Historical setting: A dark age on the Saxony Shore of Gaul
On this new day Nic and I are walking the seaside cliffs back the way he came just two days ago. We are going to a harbor that merchant ships frequent with the hope to find passage to Iberia.
Nic provided me with leather sandals and a cloak of finely carded wool colored with a rich dyes. For as long as my memory reaches, which is really only back to the rescue in the woods by the River Loir, I have not had shoes or a cloak, so these fine things are a most welcome comfort.
Nic still dresses in his tunic, heavy leather gambeson, shirt of mail, girdle with sword and dagger, wool bracca (britches) on his legs, laced over with the long tines of his Roman shoes. And he still has the Roman cloak of scarlet, the shield and the helmet. And now he carries a pack. Surely no arrows will pierce him, but it is a considerable weight for a man of age and I would guess a bit too warm even for summer in these northern reaches. What will he do in the sun’s heat in Hispania?
I suggest. He argues. I accept my circumstance. My companion for this journey is an old soldier and so it is. Or maybe he has someone waiting to receive this inheritance?
“Have you a family, brothers perhaps, who may receive your father’s armor when you choose to pass it along?”
“I was my father’s only child. My half brother wouldn’t care for my father’s gift.”
“This cloak and shoes you have chosen for me are light and comfortable. Maybe when we find the marketplaces where the merchant ships land you will want to trade for new things for yourself as well.”
It is a long and silent walk, and maybe I’m not even considering his comfort and well-being. Maybe I just don’t want to take a long journey by sea shoulder-to-shoulder with a Roman soldier of the exact variety that nailed Jesus to his death tree. But surely thinking of him, he isn’t safer this way. If he is thrown into the sea he will sink straight to the bottom in all this armor.
Dear God, help me to be considerate of Nic’s need to dress as a soldier – whatever may be that need. Amen.
(Continues Tuesday, June 30 starting the next chapter, “The Soldier and the Jew”)