two toward me, until the centurion instructs Nic to accompany him to discuss this more privately on the quay. Our ship’s officer tells Nic to leave his things here and he follows them onto the dock.
We sit here waiting at the oars ready for what seems a very long time. I imagine we are waiting for Nic to offer to pay my due so he will officially become my patron. But of course, he has not yet received his wage.
When our ship’s officer returns alone he removes Nic’s gear from the hook.
“Sorry, Boy, I thought we would have a fine suit for you. Turns out Old Nik doesn’t want to sell it. I don’t know what use he has for a shirt of mail. He’s just being cantankerous. He’s trying to pay your price too. I think he wants a slave now that he’s a rich man.” With Nic’s armor in hand he goes back to the enclave on the quay with Nic and the centurion. The officer exchanges the armor with Nic for a large flat stone that Nic picked up on the quay and marked. Again, the officer returns to our ship alone, while Nic and the centurion board the centurion’s ship with no more word.
(Continues Tuesday, May 26)